The business of peace activism is not easy — and it is not always peaceful.
At one infamous Indy peace march along 38th Street, the police arrested an activist for waving a United Nations flag. The flagpole could be used as a weapon, the cops said.
That activist, Carl Rising-Moore, a core force in local peace activism circles — a former president of the Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center and editor of its journal — left Indy on Jan. 23 to move with his wife, Alma, and son, Carlos, to the Philippines.
Peace activists from around the state gathered Downtown at Central Christian Church, 701 N. Delaware, home to the Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center, to honor Rising Moore's contributions to the local movement, wish him well in his future endeavors and encourage him to remain involved with his local work. Rising Moore agreed to continue as the IPJC Journal's editor for international affairs … but demurred when asked by one colleague to continue on as a board officer and he put out the call for an Indiana resident to step up as state peace beat editor.
"I remember you waving UN flag violently, as the charge was," local author Jim Wolfe said, recalling that he and Rising-Moore were involved in an alternative group that was "more radical" than IPJC at the beginning of the Iraq War. Still, he said, they both have supported IPJC in many ways as well — and continue to do so.
"You showed me how to hold a sign," activist Larry Miller told Rising Moore during the goodbye gathering.
During the Occupation Movement in the fall of 2001, what impressed Miller most about Carl was the big "Veterans For Peace" banner he and two others were holding.
"And I'm a veteran, so I kind of latched on," Miller said. "I always joke around that probably all I learned about protesting, I learned from you, Carl. About the sign and
teaching me how to hold a sign. To this day, if you give me a sign, I'll go out there and carry it."
("And you don't care what it says!," a fellow activist joked.)
Demonstrating the sign-shaking technique, Miller said: "You've got to get the attention of the cars that go by — something to go home and think about. You stood for all that … And you're going to be missed. Your shoes will be hard to fill. I'm gonna miss you, brother."
Miller pointed to the tribute video made by fellow activist Dave Lambert, commenting how many clips included Carl working for veterans' issues.
"I'm going to miss that, Carl. Because as a fellow veteran – you're a veteran — and I think whether we've been in war – and all of us have seen the horrors of war – it's all about peace – about peaceful resolutions to conflicts," Miller said. "I think that's what you stood for. There will always be conflicts, but you have to find peaceful resolutions.
"If you've left any legacy, it'd be: Diplomacy, not war."
On behalf of the board, IPJC President Vernell Miller presented Rising-Moore an award for his "undying commitment and energy" to peace and justice in Indianapolis.
"We've been marching in protest and shouting out against every war since Vietnam, including Grenada, Panama, the First and Second Gulf Wars, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, the drone wars and Somalia and Yemen and every other incursion by this government … supporting the Justice Movement in Fountain Square," said Dave Lambert, a long-time cohort of Rising-Moore's, handing him a whistle. "Hopefully you will not stop being a whistleblower when you are in the Philippines."
Lambert added: "Harriet Beecher Stowe said it best, 'It's a matter of taking the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done. You are an activist's activist, and I will miss you, Karl. We will all miss you."
The average age of the dozen or so people gathered trended toward mid-to-later-range Baby Boomers, so the collective experience of the room covered a lot of territory.
Activist Tim King said a fellow activist had joked earlier in the evening that she hoped the National Security Agency would let Rising-Moore out the country. Somebody else said they hoped the Philippine authorities would let him in.
Peace activism boils down to " a struggle for survival on this planet earth … we have to raise our children in a manner where they do not want their kids to go to war," Rising-Moore said. "I've been all over the world. I'm not going to bite my tongue in the Philippines. … The idea of American exceptionalism and full-spectrum dominance is the most dangerous thing this planet has ever seen."