Barbara Atkinson received the 36th annual Peace Award from Pebble Hill Interfaith Church Sunday, Aug. 16, in a virtual ceremony attended by church members, family and friends.
The award was established in 1984 on a grant from the Rev. Harold and Alma Able. Awardees are chosen on the basis of significant contributions to peace and social justice and are usually from the Delaware Valley.
Atkinson received the Peace Award for her work in environmental and racial justice.
As a member of Pebble Hill Interfaith Church, she has consistently worked with the Bucks County Chapter of POWER, a Philadelphia-based interfaith organization committed to building “communities of opportunity” that organize for social, racial and environmental justice through civic engagement in areas of criminal justice reform, fully and fairly funding public education, supporting living wage policies, health care reform, and climate justice.
In addition to working on the fair funding education campaign, Atkinson has a keen interest in the anti-racism training component of POWER.
Atkinson had a 34 year-career in solar energy. She founded a group that supported the Nicaragua international solidarity movement by providing technical aid. In Oakland, Calif., she joined the “Earth Justice Associates” and became involved in racial justice activism.
As a resident of Bryn Gweled, a cooperative community in Southampton, she also participates with neighbors in EQAT (Earth Quaker Action Team). She is a member of Board of Arrows, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit serving Native American communities.
Most Sunday afternoons, Atkinson can be found at the weekly Southampton Friends Meeting vigil for racial justice started in June.
During her acceptance speech she outlined the influences of feminism, anti-racism, and environmentalisms on her work and writing. She presented three poems to illustrate the thread of activism that has run through her life. One last line asks, “If there is no freedom, why do we dream of it?”