Reflection: 'Finding Hope after September 11' by Stephen Rohde

(Originally published in Spring 2002)

911_tributeB.jpgThe unbelievably savage attacks on September 11 prompted conflicting feelings in all of us. I felt scared, angry, confused. How could this be happening in American soil? How dare these fanatics attack innocent people going about their daily lives

Then I began to fear what America would do in retaliation. For years we have pleaded, cajoled and threatened warring nations around the world, from the Middle East to Northern Ireland to Kosovo, to settle their ancient differences through peaceful negotiations and international treaties, not through escalating war, renewed violence and ever more bloodshed.

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ICUJP Vigil: #BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter

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Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) staged a one hour vigil Black Lives Matter/All Lives Matter Friday morning May 8, 2015  at the corner of Vermont Ave. and Wilshire Blvd.

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Reflection: Gandhi’s Seven Steps to Global Change by Grace Dyrness

(based on a booklet, 'Ocean Tree Books,' by Guy de Mallac,  Santa Fe, 1987)

ghandi.jpegWe are all aware of the global conditions in today’s world.  Is it worse than in Gandhi’s day?  I don’t believe so because each generation has issues they have to deal with, but here are some current stats:

  • Total world population: 7.1 billion
  • The cost of U.S. nuclear weapons is $5.48 Trillion; France has spent $1.5 Trillion, etc.  This does not include what it costs to deploy, maintain, and store them.
  • Climate change is affecting millions –we have now exceeded 400 ppm (ratio of carbon dioxide molecules to all other molecules) yet we need to stay below 350.
  • Super storms, super typhoons, drought, famine, all are resulting in impoverishment and death.
  • Wars over resources, including water, are everywhere.
  • The UN refugee agency reported on World Refugee Day (June 20) that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people.
  • Inequality, injustice, etc etc
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Bush Detained Alleged Terrorists Without Due Process - Obama Is Killing Them With Drones

Previously published on truthout

bush-obama.jpgPresident Obama's nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA succeeded despite questions about the administration's lethal drone program. There are growing bipartisan Congressional demands for Obama to publicly release all the legal memos justifying targeted killings of suspected terrorists, including Americans and noncitizens.

During a recent hearing on drones, Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, insisted that the "American people deserve to know and understand the legal basis under which the Obama administration believes it can kill US citizens, and under what circumstances." The committee's ranking member, Democrat John Conyers of Michigan, urged that it is not clear that "Congress intended to sanction lethal force against a loosely defined enemy in an indefinite conflict with no borders or discernible end date."

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ICUJP Supports Minimum Wage Increase

RasieLA.jpgLos Angeles is one of the leading low wage capitals in the nation. The California Budget Project estimates that Angelenos need to earn more than $15/hour to provide for their basic needs. Yet 46% of workers in our city make less than that. That’s over 810,000 of working Angelenos trying to scrape by in one of the most expensive cities in the world. The city’s dire affordable housing stock and high demand further exacerbates the struggle of low wage workers.

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ICUJP Endorses the Surveillance State Repeal Act

patriot-act.jpgLast week, ICUJP endorsed the Surveillance State Repeal Act, which was introduced by Rep. Rush Holt on March 18 to the 113th Congress.

The Surveillance State Repeal Act proposes repealing the PATRIOT Act, FISA Amendments Act and making widespread reforms to the way our government collects and uses data. 

“It [The Surveillance State Repeal Act] deserves full Congressional support.”
-- NYT ed board, Sep. 21, 2013

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Ebola Epidemic: Indictment of Capitalism-Imperialism

Ebola Epidemic:  Indictment of Capitalism-Imperialism

Reflection for Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace

By Bonnie Ellen Blustein, Ph.D., November 8, 2014

Most of you probably don’t know that before I was a math teacher, I was a historian of medicine.   In recent months, this has gotten to seem more relevant.

My advisor, Charles Rosenberg, was a pioneer in the social history of medicine.  His first book, The Cholera Years, used the epidemics of 1832, 1849, and 1866 as a lens through which to view changes in American society in the mid-nineteenth-century.

It is, of course, the terrible Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia that has called this to mind.  

Now, as then, a pathogen has become a mass killer because of the pre-existing conditions of poverty, malnutrition, urban overcrowding, and lack of sanitation.  In the 19th century US, these were manifestations of a rapidly industrializing capitalist society.  In west Africa today, we can trace these conditions to what has been called the “European underdevelopment of Africa,” which we might more bluntly term imperialism. 

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Give Us This Day

Give Us This Day                                     

By Laurel Schmidt  

           I am a writer, which makes me a professional sitter. I know it’s not healthy but it took the slogan sitting is the new smoking to galvanized me into action. Now I walk nearly every day. Just a couple of miles at a good clip, rain or shine.  In summer I leave home early before the sun bakes the pavement, cutting through a leafy park, then along Main Street where century-old buildings cast a narrow shadow.

             On a recent morning I spied a man slumped against a storefront, legs splayed in a wide V that took up most of the shade. He looked limp, as if the heat had already drained him, but as I approached he raised his hands like a priest or televangelist delivering a blessing. I returned the gesture. Then he tilted his hands back into a classic high five. I did the same. But a high-five is not a fist-pump---something you can perform solo with a rousing cry of victory. A high-five requires contact.

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Reflection by a Quaker

Reflection by a Quaker by Anthony Manousos

I have just returned home from a night in Van Nuys jail, where I was booked along with three other peace activists: Jerry Stinson (a retired UCC pastor and lifelong activist), Edie Pistolesi (art professor at Cal State Northridge), and Estee Chandler (LA organizer for Jewish Voices for Peace and hostess on a KPF radio show). We were arrested for overstaying our welcome at Senator Feinstein’s office, where twelve of us showed up at 10 am with a letter calling on the Senator to stand up for justice in Israel/Palestine (see text below).

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Reflection by John Johns

ICUJP Reflection by John Johns

Aug. 29, 2014

My reflection this morning is about the human condition or more accurately the human spirit. The good and bad of it. From recent trips to Guatemala and Honduras as part of a human rights delegation, I want to share with you a few stories of people that reflect the cavalier and duplicitous, the courageous and the wise.

Our delegation attended Catholic mass in the Lenca indigenous community of Rio Blanco, Honduras.  Being isolated they only get a visit twice a year from a priest and mainly to perform the sacraments. None the less they are devout Catholics who have not submerged their own culture. The simple little church where mass was held could hold about 125 people. Every space was filled and the crowd spilled outside. There was a strong feeling of community within the walls and a timeless beauty even though there wasn’t a stain glass window, gold chalice or marble statue within 250 miles. It was the beauty of generations living together and of shared struggle. The celebrant of the mass gave a very wise and moving sermon essentially saying that there is God’s law and there is man’s law but often man’s law is immoral and so you have to follow one’s conscience. It could have been written and delivered by Martin Luther King.  

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