Category Archives: North America

Washington, DC: Peace Activists against NATO

. .DISARMAMENT & SECURITY. .

An article by  Martha Andrés Román from Prensa Latina

Moving the United States away from the culture of militarism and fighting for peace was the purpose of activists this week [April 6] in Washington DC against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
 

F The foreign ministers of the controversial alliance held a meeting in this capital on Wednesday and Thursday in which they discussed issues such as the increase in the bloc’s budget, the increase in the military presence in the Black Sea and the confrontations with Russia.

The meeting coincided, in addition, with the commemoration on April 4 of the 70th anniversary of the organization, a fact that was highlighted by the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and the North American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

This date is also the two important events for many sectors of American society: on April 4, 1967, the civil rights activist Martin Luther King delivered a memorable speech against the Vietnam War, and that same day of the following year he was assassinated. in Tennessee.

For members of groups such as World Beyond War, Black Alliance for Peace, Code Pink and Veterans for Peace, it was an insult that the block commemorated its seven decades of creation on the same day dedicated to honor a figure who spread a message of peace and equality.

Kevin Zeese, co-director of the Popular Resistance organization, told Prensa Latina that when they learned about the NATO meeting here on the date linked to the Reverend, they prepared a whole week of activities to oppose the 29-member alliance.

The actions included a demonstration last Saturday in front of the White House, where in addition to condemning what they consider NATO abuses at the international level, they expressed solidarity with Venezuela and criticized the interference in that Latin American country.

Likewise, on April 3 and 4, they developed an initiative called the No to NATO-Yes to Peace Festival, which included mobilizations in various parts of the city, such as the Freedom Plaza (Plaza de la Libertad) and the vicinity of the Senate, where Stoltenberg delivered a speech before Congress on Wednesday.

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Questions for this article:

Can NATO be abolished?

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During the afternoon and evening of that first day the festival participants gathered at St. Stephen’s Church to hold workshops on non-violent actions, enjoy musical performances and prepare with posters for the protests of the following day.

On Thursday, protesters gathered near the State Department, where the ministerial meeting sessions took place, and then moved with their message to the Martin Luther King Memorial, to pay tribute.

Actions like that, Zeese explained, have not only a political purpose, but are focused on changing the culture of the United States built on militarism and high investment in weapons, including nuclear weapons.

According to the activist, that was what Luther King called in his speech on April 4, 1967, ‘to get away from the culture of war and get closer to a culture of peace.’ 

Similar criteria expressed to this medium Margaret Flowers, also co-director of Popular Resistance, who recalled that in that speech the Reverend spoke out against racism, militarism, war and economic injustice.

‘A nation that continues to spend year after year more money in military defense than in programs of social progress is approaching spiritual death,’ said the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

To say of Flowers, in the United States there is an expanded belief, even among people who claim to be progressive, that NATO is a positive force in the world.

‘We are trying to change that narrative,’ he said of the organization accused in many parts of the world of violating international law in countries such as Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya.

He also criticized the calls made by US President Donald Trump to the members of the bloc to carry out more defense spending.

If we want to have security in the world, we must use the resources to meet the needs of people, such as housing, education, work, access to clean water and food, this is how we create global stability, not investing money in weapons, estimated .

All of us who lived in 1968 remember the murder of Dr. King, a leader for peace, justice, against militarism, racism and poverty, said, in turn, the singer and political activist Luci Murphy.

Murphy criticized that, contrary to those ideals, NATO and the US government take taxpayers’ money to build military bases and provoke wars. Military adventures are destroying countries, changing the climate, destroying the Earth, he said.

The resurrection of Dr. King

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An essay by John Dear for Waging Nonviolence

Over the last fifty years, there have been thousands of nonviolent movements for peace and justice that have made huge strides, and at the heart of every one of those movements stands the life, death and teachings of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the global apostle of Gospel nonviolence.

Because of his legendary work in the Civil Rights movement, Dr. King’s stand against systemic poverty, institutionalized racism, permanent war and nuclear weapons, and his steadfast insistence on Gospel nonviolence as the best methodological tool for political change and the bottom line for human decency, thousands of nonviolent movements have sprung to life around the world. Dr. King’s courageous life and life-giving death have born tremendous fruit around the world in new unparalleled breakthroughs for justice and peace.

Yet few know this. Few understand it. Few realize the global debt we owe to Martin King. Few see the transformative power of global, bottom up, grassroots people-power movements of active nonviolence.

