Online Edition: March 2006     Vol. XVIII, No. 7

sponsored by Peace Life Center, Public invited


  • Global Day of Action in San Francisco, Saturday March 18. Mass march and rally against the war on Iraq. 3rd anniversary of U.S. “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq. Gather 11am, Civic Center, at Grove and Larkin Sts. Call 415-821-6545 or email or visit

  • VIGIL and Peace Gathering Sunday, March 19, McClatchy Park rose garden, Modesto, 15th & I St. noon to 3 pm. Sponsored by Network of Spiritual Progressives and Peace Life Center. See flyer here.

  • PEACE LIFE CENTER WILL BE OPEN EVERY TUESDAY, Noon to 3 pm. Come by for coffee or tea and just to chat or look at our book and magazine collection. Bring your own bag lunch; there may be films some days. 720 13th St. Call us 529-5750, we'll get back to you with info on vigils and other activities.

You are invited to attend the

2006 Peace Essay Contest
Awards Reception

Saturday, the twenty-fifth of March
3:00 in the afternoon
at the Johansen High School Theater

MC: Rev. Debra Brady
Modesto First United Methodist Church

Anniversary cake will be served in honor
the 20th annual Peace Essay Contest’s.

The public is welcome
(See article for the 2006 winners)

Put these Peaceful dates on your calendar:

June 11 – Pancake Breakfast, benefit for the Modesto Peace/Life Center

June 23-25- Peace Camp, weekend in the High Sierra for people of all ages

ACTION: To volunteer to help, contact the Modesto Peace/Life Center at 529-5750.


Peace & Justice

Around the Center: 

Peace Actions


Living Lightly

Recipes from Connections

A Gathering of Voices

Out and About


Masthead and Back Issues

Opinion and Letters to Connections

I can't take it anymore


I can't take it anymore. The Iraq war drags on, our education system is regularly leaving children behind, another ultra-conservative has been confirmed to the Supreme Court, our President thinks spying on its citizens is legal, and tax cuts are only for the super rich, our civil rights continue being chipped away under a poorly named Patriot Act. And this has been the worst president on environmental issues ever in our history. So the other day I read the Modesto Bee and found this:

"People in the Central Valley might breathe dirtier air if a proposed rule ends federal dust monitoring in rural areas, local air officials said Wednesday. The Bush administration proposal, through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, would establish a new dust standard and provide a national exemption for farming and mining in rural areas.

The EPA proposal, announced Tuesday, would stop federal monitoring for larger particle pollution in rural places, said officials."

[This means that the Central Valley which already holds the title for some of the country's worst air pollution could get a lot worse.]

"Brent Newell, staff attorney at the Center for Race says, "If this proposal goes through," Newell said, "rural residents will have lesser protection under the law than urban residents."

"This is par for the Bush EPA," he said, "caving to powerful industries like mining and agriculture."

(From a January 19, 2006 article written by Michael Mooney and Mark Grossi,

What else can we do to get more people riled up and better informed to really create change? We need to demand from our newspapers and legislators more facts and more accountability. Does writing letters have impact? You never know for sure but they are more effective than phone calls and emails. They show extra effort and time that it takes vs. an email.

According to Congressman Dennis Cardoza's office, "Personalized letters and personalized e-mails get more attention than form letters and e-mails, and if we see close to 100 letters over the same issue that really gets our attention." Due to the anthrax scares of the past, letters should be mailed to local offices or faxed to Washington offices.

The reality is we have busy lives, there is always something more important than writing a letter but to be effective and fun we can meet as a group for one/two hours once a week/month at a local coffee shop or someone's home. Here's how it works:

One person researches a topic, they bring a fact sheet and copies for all and that person brings envelopes, pens and paper. This person presents the topic.

Everyone writes a letter in their own words. We each write a couple of letters that go to the local newspapers and local officials. For an extra bit of fun, should your paper get published as a letter to the editor, the group buys you a bagel and coffee!

ACTION: If you are interested in starting a progressive letter writing group, the first one addressing this particular issue, meet me at the Queen Bean, 1126 14th St in downtown Modesto on Saturday, March 25 at 3 p.m. Please contact Leslie Howard at 209-576-0096 or email

John McCutcheon concert reprise


A resounding "Thank You!" to all whose lively work made the 5th Annual John McCutcheon Concert a success, and to those who attended and had their hearts warmed by John McCutcheon’s spirited, topical and tender songs, and by John Bruce’s powerful original music.

