2016 has opened with renewed worries about militarism in domestic and international forms, about police violence and racism that is more than just black and white, and about climate change and the fate of the planet. Author and educator Matt Meyer, however, co-editor of We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America, is full of hope – based in part on the growing development of ideas about (and practical application of) a new, revolutionary nonviolence. Join us for an evening of conversation with Meyer about why you should be hopeful too!
Main Hall, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
505 E. Charleston Rd., 94306
Freewill donation of $10-20--no one turned away
MVPJ has joined with several local organizations and congregations in sponsoring 3 months of local displays of The Drones Quilt Project. The purpose of this effort is to raise awareness about the immoral and tragic use of weaponized drones by the United States, which is responsible for the injury and death of hundreds of people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Each block of each quilt bears the name of a drone victim, and was created by a different individual, humanizing the victims and showing the connection between all human beings.
In Palo Alto, quilts will be on exhibit from January-March at various times in different congregations, including First Congregational Church, Unitarian Universalist Church, and two Catholic Churches. On Wednesday, January 13, 7pm there will be a display, reception and discussion featuring the quilts at the Los Altos Library. Click here for more information.
Not Terrorists; Not Tourists: Refugees are Human Beings
I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.”—Matthew 25:36-40
In the past few days, we have shared in the public and global outpouring of sympathy and support for the victims, their families, and the people of France, Lebanon, and Russia. We reiterate that expression of solidarity, and our condemnation of these acts of violence, all of which have been claimed by the “Islamic State.”
The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), shares this pastoral message:
The horrific terrorist attacks in France fill all good people with the deepest sadness. May we all rededicate ourselves to waging peace based on compassion and respect. Hatred must not triumph.
I share the following prayer written by the Rev. Eric Cherry, director of the UUA’s International Office:
Holy One, our hearts are torn, broken, and battered.
After Paris: A World that has Lost its Ethical Direction
For many years, we at Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives have warned that the domination and power-over strategies to achieve “homeland security” have been tried for over 7,000 years and all they have produced is more wars and violence, interspersed with short periods of peace that have, with the help of the sensationalist and natioanlist media and professional apologists for the existing inequalities, managed to hide from public view the degree of covert structural violence that every system of inequality and domination embodies.
As in 9/11, the terrorists responsible for the tragic events in Paris are succeeding far beyond their wildest dreams of sowing fear and hatred among all the nations in the West. The various responses – such French President François Hollande calling the attacks an "an act of war" to which France will respond without pity – are understandable, but play directly into the terrorists' hands.
What is really hard to understand are the calls to block the entry of Syrian refugees – particularly Muslim refugees. What better way could be imagined to demonstrate that terrorists claim that the West is waging a "War on Islam", thereby recruiting an even larger number of disaffected Muslim youth?
Even worse, if we succumb to Islamophobia to the extent that we actually close our doors and our hearts to people at a time of great need, we will be betraying the love of mercy and justice that is at the core of our country's Judeo-Christian tradition. From time to time, every nation faces a test to see if it can live up to its ideals. This is one such test. We call upon everyone to resist the xenophobic fear-mongering and stand for the principle that our country proclaims so solemnly that all people are created equal.
We pray for all people and places that have experienced the terror of violence this week as the aftershocks of fear and grief reverberate through bodies and buildings:For the 43 people in Beirut and the 129 in Paris who were killed by Daesh;
For the people who survived and are now grieving the loss of people they love—parents, children, lovers, spouses, friends, siblings;
For the untold number of Syrians who have died in retaliation attacks;
For Muslims around the world who are targets of renewed and vicious Islamaphobia;
We want peace for these people and places, but we do not know how to achieve it. Help us to see with clarity how our own country’s actions have contributed to the violence we see and mourn in the world this week. Let our collective mourning and sense of solidarity drive us deeper into the work for peace in our own country, and let us not feel angry only at Daesh, but also at the political policies and realities that engender extremism.
by Emily Brewer of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
"A time comes when silence is betrayal, and that time has come for us."
As people of faith and goodwill, we cannot remain silent when violence leads to more violence, tragedy leads to more suffering, and fear leads to injustice and hatred. As people of faith and goodwill, we are called to compassion, to courage, to solidarity, and to peace. In the midst of retaliatory bombing, hatefilled rhetoric and egregious calls to close our borders in the midst of one of history's most tragic human refugee crisis, organizations with whom MVPJ has long worked suggest some of the following actions.
As we mourn and pray for the people of Paris, let us also pray for Beirut, where 43 people were killed in a terrorist attack the day before those in Paris, for Bagdad, where 26 people were killed in violent bombings, and Syria, where children, women and men are now facing drastically increased deadly air strikes.
Take action this week to build a better world by participating in any of these local events:
Sermon: "Whose Lives Matter?" - Sunday, Sept. 20, 10am, First Congregational Church, 1985 Louis Rd., Palo Alto. This sermon by the Rev. Eileen Altman will begin Campaign Nonviolence local Week of Action by exploring issues of justice.
"White Like Me" Documentary and Discussion: Tuesday, Sept. 22, 7pm, First Congregational Church, 1985 Louis Road, Palo Alto. This 1 hour film by Tim Wise on race and privilege will be followed by a discussion on issues of race, racism and white privilege.
Climate Justice: Response to Pope's Congressional Address: Thursday, Sept. 24, 12Noon, Midpeninsula Media Center, 900 San Antonio Rd., Palo Alto. Join the studio audience immediately following Pope Francis' message to the U.S. Congress. Hear a panel of local and religious climate activists, and live reports from Washington D.C.'s Catholic Climate Covenant activists and members of the Moral Action on Climate team.
Protest Nuclear Weapons at Lockheed Vigil: Friday, Sept. 25, 12-1pm, Lockheed Space Systems at Mathilda Ave. and Lockheed Martin Way, Sunnyvale. In this silent, nonviolent vigil we will stand in witness against the destruction and death perpetrated by Lockheed Martin - the largest manufacturer and exporter of military weapons.
Quaker Harvest Festival: Saturday, Sept. 26, 9am-4pm, 957 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto. This annual fair with music, food, plant and book sales benefits the Friends Committee on Legislation for California, which advocates for peace and justice issues in our state.
Sermon: "A Subtle Voice" - Sunday, Sept. 27, 9:30 & 11am, Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 East Charleston, Palo Alto. Recognizing that religion can both stimulate and counteract violence, Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern will ask, what are our religion's resources for un-making violence.
Labyrinth Peace Walk: Sunday, Sept. 27, 10:30am-12:45pm, Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 East Charleston, Palo Alto. In honor of the U.N. Peace Day (9/21) and concluding Campaign Nonviolence Week of action, come walk the labyrinth with your wish for peace and nonviolence.
I solemnly swear to take a stand against violence and
Click here to sign the Campaign Nonviolence pledge, and join the movement to build a peaceful world for all!
Start today! Plan an event or just a small gathering with your friends or faith community during Campaign Nonviolence 2015 Week of Action, September 20-27. Contact Diana Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org to post your action and invite others if you wish.