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Human Rights Advocate And Peace Activist To Speak Friday

Tom Hayden, internationally known human rights and peace activist, former California state legislator, and Freedom Rider will speak Friday at the Peace & Social Justice Center's 20th anniversary dinner.

Hayden will share his long-time experience in peace, justice and environment movements. He spent years on the forefront of the anti-Vietnam War movement and is against the war in Afghanistan. He says in the '60s, President Lyndon Johnson said that the United States could afford guns and butter, meaning the Vietnam War and domestic programs.

"He was wrong," says Hayden.

"The Vietnam war bankrupted us and those people today who say that we can afford to fight on in Afghanistan and still invest in nation building at home are wrong. There's only so much money in the discretionary budget of the federal government and when you include deficit reduction, there's really not much for investment in infrastructure and education."

Hayden says Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. influenced him while he interviewed the civil-rights leader in the '60s on a picket line. He says King was a man, very centered, very purposeful, willing to die for what he believes.

"And here I was lapping up his quotations so I could write an article for my student paper and to advance my journalistic career, and it just didn't settle right with me," he says. "I started to think that I should maybe put the notebook away and join the protest movement."

Hayden will speak as part of the Peace & Social Justice Center's event held at Wichita's Fairmount United Church of Christ Friday at 6:30 pm.