Long considered one of folk music’s most literate songwriter’s, John McCutcheon performed several songs from his growing body of work using the words of his favorite authors and poets for lyrics – inspiration for lyrics - including Wendell Berry, Rita Dove, Pablo Neruda, Carmen Agra Deedy, Woody Guthrie. These and more are on his newest CD, “Mightier than a Sword.”

We found out Monday afternoon before the Wednesday concert that John McCutcheon would need to leave Modesto by 8:30 p.m. in order to catch a red-eye back to Virginia, where he was to be a pallbearer at the funeral of Janette Carter, the last matriarch of the musical Carter family. We chose to shift the order of the program in order to accommodate him, rather than cancel the concert — but of course there was no way to let people know in advance of the change. We offer apologies to those who arrived too late to enjoy John’s full set, and thanks to those who stayed to enjoy a longer set by John Bruce and Aaron Durr.

Thanks also to Ann Bartholomew, whose heavy foot and determined driving got John to the San Francisco Airport check-in counter in record time, with 8 minutes to spare! John fully expects to be back in Modesto next January, when he will be glad to sign the CDs you bought this year!

Open Letter from Grass Valley Friends Meeting and Delta Friends Meeting

We believe our country’s Executive Branch has violated the Fourth Amendment through wiretaps not authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Furthermore, we believe the disclosure of a secret Department of Defense database indicates that it has exceeded the guidelines of 1982, limiting the extent to which data can be collected on US citizens. The Grass Valley Friends Meeting and Delta Friends Meeting (Quakers) cannot let these violations of constitutional rights go unnoticed.

On December 14, 205, NBC News reported the existence of a 400-page secret Department of Defense document collected by the Pentagon’s Talon Program. A portion of the document records a meeting, held in the previous year, of the Truth Project at the Lake Work, Florida Quaker Meeting House, where the group openly met to discuss meaningful alternatives to military recruitment at high schools. Attendees at the meeting included five Quakers and a 79 year-old grandmother. The database listed the meeting as a “threat.” Additionally, nearly four-dozen anti-war meetings, protests, and 1500 “suspicious incidents” (such as leafleting and commemoration of the second anniversary of the Iraq war) are included in the database.

We, the bodies of the Grass Valley Friends Meeting and Delta Friends Meeting, are opposed to war, militarism, and the illegal surveillance of citizens. While we are very aware of the dangers in the world, we long to see creative, non-violent solutions in situation of conflict. We firmly support our friends at the Lake Worth, Florida Meeting in their counter-recruitment efforts in the schools. It is important to educate young people about available alternatives to war and military service, thereby enabling them to reach informed decisions. We believe this action is commensurate with a desire to eliminate the “seeds of war” in our society.

The Grass Valley Friends Meeting and Delta Friends Meeting affirm the rights of freedom of speech and [peaceful assembly for all Americans regardless of their political persuasion or religious affiliation. We expect that our government will uphold our nation’s laws, and that the internal surveillance of peaceful, law-abiding US citizens will cease.

Chamba Cooke
Clerk of Grass Valley Friends Meeting

Judith Bunting
Clerk of Delta Friends Meeting

Book Review:

WINNING THE VOTE:  The triumph of the American Woman  Suffrage Movement
American Graphic Press, Santa Cruz, CA   2005  446 pages


A VERY DANGEROUS WOMAN:  Martha Wright and Women's Rights
University of Massachusetts Press, 2004  315 pages

Women were not given the right to vote in 1920,  author Bob Cooney argues in WINNING THE VOTE:  The triumph of the American Woman  Suffrage Movement.  The hard work and sacrifice of three generations of suffragists won the vote.  

He has created a pictorial history book filled with the stories and of some of individuals and the organizations they formed to advance equality in our nation. It is richly illustrated with reproductions of period photographs, posters, and publications.

A former staff member of the Institute for Nonviolence in Palo Alto, the author became interested in the suffragist movement while working on Power of the People: The History of Nonviolence in America, another pictorial history book, published in 1977, one of my favorites.

The woman suffrage movement was interwoven with the broader campaign for equal rights. Many of the early suffragists were abolitionists who worked their whole lives to end slavery and for fairer treatment of Native Americans.

