The US Congress is currently considering whether to expand the draft to women, as the National Commission on Military and National Service recommended, or to abolish the draft for people of all genders. Some are suggesting that expanding the draft is a natural expansion of women’s rights and gender equality but the truth is that true equality will only come from abolishing the draft for everyone. Stop Recruiting Kids (SRK) opposes the draft for the same reasons we oppose the military recruitment of kids- we believe that a free, just society should only recruit willing adults, who understand the risks of military service and agree to them. We stand against coercive military recruitment practices in all forms. A peaceful society must operate its military in a way that respects the dignity of all its citizens, of every gender and every age.
To learn more about OEP’s stance on the draft and the recruitment of kids, as well as to see the various memes created by SRK, visit the OEP Stop Recruiting Kids Campaign Facebook Page.
By Skylar Rella, OEP's Gender Justice Organizer
The language we use matters. The words we choose and the ways we write them have the potential to either reinforce or oppose normative understandings of power hierarchies. When it comes to gender specifically, there are some explicit ways language perpetuates the patriarchy. It is no secret that the word “woman”/ “women” simply cannot be spelled without the word “man”/ “men.” The implications of this reveal themselves in the culturally prominent idea that women are innately dependent on men. In other words, not only are women regarded as inferior to men, but they are also thought to need men in order to be successful or valuable.Read more
Chelsea Little published Internship Highlight: Dean DiPisa, our Outreach Interns and Online Storekeeper in Blog 2020-07-22 10:07:39 -0400
Dean is OEP’s outreach intern and the online storekeeper for Just Peace Outfitters! “To give you some detail, I have built and currently manage an online store interface through redbubble.com, as well as work with other interns to create social media pages for the store. My day to day usually involves going through our store and making sure everything is in order, working in Canva to create new images and store content. More recently, I have been working with the social media accounts and Tabby (our social media intern), and developing a sticker scavenger hunt for store outreach.”Read more
Youth and Young Adult (YYA) Intern, Laura Hay, has created a survey to explore how OEP can reach youth with peace education opportunities. With your suggestions and thoughts about past, present, and future work pertaining to our Youth and Young Adult Programming, we hope to better create an inclusive and engaging environment for youth leaders for justice and peace. If you have questions about this survey or other OEP YYA related questions feel free to reach out to Laura, email: [email protected]
Chelsea Little published Immigrating Detention Center Conversation in Blog 2020-07-22 10:00:10 -0400
Two Part-Coversation: Tuesdays August 11th and August 18th at 8:00 PM EST/ 5:00 PM PST
Do you want to be a greater advocate for migrants?
Living in tight prison-like conditions and being separated from loved ones is not uncommon for those who end up making the journey to the USA border. Given the COVID-19 pandemic spread, the immigration detention system is even more important to discuss. This two-part conversation will cover immigrant detention facilities and connect them to the criminal justice system. Join to become an informed ally! For more information look at the OEP-Migrant Facebook page or email [email protected]
Chelsea Little published OEP's Prison Justice Learning Action Community in Blog 2020-07-22 09:48:12 -0400
Written by Jennifer Weakland, OEP Prison Justice Organizer Intern
There is currently one week remaining in the 8-week, first-ever Prison Justice Learning Action Community Engagement Program! It has been a wonderful affirmation of individuals coming together to make a community that wants to learn about and put energy towards addressing the injustice plaguing the US prison system. We have read through and discussed in-depth Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, watched and discussed videos featuring Jeff Rosen, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Kamau Walton, and Andrea Ritchie on restorative justice systems,and have learned the 6 principles of Kingian Nonviolence. Most recently, the group had an action-focused meeting to brainstorm opportunities to become active participants in prison justice advocacy in our own communities.
