United States

Christian Peacemaker Teams will accompany Stephen Colbert to Columbia, SC

Christian Peacemaker Teams will accompany Stephen Colbert to Charleston

The terrorist attack on black Christians at prayer in Charleston’s Mother Emanuel Church has left many white Christians asking what they can do to support their black brothers and sisters. 

“Stop white people from killing us,” has been the overwhelming response.

Another response has been that they want the Confederate flag on the Columbia capitol grounds to come down.

 Accordingly, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is calling on Stephen Colbert as a native white Christian son of South Carolina—who marched in solidarity with his martyred brothers and sisters in Charleston on Sunday—to travel to Columbia, SC, and take down the flag in any way he sees fit. 

 CPTers have accompanied people working for social change in zones of lethal conflict spanning the globe: peasants resisting displacement from their land in Colombia; refugees forced from their homes by ISIS who are building relationships with people outside their ethnic groups; Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and Indigenous communities fighting multinational exploitation of resources on their traditional lands.  They are more than willing to accompany Colbert to South Carolina to help him respond in a very small way to what black Christians are asking of white Christians.

CPT takes note of this tweet…

‏@StephenAtHome  Jun 17

The new Late Show will have so many surprises for you! For me, too. I tend to nod off during meetings. #LSSC

 and suggests that Colbert has a lot of free time between now and September 8, when his show debuts.

 As Christians it is our job to exhort and encourage our brothers and sisters in in the Body of Christ.  Brother Stephen may be reached

 

 For comment contact: Kryss Chupp at the Christian Peacemaker Teams Chicago Office +1-773-376-0550 or Kathleen Kern at kk@cpt.org

 #BlackLivesMatter

DETROIT, USA: International Social Movement Gathering, Peacemaker Congress stand for people’s right to water, housing

 

CPT Executive Director Shares Thompson shares
 about the potential for intentional communities
 to foster a more sustainable future.  Also pictured, 
Monica Lewis Patrick of We the People of Detroit.

Have you ever paused before turning on the faucet and thought, “Wow I can’t believe how incredible it is that I have running water?”  Probably not.  Most of us have never known life without running water in our homes.  Though we each use gallons of water each day for cooking, drinking and hygiene, seldom, if ever, do we think about how dependent our lives are on having access to clean water.  

Until we don’t have access… 

On 29-31 May, CPT Executive Director Sarah Thompson, Intern Hayden Abene, and CPT Palestine team member Cody O’Rourke attended the International Social Movement Gathering on Affordable Housing in Detroit, MI to see firsthand how the city of Detroit is systematically denying thousands of people the human right to clean water and housing.  Hosted by the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO)and the Detroit People’s Water Board, they joined over 300 people from forty-seven states and ten countries to share stories of injustice, resilience and generosity, and to strategize actionable ways to defend the human right to water, sanitation and affordable housing. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Christian Peacemaker Teams, movement building and the Detroit Peacemaker Congress

Sarah Thompson
CPT Executive Director

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) began with these questions: 

What if pacifist Christians trained as hard for peace as militaries (including militant Christians) trained for war?  What if pacifist Christians (such as the Mennonites, Brethren, and Quakers) were willing to sacrifice as much for peace as a soldier is willing to sacrifice for war?  What could happen? 

Christian Peacemaker Teams is part of the answer to that question. Having begun in 1986, in the crucible of Latin American solidarity movements, CPT has continued to thrive within various social movements as a creative, faith-inspired organization committed to undoing oppressions and to strategic peacemaking interventions in situations of violent conflict.  Joining with you all—people who belong to social movements, have risked a lot, sacrificed much, and experimented with healthier ways of sharing this planet—enlivens our work.  It is one reason we hold a Peacemaker Congress every other year—this year it will take place in Detroit—so that our workers in the field can engage with you, our supporters. and new people interested in movement building. 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Aboriginal Justice Team changes its name to Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team

 

The Christian Peacemaker Aboriginal Justice Team has undergone a transition to a new team name, after much deliberation and discussion. Although the mandate and vision for the team remains the same, the name change represents an effort to maintain currency within Indigenous movements for self-determination, and the team feels Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Team better captures the desired scope of its work. The team has floated this change past some of its Indigenous friends and partners who have welcomed it. 

Still in popular use, the term “aboriginal” refers to First Nations, MĂ©tis, and Inuit peoples. However, as Mohawk scholar Taiaike Alfred and Cherokee professor Jeff Corntassel (2005) indicate, while some Indigenous people have embraced this label, “this identity is purely a state construction that is instrumental to the state’s attempt to gradually subsume Indigenous existences into its own constitutional system and body politic” (p. 598). In 2008, the Union of Ontario Indians and later Grand Council of Treaty #3 representing the Anishnaabek passed resolutions and launched a campaign to eliminate the inappropriate use of the term "aboriginal." To many, “aboriginalism is a legal, political and cultural discourse designed to serve an agenda of silent surrender to an inherently unjust relation at the root of the colonial state itself” (Alfred & Corntassel, p. 599). To the chagrin of many First Nations, in 2011 Canada's Conservative government changed the minister and department title responsible for “Indian Affairs” to “Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development,” embodying this discursive tactic. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: On Tour with Uncle Sam in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand

 

 
 CPT Executive Director Sarah Thompson 
speaking in Australia

Different countries do taxes in different ways.  All of February and March I was in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.  The taxes are high there, but these countries are famous for their affordable medicine, free university education, and egalitarian policies among settlers (compulsory voting, mandatory school uniforms).  I’ve heard people in the U.S. make fun of places with social programs like these, but in those months I witnessed the immensely positive impact of social policy that puts the common good of all over the private power of a few.

