It looks as though the Dakota Access Pipeline will not be built this year, not under the Missouri River through Standing Rock Sioux treaty land. This is good news, and it came just as thousands of U.S. military veterans (including two from Veterans for Peace Chapter 111) assembled at Standing Rock to back up water protectors. This was a moment when no one could deny the strength of the growing resistance. We must continue to build that resistance; we must continue to move money out of the banks invested in buildling the pipeline, until they move their money out of the project. Michael Vendiola (Swinomish Indian Tribal Community) of Bellingham NoDAPL Coalition spoke on Democracy Now this morning about this work.
Carbon colonialism, environmental racism, treaty violations, the military-industrial complex -- underlying struggles at Standing Rock -- continue, including here in Whatcom County and in communities across the continent.
How will we keep building resistance? Many groups are organizing. Below are invitations from grassroots groups in Bellingham to respectfully join their work -- to learn and take action.
Communities of color paying the price with their land and water
Black Lives Matter Bellingham will focus on environmental justice at this month’s meeting, 6:30-9:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at First Congregational Church. When we talk about protecting water, we are also talking about Flint, Michigan, which still doesn’t have clean drinking water. And every community where pipelines run and break -- usually in communities of color. Meeting details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1248749958480683
This Thursday at 6:30 p.m., speak at the county Planning Commission’s public hearing, where they are considering policies that discourage coal and crude oil exports. If you can come, wear red, and show up at 5:30 to sign up for a speaking slot. If you can’t come, email email@example.com and let them know you support the amendments proposed by Councilmember Carl Weimer for Cherry Point. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/632205360295801
Lax Kw'alaams peoples in British Columbia are resisting a liquified natural gas facility on their traditional territory. Local college students are holding an educational fundraising dinner from 6-9 p.m. this Thursday, Dec. 8 at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/392097804512203/ At 9 p.m., they will screen “A Last Stand for Lelu.”
Detention and deportation
Immigrant detention is the most profitable form of incarceration in the U.S. -- and even though the U.S. Department of Justice decided earlier this year to shut down its contracts with private prisons, Homeland Security (the agency that oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or “ICE”) has made no such decision. ICE continues to rely on for-profit prison companies to operate immigration detention centers across the country. The closest one to Bellingham is the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. Conditions are notoriously unsafe in these for-profit prisons. Bellingham police sent a Latino teenager to the Tacoma facility for deportation proceedings just last year, after a traffic stop (his legal team is now suing the city).
Bellingham City Council meets 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 5 at City Hall. Until the city passes binding legislation that stating otherwise, we can’t trust that undocumented students and workers will be safe from ICE on local campuses or at their homes. We can’t trust that the county jail won’t be used to hold immigrants or to ensure private companies are meeting shareholders’ expectations for profits.
Please go on the record in support of the WWU Blue Group’s efforts to make Bellingham a Sanctuary City and WWU a sanctuary campus. To reach City Council, you can speak during public comment at Monday night’s meeting, or write a letter voicing your concern. To reach WWU, you can sign the Blue Group’s petition.
[Here’s a primer on mass incarceration in the U.S.: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2016.html]
Legal basis for European colonization
From 6-9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, learn about the Doctrine of Discovery from Jewell James, of the House of Tears carvers, Lummi Nation. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1356656777692296
The Racial Justice Coalition holds monthly public meetings where people can connect with each other and work on local racial justice issues -- such as food justice, affordable housing, ending racial profiling, education about white supremacy, and more. This month’s meeting, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, RJC will have a big group discussion on our reality post-election and organizing locally to resist fascism. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/725533854260445
Human Rights Day: Islamophobia
International Human Rights Day is Saturday, Dec. 10. From 3-6 p.m., join Bellingham’s gathering to hear from Raed Jarrar, an expert on U.S. engagement in the Middle East. Learn about the impacts of the U.S.’s disproportionate spending on militarization on foreign communities, and how Islamophobia in the U.S. plays into war profiteers’ efforts to send our tax dollars into their pockets. This is also a chance to take part in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign. Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/713158895502864
Jobs with Justice
Jobs with Justice meets Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. at 1700 N. State Street (Union Center). The agenda includes an update on the Albertson’s campaign to address the ongoing food desert situation in the wake of Albertson’s closing this past spring.
