INSIDE: TRAYVON MARTIN: NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE THE NEW BOTTOM LINE-RABBI LERNER CHURCHES FORM COMMON FRONT FOR IMMIGRANTS GAS DRILLING TASK FORCE DROPS THE BALL “I’M CHRISTIAN UNLESS YOU’RE GAY”
EDUCATION DIALOGUE ACTION RESEARCH EDUCATION DIALOGUE
PUBLICATION BY THE DALLAS PEACE CENTER
APRIL ISSUE 2012
EDUCATION DIALOGUE ACTION RESEARCH EDUCATION DIALOGUE
RESEARCH EDUCATION DIALOGUE ACTION RESEARCH
RESEARCH EDUCATION DIALOGUE ACTION RESEARCH
THE DALLAS PEACE CENTER DALLAS PEACE CENTER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KELLI OBAZEE GUEST MANAGING EDITOR RHONDA VARSANE CONTRIBUTING EDITOR PATTY BATES-BALLARD DPC PHOTOGRAPHER WALID AJAJ 2012 BOARD MEMBERS PRESIDENT REV. RYAN KOCH VICE PRESIDENT/TREASURER JOHN FULLINWIDER SECRETARY ZARA TARIQ AFTAB SIDDIQUI REV. L.CHARLES STOVALL ERIC REECE SAM NANCE SADDYNA BELMASHKAN REV. DIANE BAKER MAVIS BELISLE SARA MOKURIA LEN ELLIS DR. QAISAR ABBAS
THE DALLAS PEACE CENTER is an organization that provides uncompromising work for peace through justice in North Texas and around the world. Financial support is essential! Your outreach to others is vital as you share in the growth and effectiveness of the Dallas Peace Center. Make your monthly sustaining pledge of $30 to ensure another 30 years of peace and justice work. http://dallaspeacecenter.org/suppor-dpc/
TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE 5-7
TRAYVON MARTIN: NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE
THE NEW BOTTOM LINE
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON’S 11TH ANNUAL PEACE CONFERENCE
CHURCHES FORM COMMON FRONT FOR IMMIGRANTS
IGLESIAS FORMAN FRENTE COMÚN POR MIGRANTES
PRESS RELEASE: LEADERSHIP FORUM
TEXAS VOTER ID EVIDENCE
GAS DRILLING TASK FORCE DROPS THE BALL ON PROTECTING CITIZENS
VOTER REGISTRATION CARDS DELAYED FRAC’ING, EARTHQUAKES, AND ORGAN, DAMAGE
A NEW KIND OF POLITICS THE RACE FOR THE DISTRICT 9
PEACE BEGINS WITH ME
“I’M CHRISTIAN UNLESS YOU’RE GAY”
JUSTICE FOR VETERANS LEAVING WAR
CELEBRATE Dallas Peace Center’s 30th Anniversary as an interfaith, inclusive, progressive, peace and justice organization that providing uncompromising work for peace through justice in North Texas and around the world. Your financial support is essential! Your outreach to others is vital! To share in the growth and effectiveness of the Dallas Peace Center, make your monthly sustaining pledge of $30 to ensure another 30 years of peace and justice work. Become a sustaining member TODAY! http://dallaspeacecenter.org/suppor-dpc/
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TRAYVON MARTIN: NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE
By Pastor L. Charles Stovall Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American 17 year-old student, was shot dead in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012 by George Zimmerman. A teenager with no record whose father lived in the upscale neighborhood where he was shot, Trayvon was returning from the store with candy for his brother. A neighborhood crime watch volunteer, Zimmerman in his 911 call profiled Trayvon as being up to something and probably on drugs (he wasn’t), and followed him. In the African American community, we have a saying, “No justice, No peace.” This act of injustice — this stereotyping of an innocent Black young man (No justice) — led to his violent death (No peace). Rejecting this terrible example of a much repeated theme, the community said, “Not again.” In death Trayvon was able to beat the stereotypes about dangerous young African American men that he couldn’t escape in life. When his killer was not arrested, an interna-
tional outcry for justice was raised. to his crime. The Trayvon Martin case has highlighted how far we One of the most compelling as- still are from having a just society. pects of this crime is the horren- If there had not been the kind of dous screams for help heard in the community outrage and pressure background of the 911 calls made over the non-arrest of Zimmerman, by witnesses. As soon as the gun- he probably never would have shot rings out, the screaming been arrested at all. stops. Two forensic experts now say the person screaming could The actions of some of Florida’s not have been Zimmerman, and so law enforcement officials appear it must have been Trayvon. to point to an intent to sweep the case under the rug. Why? A recent The Trayvon Martin case proves poll shows that Americans are dithat there is no way we can have vided along racial lines in their view peace if justice is denied. I’m of the case. While 91% of Blacks glad that collective voices were think Zimmerman was unjustified raised in Dallas on March 25 at in shooting Trayvon Martin, 59% of the Dallas Peace Center’s vigil Latinos think so, and only 35% of for Trayvon. They were raised Whites do. Clearly it was only bewith voices across the country cause of the mass outcry and comcalling for an arrest and a just munity organization and mobilizaprosecution. On April 12, the tion that this case got further scruman who killed Trayvon Martin tiny, which resulted in an arrest. was arrested and charged with second degree murder. But we can’t rest yet. We have to continue to be vigilant, because But for six weeks, George just having Zimmerman in custody Zimmerman was not arrested. He does not complete the need for juswas allowed to go freely about his tice. We need to be watchful over business and do whatever he the entire process. America still is wanted to to hide evidence related continued on page 6 PAGE 5
by Dallas police officers even though they were ununder the microscope to see whether we will be a armed and not involved in a crime. Every community just society. I know has had something like this happen because we have all been taught to expect African This case has opened our eyes to the fact that jus- American young men to be on the wrong side of tice is very partial, and very often withheld from Afri- the law. We expect police to handle these young can Americans. But many of us know that what hap- men, even if it means the use of deadly force. pened to Trayvon is nothing new. We’ve had situa- There is no justification for Trayvon’s death. tions in Dallas that should have received the same There is none for the deaths of Tobias Mackey, type of public outcry but did not. Last year, Tobias Trammel Hurd, or Keenan Forge either. Mackey was shot dead in Dallas, TX. Police raided a community, and some young men, including Tobias, I detest every shooting no matter who does the shootran. He was unarmed and yet he ended up dead, ing. But we should be able to expect a measure of shot eight times. During the same raid, a nine year- justice from the people who serve in an official cacontinued from page 5
old boy was shot in the arm by the police. I am concerned about the ongoing war on drugs in America. Maybe Tobias was not a perfect angel, but he was unarmed, not a suspect, and did not deserve to die. I, along with Joy Strickland of Mothers Against Teen Violence and many others believe the war on drugs, as currently conducted, has to stop. Police officers raid communities and they take lives. There has to be another way to address the problem of drugs because many police officers don’t have the presence of heart to conduct raids sensitively in the African American community. I am opposed to drug use, but the war on drugs is not a justification for death. The injustice of profiling that leads to the deaths of African American young men must be addressed. Trammel Hurd and Keenan Forge also were killed
pacity. I believe that the case of Trayvon Martin urges us to address not just his particular situation, but also to look closer at all situations involving unarmed individuals killed by someone acting in an official capacity. George Zimmerman applied to the police academy but never became an officer. As a crime watch captain, he was using police maneuvers and doing what he thought the police should have done. He must have known that a number of police officers have killed unarmed individuals with impunity. He knew that his state has a “stand your ground” law that allows civilians to shoot someone first if they believe their life is in danger. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Florida State Senator Chris Smith, the NAACP, the National Urban League, and others have spoken out against these “shoot
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first” laws, which amount to legal vigilantism and cover for all types of crimes. Texas has a similar “castle doctrine” law on the books right now. The role of the justice system is first to gather the facts. But in their efforts to get the scoop, members of the media have exposed findings of the case outside of court, which can be damaging to the prosecution. Allowing Zimmerman’s father to provide his son’s defense and talk about how his son was feeling as the events unfolded gives the impression that his dad was a witness to the shooting. I hope that the intense media coverage of the Trayvon Martin case will not compromise the prosecutors’ ability to win a conviction if the evidence is what it appears to be.
