AL HELM (the dream): Martin Luther King in Palestine
Film and Discussion
Thursday, August 14 @ 7:00
The Resource Center for Nonviolence 612 Ocean Street
An African-American gospel choir goes to Palestine to sing in a play by Clayborne Carson about Martin Luther King Jr. They become witnesses to life under occupation and a nonviolent movement for social justice.
No entry fee.
For more information: Click For Flyer or 831.423.1626
All They Will Call You Will Be Detainees
One of corporate journalism’s bad habits is framing international stories on the premise that news is what happens to the US. There is no better recent example of this than the story of tens of thousands of children fleeing Central America for refuge in other countries, including, but not limited to, the US. With some exceptions, this story is covered as the US’s “border crisis,” and the latest installment in our supposed immigration debate, with the children little more than nameless symbols of a troubled policy.
The framing of the refugee crisis as a domestic political story can be read in the headlines: “Obama, on Texas Trip, Will Face Immigration Critics” (New York Times, 7/10/14); ”Obama Hardens Tone on Border” (Washington Post, 7/8/14); “In Border Crisis, Obama Is Accused of ‘Lawlessness’ for Following Law” (Washington Post, 7/9/14).
Some reporting has bucked the trend and attempted to look beyond US borders. In “Fleeing Gangs, Children Head to US Border” (7/9/14), New York Times reporter Frances Robles reported on the root causes for a refugee crisis that could see 90,000 reaching the US border by the end of this year. Violence, gangs and poverty are mentioned, and that’s good, as far as it goes, but these stories don’t ask some obvious questions. Like, why are almost all the children from three Central American countries? The largest number of child refugees are from Honduras, with El Salvador and Guatemala accounting for almost all others. Why these three countries?
And why aren’t children streaming out of Nicaragua, which suffers from “staggering poverty, but not a pervasive gang culture or a record-breaking murder rate,” as the Times‘ Robles notes, but does not attempt to explain? According to the the landmark 2013 study by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Nicaragua, with 11.3 homicides per 100,000 population, has a homicide rate about one-eighth that of world leader Honduras (90.4), and roughly a quarter of that of El Salvador (41.2) and Guatemala (39.9). Why is Nicaragua so much safer?
Here’s where it might come in handy to quote Central Americans and experts on the region. But these vital groups are nearly invisible in coverage, particularly in the large number of stories that treat it as a domestic or political story.
If journalists interviewed University of California/Santa Cruz Honduras expert Dana Frank, they would learn that in the nation with the highest crime rate on Earth, the criminal gang culture extends into every level of government. This includes the US-allied federal government that came to power following a US-backed coup (Guardian, 6/29/12) that removed a popular, democratically elected president (Extra!, 9/09). As Frank wrote last Wednesday in “Who’s Responsible for the Flight of Honduran Children?” (Huffington Post, 7/9/14):
Missing from the discussion about Honduras, though, is the post-coup regime governing the country that is largely responsible for the vast criminality that has overtaken it. Equally absent is the responsibility of the United States government for the regime. Yes, gangs are rampant in Honduras. But the truly dangerous gang is the Honduran government. And our own tax dollars are pouring into it while our top officials praise its virtues.
Mexico City-based writer Laura Carlsen suggests other US policies have also served as important drivers in the flight of the children. Carlsen takes on US reports that cite the laxity of US immigration policies, the lure of social welfare programs and the irresponsibility of the children’s parents, by pointing out how US drug war and trade polices have made conditions increasingly unlivable. In “Child Migrants and Media Half-Truths” (Americas Program, 6/23/14), Carlsen writes:
So why does the mainstream press seek to place the blame on the parents and a supposed softening of immigration policy?
Because the alternative to blaming migrant families themselves is unpalatable to them.
The alternative is to accept that the Central American and North American Free Trade Agreements have left thousands of youth with no economic opportunities.
It is to accept that US security aid for drug wars has armed and aggravated violence in Mexico and Central America.
It is to understand the high cost of supporting the Honduran coup and how the Honduran people and the US population continue to pay that price, as out migration has surged over 500 percent in the past two years, and human rights violations, instability and violence are skyrocketing.
Veteran Latin American correspondent James North writes in the Nation (7/9/14) that the White House is “showing little concern for international law, and none at all for Washington’s own historic responsibility in Central America,” by “asking Congress to change the law so America can deport the refugee children more quickly.” North explains the US’s responsibility:
The United States has a particular moral responsibility in the Central America refugee crisis that goes even deeper. Americans, especially young Americans, probably know more about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda than they do about how their own government funded murderous right-wing dictatorships in Central America back in the 1980s. The Reagan administration’s violent and immoral policy included $5 billion in aid to the military/landowner alliance in El Salvador, which prolonged an awful conflict in which some 75,000 people died–a toll proportionally equivalent to the casualty rate in the American Civil War. But once shaky peace agreements were signed in the 1990s, the United States walked away, leaving the shattered region to rebuild on its own.
