AN UNPRECEDENTED YEAR OF
SEEKING JUSTICE AND PEACE
2020 has been a year like no other in our lifetimes. Like you, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace has had to adapt to ensure we continue moving forward. And with your help, we’ve remained steadfast in our mission that Religious Communities Must Stop Blessing War and Violence.
Largely volunteer-driven, with a small part-time paid staff, we’ve continued to hold Friday Forums, convened a major conference, celebrated the life and work of Rev. George Regas, recognized amazing leaders in our movement, and spoken out on critical issues. Here’s what you helped us do:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, since late March we’ve held our Friday Forums online. These 35-plus meetings have allowed us to raise awareness and spur action on a wide range of issues with new audiences and important speakers from around the world, including:
- Alicia Re Cruz, University of North Texas, on immigration and border justice
- Marjorie Cohn, Esq., Thomas Jefferson School of Law and National Lawyers Guild, on the post-2020 election transfer of power
- Dr. Melba Maggay, writer and social anthropologist, on Covid-19’s impact on impoverished communities in the Philippines
- Amy Spitalnick, Executive Director, Integrity First for America, on IFA’s landmark case against neo-Nazis who instigated deadly violence in Charlottesville, VA
- David Swanson, Cofounder and Executive Director of World Beyond War, on the organization’s latest antiwar efforts
- Gail Walker, Executive Director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace, about her group’s programs supporting organizing and empowerment with communities of color
ONE WORLD: Ending Endless War and Creating a Just, Peaceful, Healthy Planet
On June 7, dozens joined ICUJP at our first-ever virtual conference. When we began planning last year, we could not have predicted how timely it would be! Founded during another tumultuous, world-changing time, ICUJP offered an alternative voice to the “War on Terror.”
All these years later, the issues are slightly different, but the challenge is the same. On June 7, we came together to strategize how we can apply our founding principles to our current tumultuous world – how to push for justice and create a world where all people can flourish, not just a few.
The Rev. Jim Lawson, keynote speaker, challenged us: “Non-violence is a pitch to us that a paradigm has arrived. There is no way through endless war. There is no way through the present systems of endless pain and hurt in the world, except through the paradigmatic change that we move from injustice to justice, from violence to non-violence, from hatred and brokenness to compassion and truth.”
With Rev. Lawson’s words echoing in our hearts and minds, we broke into smaller groups to grapple with specific areas of concern in today’s world:
- Peace with Justice - looking at America’s blind commitment to military dominance and endless war, and ways to strengthen peaceful and humanitarian conflict resolution
- Racial and Religious Justice - The racism, disparities, and religious bigotry revealed by Covid-19, and how people of faith and goodwill can embrace liberation movements to create a multiracial, harmonious democracy
- Environmental Justice - how war plays a big role in the destruction of the earth, and how we can restore a healthy planet
- Economic Justice – how the outsized U.S. military budget robs our economy of social welfare funding, creating stark poverty, and solutions for a new way forward
Our remarkable presenters included Salam Al-Marayati, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Dr. John Cobb, Center for Process Studies; Jodie Evans, CODEPINK; Rabbi Mel Gottlieb, PhD, Academy for Jewish Religion | CA; Hyepin Im, Faith and Community Empowerment; Ashley Gonzalez, Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE); Ben Poor, UniteHere! Local 11; and many more. We ended our day with Calls to Action prepared by Anthony Manousos on behalf of ICUJP - attached here so that you, too, can take action.
2020 George F. Regas Courageous Peacemaker Awards and Rev. Regas’s 90th Birthday Celebration
On the 19th anniversary of 9.11.2001 - the event that launched ICUJP – we presented two online events. The morning Friday Forum invited attendees to reflect on what ICUJP has meant to them over the years. In the evening, the 2020 Regas Peacemaker Awards began with a 90th birthday celebration of our leader and co-founder, the Rev. George Regas. Birthday greetings by video and in person from longtime ICUJP members filled the screen from around the world, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa! We sang happy birthday and watched ICUJP videographer Robert Corsini’s fabulous short documentary, which brought so many reminders of George’s bravery and vision for a better world. It was a momentous occasion to appreciate his leadership and courage that has shaped so many of us.
We were thrilled to present the 2020 award for Justice to Black Lives Matter - Los Angeles and for Peace to The Most Rev. Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town; Jewish Voice for Peace; and World BEYOND War.
18th Annual Close Guantanamo Now! Rally
On January 10, 2020, allied organizations again joined us at the Downtown Federal Building for our annual demonstration protesting Guantanamo Bay Prison’s existence. This prison remains a shameful example of America’s brutal and racist incarceration of predominantly Muslim detainees who have been denied due process in the discredited “War on Terror.”
Speaking Truth to Power
Throughout the year, ICUJP has spoken out on crucial issues of justice and peace including statements on A Cry for Justice for George Floyd and opposing Israeli annexation, and endorsing a coalition opposing Proposition 20.
Your support has made this all possible.
Will you please help us keep the momentum in 2020 with a gift of $50, $100, $250, or more?
Flashback to 2001: In the days following 9/11, the Rev. George Regas saw what was coming. The U.S. would use the attacks as an excuse to start even more endless and unjustified wars. In response, Rev. Regas and other faith leaders launched ICUJP with the mission that Religious Communities Must Stop Blessing War and Violence.
Since then, ICUJP has kept the mission and widened our view. We view "violence" as all forms of injustice that harms people: racial, gender, economic, environmental, and more.
Along those lines, we’ve continued learning from experts and advocates in these areas and more; joined our allies to rally against immigrant detention, exploitation of hotel employees, and war with Iran; granted scholarships to young peace and justice advocates through the SoLa Community Peace Center; and much more.
All of this has only been possible because of you.
Can you give $50, $100, $250, or more today?
Every dollar goes directly toward calling out wrongs and inspiring action to make them right.
Still, so much remains to be done. We must keep:
- Advocating for families and individuals facing loss of income, eviction, and hunger due to COVID-19 lockdowns
- Revealing the criminal justice system’s racial and economic discrimination, which destroys millions of lives through profiling, mass incarceration, and harsh sentencing
- Telling congressional leaders to stop misspending our tax dollars on endless, unnecessary wars that kill countless innocent people
- Calling for compassionate justice for immigrants and the release of children from detention
That’s why we're counting on you to donate as much as you can.
Please join us in working for peace and justice by giving $50, $100, $150, or more today.
People like you give us hope. As someone who cares about peace and justice, you sustain our belief that together we really can help bring change and create a better world.
Since day one, we’ve supported ICUJP with our time, energy and donations. It has enriched our lives and sustained us throughout these difficult years. We know that you, too, will be glad that you are a part of making change happen. And we want to thank you in advance from the bottom of our hearts.
Stephen Rohde, Chair
Grace Dyrness, Vice Chair
ICUJP Board of Directors