Peace & Justice

Wednesday afternoon at Modesto Peace/Life Center

Wednesdays, the Peace/Life Center is usually open from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. Bring brown bag lunch. Come by for some coffee or tea or to chat or to see a film or browse through various books and magazines. Beverages will be provided.

National Day of Action in San Francisco to End the War Now

End the War Now, National Day of Action will be held on Saturday, October. 27 in San Francisco.

The Modesto Peace/Life Center will share a bus with folks from Merced. The cost is only $13.00 round trip from the Modesto Peace Life Center at 720 S. 13th St. Please call Shelly at 209-521-6304 or email at

We will leave at 8:30 a.m. We shared a bus with Merced last spring and it worked out quite well. You can bring signs and or we will supply some. Please pay before the trip if possible.

Why stand on the street corner with a peace sign?

During a recent Modesto peace vigil, Helene Schaeffer told the following tale:

Sometimes people honk, wave, and give a peace sign. These people need affirmation that they’re not alone, so that they have the courage to add their positive energy, in whatever way they do, to the evolution of consciousness. Sure, kids in pickup trucks sometimes shout nasty things and give us the finger – sometimes they even throw bottles. But maybe if we had stood more often on street corners these very same kids would at least think twice.

The other day a woman in an SUV opened her car window while waiting for a stoplight and said to us protesters, “This is how Vietnam got stopped.” She called this out over the head of her little boy, about six or seven years old, who was staring out the window at us. Then she clearly started to explain to him what she was talking about as the light changed and she drove off.

I have seen many children staring out the window at us protesters. This is not a usual sight for them, and some of them ask their parents what’s going on. Even if they don’t, and even if they do but their parents disparage the protesters, they are seeing that protest exists and that grownups who smile at them are taking their own time to engage their positive energy with the world. King and Gandhi are both dead, so it’s incumbent on me to be teaching this lesson. It’s a civics lesson, a life lesson, and a spiritual lesson. Even the thrown bottles — in the contemporary lexicon, “It’s all good.”

Helene’s words prompted Connections to ask other street-corner activists their thoughts about participating in vigils. These are their inspiring and thought provoking answers:

People vigil at Modesto’s Five Points joining with others nationwide on August 28 to end the Iraq. Photos: Ray Adkins.

I want my voice to be heard for justice. Even though I feel our government does not listen well to the people of their countries, I want to feel as though this is something I can do to say I have made a small contribution. — Shelly Scribner

Why? Numbers kept whirling through my mind.

At 5 p.m. Tuesday I was 77 and it was 98 degrees outside. But it was 117 in Baghdad and our lightning campaign to conquer Iraq had taken longer than it took us to beat Germany and Japan in WW2. Bush had squandered 3,700 American lives for oil and status as a “wartime” president; I hoped my grandson wouldn’t be one of the next 3,700. In dollars, every American could be educated with total health care for that. — Fred Herman

I stand on the corner with a sign or poster to let local folks know that there a many of us in our community who oppose the invasion of Iraq and work for peaceful solutions. Compared to four years ago, there are many more motorists who honk in support, give us the “thumbs up”, or smile and wave. It is apparent to me that Modestans are not happy with how things are going in Iraq. In addition to sending donations to organizations that are working to end the war in Iraq, sending letters to representatives, and voting in elections, standing on the corner is a relatively easy thing to do. Besides, where else can I go and greet friends/ acquaintances, also standing on the corner, and gripe about the latest political scandal and catch up on what’s happening in our lives? — Elaine Gorman

I vigil against the war to remind others that their are people in their community who oppose this war, and war as an answer to human conflict. I know that people who feel the same, and beep when they drive by or flash a peace sign, are glad to know they our not alone. — John Lucas

Public awareness requires public witness and dedication to the cause of Peace. Only a change in public opinion will bring a change in public policy in a democracy. — Martin J. Zonligt

People vigil at Modesto’s Five Points joining with others nationwide on August 28 to end the Iraq. Photos: Ray Adkins.

