25 years ago, six Jesuit priests, a housekeeper and her daughter were murdered by the Salvadoran military. On the anniversary of that massacre thousands of people will join a vigil at Fort Benning Georgia, home of the school formerly known as the School of the Americas, where Salvadoran and other Central and Latin American military have for years been trained by the US.
School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) is organizing this gathering and invites you to join them.
Click here to learn more about that vigil.
They are also urging all of us to contact our representatives in Congress and ask them to support legislation to investigate and close the SOA and review the United States' training of Central and Latin American military, as well as another resolution to stop militarizing our own police forces. Rev. Eileen Altman, a member of the MVPJ steering committee reports that local Representative Anna Eshoo is a co-sponsor of HR 2989, The Latin America Military Training Review Act, and Representative Jackie Speier is a co-sponsor of HR 5478, the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.
Click here for ways to support these members of Congress in these decisions and urge other members of Congress to support those bills.
Craig Wiesner, a member of the MVPJ steering committee, has written about the School of the Americas in two posts. He invites you to read those two posts to learn more about SOA, now known as WHINSEC, especially as the anniversary of the massacre approaches.
Rev. Katie Goetz, former member of the MVPJ steering committee, is working on concerns around the militarization of the Redwood City police, where Katie currently resides. We will soon be posting more information about that effort and how you can get involved.
All great religions encourage their followers to love their neighbors, but to love our neighbors, we must know our neighbors!
Click here for more information.
Two winters ago in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported the deaths of at least 22 children in refugee camps in Kabul: Driven Away by a War, Now Stalked by Winter Cold. After 13 years of U.S./NATO intervention in Afghanistan and US$1.172 trillion dollars spent on the Afghan war between 2001 and 2012, the basic needs of ordinary Afghans constantly caught in the crossfire are still poorly met.
The following winter the Afghan Peace Volunteers (APV) organized the making and distributing of duvets (blankets) to poor families in Kabul and in the refugee camps. Thanks to international peacebuilders who raised money from ordinary people around the globe, the APVs were able to distribute more than 2000 duvets, and the Afghan ladies who sewed the blankets were paid a living wage to supplement their families' income. In the winter of 2013/2014, 60 Afghan seamstresses were paid a living wage for sewing a total of 3000 duvets, again delivered free to poor Afghan families, street kids in Kabul, recovering drug addicts, widows, disabled, and to the refugee camps.
This year, you can help them do it again!
On July 1, 2014 the Redwood City Police Department received a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle from the Department of Defense's “1033 program.” This program distributes excess military equipment to civilian police departments. The range of material is wide, including medical equipment, tractors, MRAPs, and weapons. Many people do not think that vehicles and weapons designed for war belong with civilian police departments, believing instead that officers in Redwood City and beyond are first and foremost peace officers.
There is already a movement to end part of the 1033 program. Congresswoman Jackie Speier is a co-sponsor of Representative Hank Johnson’s Stop Militarizing of Law Enforcement Act (HR 5478). This act would, among other things, “end the transfer of certain weapons grade military equipment to local law enforcement,” according to a letter from the Congresswoman in early October. Rep. Speier also writes that she is, “deeply troubled that the Pentagon has billions of dollars in excess inventory to give away in the first place.”
Redwood City officials refer to the MRAP Redwood City received as a rescue vehicle, and state that this vehicle would only be used in extreme circumstances -- citing the tragic movie theater, school, and shopping mall shootings we have seen unfold in recent years. It is difficult to imagine how one would effectively navigate a MRAP inside a movie theater, however.
Read more to find out how you can do something about this issue.
From September 20-28, several peninsula congregations displayed a Campaign Nonviolence banner, to build a growing awareness that we can create a world of peace, justice and environmental healing!
The photo at the left shows the Campaign Nonviolence banner that was also hung on the overpass on Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto.
Peace Potluck Picnic
~share what we have learned
Cosponsored by Peninsula Peace & Justice Center, Pacific Life Community, American Muslim Voice, and the Network for Spiritual Progressives
Peace activist Kathy Kelly has just returned from the summer in Afghanistan as a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers. Grounded in her Catholic upbringing, her courageous actions have long demonstrated a deep passion for peace, justice and human kindness.
Kelly and others lived in Baghdad during the 2003 "Shock and Awe" attack. In 2009 she lived in Gaza during the final days of the Operation Cast Lead bombing. Later that year she was part of a small delegation that went to Pakistan to learn more about the effects of U.S. drone warfare on the civilian population. She continues to join activists in various regions of our country to protest drone warfare.
