We are Ferguson! We are Ayotzinapa! We are Sonoma County!

Vigil of solidarity across cultures after the grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson for the death of Mike Brown. We remembered all victims of state violence. 11/25/14, Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa

MLK Jr. once wrote that the biggest stumbling block to freedom was "the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom..."

Sonoma County with Ayotzinapa!

Support for the 43 missing students in Mexico and against the U.S.' Plan Mexico - 11/28/14


PJC Board Member Attends the 30th Anniversary Commemoration of Bhopal Gas Disaster

I am staying with the Satinath Sarangi the most amazing activist addressing the Bhopal injustice. I am here for the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal gas event, the worst industrial accident on record in the world. Today was day two of a week of memorial events, reminding the world of the huge injustice which lives on to this day and beyond in the lives of thousands of victims including the unborn. Relatively speaking, Union Carbide (now known as Dow Chemical), got away with murder, with the complicity of the Indian government. My travel partner Terry Allen lived and worked at the Sambhavna Clinic for 4 years and knows the activists as well as the victims. Through Terry I have had the honor to meet and get to know some of these people albeit slightly given the limitation of time here. - PJC Board member Christian Stalberg

Vigil of Solidarity! We are Ferguson! We are Ayotzinapa! We are Sonoma County!

Vigil of Solidarity! We are Ferguson! We are Ayotzinapa! We are Sonoma County!

Remember Michael, Andy and all victims of state violence.

The grand jury in Missouri has made its decision. Now we know we are all fair game, particularly people of color. Now we know that in the United States, unarmed young people can be killed with impunity. To make this really clear, a few statistics help. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010...Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.

5:00 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 25th - Courthouse Square - 3rd and Mendocino - Santa Rosa

Michael Brown is our family! The Mexican students are our family! Andy Lopez is our family! Come show your love and support with candles and flashlights and non-violent outrage.
For details, call the Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County at 707-575-8902



We've heard from people asking why we honored Andy Lopez at our 30th Anniversary Celebration. Here is the letter that Susan Lamont, Project Coordinator of the Freedom from Militarization Project, wrote to the Press Democrat in response to that question. It was published on November 1, 2o14.

Andy Lopez’s struggle

EDITOR: When Chris Smith wrote about the Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County, he left us with the image of an organization working for peace while honoring a boy who carried a simulated assault rifle (“Pushing for a more peaceable world,” Monday). Some readers were left wondering why.

Andy Lopez lived in a world that didn’t have his best interests at heart. In his short life, he dealt with poverty, racism, national borders used to exploit and demonize, a future offering lower wages and fewer opportunities for employment, a school-to-prison pipeline that profits off “his kind.” While corporate criminals went free, he was told it is criminal to join a gang.

And the gun? Andy had the misfortune to be a child in a culture that glorifies guns, war and violence, tempts children with aisles of war toys and screens filled with gore and allows young children to play with real assault weapons in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park under the approving eye of local police. And when he picked up on all the messages sent his way, the county used that to justify killing him.

Andy lived all the ugliness this county has to offer. We can’t bring him back to life, but we can honor his struggle.


Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County

Freedom from Militarization Project

Freedom from Militarization Project:

Diagnosing and Healing the Moral Injury of Violence

Our death culture cannot imagine solutions that do not bleed. – Diane di Prima

Violent conflicts rage across the globe with 28 million people suffering. The U.S. just can't refrain from bombing Iraq. Blood flows for oil in a failed policy. Police continue to kill unarmed teenagers of color. At home in Sonoma County, Deputy Gelhaus is back on the streets and the Sheriff's Office has purchased 30 bayonets from the Department of Defense.

A moral injury is less visible than one to the body. It is an injury to our spirit and soul. It creates feelings of helplessness, distress and anger. In society, it can result in “unexplained” violence. In our military veterans, it causes them to kill themselves at an alarming rate. In the Peace Community, it can create despair.

More people visit the Center to have heart to heart talks or call for hugs over the phone. We can wish the world would change and these feelings vanish or we can use our pain and anger to reinforce our courage and channel our feelings into nonviolent action.

We are launching an exciting new project: Freedom from Militarization. The focus is to address the ever-expanding gray area that exists between military and civilian life that normalizes war and violence. Our emphasis will be identifying and raising awareness of local behaviors and organizations that support the militarization of society.

We'll be seeking your involvement and encouragement as we address four main categories: 1) Law enforcement; 2) Local activities that support the military; 3) Local companies which profit from militarization; and 4) Normalization of the military in culture and society.

We will be working with other local groups as our interests intersect. For example, in tandem with Veterans for Peace Sonoma County, we have already begun telling the truth about the Vietnam War in order to counteract the Defense Department’s 50th anniversary commemoration funded with $65 million of your tax dollars. As part of the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez, we are deeply involved in the work to rein in and demilitarize local law enforcement.

