Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Next Generation Another Berrigan Emerges as Leader in Peace Activist Movement

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Next Generation Another Berrigan Emerges as Leader in Peace Activist Movement

Article excerpt

The names Berrigan and Merton have been renowned in peace activist circles for more than half a century.

It began in the 1960s, when a Catholic monk in a remote Kentucky monastery, Thomas Merton, inspired and drew inspiration from two Roman Catholic priests and brothers, Daniel and Philip Berrigan, who were embarking on a long vocation of civil disobedience against the Vietnam War, nuclear arms and other aspects of American militarism.

So it was something of a family reunion Monday night when the Thomas Merton Center - a nerve center of Pittsburgh's progressive activist community that takes its name and inspiration from the monk - honored Frida Berrigan for her work opposing war and the use of torture at the Guantanamo Bay detention center and elsewhere.

Ms. Berrigan is the niece of Daniel Berrigan and daughter of Philip Berrigan, who had left the priesthood and married a former nun, Elizabeth McAlister.

The center presented Ms. Berrigan with its Thomas Merton Award for 2016 at its annual dinner at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square.

Yet for all the memories shared, there was also a sense of urgency as Ms. Berrigan spoke of the election of President-elect Donald Trump, who said while campaigning he would refill the dwindling Guantanamo prisoner population and use "worse than waterboarding" in terror-related interrogations.

That's just one of many areas in which progressive fear a Trump presidency. Ms. Berrigan, a Connecticut resident, spoke of her tearful conversation with her young children as they absorbed the election results Wednesday morning.

And yet she said adults need both to support and draw on the strength of children in these times.

"They need our resistance, they need our alternative-making, and we need their spirit, we need their energy," Ms. …

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