Building A World Beyond War: What Will It Take?

Building A World Beyond War:  What Will It Take?
Sponsored by Vermont Stands for a World Beyond War Coalition
Funded by a Mercy Peace Initiative Grant and awaiting replies from others
Saturday, April 22, 2017
9 AM to 4:30 PM
Winooski School District, 60 Normand Street, Winooski, VT  05404

Click here to register!

Vermont Stands for a World Beyond War Coalition:
This new coalition is sponsoring an April 22, 2017 conference entitled, Building A World Beyond War:  What Will It Take?  The newly-formed coalition, includes the following peace and social justice groups: Burlington Vermont Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Peace & Justice Center, Will Miller Green Mountain Veterans for Peace, Save Our Skies VT/Stop the F35s Coalition, the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center, Vermont Action for Peace, Caroline Baird Crichfield Fund, Kunsi Keya Tomakoce, Justice for All, and Friends Committee on National Legislation. The purpose of the conference and coalition is to revitalize the Vermont peace movement and focus on the financial, social, and environmental costs of war and militarism in our state.  All interested groups are invited to join the coalition and/or sponsor the conference.  For more information, contact Robin Lloyd at 802-862-4929 or email her at robinlloyd8@gmail.com.

CONFERENCE ISSUES:
One of the hot topics in our area is the basing of the new F35s at the Burlington International Airport in the fall of 2019. The controversy surrounding the F35s has focused community attention, especially in South Burlington and Winooski which are in the direct flight plan of the planes, on the economic and environmental impact of militarism on daily life here in Vermont. Concerns about the F35s and increased militarism in Vermont have been taken to our local, state, and federal legislators, as well as to court. The Cities of Winooski and South Burlington joined a lawsuit with the Stop the F-35 Coalition regarding the U.S. Air Force’s environmental impact statement of F-35 fighter jets (http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com). The F35 issue encapsulates almost all of the issues of our conference from impact on the environment to economic cost to disarmament and war.

The April 22nd conference is aligned with Coalition goals, including disarmament and ending war, social and economic justice, and protection of the environment.  Workshops will include an educational component, as well as a key focus on potential solutions.  Topics that have been brainstormed include protecting the environment from the destructive consequence of militarism and war; connecting the dots between oil, corporations, and war; moving the money from war to peace; civilian unarmed peacekeeping; etc.  The goal of this action-oriented conference is to come up with 4 actions/events that coalition members can agree to work on together.

CONFERENCE PROGRAM:
The April 22nd conference, to be held on Earth Day at Winooski High School in Winooski, Vermont, will bring together coalition members and interested Vermonters through workshops, panels, and actions that answer the conference’s key question: what it will take to build a world beyond war?  A tentative conference schedule is below:

9:00 to 9:30 AM         Registration, Coffee, Exhibits, and Networking
9:30 to 10:30 AM       Keynote Presenter:  David Swanson, A World Beyond War
10:45 to 11:45 AM`    Workshop Sessions
11:45 to 12:45 PM       Lunch, Exhibits, and Networking
12:45 to 1:45 PM        Workshop Sessions
2:00 to 3:00 PM        Workshop Sessions
3:15 to 4:30 PM         Closing Session Presenter:  Pat Hynes, Traprock Center for Peace and Justice

SPEAKERS:
David Swanson
is Director of World Beyond War (worldbeyondwar.org/). His books include: War Is Never Just, War Is A Lie, War No More: The Case for Abolition, and When the World Outlawed War.  He is the host of Talk Nation Radio. He has been a journalist, activist, organizer, educator, and agitator.  Swanson helped plan the nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington DC in 2011.  Swanson holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. He blogs at davidswanson.org and warisacrime.org and works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization rootsaction.org.  Swanson also works on the communications committee of Veterans For Peace, of which he is an associate (non-veteran) member. Swanson is Secretary of Peace in the Green Shadow Cabinet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter and contact him at david@davidswanson.org .

Pat Hynes is the Director of the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice (http://traprock.org/).  She is a retired Professor of Urban Environmental Health and has worked for decades as an educator, researcher, writer and activist on issues of environmental justice, feminism, and the health effects of war. Her book, A Patch of Eden: America’s Inner-City Gardeners, documented the social and environmental justice capacity of the community gardening movement in inner cities of the United States. She is committed to building with others the Traprock Center as an informational and educational resource for activists, educators, and students. Pat has had several of her articles on war, militarism, peace, and related concerns published online: Hynes/MyTurn: Down the Same Rut: Don’t Bomb Syria!, When Veterans Speak Out about Truth of Iraq War, Vietnam: An Unfinished Debt, Reflections on Troop Withdrawal in Afghanistan, Mothers Day for Peace – a Blessing, Federal Budgets Are Moral Documents, Beatitudes for Veterans Day, Local Budgets and War Spending: A Reflection for Tax Day, April 15, Peace Negotiations in Afghanistan: Where are the Women?, and War Weariness, Military Heft, and Peace Building, Mercenaries in the Marketplace of Violence .