I had anticipated being yelled out and being given the finger when I picked up my sign and headed down to the vigil 5 points. What a pleasant surprise to get the kind of support we did. I did not notice a single negative response. The hour went by quickly because of the honks of approval, the waves, the positive comments about our mission etc. I think vigils do raise awareness and keep it in the American conscious. It is easy, living here, to forget that people are dying over there. I think if all of us can bring a friend next time and we double the size and then do that again the following month, it could impact decisions that are made regarding the war. — Susan Davis

Fundamentally, because these must not only be opposition to war, but witness for peace, however small or solitary it may appear. Furthermore, opposing war and all that it brings and represents, is a positive spiritual action, necessary for the individual and for the community. Evil must be disaffirmed and repudiated.

Alexander N. Brittain

For camaraderie with fellow progressives that lets me know that there is a growing community of persons willing to speak out against the occupation of Iraq. — Mike Killingsworth

I feel it’s important to be a presence...put my body on the line, to make a statement. Just like the Lorax in the Dr. Seuss book, who speaks for the trees, I need to speak out for peace. — Julie Ten Brink

I believe that it is important to have a visual presence for opposition to the war. I believe that in a world where democracy is subsumed because of lack of discourse that a vigil represents visual discourse on an issue that is otherwise controlled by corporate media and executive spin.
John Frailing

Sadly, there always seem to be more than enough people shouting words of hatred and clamoring for war. I participate in peace vigils because I want to live in a different sort of world. Mahatma Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. demonstrated that nonviolent demands for peace and justice can prevail against hatred and oppression. We only have to “be the change [we] wish to see in world” (Gandhi). And to the advocates of war, I say, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one” (Imagine, by John Lennon). — Lee Ryan Miller

There’s so much suffering in the world, I don’t want to get too comfortable. Public protesting pushes me out of my comfort-convenience zone, and I regard that as healthy and necessary. Another reason I vigil is I hear my father saying to my siblings and me throughout our childhood, “Do what’s right. Live up to your name. “Onorato” means “honorable.” For him, and now for me, doing what’s right — standing up for one’s convictions — is a good part of what it means to be honorable. — Dan Onorato

Fast for Peace, October 8


On Monday, October 8, leaders from the major faith traditions and the Network of Spiritual Progressives are urging all Americans to join in fasting from dawn to dusk to call for end to the Iraq War. Throughout the nation people of faith will act as catalysts to transform the brokenness in our culture and public policies from conquest to community, from violence to respect and reverence.

The organizers’ statement underscores the intent of this action: “Just as Isaiah called the People Israel to hear the Yom Kippur fast as God’s call to feed the hungry; just as Jesus fasted in the wilderness; just as Christians through Lenten fasting and Muslims through Ramadan fasting have focused on spiritual transformation; just as Mahatma Gandhi, César Chávez and others drew on fasting to change the course of history, so we call on all our communities of faith to draw now on fasting as a path toward inner spiritual transformation and outward social transformation.”

“Ending this war can become the first step toward a policy and a society that embody a deeper, broader sense of generosity and community at home and in the world.”

“By turning away—even for a day—from filling our bellies, we more easily open our souls to the One, our hearts to compassion, our minds to wisdom, and our hands to acts of peace.”

ACTION: Please help make the fast public on Monday, October 8, from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m., by joining in a prayerful silent vigil in downtown Modesto at the cannon on “I” Street, between 11th & 12th. Bring a sign that reflects the spirit of this fast. For more information, see: and

Events to help end genocide in Darfur

College Avenue Congregational Church is presenting the following events on

Sundays, 6 to 7:30 p.m. (Refreshments provided.)

October 28th Guest Speaker Tim Nonn

Tim Nonn will describe the “Tents of Hope” project he created to help end the genocide in Darfur, and he will explain how CACC can get involved!

