Letter from the Board of the Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County

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Dear Friends,

We are angry and we are sad.

Violent conflicts rage across the globe with 28 million people suffering. The U.S. just can't refrain from bombing Iraq. Blood flows for oil in a failed policy. Police continue to kill unarmed teenagers of color. At home in Sonoma County, Deputy Gelhaus is back on the streets and the Sheriff's Office has purchased 30 bayonets from the Department of Defense. Feelings of helplessness and distress surge and people visit the Center to have heart to heart talks and call for hugs over the phone.

We can wish the world would change and these feelings vanish or we can use our pain and anger to reinforce our courage, and channel our feelings into nonviolent action. The Peace & Justice Center has a plan to achieve this.

The PJC is launching an exciting new project: Freedom From Militarization. The focus is to address the ever-expanding gray area that exists between military and civilian life that normalizes war and violence. Our emphasis will be identifying and raising awareness of local behaviors and organizations that support the militarization of society.

We'll be seeking your involvement and encouragement as we address four main categories: 1) Law enforcement; 2) Local activities that support the military; 3) Local companies which profit from militarization; and 4) Normalization of the military in culture and society.

Using your tax dollars, the Department of Defense is planning a $65 million commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. A parade is planned for 2015. In tandem with Veterans for Peace, we are making our own plans to tell the truth about this war and counteract the attempt to rewrite history.

This is an ambitious project. To accomplish it, we've created a new staff position. Susan Lamont will become the new Project Coordinator. We will be hiring a new Center Coordinator. But we can't move forward without your financial support.

Please contribute any amount to help kick start this important endeavor, while also supporting the other areas of the PJC. Donations are tax deductible and can be mailed or made on our website – pjcsonoma.org/donate.

Experience the rewards of volunteering, donating, participating! Let’s give each other a group hug and then speak truth to power!

Eszter Freeman
on behalf of your Board of Directors