Peace & Justice
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.
Download the Peace Essay Flyer here
The Peace Life Center Board speaks out on Iraq
— John Frailing and Shelly Scribner, co-Presidents
With the Baker Report now public, U.S. policy in Iraq and the Middle East will change. We believe the following changes will help bring peace to the region and begin to restore the image of this country throughout the world.
1) U.S. troops should be withdrawn as soon as possible, starting in early 2007.
2) The U.S. should support a regional peace conference of Iraq’s neighbors, including Iran and Syria, to help Iraq resolve its sectarian strife, re-establish stability, and rebuild its shattered economy.
3) Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq violated international law and has caused horrible destruction and tens of thousands of deaths, the U.S. should commit itself to funding a program of reparations, with contracts for rebuilding going primarily to Iraqi firms using Iraqi workers. This commitment should mirror the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Europe.
4) To stop the war in Iraq and start a reconciliation with the Arab and Muslim world, the U.S. must help bring about an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That means ending U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, and helping to create a situation in which Israelis achieve security and Palestinians secure an independent and economically viable state.
5) To reduce the possibility of getting into another war for oil, the U.S. should embark on a full-scale program of energy independence. This program to develop renewable sources of energy should get the same degree of federal support as the Manhattan Project did in World War II.
We are not naïve. We fear there will probably be widespread violence once U.S. troops leave. However, we are convinced the number of senseless deaths will remain high if we continue with the current policy or increase U.S. troop numbers. We hope that U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq will mark an end to a foreign policy of dominance, and a renewed commitment to collaborating with all countries to make this a truly more just and peaceful world.
— The Modesto Peace Life Center’s Board of Directors
By SALVADOR SANDOVAL, M.D.
Each of the seven towns visited by the 2006 California Central Valley Journey for Justice enthusiastically encouraged us to do it again, and make it an annual event. So now we are calling on all our various communities to come together and begin planning the 2007 Journey for Justice. We envision a caravan of members of our various organizations visiting a series of Valley cities in late April.
The spirit of hope and unity we built in 2006 is alive and well. We could touch it and feel it at the powerful prayer vigil and sleep-out with the homeless in Fresno on October 21. We believe the inspiration and the relationships we created last April helped contribute to the growing movement for health care and immigrant rights in the Valley, the small victories of the homeless in Fresno, and the repudiation of the status quo by voters in November.
However in spite of these gains, the reality is that the conditions that moved us to action last year are still the same or getting worse. The poor are getting poorer. More people are without health insurance, and Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the Kuehl single payer universal health care bill. Despite the upsurge in our immigrant rights movement, the only legislative result was a 700-mile border wall. Police violence and persecution of the homeless has increased, not decreased. California prisons continue to be overcrowded and rapidly expanding, especially in the Valley.
The need for Journey for Justice is greater than ever, and the time has come to take it another step forward. As Rev. Floyd Harris of California National Action Network explains, “We need to educate, to motivate, to organize, to mobilize, to energize to take communities to a higher level.” We need to build committees in every area, leave literature, educate the leaders, and help empower the communities to fight their battles more effectively.
This year we decided on the theme of “Healing our Communities” or “Healing Our Valley” for Journey for Justice 2007.
This focuses our journey on the right to health care, the most sacred of all our economic human rights. Health care is about saving lives, and all human life is sacred. The right to health care brings together all the diverse communities of our Valley. At the same time, it will be the most volatile, hard-fought issue at both the state and national level over the next year. It will shape the fate of our government itself: Will it [the government] continue to carry out the interests of insurance, pharmaceutical, and other corporations, or can we force it to do the will of the people?
We will link the Journey for Justice to both the statewide One Care Now campaign and the national struggle to adopt the H.R. 676 single payer universal health care plan.
At the same time, community healing also addresses broader issues of material and spiritual well-being: healing from the divisiveness of anti-immigrant hysteria, healing from poverty, healing our youth, healing from police violence, healing from the destruction and waste of the prison industrial complex, and healing from environmental wounds.
Our intention is to educate and unite our movement. This means being flexible so each area defines its issues around healing. Everywhere we will keep it real. Our unity is not a paper agreement that can be torn up and discarded. It is unity in spirit, a living, breathing relationship between peoples with common goals. We create it through talking circles, worship services, prayers, forums, and through actions. The Journey for Justice is a sacred journey and we urge you to join us.
ACTION: Contact Dr. Salvador Sandoval, 2115 Ash Ave., Merced, CA 95340; 209-631-6461, firstname.lastname@example.org. Or Aurora Heredia at Centro Bellas Artes, 559-803-0286, email@example.com
Co-sponsors: Centro Bellas Artes, Fresno; Comite No Nos Vamos, Fresno; California National Action Network; Merced Labor Party; Community Homeless Alliance Ministry, San Jose; California Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign; California Prison Moratorium Project; Direct Action Anti-Authoritarian Alliance, Modesto; Fresno Center for Non-violence; Community Alliance, Fresno.
Tens of thousands of people will march on March 17, 2007 on the Pentagon, and on Sunday, March 18, thousands will gather in the streets of San Francisco in the largest antiwar protests since 50,000 people demonstrated in September 2005.
Global Days of Action against war and occupation with demonstrations taking place in hundreds of cities around the world will be held on March 17-18 to mark the fourth anniversary of the start of the “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq. The ANSWER Coalition and other anti-war organizations are calling for mass demonstrations in cities and towns throughout the United States as anti-war actions take place throughout the world on this global day of action.
ACTION: Everyone should come together in unity against the criminal actions of the U.S. government. Visit the ANSWER Coalition for information: http://www.answercoalition.org/