social change

Ithaca: Citizenship Education Program

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The Dorothy Cotton Institute (DCI) is offering the Citizenship Education Program over 3 Sundays: Sept. 21, 28, and Oct.5, at beautiful La Tourelle Inn on Rt. 96B South Hill.

Please read the flyer and share this with anyone you know who wants to

  • develop their ability to take direct action nonviolently,

  • communicate effectively and build support for the issues they care about,

  • get beyond internal, interpersonal and institutional stumbling blocks for positive change,

  • exercise their rights, use their power and make a difference in this world.

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Nominees sought for MLK Peacemaker Award

The Community Dispute Resolution Center and the Greater Ithaca Activities Center are seeking nominations for the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peacemaker Award.

The award is given to an individual or organization who works non-violently for change, who brings people together to resolve differences or promote social justice, and whose work benefits the Tompkins County community.

Nominations should consist of a letter of one or two pages on why the nominee should win the award and be sent to CDRC, 120 Martin Luther King Jr. St., Ithaca, NY 14850, or emailed to cdrc@cdrc.org by Dec. 16.

The award will be presented at the MLK Community Breakfast at 9 a.m. Jan. 18 at the Beverly J. Martin Elementary School gymnasium.

Link: Nominees sought for MLK Peacemaker Award (Ithaca Journal)

Why I think all guns should be destroyed

I just read this article about the father of one of the people killed in Newtown, testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on an assault weapons ban, and I felt compelled to say, publicly: I think all guns, missiles, and bombs (with the possible exception of internationally-held systems for meteor defense — I think ahead!) should be melted down or otherwise destroyed. Let’s throw mines in there too.

This is why: right now, almost anyone can go out and buy a lot of deadly weapons. If one of them decided to go crazy, or just to be desperate and unhappy and in my area, they could do whatever they wanted to me, because they have a gun. If they only had a knife, or even a bow and arrow (though that would be really, really weird…), I could lock my door and fend them off. But if they have a gun, they can shoot right through my door, my walls, my windows. My only defense from this is to get a gun, myself, but statistics show me that I would be much more likely to accidentally kill myself or a family member than any intruder. I also like to go hiking, and have to put up with whole seasons of the year when people may or may not accidentally shoot me because they’re busy trying to track down and slaughter various defenseless animals. I have had absolutely no say in this whole situation. Basically I have found myself born into a world where people around me feel so strongly about bloodsports and faulty, outdated interpretations of our constitution (last I checked, an assault weapon was nothing like a musket, and a Libertarian does not a Militia member make), and as such, I have to be in daily fear of random violence, and have to feel pushed to join in that violence myself, just to defend myself and my family. That is totally unfair. I’m just using myself as an example here; this applies to all of us. And this is why I think guns have no place in civil society.

Guns are machines made solely to kill sentient beings. That is their purpose. I view them as a terrible mistake, and I hope that some day, we human beings will recognize the error of our ways. Imagine a world where no one ever has to fear a stray bullet. I want to live in that world, and I believe we will not get there unless each of us takes a stand and says NO to this cycle of violence.

Masculinity in the kitchen

In Do We Have The Courage To Raise Our Sons More Like Our Daughters?, Lynn Beisner tells a story about how changing gender norms have allowed her to continue a treasured family tradition of passing on a beloved (presumably non-vegan, but that’s not the point here!) toffee recipe — because her son was ready to take up the torch when her daughter wasn’t. She writes,

I love how my son is challenging all of the gender assumptions I didn’t even know I still had. I love that somehow, against all odds, I managed to raise a guy who cannot have his masculinity threatened because it does not reside in what other people think of him.

As I read this lovely post, I thought of all of the amazing vegan men I know, who are willing to stop eating animals, though so many human cultures seem to equate meat eating and dominance over nature with masculinity. I love that so many men are becoming so willing to help build a more equitable, peaceful, cooperative culture, in these different ways. Maybe the kitchen is a good place to start, since it’s a place where women and animals have been oppressed for a long time.

Maybe one day women won’t fear men, and animals won’t fear humans. Can we make that happen, together?