Thomas Merton Center Kicks Off 40th Year - Page 1, 3, 4
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PITTSBURGH‘S PEACE AND JUSTICE NEWSPAPER Published by the Thomas Merton Center
VOL. 42 No. 1 January, 2012
THE MERTON CENTER TURNS 40: Is it Time for an Identity Crisis? By Molly Rush
desire to do something about it by supporting the various causes and campaigns in which we‘ve been involved over the years.
“The real focus of American violence is not esoteric groups but in the very culture itself, its mass media, its extreme individualism and competitiveness, its inflated myths of virility and toughness and its overwhelming preoccupation with the power of nuclear, chemical, bacteriological and psychological overkill.”
In the beginning it was a desire by the founders to live out our beliefs. Many of us had been active in the movements for civil rights, peace, human rights, welfare rights, civil liberties, women‘s rights, and labor rights, including the grape boycott.
~Thomas Merton, Submitted by request to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, 1968
It‘s been a long ride: often exciting, sometimes frustrating, but always a miracle that we‘ve continued to stay the course for forty years. Personally, I‘ve credited Thomas Merton‘s inspiration.
For Catholics, Vatican II had opened the Church to other faiths and to the needs of the world and had led nuns to march in Selma, priests to burn draft files. In order to be able to open our first office on the Southside of Pittsburgh, 40 priests were among those who pledged $10 a month. Larry Kessler, founder and first Executive Director, recruited three nuns, a priest, and me, a mother of six, to join the staff. For a number of years we were paid a stipend of $150 a month. From the very beginning our mission statement made clear that Continued on page 3
The Thomas Merton Center at its first location, 1213 East Carson Street, in 1972
include atheists and agnostics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, New Agers, socialists, We‘ve been mistaken for a Catholic organization. communists, leftists, anarchists, middle-of-theTrue, we were founded by Catholics and took the road, conservatives, and traditionalists. Not too name of a Catholic monk whose appeal spans many right-wingers, I confess. generations, cultures and philosophies, philosophies and religious traditions, but our What they have in common is a passion for members have come from all walks of life and justice, peace, and a safe environment and a
THE END OF A TRAGEDY IN IRAQ By Michael Drohan
there was ample evidence that the allegations were a hoax. Regardless of the truth, President On December 16, 2011, the Secretary of Defense Bush, with the UK in tow, would have their war of the U.S., Leon E. Panetta, declared an official come hell or high water. They attacked a country end to the U.S. mission or war in Iraq. The decla- which never attacked or threatened the U.S. Thus ration was made inside a fortified concrete court- began a criminal, immoral, and illegal enterprise. yard in the Green Zone in Baghdad which no Iraqi press were allowed to attend. A very symAlmost nine years out, this adventure has been bolic setting indeed. Helicopters hovered overdeclared a success. So said Secretary Panetta and head indicating the level of hostility to the presPresident Obama as the latter declared, ―We are ence of U.S. troops in the country. Thus, one leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant hopes, an end comes to a tragedy which should Iraq.‖ Let us look, however, at the balance sheet never have happened. Way back at this time of of this nine year misadventure. It is common to year in 2002, President Bush, Vice-President begin an assessment of this war from the standCheney, and Secretary of State Colin Powell were point of the cost in American lives and dollars. ramping up for an attack on Iraq with the tactic of But let us rather look first at what it has cost the terrorizing the U.S. population by claiming that Iraqi people, the true victims of this war. It is estiIraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. To mated that there have been over 10,000 Iraqi Sethose of us who were opposing this war build-up, curity Forces, ISF, deaths during this war; at least
113,265 Iraqi civilian deaths; 2 million Iraqis internally displaced and approximately 3 million forced to emigrate. Let alone 4,480 U.S military deaths. 32,000 injured. In the 1980s, Iraq was the most literate country in the Middle East but today illiteracy is rampant. Under Saddam Hussein with all his repression, ethnic and religious harmony existed. Today, the country is rife with religious, ethnic, and territorial divisions. Dividing the population and setting up animosity on the basis of religion and ethnicity made imperial rule by the U.S. easier. The infrastructure of Iraq in terms of roads, utilities, healthcare, and education, has been virtually destroyed after 19 years of sanctions and war. The resources of Iraq, principally oil, have been given over to multinational corporations with little return to the people of Iraq. Continued on page 4
TMC works to build a consciousness of values and to raise the moral questions involved in the issues of war, poverty, racism, classism, economic justice, oppression and environmental justice. TMC engages people of diverse philosophies and faiths who find common ground in the nonviolent January, 2012peaceful NEWPEOPLE struggle to bring about a more and just - 1 world.
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IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY THE THOMAS MERTON CENTER 5129 PENN AVE., PITTSBURGH, PA 15224 Phone: 412-361-3022 — Fax: 412-361-0540 — Web: www.thomasmertoncenter.org Editorial Collective Frank Carr, Nicole Coast, Rob Conroy, Michael Drohan, Russ Fedorka, Corey Carrington, Kenneth Miller, Jordana Rosenfeld, Molly Rush TMC Staff, Volunteers and Interns Viv Shaffer, Thomas Merton Center Coordinator Roslyn Maholland, Bookkeeper / Mig Cole, Assistant Bookkeeper Shirley Gleditsch, Manager, East End Community Thrift Store Shawna Hammond, Manager, East End Community Thrift Store Dolly Mason, Furniture Manager, East End Community Thrift Store Corey Carrington, Public Ally Jordana Rosenfeld, NewPeople Intern TMC Board of Directors Nina Barbuto, JT Campbell, Casey Capitolo, Rob Conroy, Kathy Cunningham, Michael Drohan, Patrick Fenton, Carol Gonzalez, Mary Jo Guercio, Wanda Guthrie, Shawna Hammond, Edward Kinley, Jonah McAllister-Erickson, Diane McMahon, Francine Porter, Molly Rush. STANDING COMMITTEES Board Development Committee (Recruits board members, conducts board elections) Building Committee Oversees maintenance of 5123-5129 Penn Ave. Membership Committee Coordinates membership goals, activities, appeals, and communications Editorial Collective Plans, produces and distributes The NewPeople Finance Committee Ensures financial stability and accountability of TMC Personnel Committee Oversees staff needs, evaluation, and policies Technology Team Provides technical advice and assistance to TMC Special Event Committees Plan and oversee TMC fundraising events with board and staff (Events include the spring New Person Awards and the fall Thomas Merton Award Dinner) PROJECTS Anti-War Committee firstname.lastname@example.org www.pittsburghendthewar.org
In Sisterhood: The Women’s Movement in Pgh 412-621-3252, email@example.com Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance 412-867-9213
Book‘Em (books to prisoners) firstname.lastname@example.org www.thomasmertoncenter.org/bookem
Pittsburgh Campaign for Democracy NOW! 412-422-5377, email@example.com www.pcdn.org
CodePink (Women for Peace) firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-389-3216 www.codepink4peace.org
Pittsburgh Works! (labor history documentaries) email@example.com
Conscience 412-231-1581 www.consciencepgh.blogspot.com
Roots of Promise 724-327-2767, 412-596-0066 firstname.lastname@example.org (Network of Spiritual Progressives) email@example.com
Demilitarize Pittsburgh: War-Profiteering Education & Action Network 412-361-3022, firstname.lastname@example.org www.demilitarizepittsburgh.org Diversity Footprint (art, justice, community) email@example.com
Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition firstname.lastname@example.org; www.pittsburghdarfur.org
East End Community Thrift Shop 412-361-6010, email@example.com Economic Justice Committee firstname.lastname@example.org Fight for Lifers West 412-361-3022 to leave a message email@example.com http://fightforliferswest.mysite.com Food Not Bombs firstname.lastname@example.org http://fnb-pgh.2ya.com Human Rights Coalition / Fed Up (prisoner support and advocacy) 412-802-8575, email@example.com www.thomasmertoncenter.org/fedup
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Three Rivers Area Medics (TRAM) 412-6419191 or firstname.lastname@example.org Urban Arts Project email@example.com Pittsburgh Progressive Notebook Call 412-301-3022 for more info The Palestine Film Festival Call 412-301-3022 for more info Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens Group Wanda Guthrie 724-327-2767 firstname.lastname@example.org The Pittsburgh Totebag Project Sue Kerr, 412-228-0216 P.O. Box 99204 Pittsburgh, Pa 15233
CONTACT INFORMATION General information ..................... www.thomasmertoncenter.org/contact-us/ Or email@example.com Submissions .................................. firstname.lastname@example.org Events & Calendar Items ............. www.bit.ly/tmcevents
What You May Find at The East End Community Thrift Shop ANYTHING Shirley Gleditsch will let in the door, which is everything: A Coach Bag for $15.00, Laughter, Children‘s clothes under 50 cents, someone who will listen, A Liz Claiborne suit for $10.00, a 3- year old shopper, a 9 year old cashier in training? An ideal dresser for a college dorm room. Customers amazed at the prices. Over 40 volunteers happy to lend a helping hand, and an opportunity to volunteer! TMC AFFILIATES and FRIENDS The Africa Project 412-657-8513, email@example.com www.africaproject.net
Pittsburgh Cuba Coalition 412-563-1519 firstname.lastname@example.org
Allegheny Defense Project, Pgh Office 412-559-1364 www.alleghenydefense.org
Pgh Independent Media Center email@example.com www.indypgh.org
Amnesty International firstname.lastname@example.org www.amnestypgh.org
Pgh North Anti-Racism Coalition 412-367-0383
Association of Pittsburgh Priests Molly 412-343-3027 email@example.com Association of US Catholic Priests firstname.lastname@example.org The Big Idea Bookstore 412-OUR-HEAD, www.thebigideapgh.org Black Voices for Peace Gail Austin 412-606-1408 Citizens for Global Solutions 412-471-7852 email@example.com Citizens for Social Responsibility of Greater Johnstown Larry Blalock, firstname.lastname@example.org Haiti Solidarity Committee email@example.com 412-271-8414 www.thomasmertoncenter.org/hs PA United for a Single-Payer Health Care (PUSH) www.healthcare4allPA.org Molly Rush firstname.lastname@example.org Pittsburgh Area Pax Christi 412-761-4319 Pittsburgh Committee to Free Mumia 412-361-3022, email@example.com
Pgh North People for Peace 412-367-1049 Pgh Palestine Solidarity Committee firstname.lastname@example.org www.pittsburgh-psc.org Raging Grannies 412-963-7163, email@example.com www.pittsburghraginggrannies.homestead.com Religion and Labor Coalition 412-361-4793 firstname.lastname@example.org School of the Americas Watch of W. PA 412-371-9722, email@example.com United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) 412-471-8919 www.ueunion.org Urban Bikers firstname.lastname@example.org Veterans for Peace Icwheaties@aol.com Voices for Animals email@example.com 1-877-321-4VFA Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Eva 412-963-7163 firstname.lastname@example.org
TMC MEMBERSHIPS These are organizations or coalitions in which TMC has formal membership, including payment of dues to and fulfillment of other agreed-upon responsibilities as an organizational member Abolition 2000: W. Pa. Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons 724-339-2242 / email@example.com Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty 412-384-4310, firstname.lastname@example.org Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network email@example.com
The Merton Center Turns 40, continued from page 1 we were ―people of diverse philosophies and faith who find common ground in the nonviolent struggle to bring about a more peaceful and just world.‖
Some members have traveled around the world, including the Witness for Peace delegation who went to Nicaragua during that war. Others work in their own neighborhoods or local communities.