WORKSHOPS:
Session 1

  • “Nuclear Weapons: The Current Threat and What We Can Do About It” with John Reuwer from Physicians for Social Responsibility. Presentation Description: In order to increase the chances that there will be a world worth living for in the future, we must first eliminate the very real possibility of nuclear annihilation. The more than 15,000 nuclear weapons held by nine nations are capable of destroying any semblance of what we call civilization. This presentation will review the current arsenals, the medical and climatic effects of using nuclear weapons, and how close we have already come to disaster. Participants will learn about current agencies and campaigns that participants may join to decrease the threat of their use.“Activism 101 We are ALL Activists!” with Mary Brown-Guillory from Champlain Area NAACP. Presentation Description: Coming soon
  • “The Power of Militarism in Our Lives: A Community Discussion” with Joseph Gainza from Vermont Action for Peace. Presentation Description: This will be a discussion workshop, a place to explore together the pervasiveness of militarism in our culture and our daily lives. We’ll discuss the ideas and values that militarism embodies. We will look at how militarism is woven into our individual and collective lives such as in our speech, government policies, economy and entertainment. We’ll take some time to discuss alternatives to the manifestations of militarism, such as nonviolence. Where do we see alternatives at work in Vermont? What kind of actions can we take to lessen the power of militarism and build new ways of relating and living?
  • “How Do You Foster Peace? A Community-Based Listening Project”  with Adrienne Kinne from Will Miller Green Mountain Veterans For Peace. Presentation Description: Last summer, the Will Miller Green Mountain Veterans For Peace began a listening project which poses the question, “How do you foster peace?,” to members of the community. This listening project was then picked up by the Randolph Area Peace and Justice Coalition who then engaged members of the public at three separate community events. We will discuss our experiences conducting this listening project, to include our approach, responses given, and next steps. It has been our experience that this listening project has afforded us a unique opportunity to interact with people who may not otherwise come to peace conferences and events, while hearing their thoughts about peace in their lives, in their communities, and in the world.

Session 2

  • “Peaceful Resistance in Ceremony While Facing Violence” with Beverly Little Thunder from Kunsi Keya Tamakoce. Presentation Description: Discussion on recent events in North Dakota around pipeline by Energy Transfer and how non violence training assisted in building an awareness that continues beyond the actual pipe line itself. What did we learn from the Indigenous community’s organization of such a massive resistance? How do we as womyn continue to build on this?
  • “One State, Two States, Solution or No Solution” with Sandra Baird from The Caroline Fund and Mousa Ishaq from the Burlington/Bethlehem/Arad Sister City Program. Presentation Description: The conflict between Israel and Palestine remains one of the main blocks to peace in the Middle East. With the Israeli occupation of the lands of Palestine, the threat of war throughout the region has been and is real and ongoing. Solutions to this seemingly relentless struggle have been considered: should there be two separate and independent states, one for the Israelis and one for the Palestinians? Should there be one state for both peoples in which both Palestinians and Israelis would have equal rights to citizenship and justice? Are there any solutions which would finally end this conflict and bring justice to both peoples? In this workshop the presenters will speak of both the issues dividing Palestinians and Israelis and possible resolutions to the conflict. More important, the workshop will welcome the honest discussion and debate of our community on the problems facing Israelis and Palestinians as they long for peace.
  • “What Vermonters Can Do NOW To Do Build a World Without War” with Sophie Quest from Friends Committee on National Legislation. Presentation Description: In this workshop, we’ll look at President Trump’s proposed budget and huge increase in military spending, as well as the proposed cuts in human services, environment, education, and other areas. We’ll present concrete numbers on what this military budget could buy in terms of the needs of people and the planet. Finally, we’ll look at doable actions that Vermonters can take to protest the military budget.
  • “Appropriate Re-integration: Returning Home from War” with Jon Turner from Veteran Regeneration Project. Presentation Description: The Veteran Regeneration Project is designed to utilize mindfulness, creation and agricultural as a means to empower the participant and help them return home to themselves and back into their community.  This presentation will offer methodology that has proven useful for several veterans who have faced difficulty with their transition home from war as well as for their family members who have relived trauma second hand.