In the meantime, here are some relevant action items for those of us here in the Dallas area: 1. Take an inventory of your own subconscious stereotypes, even if you are a person who helps others. You are not immune. 2. Don’t link all Hispanics with Zimmerman. Remember that there are many individuals of all races who are on the side of justice. 3. If you have been touched by the Trayvon Martin case, look a little closer at all of the unarmed young men we have lost in our own community. It continues to happen. Don’t turn a blind eye just because the person who died was an adult and may have had a record. Unarmed people who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time should not have to pay with their lives. 4. Join the effort to end “shoot first” laws. The Color of Change has begun pressuring corporate sponsors of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a big backer of these laws, to end their memberships. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Houston Congressman Al Green, and local ministers held a press conference in Houston recently addressing the Texas law. More efforts will develop at the state level soon.
On the question of profiling, Zimmerman’s attorney has suggested that he couldn’t be racist because he mentored a Black child and because he’s Hispanic. Those defenses reflect a very naïve understanding of the way racism works. Racism is so pervasive that even Black people can have negative stereotypes about Black people because we are bombarded by negative images all around us. All of us are impacted by media presentations L. Charles Stovall is Pastor of Community Empowthat portray the worst about Black folk. While some erment and Social Justice at St. Luke Community feed those stereotypes, thank God most of us live United Methodist Church in Dallas. our lives in a way that proves that those stereotypes are not warranted. Clearly, Zimmerman is not inoculated from having racist beliefs about African Americans just because he is Hispanic. Also, the fact that someone mentors an African American child says nothing about whether that person holds a deep-seated stereotype that African American men are dangerous. Lots of people have an interest in helping others while they continue to subconsciously believe and act on society’s pervasive stereotypes. These days racism most often is subconscious or unconscious, but in no way less dangerous. The good news is that at least we are at a point in the Trayvon Martin case where justice can be pursued, which was not the case before April 12. Now it is best to let the system work without such intense media scrutiny so that prosecutors can prepare a thorough case. PAGE 7
THE NEW BOTTOM LINE By Rhonda Varsane Rabbi Michael Lerner of San Francisco was the honored speaker at the Dallas Peace Center’s Roger Kallenberg Spring Lecture on March 15. Rhonda Varsane’s account of the rabbi’s visit follows.
creation.” His new bottom line stresses efficiency, rationality, and productivity in all areas of life.
The rabbi says that we all are in a deep spiritual crisis; there is a great hunger to transcend. There are pressures in the work place and in our personal Rabbi Lerner comfortably, and in style, joins a healthy relationships. We fight and compete, we live and learn sized group of people meeting at the Unity Church of Dallas. Wearing a vest, jacket, and cowboy hat, he has traveled here to share his concept of The New Bottom Line. After spending some time with the group, he seems surprised, but pleased, as he says his “stereotype of Texans has now been broken,” and he now embraces the idea of a chapter of the Network of Spiritual Progressive (NSP) in North Texas, here and now! A North Texas chapter will surely give hope to every member of the NSP, after all, success … in Texas? Rabbi Lerner speaks on many subjects, all of which reflect his long history of bringing people together on equal terms. He continues this connection with discussion of his new book, Embracing Israel/Palestine. He directs us to focus on the importance of caring for each other, and the earth, and-in-fact, to see that focus as a “new bottom-line.” Rabbi Lerner explains, “Instead of it [a bottom line] based on money and power, we need a ‘new bottom-line’ which judges corporations, governments, schools, public institutions, and social practices as efficient, rational, and productive — not only to the extent they maximize money and power, but to the extent they maximize love and caring, mistruths. The media misinforms and misinterprets, ethical and ecological sensitivity, and our capacity to and by giving the narrowest of perspectives, foments respond with awe and wonder at the grandeur of continued on page 9
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the narrowest self-interest in those who listen and succumb. We believe we must get the jump on others first before they get the jump on us. The same crisis, and the same hunger and mistruths exist in Palestine and Israel. The same solution of a positive bottom-line of efficiency, rationality, and productivity in all areas also applies. This includes, “Love and kindness, radical amazement, peace and generosity!”
Healing sounds unrealistic, and the rabbi urges us to be unrealistic. He offers the Occupy movement as an example of how a group of unrealistic people can change the consciousness of a nation. We create our own beliefs in our relationships, whether these relationships are within our selves, with other individuals, or on a national, or international level. We can choose loneliness, insecurity, and selfishness. We can dismiss others, struggle for power, and blame special interests for all of our problems. Or we can choose meaning and purpose, and recognize ourselves and our fellow humans for who we really
“So,” the rabbi says, “recognition of Palestine should be accompanied by a statement re-affirming Israel’s right to security, even though there is a major difference in power between the two sides, the inner experience of Israel and of its supporters around the world is one of insecurity and fear, so it’s important to acknowledge fear by offering Israel, one of the greatest military powers in the world, real reassurance while supporting Palestinian recognition and membership in the U.N.” Members of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, http://spiritualprogressives.org passionately seek to manifest our values in the world by inspiring leaders, influencing legislation, and incarnating community. These are the goals at the heart of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. These goals run counter to the prevailing political and cultural climate. The Network of Spiritual Progressives brings to the national conversation a vital voice for moving our country (and world) toward the profound spiritual awakening necessary for us to reverse mounting environmental destruction, and build a world of love and peace.