Our members are involved and have often taken the lead in planning and organizing an incredible variety of actions, picket lines, vigils, sit-ins, campaigns, publications, educational programs, prayer services, coalitions, fundraising events, potluck suppers, retreats, picnics, parties, celebrations, local, national, and global struggles.
Many members have joined a Center project or campaign and stayed on. It has been the energy, enthusiasm, active, and financial support of our faithful members that has allowed us to keep on, through thick and thin. It has been a very special gift to get to know and appreciate so many of you.
history, taking on new projects and campaigns. We‘ve weathered hard times. Now we see this special anniversary as a time to learn from the past and look to the future.
You are the ones who will define where we go from here. We‘ve never been afraid to take on what seems to be the impossible. You might call us active dreamers. You‘re invited to share your dreams and ideas and your time and energy to face the unprecedented challenges we face today. Please submit them via email to The Center has re-invented itself throughout our firstname.lastname@example.org We will be featuring your thoughts in The New People inviting members, new and long term, to throughout 2012. Think globally, act locally.
This 40th Anniversary year we are write a paragraph or so about your personal experience with the Center. Please submit your story to email@example.com. Please include your photograph.
Molly Rush is cofounder of the TMC and is currently serving on its board.
One of my favorite descriptions of the Center was meant to be snide. It went something like this: The Thomas Merton Center, a little office on the Southside, has as its goal: no less than peace in the world.
Bette McDevitt I came to work at the Merton Center in the mid 1980‘s, by way of reading about their activities in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette; Molly Rush‘s trial as a member of the Plowshares, entering the GE plant in King of Prussia, other members occupying the offices of Senators and Congress members, doing ―die-ins‖ at the offices of Rockwell International in protest of the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and Michael Drohan‘s resignation from the faculty of Duquesne University when they brought in a representative of the State Department who oversaw aid to the ―Contras‖ dedicated to the overthrow of the elected government of Nicaragua. These folks upped the ante. ―If they can do those things,‖ I thought, ―I can surely do something.‖ From New Castle, I came to live in Pittsburgh and to work at the Merton Center. I only stayed as an employee for one year, but the Merton Center has been integral to my life ever since. During that year I worked there, Mel Madden, now deceased, came in one morning with a friend from out of town. ―Look, Charlie,‖ he said, ―There‘s something for everyone in here,‖ he said, with a sweep of his hand. And so there was. The Merton Center was the hub, the instigator, the catalyst for all things stirring in the arena of peace and justice. Through that door on Penn Avenue came the most interesting people in Pittsburgh, and often from far beyond. The Center can claim with pride to be the breeding ground for all kinds of activists and hell raisers who are part of the beloved community of people on the front lines of the struggle for peace and justice.
Todd May, Ph.D Before my involvement with the Merton Center and the River City Campaign, I had been engaged here and there with progressive causes. But it was with TMC and RCC that I really cut my teeth on what it is to be a progressive. Through my association with those groups, and especially with the Merton Center, I was forced to ask myself what I believed about social change and the role of nonviolence in it. I wound up sitting in on courses on nonviolence, and thinking about it in ways that are still with me. In fact, I remain one of the few people in my area of contemporary Continental philosophy who insists upon the central role of nonviolence in political theory. This is not to say that I'm a pacifist. I'm not. But the moral and political significance of nonviolence in political resistance cannot be escaped. This was one of the central lessons of my time at the Merton Center. Todd May is past Board President of the Thomas Merton Center and a Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Clemson University.
Join the Thomas Merton Center on Tuesday, January 31st for The TMC‘s 40th Anniversary Kick-Off Event on Thomas Merton‘s Birthday! More info on page 4 January, 2012
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The End of a Tragedy in Iraq, continued from page 1 In a word, the result of this adventure is the virtual destruction of an entire country, the extent and depth of which is difficult to comprehend.
metaphor for the entire war in Iraq. It was revenge, viciousness, anger, frustration, and ignorance let loose on an innocent population.
the admission of a gross error and the commitment of a grievous crime against an innocent people. What we get, however, is self-adulation and congratulation on a job well done. Imperial hubris The destruction visited upon Iraq is compounded After the demolition of the weapons of mass de- truly knows no bounds. From the standpoint of by the memories of the decimation of Fallujah, struction concoction, the defeat of terrorists, and the people, however, our stance must be to dethe massacre of Haditha, and the obscenity of the destruction of the evil al Queda, the restoramand reparation to the people of Iraq for all the Abu Ghraib. On the very same day that the Presi- tion of democracy became the raison d‘etre of the harm, death, and destruction visited upon them. dent proclaimed the victorious end to the Iraq occupation. In view of all this, is it any wonder There is no other civilized response. war, the New York Times reported on the surfac- that the over 500 U.S. army bases in Iraq had to ing of papers detailing the massacre of Haditha, quietly shut down their operations and disappear Michael Drohan is a political economist spethe massacre in 2005 of 24 civilians by the U.S. in the middle of the night? cializing in analysis of Third World economies Marines in the town of Haditha. All those killed and a member of The Thomas Merton Cenwere civilians, including a 76 year old man in a The honest response after nine years of mayhem, ter‗s Board of Directors. wheelchair, women, and children. Haditha is but a torture, and occupation of Iraq, might have been
TMC 40th Anniversary Kick-Off Event on Birthday of Thomas Merton By Joyce Rothermel All are encouraged to come out to begin this year's celebrations of the 40th Anniversary of Pittsburgh's Thomas Merton Center! Art McDonald, former TMC staff member (1982-85), will be speaking before the lighting of the Center's 40 birthday candles. Some have questioned the name of the Center over the past few years. Art's topic: "A Prophet in the Monastery: Why Thomas Merton's Radical Social Vision Still Inspires 40 Years Later" will answer this question! Art currently serves as the Minister at the First Universalist Church in Essex, MA and is an adjunct faculty member at Salem State University in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department. A Pittsburgh resident for 21 years from 19822003, Art was instrumental in the beginning of Northside Common Ministry and the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network. The combined birthday event will be held on Tuesday, January 31 in the Banquet Hall of East Liberty Presbyterian Church at 116 S. Highland Avenue in East Liberty beginning at 7 PM. Please put the date on your calendar, plan to come, and invite others. We will begin 2012 inspired and strengthened by our coming together to face the challenges for a more just and peaceful world together! Joyce Rothermel serves as Chair of the TMC Membership Committee.
Windows and Mirrors By Scilla Wahrhaftig
from over and, as in any war, it is the civilian population who are suffering.
The human toll of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is immense, with many thousands of citizens dead and many more injured and displaced from their homes. Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan is a beautiful exhibit of 45 panels of art from around the world that helps us reflect on the experience of the people in Afghanistan as they go from war to hope. The American Friends Service Committee PA Program will be sponsoring this exhibit as a way to bring attention to the continuation of the wars in the Middle East and the suffering of the people. While the Obama Administration declared the war over in Iraq, and reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan, the reality is very different.
The Windows and Mirrors exhibit reminds us of the ongoing impact of these wars and also talks of hope and the future. During the time the exhibit is being shown at 937 Liberty Ave downtown, from January 28th to February 12th, events will be held to reflect on war and its impact on civilians. Part of the exhibit in Pittsburgh will be an artistic conversation between a U.S. Iraqi Veteran and a The final weekend, February 11th from 3-5 pm young high school Iraqi refugee. They have cre- will feature Peter Lems, American Friends Serated art that reflects their stories and experiences. vice Committee Program Director for Iraq and Afghanistan. He will look at the impact of the For the first three days, Windows and Mirrors troop withdrawal from Iraq, our responsibilities to will be complimented by another exhibit, Out of acknowledge the damage, lessons learned for the Rubble, curated by Susanne Slavick. Out of Rub- peace movement, and how can we then use those ble presents works by international artists and lessons learned to speed-up the removal of U.S. architects who consider the causes and consetroops and bases from Afghanistan. quences of war, its finality and future, moving from decimation and disintegration to the possiScilla Wahrhaftig is the contact for the Ameribilities of regeneration and recovery. This exhibit can Friends Service Committee of Western will be shown at SPACE at 812 Liberty Ave all Pennsylvania. through January.
