GI publicly speaks out against war in Iraq
Friends and all people of good conscience:
Here is the personal statement of the first woman GI to publicly declare opposition to the war in Iraq. She spoke at the witness against the School of the Americas in mid-November at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA.
I discovered this on the website for Courage to Resist ( www.couragetoresist.org). Has anyone on this list been involved with the work? Please let me know!
May we all be so deliberate and clear in our convictions!
On Earth Peace
"COURAGE TO RESIST is a new group of concerned community members, veterans and military families organizing support for military objectors to illegal war and occupation and the underlying policies of empire. We have adopted a people power strategy to weaken the pillars that support the Iraq war and occupation by supporting GI resistance, which together with counter-recruitment and draft resistance work can remove the supply of obedient troops."
Army SPC Katherine Jashinski speaks out against war at Fort Benning, Georgia
First woman GI to publicly declare resistance to participation in the war -- facing immediate deployment to Middle East Katherine Jashinski
Statement read near Fort Benning gate at the protest against the School of the Americas
November 17, 2005
My name is Katherine Jashinski. I am a SPC in the Texas Army National Guard. I was born in Milwaukee, WI and I am 22 years old. When I graduated high school I moved to Austin, TX, to attend college. At age 19, I enlisted in the Guard as a cook because I wanted to experience military life. When I enlisted I believed that killing was immoral, but also that war was an inevitable part of life and therefore, an exception to the rule.
After enlisting I began the slow transformation into adulthood. Like many teenagers who leave their home for the first time, I went through a period of growth and soul searching. I encountered many new people and ideas that broadly expanded my narrow experiences. After reading essays by Bertrand Russel and traveling to the South Pacific and talking to people from all over the world, my beliefs about humanity and its relation to war changed. I began to see a bigger picture of the world and I started to reevaluate everything that I had been taught about war as a child. I developed the belief that taking human life was wrong and war was no exception. I was then able to clarify who I am and what it is that I stand for.
The thing that I revere most in this world is life, and I will never take another person's life.
Just as others have faith in God, I have faith in humanity
I have a deeply held belief that people must solve all conflicts through peaceful diplomacy and without the use of violence. Violence only begets more violence.
Because I believe so strongly in non-violence, I cannot perform any role in the military. Any person doing any job in the Army, contributes in some way to the planning, preparation or implementation of war.
For eighteen months, while my CO status was pending, I have honored my commitment to the Army and done everything that they asked of me. However, I was ordered to Ft. Benning last Sunday to complete weapons training in preparation to deploy for war.
Now I have come to the point where I am forced to choose between my legal obligation to the Army and my deepest moral values. I want to make it clear that I will not compromise my beliefs for any reason. I have a moral obligation not only to myself but to the world as a whole, and this is more important than any contract.
I have come to my beliefs through personal, intense, reflection and study. They are everything that I am and all that I stand for. After much thought and contemplation about the effect my decision will have on my future, my family, the possibility of prison, and the inevitable scorn and ridicule that I will face, I am completely resolute.
I will exercise my every legal right not pick up a weapon, and to participate in war effort. I am determined to be discharged as a CO, and while undergoing the appeals process; I will continue to follow orders that do not conflict with my conscience until my status has been resolved. I am prepared to accept the consequences of adhering to my beliefs.
What characterizes a conscientious objector is their willingness to face adversity and uphold their values at any cost. We do this not because it is easy or popular, but because we are unable to do otherwise. thank you.
Please visit www.couragetoresist.org
all hands on deck! counter-recruitment efforts grow
On Earth Peace has a growing program to support individuals and congregations interested in countering the presence of military recruiters in high schools.
Are you already working on this? We want to hear what you have learned and what you need right now.
Are you intrigued? We'd like to help you take your first steps in organizing.
We are building a MOVEMENT of faith-based people providing young people with truth about military service, and identifying alternatives for those seeking job training and adventure -- and we want to work with you!
For resources & ideas, click here.
For a letter addressed to pastors, youth advisors, and lay leaders, click here.
Join us -- or let us join you!
