Peace & Justice

Tuesday afternoon at Modesto Peace/Life Center

Tuesdays, the Peace/Life Center is usually open from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. Bring brown bag lunch. Come by for some coffee or tea or to chat or to see a film or browse through various books and magazines. Beverages will be provided.

2007 Peace Essay Contest

Download the Peace Essay Flyer here

Enjoying Peace Camp


Film with a conscience


Have you been looking for movies to watch that go beyond the summer blockbuster formulas of over the top action and the rehashing of stagnant romantic comedies? Are you looking for movies that address your concerns about what is going on in the world around you? Then come and check out the Peace Life Center’s Media Committee’s movie nights where entertainment and content converge.

For those folks who have enjoyed box office draws like Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9-11, the Media Committee is committed to bringing you films with a conscience. Our purpose is to open up dialogue about current social issues and explore how to effectively introduce positive change on personal, local, and global levels.

These movie nights will start after the Media Committee meeting on Wednesday Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. and be followed by a discussion about the issues addressed in the film. Film nights will continue on every other Wednesdays, along with the announcement of what movie will be shown.

The first film, Orwell Rolls In His Grave, examines media monopolies and their effects of what “makes news” and its connections to business, politics and ideology.

ACTION: For more information, please call Micah at (209) 551-5933.

Looking for 1000 grandmothers to close the School of the Americas


Imagine the courage of ONE THOUSAND GRANDMOTHERS standing together at the gates of the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, November 17-19, 2006.

Imagine the gentle wisdom of one thousand CAREGIVERS taking action to stop the teaching of counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics.

Imagine the power of one thousand CHANGE-MAKERS saying NO to the perpetuation of crimes against humanity, especially against indigenous communities and children.

At the gates of the US Army's School of the Americas in November, this is exactly our vision. Inspired by the Holly Near song, "A Thousand Grandmothers", we hope to inspire other passionate women (and men) to join us in stopping the madness. The image of our nation’s elders taking a stand is one we believe can impact the American psyche. Holly Near has given permission to use her song as long as no money is earned from its use.

I live in Chico, California. Last fall one of the founders of the Chico Peace Endeavor, Helen Kinnee, died at age 91, after a long life of working for peace. At her memorial service, a young activist sang Holly Near's song, "A Thousand Grandmothers".

Inspired by this song and the arrest that same month of another local grandmother, Dorothy Parker, at the School of the Americas, an idea came to me: What if 1000 grandmothers around America and the world were to take this song as their rallying cry and, hand-in-hand, march onto the grounds of the SOA this coming November? What if ONE THOUSAND of us were willing to accept arrest and imprisonment in an effort to shut down this training school for terrorism?

Our strategy is to get at least one group of Grandmothers from each state to organize and go to Fort Benning, GA. If an average of 20 grandmothers (and grandfathers) comes from each state, we would have the wisdom and authority of 1000 elders to shed light on the foolishness of training terrorists in our so called “war on terror”.

From Chico, we continue to expand our website (www to share information and to connect grandmothers around the country. We are also looking for people and organizations willing to be local contacts and to organize their communities. If you are interested, email Sue at

ACTION: If you have questions, ideas, or comments, contact me at Note that if arrest and (probable) imprisonment is not for you, your soulforce and presence is still critically needed. Join us this November in Fort Benning, Georgia!

Charges dismissed against Tucson humanitarians

From No More Deaths

Tucson, AZ: In a late afternoon ruling on Friday, September 1st U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins dismissed all charges against Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss, two volunteers with the Tucson-based humanitarian group No More Deaths. Sellz and Strauss were arrested July 9th, 2005 while medically evacuating three sick migrants from the Arizona desert. The men were found several miles north of the U.S. / Mexico boundary, severely dehydrated and unable to hold down water.

Volunteer doctors instructed Sellz and Strauss to bring the men to a Tucson clinic after it was determined that the level of care they needed was more advanced than what could be administered in the field. At the time of their arrest, the two humanitarian volunteers were following a protocol that had been previously agreed to by the U.S. Border Patrol. In his ruling Judge Collins states that Sellz and Strauss had made reasonable efforts to ensure that their actions were not in violation of the law, and that “further prosecution would violate the Defendant’s [sic] due process rights.” The case against Sellz and Strauss drew national attention, dramatically framing the human cost of U.S. border policy and the complexities of an increasingly politicized region.

Thousands of people, including national religious leaders and human rights groups such as Amnesty International, spoke out in support of Shanti and Daniel, under the banner “Humanitarian Aid is Never a Crime”.

Many supporters interpret Judge Collins’ decision as a victory for human rights. “This is a wonderful result for humanitarian work in general, and should be seen as a victory for everyone. The judge made it clear that the real winners are the migrants, who both the Border Patrol and No More Deaths are working to rescue.” said attorney Bill Walker, who represents Sellz. Despite the prosecution of Sellz and Strauss, hundreds of volunteers once again traveled to southern Arizona this summer to volunteer with No More Deaths. In addition to patrolling the Arizona desert in search for people in medical distress, No More Deaths has launched dual projects in Agua Prieta and Nogales, Sonora to meet migrants and continue providing humanitarian assistance after they are returned to Mexico by the U.S. Border Patrol. While politicians debate immigration reform, hundreds of migrants continue to die along the U.S. / Mexico border. Already this year, more than 171 migrants have perished in Arizona.

No More Deaths joins the millions of concerned Americans who demand a comprehensive reform of U.S. border and immigration policies – one that respects the rights and dignity of all who would cross the international boundary, and provides just and accessible avenues for work and family reunification.

ACTION: Help No More Deaths provide humanitarian aid to migrants. Visit

New film on Iraq War Veterans

From JPANet News

THE GROUND TRUTH, a film by Focus Features, stunned filmgoers at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival with its chilling portrait of the realities faced by Iraq war veterans. Through exclusive footage of patriotic men and women, we see their experiences with recruitment and training, in combat, and their struggles as they return home and try to reintegrate into their families and communities.

The Rev. John F. Gundlach, UCC Minister for Government Chaplaincies and retired Navy chaplain, says of THE GROUND TRUTH:

“I found this to be an accurate representation of military recruiting and training practices and an honest portrayal of the lasting effects of combat on those who have experienced it. THE GROUND TRUTH in no way dishonors service members or veterans. To the contrary, it lifts up the true nature of their service and sacrifices in a way that we rarely, if ever, see in the popular media.”

To view the trailer or check specific times and locations of a screening event near you, visit

Get Involved: If there isn’t a screening in your area, host one of your own! Organize a church or house party on or around October 11, the fourth anniversary of the Congressional authorization to go to war in Iraq.