2014 Domestic U.S. Workshops

How Corporations Are Re-Writing the Rules of the Economy and What We Can Do About It

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014, 11:00 am

For decades, people of conscience have pushed Congress to enact laws that constrain corporate power and behavior, and ease the violence that accompanies unfettered capitalism. Now these protections are rapidly being dismantled. Speakers will describe how trade agreements, corporate influence on the judicial system including the Supreme Court (also called “the Corporate Court”), activities of the American Legislative Exchange Council (where corporations have “a voice and a vote” on proposed state legislation), and other factors are rolling back decades of progress. Speakers will also discuss ways we can push back, restore needed protections, and strengthen our democracy.

Speakers:

  • Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director, Center for Responsive Politics
  • Brendan Fischer, General Counsel, Center for Media and Democracy, and ALEC Exposed
  • Michelle Schwartz, Director of Justice Programs, Alliance for Justice

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Legislative and Corporate Attacks on Workers and Wages

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014, 11:00 am

This interactive workshop will explore state and federal legislative threats to workers and their wages. Attacks on efforts to raise the minimum wage, paid sick days, and wage theft, and as well corporate strategies designed to profit employers and violate labor standards and protections are forms of violence against workers.

Speakers:

  • Leadership: Rev. Michael Livingston, National Public Policy Director, IWJ
  • Thom Shellabarger, IWJ Policy Associate
  • Sung-Yeon Choi-Morrow, IWJ National Organizing Director
  • Other invited guests

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The Moral Cost of War: Conscientious Objection to War & Alternatives to Paying for War

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014, 11:00 am

This workshop will be jointly presented by the Center on Conscience & War & the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund.

This workshop will focus on the true costs of war for society and individuals. It will present the cases of the men and women presently serving in our Armed Forces who because of conscience are seeking discharge as conscientious objectors to war, as well as, those civilians seeking relief from paying for war.

Presentations of instances of conscription and revenue refusal as economic and political noncooperation throughout recorded history and modern day examples of Peace Tax Funds around the globe as alternatives to the enforced collection of war taxes will be offered.

Discussion of the philosophy of noncooperation and religious responses to the organized violence of war and the development of resistance to war as a human right will be facilitated. Resources will be made available on these topics including materials from historic peace churches, conscientious objector organizations, war tax resistance movements and economic and legislative alternatives as exemplified by Peoples Life Funds and Peace Tax Funds to encourage and enable the workshop participants to raise these subjects in their home communities.

Speakers:

  • Jack Payden-Travers, National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund in Washington, DC.
  • Maria Santelli, Center on Conscience & War

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Communities of Faith Uniting to Reduce Gun Violence in the U.S. and Mexico

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014, 2:45 pm

Co-Sponsored by Domestic U.S. and Latin America & the Caribbean Workshop Areas

Across the country, faith leaders are playing a critical role in raising public awareness of the horrific impact that gun violence has on our families and building support for common-sense policies that can save lives from gun violence, including background checks and fingerprint licensing of handgun purchasers. The harms of existing lax U.S. gun regulations extend well beyond our borders, enabling traffickers to stream weapons across our southern border, fueling the violence that has killed tens of thousands in Mexico in recent years. In this workshop, panelists will discuss what communities of faith and conscience are doing to advance this bi-national issue. Vincent DeMarco will describe Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence, a coalition of over 50 national faith groups working on this issue. Eugenio Weigend will discuss the impact of US gun policies in Mexico. Rev. Jim Atwood, with 39 years of working in this arena, will focus on ways to encourage participation in the local faith community. Bob Baskin of the Peace Alliance will describe the Youth Promise Act (HR 1318), which makes an unprecedented investment in evidence-based, locally run prevention & intervention practices that engage and divert at-risk youth proactively, before they slip into a costly cycle of delinquency, crime, violence and incarceration.

Speakers:

  • Vincent DeMarco, Faiths United To Prevent Gun Violence
  • Rev. Jim Atwood
  • Bob Baskin, Peace Alliance

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Community Safety, Racial Profiling and Immigrants’ Rights

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014, 2:45 pm

The U.S. has deported nearly two million undocumented immigrants in the last five years, largely through a program known as “Secure Communities” or “S-COM” which encourages local police to detain immigrants, something historically under federal jurisdiction. Around the country, this has eroded trust between local police and communities, as many are afraid to report crime for fear of deportation and thus become targets of theft, violent crime, employer exploitation, human trafficking, and domestic abuse due to their immigration status. People of faith have worked with immigrants’ rights groups and local, county and state officials to stop the detrimental effects of S-COM. Join this workshop with Salvador Sarmiento of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON); Gabriel Camacho of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Massachusetts; and Jen Smyers of Church World Service (CWS) to discuss successful best practices and brainstorm about how people of faith can promote better community safety policies that build welcoming communities.