Yours with joy & peace,
On Earth Peace
KENORA, Ontario: Check-out counter encounter
This item comes from the Christian Peacemaker Team in Kenora, Ontario, which focuses on institutional racism. The reflection raises questions about how each of us engages racism when it appears in our immediate surroundings.
To those of you on the list who are white: How can we strengthen ourselves to be able to intervene when racism rears its head in ways subtle or shocking? To those who are people of color: How do you stay spiritually strong in the midst of the death-culture of racism?
On Earth Peace
CPTnet, 20 November 2005
KENORA, ON: Check-out counter encounter
by Esther Kern
It was closing time at the Extra Foods grocery store on a Saturday night in Kenora, Ontario. As I stood at the checkout counter, placing my milk, carrots, and margarine on the conveyer belt, I noticed a young native boy, about ten years old, pushing an empty grocery cart toward the bread section of the store. Following behind him was a man who appeared to be his father.
Suddenly the cashier stopped ringing up my groceries, raised her arm and pointed at the man. "You!" she barked. The man stopped immediately and turned to see where this command was coming from. Without another word, the cashier pointed to the exit doors of the store as if she were a traffic cop.
The man turned and walked out of the store, wilted by the power of that pointing finger. It took a moment for the little boy to figure out what was happening. Seeing his father walking towards the exit, he left the grocery cart and trailed guiltily after him. Without missing a beat or any further comment, the cashier continued to ring up my purchases. I gathered my groceries and hurried out to the parking lot with the hope I might catch them, but they had disappeared into the night.
In ten seconds I witnessed an incident that encapsulates the many stories we are hearing from Anishinaabe people in Kenora--stories of humiliation, exclusion, white privilege, violence, racism, and clashes of culture. Why was the man evicted from the store? Had he been banned for shoplifting?
Would the cashier have treated a white customer such disrespect? Did the cashier assume that I would think her behaviour normal and appropriate?
What impact did this incident have on the young boy accompanying the man?
It all happened so quickly. On my way back to the church where CPT is staying I thought about how I could have responded. I quickly forgot the incident, however, when I became immersed again in our busy CPT household.
Two days later, during a meeting with the Anishinaabe Peace and Justice Coalition, I was listening to more stories of racism and violence, and the scene at the grocery store pierced my consciousness like a lightning bolt. I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. An opportunity to speak up and act on behalf of a native man receiving disrespectful treatment had slipped through my fingers like warm butter.
As we debriefed the incident, we brainstormed a list of things I could have done. I could have asked the cashier, "Why are you treating this man like that?" I could have said, "I feel really uncomfortable with how you just spoke to that person." I could have contacted the manager, described what happened and asked for an explanation. Next time I'll be ready to speak up.
Are you ready?
The Christian Peacemaker Team in Kenora is working with a community organizing project focussed on undoing racism. The Kenora project will conclude on December 12 and resume in 2006 (February 6-April 23.)
Death Row Support Project
Here is an example of a ministry that started small and has a large impact in the lives of individual people -- the Death Row Support Project. Have you ever thought of corresponding with someone who is on death row?
More information is below -- read on!
On Earth Peace
The Death Row Support Project (DRSP) was conceived by Church of the Brethren members Bob and Rachel Gross in 1978. The combination of Bob's prison experience and Rachel's enjoyment of letter-writing, along with their concern about the reinstatement of the death penalty, provided the necessary ingredients for beginning this ministry. Also critical was the support of the Washington office of the Church of the Brethren, and now the Brethren Witness Office.
In 1978, there were 400 people under sentence of death in the U.S. Now there are over 3800. Needless to say, the little card file that was used at the beginning of the project has long since been outgrown; Rachel is very grateful for the evolution of computer technology in the last 22 years!
Initially, the project was publicized within the Church of the Brethren. But, as is the case with many CoB efforts, DRSP has become an ecumenical effort, with the largest number of participants coming from the Roman Catholic and Seventh Day Adventist Churches.
