PITTSBURGH’S PEACE & JUSTICE NEWSPAPER Duquesne Adjuncts Protest and Petition on Campus for the Right to Unionize
VOL. 44 No. 1, January 2014
IN THIS ISSUE: PA Single-Payer Healthcare Plan —Page 3
by Joshua Zelesnick Below: Adjuncts and supporters march in the rain on their way to deliver On Thursday December 5, the Adjunct Faculty more than 20,000 signatures to the vice president of Duquesne University. Association of the United Steelworkers held an Photo by Joshua Zelesnick. action at Duquesne University to deliver four petitions, one of which was a CREDO petition, with more than 20,000 signatures to vicepresident John Plante to ask that the administration recognize their democratically elected union and bargain a contract with them in good faith. About 150 people—adjuncts, clergy, fellow workers, and supporters from the community—braved the pouring rain to stand in solidarity with the adjuncts as they marched across Duquesne’s campus carrying signs like, “All Teachers Deserve a Living Wage and Healthcare” and “I’m On The Tenuous Track.” The marchers called out, “What Do We Want?...Contract!...When Do We Want It?...Now!” among other even more creative chants as they approached the Administration Building.
Veteran requests: “Please Don’t Thank Me for My Service” —Page 6
Why was JFK assassinated? —Page 9
Lessons from Nelson Mandela —Page 10
Summit Against Racism, January 25 —Page 11
Full Table of Contents —Page 2
(continued on page 5)
Protect Our Parks from Fracking: Worth Winning but Is It Winnable? by Wanda Guthrie In June, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said that the county could get up to $700,000 a year in royalty payments for drilling under a county park, Deer Lakes Park, and, in fact, there could be a one-time signing bonus of $2 to $4 million. Rich said that there would not be a development on the park land. Since companies have leases on private land around the park and would be setting up their rigs there anyway, this would just mean drilling horizontally under the park and the people of Allegheny County might just as well receive the benefits. Marcellus Protest has been countering every regional drilling crisis and smelled “blood money” immediately, and they’ve had a history of trying to get the attention of County Council. The leasing of the mineral rights and fracking
our Allegheny County Airport land taught them what would happen next. From all indications the primary role of County Council is to pass resolutions honoring public citizens and pass a budget that will benefit their constituents. When it comes to making harder decisions they rely on the County Executive and the solicitor for recommendations. This is why council had not seen nor reviewed the airport’s mineral rights lease before the vote was forced by the County Executive. As predicted, this pattern would plague this new decision as well. To counter this, members of Marcellus Protest formed a new group, Protect Our Parks, with a targeted mission.
Drone “Attacks” Squirrel Hill About 50 people gathered in Squirrel Hill at a protest on November 30 to raise awareness of the continual and deadly drone attacks, reigning down death and injury throughout the Middle East. Various speakers brought information on the ravaging effects, and of Pennsylvania's involvement as a launching site. Some spontaneous street theater caught the attention of those in the neighborhood, as Mel Packer, Russ Fedorka and Michael Drohan took advantage of the four way red lights, repeatedly, to enact drone attacks in the middle of the intersection. The "victims" wore white masks with faces showing terror, reminiscent of Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream. Photos and caption by Bette McDevitt.
(continued on page 13)
Radical Pope Addresses Inequality "As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems. . . . Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills." —Pope Francis (Quote and Photo from Vatican Insider, December 14, 2013)
Pope Francis on the bus.
Humble: in his former life, the new Pope Francis was regularly to be seen travelling on public transport Photo: Associated Press.
The Thomas Merton Center 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. PERMIT NO. 458
TMC engages people of diverse philosophies and faiths who find common ground in the nonviolent struggle to bring about a more peaceful and just world.
January 2014 NEWPEOPLE - 1
THOMAS MERTON CENTER, 5129 PENN AVE. PITTSBURGH, PA 15224
U.S. POSTAGE NON-PROFIT ORG.
To Submit Articles, Photos, or Poems to The New People: www.newpeoplenews.org/submit
To Submit an Event to The New People or Post in TMC Calendar: www.thomasmertoncenter.org/calendar/submit-event IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY THE THOMAS MERTON CENTER 5129 PENN AVENUE, PITTSBURGH, PA 15224
For General Information about the Thomas Merton Center: www.thomasmertoncenter.org or call (412) 361-3022
Office Phone: 412-361-3022 — Fax: 412-361-0540 Website: www.thomasmertoncenter.org
Thomas Merton Center
East End Community Thrift
Monday—Friday 10 am to 4 pm Saturday: Noon to 4 pm
Tuesday—Friday 10 am to 4 pm Saturday: Noon to 4 pm
The New People Editorial Collective Rob Conroy, Paola Corso, Ginny Cunningham, Michael Drohan, Russ Fedorka, Martha Garvey, Bette McDevitt, Diane McMahon, Kenneth Miller, Joyce Rothermel, Molly Rush, K. Briar Somerville, Jo Tavener
TMC Staff, Volunteers & Interns Managing Director: Diane McMahon Office/Intern Coordinator: Marcia Snowden Office Volunteers: Pat Bibro, Kathy Cunningham, Mary Clare Donnelly, RSM, Judy Starr, James Lucius, Monique Dietz Finance Manager & Assistant: Roslyn Maholland & Mig Cole New People Coordinator: K. Briar Somerville East End Community Thrift Store Managers: Shirley Gleditsch, Shawna Hammond, Dolly Mason
Interns from Colleges and Universities:
Thom Baggerman, Ed Brett, Theresa Chalich, Rob Conroy, Kitoko Chargois, Kathy Cunningham, Michael Drohan, Patrick Fenton, Mary Jo Guercio (President), Wanda Guthrie, Ken Joseph, Anne Kuhn, Chris Mason, Jonah McAllister-Erickson, Francine Porter, Joyce Rothermel, Molly Rush, Tyrone Scales, and M. Shernell Smith
New People Advertising Rates Below
The New People is distributed to 3,000 people who belong to diverse organizations, businesses and groups each month. An additional 10% discount is available for non-profit organizations and faith-based groups. Ads must be submitted by the deadline which is the 14th of the month.
Full Page (14’’x 9’’) $250 Half Page (7’’x 9’’) $130 Quarter Page (7’’x 4.5’’) $70 Sixth Page (5’’x 5’’) $50 Eighth Page (3.5’’x 4.5’’) $40 Business Card Size (3.5’’x 3.5’’) $15
6 Months at 10% off 12 months at 20% off $1350 ($225) $702 ($117) $378 ($63) $270 ($45) $216 ($36) $81 ($14)
$2200 $1144 $616 $396 $352 $132
Book‘Em: Books to Prisoners Project firstname.lastname@example.org www.thomasmertoncenter.org/bookem
Association of Pittsburgh Priests Sr. Barbara Finch 412-716-9750 B.email@example.com Amnesty International firstname.lastname@example.org www.amnestypgh.org
Capital’s End 724-388-6258, email@example.com CodePink: Women for Peace firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-389-3216 www.codepink4peace.org East End Community Thrift Shop 412-361-6010, email@example.com
The Big Idea Bookstore 412-OUR-HEAD www.thebigideapgh.org The Black Political Empowerment Project Tim Stevens 412-758-7898 Black Voices for Peace Gail Austin 412-606-1408
Economic Justice Committee firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Justice Committee email@example.com
Fight for Lifers West firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Rights Coalition / Fed Up (prisoner support and advocacy) 412-802-8575, email@example.com www.thomasmertoncenter.org/fedup
Global Solutions Pittsburgh 412-471-7852 firstname.lastname@example.org www.globalsolutionspgh.org Citizens for Social Responsibility of Greater Johnstown Larry Blalock, email@example.com PA United for a Single-Payer Health Care www.healthcare4allPA.org www.PUSH-HC4allPa.blogspot.com 2102 Murray Avenue Pgh, Pa 15217 412-421-4242
Marcellus Shale Protest Group firstname.lastname@example.org 412-243-4545
Pittsburgh Area Pax Christi 412-761-4319
ADVERTISE IN PITTSBURGH’S MOST PROGRESSIVE NEWSPAPER
Anti-War Committee email@example.com www.pittsburghendthewar.org
Harambee Ujima/Diversity Footprint Twitter @HomewoodNation
2014 TMC Board of Directors
TMC Affiliates: Allegheny Defense Project, Pgh Office 412-559-1364 www.alleghenydefense.org
Formerly Convicted Citizens Dean Williams (412) 295-8606
Xiaoyuan Ze, Samantha Wechsler, George Eke, Meagan McGill, Chao Pan, Shawna Porter, Junwei Shen, Evan Schindler, Qing Li
Page Size (length x width)
($200) ($104) ($56) ($36) ($32) ($12)
Please make your check payable to the “Thomas Merton Center” and send it to: TMC, 5129 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224 by the 14th of the month before the ad will appear. Ads should be submitted via the form at: www.newpeoplenews.org/advertise/
New Economy Working Group Molly.Rush@verizon.net
Pittsburgh Committee to Free Mumia 412-361-3022 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pittsburgh Cuba Coalition 412-303-1247 email@example.com
Community Alliance 412-512-1709
Pittsburgh Campaign for Democracy NOW! 412-422-5377, firstname.lastname@example.org www.pcdn.org Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition email@example.com; www.pittsburghdarfur.org Pittsburgh Haiti Solidarity Committee firstname.lastname@example.org 412-780-5118 Progressive Pittsburgh Notebook Call 412-363-7472 email@example.com
North Hills Anti-Racism Coalition 412-369-3961 www.northhillscoalition.com Pittsburgh North People for Peace 412-367-0383 firstname.lastname@example.org Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee email@example.com www.pittsburgh-psc.org Raging Grannies 412-963-7163 firstname.lastname@example.org
Religion and Labor Coalition 412-361-4793 email@example.com
Roots of Promise 412-596-0066 firstname.lastname@example.org
East End Community Thrift Store 2013 was a fantastic year for Thrifty, all due to the hard work and dedication of our volunteers. Affordable Chic was one of our best shows. We have a beautiful new store sign, new volunteers, and some outstanding community service workers. Creative minds and strong backs did a great job of reorganizing the store. Some of us had some aches and pains that slowed us down and we lost a dedicated volunteer, but we have bounced back and continue to care deeply for our customers. We hope the blessings we received in the year 2013 continue into the New Year for us and you too!