Session 3

  • “Equity & Accountability: Finance for a Peace Economy” with Gwendolyn Hallsmith and Matthew Cropp from Vermonters for a New Economy. Presentation Description: Driven by the linked imperatives of growth and extraction, the for-profit financial institutions that dominate our economy consistently generate poverty, environmental degradation, social tension, and violent conflict. This session will include an overview of the ways in which dominant existing financial structures cause harm, and presentations on two tested and viable alternatives: Public Banking and Cooperative Finance. The session will conclude with a Q&A about these models and a discussion seeking to connect the ways in which divestment campaigns, local investment, and other systemic changes can contribute to financial systems that would be foundational to a robust and just Peace Economy.
  • “Building Empathy and Hope with Kids4Peace” with Jeff Mandell from Kids4Peace Vermont. Presentation Description: Does violent conflict in the world seem like a tangled knot without hope of solution? Kids4Peace (k4p.org) provides that hope and is training our future leaders to be peacemakers. Kids4Peace is a grassroots interfaith youth movement dedicated to ending conflict and inspiring hope in Jerusalem and other divided societies around the world. To achieve this mission, our programs build interfaith communities that embody a culture of peace and empower a movement for change. In this hour we will explore immediate learnings to elevate your one-on-one and group peace-building skills and hear directly from Kids4Peace Vermont teen ambassadors who have lived and studied with kids from Israel and Palestine. One component of a world beyond war requires citizens of the world to be able to disagree with their neighbors without taking violent action or depriving them of their human rights. This capability derives from the capacity to empathize and understand opposing points of view. Kids4Peace teaches these skills to understand and problem solve, starting by gathering small groups of people with opposing views together. Participants explore their traditions and customs, share the realities of their daily lives, and work to break down the stereotypes and fears that they have of the ‘other’. Recently in Jerusalem the newest group of 140 Muslim, Christian and Jewish families met for the first time. During the initial meeting, despite their differences, a new culture of unity and bonding was formed. After attending this workshop you have some tangible knowledge and tools for creating a culture of peace in your community.
  • “The F35 Basing in Vermont: A Local Example of Expanding Militarism” with Eileen Andreoli from Stop the F35 Coalition / Save Our Skies VT. Presentation Description: The future F35 basing in Burlington VT is the real-time, local manifestation of the consequences of the militarization of our society. The powerful campaign to increase the militarization of our region attempts to rationalize the destruction of Vermonter’s homes and environment, the endangerment of residents’ health and safety, and the loss of property values as acceptable collateral damage necessary to support its mission. In an effort to protect Vermonters from this tragedy, opponents of the basing have entered into lawsuits seeking full disclosure on the true human costs of the F35’s projected negative impacts to over 6,600 Vermonters and their neighborhood communities. This presentation will explore the F35 issue, from the first scoping meetings to the present time, and the status of the current lawsuit. Attendees will learn why this decision will be so harmful, as well as ways to continue to fight this inappropriate basing and protect Vermont, its environment and its people from this planned destruction of our residential communities.
  • “Recognizing, Addressing and Working to End White Fragility” with Kyle Silliman-Smith from The Peace & Justice Center. Presentation Description: This group activity is focused on white fragility – the struggle for dominant communities to tolerate discussions on race without feeling shame, guilt, or victimization. In building a world beyond war it is vital to address racism because the way we conduct war is fundamentally based in racism and the propagation of discrimination. In this effort to move beyond war and create a peaceful environment it is critical to ensure that people in white skin understand that the current, widely held idea of what racism is, is inauthentic and incomplete. There will be a group discussion on concrete steps people can take to disrupt the cycle of white fragility in the hopes that people will better understand how the power and privilege of white skin combined with complacency perpetuate racism and other systems of oppression.
  • War Without/ War Within:  Community Dialogue for Creating a More Compassionate World”  with Barabara Soros, a body mind practitioner. Presentation Description: The costs of war are inestimable, and includes: its impact upon people and their well being and their sovereignty, its far reaching impact upon the environment inclusive of massive migration, animals, crops, soil, water, infrastructure, economy. Its impact upon global warming and the toxity of the environment. Often, we think of war in terms of external evidence. If we think of war and its psychological toll, soldiers and direct victims come to mind – its impact upon the psyche of those who directly experience war – we think of PTSD. We think of physical mutilation or the loss of family members, friends and associates, loss of entire communities. Profound Grief. Yet, we live in a culture that perpetuates war globally, perpetuates a culture of violence that is at once international and domestic – a culture that perpetuates injustice and destruction in many spheres – race – religion – territory – resources – environment – economic. We live in a country that itself is living a deep psychological split How does this affect the psyche of ordinary citizen, what are the emotional burdens and responsibilities we must carry? How deep are their effects? How does this social schizophrenia affect our children, our families, our relationships, our commitments, our communities? What is our responsibility knowing we benefit from the suffering of others? Are we as individual citizens directly culpable for the violence committed in our name? Is it our obligation to speak out –to take action – to demand the cessation of violence and war? What is our moral obligation? How committed are we to ending such massive suffering. In speaking out would we risk our comfort, imprisonment or our lives?