Get resourceful in solidarity with Standing Rock
Facing threats of a Dec. 5 eviction by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Water Protector camps at Standing Rock have called for continued solidarity actions and donations. Now is the time to use your resources to help, to understand self-determination, and to take action to stop the pipeline.
It’s important that support efforts are responsive to calls for support from indigenous people on the front lines and in our area. With good intentions but often lacking cultural knowledge and historical education, outsiders don’t know what is best or needed. Rather than give what we think Water Protectors need, we need to listen to what is being asked of us, and take guidance from indigenous leaders on what actions are helpful.
Keep this in mind as you donate items. There is a list of most-needed supplies here that is followed by a list of all needed supplies: http://sacredstonecamp.org/supply-list/ If it’s not on this list, please do not send it.
You don’t have to go to Standing Rock to be supportive. One of the most important solidarity actions we can take locally is to close accounts with the banks funding the pipeline. Once yours are closed and you've moved your money to a credit union, tell your family, friends, and neighbors about the process and why you did it. Keep an eye on Bellingham #NoDAPL Coalition Facebook page for more actions coming together as part of a national week of solidarity actions.
There is a continuing call for supporters to travel to Standing Rock and reinforce the front lines. A caravan of veterans and indigenous people is leaving this week, and small groups are organizing trips every few days. Please post on the local rideboard to find a space or offer a ride.
Disrupting the (highly profitable) deportation pipeline
Already a targeted population under the Obama Administration, undocumented immigrants stand to lose more under Trump. This month immigrant community organizers with expertise in the deeply flawed U.S. immigration system are working on educating community members about their rights and the importance of an organized community response to detentions and the threat of deportation.
Here in Bellingham, the Blue Group at Western Washington University is advocating to make that institution a sanctuary campus and to make Bellingham a sanctuary city. That means essentially that local law enforcement (campus police and Bellingham Police Department) would not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in detaining and jailing people in their jurisdiction. [Read more about other cities' efforts here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/27/us/cities-vow-to-fight-trump-on-immigration-even-if-they-lose-millions.html?ribbon-ad-idx=4&rref=us&_r=0] (Neither Bellingham nor WWU currently has actual sanctuary policies, despite recent statements expressing an intent to protect all residents and students. In June, legal representatives of a local minor served the City of Bellingham with a lawsuit for profiling him and placing him in ICE custody.)
The Blue Group asks all WWU staff, faculty, students and alumni to sign their petition: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc_aRIN_CH5cg60zJaBsMaEpP-PGb19EyEcVZS6DzZDQPSUXQ/viewform Community members may also sign. Please talk with your family and friends affiliated with WWU about the importance of supporting the Blue Group’s petition.
Also follow NWDC Resistance on Facebook for actions happening across Western Washington relating to the immigrant detention center (a federal private prison run by GEO Group) in Tacoma, where local students and other residents caught up in the deportation pipeline are detained.
Also happening this week:
1 p.m., Dec. 1
Courtroom support for the Whatcom 3
Fourth floor of the Whatcom County Courthouse in downtown Bellingham
7 p.m, Dec. 1
Black and Pink Holiday Card writing party
Join Imagine No Kages to send some cheer to LGBTQ people behind bars during one of the hardest times of the year to be incarcerated.
4-5 p.m., Dec. 2
Peace and Justice Weekly Vigil (officially 50 years old this month!)
