Peace & Social Concerns Committee report for Feb. Meeting for Business
The PSC Committee held an FCNL Letter Writing meeting on Jan. 16. Five West Knoxville Friends, three Maryville Friends, and one community friend participated.
After a time of fellowship and personal sharing we began with a period of centering silence. We then reviewed the agenda and began our business.
Marjie shared with us a letter to the editor she wrote along with F/friends from the Sevier County worship group in response to a request from FCNL in support of the Global Fragility Act. This Act is designed to:
> Protect U.S. national security and limit the need for costly military interventions by addressing the root causes of violent conflict.
> Provide critical funds to help prevent and reduce conflict, saving money by addressing conflict situations before a crisis emerges.
> Break cycles of violence by strengthening the effectiveness and coordination of U.S. programs designed to reduce the causes of fragility and violence.
> Save lives by ensuring that preventive action is taken in countries with high levels of violence and fragility, and those where warning signs are beginning to appear.
Taylor reported on his work through AFSC in support of re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act. This Act is designed to:
> Protect Native victims of sexual assault.
> Keep Native children safe from violence.
> Promote tribal access to federal criminal databases.
> Create a protocol for responding to missing persons cases.
> Improve coordination and response rates across multiple jurisdictions involved in investigating cases of missing and murdered victims.
> Provide better tracking in cases of missing and murdered individuals and improve tribal access to this information.
> Protect tribal law enforcement from violence as they work to keep the community safe.
Joan brought word of being asked by FCNL to form a Greater Knoxville Area Advocacy Team. We discussed our interest and resources to support this request that would involve working on a "national issue of the year" selected by FCNL. We decided not to pursue forming the team at this time because it would take away our time away from our monthly meetings and our ability to select issues that are most relevant to local F/friends and region.
Larry announced the Stop the New Nuclear Arms Race Conference scheduled at Maryville College May 22-25 sponsored by OREPA and several other national nuclear peace groups. Friends are encouraged to attend and disseminate conference information to others. The occasion is the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with bombs made in Oak Ridge. The focus will be educating and organizing in support of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. People of all ages from around the US as well as Europe and Australia will be attending. Individuals and groups have the option to endorse and/or sponsor the conference in addition to attending. For more information, see http://nukewatchinfo.org/stop_new_nuclear_arms_race/
We discussed plans from our last meeting to schedule another visit to the Knoxville office of Senator Marsha Blackburn to continue to build this relationship and communicate views of Friends consistent with Quaker Peace Testimony. We decided to focus on what we see as a critical need for our government to emphasize and fund more in support of diplomacy rather than relying on militarism as the principle way to advance US foreign policy. (Update -- Marjie has scheduled our meeting for 9:00 am, Wed. Feb. 19; everyone welcomed to join us. Marjie and Larry will pull together resource materials to present to the Senator in support of more diplomacy drawn from FCNL.) For more information, see https://www.fcnl.org/search?q=Diplomacy
Other resources made available included:
Information and action opportunities on several other issues based on communications from FCNL were reviewed. Each of us selected one or more to write letters to or call our congressional representatives and spent the remainder of our time writing letters.
> Action Alert: Support impeachment integrity -- Call Senator Alexander to support his recent statement, "We're taking an oath to be impartial, and that to me means we have a constitutional duty to hear the case, ask our questions, and then decide whether we want additional evidence in terms of documents or witnesses."
> Action Alert: Prevent unconstitutional war with Iran -- Urge our Senators to vote YES on the Iran War Powers Act, https://www.fcnl.org/updates/you-asked-the-house-responded-now-tell-the-senate-to-prevent-war-with-iran-2575; https://www.fcnl.org/updates/prevent-unconstitutional-war-with-iran-2190
We will resume our regular letter writing meeting in March.
For Peace & Social Concerns,
Guy Larry Osborne