Pittsburgh Independent Media Center email@example.com www.indypgh.org
School of the Americas Watch W. PA 267-980-4878 firstname.lastname@example.org Stop Sexual Abuse in the Military 412-361-3022 email@example.com Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens Group/ Roots of Promise 724-837-0540 firstname.lastname@example.org Who’s Your Brother? 412-328-2301 email@example.com
SW PA Bread for the World Donna Hansen 412-812-1553 United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) 412-471-8919 www.ueunion.org Urban Bikers firstname.lastname@example.org Veterans for Peace email@example.com 252-646-4810 Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Eva 412-963-7163 firstname.lastname@example.org
TMC is a Member of:
Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network 412-621-9230 email@example.com
Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Martha Connelly 412-361-7872,
Table of Contents: Page 1 Duquesne Adjuncts Petition for the Right to Unionize Protecting Our Parks from Fracking
Drone “Attacks” Squirrel Hill Radical Pope Addresses Inequality Page 3 The Rise and Fall of Faith-Based Hospitals in Allegheny County Visiting Economist Unveils PA Single-Payer Healthcare Plan Page 4 Duquesne Action for Darfur
2 - NEWPEOPLE
Pittsburgh Haiti Symposium Haiti: The Alarming Resurgence of Duvalierism
Losing Hearts in Pakistan Drones Around the Globe
The Power of Forgiveness: Lessons
from Nelson Mandela and Thomas Merton Abolitionist Law Center: Lawyers Challenging the Prison State
Page 13 TMC Board Statement on Divesting from Fossil Fuels, Investing in Thrive-ability Protecting Our Parks from Fracking
Page 8 Page 5 Islamic Front in Syria and U.S. in New Pittsburgh School Board, Negotiations Teachers’ Union, Education Crisis Closing the School of the Assassins Page 11 Duquesne Adjunct Union Protests Haiti: The Alarming Resurgence of Abolitionist Law Center: Lawyers Challenging the Prison State One Breath: Uniforms, Market Duvalierism Letters to Prisoners District Express, and Farm Show Page 9 Annual Summit Against Racism’s Page 6 JFK Redux Workshops for Racial Justice Veteran says: “Please, Don’t Thank JFK vs. the Mad Rush Toward Me for My Service” Page 12 Nuclear War Closing the School of the Assassins Page 10 Congress Votes in January on the Farm Bill Losing Hearts and Minds in Imagining a 1961 Nelson Mandela Pakistan Under 2013 American Policies and The Two-Storey House Parable and “Proof Through The Night” Page 7 Practices
Page 14 Thomas Merton “Presente”
The Nonviolent Life Page 15 TMC Board Welcomes Theresa Chalich Do you have a will? Begin the New Year In Memory of Congressman Bill Coyne
Regional Health The Rise and Fall of Faith-Based Hospitals: The Allegheny County Story book review by John Oesterele When was the heyday of faithbased hospitals in Allegheny County? Georgine Scarpino, RSM and Ph.D., offers a brief (193-page) factual account of the 13 hospitals in Allegheny County that “respond to the health, well-being and spiritual needs of victims of epidemics and industrial accidents, of wounded soldiers and fevered sailors, of sick immigrants, abandoned children, unwed mothers, the mentally ill and those excluded from hospitals because of various forms of discrimination.” It is interesting to read of the origins of these hospitals, some with familiar names and some which most of us never heard of. If you are looking for an obvious sign that our faith in God shares far more in common than makes us different, it was the faith of Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic people which led to these health care institutions. All believed in a mission from God to help the poor. “The moral purpose was to care for others in need, regardless of their ability to pay for service.” That said, the early histories differ immensely. You will be fascinated to read of the beginning of Presbyterian Hospital. You think you have problems! Read about Dr. Louise Lyle or Rev. William Passavant or the Hebrew Ladies Hospital Aid Society. Or Catholic Sisters going around begging for food as their hospitals began. What skills beyond the medical and nursing skills were needed to keep the hospitals growing? How were they organized? Who really made decisions? How did prejudice rear its ugly head? Which Pittsburgh mayor had which Pittsburgh Catholic bishop arrested because of his connection to which Pittsburgh hospital? When was it first said publicly that Allegheny County had too many hospital beds? When did the demise of faithbased hospitals begin? The author even dares to ask the question: are faith-based hospitals needed today? The author leads us through American history with immigration figures, then on to the Civil War, the Panic of 1873 to the Crash of 1929. The medical revolution which this reviewer thought began during World War II began in the second half of the 19th century. Such development increased hospital costs. The tension between mission and margin of profit increased. Free care for the poor (it was never really free, of course) depended on the location of the
hospitals. Non-denominational Lyle and Rev. William Passavant and Sr. Frances hospitals received state funding. Ward. Imagine the intriguing stories of patients, nurses, They developed larger facilities and staff. While I wish the author had included and larger staffs. Hospital leaders personal anecdotes, it would have created a 500 page and boards needed to decide book which no one would ever read. We’ll have to between expressed religious google our curiosities. commitment or increased funding. Has the faith-based mission of religious groups Scarpino even gives us some of ended? Here’s the good news! Foundations funded the history of the founding of from the sale of their hospitals continue the ministry to Highmark and of UPMC and of needy people. The spirit which founded the hospitals the current situation. She also between 1847 and 1955 is alive and active. clearly notes that “population decline, funding, access to Fr. John Oesterle is a chaplain at UPMC Mercy technology, insurance company Hospital and a member of the Association of behavior, uncompensated care, Pittsburgh Priests. and location drove both faithbased and non-denominational hospitals to realign or close.” Yet faith -based hospitals presently remain strong in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Cleveland. It’s no surprise that the book deals most about Mercy Hospital, now by Julie Sokolow UPMC Mercy Hospital. Scarpino is a On November 19th 2013, approximately 70 concerned Pittsburgh Sister of Mercy and served as a Trustee citizens convened at the First Unitarian Church for a discussion on of Pittsburgh Mercy Health System. single-payer health care. The evening kicked off with words from She knows of the old days “when the Bob Mason, VP of Health Care 4 All PA, and Dr. Scott Tyson, hospital was having difficulty making pediatrician and member of Physicians for a National Health ends meet [and] it would forego Program. Short videos from Healthy Artists and Senator Ferlo payment to the Sisters.” Her followed, but the main attraction was visiting lecturer, Gerald management training makes her aware Friedman – a Harvard PhD in economics currently teaching at that most hospital CEO’s had broad UMASS Amherst – who drafted the financing plans for single-payer experience before they were chosen as health care systems for Maryland, Massachusetts, and the United CEO’s, whereas Sisters had limited States. Friedman is also the author of “The Pennsylvania Health experience in only one hospital. Care Plan: Impact and Implementation." The culture which originally In a lively powerpoint presentation, Friedman highlighted key supported the denominational hospitals features of his study showing how PA can save $17 billion annually shifted. I personally recall one of my by adopting a single-payer system. His report also details findings father’s friends soliciting donations to on how single-payer could create over 100,000 jobs while offering build St. Clair Hospital in the early comprehensive medical, dental, vision, prescription, and mental 1950’s. We lived in the South Hills, health care coverage to all citizens of the state. The full study is which had no hospital at the time. My available at: http://www.healthcare4allpa.org/economic-impactdad refused to donate to a secular study/ hospital when we had a great Catholic The evening ended with a Q&A moderated by the Thomas Merton one (Mercy) right through the Liberty Center’s Molly Rush, followed by a rousing song from local activist Tubes. His denominational allegiance and rocker Mike Stout. The Health Care 4 All PA group maintains was stronger than his neighborhood that the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction, but allegiance. Has our culture shifted!!! (I single-payer is the socially just and economically sustainable system smile to myself when I recall that both America deserves. my parents spent their last days in St. To learn more about how to get involved, visit Clair Hospital.) healthcare4allpa.org or attend the next Health Care 4 All PA Scarpino’s book incites my curiosity meeting on January 9th, 2014 at 7:30pm at their Squirrel Hill office: to know more about Dr. Louise 2101 Murray Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA.
Every Monday at 9:00 PM
Progressive Pittsburgh Notebook TV Series airs within city limits:
Comcast Channel 21 + Verizon FiOS Channel 47
Watch live at January: www.pctv21.org Sierra Club Roundtable on See more at Climate Change — Part II www.youtube.com/ richfishpgh February: Rich Fishkin: Camera and Editor C.S. Rhoten: Community Producer for PCTV21
Visiting Economist Unveils PA Single-Payer Healthcare Plan
Julie Sokolow is a critically acclaimed writer, filmmaker, and musician, and the producer of the Healthy Artists series, which blogs for Michael Moore and was recently featured in the Huffington Post.
and justice tsburgh’s peace Connect with Pit ) 00 30 ion P Circulat community. (N
Bill McKibben, 350.0rg TMC Banquet speech
Pittsburgh Community Television Corporation
January 2014 NEWPEOPLE - 3
Internationalist Pittsburgh Duquesne Campus Action Reminds: Human Rights in Darfur Still Relevant by Mary Dawn Edwards On Monday, October 21, 2013, 94 red and white signs greeted passersby at Brottier Commons on the Duquesne University campus, along with a larger sign saying “What is this?” and flyers offering a prize to the student who submitted the correct answer by e-mail before midnight on Tuesday, October 22. On Wednesday, October 23, other signs appeared with the answer: The 82 white on red signs bear the names of the camps for 1,400,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) that remain in Darfur; the 12 red on white signs bear the names of the refugee camps for 300,000 survivors who escaped to eastern Chad when the central government of Sudan and its allied “Janjaweed” militias brutally suppressed a rebellion in that region with atrocities committed against civilians, including bombing and burning of villages, mass murder, and rape. Since 2004, students, religious organizations, and political leaders have rallied to protest this genocide in Darfur. Now ten years later, attention has shifted to other crises, but this one has still not been resolved. This Mystery Exhibit, co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition (PDEC) and Students for Human Rights at Duquesne University, points to ongoing problems: •Violence had slowed in Darfur, but in the past year
there has been a recent increase in attacks on villages by the armed forces of the central government, resulting in the displacement of 300,000 more people (more than in the past 2 years combined). • In October, 2013, 4 African soldiers in the combined African Union/United Nations peacekeeping force (UNAMID) were killed by unidentified gunmen in Darfur, for a year-to-date total of 13 killed peacekeepers. • A large demonstration in September, 2013, protesting government policies in the capital, Khartoum, was met with brutal repression. Reports indicate that as many as 100 people may have been killed, 700 people were arrested, and several independent news organizations were prevented from publishing items not approved by the government. •The government has used similar tactics in other marginalized areas of Sudan, especially in the Nuba Mountain regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile that border the newly independent South Sudan. The displaced Nuba Mountain villagers who have not escaped to refugee camps in South Sudan and Ethiopia have hardly any humanitarian assistance at all and cannot grow crops while being frequently bombarded by government planes. Among the attendees at the exhibit at Duquesne were Mark Howell, legislative assistant to Congressman Mike Doyle, and 5 young men who had escaped the conflict in Darfur and recently immigrated to Pittsburgh. These recent arrivals posed for photographs holding signs Recent immigrants from Darfur hold signs with the names and occupancies of refugee camps where they still have family. Photo by Chelsey Engel.
with the names of the camps where members of their families are living (see picture). PDEC and Students for Human Rights also cosponsored a lecture in the Duquesne Student Union building by Dr. Leswin Laubscher, a professor of psychology at Duquesne University, whose principal research topic has been the experience of victims of oppression in apartheid South Africa. He was introduced by Marissa Kozak, president of Students for Human Rights, and spoke about the need for professionals who work with the victims of post conflict trauma to bear witness to their stories with empathy, not merely to assess and deal with their problems clinically and logically. David Rosenberg, PDEC coordinator, then announced the names of the 2 winners of the mystery contest, who shared the $100 first prize, and encouraged attendees to sign letters to their congressional representatives, urging them to cosponsor the 2013 Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act in the House of Representatives (H.R. 1692).. This bill calls for a comprehensive approach to the conflict in Sudan. It increases pressure on the Khartoum government to allow humanitarian access to people in conflict zones. The bill increases diplomatic efforts to resolve conflicts between the two Sudans. It aids in the development of infrastructure and civil society. Finally, the bill increases sanctions on the Sudanese government and allies who provide weapons and other support for its war on its own people. PDEC continues to work with other local groups and national organizations to advocate for the marginalized and oppressed people in Sudan. For information on other ways to help our efforts, please contact David Rosenberg, PDEC coordinator, at (412) 992-0102 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The PDEC website is www.pittsburghdarfur.org Mary Dawn Edwards is a member of the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition.
Pittsburgh Haiti Symposium Kicks Off Collaboration by Joyce Rothermel in Haiti, Through the leadership and Provide opportunities for hospitality of Rabbi Sharon Henry, collaboration, representatives from close to twenty Showcase each organization’s organizations that are working in a projects and plans, and variety of ways to help the people of Set the stage for future Haiti gathered at Rodef Shalom on communication and collaboration December 3, 2013. The Pittsburgh through face-to-face meetings and Haiti Solidarity Committee, a project online social media. of the Thomas Merton Center, and At the Symposium we collectively the organization it supports, Partners identified and explored the complex in Progress, were both represented. issues in order to come away from The Pittsburgh area is home to the Symposium with new ideas, many varied people and potential partners and collaborators, organizations doing important and and enhanced communication interesting work in Haiti. While this among organizations. The time situation allows for the fostering and together was skillfully facilitated by implementation of diverse ideas and Abigail Salisbury. projects, it can also lead to problems In the afternoon there was a panel such as duplication of efforts and presentation featuring Chip Lambert, donor fatigue. The Pittsburgh Haiti MD from Brother’s Brother Symposium was a venue to find Foundation, Howard Pape from the ways in which we can work together Building Goodness Foundation, to make more of a difference as a Lucy and Ian Rawson from Friends community, as organizations, and as of Hopital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, individuals. and Ian Rosenberger from Thread The objectives of the Symposium International Pittsburgh, PA. Their were to: passion and commitment to the Create a space to discuss people of Haiti was evident as they complex issues faced by Pittsburgh- shared their organizational missions based organizations working in and responded to questions from the Haiti, symposium attendees. Identify opportunities, overlap, Before the end of the afternoon, and gaps in the community to the participants acknowledged their maximize impact and minimize hope that there will be a way to waste while meeting new and continue communications among existing challenges, them. One way is through the Increase public awareness of symposium website: and interest in Pittsburgh’s presence pghhaitisymposium.wordpress.com 4 - NEWPEOPLE January 2014
Many exchanges were made in the course of the day with some very concrete reasons to collaborate going forward. To find a way to get involved in one or more of these Pittsburgh area efforts for Haiti, call the Merton Center at 412-361-3022.
