Join the peace posse

Bill Petrillo

Photo By Tom Angel

An offshoot of the longstanding Chico Peace Endeavor (standing vigil at the corner of Broadway and Third for more than 35 years now), the Chico Peace and Justice Center was founded in 1982 by local activists Wilhelmina Taggart, Florence McLane and Helen Kinnee. Today’s center is still “working for peace and social and economic justice through the power of non-violence,” but despite a wartime climate, the center is hurting for volunteers. Ten-year Chico resident Bill Petrillo (pictured with, from left, volunteer Cathy Webster and board member Sheldon Praiser) has just joined the center’s staff, and it’s his job to try and get the word out.

What are the main issues the center is concerned with right now?

We’re going to be addressing considerable local issues as opposed to just things happening far away from here. So we’re going to focusing in on Chico and Butte County in general a little bit more.

[Board member Sheldon Praiser interjects] Next month, the board will be having a retreat and pinpointing the themes we want to focus on for the next year.

What kinds of activism have you been involved in?

My past is very blasé. My background is basically in marketing and promotions. I’ve stifled many of the feelings I’ve had towards peace and justice. My main motto now is, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re automatically part of the problem. I don’t want to be part of the part of the problem anymore.

Ever wanted to take justice into your own hands?

Everybody I think at some point wants to. Everybody has a lot of different feelings, thoughts and desires that run through your head that you don’t act upon.

What’s more important, peace or justice?

I think they go hand in hand.

War: what is it good for?

Absolutely nothing but government officials.

In Fahrenheit 9/11 there’s group called Peace Fresno that gets infiltrated by local law-enforcement. Do you have to be more careful with new volunteers since 9/11?

There’s no reason to be careful. What we’re doing is totally and completely above board. We’ll open our doors to anyone at any time. We want to share what we feel and what we know with everybody.

For info on volunteering and upcoming activities, call 893-9078 or check out