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Read the Notes from the June CNV Conference Call!

Posted by Erin Bechtol
06.28.17

On June 27th we held our monthly National Campaign Nonviolence Conference Call.  We discussed the events coming up during the Week of Actions Sept. 16-24, 2017.  If you missed the call, you can read the notes or listen to the audio below. The next call is scheduled for July 25th, mark you calendars today and RSVP here!

Campaign Nonviolence National Organizing Conference Call

June 27, 2017, 5pm Pacific/ 8pm Eastern (60 minutes)

 

Facilitator: John Dear

Introduction

  • Welcome—John Dear
  • Centering—Veronica Pelicaric
    • “You must give birth to your images. They are the future waiting to be born. Fear not the strangeness you feel. The future must enter you long before it happens. Just wait for the birth, for the the hour of the new clarity.”— Rainer Maria Rilke
  • Roll Call—Ryan Hall reads the list of people on the call.

 

Updates:

  • John Dear offers an introduction for CNV
    • We have lost the imagination of peace as conditions in the country and the world spiral out of control. We are doing the week of nonviolent action in order to reimagine that vision and hope for a nonviolent world.
    • Fourth year of the week of action. Currently have 398 actions lined up. Connect the dots between war, poverty, racism, and environmental destruction. Asking for public events, specifically public marches for maximum visibility. “There’s nothing like the tramp, tramp of boots on the street to bring about peace and justice.
    • Whatever we do, we try to do the best we can. Keep in mind that we are working towards the congressional elections in 2018. There will be events nationwide and particularly in Washington D.C. Talk with organizers in your community about your vision of a nonviolent city. Check out Ken Butigan’s call to action here: http://www.paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence/
    • Tell your friends and ask them to get involved. Events already registered in every state. What makes us different from the other organizations and demonstrations? We are trying to be meticulously nonviolent, to connect the dots between nonviolent goals, and to actualize the dream of a nonviolent culture.
  • Ryan will call on individuals to share their plans for the week of actions in order to help people both on the call and on the blog to come up with ideas for their own actions.

 

Mary Ellen Quinn, Bangor, ME

  • Had first planning meeting two weeks ago. Have decided to continue with what they’ve done for the past three years — a rally and march in the downtown area. Bangor is a town of about 35,000 people. Pax Christi Maine and Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine have been the lead organizations in the peace movement in Bangor, working with about 40 cosponsors. Networking has been one of the biggest blessings of their movement. Organizations may be working towards different aspects of peace and nonviolence, but it works together. Rally includes speakers and music, food, children’s activities, and the march through downtown. 150-200 people have come in the past few years.
  • Last year the focus was on youth. High school and college students invited to talk about their experiences with violence (racism, anti-Muslim sentiment, sexual assault, etc.) and their efforts to overcome violence.
  • Adding an art component this year to include store front window painting. Theme is “sow seeds of nonviolence,” and now working on a design that will be recognizable throughout town. The goal is to have conversations with the store owners to explain the message and importance of nonviolence.
  • Peace and Justice Center leadership wants to hold an educational series in September about the issues of violence and how they are interconnected.
  • Local radio, tv, and newspapers have been attentive. Hold a press conference the day before the rally in order to spread the word.
  • Hoping to duplicate the events in Bangor in Portland this year to reach a wider audience.
  • Encourage the cosponsors to write letters to the editor and op-ed pieces in the newspapers. Write about what happens both locally and globally through the lens of a nonviolent culture.

