Please take a few minutes to write (short) notes to President Obama, your Congresspersons, and your local newspaper about Obama's plan to try to bomb our way to peace.
But first, read this article by Stephen Miles (of Win Without War) that was reprinted in the Huffington Post:
On Wednesday night, President Obama addressed the nation to unveil his strategy for confronting the violent extremists of ISIS (also called ISIL or Islamic State). While the President outlined a four-point plan, the central focus of his strategy is an increased military intervention in Iraq, where we have already launched over 150 airstrikes and deployed over 1,100 ground troops over the past few weeks, and an expansion of that air war into Syria. We are also sending 475 more American troops to join the roughly 1,100 already on the ground in Iraq. While the professional punditry has busied itself debating just how many bombs should fall and where, we should be asking ourselves, is American military force really the smartest way to address the threat we face from ISIS?
The clear answer is no.
American bombs simply cannot eliminate the threat of ISIS and may indeed make the conflicts in Iraq and Syria worse and harder to solve. Fortunately, we have alternatives, and, while they lack the immediacy of bombing, they are ultimately far more effective in keeping America safe, protecting innocent lives and crippling violent extremists.
Also, here's the Win Without War web page with some great statements by other organizations opposed to Obama's plan for using the military: http://winwithoutwar.org/coalition-statements-isis/
Please join Houston Group volunteers and the Lone Star Chapter staff on September 17th to support our work.
What: A Special Evening to Benefit Lone Star Chapter & Houston Regional Group of the Sierra Club
Where: Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, 4501 Woodway
Optional short hikes/walks will be led nearby 6:00 to 7:00 PM
Gather with like-minded folks, enjoy good company, great appetizers and desserts. See displays of local conservation efforts and service projects. Your donation will benefit both the Lone Star Chapter and the Houston Regional Group.
In other words, rather than just talk about issues, we are going to learn how to effect change for the better.
Note: The location for this year's Civil Rights Coalition Conference has been changed. It will be held at the University of Houston main campus.
Speakers/workshop leaders will be leaders in the civil rights community including professionals and volunteers from CAIR-TX, ACLU, LULAC, HPJC, South Texas Human Rights Center and others.
The keynote speaker will be long-time civil rights activist Jim Harrington, founder and director of the Texas Civil Rights Project.
Recent events such as the incident in Missouri demonstrate the ongoing need for civil rights activism.
Registration is very inexpensive: $7 if pre-registered, $10 at the door and $5 for students.
Topics to be covered include:
- Community organizing
- Political strategies
- Media/social media strategies
- Immigration issues
- Criminal justice reform
- Coping with discrimination and voter suppression
For more information, including speakers and the program for the conference, please see the Conference web site
If you have an event that you want other progressives to know about, we want to help you get it on the online calendar for the Houston Peace and Justice Center.
Events posted on our online calendar are also included in HPJC's e-mail calendar of upcoming events newsletter.
If you are reading this on the hpjc.org home page, click on the "read more" link below, or the title of this article, for important tips and details, including how to submit your event.
The Houston Peace and Justice Center has consistently been a strong proponent of nonviolent solutions for conflicts, whether they be personal, local, national, or international conflicts. We detest the United States' over-reliance on military force in attempts to solve international problems, and realize that often use of such force results in more violence, and more suffering and casualties by civilians, while actually fomenting more hatred and distrust of the US and encouraging terrorism. We recognize that the US has often acted as a bully by using military force in both covert and overt operations, not because there was a threat to the US, but for political or economic reasons. That needs to stop. Further, we should stop encouraging other countries to be bullies.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been going on for many years and we do not see an end to it without annihilation of one side or the other (which we certainly do not want), unless effective pressure is put on perpetuators of the conflict to change the factors that continue to generate violence.
(If you are reading this on the HPJC home page, click the title of this article, or the Read More link below, for the entire statement and the resolution approved by the HPJC Board.)
Tenzin Robert Thurman and Sharon Salzberg Present "Love Your Enemies" Interactive Workshop based on their latest book
What if we could truly love our enemies? Tenzin Robert Thurman, founder of Tibet House USA and one of Time Magazine's "25 Most Influential Americans," and Sharon Salzberg, bestselling author and co-founder of Insight Meditation, will present an interactive workshop on compassion in community brought to you by the Rothko Chapel and Dawn Mountain. Houston's own Anne Klein and Harvey Aronson, founders of Dawn Mountain, will moderate the discussion in the uniquely sacred Rotkho Chapel.
This event for tennis players of all ages and skill levels, features a clinic with former #9 ranked women's player in the world Lori McNeil and her coach John Wilkerson. They are affiliated with the Zina Garrison Tennis Academy.
The clinic will run from 8:30 to 9:15 and then play begins. The event is at MacGregor Park, about 1 mile south of the main University of Houston campus.
There will be three divisions: intermediate and advanced adults; novice adults; and children up to age 16.
HPJC, along with the Houston Regional Sierra Club, Texas Campaign for the Environment, and other groups, opposes the "One Bin" / dirty materials recovery facility, or dirty mixed waste trash proposal for the City of Houston. Similar projects in Ohio, Georgia, California and other places have resulted in actual recycling rates of only 10%-30% and greatly increased air pollution from the remaining incinerated waste. It's bad for our air and water, it's bad for city finances, and it's bad for environmental justice. It would be wasteful of energy, uses technology that has not worked thus far, and will greatly reduce the marketability of materials that would have been accepted for recycling if not contaminated with garbage.
Save the Date! Medea Benjamin has agreed to accept the Houston Peace and Justice Center's annual National Peacemaker Award, and will be the keynote speaker at HPJC's annual awards dinner this year. Read her reaction ("insanity") on Democracy Now! to Obama's plan to bomb Syria and expand attacks on Iraq: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/9/12/insanity_codepinks_medea_benjamin_on_obama
Local peacemakers will also receive awards and give short presentations. They are:
- Dr. Robert Bullard, "father of environmental justice" and Dean of TSU's Barbara Jordan - Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. For more info on him, see Dr Bullard's web page
- The Station Museum of Contemporary Art, which has hosted many exhibitions, film showings, and speakers for peace and justice related topics, especially dealing with current events and topics that other museums may find too controversial. The Museum encourages people to think about important issues in ways that the mainstream media often chooses to ignore or stereotype. The director is Jim Harithas. For more info about them and many of the activities and exhibits they've had, see the Station Museum's Facebook page
- "5 Dynamic Young Latinas" - Jannell Robles, Maria Xiquin, Dayana Gomez, Marianela Acuna, Silvia Chicas - for their work to promote the dignity and welfare of the Latino community in Houston
Besides being a time to recognize notable people and organizations involved with peace and justice, the dinner is also a celebration and opportunity to be with other local activists and supporters. We hope you will join us!