What is Environmental Justice?

Why social justice is an environmental issue too.

Elizabeth Siftar sent a link to this video. As she noted, “While simple, it is powerful and speaks directly to the issues we are dealing with.” Social justice activists have a word for the close relationships between various social ills: “intersectionality.” It means that at their core, many of our problems—racism, poverty, failing education, mass incarceration, and environmental degradation—can be traced to related structural issues.

Responding to Islamophobia

In the current political climate, Islamophobia has reared its ugly head worse than ever.

The Movement for a Culture of Peace (MCP) and Delaware Council on Global and Muslim Affairs are working together to present a program that addresses this serious problem.

On Jan. 31, you can learn how to respond in support of our Muslim neighbors.

You’ll hear what we can do to work together to build a culture of peace by spreading an understanding of Islam and by standing up against Islamophobia.Islam.Poster_web_ 96dpi

If you have questions about this program or would like to volunteer for the Movement for a Culture of Peace, call (302) 656-2721 or email Delaware Pacem in Terris at info@paceminterris.org.

A Moral Movement

The “Third Reconstruction”

Now that the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is behind us, it’s time to consider what’s next for justice-seeking people. Here’s an amazing argument for a moral movement, brought to us by Standing on the Side of Love, the North Carolina NAACP (creator of the Moral Mondays Movement), and the non-violent legacy of Dr. King.

Have you heard the term “Third Reconstruction?” The first was, of course, centered in the American South following the emancipation of slaves and the Civil War. The second,if you will, was the great civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. Whether there will be a Third Reconstruction is up to us. Learn more about it from the book by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove: The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement

Here’s a summary of what the book tells us:

America’s Third Reconstruction depends on a moral movement, deeply rooted in the South, emerging state by state throughout the nation. No single leader or organization can orchestrate such a movement, but we who have seen the power of fusion organizing in North Carolina in 2014 established an education center, Repairers of the Breach, to share the lessons of Moral Mondays and invest in equipping leaders for other state-based coalitions. In order to move forward together, we’ve outlined fourteen steps to mobilize in the streets, at the polls, and in the courtroom.

1. Engage in indigenously led grassroots organizing across the state. There is no end run around the relational work of building trust and empowering local people. Crises will bring out crowds and draw attention, but a sustained movement depends on local people who know one another and are committed to working together for the long haul. “Helicopter” leadership by “national leaders” will not sustain a moral movement. Equip and resource small groups of people who will meet regularly in their home communities to talk about the coalition’s concerns.

2. Use moral language to frame and critique public policy, regardless of who is in power. A moral movement claims higher ground in partisan debate by returning public discourse to our deepest moral and constitutional values. Any moral movement must study Scripture and sacred texts as well as state constitutions. We cannot allow so-called conservatives to hijack the powerful language of faith; neither can we let so-called liberals pretend that moral convictions are not at play in public policy debates. Every budget is a moral document—or it is an immoral one. We must reclaim moral language in the public square.

3. Demonstrate a commitment to civil disobedience that follows the steps of nonviolent action and is designed to change the public conversation and consciousness. A moral movement draws power not from its ability to overwhelm opposition but from its willingness to suffer. The Second Reconstruction brought large-scale nonviolent direct action to America through the Montgomery bus boycott. A Third Reconstruction depends upon escalating noncooperation in order to demonstrate our capacity to sacrifice for a better future.

4. Build a stage from which to lift the voices of everyday people impacted by immoral policies. A moral movement must put human faces on injustice and amplify the voice of the voiceless. We do not speak for those who can speak for themselves. We do not create a platform for politicians to speak for those who can speak for themselves. Directly affected people are the best moral witnesses. Our movement exists to let their voices be heard.

5. Recognize the centrality of race. America’s First and Second Reconstructions sought to heal the wound of race-based slavery, America’s original sin. Our Third Reconstruction must likewise be decidedly antiracist. Some will ask, Is the real issue today race or is it class? We answer: Yes, it’s race and class. Our class divisions cannot be understood apart from a society built on white supremacy. Our moral movement must be committed to the long-term work of racial equity.

6. Build a broad, diverse coalition including moral and religious leaders of all faiths. All faith traditions are not the same, but the common ground among faiths is a firm foundation upon which to stand against the divide-and-conquer strategies of extremists. We must be intentional about reaching out to marginalized groups in our states. Though they are a minority in this country, our Muslim sisters and brothers are essential to the Third Reconstruction.

7. Intentionally diversify the movement with the goal of winning unlikely allies. Often the groups most impacted by injustice have been convinced that they are enemies. Fusion politics is about helping those who have suffered injustice and have been divided by extremism to see what we have in common. We do this by bringing people together across dividing lines and helping them hear one another. We have no permanent enemies, only permanent issues, rooted in our deepest moral and constitutional values.

8. Build transformative, long-term coalition relationships rooted in a clear agenda that doesn’t measure success only by electoral outcomes. We must be clear: Fusion coalitions are not about simple transactions where I support your issue if you support mine. We must learn how our issues intersect in a comprehensive moral agenda that demands transformation of everyone—not least, of us.

9. Make a serious commitment to academic and empirical analysis of policy. Nothing is worse than being loud and wrong. Our coalitions must include activist scholars and we must commit ourselves to a serious consideration of data. Moral issues are not impractical. They can be translated into policy that is sustainable and that produces measurable positive outcomes.

