December 2019 – Minutes

CLJP Minutes December 10, 2019

Monticello Room, Westminster Canterbury

Present: Taylor Beard, Burnie Davis, Jean Hammond, Bob McAdams, Ed Murray, John Peale, Carol Muntz, John Surr, Peter Weatherly, Yoshi Takahashi

Guests: Ove Osrumm, Gwynne Schultz, Bruce Hammond, Bob Murphy

Pete Weatherly opened with prayer

Ed Murray presided over the meeting.

The Minutes of the November meeting prepared by Peter Weatherly were approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Taylor Beard provided the summary of our current finances. We started November with a balance of $2,421.95, and after expenses of $110 for the honorarium to our last speaker; our ending balance is $2,311.95

ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Ed Murray read the note from Jane Kulow that our sponsorship to the Festival of the Book will help allow them to have Matthew Desmond speak as part of the festival. Due to scheduling conflict, his speech will not directly coincide with the Festival, but will be April 23rd.  The exact time and place will be announced later.

Program: Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice
Speaker: Bob McAdams

Presentation to the Clergy and Laity United for Justice and Peace about CCPJ
Part I – Going Back in Time – the History of the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice (CCPJ)

  •   In the packet there is a list of activities, which I will not read.  From that list you can see the wide range of programs on peace and justice issues.  CCPJ responded to events in many parts of the world and demonstrated on many issues to influence events.
  •   I enjoyed the Salons and then joined the committee that planned each Salon.  This led me to involvement with CCPJ’s general efforts.
  •   In March of 1979 my family and I lived within the twenty mile radius of Three Mile Island during the meltdown of TMI Unit II.  With the possibility of evacuating our new home hanging on the incompetence of the power plant operators, we along with many in Central Pennsylvania became outraged.  I joined the Anti-Nuclear Group Representing York (ANGRY) to learn everything I could about nuclear power.  A group of us  from ANGRY spoke to many local organizations about what we had learned.  One year later another danger came even closer to home.  A hazardous waste landfill was planned, approved and about to be started less than a mile from our home in an area where everyone depended on well water.  Everyone living in the area rose up in protest.  We formed an organization called Opposing Unnecessary Chemical Hazards (OUCH) and devoted our lives to stopping that landfill, which we did.
  • About the time the Peace Center was working in Charlottesville against nuclear weapons, I served on the Bishop’s Lay Task Force on Peace in the Nuclear Age in the Central Pennsylvania Synod of the Lutheran Church in America.  We also called for a freeze on the production of nuclear weapons and a binding commitment to No First Strike us of nuclear weapons.  In 1985 my family and I moved to central Virginia where I concentrated on a new job in Charlottesville and eventually became actively engaged in political and activist efforts.

Part II – CCPJ’s Cycle of Annual Events

  •   Each year current events called for special responses, but the annual events established connections with the community and with certain annual commemorations.
  • The letter recaps the year’s events from May of the prior year through April of the current year, provides notice of the Annual Meeting to take place in July, and requests donations.
  •   We invite representatives from eighty or more local, non-profit, activist organizations to our Annual Community Gathering.  Thirty-seven organizations participated in June of this year, each sharing the purpose and activities defining its work.  CCPJ’s Community Gathering gives activists busily working in their own silos a chance to meet and network with their counter-parts working in other silos.
  •   There we elect board members, a president and treasurer, and review the year’s financial report.  We try to include at least one youthful member on the board.
  • we commemorate the bombings of Hiroshima / Nagasaki on the Downtown Mall, with a large eight panel display of news stories, photographs, and posters depicting the effects of nuclear weapons.  CCPJ members also hand out flyers to those stopping to view the exhibit.  This annual commemoration brings us back to our founding efforts against nuclear weapons and nuclear war.
  • with programs that vary year to year.  This year we set up tables on the Downtown Mall for people, especially children, to make Peace Flags.  On 9/22 CCPJ co-sponsored the Interfaith March for Peace and Justice, an international event.  In September we also tabled at the Vegan Roots Fest, where we gave people free peace and non-violence centered buttons.
  • , which urges people to choose healthy, creative gifts for family, friends, and especially the children in their lives, and to avoid toys that show using weapons as the first choice to settle conflicts.  To spread this message CCPJ purchases airtime on 94.7 WPVC and on Z95 to play public service announcements during the holiday shopping season.   
  • in their lobbying efforts for sensible gun laws on Martin Luther King Day and participation in the Dogwood Festival Parade.

