Inclusive Politics

August 1, 2019

Inclusive Politics– a statement by the Resource Center for Nonviolence Steering Committee – Silvia Morales, Chairperson

The Resource Center for Nonviolence has the mission to offer education in social justice issues, advocate nonviolent action and nonviolent solutions to oppressions and violence, and to train people for political activism. The Center welcomes controversial topics and discussions. People who volunteer and participate in RCNV programs hold different experiences and opinions. Sometimes these differences are painful.

The Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV) does not endorse candidates for elective office. In our history, Drew Glover and Scott Kennedy have been half-time staff members of the RCNV, and independently ran for and served as Santa Cruz City Council members. The RCNV did not share its database of contacts with Drew Glover’s city council campaign or any other campaign or organization. RCNV did not serve as Glover’s campaign headquarters.

The bottom line for the Steering Committee and staff of the Resource Center for Nonviolence is that we support community members organizing for human rights, racial equity, justice, nonviolence, environmental sustainability, full inclusion of all residents in political institutions, housing for all, health care for all, a more equitable economy, and dismantling of United States colonialism around the world and in our country. The Center is often filled with engaged community organizers and political office holders and candidates. People initiating conversations with Drew Glover or anybody else is not campaigning.

The perspective of nonviolence leads us to analyze personal complicity in racism, colonialism, and patriarchy. Many of the programs RCNV organizes and hosts involve introspection into this complicity, and training to transform the ways we talk, write, act, vote, and organize to interrupt implicit bias in ourselves and others, and to work for racial and gender equity in all our institutions and organizations.

The Center works with the Santa Cruz County Community Coalition to Overcome Racism in conducting implicit bias and racial equity trainings for all our volunteers and for political activists, educators, business owners, and workers in Santa Cruz County, because we see implicit bias and racism expressed in local politics and policies, and in our own behaviors. We invite you to register for the next free training to be held August 24.

From the values and commitments expressed above, Steering Committee and staff members of the Resource Center for Nonviolence ask, will creativity by people of color and people from marginalized communities be heard, engaged, and supported? Or will those who propose local solutions to national structures of privilege be attacked and continually told their proposals are not good enough, or that they threaten the way things have always been? Will people of color and people on economic margins feel shunned and reluctant to step forward by the actions of recall proponents and other local leaders? Or will we fight for a truly inclusive community, filled with people of very different experiences, status, and views than our own?

Refusal to endorse any candidate or member of elected office does not mean we should be silent on these critical questions that will shape the future of our community, and our nation. Drew Glover was elected to pursue his vision of social justice, which comes from the same passion he brings to his employment at the RCNV, and we see no cause to recall him. We see cause for the community to support voices and visions for inclusion of the poor, homeless, migrant, and people of color in all solutions and policies to improve life in Santa Cruz. Each of us has responsibility to build a community for everyone.

We propose a different process than divisive recall to engage the sharply divergent visions of what Santa Cruz should be, such as a “Truth and Reconciliation” process like that conducted in South Africa, or “Wisdom Council Dynamic Facilitation.”

We welcome every community member to visit the Resource Center for Nonviolence at 612 Ocean Street, Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 4:00 pm, visit rcnv.org and the RCNV Facebook page, meet our staff, attend events organized by RCNV and by more than 100 other community organizations, participate in racial equity trainings, nonviolent action trainings and Kingian Nonviolence trainings. We invite you to schedule your meetings and events at the Resource Center for Nonviolence.

And we welcome you to contact any of us on the RCNV Steering Committee—Silvia Morales, Jorge Mendez, Sandino Gomez, Joe Williams, Darrell Darling, and Steve Schnaar. 


8/19

OPINION: SCOTT KENNEDY on RECALL, by Darrell Darling

The first summer I came to Santa Cruz as pastor of the United Methodist Church I recruited Scott Kennedy as a youth camp counselor which I had agreed to direct for the California-Nevada UMC, as I had done for several years each summer. The theme was “The Nonviolence of Jesus,” in which Scott had immersed himself in Pacific School of Religion and as a founding staff member of Resource Center for Nonviolence. Since that summer, 1978, I have had the extraordinary good fortune to be the pastor of Scott and Kris, baptize one of his children, serve on the Steering Committee and governing board [Eschaton] for Resource Center for Nonviolence, as well as a number of committees and many demonstrations, conferences, and a two-week delegation for nonviolence in Palestine and Israel, one of more than 25 such delegations organized by Scott. In my 25 years of parish ministry I have not met another person more faithful and committed to the way of Jesus, manifested in Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

Approximately 35 years ago Paul Lee and Paul Pfotenhauer asked me to serve with them on the board of the Citizens Committee for the Homeless. Scott was on City Council. The issues on homelessness then were very similar to those we experience today. After a particularly rancorous Council meeting, demanding instant removal of the encampment at the corner of routes #1 & #9, Scott and I went to the camp and talked with a large group of homeless people. I believe he also went with Mike Rotkin another time. Among the outcomes of those conversations and deliberations of SC City Council and Citizens for the Homeless were a transitional camp at a state park, the construction of a clean and sober transitional housing development and construction of a family shelter with generous donations from the Rebele family. Scott persisted in finding MORE effective solutions BEFORE driving people off the only space they could find, exactly as Drew Glover did a generation later. And we owe a debt of gratitude to the Council who made it happen.

No one has been more generous in personal hospitality in their own home than Scott and Kris Kennedy and the other founders of Redwood Nonviolent Community. No one was more articulate or effective in his defense of the respect for people without access to resources and shelter. The slightest suggestion that Scott Kennedy would ally with efforts to undermine a legitimate election by recall, regardless of his personal or political position or conviction, especially one that leans heavily on racial implicit bias, is a betrayal of friendship and truth.

The most recent Council meeting I attended I concluded my remarks with a strong caution: If this recall receives the required signatures for the ballot, it will divide the community of Santa Cruz as nothing else has in a third of a century. This will define the political scene for a generation. Ever so much more than a regular election will this ballot measure be remembered for the names associated with this single issue which above all else in our current communal life they considered worthy of overturning the expressed will of the majority of our neighbors and friends.

I am loathe to presume to speak for a friend who was so eloquent in his defense of defenseless people and so tenacious in his reasonable determination to create effective solutions to intransigent problems. But Scott Kennedy would be the last person to advocate for policies that favor financial profit over affordable rental housing or construction of appreciation-investment properties over desperately needed residences for our community’s workforce. Why should anyone suppose that Scott Kennedy, who spent more than one night in jail on principle, would not walk out of an empty, shuttered council chamber rather than proceed with a budget approval in the absence of the tax-paying public locked out of their own chamber?

It is beyond credibility to imagine that Scott Kennedy would not be the first to defend Drew Glover in his legitimate election and his advocacy for “the least of these, my brothers and sisters.”

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