HPJC will be central to peace and justice activity in Houston. Its membership includes most of the area’s eligible institutions and organizations.
Those institutions and organizations that aren’t members nonetheless will have a good working relationship with HPJC, meaning that they are responsive to its emphasis on collaboration and networking to achieve particular objectives. They will habitually think in such terms, and look to HPJC as the way to enlist broad support for their agendas.
A majority of Houston’s religious institutions and social action agencies will look to HPJC to help fulfill their obligations to create a just, nonviolent world. Just as they now use the collaborative mechanisms and networking of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston to live up to their social service mission, so they will use HPJC to live up to their social change mission.
Beyond its importance to our area, HPJC will be a leader in collaborative regional work for peace and justice. This work includes advocacy in state legislatures, campaigns to achieve goals such as changing a multinational corporation’s behavior, and mass mobilizations.
One measure of HPJC’s centrality to peace and justice work will be its ability to call upon the resources of the appropriate organizations, institutions, and individuals both within and outside its membership to promote those policy goals its board places on its own action agenda. It will have sufficient human resources to execute its projects, and it will be able to turn out appropriate numbers for the public events and the meetings with public officials that it organizes.
Another measure will be its ability at any given moment to focus attention on those issues, or viewpoints on issues, that are crucial to creating a just, nonviolent society. It will be able at short notice call together representatives of key constituencies to make joint public statements that command broad media coverage. And the Houston area media will regard HPJC as a dependable source of progressive commentary, and habitually call upon its leadership for statements.
HPJC will have ready access to Houston-based elected officials at the local, state, and national levels. They will respect the accuracy of its information, the soundness of its judgment, and the influence it exercises within a significant sector of their constituency. It will not be unusual for them to come to HPJC with their own requests for help to achieve objectives that they know are consonant with our values.
Peace education will be an important part of HPJC’s service to the community. It will make sure that there are age-appropriate instructional programs available, and that they are well publicized. In the case of peace education for adults, HPJC will offer attractive, effective programs facilitated by well-trained personnel. Regarding the schools, both public and private, HPJC will have succeeded in securing a place in the curriculum for peace education, and HPJC be a source of technical assistance for high quality programs. HPJC will also work with area districts to provide information about the realities of military enlistment and nonmilitary opportunities, so students can make well informed decisions about joining the military. Area schools of education will include nonviolent conflict resolution in their teacher training. And with HPJC’s encouragement, at least one area university will have instituted a Peace Studies program.
While HPJC will be active in promoting peace and justice at the local level, it will have a special responsibility for the internationalization of Houston’s care and concern. Just as Houston’s corporate elite has long been a major player in economic globalization, so too HPJC has helped its general populace to become participants in the global quest for nonviolence, human rights, and economic, social, and environmental justice. Through its programming, educational work, and interaction with other institutions and organizations, it will demonstrate the imperative to think globally while acting locally.
HPJC’s annual awards dinner will be a premiere event in Houston’s non-profit world. Its recognition of local peace and justice activists will be a coveted award. Other community events it stages, such as its peace festival for children, will attract large numbers.
HPJC’s website will be Houston’s most valuable source of information about matters of concern to peace and justice advocates, and a much-used resource for activists. Other forms of communication, such as its email list serve, will be essential and effective tools of networking and coordinated action.
HPJC’s physical site will be a hub of activity. It will include office and work space for its staff and volunteers. It will also house several other compatible organizations. There will be meeting space for large and small groups, which is regularly used by many organizations for meetings, talks, classes, informal discussion groups, and art exhibits, concerts and other cultural events. The facility will also have an extensive resource library, including state of the art audio-visual equipment and printed and recorded material of all kinds related to peace and justice issues and peace education. When major events like demonstrations or marches are planned, the facility will be used for training and other kinds of preparation.
To carry out its work, HPJC will be staffed with an executive director, an executive assistant, and the necessary number of project directors, plus a paid webmaster.
A membership of at least 2500 individuals and 100 organizations and institutions will provide the material base of support for HPJC’s work.
HPJC will be a model for peace and justice centers around the country, and will help neighborhoods and communities in the Houston area start their own centers, which will have become part of an expanded peace and justice network in the region.