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The Justice & Peace eWeekly is a weekly survey of upcoming events, local news and activism opportunities. Feel free to forward this to anyone you know who might be interested.

 


Week of June 29, 2020


 

City Acts Quickly But Indecisively On Police Accountability


Avila Votes "No" for Lack of Citizen Input

(AP picture above: protesters blockade I-225 in Aurora on June 27 to protest Aurora Police killing of Elijah McClain in August 2019. Gov. Polis last week called for re-opening the investigation of his death.)

Colorado Springs City Council voted June 23 to create a new police advisory council, but took heat from several attendees for not allowing more citizen input. The members of the committee will be chosen by the council, which will consider the structure of the board in a July 14 final reading. City Council Member Yolanda Avila cast the sole "no" vote because of what she called the council's "lukewarm" interest in citizen input. The City Council currently is seeking applications for the board.

Meanwhile, across the nation, controversy over racial justice centered largely on the legitimacy of statues honoring 19th- and 20th-century figures, with the dispute ranging far outside honoring the Confederacy. On two successive nights in Denver, statues were pulled down. On Wednesday night, a statue on the West Capitol portico honoring Union soldiers was torn down, because the same battalion that fought against the Confederacy later was responsible for the Sand Creek Massacre against Native Americans. On Thursday night, a statue honoring Christopher Columbus in Civic Plaza was pulled down by protesters.

On a national level, President Trump issued an executive order seeking felony charges for vandalism to federal monuments and statues, after demonstrators attempted to pull down an Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park across from the White House. Among a flurry of national actions, Princeton University decided to remove all references to Woodrow Wilson at the school, because of President Wilson's membership in the Ku Klux Klan and his long-held racist beliefs. While some citizens are upset about vandalism, most Americans appear ready to engage in a re-thinking of all the nation's heroes.
 

RAWtools Debuts Poetry Video "Taking Stock" TONIGHT (Sunday, June 28) at 7 p.m.!

RAWtools has completed a new video featuring local poets reading works on issues of gun violence. The video was directed and produced by Mary Sprunger-Froese and Lauren Weaver, and features poems from Jonathan Andujar, former Pikes Peak Poet Laureate Susan Peiffer, NAACP activist Rosemary Lytle, and PPJPC Chair Loring Wirbel. "Taking Stock: Loaded Words and Bullet Points" will debut at 7 p.m. tonight on RAWtools' Facebook page HERE, though the link will not be live until 7.

Pikes Peak Women Release a Call to Action, Summer-Long Program to Address Racial Injustices

Pikes Peak Women, a local group of leaders that include former PPJPC Chair Melissa Marts, Citizens Project Executive Director Deb Walker, and Indy Give! Director Barb Van Hoy, released the following statement on Wednesday, June 10:

Pikes Peak Women stands with those who are horrified by the brutal murder of George Floyd  by Minneapolis police on May 25, and those  of Breonna Taylor,  Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray Jr., Walter Scott, Oscar Grant III, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Botham Jean, Atatiana Jefferson, and too many more.  As mothers, as sisters, as friends we thought we were doing the right things to support and advance equality.  We were wrong!
 
Our efforts have been too little and our voices too weak.  Too often our silence spoke louder than our efforts.   As the great leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” 

We can do better.  We must do better. The community of Fannie Mae Duncan and “Everybody Welcome” must come together to lead the way through advocacy, collaboration, and peaceful protest. 

We cannot claim to know the racism and discrimination experienced by our Black colleagues on a daily basis, but we can learn.  It is no longer enough to ask “Am I racist?” but rather “HOW am I racist?” and, even more so, “How can I use my privilege to advocate through positive action, relationship building, and communication to the broader community that racism is NOT welcome here?  Not here in the Pikes Peak region.  Not here in the United States.”

The leadership of Pikes Peak Women is committed to becoming effective allies, leading the charge to examine our white privilege and systemic racism to finally deliver the promise of equality at all levels for people of color. Many of you have attended our programs on media bias, political advocacy, and running for office.  You have learned from Pikes Peak Women and brought your unique perspectives and truths to our forums. Now is the time to declare your commitment by adding your voice and story to the chorus of those demanding justice and reform for equal treatment, access, and respect for communities of color.  Women are a powerful force in this community.  Just 100 years ago women gave their hearts, their efforts, and their lives to deliver suffrage to women.  We can move mountains when moved to action, and now it is more important than ever to commit to action! 

In the coming months Pikes Peak Women will be collaborating  with our community partners to draft programs that educate us so we can be stronger – and louder – allies in this fight for equality. The details have yet to be formulated and we do want to hear from you on suggested topics that you think would be helpful.  Here are some sample topics:  White Privilege – What Is It?  What are police guidelines on Use of Force?  How are schools educating our children on civil rights, discrimination, privilege?  What is the penalty for CSPD officers who don’t wear their body cameras or turn them on?  What is our history of civil rights in Colorado Springs?  The list is likely to be long, but we would welcome your ideas.  Feel free to share this memo with your friends and neighbors.  We welcome all suggestions.
 
We cannot remain silent. We must fight systemic racism and inequality, the historic absence of respect, and the denial of justice to our friends, neighbors, family members, and fellow citizens who are people of color.  We commit to learning to be true allies in this movement.  We ask each woman of the Pikes Peak region to JOIN US.
 

