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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 September 21, 2020


 

More than 1000 Protest the Arrests
of Denver Activists

 

In Nationwide Sweep, Barr Calls for Sedition Charges Against BLM Protesters

More than 1000 protesters gathered in Denver’s Civic Plaza on Saturday, Sept. 19 to raise awareness of new Colorado and national crackdowns by the Justice Department. A week after three Colorado Springs protesters faced unprecedented rioting charges after an August 3 protest, six Denver-area protesters were nabbed Sept. 16-17 and charged in multiple felony counts for protests in Aurora surrounding the death of Elijah McClain. The sweep was part of a nationwide move by the Justice Department, in which close to 300 protesters have seen state or municipal charges suddenly superseded by federal charges brought by U.S. prosecutors, according to an Associated Press survey. Last week, Attorney General William Barr demanded prosecutors bring unprecedented sedition charges against Black Lives Matter protesters.

The six Denver arrests involved members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, who were nabbed at Home Depot, in their homes, and pulled over while driving.  While the charges in the Aurora case were brought by the 17th and 18th judicial districts, sources say the district attorneys in the area were under immense pressure from the federal Justice Department. The two DA’s have denied all media requests for interviews. The six arrested are Lillian House, Joel Northam, Terrance Roberts, Whitney Lucero, Trey Quinn, and John Ruch, who face multiple felonies for protests held in Aurora on June 27, July 3, July 12, and July 25.

One legal analyst told the Associated Press that the nationwide sweep could well be a “dress rehearsal” for even broader charges for the protests in Portland and Seattle, with a serious crackdown delayed until the Pacific Northwest fires are brought under control. In his call with federal prosecutors last week, in which Barr berated them with the kind of name-calling usually favored by his boss, Barr demanded that charges be filed against Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, and that sedition filings should number in the dozens, if not hundreds.  (On Friday night, 11 arrests were made in Portland at the regional ICE/DHS headquarters, and rumors were heavy on Saturday that those arrested would face federal charges.)

On Friday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer bravely said that Barr is “becoming unhinged.” But why aren’t more federal prosecutors, both Democrats and Republicans, joining Whitmer in her denunciations? And why isn’t Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor, making this a key issue in the campaign?
 
 

Housing Comments Sought by COS PHP

The housing advocacy group COS Pro-Housing Partnership is asking city residents to contact their council representatives about a new concept introduced through RetoolCOS, the city's rezoning process. Here’s the message from Max Kronstadt of COSPHP:

We wanted to let you all know that the city's Planning Department presented a new zoning concept, called Flex Zoning, to city council on Tuesday, and public comments are needed!

The proposal would create 3 residential zoning classifications that would apply to new developments. R-Flex Low would allow up to 5 units per acre, R-Flex Mid would allow 5-12 units per acre, and R-Flex High would allow 12-25 units per acre. [If you're in a hurry, skip to the Action section for how to comment].

The Good: These new zones do not regulate housing type, meaning duplexes or townhomes would be allowed even in the lowest density zone (R-Flex Low). The new zones also don't have minimum lot sizes. This change makes it possible to build smaller, more affordable homes on smaller lots. 
The Bad: The lowest density zone (R-Flex Low) actually allows fewer homes per acre than the current single-family R1-6000 zone, meaning this zone does nothing to address our problem of housing stock not keeping pace with population growth. 
The Really Bad: These new zones don't touch existing single-family zones or PUD's (planned unit developments--custom zones that are largely single-family). These zones occupy a majority of our residential land, and we will not be able to address our affordable housing crisis if we do not allow more kinds of housing in these existing zones.
 
Action (emails can be as short as 1-2 sentences):
Email retoolcos@coloradosprings.gov (feel free to CC your city council members) expressing the following:
1. Appreciation for the concept of regulating by density rather than housing type BUT
2. Concern that module 1 leaves existing single-family zones and PUDs untouched
3. Concern that R-Flex Low is less dense than the existing R1-6000 zone

If you'd like to beef up your comment with reasons why this is important, here is a guide. As always, please BCC us on your email so we can keep track of how many emails the city is receiving, and share this email with your networks if you can. Thank you all for your dedication to making this city better.
 

PPJPC Seeks Interest for Officers of Board

 

This month, 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. ntial 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 (719) 963-2979, or Gabriel.Cordova01@gmail.com.  