Corner of Magnolia and Cornwall in downtown Bellingham
6-8 p.m., Dec. 2
Visual & Literary Arts Show at Whatcom Peace & Justice Center
1-3:30 p.m., Dec. 2
Solidarity with San Quintin - #Boycott Driscoll’s Picket
6-8 p.m., Dec. 3
WPJC Community Potluck
The Majestic on North Forest
Be in solidarity with people targeted right now. Monitor their websites and Facebook pages for the latest requests.
Put yourself out there! Groups that publish their meeting information on our list of ongoing meetings are open to new members, even if you just want to check them out without making a longterm commitment. Attending a meeting or demonstration is a great way to learn about the group's values, organizing principles, and tactics.
6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 22
Amnesty International usually meets the last Tuesday of the month, but this month their meeting is Nov. 22. They meet upstairs at the downtown Food Co-op on Holly and Forest.
3-4 p.m, Wednesday, Nov. 23
The local Veterans For Peace chapter (#111) is holding a rally/demonstration/protest/vigil (what have you) on State Street, across from the Herald Building. Bring signs for your peace and justice issue of choice. Veterans and non-veterans are welcome.
4-5 p.m., Friday, Nov. 25
The Peace Vigil gathers every Friday afternoon in front of the Federal Building at Cornwall and Magnolia.
Learn! There are continually workshops and lectures happening in Bellingham, providing ample opportunities to learn more about issues including climate justice, immigrant rights, white privilege and supremacy, and more, plus skills like cultural work and community organizing. Many are free, including all of the ones listed here (donations for the sponsoring organizations and facilitators are appreciated and help ensure that we can continue to offer free learning opportunities).
1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 22
Comics and Graphic Arts is the final offering in a fall series of Peace Arts workshops at the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center. Register here: www.whatcompjc.org/peace-arts-workshops.html
7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 22
Human Dimensions of Climate Change is a series taught by Patrick Freeland at RE-Sources for Sustainable Communities. This week is the third in the series. Be sure to do your work before attending -- links are on the Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/events/1699578757026960/
Do some research and practice what you preach! The Internet is full of great resources on white privilege and supremacy, organizing as allies to immigrant-led, Native-led, and Black-led social change. There are also groups with Facebook pages full of articles to read and videos to watch, like Students for Anti-Racist Action at WWU, Community to Community Development, the Bellingham Racial Justice Coalition, and Black Lives Matter Bellingham.
Here are two pieces to get you started this week:
The peace education intern will focus primarily on developing a booklet that serves as a comprehensive
local resource for nonviolent survival after high school.
Working closely with our Alternatives to Military Service (AMS) program over the course of the year, the intern will develop expertise in counter-recruitment efforts in Whatcom County.
Interest in building up alternatives to violence is the only requirement. Applicants should be prepared to dedicate regular hours to this project in the winter and spring.
Experience in the following will be helpful, but none are required for this internship:
Apply by Sunday, November 13
To apply, please email the following to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than November 13, 2016:
1. Resume, including your contact information
2. A two-page letter of interest explaining at least three of the following:
Sunday, September 25, 2-3 p.m. (button-making party from 3-4 p.m.)
Please share the FB event for this training: https://www.facebook.com/events/1809268519319948/
Every semester, veterans and other volunteers with the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center (WPJC) visit high schools in Whatcom County to offer information on the realities of war, helping youth fact-check the promises of military recruiters.
We also talk about:
This training will prepare you to table with WPJC. We'll go over responses to the most common questions and review our key handouts. You can browse the center's library and borrow related books, as well as meet returning volunteers and hear about their experiences.
Afterward, stick around from 3-4 p.m. for a button-making party to restock our button baskets for fall tabling.
AMS is coordinated by Rowan Peterson. If you want to volunteer but can't make this training, please email Rowan at peterson.rowan at gmail.com.
Bellingham will welcome Nikkita Oliver, an anti-racist community organizer, performance poet, and attorney from Seattle as the keynote speaker for the city’s 13th annual International Day of Peace (IDP) celebration from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21, 2016.
