Roxanne Abbas

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Roxanne Abbas is a Minnesota activist. She has been State Coordinator Minnesota Peace Project since January 2009.

Anti-Iraq war rally

On July 9, 2008, More than 100 peace activists—assembled today on the south steps of the State Capitol Building to hear clergymen and civic leaders wax-critical on the Iraq War.

Starting at noon, a dozen speakers took the podium one-by-one, including Pam Costain (director of the Minneapolis School Board), Roxanne Abbas (co-chair of Women Against Military Madness), and Isaiah Ellison (son of Rep. Keith Ellison), who read an address penned by his father.

Nearly every speaker focused on the Bush administration’s saber rattling with regards to Iran. More specifically, they lambasted Senate Resolution 580, which calls for sanctions and a naval blockade against Iran— acts that would almost certainly be construed as a declaration of war. [1]

Minnesota Peace Project

In 2009, Roxanne Abbas, of Women Against Military Madness, helped form the Minnesota Peace Project.

MPP’s Roxanne Abbas with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar

“Never a meeting without an action!” Most of us know and live by WAMM’s motto, but we don’t all have the same preferred mode of action. Some like to hit the streets. Some write letters to the editor. Some plan or attend educational programs. Some lobby their members of Congress. And some do it all.

Several WAMM members are leading the development of a statewide network of peace activists and groups with the working name “the Minnesota Peace Project” to influence foreign policy through their elected officials in the U.S. House and Senate. The group, which is organized by Congressional district, plans to use dialogue techniques to build a mutual understanding of each other’s views and to present documented information from reliable sources to build credibility. District groups will function semiautonomously based on the issues of greatest concern to their members and their opportunities to influence their representative.

Although the project is still in the organizational stages, there has been some progress to report:

Peace activists have volunteered to serve as district organizers for eight of the 10 congressional offices. These 10 organizers will serve as a steering committee for the project.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer has written a comprehensive “Peace Agenda” for the group to use as its basic platform.

Keith Ellison and Wellstone Action have both offered to conduct a training session on lobbying techniques for group members.

A meeting was held with Amy Klobuchar aides to present the Peace Agenda and to exchange perspectives on the Israel/Palestine conflict. [2]

Beginnings

“I was not active in the peace movement until President (George W.) Bush announced the invasion of Iraq (2003),” Roxanne Abbas said. “I tell people it was President Bush who recruited me for this intense involvement. I’d worked with other peace groups in the past, but from my perspective none of them was really working effectively to influence their members of Congress.

“These groups do a wonderful job with demonstrations and protest rallies and public education. But what I felt they weren’t doing effectively and what needed to be done was communicating with our members of Congress. So, I talked with co-founder Mary Hinz and others who were interested and agreed with this perspective and we pulled together a core team to get MPP started.”

“We developed a strategy to find ways to avoid former techniques where we had failed to influence our members of Congress and looked for ways in which efforts could be productive and where we would have the potential to change their positions,” added Thomson. “We recognized the importance of having a strategy.”

MPP developed a mission statement, and most importantly a Peace Agenda with the help of peace activist Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer and established their agenda into three major topics:

  • Resolve conflicts through diplomacy
  • Build an infrastructure of peace and prosperity
  • Dismantle the infrastructure that encourages militaristic response to conflicts[3]

Meeting Klobuchar

Klobuchar, Abbas, November 20, 2014

References