Public Witness

CHICAGO: CPTers join protest calling for living wage, racial equality


Activists from Chicago and all across the United States held protests calling for a fair, fifteen-dollar national minimum wage on Tuesday, November 10.  

But for those at the protest, the low wages that keep many families in poverty is just one component of the structural racism within the United States.  

"This isn't just about money. This is about justice. This is about the black community. The brown community," said one of the protesters that asked not to be named. "This is about black lives, about police brutality, and about Rekia."  

Rekia Boyd was a twenty-year-old whom police officer Dante Servin shot and killed three years ago.  The protesters marched and demanded that Dante Servin face justice. 

Members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine team showed up in solidarity for the protest.   Currently in Hebron, dozens of people have died at the hand of the Israeli military in what Amnesty International has termed “extrajudicial executions.” Israeli leaders currently serving in the government speak of Palestinians and other non-Jews inegregiously racist terms, justifying violence against them. 

"We came out today because CPT understands that violence is rooted in oppression and that through our work we have to work on all forms of oppressions including an unfair wage that is rooted racism," said field worker Cody O'Rourke. "And it is through this coalition building that we have witnessed tangible changes being made across the movement that is calling for justice across Israel/Palestine."  

CHICAGO:CPT trainees join coordinated witnesses against state brutality in Chicago and Palestine


Black Youth Project 100 leader Charlene Carruthers
(center, seated) reminds her comrades that they are 
there because the Chicago mayor wants to allocate an
additional $200 million to the Chicago Police Dept. 

Where does the money go? This question was just one of the the common themes in the coordinated actions of the Chicago chapters of Black Lives Matter and Jewish Voice for Peace coordinated on the weekend of 24-25 October 2015.  CPTers in the middle of a month long training attended the events, employing their public witness, human rights documentation, and nonviolent direct action support skills. Other CPTers from the administrative team and field teams also participated. 

On 24 October marches to stop police brutality rocked the entire United States, making visible the lives stolen by state violence (one African-American dies every 28 hours at the hands of police or Correctional Officer in the US).  In Chicago, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) met at the convention center. Mayor Rahm Emanuel had invited them to learn from Chicago Police Department (CPD).  The CPD is notorious for corruption; recently victims of systemic Chicago police torture won a precedent-setting reparations payout. 

CPT trainees demand independent investigation into Afghan hospital bombing

“The U.S. cannot investigate itself.”

“While you’re shopping, bombs are dropping.”

These were some the core messages Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) conveyed through signs and chants on 9 October 2015 when it marched through the streets of Chicago, demanding an independent investigation into the hospital bombing in Kunduz, Afghanistan by the United States armed forces. On 3 October, the U.S. military carried out a bombing raid on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, resulting in twenty-two deaths, including ten hospital staff and twelve patients.  Doctors Without Borders is requesting an independent investigation into the bombing from the International Humanitarian Fact-finding Commission (IHFFC).

Members of CPT gathered on Friday outside of the British Consulate in downtown Chicago dressed in blood-spattered hospital attire and carrying a black coffin to symbolize the deaths at the hospital in Kunduz.   Alicia R from London delivered a letter to the British Consulate urging the British government to request an investigation by the IHFFC.  Only a member country can request such an investigation.

As the march started, chants of “while you’re shopping, bombs are dropping” and “bombing hospitals is a war crime,” echoed through the streets.  At several intersections, members of the group dramatized the bombing by falling in the middle of the street as another marcher hit them with a sign shaped as a bomb that had the letters, “USA,” on it.

The procession stopped at the Canadian Consulate where two Canadian citizen trainees had a meeting to urge the Canadian government to also request an investigation by the IHFFC. During the meeting, other members held vigil outside. They sang and handed out information about the bombing to passers-by.

The march concluded at the US Federal Building where Kody Hersh from Philadelphia, PA and Douglas Johnson Hatlem from Chicago, IL knelt in front of the main doors preventing access as they prayed. Federal security locked the doors and rerouted pedestrian traffic, while CPT members and other supporters held a prayer vigil in memory of the innocent lives lost in Kunduz, Afghanistan. 

As of Sunday 11 October, no member country has yet requested an investigation from the IHFFC and Doctors Without Borders continues to speak out against the hospital bombing.


DETROIT: Conversation as Action-CPT Goes to the Source

photo: Hayden Abene
CPT Detroit Delegation gathered at Source Booksellers for a presentation and conversation on food, faith, and sustainability.  Pictured (from left) delegate Cate Desjardins, delegation leader Sarah Thompson, delegate Ian Sawyer, and bookstore owner Janet Webster.

Plato described it as finding your way out of the cave; social activist Grace Lee Boggs spoke about the evolution of our thinking; Jesus said to know the truth is to become free. They, and so many others, observed that our minds are often limited by illusions. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) takes great care to place ourselves in the path of individuals who can help us more clearly see the truth of what is happening in our world and the way we are attached to false narratives. Having given ourselves into the ongoing work of freeing our hearts and minds, we also seek to create conditions that bear public witness to the search for truth. None of us can leave the cave of internalized oppression on our own. We need people who have experienced the joy of this journey to invite, walk with us, hold us accountable, and celebrate with us.

