New JP lecture series starts with ‘local heroes’ opposed to Iraq war

Courtesy Photo
Jamaica Plan residents Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson of Military Families Speak Out will speak at the JP Forum on May 11.

The neighborhood has a new public lecture and conversation series, the Jamaica Plain Forum. The JP Forum was started by members of First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist.

The JP Forum’s first program, entitled “Military Voices in Opposition to the War,” is tonight, Fri., May 11 at 7:30 p.m. Most Jamaica Plain Forum events will be held at the First Church, 6 Eliot St. at the Monument. They are free (donation requested) and open to the public.

Tonight’s event features Jamaica Plain residents Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson of Military Families Speak Out. Another special guest will be Vermont resident Liam Madden, co-founder of the Appeal for Redress.

“First Church is an appropriate venue to talk about the great issues of our day,” observed the Rev. Terry Burke, minister at First Church. “We sit at the Monument, the crossroads of Jamaica Plain. Tolerance, respect and dialogue are central to our values.” Programs will cover a wide range of topics. The first four programs address the Iraq war, parenting, Darfur and challenges facing local small businesses. Local residents are encouraged to suggest topics or speakers.

“We started the JP Forum to have regular community conversations,” said Chuck Collins, a First Church member and senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, which is helping cosponsor the JP Forum. “We hope to draw both national speakers and also lift up our ‘local heroes,’ people who live in our community but whose work often goes unrecognized here.”

“Charley and Nancy are excellent examples of JP local heroes,” said Collins. “They have built a national organization that gives voice to 3,000 active duty military members and their families in opposition to US military involvement in Iraq. The JP Forum is an opportunity to recognize and hear from such neighbors.”

Upcoming JP Forum Events
Wed., May 23 at 7 p.m.: Psychologist and author Dr. Beth Roy’s interactive parenting workshop on “Effective Parenting for a Dynamic Family.” Roy is author of “Parents’ Lives, Children’s Needs: Working Together for Everyone’s Well-Being.”

Thurs., June 28 at 7 p.m.: Stacy Mitchell’s talk “Keeping JP’s Small Business Sector Healthy in a Big Box Economy.” Mitchell is author of “Big Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses.”

Summer and fall speakers include Frances Moore-Lappe, Aviva Chomsky, and Howard Zinn. To learn more about the Jamaica Plain Forum, visit

Submitted by the JP Forum.

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