Peace & Justice

Wednesday afternoon at Modesto Peace/Life Center

Wednesdays, the Peace/Life Center is usually open from 12:00 noon to 2:00 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.

Peace tote bags now available

The Modesto Peace/Life Center has produced a new tote bag with a graphic of the world surrounded by the word “peace” in 18 languages. The artwork was especially created for us by our own Peggy Castaneda! The bag design is sturdy cotton canvas, made in the U.S, and is suitable for groceries. A Big Thank You to Ken Schroeder for so diligently pursuing this effort to find the ideal shopping tote bag!

As we become aware of the ecological disaster created by disposable plastic bags, many people are changing to reusable bags. Be green and spread a message of peace. Pick up one or more of our bags for $7. Makes a great gift, too. Call Ken at 526-2303.

Also available as gifts-buttons and magnets, the song book Rise Up Singing, and David Smith-Ferri’s book of poems about Iraq, Battlefield Without Borders.



We are not alone


A quick survey of other newsletters this month has revealed that, like many other such groups, the Modesto Peace Life Center is acting out its principles in the streets for all to see.

From the Fresno Community Alliance paper, the headline:


“Fall is upon us and the war continues to drag on. While many hoped the occupation of Iraq would be over, Peace Fresno has not given up and wants to keep the pressure on our government. We continue to act for peace. …Responses on the peace corner are increasingly positive. The Central Valley Counter-Recruitment Coalition has resumed visiting high schools to provide students with alternative to military service. …Let’s continue the struggle for peace together.”

From The Pirate’s Log of Modesto Junior College:


(We can’t reproduce the pictures from which these captions are taken but here’s the gist of it):

“A man with a mission marches through Civic Center BART station holding his sign for all travelers to see; he wants the U.S. Out of Iraq Now.

“WE need a revolution,” an activist with a radio hooked up to a loud speaker passionately cries from a make-shift booth on a sidewalk near Dolores Park during the San Francisco Peace Rally.”

From the article: “Thousands of concerned citizens from around the Bay Area and out-of-towners gathered at Civic Center Plaza sending a message to the U.S. Government. Signs spoke loudly… On one, a hand raised in a fist proclaimed: The World Can’t Wait.” Signs spoke loudly from the hands of laborers, professionals, homeless and politicians.…”…End the War Now”… Impeach Bush” …”The people of the United States want peace.”

Even in the restrained Quaker Action magazine, I found a big picture of a woman holding the sign, “HONK FOR PEACE”. Every Saturday in Denver, people can be seen holding signs like “Peace is Patriotic”, or “Torture is not a family value.” And “Support the Troops: Bring Them Home Now”.

As those of you who show up at the corner of McHenry and Needham on Fridays know, we are all working for the same conclusion of the war. Whether you are able to carry a sign at Modesto’s vigils, contribute money to our own Peace Center, or you work in other ways, we affirm your dedication and thank all of you, whoever you are.

IMPORTANT INSIGHTS FROM JANE JACOBS, author of many books on planning for the future. Her thoughts may make you think about what we, too, can do to avoid a Dark Age Ahead.

Dark Age Ahead

Selected by MYRTLE OSNER

In analyzing the breakdown of societies and cultures who avoid spiraling into a Dark Age, Jacobs points to Ireland, which was beset by the English “conquest” — (and foreshadowed by others such as Western Rome)

Jacobs points to the power of memory as part of what those who succumb to a Dark Age have lost.

“Instead, Ireland is almost miraculous in not having sunk into a Dark Age. The conquering English especially during their brutal invasions, massacres, and oppressions under Elizabeth I and Oliver Cromwell treated the Roman Catholic Irish as an aboriginal people to be cleared from the land. Famine, pestilence, war, and death devastated Ireland for centuries.

“But during all these ordeals, the Irish stubbornly remembered who they were… largely through the fragile memory of song. These songs prevented them and their progeny from forgetting what they had lost.

“ ‘Every Irish song is a song of protest,” said an Irish lawyer. They suffered but they never gave up on themselves and the culture they valued.’

“Song is an extremely effective way of passing a culture down through generations.”

The Song Circle of the Peace Center can serve as a memory bank for our children, just as it did for the Irish, and perhaps for many other cultures. We at the Peace Center invite you to recall some of the “anti-war” songs that we often sing at our Song Circle sessions. And, do come and hear the songs of John McCutcheon in January, perhaps the most famous of which is quoted in this issue of Stanislaus Connections (see p. 3).