Long ago, Jesus said, “Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it cannot bear good fruit.” Apparently, this is the way positive social change happens. When people give their lives in nonviolent movements for justice and peace, the spirit of nonviolence gets unleashed and becomes contagious. Anything can happen, even peace.

From Jesus to Dr. King, those who give their lives in the nonviolent struggle for justice, disarmament and peace, even though they appear to fail, bear tremendous good fruit in the long haul. That’s the way nonviolent change happens. That’s the lesson of Martin Luther King, Jr. That’s the undertaking we’re all called to support. That’s the path ahead.


I grew up in Washington, D.C. in the late 1960s, where my father was a leader of the National Press Club. Though I was a boy, I was extremely politicized. I understood the evils of the Vietnam War and the hope of the Civil Rights movement. When Dr. King was killed, and two months later, Robert Kennedy, I knew then and there, that the world had changed for the worse, that the powers that be had destroyed the best voices for hope and change.

From then on, I saw a direct line from the U.S. killings of MLK and RFK to Nixon, Vietnam, Reagan, the Central American Wars, the Bushes, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the blatant fascism of the Trump Administration, and with them, a new sick world of permanent war, systemic poverty and racism, nuclear weapons and environmental destruction.

For years, I pondered the lives of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy. In college, I felt that the best response I could make after their assassinations was to give my life to Jesus, become a priest and then, a public peacemaker.

In the 1980s, I lived for a while in El Salvador, and worked in a refugee camp in the war zone, under the direction of the Jesuits who were later assassinated. During those difficult days, people around me spoke in hushed tones about Archbishop Romero, as if he were alive. They had a vibrant theology of resurrection, which inspired their steadfast commitment to justice and peace. They knew he lived on in them, and because of his courage, they too spoke out.

Romero is now canonized as a saint, and its easy to see his power, but back then, even the mention of his name was risky.

I have never heard anyone speak of Dr. King that way. No one speaks of the resurrection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Unlike the suffering people of El Salvador, we have no theology of resurrection. We do not yet understand how our saints and martyrs have risen and continue to inspire us to work for a new culture of peace and nonviolence. Yet that is the way resurrection works.

Martin is alive and well and risen, and continues to inspire us to practice nonviolence, organize for justice and peace, and give our lives for God’s reign of peace.

Over the past forty years, I have been involved full time in the global grassroots, bottom up, people power movements of nonviolence, inspired by Dr. King. Along the way, I have befriended many of Dr. King’s friends and colleagues—Coretta Scott King; Jim Lawson; Vincent Harding; John Lewis; Dorothy Cotton and Bernard Lafayette. All of them, along with thousands of others, have continued Dr. King’s work of teaching and promoting active nonviolence as our one last hope, as our last ditch effort, our best way out of the madness, the best methodology for positive social change, the way of the nonviolent Jesus.

I think the time has come to claim Dr. King’s resurrection as the power beneath our active, creative, organized nonviolence, just as we claim the resurrection of the nonviolent Jesus as the basis for our very lives.

When the nonviolent Jesus rose from the dead, he remained as gentle, loving, nonviolent and determined as ever. He was not bitter or angry, vengeful or retaliatory. He did not get mad at the disciples for abandoning him. Instead, he blessed them with his gift of peace, breathed the holy spirit upon them, and sent them forth to carry out his mission of active nonviolence into the culture of violence.

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Questions for this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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In other words, the risen Jesus was the embodiment of peace and nonviolence. As I reflect on that, I conclude that resurrection means having nothing to do with death, which means having nothing to do with violence, which means, resurrection is all about nonviolence.

If we want to get ready for resurrection, and follow the nonviolent Jesus, we practice resurrection by trying to be as nonviolent as possible—to ourselves, to every human being we meet, to every creature on earth, to Mother Earth, and through our participation in the local/global grassroots movements of nonviolence for justice and peace.

The night before the government killed him, Dr. King told thousands of people in Memphis this short summary of his life’s work: “The choice is no longer violence or nonviolence; it’s nonviolence or non-existence.”

That’s where we are today, on the break of global destruction with permanent war and systemic poverty and racism, nuclear weapons and catastrophic climate change, a whirlwind of global violence that infects every aspect of society, in every corner of the world.

Dr. King’s core message was the wisdom and way of nonviolence. His daily call was a passionate plea for us to become people of creative nonviolence who work for a new nonviolent world without war, poverty, racism, sexism, nuclear weapons or environmental destruction, a whole new culture of nonviolence which he understood as the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth. He said we do this no matter what, that we keep going no matter what, that we struggle for justice and peace and never give up.

