I am thinking this evening about the prophetic voice of Chief Seattle, the great leader of the Suquamish people here in the state of Washington. In 1854 he delivered a moving and sadly prophetic speech to mark the transferral of ancestral Indian lands to the U.S. federal government. He spoke eloquently about the interconnection of all creation and the crucial importance of treating the earth, the beasts and each other with reverence and dignity. But he also warned the U.S. government that the land would not tolerate abuse and crass exploitation that he had observed.
Women leaders in our communities, including religious leaders and political leaders, have been underrepresented voices in the public debate of how to respond effectively to the rise of Islamophobic language and action.
And that's why the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), in collaboration with the Interfaith Center of New York and Muslims for Progressive Values, hosted a symposium of 12 women leaders at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
The Syrian refugee crisis, along with the global refugee crisis, has reached epic proportions since the start of the Syrian civil war in March 2011. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates there are 65 million forcibly displaced people in the world, 21 million of whom are refugees. Of these, 4.8 million are Syrian and another 8.7 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Syria.
The Global Day of Action and Prayer for Syria will be held on September 21. In preparation we have asked guest experts to contribute essays that help our understanding of “the things that make for peace.” We hope these will help in our understanding of an alternative vision of peace with justice and practical peace-making strategies that can stand as alternatives to the war and violence that is being perpetuated in Syria. This is the second in this series of background essays.
As you know, the Fellowship of Reconciliation just celebrated 100 years of history as an organization. Paul R. Dekar has compiled this history in his new book, Dangerous People: The Fellowship of Reconciliation Building a Nonviolent World of Freedom, Justice, and Peace.
Five-plus years of war have taken a heavy toll on our Syrian brothers and sisters. It is time for the violence and war to stop and to begin the hard work of moving forward, toward a future where all Syrians can live together in peace and security.
Our friends at World Beyond War are planning a conference, workshops, and nonviolent action in Washington, D.C., on September 23-26. These events are called #NoWar2016 and focus on developing alternatives to the entire institution of war.
FOR Peace Presence, The Fellowship of Reconciliation's organization in Colombia has shared with us some good news that we are excited to pass on! On August 24th, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced a peace agreement.
This September, Alameda County will bring together law enforcement agencies from across the country and world for the annual Urban Shield, a highly-militarized SWAT training and weapons expo. It exists for police units to share repressive tools, tactics, and technologies, and learn how to better control and harm our communities.
By 1953, Bayard Rustin was by all accounts a successful player in the FOR. In the 12 years he had worked for the organization, he had gone to prison as a conscientious objector, fought segregation in the 1942 Journey of Reconciliation, and protested whenever he was denied service at restaurants as a black man. But there was one aspect about Rustin that drew the ire of members and the staff of the FOR: He was gay, and he was relatively open about his sexuality.
FOR is looking to hire a new Director of Operations. This is an outstanding opportunity for an operations lead with a proven track record of careful,
￼detail-oriented, people-centered management to contribute as a key team member in a ￼responsive, mission-driven organization.
FOR is looking for a new Property Manager. This on-site position supports the work of FOR-USA out of the New York headquarters. The Property Manager ensures that the FOR property and facility are maintained and managed.
FOR is looking for a new Senior Organizer & Trainer to support the work of FOR-USA out of the New York headquarters or field location (to be negotiated) and work under the Director of Campaigns & Strategy to help develop and implement campaigns that address the root causes of war, organize movement work, and train community members in the practice of nonviolence through an intersectional and spiritually grounded approach.
I just finished another podcast with Judy Bello, a Middle East political analyst and longtime anti-war activist in Rochester. Judy recently came back from a fact finding civilian peace delegation to Syria, where she had the rare opportunity to talk with people on the street about what is really happening to their beloved country.
A renewed discussion of the draft brings relevance to the efforts of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and many of its members to offer support and counsel to conscientious objectors and occasionally violate the law in opposition to warfare and the draft.
Although there were hundreds of speeches delivered at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, only one will be remembered past November. It was the one given by the parents of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004 when a car blew up after he told his troops to stand back.
On May 16, 1942, every Japanese American in Seattle was either at an internment camp or on their way to one, except for one person. That day, Gordon Hirabayashi was at an FBI office in Seattle, in violation of an executive order from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, handing over a document to a special agent called “Why I Refuse to Register for Evacuation.”
As we approach the second anniversary of Michael Brown's murder, it is important to look back on the past two years and think about ways to move forward. Below you can find resources to approach the nonviolent movement with more than good intentions - with the tools and understanding to affect positive change and understand your role if you choose to come to Ferguson.
