Debra Sweet, Director

National Office Volunteer Spotlight on: Bennett (Ben) Weiss

World Can’t Wait has volunteer-run national office in New York City. We will be spotlighting some of our wonderful volunteers and our sustainers over the next several weeks. We are thankful to have them. You can sustain our work by making a monthly recurring donation at worldcantwait.net.

In his 1963, I have a dream speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment…the whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

It is that fierce urgency of the “now,” that drives Ben Weiss, a nearly 45-year anti-war (starting with the Vietnam War) and justice activist. As part of that activism, Ben has donated his time and talents to WCW since its founding in 2005.  Currently, Ben creates political buttons and badges—a skill that springs from his work in the jewelry and gift business. His buttons and badges promote World Can't Wait causes, including the “We Are Not Your Soldiers” and "STOP Stop and Frisk" campaigns. Ben has also donated a button-making machine and how-to training, so World Can't Wait can, in his words, “make buttons when needed and not have to wait for me to crank them out.”

Why World Can’t Wait?
Ben first met Debra Sweet, World Can't Wait’s director, prior to the organization’s launch in 2005, at an anti-war rally in front of West point. The rally’s location was motivated by the graduation day’s commencement speaker, George W. Bush, who was trying to stir up support for the war in Iraq.  Both Debra Sweet and Elaine Brower (who lost a son in Iraq) gave stirring speeches that day,” he said.  “I was moved by their passion and focus, and we have been helpful to each other ever since.  In fact, Debra helped me in December 2010 with an Economic Justice Now rally. It’s a great symbiotic relationship.”

In addition to Debra Sweet, Elaine Brower, Iraq veterans against the war, and other interesting and dedicated people Ben has met through World Can't Wait, he says that he is impressed by the organization’s transition from the Bush to the Obama regime. “It was refreshing to see that World Can't Wait didn’t tone down its efforts as a result of partisan politics, now with a democrat in office. These issues are not just tinkering with who is in office, but on the big picture, the consequences of policies, not just who is making these policies.” 

As Dr, King said, there is an urgency now, and Ben Weiss, after 45 years of activism, believes that more than ever. “It’s time for change, he says. “No more letting the world fall apart while we go Christmas shopping. Being around the World Can’t Wait people validates and clarifies critical issues for me.”

Ben Weiss is inspired by World Can't Wait’s volunteer staff, and he is inspirational to them.  Debra Sweet says, “Ben organized protests against George Bush's appearances at West Point graduations, bringing hundreds of antiwar protesters to Highland Falls, New York.  That scene got more dramatic with Barack Obama used a speech at West Point in December 2009 to announce a large escalation of the US war on Afghanistan.  People organized by World Can't Wait sat in front of the West Point gate in protest.  Through an ongoing legal proceeding, Ben supported those who sat down.  He is a kindred spirit in not waiting to challenge the crimes of our government.”

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About

World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.