are – people who care. We can shift from domination Rabbi Lerner, through his work with Israelis and and control to generosity; instead of absorbing the Palestinians, has gained a deep understanding of worldview of fear, we can build secure and loving the cause of the horrific situation in Palestine and relationships. Israel. The people of these two nations constantly re-live their pain and trauma over and over again Our wellbeing depends on all of us. So when we sit because they are victims of Post Traumatic Stress to speak with another, let us do so with a more caring Disorder (PTSD). The hate and fear is self- perspective for the other, knowing each side has confirming, and because it is constantly repeated, experienced the same pain, fear, and distrust we it intensifies and manifests as overwhelming have. But, now reaching out with generosity and trauma. PTSD is a feeling of being abandoned by caring, we will move forward, for these too are things God and humanity. Yet we can heal the region’s we have in common. PTSD with a change of heart and a change of consciousness. And we can do this! PAGE 9
CONGRESSWOMAN EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON’S 11TH ANNUAL PEACE CONFERENCE Saturday, April 28th from 12-2pm at Crow Collection of Asian Art By Patty Bates-Ballard After witnessing the Pentagon burning during the structural barriers to equal participation that women terrorist attacks of 9-11 and learning about young face in the public sphere. Panelists will discuss how continued on page 11 African boys being forced to fight in wars, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson decided she must do something to promote a culture of peace. “War is expensive in terms of life and monetarily as well,” Johnson said in a recent interview. After meeting with a number of peace groups and learning about peace education efforts developed in The Hague, she became convinced that women are more open to peace and more likely to reject combat. So she organized the first A World of Women for World Peace conference in 2001. She held it as close to Mother’s Day as possible because the first Mother’s Day was organized after the Civil War by mothers who did not want any more children to die in combat. “We have not been able to solve very much from war,” said Congresswoman Johnson. This year’s conference will focus on “Women, Technology, & Peacebuilding.” The Arab Spring social change movements in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere in the Middle East have relied heavily on the Internet, social media and technologies like Twitter, TwitPic, Facebook and YouTube to promote and accelerate social protest. The conference will explore the unique way in which technology allows women to participate in civic discourse because it lacks most of the
been afraid to speak out against violence, they told access to cutting edge technology has enabled her they were just fatigued with war and had come to women to promote peace within their communities, the point that they were willing to speak out in spite as well as how it has enabled them to be heard of the threat to their lives. Johnson said she has been pleading for years for women to join the Middle East throughout the world. peace negotiations because she believes they would make a difference. While the Arab Spring movements have achieved peaceful change in some countries, in others, there Congresswoman Johnson believes that technology has been an increase in violence. Congresswoman is an important tool that anyone can use for peace. Johnson said that conference speakers will address She encouraged all of us to post messages about strategies for using social media to encourage young the value of peace and the costliness of war on human continued from page 10
activists to work in peaceful ways, because many life as well as on our pocketbooks. She also have not had experience working with peaceful encouraged Americans to connect directly with strategies. women and men in other countries through social Dedicated to using every method available to spread media. When people from different parts of the world peace, Congresswoman Johnson works with women share their experiences, she said, they learn how from all over the world whenever she gets a chance. much they have in common. Johnson has seen One of her most vivid memories is a meeting she women become more vocal after realizing there are had with a group of Sudanese women. She said they others who share their experience. But she is also were highly educated women who were simply pleading for help to seek peace. While some had continued on page 12 PAGE 11
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aware of some women who believe that the U.S. does not support peace in their countries. Personal expression of wishes for peace through social media can counter those beliefs. “Every voice lifted on behalf of peace is a useful voice,” she said. Congresswoman Johnson identified education and communication as two of the most important strategies for promoting peace and justice, because when young people feel respected for their opinions, they are more open to alternatives to war. Some of the strategies Johnson embraces are respecting differences, listening to all opinions, anger management, and taking peaceful roles. But she doesn’t stop there. Congresswoman Johnson said civil disobedience is certainly another viable strategy, and she voiced support for the Occupy Movement. She said it is valuable because it has increased public discourse and questioned an out of control system in a way that has gotten the attention of the perpetrators. “I’ve actually made contributions to support the group because sometimes that’s the only way you can get attention,” she added. Johnson believes that technology is a vital tool for helping educate and bring people together, but, she stressed, “It tends to be people who make a visible display that get attention.” There is a buffer when communication comes through the television or on Facebook, Johnson said, “but when people physically come together and say we’re not going to take this anymore, it’s impressive.”
“Women, Technology & Peacebuilding” A World of Women for World Peace conference Trammel & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art 2010 Flora Street Dallas, TX 75201 Saturday, April 28 12:00-2:00 p.m. FREE Limited seating/RSVP not required Join Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson for an afternoon discussion about how women in conflict zones are using technology as a tool of empowerment in political and social conflict. The very same women who are victims of war and aggression are currently promoting different peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding activities in their own communities using technology to further the process of conflict resolution.
Confirmed Speakers Vivienne O’Connor, United States Institute of Peace Linda Higdon, Founder of the The Global Room for Women Farzaneh Milani, Professor of Persian Literature and Women’s Studies and Chair of the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Virginia
Background A World of Women for World Peace taps into the role of women as peace makers and peace keepers. Congresswoman Johnson began A World of Women for World Peace to bring greater visibility to the women who are victims of war and aggression and the women who lead peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building activities in their communities. She started this conference in 2001.
PRESS ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Pastor Lynn Godsey 214--562-1500 Adriana Cadena 915-253-2262 Kelli Obazee 214-823-7793 Douglas Interiano 817-922-0493
HELPING IMMIGRANTS AVOID DEPORTATION: A LEADERSHIP FORUM SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2012 1:00-4:00 PM Unprecedented coalition forms to educate church and community leaders on little known “Prosecutorial Discretion” process in immigration cases Dallas, TX – An “Informational Forum on Prosecutorial Discretion” for church and community leaders will be held on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at the University of Texas at Arlington’s Texas Hall from 1:004:00pm. The forum will provide information about seeking prosecutorial discretion before the Department of Homeland Security which can help some immigrant families avoid deportation. The event is expected to draw hundreds of leaders from the Metroplex. In response to the public’s need for more information about this little known process, Pastor Lynn Godsey, President of the Hispanic Evangelical Alliance of the Metroplex (AHEM for its Spanish initials), has coordinated the DFW Defense Team. The team will inform faith-based and community leaders on how to assist families who may qualify for prosecutorial discretion and how to help them connect with non-profit continued on page 144
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agencies accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals and to immigration attorneys who can assist them in the process. “All churches, regardless of religious affiliation, are composed of families,” said Pastor Godsey. “Our churches are suffering due to the separation of our precious families because of our broken immigration system. As pastors, we have no problem with our federal government deporting those who are on their high priority list, such as terrorists, and criminals, but we must do what we can to stop the separation of children from their fathers, mothers, and grandparents — from their families,” Godsey added. He said that many church attendees qualify for some form of relief through Prosecutorial Discretion, and that the Defense Team will be seeking administrative closure to these cases. In the case where a parent has to work, the team will help that parent apply, via those who are accredited and approved to do so, for a work authorization permit. Pastor Godsey concluded, “Our church goers are not criminals, and it breaks our hearts as clergy to see them come to church with a Bible in hand and an electronic bracelet bolted to their ankle. We are praying that Congress will soon pass a just Immigration Law.” Adriana Cadena, Director of RITA (Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance) said her organization’s role in the effort is to bring accredited community organizations and immigration attorneys to the aid of church and community leaders. “Every day,” said Cadena, “another person is separated from their family without even knowing that their case may qualify for Prosecutorial Discretion.” Last summer, John Morton, Director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a memorandum stating that the agency would begin to clear low-priority deportation cases from the system so that officials can focus on those individuals who actually pose a threat to our communities and national security. Known as the Morton Memorandum, the document identifies the factors agents must consider when applying “prosecutorial discretion” in cases of individuals caught in the deportation system. For example, immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, and those with strong ties to family and community may have the opportunity to benefit from this discretion. # end #
By Julián Reséndiz/Al Día
FORM COMMON FRONT FOR IMMIGRANTS
are one of the pillars of the of 300,000 cases pending deportation and instructed church, and when a family loses one member, the en- the Justice Department to focus on deporting criminal tire congregation suffers,” Pastor Lynn Godsey says. aliens and to suspend the removal of low risk immigrants. Some of these people would even be eligible That’s why the president of the Hispanic Evangelical for a work permit, according to a memorandum from Alliance of the Dallas Metroplex began a campaign to the federal government. help immigrants facing deportation proceedings to utilize the initiative of federal prosecutorial discretion. Beneficiaries of the policy would include victims of violent crime, workers who will have to leave their families “We realize all our churches, whether synagogues, without support, people brought into the country from temples or churches, may be full of people who as young children, and people who have long been in qualify for prosecutorial discretion. We are bring- the country. ing together community groups, religious leaders and immigration lawyers to bring information to “The exercise of prosecutorial discretion in certain rehelp our brothers and sisters,” said Godsey, head moval cases is not a new law or path to legalization,” of the new DFW Defense Committee. said certified immigration attorney Liz Cedillo. “People must receive accurate information, which is the goal of In August, the Obama administration ordered a review continued on page 16 PAGE 15
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this community effort, and not be fooled by unscrupulous individuals who may mislead them into believing otherwise. When an individual has been placed in removal proceedings, he or she should seek a reliable attorney or accredited organization to understand what options exist to seek administrative closure or some other possible remedy,” she said.