Anthony Grimes, FOR's Director of Campaigns and Strategy, co-lead a delegation through Interfaith Peace-Builders. The group’s path started unconventionally, with missing passports, canceled flights, and some unfortunate detainments, and once they were in the Middle East, it continued to be exciting, exhausting, and rewarding. We look forward to updating you on their progress!
Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood reflects on finding truth in the midst of confusion after the Dallas shooting.
Stop the Cycle of Violence in Turkey is the title of a report by a seven-person delegation of the War Resisters' International (WRI) visit to southeast Turkey, 26-29 April 2016.
It was just two weeks in the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s history. But it was a significant two weeks.
I am overjoyed to report the election this weekend of my dear friend Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto to the episcopacy in the United Methodist Church! She was elected in an unanimous vote by the UMC's Western Jurisdiction on Friday night, on the 17th ballot, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
This morning, a coalition of white people and non-Black people of color shut down the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and in condemnation of the ongoing murders of Black people by police.
Minneapolis, MN – On Wednesday, July 13, a coalition of white people and non-Black people of color – the Coalition to Wake Your Ass Up – shut down the Interstate 35W bridge in solidarity with the movement for Black lives, condemning the ongoing killings of Black people by police in the Twin Cities and across the country.
The piercing. We all felt it. The puncture of violence, the ripping apart of families and communities, the pain of grief and loss. This last week, explosive tensions tore through our country in reaction to the targeted murders of Black people by police officers, followed by the retaliatory murders of police officers by a Black man.
The tragic night of July 7, 2016, was the most visible manifestation of U.S. wars reaching our own soil. To be clear, I am not talking about the absurd and insulting notion that there is a war between the #BlackLivesMatter Movement and the police.
FOR is proud to introduce our Summer Intern Cohort! This group of bright and energetic young people will be living and working together at our headquarters in Nyack, NY.
Join us rain or shine at Shadowcliff, on July 16th!
A reflection by Lucas Johnson, IFOR's International Coordinator
Kathy Kelly reflects on her trip to Moscow as a part of a delegation organized by Sharon Tennison.
Thanks to all who took the time to nominate so many worthy candidates this year!
On Monday we issued a statement of mourning and sympathy from our executive director, Rev. Kristin Stoneking, regarding the horrendous violence that occurred over the weekend - here you will find some essential amendments.
Our prayers and condolences are with the victims and families and friends of this unspeakable act.
FOR's executive director sends love and sympathy to the friends and families of those killed and gravely wounded in Orlando, and expresses concern about the perpetuation of violence as a result of this heinous crime.
Kathy Kelly, along with her Voices for Creative Nonviolence companions, is part of a 150 mile walk from Chicago to Thomson, IL, a small town in northwest Illinois where the U.S. Bureau of Prisons is setting up an Administrative Maximum prison.
Thank you for your ongoing support of FOR's Campus Weekend nonviolent resistance training!
Friend of FOR Rich Lapchick penned this moving tribute to Muhammad Ali for ESPN on Monday.
The holiest month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, has come. Muslims and others observers of Ramadan around the world are greeting each other with wishes for a Ramadan Kareem or a Generous Ramadan.
FOR's #GiveRefugeesRest Delegation met with House Speaker Paul Ryan - right when he announced his endorsement of Donald Trump.
Rep. Paul Ryan publicized his endorsement of Donald Trump's presidential campaign within moments of hosting a meeting with staff and members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, along with supporters of FOR's #GiveRefugeesRest campaign, a national campaign to end Islamophobia.
This February Kristin Stoneking led a delegation of FOR staff, members, and allies, including five refugees and immigrants, to Speaker Ryan's office in Washington, DC. We brought your deep concerns about rising attacks on Muslims in the United States and the immoral political agenda that has resisted refugee resettlement in our nation. Speaker Ryan's legislative director, Katie Donnell, received our delegation — and some of your #GiveRefugeesRest pillowcases — with respect and attentiveness.
Most people reading these words are well aware of Fr. Berrigan's death last Saturday. Indeed, hundreds likely knew Dan personally or would attest to the direct influence on their lives of his teachings and acts of conscience. His prose, poetry, and peacemaking witness changed the U.S. religious and cultural landscape, subverting the institutional church and laying nonviolent siege to political powers.