“Tents of Hope” links churches across the country in setting up refugee tents — painted with symbols of shelter and hope — to allow church members to experience life in refugee camps, to raise consciousness of the local community, and to raise funds for humanitarian aid for victims of ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Next summer, the project plans to assemble these tents from all over the county on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.— in much the same way as the AIDS quilt was assembled there — as a witness to hope and a rally to solidarity with people who need our moral, financial, and political commitment.

November 25th Peace Walk Through Our Neighborhood.

In this candlelight walk through our neighborhood, we will raise consciousness about the genocide in Darfur, pray for an end to violence there, and discern whether we are called to participate in “Tents of Hope” or other concrete projects to help the victims of genocide in Darfur.


At what price, safety?


I am consistently amazed at things that right-wing nut jobs throw at me to justify their support of an unjustifiable war. Seriously, when you watch Generals, Ambassadors, Senators and Congress Reps and pundits who still cheerlead for a miserable, failed and murderous policy you can almost see the skepticism in their eyes, too. They know they are lying for their masters now, if they, like George and Dick, didn’t always know they were lying.

However, the measly segment of our population who are still so willingly ill-informed and ignorant of the facts that they are grasping for straws.

At the recent “Support for our Troops” rally that was held by the Republican-backed-and-funded Move America Forward and Gathering of Eagles (who I like to call the “Smattering of Pigeons”) groups last Saturday where they had 1/100th of the numbers of the true “Support the Troops” (and the people of Iraq) rally and march that was sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition, we pro-peace people were even called “Communists” several times. I have asked people what they mean when they call me that so-last-century epithet and they say: “Yeah, you hate America.” Well, for all of those who have eyes but refuse to see, and ears but refuse to hear, this is what Communist means:

“Someone who supports communism which is a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.”

I don’t see how wanting peace and wanting our government to finally quit lying to us and stop killing people to further their hegemonic goals of bringing corporate America to every corner of the globe makes us Communists; maybe Humanists, patriots or great Americans, but Communists, no. Some people in America do belong to the Communist party, which is not against the law, and it is also not against the law to be a Muslim, yet.

One of the more morally reprehensible notes from the supporters of death I receive is the one that goes something like this: “I am for peace, too, but not at the expense of my family.” These people are saying that it is okay to ruin my family and thousands of other families in the US who have been torn apart like the bodies of our loved ones to keep other families “safe.” I have news for these people, as bad as the sacrifices have been for some families in America, the people of Iraq have suffered far more for the deceptions and greed of BushCo.

Think about this: America killed over a million Iraqis between Gulf [War] I and this current occupation, and that did not keep my family safe, or the families of the people killed in 9/11. How can one sleep at night thinking that her family is safe when so many people are devastated by the policies that she thinks is keeping her family safe? Never mind the National Intelligence Estimates that have rightly showed that our transgressions in Iraq and such inhumane prison camps as Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are increasing Islamic extremism.

What makes Mrs. Safety think that the Iraqi babies are less precious than her babies? Does the geographic accident of her baby’s births give them more right to be safe than the Iraqi babies? Maybe Mrs. Safety thinks that her babies deserve more protection because they are white and Christian? Or just maybe because they are hers?

I spent 24 years of my children’s lives thinking that I was doing everything I could to protect them. I guarded the boundaries of my family like a Doberman. I didn’t let anything bad in those boundaries to hurt my children until 2000 when an Army recruiter broke through my defenses to lie like a son of a bitch to my son who would ultimately be killed so Mrs. Safety’s babies could have the illusion and delusion of safety. Casey and my family paid a dear price for my thinking that my babies and my boundaries are the only ones that were precious and worth protecting. It will only be when we realize that all human life if precious and worthy of protection and know that all of the world’s children belong to all of us that war will stop being used as a tool in Satan’s tool-box of greed and destruction.

Many Muslims and American soldiers have told me that I may have lost a son, but I have gained millions of sons and daughters in my work for global peace and understanding.

They are all our sons and daughters as Casey was your son.

We have to stop giving our leaders free-passes to kill our children, anywhere and everywhere.

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