Greenfield storefront signs ‘a natural way to start peace literacy’

  • Christi Bartos of All About Beads on Bank Row in Greenfield with her peace sign in her window. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Astranada Gamsey of Goose Divine Energy on Main Street in Greenfield puts an “Art Not War” sign in the window of her store. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • A peace sign at Moldavite Dreams in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Peace signs in the window at Greenfield Solar. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • A “Make Tea Not War” sign is displayed at Alchemy of Avalon on Miles Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • A “Food For All Not War” sign is displayed in the window of Benny’s Organic Market on Main Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 1/30/2023 6:33:20 PM
Modified: 1/30/2023 6:33:07 PM

GREENFIELD — Passersby in the downtown area may have noticed the signs advocating for peace that are popping up in storefront windows as part of a collaborative effort among Greenfield business owners.

“‘Greenfield Shops for Peace’ was jump-started by the Main Street tailor [Hamdi Yildiz], who asked me if he could put my sign, ‘Health Not War’ — which I hold each Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon at the Greenfield Common standout — in his shop window,” recalled Traprock Center for Peace & Justice board member Pat Hynes. “Soon after, Mr. Hamdi told me how much his customers liked the sign, and it occurred to me that peace signs in shop windows would be a natural way to start peace literacy given the visibility, contagiousness and opportunity for creativity on the part of shop owners for a ‘brand’ sign, such as ‘Brew Tea Not War’ in Alchemy of Avalon tea shop.”

Inspired by Yildiz, Hynes reached out to more than 30 business owners, the majority of whom were receptive to the idea of placing signs in their shop windows advocating for peace.

“My hope,” Hynes wrote in an email, “is that the signs will speak with a communal voice and inspire other expressions of norms and values such as in local music, films offered, art exhibits, drama, local library book exhibits and programs that foreground peace and justice, and especially with the Greenfield schools offering peace education in creative ways.”

For Yildiz, promoting peace at Mr. Hamdi’s Tailoring & Tuxedo was a no-brainer. Before Hynes’ sign, he’d had other signs denouncing war on display in his front window.

“I want peace,” he said. “I love people.”

Another of the 24 businesses participating in “Greenfield Shops for Peace” is All About Beads at 38 Bank Row.

“It would be great if we could have a little more peace in the world,” said owner Christi Bartos. “Certainly, what’s going on in Ukraine really brings that out, and in other countries as well. … I’ve been trying to do my small piece by donating money profiting from certain jewelry … to the World Central Kitchen in Ukraine.”

Claire Chang of Greenfield Solar on Fiske Avenue said as someone who believes strongly in practicing nonviolence, participating in “Greenfield Shops for Peace” fit perfectly with her worldview.

“I think everybody wants peace, particularly in these times,” Chang said. “There are so many other issues that are disruptive to our lives, we just don’t need more.”

Chang said she hopes the message reminds people to look for peaceful solutions to conflict, and that war doesn’t need to be an answer to problems.

“I walk through Main Street a lot and when you see signs in all different storefronts, it makes you smile that the same message is being portrayed by a number of different organizations, venues and businesses,” she said. “It’s just a nice feeling.”

Shop owners who are interested in participating in the project should send an email to

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.


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