Copy
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 15, 2021


 

Are We There Yet? The Pandemic at One Year


What Can Coronavirus Abatement, Stimulus Package Mean to Society?

In a partially-contrived timely drama, President Biden signed the unprecedented stimulus package of nearly $2 trillion on March 11, one year to the date that the World Health Organization declared Covid a pandemic and the NBA cancelled its season. Regional lockdowns in California came just days later in 2020, an era that often seems a decade past. Biden’s announced goal for vaccine availability for all adult citizens by May seemed reachable – Gov. Jared Polis pledged March 12 that most Colorado citizens should be able to sign up for shots by mid-April. In fact, the CDC is concerned that the newest problems may be demand rather than supply. In rural areas and among some urban communities, demand seems to have stalled to where vaccination of 75% or greater of the population could be problematic. At the same time, premature opening up of states and the lifting of mask mandates in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi raises the prospect of fresh regional outbreaks in the summer. Still, there is a feeling nationwide that a corner has been turned.

The nation seems on the verge of a political realignment. While we do not directly advocate party politics as a nonprofit organization, it is relevant to point to three fundamental problems Republicans must address to have any kind of future: First, criticism of the stimulus package (which not a single Republican voted for) seems based on the belief that such a level of deficit spending will lead to high inflation. Yet economists of all stripes, even very conservative ones, have dropped belief in the University of Chicago/Milton Friedman free-market ideology in favor of one that suggests inflation may no longer be a viable concern, and that deficit spending is OK in times of crisis. Given the popularity of the stimulus package, if it leads to economic recovery without inflation, it gives Republicans no complaints to fall back upon.

Second, the GOP’s continuing fealty to the cult of populism has led the party to excuse even the wildest excesses of outlier members like Marjorie Taylor Greene. It will be interesting to see what the GOP will say about the criminal trials of those involved in the Jan. 6 riots. Finally, and most important, Republican legislative efforts in virtually every state to roll back voting reform means that the party is trying to shore up its declining white male base instead of looking for ways to expand its support among people of color and women. It’s likely many of the voter limitation efforts will fail in the courts, but in any event, the attempted state laws will leave a bad taste in the mouths of everyone outside of elderly white men. In short, conservatives seem bent on a path of self-destruction as the nation recovers.

Make no mistake, nothing will be easy for Democrats moving forward, and there remains a chance that the economy will indeed overheat due to the stimulus. But most economists predict that an era when the coronavirus ebbs will be one that will emulate the Roaring 20s of the 20th century. In such a scenario, progressives need to make sure that citizens continue to keep economic and social justice, as well as concern for a rapidly collapsing environment, on the front burner, ahead of a stampede to loosen up, make money, and have a good time. Conservatives, meanwhile, will need to figure out how to purge the populism from their message and try to develop a theme that avoids oblivion.
 

Moms Demand Action Plans March 21 Meetup

 

Moms Demand Action invites everyone to its monthly meeting on March 21. Here are the details:
 

COS City Council Candidate Mini Meet-Up
Sunday, March 21, 3:30- 4:15 PM
A short meeting to include:
  • More City Council candidate responses on solutions to rising gun violence
  • Update on several gun sense proposals in the CO Legislature.
  • Quick overview of what April 6-10 virtual Advocacy Week will be like and how you can make a difference with 5-50 minutes.  
RSVP here: https://act.everytown.org/event/moms-demand-action-event/40394/signup/
 

 

Two New Peak Environment Podcasts Address Bureau of Land Management, Greenhouse Gases

It’s been a busy week at Studio 801’s Peak Environment, with two new episodes up. The first, Podcast 71, looks at the future of the recently-relocated Bureau of Land Management under the Biden administration. What steps can the Biden administration take to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Bureau of Land Management to better address its conservation and climate change goals? This question was addressed in a lively online discussion hosted by PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility). Panelists discussed the results of a recent employee survey, trends in land management planning, problems in BLM’s management culture, and questions from the webinar participants. This discussion was held on February 24, 2021.

 You can hear Podcast 71 here:
http://studio809radio.com/new-era-blm/

Also new this week is Podcast 70, which looks at the state’s efforts at reducing greenhouse gases. Will Toor, Executive Director of the Colorado Energy Office, provides a summary of State/CEO projects, activities, and initiatives, and shares the Colorado Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Pollution Reduction Roadmap.

You can hear Podcast 70 here:
http://studio809radio.com/ghg-roadmap/

an hear Podcast 68 here:
http://studio809radio.com/drake-closing-now-what/
You can also check out the recent Podcast 68 on Northern Water. 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:
http://studio809radio.com/n-water-efficiency-pgm/
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

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 Gabriel.Cordova01@gmail.com.  
.