From the Montgomery Bus Boycott through the Freedom Rides and the Birmingham Campaign to his March on Washington and Selma March through his organizing projects in Chicago and the Poor People’s Campaign and his public denunciation of the Vietnam War—Dr. King lived, breathed, taught and modeled Christian nonviolence.

“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the one who wields it,” Dr. King wrote. “It is a sword that heals.”

If we want to take Dr. King seriously, I suggest we start studying, teaching, practicing, organizing and renewing nonviolence in our lives and communities. The more we promote and practice nonviolence, the more Dr. King rises among us, just as Oscar Romero continues to rise in his people.

“I’m committed to nonviolence absolutely,” Dr. King said about a year before his death. “I’m just not going to kill anybody, whether it’s in Vietnam or here. I’m not going to burn down any building. If nonviolent protest fails, I will continue to preach it and teach it. I plan to stand by nonviolence because I have found it to be a philosophy of life that regulates not only my dealings in the struggle for racial justice, but also my dealings with people, with my own self. I will still be faithful to nonviolence.”

As we go forward in these difficult times, we can let Dr. King rise in us, if we dare, by daring to rise to the occasion, and becoming the people of active nonviolence he hoped for. Let’s do it.

Last September, Pace e Bene organized our fifth national week of action, from Sept. 15-24, 2018, with over 2650 events, marches and actions across the USA, involving a hundred thousand people, speaking out for a new culture of nonviolence. We were trying to put nonviolence into action, to get the grassroots movement moving. 

On top of this, we gathered in Washington, D.C. at the Dr. King statue, and marched past the Lincoln Memorial to the White House for a vigil against war, racism, greed, nuclear weapons and environmental destruction. Ten of us committed civil disobedience, holding out signs right at the gates. It was daring, public, exciting, and meticulously nonviolent, for we walked in silence, in prayer, in peace, like Gandhian satyagrahis. We tried to step up to the plate and carry on the witness of Dr. King, in our own turbulent times, come what may.

That’s not all. Our group, www.campaignnonviolence.org  has called for cities around the nation to become “Nonviolent Cities,” where every aspect of civic society is nonviolent, so that people are not hungry or impoverished, there are no guns and killings, no violence or racism, that the schools teach nonviolence, the churches preach nonviolence, and the city councils and mayors work for a nonviolent society. We think this takes Dr. King to a new level. It can’t be measured, but it’s happening, and with this quiet grassroots organizing, Dr. King rises and so do we.

On top of this, some friends and I have been working with the Vatican over the last few years to ask the Pope to write an encyclical on nonviolence. During our historic April 2016 conference on nonviolence at the Vatican, we took turns speaking about Jesus’ way of nonviolence and the need for the universal Church to advocate nonviolence. After the conference, Pope Francis wrote a world day of peace message calling for nonviolent alternatives to war and violence. It was the first statement on nonviolence in the history of the Church. What a sign of hope!

Around the world, there are many signs of hope, signs of resurrection—the Black Lives Matter movement, the #MeToo movement, the Plowshares movement, the Parkland Students’ “March for our Lives,” resistance to the Trump administration, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the environmental movement, the anti-death penalty movement and so forth. In particular, I take heart because for the first time since the early days of the church, Christians are beginning to discover the nonviolence of Jesus and make it a central aspect of their own lives.

How did Dr. King carry on in the darkness around him? As he arrived in Memphis, in the weeks before the U.S. government killed him, he gave us his answer. One night, he told the crowd his definition of hope. “Hope,” he said, “is the final refusal to give up.”

That’s the path to resurrection, the way forward. We are not going to give up. We are going to keep practicing nonviolence, resisting systemic violence, speaking truth publicly and organizing the grassroots movements for positive social change. As we do, Dr. King rises among us, as does Jesus, and we experience the breakthroughs of God’s reign in our midst. Hope indeed!

Kids on strike for the climate in New York

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

by CPNN Coordinator

I had a chance to go to the march and demonstration of school students in New York against climate change on Friday, March 15. There were a series of demonstrations ending up with a big enthusisastic crowd at the Museum of Natural History.

The average age was under 20. I’d have to back to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s to remember big demonstrations with majority youth. Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?


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Here are some of the chants that they sang out loud and clear :

Stop the pollution; We have the solution!

Show me what democracy looks like; This is what democracy looks like!

Hey Hey Ho Ho, Fossil fuels have got to go!

We speak for the trees; we speak for the trees!

What do we need: a system change; When do we need it? NOW!