We will be leaving behind in Iraq the biggest embassy in the world with its own airport and over 15,000 personnel; over 5,000 of those will be private mercenaries. We also have bases in Kuwait with thousands of soldiers at the ready. The country is still in chaos, and the people are still without many basic needs. On Sunday, January 29th the two galleries will hold a poetry reading and gallery talk, Disarming In Afghanistan the promised withdrawal will Words, starting at 1:30 pm at SPACE Gallery, leave over 68,000 troops behind plus an unknown followed by a singing escort by The Raging Grannumber of contractors and NATO troops from nies at 2:30 pm to the Windows and Mirrors galother countries. The war in Afghanistan is far lery. 4 - NEWPEOPLE
Other Windows and Mirrors events will include an exciting afternoon on February 4th from 1-4 pm of women’s testimonies of war and peace, Women and War: Women and Peace. The afternoon will conclude with a performance by Pittsburgh Playback Theatre and a chance for the audience to reflect on the exhibit and the stories through the creativity of the Playback actors.
Sports and Politics Through the Lens of Dave Zirin By Michael Drohan
tics conflicted with that of the sports establishment. Even when sports is proclaiming most On December 1, the International Socialist Orhighly its apolitical nature it is being highly poganization (ISO) brought Dave Zirin, Sports Edi- litical. Specifically, Zirin points to the intersector for The Nation Magazine to town with his tion of professional sports and militarism. Footdocumentary film entitled ―Not Just a Game‖. age of General David Petraeus tossing the coin The one hour film provides clips of many of the for the beginning of an NFL Superbowl game and most dramatic moments of the collision of profes- the donning of Army uniform by commentators at sional sports and politics in the United States. a NFL game give the unmistakable impression Perhaps the most dramatic moment of all was the that sports and the military are attached at the naact of John Carlos and Tommie Smith during the vel. Flag-waving and other patriotic paraphernalia Olympics in Mexico City in 1968. After winning are also shown to permeate the world of US a bronze and gold medal respectively in the 200 sports. If a sportsperson criticizes or disagrees yard sprint, Smith and Carlos took off their shoes with all this ideological baggage of sports, one is as the walked to the podium and then raised their ostracized and accused of doing the unthinkable, fists in a salute to the Civil Rights Movement and namely mixing politics with sports. Zirin exposes the fight for racial equality in the US. The rethe hypocrisy of this stance of the sports estabsponse of the sports establishment and the politi- lishment. cal leaders was no less dramatic: Carlos and Smith were relieved of their medals, banned from Racism, sexism, homophobia and militarism have the Olympic village and generally vilified. The permeated professional sports from back into the allegations against them were that they had mixed 19th century in the US. Sports was for straight, sports and politics and that was against the rule white males, no one else need apply. It took decsupposedly that sports and politics don‘t mix and ades if not centuries of prejudice for women, Afsports is allegedly apolitical. rican Americans and gay people to break through the exclusion barrier. Sports was also considered In the movie, Zirin shows very cogently that the to be essentially an activity where one had to insupposed apolitical nature of professional sports flict and accept pain without blinking. This social is a myth. While pointing to the great political construction of what constitutes sports, Zirin ilstatements of professional sports stars such as lustrates in the film to be intensely political. So it Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Billy Jean still remains despite the advances made on several King, Pat Tillman and a host of other greats, Zirin fronts. maintains that sports is thoroughly permeated by Of all American sports, American football political statements and positioning. All that is stands out as uniquely a violent sport. The normal exceptional about the statements of the likes of length of a career as a professional football player Muhammad Ali and his cohorts is that their poli- is two and half years and a career in football cuts
twenty years on average from one‘s life expectancy. So the cost of honing to a construction of masculinity as a violence giver/receiver, Zirin points out, carries a heavy toll. Another dimension of the world of sports that Zirin delves into is its heavy commercialization; sports and that includes almost all sports in the US are more of a business than anything else. In its financial structure it reflects the rest of the economy in which stark inequality is its hallmark. After the viewing of the film, the audience engaged Zirin in an hour of questions and answers. Despite his harsh critique of the world of professional sports, he exhibits an intense fascination and attraction to the varied expressions of American sports. Overall his critique of sports does not address the phenomenon whereby professional sports reduces most of humanity to consumers and spectators. In other cultures, sports is a playful participative activity and not primarily a commodity which is bought and sold. In the end, professional sports is just another area of capital accumulation in capitalist society and not something designed to recreate and enliven us as human beings. Zirin states that ―we love sports because it provides escape and the promise of magic. But beneath the pyro, it‘s a fun-house mirror of who we are as a country. The scary part is when people start taking the reflection more seriously than the reality standing in front of the mirror‖ Michael Drohan is currently serving on the TMC Board.
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Fight for Lifers West Needs YOU By Donna Hill Fight For Lifers West meets every 3rd Saturday of each month at 325 N. Highland Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206 (E. Liberty). We are under the non-profit umbrella of the Thomas Merton Center and are currently having a membership drive. We hope that people will come to our meetings to see what we're about. We advocate for lifer inmates and their family members, because in Pennsylvania life means life. There is no minimum sentence, and when a person gets sentenced to life it means until the day that they die. It is sometimes termed "Death by Incarceration." We believe that life without parole is both archaic and inhumane as well as cruel and unusual punishment. Therefore, changes in Pennsylvania laws need to be implemented. We try to educate others, enlist public support, and influence Pennsylvania law as is appropriate. The Pennsylvania tax payers also need to be aware of the enormous burden that
A Letter to the Editor Dear sir/madam,
falls to them to continue to incarcerate lifers, For further information or check out our website: who, after a period of time, are no longer a threat http://www.fightforliferswestinc.com/ to anyone. Costs continue to sky rocket the older default.html/ the lifer gets. To keep housing them becomes an ever increasing burden on tax payers and an even worse hardship on their families and loved ones. Donna Hill is the president of Fight for Lifers West and has a daughter serving life without In addition to life meaning life in Pennsylvania, parole. Her daughter‘s name is Charmaine many people aren't aware that Pennsylvania has Pfender. She was convicted of first degree the highest number of juvenile lifers, not only in homicide (at the age of 18) in 1985 and has the United States, but in the world. Of the world, been incarcerated ever since. only the United States and Somalia allow juveniles to serve life sentences. Please come and join us and get involved with our fight to obtain justice in Pennsylvania. Many of us have loved ones serving life without parole. Many of us do not. Yet we all stand together to obtain justice. Our doors are open to everyone. Contact Fight For Lifers West; P.O. Box 4683; Pgh., PA 15206; 412-361-3022.
man actually dies?
Kindly be advised that I am an inmate in the State Correctional Institution here at Forest.
Every time an inmate appears before the PRC, every 90 days, he's given a rote reiteration of stale justifications for his continued RHU confinement. They Recently in your latest issue of NewPeople, I read did the very same to me. If any organization coman article written by: Helen Gerhardt, entitled plains loudly enough to the specific prison confining ―Addressing Issues of Abusive Conditions In PA the inmate continuously in RHU, the prison will Prisons‖. petition the Central Office at Camp Hill and ask that they transfer the inmate to another SCI and place I respectfully MUST comment upon this and I also him within their RHU. They did this with (Name ask that you please try and publish this information. redacted--ED) whose been in the RHU over 30 years! I spent five (5) years in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU-segregation), at SCI-Greene on Administra- If you really want to apply pressure on the ―right‖ tive Custody status, as an escape risk. Any inmate people, take the matter to the Governor's Office, who has been classified as such, has a very slim because crying about this to the Central Office at chance of ever getting out of the RHU since the in- any SCI, is a waste of tears – your dealing with dividuals who interview the inmates every three (3) ―bureaucrats‖ petrified of making any moves for months (The Program Review Committee (PRC), inmates surrounding these crazy situations. The botare basically bureaucrats and due to ― job-security tom line is, people can change. I've been in the genreasons,‖ refuse to allow most inmates to return to eral population here at Forest now going on 6 years. the prison General Population ever again. I had to deal with them creeps for 5 years. How did I get out Thank you very much for taking the time to read into that dire situation? I got caught with the home this letter. I hope that your can publish it since the addresses of guards and other staff members emnumerous organizations mentioned in Ms. ployed at SCI-Greene. Gerhardt's article need to ―know‖ who to go to and ―why‖ as well as ―who‖ not to go to and ―why.‖ Inmates held within the RHU, are locked up 23 hours a day, 5 days a week, and 24 hours a day on If you have any questions concerning this, please weekends. They take their meals within their cells. feel free to contact me. Thank you once again and When they exercise, they are subject to having to go have a nice day! into a dog kennel type cage which is no larger than your cell 12x12. Any time you leave your cell, you Sincerely yours, are hand-cuffed from behind before you can exit Richard Grosso #CW-6956 your cell. If you leave your cell for any reason(s), it's basically to either get a shower, go to a caged-in (Readers can write Mr. Grosso at PO Box 945, law clinic which is always inadequate (numerous SCI Forest Marienville, PA 6239; please include books are always destroyed), or you get a visit his ―number‖ in the address.) (behind glass). Numerous inmates ―lost-in‖ due to this long term lock-down. The cell light remains ―ON‖ 24-7. The NewPeople is always accepting letI know many individual who are still locked up after a decade of RHU confinement. ###-8624, is one of them. I consider this man a close associate of mine. (Name Redacted--ED) He's been locked up 12 years now and the Department of Corrections refuses to let him into any prison population, because they have classified him as an escape risk. How much time must a man spend locked-up like this before these bureaucrats within the DOC feel the inmate no longer poses an escape risk? Until the
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ters to the editor. Submit your thoughts, musings, compliments, or criticisms to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to The NewPeople c/o The Thomas Merton Center 5129 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Winter Wish Lists Book‘em‘s Wish List 1. Monetary donations to update and print the Pennsylvania Prison Directory Action (PADA) 2. Monetary donations for mailing books to prisoners 3. African American fiction/nonfiction book donations 4. Paperback dictionaries/thesauruses book donations All donations can be dropped off at the Merton Center Mon. – Fri. from 10 AM to 3 PM or on Sat. between 10 AM and 1 PM. Peace, Book 'Em
Thomas Merton Center‘s Wish List Can you help us with any of the following? 1. recycled copy paper – white and color 2. mailing labels 3. business envelopes 4. office stapler and staples 5. scotch tape 6. poster board (any color) 7. DVD Player and Monitor 8. Recycled Paper Products, non-toxic Cleaning Supplies, Garbage Bags Items can be dropped off at the Center: Mon. – Fri. from 10 AM to 3 PM or on Sat. between 10 AM and 1 PM.