Sue Woodling, Raleigh, NC

  • Now into their third year being active. Started with Lutheran Peace Fellowship aiming to do one event, but doing a week of events instead. One advantage is their committee being composed of people of different faiths and from different peace organizations. As a branch of Campaign Nonviolence, they are functioning as an umbrella so groups don’t duplicate each other’s activities.
  • 11 events scheduled right now for the week of peace.
    • Starting on Friday the 15th will have “Common Grounds Coffee Cafe.” Someone will sing peace related songs there.
    • On Sunday, asking the churches to do Bread for the World offering of letters.
    • On Monday offering Restorative Justice Workshop led by a law professor from the community who has worked in schools and with death row inmates. Middle East book group will also meet Monday.
    • On Tuesday the county commissioner will be talking about affordable housing in the community. Will also have peace picnic with Loaves and Fishes and other youth groups.
    • On Wednesday they will have a speaker on environmental issues and an event on the Middle East.
    • Thursday on the International Day of Peace they will hold a prayer service with priests, pastors, rabbis, etc. throughout the state to sign a letter to the president asking him not to use nuclear weapons. The letters will be blessed and sent off.
    • On Friday, NC Peace Action Awards Dinner will go to the youth in their community.
  • This year they will not have the peace festival on Saturday. The festival was a huge amount of work and did not reach new people. Instead they are having groups speak and present their causes throughout the week in order to reach more people.
  • Asking cities throughout NC to get involved and become nonviolent cities. Struggle to get adequate publicity since there are demonstrations almost every week in Raleigh. Still looking for a way to raise Campaign Nonviolence above the noise. Use a CNV banner and bookmarks to spread the word about their cause and meet once a month throughout the year.
  • Now looking at how to approach the city of Raleigh about how to become a nonviolent city.

Catherine Kreuter, SLC, UT

  • Two Utah groups: Utah Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, est. 2007, and the Gandhi Alliance for Peace, est. 1999, both founded by Deb Sawyer. The groups are separate but cosponsor many activities.
  • UCAN planning its annual Beat the Bomb Drum Fest  in Liberty Park on Sunday 9/24 during the week of actions. 3-4 drumming groups invited and paid. Each group drums for half an hour, with 10 minute breaks between. The event is free and open to the public. During breaks, everyone is invited to look at the displays about the countries with nuclear weapons. There is a gift table with CNV brochures, t-shirts and bumper stickers that say “Yes to Peace, No to Bombs.” These things are all offered for people to take what they feel moves them, only to make a donation if they feel inspired. Includes joyful dancing and opportunities to sign up for emails.
  • GAP has an annual birthday party for Gandhi (whose birthday is on 10/2). This year the party will be on Sunday 10/1 in Liberty Park from 3-5pm in the aviary. The park does not charge admission in the amphitheater for that day. The program is limited to one hour, honoring a UT peacemaker: Aden Batar, director of immigration and refugee resettlement for Catholic Community Services. He will speak and there will be music and dance performances. After this hour, they will move to the aviary where they will plant a new tree and sing songs of peace, then enjoy refreshments and the gift table.
  • These are both established groups in the community and their numbers are growing. GAP offered t-shirts with Gandhi’s face and quotes on peace in the school and they were a huge hit. Both groups are looking into renting billboard space to share their news.
  • CA artist John August Swanson’s art encourages protection of life for all on earth: people, creatures, water, air, environment, and especially a world free of nuclear weapons. Three of his high quality posters on the eradication of nuclear weapons were chosen to use as gifts for speakers, teachers, etc. His art enhances CNV work.
  • They don’t get huge turnouts for events, but they are consistent. Forming a community of people who look forward to the drum fest, the birthday celebration, and the downwinders memorial. Like water dripping on stone — not glamorous work, but it is persistent and change is being made in the long run. Even with only 17 people at a downwinders memorial, some change is happening, inspiring one of the attendees to share the video they watched with other people too.

Lisa Parker, Philadelphia, PA with PeaceDay Philly

  • Philadelphia has about 1.5 million people. PeaceDay Philly is in its seventh year of holding programs in personal, local, and global peace. This year PeaceDay is 9/17-23. Offering programs, collaborating on activities, and inviting the Philadelphia region to get involved, think about what peace they want in their lives, and take action to make that happen.
  • One priority is focusing on the minute of silence on September 21, connecting to the global intention of creating peace.
  • Every year they get a statement from the mayor, a state senate resolution, and involvement from the Philadelphia police department. Police want to engage positively with community members — every organization should consider working with their police department to give them a chance to get involved.
  • Built their website, peacedayphilly.org, around the concept of providing resources for people to be inspired and take action. The website has turned out to be one of the most valuable things they offer the national and international communities.
  • Look at un.org/peaceday to check out the theme and the 100 day countdown message from the secretary general. Lisa is a representative to the UN for the World Peace Prayer Society, will start and end their programs by saying, “May peace prevail on earth,” uniting people in that common
  • Offering program on mindful activism. Important at this point in our national life to promote peace in a meaningful way. There will also be a Peace Day concert and a crossing cultures event. Look at peacedayphilly.org for more information about the events they will be holding.