To fully achieve the program goals of community engagement, issue education, and action empowerment, we have participated in a variety of activities. Integral in these activities is the earnest discussion of program material. These discussions allowed us the time to explore ideas, vent our own feelings and share inspiration surrounding prison justice, while also appreciating and supporting each other’s involvement. They also allowed us to learn much more about current, systemic issues facing the prison system, such as racially discriminatory mass incarceration through the War on Drugs, the injustice of biased plea bargain trials, the harms and dehumanization of imprisonment in general, and much more. During some meetings, the group split into breakout rooms for one-t0-one discussions of the material, which made for increased personal connection and in-depth discussion between group members. On one such occasion, group members participated in a casual mock debate, taking turns arguing for and against some of the principles of Kingian Nonviolence in order to prepare for disagreement with those who do not agree with the practice of nonviolence and the goal of prison reform.Read more
On Earth Peace will be holding a four-week webinar series on how to raise race-conscious kids. Topics will include how parents and teachers can teach kids about race, the role of racial scripts, and the future of racial justice. The book Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey will be used to guide the discussions, however, reading the book is not required. We will be meeting every Thursday at 8 PM ET starting on July 23rd through August 13th.
If you are interested in attending, please click here to complete the registration form.
Chelsea Little published Internship Highlight: Albert Nguyen, our Development Support Intern! in Blog 2020-07-01 11:03:14 -0400
Albert works as our Development Support Intern at OEP! “I help build and redesign the OEP donation page website. I also help build the Impact Leaders Project, which displays any leader who has impacted OEP in the past (interns, anyone else).” Albert has been spending most of his time at OEP creating a new donation page that should be launching soon! “Right now, we are getting closer to the soft launch for the OEP Leaders Impact and Donation page, so I am really excited to see how it all holds up. It should be an exciting thing to see.” With his work in the backend of OEP, Albert finds joy in using the skills he has been honing for years. “The best part about working with OEP is being able to use some of the skills I have and some of the skills I have learned and to be able to apply those skills into day to day life. Like for example, using my communication skills to talk to people, or my computer science skills to create pictures for Facebook.” Albert’s work with OEP is intensive and exciting for him, making his projects a place of pride in his life. “Outside of OEP, I just take breaks and do some exercise, probably look at my school website and look around to see what I can read about; anything interesting like news or academics. I guess you could say playing video games is a hobby of mine too.”
With all the support behind-the-scenes that Albert provides to OEP, we can without a doubt say that Albert has made OEP a better and stronger community through his dedication and support. Thank you Albert for keeping OEP running proud and strong!
Song and Story Fest has been moved online this year! Though we won't have our usual campfires and sing-a-longs in person, webinars and ZOOM gatherings will span between July 3rd and 10th to give everyone the sense of community they have been missing. To kick off everything we’ll gather, do a little visiting, tell some jokes, explore and embody a scripture for the evening, and then let some of our leaders offer songs and stories in an intergenerational worship program. The whole evening will last about 90 minutes on July 3rd, from 8:00 PM Eastern time until about 9:30.
The following days will have workshops/sharing/discussion offerings! On Sunday, rewriting the history of the Church of the Brethren, and on Monday, white people for racial justice. In addition, on Thursday we will have sharing circles for women and men (separate ZOOM links).
Contact Ken Kline Smeltzer at [email protected] to identify yourself and obtain the ZOOM links for these events.
Scheduled Events for 2020 Song & Story Fest
Friday, July 3, 8:00 PM Eastern time: “Song & Story Fest – Built for Such a Time as This”
- Discussions of Scripture: Amos 5:22-24 and Esther 4:12-14
- Leaders: Mike Stern, Jim Lehman, Bill Jolliff
Sunday, July 5, Workshop, 8:00 PM Eastern time: "A People's History of the Church of the Brethren: an exercise in collective memory and narrative construction.”
- Together we will "re-member" the social/cultural history of our church to "dis-cover" how we became complicit in our own acculturation and demise.”
- Debbie Eisenbise
Monday, July 6, Workshop, 8:00 PM Eastern time: “If black lives matter to white people, what should white people be doing?”
- Jonathan Hunter and Bonnie Kline Smeltzer will convene this sharing and discussion time, focusing on racial inequality, justice, and what we can do about it.