Milk Not Jails By Amanda Johnson 75% of prison beds in New York state are in rural Milk Not Jails, a consumer campaign to build a areas despite 75% of New York‘s incarcerated sustainable New York State rural economy that population coming from 7 neighborhoods in New does not rely on building and maintaining prisons, York City. The Department of Corrections is New recently raised $22,000 to launch a new political York state‘s largest state agency, employing brand of dairy products with the self-titled ―Milk 31,000 people, and the jobs pay well. Because Not Jails‖ label. The campaign is a collaboration many rural residents now hold stake in maintainbetween farmers, formerly incarcerated people, ing their prison based economies, there are sigactivists, and policy makers and works to build nificant barriers to rural populations supporting relationships between rural producers and urban much needed changes toward productive and efconsumers. fective criminal justice. According to the campaign website, the movement was founded in 2010 as a reaction to two economic crises facing New York state: 1. Dairy farmers are being forced to sell off their herds and shut down their businesses, because federal agricultural policy is putting farmers in a situation where they are losing money to produce milk. 2. Prison employees are fighting to keep empty prisons open amidst a major state budget crisis. Located in depressed, rural areas, these prisons often provide the most stable, best paying jobs in town. The campaign aims to create a local food economy and change the landscape of rural employment. The economic depression of rural areas over the past 50 years, caused in part by federal regulations on agricultural production and the corporate takeover of the supply and distribution of food, has made small scale dairy farming extremely challenging. As a result, more people have been forced into working public sector jobs including working at prisons.
New York state‘s crime rate has decreased over the past ten years by 28% and requires 15,000 fewer prison beds since then. However, the Department of Corrections maintains the same number of prisons despite having concrete cause to reduce the number of operating facilities. In addition to closing prisons, the Milk Not Jails campaign supports legislative initiatives to further reduce the total population of incarcerated people and decarcerate New York state. New policies, if passed, would change the sentencing laws for crimes committed by survivors of domestic violence, change parole procedures, and limit marijuana possession arrests. The policy agenda of the Milk Not Jails campaign focuses on the intersection of agricultural and prison justice issues. By examining their relationship, the campaign is organized to chip away at aspects of the flawed prison economy and work towards reinforcing a sustainable agricultural economy. This includes changing laws that affect milk distribution and
reducing other barriers to the success of small farms. The campaign supports the legalizing of the sale of raw milk, reducing corporate control of milk production by Dean Foods and Dairy Foods of America, localizing New York City food supply markets to favor New York growers, and reserving and distributing monies allocated by the Farmland Protection Act to the people who need it most. The Milk not Jails campaign is organized through working groups out of the Constitutional Law Center in Manhattan. This article was originally published in the PA Prison Report, the weekly email and biweekly radio news output of the Human Rights Coalition. http://www.hrcoalition.org/ To read more about Milk Not Jails visit: http:// milknotjails.wordpress.com/ Amanda Johnson is a regular correspondent and writer for the Pennsylvania Prison Report and a volunteer with the Human Rights Coalition FedUp! and Book 'Em.
For Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Struggle Continues By Martha Conley Philadelphia District Attorney, Seth Williams, announced Wednesday, December 7, 2011, that he would not pursue the death penalty for journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, a man wrongfully convicted and on death row for 30 years. Two days later a capacity crowd gathered at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia for an event that included poetry, drumming, dancing, and declamation. Thus, what began as a protest of 30 years on death row in solitary confinement for an innocent man morphed into a celebration.
in an unsuccessful attempt to intimidate attendees. The Case The Third Circuit Court of Appeals on April 26, 2011, for the second time, ruled that Mumia Abu-Jamal‘s death sentence was unconstitutional. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case and sought reinstatement of the death penalty. The Court declined, and Williams had 180 days to schedule a resentencing hearing to reinstate the death penalty.
From all over the world, family, supOn December 7, 2011, WilPhoto by Tameka Cage-Conley, Phd. porters, and activists attended. Similiams announced that he lar public rallies took place in would not seek the death Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal gathered in Philadelphia to celebrate an upturn in his case. penalty, but would let AbuFrance, Germany , Denmark, and The glare in the photo‘s right background is a police helicopter circling outside. Oakland, California among other Jamal spend the rest of his places. Activists from Pittsburgh, life in prison. including The Pittsburgh Committee to Free Poet Amiri Baraka, a surprise guest, read his The official reason given is the cost to the City of Mumia, traveled to Philadelphia. poem, ―Somebody Blew Up America.” Rapper Philadelphia and further anguish to the family of The event was co-sponsored by Educators for Immortal Technique and Abu-Jamal‘s daughter, the slain officer. However, Williams determined Mumia, International Concerned Family and Goldie, spoke to a standing room crowd. that another death sentence was unlikely in the Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, The Free Mumia Ramona Africa, one of two survivors of the post Troy Davis climate. In Abu-Jamal‘s trial Coalition, and The National Lawyer‘s Guild. bombing of the MOVE house by Philadelphia only one black person ended up on the jury in a Speakers included Cornel West, Vijay Prashad, police in 1985 (eleven men, women, and children city that was 40% black at the time. Now, with and Marc Lamont Hill. In addition, Michelle burned to death in the ensuing fire) was also a competent defense counsel, another death senAlexander, author of The New Jim Crow and guest speaker. [See video of the event at freetence was unlikely. South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond mumia.com] Tutu appeared by video. Abu-Jamal called to exUnfortunately, neither state nor federal courts press his gratitude. This free event streamed live The crowd was largely unaware of the police with perhaps one exception had the courage to over the Internet. demonstration outside the National Constitution challenge the egregious constitutional violations Continued on page 11 Center that had a helicopter circling the building January, 2012
NEWPEOPLE - 7
The Occupy Movement
Carl Redwood Occupies the Hood By Frank Carr
missed by critics, ―The people in the encampments are the smallest part of the Occupy MoveAs the Occupy Movement heads into winter, ment. There are multiple numbers of people outmany of its critics continue to slam it as a bunch side the camps already fighting corporate greed. of lazy, white ―stoners.‖ Newt Gingrich, Republi- The Occupy Movement has been able to identify can Presidential aspirant, said ―They all need to the common enemy as the greed of the ‗1%‘. It take a shower and find a job.‖ This demeaning offers a fresh new way of analyzing the system rhetoric has been sprouting since the beginning of that‘s been their best contribution so far.‖ the movement in New York City in September. Redwood went on to assess the role of the media; The New People Editorial Col―The Press is part of the system, lective, wondering if these the coverage shows that.‖ charges were in any way true, spoke with noted Hill District Currently, Redwood is helping to organizer and activist Carl Redorganize Occupy the Hood, part wood, Jr. to get his take on the of what he termed ―A nationwide movement. Mr. Redwood effort to create a national agenda teaches community organizing at for the black community.‖ He the University of Pittsburgh and listed many cities where such Photo by Frank Carr is most noted as the convener of efforts are underway includthe One Hill Consensus ing New York, NY, Detroit, Carl Redwood addresses Larimer Rally Group which negotiated a MI, Dallas, TX, and Tacoma, landmark Community Benefits Agreement with WA. ―In Pittsburgh we will organize using the the Pittsburgh Penguins and the City of Pittsburgh political wards already established. But this is not around construction of the Consol Energy Center. linked to elections. This is about what can be Redwood is currently organizing Occupy the done year-round. By spring we hope to have rudiHood in Pittsburgh, a national movement in con- mentary organizations around the city.‖ junction with Occupy Wall Street. He expanded on the movement globally. ―Most of ―Diversity can be defined in a number of ways,‖ the 99%, when you look globally, is made up of he said. ―The Occupy Movement has gained mo- people of color.‖ When asked how ―Occupy‖ rementum, nationally, internationally, and in Pitts- lated to the ―Arab Spring‖ he was firm, ―There burgh, against corporate greed. People in the has been faked support of the uprising from the black community are clear there is a problem with 1%, while they figure out how to reassert control. corporate greed, same as the white community.‖ The Center of ‗Occupy‘ is in the U.S. but the edges are in Italy, Spain, elsewhere. It has been Redwood also made the substantive point so often
bad for a long time; the colonial system was designed that way. In a world perspective blacks here are doing well, better than all those who live on a dollar a day.‖ With January arriving, we discussed briefly the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ―He would be supportive of Occupy. He would be organizing with them. Sometimes people link Occupy to the 1998 downturn but the reality is that the system is working as it was designed. The 1% are making as much as they did twenty years ago. They are forcing global austerity to maximize profits. The New Deal (in the 1930s) was done to protect the 1%. Social Democracy has been used to preserve the system.‖ ―It is clear that the system must change. Occupy is the starting point. The aim is to create a new world. It‘s hard to build a new world, especially because people must survive as we struggle towards it. The tension between those who want to reform the system and those who want to replace it remains as always.‖ This led him to briefly discuss the consensus method Occupy uses; ―It plays out differently in different situations. It‘s harder to move quickly and can lead to ‗lowest common denominator‘ decisions. People really organize outside the meetings, which makes it easy to stack meetings if there is no definitive membership. But the model advocates moving power to the people and that‘s what we should be about.‖ Frank Carr is the editor of The NewPeople.
