Darrell and Sue Yeaney: Santa Cruz well-served by Resource Center

Originally Published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel 5/1/11 edition

Letter of support RCNV <– Click here to download a word doc of the letter.

Recently you (Santa Cruz Sentinel) printed an attack on the staff and volunteers of the Santa Cruz Resource Center for Nonviolence RCNV in a guest opinion by Robin Kopit under the title “We do not need a center for intolerance.” We were both saddened and disappointed by this irrational and largely unsubstantiated attack on one of the most morally principled education and advocacy institutions in our community.

For 35 years the RCNV has provided this community and indeed the nation with extraordinary leadership in educating the young and old alike in both the attitudes and practices of supporting non-violence as a way of life. People of many religious faiths have found the RCNV a resource and support for their highest values of seeking justice for all and in their efforts to overcome bigotry and exclusion of the marginalized.

We are aware that the RCNV has had its opponents as any advocacy group would have that takes a stand against structural violence and injustice by any state or corporate entity. The RCNV is not a perfect institution, but its staff has demonstrated both its integrity and its courage over the years by speaking truth to power and standing with the powerless.

Mr. Kopit, of course, is free to express his opinions and his prejudices, but we reject his unsubstantiated accusations as an effort to discredit the RCNV by innuendo, guilt by association and false claims. If the RCNV is a center for intolerance, it is its intolerance for injustice, falsehood and the many forms of violence that the strong exercise over the weak.

The RCNV has stood over the years with the victims of U.S. imperial violence in Latin America, Vietnam, the Middle East and other parts of the world. It has stood against the violence of men over women, against the violence of the rich over the poor; of the majority over the minority; and yes, of the violence of the powerful state of Israel over the people of Palestine whom it has dispossessed.

We suspect that it is the support the RCNV has given for the exploited and colonized Palestinian people that bothers Mr. Kopit and has led him to his rash and generalized accusations. In fact, the leaders of the RCNV have made numerous efforts to include those who would defend Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians in its programs and educational efforts, inviting them to participate equally with others in public programs with respect and courtesy.

Very recently the RCNV made a concerted effort to invite persons from a number of Israeli support groups to take equal time and leadership in a public program with Palestinian spokesperson Mazin Qumsiyeh. All those invited refused the offer. In this context, Mr. Kopit’s attack on the RCNV seems indefensible and strident.

We are pleased with the service that the RCNV has given to Santa Cruz and the larger community over the years and commend its staff for its tolerance — indeed its encouragement — of honest discussion and debate of contentious issues and its intolerance of exploitation and injustice wherever it occurs.

Darrell and Sue Yeaney live in Scotts Valley. The opinion was signed by 16 other people including:

-Dick Vittitow
Santa Cruz, CA

-Mike Harrell
Santa Cruz, CA

-Roy Hoch
Capitola, CA

-DeAnne and Richard Hart
Aptos, CA

-Marcia Heath,
Santa Cruz, CA

-Joyce Elman McLean
Santa Cruz, CA

-Joel Bahu
Santa Cruz, CA

-Marilyn Luciers
Santa,Cruz, CA

-Claudia Chaufin
San Francisco, CA

-Margaret Knight
Santa Cruz, CA

-Grace & Herb Schmidt
Santa Cruz, CA

-Joel Miller
Santa Cruz, CA

-Robert & Laurel Blaney
Santa Cruz, CA

-Steve DeFields-Gambrel
Santa, Cruz, CA

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