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UMass lunch series features Frances Crowe

At 94, Frances Crowe of Northampton is well known here and elsewhere for her lifelong activism, from resisting war taxes to providing draft counseling to conscientious objectors to protesting anthrax research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Crowe will speak about her work today as the final installation of a new four-part lunch series at UMass, where she will address students, faculty and community members.

The Activist Brown Bag Lunch Series, which will take place from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., is part of a one-credit course attended by about 20 students and is open to the public.

Sigrid Schmalzer works as the acting associate director for the university’s Social Thought and Political Economy Program, which runs the series.

“We are really happy that we have some people in the room that are already activists, and some people (who) are not and were just intrigued to learn,” she said.

The series started in March.

Speakers are invited to discuss whatever topic they choose, Schmalzer said. She expects Crowe will talk about how different lifestyles contribute to and create war. Past speakers have shared how and why they got into activism, she said.

Schmalzer, who met Crowe in 2004, said she is excited to introduce her to a new generation of potential activists.

“Frances is always great. She has a way of being incredibly inspiring, she talks about listening to your conscience and linking one’s own life to the larger questions in the world,” Schmalzer said in a recent telephone interview.

Impressed by the success of the program’s first year, Schmalzer expects to hand over its leadership so that next year’s series can be student-run. Planning for the spring lunch series will take place in the fall.

The event will be held in the Campus Center, rooms 162-175, at UMass. Attendees are invited to bring their own lunch; cookies will be provided.

— KRISTA MANGIARDI

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