Tuesday, July 7, 8:00PM Eastern Time: “Christmas in July – Another Way of Living?”
- Discussions of Scripture: Mark 5:38-48
- Leaders: Jonathan Hunter, Rhonda and Greg Baker, Others?
Thursday, July 9, 8:00 PM Eastern Time: “Men’s Sharing Circle”, “Women’s Sharing Circle” – separate ZOOM links
- Conveners: Jim Lehman, Ken Kline Smeltzer for Men; Carrie and Kathy Fry-Miller for Women
Friday, July 10, 8:00 PM Eastern Time: “Envisioning and Acting for Social Change”
- Discussions of Scripture: Joel 2:28-29, and Jeremiah 29:11-14
- Leaders: Jim Lehman, Peg Lehman, Louise Brodie, Debbie Eisenbise, more…
Written by our Racial Justice Organizing Interns, Tamera Shaw and Grace Cook-Huffman
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. Since then, parts of the United States and other places in the world have erupted in protests. While police brutality, systemic racism and inequity are constantly being challenged, there seems to be a new wave of positive, forward-moving change. More people in the United States are finally starting to listen and take action. The public is pushing governments to pass laws directly addressing police reform and the defunding of police departments. Subsequently, police officers are being held accountable and responsible for their abusive and bigoted actions. Leading with God’s love and empathy, our collective voices must sing together in a call for action. Now is the time to continue urgently demanding reform, justice, and equity in ourselves, our families, our communities, our churches and spiritual practices, our schools and our institutions. It is pertinent that we use our Beloved Communities to learn, grow, and act together.
Movements for uplifting and bringing equity to our society are not uniquely a Black challenge. It is a challenge that every person must rise to in order to effectively create structural change. As we recognize and demand justice for Black lives that have been brutally taken, we must also recognize the countless number of people that are being killed with no media coverage. This includes Latinx lives, Indigenous lives, and all other people of color that have fallen victim to this system.
Chelsea Little published Internship Highlight: Chelsea Little, Our Newsletter Editor Intern! in Blog 2020-06-04 10:14:43 -0400
Chelsea works as our Newsletter Editor Intern at OEP! “I do a lot of the work associated with the various email blasts and newsletters sent out by OEP,” Chelsea explained. “I am majorly responsible for the bi-weekly PeaceBuilder, so collecting (and sometimes writing) content for that, formatting, editing, and sending out the Peace Builder, though I also handle a lot of the blog posting and the work involved with the bi-annual newsletters and conference wrap-ups. I’m just your friendly neighborhood OEP content collector!”Read more
Beginning June 3rd On Earth Peace is partnering with Just Peace Outfitters (JPOutfitters) to host a fun and enriching #StickerScavengerHunt!
Between now and June 30th On Earth Peace’s blogs and social media will be posting and hiding images and hints towards finding 10 exciting & beautiful JPOutfitters peace & justice stickers!
After you find a sticker you can “stamp” your sticker collection ”book” by:
- Sharing the link to that sticker location in your social media
- Sending a screenshot or link for your shared post to [email protected]
The first 10 sticker scavengers to collect all 10 stickers will win their choice of a free peace & justice sticker from the JPOutfitters Store
Join the World Refugee Day virtual march on June 20th to show solidarity with migrants and refugees. Post a photo of yourself on social media holding up signs with supportive statements and related hashtags like #WithRefugees #SupportRefugees #RefugeesWelcome #WRD2020. Please email your photos to [email protected] in order to create a big photo collage of all the participants by June 19th. Feel free to check out related content on the OEP-Migrant Justice Facebook page throughout the month.