Haiti: The Alarming Resurgence of Duvalierism
by John Morgan The following is a report on a presentation by Marilyn Langlois, Pierre Labossiere and Ayana Labossiere of the Haiti Action Committee, Joyce Rothermel is a board member presented during the School of the Americas Watch events in Columbus, Georgia, November, 2013: of Partners in Progress and Marilyn began by noting that the mainstream secretary/treasurer of the media present Haiti as hopeless, a basket case. “Not Pittsburgh-Haiti Solidarity true,” she said, “There were many positive steps Committee. taken under President Aristide in adult literacy, education, raising the minimum wage, health and Organizations Participating environmental initiatives.” Under Aristide, the Lavalas government disbanded the Haitian military, in the Pittsburgh Haiti which was taking 40% of Haiti's national budget, Symposium: and invested the savings in social needs. Also, the military headquarters was converted to the Ministry •Brother’s Brother Foundation for Women's Affairs. “If Haitians are given the •Building Goodness Foundation opportunity to actually practice democracy they can •Friends of Haiti get back to continuing this work,” she said. •Functional Literacy Ministry •Global Links The economic crisis in Haiti has deep roots. In •Greater Works Outreach 1825 France forced Haiti to pay 150 million francs •Graduate School for Public and (equivalent, with interest, to over $21 billion International Affairs (GSPIA) today), in return for recognition of Haiti’s Center for Disaster Management independence. This enormous debt--equal to ten •Haitian Families First times Haiti’s export revenues--placed a crushing •Hearts for the Hungry burden on the new country. During President •L’Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti Aristide's administration in 2000 through 2003, the •Medwish International U.S. blocked international aid to Haiti. At the same •Partners in Progress time Haiti was required to pay ever-expanding •Pittsburgh Kids Foundation arrears on its debts, many of them from loans to the •Pittsburgh Haiti Solidarity corrupt Duvalier dictatorships (1957 to 1971) and Committee the brutal military regimes that ruled Haiti from •Surtab 1986 to 1990. •Thread International
(continued on page 8)
Local Schools and Unions of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers forward. PFT president John Tarka received the Labor (PFT), often serving as Treasurer for the Man of the Year Award before retiring. Central Labor Council. She brings the entire As much as A+ Schools says about being data driven bargaining power of the PFT to the School and organizing volunteers to monitor the board and Board. She also has relationships with all of standing up for student rights, it is the Gates the school district unions, the maintenance Foundation’s astro-turf in Pittsburgh. Bill Gates is the and the office professionals. She has all of engine driving the most consistent “advocacy” work. I their contracts on her radar screen. She must don’t think Bill Gates is qualified to have any role in our & the Education Crisis They Face understand exactly what the problems and dialogue about public schools. He’s buying these school limitations are of each contract and know why districts. Our most valuable asset, public education, is by Kenneth Miller the expiration dates are not lined up. She knows almost being cooked for dinner by the rich. Trade our books for We will have four new members of the Pittsburgh everything about collective bargaining patterns in the computers? You think this is developmentally Board of Public Education taking office in 2014. Sylvia school districts and amongst education worker across appropriate for any of us on this planet? You think kids Wilson will represent District 1; Terry Kennedy District the country. don’t need books because they have digital chips 5; Cynthia Falls District 7; and Carolyn Klug District 9. I don’t think the school board is responding to the planted in the back of their heads unlike their They are joining board members Bill Isler, District 5 achievement rates or the school closings as a crisis. The grandparents? since 1999; Regina Holley, District 2 since 2010 (Chairs crisis that they mobilize themselves and the community In addition to the Pittsburgh Public Schools having a the Charter Schools Committee and District to resolve is the expiration of the PFT contract. new Board of Directors, Bill Peduto is ascending into Sustainability Committee); Thom Sumpter, District 3 Remember how they closed the last deal? First they the Mayor’s office. While the School Board and the since 2005; Sherry Hazuda, District 6 since 2007; and brought in Mark Roosevelt and Linda Lane, hatched City of Pittsburgh are completely separate legislative Mark Brentley Jr., District 8 since 1999. from exactly the same egg--The Board Superintendent bodies, Peduto thinks he can do more than Luke Thom Sumpter was elected School Board President. Academy and The Gates Foundation. Roosevelt swore Ravenstahl did to save public education (Ravenstahl’s Sylvia Wilson has spent her career as a representative up and down that he was here for the long haul, that he legacy is the Pittsburgh Promise, which is equally had no aspiration other than to close available to public and charter school students). Peduto the racial achievement gap in is going to convene the City Council and the PPS Board Pittsburgh. He lied. He took the of Directors together to craft a plan to save the district easiest cushiest job in the ivory AND the City. I suggest that Peduto use every ounce of tower as soon as he could and political will to initiate school district mergers and that abandoned kids he was so he do so BEFORE the five-year PFT contract expiration (continued from page 1) delivered a 30 foot scroll with more committed to/AFTER the last PFT date in June of 2015. Bill Peduto’s willingness to fight contract was sealed and delivered. for mergers of School Districts and Police Departments In the spring of 2011, Duquesne’s than 20,000 signatures to We were told that the combination will be a critical indicator of how much he believes he administration began amicable Duquesne’s vice president, John of a new contract, the Pittsburgh can accomplish. negotiations with the adjuncts’ Plante. Dr. Robin Sowards, a Promise and the Gates grant for unionizing efforts and even signed Duquesne adjunct and one of the professional development created a Kenneth Miller is a member of the Thomas Merton an agreement to accept NLRB delegates said he "asked [Plante] to Center Editorial Collective. jurisdiction. A few weeks later, after stand by the university’s agreement foundation for the district to move hiring a union-busting firm out of to recognize the union and bargain a Tennessee, the administration contract in good faith." He said reneged on the agreement claiming Plante didn’t respond and that he to have a religious exemption as a wasn’t surprised "because their Catholic-affiliated institution. [Duquesne’s administration] "One thing the Catholic Church is position is completely indefensible." by Kenneth Miller It is wonderful that organizing the unreal clear about [is] workers have a About a month ago the adjunct organized at Giant Eagle and Wal Mart is a right to join a union," the life-long Uniforms at Giant Eagle Market District union sent a letter to Duquesne regular discussion at the quarterly General labor rights activist Father Jack President Charles J. Dougherty – union contract language for uniforms: Membership Meetings of UFCW Local 23. O'Malley, chaplain of the Allegheny offering to negotiate outside of the We all have to get dressed to go to work. These are the meetings with a quorum of Labor Council, said as he spoke NLRB so there wouldn’t be any It’s great when employers provide us with UFCW 23 members, where the membership along with other scheduled speakers question of government uniforms and laundry services. Giant Eagle before the petitions were delivered. entanglement with Duquesne’s provides a wide variety of uniform allocations legislates the affairs of the union. We are "Workers have a right to good health claim of Catholic-affiliation. In to different job classifications and bargaining workers legislating our future. This is how we care. Workers have the right to a response, the administration said units and non-union employees. My uniform make decisions together: Robert’s Rules of Order. living wage." such negotiation would still interfere allocation is fantastic. I have 14 sets of Father Neil McCauley from the PA Farm Show January 4-11 in with the university’s religious uniforms that are laundered, and a shoe Association of Pittsburgh Priests freedom. allowance. The Artisan Bread Bakers that Harrisburg at the Farm Show Complex: used the metaphor of a log-jam to Many adjunct faculty stood in work alongside me don’t get uniforms. The Some Industrial Union Action, please. explain that somebody in a position solidarity with the fast-food workers grocery stockers get two lousy sweatshop tKenneth Miller 412-512-1709 and Alex of power was thwarting the union at 6 a.m. on December 6. The shirts just a few times a year. Lotorto 570-269-9589 are headed to the PA effort. "Is it the [university] workers were asking for $15 an hour U.S. Postal Workers and Port Authority Farm Show to talk about union contract president? Is it the head of the because they can’t survive on $7.25. Transit Drivers have contract language that language. They are going to share IWW religious order? Is it the board of Many of these workers marched specifies “Made in America” uniforms. Union Literature with attendees at the PA Farm directors, whom I'm sure do not along with the adjuncts to deliver the apparel industry workers in Bangladesh and Show and solicit help from other workers to need food stamps?” petitions. Clint Benjamin summed Haiti would love to benefit from uniform help understand and explain union label and Class of 1964 alumnus Steve up this act of solidarity best in his contract provisions, too. picket language in the contracts that are Orosz said he found it "sad and “season-appropriate” inspiring available to us. They are collecting/ Donuts and union organizing at the disappointing to return to a speech: "Workers are really no comparing/ sharing union contracts at an new Market District Express: university which seems to have different no matter their profession. A Market District Express just opened in the Alternative Media Fair. They are including somehow lost its own moral All the Whos in Whoville, all the South Hills. The best of Giant Eagle food and IWW Literature and all kinds of union compass." tiny Tims, all the Margaret Marys contracts at a PA Farm Show Alternative convenience and beer. Like most new Giant Sentiments towards what Pope deserve better." Media Fair. Come on down! Eagles and Get Gos, it is non-union. I make Francis would do, how all workers Joshua Zelesnick is on the Do you have any union contracts you think the donuts that go there by truck each deserve to get treated with respect should be discussed? Do you have any morning. 60 raised rings, 24 cakes, and 12 Volunteer Organizing Committee and dignity, and how universities questions about the splendor of Pennsylvania for the Adjunct Faculty Association apple fritters yesterday, for example. The need to invest in their teachers were of the United Steelworkers. agriculture that Alex or Kenneth could union and our free speech and freedom of echoed by Professor Joe investigate for you at the 2014 PA Farm association have to travel to the Market Fahey from Catholic Scholars Show? Pick up the phone or meet them at the District Express now. We are not going to for Worker Justice; Barney organize it overnight, but we have to treat the PA Preferred reception. Oursler, Executive Director They are also delighted to be sharing 200 Market District Express workers like union of Pittsburgh United; Robin copies of the Thomas Merton Center’s New sisters and brothers. We can exchange Clarke, a non-tenure track People with legislators and farmers from all information about our company and bargain faculty member at the over Pennsylvania! Clint Benjamin at a together with Giant Eagle. We can use the December 17 action as University of Pittsburgh; Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a ‘Adjunct Santa,’ followed and Clint Benjamin, an supplement to our union contract. We can sit Kenneth Miller is a Giant Eagle employee, a by comrades singing adjunct faculty member down and meet with the Regional Director of member of the editorial collective, a member adjunct union Christmas at Duquesne University. of the Industrial Workers of the World since the National Labor Relations Board every carols with lyrics by R/B A delegation of four (two Mertz. Photo submitted 2002, and the UFCW Local 23 since week if we have to. by Robin Clark. adjuncts and two Priests) February 2013.
New Pittsburgh School Board to Negotiate New Teachers Union Contract,
Duquesne Adjuncts Protest and Petition for the Right to Unionize
ONE BREATH: Uniforms, Market District Express, Farm Show
January 2014 NEWPEOPLE - 5
Resisting the War Machine Please, Don’t Thank Me for My Service letter to The New People by Bill Steen Jr.
what they’re doing when they send our troops overseas, other than to secure their own financial well being. In 1935, General Butler, twice awarded the Medal of Honor, published a book titled War is a Racket, in which he described his military service in less-thanheroic terms: "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.” In 1971, the courageous Lieutenant John Kerry, later to become the deeply confused, compromised and war-loving Senator from Massachusetts, and eventually the Secretary of State, addressed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on behalf of Vietnam Veterans Against the War: “…we are ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia. In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy..." Good stuff, but of course each generation is destined to make their own mistakes. I know I did, I was just luckier than most. As a veteran, I am so proud and happy to say that none of my daughters, nephews or nieces fell for the lies, which are incessant. Among them is an architect, a nurse, an aspiring chef, a teacher/ musician, and a research chemist; all of whom will serve their country just fine, and far better than I had done. What exactly it was I did of any use, I’m not quite sure. And all of them would gladly pitch in and help defend this nation from actual invaders, who were actually coming over our borders. So please, don’t thank me for my service. I’d much rather you thanked them.
I served in the U.S. Navy from 1981 until 1991, a Cold War warrior who never saw combat. My reasons for becoming a naval officer had nothing to do with “serving my country” per se; had the pay and benefits not been decent and the prospect of overseas assignments almost a sure thing, I’d have thought of something else to do instead. I often wish I had. It’s said that we don’t make anything in this country anymore, and, to a great extent, that is true. Unfortunately, there is one thing we produce far too many of, besides weapons of mass destruction, namely, veterans of the armed forces. And what is worse, far too many of them are psychologically traumatized and physically maimed, if not dead. What tends to make it into our everyday culture, however, is another story. In order to help keep the production lines humming, and to distract us from contemplating the end product, the imperialists have inculcated in us an odd anxiety that we are somehow not appreciative enough of the service of our men and women in uniform. As a result, the words “hero” or “heroes” must be present in every mention of the armed forces, and no sporting event can commence without a military fly -by or a “surprise” reunion of a family with their just-returnedfrom-Iraq/Afghanistan loved one. Imperialists are clever that way, similar to white men always whining about how they’re forever getting the short end of the stick. It used to be that Memorial and Veterans Day were the two times of the year we paused to honor our veterans, now it’s 24/7, and there’s a reason for that. There’s a new billboard around, “Marines, For Our Nation, For Us All.” There are thousands of young men and women out there who will be conned by that lie, for our nation, for us all. If that were really true, we’d still have the draft. We in the anti-war movement need to constantly help young people today realize, just like former Vice President Dick Cheney did during the Vietnam War, that the fighting and dying overseas isn’t for our nation and for us all, but only for a very fortunate few, the 1%. Bill Steen Jr. is a member of There are wise words of counsel Veterans for Peace from veterans of the past, and Pittsburgh. there’s ample evidence, from Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya, that our leaders have no idea
6 - NEWPEOPLE
Closing the School of the Assassins by Michael Drohan The annual protest in Columbus, Georgia at the School of the Americas, now known as WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security and Cooperation) took place from November 22 to 24 at Fort Benning this year. The Thomas Merton Center was represented by 15 members who travelled the 850 miles to join about 4,000 other protesters in a weekend of protest, education and mobilization to shut down this infamous training institution which has been dubbed the School of the Assassins. Among the graduates are 11 military dictators from Latin America, including Manuel Noriega of Panama, Hugo Banzer of Bolivia, and perhaps the most infamous of all, General Rios Montt of Guatemala. The annual protest began in 1990 after the murder of 6 Jesuit intellectuals in San Salvador along with their housekeeper and daughter on November 16, 1989. Since then a relentless campaign has been carried out by the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) to shut the School down. The atrocities carried out by graduates are mind-numbing and make it one of the most infamous institutions in the US funded by taxpayer money. In 1996, the SOAW succeeded in getting the training manuals used in the School released. The manuals advocated torture, extortion, and even execution as in the case of Che Guevara in Bolivia. The atrocities committed by the graduates of the
School are legion. Perhaps the most egregious was committed in El Salvador on December 11, 1981 in the village of El Mozote. On that date, the Atlacatl Battalion of the El Salvadoran army, led by graduates of the SOA, massacred up to 1,000 men, women and children. A banner with the image of one of the few survivors of that massacre, Rufina Amaya, hangs over the stage of the SOAW gathering each year as a reminder of the evil we are combatting. Participation in the protest is a salutary one for me as it reminds me that unconscionable crimes have been committed in our name for several decades. Another reminder is the photo of Dr. Emil Bustamente of Guatemala, that hangs on stage at the protest. Bustamente was an agronomist who worked with the Mayan peasants in Guatemala helping them with agricultural projects. On February 13, 1982, Bustamente was picked up by elements in the Guatemalan Army for this work and has never been seen again. Every year, I meet his grieving sister, who has received no redress for what was presumably murder. At Ft. Benning there are reminders at every turn of the atrocities, massacres and crimes committed by people trained within the walls of the institution where we protest year after year. (Continued on page 8) Chao Pan, Xiaoyuan Ze, and Stephanie Stout carry the TMC peace banner at the annual protest against the School of the Americas. Marchers bear crosses with the names of victims of the School’s graduates. Photo by John Morgan.