Rafael Narvaez, an activist from San Luis Potosi, and Roberto Corona, of Southern Methodist University who heads the pro-immigrant advocacy group People Without Borders, said they were eager to continue participating in the DFW Defense Committee. “This is a community effort to tell people, do not be
Godsey said the Defense Committee will explain to Metroplex religious congregations the requirements for prosecutorial discretion, including who is eligible, the documents required for filing, and the degree of scrutiny they will face. Once pastors, activists, and volunteers have connected with a potential beneficiary of prosecutorial discretion, they will refer the individual to an attorney licensed to practice immigration law or to a group like Catholic Charities Immigrant Project or fooled by people who are going to give false inthe Baptist Center for Immigration, who will help with formation. Maybe it is going to help, but you have the paperwork. to learn very well,” Corona said. “We know that notaries will try to deceive our people, telling them that there is a new law and taking their money. Part of our initiative is to educate people about the fraud,” said Godsey. “We don’t do this for money. We do it because God tells us to help our brothers.”
“I have significant contact with the immigrant community and see that there is much misinformation. It is best that people who have no documents connect with credible organizations that are looking out for their safety,” said Narvaez.
“99% of people who want to help go to church like everyone else and praise God like anyone else. The only difference is that we are lucky enough to be a citizen or have papers, and they do not,” he said.
Godsey said the effort that began in the Dallas area - from a conversation he had with Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Chicago in December could become a national crusade. “In April I will ... give workshops in San Francisco, North Carolina, He said the DFW Defense Committee will meet weekly Seattle, San Antonio and Lubbock. The purpose and try to talk with the new regional director of the immi- is to expand this effort,” he said. gration agency. The current director resigned amid an investigation into the mishandling of cash belonging to http://www.aldiatx.com/news/2012/mar/28/iglesias-yimmigration detainees. activistas-forman-frente-contradeporta/ PAGE 16
Iglesias forman frente común por migrantes
JULIÁN RESÉNDIZ/AL DÍA | 3/28/2012, 5:29 p.m. Las familias son uno de los pilares de la iglesia, y cuando una familia pierde un miembro, toda la congregación lo resiente, afirma el pastor Lynn Godsey. Es por eso que el presidente de la Alianza Hispana Evangélica del Metroplex inició una campaña para ayudar a los inmigrantes que enfrentan procesos de deportación a ampararse bajo la iniciativa de discreción procesal del gobierno federal, y a protegerse de aquellos que les quieran vender falsas esperanzas. “Nos damos cuenta de que todas nuestras iglesias —llámense sinagogas, templos o congregaciones — podrían estar llenas de gente que califica para la discreción procesal. Estamos reuniendo a grupos comunitarios, a líderes religiosos y a abogados de inmigración para traer información y ayudar a nuestros hermanos”, dijo Godsey, titular del nuevo Comité de Defensa DFW. En agosto, la administración del presidente Obama ordenó la revisión de 300,000 casos pendientes de deportación e instruyó al Departamento de Justicia a enfocarse en deportar a extranjeros criminales y continued on page 18
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suspender la remoción de inmigrantes de bajo riesgo. Algunas de estas personas, inclusive, tendrían derecho a un permiso de trabajo, según un memorando del gobierno federal. Entre ellos estarían las víctimas de crímenes violentos, los trabajadores que dejarían a sus familiares sin sustento, los jóvenes traídos al país desde muy pequeños y personas que llevan mucho tiempo en el país. Ya se sabe de casos en los que las deportaciones han sido suspendidas, pero hay que aclarar al migrante que no se trata de una nueva ley de legalización y que no se deje engañar por personas que le prometen arreglarle papeles o conseguirle un permiso de trabajo a cambio de dinero, dijo la abogada certificada de inmigración Liz Cedillo. “El caso debe estar cerrado definitivamente y deben existir otras circunstancias para ganar un permiso de trabajo”, advirtió. Godsey dijo que el Comité de Defensa DFW informaría a las congregaciones religiosas sobre los requisitos para la discreción procesal, incluyendo quiénes son elegibles, qué documentos necesitan presentar y qué tipo de escrutinio deben enfrentar. Una vez que los pastores, activistas o voluntarios encuentren a estas personas, las encausarán hacia abogados certificados en la práctica de ley migratoria o a grupos como Caridades Católicas, Proyecto Inmigrante o el Centro Bautista de Inmigración, para que los ayuden con sus trámites. “Sabemos que habrá notarios que tratarán de engañar a nuestra gente, diciéndoles que hay una nueva ley y tomando su dinero.
Parte de nuestra iniciativa consiste en educar a la gente sobre el fraude”, dijo Godsey. “Nosotros no hacemos esto por dinero, lo hacemos porque Dios nos dice que debemos ayudar a nuestros hermanos”. “El 99% de la gente que queremos ayudar va a la iglesia como
de seguir participando en el Comité de Defensa DFW. “Este es un esfuerzo para (que la comunidad) no se deje engañar por personas que le van a dar información equivocada. Puede que sí vaya a recibir ayuda, pero tiene que informarse muy bien”, dijo Corona.
cualquier otra persona y alaba a Dios como cualquier otra persona. La única diferencia es que nosotros tenemos la suerte de ser ciudadanos o tener papeles, y ellos no”, dijo. Agregó que el Comité de Defensa DFW se reunirá semanalmente y tratará dialogar con el nuevo director regional de la agencia de inmigración. La actual directora renunció en medio de una investigación sobre la pérdida de dinero que sufrieron inmigrantes detenidos en centros del gobierno. Rafael Narváez, activista originario de San Luis Potosí, y Roberto Corona, un empleado de la Universidad Metodista del Sur que preside el grupo de activismo proinmigrante Pueblo Sin Fronteras, dijeron estar ansiosos
“Yo tengo mucho contacto con la comunidad inmigrante y veo que hay mucha desinformación. Lo mejor es que la gente que no tiene documentos se arrime a las organizaciones para que vaya sobre seguro”, dijo Narváez. Godsey agregó que el esfuerzo que inició en el área de Dallas — a partir de una conversación que tuvo con el congresista Luis Gutiérrez de Chicago en diciembre — podría convertirse en una cruzada nacional. “En abril voy a… dar talleres en San Francisco, Carolina del Norte, Seattle, San Antonio y Lubbock. El propósito es expandir este esfuerzo”, dijo. http://www.aldiatx.com/news/2012/ mar/28/iglesias-y-activistasforman-frente-contra-deporta/
ONE MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Dallas Peace Center’s
(DPC) Peace Education Program The Dallas Peace Center’s (DPC) “One Makes a Difference” curriculum provides: a strong intellectual and ethical foundation which encourages academic excellence, enhance self-esteem, increase community understanding, civic engagement and inspires future global leaders. The curriculum is inspired by the simple and profound belief that
ONE MAKES A DIFFERENCE The goal of the program is to encourage participants to piece together their personal stories and histories in a way that clarifies their understanding of interconnectedness and peace. When young people have the opportunity to share their knowledge in a group, they can teach each other a lot. Each person in the group is a teacher, learner, and listener creating new knowledge and relationships of trust. The twelve two-hour sessions included in the
ONE MAKES A DIFFERENCE program incorporate heart/mind coherence, selfawareness, conflict resolution, non-violent communication and civic engagement. Join us as we launch a program that empowers our youth to charter their destiny for success.