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Question for this article:

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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Here are some of their colorful, hand-lettered placards :

There is no plan(et) B

One people One planet

I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something. Then I realized I was the somebody!

“I want you to act as if the house is on fire – because it is! – Greta Thunburg

It’s not nice to frack with Mother Earth

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that ceated it – A. Einstein

Respect existence or expect resistance !

Dear T-rump, climate change will get you too ! (with the image of a Tyrannosaurus dinosaur)

Break the climate silence !

Youth strikes harder when climate change strikes !

Change is coming whether you like it or not !

And here’s one from the next generation:

Marching with these kids becuse I’m too scared to have children of my own.

Mission Statement of American Youth Climate Strike

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

Statement on website of the Youth Climate Strike Campaign

We, the youth of America, are striking because decades of inaction has left us with just 11 years to change the trajectory of the worst effects of climate change, according to the Oct 2018 UN IPCC Report. We are striking because our world leaders have yet to acknowledge, prioritize, or properly address our climate crisis. We are striking because marginalized communities across our nation —especially communities of color, disabled communities, and low- income communities—  are already disproportionately impacted by climate change. We are striking because if the social order is disrupted by our refusal to attend school, then the system is forced to face the climate crisis and enact change. With our futures at stake, we call for radical legislative action to combat climate change and its countless detrimental effects on the American people. We are striking for the Green New Deal, for a fair and just transition to a 100% renewable economy, and for ending the creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure. Additionally, we believe the climate crisis should be declared a national emergency because we are running out of time.

Our Demands

Green New Deal

*An equitable transition for marginalized communities that will be most impacted by climate change


* An equitable transition for fossil-fuel reliant communities to a renewable economy

* 100% renewable energy by 2030


* Upgrading the current electric grid


* No creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure (pipelines, coal plants, fracking etc.)


* The creation of a committee to oversee the implementation of a Green New Deal

. . That has subpoena power


. . Committee members can’t take fossil fuel industry donations


. . Accepts climate science


A halt in any and all fossil fuel infrastructure projects

* Fossil fuel infrastructure disproportionately impacts indigenous communities and communities of color in a negative way


* Creating new fossil fuel infrastructure would create new reliance on fossil fuels at a time of urgency


All decisions made by the government be tied in scientific research, including the 2018 IPCC report

* The world needs to reduce GHG emissions by 50% by 2030, and 100% by 2050


* We need to incorporate this fact into all policymaking


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Question for this article:

Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

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Declaring a National Emergency on Climate Change

* This calls for a national emergency because we have 11 years to avoid catastrophic climate change


* Since the US has empirically been a global leader, we should be a leader on climate action


* Since the US largely contributes to global GHG emissions, we should be leading the fight in GHG reduction


Compulsory comprehensive education on climate change and its impacts throughout grades K-8

* K-8 is the ideal age range for compulsory climate change education because:

* Impressionability is high during that developmental stage, therefore it’s easier for children and young adults to learn about climate change in a more in-depth manner, and retain that information


* Climate change becomes a nonpartisan issue, as it truly is because it’s based solely on science from the beginning


Preserving our public lands and wildlife

* Diverse ecosystems and national parks will be very impacted by climate change, therefore it’s important that we work to the best of our abilities to preserve their existence


Keeping our water supply clean

* Clean water is essential for all living beings, when we pollute our water supply, or the water supply of someone else, it’s simply a violation of an essential human right


Our Solutions

* The extraction of Greenhouse Gases from the atmosphere

. . Reforestation– replenishing our forests by planting trees and allowing them to thrive, sustainable forestry


. . Reduced food waste– methane emissions from rotting food in landfills contributes immensely to overall Greenhouse Gases emissions


* Emission standards and benchmarks

. . We need to create standards and benchmarks for reducing Greenhouse Gases that align with those expressed by the science community to avoid 2° Celsius warming


* Changing the agriculture industry

. . Less carbon-intensive farming


. . More plant-based farming


* Using renewable energy and building renewable energy infrastructure


* Stopping the unsustainable and dangerous process of fracking


* Stop mountaintop removal/mining

. . It is very harmful to our environment and people working in these fields


* These are not the sole solutions, these are just some solutions that we approve of

* To be effective, these solutions need to be implemented at a large scale by the United States government

USA: Culture of Peace: The wisdom of the 8th-grade Peace Flame Keepers

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE .. .