Martha Wright is an example of a suffragist and abolitionist.  While her name is not familiar, she was one of the five organizers of the historic Seneca Fall Woman's Rights Convention in 1848, 

She was a dedicated to her large and extended family, keep a well run household where she hosted all the big names in social change of the day (and sheltered fugitive slaves). She attended the founding of the American Anti-Slavery Movement in 1833. She wrote well and voluminously, traveled frequently, presided over conventions for decades, serving as president of the National Woman Suffrage Association until her death in 1875.

Wright apparently was not the strong speaker her sister Lucretia Mott was, but together they helped change life in our country. 

And what did her neighbors in upstate New York think of her: a very dangerous woman!

There were two amendments before Congress in 1920, named after two suffragist leaders: under the Susan B. Anthony amendment women would have the right to vote and the under Lucretia Mott amendment all Americans would have equal rights.  The more limited Anthony amendment became the law of the land as the 19th Amendment.

Honoring a Woman of Peace


For Woman’s History month we would like to honor one of the founders of the Modesto/Peace Life Center, Louise Weaver.  In the past 35 years she has served numerous terms on the Center’s Board of Directors,

Ever ready to discuss current events and things that make for peace, she has volunteered to staff the office and displays at many a community event, traveled to several countries, and talked to classes in schools.  Louise may well have stuck the mailing label on the paper you hold in your hand, while engaged in lively conversation with rest of the Stanislaus Connections mailing crew.

A retired teacher, Louise has worked to provide clean water, food, housing, and shelter, as well as equality and dignity throughout this community and beyond.  Projects of Heifer Project, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Habitat for Humanity, El Povenir, and the Church of the Brethren are among those close to her heart.

In 1982 Louise and her late husband, Wilfred were honored by the Center as Friends of Peace. Through her encouragement, guidance, candor, humor, and her great gift of friendship, Louise has been a role model and mentor and “grandmother.”

Grandma Louise


Grandma Louise has been a treasured grandmother in our lives for as long as we can remember, and it is with great pleasure that we join the Modesto Peace-Life Center in celebrating her life.

As we grew up, one of our favorite treats was what Talya calls, “Grandma Louise’s yummy, yummy, special, magic applesauce.” We also cherish the memories of summer vacations swimming at Cherry Lake and hiking at Donkey Ridge with Grandma Louise and Grandpa Willie.

During the years when our family hosted the Peace Center holiday potluck, Grandma Louise’s spirited piano playing made singing Christmas carols even more memorable and engaging for everyone, while her delicious berry cobblers satisfied the sweet tooth in all of us.

In addition to our enduring affection, Grandma Louise earns our deepest admiration. From peace camps and candlelight vigils to harvest suppers and Hiroshima/Nagasaki memorial gatherings, Grandma Louise’s active participation and her dedication to making peace and justice a reality for all continue to inspire us.

We extend our love to Grandma Louise, and we are thankful for her generosity, kindness, and commitment to a more peaceful world.

Outstanding Women honored March 18


For the twenty-seventh year, the Stanislaus County Commission for Women will honor women who have made great contributions here at a dinner on Saturday, March 18th  including 11 currently active, 4 pioneers, 2 women of history, and 4 young women.  Four of special interest to Stanislaus Connections readers:

Lynn Hansen, retired from teaching biology at Modesto Junior College, has been a peaceful influence on thousands of young people and is still teaching children in her retirement, and is more active than ever. By designing a curriculum that teaches biology through seeing it in action in nature, she's in touch with children daily, helping make their lives richer.

Karen Cosner is chief operations for Interfaith Ministries Food Bank and Clothes Closet. She leads a team of mostly volunteers to serve the poor and homeless that have no where else to turn for food and, especially for children, clothing they need in order to go to school. Many churches participate in gathering the used clothing, taking offerings to support the center, giving food.  She also has been able to arrange sizeable donations sizeable from local businesses.

Ann Dutton, retired from teaching child development at MJC, taught future teachers plus legions of preschoolers, thus preparing them to be ready for “real” school. As part of the parent participation network, she also taught parents to be partners in the enterprise of raising children in a healthy way.

Wendy Byrd is the staff person responsible for student government at MJC. Previously, she worked for the City of Modesto, leading many events through student involvement in government. In one, high school students are selected to take seats on various Modesto City government committees. In this way they learned how government works by participating in it, as well as training the students in good citizenship. She is a perennial member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Event committee.