Kelly is co-founder and co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV). She is the author of Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Perkins Prison (2005). She and VCNV believe that nonviolence necessarily involves simplicity, service, sharing of resources and non-violent direct action in resistance to war and oppression.
Since its founding in 2003, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice has consisted of a small circle of clergy and laypeople who comprise its steering committee and plan peace events attended by a much larger audience. Over time, members of the committee have felt the press of other obligations and reluctantly left the committee, and members of the audience have expressed interest in greater participation without serving on the steering committee. So there exists a hitherto unrecognized circle of MVPJ supporters who feel themselves to be part of MVPJ despite no formal connection.
If you are one of these supporters, MVPJ invites you to acknowledge your relationship with us by joining The MVPJ Affiliates Circle. Learn more by clicking here.
There are now more than 20 local opportunities to participate in Campaign Nonviolence! Click on each event for full information. Like us on Facebook by going to https://facebook.com/multifaithpeace. Click here to learn more about how to get your congregation or organization involved.
Saturday, Sept. 20
Sunday, Sept. 21
Poverty and Structural Violence, Adult Forum led by Joe Haletky, 9:15-10:15am, First Lutheran Church, Palo Alto
Nonviolence and Hebrew Sacred Texts, Adult Forum with Rabbi Sheldon Lewis, 11:15am, First Congregational Church of Palo Alto
Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises & a Revolution of Hope, Adult Spiritual Formation Class, 11:15am, First Baptist Church of Palo Alto
What if they gave a war and nobody came? Youth Workshop Exploring Conscientious Objection, 2 part series for ages 14-18, 12noon-2pm, First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto
Eco-Justice Class, Adult Forum with Rev. Dan Harper, 12:30pm, Unitarian Universalist Church, Palo Alto
"Climate Refugees" Film, 12:30pm, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City
"Peace in Our Streets" Sermon for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 9:30 & 11am worship service, Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern, preaching
Northern California People's Climate Rally, 2-5pm, Oakland Lake Merritt Park Amphitheater
Guns and Violence in our Communities, Adult forum with East Palo Alto residents including their Chief of Police, a Seton school graduate and teacher, and a Catholic restorative justice representative - at St. Albert the Great Church, Palo Alto (click on event for updated details)
Wednesday, Sept. 24
Friday, Sept. 26
"Surviving Progress" Film, 7:30pm, Unitarian Universalist Church, Palo Alto
Saturday, Sept. 27
Sunday, Sept. 28
Worship with Peace Activist Kathy Kelly Preaching, 10:30am at First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto
Everything Must Change: Jesus, Global Crises & a Revolution of Hope Adult Spiritual Formation Class, 11:15am, First Baptist Church of Palo Alto
Youth Workshop Exploring Conscientious Objection, second in 2 part series for ages 14-18, 12noon-2pm, First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto
Eco-Justice for Kids, 11am, Unitarian Universalist Church, Palo Alto
"A Cubic Mile of Oil" Adult Forum, 12:15-2pm, Unitarian Universalist Church, Palo Alto
MVPJ Peace Potluck Picnic "Campaign Nonviolence: Another World Is Possible" - 4-6:30pm, First Congregational Church of Palo Alto. Featuring peace activist Kathy Kelly (just back from Afghanistan) as special speaker. We will share what we have learned and look to where we go next.
Campaign Nonviolence events are also being planned in San Francisco and San Jose (and all 50 states, too). Watch here for forthcoming information. Nonviolence IS traveling, and as Gandhi said, it WILL become a miracle. Become a part of the miracle!
First Day of Rosh Hashanah Speaker Rae Abileah (Code Pink) on Palestine/Israel Conflict: Thursday, Sept. 25, 9am-1pm Morning Service with Torah Reading, Teaching, and Shofar Blowing at Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in Berkeley. Click here for location and details.
Paths to Just Peace with Kathy Kelly and Stephen Zunes: Friday, Sept. 26, 6pm at Unitarian Universalist Center in San Francisco. Click here to download flyer with details.
Join Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice in
Campaign Nonviolence now has actions taking place in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, AND Palo Alto! Join us!
Sign the Campain Nonviolence Pledge!
Plan to join the Candlelight Vigil in Palo Alto on Friday, Sept 20 to launch our local week of events.
Invite your congregation, community or organization to participate during the week of Sept. 21-28 with a forum, worship, prayer or action or by flying a Campaign Nonviolence banner. Contact Diana Gibson (email@example.com) for more information.
Click here to download a Campaign Nonviolence brochure.