An article by David Wick from the Ashland Daily Tidings reprinted by the Global Campaign for Peace Education

As the World Peace Flame was lit at the Thalden Pavilion on the Southern Oregon University campus on Sept. 21, Ashland was recognized internationally. A unique part of this ceremony was the role of the newly formed Flame Keepers, made up of students from Kristina Healy’s class at nearby Ashland Middle School. They volunteered to keep the World Peace Flame lit by refueling the oil lamp every Friday during the school year with 100 percent sustainable biomass lamp oil, and keeping the lamp and enclosure clean.


A member of the Ashland Middle School Flame Keepers group tends to the flame. (Photo: Ashland Culture of Peace Commission)
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After 11 weeks of Flame Keeper experience, they were asked two questions:

Why is it important to have a World Peace Flame?

What do you like about being a Flame Keeper?

Here are their responses:

Lauren Drabik: The Peace Flame gives hope for peace and it can help change the world and make it a better place for new generations. It is a big honor and there aren’t very many in the world, and you get to be part of something so big! It’s just special to do.

Kendra Caruso: The World Peace Flame brings people together and it helps everyone know there is peace in the world. The Peace Flame represents how everyone is one in the world. I really like it because I was chosen to be handed the flame (during the Sept. 21 lighting ceremony) and I handed it off to someone else who lit the flame. That was a huge honor! I felt like I was a part of the whole celebration of the flame. I think it is really cool to have Flame Keepers because it is a huge honor and because you are doing good for the world and I believe giving back is really nice.

Samara Penn-Kout: Having a World Peace Flame, especially in our small community, is really nice because its being part of something bigger. There are only two in this country and we are helping and being the representatives in the United States and the Northern Hemisphere. We are part of something greater to share with anybody. I love being a Flame Keeper because I feel so good about my actions, it is a big responsibility, and it is really nice because it feels like we are helping peace around the world.

Tara Vivrett: It is such a reminder for people to stay peaceful where they are and it is a constant thing going that you can always look to. It feels like being included because we’re being part of it and we are keeping it going. It is also something you can tell to people around you and that feels good.

Levi Predpelski: It is a reminder every day. Every time I see it I am reminded, “oh ya, be peaceful every day and don’t forget about it.” It is being part of something bigger than myself, it is about community and it is not just about me, it’s about everyone.

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Question related to this article:

What is the best way to teach peace to children?

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Finley Taylor: It is important because it shows us that peace isn’t just one day of the year. It is every day. And it is always there in the background and we should focus on making the world a more peaceful place. It feels like I am doing something important that changes the world. It’s just a good feeling.

Kade Price: It is important because then we know we will have peace all around the world. I like how I can be a part of peace.

CJ McDonnald: It brings people together and it makes you feel peaceful when you are around it, then every place you go you have this going on. It is a huge responsibility and I like refueling the flame with my friends.

Cash Cota: It shows you how much you should enjoy peace and that everybody should enjoy peace and not just certain people. It also shows that our culture is very peaceful as a community and that we deserved it because we can resemble peace a lot and we can also show other people how to be peaceful around the world. I like it because it is really cool to be part of something that no one else has done at this age, and it is also fun just being with friends and enjoying peace together.

Tara Lusk: It is important to represent how peace is all around us, especially in Ashland, a small community town that has a lot of organics and very community (focused). It is nice to have the World Peace Flame represent how peaceful we are here and how we get along together. It’s really fun; I like the responsibility of it. It is a little bit stressful at times, but overall it is a really nice experience.

Madeline Bolin: It reminds us that we should be constantly trying for peace, like always not just one event. The responsibility and knowing that we are helping to achieve peace.

River Collins: Having the World Peace Flame shows triumph over hate and is a check point in our history to accomplish peace. It is fun and because people see me as a peaceful person, not angry and more peaceful. This supports the change in the world.

Kristina Healey (teacher): I think it is always wonderful to have a reminder about peace. Peace in your own mind and heart and community and all the way beyond. And to know that they are originating from the same place of peace here on our planet. I like that I was able to do it, to be the vehicle to keep it (a focus on peace) going here in Ashland. I really loved to see the kids and how they we saying, “Oh this is so much responsibility, I don’t know if I can do it,” and just to empower them that we can do it if we all work together. We check that calendar, we go over (to the World Peace Flame Monument across the street) and we go through the directions. (The students) have felt very privileged and responsible about keeping the flame going for people who come and visit the Peace Flame in Ashland. We talk about it in class and some of the kid’s families have gone over, outside of class to see what it is all about. Anything to remind kids, our school district, our city that we are not finite, we are connected, we are bigger than that. So having the Peace Flame here reminds us of the importance of the commitment to peace.

