Judy Collins (formerly Cumbee) is a native Georgian who as wife, mother of two, grandmother of eight (and generally a "Grandmother for Peace") continues over 40 years of volunteer peace/justice work. Judy was introduced to nonviolence in the 1960s through the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Dr. King’s work in the South. Attending a 1972 Peacemaker Orientation into Nonviolence was life-changing for Judy's family. That fall she and her husband began war tax resistance, which she continues. In Michigan, she worked with peace & justice task forces of the Detroit Conference United Methodist Church. She became state Church Women United (CWU) peace chair and a board member of the Peace and National Priorities Center of Oakland County.
Moving to Tuskegee in 1978, Judy became involved in CWU’s effort to abolish the death penalty and in the local Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, founded by Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson. Judy began Alabama’s “Video Project” focused on nuclear energy/weapons concerns. Later she coordinated the Conscientious Alliance for Peace in Auburn and co-founded the Alabama Nuclear Freeze Coalition. In 1986 Judy participated in the founding convention of Alabama New South Coalition, serving as a board member and for over 20 years as co-chair of the Peace & Justice Committee. Also in '86 she was a founder of Vine and Fig Tree intentional community committed to nonviolence and sustainable living in Fredonia AL. From 1995-2000 Judy was outside co-coordinator for Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty and remains on the advisory board of PHADP (board comprised of Alabama death row inmates). For many years, Judy helped organize interracial, interfaith peace vigils at Auburn's Toomer's Corner. In 2006 she was organizer and co-chair of "Living the Dream, Co-creating the Beloved Community of Human Kind," a literal movement, beginning with a week-end nonviolence retreat in Selma followed by a rally at the state capitol beginning a week’s walk for peace culminating in a rally at Ft. Benning in Georgia.
A life-long student of nonviolence, Judy has also participated and been arrested in several civil disobedience/holy obedience actions, the latest at the Kings Bay submarine base in St. Mary’s Georgia on Dr. King’s birthday in 1989. Saying yes to life, no to ways of death is thematic in her music including two albums, "Moment of Dawn" and "Bringin' Abolition Day." In 2015 Collins finishes her final year as president of the Fredonia Heritage Association, striving to "preserve the best of yesterday for today and tomorrow" (A previous Heritage Day focus was Fredonia's Rosenwald School; for 2015, Fredonia’s first people, the Mvskoke Creeks). Judy and husband Jim Allen are members of the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship who increasingly "think global, act local."