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Oz Cole-Arnal writes about Squirrel Hill

Baptismal Expectations — Now!

Oz Cole-Arnal holding a "Stop C51" sign
Oz Cole-Arnal
I was visiting my oldest son Bill and his partner Darlene when I heard the awful news of the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I felt gut-punched and burst into tears. With so much hatred in the world, with the “othering” of all God’s vulnerable — Jews, blacks, women, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ — reaching new heights of murderous invective and hate as the wave of neo-Fascism arising throughout the western democracies, this attack in Squirrel Hill struck me exceedingly close to home. I am an ex-American from Western Pennsylvania, roughly an hour by auto to Pittsburgh, yet the emotions involve a deeper gut-wrenching connection than the thirty-mile jaunt by car to that city. In the years of graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh (1970-1975) my wife and two boys lived in the Greenfield neighbourhood, immediately bordering Squirrel Hill, within easy walking distance. We would often walk and browse the shops in that lovely neighborhood, enjoy kosher baked goods, hearing yiddish that we could not understand but always welcomed by residents Jew and Gentile alike. Our landlord Ezra Stein, a practicing Jew, was gentle, kindly and fair with his rental charge. I remember fondly how he quickly repaired a broken pipe, working to get the job done quickly so that our newborn Brad could be warmed as soon as possible upon his arrival from the hospital. My academic mentor was Dr. Seymour Drescher, renowned scholar on abolition of the slave trade(s), who, with his wife Ruth, also practice their Jewish faith. Since that time we have become friends and colleagues. Add to that my doctoral thesis, the relationship between French Catholicism and the right-wing, horribly anti-Semitic Action Française, brought me deeply in touch with the so-called “Christian” legacy of anti-Judaism from the medieval pogroms to Hitler’s Final Solution. During my research in France I met Joel Blatt, another brother of Jewish background, and we remain in touch to this very day. So I cry out in outrage and have shed many tears against this murderous rampage in Squirrel Hill, beyond principle alone. It has grinded my very viscera.

Yes, I celebrate not only those Jewish brothers and sisters of Squirrel Hill who, instead of seeking even “appropriate” retribution have marshalled their forces collectively, in that locus and in my own Waterloo Region, along with Muslims, LBGTQ folk, a grand variety of faiths, including us “Christians”, to cry out NO MORE” to simple “eye for eye & tooth for tooth” but like the prophets of old have railed against evil (such as the hate fascism of Donald Trump, et. al., including his minions in our own land). Yet even louder have they embodied a massive solidarity in vigils that say, our collective voice of non-violent courage will stand tall against such fascist rebirth.

Chiefly though I call out to my fellow “followers” of the “Way” to remember the demands of their baptism to embody that ancient formula (Galatians 3:28) — “There is no longer Jew or Greek (Gentile), …slave or free,… male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” This text does not squash these separate identities into some kind of neutral category, but rather affirms that the character of each is embraced with fullness and acceptance, something that those vigils in my two countries (the U.S. and Canada) affirmed loudly. Yet vigils are not enough! We must daily find ways to roll back the encroaching fascism exploding in our midst, liberated into open violence by “hate” regimes, whether in France, Germany, the United States and Canada. We must, as my dear friend Rabbi David Levy chanted in Hebrew over against the attack on the poor in those Days of Action over two decades ago (Isaiah 58:6-7a): “Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice,… to let the oppressed go free…? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your houses?”, embody this daily. Our baptism is our pledge to stand tall and massively against any and all attacks on all who are “othered” and victimized in our society.

The Squirrel Hill violence reminds us yet again of the long history of our marginalized and murdered Jewish sisters and brothers. The Hitler ovens are not just past history. They lurk as hidden beasts, beginning to pounce again. And, of course, we who are Lutheran bear a heavier load of need to repentance, which means much more than the easy escape of a cheap confession of guilt. That Greek word of metanoia means “to turn one’s life around.” So, in our baptism we promise to embody this radical stance against “the Powers” and for the vulnerable. And, lest we forget, the one in whose name we were watered is Yeshua bar Miriam & Joseph, a Jew!

