President of Peace Action Bay Ridge Interfaith
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: A member of the Bay Ridge community since 1983, Vicki McFadyen, along with her peace coalition, Peace Action Bay Ridge Interfaith, has given a voice to so many people throughout the community looking to move forward with different peace initiatives.
McFadyen said the group initially grew out of opposition to the war in Iraq.
“We wanted to express our disagreement with the decision to go to war with Iraq,” McFadyen said, “so we demonstrated in front of congressional offices.”
As it picked up momentum, the coalition became a platform for many different issues including opposition to nuclear weapons, hydrofracking and gun violence, among others.
“We want all nuclear weapons to be abolished,” continued McFadyen. “Every year we do a demonstration for Hiroshima Day; we have programs, and particularly speak about the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, which could be a danger to the whole metropolitan area.
“We’ve also taken positions on hydrofracking, and we would like to see Guantanamo Bay closed,” McFadyen added.
The coalition also organizes candlelight vigils, the most recent one held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to honor the recent deaths of Eric Garner and Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
MOTIVATION: McFadyen labels “a more peaceful world” as her biggest motivator.
“For our children, our grandchildren and for ourselves, we need less danger and more concentration on education and things that we need in the community,” said McFadyen.
CAREER/DAY JOB: Even with her commitments to community, McFadyen has held a full-time job as a legal secretary for the past 30 years.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: McFadyen says her biggest challenge throughout her years of work with the community is “getting people’s attention to certain issues and getting them to speak out.
“I think partly it’s because everyone is busy and I think many people have given up on our political system and feel that they don’t have any power, or don’t have any voice,” said McFadyen.
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT: “We’ve had some excellent programs recently,” McFadyen said about achieving a better turnout for event-goers. “Our attendance has been increasing and our friendships with people in the community.”
PERSONAL LIFE: In her spare time, McFadyen, who has five grandchildren, said she “loves going to museum and programs” with the young ones.