Meeting Notes for People for Peace, Justice, and Healing
People for Peace, Justice and Healing met on June 4, 2005, at Associated Ministries.
Present for check-in: Louisa, Mark, Sallie S., Sally M., Vivi, Kyle, Sheila, Sol; Laura arrived later.
MOVEON ADS: Vivi
Vivi described MoveOn ads currently running on the radio, urging Dave Reichart (R-WA 8) to end his support for House Majority leader Tom Delay (R-TX 22). [For more on this subject, see here.]
COUNTER-RECRUITMENT: Sallie S.
Legal leafleting is planned at area high schools in the next two weeks; contact Sallie S. to sign up to help. Information about the delayed entry program will be distributed (that 17-year-olds who enlist can still opt out up to the point that they set foot in boot camp).
SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES [.pdf file]: Sol
At Gonzaga University in Spokane last weekend, May 28-30, there was a meeting of Quakers from both programmed and unprogrammed meetings. Particularly inspiring was a workshop with Matt Chandler, a young man whose reading of the Bible led him to join Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq. Also, a workshop with Leah Green, founder and director of the Compassionate Listening Project, on “Compassionate Listening: Healing Our World from the Inside Out.”
“BEYOND OPPOSITES,” ISRAEL/PALESTINE SERIES IN TACOMA: Sheila
On Wednesday, Jun. 1, the series organized by Linda Frank at the request of Frances Lorenz of the Center for Spiritual Living,206 N. "J" St., Tacoma. Ed Mast and Linda Bevis made the introductory presentation. See here for the other “Beyond Opposites” events.
EARTH CHARTER: Sheila
Space has been reserved for the Oct. 8 Earth Charter Community Summit at Tacoma Community College, but since it’s a non-sponsored event a fee is to be charged. Negotiations and planning continue.
SUSTAINABLE PIERCE COUNTY: Sallie S.
Next Thursday, June 9, at 7:00 p.m. Penny Rowe is convening the initial meeting of "Sustainable Pierce County" at First United Methodist Church in Tacoma, First United Methodist Church, 423 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma. This initial meeting will canvas possibilities for the new organization and explore the meanings of “sustainable.” More information available from Penny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTER TO THE TACOMA CITY COUNCIL: Sallie S.
The group endorsed and signed a letter to the Tacoma City Council on the citizen oversight proposal developed by the Police Accountability Work Group, urging its passage and responding to objections raised by Thomas Orr in a report requested by Councilmember Mile Lonergan. Text appended below.
CONVERSATION CAFE: Mark
Question for June 7: Is racism or classism a greater problem for America? The Conversation Café is held on Tuesday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Cafe, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma. All are welcome; no charge.
“POWER OF NIGHTMARES”: Mark
The group watched the first ten minutes of the first of the three one-hour documentary films that make up The Power of Nightmares, the 2004 BBC documentary by Adam Curtis on how in the latter half of the 20th century politicians turned to the politics of fear as a means of maintaining legitimacy and power, in many cases by exaggerating or manufacturing the fears. The film traces the histories of neoconservatism and radical Islamism, and draws parallels. Agreed that it would be good to show publicly at some future date.
BRAINSTORMING ON HOW TO REACH THE AMERICAN PUBLIC: Louisa
Ideas for flyers discussed, like “fighting for freedom,” a media quiz, questioning what pro-life values really are. Discussion of strategies of persuasion. To be continued.
ANTI-CAFTA RALLY THURSDAY AT NORM DICK’S OFFICE: Mark
On Thursday, Jun. 9, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. there will be a rally outside the Federal Building in Tacoma (1717 Pacific Ave.) to call on Norm Dicks to vote “No” on CAFTA and “end his intention to support Bush’s bad trade deal -- CAFTA will hurt workers here and abroad and also undermine local environmental regulations” (quoting from the America in Solidarity/USW flyer). After the rally there will be a 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. forum. Also: call Norm Dicks to express your opposition (253-593-6536).
PROGRESSIVE ROUNDTABLE: Laura
Meets next on Friday morning, Jun. 24, at 7:00 a.m., at Shakbrah Java, 2618 6th Ave., Tacoma. All who are active locally in progressive groups are welcome. At that meeting there will be a proposal for a 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning on Aug. 13.
