New: Marking Guantanamo Prison Anniversary Jan. 10 and Active Hope in 2016

Cynthia Papermaster, Berkeley No More Guantanamos
Wednesday January 06, 2016 - 08:57:00 PM

Berkeley will join cities around the country on January 10 in marking the 14th Anniversary of Guantanamo Prison. Cleared prisoners are being released at a snail’s pace. Forced feeding continues, “detainees” have lost hope. We are still holding them without charge and without respect for their rights and the law.

Codepink and the Berkeley Fellowship Social Justice Committee will host an event on January 10 which will include presentations on shutting Guantanamo, prosecuting torture policy-makers-- including UC Law Professor John Yoo, police accountability for murder and brutality, and various additional social and environmental justice issues, with the goal of “climbing out of our silos” (single-issue focus) to better work together on the many critical issues that need addressing. We’re going to hear about victories, and we’re going to strategize for more victories in 2016. Time’s running out for doing things the same old way— we’ve got to unite and work together if we want a future worth living. We’re tired of fighting the power. Let’s take and BE the power in 2016. 

Featured speakers include famed Eco-philosopher and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy, Solartopia author Harvey “No Nukes” Wasserman, Shahid Buttar of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Defending Dissent Foundation, author of books on election theft and voting machines Jon Simons, KPFA host Dennis Bernstein, speakers from SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice) and APTP (Anti Police-Terror Project), San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, legal intervenors to Shut Diablo Canyon spokeswoman Linda Seeley, Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission Chair George Lippman, Codepink anti-drone activist Toby Blome, Berkeley No More Guantanamos Director Cynthia Papermaster, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute Director Emeritus Ann Fagan Ginger. 

Many activists are overwhelmed with the variety of issues needing their attention. The number of meetings, protests, and actions of various sorts are causing burnout, but worse, we are not seeing many victories and we need some victories to have hope and to keep going to make this world a just and healthy one. 

This 2016 election year will be a real opportunity for change if we take advantage of the predicted huge voter turnout to turn the corporate-funded Republicans and Democrats out of office who are not protecting the environment, upholding the law, or legislating for citizens’ needs. Can we unite behind progressive candidates and elect them? We think so. We know it’s possible given the current disgust with the mainstream political parties, the gridlock in Washington, and the corruption that’s evident. 

The hoped-for goal of the gathering will be to identify actions and strategies that are, or could, lead to victories on the local, state, national and international level. 

Another goal is to cross-pollinate and enhance our limited resources by working together more, by sharing ideas, support and communication so we can better join our voices and creative actions for more effective results. 

If readers are interested in any of the following topics, their participation in Sunday’s event will be most welcome and appreciated: ensure clean elections; shut Guantanamo Prison and release cleared prisoners; prosecute torture policy makers such as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jay Bybee, John Yoo; civilize and de-militarize the police and hold them accountable for murder and brutality; audit the Pentagon and end U.S. wars; shut Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant; stop fracking and mountain top removal, label GMOs, prevent coal and oil trains, promote clean energy; protect our civil liberties, end mass surveillance, mass incarceration and indefinite solitary confinement; create public banks; support a Berkeley Progressive Alliance working for a progressive Mayor and City Council in 2016. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016, at Historic Berkeley Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar Street @ Bonita, Berkeley.  

Donations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. 

4:30-6 pm Program Part 1, Issue Roundtables 

6-7 pm Vegetarian/Vegan Potluck dinner and live music
7-9 pm Program Part 2, Presentations, Roundtables, video, poetry, music, refreshments, action strategies