TEACH-IN on the militarization of our peace officers
UPDATE on URBAN SHIELD Conference taking place in Pleasanton.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3rd, 6 p.m potluck / 7 p.m. presentations of speakers
Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church – Owl Room
55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek
George Lippman – Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission
Sharon Adams, Attorney – Civil Rights, First Amendment, Crosses of Lafayette
Family member of victim of police militarization – name TBA
Susan Harman – Urban Shield Conference 2014 volunteer/witness
Additional speakers may still be added, please check back.
DISCUSSION TO FOLLOW – PLEASE BRING FOOD TO SHARE IF ATTENDING POTLUCK
REGISTRATION IS REQUESTED TO ASSESS SPACE NEEDS
THIS IS A FREE EVENT. DONATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED.
No Comments »
The Board of the Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center passed the following resolution on September 15, 2014
Whereas recent events in Ferguson, Missouri have shown that even small police departments have acquired military hardware such as armored personnel carriers (APCs), grenade launchers, military-style “Fritz helmets,” and camouflage uniforms that are conspicuous shows of authority in built-up areas, and
Whereas Davis, California had acquired an APC and seeks to dispose of it (1) and Saddleback College of Mission Viejo, California has acquired an APC, even though the Campus Police force has 10 or fewer officers (2), and
Whereas the use of SWAT team actions has soared from a few hundred annually in the 1970s to more than 50,000 per year by 2005 (3) and SWAT team use has shifted from hostages, barricades, and active shooters (7 percent of uses as analyzed by the American Civil Liberties Union (4)) to routine police tasks such as drug searches and serving search warrants (80 per cent); SWAT teams infrequently find contraband (36 per cent); and often involve forced entry into private residences (65 per cent) and involve risk to innocent people, including children, and
Whereas militarized police can be cut off from their communities rather than be engaged with their communities, as happened in Ferguson, Missouri, and exceed their mission to protect and serve the public, as when battle-clad police in Ferguson fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protestors (5) and also invaded a McDonald’s restaurant to arrest reporters (6), and
Whereas there are far too many police actions resulting in citizen deaths that should result in questioning, arrest, or non-fatal use of force instead.
It is concluded that:
The militarization of police has reached unjustifiable levels,
Militarized police often threaten the public they are to protect and serve, and
The combination of militarized police and pervasive surveillance poses a threat to the civil liberties of Americans.
Therefore, be it resolved that:
The militarization of police needs to be stopped immediately, SWAT team use restored to hostage, barricade, and active shooter situations, and military weapons and equipment returned from police departments to the Federal government for storage or disposal.
BOARD OF THE MOUNT DIABLO PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER, WALNUT CREEK
No Comments »
MT. DIABLO PEACE & JUSTICE CENTER
RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT
WHEREAS, the Mount Diablo Peace & Justice Center upholds the ideals of equal justice under the law, racial justice and human dignity for all; and
WHEREAS, the recent deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and too many others, compel questioning of whether or not equal justice under the law is possible for young men of color – particularly poor, young men of color; and
WHEREAS, these deaths are indicative of a growing social-economic division threatening the current and future well-being of people of color and the larger society; and
WHEREAS, while we recognize there have been some strides within police departments across the nation to engage in constructive dialogue and good faith efforts to improve relations between officers and communities of color and young people, there are still problems that exist and improvements that are needed in order to protect lives; and
WHEREAS, while we recognize that most police officers carry out the mission to protect the public in a manner that is honorable and professional, it is also true that incidents of racial profiling are still a very serious issue; and
WHEREAS, we express solidarity with the thousands of protestors in the Bay Area and throughout the nation who are peacefully expressing their outrage and frustration at the deaths of unarmed African-Americans; and
WHEREAS, while we profoundly believe and insist that all black lives matter, we also believe that the growing divide between “haves and have nots” in American society undermines the realization of that belief in the actual workings of the criminal justice system, our schools and economy,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we encourage people to engage in dialogue around the concepts of equal justice under the law, racial justice and “institutional racism”; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mount Diablo Peace & Justice Center supports Black Lives Matter forums, community meetings and peaceful demonstrations; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Mount Diablo Peace & Justice Center joins with local schools, districts, labor and community groups to call for the creation of a national model for community policing and well-funded, thoughtful programs for youth that divert marginalized young people into academic and career programs, and an end to institutionalized racism in the criminal justice system.