 

RAWtools Offers "Taking Stock" as a YouTube/Facebook Resource Following June 28 Debut

RAWtools debuted its new poetry video, “Taking Stock: Loaded Words and Bullet Points” in late June to rave reviews. The video features local poets reading works on issues of gun violence. The video was directed and produced by Mary Sprunger-Froese and Lauren Weaver, and includes poems from Jonathan Andujar, former Pikes Peak Poet Laureate Susan Peiffer, NAACP activist Rosemary Lytle, and PPJPC Chair Loring Wirbel.  The video is now on YouTube for viewing at any time, you can find it here: https://youtu.be/8t16wRcVHa4
 

NWTRCC Conference to Go Virtual

The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee was originally going to hold its 2020 meeting in Colorado Springs, a venue NWTRCC has used before. But Covid restrictions have transformed the conference to an all-virtual one on “Defunding Militarism and Creating a New Normal,” slated for Nov. 7 and 8. Current plans call for a group Zoom session to be held on Saturday of the conference from 3 to 5 p.m., but in the meantime, you can check out the program HERE.
 

Active for Justice Podcast Covers 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/

 

Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Seeking Volunteers During Election Season

CIRC is seeking volunteers to raise immigrant rights issues during the election season. Here’s a message we’ve received from CIRC:

We’re building a grassroots movement of our family members, community members, and allies to make sure we turn out to support immigrants this November, and we’re counting on people like you to join our movement. 

Most campaigns focus only on high-propensity voters and leave immigrants and people of color behind, but our strategy is to engage with immigrant communities directly. We will be hosting virtual events and phonebanks to do community outreach today through election day. Everything we are doing this 2020 election cycle is digital.

Will you sign up to get involved? We have countless volunteer opportunities, and we need your sWe’re building a grassroots movement of our family members, community members, and allies to make sure we turn out to support immigrants this November, and we’re counting on people like you to join our movement. 

We have countless volunteer opportunities, and we need your support. You can apply HERE.



 

PPJPC to Partner with Hear Here and PPLD for November Youth Poetry Open Mic for Racial Justice

Fall 2020 joint promotion of events between PPJPC and Pikes Peak Library District will include the joint development of a Youth Poetry Open Mic, focused on racial justice and social justice themes, tentatively set for the second week of November. While an outdoor event would be preferred, weather permitting, we are also looking at socially-distanced indoor venues as well. The planning team will contact local school districts and youth groups, with the goal of following up the open mic with a series of winter on-line journaling and poetry critique events. In the meantime, we hope to do promote a series of October events from Poetry 719, Hear Here, and PPLD, including All Pikes Peak Reads selections. Stay tuned for more information!

 

 



Ruth Bader Ginsburg Death Likely to Increase Fall Turmoil

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg struggled valiantly to keep her multiple metastasizing cancers in check at least through the November elections, to provide a partial hope of a better Supreme Court nominating process. Her death Sept. 18 at age 87 is bound to raise the tension of a fall election season that already has the nation near a breaking point. Right on schedule, Sen. Mitch McConnell said mere hours after her death that the Senate will accelerate consideration of Trump’s pick or picks to USSC, despite the fact that McConnell would not consider Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland during the election season four years ago.  

Trump demanded Saturday that Ginsburg’s replacement be named “without delay.” Earlier, the president floated several names a week ago, some like Ted Cruz who merely fit the Antonin Scalia mold, but others like Tom Cotton who are unabashed defenders of white supremacy and undemocratic practices. Suddenly on Saturday afternoon, the president pledged his nominee would be a woman, most likely one of two Court of Appeals justices, Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa. While both judges are conservative, they have more experience than the political hacks whose names were floated earlier.

Democrats, meanwhile, saw hope in Mark Kelly, the Democratic husband of Gabby Gifford, taking a lead in the Arizona Senate race against Republican incumbent Martha McSally. Because of the way Arizona fills its seat, Kelly would likely be seated before the USSC nomination was decided, which could scupper any plans by McConnell to rush the nomination through during a lame-duck session.  In either event, it is certain that the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice will take polarizing fury in the nation to unprecedented levels.
 
 

City Council Tentatively Names 11 Members and Two Alternates to Police Accountability Board
 

 The Colorado Springs City Council came to an informal consensus Sept.14 on members of the Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission, and will vote on the appointments Sept. 22. PPJPC Executive Director Gabriel Cordova was a finalist out of more than 800 applicants, but did not make the final cut. Those named are Joe Aldaz, Kate Angulski, Justin Baker, Rachael Flick, Janice Frazier, Steve Kern, Terry Martinez, Dennis Moore, Luis Velez, Deb Walker, and Brent Windebank. The two alternates are Rosita Camargo and Felicia Embry. Congratulations to all nominees, and it is becoming evident the commission will be busy from the first day of appointment.