This history is virtually never mentioned in reports on the refugee crisis. In addition to the loss of blood and treasure caused by the US during the Reagan era, the US-supported governments of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras targeted popular democratic organizers and institutions, flooded those nations with guns, and interrupted political and social development. The three countries sending almost all of the refugee children abroad are the same three in which death squads flourished and where US policy became most deeply embedded in the political culture.
Nicaragua, whose political development has taken a different trajectory–seldom in lock step with Washington, its agencies and military advisers–is not experiencing astronomical crime rates or a refugee problem. It’s still very poor, but far less violent.
But there is virtually no media discussion of how “our border crisis” might be somewhat of our own making–”blowback” resulting from US policy going back to the 1980s.
Are US journalists interested in the actual roots of Central America’s refugee crisis? Or are they ignoring them because they confer moral responsibility on the US, and that discussion would spoil a swell debate about just how quickly the kids should be returned to their homelands?
The 18″ x 24″ full color poster has an amazing photo of Pete Seeger smiling and playing his banjo. The quote is from Pete’s song Clean Up the Hudson, 1989. Printing donated by Community Printers. Photo by Bob Fitch Photo Archive- copyright Stanford University Libraries
Poster text: “Think Globally, Act Locally! Sing and Shout for a world that’s free of war and toxics and bigotry.”
Spread the word far and wide to all your friends and to Pete Seeger and folk music fans… Thanks!
The Resource Center for Nonviolence has undergone many changes over its 38 years, and in the last 3 years. The founding of Project ReGeneration in August, 2011, the purchase of the new building at 612 Ocean Street in September, 2011, the death of Scott Kennedy in November, 2011, the move into the new building in March, 2012, and subsequent use of the new building by 75 nonprofit and social change groups for events and meetings.
The Center continues its mission of advocating nonviolent social change in all sorts of issues, and of cultivating nonviolent activists. The Center today is a mix of co-founders, and people who have come into the organization throughout its history, and people who have become involved in the past few months.
On May 9, 2014, Joan Baez helped us launch the public phase of our Building for the Future Capital Campaign. Following that great concert, on May 10, 2014 we dedicated our Main Hall to Scott Kennedy. Pictures for both events can be found on our Flickr page here and here! Both events sought to reach out to the community and provide a platform for a very important campaign. Please join us in realizing our goals and transforming the Center from a plain and practical building into a vibrant community center.
If you would like to know more about the campaign please check the following links to our campaign packet:
or give us a call at 831.423.1626, we would love to speak with you!
The Resource Center for Nonviolence has been a staple in Santa Cruz for almost 40 years. We have been influenced by so many in this amazing community and it is great to see that the feeling is mutual! See what others in the community are saying!
Congressman Sam Farr says:
“While I cannot join you in person [for the Scott Kennedy Hall Dedication], I want to express my strong support and appreciation of the services that the Resource Center provides to the Central Coast community.”
For the full letter please click here!
Senator Bill Monning writes:
“The Resource Center for Nonviolence was founded in 1976 as a peace and social justice organization dedicated to promote the principles of nonviolent social change and enhance the quality of life and human dignity. Scott Kennedy was a lifelong international activist dedicated to sharing the values and lessons of non-violence. Additionally, he was a local community leader and a dear friend who I had the pleasure of knowing for over 30 years. I was proud to talk about the impact Scott had on our community and the world.”
For more words click here!
And for pictures of the Joan Baez Benefit and Scott Kennedy Hall dedication check here!
With the Joan Baez concert and Scott Kennedy Hall dedication upon us, it is nice to be reminded of our history. Sentinel journalist Wallace Baine does a great job of bringing our history to light and touching upon the work we continue to do. Below is the newly published article showing our relationship to music and how it helps make an activist movement!
by Wallace Baine
Joan Baez Concert, Friday, May 9 at 7:00 at the Rio Theatre – Sold Out
Open House and Scott Kennedy Hall Dedication, May 10 at 11:00 at the Resource Center for Nonviolence
Kathy Kelly speaks on
The Cost of War, the Price of Peace:Eyewitness Reports from Afghanistan
Wednesday, April 16, 7:00p.m.
at the Resource Center for Nonviolence
612 Ocean St., Santa Cruz
Kathy Kelly co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.
During each of nine recent trips to Afghanistan, Kathy Kelly, as an invited guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, has lived alongside ordinary Afghan people in a working class neighborhood in Kabul. Voices for Creative Nonviolence believe that “where you stand determines what you see.” They are resolved not to let war sever the bonds of friendship between them and Afghan people whom they’ve grown to know. They insist that the U.S. is not waging a “humanitarian war” in Afghanistan.