Part III – A Disturbing Question

As I look back on the many activities, demonstrations, marches, protests, rallies in which I have participated, a disturbing question comes to mind.  I think about the many efforts to promote the International Day of Peace on which I have worked.  In my research for this presentation, I came across thoughts I wrote in the early stages of our planning for the International Day of Peace effort in 2011. Let me read it to you. (see Addendum for text)

The flyer for one of the 2011 programs is in the packet.  We collected 428 visions of peace that year.  I joined Toastmasters after I asked that group to envision peace.  Our efforts for Peace Day continued each year.  In a 2016 speech to Toastmasters, I reviewed those efforts.  I will share part of that speech with you. (see Addendum for text)

After many years of effort what change has CCPJ or CLUJP made real?  Chip Tucker, a long-time member of CCPJ, and I talked about this question after our CCPJ meeting this past Sunday.  We wondered whether this question needs an approach as in the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  An angel lets the James Stewart character see the world that would have been without him.  How would our community be different if CCPJ had never existed, if no one had spoken out for peace and justice?  After our meeting Virginia Rovnyak, another long-time member, talked about why she has demonstrated for peace and justice every Thursday afternoon for more than twenty years.  Virginia said that if she did not speak out, people would think that she agreed with what was going on.

 A sign at the first Women’s March on Washington said: “Silence in the Face of Injustice is Complicity with the Oppressor”.  This is the key to it all.

Part IV – Visions for CCPJ’s FutureA

Currently CCPJ is collaborating with other groups on gun safety and especially on the climate crisis.  In fact I have included a bonus feature with this presentation, a little story titled “You Can, Too!”.

ADDENDUM:  Envision Peace  –  CCPJ March 2010

Not long ago I was listening to Joni Mitchell’s song “The Fiddle and the Drum”. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6z79WMOPtk)  This anti-war song asks why America has traded a fiddle for a drum, why America has traded peace and cooperation for enmity and war.  My thoughts went automatically to the lies and fear-mongering that led to the invasion and occupation of Iraq a little more than seven years ago.  I thought of the five thousand American soldiers who have lost their lives, of the tens of thousands wounded in body and mind, of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died because of this war.  Then I remembered that Joni Mitchell had written this song more than forty years ago and the war she had questioned was the Vietnam War.  A deep sadness came over me as I further realized that through all of my life America has been at war directly or by proxy or by living in fear of imminent mutually assured destruction.  All of my life the forces of fear, hatred, greed and cruelty have driven our people into a culture of endless war.  My sadness deepened with the thought that no matter how hard some of us have struggled against these forces, we are all immersed in this culture of endless war.  We all have been trapped in the cycles and expectations of fear and retribution, greed and poverty.  We have watched time after time as the threat of deadly force and the use of deadly force have generated the enmity that makes everyone less secure.  We have accepted as the only possible reality this vision of endless war, accepted it for so long that we are making fear, hatred, greed and cruelty our legacy to our children and grandchildren.  This need not be so.  We, the children of war, must challenge ourselves to change this legacy, to create a future different from our past.  We must challenge ourselves to trade enmity for peace.  To meet this challenge our very first effort must be to envision peace.  We must imagine what we have never known.  We, who have never seen our military at peace time levels or felt the impact of a peace time budget or had the resources to address full employment, health care, education, climate change, we must envision what would be gone and what we would have in an era of peace.  Envision peace.  This is the first step.  Envision peace, then make it so.  Robert S. McAdams

(From a speech titled : “Five Years Later – What has Changed?” presented 7/8/16 to the Vinegar Hill Toastmaster Club.)

In 2011 I was working, along with members of several civic organizations, on a project leading up to the International Day of Peace, September 21st.  For that project I asked many groups, including Toastmasters, to envision peace.  Along with others I asked people to capture that vision in words on 4 x 6 cards.  To create anything, you need to form the idea of whatever it is before you start.  We asked people to form an idea of what peace would be like.  To help them we suggested that they think back over the past 100 years and the unbelievable slaughter of human beings by human beings in World Wars, Cold Wars, undeclared wars, genocides, mass shootings, and grinding poverty.  We asked people whether we will repeat the same brutality in the coming 100 years?  If not, what vision of the future could be peaceful?  We tried in 2011 to create a pervasive peace consciousness in our community.

Recently I reviewed that effort – the 430 visions of peace we collected, the peace buttons, the proclamations from the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, the celebrations at noon at the Senior Center and in the evening at Burley Middle School.  I also reviewed our efforts in 2012 to invite people to affirm the Charter for Compassion and model peace through meditation and the Dances of Universal Peace.  In 2013 we celebrated 30 years of efforts by the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice to advance peace and justice.  In 2014 we worked to advance environmental justice as part of advancing peace.  In 2015 we held a panel discussion where members of our community could hear the stories of people who have worked to bridge the divides of enmity in the Middle East, Africa, and India. 
Now, after five years, I ask: what has changed?  Is there a pervasive peace consciousness in our community and beyond?  Are people guiding their lives by the Charter for Compassion?  What forces relentlessly push against peace?  Can we identify those forces?  Can we address them? 

The meeting adjourned at 2:10 pm

Respectfully Submitted,  

Pete Weatherly, Recording Secretary