Often times, actions that bear witness to truth in the context of entrenched oppression take the form of protest, transgression of unjustly drawn boundaries, or creative venues for speech. But for our Detroit Delegation action, CPTers went directly to the Source. Source Booksellers is a small independent bookstore specializing in the kinds of books that awaken consciousness and support people and communities seeking truth together. Storeowner Janet Webster Jones collaborated with delegation leader Sarah Thompson to host a conversation focused on food, faith and sustainability. Members of the delegation presented stories guided by the five principles outlined by Mennonite and writer Doris Janzen Longacre in Living More with Less (1980)—a practical guide for living in sustainable ways that are mindful of both the future of the planet and the plight of the poor:

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 16, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, July 16, 2015

Pray for the participants and speakers at the Peacemaker Congress 2015 this weekend.  Ask for God to undergird the proceedings, so that the people present may find creative new ways to address the Powers who shut off water to the poor in Detroit, and abuse the marginalized in all the locations where Christian Peacemaker Teams works.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 25 February 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, 25 February 2015

Pray for the people of Hebron.  25 February 2014 marks the twenty-first anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, when a U.S.-born Israeli settler murdered twenty-nine Muslim men and boys while they prayed there. The Israeli military killed and injured dozens more Palestinians in the demonstrations that followed, imposed a strict 100-day curfew, and, among many more punitive responses on the Palestinian population of Hebron began a process that led to illegally restricting them from accessing Shuhada Street.  This week, there will be several nonviolent demonstrations protesting the closing of Shuhada Street. Pray for the safety of demonstrators, as Israeli soldiers will likely respond with tear gas, sound bombs, and violent arrests. Pray for the safety of all people in the Old City, as Israeli military oppression brings collective punishment to shop owners, families, and young children. Pray for the CPT Hebron Team who will be in the demonstrations.

 *Epixel for Sunday, March 1, 2015
 For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard
when I cried to him. Psalm 22:24
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's  Revised Common Lectionary  readings.

CHICAGO, USA: CPTers lament Palestinian deaths; two arrested at Israeli consulate.

On Friday, 18 July, the day after Israel announced its ground invasion of Gaza, about thirty members and supporters of Christian Peacemakerprocession Teams (CPT) converged at the Israeli Consulate in downtown Chicago to lament the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians and denounce Israel’s indefensible violence. 

Vigil participants, representing at least seven countries, carried large photographs of Palestinian children killed in Gaza.  As they walked slowly in mournful procession around the skyscraper that houses the Israeli Consulate, a single voice rang out over a loud speaker, piercing the silence with the name of each Palestinian who had died as a result of Israel’s military operations since 12 June 2014. 

TORONTO, CANADA: Multi-faith vigil begins at Israeli consulate to condemn targeting of civilians, blockade of Gaza

Jews, Muslims, Christians, and people of conscience have begun a continuous three-day vigil outside the Israeli Consulate in downtown Toronto.  Starting at 9:00 a.m. this morning, 24 July, the vigil will continue until the afternoon of Saturday, 26 July, 2014.

 Ursula Franklin

The vigil condemns the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, the seven-year blockade of Gaza and Canadian complicity in the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.  It is calling for the immediate cessation of the Israel’s assault on Gaza, now in its sixteenth day. 

Canadian Jewish Holocaust survivor Ursula Franklin, when speaking against Israel’s 2009 attack on Gaza, said “Never Again” means “never again for all people.” 

Israeli historian Ilan Pappe has recently described Israeli policies as an “incremental genocide.”

Concerned that Israel may be in violation of international law, Amnesty International is calling for an international investigation into the conduct of Israeli forces. In the course of its offensive, Israel has targeted hospitals and civilian homes.

Christian Peacemaker Teams members will be maintaining a continuous presence at the vigil.


CHICAGO, USA: Christian Peacemaker Teams to mourn Operation Brothers Keeper/Protective Edge deaths at Israeli Consulate

On 18 July 2014, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), friends and supporters will gather at the Israeli Consulate in downtown Chicago to mourn collectively and individually the deaths of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Operation Brother’s Keeper and Operation Protective Edge.  CPT trainees, Peacemaker Corps members, and others wishing to show solidarity with those who are suffering, will form a procession, carrying pictures of the dead and reading the names of all who have died.  Some members of the group will then attempt to engage members of the Israeli Consulate in dialogue.

Mohamed Abu Khdeir, 16Mohamed Malka, 3

ACTION: If you are in the Chicagoland area, join us at 11:30 a.m. Friday outside the Israeli Consulate (500 E Madison St.) for the procession.  If you have Facebook, consider changing your profile picture to an image of one of the Palestinians whom Israel has killed (Available for downloading here)—or you can right-click on the images in this release.  Pay attention to Palestinian coverage of events, including the website and consider supporting Palestinian civil society’s call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (see Continue to pray alongside Palestinians, Israelis, and all those around the world seeking peace and justice in the region.

Look for updates about the action, and CPT’s support for Palestinian nonviolent resistance, on Facebook [] and Twitter [].

TORONTO, ON: CPT supports ‘The Secret Trial Five’ at ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice

On 18 April 2014, some three hundred people participated in the annual Ecumenical Good Friday Walk for Justice by leaving the Church of the Holy photoTrinity in downtown Toronto under grey skies and light rain, and walking to several ‘stations’ in the city that represent environmental or social injustices.

At a plain grey multi-story building—the location of Federal Courtrooms—fourteen Toronto CPTers led the crowd in a responsive reading prepared by CPTer Peter Haresnape, praying for the opening of our eyes, hearts, hands, borders, and society with respect to the unholy security state’s hidden agenda of racism and Islamophobia.