When we wonder what peace really means, go ask an eighth grader at Ashland Middle School.

Email comments and questions to ashlandcpc@gmail.com. The ACPC website is www.ashlandcpc.org; like the commission on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AshlandCultureofPeaceCommission;

follow twitter.com/AshlandPeace on Twitter. All are welcome to join the ACPC’s Talking Circle at 11 a.m. each Tuesday and Community Meeting at 4 p.m. each Wednesday, both at the ACPC office, 33 First St., Suite 1, diagonally across Lithia Way from the Ashland Post Office.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

USA: Season for Nonviolence begins 5th Season

. . . EDUCATION FOR PEACE . . .

An article by John and Bev Titus in the Urban Citizen

The Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund is proud to announce the fifth annual Season for Nonviolence initiative. Joined by Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, and the City of Urbana, the 140th International City of Peace, this year’s Season for Nonviolence is taking place Jan. 30-April 4. The 64-day national educational, media and grassroots campaign is dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform and empower our lives and our communities.

The Season for Nonviolence was organized in 1997 to commemorate the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With a growing foundation of support, the Season for Nonviolence has become an important educational and media opportunity to bring communities together, empowering them to envision and help create a nonviolent world, one heart and one program at a time.

This year’s Season for Nonviolence kicked off this week with the Great Kindness Challenge. The Challenge is a bullying prevention program for Pre-K through 12th-grade students that creates a culture of kindness.

Students are encouraged to perform as many acts of kindness as they can throughout the week. Last year, more than 4,500 students from the Urbana City schools, Graham Local, West Liberty Salem, and the Mechanicsburg School districts took part in this global event. Some schools chose to extend their week of kindness to one month, and many committed to practicing and promoting kindness throughout their entire school year. Our students joined with more than 10.5 million students in nearly 20,000 schools representing over 100 countries to carry out more than 500 million “Acts of Kindness” in just one week!

Everyone in our Urbana City of Peace community is invited to join in the challenge and support our youth in their efforts to be kind. A family-friendly version” of the “Great Kindness Challenge” was created and used by more than 1,600 community members last year to provide ideas for random acts of kindness that can be practiced at home, at work and throughout our extended community. Visit the “Kids for Peace” (Great Kindness Challenge) website to download the Family Edition checklist at https://thegreatkindnesschallenge.com/familychecklist/.

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Question for this article:

Can peace be guaranteed through nonviolent means?

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Cities of Peace exhibit at UU

The 2019 Season for Nonviolence will include the International Cities of Peace exhibit displayed at Urbana University’s Sara Landess Room, Feb. 11-May 6. The Cities of Peace exhibit opens Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. with a panel discussion. The panel members include Fred Arment, Executive Director of the International Cities of Peace; City of Urbana Mayor Bill Bean; Bev Titus, co-founder of the Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund; and students from Urbana and Champaign County schools, to discuss local efforts to create a culture of peace within our community and support “Cities of Peace” around the world.

The International Cities of Peace exhibit consists of 12 panels that represent “Cities of Peace” around the world as well as the newly designed Urbana City of Peace panel. The “Cities of Peace” exhibit panels address the issues of: what are Cities of Peace, are Cities of Peace important, what is a culture of peace, fostering our peace economy, and “International Cities of Peace” locations. The Cities of Peace exhibit will open Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. with a panel discussion.

To conclude this year’s effort, the Alicia Titus Memorial Peace Fund will offer another free 6-week “Nonviolent Communication” workshop for community members, high school students and Urbana University students. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is an approach to living that has roots in Gandhi’s teachings on nonviolence. The concept refers not only to physical violence, but also to any other way we “attack” others or ourselves, such as through judgment, criticism, and blaming.

Many of us long to hold others and ourselves with consideration and respect, but we sometimes find it hard to live these values in daily life. NVC gives us practical tools for embodying these values in any situation.

Diane Diller, an NVC trainer certified by the Global Center for Nonviolent Communication, will share how this practice helps us to communicate in a more loving and respectful way.

The community is invited to attend these workshops Mondays, March 18 through April 22, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. in the Moore Conference Room, located in the Urbana University Student Center.

To register for the Nonviolent Communication Workshop and find out more about the Cities of Peace Exhibit please call Stephani Islam at 937-772-9246. Space is limited and the class is free, so please RSVP.