Yesterday, 111 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender United Methodist clergypersons came out in an historic open letter to the denomination. Incredibly still in 2016, the United Methodist Church does not ordain openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, the last of the mainline Protestant denominations to fail to affirm this essential equality.
I write to you from New York City, to which I traveled 2,000 miles to join five other FOR global leaders at the first-ever United Nations Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS). This UN summit has deep personal meaning for me because my family bears the scars of the terrible misconception that policing and the stigmatization of addiction can cure a societal illness.
The U.N. plan suggested that the solution must include "(a) more development assistance to reduce supply and (b) more attention on health to lower demand." Now, seven years later, there is growing awareness that the implementation of the strategies related to the original plan, which, particularly in the United States, have included criminalization of addicts and those trapped in cycles of violence as a result of the drug trade, have not achieved the envisioned goal.
The entire so-called "justice system" in the United States, as protestors all over the country repeatedly testify, is “guilty as hell.” It is time to allow space within our legal institutions for a more nuanced understanding of the world and people. In a virtue theoretic approach, suspected criminals and ex-offenders are humanized as they are viewed by the justice system as people capable of virtue.
Last year, we celebrated the beginning of our centennial year with a series of events in and around New York City that included a multifaith service and gala dinner at The Riverside Church.
March 15, the first “Day of Rage” is widely used as the date on which the conflict in Syria began. The Syrian situation has grown increasingly complex since 2011, with more actors involved and with a larger number of refugees and displaced persons. On the anniversary Rene Wadlow argues that we need to look at why U.S. and European nonviolent advocates were not able to do more.
We're thrilled to invite you to a special FOR national organizing call featuring IFOR (International FOR) Coordinator Rev. Lucas Johnson.
Lead by International FOR's main representative to the United Nations in New York, John Kim, IFOR along with the Center for Global Nonkilling sent the statement below to members of the UN Security Council
On 31st Jan, 2016, Dr. Hakim (Dr. Teck Young, Wee) followed Zekerullah, an Afghan Peace Volunteer who coordinates the Borderfree Street Kids School in Kabul, to visit his student and his family in their rented room. The student, Zuhair, attends the School on Fridays with 92 other working and street kids and is one person among 73% of the Afghan population who do not have access to clean, potable water.
On Tuesday, February 23, 2016 Brian Terrell and Kathy Kelly, peace activists with Voices for Creative Nonviolence, were arrested when we attempted to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to drone operators at Volk Field — an Air National Guard Base in Wisconsin which trains pilots to operate Shadow drones over other countries.
Nearly one month ago, we launched Give Refugees Rest to end Islamophobia and welcome refugees. And I’m happy to report to you that elected officials are listening.
As the trial of prominent St. Louis-based activist, author and theologian Reverend Osagyefo Sekou enters its second day, the corrupt and stagnant state of the Ferguson municipal court system is once again under a national spotlight.
The Stony Point Center, an FOR affiliate organziation in Stony Point, NY, has announced the seventh-annual “Farm the Land, Grow the Spirit” Peacemaking Summer Institute for Young Adults, ages 19 to 29.
We’re excited to announce that in conjunction with St. Louis-based record label FarFetched, FOR-USA has released an album of music by Bayard Rustin Fellow Rev. Osagyefo Sekou and his band.
In June of 2014, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) took an historic vote to divest itself of its stock in three companies – Motorola Solutions, Hewlett Packard, and Caterpillar, Inc. The struggle to win this vote created remarkable partnerships between Christians and Jews who have broken the old rules of engagement that defined Jewish-Christian dialogue, rules tacitly specifying that the topic of the conflict in Israel and Palestine must be off the table.
On Aug. 9, 2014 when a black teenager named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer, the small city of Ferguson lost its anonymity. In the days and weeks following the killing of Michael Brown, the people of Ferguson raised their voices and occupied the streets in protest. Thousands of human rights workers and concerned citizens have joined them in a newly invigorated movement for justice and FOR is among them.
A few days ago, I returned from a Chicago trip as a participant on the Oprah Winfrey show, along with some 180 Freedom Riders. It was the 50th anniversary of the well-publicized 1961 Freedom Ride and a way for the Freedom Riders to relive the days that bonded the group together by a memorable experience that helped to change history.
The untold story of how an FOR comic book about Martin Luther King Jr. helped inspire Egyptian revolutionaries.
Seema Luthra's analysis of arms sales and military spending by the U.S. in the greater Middle East
sheds light on the most militarized region in the world, with most arms sales heading there. In fact, the U.S. has delivered more weapons to this region than any other region in the world.