Kelly has actively protested drone warfare by holding demonstrations outside of numerous U.S. military bases. From 1996 – 2003, Voices delegations openly defied economic sanctions by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq. Kathy lived in Baghdad throughout the 2003 “Shock and Awe” bombing. They have also lived alongside people during warfare in Gaza, Lebanon, Bosnia and Nicaragua. Kathy was sentenced to one year in federal prison for planting corn on nuclear missile silo sites (1988-89) and spent three months in prison, in 2004, for crossing the line at Fort Benning’s military training school. As a war tax refuser, she has refused payment of all forms of federal income tax since 1980.
John Malkin with the Good Times has written a piece about Kathy’s visit, please check the link for more information.
Suggested Sliding scale donation: $8-15. No one turned away for lack of funds.
For more information: 831-423-1626, www.rcnv.org
Marjorie Swann, Nonviolent Activist
Marjorie Swann, nonviolent activist for disarmament, peace and civil rights, died March 14 in her home in Santa Cruz. Swann was 93 years old.
Marjorie Swann was instrumental in many of the historic anti-war demonstrations of the 1960’s. She joined Dick Gregory in a 22 month fast seeking an end to the war.
In the 1950’s Swann was a leader of nonviolent direct action campaigns against nuclear weapons at the Polaris nuclear submarine base in Groton, Connecticut.
In 1958, Swann was arrested for trespassing during civil disobedience at an Omaha, Nebraska nuclear missile site, and sentenced to 6 months in federal prison.
Marjorie Swann and her husband Robert Swann founded the New England Committee for Nonviolence Action in 1960, and for 12 years they dramatically popularized nonviolent resistance to the U.S. war in Vietnam. Based in a farm in Voluntown, CT, they traveled throughout New England conducting vigils, walks, fasts, caravans, draft and military counseling, war tax resistance, military base conversion projects, and preparations for large-scale anti-war demonstrations in Washington, D.C. Their farm was attacked by right-wing paramilitary Minutemen with fire in 1966 and guns in 1968. Swann and her
companions held fast to their commitment to nonviolence, and after these attacks surrounding neighbors befriended them.
Marjorie Swann was a charter member of the Congress of Racial Equality, and was active with the NAACP, War Resisters League, American Friends Service Committee, the National Committee on Conscientious Objection, and Cambridge, Massachusetts Friends Meeting.
Swann was the mother of four children. She wrote “as a woman, I certainly experience a kind of rage and frustration similar to that which Third World people do, and as a woman working on women’s liberation issues, I advocate and practice aggressive nonviolence to deal with the injustices I feel as a woman.”
Swann worked as Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Center of Rhode Island and was Director of the American Friends Service Committee in Cambridge, MA. Swann co-founded the Domestic Violence Program for Latin Women in Willimantic, CT, and worked at St. Mary’s Homeless Shelter in Oakland, CA, among many other community organizing roles.
Swann wrote, “most of us do not realize, or have not accepted, the reality that disarmament and peace and the development of a ‘nonviolent world’ call for some startling changes in economic, social and political structures.”
Swann lived in Santa Cruz during her last years, attending Santa Cruz Friends Meeting. The Resource Center for Nonviolence hosted a 90th birthday celebration with Marjorie Swann in 2012, when friends and relatives from around the United States shared stories about the rich life of the groundbreaking activist.
“I feel so fortunate to have met Marjorie Swann,” said Candace Laning, staff member for the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz. “Her example as a mother who was an amazing activist tells me that it is possible to love my family and my world and take creative action for policies that enable all families to live in peace and justice.”
A memorial meeting for worship will be hosted by the Santa Cruz Friends Meeting Saturday, August 16, 10:30 AM, at the Friends Meeting House, 225 Rooney Street, Santa Cruz.
The Joan Baez Benefit Concert for the Resource Center for Nonviolence Building for the Future Campaign, on Friday, May 9, at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, is nearly sold out. There are no more tickets available through Ticketweb, the Rio Theatre or Tomboy.
RCNV has begun a Waiting List for a very limited number of Sponsorship seats (Sliding Scale $100 per ticket up to $10,000 or more Sponsor donation) available only through RCNV. Please be as generous as possible. We cannot promise that being on the Waiting List will result in tickets. Contact us
We had no idea the concert tickets would go so quickly! Thank you for your support!
An Evening with JOAN BAEZ
Friday, May 9, 2014
1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz,
(Doors open 7:00pm)
BENEFIT CONCERT for the Resource Center for Nonviolence Building for the Future Campaign
Joan Baez will perform a rare Benefit Concert to support RCNV’s Building for the Future campaign. This benefit is the public launch of our community campaign to fund the renovation of our 50-year old building. We invite you to join us for the concert and to consider sponsorship.