Chelsea Little published OEP on Peaceful Protest and Kingian Nonviolence in Blog 2020-06-04 10:02:08 -0400
With so many in the streets after the killings of #GeorgeFloyd, #BreonnaTaylor, and so many others, we are mindful of people of many generations and racial/cultural backgrounds who are taking risks, providing support, or being invited into solidarity with the struggle for Black lives. As people seeking to follow Jesus and to follow a nonviolent path, we encourage congregations to stay strong in the long haul work of dismantling racism and building Beloved Community. Join us in the OEP-RacialJustice Learning Action Community for ideas about how to respond. You can learn more about the Movement for Black Lives on their website.
Some of the beloved community that OEP thanks and appreciates for
their collected support; 2019.
Written by Mary E Boria, of the Anti-Racism Transformation Team, for the 2020 OEP Spring Newsletter. In response to the OEP value Beloved Community.
Two months ago, around the beginning of March 2020, this would have been a very different discussion. The ongoing realities of life's struggle and increasing disparities between those with and those without privilege was a very familiar refrain. The stress and strain of poor and communities of color was evident in all aspects of people’s lives from health to income and feelings of safety and security in the world. Many made do (while others did not), and some at least held the hope that things would get better for their families and communities. A more direct and public outcry challenged the status quo to eliminate oppression and inequality. The Anti-Racist Transformation Team (ARTT) of On Earth Peace has helped to shape an understanding of the Beloved Community within the context of these realities. Dismantling systems that oppress, and transforming others, is a slow and arduous undertaking. Understanding the role of racism, gender oppression, and poverty have become foundational to the work of OEP. Changing culture and institutionalizing new practices takes time (even as we think of its urgency);
But, in the midst of our slow but determined progress, out of the ashes comes the Coronavirus (COVID -19 ) early in 2020. The world stopped, and our lives have rapidly changed, leaving uncertainty, pain, and death to follow. For some, our relative comfort and security has turned to fear and massive loss.
What is the hope for the Beloved Community in our yet to be determined new reality? And how do we live out our values of anti-racism, non-violence, action towards justice, welcome and hospitality, and Radical Christian love?Read more
Protestors at the US/Mexico border call for welcome
Written By Ben Leiter-Grandison, member of the OEP Anti-racism Transformation Team, for the 2020 OEP Spring Newsletter. In response to the OEP value Anti-racism/Anti-oppression.
For at least the past five years, On Earth Peace has been moving, in fits and starts, from a multicultural institution to an antiracist one. Making this shift has meant moving from a mindset and practice of hospitality to one of accountability. A multicultural institution opens its doors to people of color and other socially oppressed groups but does little to change the preexisting culture, policies, and decision-making structures that tend to favor superiority. It extends a welcome, but one that is implicitly conditioned on following rules “the welcomed” did not write, much like being a guest in someone else’s house. Hospitality, while generous and kind, keeps unequal power relationships intact. Indeed, to be hospitable, one first must have, and remain in control, of the power and property to host.Read more
A quick snapshot from the 20th Song and Story Fest in 2016.
Written by Bev Eikenberry, OEP Board Member, for the 2020 OEP Spring Newsletter. In response to the OEP value Intergenerational Leadership.
Parent to a three-year-old son: “Maybe Grandma would like to play on the Wii with you.”
Three-year-old son: “Grandma doesn’t like killing”
-- a moment of teaching from an elder.
“Sometimes [people] just need a friend rather than a time out;” a four-year-old reflects on how to support a fellow preschooler who is being disruptive in class
-- a moment of teaching from a child.
As a young adult, I thought as we grow older, we become wiser. So I often asked questions of elders. I realized with time that my generalization’s thought, we grow wiser with age, was not always true. There were some who became wise and some that offered me no wisdom.
One learned professor, who traveled widely and regularly, presented on current events with astute historical knowledge and understanding and offered a unique kind of wisdom. His conclusion was that “history repeats itself.” While living with that understanding, this man actively worked for peace and supported efforts of justice. His choice to pursue peace and justice, when he understood the world to not be changing, is an inspiration for me.Read more
Painting #18 from the exhibit, Nude Truths: An Odyssey in Poetry, Painting, and Prose created by Kristi Ylvisaker, painter, Mary Ylvisaker Nilsen, prose writer and using lines of poetry written by Denise Levertov. Used with permission of Zion Publishing.