ACTION:  Advance tickets are required  for the dinner, to be held Sat. March 18, must be paid for in advance. Send $40 per person by March 10 to Laura Tarlo, 1136 Trinity Ave., Modesto 95350.


A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape
but a woman of strength builds relationships to keep her soul in shape.

A strong woman isn’t afraid of anything
but a woman of strength shows courage amidst her fears.

A strong woman won’t let anyone get the best of her
but a woman of strength gives the best of herself to everyone.

A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future
but a woman of strength realizes that life’s mistakes can also be unexpected blessings and capitalizes on them.

A strong woman wears a look of confidence on her face
but a woman of strength wears grace.

A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey
but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.

--Marta S. Harty

Another World is Possible: the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela


Under the unifying slogan of “Another World is Possible,” tens of thousands of participants came to the World Social Forum (WSF) in Venezuela to build a powerful movement against neoliberalism (see sidebar), war, and imperialism. Having the WSF in Venezuela this year highlighted the achievements and the advances made by the progressive movement in South America. With left, indigenous, or socialist leaders elected in Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina there is a great deal of enthusiasm and hopefulness about this region’s ability to determine its own destiny.

The WSF is organized in a decentralized format that encourages grassroots participation. This is accomplished through a series of workshops and forums that bring together political activists from throughout the world to give them the opportunity to share experiences and build social networks. Each day, during the six days of activities (January 24-29, 2006), there were hundreds of forums, discussions, and meetings to choose from.

The opening event at this year’s WSF was a march with over 60,000 participants demonstrating against War and Imperialism. There were large delegations from all over South America - including Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and of course Venezuela.

While the majority of participants at this year’s WSF were from South America, there were a substantial number of US citizens participating. San Francisco based Global Exchange, for example, had a delegation of about 200. Representatives and delegations from US labor unions, anti-war, and faith-based groups were at the march and participated at the forum.

Several hundred Cubans were at the front of the march, chanting in solidarity with the WSF theme that another world is possible. Representatives from Puerto Rico, Haiti, Canada, and Australia also had a presence. In addition to the delegates who identified with their country of origin at the march, many participants marched behind the banners of grassroots organizations working on human rights issues, environmental justice, or women’s rights.

The WSF was set up as the grassroots alternative to the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Davos, Switzerland by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. While the WSF is not intended to eliminate the street demonstrations that have confronted the WEF, it does provide an opportunity for grassroots activists to envision and build a new future which is an alternative to the global domination of US imperialism and corporate interests. The regional WSF in Caracas was one of three being held throughout the world. The others are being held in Pakistan and Mali.

Venezuela president Hugo Chavez, speaking at a large stadium to WSF participants, spoke about the Bolivarian revolution which is uniting the countries in South America into an economic/political block that can better represent the interest of this region’s people. He also addressed the problem of cultural and informational domination by corporate control of the mass media. Chavez said that a new television network (Telesur), independent of corporate interests, has been established and is now broadcasting throughout the region. He called on regional leaders to establish an economic block that will counterbalance U.S. corporate economic interests.

During his address, Chavez introduced U.S. anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan as “Ms. Hope.” By contrast, U.S. president George Bush was referred to by Chavez as “Mr. Danger.” Sheehan spoke the next day at an event titled “Women Say No To War” with Code Pink/Global Exchange co-founder Medea Benjamin.


Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq, said “George Bush is illegitimate and should be evicted. Let’s not talk about impeachment, he was never elected. After he is removed from office he should be tried for war crimes.” Sheehan said that sometimes comments like these have lead people to question her patriotism. In response, she said that “patriots fight against an occupying force” and asked what the audience would do if a foreign force had invaded and occupied their country.

Sheehan was asked by Pam Whalen, a union organizer from Fresno, “Would you please run for president.” While declining the opportunity to run she did say she was considering running for senator in California against Diane Feinstein. The crowd roared their approval and the first $20,000 for the campaign was collected. Unfortunately, at an exchange rate of $2,144 (Venezuelan dollars) to $1 US, more money will need to be raised before a viable campaign to run Sheehan for the senate is a reality. If Sheehan runs, she said she would run as a Democrat.

