Field Reports from 2013
-- Portland, Oregon, USA - “I am out there organizing, but I don’t have any place to learn about organizing – and this is it!” – Social Justice League member. On Earth Peace's Nonviolent Social Change ministry supported the Leaven Project to develop the Social Justice League, a short-term leadership clinic which supported parents and teachers organizing around schools in NE Portland.
OEP's NSC staff worked with Leaven's community organizer to create a blended approach incorporating values and perspectives from both Kingian nonviolent conflict reconciliation and the Industrial Areas Foundation approach to community organizing. Each Social Justice League meeting included elements of one of these traditions – including IAF definitions of power, self-interest, and issues; the purpose and skill of one-to-one relational meetings as a core of effective organizing, Dr King's principles of nonviolence, steps of organizing a campaign, and aspects of ongoing nonviolent struggle. Each meeting also included time to share about current pressures being faced by the members of the group, with a chance to use the group as a resource for addressing them (as examples: unreasonable disciplinary action taken against a participant’s child, conflict between different PTA groups, conflict between subgroups of parents within the same school, conflicts with school principals).
-- Portland, Oregon, USA -- Since June 2013, On Earth Peace’s Nonviolent Social Change program (NSC) has been working with Ecofaith Recovery in Portland, Oregon, to build “Beyond Fossil Fuels” (BFF), a faith-based organizing effort to halt fossil fuel extraction and export through northwest Oregon and southwest Washington, along the Columbia River Gorge. BFF provides an avenue for people of faith, particularly Christians across ecumenical lines, to put their faith into action by joining the larger fossil fuel resistance movement, and to gain training and experience in social change organizing. The Columbia River Gorge, one of Oregon’s prized natural wonders, is tragically a geographic bottleneck for the export and proposed export of coal, fracking oil, and tar sands oil to Asia. The sheer magnitude of the proposal is staggering. Area communities will see an increase of rail traffic by as many as twenty coal trains per day, each taking fifteen minutes to pass. More information can be found at www.powerpastcoal.org. A strong grassroots effort has sprung up in the Pacific Northwest, with many thousands of people attending environmental scoping hearings and showing up for public action.
Within the broader context of the fossil fuels resistance movement, On Earth Peace and Ecofaith Recovery are working together through BFF to connect people of faith with other agents of change in the Portland, Oregon area. On Earth Peace’s NSC program is training, resourcing and walking with the BFF network in order to ground their participation and strengthen their leadership capacity within the movement.
Previous field reports
-- Rockford, Illinois, USA - Rockford Partners for Excellence - On Earth Peace walked with and supported the development of Rockford Partners for Excellence, a community action group which grew out of a training in Kingian nonviolent leadership in response to the 2009 shooting by police of Mark Barmore, a young black man. Watch videos at right, and read more here: "To Bring Hope, Stability, and Healing."
-- North Manchester, Indiana, USA - Manchester University Active Inclusive Movement - Check out this amazing zine in which Manchester University student (now alum) Kay Guyer reports on the successes of a group of students who gathered to build inclusion and understanding for LBGT-identified people. On Earth Peace's NSC ministry provided initial training and support along the way as this effort unfolded. Active Inclusive Movement Special Report - Note - for best viewing of this Adobe document, in your PDF reader select "View--> Page Display--> Two Page Scrolling"
- Young Peacebuilders
- Social Change