From an idea between friends to an event that brought many together, the Peace and Justice Festival on April 12 in Claremont used many mediums of expression to shed light on world issues.
“Generally we wanted the event to raise awareness about how the events in Iraq are tied in with a lot of other issues of the world. We wanted to make people think about the state of war,” said Mark Hornaday, organizer and producer for the festival.
The Sontag Greek Amphitheater on the Pomona College campus served as the venue for the event which was sponsored not only by students from the Claremont Colleges, but also students from the University of La Verne as well as community members.
Planning the Peace and Justice Festival started in January.
Speakers, poets, musicians, rappers, artists, craftsmen/ women and vendors were put into the structure and schedule of the festival.
“To me, it was a forum for art to be a medium to express certain ideas. It was giving art to the people and seeing if they use it, seeing how they react to it and seeing if they try to initiate art themselves. It was asking people to confront their roles in society. What are we responsible for in regards to justice issues?” said Hilary Hahn, ULV junior theatre major.
Hahn, with other ULV students, served the festival by coordinating artists to contribute to the event.
The gallery for the art was a forest of trees on which the art hung from.
People were allowed to walk through two patches of trees to see the art and, in some cases, people were encouraged to interact with the art.
Retired Professor Joe Maizlish from South Los Angeles spoke on the topic of conflict resolution, and conscientious objection.
He said he refused to join the military during the Vietnam War and thus spent a few years in prison.
Maizlish also spoke on the realities of the uses of tax dollars and options that citizens have about their tax dollars.
Other speakers included Marjorie Musser-Mikels, former candidate for U.S. Congress.
Musical acts included Quinto Sol, La Paz, Erik Thor, Sugar Mountain and others.
An African dance and drum group made up of local students also performed.
“I was satisfied with the turn out. I had the opportunity to, in some way, change an audience. To come into contact with them and present them with artwork and possibly make a slight change,” said Hahn, who was also a contributing artist
“For some this was an opportunity to have something happen that should be happening all the time. For others, this was in response to Iraq.”
Hornaday also feels that the event was successful in its goals and philosophy.
“We wanted to create an opportunity for like minded people to connect with one another as well as raise awareness about current world issues. I think it was effective in both of these purposes,” he said.
Organizations involved in the Peace and Justice Festival were the Student Peace Coalition of the Claremont Colleges and the Seminarians from the Claremont School of Theology.