In 1978 Bob Cleland, a Wilmette peace activist deeply concerned about the threat of nuclear weapons decided to develop a network of people who would be dedicated to nuclear disarmament. He went to his home church, Wilmette Congregational Church for help. He found there a donor, Mel Traylor, who said he would give $10,000 to start the process if Bob could find persons and congregations who would raise $10,000 more. He did. They initial name of the organization was the North Shore Peace Initiative; we hired an executive director, Allan Howe, who provided 14 years of creative leadership.
In 1982 NSPI was a major factor in organizing the Illinois Nuclear Freeze Campaign and in 1984 worked nationally with Peace Action and other groups to get a Nuclear Freeze Bill through the U. S. Senate. In 1989 we changed our name to the North Suburban Peace Initiative, expanded our reach to the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Over the years we also expanded the issues to include reducing military spending, stopping armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan but never ceased to fight for nuclear disarmament. In 2011, we again changed our name to Chicago Area Peace Action; to not only expand our reach to the greater Chicago area, but also to become an affiliate of an national organization, Peace Action.
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