Written By Matt Guynn, Director of Organizing for On Earth Peace, for the 2020 Spring Newsletter, in response to the OEP Value Positive Peace.
The poet Mary Ylvisaker Nilsen writes, “Peace pleads for redefinition: From non-violence to robust creativity. From the absence of war to the presence of compassion, cooperation, and collaboration.” If all wars ceased tomorrow - if all police forces were demilitarized - if all armed forces in the world disappeared - there would still be systemic injustice and interpersonal conflict everywhere.
Along with Nilsen’s writings, the Kingian Nonviolence approach (which On Earth Peace learns and teaches) asserts that pacifist non-hyphen-violence is ultimately only aspirin for the world’s problems and not the antidote for violence and injustice. On Earth Peace has claimed Positive Peace as one of our core values. Positive peace builds on and presses beyond pacifism - all war is sin - toward creative engagement with underlying causes of the problems we face. Anti-war and anti-violence pacifism is a good place to be rooted, but I suggest that pacifism must mature to prepare for involvement with the world. This requires values of compassion, informed by a fearless analysis of justice and oppression, and equipped by skills in conflict transformation and active nonviolence.Read more
Written by Jennifer Keeney Scarr, On Earth Peace Board Member, pastor of the Trotwood Church of the Brethren in Ohio and reservist with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Barrancabermeja, Colombia for the OEP Spring Newsletter. In response to the OEP value Jesus-Centered Spirituality.
Jesus is our teacher, our brother, our faithful friend.
Jesus is where our inspiration for peacebuilding holds it’s foundation.
Jesus is our center.
One of the most captivating stories about Jesus in the scriptures is the one often celebrated on Palm Sunday. Very publicly and loudly, Jesus marched into Jerusalem on the eve of Passover, a commemoration of the Jewish liberation from the bondage of slavery under Pharaoh. The Jews of Jesus’ time resonated deeply with this powerful story of their ancestors as they lived under the oppressive occupation in Rome. They longed for another Moses, a Messiah who would deliver them from Rome as Moses delivered them from Pharaoh. As Christians, we believe that Jesus was that Messiah. His method of salvation wasn’t the violent military victory expected but a daily commitment to kindness and compassion toward the overlooked and under-valued. To illustrate the kind of Messiah he would be, Jesus threw together a D.I.Y. nonviolent protest. With his people waving branches, and a donkey to carry him, Jesus marched into the heart of Jerusalem’s prestige and power. He identified the injustice of the system before him, illustrated by the tables upon tables of vendors and religious elites taking advantage of low-income people, travelers, and foreigners. Anger burned in Jesus’ belly and in a mighty symbolic, nonviolent act, he turned the tables over, upending the harmful systems at play if only for a day. With this action, he grabbed the attention of everyone in the courts and then began to teach another way of living.Read more
Chelsea Little published Internship Highlight: Social Media Intern, Tabatha Lanning! in Blog 2020-05-13 14:53:52 -0400
Tabby is the social media intern for On Earth Peace, meaning that she handles the posting, scheduling, communication, and data collection endeavors associated with OEP’s social media. “I also spend a good amount of time responding to people or directing people to the person who can best answer their questions,” Tabby explained. Though her work with OEP is seldom a highlighted piece itself, Tabby prides herself in being one of the go-to people when something needs to get spread far and wide. “My job is to make sure everyone at OEP has a spotlight if they want it!” As a recent graduate, Tabby looks forward to her daily work with OEP and the new adventures that she and her fellow interns might virtually embark on; “Interacting with all the other interns is my favorite part of my job!” Aside from OEP, Tabby also loves animals and is a big music junky! “Fun fact,” she furthered, “I also write a lot of poetry!”
Every exciting Facebook post, Twitter tweet, or Instagram picture means Tabby has been working her magic behind the scenes to make it a reality. Thank you, Tabby for all of your hard work keeping OEP strong and proud!