Photo cropped from Oz Cole-Arnal and Nadine, © 2015 by Laurel L. Russwurm, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Only (CC BY) 2.0 license.

Pictures: Perspectives On Peace 2018

Perspectives logo: Stylized dove with laurel leaves
Perspectives on Peace



On Saturday, 27 October 2018 KW Peace held the second Perspectives on Peace symposium. Lunch was provided at no cost thanks to the generosity and work of Kitchener Food Not Bombs.

People at Perspectives On Peace 2018, eating lunch provided by Food Not Bombs


People in discussion before the presentation

Emcee Sandee Lovas speaks with participants


Laura Hamilton at the microphone Sandee Lovas

Laura Hamilton gives the Land Acknowledgement, and emcee Sandy Lovas introduces the participating groups from KW Peace

Tamara Lorincz gives a presentation on The Climate and Environmental Impacts of the Canadian Military. Download the slides (PDF, 6.2 MBytes)


Participants at Perspectives On Peace 2018

Participants at Perspectives On Peace 2018 gather for a group photo


Perspectives On Peace 2018: Tamara Lorincz on Video

Video of Perspectives On Peace 2018 will be available soon

Photos copyright © 2018 by Laurel L. Russwurm, used under a CC BYCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Slides of The Climate and Environmental Impacts of the Canadian Military copyright © 2018 by Tamara Lorincz used by permission.

Fall 2018 KWPeace Potluck Meeting — Thu, 4 Oct 2018

Potluck dinner Are you an organizer for a Waterloo Region group that advocates for Peace, Nonviolence, or one of the many faces of Social Justice? Please join us at the Fall 2018 KWPeace Potluck Meeting.

The primary item on the agenda is this year’s Perspectives On Peace. This year we’re planning to serve lunch courtesy of Kitchener Food Not Bombs and we have special guest speaker Tamara Lorincz to talk about Canada’s new defence and foreign policies and the environmental and social impacts such as climate, military spending, &c.

If you have any particular items you’d like to discuss please let Mo Markham know at mo.markham@kwpeace.ca

The meeting is also a potluck dinner, so bring something to share if you can. Past contributions have included salads, entrées, snacks, and desserts. Some will be vegetarian and vegan dishes.

What: Fall 2018 KWPeace Potluck Meeting
When: Thursday 4 October 2018 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: Peace and Justice Room, Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church
Location: 57 Stirling Avenue North, Kitchener, Ontario Map

See you at the potluck meeting!

–Bob Jonkman
bobjonkman@kwpeace.ca

Join us for the RISE for CLIMATE rally at Waterloo Square this Saturday, September 8th 2018, 4:30pm

Sept 8 | Rise For Climate
This Saturday, as part of the international Rise for Climate movement, thousands of rallies and other events will be held in cities and towns around the world. Our local rally will be held in Waterloo Square, this Saturday, 8 September 2018 at 4:30pm. Join us for art creation and some pre-rally street theatre starting at 3:00pm.

There’s an important new message in these events — “a fast and fair transition to 100% renewable energy for all”, holding together themes of climate, jobs and justice.

Progress toward a more stable climate requires justice for all people – those impacted by the damages of climate chaos, and those who’s communities and jobs will have to change in the shift from fossil fuels.

The Rise for Climate rally is an excellent opportunity to learn more about strategies for a “just transition,” to connect with an increasingly diverse coalition of climate activists, and to voice your call for our region, province and country to move quickly in addressing the climate crisis.

RSVP at Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice Waterloo Region for more event details.

Partnering with

See you there!

Divest Waterloo

Thank you for your ongoing support for Divest Waterloo and for your part in our collective action to raise awareness and engage our community on issues related to climate change, our pursuit of a low carbon economy, and our movement towards a just and sustainable future.

