Peace requires us to be better allies.

Today, September 21, is International Peace Day.

On July 7th, the UN General Assembly banned nuclear weapons by a vote of 122 to 1.

The UN finally ratified the Ban on Nuclear Weapons after 70 years of people across the globe working together to create enough political will to push the Treaty through a blockade by those countries hoarding nuclear arsenals.  The treaty was signed by consenting countries on September 20, 2017.

However, none of the countries with the BOMB supported the Ban.

This includes our country.  Instead, US “President” Trump threatened to bomb North Korea into the ground in his speech before the UN.  He also threatened Iran and Venezuela. His aggressive stand highlights the dilemma facing the UN.  The ban once signed is binding.  What will happen when the powers with the BOMB refuse to follow?  Diplomacy will require building global relations to such a degree we haven’t yet seen, where the interests of all peoples are placed above those of “national security”.

At home in San Diego, we are seeing more bullying in schools across San Diego.  Coincidence?  The language used by the “President”  is familiar to anyone threatened by a schoolyard bully.  How do we decrease bullying in our schools when we bully the rest of the world?  Peace isn’t just a one day a year- it is a process.

Back in November 9, 2016, many of us who attended the 2016 School of the Americas Watch border event in Nogales gathered for our report-back.  The November 8 election results and election fraud weighed heavily on everyone’s mind.  We agreed that we all must become better allies with those peoples under threat of aggression and exploitation and that we must begin at home.

How to be better allies?

  • Mobilize to support the rights of these communities (Indigenous, African, Hispanic, Muslim, Women, Undocumented, Queer, Transgender, Low-Income) as the policies of President-elect Trump are put in place.
  • Be ready for rapid response.
  • Be thoughtful allies of African, Latino, Ingenious peoples – join rallies/protests/sit-ins held by black & brown. Be visible, be present, step back behind leadership within these vulnerable communities.
  • Build empathy across peoples, looking for common ground.
  • Pay attention to trade treaties that threaten people’s sovereignty.

We talked about Nonviolence, and our shared responsibilities to build empathy and bridges, to make the political personal.

  • to make the daily experiences of people in communities under attack visible and visceral to the “white” heartland of the United States.
  • to recognize the fear behind the anger of the Trump supporters and seek to bridge – to tell the personal stories of our friends/families who are being hurt by US culture of white power & domination.
  • to counter the cult of the “individual” with community mutual support and love.

– from Peace Week 2016 Overpass Light Brigade

The Peace Resource Center is collaborating with groups across San Diego in celebrating Peace Week San Diego 2017 – from interfaith exchanges to listening circles to the VFP campaign against the local military air show.  We cosponsored with Women Occupy San Diego I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO to a packed house at the Women’s Museum Of California.  James Baldwin’s poetically astute analysis and questions about the heart (and lack of heart) in our country has us examining our own complicity in the system.  At People Over Profits San Diego, we asked what do we ban next – war? the military?  Private Prisons?  All Prisons? Coal? And how do we do this?  These discussions and sharing continue…for the list of Peace Week 2017 events, click here.

For more information about the international Campaign NonViolence, click here.

San Diego Search for New Police Chief – Community Search Committee v. Mayor’s Secret Panel

A growing coalition of community and advocacy groups are demanding a Police Chief Search Committee that is open, transparent, and made up of diverse community members.

Coalition members will be at the September 12 Council Meeting, 10 am, to ask the Council to take steps to ensure an open, community process.  The Peace Resource Center joins the call in this letter to City Councilmembers:

Dear Councilmembers,

The Peace Resource Center joins the call on you to help ensure that the $100,000 in public funds allocated to the nationwide search for San Diego’s next Chief of Police is used to establish a process that is transparent, community centered, and informed by diverse perspectives. No to secret panels.

Mayor Faulconer has unveiled his secret search process for our next Chief of Police, which is far from the open and transparent process advocated for by community members.  Instead of creating a panel comprised of stakeholders from a diverse background in the community, the Mayor intends to have interviews conducted by a secret panel.  

In response to community pushback to his original plan, the Mayor’s office announced cosmetic changes to his original plan, adding two additional forums but keeping his secret panel. The people of San Diego need transparency and input.  San Diegans need to know who is on the panel and that the community is well-represented.  The Peace Resource Center strongly supports the recommendation that the Mayor and Council establish a 15-member search committee made up of community stakeholders, commission chairs, and youth to choose our next SDPD chief.

This public search committee comprised of: 2 youth, 1 community stakeholders appointed by each councilmember, and 4 representatives from the Gang Commission, the Citizens Advisory Board on Police/Community Relations, Community Review Board on Police Practices and Human Relations Commission. Other cities, such as Seattle, have undergone a similar process and San Diego can too.

San Diego’s next chief of police will set the tone for the department’s relationship with the community.  The city cannot afford the current status-quo any more.

Thank you in anticipation of your support.

Militarized police response to protesters at a Trump campaign stop last year spreads into Barrio Logan.