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 March 1, 2021


Independent Investigation Into Elijah McClain's Death Slams Aurora Police

City Promises Fair Review, But Two of Three Officers Still Employed

An independent investigation into the Aug. 2019 death of Elijah McClain concluded Feb. 22 that the Aurora Police Department had no justification for stopping him. The entire string of events beginning with a police frisk as McClain walked home from a convenience store was unnecessary, because the police acted unlawfully. In a press conference Feb. 23, Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly said the city would appoint an independent monitor for its police. However, Police Chief Vanessa Wilson would not comment on whether two officers involved in the death who were still on the force, Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema, would be fired. (One of the three officers, Jason Rosenblatt, was fired for participating in a social-media photograph that mocked McClain’s death.)

The independent panel was headed by former Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor, who warned that if the independent monitoring of police was not followed through, more acts like the killing of McClain were possible. The report found the Aurora Police had covered up several aspects of the death in their internal investigation. The report also took the unusual step of chiding EMTs and paramedics involved in caring for McClain after the stop. The report said the EMTs were covering for the police, and it warned that those in the emergency medical profession should not treat police officers as credible sources.

Meanwhile, several protesters involved in summer 2020 actions seeking justice for McClain are still facing trumped up federal and local charges that could put the protesters in jail for decades, including a ludicrous charge of “attempted kidnapping” for surrounding the Aurora Police Headquarters during a protest.


Local Critical Mass for Bikes Group Forming


Local activist Tom Noonan hopes to raise awareness for bike safety locally. Riders and allies will alert the public to the growing tragedy of pedestrians and bicyclists killed by motorists in Colorado Springs, by organizing a Critical Mass at Union Blvd and Constitution Ave on Fridays from 5-6pm. Critical Mass involves pedestrians and cyclists walking peacefully in the crosswalk in reflective clothing and/or wearing lights to increase visibility to emphasize a philosophy of sharing the road, and being aware of cyclists and pedestrians. For more information, email, or TEXT ONLY to (719) 663-7370. 


Peak Environment Podcast 68 Covers Northern Water's Goals in Regional Water Efficiency

What are 33 Colorado cities doing to conserve water? Frank Kinder, Water Efficiency Program Manager for Northern Water, updates us on the conservation work of this regional water provider. This program was recorded at the October 23, 2020 meeting of the Pikes Peak Environmental Forum. The Forum informs the community in Colorado Springs on issues of environmental import. Our monthly luncheon meeting topics have ranged from how earthquakes can predict weather events to sustainable energy solutions. Each month we learn something we weren’t necessarily aware we needed to know, but in broadening our knowledge, we deepen our understanding of, and our connection to, the world. Learn about future luncheons at our Facebook page, or contact us to be put on the email list for meeting notifications.
You can hear Podcast 68 here:

LINKS for Podcast 68:
Frank Kinder’s slide presentation
The Colorado-Big Thompson Project – video shown during presentation
2020 in Review: Water Efficiency Programs – video shown at end of presentation

Also be sure to check out Podcast 67 on Colorado College programs. Colorado College students demonstrate just how engaged and activated their generation can be. Filip Carnogursky and Liam Reynolds share two initiatives they started because they saw a need and weren’t going to wait around for someone else to do it. They’re doing something about addressing climate change and addressing unaffordable housing and unsustainable urban development. Learn all about Climate Action and the Colorado Springs Pro-Housing Partnership.  Filip, a Sierra Club intern, and the fellow students he assembled have organized the 2021 Climate Justice Action Panel, which takes place on February 18.

You can hear Podcast 67 here:

PPJPC Seeks Interest in Officers for Board

PPJPC is distributing flyers to Colorado College, UCCS, and Pikes Peak Community College to seek student membership on our board. We also welcome board members from the general public. If you are interested in nominating yourself or someone else to a board position, contact us at (719) 963-2979, or  

Catch the Nov. 14 Lynching Memorial

If you missed the Nov. 14 memorial for lynching victim Preston John Porter at Denver’s Creekside Park, you can view the ceremony at the Colorado Lynching Memorial web site HERE.

Participants in the ceremony  included Rosemary Lytle, president of NAACP state conference; Aurora poet laureate Jovan Mays; Episcopal Church Bishop Kym Lucas; Rev. Tawana Davis of Soul2Soul Sisters; Gov. Jared Polis; Denver Mayor Michael Hancock; and Denver City Council Member Candi CdeBaca.

