I just returned from a great event sponsored by Bridges Not Walls, and Immigrantes Unidos. St. John's Episcopal Church hosted a fundraiser for families impacted by ICE raids, and raised over $1200. yay. Why was this important? Because ICE, an arm of the Dept. of Homeland Security, scoops up about 100 people every single week, and puts them in the NW Detention Center where they have "a right to a lawyer, at no expense to the government," which means, no lawyer... It is so sad that for every person arrested by ICE, there are one or two or more family members trying to survive. It could be, this year, there will be a push to pass federal legislation to solve this problem. Will we be paying attention? I hope so. One need not be liberal to support justice for immigrants, and to oppose needless federal intrusion into our lives. What will you say when you are driving on the Oly peninsula and come upon a "random" Border patrol checkpoint? Be "unreasonable" and refuse to tell these meddling officers anything. You have a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Exercise that right, please.
Film Viewing at Traditions
The photo above is from during the viewing of
"From the Edge of the Blade," a film about a 2006 popular uprising, and the ongoing struggle, in Oaxaca, Mexico
against the unjust status quo. It's a good film and
there was a great turnout.
I appreciated watching this film about popular uprising, and nonviolent revolution, in sight of the State Capitol Campus. We do have some important freedoms here in the USA. In Oaxaca, the resistance is subjected to horrible repression, suppression and oppression. People are targeted for organizing and expressing dissent. Not to say that people in the USA aren't targeted, but the level of state sponsored violence is of a different nature.
Or is it?
Rumor has it that the Bangor Naval Submarine Base, on the Kitsap Peninsula, maintains and stores over 2,000 nuclear warheads (which is roughly 25% of the total US stockpile of this particular type of weapon of mass destruction.) If any one of the more than 2,000 nuclear warheads were to detonate, the immediate impacts would likely be felt in Olympia.
The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action has been advocating abolition of nuclear weapons for over 30 years. The center features 3.8 acres of land abutting the trident capable submarine base.
Many experts on the issue have vigorously argued that the Trident nuclear weapon missile system is illegal because of offensive strike capabilities. Some say that the existence of these weapons is a crime against humanity, and a crime against peace.
In order to honor, commemorate, and celebrate the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr., the Ground Zero Center holds a regular meeting, traditional vigil, and nonviolent direct resistance action (in the form of civil road-blocks.) The Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative actions are one of three yearly GZ actions.
For more information about this weekend's events, or the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in general: www.gzcenter.org
I testified a couple of times at last week's January 6th City Council Meeting. The first testimony I gave was in opposition to a proposed property tax exemption for market rate housing (as defined by "what the market can bear"—commonly translated as luxury or up-class housing). I was the only person to provide oral testimony opposing the luxury housing property tax exemption, and only one of two to provide testimony in opposition. The other was Thad Curtz, a summation of whose excellent written testimony can be found on this blog.
You can find video of my January 6th, 2009 City Council Meeting testimony at the Council Website: olympia.granicus.com/ViewPublisherRSS.php?view_id=2. The first part of the testimony I gave in opposition the property tax exemption for luxury housing, is 1 hour 18 minutes 0 seconds into the meeting video. The second part of my public comment testimony comes sat 2 hours 25 minutes 02 seconds into the meeting video.
In part two of my testimony, during the period of extended public comment at the end of the meeting, I discussed in more detail the problems relating to harmful economic activities, especially as they relate the financial and material wealth generating activities of those amongst society's rich and powerful. Part two included some other topics too, read on.
Oh, and I tried to be clear and to limit ranting. But I may not have been successful on those fronts, so if you care to, please bear with my writing.
Here are some late edition early 2009 photos to share. The following photo of me was taken by Charles A. during the emergency vigil for Gaza support, last night, Thursday, January 1, 2009. It's a new year, and yes we can.
I also want to remind everyone that we live in a war economy. Earlier tonight, during the weekly Olympia FOR peace vigil at Percival Landing, I held a sign that read, "Build a Peace Economy." So, I am going to make that one of my resolutions for 2009: to work toward the creation of peace economy—a truly peaceful society. War is violent—destructive, harmful, unproductive. War is ineffective. It hasn't resulted in peace. It doesn't enable true and lasting resolution of conflicts. Nonviolence, the deliberate practice of truth and environmental—social/political/economic/ecological—justice, is the path to peace. The path awaits. Consider working toward peace in 2009. Toward replacement of the war economy with one based on peace.
Here are three more brand new 2009 photos:
What: Emergency Vigil
Where: South Percival Landing, intersection of Water St. and Fourth Ave.
When: Thursday, January 1st, 2009 from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM
Why: Ongoing hostility and violence between Israel and Palestine; desire to see an end to the destruction, an end to the violent conflict.
How: Show up and hold a sign to demonstrate your will to end the violence.
Who: YOU and your friends and neighbors.
I hope to see you there. More information on the conflict below the fold:
I received the following via email:
Vigil at State Capitol Steps
Tuesday December 2 from 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Mourns Washington State’s Next Execution
A somber vigil on the steps of the State Capitol Building from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Tuesday evening December 2 will mourn Washington State’s next execution – the fifth in 16 years. The State has been planning to kill Darold Stenson at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla on Wednesday morning December 3. Last-minute stays of execution are delaying the execution until perhaps 8:00 p.m. Wednesday evening or perhaps until January or later. In any case, the vigil run from 7:00 until 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening December 2.
Regardless of whether the execution is stayed, canceled or rescheduled, the vigil will be held anyway to show opposition to the death penalty overall, not only in this particular case.
“The death penalty perpetuates the cycle of violence,” said Glen Anderson, a member of the sponsoring organization, the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s Committee for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. “Murder is wrong, whether committed by an individual or by the government. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
What: Student Walkout
When: Friday, Nov. 14
10:00 AM: Meet at SPSCC campus, between buildings 22 and 26.
11:00 AM: March to Sate Capital Building.
12:00 PM: Rally at the State Capital Building.
For more information: walkout2008.blogspot.com/
via email forwarded from local ai coordinator:
From: Juan Melendez
Subject: Please let ai members know that I will be sharing my story of
supreme injustice as innocent man who spent nearly 18 years on
Florida's death row in Seattle/Tacoma and Lacey, October 1-3:
Dear Amnesty International Coordinator:
Can you please help publicize the following events. I've included
below a little bit about my story and some testimonials to give folks
a sense of the powerfulness of my talk. I am also available to speak
at a middle or high-school in Seattle on Wednesday, October 1, so if
you know of any teachers or student ai groups which might be
interested in bringing me to speak at their school, please let them
know that I am available. A new book has just been published
containing my story as well as the stories of 4 other death row
exonerees. See Execution's Doorstep.
October 3: Talk at St. Martin's University, Lacey, Wa. at 4:00
p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
location update: It seems that Juan Melendez will be at the Worthington Center.
My name is Juan Roberto Melendez. I spent seventeen years, eight
months and one day on Florida's death row for a crime I did not
commit. (Voices United for Justice)