Rachel receives mail daily from prisoners who would like have a "pen pal." At about the same rate, requests from the "outside" world come from persons who are interested in reaching out to those on death row. DRSP has provided an excellent way for those on death row to know that they are not forgotten, and for those outside to learn about the real people and stories behind the issue of the death penalty.
Writing to a person on death row is not something which should be entered into lightly. Currently, the average stay of someone on death row is ten years. Writing to that person is a long-term commitment! One of Rachel's disappointments as coordinator of DRSP is that many people write a letter or two to the person in prison, and then decide they're really not interested after all. She encourages those that are interested to prayerfully consider before requesting the name of someone. Rachel is glad for people to ask questions, and she can also try to put you in touch with other people who have been writing, in order to gain a better understanding of what is involved.
Within the Church of the Brethren, some individuals have chosen to be involved with DRSP as a Sunday School class, or as a youth group. This has worked very well, as folks can provide support for each other in writing, and also are able to reach out to the person on death row in a fuller way. At one time, students from Manchester College traveled to the Indiana State Prison bi-monthly in order to visit several men on death row.
Because Rachel works as a volunteer from her home, "office hours" are irregular. But please do call or write if you have additional questions about how you might become involved in writing to someone on death row. If you are ready to request the name of someone, please indicate that. Within a few weeks, you will receive the name and address of someone on death row, along with suggestions for beginning the correspondence.
For more information please contact:
Death Row Support Project
PO Box 600
Liberty Mills, IN 46946
Here's an example of a strategic campaign about oil consumption -- working to encourage Ford and other manufacturers to produce energy-efficient cars. (Another alternative to the SUV stories from France a few weeks ago?)
Local action for Jumpstart Ford (should you or your community choose to get involved) begins with adopting your local Ford dealer, and asking them to sign a letter to the Ford corporation asking for more cars that are fuel efficient, and proceeds to vigils and creative action -- a step-by-step approach.
The partners in the campaign include the Ruckus Society, Rainforest Action Network, and Global Exchange.
Visit the campaign website, http://jumpstartford.com, for many resources, background, and action pakcets. More info included below.
Check it out!
On Earth Peace
p.s. Flash Animation titled "A Declaration of Independence from Oil" is available here: http://jumpstartford.com/fileadmin/materials/zero_emissions/freedom_from_oil/FreedomFromOil.swf
Our VisionThe Jumpstart Ford Campaign works to end Americas oil dependence, to reduce oil related conflicts and to stop global climate change by convincing the auto industry to dramatically improve fuel efficiency and to eliminate vehicle greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. We envision a world in which customers go to a car dealer to meet their transportation needs, and can buy a pollution-free, petroleum-free vehicle.
Our dependence on oil strains our economy, threatens our national security, damages our environment, contributes to human rights abuses around the world, puts our troops at risk and harms our health. People need transportation, yet we never bargained for these side affects that are now threatening our way of life. We envision a world with no gasoline stations, no oil-funded dictatorships, no oil wars, no oil spills, no refineries, and where most people have access to mass transit and bicycle transportation infrastructure.
Campaign DemandsThe Jumpstart Ford Campaign is calling on Ford to get serious about breaking its oil addiction. We are asking Ford to manufacture a fleet of cars, trucks and SUVs that:
- Averages 50 mpg by 2010.
- Achieves zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020.
Ford revolutionized the auto industry by inventing the assembly line over 80 years ago. Fords brand recognition gives it the power and the responsibility to drive the market in the right direction. Its time for Ford to recapture its spirit of innovation, live up to its reputation, and lead the way to an oil-free future!
Ford has the technology today to make cleaner vehiclesincluding SUVsthat get better gas mileage. Rather then improving the fuel efficiency of all of its vehicles, Ford spends millions on marketing efforts to green the blue oval and lobbying efforts to fight federal and state market incentives to ease Americas oil addiction. Since the oil crisis of the 1970s, the EPA has ranked Ford last in overall fuel efficiency for 20 out of the last 30 years.
