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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 734-0217 to discuss accessibility arrangements.
The Whatcom Peace and Justice Center and Voices for Peace in the Middle East will sponsor a donation drive this summer to support refugees stranded in Europe. Goods collected will be traded for funds to support humanitarian and medical aid for people affected by conflict and natural disaster in the Middle East.
Since March 2011, an estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes to escape war. Most are internally displaced within Syria, while over 4 million are in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. One million have applied for asylum in Europe. The United States has pledged to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of September; to date, 4,700 people have been approved by U.S. Homeland Security.
Refugees migrating to Europe from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan cross the Mediterranean Sea, arriving on beaches in the Greek isles. Locals scramble to provide them with food, water, and emergency supplies before they continue on to UN refugee camps. The Salaam Cultural Museum in Seattle is collecting and distributing aid to these areas in Greece.
Potluck on June 20th
Rita Zawaideh of the Salaam Cultural Museum will speak about the crisis and show photos of relief work happening in Greece at a Bellingham organizing meeting and potluck on June 20, 2016. This kickoff for the donation drive will be held at the Community Food Co-op Connections Classroom (405 East Holly Street) at 6 p.m.
Parking: Please park in the lot behind the Bakery building or along the street. Handicap parking spots are in the front of the building.
Donation drive: How it works
Items donated will be collected on a to-be-announced date and location in August and delivered to Value Village in Bellingham.
Value Village will pay 20 cents per pound of soft goods, which include clothing, shoes, hats, scarves, undergarments, jewelry, accessories, bags, wallets, bedding, towels, curtains, tablecloths and other cloth materials.
Value Village pays 5 cents a pound for hard goods, which are toys, small household goods and appliances, books, CD's and DVD's.
Items that will not be accepted are weapons, hazardous materials, construction materials, flammable products, automobile parts, damaged furniture, beds, bedding parts, televisions, computer monitors, infant car seats, cribs and other infant products restricted by law. Also, swing sets, food, pets, large appliances, marine vessels, swimming pools, vehicles, cash and intangible property are not accepted.
Value Village publishes this list here: https://www.valuevillage.com/donate/what-we-take
Bellingham – Whatcom Peace Vigil Started in 1966
By Jamie K. Donaldson, founding director of WPJC
For fifty years, the Bellingham - Whatcom Peace Vigil has held a space for peace on the corners of Magnolia and Cornwall in front of the old Federal Building in downtown Bellingham. It was started in December 1966 by local peace activist Colleen Dickinson and two Quakers, Rosemary and Howard Harris, in silent opposition to the Vietnam War. The first vigil was held in front of the city's Christmas tree. It then moved to its current location where the originators and their children vowed to witness for peace every Friday until the war ended.
Today, fifty years later, the intersection is lively with several dozen regular vigilers who stand for peace, nonviolence, and social justice every Friday afternoon from 4-5 p.m., rain or shine. Vigilers are individuals, members of local faith communities and of organizations such as Veterans for Peace, the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, and Occupy Bellingham. Most carry hand-made banners and signs with messages about peace and justice. “My favorite sign says ‘War is a Racket,’” says 100-year old Evelyn Freeman, currently the vigil’s oldest participant. “I should know, since I had several brothers who had to go to war,” she adds. The youngest current vigiler is eight years old, and even dogs on leash are frequent attendees, showing by their presence that they’re not war mongrels.
Participation has waxed and waned over the decades, but there has never been a break to speak of in the weekly peace vigil. On occasion, it draws huge crowds that overflow to all four corners of the intersection and down the block, such as during the lead-up to the Iraq war in the early 2000’s. Pro-war demonstrators showed up as well during that time, including a caravan of 220 semi-trucks from Whatcom County that blew their horns and exhaust at the peace vigilers. Now, it is common that people in passing cars respond to the “Honk for Peace” sign, give a thumbs up, or call out “Thank you!” to show their support for peacemakers.
While no one is in charge of the Bellingham-Whatcom Peace Vigil, Vietnam War veteran Kerry Johnson brings the signs, the colorful flags made by local artist Harold Niven, and the large portable scaffolding that displays the vigil’s large banner as well as Earth flags and an information board. Often the local “Food not Bombs” group offers a free vegan meal to anyone passing by while the vigil is underway. It makes for a colorful and positive “happening” for peace and social justice every Friday afternoon in downtown Bellingham. All people of peace are welcome to join us on the corner, especially during the vigil's special 50th anniversary year.
For more information, contact Jamie K. Donaldson at email@example.com. Photos of the vigil are available upon request.
By Matteo Tamburini, Board president
Janet Marino has done some sterling work in our community as Executive Director of the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center from May 2011 to now, keeping the spotlight on issues that are no less pressing for being far from the public eye. One step towards moving the issues closer to the street has been to move the WPJC office out of the Bellingham Herald Building to its current location on Bay Street, where we are proud that it has been used by a variety of community organizations and initiatives such as Amnesty International, the first steps of the recently formed Racial Justice Coalition, the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival, and more.
She has helped coordinate and promote many speaking events by activists such as Brian Willson, Cindy and Craig Corrie, Michael McPhearson, as some of the young Palestinian writers involved in the Gaza Writes Back book project, and most recently David Swanson. It is in part through events like these that the conversation about militarism is kept alive in our community. Janet has also been the steward of the Alternatives to Military Service program, helping to coordinate volunteers as part of this ongoing work.
Janet also worked to help coordinate local mobilizations such as the protest against US bombing in Syria in 2013, part of an international movement that effectively stalled President Obama’s push to bomb that country (the only time in history that combined pressure has prevented military action by our government) and allowed Secretary of State John Kerry to stumble onto a peaceful way to rid Syria of chemical weapons.
Recently, Janet has also joined the efforts of the Friends Committee on National Legislation to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force that granted President Bush the authority to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and which President Obama relies on to continue drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan, as well as waging a counterproductive bombing campaign against ISIS.
This has been and continues to be the bread and butter of the work of the WPJC.
However, Janet has also presided over some pretty major changes to the organization. The main change has certainly been that the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center has become the home of the Whatcom Civil Rights Project and the Whatcom Human Rights Task Force, which means that she took on the responsibility of being the one of the main organizers of the annual Martin Luther King Human Rights conference at Whatcom Community College.
We are grateful for all her work, wish her the best of luck with her new job, and look forward to all the work she will do to create a better, more just society in the future!
Bottom Line: We have until THIS SUNDAY NIGHT's Special Session
to convince our Senators to let the Patriot Act Expire.
Best case: We drop in their offices in Everett.
If not please call and/or email:
WA STATE SENATORS
Maria Cantwell: 888-648-7328
Patty Murray: 866-481-9186
Learn More Here
Whatcom County Charter Review Commission wants to vote to eliminate all funding to organizations that fund low income seniors, needy families and more.
Whatcom peeps, please act TODAY! Our lhyper-conservatively stacked Charter Review Board is poised to eliminate ALL county funding for local nonprofits serving the needs of low-income seniors, hungry families and others. Send an email before 5 p.m. to firstname.lastname@example.org.This is enough: "I oppose Charter Amendment 7. Please vote no. Thanks." And include your address so they know you're from Whatcom.
Read about the whole mess with the County Charter Review Commission, here, here and a fresh one today here
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 email@example.com for review.