We ask for your support of this campaign in addition to your regular financial support of Resource Center for Nonviolence programs. Please be as generous as possible. Thank you for your support!
Click for a brief Letter about the concert and campaign
Click for information about Joan Baez’ Long History with RCNV.
TICKETS: The concert is nearly sold out. There are no more tickets available through Ticketweb, the Rio Theatre or Tomboy.
RCNV has begun a Waiting List for a very limited number of Sponsorship seats (Sliding Scale $100 per ticket up to $10,000 or more Sponsor donation) available only through RCNV. There are only a very limited number of these seats available. We cannot promise that being on the Waiting List will result in tickets. Contact us for more information about sponsorship.
For more information: 831.423-1626
Activism through the lens of Parenting
I am the newest staff member at the Resource Center and have proudly worn that title since August 2012. If you have seen me at the Center, most likely you have also seen the two, tiny people who follow closely behind! Whether I am at the Center or home, these two individuals are my full time work, a job I cherish and enjoy. However, before I had children,I had a very fulfilling and busy life as an activist in New York City. This life before kids was exciting, demanding and sometimes dangerous, and not always appropriate for children. For the past five years I have devoted my time and energy to raising my family and at times there has been no room for activism, especially since the financial rewards are small. So for the most part, I have tried to create a new brand of activism that works for my family. It is not always as exciting but it serves a different function and that is to help guide a new generation of peace-loving, open-minded, accepting individuals.
I officially became an activist in 2001 after watching two airplanes, purposefully crash into the World Trade Center. It was not the act of terrorism that sparked my activism but what occurred directly afterwards. The government took a stand against an ideology that resulted in a war that we are still currently engaged in. I was in shock at first but it was the spark that ultimately fueled many years of dedicated activism. After that moment I was in desperate search for an outlet and so marched with the nation against a war that no one wanted.
Those early years of activism were very busy with anti-war protests, war tax resistance, nonviolence training and education, egalitarian community building, animal rights and prisoner rights work. It was busy and rewarding when it wasn’t exhausting and frustrating. That is the thing about activism, it works if you are willing to sacrifice yourself on a level that is not compatible with being a parent, or so I found out after giving birth to my first child in 2008. While I was pregnant I continued my work as an activist. I would ride the Chinatown bus from NY to DC and engage in rallies. I attended weekly strategic meetings, taught an art class to incarcerated youth, volunteered my office skills to the local War Resisters League (WRL), all while working a full time job. It also became apparent to me that I could not do it all and my interest in social justice began to wain. I always felt connected to that sense of justice but being pregnant, working full time and the activist demands were too much and so I quit, retired from activism.
My retirement did not last long because I retained the feeling that the world still needed justice and I needed to do my part. I made a slow return to activism but with a different level of commitment. I would go to peaceful marches or sporadically attend meetings but mostly I changed my focus to raising aware children. I devoured books on nonviolence, especially work written by Colman McCarthy and Dennis Dalton. I had this profound moment when I read the following by McCarthy “the most revolutionary thing anybody can do is to raise good, honest and generous children who will question the answers of people who say the answer is violence.” It was clear to me that my purpose was no longer on the front lines per say but in classrooms, in homes and now at the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV). I have been lucky enough to call RCNV my work for over a year now and one of the best reasons to be here is the inclusion of my family, of all families. On a regular basis my kids are here at 612 Ocean Street either sifting through 40 years of activist memorabilia, disrupting staff meetings, helping plan murals, engaging with our colorful community or simply learning the ropes of being a nonviolent activist. There are no shortage of opportunities to get them engaged with my work and at the same time, getting other families engaged too. In the past year my girls have helped make signs for gun control rallies and talked to their preschool about gun control, they and their friends marched in the Pride Parade, they have written letters to families who have lost children to gun violence and spoken regularly about violence against animals.
I find my work, my activist career, has been strengthened by having children and being a part of the Resource Center for Nonviolence. It has given me the most wonderful gift of pursuing an activist life that includes my children. I now have a place where I can organize for things that matter and hopefully make a positive impact on the world. I used to wonder why I should keep organizing and participating in the activist world but after having children I realized, I must keep organizing and involving myself in the areas of injustice because there are two, tiny people in my life now and they, as well as all other children, deserve having people organize on their behalf. As one of my activist friends and mother of 2, Frida Berrigan, most eloquently wrote in response to why she keeps protesting injustices such as Guantanamo “I am haunted by the families shattered by indefinite detention. I am undone that they suffer for our “security.” I do what I can because I cannot sit by idly while children are kept from their fathers.”
I, and my family thank you for your past support of the Resource Center for Nonviolence. It is a place that supports and invites our community to be involved and it needs your continued support. Please take this time to give to the Center as it continues to give to everyone!