Swarthmore College Department of

Peace & Conflict Studies Blog

John Braxton (class of 70) receives honorary degree

On Sunday, at the graduation of the class of 2010, John Braxton (class of 1970) was awarded an honorary degree for his conscientious objection during the Vietnam War and his long peace and justice activism. In her introduction, President Chopp said, “John Braxton, you are a long-time Quaker activist and labor reformer, and founder and co-chair of the Philadelphia Jobs with Justice Coalition. Your long history of advocating for social and economic justice and your tireless efforts to campaign against the proliferation of American military power in the Third World have helped to reshape policies and institutions from the local to the national level.”

Braxton went on to challenge the class of 2010, “We face problems on a scale that we have never faced before – but they are solvable if we don’t ignore them. The solutions require building powerful social and political movements – and people do find a way to do that even in the darkest times.  Today, we have the tools to guide this process more intelligently and nonviolently. The moral arc of the universe does bend towards justice – if we harness ourselves and help it to bend. So I urge you to look straight in the eye of the biggest problems our society faces and then decide which piece of that we can each tackle. If we all do our part, we can preserve this beautiful planet for generations of humanity to come.”

Please view Dr. Braxton’s address or read the full introduction and his remarks on the 2010 Commencement website.