PathMakers to Peace 2023

The PathMakers to Peace award was established in 2013, to honor organizations and individuals who have played a leadership role in working to find non-violent resolutions to conflict. The name of our award, PathMakers to Peace, emphasizes that there are many roads to reaching the goal of a peaceful and just world.

Because of COVID-19, we held our award gala virtually for two years, but this year we were able to celebrate and honor our 2023 recipient in person.  On Thursday, November 16, 2023, at 7:00 pm, Brooklyn For Peace held its 2023 PathMakers to Peace Gala in person. 

Peace blazed brilliantly on the evening of November 16, 2023 in Brooklyn as the nearly 40-year-old peace and justice organization, Brooklyn For Peace, held its annual fundraising gala. It was the first in-person PathMakers to Peace Gala since before the pandemic, so there was an extra reason to celebrate.

The event was held in Brooklyn’s historic and beautiful Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights. The evening began with a fellowship hour of wine and delicious hors d’oeuvres from Bassett Caterers. People mingled and shmoozed as old friends met up for the first time in a long time and as new friends were made.

Then it was time for dinner and the Pathmaker awards and speeches. Despite the dark and troubling times of increasing wars in our world, still folks wanted to be together and reaffirm their dedication to continue fighting the good fight. “We’re not giving up,” was the watchword of the evening as the honorees spoke to the audience of well over a hundred people.

Ana Aguirre spoke about her personal journey from Peru to Brooklyn and her leadership of more than 20 years as Executive Director of the United Community Centers of East New York, a multi-service intergenerational community-based organization. She reminded us of the importance of speaking truth to power, and shared a moving poem from a Peruvian poet.

Dr. Partha Banerjee warned us of the dangerous rise of fascism in India, and shared how his previous personal experience with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh organization led him to work against politics of bigotry, hate, and violence. He urged the audience to consider whether the world could afford for India to continue on its current political path.

Mimi Rosenberg, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society and host of WBAI’s Building Bridges radio show, addressed the intensified climate of intimidation around criticism of Israel and the silencing of voices in solidarity with Palestinians. She encouraged us with vigor to continue to educate, agitate, and organize together toward equal rights and justice for all.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of Democracy for the Arab World now, emphasized our collective responsibility to hold the US government accountable for its role in aiding and abetting war, tyranny, and repression across the Middle East. In particular, she addressed Israel’s assault on Gaza carried out with U.S. bombs and funded by our tax dollars, and the need to hold our members of Congress accountable for not taking action in line with the most basic values of humanity.

Bob Keilbach and Anthony Donovan, accepting the award on behalf of Veterans for Peace NYC Chapter 34, shared about their work on seeking justice for all victims of war and on exposing the tax dollars wasted on militarism while critical human needs such as healthcare, education, housing, and the climate crisis go unaddressed. They highlighted the importance of organizing for nuclear disarmament and the significance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Yes, a fun and inspiring evening amidst these turbulent times. Thank you to everyone who made PathMakers 2023 a success!

Scroll down to view the full PathMakers to Peace program!

View photos of the event

View the video recording of the event

This year’s honorees:

Ana Aguirre was the Executive Director of the United Community Centers (UCC), a multi-service, community-based organization located in East New York, Brooklyn. Ana began working for UCC in 1993 as a community organizer and health educator. Ana worked with various East New York groups, and developed and implemented health and social campaigns in East New York. She engaged local taxi drivers, all of them immigrants, to support annual community events to raise HIV/STDs awareness and education. Ana played a key role in bringing immigrant services such as ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), citizenship classes, and free immigration assistance to UCC. She was actively involved in the development and implementation of East New York Farms!, a community urban agriculture project that engaged community residents to address food justice by promoting sustainable agriculture and community-led economic development. From the beginning of the COVID pandemic, she personally organized and distributed food to residents weekly until 2022.

Read more about Ana Aguirre and her organization. – https://ucceny.org/

Dr. Partha Banerjee is a human rights activist working on peace, justice, immigrant, labor, and climate rights movements; writer; educator; public speaker; media critic; and a movie and music enthusiast. Born and raised in Kolkata, he is now based in Brooklyn with frequent visits to India, where he works with many grassroots organizations to defeat the politics of hate, violence, bigotry and war. Partha has worked with and interviewed Noam Chomsky a number of times since his acquaintance with him in 2000 when he was a journalism student at Columbia University; he introduced him at BFP as the 2014 PathMakers awardee. Partha’s books, media discussions and writings focus on religious, social, caste and gender equality, as well as corporate media’s monopoly, exclusion of substantive news, and brainwashing.

Visit to read more about Dr. Partha Banerjee  on Wikipedia and his blog onefinalblog.com

Mimi Rosenberg – For the past 36 years, has dedicated herself to anti-poverty law, focusing on housing rights, eviction prevention, and anti-dislocation litigation for neighborhoods, both in public and private housing, through her work with The Legal Aid Society’s Brooklyn Neighborhood Office. She also played a significant role in founding organizations like The City-wide Action Group Against Neighborhood Destruction & For Low-Rent Housing and The Black United Front Support Committee. Ms. Rosenberg is the producer of the multi-award-winning labor-oriented radio program, Building Bridges, on WBAI 99.5 FM, aimed at empowering and organizing for social change. Read more about and listen to Mimi Rosenberg – WBAI

Sarah Lee Whitson is the Executive Director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN). Founded by the late Jamal Khashoggi, DAWN works to reform U.S. policy in the Middle East. Previously, she served as executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division from 2004 – 2020, overseeing the work of the division in 19 countries, with staff located in 10 countries. Sarah Leah has led dozens of advocacy and investigative missions throughout the region, focusing on issues of armed conflict, accountability, legal reform, migrant workers, and human rights. She has published widely on human rights and foreign policy in the Middle East in international and regional media, including The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, The Los Angeles Times, and CNN. She appears regularly on Al-Jazeera, BBC, NPR, MSNBC, and CNN.

Visit to read more about Sarah Lee Whitson – dawnmena.org

Veterans for Peace, NYC Chapter 34 is our local chapter of Veterans for Peace, a global organization of military Veterans working to build a culture of peace, dismantle the war economy, eliminate nuclear weapons, and abolish war. VFP NYC has marched as a Veterans Peace contingent in the NYC Armistice/Veterans Day Parade on November 11th, as well as in annual Memorial Day observance, the Queens St Pats for All Parade, the MLK Jr. Observance, and the Heritage of Pride parade. They have organized peace vigils and actions against continuation of hostilities in the Middle East, against war with Iran, Syria, China and Korea and to shut down Guantanamo. VFP NYC has participated in demonstrating at offices and lobbying elected representatives, in public educational forums on veterans’ health and social justice issues, in support for whistleblower Julian Assange, Black Lives Matter, and Standing Rock water protectors. They hosted numerous events during the visit of anti-nuclear boat Golden Rule to NYC, and had a large contingent in the recent End Fossil Fuels Climate March.

Visit and explore this local and national organizing group – veteransforpeace.org

Acknowledgements

Thank you to the following for their extra effort to make this event a success!

Ann Fawcett Ambia
Oliver Fein

Henry and Jaki Florsheim
Ed Goldman

Eleanor Preiss
Matthew Weinstein

A heartful thank you to Grace Church for hosting us, and to Bassett Caterers!

Our Sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors for their contributions!

Trailblazers – $500 or more

Anonymous
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Molly Nolan
Robert K Drinan
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Supporters – $100 or more

Hungry Ghost
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