Speakers:

  • Salvador Sarmiento, National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON)
  • Gabriel Camacho,American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Massachusetts
  • Jen Smyers, Church World Service (CWS)

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Restorative Justice Lens and Core Practices

Saturday, Mar 22, 2014, 2:45 pm

Exploring another key component of a “just peace” approach to engaging conflict, this workshop would focus on the transformative shift to a restorative justice lens and core restorative practices in our religious communities and broader society. Such a lens calls into question the practice of mass criminalization of communities of color in the U.S. who are disproportionately subject to police surveillance, incarceration and torture. Too often our notion of “justice” revolves around a mis-guided attempt to change behavior primarily by instilling fear, suffering, and even death. For instance, this has led the U.S. to having one of the highest recidivism rates in the world (60%) as well as the world’s highest incarceration rate.

However, God has offered us an alternative, more truthful and transformative way of creating justice which has revelatory implications for various areas of our life. A restorative justice lens and practices are being used with great success in schools, criminal justice system, families, workplaces, and religious communities. We will hear from a survivor of torture in U.S. prisons, and discover in contrast, transformative practices and alternatives, particularly circle processes; get some clarity on the restorative lens; and explore ways to advance restorative justice in our communities and in public policy.

Speakers:

  • Jenn Bricker, Key Bridge Foundation Community Conferencing Program
  • Five Mualimmak (on behalf of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture)
  • Eli McCarthy, Professor Georgetown University in Justice and Peace Studies

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Converting a Militarized Economy and Alternatives for Reducing Violence

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014, 1:30 pm

This workshop will look at military spending as a part of the Federal Budget, and shifts toward reducing violence. Miriam Pemberton is an expert on Department of Defense funding and conversion to a peace economy. She will contextualize U.S. military spending globally and in relation to non-defense spending. Then she will lay out a comprehensive strategy for linking action at the federal, state and local levels to build an economic foundation that is not dependent on producing weapon systems we don’t need.

The School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) continues to reduce the impact of U.S. on violence in Central and South America. Arturo Viscarra will address the work to close the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), through legislation, vigils, and work with Southern leaders to withdraw their military from the school.

Speakers:

  • Miriam Pemberton
  • Arturo Viscarra

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How Faith Communities Resist Domestic, Sexual, and Gender-Based Violence

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014, 1:30 pm

This interactive workshop will provide participants with information about domestic, sexual and gender-based violence on a national and international basis. Presenters will share applications from faith communities to eliminate roadblocks to safety and promote resources which resist violence. The workshop will conclude with participants identifying tangible steps they can take back to their own churches and communities to work against these forms of violence.

Workshop Resources:

Download Combined PDF of speaker presentations.

Download responses to participant questions.

Speakers:

  • Rev. Maxine Lloyd Ball, M.Div., President and Founder, Isaac Ministries, Inc.
  • John Chapman, Survivor/Activist and former law enforcement officer
  • Emily Esworthy, Marketing and Communications Manager, IMA World Health
  • Leila Nimatallah, Director of External Relations and Advocacy, IMA World Health
  • Julie Taylor, Executive Secretary for Spiritual Growth, United Methodist Women

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The Real Violence Behind Sequestration

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014, 1:30 pm

The latest budget deal provided some necessary (albeit temporary) relief from sequestration. But anti-poverty programs weren’t overflowing with funds before sequestration began. Even with the deal that replaced most of sequestration for two years, competition for federal funding remains fierce. Additional cuts could devastate critical programs, but dollars are scarce. This is a new budgetary environment. Yet, there’s hope. The anniversary of the War on Poverty lifted the issue into prominence within the national dialogue. Learn how you can adapt your advocacy to take advantage of the growing conversation around poverty. Hear new techniques to ensure anti-poverty programs secure adequate funding. What are ways we can make anti-poverty programs stronger and more effective? How do we transform the violence of sequestration into the promise of a sustained and national commitment to end poverty?

Workshop Resources:

Presentation (PDF)

"Homless Youth Speak Out" Video

Speakers:

  • Leslie Woods, Domestic Poverty & Environmental Issues, Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Kathy Saile, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Rev. Kelly D. Wilkins, Coalition on Human Needs

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Violence Interrupters, Local Peace Teams, and Peace Education Programs

Sunday, Mar 23, 2014, 1:30 pm

Exploring other key components of a “just peace” approach to engaging conflict, this workshop will focus on cutting edge developments in local security, peacekeeping and peacebuilding initiatives. The U.S. society continues to struggle with bullying, assaults, gang violence, guns, and even abuse by police officers. The U.S. has the highest rate of youth homicide among the 26 wealthiest countries. Our schools are increasingly being filled with armed guards and police are increasingly taking on more military weapons, hiring more military trained officers, and growing their swat teams. But there are proven, effective alternatives to these patterns much more in accord with Jesus’ way of love of enemies and peacemaking. We will discover approaches that have effectively reduced shootings and homicides, as well as those which offer trainings in nonviolent conflict intervention and restorative justice, provide street monitoring, and offer peace education, etc. There is a national network of peace teams called the Shenti Sena Network, which you will also learn about. Come and explore the remarkable in-breaking of Jesus’ way through these initiatives, and what might be possible for your local communities.

Speakers:

  • Karen Volker (Cure Violence)
  • MJ Park (Little Friends for Peace)
  • Cortez McDaniel (DC Peace Team).

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