Dan Reynolds Adopted by Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center Board on June 15, 2015
No Comments »
Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center – Resolution – Against Linguistic Racism
Whereas, language is power; and
Whereas, the term “dog whistle language” defines seemingly neutral language (such as “welfare queen,” “food stamp president,” and “the undeserving”) used by politicians, those in the media, and others as a substitute for explicit racial pejoratives to trigger and promote racial anxiety, create racial division, influence the way people vote, and nurture a political climate that has allowed income inequality to expand while appearing innocuous, disguising open class warfare; and
Whereas, dog whistling cannot be resisted by refusing to talk about race because this allows constant racial insinuations to go unchallenged, creating fear and feelings of racial superiority among many whites; and
Whereas, dog whistle racism rests in “colorblindness”;
Whereas, the core stories of colorblindness —that discrimination against minorities has ended, their inferior social positions are deserved, and contemporary whites are innocent victims of reverse discrimination—underpin dog whistle portrayals of nonwhites as threats to imperiled whites; and
Whereas, some politicians, Supreme Court Justices, and others contend that colorblindness means government should not take race into account even to promote racial equality; and
Whereas, some politicians and others use veiled racial references to persuade white voters to support policies that weaken unions and public pensions, defund public schools, block improvements to health care, and favor the extremely rich yet threaten their own interests; and
Whereas, racial politics has destabilized the American middle class—white and nonwhite members alike; and
Whereas, inequality and exploitation are the enemies of all people; and
Whereas, addressing linguistic racism allows American society to combat economic inequality; and
Whereas, the Board of Directors of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center sees the issue of combating economic inequality as being in line with the mission and vision of the Center
Therefore, be it resolved, that the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center condemns “dog-whistle” politics, and political rhetoric of colorblindness, and encourages Americans to condemn it whenever it is used; and
Be it further resolved, that the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center will work to combat racism by focusing on educating Americans about racism’s persistent cultural presence, and ways to transcend it; and
Be it further resolved, that the Board of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center will work to create inclusive environments, expose and eschew linguistic racism, and promote equality; and
Be it further resolved, that the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center encourages its members to work to create inclusive environments, expose and eschew linguistic racism, and promote equality; and
Be it further resolved, that the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center calls upon government at all levels to promptly promote inclusiveness, expose and eschew linguistic racism, and promote equality.
Daniel Reynolds, Board Chair November 17, 2014
No Comments »
70 Years of Nuclear Weapons – At What Cost?
No Comments »
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!
We had a record number of schools participating this year – 42!
Painting by Second Place High School Art Winner
Anna-Sofia Giannicola, Las Lomas High School
No Comments »
THE MT. DIABLO PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER AND CODE PINK PRESENTED THE FOLLOWING LETTER TO THE COUNCIL AFTER HOLDING A STREET PROTEST
January 22, 2015
To the Board of the East Bay Leadership Council
Subject: Protest of your choice of Karl Rove and Ellen Tauscher as speakers at the “29th Annual East Bay USA Dinner”
We, the undersigned, object to your selection of Karl Rove, former strategist for the GW Bush administration, and Ellen Tauscher, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, as honored speakers at a public event in Contra Costa County.
Karl Rove, as a member of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), wrote speeches and other documents containing lies about WMDs in Iraq that led the United States into a disastrous and very expensive war of occupation in that country. That war, costing over 4400 US lives, up to 1 million Iraqi lives and $3 trillion of our tax dollars (and counting), drained resources from much-needed civilian economic development, including green energy programs. Rove has also appeared recently on national TV programs attempting to defend the worst torture techniques used by the CIA, after the release of the “Torture Report” by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Karl Rove is not a leader whose thoughts we respect, or someone whose words we need to hear.
We also object to your choice of Ellen Tauscher as a speaker. As a former member of Congress and as a current board member of 2 nuclear weapons laboratories, she has been an advocate for “safe, reliable and effective” nuclear weapons (effective against whom? to what end?) and a booster of so-called “missile defense.”
The people of the East Bay are interested in the use of their hard-earned tax dollars for sustainable energy programs, civilian economic development, and foreign policy that does not kill and damage our young people in needless wars brought about by lies. We encourage you to seek speakers to can address these, the real needs of our community.
– Signed by representatives from both organizations and all 25+ protesters in attendance.
No Comments »
By Rick Sterling, MtDPJC Board Member and Chair International Affairs Committee
First published, August 14, 2014, in http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/08/if-the-east-bay-was-gaza-how-would-you-feel/
The Palestinian enclave known as Gaza is approximately 25 miles long by 5 miles wide. It is about the same area as the East Bay from Oakland in the north to Fremont in the south. To the west is open water; to the east are the hills (heavily-reinforced razor wire fence for Gaza).
What would life be like if the East Bay of San Francisco was Gaza?
