Groups in Troy and Auburn Hills will call for peace on Friday, Nov. 10, following violence afflicting Israel and Palestine.

Groups in Troy and Auburn Hills will call for peace on Friday, Nov. 10, following violence afflicting Israel and Palestine.

Photo provided by Eugenia Bajorek

Two groups to call for peace with public demonstrations

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published November 8, 2023


TROY — Two local groups are out calling for peace, in light of the recent war and conflict in Israel and Palestine.

Each will host a nonpartisan demonstration to encourage peaceful resolutions in the region by both sides and to call for an end to violence in all parts of the world.

“We have been faithfully standing the second Friday of the month almost every month,” said Liz Loria, an activist who will be demonstrating in front of Oakland University in Auburn Hills. “It’s something that we do to stand for peace, no matter what is going on, since there is always conflict and violence. We are not taking a side. We’re not trying to say, ‘We’re pro-this,’ or, ‘This country did that.’ What we are supporting is an end to violence.”

Loria’s group will demonstrate in front of the University Drive entrance along Squirrel Road 4-5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10. A second group will hold a demonstration at Beacon Unitarian Universalist Church, located at 4230 Livernois in Troy, 3-4:30 p.m. on the same day.

“We think it’s so critical for our voices to be heard calling for an end to this war and violence. When you talk about social justice, there is no justice in war,” said Eugenia Bajorek, the social justice chair at Beacon. “We’re just going to be standing out in front of the church with our signs. We’ve been standing for peace forever. I was doing this during the Vietnam War, and my parents were calling for peace in World War II. I am 82, and I was born during World War II, and we are still here without having lived in peace in this world.”

Loria’s group has demonstrated for peace for several years, calling for nonviolent resolution to several conflicts. They began calling for peace during the Iraq War.

“We started back in the day as members of St. John Fisher Chapel, which is across the street from the university,” she explained. “We were part of a peace and justice group and we knew each other through that. We heard of groups standing for peace called ‘Women in Black’ that started in other parts of metro Detroit. We grew into a group that welcomed all manner of people. We sort of copied that Women in Black idea and would demonstrate for peace.”

She said that their demonstrations have led to some hostility toward them, but Loria stressed that they do not oppose or support a cause of any conflicts but simply want to call on world leaders to find nonviolent means to conclude tensions.

“We have had people come up to us and stand across the street carrying an American flag and saying, ‘I stand behind my country no matter what.’ When that happened, one of our members would go over and talk to them. We want to tell people we believe we need to find other ways to find different ways to solve problems other than killing. We are patriotic. We do have personal opinions on conflicts, but we just advocate peaceful resolution rather than war.”

Bajorek’s church also has held previous demonstrations in support of peace and other social causes. She agreed that the goal is not to declare who is right or wrong in a conflict, but to call on those fighting and those in power to put an end to the suffering and try to find the best path forward in a very complex situation without resorting to killing.

“Our goal is not to take sides. We’re just supporting the innocents that are killed in war — innocent children and those who are out fighting,” she said. “There’s always that division. We always have two sides. We’re never going to get anything accomplished when there are those two sides. You have to come together and have some kind of compromise eventually.”

Both groups said they welcome others to come by and join in or simply have a respectful discussion.

“We publicize our demonstrations by email and we always say, ‘Feel free to share this,’ so we are always looking for others who have peace as a goal,” said Loria. “We’ve always welcomed people who might have questions or want to talk with us.”

Bajorek said that while such problems can seem insurmountable, their hope is that by taking action and calling for peace, more and more people will opt for nonviolent conflict resolution as well.

“It seems like there’s not a whole lot we can do to change these situations, but one thing we can do is get out and have our voices heard,” she said. “I don’t know if that gives anyone comfort, but it lets me feel like I am doing something. We just want to find a better way.”