United States

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.


.http://www.msf.org/article/msf-kunduz-attack-ihffc-awaits-us-afghanistan-consent-proceed-independent-investigation

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Privilege in Palestine and Pennsylvania

A month ago I visited Israel and Palestine for the first time to learn about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Instead, I learned about the United States. That place, seven hours ahead of my home time, made me feel like I was living in an America past.

When I rode past the barrier separating Israel from the land outside, I wondered about the origins of Wall Street in New York City. When I saw Palestinians get off the bus at a checkpoint to have their documents reviewed while the border guard hopped on the bus to glance at my U.S. passport, I couldn’t help thinking of Rosa Parks. When I heard stories of how Palestinians lost their homes to demolitions, evictions, arson and unemployment, I thought about the Lenape who used to live where I live in central Pennsylvania—but over the course of decades were pushed to reservations in Oklahoma.

The guns are different, the land is different, but the ideologies are the same. People with power—people like me—use any means to take what we want. We talk a good line about laws and rights, but deep down we’re selfish, and fearful. We’re afraid of strangers, afraid of scarcity, afraid of death, and we do everything in our power to keep those fears at bay.

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 2, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 2, 2015 

Pray for Veronica, a Mexican human rights lawyer who stopped by the CPT office for lunch after she relocated to Chicago in the wake of serious threats to her safety because of  her advocacy on behalf of Mexican farmers whose land was targeted for confiscation by multinational corporations. Her struggle mirrors that of CPT's partners.  Pray for CPT's partner communities in Colombia and Iraqi Kurdistan who are also resisting violence generated by multinational resource extraction corporations.  

 *Epixel for Sunday, September 5, 2015 
The rich and the poor have this in common: the LORD is the maker of them all.

Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of anger will fail.

Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor.

Do not rob the poor because they are poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate;

for the LORD pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them. 
Proverbs 22:2, 8-9, 22-23

 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary 
readings.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Resistance to KXL Pipeline in Lakota country grows

TransCanada Pipeline’s Ltd. and the state of South Dakota have violated the treaty rights of the Indigenous people of South Dakota in their push to run the Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) pipeline through Lakota land.  Thus, on 26-29 July 2015, CPT travelled to Pierre, South Dakota, at the invitation of the Sicangu Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe). An alliance of local landowners, NGOs, and tribal governments had organized a legal challenge to the KXL during a nine-day series of hearings in which TransCanada Corporation sought re-certification of its construction permit from the public utility commission (PUC) of South Dakota.

The KXL pipeline aims to transport diluted bitumen to the Gulf Coast from the tar sands formation in northern Alberta, a crude oil source so dirty that scientists are predicting that its impact will amount to a "game over" for the climate. Moreover, Indigenous people in the vicinity of the tar sands and other proposed pipelines involved with it have experienced treaty violations, massive pollution of homelands, and violence from temporary work crews.

CPTer Charles Wright, reservist King Grossman, and I arrived in Pierre on Sunday, 26 July, and attended a protest march co-organized by the Indigenous Environmental Network and Dakota Rural Action. There were around 400 people walking, including many from local reservations, and about twenty on horseback. Lakota and Dakota people from Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Standing Rock, Sisseton, and Yankton were represented and led the march across the Missouri River. A water ceremony and prayer time centered the gathering around respect for unci maka (mother earth), honoring the ancestors, and planning for the next seven generations who will inherit the planet we leave behind.

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.


“For Such A Time As This” Esther 4:14 –An open letter to Stephen Colbert

“For Such A Time As This” Esther 4:14 –An open letter to Stephen Colbert

On June 24, 2015, the children of the martyred Clementa C. Pinkney had to walk beneath the Confederate flag to where their father lay in state, in the South Carolina Capitol building.  That flag stood for their enslavement, their dehumanization. That flag was on Dylan Roof’s car when he drove to Mother Emanuel, planning to slaughter your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Black people—adults and children—all over the United States continue to be killed and brutalized with impunity by law enforcement.

Brother Stephen, you are possibly the most privileged white Christian South Carolinian on the planet.  We are not criticizing you for your position.  We know that you have often used your media platform to speak out for marginalized people.  Christians in South Carolina have told us of your generous gifts to public education there and we know you have made significant charitable contributions to other worthy causes.

We are asking you to do more.  Black Christians are asking White Christians to stop white people from killing them.  You could use your media platform to speak out against the police murder and brutalization of  communities of color.  Asking you, as we have this week, to use your privilege to take down the flag in Columbia is also a very small thing.  We know it is not without risk.  CBS executives may not like it.  You have an extremely slim chance of ending up in jail.  You could receive threats from people who want the flag to stay up (which is why we have offered accompaniment.)

But unlike Queen Esther, you are not facing certain death at the hands of a capricious monarch (Esther 14:11.)  And you have not lived out the violence that  Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Ethel Lance, Tywanza Sanders, Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson, Susan Jackson and millions of your black fellow Christians have under the Confederate Flag.