The marker commemorates the Nov. 16, 1900 lynching in Limon of 15-year-old railroad worker Preston Porter Jr., falsely accused of killing a girl. Porter was one of four African Americans known to have been lynched in Colorado, who are being recognized by the CLM project.


Pikes Peak Women Launch "Elevating" Podcast Series

Pikes Peak Women expanded their “Elevating” Podcast series with a new series, “Women Making Change,” with the first episode featuring Stephany Rose Spaulding. Elevating Pikes Peak Women covers a wide array of diverse topics and critical issues for local women, hosted by former Mayor and community icon Mary Lou Makepeace. During each episode, local women of diverse backgrounds, ages, and political persuasions explore their experiences, values, and beliefs about local issues that affect the women in our community. Here’s an introductory clip to tell you a little about the PPW podcast.  Our October focus was on Voting Matters, covering topics like the mechanics of voting and how to negotiate your way through the long ballot of issues that are of critical importance to women. Going forward, we're planning episodes on Black Women's Lives Matter, Life in the Time of COVID (including the high rate of women's unemployment and the effect on the family), and Education in the Time of COVID.  We all know that the burdens of the pandemic are falling disproportionately on women, in their roles in the workplace and in the family, so we are looking to women who are change agents and supportive voices to bring us to higher grounds.
The new podcast with Dr. Spaulding is HERE

Thanks to our partner Studio 809, you can easily find and listen to all recent episodes here. The podcast is also available via SpotifyLibsynRadio Public, and Apple 
Do YOU have something you'd like to add to the general conversation? Feel free to contact us with any comments, questions, and ideas at

Mary Lou Makepeace, Marcy Morrison, Denise Abbott, Karole Campbell, Lindy Conter, Susan Davies, JJ Frazier, Kimberlie Griffis, Melissa Marts, Michelle Ray, Cianna Reider, Beth Roalstad, Carrie Simison, Barb Van Hoy, Deb Walker, Kayla Zowada

Why a Careful Critique of "Limited Military Strikes" is Important

Hard-headed realists within the liberal-interventionist camp insist that the U.S. military strikes early in the morning of Feb. 26, which took out several border-control buildings on the Syrian-Iraq border belonging to the Shia Kataib Hezbollah force, should not be seen as a big deal or a defining moment of the new Biden administration. After all, the strikes (which killed 17) were in retaliation for Kataib strikes in Iraq that killed a U.S. contractor and injured a uniformed soldier. They were not intended to be one of many strikes, but only intended to signal to Iran the limits of patience when that country funds Shia irregular forces in other nations.

But there are several reasons to hold Biden’s national-security establishment up to the light, reasons that go beyond a simple knee-jerk pacifist critique of any use of military force. First, the notion of “retaliation” is a slippery one in this case. An act seen as true retaliation usually takes place in the 24 hours following the triggering event. This might stretch to 72 hours in some circumstances. But the Kataib assaults happened on Feb. 15. If a “retaliation” doesn’t become a pre-emptive strike at some point, then when does a clock ever stop?

In a broader sense, the military strikes hark back to an era of U.S. rule-setting and exceptionalism that no longer exists. Foreign-policy pundits from across the political spectrum agree that, even though rightist-populism may be receding globally, the world is not going back to a liberal international order based on organizations like the UN and WTO, and on the “Washington Consensus” for economic common rules. Analysts from right and left agree that we are heading into a new era where no nation and no coalition of nations is seen as having the legitimacy to set rules for all nations. Even Francis Fukuyama, author of the famous 1989 essay “The End of History,” now says that everything in his essay regarding a worldwide spread of democracy and the rule of law was exactly wrong.

Biden’s military and intelligence agencies are populated by Clinton- and Obama-era officials that still believe in a world where superpowers and smaller regional powers can tell the world, or at least their neighbors, what to do. Trump used to boast about using “hard power” and only hard power, but rarely used it in practice. Foreign-policy pundits now agree that the U.S. is limited to the “soft power” of leading by example, because no exercise of military power is seen as legitimate on the world stage any longer. This does not apply merely to the U.S. or China, but to regional power states like Iran, whose backing of multiple Hezbollahs in multiple nations has no legitimacy either. So what does the emergence of such a multipolar world mean in practice? It means a big mess on the diplomacy front, to be sure. But in any event, it means the short, sharp shock of a military strike no longer carries a stamp of legitimacy, because the U.S. (and every other nation) is no longer seen as an honest enforcer or an honest arbiter of rules.