Losing Hearts and Minds in Pakistan by Michael Drohan On December 12, Talha Rehmani, a Pakistani student on a Fulbright Scholarship in the Robotics Department of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), gave a talk on drones at the Friends Meeting House in Oakland. He explained that the perception in Pakistan is that all Americans hate the Pakistani people. This is because all that most Pakistanis know about the U.S. and Americans is the almost daily carnage wrought by drones in Pakistan. This is their only contact with Americans. These drone strikes, he explained, generate a general attitude of hatred towards Americans. In 2007 a drone strike killed 69 children in a primary school and in response a local revenge group was formed. He illustrated the situation in Pakistan, particularly in the northwest tribal areas known as Waziristan, by referring to several individual instances of drone strike victims. In all instances, the victims of these strikes were civilians, often children going about their daily lives, who were obliterated by a drone strike. One of the cases Talha Rehmani cited was that of Nabila Rehman. In October 2012, Nabila was working in the fields being taught by her grandmother, Momina Bibi, how to harvest okra. Suddenly a buzzing sound came overhead and an object hit and killed her grandmother. A year later, Nabila, her father and her 12-year-old brother travelled to Washington D.C. with one question for Congress, “What did my grandmother do wrong?” Congress gave her the answer-only five Congressional representatives out
of 435 came to listen to the young girl. The cynicism of Congress defies description and certainly confirms the perceptions of the Pakistani people. One participant at the talk noted that this case is an old story, which is that around the world people tend to like Americans but see our government and Congress as diabolical. There is also a general perception in Pakistan, Rehman explained, that the drone strikes are part of an anti-Muslim campaign. President George W. Bush spoke about the U.S. being on a “crusade” to crush terrorism, but a crusade to Pakistanis translates into hatred of Islam. Another case of an innocent drone victim cited by Rehman was that of Tariq Aziz, who was struck by a drone together with his friend Waheed Ahmed on their way to visit his aunt. Tariq was 16 years old and loved to play football. Four days prior to his murder in October 2011, he had given evidence on the drone attacks in Islamabad to a “grand jirga” or council of elders. Rehman opined that the murder of Tariq Aziz constitutes a war crime. The question of the collusion of the Pakistani government in drone attacks was raised in the question time with Rehman. On the one hand the Pakistani government denies giving permission to the U.S. to conduct drone raids in Pakistan. On the other hand, there seems to be considerable evidence that the denial of collusion is just for domestic consumption and that secretly the Pentagon and the Pakistani government have an agreement on drone raids. (continued on page 7)
Collateral Drone Damage of these areas live in daily fear of drone attacks. The terror created by drones was well summed up by Nabila Rehman when she said, “I am afraid of the blue skies.” The blue skies, instead of lifting the spirit, terrify because they help you to be targeted by Source: Truthaholics drones. If the use of drones in Pakistan Losing Pakistan (continued and meetings of “jirgas” have been from page 6) targeted, the entire process appears and Yemen is not Rehman dismissed any claims of flawed if not criminal. Rehman quoted terrorism, then the very pinpoint accuracy of drone strikes. His one particularly unnerving example of word loses meaning. assertion is corroborated by a research the targeting of a “jirga” meeting on group at Stanford University, which March 17, 2011. Tribal leaders from Michael Drohan is a concluded that only two percent of northwest Pakistan had come together member of the board and victims of drone strikes are militants. to discuss the problem of drone attacks co-chair of the editorial Going by the frequency with which when they were targeted in the meeting, collective. wedding parties, funeral processions and 42 people were killed. The people
Drones Around the Globe:
Proliferation and Resistance
by Connie Totera-Hutchison, LPC our “sleepwalking” and do so today, as On November 16th and 17th, 2013, “the world can't wait.” Codepink: Women for Peace held a The panels included “Legal conference in Washington D.C. at the challenges to drone strikes,” “Drone Georgetown Law Center. Over 400 proliferation around the globe,” people attended from around the world. “Yemeni and Pakistani families affected Three people from the Pittsburgh Anti- by drones,” “Domestic State of Drones,” Drone Warfare Coalition attended: and “Two views of the Drone War.” Scilla Wahrhaftig, Charles Pierson, and The proliferation of drones is Connie Totera-Hutchison. astounding and rapid. Currently the The first day included panels from U.S., the U.K., and Israel operate various presenters addressing the many drones, but 70 countries are developing aspects of drone proliferation around the the technology. While the drone strikes globe. The second day included various began under President Bush, this year workshops to assist with organizing for alone more than 430 strikes have resistance, nationally and globally. occurred not including Afghanistan. The Co-organizers Medea Benjamin and myths of precision and few civilian Noor Mir opened the conference. Ms. casualties can be easily dispelled by Benjamin shared her mounting evidence listening to the Pakistani, Yemeni, and gathered throughout the world of the Afghani victims stories. criminal activity of the U.S. government In addition to the victims murdered, to civilians, women, children, and there are our sons and daughters in the innocent bystanders in the worldwide military. One of the more compelling never-ending war on terror. She urged talks came from a young man, Daniel everyone to resist such injustice and to Hale, who was a former intelligence heed what the victims are telling us. analyst for the U.S. Air Force and is Dr. Cornel West delivered a fiery now a Veteran for Peace. He shared keynote address to put the day in how the environment at the base was context. Citing W.E.B. DuBois, he filled with videos of 9/11 and fallen called for integrity instead of soldiers. After locating a target and oppression, honesty instead of discovering that five other people would deception, decency instead of insult, be shot as well with the “precision” virtue instead of brute force. According drone, he chose not to participate any to West, the drone proliferation is the longer in murder and left the Air Force. result of a continued foreign policy of He brought home how militarism has imperialism that is fueled by aggressive affected a young soul, barely a man, not militarism, free market fundamentalism, to mention the many other victims, or as and escalating authoritarianism that has the government calls them “collateral been ramped up as citizens become consumers and warriors for the state instead of warriors against poverty and injustice. Economic and imperial interest has bypassed principles. We need “principles to build a movement,” West states. He reminded us that in 1964, Malcolm X in consultation with Martin Luther King wanted to put the U.S. on trial for human rights Drone Summit 2013 attendees hold a symbolic dieviolations. He urged us to stop in at General Atomics. Photo credit CodePink.org.
ANXIOUS YOUNG BOY —by Connie Totera-Hutchison, LPC My heart breaks as our young sons and daughters are sent to war are sent to kill Can we not teach them about peace instead Can we not teach them that we all are one This young blonde boy spoke with anxious words about his turning, his movement from aiding and abetting to clarity An intel analyst he called himself Analyzing intelligence That is facts on the ground to give to operators of drones The killing machines of today drones, drone operators, intel analysts working together to advance the empire under the guise of safety He had identified the target from the kill list then realized others were with this target commonly called “collateral damage”
damage.” Colonel Discord churned inside of him Morris Davis spoke as His heart tugged at him well. He left the military The facts are not that easy after he refused to analyzing intelligence participate in torture. He without emotion reiterated that the drones were not the issue per While justifying killing a target se, but were a “platform believed to be a threat for U.S. foreign policy” killing five bystanders that is imperialistic, put him over the edge under the guise of “keeping us safe.” Turning from boyhood to The second day was thinking for himself devoted to organizing. the anxious young man Resistance to drones is spoke with clarity mounting. There is already global chelsea manning was his hero mobilization occurring all was not as it appeared to confront this. Much the cloud of deceit was lifted more needs to be done. the sleepwalking ended Ideas included targeting What will it take to reach this clarity of bases, manufacturers, about life and death research facilities, for our young sons and daughters universities and schools, who become mired in the militarism the use of on-line tools, of our culture at a young age compiling victims statements, lobbying when toy guns and soldiers congress, letter writing, infiltrate their mind divestment, and and video games numb their emotions mapping of recruitment begins manufacturers and bases. Also suggested Teach our children to think for themselves was a drones’ quilt obedience is not all it seems project with names of question, be curious, victims (examples were be courageous on display, Listen to your heart drones.quilt.project.org); We are all one organizing locally, statewide, nationally, and globally. Ban Weaponized Drones.com statewide network, raising awareness already has 62 organizations and over through a play called The Predator 100,000 signed on. Code Pink has also produced by Bricolage in February, organized congressional hearings for showing films, bringing in speakers and victims of drone strikes in Yemen that organizing protests. Please join us. occurred on Nov 19, 2013. We were urged to contact our representatives to Connie Totera-Hutchison is a peace attend these hearings. consultant for families, individuals The Pittsburgh Anti-Drone Warfare and couples and is a member of the Coalition is organized and meets on the Pittsburgh Coalition Against Drone third Sunday of the month at the Warfare and the Anti-War Committee Thomas Merton Center at 1:30 p.m. We of the TMC. are currently involved in creating a January 2014 NEWPEOPLE - 7
Foreign Affairs with one another. The latest twist in the battle for Syria is that equipment and laptops, after some of the the U.S. is reportedly meeting with equipment was seized by Islamic representatives of the Islamic Front in militants. The group that seized the Turkey. The U.S. “Envoy to Syria,” equipment is known as the Islamic Robert Ford, is involved in convening Front, which includes radical Salafi the negotiations. As mentioned already, groups such as Ahrar al Sham brigades. the Islamic Front has Al Qaida The Islamic Front, however, is at connections, making this alliance all the loggerheads with a yet more radical more puzzling. After more than a dozen Islamic group entitled Islamic State in years of wars supposedly on Al Qaida, Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in a battle for the U.S. now seems willing to ally with turf. Both groups have Al Qaida them in removing Al Assad. connections and associates. In a word, Just a few months ago, Syria was then, the opposition to Bashar al Assad saved from a destructive air attack by an is divided in several directions. The U.S., agreement brokered by Russia and the however, persists in demanding the U.S. to have the chemical weapons of removal of Bashar and his replacement Syria destroyed. The U.S. had by some medley of rebels who are at war maintained that the chemical weapons
Islamic Front in Syria and U.S. in Negotiations by Michael Drohan In its efforts to overthrow Bashar al Assad, the President of Syria, the U.S. has for the last few years been working with the Syrian National Congress, a group of expatriate Syrian nationals, and the Free Syrian Army within Syria. The leader of the Free Syrian Army is General Salim Idris and his group has been in receipt of humanitarian aid from the U.S. and its allies, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The Free Syrian Army, however, has been losing ground over the last year or so. In December, it was reported by the Associated Press that the U.S. and Britain were suspending delivery of nonlethal aid such as communications
Closing the School of the Assassins
front is to get the participating Latin American countries to stop (continued from page 6) sending military personnel to the School. So far six countries have agreed: Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, The most poignant moment is the “funeral procession” when names of thousands of men, women Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador. The SOA Watch has also compiled a list of the and children killed during the dirty wars in South names, course, rank, country of origin, and dates America are chanted and attendees respond “Presente.” attended, for every soldier and instructor who attended In this way we proclaim that the victims are remembered, their spirit is with us, and they and their from 1946 to 2003. When their exposure was made public, it was determined many were human rights sacrifice will not be forgotten. The struggle to close the School of the Assassins is abusers. In response, the Department of Defense refused to publish any more names of attendees. As a an arduous one. The principal initiator, Rev. Roy Bourgeois, has an extraordinary team of activists who result of SOAW and other activists legal work, in 2008 the House of Representatives passed an amendment to are working on many fronts to close the school. One
attacks in Syria this past year were conducted by the Syrian Army of Bashar al Assad. Now, however, doubt is cast over this assertion by Seymour Hersch who asserts that the rebels in Syria had the capability to make the poison gas sarin used in these attacks, and the U.S. knew this as it threatened war. Whether Syria can transition to some kind of peaceful political solution is cast in doubt by the steadfast determination of the U.S. to strengthen the warring opposition groups in their military operations. This all makes the efforts of the peace movement to demand a diplomatic and negotiated solution more crucial than ever. Michael Drohan is a member of the editorial collective.
the Defense Authorization Bill demanding a release of this information, which was signed by President Obama. However, friends of the School in Congress inserted a caveat that the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, could issue a waiver, which he duly did. The biggest legal and political challenge is to have Congress pass a bill to shut down the School. This is a monumental battle in which we need the activist and financial support of many more people in Pittsburgh and beyond. Michael Drohan is a member of the board and cochair of the editorial collective.