For more information:
email@example.com or call 214-823-7793
TEXAS VOTER ID EVIDENCE
OF DISCRIMINATORY INTENT By Michael Li DOJ says circumstances around enactment of Texas voter ID offer substantial evidence of discriminatory intent The Department of Justice told the panel in the Texas voter ID case in a brief filed Wednesday, April 11 that depositions of Texas legislators were needed because even on the limited public record, there was “substantial indicia of discriminatory purpose, including the anticipated effect of S.B. 14, the historical background leading up to passage of the bill, and the nature of legislative debate.” The State of Texas had earlier asked the court to block the depositions of 14 Republican legislators involved with the voter ID bill’s process through the refusal to fund studies to the legislature. track the law’s impact or to eduThe DOJ brief cited, among cation programs targeted at other things, the failure of bill pro- low-income and minority voters. ponents to address substantive concerns or answer questions in DOJ said that the state’s request floor debate about the bill’s im- to block the depositions sought pact on minority voters, the re- “to shield from discovery the very fusal to consider amendments witnesses it identified in its inithat would have lessened the tial disclosures and responses impact on indigent voters, and to interrogatories” and that the
“facts are more than sufficient to demonstrate that depositions of Texas state legislators and discovery of the documents lawmakers considered are warranted.” The DOJ brief can be found here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/ 0BxeOfQQnUr_gVllfRG4xcWI3U1E/ edit?pli=1
Michael C. Li (Twitter: @mcpli) is a Dallas attorney and recently became the Executive Director of Be One Texas. Read more on Texas politics at his blog, http://txredistricting.org/ PAGE 20
Gas Drilling Task Force Drops the Ball on Protecting Citizens BY MARC MCCORD
Concerns about frac’ing
derground rock. If you have been The heavy industrial activity re- following the news carefully, you Natural gas drilling may be com- quired to release natural gas, know that many communities ing soon to the City of Dallas’ resi- called slickwater hydraulic fractur- across the country have learned the
dential neighborhoods, city-owned ing (hydrofrac’ing or frac’ing for hard way that frac’ing pollutes air, parks and floodplains. The ques- short), involves blasting harsh water and soil, reduces real estate chemicals and water into solid untion is, how safe will it be? continued on page 22 PAGE 21
continued from page 21
value, causes serious and harmful, sometimes fatal, health effects, adversely affect safety, creates major traffic problems, and inter-
homa, and Texas (just down the road in Cleburne and other cities.) The consequences of frac’ing operations exert great financial expense to citizens in the form of
cities are legally prevented from banning frac’ing by the State of Texas, cities can place conditions on drilling. Several cities across the country have suspended natural gas drilling while more research is conducted. Responding to pressure from local citizens, the Dallas City Council postponed proposed drilling eighteen months ago, appointing a task force to conduct further study. The parts of Dallas slated for drilling are mostly in the southwestern and northwestern sectors, potentially adding a new chapter to historical environmental justice issues of lead smelters and lack of protection from flooding that these parts of our city have weathered. Even so, we all drink the same water and we all breathe the same air. What adversely affects any of us affects us all. On Tuesday, February 28, 2012, the Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force met for the final time to conclude their discussions and finalize their recommendations to the Dallas City Council. Their report will inform the re-write of the Dallas gas drilling ordinance.
feres with the quality of life we expect as a minimum when living in a major city. Natural gas exploration and production in the Barnett, Haynesville, and Eagle Ford Shales of Texas, as well as other shale formations nationwide, is implicated in tremendous infrastructure damage caused to roadways, parks, bridges, dams, spillways, levees and the very foundations of residential homes. Frac’ing and injection wells also have been linked to earthquake activity in Ohio, Okla-
state and local taxes, municipal bonds, insurance and insurance policy deductibles, and other forms of “taxation” that cause us to spend more of our money to subsidize an industry that profits from its endeavors by producing and selling its products to us.
The Dallas situation
Dallas’ current natural gas drilling ordinance is out-of-date, considering what we now know about the hydraulic fracturing process and the risks associated with it. While PAGE 22
However, the work of the Task Force will not protect Dallas from the dangers other cities have experienced. Among other concerns, the task force recommendations include weakening or the continuation of weak protections for residential areas, floodplains and parks. The full set of recommendations to the City Council is accessible online. Some of the more egregious recommendations are: · Inadequate protection from pipeline explosions in residencontinued on page 23
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tial areas; · No required training of emergency first responder personnel to manage blow-outs, spills or other accidents; · Inadequate prohibitions against municipal water usage during droughts; · Compression stations may be permitted on well sites even in residential areas; · Drilling allowed in residential areas, park lands and floodplains; · Setback requirements are far too inadequate to protect citizens and property; · Inadequate requirement for full disclosure of chemicals used; · Inadequate bonding requirements to cover emergency response and remediation costs; · Inadequate site inspection requirements by city gas well inspectors.
ing this period, though speakers at City Council meetings will be limited to three minutes, and it is possible that the entire time allocated will be limited to a set period that may not allow input from all citizens who wish to address this issue. After the Council finalizes its decisions on modifying the existing gas drilling ordinance, their changes will be sent to the Office of the City Attorney who will re-
This list represents just the worst recommendations; there are several others that are troublesome because they fail to protect public health and safety, property and the environment. Because the work of the Task Force left a lot to be desired, it is incumbent upon citizens to become active in demanding a write the ordinance to meet legal stronger ordinance from our City requirements. Then, the language Council. provided by the City Attorney will be sent back to the City Council What you can do for discussion and a vote to acThere is still time to take a stand cept or reject the new ordinance. for yourself, your family, and your fellow Dallasites! It is highly unlikely that the City Council will vote against the language proThe Dallas City Council will take up vided by the City Attorney’s Office, discussions and possibly vote on and it is entirely possible that the final accepting Task Force recommen- vote will be placed on a consent dations for re-writing the Dallas agenda without public discussion or Gas Drilling Ordinance very soon. input. Therefore, it is imperative that Public input will be accepted dur- citizens contact City Council memPAGE 23
bers immediately to voice concerns about Task Force recommendations and to request a stronger gas drilling ordinance that protects the health and safety, property values and environment for all Dallas citizens. Please contact the organization coordinating citizen efforts, FracDallas, TODAY and get involved. This may be our last opportunity to affect changes in our gas
drilling ordinance that comply with what is necessary to protect us against a heavy industrial activity that has a history of causing harm in pursuit of corporate profits. Marc W. McCord FracDallas http://fracdallas.org/ firstname.lastname@example.org FracDallas is a group of community-minded citizens seeking to influence our Dallas City Council to strengthen our currently inadequate gas drilling ordinance for the protection of people, property and the environment.
