2014 HPJC Peacemaker Awards Dinner Celebrating Medea Benjamin, Sat. Nov 8

Celebrate these Local Peacemakers

Dr. Robert Bullard,  the father of environmental justice; The Station Museum Of Contemporary Art, home of daring, thought-provoking exhibits and events; Jannell Robles, Maria Xiquin, Dayana Gomez, Marianela Acuna, Silvia Chicas, young women who work for a better life for the Latino Community and all Houstonians.
Peace Love and Understanding

What's So Hard about Peace, Love, & Understanding?

The Houston Peace and Justice Center provides networks and resources for organizations and individuals to advance peace and social justice. We facilitate collaborations and resource pooling and build community among Houston's peace and justice activists.
Tar Sands Blockade in Action

HPJC Endorses the Nonviolent Direct Actions of the Tar Sands Blockade

HPJC endorses the blockade of the Keystone XL pipeline and the valiant, nonviolent direct actions by the Tar Sands Blockade.
Justice for Janitors, United, We Rise Together

Justice for Janitors

Join the Justice for Janitors campaign which has come to symbolize the inextricable link between the fight for worker's rights and the fight for immigration reform. United, We Rise Together.
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Our Mission & Welcome

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The Houston Peace and Justice Center provides networks and resources for organizations and individuals to advance peace and social justice. Learn more about who we are.

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Activist Toolkit
The activist toolkit provides resources to keep up with current issues, legislation and local actions addressing the most pressing issues of our day. View your Toolkit

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Houston Peace & Justice Center mission statement
Individuals and organizations are encouraged to join HPJC in serving Houston’s communities to help shape our future and practice nonviolence in all walks of life. Join us today.

Bryan Stevenson stirs the audience at HPJC's 10th Annual Peacemakers Awards Dinner Nov. 20

"You judge the character of a society not by how it treats its rich, powerful and privileged, but by how it treats its poor, [oppressed] and incarcerated.  It's in that nexus that we begin to understand profound ideas about who we are."  Bryan Stevenson

HPJC Deplores All Violence in Middle East

Gaza Strip by Majdi Mohammed//Associated Press
Israeli Air Assault on Gaza by Majdi Mohammed//Associated Press
The Houston Peace and Justice Center deplores all violence in the Middle East, including the use of drones to assassinate political and military leaders. 
 

HPJC Endorses the Nonviolent Direct Actions of the Tar Sands Blockade

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Supprt the Tar Sands Blockade
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HPJC endorses the blockade of the Keystone XL pipeline and the valiant, nonviolent direct actions by the Tar Sands Blockade.

Tar Sands Blockade in Action

TransCanada, a multinational corporation, intends to use its newly granted permits to construct the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline through Texas to the Gulf. This is no ordinary pipeline. It would pump toxic tar sands, extremely dirty and dangerous from extraction to combustion. If burned, tar sands spells “game over” for a livable climate and would harm community drinking water and farmers’ livelihoods across the region. From day one TransCanada has lied and trampled on the rights of honest landowners trying to defend their homes.

Innovation Under Austerity: Eben Moglen's call to arms from the Freedom to Connect conference

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Eben Moglen, Columbia University professor of law, Software Freedom Law Center

"The universalization of access to knowledge is the single most important force available for increasing innovation and human welfare on the planet."

[CLT ed. note: Pilfered flagrantly from Cory Doctorow's BoingBoing.net: http://boingboing.net/2012/05/27/innovation-under-austerity-eb.html#more-163339]

Death Penalty Still Arbitrary and Capricious

This past week, Connecticut became the 17th state in the Nation to abolish the death penalty.  Of the 33 states that still have the death penalty as a possible punishment for capital murder, 23 never or rarely carry out an execution.  Thus,  in effect, the death penalty is only used as a punishment in 10 states, most of them being in the deep South where slavery once existed.  
 
So, it appears that the death penalty is slowly disappearing in the USA.   That is good news as it indicates an "evolving standard of decency" in the U.S.  Our nation is the only western, industrialized nation to use this punishment.  We are in the company of such countries as China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia when it comes to exacting an eye for an eye.  
 
In Texas, both death sentences and executions continue to decrease.   One reason for this is that more and more citizens are becoming aware that our criminal justice system is not perfect  and innocent people have been sent to death row.   In Texas, 12 people have been exonerated and released from death row in the past 30 years, the latest being Anthony Graves who was released in 2010.  Nationwide, approximately 140 people have been exonerated and released from death row.  It is also true that several people with strong claims of innocence have been executed in Texas, people like Cameron Todd Willingham, Claude Jones, Ruben Cantu and Carlos Deluna.  

Houston Peace News

Houston Peace News is a monthly publication designed to encourage democratic debate on issues of human dignity and global sustainability.

The January 2012 issue is available in PDF format here.

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

The New Jim Crow book coverOn February 9, 2012,  my wife, Priscilla and I participated in a program sponsored by the Center for the Healing of Racism which focused on a new book by Michelle Alexander titled The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.   I thought I knew a lot about the criminal justice system having worked on the death penalty issue for many years.  However, I was shocked by what I learned in this program.

If you want to understand why the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world,  I recommend that you read Michelle Alexander’s book.  After reading this book, you will come to understand why we have over 2 million people incarcerated and another 5 million under court-supervised probation or parole.  You will also come to understand why our prison population is overwhelmingly people of color – it is because they have been targeted in the so-called “war on drugs” that started during the Reagan Administration.  The purpose of the drug war was not so much to fight drugs, but to woo white voters in the south from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.  Unfortunately, when Bill Clinton became President, he strengthened the war on drugs in an effort to woo voters back to the Democratic Party.   The “tough on crime” policies of the Clinton Administration resulted in the largest increase in incarceration of any U.S. President according to the Justice Policy Institute.  It is an amazing statistic that more African American adults are under court supervision today than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began. 

Pax Christi Houston

In a world that settles differences by armed violence or the threat of it, Pax Christi offers a nonviolent alternative.  In a world that too often defines "revenge" as "justice", Pax Christi breaks the cycle of violence by fostering reconciliation.  In a world where countries invest more money in weapons than in the well-being of their people, Pax Christi calls individuals to disarm their hearts and create

Occupy DC speaks truth to power and makes its declaration

Occupy DC for Revoluition

Nov. 30, 2011 On the eve of Occupy DC’s two month anniversary, the General Assembly of McPherson Square reached consensus on a Declaration representing the foundational grievances of the occupiers encamped there and their many supporters.

The principles of the Declaration are largely based upon a range of over 200 submissions to a box made available to the public over the first few weeks of the McPherson Square occupation. Occupy DC’s Declaration Committee, open to the public and consisting of several dozen people, met nearly every night for more than a month to draft this document. As part of a highly democratic process, the Declaration went before General Assembly three times, incorporating new language desired by the community on each occasion before reaching consensus last night.

Read Occupy DC’s Declaration:

HPJC's 2011 National Peacemaker Jim Hightower on The Disuniting of America

The Disuniting of America

By Jim Hightower

In the Bible, Paul doesn't say that money is the root of all evil — rather, it is the love of money that he warns against.

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