Haiti: The Alarming Resurgence of Duvalierism (continued from page 4)
In July 2003, Haiti sent more than 90 per cent of all its foreign reserves to Washington to pay off these arrears. With aid blocked, the Aristide government started discussing a case for reparations from France, angering the French who, like all western powers, bridle at the thought of accepting responsibility for their exploitation. The 2004 coup, backed by the U.S., French and Canadian Multilateral Interim Force (MIF) that removed President Aristide from office was also, according to Pierre Labossiere, “a coup against the grassroots movement in Haiti, at every level of government, from city council, township councils, all the way to the president. Each time the people have mobilized to create democratic grassroots institutions, cooperatives, women's or student movements, the assassins are given weapons, and empowered to invade and destroy whatever is being built.” Within a few months the United Nations (MINUSTAH) force replaced the MIF, as “peacekeepers,” but it functions as an occupying army, violently suppressing popular dissent. It is estimated that the coup, and subsequent repression cost 10,000 Haitian lives. Ayana Labossiere, who came from Haiti as a child with her father Pierre, is a high school teacher in San Francisco and reported on taking a group of students to Haiti in June, 2013. Traveling in Haiti, the students got to witness Haiti’s poverty, the devastation that still remains from the earthquake, the thousands that are still displaced, the squalor people have to live in, rampant cholera, and the lack of access to healthcare and potable water. They got to hear firsthand accounts from Haitians about all of this unnatural poverty, how government and international aid does not reach most people, the exploitation of Haitians in factories and sweatshops, and the political repression. They got to visit organizations and meet activists who are working tirelessly to make up for the lack of support. At a time of so much injustice, and as people struggle hourly to feed themselves, millions of dollars in earthquake relief money has been spent on building luxury hotels and promoting tourism. Altogether, Haiti’s hotel projects have consumed more than $100 million of relief money. 8 - NEWPEOPLE
Ayana pointed out that Haiti is estimated to have nearly the highest concentration of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) per capita, with many NGOs “rolling in style, getting chauffeured around, sleeping in the finest hotels.” Mark Schuller, in his book Killing with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid, and NGOs, focuses on NGOs’ roles as intermediaries in “gluing” the world system together―a process Schuller calls “trickledown imperialism.” It strikes me that Cuba is an important counter example, where development has been planned and directed largely independent of foreign dictates, with dramatically different results. While Haiti has only 2 doctors for every 10,000 people, Cuba has more doctors per capita than any other country and has about 38,000 medical professionals serving in other countries, more than all the wealthy G-8 countries combined. The fraudulent election of 2010-2011, in which Aristide's popular Fanmi Lavalas Party was barred from participating, brought President Michel Martelly to power. Martelly, with numerous ties to the earlier Duvalier dictatorship, has filled his government with Duvalierists. He has encouraged the resurgence of right wing militias, pledged to restore the Haitian army and made dictatorial changes to the constitution. The U.S. continues to dominate Haiti, forcing an elite neoliberal agenda on the people. The majority in Haiti continue to relentlessly demand a seat at the table and real democracy. So-
cartoon by Russ Fedorka
called development assistance, in the absence of local control, creates dependency, serves one or more fractions of the economic elite, and further impoverishes the world’s poor. We who care must inform ourselves about what will really help bring a better world for the people of Haiti. John Morgan is a member of the School of the Americas Watch.
An Assassination Deconstructed JFK vs. the Mad Rush toward Nuclear War by Molly Rush I watched many of the documentaries about John F. Kennedy’s assassination during the blanket coverage of the 50th anniversary. Not one mentioned James Douglass’ 2008 book, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters or Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s December 2013 article in the December 5th issue of Rolling Stone on “JFK’s attempts to halt the war machine.” Both describe in detail how, as RFK Jr. says of Douglass’ book, “JFK’s presidency would be a continuous struggle with his own military and intelligence agencies, which engaged in incessant schemes to trap him into escalating the Cold War into a hot one.” First there was the Bay of Pigs catastrophe. When the invasion of Cuba failed, JFK refused to order airstrikes. He told Arthur Schlesinger that he wanted to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” He then refused the military’s plan to send 140,000 troops to Laos to prop up the CIA’s puppet government. Gen. Douglas McArthur had warned JFK, “Anyone wanting to send forces to the mainland of Asia ought to have his head examined.” Yet in October 1962 JFK infuriated CIA and Pentagon leaders who demanded the U.S. destroy Soviet missile sites in Cuba, triggering the Cuban Missile Crisis in which nuclear war was averted by a hairbreadth, thanks to the secret agreement JFK made with Nikita Khrushchev. Khrushchev had
initiated an extraordinary secret correspondence with JFK, which finally resulted in passage of the nuclear test ban treaty. On the missile crisis, James Douglass writes, “Half a world apart, in radical ideological conflict, both Kennedy in his call for help and Khrushchev in his response had recognized their interdependence with each other and the world.” In summer 1963, JFK told key trusted friends that he intended to get out of Vietnam, bringing home U.S. military advisors after the 1964 election rather than, as General Maxwell Taylor suggested, sending in over 200,000 troops. Republican Barry Goldwater’s platform, however, included “bombing Vietnam back into the Stone Age.” “So” said JFK, “we had better make damned sure I am re-elected.” [Might others have made damned sure on November 22 that he wasn’t, as James Douglass concludes in his well-documented book?] Meanwhile, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “already in open revolt against JFK for failing to unleash the dogs of war in Cuba and Laos, were unanimous in urging a massive influx of ground troops and were incensed with the talk of
unaccountability to anyone.” It was in this atmosphere that President Kennedy spoke at American University in June. He called for an end to the Cold War; “above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either humiliating retreat or nuclear war. To adopt that course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy—or a collective death wish for this world.” A few months later, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. James Douglass’ book documents both the how and the why of the assassination by his thorough study of the flood of recently released documents through the JFK Records Act and by his discussions with witnesses, many of whom, out of fear of retaliation or even death, did not speak up earlier. Others learned that their statements had been “lost” or changed. He carefully weaves together a picture of what he names as “the Unspeakable.” In light of Edward Snowden’s release of secret documents on the CIA and the NSA, the story is not as astonishing as when his book first appeared. Do read both accounts and decide for yourself, what is the truth about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
withdrawal.” They also proposed a preemptive thermonuclear attack on the Soviet Union in late 1963. One alarmed top official, among others, quoted in the Washington Daily News by Richard Starnes said, “If the United States ever experiences a [coup], it will come from the CIA, not the Molly Rush is a co-founder of the Pentagon”. Another official said Thomas Merton Center and co-chair of “[members of the CIA] represent the editorial collective. tremendous power and total
JFK Redux by Ginny Cunningham
Don’t even ask ‘what really happened.’ The latter is in keeping with a society whose vast political and media power Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it has declared that the truth of a Matters, was read in November in eight U.S. charismatic young president’s cities in conjunction with the 50th assassination is unknowable. And, since anniversary of the assassination of President truth is unknowable, a curious young John F. Kennedy. Cunningham’s reflection person will ask, as she did after a reading on the readings follows:] of Noah’s Ark in another theater: “Who “Why does this subject resonate with was this Osbourne guy everyone keeps us so powerfully 50 years after the fact?” talking about?” A collective gasp asked a woman in the fourth row of the escapes an audience old enough, for the theater in Royal Oak, Michigan. most part, to be aghast at this innocent By early November, newspaper and yet unsettling ignorance. magazine articles and essays had But the young woman’s dismissive appeared, films about the Kennedy ignorance is a planned and desired assassination had been released and outcome. Generation by generation, even documentaries aired. Those who had the myth is fading. Mission been there--students, shopkeepers, accomplished. journalists, and pall bearers--had shared And yet, in his book, written 45 years their memories in every conceivable after the fact, James Douglass explores medium. the ‘why’ of the assassination; and his Two dominant themes had emerged: words resonate in the hearts of tens of first, who did/didn't do it, along with thousands of readers. Noah’s Ark could evidence for and against every scenario, grapple with only a fraction of Douglass’ including the one about the Secret words and even those were fictionalized Service guy two cars back whose gun and modified for the stage. Nevertheless, went off accidentally. Every theory was the story chafed at listeners’ essence. In aired, along with the inevitable city after city, Noah’s Ark prompted and conclusion that all is myth and mystery. enabled discussion among women and We can expound endlessly but the truth men whose assumptions about the cannot be known. assassination covered a broad spectrum The second theme advanced the but who still ached for clarity and truth. notion that we cut ourselves a break and I watched as others stepped onto the focus only on personal memory, path that I discovered when my husband experience, sadness, loss, where you Pat brought Douglass’ book into our were, what you were doing, how you home three years ago; a path toward felt: [Local playwright Ginny Cunningham’s play, Noah’s Ark, which was inspired by James Douglass’ book JFK and the
spiritual and political authenticity that I wasn’t necessarily seeking. Really. Who would? When Douglass questioned then Attorney General Ramsey Clark about a point of authenticity in assassination evidence, Clark responded “ . . . if they’re not (authentic), then you have something of a magnitude beyond common experience that would reflect so devastatingly on our society as a whole, and its corruptibility that you don’t know how to deal with it.” Well put. Why go there. But Douglass and others have gone there. Douglass, for one, has written more comprehensively, clearly and convincingly about assassination as it was conducted in the United States during the 1960s than any stage play possibly could. But that’s not actually the point 50 years post assassination. Rather, the same systemic evil that was embedded in our society five decades ago--and denied--remains embedded today; and few of us feel ready to or capable of acknowledging such evil, let alone confronting it. We are human, after all, and much of our humanity is legitimately focused on security, survival, and comfort. Consistently, however, the question arose at these play readings, questions laced with concern and no little despair. “What can I do now about what happened 50 years ago?” Another thing about being human: we want to do something. I concluded some time ago
that what I can do seems small and inconsequential. I write. Writing can be a lonely pursuit, the outcome of which is generally unknown to me. But since it’s what I do, I’ve been forced to grow in trust that it must mean something. Challenging as this has been to accept, I’ve had a degree of success-at trusting. Consequently, I encourage others. Choose. A job or a hobby. An issue. A person you want to befriend. An enemy with whom you want peace. Love this thing you’ve chosen. Love what it gives you. Work at it. Perfect it. Love what it helps you to give to others. When each of us does so, no matter our fears and limitations, we hold in our hands one of the two-by-fours that props the moral arc of the universe, the one that Martin Luther King said, “bends toward justice.” It’s time for me to let go of Noah’s Ark. To let it percolate--or not. In doing so, I’ll try to open my mind to the next idea that will consume my life. Perhaps Pat will bring home another book. Ginny Cunningham is a member of the editorial collective. January 2014 NEWPEOPLE - 9
Freedom from Hatred Imagining a 1961 Nelson Mandela Under 2013 American Policies and Practices op-ed by C.S. Rhoten In 1961, Nelson Mandela was a communist, a terrorist, a traitor and an imminent threat to the nation of South Africa. Had Bush/Obama-era practices been in operation in 1961 South Africa, then Mandela would have been water boarded, would have had instruments forced up his rectum, rubber tubes forced down his throat, and would have been kept in solitary confinement for 27 years.
OR Mandela would have never spent a day in jail. His body would have been attacked by a drone missile and exploded into pieces, along with any other folks who happened to be in his vicinity. (Nelson Mandela was still on the American government’s Terrorism Watch List until 2008.) C.S. Rhoten is a producer of the Progressive Pgh Notebook TV series.
Nelson Mandela—Creative Commons
The Power of Forgiveness: Lessons from Nelson Mandela and Thomas Merton by Diane McMahon Thomas Merton was a great architect of peace and nonviolence. During his lifetime he wrote extensively about the power of forgiveness. Merton explained “since conflict is inevitable, unity cannot be maintained except in great difficulty, with constantly renewed sacrifice, with lucid honesty, openness, humility, the readiness to ask forgiveness and to forgive.” (Seasons of Celebration, 1965) When Nelson Mandela walked out of his Robben Island prison cell 27 years ago, he embodied the power of Merton’s writings on forgiveness, for it was through sacrificing his own freedom that he created a path to peace for all of South Africa. In Mandela’s 1995 autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom, he spoke to the great need to prepare for the hope of peace. “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.” For “resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies” and “the fight for freedom is meaningless without the hope of peace to look forward to.” In our own local Pittsburgh-based campaigns for peace and justice, the people of the Thomas Merton Center grapple with some of the same powerful emotions that Mandela confronted in his
prison cell on Robben Island. In our struggle we, too, can choose to drink the poison of hate, or we can look deeper into our souls and cultivate the power of forgiveness. These campaigns focus on grave issues that have the power to stir our most negative emotions, including the critical fight to stop: • American-designed drones that are killing innocents around the world in our name • County officials from poisoning our county parks to profit from fracking • UPMC/Duquesne University administrators from concentrating wealth in the hands of a few and not supporting the thousands of people who work in their institutions. Mandela and Merton show us that if we are to achieve peace and justice, it will require more than an unrelenting determination to surface inequality and oppression. It will require a personal struggle with our own spirit to choose love and forgiveness over the desire to hate and resent. It will require an ability to unite around the hope for peace in the spirit of humility. Mandela’s and Merton’s steadfast commitments to living lives of peace, nonviolence, and justice exemplified their great love of humanity. Merton’s epiphany at the corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets in Louisville still resonates today. “I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race ... there is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander) If we are to choose to struggle for justice, let us choose to do it in the spirit of love and forgiveness as Nelson Mandela and Thomas Merton would. Let us thirst for a long-lasting peace, where no one is a stranger, and all people are “shining like the sun.” In this way we will be free from our own human desire for vengeance and create a world that strives for peace through love, hope, and the power of forgiveness. Diane McMahon is a member of the editorial collective and the managing director of the Thomas Merton Center.