Ford can get on the road to oil independence by rapidly phasing out production of gas-guzzling internal combustion engines and replacing them with existing alternatives such as gasoline-optional, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). PHEVs would free most drivers from filling up at the pump. When coupled with residential rooftop solar, PHEVs would put us on the road to energy independence.
Its time for Ford to hire engineers to build innovative cars, not lobbyists to weaken environmental standards. We urge you to Adopt-a-Dealer and join the growing movement to Jumpstart Ford today!
You are receiving this message as a part of the "Peace Witness Action List," a program of On Earth Peace. This list is to alert you of creative nonviolent action throughout the United States and beyond, with the intention of inspiring Spirit-filled creative action in your community.
On Earth Peace is an agency rooted in the Church of the Brethren, helping people faithfully discern "the things that make for peace" (Luke 19).
If you know stories of nonviolent action that are happening that others might want to know about, please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to receive these alerts or end your subscription, kindly send an e-mail message to email@example.com.
On the web: www.brethren.org/oepa; Tel (410) 635-8704; On Earth Peace, PO Box 188, New Windsor, MD 21776-0188.
Clergy have unexpected meeting with Speaker of the House
They were caught by surprise -- but stepped into the moment handed to them, a chance to speak directly with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
When the time comes, may we all be so ready to speak truth to power with boldness and courage.
From: "RobertEdgar" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Clergy have unexpected meeting with Hastert
Press conference by religious leaders includes chance meeting with Speaker
of the United States House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert
Washington, November 3, 2005 -- Religious leaders came to Capitol Hill
Thursday to express their indignation over proposed cuts to the 2006 Federal
Budget that will hurt persons most in need, and didn't miss a beat when they
found themselves face to face with the Speaker of the House.
The high-level meeting was unplanned, but the clergy lost no time telling
Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) that proposed $35 billion to $50 billion
in cuts to social programs was appalling and immoral.
The four leaders of Protestant, mainline, evangelical and reform Jewish
traditions had just completed a press conference in the Capitol's Mansfield
Room and were on their way to the rotunda to pray when Hastert returned from
a meeting on the Senate side of the Capitol.
"They gave him an earful," said another clergyman who was on his way to pray
in the rotunda.
Hastert appeared surprised but kept smiling throughout the brief encounter.
Witnesses said he responded with "grunts and comments" to the clergy's
questions, but pictures indicate the Speaker was calm and gracious.
The four clergy -- the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National
Council of Churches USA, the Rev. Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners, Rabbi
David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism,
and the Rev. Elenora Giddings Ivory, director of the Presbyterian Church
(USA) Washington Office -- held a press conference to deplore congressional
efforts "to balance the budget on the backs of the poor."
People of faith know that God has expressed a bias in favor of the poor,
Edgar said. "We religious leaders cannot be the conscience of the President
or members of Congress, but we come here today to remind them whose side God
is on. We call on all representatives of good will to remember God's bias
when they vote on cuts."
"What would Jesus cut?" asked Wallis. "Dust off the Bible, my friends, and
do some Bible study."
Wallis cautioned members of Congress that the people he talks to in the
districts are not in favor of the proposed cuts. "In the light of Hurricane
Katrina, when people hear about increasing tax cuts for the rich and cutting
$35 billion - $50 billion in services to the poor, they are appalled."
"Congress has been actively targeting the poor and the middle class since
the hurricane," Saperstein said. "At the very time when the Congress should
have been increasing the number of social programs, we find they have
decimated them. It is simply morally unjustifiable."
Giddings Ivory cited Bible passages to explain the anger of religious
leaders. "Our understanding of the Bible is that God calls us to do justice,
love kindness and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8)"
She also quoted Matthew 26:44-45 and suggested Congress was in the position
of asking Jesus, "when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or naked or
sick or in prison and did not take care of you."
"You did it to the 37 million who live below the poverty level," Giddings
Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, Jr., president of the National Council of Churches
USA and Christian Methodist Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana and Mississippi,
joined the press conference by telephone.
"I serve in a place where we are talking to people who are homeless, no
place to go, money is not there from day to day, health care is not there,"
Hoyt said. "They move from place to place depending on the powers that be to
support their livelihood. Unfortunately, 'compassionate conservatism' in
this atmosphere is an oxymoron."