The Whatcom Peace & Justice Center (WPJC) has hosted IDP in Bellingham every year since 2003. The United Nations established the day in 1982 as a worldwide 24-hour cease-fire to envision a world without violence and war.
Held at the Majestic on North Forest, IDP will begin at 6 p.m. with an information fair, baked goods sale, and music of love and struggle performed by Jazz for Justice. Community groups that work on intersecting issues will be on hand to connect with attendees.
The formal program begins at 6:30 p.m. with remarks from Junga Subedar, director of the Whatcom Civil Rights Project and WPJC board member; the presentation of the Howard Harris Lifetime Peacemaker Award and Nikkita Oliver’s keynote speech will follow. Neah Monteiro, WPJC’s executive director since May 2016, will serve as MC.
The recipient of the 2016 Howard Harris Lifetime Peacemaker Award is Darrell Hillaire. Darrell is a tribal member of the Lummi Nation; a producer, writer, founder of the Lummi Youth Academy; and a father and grandfather. He hosted the Dalai Lama’s visit in Seattle, is a Seeds of Compassion Committee Member, and served on the Lummi Indian Business Council for 15 years. He is a storyteller. His works include "What about those promises?" about the Lummi way of life and the broken promises of the Treaty of Point Elliott signed in 1855 that had sold-out performances in Seattle and Bellingham
Keynote speaker Nikkita Oliver is an attorney in Washington State and holds a Masters of Education from the University of Washington with a focus on racial disproportionality and disparate practice in school exclusion. She is a writer-in-residence with Writers in the Schools at Washington Middle School, leads writing workshops with Arts Corp at Garfield High School, and is a teaching artist and case manager with Creative Justice, an arts-based youth diversion program that provides alternatives to incarceration for youth who are court-involved. She is the recipient of the 2015 Seattle Office of Civil Rights Artist Human Rights Leader Award and was the 2014 Seattle Poetry National Team Coach and Grand Slam Champion. She has opened for Cornel West and Chuck D of Public Enemy and performed on The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert.
All people of goodwill are invited to IDP. Solidarity donations will be requested. ASL interpretation will be provided, and free childcare is available onsite. The venue is wheelchair accessible, with a ramp at the main entrance on North Forest Street.
The Whatcom Peace & Justice Center promotes lasting peace, social justice, and a culture of nonviolence at home and worldwide. We accomplish this through partnerships, education, and direct action.
Contact the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center at (360) 734-0217, email@example.com, or visit www.WhatcomPJC.org for more information
by Edward Alexander
Local attorney, president of Board of Directors of Whatcom Peace & Justice Center
The County Council is voting on the Comprehensive Plan tonight. Just ahead of the meeting, at 5:30, some folks from INK (Imagine No Kages) are getting together near the Centennial Pole next to the Courthouse steps to hand out fliers and ask people to use part of their three-minute public comment to tell the County Council they oppose the plan in Appendix E to spend an additional $112,000,000 on incarcerating people in Whatcom County. I believe allocating that much additional money to incarceration could lead to a big increase in incarceration.
Here’s why: The capacity of the main jail is 212 inmates. The minimum-security facility holds an additional 150 people. Last year, voters voted down a $100,000,000 proposal to build a new 521-bed jail. My sources for the numbers are below. Tonight, the County Council is voting on a comprehensive plan that includes $112,000,000 for an incarceration facility.
Although the plan explicitly and intentionally leaves out the number of people we will be incarcerating at this facility, $112,000,000 is more than enough to build the 521-bed jail that voters rejected last year. Upping the number of beds in the jail from 212 to 521 would more than double the jail size.