Imagine that is where you were born, where you will spend all your years, where you will die. Your world will be confined to that narrow strip, a lifetime sentence in an open air prison.
* Your family and ancestors lived for many centuries in villages beyond Gaza. In 1948 they were forced to flee their community and find temporary refuge in Gaza. They expected to return to their village. But a week became a month then years and now decades. You cannot even visit your family’s home or village let alone move back there. (Fact: about 80% of Gaza’s nearly 2 million population are refugees or children of refugees. They were driven out of areas now known as Sderot, Ashkelon, etc)
* There are only two entry/exit points for people and two more for goods and supplies in the entire Gaza Strip. But it does not matter because you cannot go out through any of them anyway. Nor can you depart by sea. There are patrolling Israeli Navy warships to capture or kill you if you try.
* You have relatives just 35 miles away in Bethlehem but you have never seen them, they cannot visit you and you cannot visit them. Israel keeps Palestinian Gaza completely separated and detached from the Palestinian West Bank in violation of international agreements including the Oslo Accords.
* If you are desperately sick and need special medical treatment it will be very difficult to get permission to go to hospital in Tel Aviv or Cairo. If you are lucky enough to get that rare permission, you will be pressured to become a collaborator. Most people just die.
* If you are an outstanding student and receive scholarship to study abroad, all your hard work and study may not help because your exit will likely be denied.
* If you are a fisherman, you will be restricted to fishing within three miles of shore. You are not allowed to go into into deeper waters where bigger and more fish are. Israeli Navy gunboats patrol the waters and shoot and kill fishermen who try to go beyond the illegal but enforced restriction.
* If you want to ship goods or work as a dockworker loading and unloading ships, you cannot. Israel does not allow ships to depart or arrive. In 2010, in international waters, Israel killed nine civilians who were trying to bring aid to Gaza.
* If you want to grow fruit and vegetables on land within Gaza but near the border, you will risk being shot, shelled or kidnapped by Israeli soldiers. Israel enforces a “buffer zone” on the Palestinian side of the enclosure around Gaza.
* If you are a Gazan farmer who can successfully produce strawberries and flowers you could earn a good living exporting these to Europe. Unfortunately Israel frequently blocks the export of crops and products from Gaza. More likely your flowers will wilt and die.
* Gaza has no air force or navy or anti-aircraft missiles. On the other side, Israel has the most sophisticated weapons, much of it supplied by United States. Israel drops bombs and targeted missiles at will – killing hundreds then thousands. Israel uses banned weapons such as White Phosphorous and Flechette bombs on civilian homes, UN shelters, hospitals and ambulances.
* You will probably have repeated cases of diarrhea, disease and illness from drinking contaminated water. That is because 90% of the water is unfit for consumption and Israel keeps bombing the power plants necessary for pumping and filtering water.
* You will have a huge problem finding work. The unemployment rate is now at 41%. You will be dependent on international handouts. Israel controls the amount of food permitted to enter Gaza so there is continual shortage leading to nutritional deprivation, stunted growth and anemia.
* You are subject to attacks and massacres every few years. Over three weeks in winter 2008-9 Israel killed over 1440 people, mostly civilians. In 2012 hundreds more were killed. In the last month Israel has killed almost 2,000 Palestinian (80% civilians) while THREE Israeli civilians have been killed.
* Some Gazans protest the prison like conditions by launching mostly home-made projectiles. These unguided “rockets” fired into Israel are largely ineffective and more like fireworks with small explosive. Nearly EVERY DAY of the past month, Israel killed more Palestinian civilians than ALL the Israelis killed by ALL the “rockets’ from Gaza in the past TEN YEARS.
Why are Palestinians designated as “terrorists” when Israel is doing the vast majority of killing?
Is this fair or just? How would YOU feel if the East Bay was Gaza?
No Comments »
Rick Sterling / firstname.lastname@example.org
THE FOLLOWING POSITION LETTER (PREPARED BY JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE, LOS ANGELES) WAS ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF THE MT. DIABLO PEACE & JUSTICE CENTER ON AUGUST 18, 2014
Senator Barbara Boxer
312 N Spring St # 1748
Los Angeles, CA 90012
As people of conscience, we are deeply disappointed with your unconditional support of Israel’s ongoing and increasingly violent occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, and of the recent Israeli invasion of Gaza. You have continuously supported providing Israel with over $3 billion of annual military aid and recently you voted for Senate Resolution 498, which expressed support for Israel’s attack on Gaza and made no mention of Palestinian deaths and the disproportionate use of force against Gaza’s civilian population.