SERIES ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE in Tacoma: Mark
Linda Frank’s series on Israeli/Palestinian conflict called “Beyond Opposites” continues this week at the Center for Spiritual Living at 206 N. "J" St., Tacoma. -- Events this week: -- Part 2: Wed., Jun. 8, 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. An introduction to understanding the news about Israel and the Palestinians, and a behind-the-scenes look at what life is really like presently in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with Judith Kolokoff, a former regional director with AFSC (American Friends Service Committee), just back from the Middle East, who is one of the more than 10,000 Jewish Americans and others working with Jewish Voice for Peace for an end to the Israeli Occupation. -- Part 3: Fri., Jun. 10, 6:45 p.m.-8:45 p.m. "Rachel: An American Conscience," a riveting film that will help viewers understand what Rachel Corrie was doing in Gaza when she was killed by an Israeli military bulldozer. The film provides some good insight into Palestinian life under Israeli occupation and serves as a useful introduction to the nonviolent resistance of Palestinians and the International Solidarity Movement to the Israeli occupation. -- On the afternoon of Sunday, Jun. 19, will feature the parents of Rachel Corrie and the Nasrallahs, whose house Rachel Corrie was defending when she was killed on Mar. 16, 2003; and a two-day workshop with Deidre Combs on personal conflict resolution is planned for Jun. 17-18. -- See here for a full listing of events and details, or contact Linda Frank at 253-537-1405.
WWFOR CONFERENCE, SEABECK, WA, JULY 1-4: Vivi
“Nonviolent Resistance,” Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation’s 47th Annual Conference, will be held at Seabeck, WA, July 1-4, 2005. Featuring as keynote speakers national FOR "Fellowship" magazine interim editor Rabia Terri Harris and Seattle activist Rich Lang. Space still available. More information available here.
DANCE FOR PEACE: Mark
Marks the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture -- Daisy Jo Compton, with SOUL MOTION, Sunday, June 26, 2005, 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m., at Rhythms, 3901 S. 56th St., Tacoma, WA (NW corner of S. Proctor and S. 56th).
People for Peace Justice & Healing
c/o Shawl – 1224 South I Street
Tacoma, WA 98405
June 4, 2005
Dear Tacoma City Council members:
This letter concerns the proposal you have before you regarding citizen oversight of the Tacoma Police Department. Our group, People for Peace, Justice, and Healing, has been in existence since 2001, focusing its efforts on local actions. We believe that the proposal developed by the Police Accountability Work Group (PAWG) is well reasoned, adequately researched, and deserves passage by the Council.
Recently we became aware of the letter authored by Thomas Orr at the request of Mr. Lonergan and its criticisms of the proposal cited above. Several of our members have taken time to review the specific alleged inadequacies noted by Mr. Orr, and we believe that these issues should be addressed prior to your final review.
1. The issue of need for oversight has been questioned. Tacoma Human Rights Commission files describe many instances of perceived ill treatment at the hands of the police. In 2002 the City sponsored a number of community forums concerning racial profiling and, during these meetings, it became clear that a problem or perceived problem exists throughout the minority population groups in Tacoma. A report of these findings was published in 2003 and was instrumental in the PAWG deliberations.
Neither the proposal nor this letter attempts to specify the factual existence of discriminatory behavior on the part of the Police Department or its employees. However, there is ample evidence in various local records that a fairly widespread perception of discrimination exists. The establishment of the proposed Citizen Oversight procedures would address this directly.
2. It was suggested that the proposal was inadequate because of limited research employed in its development. The PAWG conducted a broad and intensive search of relevant literature and a review of similar attempts and successes in more than 20 other cities roughly comparable in population to Tacoma. Part of the review consisted of an analysis of the history of failed efforts in our own city to establish some citizen involvement in police matters…efforts extending over 20 years.
3. Mr. Orr states that the intended goal of Citizen Oversight has not been adequately defined. From the beginning of the PAWG discussions, the goal was recognized by all members -- to improve communications between the community at large and the Tacoma Police Department. We believe that the image of the department and its internal policies suffered significantly with the Brame tragedy and the many negative revelations that have ensued in recent years. While we recognize that the Tacoma Police Department has taken some steps throughout the years to increase citizen involvement, with such efforts as the excellent Citizens Academy, much remains to be done. Only through a new approach to cooperation can this damage be repaired, restoring public trust and confidence in the Department to acceptable levels.
We are well aware that citizen review boards and procedures have not worked satisfactorily in all cities in which they have been implemented. The PAWG review indicated that cities must match local procedures to local circumstances and that no one model fits all. The proposal being presented to you is a hybrid, with elements of several successful programs, designed to fit the specific needs of Tacoma.
Certainly, the resistance of the Police Department to change is understandable, and their concerns about relinquishing some autonomy are to be expected. However, the City’s at least partial inattention to internal policies and procedures over the years resulted in some of the problems that now exist. We believe that the proposal is a very positive response to a longstanding deficiency and should be implemented in the very near future.
Laura Mill Karlin