Here’s the specific language from pages 13 and 14 of Appendix E of the Proposed Whatcom County 20 Year Capital Facilities Plan (emphasis added):
In an effort to meet the community need, the County plans to construct a new, expanded,
April 16, 2016 Bellingham Herald article, "Whatcom County executive: Ask voters for new jail tax before EMS"
October 23, 2015 Bellingham Herald article, "What’s true, false in claims about Whatcom County Jail"
July 27, 2016 Northern Light editorial, "Guest editorial: Bill Elfo, Whatcom County Sheriff"
The Whatcom Peace & Justice Center is accepting nominations for the 2016 Howard Harris Lifetime Peacemaker Award to be presented at the 13th Annual International Day of Peace on Wednesday, September 21, at the Majestic (1027 N. Forest Street in Bellingham), 6:30-8 p.m.
Nominations should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and must include a summary describing the nominee's life-long passion for peace, activities, accomplishments, and organizational affiliations. Nominations are due by Friday, August 5, 2016. People nominated in previous years are eligible; their nominators should re-submit nominations for consideration.
Past recipients are Howard Harris, Rev. Al Dale, Dotty Dale, Nick Mele, Doris Ferm, James Gillies, Bill Distler, Peter and Mary van der Veen, Shirley Osterhaus, Ellen Murphy, Barbara Rofkar, and Jamie Donaldson.
The United Nations declared September 21 a worldwide 24-hour cease-fire to envision a world without weapons, violence, and oppression. Here in Bellingham, our International Day of Peace is a well-attended annual event celebrating the work of the peace and social justice community. Please join us for an inspiring evening, musical guests, and the presentation of the Howard Harris Lifetime Peacemaker Award. The event is free and open to the public.
The Whatcom Peace and Justice Center and Voices for Peace in the Middle East are sponsoring a donation drive this summer to support refugees stranded in Europe.
Donations of soft goods and certain hard goods will be collected on August 20, 2016 at Saint James Church, 910 14th Street in Bellingham. A truckload will then be taken to Value Village, which will pay per pound for all items collected. The money will be used by the Salaam Cultural Museum for humanitarian and medical aid for people affected by conflict and natural disaster in the Middle East.
Fundraising drive: How it works
Soft goods -- must be clean and dry
Clothing, shoes, hats, scarves, undergarments, jewelry, accessories, bags, wallets, bedding, towels, curtains, tablecloths and other cloth materials.
Toys, small household goods and appliances, books, CDs, DVDs
Weapons, hazardous materials, computer monitors, infant car seats, cribs and other infant products restricted by law, swing sets, food, pets, large appliances, marine vessels, swimming pools, vehicles, cash, and intangible property.
Where to take donations
The main collection date is August 20. Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., people can bring their donations to the parking lot behind Saint James Church (910 14th Street in Fairhaven).
Assistance with delivering your donations
Assistance can be arranged for community members unable to store or transport their donations to the church on August 20. Please call Martina at (425) 213-2394 to arrange a pick-up.
You can make monetary gifts directly to the Salaam Cultural Museum.
Send a check by mail:
Salaam Cultural Museum (SCM)
3806 Whitman Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98103
Or give online:
The workshop will focus on three aspects of nonviolence:
Facilitator: Nicholas Mele
Nick Mele began practicing nonviolence as a college student. He spent almost 30 years as a diplomat before retiring to devote himself full time to building nonviolent alternatives to militarism. He was a founding staff member of the Nonviolent Peaceforce and has designed and facilitated nonviolent actions, gatherings, and trainings around the world. He is a co-founder of the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center and is currently working with Pax Christi International to build a campaign to abolish nuclear weapons in the U.S.
A two-part workshop
Saturday, July 23 and Saturday, July 30, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (with a 10-minute break)
At the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, 1220 Bay Street in downtown Bellingham
Appropriate for ages approx. 16 and above, but no one will be turned away.
Please contact Neah Monteiro at email@example.com or (360) 734-0217 to discuss accessibility arrangements.
We invite the WPJC community to contribute fact-checked submissions on local, national and global current events. Linking to original sources and articles is required. Submissions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for review.