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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 March 30, 2020


 

Need Grows During Local and State Shutdown

Aid for Homeless, Poor Sought in Quarantine Period

As Gov. Jared Polis reinforced the statewide lockdown on March 27, conditions for some marginal communities were growing severe, and expected to get worse before easing. Marian House, for example, had to switch from hot sit-down meals for the homeless to bag lunches distributed from the Bijou Street headquarters. The organization needs plenty of supplies appropriate for this switch, and some of the food and non-perishables they need are listed on the artwork for this news item. For rural families in need, Fresh Start Center (formerly High Plains Helping Hands) needs virtually every food item for its food pantry. The center is located near the corner of Woodmen and Black Forest, at 7375 Adventure Way.

Meanwhile, Polis warned businesses on March 27 not to abuse the “critical services” designation by forcing employees to come in, when they could telecommute. He said that the state Health Department may shut down businesses that violate these rules. The intent is not to harass nonprofits or first-responders that have legitimate needs for being in the community. Rather, large for-profit corporations like cable-TV services company Charter Communications have been charged with forcing technicians to work in the office or in the field, and Polis said this must stop.

Colorado’s near-total quarantine is expected to remain in place through at least mid-April, and CDC warned that the next two weeks may represent a further surge in cases, even if social distancing is practiced. Even as the virus spread begins to ease in mid-spring, limited social contact may have to be practiced into the summer months. Obviously, this puts the local and national economies in desperate straits as workers are laid off and companies large and small face bankruptcy. Our most vulnerable residents, including the homeless and undocumented workers detained at the border, are often the ones left in the most perilous state.

Activists may be restricted to home during the quarantine, but that does not mean opportunities for caring have disappeared. One of the most useful clearinghouses for information relevant to El Paso County is the new Facebook group, Mutual Aid in Colorado Springs During Covid-19 Epidemic, organized by Anthony Maro and Tammy Carlen Jagels. You can find the group HERE 

We urge all members and friends of PPJPC while homebound to not give in to depression and fear.  Always feel free to reach out to others of similar interests through our Facebook page or web site. The pandemic crisis may still lead to better societal organizing possibilities. Place hope before fear.


 

Federal Officials Reject Opening De'Von Bailey Case


The family of De’Von Bailey saw another window of investigation into his early August death shut decisively March 27, when the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Denver field office of the FBI announced they would make no further investigations of the two CSPD officers involved in the Aug. 3 shooting. The offices found that although the circumstances were tragic, the officers did not “result from any willful violation of Mr. Bailey’s constitutional rights.” With a grand jury reaching a similar conclusion four months ago, the federal decision leaves only the possibility of a civil suit by Bailey’s family as a possible path to seek answers.
 

Peak Environment Podcast 57 Returns to Critical Issue of PFAS Contamination

This is our third podcast on this subject (though not in a row), and this may be our latest and greatest.

The PFAS Story in El Paso County Colorado
You can’t escape toxic PFAS chemicals. They are everywhere. Get an update on what we know and what’s being done about water contamination by PFAS (Perfluoroalklsubstance). Groundwater and surface water in portions of the Pikes Peak Region is known to have PFAS contamination, due to years of firefighting exercises at Peterson Field and the Air Force Academy (PFAS have been an ingredient in firefighting foam for decades). 

You can find the latest podcast here:
http://studio809radio.com/peak-environment-57-pfas-story/

And don’t forget to check out Podcast 56 on wolves, created in conjunction with Pikes Peak Area Sierra Club, which examines the necessity of wolves in the Colorado ecosystem. Colorado needs wolves – not merely to restore a natural balance or the wildness that we all seek – though wolves will do that if they are present for long enough, in sufficient numbers and with wide enough distribution  – but also to ensure that we pass on a Colorado intact, with a complete suite of native wildlife, to enrich future generations.
Podcast 56 is at:
http://studio809radio.com/peak-env-56-co-needs-wolves/

 

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Active for Justice Podcast Covers Plowshares Nuns' March 5 Speeches

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/
 

Drake Opponents Plan Final Online Survey in April

The Beyond Coal project of Sierra Club, in association with several groups opposed to Drake Power Plant, plans several survey and lobbying events in April in a final push to get Drake closed by summer. Keep in mind, many local and state government institutions may go into recess in response to Covid-19, so check with Beyond Coal for any delays in lobbying preparation. The link to the online survey will not be public until April 1, but after that day, you can visit csu.org and look for “Survey.”

From Lindsay Facknitz:
We need you to become a grassroots organizer, particularly with the LAST ONLINE SURVEY that will be up on April 1st. This survey matters. It’s the LAST survey, the LAST time we can easily tell all the decision makers that getting off fossil fuels is important to us. Our goal is to get 2,000 people to fill it out. How do you help? Easy!

Make a phone chain! 
1) Make a list of 10 people right now that you know and tell them about the survey (you can keep it as simple as "Care about climate change? Help me make a big local difference! Colorado Springs Utilities is deciding how quickly to switch to renewables and they want our input. We can greatly reduce our community carbon footprint if we fill out this survey! Help me!") Call them right now and ask them to make a list of 10 friends they can call. And so on and so forth. 
2) Make a reminder in your calendar on April 2nd "CALL My People!" 
I'll be attending the UPAC meeting on April 1st, getting all the latest info and 'inside scoop' on the survey. And then I'm going to email all of you no later than April 2nd with survey details. From what I know about the survey right now, it does NOT include specific closing dates for Drake or other specific numbers. It will reiterate what factors are most important to you when choosing a portfolio. 
It doesn't matter how old you are, doesn't matter if you are college student, doesn't matter if you live at the same address as your parents and they filled out the survey too. If you are a customer of CSU (and all of you are), then you can fill out this survey. 
Social media is nice to spread the word too, but I personally think calling people actually 1)gets them to fill out the survey and 2) gets people excited to help spread the word. I personally am going to call everyone in my phone who are CSU customers... with a glass of wine in my hand. 

We need people to make public statements!
In April, May, and June, we need people to come and make public statements to UPAC and city council at their public meetings. These meetings are during the day and really are more effective than any e-mail we can send to CSU, UPAC, or the board. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, please consider coming and making a public statement.
 

Polis Signs Bill Abolishing Death Penalty

 

Almost lost in the spate of grim news last week was Gov. Jared Polis's signing of a bill March 23 abolishing the state death penalty. The bill had been passed by the Colorado legislature before its indefinite recess. Polis simultaneously commuted the death sentences of three inmates on death row -- Nathan Dunlap, Sir Mario Owens, and Robert Ray -- whose sentences change to life without parole. Colorado joins 21 states and the District of Columbia, all of which abolished the death penalty. 

PPJPC Offers Sound System for Community Group Rental

PPJPC has partnered with Studio 809 to purchase a portable sound system appropriate for indoor or outdoor use. If you are interested in arranging the use of this sound system, contact Victoria at (719) 632-6189.

Blanket Donations Still Needed at Springs Rescue Mission, Salvation Army Shelter

 

The appeal for blankets for homeless people continues on.  Our two local shelters say the need is still there. Gently used blankets, comforters, quilts, or throws – along with towels- can be dropped off as follows.  The Salvation Army accepts donations Mon- Fri, 9 am thru noon at their R. J. Montgomery Center, 709 S. Sierra, near Cimarron.  The Rescue Mission donation warehouse, west of their main campus, is located at 111 W. Las Vegas St. with drop off times Mon- Fri 9:30am-4:30pm and Sat 9-11am. 
If you have a heart to help a homeless person, please consider donating new or used items.
 
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