The Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice observe the International Day of Peace

“Peace Begins with Understanding”


Indie Wilson

Moderator, Diana Alfaro, speaks on her experiences regarding discrimination at the Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice observance of the International Day of Peace on Sunday Sept. 18, 2022.

Indie Wilson, Staff Writer

The Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice observed the International Day of Peace speak out event on Sept. 18 at Wing Park. Attendees had the chance speak up about their experiences with prejudice and inequity. 

Pamela Moseley of Elgin voiced her opinion regarding sexuality. She expressed how she feels about the sex culture in America, explaining that it is forced onto young children too soon. Her experiences with abuse from her older brothers growing up and living outside of America for eight years allowed her to look at things from a different perspective.

“Especially here in America so much is put on sexuality,” said Moseley. “I was with my oldest brother years ago at a store and in the parking lot was a little girl; blonde hair, beautiful little dress, and my brother’s reaction was ‘Woah, look at her.’ I don’t think it’s fair to young children.”

All kinds of discrimination and injustice were topics at the International Day of Peace. Racism, homophobia, transphobia and sexism were popular shared experiences, all coming up in different ways. 

Sharing her incidents with gender injustice, Sherry Liske criticizes the prejudice she has run into. 

“One time I’m in a Mercedes Benz dealership, they don’t know me from anybody,” said Liske. “I just had super casual clothes on and I’m looking and nobody helped me.” 

Liske felt the preconceptions people felt about her tended to be economic.

“I’m professional,” Liske said. “Just because I’m not wearing some super fashionista clothes I still have a career. I have a bank account. I really chalked it up to me being a woman… and then maybe the clothes I was wearing too, but that shouldn’t make any difference at all. They’re sales people! They’re supposed to be selling me something, not just ignoring me.”

Not all participants came from the receiving end of things. Roger Fraser confronted his relationship with his boyhood that caused pain for the people he discriminated against, and himself.

“It’s 1962 and you’re either a boy or you’re a girl,” said Fraser. “I felt as though gender police were out there, beginning with my father, my mother, and extending to my teachers and extending to everybody on television that I watched. That territory of girlhood to a young boy at fifteen in 1962 was a mysterious, attractive, frightening, threatening territory.”

Fraser’s words allowed a different view to come to light, and showed some of the motives behind the pain caused through the homophobic thoughts he once believed in.

 “[Girlhood] seemed to bleed into my dreams at night,” Fraser said. “Why could girls wear colorful clothes, and I couldn’t. Why do girls have such intimate close relationships? Why couldn’t boys have those kinds of relationships? I wanted to have relationships that were close like that. Friendly, and easy.” 

  “So, I’m sitting in front of this boy, this sissy, behind me talking to these girls and I am getting just enraged at this kid,” Fraser said. 

Blinded by his masculinity, Fraser stood up for what he thought was right at the time.

 “And so I turned around and I said, ‘if you wanna be a girl so badly why don’t you just turn into one?” Fraser said.

I’m 77 years old. My shame for having done that to that boy is still as real,” Fraser said.

Fraser explained that he was taught to stick up for manhood because that was all he was around. 

“I was part of the gender police,” Fraser said. 

Ismael Cordova is another resident of the city of Elgin that attended the speak out event. He is the first born American child of Mexican immigrants. Cordova described what it was like growing up with his family and how it heavily impacted him and his brothers.

“Growing up, I grew up with very low income and impoverished,” said Cordova. “So, as I continued to grow up, I started to ignore the trauma that was afflicted with that lifestyle I grew up in.” 

Cordova worked three jobs when he was 18 and became the first in his family to finish high school. He spoke of the pain he endured and the sacrifices he made that heavily influenced and affected his life.

“I allowed my family and their addictions to determine how I was treated because of that concept of validation” Cordova said. “The money that I gained wasn’t for me it was for my family.” 

Cordova now turns his pain into passion and will motivationally speak about his triumphs at local school districts from time to time.

“Somewhere in my heart was drawing me back to Elgin,” Cordova said. “There were things I wanted to accomplish and communities I wanted to advocate for.” 

The International Day of Peace united people of all walks of life and backgrounds to discuss all kinds of injustices and important issues that need to be addressed in order for change to happen and in order for us, as one, to move forward.