USA: Appalachian Peace Education Center

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

Excerpts from the website of the Appalachian Peace Education Center

In 1982, APEC opened an office in Abingdon, Virginia, representing small peace groups in coalfield  and agricultural communities such as Big Stone Gap, St. Charles, and Dungannan and Bristol. First focusing on education around nuclear disarmament, military spending, and cold war politics, the organization grew to oppose U.S. government’s intervention in Central America, and became involved in labor rights, conflict resolution, race relations, and opposition to U.S.-sponsored wars and military presence around the globe. APEC members demonstrated publicly for years against the U.S. initiating and conducting war in Iraq. APEC continues its work for peace and justice today, welcoming new peacemakers in the era of President Trump.


Current Activities

32nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., March and Celebration
Abingdon, Virginia, Saturday, January 19, 2019

12:30 pm: “People Like Us: Building Allies for Justice” led by Jerry Hill. Charles Wesley UMC, 322 East Main St.

1:30pm: March begins at Charles Wesley UMC, 322 East Main St. We invite organizations to bring a banner or sign that identifies their group as part of this community event. (We’ll march 3 blocks to…)

2:00 pm: Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration – Abingdon UMC, 101 East Main Street.

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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On Wednesday, 6th March 2019, Cameroon Peace Foundation Association, in collaboration with the Global Campaign for Peace Education, launched a National Campaign for Peace Education in Buea. The Campaign brought together religious leaders, lecturers, teachers and police officers.

The purpose of the campaign is to create awareness about the need to introduce peace in Cameroon schools. With Cameroon facing a very critical moment in its history, when everything has failed to bring back the peace that is desired and cherished, Cameroon needs to review its educational system. Peace education is a timely intervention and the best weapon to fight against terrorism and violence.

“Peace education is education for human dignity, and is capable of dismantling a culture of war that is pervading Cameroonian society,” said Mforndip Ben Oru, the coordinator of the Cameroon Peace Foundation.
At the close of the launching, it was agreed that peace education is the pathway to a culture of peace. The next stop for the Campaign will be in Bamenda in the North West Region of Cameroon. The Campaign intends to visit all 10 regions of Cameroon.

The Cameroon Peace Foundation is seeking $5000 to support the next steps of the Campaign. If you are able to donate, please contact Mforndip Ben Oru: ben.mforndip@gmail.com

Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North
Film Screening and Discussion led by Filmmaker Katrina Browne

St Thomas Episcopal Church, 124 East Main Street, Abingdon, Virginia

Thursday, January 17th
Reception at 5:30 pm, Program at 6:00 pm

This documentary, first shown on PBS’s POV, describes a New England family’s discovery of their ancestors’ slave-trading past and how their present white privilege was gained generations ago.​ Event sponsored by St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

Bristol’s 2nd Annual MLK, Jr., March and Celebration
Monday, January 21st

1:30 pm – March – Gather on MLK Blvd. 
in Tennessee gather at YMCA; In Virginia gather at First Christian Church
2:45 pm – MLK Celebration at Bristol Train Station

Ocasio-Cortez Delivers Powerful Call for Justice as Third Women’s March Kicks Off in New York

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from Common Dreams (reprinted according to a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License)

“Justice is about the water we drink. Justice is about the air we breathe. Justice is about how easy it is to vote. Justice is about how much ladies get paid. Justice is about if we can stay with our children after we have them for a just amount of time.”


Demonstrators at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. on January 19, 2019.  (Photo: Susan Melkisethian/flickr/cc)

So declared Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Saturday, as the third annual Women’s March brought thousands of women to the streets of cities across the globe, though tensions within the movement have created rifts.

[click here for video of her speech]

The freshman lawmaker was among the speakers at a march in New York City.

Social media users captured images from the many affiliated marches that took place:


@NYCLU: America is for all of us


@IlhanMN: Representative Ilhan Omar speaking at Minnesota march


Mustafa Santiago Ali @EJinAction

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Questions for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

The post-election fightback for human rights, is it gathering force in the USA?

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Truthdig @Truthdig Women make waves by the thousands at Washington D.C.


Women’s March – IL @womensmarchIL Watch the full video of the Young Women’s March Rally in Chicago! Fighting through a snowstorm to rise up and raise their voices


@ChinaKatSun #LosAngeles Country


TicToc by Bloomberg @tictoc Women’s March: From Lodon to Berlin to Rome from New York to Washington, D.C


Jennifer L. Blanck @JLBlanck #WomensMarch #Denver #Colorado

Canadian police block journalists from covering indigenous pipeline protest

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Nation of Change

While arresting indigenous pipeline protesters in northern British Columbia, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) recently began prohibiting reporters from covering the demonstrations. In response, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released a statement demanding that Canadian law enforcement cease restricting access to reporters covering the pipeline protest.


