Damu Smith Joins Cloud of Witnesses – Legendary peace activist, Damu Smith, died of colon cancer on May 5, 2006. The founder of Black Voices for Peace and the National Black Environmental Justice Network, he spent years fighting environmental racism, particularly in the South. He was a key leader in the anti-Apartheid movement and challenged police brutality in Washington, DC and around the country. Damu was a keynote speaker at CPT’s Peacemaker Congress in Indianapolis last September. He was diagnosed with colon cancer while on a peace mission in Palestine. He then not only struggled for his life, but against racial disparities in the health care system. His legacy lives on in all those who work for justice.
Telephone War Tax Buried – The U.S. Treasury Department announced the demise of the 108-year-old federal excise tax on long distance phone calls effective July 31, 2006. Originally a luxury tax to help pay for the Spanish-American War, the 3 percent surcharge will be dropped on long distance service and mixed local/long distance plans, cell phones, and internet phone service. However, the tax will still be imposed on local phone service until Congress passes legislation to abolish it.
Declaration of Peace – The Declaration of Peace is a new nonviolent campaign uniting organizations and individuals across the United States and around the world to take nonviolent action to end the U.S. war in Iraq. Declaration signers pledge to take peaceful steps for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops and to engage in nonviolent action, including nonviolent civil disobedience, if a plan to end the war is not established and begun by September 21, 2006 – International Peace Day. Nonviolent activities will continue until the U.S. withdraws from Iraq. See www.declarationofpeace.org/
Global Call Iraq (GCI) – Members of the GCI Campaign will mark the 61st Anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 6-9, with nonviolent actions around the theme “End the Slaughter of the Innocents: End the Iraq Occupation!” Nonviolent resistance activities at Bechtel (the world’s #1 nuclear profiteer and a leading beneficiary of the Iraq war), nuclear test sites and storage facilities, federal buildings, and U.S. embassies, consulates, and military bases around the world will focus on the hypocrisy of U.S. threats against Iran as well as the role of transnational corporations in fomenting a nuclear crisis and leading the “coalition of the willing” to war in Iraq. See www.globalcalliraq.org
Women Arrested for Peace – Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan and CODEPINK Co-Founder Medea Benjamin, along with two other women, were arrested and jailed as they tried to deliver over 100,000 signatures to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations on May 6 as part of a“Women Say NO To War” campaign marking International Women’s Day. See www.codepink4peace.org/
CPT Receives First Michael Sattler Award – Marking its 50th year of operation, the German Mennonite Peace Committee (DMFK) founded the Michael Sattler Peace Award in memory of the reformation-era Anabaptist. Christian Peacemaker Teams received the first award in a ceremony at the Evangelical Church in Rottenburg/Neckar on May 20, 2006. Michael Sattler was burned at the stake on May 20, 1527 in Rottenburg, Germany. Sattler, his wife and other members of the Anabaptist fellowship in Horb, Germany were tried in Rottenburg because of their nonviolent Christian faith. The award is supported by the Evangelical Church of Rottenburg, the Catholic Peace organization Pax Christi and the City of Rottenburg.