The poor need a compassionate government, not a punitive one, Hoyt said.
"The Bible says, where your money is, there is your heart as well. This
government needs a heart transplant so it will take care of the poor and
Edgar recalled the words of the late Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey when
he addressed a joint session of Congress in 1971. "He said there was a moral
test for government, and the same test applies to the private sector and to
the church," he said. "The moral test is how we treat those in the dawn of
life, the young; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those
who are in the shadows of life, the needy, the disabled."
Edgar also recalled President Bush's visit to New Orleans when he promised a
new understanding and fresh support for the poor.
"We remind the President that it feels like a slap in the face when he
supports the poor on national television but urges Congress to 'push the
envelope' on cuts," he said.
"Remember, Mr. President, whose side God is on."
Contact NCC News: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252, email@example.com; and
Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For pictures, see
Residents fight to rid area of drugs, prostitutes
This story from today's Dayton (Ohio) Daily News reminds me of the prayer actions carried out by several urban congregations I am aware of (Lee Heights Community Church, Cleveland, OH; Harrisburg Church of the Brethren, Harrisburg, PA.).
What do you need to be in the street about, close to your home?
for speaking softly or stridently,
depending on the moment,
coordinator of peace witness
On Earth Peace
Twin Towers residents fight to rid area of drugs, prostitutesBy Joanne Huist Smith
Dayton Daily News
November 3, 2005
DAYTON | Eighty-year-old Catherine Oditt stretched her thin arms around the prostitute in a grandmotherly way and talked to her about finding another line of work.
"They feel like nobody loves them," said Oditt, who lives in the Twin Towers Neighborhood. "That's not true."
But Oditt and other residents of the East Dayton neighborhood aren't happy that prostitutes are drifting from busy streets into alleys behind their homes. So the residents have banded together for weekly protest marches through Twin Towers, found the courage to work more closely with police to close down problem houses and even encourage the prostitutes to find other careers. These residents want their neighborhood back.
"Children could walk into their backyard and see this activity. That had never happened before and it was obvious we had to do something," said Diana Watkins, a Twin Towers block leader. "Sincerely, this is a community and we're going to see if we can whip it back into shape."
Prostitution and drugs in Twin Towers go hand-in-hand, said Leah Werner, community organizer for East End Community Services. A lot of the prostitutes are hooked on hardcore drugs and work the streets to support their habits.
So, in May, residents started looking for ways to work with the police to help close down drug houses in their neighborhood.
Every Friday night, they march the streets of Twin Towers spreading their message with a bullhorn and neon-colored protest signs calling for "No more drugs, hookers or johns." The neighbors also are using a police worksheet to provide more detail when they call the drug hot line.
"A lot of citizens call the drug hot line and just give an address and say 'drugs,' " said Dayton Police Lt. Michael Martin, 2nd District commander. "We can spend hours finding out what citizens already know."
Martin estimates drugs are involved in 90 percent or more of the crimes committed in the 2nd District, which includes Twin Towers. Year-to-date, there were 41 drug arrests in 8.32 square miles centered around Xenia Avenue, bounded by Wayne Avenue to the southwest, U.S. 35 to the north, Clover Street to the south and St. Paul Avenue/Pierce Street to the southeast. That's up from 26 in 2004, according to police records. There were 20 prostitution arrests for that period and location in 2004 and in 2005.
"Prostitutes, if working regularly, make over $100,000 a year," Martin said. "Every cent of every dollar, for many, goes into a drug house. These girls, I hate to say it, almost work in shifts."
Residents and people who work in Twin Towers already know that. They've seen them with customers on the porches of vacant houses or on the street at all hours of the day and night.
"I came in to work at 8 a.m. and saw a hooker getting into a car with an older man," said Adella DeLong, a cake decorator for Doebler's Bakery on Xenia Avenue.
Dayton police already have shut down at least six drug houses on Steele Avenue, and Hawker and Pierce streets over the past 12 months through nuisance abatement. Martin praised Twin Towers.