VOTER REGISTRATION CARDS DELAYED By Rhonda Varsane
Due to the redistricting process and a new map which has voting precincts split by county commissioner precinct lines, the voter registrar’s office is working around the clock to get voter registration information updated before the April 25 deadline so voters will receive, by mail, voter registration cards. So, what should you do if you still don’t have a 2012 voter registration card? First, if you have not moved and were registered you are still registered to vote. If your card expired in December, your voter registration did not. Confusing? Yes, if you are not sure you are
registered to vote you can confirm your status online with the Secretary of State’s office, the link in Texas is: https://team1.sos.state.tx.us/voterws/viw/faces/ SearchSelectionVoter.jsp While expired, the old voter registration cards are still “a valid form of government ID” and can be used to establish proof of residency. If you don’t have your old card, prepare to show your driver’s license or have a utility bill handy for when you show up at the polls. http://galvestondailynews.com/story/305918
FRAC’ING, EARTHQUAKES, AND ORGAN DAMAGE A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) team has found that a sharp jump in earthquakes in America’s heartland appears to be linked to oil and natural gas drilling operations. A six-fold surge in earthquakes in the last few years corresponds to a nationwide surge in shale drilling, which requires disposal of millions of gallons of wastewater for each well. The report says that the unprecedented seismicity rate changes are almost certainly manmade. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/04/06/459711/ shale-shocked-increase-midcontinent-earthquakesalmost-certainly-manmade-usgs-report/"
factant in 126 products. According to EPA scientists, 2-BE is easily absorbed and rapidly distributed in humans following inhalation, ingestion, or dermal exposure. Studies have shown exposure to 2-BE can cause hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells) and damage to the spleen, liver, and bone marrow.
The hydraulic fracturing companies injected 21.9 million gallons of products containing 2-BE between 2005 and 2009. They used the highest volume of products containing 2-BE in Texas, which accounted for more than half of the volume used. Hydraulic fracturing companies used 2- EPA recently found this chemical in drinking water butoxyethanol (2-BE) as a foaming agent or sur- wells tested in Pavillion, Wyoming. PAGE 24
A NEW KIND OF POLITICS THE RACE FOR DISTRICT 9 By Reverend Gerald Britt
funding. The Dallas Independent School District, like The race for the District 9 seat on the Dallas school board districts throughout Texas, was forced to hack away at makes clear that it’s time for a new kind of politics in its budget after the Legislature made $5 billion in cuts to southern Dallas.All elections have at least one central public education funding. issue. But in District 9, the central issue — the closure of 11 schools, a number of which are in the district — can Nutall’s challenger, Damarcus Offord, a young Linbe misleading. By focusing on this one topic, the coln High School graduate and college freshman, incumbent, her challenger and supporters of both and others were angered by her school-closure vote. candidates are missing the opportunity to develop and In an intemperate presentation to the school board
promote a comprehensive agenda to address other the night the vote was taken, Offord threatened protests at the homes of the trustees who supported the conditions that have led to these schools’ closure. closure and ominously implied more forceful action. Trustee Bernadette Nutall’s vote was a dauntingly Such impotent anger is unbecoming of someone unpopular decision. Yet keeping underpopulated schools seeking public office. Emotional and political matuopen jeopardized $125 million in the district’s Title I continued on page 26 PAGE 25
impact on the education of District 9 students. They need rity is needed to develop and promote a strategy to a trustee to promote strategies to help children from help this community deal with the current decisions homeless families or poor neighborhoods. A big part of and to organize to fight deeper cuts looming in next that equation is helping fight food insecurity and the lack of access to health care — inarguable barriers to stuyear’s legislative session. dent achievement. continued from page 25
Nutall and Offord have time during this campaign to promote such strategies. Offord’s supporters also could work with him to develop real solutions — and show him to be a serious alternative to Nutall. Offord’s age doesn’t have to be a liability. But the college freshman must do more than excite a crowd with incendiary or inspirational rhetoric. He must demonstrate the maturity and savvy to connect the dots between Austin The anger and frustration of Offord and his supporters politics and its policy implications for the students in aren’t unwarranted. But stoking anger and frustration won’t District 9. keep the affected schools open or address deeper issues such as poverty or the disproportionate discipline District 9 residents need someone to do more than of black students in DISD. Neither will anger be sufficient parrot their frustrations; they need an advocate who can to address the lack of economic development and non- build a strong constituency for public education among strategic neighborhood revitalization, which has led to parents, businesses and institutions within the district. the failure to attract young families or to stop ed their migration to the suburbs. These issues, directly or collat- Single-issue, reactionary politics can be the beginning of a grass-roots movement that changes the strucerally, are the deeper roots of the school closures. ture of a public institution. But without substance, it can Vague prospects for the reopening of the schools call just as quickly become a counterproductive grass fire. for a trustee who understands that the Independent in Southern Dallas, indeed all of Dallas, needs better DISD doesn’t mean ignoring the district’s interdepen- politics than that. dence. District 9 needs an activist trustee who joins with and connects parents, community leaders and the The Rev. Gerald Britt Jr. is vice president of public policy city of Dallas to restore the health, safety and eco- at CitySquare. His email address is email@example.com, nomic viability of the neighborhoods where these and he blogs at changethewind.org. http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/ schools are located. 20120328-gerald-britt-disd-district-9-race-reflectsVoters need a trustee who’ll speak about poverty and its need-for-new-politics.ece PAGE 26
PEACE BEGINS WITH ME By Len Ellis, DPC Board Member
On April 22nd we celebrate Earth Day, which began in 1970 as a way to raise human consciousness about environmental concerns. It occurs to me that it is also is an opportunity to consider two concepts directly applicable to peace: awareness and oneness. Iâ€™m not sure why we donâ€™t celebrate Earth Day every day of the year, but at least we have set aside one day to honor and recognize our relationship with our Mother Earth. Like so many other things in life, our relationship with the earth is a reflection of our inner feelings, thoughts, and relationship with ourselves. Recently I was asked what peace activism has to do with Earth Day . . . or was it what Earth Day has to do with peace activism? To me, the answer is obvious, because I see that people who are concerned with peace issues generally are also very concerned with environmental issues. The connection goes far beyond war issues, where the obvious environmental effects of bombing and destruction are
easily seen. The connection really is rooted in the recognition that if the environment is toxic and does not sustain life, the people who live in that environment are not likely to be at peace. Instead, they will be in a constant state of fear, depression, or hopelessness. Conversely, when the environment is maintained and improved, we feel a greater sense of peace and security. People who are sensitive to
and who understand the source of peace also tend to understand that peace extends beyond our human interactions to this place we call Mother Earth, and they feel the need to protect, embrace, and honor it. PAGE 27
When we become aware of the impact each of us has on the environment, we are more likely then to take action to bring about change. When we recognize that everything in the universe is connected, we understand that we cannot separate ourselves from the consequences of any of our thoughts or actions, no matter how inconsequential they may seem at the time. How many times have we dropped some trash on the ground, or threw a cigarette butt out the window, never to be thought of again? But if we are aware of the consequences of each of these small actions, we might well do something much different, and by doing so, be in integrity with ourselves and the law of the unity of life. Nonviolence extends from our personal selves, not just to our brothers and sisters, but to the earth as well; to every living thing. When we act in a way that violates the unity of life by polluting the air, by wasting resources, or by not paying attention to our actions, then we will find our health, our peace of mind, and our continued on page 28
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happiness seriously compromised, just as the environment is compromised. Each of us is responsible for what is bought and sold in stores, the amount of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere, and what is dumped into our lakes, rivers, and oceans. Each of us can begin to heal the environment by changing our daily habits. As mentioned, this earthly environment is a reflection of our internal environment. Specifically, the way we think affects the way we treat the earth. When we pay attention to our internal environment, and when we are aware of our actions, we are not only making ourselves more secure, fulfilled, and at peace, but we are also making an important contribution to the health of the environment. Whether we are learning techniques to be at peace with our neighbors, or with the earth, the goal is the same â€“ to provide a world that works for all by developing awareness and implementing strategies that enhance and protect our environment. I can examine my attitude and actions about the environment and make changes. I can take responsibility for my footprint on the earth, because peace begins with
“I’m Christian unless you’re gay” By REDA staff with acknowledgement to the Single Dad Laughing Blog at www.danoah.com Dan Pearce, blogger for Single Dad Laughing, wrote a compelling personal plea in November 2011 on behalf of his friend Jacob, who is gay. Jacob is 27, and lives in a community where being gay is still very “frowned upon.” Dan had been struggling for some time with the idea of writing such an appeal, but never seemed to find the words he wanted. When Jacob told Dan that he is the only friend he has that knows he’s gay, because all the other people he’s told have “ditched him,” Dan knew he had to write. He quoted Jacob, “You don’t know what it’s like, man. You don’t know what it’s like to live here and be gay. You don’t know what it’s like to have freaking nobody. You don’t know what it’s like to have your own parents hate you and try and cover up your existence. I didn’t choose this. I didn’t want this. And I’m so tired of people hating me for it. I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t.” Dan, who lives in the same community as Jacob, wrote that he has heard the hate. “I’ve heard the disgust,” Dan wrote. “I’ve heard the disdain. I’ve heard the gossip. I’ve heard the distrust. I’ve heard the anger. I’ve heard it all, and I’ve heard it tucked and disguised neatly beneath a wrapper of self-righteousness and a blanket of “caring” or “religious” words. I’ve heard it more times than I care to number. About gay people. About people who dress differently. About people who act differently. About fat people. About people with drug addictions. About people who smoke. About people with addictions to alcohol. About people with eating disorders. About people who fall away from their faiths. About people who aren’t members of the dominant local religion.
