Reordering Priorities – Connecting Issues
A Planning Conference for Long-Term Change
October 29th, 2011
Reordering our Society’s Priorities and Connecting our Peace and Justice Issues were the themes of the October 29, 2011, NC Peace Action/AFSC conference in Raleigh. Fifty attendees representing 8 Congressional districts shared what’s happening around the state on the Move the Money campaign, collaboration with HKonJ, the Occupy movement, and other social/economic justice issues. People traveled from Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro, Burlington, Pittsboro, and Chapel Hill, as well as from Durham and Raleigh. The conference opened with readings from inspirational figures.
Representatives of the Durham Peace Action organizing committee reported on their successful campaign “Bring the War Dollars Home/Fund Our Communities”. After getting 125 citizens to sign an invitation to elected local leaders, they held a Town Hall Meeting attended by 13 elected officials including Rep. David Price of the 4th district. An op-ed was printed in the Durham News section of the News & Observer, and cost of war resolutions have passed the Durham City Council and Durham County Commissioners.
In addition, 20 General Assembly representatives and senators sent a strongly worded letter to the NC’s 13 Congresspersons calling for an end to the wars and high levels of military spending and a reordering of priorities to fund community and human needs.
We honored our military allies and veterans who have spoken out for peace. NCPA Board members who are also with Veterans for Peace recognized people like Dwight D. Eisenhower, Col. Anne Wright, and Marine Sgt. Shamar Thomas.
They also gave us a Pledge of Allegiance to Peace. World War II veteran Sam Winstead inspired the crowd with his plan to bicycle from NC to Washington, DC carrying a message of peace.
Keynote Speaker, Rukiya Dillahunt, an education, labor, and peace activist guided us to invoke an image of a parent taking an eager child to the bus on his first day of school. She added the backdrop of the social economic struggles of single parents facing desperate economic conditions and how quickly that can undermine a child’s future. She added that the Move the Money campaign, which can incorporate issues of wealth disparity, is a concrete way to pull together with allies in education and other areas. As we speak to the root causes of the current economic situation we can begin to reframe the debate and reorder priorities.
Attendees met by diverse interest areas: Legislators and Local Officials, Students and Young Adults, Demonstrators and Occupiers, Environmentalists, and Communities of Faith. Recognizing that we are all “multi-interest”, we discussed how to make connections with and talk to people who are primarily interested in these areas. Report backs showed how the concerns of war and peace connect with the concerns of these constituencies.
Awards were given from NC Peace Action to Outstanding Members and Allies. Cy King received the award for Star Fundraiser for his letter on behalf of NC Peace Action and NC Senator Ellie Kinnaird received our Honored Public Servant Award for her lobbying efforts against the war in Afghanistan and for reduced military spending.
NCPA Chair, John Heuer recognized Rev. Curtis Gatewood, coordinator of HKonJ received the Distinguished Ally award. Rev. Gatewood spoke eloquently about the moral imperative of ending the wars, saying we are part of a righteous struggle that truly follows the teachings of Jesus.
The day ended with a vote by NCPA members to prioritize the programs we should work on for the next year. The members put the programs in order as follows:
- Move the Money campaign
- Legislative work
- Street Actions
- Students/Young Adults
- Candidates/Peace Voters
Several added a strong interest in working collaboratively with environmental activists.
John Heuer closed the day leading us in The Song of Peace.
Join us for this networking and planning conference emphasizing concrete action. Hear about and plan:
- a Cost of War campaign, building local coalitions around the message to Move the Money from military spending to meeting human needs, and
- other strategies for Long Term Change
WHEN: Saturday, October 29th from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
WHERE: Highland United Methodist Church, 1901 Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC
KEYNOTER: Rukiya Dillahunt, Education, Labor, and Peace Activist – worked for Wake County Schools for 33 years, retired Vice Principle, member of Black Workers for Justice & Board member of NC Peace Action
COST: $15 including lunch. $10 for NCPA members. $5 students & Reduced Income
REGISTER: Please register on line or send your name and phone number to email@example.com You may pay online on our donation page (after registering) or at the door.
SPONSORED: by NC Peace Action and the American Friends Service Committee, Carolinas Office.