The word used time and again by US participants to describe the experience at this year’s WSF is “hope.” The opportunity to meet with other participants from 140 countries around the world reinforced the forum’s theme that Another World is Possible. Laura Wells, a Green Party candidate for Controller in California (see: ), saw hope and was inspired by the fact that Venezuela used to be a two party system, but now Hugo Chavez, who describes himself as a socialist, and is outside of the two party system, is president. Wells said “A series of incidents happened in this country that led to a radical change in government.” She believes that conditions can change in the United States, as a result of one crisis or another, and that we need to be ready to seize the opportunity. Building the Green Party and running for Controller in this year’s election, when viewed in the context of the huge changes taking place in Venezuela and South America, is a strategy that makes more sense to her now than ever before.

The WSF consisted of thousands of workshops and events spread out over six days on subjects as diverse as how to stop the war in Iraq, instructions on how to build a low power FM transmitter, and human rights in Haiti. At a workshop about social movements in Latin America, participants heard first hand accounts from numerous countries. One panel member from Bolivia spoke about the recent electoral victory of Evo Morales. He described the building of the popular movement that included three sectors - unionized agricultural workers, the indigenous movement, and organizations working to stop privatization. Evo Morales was dependent on the grassroots movement for his election and will be held accountable to carry out their demands. According to another speaker on the panel, this is in stark contrast to the situation in Venezuela where there is not a strong popular movement. Workshop participants were told that while the left holds state power in Venezuela, they are in a precarious position to maintain and advance the revolution without a powerful popular movement. That is the challenge in Venezuela - to strengthen the progressive social and political organizations that will defend the advances being made and hold elected leaders accountable, even as the US and their CIA surrogates are trying to destabilize the country and over through the Chavez government.

There were also speakers at this workshop from Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia. The speaker from Mexico was optimistic that the July 6, 2006 elections in that country will see a progressive candidate elected president. He said that the winds of change from South America will blow North to Mexico this year.

In another workshop, Paul LouLou Chery, Secretary General of the Confederation of Haitian Workers said the WSF was a great opportunity to meet others. Chery said “We are here to discuss our successes and failures...we are looking for a new path.” Chery said he was hopeful because so many people had come together to share their experiences and learn from each other. He concluded, “The decision to have this event in Venezuela was appropriate because this country is an inspiration to the world.” He was talking about President Hugo Chavez’s independent politics that are using Venezuela’s resources to benefit the people of this country and are sometimes confrontational with the United States.

Maria De La Villanueva, a community radio journalist from Venezuela, had another perspective on the WSF. Villanueva said “There are two views about the purpose of the WSF. The WSF brings together two different groups. It brings together grassroots activists from popular organizations around the world and workers with Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs).” According to Villanueva these two groups have two significantly different perspectives. She said “The participants from the NGOs largely look at how they can ‘help’ the poor. The grassroots activists are working for structural economic and social change” that will bring about a more just world. “The WSF provides an opportunity for these groups to come together and discuss the issues surrounding these strategies for social change.”

The tension between these two sectors (NGOs and grassroots groups) was most clearly illustrated in workshops and events about the situation in Haiti. Grassroots activists from Haiti, who support exiled president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, were surprised and disillusioned to see Camille Chalmers from the Social Hemispheric Council on stage with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, during his principle speech to WSF participants. The presence of Chalmers at the table with Chavez was viewed as giving legitimacy to those who participated in the U.S. engineered coup that exiled Aristide. Grassroots activists wanted to know why they were not invited to have a representative at the table, but those that legitimize the coup were.

US and Canadian Haitian solidarity activists, grassroots activists from Haiti, and other WSF participants are also upset that the Brazilian Government, whose president is a leftist, is sending troops to Haiti (through the UN) to maintain order. A demonstration was held at the Brazilian embassy to protest that country’s intervention in Haiti’s internal affairs.

But, representatives from NGO’s working within Haiti saw things differently. According to a report from one workshop, anti-Aristide participants disrupted a question and answer period by refusing to give up the microphone as they attacked the Aristide government as being illegitimate. Some of these NGOs receive funding from conservative US interests (with ties to the CIA) and are seen as undermining legitimate solidarity efforts both in Haiti and at the WSF. There is a clear conflict of interest between the NGO participants who attempt to foster good relations with the (illegitimate) Haitian government and those from grassroots organizations who oppose the coup and are struggling to support democracy and build a more just society.