This is an ambitious project. To accomplish it, we’ve created a new staff position. Susan Lamont will become the new Project Coordinator. Join us at any one of three meetings planned for late October to learn more about the project and ways in which you can be involved – Wednesday, December 10th, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., Saturday, December 13th 10:00 to noon, or Tuesday, December 16th, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., at the Peace & Justice Center, 467 Sebastopol Ave., Santa Rosa. If you attended one of the October meetings, there's no need to come to one of these.

For more information and to volunteer, please call the Center at 707-575-8902. Thank you

Events Honoring Andy Lopez on the First Anniversary of His Killing

Remembering Andy - One Year Later.....What Do You Have to Say?
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Community gathering at the memorial site to share thoughts and feelings about Andy as we approach the 1 year anniversary of his death. Bilingual grief counselors and community support volunteers from St. Joseph's Health will be present to help facilitate and share, Open to all youth and adults.
Andy Lopez Memorial Park, Moorland Ave. and West Robles Ave., Santa Rosa

Andy's Park Clean-Up Day
Saturday, October 18, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Come out and help clean up, cut the grass, and fix up the site in preparation for the anniversary potluck and memorial on Oct. 22nd.
Andy Lopez Memorial Park, Moorland Ave. and West Robles Ave., Santa Rosa

Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force
Monday, Oct. 20, 6:00 p.m.
Monthly meeting of the Task Force set up by the Board of Supervisors to consider changes to local law enforcement. The Task Force will be considering a recommendation from Sonoma County Community Oversight if Police Practices (SCCOOPP) to ask Sheriff Freitas to remove Deputy Erick Gelhaus from street duty.
Santa Rosa Room, 2227 Capricorn Way, Santa Rosa

Picketing for Andy Lopez at the Hall of Justice
Tuesday, Oct. 21, 9:00 a.m. to noon
Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez's on-going weekly picket to demand Justice for Andy Lopez. We want this to be a big one. Bring your signs!
600 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa

Board of Supervisors Meeting
Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2:00 p.m.
The Supervisors will be receiving a preliminary report from the Task Force they formed to consider changes to law enforcement in Sonoma County. Members of the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez and the public will be able to give public comment on the subject. Come give yours or lend support to others.
Supervisors' Chamber, 575 Administration Dr., Santa Rosa

O22 Day of the Dead Sacramento - National Day Against Police Brutality & Mass Incarceration
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Andy Lopez was killed by Erick Gelhaus on the National Day Against Police Brutality. We will be leading a contingent to Sacramento in his memory. Information will follow about carpools and times. Join us in Sacramento as families from all over California will lobby their lawmakers and bring the fight for justice to the capital. We will be having a funeral procession through the streets of the Capital as we remind California leadership that our grief is forever because killer cops are still free.
California State Capitol, Sacramento

In Memory of Andy Lopez – Potluck and Memorial
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
On the first anniversary of the killing of Andy Lopez by Deputy Eric Gelhaus, we will gather on the site of his death to remember him. Please bring food, drink and your heart to share.
Andy Lopez Memorial Park, Moorland and West Robles Ave., Santa Rosa

Blowback after Blowback after Blowback....

How Does It End?

America is about to start yet ANOTHER war to stop terrorism. We’ve been invading, bombing, cruise missiling, and droning countries for decades, and terrorism hasn’t gone away. Congress and the President need to stop and think – how does this end?

The simple answer is that it doesn’t. President Bush’s so-called War on Terror seems likely to continue to the end of President Obama’s term and beyond. America no longer ends the wars it starts, whether literal wars or figurative ones. There’s too much money at stake. Whether it’s Halliburton selling supplies, or Lockheed Martin’s over-budget, dysfunctional F-35, those who make money off foreign wars are not content to just let them end.


Bombs Are Not the Answer in Iraq and Syria! A Vigil for Peace

Bombs Are Not the Answer in Iraq and Syria!

A  Vigil for Peace

Friday, Sept.26, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Old Courthouse Square, Mendocino Ave. & 3rd St., Santa Rosa

They say that doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of stupidity. Well, the last four presidents have bombed Iraq and each enemy they have created is more violent than the last. Every rebel group we arm turns those arms against us. Maybe the U.S. is doing it all wrong.

Here's a letter we and Vets for Peace have sent to the newspapers. Join us if you agree!

"Veterans For Peace and the Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County absolutely oppose U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, no matter what the rationalization. We call on all our members to speak out against any U.S. attacks on Iraq and Syria.

Our Peace & Justice Center and Veterans For Peace communities have witnessed the brutality and the futility of war, including the war in Iraq. Some of us are veterans of a war based on lies and we became part of the killing of a nation, along with as many as one million of its people. We watched as U.S. policy makers consciously stirred up ethnic and religious divisions, creating the conditions for civil war today.

The fruits of more than a century of U.S./European meddling and exploitation in the Middle East cannot be eradicated with more bombing. It is time for a change.

We wish to see a U.S. foreign policy based on true humanitarianism and real diplomacy based on mutual respect, guided by international law, and dedicated to human rights and equality for all."