So make a statement, Brother Stephen.  Call on White people, whether they are wearing uniforms or flags, to stop killing and brutalizing black people.  There are Christians in South Carolina waiting to meet us.  Let’s take down that flag.

Today’s Open Letter is the last posting of the Colbert Campaign.  We are asking our constituency  to

  • go to https://www.facebook.com/colbertlateshow?fref=ts and in the comments section post the link to this open letter and tell Colbert that now is his Esther 4:14 moment. Today he can start creating a less violent future for all the black and brown children in the United States.
  • For those of you with Twitter accounts:  You can send messages to @StephenAtHome.  We have no way of gauging how many are getting through or who is reading them.  Doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.  Good hashtags are #BlackLivesMatter and #TakeDownTheFlag. But the MOST IMPORTANT hashtag is #LSSC ( which stands for LateShowStephenColbert). Use pictures, if possible. Again, remind him that God may have put him in his position for just such a time as this, and that black and brown children deserve not to live in fear of white violence.  Use pictures. 
  • Check out: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23LSSC&src=typd.   Favorite the #LSSC tweets of other Brothers and Sisters who are encouraging Colbert to travel to Columbia with CPT and Suey Park. Doing so will give these tweets more prominence.

 To donate to the cost of the CPTers’ travel to Columbia, SC, click here. IF WHITE PEOPLE RUN SCREAMING THROUGH THE STREETS OF COLUMBIA, SC EXORCISING THE CITY OF ALL SYMBOLS OF WHITE SUPREMACY BEFORE STEPHEN COLBERT, SUEY PARK AND CPT GET THERE, the money will go toward CPTers’ travel to project locations in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Northern Ontario, and Palestine. 

Flaming arrow, reciprocating metal saw—Send Brother Stephen suggestions for best way to take down Confederate flag

Flaming arrow, reciprocating metal saw—Send Brother Stephen suggestions for best way to take down Confederate flag

As Brother Stephen Colbert prayerfully considers whether God is calling him to remove the Confederate flag from the Columbia, SC Capitol grounds, we are asking our constituency to send him ideas for the best ways to eliminate this symbol of white supremacy from the seat of the state government.

For example, he could ask his friend Smaug to come along and blast it out of the sky (although, on second thought, it’s possible Smaug— “a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm"  might have pro-Confederate sympathies.)

The Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore has suggested bolt cutters.

We appreciate the “Likes” on our Facebook page, but we think it possible that Colbert does not read our Facebook page.  Therefore, to help make the CPT trip with Stephen Colbert a reality, we need you send suggestions (pictures with URL links are even better) for ways he can take down the flag.

Please go to the https://www.facebook.com/colbertlateshow?fref=ts and in the comments section under one of the postings suggest to Brother Stephen a likely tool he could use to take town the Confederate flag in Columbia.

For those of you with Twitter accounts:  You can send messages to @StephenAtHome.  We have no way of gauging how many are getting through or who is reading them.  Doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.  Good hashtags are #BlackLivesMatter and #TakeDownTheFlag. But the MOST IMPORTANT hashtag is #LSSC ( which stands for LateShowStephenColbert). Use pictures, if possible. 

Check out: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23LSSC&src=typd.   Favorite the #LSSC tweets of other Brothers and Sisters who are encouraging Colbert to travel to Columbia with CPT and Suey Park. Doing so will give these tweets more prominence.

To donate to the cost of the CPTers’ travel to Columbia, SC, click here. IF THE HOLY SPIRIT DESCENDS LIKE TONGUES OF FLAME AND WHITE PEOPLE IN COLUMBIA MOVE EN MASSE TO TEAR DOWN ALL SYMBOLS OF WHITE SUPREMACY IN THEIR CITY BEFORE COLBERT, CPT AND SUEY PARK GET THERE, money will go toward CPTers’ travel to project locations in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Northern Ontario, and Palestine. 

 

#BlackLivesMatter

Writer, activist Suey Park will join CPT/Colbert delegation to South Carolina for removal of Confederate flag

Writer, activist Suey Park will join CPT/Colbert delegation to SC for removal of Confederate flag

Suey Park, who called for the cancellation of the Colbert Report in 2014, has said she will travel with Stephen Colbert and Christian Peacemaker Teams to Columbia, South Carolina to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State Capitol grounds.

“I'll gladly join this trip if I'm welcome to keep Stephen company,” she tweeted.

Park, who created the hashtag, #NotYourAsianSidekick, further commented, “I think this a something I would happily be a sidekick for.”

We ask our constituency to contact Brother Stephen, request that he welcome Sister Suey on the trip (as Christian Peacemaker Teams does with great enthusiasm) and consult her on her choice of snacks.

 

To donate to the cost of the CPTers’ travel to Columbia, SC, click here. IF SOME WHITE PERSON/MOVEMENT OF WHITE PEOPLE FEELS GOD CALLING THEM TO TAKE DOWN THE FLAG BEFORE COLBERT, PARK, AND CPT GET THERE, money will go toward CPTers’ travel to project locations in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Northern Ontario, and Palestine.

 #BlackLivesMatter.  #BlackLivesMatter.  #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLivesMatter.