Peace Scientists work for peace

John X Choe, community leader in Flushing

John never, ever gives up. He was not elected in 2009, but he did not run away and lick his wounds. He invested his time and energy in Flushing, and has never stopping working for Flushing. John is a uniter, then and now.
Dec 22, 2020

I met John Choe on social media before I met him in real life. My first time in Flushing was when I stayed in the Flushing YMCA before being part of Haitian Veterans contingent on Veterans Day 2009; 500 yards on the same side of Northern Boulevard is an old, very old, wooden building with a sign saying it is Flushing Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends. I later discovered my first-born had been attending meeting for worship there while his Thai wife was having spa treatments. (The younger Mrs Pekala is a PhD pharmacist with a line of beauty products which they sell across Thailand, Dr Anchalee Ain-Ai.)

My first visit to Flushing Monthly Meeting was in 2011, after a weekend of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sierra Leonean independence from Britain. I vowed to return.

Which I did in 2014. I discovered that if I awoke at 4am, left my house at 5am, drove to Hamilton for the 7am train to NYC, I arrived in Manhattan early enough to connect eventually with the 7 train which took me right into Flushing, close to the Meeting House.
I enjoyed this trip, so much I repeated it several times, during which time I got to understand Flushing Meeting, its history, and the good people who were activists in Flushing. One of them was John Choe. He was already running his community organization, bringing worshipers of different faiths together, being involved in community projects.

As a Quaker, Flushing has special meaning. Our founder George Fox (not a household name because we do not venerate anyone) preached in Flushing before the Religious Society of Friends existed in Flushing. Flushing Meeting House is like Canterbury Cathedral for Anglicans, except it is mostly unknown. A quiet place for quiet people. Do visit it.

SJ Dodgson
Emerald Pademelon Press LLC

Quakers in Flushing click here
Haitian Flag Day click here
Bayard Rustin click here
Sierra Leone click here
Repairing the Earth click here