MNS REUNIONS 1991-2021

Photos, videos, links and docs from 7 MNS/Life Center Reunions;
Featuring nearly 200 Alumni, including 20 beloved now deceased.

MNS regions also hold reunions. Ken Arning (front inset) hosted this one Jan. 10, 2019 when George Lakey (center) visited Seattle MNS: Clockwise from Ken are Celia Castle, Bruce Pruitt-Hamm (who took photos), Mike Wald, Mike Eaton, Janis Pruitt-Hamm, Caroline Wildflower, Patty Lyman, Clint Weimeister (died May 2019), George Lakey (center), Dianna MacLeod, Rose Betz-Zall, Jonathan Betz-Zall, Mary Lou Finley, and Firefly (outstretched arms).

Brunch gathering of Amherst area MNSers July 2018: Roger Conant, Eleanor Warnock, Shel Horowitz, Jerry Koch Gonzalez, Grace Ross, Sandra Boston and Mary Link with Herb Ettel (DC)

Philadelphia Opening Plenary Nov. 2, 2019 at Southampton Friends Meeting

Nov. 1-3, 2019 MNS Whole Network Reunion

Major thanks to our “tech-sperts,” Fred Cook, Jerry Koch-Gonzalez, Adam Corson-Finnerty, Bob Sutton, and Seth Horwitz; All presenters below; All 150 who attended; and the following who planned and coordinated our five remote gathering sites, connected by Zoom:

  • Amherst: Sandra Boston de Sylvia, Jerry Koch-Gonzalez, Robert Dove, Peter Woodrow
  • Philadelphia: Joan Nikelsky, Bob Sutton, Mary McCaffrey, George Lakey,
    Adam Corson-Finnerty, Seth Horwitz, Michelle Marks
  • Twin Cities: Shodo (Cedar) Spring, Betsy Raasch-Gilman, Erika Thorne
  • San Francisco: Fred Cook, Justine Heavilon, David Hartsough, Janet Hartsough
  • Seattle: Rose E. BetzZall, Fai Coffer, Celia Castle, Mary Lou Finley, Dianna MacLeod,
    Bruce (Kokopeli) Pruitt-Hamm, David Albert, Ellen Sawislak, (Firefly) Michael Siptroth


Sorry, visual and sound quality may be poor for some due to tech issues during our first use of Zoom, and limited volunteer time and skills..

Saturday Nov. 2, Noon-1:30 pm ET: OPENING PLENARY (65m)

3:00-3:55 pm ET: All convened for 3 simultaneous presentations:

  • State of Activism (55m): George Lakey’s insights from his recent book tour
    & Steve Chase’s discussion of transnational nonviolent action support.
  • Anti-Racism Work (51m) in Twin Cities and immigration/refugee/asylum rights,
    with Erika Thorne, Betsy Raasch-Gilman, and Michael Feinberg (NY).
  • Green New Deal and Sunrise Movement (47m) with Pamela Haines, plus
    Barbara Briggs (DC) sharing successes in supporting progressive local climate
    legislation, and Firefly (Seattle) on the climate emergency and local support.

4:00 to 4:30 pm: Memorial for colleagues no longer with us.

Sunday Nov. 3, Noon-1:30 pm ET: All convened for 2 sessions, 3 topics each:


  • Women’s Work with Pat Albright (37m) on her political work and re-engagement in nonviolent direct action through the Wages for Housework Campaign (now the Global Women’s Strike), an international grassroots network promoting the work of mothers and other caregivers with the aim of shifting society’s priorities from war and occupation to the care of people, all living things, and the planet itself. Also related to the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
  • From the Life Center Food Coop to the National Cooperative Grocers – P.J. Hoffman (35m) talks about working in the co-op movement; possibly someone else might have a related subject, such as food apartheid or economic justice. P.J. writes, “MNS stressed the need for an alternative economy, and this would outline what I learned in my 40+ years of working in and with the food coop movement.”
  • Nuclear Weapons (19m) Peter Bergel and David Hartsough present a strategic proposal for local groups interested in moving the US toward signing the Nuclear Weapons Abolition Treaty.

12:50 to 1:30:

  • Steve Zunes on new developments in nonviolent revolution (57m). Since MNS’s heyday, unarmed civil insurrections have brought down scores of dictatorships. While usually more liberal than radical, they improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people. The growing empirical evidence that nonviolent methods are indeed far more effective than armed struggle has brought our once marginalized idea increasingly into the mainstream.
  • [NO VIDEO] Lynn Grasberg on teaching conflict resolution skills to middle-school and high-school children, and her train-the-trainers program
  • Open space for other presenters on other topics at each site.

1:30pm: Closing Plenary (92m)

San Francisco Site Videos (local only):

Other Discussion Topics in Small Groups (no video):

  • Religion and nonviolence
  • Economic justice / worker rights
  • New strategies of nonviolent direct action
  • Chuck Esser: the place or need of an organization like MNS now and
    international solidarity from work with Korean Democracy Movement
  • Ellen Deacon: the vital “emotional healing and support” side of activism
  • Adam Corson-Finnerty: “The Life Center/MNS as a Rock Tumbler:
    If you weren’t politically correct when you arrived, you were by time you left.”
  • Michelle Marks: Communication difficulties between MNS and other groups
  • Amy Keitzman: What we/MNS got right and how it’s being used now, and
  • What new ideas, organizations, projects and/or movements have emerged that you think worth your time, money and energy in and merit broader support.
  • Scott Beadenkopf: Increasing biodiversity by planting native plants.

Also addressed in Saturday’s zoom video sessions:

  • Immigrant / refugee / asylum seeker rights campaigns
  • George Lakey: “Good News — how today’s events reveal what MNS got right in its analysis/ vision/strategy/practice.”
  • Pamela Haines: Public banking and supporting the Sunrise movement.

IMPORTANT: This “Alumni-Only” Webpage is PRIVATE.
Share content only with MNS and Life Center alumni.

HOWEVER, please share widely our public site,
& 50th Anniversary Page.
Also George Lakey’s timely Polarization & “How We Win” (30m)
& trailer for his new bio doc at

Below: MNSers perform “Rainstorm,” a “light-and-lively”
2-minute ice-breaker game) at their 8/2009 Reunion
(recorded/posted by Betsy Leondar-Wright).