Thoughts on Charlottesville

by A’Jamal Rashad Byndon

Since the skin-head and white supremacy incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, there has been a heightened awareness—particularly on social media—of the pain and suffering people of color have experienced from racism. And yet these Facebook and thoughtful blog comments demonstrate that many Americans lack the skills to have healthy conversations and dialogues about racial issues. In talking with colleagues, I’m continually amazed at how many are unable to articulate coherent ideas and concepts about the level of racism, prejudice, bias and white supremacy still present in this country. Some suffer from a level of white fragility where they really don’t know where to start. Others want to make those concepts of racism, prejudice and bias synonymous when in fact each term can carry different meanings based on the situation. For still others, watching this hideous behavior being so blatantly and shamelessly played out in the national media makes them want to fold their hands and disengage from reality. None of these reactions are surprising to people of color—we’ve witnessed this behavior all of our lives. But those who have buried their heads in the color-blind sand must either begin facing the reality of racism now—or expect to continue being confronted with it over and over again in the future… because, after Charlottesville, there’s no schmoozing over what’s going on.

These thoughts are being juxtaposed with the images of Klansmen, Nazis and white supremacists marching in the streets of the Charlottesville. It is ironic to see these white supremacists with “Tiki”-brand mosquito repellant torches—bamboo torches that are identified with the peaceful Hawaiian culture. But for anyone laboring under the illusion that the overt display of racism had been relegated to the distant past, we now know that the kind of hate we saw exhibited in Charlottesville can be found in any town, village or city in the United States. Even in the White House.

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2017 Annual Peace Conference

PLEASE NOTE: The Peace Conference is October 7, 2017! The Nebraska Report was printed with the wrong date. 

Saturday, October 7th • Trinity United Methodist Church in Lincoln

The catastrophic hurricanes that just pummeled Texas and Florida have given us an early peek at what climate change holds in store for our world. Back-to-back Category 4 landfalls with 130-mile winds and record precipitation (Houston got four feet of rain) should alert even the most skeptical that there’s something unusual going on with the weather. The stable climate we’ve taken for granted for centuries is changing before our eyes and shifting under our very feet. It’s time accordingly we take a long, hard look at our behavior as a species and start thinking about how we’re going to adapt to this harsher, more dangerous future.

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NFP Statement on Thermonuclear Weapons in North Korea

by Paul A Olson and the State Board of Nebraskans for Peace

The recent testing of a thermonuclear warhead by North Korea, accompanied by its earlier testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles, is a matter of concern to Nebraskans for Peace. Some time ago we, together with the national organization PeaceAction, called for a new nuclear freeze accompanied by later systematic reductions in the number of nuclear weapons available to all powers:

We need a new Nuclear Freeze and then systematic reductions with a protocol for controlling fissionable materials. Our suggestion would be that the campaign advocate for gradual reductions: first of 25% or more (which has at least been proposed for US/Russian bilateral reductions to follow-up the New START agreement), then of 50%, then of 75%, and finally of 95% both in nuclear warheads and in fissionable materials. This would require the creation of infrastructure for monitoring and verifying compliance with agreed reductions.

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NOT IN MY BACKYARD

by Sally Herrin

Not in my backyard. This expression signifies opposition by stakeholders to local habitation for something valuable, even necessary, but deemed unpleasant, threatening, even dangerous. Many residential neighborhoods, for example, resist certain new neighbors as undesirable: group homes for people living with mental disabilities, halfway houses for addicts, teens and ex-convicts fresh from prison and, back in the day, hospices for gay men suffering from AIDS. Build it, yes, these citizens say, just not in my backyard. This reaction is so widespread and so reliable among human beings, it even has an acronym: NIMBY.

At one extreme, NIMBY creates stratified societies like the caste system in India and deeply segregated cities in much of the U.S. Yes, the blacks and the Mexicans and the poor have to live somewhere, but… I greatly suspect this reflex is very old. At its root is ‘stranger’ fear and, superstitious or not, the fear of contagion. Easier to empathize with folks who resist not just personal economic loss (If you build that recycling center here, my property value will decline), but serious threats to health and quality of life from new neighbors like large hog confinements and chicken processing plants.

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FIRE STEVE BANNON

Nebraskans for Peace calls on the White House to remove Steve Bannon, Sébastian Gorka, and any other White House staff members associated with Alt-right and neo-Nazi groups. Mr. Trump's failure to call out these groups for their promotion of hatred and violence against Jews and people of color, in Charlottesville and elsewhere, is reprehensible. These groups’ public media have taken great comfort in Trump's positions. As an organization opposed to the use of violence to solve problems, we condemn these groups’ methods and also the present administration's encouragement of violent solutions, both internally and in international situations. We cannot fight Nazism in wars on the one hand and welcome it to the White House on the other. We call on the Nebraska Congressional delegation to sponsor a resolution calling for this removal.

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