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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 October 5, 2020


 

Sister Ardeth Platte, 1936-2020

 

Dominican Nun Visited Colorado Springs in March for Nuclear Disarmament

Two out of three of the Dominican Sisters who committed a famous civil disobedience at a Colorado Springs missile silo in 2002 have now passed from the scene. Sister Ardeth Platte passed away the night of Sept.29-30 from an apparent cardiac arrest at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington, DC. She was 84. Sister Platte visited Colorado Springs in early March along with Sister Carol Gilbert, the final surviving sister of the Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares nuns, to give a speech on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Gilbert found Platte in her bed the morning of Sept. 30, where she apparently passed peacefully.  ICAN won the Nobel Prize in 2017.

Platte was born in Lansing, Mich. and grew up in the tiny farm town of Westphalia, then went on to be a teacher, council member, and mayor pro tem for the city of Saginaw, Mich. She and Gilbert were both active in Michigan anti-nuclear actions in the 1980s and early 1990s, before moving to Baltimore to the Jonah House, and later to Washington to the Catholic Worker House. Their involvement in Colorado Springs began in the mid-1990s when they participated in an international conference in Colorado Springs of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. Platte and Gilbert, along with Sister Jackie Hudson, later committed an act of civil disobedience in 2000 at Peterson Air Force Base.

But the three were most famous for occupying a Minuteman missile silo in northeast Colorado near the town of New Raymer in 2002, and pouring blood on the lid of the silo. The civil disobedience action, along with the federal trial in Denver that followed, gained the sisters global coverage as a major anti-nuclear plowshares action. When she later served federal time, Platte met Piper Kerman, the author of Orange is the New Black, and was the basis for a character in the resulting book and Netflix television series. Platte, Gilbert, and Hudson were involved in several other actions, including a 2010 civil disobedience action at the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn. (Hudson later died in 2011 of cancer complications.)

In Colorado Springs on March 5, Platte urged an audience at All Souls Unitarian Church not to lose hope in grim times. She said that 81 nations were official signatories and 35 nations had ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Platte said continued objections by the United States did not matter at the end of the day, because the treaty would go into effect with or without the help of the U.S.
Bill Sulzman of Citizens for Peace in Space worked for many years arranging their trips to Colorado. Platte’s energy and dedicated optimism has been a source of inspiration for peace activists for many decades. It will be a challenge for activists to fill her shoes, but her light be an inspiration to use all. Sister Ardeth Platte, presente!



(You can find the complete podcast for the March 5 presentation here:
http://studio809radio.com/active-justice-yes-humanity-mar-05-2020/ )

 

"Breakaway" Virtual Conference on Human Trafficking Set for Oct. 17

The Human Trafficking Task Force for Southern Colorado is sponsoring its 13th annual conference and its first online conference, Breakaway, on Saturday, Oct. 17. The three-hour conference features a keynote from Megan Lundstrom of Avery Center, and presentations of how the pandemic is affecting the sex trade. For registration details, visit the EventBrite site HERE.


 

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. You can check out the program HERE.
 

Peak Environment Podcast 61 Covers Creek West Cleanup Week

 

Podcast 61 of Peak Environment covers last week's Creek West Cleanup, which took place Sept. 26 to Oct. 4. Peak Environment host and co-producer Ellen Johnson-Fay interviews Alli Schuch, who coordinates outreach for the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District.
You can hear the latest podcast here:
http://studio809radio.com/creek-week-cleanup-2020/

In another recent podcast, 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 Podcast 6, here:
http://studio809radio.com/voices-for-wolves/
 

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!

 

 

Covid-19 Hits the Heart of U.S. Government

In mid-week last week, the electoral process did not seem it could be more chaotic, between media revelations of Trump’s tax returns, a childish presidential debate that spurred efforts by the Commission on Presidential Debates to change the ground rules, and leaks of Melania Trump’s apparent vindictiveness on the children of immigrants. But the many events took a back seat when, at week’s end, a flurry of announcements revealed that Donald and Melania Trump, presidential adviser Hope Hicks, White House media consultant Kellyanne Conway, Trump advisor (and former NJ governor) Chris Christie, and Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien all tested positive for Covid-19. The president was flown to Walter Reed Hospital, where contradictory reports indicated low blood oxygen levels that could keep him in the hospital for several days.

The impacts on the U.S. Senate by Covid cases could slow the fast-track confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, tested positive for the virus on Friday. A day later, Ron Johnson, the GOP chair of the Homeland Security Committee, also tested positive for Covid. Contact tracing indicated that the common source for all the cases might be the Sept. 26 formal naming of Barrett in a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden, which could turn out to have been a “super-spreader” event, despite the fact it was held outdoors.

There did not seem to be indications of a “sympathy vote” for the president increasing his chances Nov. 3, but neither did there seem to be a movement among Republicans to wear masks or practice social distancing. On Oct. 3, the British newspaper The Guardian talked to many Trump supporters who still claimed the virus was a hoax, and that if the president was sick, he was secretly given the virus when he was tested. Meanwhile, on Friday evening, the Republican-dominated Michigan Supreme Court took away Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s power to declare mask mandates. It seems that even in the midst of a virus-spreading crisis at the seat of national government, Trump supporters and Republicans in general have a hard time backing away from the type of policies that reap the whirlwind of growing infections.
 

Downtown Marches to Become Weekly Affairs
 

Colorado Springs racial justice groups are planning weekly marches downtown on Saturday afternoon or evening to keep pressure on the city over police accountability issues. On Sept. 26, a march drew over 100 in the afternoon. On Oct. 3, marchers gathered at 6 p.m. to greet crowds for the Dine Out Downtown event. For the latest information on upcoming marches, check with the Facebook groups for Empowerment Solidarity Network or Be The Change 719.
 

Colorado Coalition Promotes Letter-Writing Campaign for Nuclear Abolition

The Colorado Coalition for the Prevention of Nuclear War  encourages you, now to honor the memory of Sister Ardeth Platte, 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.

The letter-writing campaign was initiated to recognize September 21, the International Day of Peace, and September 26, the UN Day for Nuclear Abolition. Your continuing letters will help recognize Sister Platte's work with ICAN and the abolition treaty.

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   

 
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