Occupy Hits the Target! By Frank Carr
Several hundred members of the 99% gathered on Saturday, December 10, at Larimer‘s Kingsley Association for a rally and march. Those gathered heard from several active ―Occupants‖ and supporting organizations in a rally for Economic Justice which was boisterous despite the looming threat of eviction hanging over the Mellon Green encampment downtown. The rally heard from, among others, Iraq War veteran and Occupy stalwart Helen Gerhardt, Carl Redwood Jr. Convener of the One Hill Consensus Group, and Occupy the Hood, and Alethea Sims of the Concerned Residents of East Liberty. Following the rally the group marched on Bakery Square, along Penn Avenue across from the former Reizenstein Middle School (now the Obama Academy.) Bakery Square was chosen because it represents much of what the 99% objects to: the use of public subsidies to aid private developers, in this case Walnut Capital, whose promises of jobs never materialize.
benefits.‖ The feisty Todd Reibord was on-site, eliciting crowd, including a chants and jeers. symbolic occupation From there the group went to the tent from Mellon Target store on Penn Circle and all Green, set up outside went in, carrying signs, and the tent, the Marriott Suites up the escalator and holding a Hotel located on the ―People‘s Mic-check‖ meeting in the site. upper lobby. While a chagrined manOnce home to Naager waved them toward the exit and bisco, the former bakemployees stood smiling, the crowd ery has been refashdemanded full-time jobs with beneioned as a shopping fits for the workers. Target was anand business center other publicly subsidized developreplete with Google‘s ment which required rezoning part of relocated Pittsburgh historic East Liberty into Larimer to office. In its original qualify for federal money. The Occoncept the developcupy Movement believes Target has ment was to include reneged on its commitments. Photo by Frank Carr housing. Home to A single Pittsburgh Police officer higher end shops, the Occupiers move a tent up the escalators at gaped at the crowd but could do the new East Liberty Target hotel and a fitness nothing. The marchers left as peacecenter, the iconic fully as they came, to cheers and apmain building remains largely empty. Walnut plause, as a few more police officers arrived. Capital has now forwarded proposals to buy the They returned to Kingsley for cocoa and cookies Reizenstein Building for redevelopment. and a festive respite.
―They promised full time jobs and new busiFrank Carr is the editor of The NewPeople. nesses,‖ said Calvin Skinner of One Pittsburgh, a During the ―occupation‖ several guests at the community-labor coalition supporting the Occupy Marriott appeared on a third floor deck to cheer movement, ―And delivered part time jobs with no the crowd. Word spread that Walnut Capital CEO MARK YOUR CALENDAR:
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2012: OCCUPY for HEALTH CARE FOR THE 99%! HEALTH CARE is a human right! Confront the profiteers! Come out on February 4th to demand comprehensive health care for all! Watch for announcement of a joint action on Saturday February 11th by Occupy Pittsburgh and local single payer health care groups . An initial meeting was held December 16. The next planning meeting: January 6th. INFORMATION: Sandra Fox, W.PA. Coalition for Single Payer Health Care email@example.com; Mary Pat Donegan firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-421-4242; or http://PUSHHC4AllPA.blogspot.com. 8 - NEWPEOPLE
The Occupy Movement
Imprisoning the Commons By Jo Tavener Zuccotti Park is a privately owned public space. The very concept of privately owned public spaces comes down to us from 17th century England, where the landed gentry enclosed formerly public land that was used in common by farmers for their livelihood. Once fences were introduced to enclose the land and thereby convert it to private property, the landless peasants were forced into cottage industries. With the coming of Industrial Capitalism, more and more peasants were forced into the towns, into the factories, and the harsh conditions of urban poverty.
litical and economic elites who own and benefit from financial capitalism.
-a-cops inhabit the park. Christmas lights adorn the trees and New York's Finest patrol the perimeter. This is Zuccotti Park today: the dark cultural underbelly of American Financial Capitalism.
However the chattering classes of corporate media and the Beltway would have us believe ―capitalism‖ is in crisis. It can no longer provide the jobs and well-being, the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness proclaimed in the Constitution. And that is why most Americans underIn winter, the stand and approve of the Occupy earth is dorMovement. Zuccotti Park did indeed mant, ready to become a liberty plaza with its comPhoto by Lindy Hazel Ladue bloom again as munal meals, shared resources, and the weather Preparing to winterize People‘s Park, Pittsburgh general assemblies. It makes perfect grows warmer; sense that the conference call between 40 or so so too with the Occupy Movement. There will be mayors and Homeland Security decided on the more occupations in the American Spring. There tactic of destroying the camps to take down the has to be! This description of Zuccotti Park movement. They were comes from one of the hosts of Law and Disorder reenacting the Enclo- that aired this past Monday, Dec. 12. on 88.3 FM. sure Movement of the 17th Century English Jo Tavener is a semi-retired assistant professor landed gentry. Only of media and cultural studies at University of this time it backfired. Pittsburgh.
In 18th century America, however, the village green of New England towns and villages recreated the common space where community was forged in the process of deciding the common good through participatory democracy. Capitalism came to America The live streaming of later than riot police beating and England pepper spraying peacebut the ful protesters went visame ral; so much so that process of now the police use tacprivatizatics perfected in Israel tion octo destroy Arab vilcurred. lages; they set a wide The conand impenetrable pePhoto by Frank Carr temporary rimeter around the iteration space to be cleared. Occupiers role play arrests in People‘s Park of enclosPress is kept out. Citiing the Commons is the privately owned public zen journalists inside the perimeter have their space. It was fitting, then, that Occupy Wall cameras and camera phones confiscated. No picStreet ended that enclosure and took back the tures, no press, no scandal except that the Constipublic space for its popular and populist revolt tution is being shredded as the whole world against the very heart of American Capitalism. watches. Today the once vibrant, musical, and Such an act is part of the American DNA. It reso- communal space that brought tourists from nates deeply not only because of our history but around the world to marvel is now an enclosed because that history is being betrayed by the po- silent park, ringed with metal barriers. A few rent
Occupy Update By Frank Carr On December 9, 2011, Bank of New York Mellon filed an eviction notice to remove Occupy Pittsburgh from its Mellon Green encampment citing a health hazard from the winter climate. The movement continued winterizing the camp, cleaning the grounds, erecting an Army mess tent, and mulching the mud. Sunday, the 11th, found dozens of supporters swarming ―People‘s Park‖ to complete the chilly, muddy work. All existing tents were taken down and relocated, including the burgeoning People‘s Library and the medic tent while volunteers served donated coffee, donuts, and pizza to the workers. Activists also held a press conference and conducted a training and role playPhoto by Frank Carr ing exercise on how to peacefully resist the expected police tactics used for evicting Occupy camps nationwide. Occupy Pittsburgh also served BNY/ The inside of the People‘s Library at People‘s Park Mellon employees with their own eviction notice, citing the financial institution for civil fraud linked to mishandled mortgage paperwork, claiming the bank has defrauded borrowers of more that 200 million dollars. On December 22, a preliminary hearing was held at which BNY/Mellon was unable to obtain a summary eviction because it had failed to properly serve notice on the Occupants despite posting ―friendly‖ notices advising Occupy to leave. The court ordered BNY/Mellon to post the park with official notices and copies of the entire lawsuit as a means of compliance with service laws. Occupy Pittsburgh awaits a court hearing on their possible eviction on January 10, 2012.
NEWPEOPLE - 9
The Occupy Movement
Statement of Conscience in the Era of Occupy Wall Street By Claremont Elders with the 99% December 2011, Claremont, CA
in the U.S. but worldwide. We see the connection between the hungry, jobless, and exploited, and the profit-focused strategies and actions of the We are a community of people in our 60s, 70s, banks and multinational corporations. We see the 80s, 90s, tired and somewhat retired, but still fired relationship between them and people who are with visions of a just, equal, peaceful world. We without medical care and education, people prebring to this critical time our memories, experivented from organizing labor unions people who ences, and are homeless or on partnerships the edge of losing from lifetimes their homes, people of service, treated violently struggle, and and imprisoned, learning from people driven to others in the despair, drugs and 99%, in our crime. We support country and the attempt of the around the Occupy Wall Street world. movement to examine what is and try We are into envision what spired by the should be. Occupy Wall Photo by Lindy Hazel LaDue Street enWe believe it is campments, Members of Occupy Pittsburgh host a press conference. time for change in the signs, our country. It is the faces, the voices calling for an end to corpotime critically to examine the foundations of corrate domination and the beginning of true democ- porate control, such as the concept of personhood racy and equity for all people. We find hope in of corporations; the uncontrolled power of money their bold courage and their attempt to build small in politics as in the Citizens United case; the use communities that prefigure new alternatives and of our wealth to prop up dysfunctional financial invite intergenerational collaboration. institutions; the pattern of runaway companies who go for cheap labor in other lands leaving our We commend the Occupy Movement's commitcommunities without jobs; a tax system taxing the ment to non-violence even when confronted with poor and middle class but full of loop holes for police action against them. We know from exthe wealthy and their companies; irresponsible perience in local community, civil rights, environ- exploitation of natural resources and life destroymental, and peace movements that the forces of ing pollution. control and order push back against those who call for justice. We stand with this peaceful pro- We believe it is time for change in our country. It test. We decry the use of force, arrest, and dislo- is time to put the welfare and concerns of the peocation to try to silence these voices that call for ple first. It is time for publicly funded election change for the good of all. campaigns and candidates who are dependant on constituency support, not on funds from special As part of the 99%, we are shocked by the greed interests. It is time for integrity in all levels of and brutality of the 1% who steal power, money, government, civil discourse among all, and an end resources, jobs, homes, opportunity, and lives to narrow self-interest, enmity, and division as from the 99%, especially people of color, not only parties fight over the spoils of power.