(click on photo to enlarge)

On Sunday, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs issued a  statement  saying all five Wet’suwet’en clans, including the Gidimt’en, oppose the construction of oil and gas pipelines in their territory.

“The provincial and federal governments must revoke the permits for this project until the standards of free, prior and informed consent are met,” Phillip said in the news release.

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Question for this article

Indigenous peoples, Are they the true guardians of nature?

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Last October, LNG Canada announced its plans to move ahead with constructing the $6.2 billion pipeline. Although TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink claims that agreements have been signed with all First Nations along the route for LNG Canada’s $40-billion liquefied natural gas project, demonstrators argue that Wet’suwet’en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given consent.

According to the RCMP, at least 14 people have been arrested for blockading a forest service road in order to prevent access to the pipeline. Journalists and several media crews attempting to cover the pipeline protests have recently reported that the RCMP is restricting access to the site and prohibiting journalists from witnessing further arrests.

“Authorities in Canada should immediately end the arbitrary restrictions on journalists covering the police breakup of the pipeline protest,” CPJ North America Program Coordinator Alexandra Ellerbeck wrote in a press release  on Tuesday. “Journalists should be able to freely cover events of national importance, without fear of arrest.”

“It sounds like the RCMP is once again using every tactic that they can to bend the law as much as possible to prevent journalists from gaining access to sites,” said Tom Henheffer, vice president of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE). “This is a tactic that is very commonly employed and is very difficult to fight against in the moment because [police] know that when you’ve got a bunch of officers with guns telling people what they can and cannot do, it doesn’t necessarily matter whether the law is on the RCMP’s side or not – because it takes too long for a journalist to get a lawyer, go to court to get an order to allow them to get on to the site.”

By restricting access to the demonstrations, Canadian law enforcement are attempting to control the narrative by preventing journalists from witnessing their actions. According to some reports, most communication from the site recently went dark due to an alleged satellite issue, but the RCMP issued a statement on Monday denying any involvement with the suspiciously beneficial disruption of communications in the area.

USA: Conference to explore effect of early childhood development on world peace

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from Yale University

In partnership with UNICEF and Queens University Belfast, the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) at the Yale Child Study Center will host an open house conference at the Omni Hotel in New Haven this Thursday, Nov. 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The organizing question for the event will be: “Can early childhood development advance ‘The Culture of Peace?’”


Syrian girl holding up peace sign in a Turkish refugee camp. (© Radek Procyk – dreamstime.com)

“The goal of the ECPC is to shed light on the contribution of the science of early childhood development to creating a path to peace,” said Rima Salah, chair of the ECPC and assistant clinical professor in the Child Study Center. “Working towards a common goal of reducing and preventing violence against children, the unified group that makes up the ECPC recognizes the power of investing in the early years to build peaceful societies.”

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Question related to this article:

What is the best way to teach peace to children?

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At Thursday’s conference, the ECPC will provide an update on its research and advocacy efforts, including how it seeks to advance early childhood development, care, and education by building peace and fostering social cohesion among individuals, groups, communities, and nations. During the event, the ECPC will also officially launch its online platform, a resource that aims to help users build with “blocks of peace” for the children of the world.

Keynote speakers for the program include Pia Rebello Britto, chief and senior adviser of early childhood development at UNICEF; Sherrie Rollins Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop; and H.E. Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, founder of the Global Movement for The Culture of Peace, former under-secretary general and high representative of the United Nations. Presenters from six low- and middle-income countries will also discuss the early childhood development programs they are creating with colleagues at UNICEF and Queen’s University Belfast, Yale, New York University, and Harvard to build social cohesion and peace within their countries.

“The ECPC has brought together a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectored, and multi-dimensional range of experts who have worked in the fields of early childhood development and peace-building initiatives around the globe, that up to this point, have been working in silos,” said Dr. James Leckman, ECPC executive committee member and the Neison Harris Professor in the Child Study Center. “Science says that peace is possible — and the science of early childhood development can facilitate the development of a more peaceful world.”

The ECPC is founded on the idea that the global community must address the root causes of violence and conflict and that families and children can be agents of change for peace. The consortium is building an inclusive movement for peace, social justice, and prevention of violence through using early childhood development strategies that enable the world community to advocate peace, security, and sustainable development. For more information on the ECPC, visit the consortium’s website.