Living Legacy Fund Honors Retiring WAND Director, Bobbie Paul


(APN) DECATUR — Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions honored Bobbie Paul, outgoing Executive Director, for her hard work and dedication to some of the most pressing issues of our generation–nuclear disarmament and opposition to nuclear power–on Thursday, August 22, 2013, in Old Courthouse on the Square, in Decatur, Georgia.

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Hundreds of activists and friends showed up to honor Paul as a prominent Atlanta peace and justice activist who has recently retired after ten years directing Georgia WAND.



APN has posted original footage of the party on the APN Video section here:



At the event, Georgia WAND announced a big surprise to Paul: the establishment of a Living Legacy Fund to support work consistent with Paul’s favored issues and tactics.  The fund had raised over 80,000 dollars as of the event.



Courtney Hanson, a spokesperson for WAND and special contributor to APN, says that the fund has raised over 90,000 dollars to date, and is nearing its goal of 100,000 dollars.  Some of the funds will go into an endowment, she said.  Also, the fund will go towards specific special projects and will be separate from Georgia WAND’s general fund.



Focus areas include, “To fulfill Bobbie’s longstanding commitment to ridding the world of nuclear weapons; to expand Bobbie’s vision of building bridges across diverse communities; and to harness Bobbie’s insight of using a creative, artistic lens to drive and power our programming and organizing work.”

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APN has documented Paul’s many creative tactics over the years.  One example includes Paul’s take on the expression ‘bombs away.’  “Bombs: away!” Paul likes to say.



At one public hearing on a once-proposed plutonium pit plant in Aiken, South Carolina, Paul dropped BBs in a metal bowl to represent nuclear bombs exploding.  She dropped one BB to represent the sound of one bomb exploding.  She then dropped entire bag of BBs to represent the planet’s combined nuclear arsenal.



She has used stacks of Oreo cookies to represent components of the federal budget.  She has also been known to perform cover songs, with altered lyrics, at public hearings.



Paul told APN that she was blown away by the surprise, calling it “over the top” and “overwhelming.”



According to WANDs statement, Paul’s many Accomplishments include cleanup of toxic nuclear weapons sites and monitoring around nuclear power sites.



As previously reported by APN, Paul spearheaded a successful campaign to earn a vote from US Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) in support of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with Russia; the treaty was ratified with Isakson’s support.



Other events during her tenure included a REAL State of the Union address, an annual event which has included such speakers as Jay Bookman, a center-left columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper; and Rev. Joseph Lowery.



Becky Rafter, who formerly worked for the Fund for Southern Communities, has taken over as the new Executive Director of WAND.



“Years ago, the board of what was then Atlanta WAND dreamed of taking their local WAND chapter to the next level, and so they created a fund to hire an executive director.  Out of that came none other than the invincible Bobbie Paul,” Rafter said in a statement prepared for APN.



“With the steadfast support from strong board leadership, dedicated staff and widespread donor and community allegiance, Bobbie played a tremendous role in transforming the chapter into the statewide Georgia WAND and building its financial stability.  Her hard work both informed and implemented the vision of Georgia WAND,” Rafter said.



“Last month we had a major victory when we worked collectively with our community and organizational partners to prevent 75,000 tons of high level radioactive waste from being dumped in South Carolina for interim storage at the Savannah River Site.  This was a huge victory,” Rafter said.



“Bobbie has been an important influence on my career.  Anyone who knows Bobbie knows how smart and creative she is, but many don’t realize how shrewd she is, especially in navigating the male-dominated terrain of this work,” Hanson said.



“She taught her staff to play hard ball in DC but also to produce giant-sized peace doves and bucket-drums for marches and parades.  Bobbie taught us to see the big picture–and that more can be gained by bringing the work to life through art and media than to ‘talk at’ people, and that when we come together amazing things are possible,” Hanson said.



“Although I am retired from… WAND, I will still continue to do whatever possible to support WAND,” Paul told APN.




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