Police Accountability Public Meetings Continue TONIGHT, with March 1 Meeting on Racial Bias


The city’s Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission (“LETAC” ) is continuing its Listen & Learn sessions with a March 1 session on racial bias. Additional sessions from March to May will cover crisis response and use of force.  LETAC was established by City Council in June of 2020 in response to citizen protests, marches and vigils after the deaths of De'Von Bailey, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others of our Black communities.  The mission of LETAC is to make recommendations to City Council which would promote improved understanding and relationships between the police department and the public. LETAC’s current work is framed as “listening and learning”, which includes discussion meetings on the topics of communication, racial bias, crisis response and use of force.

Please RSVP to or calling 719-385-5480.  RSVP to attend the March 1 Part 2 session on racial bias, slated to start at 6 p.m.  The usual schedule is for LETAC meetings to be held on the first and third Monday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. Due to current public health requirements, meetings are held virtually.

Topics & Dates
Racial Bias: March 1, 2021
Crisis Response: March 15/April 5, 2021
Use of Force: April 19/May 3, 2021

Listening and Learning Sessions
The first of the two sessions in each topic area will begin with a presentation from CSPD on the specified topic, which will then be followed by citizens’ comments about the topic. These comments will allow LETAC to listen to citizens only. Citizens are encouraged to sign-up in advance by emailing or calling 719-385-5480.

The second of the two sessions will be an opportunity for LETAC internal discussion on the topic presented and addressed at the prior meeting. This will include Commissioners’ presentations, take-aways, additional questions, and next steps. (The March 1 session will be a Part 2 session of Listen & Learn on the racial bias topic.)

Handen Suggests It's Time for Ithaka to Change Its Name


We’ve previously shared reporting from the Colorado Springs Independent and The Gazette, regarding the sale of several properties by the nonprofit Ithaka Land Trust, and the sense of betrayal felt by many Bijou Community members about seeing properties sold without proper notification. Steve Handen, a founder of Ithaka and a teacher of peace principles at Colorado College, sent the following letter to the Ithaka board on Feb. 22:

About a month ago we requested that the Bijou House and side yard be returned to the Bijou Community via Mesa Housing Inc.  Amner said you needed more time to decide the issue.  We would like to have an answer this week so we can proceed.  As you know there are people working in the Bijou House daily. Perhaps you have already decided what to do with the house and just forgot to tell us.

I have suggested face to face meetings with you to no avail.  Your organization is obsessively secretive for a nonprofit group trying to gain community acceptance and recognition.  Such secrecy puts good reputations needlessly at risk.

One of the other issues discussed at our recent meeting was to humbly ask you to change the name of your organization (again).  Every day you drift further and further from the original vision of Ithaka.  Today it is barely recognizable as the Ithaka Land Trust.  You have already changed the name once - so another change would be easy.  A new name and a new mission!

I knew Mrs Shore and she gave her millions to the Ithaka Land Trust and its mission.  She did not give them to a different group with a new name and a new mission. She was a good woman and perhaps might have agreed with your new direction.  I doubt it.  She would have been sorely disappointed with the disconnect between the Ithaka of old and the new.

I am sending this note to a few of the old Ithaka Land Trust's members so they will know I did my homework. Awaiting your response.
Stephen Handen
Mesa House


Concrete Couch Season at Concrete Coyote Park Includes "Saturday Morning Grab Bag"

Our friends at Concrete Couch have posted their winter schedule, which includes a variety of hands-on outdoor events at Concrete Coyote Park, 1100 S. Royer. All events are free. One of the popular programs is SATURDAY MORNING GRAB BAG, which offers two sessions (10am to noon, and 1pm to 3pm). These programs are tailored to participant's interests, and include trail building, sculpture building, wood construction, dry stacking stone work, environmental restoration, aquatic science, etc. Participating in each Grab Bag group is limited to 5 participants, and require mask wearing. Kids under 13 also need an adult chaperone.

The Concrete Couch team is also free offering construction training to other non-profits. This program works especially well if your group 1) wants to learn basic carpentry skills and 2) needs something built, like a shed, bench, gate or shade pavilion. CC provides all the tools and (recycled) materials. Contact to set up a program for your team.

On the Concrete Couch calendar, you can also check out regular virtual sessions on weekdays, including Cool Science and School of Rock. Visit HERE 

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