About people who have non-traditional piercings. About people who just look at you or me the wrong way. I’ve heard it, and I’ve heard it over, and over, and over again. Hell, in the past (and to some degree in the present) I participated in it. I propagated it. I smugly took part in it. I’ll admit that. And I did so under the blanketing
term “Christian.” I did so believing that my actions were somehow justified because of my beliefs at the time. I did so, actually believing that such appointments were
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done out of… love.” Dan said he has heard the same type of stuff in other parts of the country, on television shows and radio programs, and even around his own family’s dinner table from time to time. He said he’s heard it not just from Christians but from Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and from Jews. “God hates fags.” “God hates addicts.” “God hates people who shop at Salvation Army.” “God hates people that aren’t just like me.” Dan wrote about how all religious leaders have taught love rather than judgment. “They never said, love everybody except for the gays. Love everybody except for the homeless. Love everybody except for the drug users. Love everybody except for the gang members, or those covered in ink, or the spouse abusers. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody with the exception of the ‘trailer trash,’ those living in poverty, or the illegal immigrants. They didn’t tell us it was okay to love everybody except for our exlovers, our lovers’ ex lovers, or our ex-lovers’ lovers. The mandate was pretty damn clear, wasn’t it? Love others. Period.” Dan asked his readers to put
aside the question of whether living a homosexual life is a sin. He wrote that to put our arm around someone who is gay, or someone who has an addiction, somebody who lives a different lifestyle, someone who is not what we think they should be, has nothing
to do with enabling them or accepting what they do. It has nothing to do with encouraging them in their practice of what you or I might feel or believe is wrong vs right. He said that it has everything to do with being a good human being. A good person. A good friend. He asked, “To put our arm around somebody who is different. Why is PAGE 30
that so hard?” Dan asked his readers to consider why so many of us have a need to shun and loathe others and feel better or superior to others. He called this shunning bullying; “sneaky, hurtful, duplicitous, bullying.” He said that the message we’re sending is, “I’m Christian, unless you’re gay.” Then he wrote that this behavior has to stop. He made a simple request. “Today. Tomorrow. Next week. Find somebody, anybody, that’s different than you. Somebody that has made you feel ill-will or even …gulp... hateful. Somebody whose life decisions have made you uncomfortable. Somebody who practices a different religion than you do. Somebody who has been lost to addiction. Somebody with a criminal past. Somebody who dresses “below” you. Somebody with disabilities. Somebody who lives an alternative lifestyle. Somebody without a home. Somebody that you, until now, would always avoid, always look down on, and always be disgusted by…Because what you’ll find, and I promise you this, is that the more you put your arm around those that you might naturally look down on, the more you will love yourself. And the continued on page 31
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more you love yourself, the less need you’ll ever have to find fault or be better than others. And the less we all find fault or have a need to be better than others, the quicker this world becomes a far better place to live.” He asked for his readers to respond with their own individual struggles. He received many, many responses. Recently, Dan posted the following response from a reader: Hello Mr. Pearce, I am the Christian mother of a 15 year old teenage boy and about a month ago he came home from school with a copy of your article “I’m Christian, unless you’re gay”. The teacher gave his class a homework assignment to read it and write a 500 word essay about “what it meant to them.” He came home and showed me your article and asked me what I thought about it. I read just the title and became furious at his teacher and at you (even though I know you had nothing to do with her handing out the assignment). Anyway, I confiscated it from him and told him he wasn’t to do anything with it till I had a chance to read it first. And then I got madder and madder as I read it as I felt like it was a direct attack against our beliefs and our Christian religion and that it was promoting homosexuality, a practice that around here is a huge “sin.” I gave my son an earful about homosexuality and God and told him that he could tell his teacher that he would not be participating and if she had a problem, she could come talk to me and then I threw the article in the trash. My son didn’t say anything just walked into his room and shut the door. Long story short, a couple hours later it was supper time and I still hadn’t seen him come out of his room. I didn’t expect it to be that big of a deal to him but I went and knocked and told him to come out, he didn’t answer so I opened his door and he wasn’t there, he had left the house and gone somewhere. Of course I got more mad and tried to call him but he sent it to voicemail. I sent him a text and told him he better get home and he was grounded. This is the text he sent me in return: “I don’t care. I’m at my friend’s house writing that essay and I’m not
coming home till you read it.” I think you would have seen steam coming out of my ears if you saw me. I started preparing to go talk to the school the next day. I sent a few angry texts to my son that he didn’t answer. I got the article out of the trash so I could take it into the school and get this teacher fired. My anger got a little out of control and while I was sitting there fuming and planning what to do, I got another text from my son that said “Just emailed it. Love, Jacob.”
My son’s name is not Jacob, and it took me a minute to realize that he was talking about your friend Jacob in your article. And when I realized that I suddenly started shaking in fear and anger at what he might be telling me. I started out of control crying because I couldn’t handle having a gay son and what if that’s what he was trying to tell me? After a long time I finally got the courage to go look at my email and see what he had sent. And this is what he wrote. (Click here to read the son’s brilliant essay.) http://www.danoah.com/2012/04/a-teensbrave-response-to-im-christian-unless-youre-gay.html/2/
And the Walls Came Tumbling Down An Art Show by Wine and Hors d’oeuvres Reception Interfaith Peace Chapel 5910 Cedar Springs Road, Dallas, TX 75235 Saturday, May 5, 2012, 5–10 p.m.
It took me fifty years to build my walls and ten years to tear them down…
now I am free. I have learned to appreciate and value other people and I have learned that it’s alright to share myself through my art.
“Would You Like
Guys With That?”