We believe it is time for change in our country. It is time to work for peace and an end to war. It is time to reduce the military budget and our country's far-flung network of military bases, and to use our resources to improve and under-gird the daily life of our people and nation. It is time to cooperate with all the world's countries for a just, equitable, sustainable planet. We believe it is time to change our country. It is time to draw on the strength and wisdom of our people. It is time to engage all the people in building up a peaceful, equitable, healthy society. It is time to reconstruct vital, inclusive democracy and commit ourselves to it. Indeed it is time to occupy public space and to demand economic justice for the common good of all, at home and abroad. This statement came to us via TMC Sustainer, Teresa Wilson, who is a member of the Claremont Elders with the 99%. We at the Thomas Merton Center challenge other groups and organizations that believe in the Occupy Movement to write their own statements and share them with others. It is a call to solidarity!
Colombia Speaking Tour Comes to Pittsburgh By Joyce Rothermel We are very fortunate in Pittsburgh to be one of the cities on the winter speaking tour of Isaac Beachy. Isaac has lived and worked with a Colombian peace community in rural Colombia for the past two years with Fellowship of Reconciliation doing accompaniment work. Our New People readers may have read the article by Dan Kovalik in the November 2011 issue, "U.S. & Colombia Continue Attack on Liberation Church." There Dan spoke of "the lion's den which the U.S. and Colombia have created" for those dedicated to the mission of justice in Colombia. On Thursday, January 19 at noon, the United Steelworkers of America and the Thomas Merton Center are sponsoring a luncheon meeting (pizza and beverages) at the USA headquarters (60 Blvd. of the Allies - corner of Stanwix and Blvd. of the Allies) with Isaac Beachy for all interested in his Colombia update. Please help us spread the word to those who are interested. For more information, contact Corey Carrington at the Merton Center at 412-361-3022 or Dan Kovalik at the USW at 412-335-6442. Joyce Rothermel is a volunteer at TMC and currently serving as Chair of the Membership Committee. 10 - NEWPEOPLE
Mumia Abu-Jamal, continued from page 7 in the guilt phase of the trial. We should not be surprised. After all, in Pennsylvania: - a judge heard Abu-Jamal‘s judge say, ―I‘m going to help them fry the nigger‖ and he did not report the judge to the Judicial Conduct Board for bias and animus, violating judicial impartiality; - no law requires the preservation of evidence; - a Supreme Court Justice refused to remove himself from deciding a case that he worked on in a lower court; - district attorneys openly refused to cooperate with the Supreme Court Committee on Race and Gender Bias in the Courts; - now convicted, corrupt judges locked up kids for kick backs from private prison providers; - almost 500 juveniles, some as young as 13 and 14 years old, are sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, more than in any other state; - the state doesn‘t provide a dime for indigent
defense; - district attorneys ignore criminal complaints from inmates against prison guards; - the death penalty is used as a stepping stone to higher political office; - precedents set by other cases (cases clearly relevant to Abu-Jamal‘s) are not applied to his case. Given the history of corruption in the Philadelphia police department, it is sad that the courts, mandated to ensure justice for all, did not have the courage to challenge this travesty of justice. It is notable that five of seven justices who rejected Abu-Jamal‘s appeal in 1998 had received campaign contributions from the Fraternal Order of Police—the group most interested in seeing AbuJamal dead. Pennsylvania courts have overturned over 200 death penalty convictions since the death penalty was reinstated in Pennsylvania in 1978; most were converted to life sentences without the possibility of parole as in Abu-Jamal‘s case. Furthermore, six people on death row have been exoner-
ated and released from prison. Pennsylvania taxpayers are paying for a horribly expensive and dysfunctional system that serves no one. We are certainly no safer for having a death penalty. In fact, statistics show the opposite. If the death penalty were truly a deterrent, Texas should be homicide free by now. No death penalty for Abu-Jamal merits notice. Yet the fight to free him is far from over. Now that the death penalty has been lifted, perhaps the legislature will finally abolish the death penalty; it has been employed capriciously, racially, and excessively. Ending that would be simple justice. Martha Conley is a native Pittsburgher and graduate of The University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She works for the abolition of the death penalty in PA.
PUSH Pushes Toomey Uphill By Mary Pat Donegan A ―No Cuts to Social Security/Medicare/ Medicaid‖ postcard was signed by thousands of Pennsylvanians and hand delivered by PUSH and other Chapters of Healthcare4AllPA to US Senator Pat Toomey, PA Republican, who served on the Super Committee for the Deficit. It helped to successfully move him from his rock solid position of making up the deficit by severely cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The New York Times reported that Toomey was the Republican most willing to move from his previous position. Thank you to all who signed the yellow postcards and who joined in the Rallies outside his offices. Postcards are still available and can be dropped off signed at 2101 Murray Ave, Pgh., PA. 15217. PUSH, the SW Chapter of Healthcare4AllPA, found that our two workshops at the Three Rivers Convergence provided hardly enough time to explain all the benefits to Pennsylvania that Single Payer would provide (PA SB 400/HB1660). The Right to Healthcare is at the top of everyone‘s agenda and the solution is no doubt through a non
-profit Medicare for All, new and improved. Please go to www.healthcare4allpa.org for more information.
that Medicare4All is going to be a reality in the USA when enough people take a stand against the Corporate Insurance War Against the 99%.
PUSH marched against Wall Street and against the impasse between UPMC and Highmark with hundreds led by Occupy Pittsburgh. Go to www.healthy.artists.com and find your friends and voice messages. Julie Sokolow has recently posted numerous interviews with supporters, from City Councilman Bill Peduto to a woman on the street, stating why they believe in universal care or Single Payer Healthcare. Don‘t miss it!
Do you know that in the USA, more people die on an average day due to lack of insurance than U.S. troops died in Vietnam in one day? In one year in the USA, more die because of lack of access to health care than the total number of U.S. troops who died in the Vietnam War. This is our war in our time. What are you willing to do to stop it?
PUSH was also part of the December 10th Rally Dr. Mary Pat Donegan chairs PUSH, on International Human Rights Day organized by PA.United for Single-payer Healthcare. Occupy Pittsburgh. 300 marched from the Kingsley Assoc. to Bakery Square and into Target and back. If you believe that Healthcare is a right, send us an email at email@example.com. Include your name and address and we will send you a member card to carry in your wallet or pocket. Take it out, show it to other people, and tell them
Robin Hood Tax Gaining Strength By Molly Rush
tion that led to the great Depression.―The tax is a good idea because banks are where the money is. Labor unions, the Occupy movement and NGOs It‘s the same reason Jesse James robbed banks,‖ have, according to the NY Times (12-6-11), allies said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of Nain the leaders of France, Italy, and Germany, bil- tional Nurses United. lionaires Bill Gates and George Soros, Ralph Nader, Pope Benedict XVI, and the Archbishop In 1970 over 95% of currency trades were linked of Canterbury. ―We all agree that a financial to the real economy, i.e. investment, trade in transaction tax (FTT) would be the right signal to goods, and services, etc. Today only 2% or fifty show that we have understood that financial mar- times are traded in the real economy. Investors kets have to contribute their share to the recovery trade more than $100 worth of stock and bonds of economies,‖ Chancellor Angela Merkel told for every dollar raised for investment in new plant the German parliament. and equipment, a ratio almost four times greater than 30 years ago. That means fewer jobs, more A FTT is not a new idea. In fact, 15 countries al- millionaires, more risk to the global economy. ready have one, as did the U.S. for over 50 years, until 1966. In 1930, economist John Maynard While trades on the NY Stock Exchange equal Keynes saw it as a way to slow down the specula- about $55 billion a day, currency trades total
about $3 to $4 trillion in trades a day. 80% of trades are speculative; all are unregulated. It‘s a volatile market. Traders today may hold assets for only a few hours, even a few minutes. So even a small tax per transaction could raise hundreds of billions of dollars. If you support the idea, tell your representatives in Congress it‘s time to pass a FTT. Molly Rush is a Thomas Merton Center Board Member.
NEWPEOPLE - 11
Social Security/Medicare is the Solution, Not the Problem By Michael Drohan
Federal debt of the U.S.? One cannot but conclude that it is pure fabrication that has as its moIf one repeats a lie often enough, the hope is that tive the dismantling of the program. It should also it will gain traction and that at least a majority of be pointed out a propos of the Social Security the population will come to believe it. So it is program that it is not an ―entitlement;‖ that is a with the allegation that so-called ―entitlements‖ misnomer. Social Security is a program that all of Social Security and Medicare are the causes of workers have paid into and paid for in their workthe present economic crisis in the United States, ing years. It is their paid up pension plan payment in particular, of the ballooning Federal deficit and fund. debt of the U.S. Government. The spending on these programs is estimated by politicians to be During this past year, the President and Congress exorbitant and their solution varies from reducing reduced the individual contribution of the payroll these benefits significantly to abolishing entirely tax that constitutes the revenue of Social Security the system put in place during the Great Depres- from 6.2 to 4.2 percent. While bolstering personal sion. George W. Bush tried to push a policy of income by about $1,000 a year, this fiscal deciprivatizing Social Security/Medicare but had to sion is deleterious to the future of Social Security back off due to hostility at his proposal. But that in that it reduces the revenue stream ($112 billion did not end the movement to abolish (a.k.a. to drained from the fund in 2010) and accelerates privatize) the program. It should also be remarked the day when the program will be running a defithat the attempts to end Social Security/Medicare cit. The proposal for its continuation through are bi-partisan.The Republican Party‘s proposals, 2012 is equally bad for Social Security. Republihowever, are far more extreme than those of the can lawmakers oppose the continuation of the Democrats as we shall see. reduced payroll tax in 2012 but not because they want to save Social Security. Base political adLet us look at a few facts in regard to these provantage is what drives their policy preferring to grams. Over the last quarter century, from 1986 to let the economy scream in order to end Obama‘s the present, the Social Security retirement trust presidency. fund has produced a surplus of $2.6 trillion. This surplus will continue to grow over the next decThe Medicare component of the social security ade producing another $1 trillion surplus. There- program presents some problems for the entire after, Social Security will be running a deficit system which need to be accurately understood. according to projections of the work force, the In 2005, President Bush instituted a new part to retirement population, and revenue/expenses of Medicare, namely Part D, which covered prethe program. How then has it come to be that the scription drugs. In instituting this benefit, howSocial Security system is the cause of the present ever, he made sure that it would not be financed
by a comparable increase in the payroll tax. Consequently, since 2005, Part D of Medicare has added $450 billion to the Federal debt of the U.S. It has also caused Medicare as a whole to run a deficit and thus contribute to the Federal debt. The diabolical effect of this move under George W. Bush was to create the conditions for demanding the privatizing of Medicare since it was contributing so much to the national debt. This would be the thin edge of the wedge of undermining, destroying, and privatizing the entire Social Security fabric. The stakes are high in the struggle for Social Security‘s future. Since its institution in 1936, Social Security has lifted seniors from poverty and has been one of the greatest achievements of the Federal government. In addition, it has been and is one of the most efficient Government agencies ever, its administrative expenses amount to a mere 3 percent. The future financial stability of the fund can be guaranteed for the next 75 years with relatively small tweaking (increasing) of payroll taxes. The efforts to undermine and destroy the Social Security system is laced with dishonesty and among the most regressive economic and social projects ever conceived. Michael Drohan is a political economist specializing in analysis of Third World economies and a member of The Thomas Merton Center‗s Board of Directors.