"Crime exists because we allow it. When neighborhoods get fed up with crime and organize against it, between them and us, things will get better," Martin said.
The neighbors also have established a telephone chain to warn each other about suspected illegal activity. When it comes to the prostitutes, the group is taking a friendly approach.
"When we first started, we wanted to railroad them out of our neighborhood," Watkins said. "Now, we're using the approach of love. Many of us could find ourselves walking in their shoes. I reflected on the economy and jobs being lost, high gas prices and heating costs. We decided we were going to reach out to them and show them alternatives."
The group has invited the prostitutes to dinner and with help from Otterbein Methodist Church, 111 Xenia Ave., gave them gift baskets filled with snacks, shampoo, body wash and a Bible. A card attached to each basket offered the name and address of East End Community Services, where the women could get help finding another job.
"A handful have come into the center for job leads. That's how we can measure success," Werner said.
Since prostitution could not exist without customers and drug houses often are rental properties, the Twin Towers group also is planning to attack on those fronts.
"We want to start showing up in the courtrooms when johns appear. We want to start picketing landlord's houses who repeatedly rent to drug dealers," said Mary Loper, spokeswoman for the Twin Towers group, who happens to live in the Linden Heights neighborhood.
"We're just an overpass away," Loper said of her neighborhood. "I've seen the prostitution on Xenia Avenue get out of control. I do this because I wouldn't want it in my neighborhood."
The Twin Towers neighborhood includes a smattering of tidy older homes, mixed with deteriorating rentals and vacant houses. Households are largely middle class or poor with 30 percent reporting they earn less than $10,000 a year, according to 2000 U.S. Census data.
About 40 percent of the residents own their homes. Many share an Appalachian heritage or are part of a recent influx of Latino families. Some, like Dixie Bruggeman, say they'd rather work to make the neighborhood better than move.
"It makes me cry because I know what this neighborhood was like. I hope I live long enough to see my neighborhood come back," she said. "There is hope, because we have so many good people."
Jeff Cartwright, associate pastor of Otterbein Methodist Church, believes the war against drugs and prostitution in Twin Towers is also a spiritual battle. He has organized a weekly 6 p.m. Sunday prayer service for the neighborhood at 624 Xenia Ave.
"I have never seen a more dedicated group of people who desire to have their neighborhood back. It has become their jobs, almost," Cartwright said.
"I would say this neighborhood has a lot of challenges, but there is a lot of hope because there is a group like this in the community."
Caution to all Florida tourists
First of all, WELCOME to the 12 new members that have joined PWAL in recent days! We are now 407!
Here is a creative campaign to educate Florida residents and tourist about the state's new Shoot First gun law. It's a great example of strategic social action -- choosing where to act in order to make the biggest difference. Visit the link below for more information. . .
Yours for creative and soulful strategy,
On Earth Peace
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence launched a campaign the week of September 19 to educate Florida tourists and potential Florida tourists that effective October 1 they face a greater risk of bodily harm within the state of Florida.
Individuals who are unfamiliar with Florida's roads, traffic regulations and customs, or who speak foreign languages, or look different than Florida residents, may face a higher risk of danger - because they may be more likely to be perceived as threatening by Floridians, and because they are unaware of Florida's new law that says individual who feel their safety is threatened or their possessions are at risk are legally authorized to use deadly force.
We intend to place travel advertisements to warn these tourists and potential tourists, in key U.S. gateway cities feeding tourists to Florida, starting with Chicago, Detroit and Boston, and in selected overseas markets beginning with the United Kingdom, that this risk exists. Educational materials about the law were shipped to more than 120 leading U.S. and international journalists as well as trade publication editors in the travel industry and editors at consumer travel magazines.
Trained staff will distribute educational materials on this subject to arriving passengers at Miami International Airport beginning Monday, October 3, and may be extended to additional airports in the coming weeks Advertisements in travel sections of U.S. and British newspapers begin Sunday, October 2 and the Brady Campaign is pursuing advertising in Germany, Japan, Columbia and Venezuela.