Page One

A weekend seminar on activism

By John Geluardi Daily Planet staff
Friday September 28, 2001

Redwood-Sequoia Congress will focus on activist networking 


A 5 p.m. peace walk that will include puppeteers, singers and jugglers, will kick off a weekend of progressive panel discussions and workshops on activism as part of the second annual Redwood-Sequoia Congress. 

“We’re coming together to see each other, hear each other and build relationships,” said Richard Challacombe, an organizer of RSC and a member of the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists. “You really don’t have any strength as a community until you get together and find common ground.” 

Originally the congress discussions were going to center around energy, but since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, the theme has been changed to the importance of peace. 

The panels and workshops will cover a variety of subjects and are designed to help progressive activists network and find common ground. 

“This is a rich activist community,” said Karen Pickett of the Bay Area Coalitions for Headwaters. “There are ways that people can be mutually beneficial to their various campaigns while not losing focus on their own agendas.” 

The peace walk will begin at Martin Luther King, Jr. Civic Center Park at 5 p.m. It will stop at the Berkeley BART Station for several short speeches and then continue on to the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists where the weekend’s activities will take place.  

The opening event will include the unveiling of a mural by Alezandra Childs that was inspired by the 1955 poem “The Broken Water Jar” by Nobel Peace Prize winning poet Octavio Paz. 

After the unveiling, there will be music, poetry and speakers including KPFA talk show host Larry Bensky and Independent Media spokesperson Sue Supriano. 

There will be a series of panels and workshops on Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. and continuing to midnight. The five panels will cover a variety of issues such as the monopolization of food production by corporations, the plunder of the Amazon and Tongas forests and the prison industrial complex. 

In addition there will be four workshops that will offer tips on how to organize and formulate agendas, how to protest effectively and writing punchy leaflets, e-mails and booklets. 

In between the panels and workshops, there will be food and more speakers including media critic Norman Soloman. At 10 p.m. there will be dancing, skits and singing. 

On Sunday there will be several more panel discussions including one entitled “Right To Energy and Freedom From Bigotry,” which will be paneled by Mayor Shirley Dean and councilmembers Kriss Worthington, Dona Spring and Linda Maio. 

Worthington said that while the panel sounds like it’s covering two separate issues, there “is a great connection between how we treat the planet and how we treat each other.” 

The Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists is located at 1606 Bonita St. at the intersection of Cedar Street. For more information about this weekends events call 841-4824.