DonateNow

Consider the impact of your dollars this tax season and make contribution to CPT. How about $29? $1 for every year since CPT's founding.

However, the gap between what is realistically available for settlers of European origin countries in comparison to what is available to recent non-European immigrants and Aboriginal Australians and the Maori of Aotearoa is huge.  The brutal Euro-colonial histories, ongoing dispossessions, and overall disregard for cultural devastation wrought by industrial society to the indigenous of these lands are stories that loom large in the sub-conscious of these nations.  The best work I saw going on in these countries was grassroots, conducted by people deeply aware of the open wounds of racism, Christian hegemony, and extractive economics. Activists involved with mobilizations to support refugees, challenge ecological destruction, and celebrate all families are aware of the paradoxes inherent in these societies.

UNITED STATES REFLECTION: The Ripple Effect-- #StayWokeAdvent

I write this post in response to the recent challenge to

“reflect;

cry out;

meditate;

repent;

accept grace;

pray;

weep;

wrestle;

wake up;

question;

hope (if even just a little);

sit with darkness;

squint at the light;

read;

write;

create;

observe;

listen” 

in an effort to keep watch and not be silent in light of what we have witnessed in #Ferguson, Missouri.  The writer, out of anguish, frustration and anger, asked us who observe #Advent, with anticipation of the arrival of shalom, to “stay alert…to “stay woke”…to your senses, your mind, your body, your feelings, your spirit to where to Spirit is stirring and leaning. Stay woke….to the impact your life has on others…Stay woke…to the injustice that we either contribute to or diminish…Stay woke….to the groanings of the world…Stay woke…to the humble, radical, empire-upsetting ways of Jesus…Stay woke…to the darkness…Stay woke…to the light…and to the sacred and profane in both.” 

BORDERLANDS REFLECTION: “What did you go out to the desert to see? Luke 7:26

“Our work is done for today,” Joel yelled across the wash as he waved his arms emphatically.  I was puzzled.  We were still a good four miles from our destination, Red Tail water tank.  Joel shouted again.  â€śWe're done!  Come over here!”  As I approached, no further words were needed.  A few feet in front of him lay a sun-bleached human skull, eyeless sockets looking south, resting starkly among the coal black volcanic rocks strewn across this ancient plain.

Yes, our work was done for the day in that mid-afternoon moment of Thanksgiving eve.  I took off my hat and sat in silent prayer.  Joel called 911.

Joel, Director of Operations for Humane Borders, a Tucson-based humanitarian aid organization, and I were conducting the annual assessment of water tanks in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and replacing the weathered blue flags that prominently identify each tank.  The person whose skull we came upon had missed the nearest tank by a few miles.  S/he was the eleventh set of human remains recovered in the Tucson sector of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands since 1 October 2014.

CPT INTERNATIONAL REFLECTION: Treasure in Ferguson, Colombia, Palestine, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Turtle Island

Since a St. Louis, Missouri prosecutor and Grand Jury have determined that Police Officer Darren Wilson killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown did not merit a trial, I have been busy tweeting #Ferguson on the Christian Peacemaker Team Twitter account.  Those tweets have been getting a lot of retweets.  We have no people working in Ferguson and I have asked myself why I am inundating the account. 

I think it has to do with the disposability of human life, with the contempt shown to Michael Brown when the authorities left his body in the street for four and a half hours and did not bother interviewing key witnesses to the shooting for weeks (until there was a public outcry.)  That contempt connected directly with our work in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, with indigenous communities in North America, and with migrants in Europe.  In all these cases, people in power have deemed the people we work with disposable. 

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Next Chicago CPT training October 2015; Applications due by 1 March 2015

 

 
 

CPT trainees participate
 in public witness at
Israeli consulate in
Chicago during
 Gaza War, July 2014

Due to an exciting opportunity to partner with groups in Detroit, Michigan USA for a Peacemaker Congress in July 2015, Christian Peacemaker Teams has set the dates of 2 October – 2 November 2015 for the next training to in Chicago.  The deadline for applications has moved to 1 March 2015.  This shift will allow more time between issuing invitations and starting training for applicants who may need to secure visas in order to participate.

Stay tuned for more information about the July Peacemaker Congress!

CPT is committed to anti-oppression work both within and outside of CPT, and we seek others interested in this work.  We are seeking applicants to train as part of our Reserve Corps.  At this time, no stipended (half to full time) openings are available in the Corps.  All CPT Reservists are eligible to apply for stipended positions as they become available.  For answers to more specific questions, contact Adriana Cabrera Velasquez, Personnel Coordinator, at personnel@cpt.org <mailto:personnel@cpt.org>.