We are shocked by the brutality of Israel’s assault on Gaza. We are appalled by the massive destruction of homes, mosques, schools and hospitals. Israel has already killed close to 2,000 people in Gaza – an estimated 80% of them civilians. Of these, nearly 500 are children who comprise 25% of those killed by weapons you have voted to give Israel. More than 10,000 people are seriously wounded. Hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza are homeless and living in fear.
• We call upon you to support the international commission of inquiry appointed by the United Nations to look into possible human rights violations and war crimes committed during Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
• We call upon you to condemn violence on both sides and to stop justifying Israel’s use of disproportionate force and killing of innocent civilians because of “its right to defend itself,” which leads only to an escalation of violence.
• There is no military solution to the political issues dividing Israelis and Palestinians; therefore, we urge you to demand that Israel immediately end its blockade and siege of Gaza and commit yourself to joining an international effort to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
• We call upon you to support genuine peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian unity government. If the Israeli government will not participate in talks with that unity government, then no further American aid of any sort should be provided to Israel.
• We call upon you to support the United States providing immediate humanitarian aid and supplies to Gaza. Our tax dollars have played a significant role in the destruction of Gaza; now our tax dollars must be used to rebuild Gaza and aid the civilian population.
There can be no peace in the Middle East until there is genuine peace in Israel/Palestine and that will only come with equal rights and justice for all who live there.
Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, Walnut Creek
Estee Chandler, Jewish Voice for Peace, Los Angeles Organizer
Taher Herzallah, West Coast Regional Coordinator, American Muslims for Palestine
Shakeel Syed, Board Member, American Muslims for Palestine
Rev. Jerald M. Stinson, United Church of Christ
Rev. Darrel Meyers, Presbyterian Church USA
Rev. Ann Schranz, Monte Vista Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Montclair*
Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen
Edie Pistolesi, Ph.D., Professor of Art, California State University, Northridge
David Klein, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics, Director, Climate Science Program
California State University, Northridge
Anthony J. Litwinko, Friends of Sabeel, Los Angeles
Karin Pally, member, Women in Black-Los Angeles
Sarah Thompson, Executive Director, Christian Peacemaker Teams
*affiliation for identification purposes
No Comments »
Resolution adopted by the board of the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center of Walnut Creek, California in support of granting unaccompanied child migrants refugee status and political asylum.
A. Whereas nearly 70,000 children are expected to show up alone at our border this year, driven violently out of their countries and with their government not willing or able to protect them,
B. Whereas our laws have clear precedents for this humanitarian crisis and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recommends to designate most of the Central Americans fleeing regional violence and gang extortion as refugees,
C. Whereas we receive mounting evidence that these children are escaping Honduras, El Salvador and parts of Guatemala to save their lives, to prevent becoming sex slaves or being forcefully recruited to join drug gangs and become murderers themselves,
D. Whereas 400 personal interviews of 1 hour each that where conducted on the children by the UN Agency of Refugees have revealed that 58% of them have received specific death threats, often by gangs leaving body parts in front of their houses, which have urged their parents to pool their meager resources and send them on their dangerous journey North rather than face certain death at home,
E. Whereas gang violence qualifies as grounds for international protection and the US has granted many claims to children with attorneys requesting asylum, therefore we have a proven legal framework to handle these cases,
F. Whereas the scale of this humanitarian challenge pales in comparison to the 2 million+ Syrian refugees, with 700,000 of them received by Turkey alone, after we encouraged them to do so even when they have a country 12 times smaller than we do and are already 7 times as crowded (per square kilometer, Turkey has 94 people and our United States only 13),
G. Whereas this crisis is regional, it requires a concerted effort by the US to coordinate a unified response with other countries in the region, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, therefore the burden of future migrations can be shared in the region,
H. Whereas this call for help can galvanize the compassion of communities all over the US, with families offering loving homes and schools as the children wait for the courts to decide their future,
Therefore the Board of Directors of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center of Walnut Creek, California resolves:
1. To encourage our Immigration Authorities to expedite the processing of these young asylum seekers so they can be eligible to be hosted by their relatives and by volunteer American families as they wait for their court date.
2. To encourage our State Department to set up safe houses and processing centers within Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to pre-qualify them, as we have done in the past in Vietnam and Haiti, giving high priority to those who have been already targeted by the criminal gangs.
3. To encourage our Government to coordinate their efforts with neighboring countries, for example giving preference to a host country where children already have relatives or friends willing to host them.
4. To encourage our political leaders and fellow Americans to extend compassion towards these innocent children, while embracing the promise represented by each one of them.
# # #
No Comments »