Thomas Merton—Creative Commons
10 - NEWPEOPLE
Abolitionist Law Center: Lawyers Challenging the Prison State by Bret Grote In February 2013, the Abolitionist Law Center (ALC) was founded in the city of Pittsburgh as a public interest law firm inspired by the struggle of political and politicized prisoners. The ALC is organized for the purpose of abolishing class and race based mass incarceration in the United States. To accomplish this goal, the Abolitionist Law Center engages in litigation on behalf of people whose human rights have been violated in prison, produces educational programs to inform the general public about the evils of mass incarceration, and works to develop a mass movement against the American penal system by building alliances and nurturing solidarity across social divisions. Its board of directors includes Pitt Law professor and the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Jules Lobel, Pitt Law professor Jasmine Gonazles Rose, Human Rights Coalition Fed Up! chapter member Shandre Delaney, staff attorney Dustin McDaniel, and myself. The Abolitionist Law Center is based on years of practical experience fighting for prisoners’ rights, particularly through the work of the Human Rights Coalition. Founded in 2000 by prisoners at State Correctional Institution Greene, the Human Rights Coalition has been a leader in exposing torture and other human rights violations inside Pennsylvania’s prison system. Our first case was that of political prisoner and former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member Russell Maroon Shoatz. Imprisoned since 1972 due to his alleged role in the homicide of a Philadelphia police officer, Shoatz has been held in solitary confinement by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC) for more than 22 consecutive years. The ALC has been instrumental in organizing a legal team to challenge Shoatz’s isolation. In May a civil rights lawsuit was filed in the federal court in Pittsburgh on the grounds that Shoatz’s right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment and his right to
due process under the Fourteenth Amendment are being violated. PA DOC officials have repeatedly indicated that they intend to release Shoatz from solitary confinement, though at the time of this writing he remains in isolation. Additional cases ALC is working on include those of Arthur Cetewayo Johnson, who has been held in solitary confinement by the PA DOC since 1979 despite an exemplary disciplinary record for the past 25 years. Prison censorship is another critical issue that we are addressing, as we anticipate taking legal action to protect core political rights to speech and association in the immediate future. Working with prisoners in defense of human rights is based on our recognition that the prison system is part of a larger system that operates according to a logic of violence and intimidation. Solitary confinement is used to terrorize the prisoner population. The prison population and policies of race and class based mass imprisonment are used to terrorize poor communities in general, and communities of color in particular. And the socio-economic conditions in those communities are used to keep relatively privileged communities in line and focused on carrying out the agenda of a powerful few. ALC seeks to challenge this status quo by building creative, principled, visionary, and lasting alliances with people and organizations inside and outside of prison who are determined to confront and defeat these interconnected systems of oppression, and replace them with healthy, sustainable, and liberating alternatives. (continued on page 11)
Prisoners’ Rights and Racial Justice Lawyers Challenging the Prison State (continued from page 10)
One such alliance we have built is with the Center for Coalfield Justice (CCJ). Along with CCJ and HRC, we have initiated an investigation into the harmful health impact on prisoners of a toxic coal ash site at State Correctional Institution Fayette in southwestern Pennsylvania. Prisoners have been reporting an alarming rate of skin, stomach, respiratory, and other health problems. Another alliance of ALC seeks to develop relationships with law students at the University of Pittsburgh Law School who are working with state prisoners. In addition to working with the Prisoner Legal Support Project at the school, which I co-founded at Jules Lobel’s suggestion in the spring of 2013, the ALC will be taking on our first of many law student interns next term in order to provide students with an opportunity to learn practical skills in a movement-lawyering context. As ALC moves into 2014, we are excited and confident that we will build on our work, develop lasting alliances, and advocate for the protection of our clients’ human rights. To learn more about the ALC and to support our work with a donation, visit our website: www.abolitionistlawcenter.org, or send checks to P.O. Box 8654, Pittsburgh, PA 15221. Bret Grote is Executive Director and attorney at the Abolitionist Law Center. He is also a volunteer with the Human Rights Coalition-Fed Up!, a project of the Thomas Merton Center.
FedUp! Letters to Prisoners
To report abuse or request resources, write to: HRC/ FedUp! Thomas Merton Center 5129 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15224
FedUp! is the Pittsburgh chapter of the Human Rights Coalition dedicated to upholding the rights of prisoners through providing resources and support, exposing injustices, and building relationships with people in prison and their advocates. We are an organization of concerned citizens, people in To volunteer, come to prison and their loved ones. the Thomas Merton Center on Wednesdays Our focus is on high level security facilities in at 7:00 p.m. Pennsylvania.
Prisoner Pen Pals Needed! Please write to these individuals: Patrick Holmes #JB-6240 1100 Pike Street Huntington, PA 16654
Derrick Murph #AS-0304 175 Progress Drive Waynesburg, PA 15370
Dave Gaislci #LB-2532 1100 Pike Street Huntington, PA 16654
Joe Dyson #CA-8143 1000 Follies Road Dallas, PA 18612
Frank Hafer—MCSP #V16234-C-14-146 P.O. 40 90 60 Ione, CA 95640
Allan D. Buyna #AP-8203 P.O. Box 945 Marienville, PA 16239
William Lincoln #HZ-7773 175 Progress Drive Waynesburg, PA 15370
Donald Flynn #CT-6430 1 Kelley Drive Coal Township, PA 17866
Framel Bolton #AB-8291—S.V. S.P. P.O. Box 1050 Soledad, CA 93960
Jeremy Hottel #GQ-5894 301 Morea Road Frackville, PA 17932
Robert Thomas #JV-4381 1600 Walters Mill Road Somerset, PA 15510
Eugene McClain #HS-6351 P.O. Box 9999 LaBelle, PA 15450
William Miller #GB-0894 10745 Route 18 Albion, PA—16475
Richard Phipps #KA-8464 301 Morea Road Frackville, PA 17932
Ed Iaccarino #FB-3661 P.O. Box 999 1120 Pike Street Huntington, PA 16652
Joshua Brady #KB-5912 P.O. Box 244 Greaterford, PA 19462
Annual Summit Against Racism to Feature New Workshops and Strategies for Racial Justice by Tris Ozark The Black and White Reunion (BWR) will host its 16th Summit Against Racism from 9 a.m. (registration and breakfast at 8) to 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at East Liberty Presbyterian Church, 116 S. Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh 15206. Founded in 1996, the Black and White Reunion’s mission is “to bring together organizations and individuals to eliminate racism and to become allies in the struggle for human equality.” The Summit Against Racism is held annually on the Saturday after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and is recognized as a time to gather and start the new year together, making or renewing and revitalizing commitments to ending racism in Pittsburgh. The event is BWR’s primary fundraiser. The $25 all-day admission includes breakfast and lunch, speakers, a commemorative program book, informational tabling, performance art, and workshops. Reduced admission ($10 per person) is available for students, seniors, groups of five or more, and low-income attendees. Some scholarships for admission are available. This year’s Summit promises panels, discussion, education, strategies for racial justice, and more workshops than ever before. One veteran organizer remarked, “We are jumping up and down with enthusiasm for the diverse, thoughtful, and hard working new members of the Summit Planning Committee,” many of whom signed up to help after inspirational experiences at earlier Summits. This year’s workshops will be chosen from more than twenty applications representing a broad range of topics and reflecting the goals and passions of civil rights and human rights activists and organizations across the region. Attendees will participate in the workshops they choose according to their interests in combating racism in health care, prisons, religious organizations, workplaces and unions, sports, schools, personal interactions, law enforcement, elections, and community development. This year the Planning Committee has increased the number of workshop sessions, giving Summit participants more opportunities to learn, share, work together, and inspire one another. Local leaders have been invited to speak during the opening program, beginning at 9 a.m. BWR Founder Tim Stevens will also honor fallen leaders. "With the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela on December 5, 2013,” Stevens said, “we are confronted by the reality that the planet has lost one of its greatest champions of democracy, freedom and equality. We also lost one of the greatest humanitarians of all time. What we might consider as we celebrate the 16th Annual Black & White Reunion Summit Against Racism is how we can emulate, in any small way, the grace, dignity and love Nelson Mandela showed to his former oppressors and the wisdom he demonstrated to the world by doing so! We can all look to his example in his tenacity to fight unfairness, inequality, and inequity wherever he found it!" A portion of the Summit’s proceeds benefits the Jonny Gammage Memorial Scholarships, which support Black law students who have demonstrated an interest in studying civil rights and social justice issues at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University. The scholarships are awarded to the winners of an essay contest. To date, nearly $20,000 has been awarded to local students.
The scholarships are named for Jonny Gammage, a Black businessman and philanthropist who died from positional asphyxiation at the hands of white police during a “routine” traffic stop in 1995. This incident, and the “not guilty” verdicts in court cases against the police, inspired the founding of the Black and White Reunion, the Summit Against Racism and the scholarships. Confronting police brutality has been one of BWR’s defining missions since its inception. BWR urges everyone to pre-register for the Summit Against Racism so that the Planning Committee can make sure to have room and food for all. Childcare, American Sign Language interpretation, and Spanish translation will be available, but must be requested in advance. East Liberty Presbyterian Church is wheelchair accessible. Registration and requests for assistance can be submitted online at the Summit web site: summitagainstracism.blogspot.com. More information is available at the web site, by emailing email@example.com or by phoning 412-501-3355. Tris Ozark is a freelance writer and member of the Black and White Reunion. Summit Planning Committee and BWR members Kenneth Miller, Bob Maddock, and Tim Stevens also contributed to this article.
Jonny Gammage, namesake of the Jonny Gammage Memorial Scholarships for Black law students, was killed at age 31 by white Brentwood Police in 1995.
January 2014 NEWPEOPLE - 11
Informing the Electorate Congress to Vote in January on Farm Bill
Thanks to the Pittsburgh Foundation and all of its donors who matched donations in December to the Greater. Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the Westmoreland County Food Bank and several pantries during this time of expanded demand on their services.
The Two-Story House Parable and “Proof Through the Night”
by Tim Cimino I’m going to tell you a parable and then give it two different meanings. Once there was a group of people who lived in a two-story wood-frame house. Actually they lived in the upper story. They spent all their time there. Incredibly, they maintained the upper story, painted it, and kept it up, but they ignored the ground floor. Predictably, the paint peeled off and the wood began to rot. Fortunately, someone came by and said, “Although you live in the upper story, and almost all your attention is focused on it, you must give the bottom story almost equal attention.” This made some of the people angry, because a stranger was telling them how to live their lives, but most of the occupants felt sadness because they realized that they had to devote less time to the floor that they loved. But they eventually listened, and the house was saved. This is a parable for all of us who do anything political, especially activists. The first meaning of the parable is that the upper story represents many political issues that capture people’s hearts. We may be interested in prison rights, drone warfare, health care reform, fracking, and so on. We care deeply about one or more of these issues, and expend a lot of energy on it. But the bottom floor represents structural issues in politics, problems with the political process itself. These “foundational” issues are things like gerrymandering, corporate domination of campaigns, laws that interfere with people’s right to vote, “pork,” the filibuster in the Senate, term-limits, the “revolving door” between government displayed in Feeding America’s and industry, and so on. These are Joyce Rothermel is co-chair of the SW PA Food perpetual problems that slow down Washington, D.C. office. Security Partnership. Admission to the Hall of government, waste trillions of dollars, and Fame is based on meeting five produce low quality solutions. advocacy challenges: Thus, based on the parable, if we do •Communicating with anything politic, doesn’t it make sense to Members of Congress spend about a third to •Engaging local media a half of our activist •Asking grassroots time on structural supporters to act issues? Consider it the •Asking “grass top” allies bottom half of our (community leaders) to act activism, because it’s •Educating and mobilizing the foundation on local organizations which our favorite The Food Bank not only met issues depend. I know but far exceeded all of these that gerrymandering requirements. This and the filibuster don’t achievement is a reflection of produce the same the Food Bank’s entire regional network’s emotional pull as commitment to making people suffering advocacy an important part of without healthcare or what is being done to end people being hunted hunger. down by drones, but I am saying that they are essentially the bottom half of what we care about. Now for the brutal part of this article. I believe that if we don’t give that much time to structural issues, I have absolutely zero hope in our causes’ long-term success. Zero chance. We’ve basically chosen to fail.
by Joyce Rothermel As reported in the December issue of The New People, the Farm Bill is set to expire soon so the pressure is on to reauthorize it. Before Congress adjourned last month, the conference committee was considering a compromise between the House and the Senate versions of the bill. They propose funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with an over $8 billion cut to the program over the next ten years. This is not acceptable. Because of the nature of the cuts, Pennsylvanians would be disproportionately impacted. What does this mean in real terms? •An estimated 175,000 households in Pennsylvania will lose an average of $65 per month in SNAP benefits. •51.3 million meals will be taken away from low-income Pennsylvanians every year. •$136.5 million in SNAP benefits lost to Pennsylvanians - and businesses in our state - every year for the next ten years. •Combined with the 68.8 million meals lost in PA over this upcoming year as a result of the SNAP cuts due to the expiration of the Stimulus on November 1, 2013 a total of 120.1 million meals could be lost in PA in 2014 - more than the total number of meals (112.6 million) that all 10 Feeding America food banks in PA provided in fiscal year 2012-2013. What can we do? Contact our U.S. Congressmen who will soon be asked to vote on the renewal of the Farm Bill that includes funding for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the next 10 years. Ask them to protect this program and increase it if possible so that fewer Americans will not need to rely on charity through food banks. While food banks can help families make it through to the end of the month in some cases, We are proud to share with it is not as steady, reliable, and supportive as you the exciting news that Greater Pittsburgh Community SNAP has proven to be. Our charity is not able to replace good public policy and the Food Food Bank has been inducted Assistance Programs they ensure. into the Feeding America Calls can be made through a toll free number "Advocacy Hall of Fame." To provided by Feeding America that will connect date, only seven of the 200+ you to your U.S. Senators and Representative: food banks in the Feeding 1-888-398-8702. Ask each of them to vote America national network have achieved this against any cuts to SNAP and to do what our tax recognition. The Food Bank dollars are intended to do: provide for the will now be listed on the Hall common good, especially to make sure all our of Fame plaque prominently people are food secure.