A benefit show for
A McTolerant One-Man Show Written and Performed by John Michael
A benefit performance for
Interfaith Peace Chapel Sat. May 5, 7:30 pm 5910 Cedar Springs Road $5 for Students with ID $15 for Adults
John Michael’s “revelatory, PG-rated performance work details the unique genesis of his own coming out journey with gritty humor, pathos and an honest, dark conviction fit to delight Lenny Bruce. Tune in as he refines his work and plumbs gay identity and respect issues. A Dallas native and Jesuit High School graduate, his one-man show is fresh, focused and engaging.” Alexandra Bonifield, Dallas Theater Examiner
Justice for Veterans Leaving the War Behind By Rhonda Varsane So many questions must be answered. Is ‘justice’ for veterans based on the hardships veterans’ experience? Can ‘justice’ be based on something which is not justified [the war]? Will ‘justice’ ever be removed from one’s sex, nationality, age, social economic stance and the other areas of discrimination? Is ‘justice’ even fair? By definition, ‘justice’ is a hard concept. Sometimes ‘justice’ is defined in terms of equality—everyone should be allowed or have the same amount of ‘justice,’ regardless of how hard they work, or “what they put in.” Other people define ‘justice’ in terms of equity—people should get benefits in proportion to what they contributed to producing those benefits. http://www.colorado.edu/ conflict/ peace/problem/defjust.htm So where is the ‘justice’ for Veterans leaving a war? Can this be made a reality? If so how? Does the justice come from what has been, or from what is before them? Is there ever ‘justice’ for the sacrifices our young men and women have experienced? Justice in their hopes, in their minds, in their future? Does the pride in others eyes, or the waving of the American flag share justice? Can the shaking of a hand and the truth when spoken, “Thank you for your service” show justice? Is justice making effective medical care available, replacing the time
lost with families, or a cure for PTSD? Is justice something we find within ourselves, or something tangible, which can be seen and touched? Judy Sullivan, an art teacher in a small town outside of Dallas, was quick to say, “The justice for veterans leaving the war is how we treat them.” Davis, an older man, explains it depends on the war. World War II vets were well taken care of and were welcomed home with help with housing and school. After the Korean War, veterans started to PAGE 33
feel cheated, he says. Then the Vietnam vets were blamed, forgotten, spat upon, and given little if any healthcare. “Many of the young veterans from the last three wars have survived due to advances in medicine, but they have missing limbs, PTSD, and other health problems that left society with a new group of veterans. So I would like to ask you, “What is the ‘Justice’ for Veterans, Leaving the War Behind?” Respond to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Regional Human Rights at Home Convention www.DallasPeaceCenter.org SAVE the Date: JUNE 30, 2012 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
HuRAH OVER 25 ORGANIZATIONS ARE COMING TOGETHER TO DEVELOP A PROGRESSIVE HUMAN RIGHTS AGENDA FOR THE 2013 LEGISLATIVE SESSION. Building A Human Rights Vision for a New Society: We commit ourselves to work together for a human rights framework which protects civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all people based on these principles.
. .. .. .
Universality All human rights must be granted to all people, as individuals, as families and as communities without exceptions. All policies and systems must be designed so that everyone is included, and no one is left out. We will not sacrifice one community for another.
Equality and Equity To achieve equity, resources should be distributed according to the needs of people. Our society must be equal in that virtually all people enjoy their rights and have their needs met.
The basic resources meet the basic needs of people should be shared as a public good, and not sold in the market for profit. (Schools, justice, clean water, access to health, housing etc.)
Participation, Transparency, and Accountability Governments must involve people and support their participation in decisions about how their human rights must be secured. The government should be open about the information and decision-making processes. It is not enough to recognize human rights. There must be means to hold governments accountable for failing to comply with human rights standards.
TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT By Brooke Harper-Patterson, Senior Field Organizer, Global Trade Watch The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) has been conducted without transparency. Despite a worldwide campaign to release the draft texts of the negotiations, negotiators have only released a memo of understanding, stating that they would not release the text until four years after an agreement is met or the talks conclude. While over 600 corporate advisors have access to the text, members of Congress, journalists, and stakeholders do not. (TPP) is a new trade agreement between the United States, Australia, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Currently Japan, Canada, and Mexico would also like to join the trade agreement. It would serve as a docking agreement for countries along the Pacific Rim to joi From leaked documents from our international allies we have found several troubling provisions in TPP 1. It would offer incentives for corporations to invest and offshore jobs in other countries at a time when the US has soaring unemployment rates. 2. It would decrease access to medicine by giving pharmaceutical companies extended monopolies over patents and limiting the production of generic drugs, which are used in low income countries for programs such as PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and to provide access to lifesaving drugs. It would also ban formularies which are used by Medicare/Medicaid, Veteran’s health programs and state healthcare plans to negotiate lower drug prices. For countries that have socialized medicine programs such as Australia, New Zealand, and Japan it would increase the costs of drugs dramatically. 3. TPP would weaken labor provisions. While offshoring jobs to low cost alternatives such as Vietnam, the labor chapter of the Agreement does not include elements of the International Labor Organizations’ conventions or even state that it would enforce labor right provisions. 4. Intellectual Property would stifle innovation and change the way that we use the internet. Countries would be forced to adapt sanctions to punish those who infringe on copyright violations. The tech world has described the IP provisions in TPP as being worse than ACTA and SOPA. Furthermore, intellectual property provisions in TPP would also hinder medical advances. Pharmaceutical companies would be empowered to extend patents for any changes made to the formulary of a medicine independent of whether or not it increased the medications efficacy. (For example if Tylenol were still under patent and they changed it from a pill to a capsule they would be able to extend the patent for another few years, even if it did nothing more to cure your headache). 5. Corporations would have increased power to attack our domestic laws through the investor state provisions that are included in TPP. Examples of past investor-state cases brought against countries are Metalclad vs. Mexico when the corporation sued Mexico for not permitting a waste disposal facility in an area that they had declared an ecological safe zone. Mexico had to pay out millions of dollars to the California company. Under investor-state provisions in NAFTA and CAFTA, there are over $12 billion in pending claims from investor-state suits all having to deal with environmental, transportation, and health laws none of which have to do with trade. For More Information, Contact: Brooke Harper-Patterson Senior Field Organizer Global Trade Watch email@example.com 202-454-5133
Bob Cash, Texas Fair Trade Coalition firstname.lastname@example.org 512-912-6630
PUBLICCITIZEN 1600 20th Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20009 www.citizen.org 202-588-1000
OccupyTEXAS fb-OccupyTEXAS ops Rhonda Varsane OccupyTEXAS@goodnewpress.net 972-948-7657
CALL TO ACTION OccupyTEXAS AS PART OF THE 99% RELEASE AN OFFICIAL
CALL TO ACTION IN SOLIDARITY WITH: INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS, AFL-CIO INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF MACHINISTS TEXAS AFL-CIO SIERRA CLUB (NATIONAL AND LONE STAR CHAPTER) TEXAS FAIR TRADE COALITION PUBLIC CITIZEN/GLOBAL TRADE WATCH CITIZENS TRADE CAMPAIGN OCCUPY AMARILLO OCCUPY DALLAS
AGAINST TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT (TPP) ASKING FOR SUPPORT FROM ALL THE 99% TO DISTRIBUTE FACTS, TEACH, ASSEMBLE, PROTEST AND STOP THE TPP For info on events RSVP: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet viewform?formkey=dHdJX2U5SGpFbEZieTc5X0JKWFF4MHc6MQ&fb_source=message OccupyTEXAS ops (facebook) 1-972-948-7657 OccupyTEXAS@goodnewpress.net (e-mail)