Mid-Missouri

Peaceworks

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Below is our most recent membership letter, sent out in March 2017. We recommend that you view this as a PDF, which will provide an easier read, particularly if you download it as a PDF. This just takes a click on the File tab and a click on download (with the arrow). 

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MID-MISSOURI PEACEWORKS
Citizen Action for Peace & the Environment
804-C E. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201 573/875-0539 
www.midmopeaceworks.org 
mail@midmopeaceworks.org
 

March 1, 2017
 
Dear Friend of Peaceworks,
 
Were you present for the Solidarity March and Rally on January 21? Good chance you were, as more than 3,600 people from throughout mid-Missouri turned out that day to say “Yes!” to the common good—to equality, justice, climate sanity, peace and more—while saying an unequivocal “No!” to the retrograde Trump Agenda.
 
While there were 24 organizations that co-sponsored the March, we are proud to say that it was Peaceworks that initiated bringing these groups together, starting the process in mid-November, just a few days after the election. And we remain committed to developing the Solidarity Network to allow collaborative responses to the outrages we encounter now on a daily basis.
 
To say that these are unusual times is clearly an understatement. And to say we have all the answers to address our dilemma would be more than an exaggeration. This said, we do have some insights as to what needs to be done and, with your support, we aim to move forward.
 
As always, we can’t help but address the symptoms. In this case it means standing up to and opposing the immediate threats posed by Trump’s corporate state. But, as always, we look to the root causes and seek to address these, as well.
 
Many of the problems—from permanent war to rising inequality, from the Climate Crisis to profound alienation and disempowerment of much of the population—were with us long before the last election, and needed to be addressed no matter who won. Of course, Trump’s rise has exacerbated all of these and raised a whole new set of pressing concerns.
 
The New Environment
 
As we all know, the change in administrations has progressives doing damage control and fighting rearguard actions on multiple fronts, simultaneously. For Peaceworks, this has meant some reconsideration of priorities. Not knowing what or who the administration will go after next, we must throw in a caveat that unfolding events may dictate our focus. We will, of course, continue to resist the normalization of the Trump administration and to challenge the lies coming out of Washington daily. Beyond this, here’s an overview of our unfolding efforts:
 
War & Peace: We have always been a peace organization and we remain committed to ending the wars, moving beyond militarism and addressing the threat of nuclear weapons. Trump’s inconsistent approach to foreign policy and his frighteningly cavalier attitude toward the use of nuclear weapons should make us all nervous. His call for ramping up military spending is unjustifiable and we will oppose this. We continue to demonstrate for—and educate for—peace and a peace economy. Beyond this, we are paying attention and will respond as needed, especially to efforts to escalate U.S. involvement in Syria, Iraq or other hot spots.
 
The Climate Crisis: For the past several years addressing the climate has been a primary focus of our work. It remains so. We recognize that, with Pruitt heading the EPA and Tillerson the State Dept., there will be pushback against the minimal progress made under Obama. We will be scrambling to develop and demonstrate enough public support to halt efforts to kill the EPA Clean Power Plan and the Paris Climate Accord. We are doing this through local outreach and public demonstrations of our concern, while coordinating our effort with national groups.
 
Locally, we continue to work closely with several allied groups in the community and on campus. Many of our campaigns are collaborative. We are currently coordinating a letter-writing campaign focused on Congress (see our website for details), and we’re working with our allies on a March 10 City Council Candidate forum. We are co-sponsoring the national People’s Climate Movement March on Washington, coming up April 29. We are also organizing a local climate rally on that same date for those who can’t make the trek to DC. We are also revamping our speakers bureau and aiming to reach out to many area groups this year.
 
Loving and Supporting All Our Neighbors: The new political climate is one of intense scapegoating. Muslims, undocumented people, LBGT people, people of color and women generally are all in the administration’s crosshairs. Peaceworks has been, and will continue, rising to the occasion to stand with and support all our neighbors. We have demonstrated weekly against the Muslim travel ban, deportations that divide families and the ridiculous border wall.
 
The rise of Donald Trump, who came to power via a xenophobic, racist campaign, has been accompanied by a major uptick in hate group activity. Mosque burnings, anti-Semitic cemetery desecrations, violence against those who are somehow “different,” including our transgendered sisters and brothers, all are unacceptable. We must hold the administration accountable for creating a political climate in which such acts are becoming commonplace.
 
Standing for Economic Justice: Peaceworks also joins progressive allies in defending programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which tens of millions of us depend on. We also oppose repeal of the ACA unless it is to be replaced by a Medicare-for-All program, along the lines of the Canadian system, which would cover everyone and save billions in the process.
 
We also oppose so-called “tax reform” that would cut taxes primarily for the wealthy and transnational corporations. We support raising the minimum wage and oppose deep cuts in the domestic federal budget for programs including education, housing and mass transit that impact the lives of tens of millions, particularly the less well heeled. We will continue to speak out on these concerns regularly.
 
Taking the Message to Our Elected Officials: We also are regularly calling upon our elected officials to, at the very least, listen to and consider our concerns. Of course, we are urging them to join us in standing against the pernicious actions of Trump, Bannon and company.
 
We were outraged just a little more than a week ago when we learned that Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who refuses to hold town halls or other face-to-face listening sessions with constituents, had time in her schedule to speak at a pay-to-play Chamber of Commerce event where the public was barred from attending. On short notice Peaceworks got the word out. Nearly 100 of us turned out on a workday to demonstrate outside the Stoney Creek Inn. Hartzler, and the community at large, heard loud and clear that we won’t accept being ignored.
 
Sustainability Education is Still Important: Peaceworks has, for decades, been a leader in sustainability education. We’ve played a leading role in organizing the annual Columbia Area Earth Day Festival since 1990 and are doing so again this year, with the Festival slated to be held on Sunday, April 23. We are currently evaluating whether or not we have the people-power to put on other events, including our annual Sustainable Living Fair, Edible Columbia Garden Tour and various other informational programs, at the same time that we are significantly expanding our other advocacy work.
 
Your Role in Our Work
 
Grassroots movements are, in their essence, participatory. Peaceworks has, since our founding as a Nuclear Weapons Freeze group in 1982, been an exemplar of engaged activism. We take citizenship seriously and understand that our ability to influence the unfolding events depends upon our members and supporters. For this reason, we have been calling out for you to get involved and are heartened by the efforts of those who’ve responded. We hope that if you are on our e-mail list you are reading our posts and participating as you can. If you’re not on that list, we encourage you to sign up for our twice-monthly updates.
 
Beyond coming out and speaking out, we depend on you for your financial support. We hope you will give this year as generously as you can and consider becoming a sustaining member, donating $10, $15, $20 or more each month on a debit or credit card. Such support has become increasingly important in funding our work.
 
Alternatively, if a one-time donation works best for you, we hope you’ll consider becoming part of Peaceworks’ Peace Core. These are donors who contribute $100 or more each year. Larger contributions make a big difference in our constant struggle to meet our budget, so if you value our work and can give $200, $300, $500 or $1,000, please know this will be most appreciated. We, of course, welcome your support at whatever level works for you. And at whatever level you give, your contribution is tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
 
We thank you, in advance, for what support and participation you can provide. Despite how bleak our situation seems, together we will rise to the occasion and turn things around. Stay hopeful and, as Gandhi supposedly said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
 
Sincerely,
Kim Dill 
Peace Nook Coordinator

Mark Haim
Director 

Laura Wacker
Sustainability Education Coordinator