12 - NEWPEOPLE
Two more things make this reality unpleasant. First, we have to devote less energy to the causes we are passionate about. Second, we have to devote energy to unexciting structural issues. But, I already suggested a positive way to think about it: structural issues are the bottom half of our issues and dealing with structural issues boosts our long-term chances of success. Now for the second meaning of the parable. Imagine a different two-story wood house. This time, all of the structural issues are in the top story – all but one. Try to guess which one structural issue is the supreme structural problem of American politics. Which problem is “the mother of all American political problems?” A year ago I would have said corporate domination of politics. But now I say this: It’s that we don’t have an informed, critically-thinking and active American electorate. Such an electorate would elect better politicians. Such an electorate would know where to find quality information. Such an electorate would see right through propaganda and deception techniques. It would press for campaign finance reform and eventually rectify other structural issues. It sounds like an impossible dream, doesn’t it? But in this rather dreary article I have some tremendous good news. There is now an all-in-one website and program that aims to spark a chain reaction of nonpartisan voter education & empowerment. It’s called ProofThroughTheNight.Org (or pttn.org.) The 1.0 version of the website was completed in December. Not only does it link to 14 categories of political information, but it has a free online politics 101 refresher course, and free critical thinking for politics course. Both courses have a set of short programmed quizzes. PTTN.ORG also offers a list of incentives—reasons to make the investment of time. It also has a page addressing people’s doubts that the system can be fixed. PTTN has 50 strategies to create a renewed electorate. The central strategy is to use the program and then encourage and support a few friends or family members to follow your lead. The game plan is that if the number of participants double every four months, you’d reach a majority of the electorate in 9.3 years. A one-decade transformation of American politics! PTTN.ORG envisions a 10-year drama, a 10-year battle to reclaim the electorate. Their slogan is “There’s more than one way to fight for your country.” However we create an informed, thinking and active electorate, it is the absolute most high-leverage way to renew our country and prevent more degradation of our quality of life. Tim Cimino is director of Group Genie, the creativity team that created Proof Through the Night.
Energy and the Environment TMC Statement on Divesting from Fossil Fuels, Investing in Thrive-ability Pittsburgh is becoming a worldwide model for green building and ecological urban renewal. In 2010, our city council voted unanimously to ban natural gas drilling within city limits, a galvanizing moment for the rest of the world. (With the help of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, many other American cities and regions are now banning hydraulic fracturing for gas and oil, a toxic and destructive process.) We at the Thomas Merton Center believe that our new city government will continue to foster wise and farsighted endeavors that care for our air, water, soil and people. This new administration has the power to point the way to a brighter future. Therefore, the Thomas Merton Center is asking our Pittsburgh city government to take another visionary action in the coming year. We are asking that the City of Pittsburgh divest from fossil fuels by immediately freezing any new investments in fossil fuels and divesting from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuelbased public equities or corporate bonds within five years. Scientific data show that if the world releases just 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the global temperature will rise 2 degrees Celsius. At that point, climate change will increase at a much faster rate than is already happening and may very well be irreversible. Most remaining complex life forms will be in grave danger and human survival will be seriously threatened. The problem is that fossil fuel companies have another 2,795 gigatons in their reserves that they want to burn. By divesting now, the City will: drive public awareness of the unimaginable damage being done for huge corporate profits build public recognition of the urgent need to drastically and rapidly reduce dependence on fossil fuels call widespread attention to the consequences of continuing a “business as
usual” approach to extracting, marketing and burning fossil fuel inspire an accelerated and popular commitment to leaving 80% of the known carbon reserves untapped lead to the development of renewable energy resources capable of meeting human needs make it possible for life as we have known it to continue. Many fossil fuel corporations already have more money than most of the countries on this planet. But they have refused to give up their addiction to fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy. Knowing now of their dependence on this business of exploitation and biocide, we can no longer ask them to plan their own “intervention.” The will and criteria for responsible investment can come from individuals, though, and from a city devoted to a fossil-free future. We don’t have to continue on a path destined for desolation—or even settle for mere “sustainability.” Our goal can be bigger than just avoiding suicide. With several small green energy businesses already operating in our region—and much more untapped potential— our city can divest from fossil-fuel-addicted multi-national corporations and invest in local, green, renewable energy. If we make wise decisions now, we will have a brighter future. And together, we can thrive! www.thomasmertoncenter.org/mckibben/ divestmentpetition/ Find many divestment resources at: 350.org and www.GoFossilFree.org — Statement adopted by the Thomas Merton Center Board of Directors on November 18, 2013
Protect Our Parks from Fracking (continued from page 1)
work of a new coalition of environmental Members of Protect Our Parks have spoken at every groups and industry representatives, the Council meeting since June. Steel Valley Printers Center for Sustainable Shale produced fliers and pamphlets that have been passed Development. The few groups that out everywhere including door-to-door in the Deer jumped on this well-financed bandwagon The Thomas Merton Center is a proud consumer of TriEagle Energy. Lakes Park area. have seen this as a chance to have an public health. Council President Dr. Charles Martoni These are our parks. We are all stakeholders! impact on regulation. Almost immediately they and Councilman John Palmiere attended and In August, County Council members received an announced they would have a set of environmental Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh sent a open letter signed by 17 diverse organizations standards for fracking that could serve as a model for representative. The conference featured a great group including the Thomas Merton Center. We stated that industry, state and federal regulations. of scientists speaking on the public health dangers of we had learned that a plan to lease the mineral rights to This is unbelievably naive. There really are no fracking. Deer Lakes Park was already being negotiated and that “teeth” in this bargain, and environmental groups Now it is up to us. Allegheny County Council hasn't “leasing of other public parks was not out of the adding legitimacy only makes it worse. John Detwiler voted to approve the lease yet and at least one member question.” sums it up well, “.... the score card right now is, the has confirmed that the proposal to frack our parks has Our tax-supported public parks have been kept amount of benefit to the environment absolutely received the MOST comment of anything Council has largely free of air, water, and soil pollution. We none. The benefit to the industry is you've got a new ever done, with 98% of the comments being reminded the council that their myth and that says that the environmentalists OPPOSED to fracking our parks. responsibility is to us and not to are now on board.” Our county is huge and our parks and County private corporations for exploitation. Citizens of Allegheny County! Councilpersons will need our help. In fact their job is to examine all Whether it was the consistent testimony or For updates visit marcellusprotest.org and link to scientific evidence that has the phone and emails of activated citizens, Protect Our Parks. You will find updates, a accumulated. Whether this process Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko proposed PETITION, and all the information you need to be happens on or adjacent to public parks, an ordinance to enact a three-year moratorium active. the fracking process is a huge public in, on, or around the parks. It didn’t pass but Right now? Call or email your Councilperson and risk. It is council’s job to examine the decision on leasing has been tabled. tell him or her, “Don’t drill in any Allegheny County carefully all contracts brought before We continue to look for movement and be a them and initiate public hearings movement! This very well could be winnable! Park!” before any leases are signed. Duquesne University's Center for The County Executive has adopted a CJ Gonzalez in front of Environmental Research and Education hosted Wanda Guthrie is Chair of the Environmental Justice Committee of the Thomas Merton Center. new myth. Fitzgerald believes in the their home, 'Harmony a symposium exploring shale drilling and House'
January 2014 NEWPEOPLE - 13
Expressing Peace Thomas Merton, “Presente” Reflections on Thomas Merton’s Essay “The Root of War Is Fear” by Michael Drohan On January 31, 2014, we will celebrate the 99th birthday of Thomas Merton, born on that date in 1915 in France of artist parents of U.S. origin. To celebrate his birthday and remember this extraordinary human being I have revisited his essay entitled “The Root of War Is Fear,” written in 1961 and published in New Seeds of Contemplation as Chapter 16 of that book. This piece was also published in The Catholic Worker October 1961 issue with three introductory paragraphs which were particularly provocative and probably would not have been allowed by his “censors” in the book. Here is an excerpt from that introduction: “The present war crisis is something we have made entirely for and by ourselves. There is in reality not the slightest logical reason for war, and yet the whole world is plunging headlong into frightful destruction, and doing so with the purpose of avoiding war and preserving peace! This is true war madness, an illness of the mind and spirit that is spreading with a furious and subtle contagion all over the world. Of all the countries that are sick, America is perhaps the most grievously afflicted. On all sides we are building bomb shelters where, in case of nuclear war, they will simply bake slowly instead of burning up quickly or being blown out of existence in a flash.” It is easy to imagine how Merton’s words in 1961 captured the imagination of peace activists around the world, even
though he did not have access to radio, TV or the social media of today. Their truth reverberates today with the U.S. flying B-52 bombers over some scattered islands between Japan and China which are claimed by both countries. The madness of war and war provocation still remains and the U.S. remains the sickest of all in the enterprise. Merton remains a beacon, inviting, nay summoning, us all not only to condemn the folly of war and warmongering but to actively oppose it. In this same essay on the roots of war, Merton like few others before or after goes to the roots of the problem. He unsparingly lays bare our collective, individual and national psychosis. At the root of all war, Merton says, is fear; not so much the fear men have of one another as the fear they have of everything. Going deeper, he maintains that at the root of our fears is a selfhatred which is too deep and too powerful to be consciously faced. It is this hatred which makes us see our own evil in others and unable to see it in ourselves. Merton maintained that “we tend unconsciously to ease ourselves of the burden of guilt that is in us, by passing it on to somebody else.” And in this way we build up a scapegoat in whom we invest all the evil of the world. Applying Merton’s analysis to the national psyche which he also did to the Cold War and the contest between the capitalist and the communist world, one sees the projection of one’s own
The Nonviolent Life by John Dear by Joyce Rothermel This past November the Thomas Merton Center’s School of the America’s Watch chapter hosted a group of fifteen in its annual trek to Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia. In addition to the activities at the gate of the Fort, workshops are held in the nearby Convention Center by the National SOAW. I attended one led by John Dear, SJ on the topic of The Nonviolent Life based on his most recent book by the same title that had just been released. Fr. Dear, a Jesuit priest, has organized and participated in nonviolent campaigns for over three decades and been arrested over 75 times in acts of civil disobedience against war and injustice. During that time he spent nearly a year of his life imprisoned for peace. Archbishop Desmond Tutu nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Fr. Dear
14 - NEWPEOPLE
is currently on the staff of Pace e Bene (Peace and Goodness). The Nonviolent Life is the latest of several books written by Fr. Dear. In it, he describes the growing culture of permanent war in the United States. It is a part of what he tells is “a world of total violence –with 30 wars, a billion people starving, 3 billion people living in poverty, 20,000 nuclear weapons on alert, corporate greed decimating the world’s poor, and catastrophic climate change threatening us all.” He challenges those who think there is nothing that can be done about it. Fr. Dear calls for a global grassroots movement of nonviolence: “the only alternative in the face of our committed violence, global illness and common insanity.” In this little book, he puts forth a simple vision of nonviolence that each of us can aspire to. He explores three dimensions in the three sections of the
national guilt and sins on to the other side. Instead of accepting the guilt and sins of capitalist society, they were projected onto the Soviet Union, China and the socialist world generally. Today, we have slipped into the same old game by projecting onto the Islamic world our evils and sins. Since 9/11 there has been an apparent inability to come to terms with the fact that this terrible crime and tragedy was the result of the degradation, humiliation and exploitation of the Muslim world by the West. On the day on which I write this article (December 7, 2013) the Pittsburgh PostGazette carried three articles on World War II, celebrating a survivor of the USS Utah at Pearl Harbor, a machinist who helped build the atom bomb and a new
monument on Pittsburgh’s North Shore to celebrate that war. Is it any wonder that so many people have a favorable opinion of war and think that we owe our freedom and way of life to war. No critical analysis whatsoever is given to the deadly evil of all war, including World War II. In the face of misinformation and obfuscation of the roots and nature of war, we so need the wisdom and insights of Thomas Merton. Thomas Merton, “Presente.” You are remembered and still calling us to build a world without war. Michael Drohan is a member of the board and co-chair of the editorial collective.
all occasions and the
With this special New Year’s offer, shipping will be included in the cost of the CD. You can also purchase digital albums on iTunes.
books: the practice of nonviolence toward ourselves; toward all others (all creatures and creations), and active nonviolence by joining the global grassroots movement of non violence. The book includes questions for personal reflection and small group discussion. A challenging one is: How can you integrate the three dimensions of nonviolence more fully into your life – practicing nonviolence toward yourself and all others as well as joining the global grassroots movement of nonviolence? In the book’s introduction, Fr. Dear invites all of his readers to use the book slowly for prayer and meditation “to help yourself deepen our own personal journey of
nonviolence and your own involvement in the public work of peace and justice.” Then, he suggests we order bulk copies of the book, give it away to others who may start living the nonviolent life in hopes that a new world of nonviolence may one day become a reality. Fr. Dear will be on a tour with this new book from February through May of this year. To order copies of the book, visit:www.paceebene.org. If you are interested in helping to bring the book tour to Pittsburgh, call me at 412-7805118. Joyce Rothermel is a board member of the Thomas Merton Center and a member of the Editorial Collective.
