Julie Enslow: A lifetime of working for peace

When I spent several years running a Madison-based organization called Nukewatch, working on anti-nuclear weapons and nuclear energy issues in the early 1980s, Julie Enslow was my primary Milwaukee contact, at an organization called Mobilization for Survival.

I went off and worked in politics for 20+ years, then came back to antiwar work after my retirement a year ago — and found Julie Enslow as a key person in Milwaukee, now with Peace Action-Wisconsin, the successor to Mobilization for Survival. She and the organization are both still going strong.

Julie’s about to get some well-deserved recognition for her lifetime of work. Julie, a stalwart of the Milwaukee peace movement for more than 30 years, will receive a lifetime Peacemaker award on Oct. 4 from the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, a statewide network of 159 organizations working for social change.The WNPJ Lifetime Awards presentation will be held at 4 pm, on October 4 in Milwaukee, at the WNPJ Fall Assembly at Marquette University, Alumni Memorial Union, #227, 1442 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Everyone’s welcome to attend that or a special reception/party to honor Julie and John Kinsman, an 82-year-old dairy farmer activist, the other recipient, at the Irish Cultural Center, 2133 W. Wisconsin Ave. with speakers, music by Frogwater, Holly Haebig and Harvey Taylor and more from 5 – 8 p.m.

(If you would like to be listed as a sponsor of this event, please send your name and a donation of any amount to “WNPJ”, on behalf of Julie Enslow and/or John Kinsman to: WNPJ 122 State St. #402 Madison, WI 53703 . All donations are tax-deductible.

Here’s Julie’s bio, in slightly abbreviated form:

Julie Byrnes Enslow

— Graduate of Cardinal Stritch University as an art major- 1962

— Participated in interfaith dialogue groups on racism in the 1960’s. Active with the Open Housing Campaign, particularly in Shorewood, and A Better Chance which brought gifted African American high school students to Shorewood from eastern cities for a college bound program.

— Volunteered with United Farm Workers Support Committee for three years.

— Anti-Vietnam War activist. Member of Milwaukee Peace Education Committee for several years during Vietnam War doing peace education/conflict resolution in the schools. Organized numerous house meetings against the Vietnam War on Milwaukee’s East Side.

— Taught High School CCD classes from 1963-1971 at St. Roberts Catholic Church, bringing in draft counselors and community activists to speak to the students. (“I was not asked back after 1971,” she says. “I guess they disapproved when several of my students became conscientious objectors to war.”)

— Taught art in inner city Catholic schools and community centers.

— Worked in arts administration for Milwaukee Artists Foundation, coordinating the Lincoln Center for the Arts and the Arts and Education Barter Program. Worked with The Milwaukee Foundation to process Milwaukee County Arts Grants.

— Helped organize food co-ops, open classroom education in the Shorewood Schools, and 20th anniversary celebration of Earth Day which attracted 16,000 people.

— Founding member of Mobilization for Survival (now Peace Action-Wisconsin) in 1977.

— Organizer for Mobilization for Survival,1980-84. Newsletter editor for past 24 years, volunteer organizer of special events for Peace Action.

— Helped initiate the Milwaukee Organizing Committee Against the Gulf War.

— Worked with the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and Jobs with Peace Referendum Campaign, Milwaukee, 1982.

— Traveled to former Soviet Union in 1986 and to Israel/Palestine in 1992 and 2005 as part of national peace delegations.

— Served as board member for National Peace Action and as a member of their Nuclear Disarmament Task Force and Weapons Trafficking Task Force.

— Co-chair of Wis. Network for Peace and Justice in 1999 and 2000.

— Cook for St. Benedict’s Community Meal Program (for past 30 some years since it was founded.)

— Volunteered for St. Ben’s Health Clinic for the Homeless for 8 years. She currently works as a full-time staff person for Peace Action Wisconsin (10 years), as newsletter editor, issue organizer, and special events organizer.

Her current focus is on nuclear weapons non-proliferation, stopping weapons in space, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and ending US war and occupation in Iraq.

This is not the first time she’s been recognized. She received a World Federalist Peacemaker Award, 1988; an Alumni Community Service Award from Cardinal Stritch University, 1992; and a Community Activist Award from Wisconsin Community Fund, 2002.

Julie, an energetic 68, grew up in East Troy, was married in 1962 to Jim Enslow, and has three children – Beth, Tom and Amy and a fourth daughter, Laura Wall, “adopted through the heart,” one granddaughter, Mai, and one grandson, Mac.

In her “spare time” she says she likes gardening, hiking, camping (in a tent), canoeing, cooking for friends, hosting parties, occasional painting and drawing.

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