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.
   

 

Police Assault on Peaceful Vigil in London Raises Questions on UK's Commitment to Democracy

In a matter of hours March 13, the UK government's support for peaceful dissent under Prime Minister Boris Johnson was shaken in a very public manner. Londoners were outraged by the disappearance of marketing manager Sarah Everard of Brixton March 3, and later were horrified when Scotland Yard arrested a member of the London Metropolitan Police Force on March 10 on suspicion of Everard’s murder.  The suspect, Wayne Couzens, was not just a London Met officer, he also served on the protective force for Westminster Palace.

Women’s groups called for decentralized vigils on March 13, only to be told by police that any protest would violate Covid restrictions. Women nevertheless gathered near the square where Everard was last seen alive. In a series of violent actions Saturday night carried on TV and live social media feeds, male police surrounded and attacked women who were peacefully gathered for the vigil. Responses were immediate across the political spectrum, with politicians from all parties calling for Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign.

People of color in London might well wonder if the response was so immediate because the protesters were largely middle-class white women. But the police action carries grave implications that should be noted by all UK (and global) citizens. First, several members of Boris Johnson’s cabinet, including Home Secretary Priti Patel, have questioned the right of BLM and environmental protesters to gather and speak their minds in any forum. Second, the “kettling” tactics used by police to surround and assault the protesters are favored by the police forces of dictatorships in places like Myanmar, Egypt, Turkey, and Poland. Boris Johnson has won over many U.K. citizens for his responses to the Covid pandemic. But this should remind us that any populist that is put under pressure is likely to become an authoritarian with little advance notice.


 

Police Accountability Public Meetings Continue Tonight (March 15) With Crisis Response Meeting

 

The city’s Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission (“LETAC” ) is continuing its Listen & Learn sessions with a session TONIGHT, March 15, on crisis response. Remain aware of weather conditions early in the week, as this meeting may be postponed. Additional sessions from March to May will cover the 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 LETAC@ColoradoSprings.gov or calling 719-385-5480.  RSVP to attend the March 15 Part 1 session on crisis response, 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

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
LETAC@ColoradoSprings.gov 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.)
 

Colorado Springs Pro-Housing Partnership Weighs In On City Council Election

The Colorado Springs Pro-Housing Partnership has made its recommendations on April’s city council elections, based on a questionnaire the group sent to candidates earlier this year. You can see the results of the questionnaire and learn the partnership’s recommendations by visiting PHP HERE  
 

Fukushima Disaster Marks Tenth Anniversary

March 11 marked the tenth anniversary of the Tohuku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which led to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident a day later, in which Units 1, 2, and 3 of a multi-reactor site experienced meltdowns of nuclear fuel. More than 18,000 people were killed in the earthquake, and 154,000 were evacuated from the Fukushima area in response to heightened radiation. Ten years later, only a few hundred elderly people have returned to the Okuna metropolitan area near the nuclear plant.

The plant remains closed, and the cleanup from the accident is far from complete – and may be impossible to completely restore. The biggest and most immediate danger remains the millions of gallons of radioactive cooling water coming close to overflowing storage tanks at the site.
On March 11, Japan observed a moment of silence for victims of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. Worldwide, many demonstrations marked the anniversary, and environmentalists warned of the continued danger of nuclear fission as an energy source. The picture above shows paper lanterns being released into the sky Thursday night in Hirono, not far from the Fukushima plant.
 
 

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 trainings@concretecouch.org 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 
 

Pikes Peak Women Offers New Podcast on Covid and Education

Pikes Peak Women has a new Studio 809 podcast on Covid-19 and education. This podcast is focused on education of our children through their high school years, during the pandemonium of the COVID disruption of all our lives.. We have Christine O'Brien, Public Information Officer of Harrison School District 2, to discuss K-12 education, and Noreen Landis-Tyson from CPCD - Giving Children a HEAD START, who brings the perspective on the 0 to5-year-old group. We dive into the struggles that educators, families, and children are facing, how to prepare children, efforts made to assist families of the most vulnerable in our community,  what next year's school may look like, and so much more.
Subscribe for more episodes, and reach out to us on Facebook HERE or Email Us and let us know what you thought of today's episode. 

Here's the Studio 809 link for this podcast: http://studio809radio.com/education-during-the-time-of-covid-with-christine-obrien-and-noreen-landis-tyson/ .
  We're also on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and many other platforms. Links to them are shown here:
 
Here are some resource materials that can give you quick information on the subjects covered by today's speakers:

  We've got another great episode coming to you soon! Make sure to subscribe!   
 

Copyright © 2021 Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp