Social Responsibility

A Better World, Fall 2002

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AMAN, AMANI, FRIEDEN, HEIWA,HE(R)PING, LA PAZ, PACE, PAIX, PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM

Greetings to all Social Responsibility graduate students, faculty, and anyone who truly believes that we can make this world a better one!! I hope the semester is going well and that our collective learning will spawn change within ourselves, our friends and family, and the world.

By the time this newsletter reaches you, George W. Bush may have gotten his way and our country may be involved in yet another war. I hope this is not the case and that like myself you have done as much as you could to prevent it from happening. We, as socially responsible people, need to have our voices heard. I have researched and read many articles on the subject of Iraq and the reasons that the United States should not use military force are numerous. I could cite the millions of Iraqi people who have died due to the sanctions imposed on the country or the fact that there is nothing left of Iraq to bomb since the Gulf War. As a person who cares about all living beings, these reasons are enough.

However, for some people wrapped up in a wave of patriotism, these reasons are not enough. Thus, I want to include these thoughts. My brother is a United States Marine and so in my family my political views are not always embraced warmly. I listen patiently as my family explains how I am being disrespectful of my brother and unpatriotic. I desperately try to explain that my protesting a “War on Iraq” through letter writing, phone calling and petition signing, I am supporting my brother, those in the military, and all of the people living in the United States and the world. I do not want my brother or anyone else to die or to kill fighting in a war based on lies. I do not want the rest of the world to see all Americans as warmongers, thus igniting even more disdain for America. Most of all, I want to know that what the United States stands for is reflected in the actions taken by our government. I cannot think of anything more patriotic than participating in Democracy. To this, my family has no response.

It is a difficult time to question the government. I hope that you all have the courage to keep speaking out. I hope that as liberals, leftists, feminists, peace activists, or however you identify yourself, we continue to fight on the side of justice, no matter the cost.

In Peace,
Heather Ebnet
GA Social Responsibility Program

COMMUNITY CORNER:
ALTERNATIVES TO WAR COMMITTEE

AN INTERVIEW WITH MEMBER SANDA LANG

Q: Describe how and when the AWC began?

A: AWC was formed in response to the September 11th tragedies. A group of local people decided to form a group called Citizens for an Informed Response to September 11. The general idea was to support each other in the effort to let others know that a violent response to September 11th was not the only possible or the best response. So, we began meeting to share information and to find ways to bring to public awareness the alternatives to war.

Q: Describe your membership.

A: Our membership list consists of the 74 people who have signed on to our internet listserve, which is used to share information and to publicize our events, as well as other peace events. A group of about 12 people meet every two weeks as a steering committee to discuss and plan actions and events. Some of these steering committee members represent other peace groups. We communicate with other peace and social justice groups to publicize their events and participate.

Q: What events has the group been involved with? What events has the group organized?

A: Below are the events/activities we have been directly involved with: Public Forum after September 11th which was held at University Lutheran after the Stop the Hate Vigil in October 2001. Speakers from Veterans for Peace and Women Against Military Madness made presentations. Organized an art show entitled "Peaceful Alternatives" that resulted in about 40 entries exhibited at the lower level gallery at the Paramount in March/April 2002. Held a musical fund-raising event featuring The Four of Us and Cannery Row in May, 2002. Peace Train bike ride on August 24, 2002 which is a fund raiser for our events, as well as an opportunity to raise awareness about peaceful alternatives to war. We have been invited to provide information about our organization at various local events, such as the Good Earth Health and Wellness Fair and the Earth Mother Mind Jam. One of our members organizes the monthly prayer vigil at the Federal Building for Pax Christi. We sent several members to Brainerd for the state wide Anti-War Conference. This event allowed us to connect with other peace and justice groups and out of this conference came the decision to initiate a statewide action. We support the St. Cloud student group, People Uniting for Peace by advertising their events on the listserve and participating. We are sponsoring a nonviolent peace training workshop given by the Michigan Peace Team on November 2, 2002. We prepare and distribute a calendar of local peace and social justice events. In April 2002, we attended a forum in Damon Quade led a discussion about the Patriot ACT. This was sponsored by NOVA. about Sept 11 which was sponsored by the St. Cloud State group NOVA .

Q: How is the AWC working to build coalitions among peace and justice activists?

A: Members in our group belong to other local peace and social justice groups. We publicize their events on our listserve and in our calendar and participate in those events. One of our members is on the planning committee of the state wide coalition formed in Brainerd in July 2002. For instance, we have worked with or publicized events of or attended events of PUP, NOVA, and PAX Christi.

Alternatives to War Committee Vision Statement

The Alternatives to War Committee is a community of people from the St. Cloud area who are horrified and saddened by the violence that occurred on September 11 and by the potential devastation that continued violence poses to people throughout the world. We believe in the values of freedom, democracy, and peace for all people of the world and that these values are attainable only with justice. We believe that unequal opportunity and the uneven distribution of the planet’s wealth induce violence. We believe that holding the perpetrators accountable for what happened on 9/11 is essential to justice, but that violent responses promote rather than end violence. We believe the violent response of war releases a potential for harm to the earth and all its inhabitants that overwhelms the imagination. We believe the process of identifying and promoting alternatives to violence requires becoming informed by a wide range of perspectives and questions. We believe that patriotism includes ongoing learning, educating others, and dissenting from national policies that violate the principles this country espouses. Understanding that our commitment must be deep and lasting, we meet regularly to find ways of putting these beliefs into action.

Meeting Schedule
At this time we meet every first and third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the Meeting Grounds in St. Cloud. Join our listserv to receive notification of future meetings.

For more information or to join the Alternatives to War Committee send an e-mail to: alternativestowar@hotmail.com.
Or, send a letter to:
Peace Train PO Box 464, Albany, MN 56307

*Interview questions by
Theresa Flinck

POETRY FOR CHANGE

Re-Mind
By: Katie Peppers

And then she came in
to
tell it like it is.
An intrusion to your educational system.
So,
why not step out of your box
and
into mine?
Walk that line
of truths to find
and break all the lies forced into your mind.
Cause if you rewind
your mind
you'll see it might be your time
to Re-Mind.

I am here to remind you of the power of
knowing.
The human revolution is growing,
solidarity of organizations sewing.
Big brother cuts activists like lawn mowing

But,
here I am.
Farmer of social seeds
cultivating ideas like weeds.
I am here to pull out your weeds,
and let the flowers grow.
So come and take shade under the leaves of my poet-tree,
and we'll create some poetry.

The idea of peace through war
only make sense to me
as an exploited ideology.
My mission see
is to bring clarity
to your reality,
help morph your mentality
and increase your ability
to understand.

In the words of Frank Sentwali,
"All you have to do
is bare the pain and listen,
cause most of the time most of the answers
are gettin'
spoken
or written."

An attack on Iraq
is unnecessary and cruel
It serves the interests of those who rule.
And the powers that be
don't care about thousands of dying Iraqis

This war is about money, greed, and controlling means
not national security.

Bush is guarding the gate to peace,
but we have the ability
to make his hatred cease,
because we hold the keys to peace.

The horror of war
is crashing down our doors.
And Bush can't even articulate
what the fuck for!
He thinks only by the sword
of some forgotten lore.
But I am here to forewarn.
Peace doves
WAKE UP!
It's time to soar.

Editors of A Better World:
Heather Ebnet
Theresa Flinck
Minako Kawasaki

Feedback:
We would like to hear from you! If you would like to share any comments or story ideas, or if you have any questions.
Please contact us at: tflinck@yahoo.com

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