Bob Estes and Caroline Stevenson, Little Rock, AR

  • Third year of Arkansas Peace Week. This year they are collaborating with the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and the city of Little Rock as they celebrate the 60th anniversary of integration on 9/24 — coinciding with the Week of Actions. Will hold a festival near the Central High School Historic Site, tying in with other activities the city will be holding. This is a great opportunity to get visibility with people outside the usual peace groups in the area.
  • Will still be collaborating with other peace groups to encourage them to host events. There are several groups running events — Pilgrimage for Peace in April; Catholic Center group hosted John Dear to discuss peace, protest, and politics; commemorating Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August. Many of the events related to peace in the Little Rock area are spread throughout the year.

Monica Juma, Memphis, TN

  • Having a Peace Walk on 9/16 in the morning. Swami Ji will , a Hindu leader who believes in universal peace and unity among faiths, will lead the walk. Sunday afternoon will be third annual interfaith vigil at the Civil Rights Museum, speakers will talk about their vision and working towards a nonviolent Memphis. Monday night Swami Ji will speak. Thursday will be a panel discussion on juvenile justice and prison reform. Friday, like last year, they will have people holding signs saying “Nonviolent Memphis” at busy intersections during rush hour for optimum visibility.

Angela Parker, Marin County, CA

  • Elliot Adams will be holding a nonviolent workshop in Marin on 9/16. On 9/17 he’ll be doing a nonviolent presentation for the Social Justice of Marin annual dinner. On 9/18 they are planning collaboratively with the Hope Tank to host a compassion circle and sing along to build community and break through the isolation. They will also have a forgiveness workshop and nonviolent pledge. Another day will be a workshop for nonviolent communication skills and building our new paradigm. Earthcitizens.net includes open source tools for workshops. Reaching out to vets, muslim community, and center for domestic peace to see who will collaborate.
  • The local GAR chapter has given her a platform for April 2018 to give a nonviolence presentation. Focus is on both talking about nonviolence and how to battle the violence epidemic, and also how to grow the new world and build a compassionate community.

Jerry Maynard, Houston, TX

  • Third annual freeway sign campaign: groups of individuals go on overpasses throughout the city at the same time to hold up signs (“Disarm now,” “Honk for peace,” etc.). This year they will be doing it at the beginning of the day when people are driving in to work to have people start the day with an important message on their mind, and at the end of the day when people are returning home.
  • Holding a teach in at the courtyard of the City Hill in Houston to launch their effort to create a nonviolent city. Will have different community leaders  and organizers come to talk about and publicly envision what it would mean to be a violence free city. (No conflict? No law enforcement, or no need for law enforcement? etc.) Doing it in the courtyard to reclaim public spaces as places for communal dialogue and communal growing.
  • Holding a solidarity walk for people of color who have been victims of police brutality. They have at least 10 individuals who have been killed by the local police, and hope this walk of solidarity will help honor their lives and highlight the immediate need for change. Don’t worry about offending people. Dare to be different. Dare to be hopeful.

 

Ryan notes that we have heard so many great actions on this call. We are making real progress towards building a nonviolent culture and can be successful if we spread the ideas shared here with everyone.

 

Conclusion: John Dear

  • Please register your events if you haven’t already. Don’t be discouraged — we are not alone in this work. People all over the country share this vision of a nonviolent future and are working together to make it happen. Keep using the word nonviolence, invite people to be nonviolent to themselves, their community, and the world. It makes a difference. Next month, Cindy Sheehan has been invited to join the call in July to speak against war. In August we will hear from other organizers again.

 

Closing: 1 Min.

 

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