Prophets of January King, born in Atlanta, came from a lineage of Baptist ministers dating back to his great grandfaAs January is upon us we look to our past leaders ther. Rooted in the African-American religious for inspiration as we continue in our fight to fix experience and his wealth of education, King utilmany of society‘s ills - racism, war, and ecoized these backgrounds as he championed against nomic inequality, to name a few. Whether by fate the racial injustice of the South during the ‗50s or coincidence, two of the world‘s most important and ‗60s in the Civil Rights movement. proponents of social activism, Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King, Jr. share January as their During Merton‘s monastic life he initially was so birth month, a month symbolic of change and new disgusted with the status of the world‘s ills and beginnings. suffering that he retreated from the world and entrenched himself in religious study and contemBoth men of the cloth, Merton, a Catholic monk, plation. He began to write volumes on issues that and King, a Baptist minister, utilized their faith as were of importance to him including civil rights, catalysts for engaging their thirst and zeal for so- the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons, and numercial justice. While their cause and dedication mir- ous radical socio-political ideas. Merton had an rored each other, they started off on different epiphany as he was walking through the crowds paths. Merton was foreign born, the son of two in Louisville, KY and came to realize that he artists who passed away while he was young, loved people and that it was his duty to actively leaving him an orphan. With a global education, respond to what he felt was wrong with the world. he saw and experienced injustices that resulted in King, too, had an epiphany that changed the his disillusionment with the world around him. course of his life. Originally just a spokesperson He then converted to Roman Catholicism, choos- for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, he was thrown ing to cloister himself in the life and duties of the into the spotlight as the de-facto leader of the monastery. Civil Rights movement. This was very uncomBy Corey Carrington
Molly Rush Recognized by Huffington Post On Wednesday, December 14, the Huffington Post named Molly Rush, CoFounder of the Thomas Merton Center, the Greatest Person of the Day. To see the story, "Pennsylvania Woman Fights Inequality, Poverty", visit http:// www.huffingtonpost.com/news/greatestperson-of-the-day
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fortable for him. At a kitchen table over a cup of coffee, King was trying to figure out a way to get out of the movement without looking like a coward. Then, he said that God spoke to him, telling him to stand up for righteousness and that he would be by his side until the end. This gave King the strength and confidence to continue his crusade for justice all the way until his assassination in 1968. Though Merton and King never got the chance to meet each other they respected each other deeply and saw themselves as partners in the struggle for social justice. Merton also died in 1968 as a result of electrocution from touching an electric fan in his room while at a conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Regardless of the tragic deaths of both men, their legacy and contributions have continued to influence and serve as reminder of what is possible with strong moral fiber, a sense of faith, and never ending courage. Corey Carrington is the TMC Volunteer Coordinator.
Summit Against Racism The 14th Annual Summit Against Racism is on Saturday January 21, 2012, as always, the Saturday after Martin Luther King Day. The summit will feature the Nate Smith Movie, What Does Trouble Mean? and a follow up workshop to discuss minority labor participation in the building trades, which was the focus of Smith‘s career. Registration and breakfast are at 8:30 AM in the Social Hall of the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, the home of the Black and White Reunion and the Annual Summit Against Racism. Register and support the Jonny Gammage Scholarship immediately by calling Robert Maddock at 412-322-9275 or Tim Stevens at 412-758-7898.
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New Year‘s Resolution Proposal: Abide by Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth By Joyce Rothermel
separate, because we are just one strand in this amazing mystery and miracle that the earth has In November 2011, the Thomas Merton Center created in terms of life." She also reminds us of presented its distinguished Thomas Merton the wisdom of Gandhi who said, "The earth has Award to Dr. Vandana Shiva. Among the many enough for everyone's needs, but not for a few reasons for her selection is the work she has done people's greed." in promoting the adoption by the United Nations (U.N.) of a Universal Declaration of the Rights of We are providing an edited copy of the DeclaraMother Earth. Dr. Shiva says, "…If there's one tion here in the January issue of The NewPeople. thing the rights of Mother Earth is waking us to, it As you read it, you will find some excellent ideas is that we are all connected…. we are part of na- for New Year's resolutions on both the personal ture, …human rights and nature's rights are not and collective levels. Like Dr. Shiva, you, too,
may want to become a proponent of this proposed U.N. Universal Declaration. The Declaration was adopted by the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia in April 2010. The Bolivian government has submitted it to the U.N. for their consideration. Joyce Rothermel is a volunteer at the Thomas Merton Center and is currently serving as the Chair of the Membership Committee.
United Nations Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth Proposed Preamble We, the peoples and nations of Earth, proclaim this Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on the General Assembly of the United Nations to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations of the world, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting through teaching, education, and consciousness raising, respect for the rights recognized in this Declaration and ensure through prompt and progressive measures and mechanisms, national and international, their universal and effective recognition and observance among all peoples and States in the world. Article 1. Mother Earth (1) Mother Earth is a living being. (2) Mother Earth is a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings. (3) Each being is defined by its relationships as an integral part of Mother Earth. (4) The inherent rights of Mother Earth are inalienable in that they arise from the same source as existence. (5) Mother Earth and all beings are entitled to all the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as may be made between organic and inorganic beings, species, origin, use to human beings, or any other status. (6) Just as human beings have human rights, all other beings also have rights which are specific to their species or kind and appropriate for their role and function within the communities within which they exist. (7) The rights of each being are limited by the rights of other beings and any conflict between their rights must be resolved in a way that maintains the integrity, balance and health of Mother Earth. Article 2. Inherent Rights of Mother Earth (1) Mother Earth and all beings of which she is composed have the following inherent rights: (a) the right to life and to exist; (b) the right to be respected; (c) the right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free from human disruptions; (d) the right to maintain its identity and integrity as a distinct, self-regulating and interrelated being; (e) the right to water as a source of life; (f) the right to clear air; (g) the right to integral health; (h) the right to be free from contamination, pollution, and toxic or radioactive waste; (i) the right to not have its genetic structure modified or disrupted in a manner that threatens its integrity or vital and healthy functioning; (j) the right to full and prompt restoration for violation of the rights recognized in this Declaration caused by human activities; (2) Each being has the right to a place and to play its role in Mother Earth for her harmonious functioning. (3) Every being has the right to well being and to live free from torture or cruel treatment by human beings. Article 3. Obligations of Human Beings to Mother Earth (1) Every human being is responsible for respecting and living in harmony with Mother Earth. (2) Human beings, all States, and all public and private institutions must: (a) act in accordance with the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration; (b) recognize and promote the full implementation and enforcement of the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration; (c) promote and participate in learning, analysis, interpretation and communication about how to live in harmony with Mother Earth in accordance with this Declaration; (d) ensure that the pursuit of human well being contributes to the well being of Mother Earth, now, and in the future; (e) establish and apply effective norms and laws for the defense, protection and conservation of the rights of Mother Earth; (f) respect, protect, conserve and where necessary, restore the integrity of the vital ecological cycles, processes and balances of Mother Earth; (g) guarantee that the damages caused by human violations of the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration are rectified and that those responsible are held accountable for restoring the integrity and health of Mother Earth; (h) empower human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and of all beings; (i) establish precautionary and restrictive measures to prevent human activities from causing species extinction, the destruction of ecosystems or the disruption of ecological cycles; (j) guarantee peace and eliminate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; (k) promote and support practices of respect for Mother Earth and all beings, in accordance with their own cultures, traditions and customs; (l) promote economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and in accordance with the rights recognized in this Declaration. Article 4. Definitions (1) The term ―being‖ includes ecosystems, natural communities, species and all other natural entities which exist as part of Mother Earth. (2) Nothing in this Declaration restricts the recognition of other inherent rights of all beings or specified beings. (The complete document can be found at http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=2268) 14 - NEWPEOPLE
SUBMIT! ...your stories, letters, poems, essays, cartoon, photos to the NEWPEOPLE or they may never find an audience! Please limit submissions to 600 words. Photos or art should be sent as JPEG or TIFF. Postage or articles may be mailed to The Thomas Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224. Manuscripts will not be returned. All submissions become property of NEWPEOPLE, a publication of the Thomas Merton Center of Pittsburgh, and may be edited. ADVERTISING IS AVAILABLE. CONTACT NEWPEOPLE@THOMASMERTONCENTER.ORG DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS JANUARY 15TH THROUGH http://thomasmertoncenter.org/newpeople/submit-article/
East End Community Thrift Store 5123 Penn Avenue, Garfield (a few doors down from TMC)
Come in today Tuesday — Friday: 10 AM - 4 PM Saturday: Noon - 4 PM
What you donate, what you buy supports Garfield and the Merton Center.
