Working towards peace and sustainability

Choosing Inclusion, Peace and Justice—They Go Together.

As our name clearly implies, Peaceworks advocates for peaceful resolution to conflicts. But we understand this requires more than simply opposing war. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. informed us 60 years ago, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it’s the presence of justice.” Essential to Peaceworks’ mission is our work for social and economic justice and the creation of a Peace Economy that works for all.

Among many justice concerns, we are now prioritizing raising the banner of inclusion and the celebration of diversity as a response to the fear-mongering over Islam and terrorism. The near-panic we have seen, since the events late last year in Paris and San Bernardino, is a threat not only to Muslims in this country, who have been subjected to numerous hate crimes, but also to peace around the world and to our very democracy. These events are unfolding at the same time that those living in this country without documents are being threatened with expulsion, a move that appears to be based in thinly veiled racism. It’s time to speak out boldly to challenge the agendas of those who exploit fear and bigotry.

The xenophobic, anti-Muslim, anti-refugee/migrant nativism that is being employed by some in the current election cycle is nothing new in American politics. There have been similar reactions to Irish, Eastern and Southern European and East Asian immigrants dating back at least to 1850. 

Today, there is a well-developed anti-Muslim network of talk show hosts, Rightwing-funded “think tanks,” pressure groups and politicians who continuously gin up fear and loathing. Ditto the anti-immigrant networks. Most susceptible are those less educated who are already insecure in a perilous economy, one in which they’ve been losing ground for many years.
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On December 16 Peaceworks co-sponsored "A Community Dialogue of Respect and Compassion: Countering Islamophobia.” This event, held at the Columbia Public Library brought together approximately 85 members of the community for fellowship and solidarity as well as the enhancement of mutual understanding. It is our intention to do more work along these lines in the months ahead. We invite your participation.