10. Coordinate use of all forms of social media: video, text, Twitter, Facebook, and so forth. Mainstream media outlets are often unable to tell a story that doesn’t fit within the established narrative. We must tell our own story. Social media afford us multiple outlets for the consciousness-raising that movements have always depended upon. Use them all.

11. Engage in voter registration and education. The political power of fusion coalitions is based upon a diversified electorate that recognizes common interests. Extremists understand this. They have invested heavily in restricting voting rights and dividing potential allies. We must engage voters in each election, educating them about how candidates have voted or committed to vote on issues that are part of our shared moral agenda.

12. Pursue a strong legal strategy. A moral movement rooted in constitutional values needs a strong legal team and a commitment to mobilizing in the courtroom. The future we imagine and embody in the streets must be established in our statehouses and affirmed by our courts. We cannot neglect this key piece of our common life.

13. Engage the cultural arts. A moral movement is only as strong as the songs we sing together. Study the history of cultural arts in freedom movements and bring music, the spoken word, storytelling, and visual arts into your organizing. Make sure the images in your art and actions convey the same message you are proclaiming with words. Speak the truth, sing the truth, and use art to help people imagine the future they cannot yet see.

14. Resist the “one moment” mentality; we are building a movement! No one victory will usher in beloved community; no single setback can stop us. We are building up a new world, moving forward together toward freedom and justice for all.

To learn more about training for moral fusion organizing, visit the Repairers of the Breach website.

Friday: Interfaith Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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INTERFAITH CELEBRATION OF DR. KING
AND VEGETARIAN POTLUCK
Friday, January 15

Congregation Beth Emeth | 300 W. Lea Boulevard, Wilmington, DE 19802

5:30 p.m. — Appetizers

6:30 p.m.— Service

  • Celebration of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Musical offerings from the various houses of worship in the 9th Ward, and a selection from a massed choir.
  • Readings will include short pieces written by the youths of the congregation about what Dr. King’s dream would look like for them today in Wilmington

Vegetarian Potluck Dinner Following Services

Sponsors: Brandywine Community Methodist Church, Christ Our King Roman Catholic Church, Congregation Beth Emeth, Congregation Beth Shalom, Hanover Presbyterian Church, The Muslim Center Masjid Al-Kauthar, Peninsula-McCabe United Methodist Church, Shiloh Baptist Church, Spirit of Life Lutheran Church, The Ninth Ward, Interfaith Coalition of Delaware

Location
Congregation Beth Emeth
300 West Lea Blvd
Wilmington, DE 19802

For questions please contact:
loriannw@cbe.comcastbiz.net

302-764-2393

What to Do on MLK Day: Join the FirstU Love Unit

Celebrate Peace and Community

Hey, everyone! Looking for an opportunity to celebrate peace on Martin Luther King’s birthday? To walk in solidarity with residents of Wilmington’s vibrant West Side community?

cropped-r-heart.pngWest Side Grows Together, one of Wilmington’s most vibrant community groups, is sponsoring its 4th annual parade—and everyone’s invited.

Let’s create a First Unitarian LOVE UNIT to participate in the Peace Parade and Community Celebration behind our STANDING ON THE SIDE OF LOVE banner. Wear your SSL shirts too.

The parade will form outside St. Paul’s Church at 4th and Jackson. Arrive about 1:45 to form our group and find our place in the line of march. Once the parade begins, we’ll walk (with drum lines, positive message boards, and a spirit of celebration) to the Be Ready Church—where there will be food and music for all ages.

Peace Parade

Vanity Constance Sanders is a great young leader in the West Side community. We’ve worked with her group before through the Movement for a Culture of Peace and the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence. This is the 4th year of this parade and celebration.

Folks wishing to carpool to the city from First Unitarian should arrive at church between 1:00 and 1:15. Bring water and snacks for the kids—and strollers for the toddler set. Carpools will self-organize in the parking lot, and you can expect to return to FirstU by about 4:30.

Leave a comment on this site if you are coming. Look back often for further comments, instructions, and ideas about how to participate together.(Be sure you are subscribed to the Connector!) For more on West Side Grows and the parade, follow on Facebook

 

Movement for a Culture of Peace: Forum to Urge Action on Reports

This week, Movement for a Culture of Peace begins the new year with one of our most compelling forums to date. 

On Saturday, Jan. 9, we’ll look at two high-level reports received by Delaware and Wilmington officials in 2015 and ask what can be done to implement their recommendations. They are the Wilmington Public Safety Strategies Commission Report (April 2015) and the long-awaited report by the Centers for Disease Control (November 2015).
Secretary of Human and Social Services Rita Landgraf will preview her agency’s planned response to the CDC report. We will also hear from Daryl Chambers, a member of the Public Safety Strategies Commission, and two Wilmington state legislators, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry and Rep. Stephanie Bolden.
Our driving questions are: What still needs to be done to implement the high-level research and thinking that went into these important reports? What stands in the way? And what can the community do?
Saturday, Jan. 9
9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Hanover Presbyterian Church
1801 N. Jefferson St. (Corner 18th & Baynard Blve.)
Wilmington DE 19803
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