Thomas Merton Center T-Shirt Design Contest In order to commemorate the 40 years of service that the Thomas Merton Center has provided in the avenues of social activism, awareness, and justice for all people, we are sponsoring a contest for the design of the newest TMC t-shirt, which will be made available just in time for the New Person Award in the spring. The design is to embody the spirit and mission of the TMC while being visually pleasing. The shirt may include designs on the front and/or back of the t-shirt but
isn’t mandatory. We will only be accepting submissions in file formats such as, PNG, GIF, JPEG, or TIF sent to the email address Volunteer@thomasmertoncenter.org. The deadline for submission is February 1, 2012. There is a prize of $250.00 for the winner of the contest. For more information, you can contact the Thomas Merton Center at 412-361-3022 or at Volunteer@thomasmertoncenter.org
Your Guide to Progressive News ~ TELEVISION ~ PCTV21 (COMCAST Channel 21/ VERIZON FIOS Channel 47) PROGRESSIVE PITTSBURGH NOTEBOOK (check www.pctv21.org for schedule) Internet @ ( www.progressivepghnotebook.blip.tv ) DEMOCRACY NOW @ 8 AM: AJ STREAM @ 9 AM; FAULTLINES @ 9:30 AM (W/Thom Hartmann, both are on Free Speech TV) CITY COUNCIL (COMCAST Channel 13 / Verizon FIOS Channel 44) Tuesdays Council Meetings; Wednesdays Standing Committees 10 AM Repeated at 7 PM / Repeated Saturdays & Sundays 10 AM and 7 PM (www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/council Legislative Info Center
~ INTERNET RADIO ~ ITUNES click ―Radio‖, Double Click ―News/ Talk‖ , and Click ―KPTK 1090 PROGRESSIVE TALK at THOM HARTMANN NOON – 3 PM (Check other programs on KPTK and ITUNES) LYNN CULLEN Monday—Friday @ 10 AM www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws
~ LOCAL RADIO ~ WRCT 88.3 FM DEMOCRACY NOW @ 8 AM, MON – FRI RUST BELT RADIO @ 6 PM on MON, and 9 AM - TUESDAY FREE SPEECH RADIO @ 5:30 PM MON – FRI, LAW AND DISORDER @ 9 AM MON KDKA 1020 AM “CHRIS MOORE” @ 4 – 9 PM - SUNDAY CALL IN NUMBER 412-353-1254 WMMY 1360 AM Dr Scott Shalaway, Birds & Nature” @ NOON - 2 PM - SUNDAY
WKFB 770 AM “UNION EDGE RADIO TALK” @ 12 -1 PM MONDAY—FRIDAY WESA 90.5 FM (ESSENTIAL PUBLIC RADIO)
BBC @ 11PM—5AM - MONDAY - FRIDAY
BBC @ MIDNIGHT—7AM - SATURDAY
EARTH BEAT @ 7AM - SATURDAY
ALLEGHENY FRONT @ 7:30 AM - SATURDAY
BBC @ MIDNIGHT—6AM - SUNDAY TRAVIS SMILEY @ 4PM - SUNDAY
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5801 Forbes Avenue Meeting Room B
Anti-War Committee meeting Every other Sunday 2:00pm - 3:30pm Merton Center, 5129 Penn Ave., Garfield
Write On! Letters for Prisoner's rights Meets every Wednesday 6:30pm – 9:00pm Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue, Garfield We need help answering our 60 letters a month from people in prison dealing with abuse and neglect. Come and learn about people in prison while advocating for their rights! Info 412-361-3022
Book 'Em Packing Day Meets every Sunday 4:00pm - 7:00pm Thomas Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue Join others sending requested books to prisoners. Bring a group. For more info call the Thomas Merton Center, 412.361.3022 Human Rights Letter-writing Salon Meets every Sunday 4:00pm - 6:00pm Kiva Han, 420 S Craig St Write letters to combat human rights abuses! Meet local Amnesty International activists and other human rights enthusiasts, change the world, and have a grand old time. MONDAYS __________________________ Weekly North Hills Weekly Peace Vigil After 8 years vigil is being discontinued due to the end of the war Iraq. Kudos for their long term, faithful, public witness. WEDNESDAYS ______________________ Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition Meets the 1st Wednesday of every month 5:30pm - 7:00pm Squirrel Hill Carnegie Library
Project to End Human Trafficking Volunteer signup 2nd Saturday of each month 10:00am - 12:00pm Campus of Carlow University Project to End Human Trafficking (PEHT) offers FREE public volunteer/information. Please pre-register by the Wednesday before via firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information check out our website www.endhumantrafficking.org
PUSH [Pennsylvanian United for Single Payer Healthcare]/Health Care for All PA Meets monthly on the second Wednesday 6:15 pm office, 2101 Murray Avenue, Squirrel Hill All welcome Info: 412-421-4242
PEHT Information and Training Seminars Second Saturday of every month 12:00pm - 1:00pm Carlow University, Antonian Room #502, RSVP by the Wednesday before to email@example.com Open to the public.
Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (PADP) meeting Monthly on the first Wednesday 7:00pm - 8pm First Unitarian Church (Ellsworth/Morewood, Shadyside) For more information, call 412-384-4310.
Peace Vigils to End the War Every Saturday, following locations & times
THURSDAYS _________________________ Green Party meeting First Thursday of the month 7:00pm - 9pm Citizen Power's offices, 2121 Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill, second floor
Regent Square Peace Vigil Corner of Forbes and Braddock 12:00pm - 1pm *Black Voices for Peace Anti-War Protest Corner of Penn & Highland in East Liberty 1:00pm - 2:00 pm Beaver County Peace Links Peace Vigil Beaver County Courthouse, 3rd Street (Beaver) 1:00pm - 2pm
~ January ~ Monday, January 9th _____________________ 40th Anniversary Planning Committee Meeting 12:00 PM-1:30 PM Thomas Merton Center 5129 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15224 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thomasmertoncenter.org Tuesday, January 10th ____________________ Court Hearing on Occupy Pittsburgh‘s Possible Eviction TBD City County Court House 414 Grant St # 700 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 www.occupypittsburgh.org Thursday, January 12th ____________________ 2012 Spirit of King Award Ceremony 10:00am Kingsley Center 6435 Frankstown Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15206 Honorees: Dr. Edna B. McKenzie and Msgr. Charles Owen Rice (Posthumously) Thursday, January 12th ____________________ Anthony Ruff, OSB: Story Behind the New Roman Missal 7:00 PM-9:00 PM Father Ryan Arts Center 420 Chartiers Avenue McKees Rocks, PA 15136 Friday, January 13th ______________________ What's Next? Occupy Your Mind 7:30-12:00pm SPACE Gallery 812 Liberty Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15224 Join us for an evening of arts, politics, poetry, and debate about ―what‘s next‖ for the Occupy movement with: Occupy Wall Street/#OWS Think Tank members Tim Weldon and Lily Defriend Artist and curator Susanne Slavick Poet Terrance Hayes Open discussion B.Y.O.B. Occupy Your Mind Pittsburgh Expand * Engage * Imagine
Monday, January 16th______________________ Celebrations of Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thursday, January 19th ____________________ Speaking Tour on Colombia by Isaac Beachy 12:00 PM -1:00 PM United Steel Workers Building 60 Blvd. of the Allies Pittsburgh, PA 15222 DKovalik@usw.org www.thomasmertoncenter.org Thursday, January 29th ____________________ Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan 1:30 PM-3:30 PM Space Gallery 937 Liberty Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh Disarming Words includes a gallery talk and poems starting at 1:30 PM where "Out of Rubble" is being shown and will be followed by a singing escort with the Raging Grannies through the Windows and Mirrors exhibit. January 28—February 12 , 2012 Windows and Mirrors Exhibit—Space Gallery SWahrhaftig@afsc.org—www.afsc.org/pittsburgh-pa Tuesday, January 31st____________________ A Prophet in the Monastery: Why Thomas Merton‘s Radical Social Vision Still Inspires Forty Year‘s Later Banquet Hall of East Liberty Presbyterian Church 116 S. Highland Avenue Pittsburgh, PA email@example.com www.thomasmertoncenter.org The Merton Center kicks off its 40th anniversary year with: "A Prophet in the Monastery: Why Thomas Merton's Radical Social Vision Still Inspires Forty Years Later". This is the title of a talk to be given by Art McDonald, staff member of the Merton Center from 198285 and TMC board member from 1985-87. Art has his PhD and is the Minister of First Universalist Church in Essex, MA where he has served since 2003.
This year give PEACE a chance. Become a Member of the Thomas Merton Center! Become a MEMBER today, and together, we can create a peaceful and just world. Already a member? Now is the time to renew your membership! 2012 marks the Center‘s 40th Anniversary! With you, we will carry on our mission: to instill a consciousness of values and to raise the moral questions involved with war, racism, poverty and oppression. Our members are people from diverse philosophies and faiths who find common ground in the nonviolent struggle to bring about a more peaceful and just world. Since the Center's beginning thousands of people have joined with us to work together on this important mission and goal. Through protests, as well as ongoing projects, the active involvement of our members has been the backbone of our success. Over twenty organizing campaigns and projects are supported by the Center. Our monthly newspaper, The New People, is a key source of information for peace and justice activists interested in participating in social actions, campaigns, and justice-oriented awareness and advocacy events. Our website provides an up-to-date action calendar, and we send out a weekly electronic newsletter with up and coming events to let our members know about what's going on in the area and how they can get involved.
Go to http://thomasmertoncenter.org/join-donate/ or call the Center at (412) 301-3022. 16 - NEWPEOPLE