Villanueva, the radio journalist from Venezuela, says there is a discussion within the organizing body of the WSF to analyze the outcome of the events discussions. One view is that it is enough to bring everyone together for five or six days of discussions. Whatever comes out of those discussions and the networking that takes place is the purpose of the WSF. The alternative to this approach is to have proposals and a process that would develop a political strategy.

The WSF clearly has the ability to bring progressives from social and political movements, intellectuals, and grassroots activists from all over the world to come together as an alternative to globalization and the neoliberal agenda. The question is - can the WSF shift gears and move the left to develop a unified strategy and tactics that will counter this system which has created so much inequality, poverty, and war? Perhaps the better question is - does the WSF even want to move beyond providing an opportunity for people to come together to discuss issues and network?

If the WSF continues to bring 100,000 people together each year and give them hope and inspiration, that is a good thing. It is unknowable whether attempting to develop a strategy to counter US imperialism would improve the WSF or if the effort would be divisive and lead to the organization’s ruin. What we do know is that the next WSF will be held in January 2007 in Kenya, Africa. There is also talk about having a regional WSF in the United States.

ACTION For more information, see (in English here)

What is Neoliberalism?

(Excerpted from The New Yorker magazine)

Twenty years ago, a radical economic experiment began in Latin America. With economies beleaguered by foreign debt and runaway inflation, many of the region’s politicians decided that salvation lay in a program of market-friendly reforms that became known as the Washington Consensus—privatization of state-owned businesses, balanced budgets (usually achieved by cutting social spending), free trade, and openness to foreign investment. Reform, the promise went, would lead to prosperity.

The reforms happened. The prosperity didn’t

For the Want of A Glass of Water


My name is Robert Stanford and I am a Civil/Human rights advocate and activist. I am also a Caucasian, with a family history of immigration to the United States rescued from Nazi concentration camps of Poland.

I grew up on a goat farm in Delhi, surrounded by Mexican immigrants, most of which could not speak English, but this did not deter my Grandparents and myself from working and communing with these people over several years, without being able to communicate in a conventional sense.

My best friend was named Pedro, who spoke only Spanish, while I spoke only English. But I remember many dinners and evenings our families spent together as well as countless hours and events of my childhood comprised of Pedro and me.

When I contemplate what it would take to elicit compassion and understanding for undocumented Mexican immigrants from a seemingly hostile, competitive and heartless general public, too easily do I forget my own life experiences that have made it so much easier for me to open my mind and heart to undocumented Mexican immigrants despite any language or cultural barriers that might exist.

In the summer of 2005, I organized a coalition comprised of the only people I could convince to flock to my banner - Latino Senior Citizens, who themselves in their youth had worked in the fields of the Central Valley, to seek out small farms throughout Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties, delivering bottled water, health and pesticide information to undocumented migrant Mexican farm workers.

On one of these excursions I encountered an elderly undocumented Mexican woman. It was all she could do to walk over to me, navigating the furrows of the dirt field with legs that were tired and weak from hours of squatting with no shade or relief. When she reached me, I held out a bottle of the iced water I had brought. She ignored this and instead wrapped her arms around me and held me so tight, that I could feel her heart beat through the fabric of my perspiration-soaked t-shirt. It was right then and there that I had a moment of clarity. I knew exactly who these people were, that were dying in record numbers at our border as well as in our very own fields. They were our Mothers, our Fathers, our Brothers, our Sisters, and our children - our Family.

A few days later, I stood respectfully before the Stanislaus Board of Supervisors pleading for understanding of the fatalities being suffered by migrant farm workers in our very own communities here in the Central Valley. With great passion, emotion and tears, I spoke without rehearsal, "They are dying in our fields today, to put food on your table tomorrow!" I said, banging my fist on the podium.

One look at their indifferent white faces showed me that clearly I had wasted my time.

For the same reason my voice and actions are marginalized by the local media, my passion and feelings were dismissed by these people. How could I possibly know anything about the plight of a Mexican farm worker? I was not a Mexican, and even if I were, what would be their excuse then? To not so easily prevent the loss of a precious human life. All for the want of a glass of water.

Robert Stanford
President LocalBlack
"A Civil Rights Organization"
PO Box 576684
Modesto, CA 95357
(209) 496-2363


Tenth of each month. Submit peace, justice and environmentally friendly event notices to P.O. Box 134, Modesto, CA, 95353, or call 522-4967 or 575-4299, or email to Jim Costello. Free listings subject to space, availability and editing.