Concrete Couch Offers Summer Online Zoom Sessions and Face-to-Face Small Classes at Hillside

Our friends at Concrete Couch have expanded their spring Zoom offerings in two directions. Weekday Zoom classes will continue to be offered, following a general schedule of Food on Monday, Art on Tuesday, Construction on Wednesday, Science on Thursday, and a Friday session on Mindful Movement, including yoga and dance. There is also a new “Teach One Thing” program for those aged 9-17, who are prepared to commit to five hours for preparing a class on a favorite subject to teach, and then teaching it online. Find out more at www.concretecouch.org . Steve Wolf tells us that Concrete Couch is looking for teachers, too, so drop him a line at teach@concretecouch.org.

Concrete Couch also is offering its first paid classes, in which five kids and five instructors will join at Concrete Coyote Learning Laboratory, Colorado Springs Food Rescue, Hillside Community Center, and other locations. The students will learn a variety of art, construction, science, stonework, and ecology skills. Participants must bring their own water, snacks, mask, and gloves. Morning sessions from 9 to 10 a.m. are for those aged 9 to 12, while sessions from 10:00 to 11:30 are for 13 to 17 year-olds. The classes began June 8, so check with Christine at the email below for possible late entrants. The classes run from June 8 to August 14. The cost is $50, though there are scholarships available, and each student that attends at least 9 of 10 classes gets 100% of tuition back. For more information, contact Christine Flores at christine@concretecouch.org.
 

PPJPC Cancels Peace Camp, Plans Late Summer Online Family Event

It should surprise few people that we have elected to cancel Peace Camp in either online or face-to-face formats this summer. While our friends at Concrete Couch were generous is describing what does and does not work for remote Zoom classes as well as for limited outdoor onsite activities, we found in polling former attendees that many kids were experiencing Zoom burnout after a semester of online classes, and many other families did not want to attend face-to-face events for now.

Needless to say, scholarships and funding will be carried over into 2021, when we will hopefully be past the pandemic and able to put on the quality event we want to offer. In the meantime, we are planning on a special online event for families in the August-September time frame. Stay tuned for more details!
 

Colorado Springs Utilities Votes for Portfolio 17, Which Will Close Coal Operations at Drake and Nixon by 2023
 

Sierra Club activist Lindsay Facknitz sent out a video whoop June 26 when the City Council, acting in its capacity as the Colorado Springs Utility Board, unexpectedly approved Portfolio 17, the greenest of several plans for future energy use. This plan calls for converting Drake and Nixon power plants to natural gas by 2023. The city says it can do this without layoffs at the plant. One member of council said that running the Drake plant is now more expensive than buying energy on the spot market. The plan also calls for CSU to gain most of its power from renewable sources by 2050.
 

Active for Justice Podcast Covers Plowshares Nuns' March 5 Speech

 

 Thanks to Greg, Dave, Rick, and everyone at Studio 809 (who are currently on a virus semi-sabbatical) for editing the presentation Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert gave at All Souls Church on March 5. We were lucky to host the sisters for several events prior to the quarantine being enacted locally. We have also listed the latest two Peak Environment podcasts of Studio 809 below, though it may be a few weeks before additional podcasts are added.

Plowshares Podcast here:
http://studio809radio.com/active-justice-yes-humanity-mar-05-2020/

 

Covid's Round 2 Could Impact Indoor Events Through Year's End

Last week, Colorado remained an island of only mild increases in Covid-19 cases, as significant increases were seen in Arizona, Texas, southern California, and other locations in the South and West. Texas in particular had to pull back on its re-opening as cases in Houston soared. A new consensus is emerging among CDC and local health officials that outdoor events are relatively safe when masks are worn and social distancing is respected. The biggest challenge remains with crowds at indoor events, particularly when people remain stationary and speak loudly. Obviously, the biggest impact that could represent would be for sports events, concerts, and crowded bars. Many sponsors of such events anticipate that no indoor events of significant size will be held within the calendar year. As PPJPC plans for possible forums in late 2020, we will keep these guidelines in mind. In the meantime, always wear your mask and maintain six-foot distance, so that Colorado does not face the same backsliding experienced in other states!

 

PPJPC Seeks Interest for Officers of Board

While we at PPJPC identified potential board members at our Feb. 29 annual meeting, we are seeking your help as we reconstitute post-quarantine. If you are interested in nominating yourself or someone else to a board position, contact us at info@ppjpc.org or media@ppjpc.org. After double-checking with candidates, we will send out a slate of board candidates for member approval.
 

New Webinar on Hybrid Warfare

About Face: Veterans Against the War and World Without War partnered in late March to present a webinar that is now available for viewing online. “The Age of Hybrid Warfare” is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/gZK40p10MOA. You can also check out the PowerPoint slides that go with the webinar at tiny.cc/wij4nz.  This seminar looks at the creation of “permanent war” environments when economic warfare, “lawfare,” cyberwar, and other methods augment traditional avenues of armed conflict.
 

Peak Environment Podcast 59 Examines Regional Sustainability

 

Studio 809’s Peak Environment has released the second of two podcasts featuring Konrad Schlarbaum of Green Cities Coalition. Schlarbaum, the sustainability coordinator at Pikes Peak Community College, talks about “Updating the Regional Sustainability Plan.” How can we improve the Pikes Peak Region 2030 Plan?  Schlarbaum lays out his suggestions.

You can find Podcast 59 here:
http://studio809radio.com/pe-ppr2030-updating/

Podcast 58 covers a presentation Schlarbaum made Feb. 8 at the Pikes Peak Foodshed Forum, on local food and indigenous roots. The podcast also features keynote speaker Michael Alcazar.

You can find Podcast 58 here:
http://studio809radio.com/indigenous-land-management/


 
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