REGISTRATION:
Click Here for online registration

DIRECTIONS:
Winooski School District
60 Normand Street
Winooski, VT  05404
https://www.google.com/maps/place/60+Normand+St,+Winooski,+VT+05404/@44.5007422,-73.1826307,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x4cca709d6af45d5d:0xfe54d234f701e307!8m2!3d44.5007422!4d-73.180442

FOOD:
Nepali Kitchen

COALITION MEMBERS AND SPONSORS:

Peace & Justice Center
The Peace & Justice Center is a Vermont-based non-profit, membership organization. Our mission is to create a just and peaceful world. To this end, we work on the interconnected issues of economic and racial justice, peace, and human rights through education, advocacy, training, non-violent activism and community organizing.

WILPF Burlington Chapter
WILPF was founded in 1915 during WWI, with Jane Addams as its first president. WILPF works to achieve disarmament, full rights for women, racial and economic justice, and an end to all forms of violence. The Burlington VT Branch of WILPF has been active for 30+ years. We serve all Vermonters, working to create the political, social, and psychological conditions which can assure peace, freedom, and justice for all. Our Branch meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 5:30 PM at the Peace & Justice Center in Burlington. Meetings are free and open to all.

Veterans for Peace
Veterans For Peace is a global organization of military Veterans and allies whose collective efforts are to build a culture of peace by using our experiences and lifting our voices. We inform the public of the true causes of war and the enormous costs of wars, with an obligation to heal the wounds of wars. Our network is comprised of over 140 chapters worldwide whose work includes: educating the public, advocating for a dismantling of the war economy, providing services that assist veterans and victims of war, and most significantly, working to end all war.

Vermont Action for Peace
VTAFP will work as a catalyst to bring together the various groups in Vermont working on elements of a peace economy and help them create a compelling narrative depicting the benefits to communities, families and individuals of working collaboratively for a future that works for everyone, promotes peace, and preserves the natural world.

Stop the F35s Coalition
Our mission is to stop the basing of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter at the Vermont Air National Guard Station located at the Burlington, Vermont International Airport. We oppose the basing in order to protect the over 6,000 people living around the airport from the dangers associated with its basing. Some of these include negative health impacts on children and adults, cognitive impairment in children, reduction in property values, classification of thousands of affordable homes as being unsuitable for residential use, disproportional negative impacts to minorities and people with low incomes, and risk of loss of life from crashes.

Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center
The Mission of the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center (GBMRC) is to increase awareness and provide opportunities to celebrate, promote and support cultural diversity within our community.

The Caroline Baird Crichfield Fund
The Caroline Baird Crichfield Fund for Women in Need shall assist women in emergencies to create independent, safe, healthy and creative lives.

Kunsi Keya Tomakoce
Kunsi Keya Tamakoce (Grandmother Turtle Land) is an independent women-run, safe space community. Based on the Lakota spiritual principle of Mitakuye Oyasin, or egalitarianism and interdependence with All Our Relations, Kunsi Keya Tamakoce (KKT) preserves indigenous religious heritage and fights against racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ageism and ecological violence experienced in tribal populations and the world at large.

Justice for All
Justice For All is a Vermont-based racial justice non-profit organization, that identifies and dismantles institutionalized racism and facilitates healing in our communities.

Friends Committee on National Legislation
The Friends Committee on National Legislation lobbies Congress and the administration to advance peace, justice, opportunity, and environmental stewardship. Founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), FCNL fields an expert team of lobbyists on Capitol Hill and works with a grassroots network of tens of thousands of people across the country to advance policies and priorities established by our governing General Committee. FCNL is a nonpartisan organization that seeks to live our values of integrity, simplicity, and peace as we build relationships across political divides to move policies forward.

MORE INFORMATION:
Contact program@pjcvt.org or 802-863-2345 x6

For more information on how to join the coalition please contact Robin Lloyd at robinlloyd8@gmail.com

For more information on how to get involved as a sponsor please contact Marguerite Adelman at madel51353@aol.com