Thomas Merton Center Community TMC Board News:
comprehensive services while searching for a Dorothy Day such as pediatrics and House when she first came to Pittsburgh the service of a midwife in 1979, meeting Joni Rabinowitz, who for prenatal care were was working on the Committee Against offered there. Registration and the Draft (CARD), and For three years, Theresa worked with Ginny Hildebrand, a member of a local the March of Dimes on the Pittsburgh NOW Chapter. She is now a Prematurity Cornerstone Sustainer to the Prevention Project center and credits her father providing whom she greatly admires for neighborhood-based inspiring her own generosity. grassroots education It is Theresa’s first time to and from there moved serve on the Merton Center onto Bethlehem Board. Her commitment to Haven where she civil rights led her to served homeless encourage the Center to help women. in sponsoring buses to the Theresa’s travels 50th anniversary of the 1963 have taken her on a March on Washington this civil rights tour past August. Theresa has a through the South in Theresa Chalich—Photo by primary interest in www.blacktie-pittsburgh.com economic justice, one of 2007 and a summer in Zambia where she the four focus areas of the worked in an HIV Aids clinic. Neither of Center. She hopes her leadership on the these experiences was chosen for leisure board will help the Center become better but are a part of the fabric of Theresa’s known throughout the region. meaningful life! In addition to her activism, Theresa More recently Theresa has served as a has great interest in gardening, hiking, case manager in a HUD Housing reading, and films. She is a resident of Program administered by East End Squirrel Hill. Cooperative Ministries. She is just beginning a nursing position at the Joyce Rothermel is vice president of the Allegheny County Jail. board of the Thomas Merton Center. Theresa found the Merton Center
Theresa Chalich Begins Three-Year Term by Joyce Rothermel Theresa Chalich will begin her service on the board of the Thomas Merton Center at the Center’s annual board retreat this month. While new in this role, Theresa is a veteran in the work for peace and social justice. She was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the eldest daughter in a family of six children of a steelworker at Bethlehem Steel and a homemaker. When attending Bishop McCort High School, Theresa took an early interest in political science. As a part of the School Forensic Group, she took up oratory and spoke on the topic of “Why is there a Jim Crow South?” in competitions around the country. From there she was propelled into the social justice movement. Theresa received her training at Mercy Hospital’s School of Nursing in Johnstown, where she was an advocate for universal health care. Her first nursing experience was in Washington, D.C. There she became a part of the medical human rights committee for the anti-Vietnam War movement and worked in the Red Cross vans at demonstrations against the war.
Continuing her education, Theresa attended Boston University, where she obtained an undergraduate degree in education with a minor in psychology. There she began her involvement in the women’s movement. She then returned to western Pennsylvania and worked at the VA Hospital in psychiatric nursing for ten years. During that time, Theresa joined the Health Care Committee of the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee and met many people without health care. At the time of the mill closings, she joined with others to found the Rainbow Kitchen in Homestead. In the late 1980’s Theresa earned a Masters degree in Public Health. For her thesis, she did household surveys in Homestead. This led her to a run for a Pennsylvania House seat in 1990. When she did not win that election, she focused her energies on the founding of the Rainbow Clinic on Eighth Avenue down the street from the Rainbow Kitchen. There she made free primary health care available to the community. In 1996, the clinic evolved into the Steel Valley Health Center on West Street under the primary health care system. More
In Memoriam: U.S. Congressman Bill Coyne 1936-2013 Although Representative Bill Coyne retired in 2002, in his public life he left behind a great legacy that is still accomplishing much good in our world. We at the Thomas Merton Center remember his positions and actions for peace over his 22 years in Congress, especially in opposition to the war in Iraq. On the domestic agenda we remain grateful for the leadership he gave in expanding the earned income tax credit for struggling workers and their families, work on job creation, and reclamation of the brownfield land of our former steel mills. His stated goal in Congress had been improving “the lot of working-class folks.” Remembered by many is his record for constituent service which was ranked as one of the best among his colleagues.
At a rally to protest President Bush's push for war against Iraq, Coyne greets Celeste Banks of Wilkinsburg outside the Federal Building on Grant Street, Downtown. Also attending the rally was Edith Bell, right, of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Photo by Martha Rial, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Do You Have a Will? A Good Way to Begin a New Year by Joyce Rothermel Last year the Thomas Merton Center launched The Molly Rush Legacy Fund. The Legacy Fund honors the work of Molly Rush by providing financial support for the Thomas Merton Center through planned giving. Many of our members have told us that they have already made the Legacy Fund part of their wills and estate planning. “Thank You!” Now, we are reaching out to you and asking that you make us part of your New Year’s Resolution. If you don’t have a will or if you are planning on updating your will, please consider putting this on your to-do list for 2014 and include the Legacy Fund as part of your estate planning. A simple will and a careful, well-considered estate plan can bring peace of mind and provide your loved ones with clear and thoughtful directions. To help you consider if you need to make or revise a will, here are a few Q & A’s: Q: Who needs a will? A: Anyone who owns real or personal property and cares about the eventual distribution. Q: What if I already have a will? A: Your will should be reviewed periodically. A will does not give anyone any rights until you have passed away. It is important to update your will to reflect changes in your life such as marital status, births, deaths, financial changes and your personal goals. Tax law changes may also prompt a review of your plans. Q. Does a will cover all of my assets? A: Not always. Assets that have named beneficiaries such as retirement accounts and insurance policies will pass directly to those named beneficiaries bypassing the directions in a will. It is important to consult with an attorney to discuss the nature of each asset in your estate. Q: How much does a will cost? A: The costs normally depend on the amount of planning. The fees associated with drafting or updating a simple will can be quite reasonable. (Two of our TMC friends are available to help at reasonable costs/ sliding scale. See the end of this article for their names and contact information.) Q: What is the best way to make a charitable gift to the Thomas Merton Center as part of my will? A: There are a number of ways to include the Thomas
Merton Center in your will. Specific Charitable Bequest: A specific bequest is where you designate a defined dollar amount or a percentage of your estate to one or more charities. Residuary Charitable Bequest: A residuary bequest is a bequest that is accomplished from the remainder of your estate after all other gifts to loved ones have been fulfilled. As part of our New Year’s Resolution Campaign, two friends of the Merton Center have agreed to provide their services on a sliding scale during the months of January and February to anyone who mentions our campaign. Virginia I. Cook, 103 Maple Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15218 (412)247-1012 Sam Hens-Greco, Cole and Hens-Greco, 429 Fourth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, (412)3910800 Please watch for follow up articles on the Molly Rush Legacy Fund in upcoming issues of The New People. Joyce Rothermel is chair of the Membership Committee of the Thomas Merton Center.
Help Build TMC’s Thrive-ability Index! Make a donation to TMC! To donate through your Amazon.com account. HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT: Go to thomasmertoncenter.org/donate. Look for the Donate via Amazon link located near the top of the page. Simply follow the directions on the website to complete the Amazon donation. Another way you can help TMC... Donate gently used clothes, furniture and other household items to Thrifty! Funds raised at the store support core operating costs at the Center. Or...consider giving a gift Thomas Merton Center membership to a friend so that they can receive The New People and help build a more peaceful and just world by joining with the many organizing opportunities that we publicize within our organization.
January 2014 NEWPEOPLE - 15
January Activism in Pittsburgh Sunday
Soldiers Painting Peace —Banksy Veterans for Peace: See “Please Don’t Thank Me for My Service,” page 6
Transmisogyny in Queer Communities 3—5 pm at Assemble, 5125 Penn Avenue, Garfield 15224 (right next to TMC)
Jan 6, 1974: In response to the 1973 oil crisis, United States daylight savings time ends nearly four months early.
New Year’s Day
Larimer Consensus Group Meeting 6—8 pm at the Kingsley Association, 6435 Frankstown Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206
First Friday Action (Mon Valley Unemployed Committee) 1:30—3 pm Post Office, Grant and 7th Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh
January 4-11: PA Farm Show, Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg. Call Kenneth Miller 412-512-1709 to attend.
Health Care 4 All PA Meeting 7:30pm at 2101 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill
Sundays: Book’Em: Books to Prisoners Project First three Sundays of the month at TMC Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Anti-War Committee 1st Sunday at 1:30 pm at TMC, 5129 Penn Ave., Garfield, PA 15224 Women In Black Monthly Peace Vigil 2nd Sunday 10 to 11 am, Ginger Hill Unitarian Universalist Church, Slippery Rock Industrial Workers of the World Meeting 2nd Sunday 5:30 - 7 pm, Ritter's Diner, 5221 Baum Boulevard, Pittsburgh Anti-Drone Warfare Coalition 3rd Sunday at 1:30 pm at TMC
Film Screening: Fabulous: The Story of Queer Cinema, 7-9pm at The Big Idea Bookstore, 4812 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield, 15224
Association of Pittsburgh Priests 2nd Monday, 7—9 pm, Epiphany Administration Center, Uptown
Tuesdays: International Socialist Organization Every Tuesday, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Thomas Merton Center Women of Men Incarcerated Network 2nd Tuesday, 7:30-8:30pm, St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 18 Schubert St., North Side
Sand Mandala for Peace made by Pittsburgh Tibetan Center 11am—12pm Spinning Plate Gallery, 5720 Friendship Ave. at Baum, East Liberty
Amnesty International Pittsburgh 7—8:30pm Unitarian Church at Morewood & Ellsworth, Oakland
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration: The Dream 12—3pm St. Paul’s Cathedral, N. Dithridge St., Pittsburgh
14th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast 8:30-10:30 am North Hills School District, 9000 Babcock Blvd, Pittsburgh
26 Outrageous Bingo 6:30 pm Rodef Shalom 4905 Fifth Ave Pgh., 15213 $15 online glccpgh.org
International Day of Holocaust Remembrance Jan 27, 1945: Soviets liberate AuschwitzBirkenau camp
Health Committee for People with Disabilities 3—4:30 pm at CLASS, 4638 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Disability Resource Breakfast: Healthcare 8:30—9:30 am Volunteers of America PA 1650 Main St., 15215 FREE. RSVP: 412.782.5344 x 209
TMC Membership Meeting 12 pm at the Thomas Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue, Garfield, PA 15224
East End Community Thrift Store is Open every Saturday from Noon to 4:00! Save on all your clothing costs and donate to a good cause at the same time!
Urban Green Growth Collaborative 5:30-8 pm Kingsley Ass. For more info contact Juan castellanos@kings leyassociation.org.
Film Screening: Afghanistan: Life in the Shadow of War 7—8:30 pm Friends Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Ave, Oakland
Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards and Celebration 2014 5:30-8:30 pm New Hazlett Theater 6 Allegheny Square 15212
Summit Against Racism 8 am—3pm East Liberty Presbyterian Church, 116 S. Highland Ave.
Lighting, Furniture, & the New Energy Office Luncheon 11:30—1 pm Green Building Alliance, 33 Terminal Way, Ste. 331, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Subscribe to The New People by becoming a member of the Thomas Merton Center today! As a member, The New People newspaper
Project Evolution Homeless Children Benefit 10:30—11:30 am
“Violence is essentially wordless, and it can begin only Thomas where thought Merton’s 99th and rational Birthday communication have broken down.”
—Thomas Merton (1915-1968)
Mail this form and membership donation to: Thomas Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15224
_____ Check here if this is a gift membership
will be mailed to your home or sent to your email account. You will also receive weekly e- Select your membership level: __$15 Low Income Membership blasts focusing on peace and justice events in __$15 Youth / Student Membership Pittsburgh, and special invitations to mem__$50 Individual Membership bership activities. Now is the time to stand for __$100 Family Membership peace and justice! __$500+ Cornerstone Sustainer Membership Join online at www.thomasmertoncenter.org/join__Donation $____________________________ donate or fill out this form, cut out, and mail in. 16 - NEWPEOPLE
Human Rights Coalition: Fed-Up! Every Wednesday at 7p, Write letters for prisoner’s rights at the Thomas Merton Center Darfur Coalition Meeting 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, 7-9 pm, 2121 Murray Ave., 2nd Floor, Squirrel Hill. 412-784-0256
Thursdays: GlobalPittsburgh Happy Hour 1st Thursday, 5:30 to 8 pm, Luke Wholey's Grille, 2106 Penn Ave, Strip District Green Party Meeting 1st Thursday, 7 to 9 pm, 2121 Murray, 2nd floor, Squirrel Hill Black Political Empowerment Project 2nd Thursday, 6 pm: Planning Council Meeting, Hill House, Conference Room B TMC Potlucks! Are on occasional Thursday evenings. Interested in having one on an issue that’s important to you? Contact: email@example.com
Fridays: Hill District Consensus Group 2nd Friday, 10 am — 12 pm, Elsie Hillman Auditorium, Kaufmann Center 1825 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 Amnesty International #39 2nd Friday, 7—9 pm First Unitarian Church, Morewood Ave. 15219
Saturdays: Black Voices for Peace Vigil to End War, Every Saturday, 1—2 p.m., Penn Ave. and Highland Ave.,East Liberty Citizens for Peace Vigil Every Saturday, noon to 1 p.m., Forbes Ave. and Braddock Ave. Project to End Human Trafficking 2nd Saturday, Carlow University, Antonian Rm #502 Fight for Lifers West 3rd Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12:30 pm, Thomas Merton Center
Or Become an Organizational Member:
__$75 Organization (below 25 members) __$125 Organization (above 25 members) Name(s):________________________________ Organization (if any):______________________________ Address:________________________________ City: ___________________ State: _________ Zip Code:_______________________________ Home Phone:____________________________ Cell Phone: _____________________________ Email:__________________________________
Published on Dec 31, 2013