 

Pikes Peak Women Joins Women's Foundation to Honor Avila, Makepeace, and Waller

Pikes Peak Women will join with Colorado Women's Foundation for a special Webinar on Wed., Sept. 23 at 5:30 p.m. to honor Yolanda Avila, Mary Lou Makepeace, and June Waller for their contributions to Colorado Springs. The Chat4Change program is part of a series to honor “SHEROES” in the region. You can register for the 90-minute program HERE.

Also on Sept. 23, Pikes Peak Women will launch a regular podcast through PPJPC’s partner, Studio 809. The podcast, to be titled “Elevating Pikes Peak Women,” will feature multiple series, beginning with “Women VOTE!” The first podcast in the series, slated to be released Sept. 23 at Studio809radio.com, will feature a diverse group of intergenerational women voters.

 

Colorado Coalition Promotes Letter-Writing Campaign for Nuclear Abolition

The Colorado Coalition for the Prevention of Nuclear War  encourages you to send a letter to the editor of your local paper this week expressing support for the Nuclear Ban Treaty which is on the table for ratification by individual nations.   Should it be ratified by 50 nations then it becomes International law.

September 21 is the International Day of Peace. September 26 is the UN Day for Nuclear Abolition

Why a UN Day for nuclear abolition?
The UN General Assembly established this day in 2013 out of concern by the overwhelming majority of UN member countries at the risk of a nuclear war and the ongoing nuclear arms race. There are over 14,000 nuclear weapons in the world, many of them primed and ready for launch in minutes.

In addition, about $100 billion per year is being spent to design, develop and deploy nuclear weapons. This money should instead be spent on climate protection, sustainable development, public health and :"building back better" from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UN general assembly established the day to promote the complete elimination of nuclear weapons through a nuclear weapons convention, an agreement involving nuclear armed, nuclear allied, and non-nuclear countries.

Letter to the Editor Model   (325 words as is)  Use this letter and make adjustments as you like.   The more unique your letter is the more likely it will be used.

In the midst of pandemic and election focus our attention has been withdraw from the two greatest threats to US national security: Climate change and nuclear holocaust.  Both threats MUST be addressed Internationally.

Both of these are hardly mentioned even though US budget priorities and administration policy move in opposite directions from reasonable solutions.

Massive commitments have been made towards “modernizing” the nuclear weapons complex and creating new useable nukes. The latter has led to increased military posturing and another nuclear arms race .

The United States has withdrawn from treaties designed to reduce nuclear weapons including the IMF treaty, ABM Treaty, the 6 nation JCPOA agreement with Iran to halt Iranian nuclear weapons development , and the Paris Climate accords. The US has led efforts to prevent the Nuclear Ban Treaty from ratification at the United Nations.  From afar the United States looks like a nation unwilling to work cooperatively to reduce the threat of accidental or intentional nuclear weapons use, as well as working with the rest of the world to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the damage being caused by Climate Warming.

It is important that we elect leaders who will change this dangerous unilateral path we are on. Money committed to nuclear weapons development and Space Warfare should be redirected to human need and to greening our aging infrastructure. We should ratify the Nuclear Ban Treaty and rejoin international Climate Change mitigation efforts.  Just as “No one is free till everyone is free” so “No one is secure unless all are secure”. As one great religious leader said long ago, “He who would be greatest of all must be the servant of all” (rather than the dominator of all.) Mk 9:35

We pay for Climate Change intensified disasters through increased insurance costs, lost lives.  Changes in climate threaten world food production via drought, increasing storms, and flooding, new diseases, economic collapse, refugees, unstable governments, and increased potential for nuclear weapons use.

Media Outlets for Letters ((the active links on the name of the source will take you directly to their letters link.):
Colorado Springs Gazette     (300 word limit)

Colorado Springs Independent (Letters not published in print, but column could be considered)

Boulder Camera     (750 Word limit)

Denver Post   (200 word limit)
Fort Collins Coloradoan   

 

Peak Environment Podcast 60 Covers "Voices for Wolves" in Election Year

 

The 2020 election in Colorado is shaping up to be historic, but not for the reasons you might think. Voters in Colorado will get the chance to direct wildlife managers to reintroduce gray wolves, nearly 80 years after they were eradicated on behalf of the livestock industry.

In this interview, Delia Malone, Mike Phillips, and Rob Edward, three friends and longtime wolf advocates, discuss the importance of wolves to Colorado’s future.

You can find the latest podcast, Podcast 60, here:
http://studio809radio.com/voices-for-wolves/

In another recent podcast, 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/

 
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