Join us for the RISE for CLIMATE rally at Waterloo Square this Saturday, September 8th, 4:30pm | Mailchimp

Have your say in the Region of Waterloo’s Climate Adaptation survey


Feeling the heat? Local climate projections suggest that events like the recent June heat wave, the May wind storm, the April ice storm and the February flooding event could become more common, and in some cases more intense, than the weather we grew up with. 

 

The Region of Waterloo is conducting research to better understand the potential impacts and risks of climate change to Waterloo Region, as part of the development of a Community Climate Adaptation Plan. They are seeking input from residents in the Region, and Divest Waterloo is supporting this effort by reaching out to you.

 

Please let them know how you feel about climate change and extreme weather events by filling out the Region’s Climate Adaptation Survey.

 

The Region would like to hear from as many community members as possible. Please share this survey invitation with your friends and other contacts.

 

Thank you!

                  

 

 

Thank you for your ongoing support for Divest Waterloo and for your part in our collective action to raise awareness and engage our community on issues related to climate change, our pursuit of a low carbon economy, and our movement towards a just and sustainable future. We hope to see you soon!


Divest Waterloo

Pictures from the KWPeace Potluck Meeting for Summer 2018

KWPeace held its Potluck Meeting for Summer 2018 on Thursday, 19 July 2018 in the Peace and Justice room at Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church. Scott Miller Cressman was there to take pictures.

All pictures by Scott Miller Cressman.

@KWPeace Potluck Meeting for Summer 2018 — Agenda

Potluck dinner It’s time we held another information sharing and planning meeting, and have some wonderful potluck food.

Every few months the organizers of many different peace, social justice, environmental, political, and spiritual organizations from Waterloo Region come together to share what they’re doing in the community, invite each other to participate, and possibly collaborate on new ventures. Everyone is invited! It’s a potluck meeting, so bring some food or a beverage to share, and enjoy all the different dishes others have brought. The food is mostly vegetarian, some vegan, some gluten-free.

Many thanks to our hosts at the Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church for letting us use the Peace and Justice room again!

–Bob.
bjonkman@kwpeace.ca

What: KWPeace Potluck Meeting for Summer 2018
When: Thursday, 19 July 2018 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: Stirling Avenue Mennonite Church
Location: 57 Stirling Avenue North, Kitchener, Ontario Map

Agenda

Please send brief updates and upcoming events to Mo at mo.markham@kwpeace.ca so we can include them in the minutes of the meeting. Thanks!

Updates of Our Groups
We’ll each give updates on our groups.
Upcoming Events
We’ll each share upcoming events.
WR Nonviolence Day In The Park
The Day In The Park is coming up this Saturday, July 21st, on Roos Island in Victoria Park, and many of us will be participating. Speak to Bob Jonkman or Matthew Albrecht if you have questions.
Photography At This Meeting
From Scott Cressman: Scott would like to take some photos at the meeting, if people are okay with this, but he will not photograph anyone who doesn’t want to be photographed. He is hoping to take some pictures to post on some of the social media sites, and he will explain more at the meeting.
Grant Applicant Needed
From Laura Hamilton (KW Peace): We need someone to apply to the city for an in-kind facilities grant for our October 27 Perspectives On Peace event. See below regarding the event, and contact Bob Jonkman or Mo Markham regarding applying for the grant. This is the application is at https://www.kitchener.ca/en/city-services/grants.aspx
KW Peace Blog
From Bob (KW Peace): An invitation for all groups to post to the blog. http://kwpeace.ca/posts/
Civic Hub
From Aleksandra Petrovic (Social Development Centre Waterloo Region): We have a chance to move ahead with the idea of a Civic Hub and I can ask how important is that civic space to the groups that come to the potluck. If yes, I would have specific questions for the groups such as:

  • the need for the space (meetings, work, events, etc.)
  • the times the space would be mostly used (evenings, weekends… )
  • other logistics needed in the space for the first while (telephone, Internet, printing, scanning, storage, etc.)
Blanket Workshop
from Hannah Enns: Blanket workshop taking place on July 25th at Seven Shores Community Cafe… Register at http://www.sevenshores.ca/events-1/2018/7/25/blanket-exercise. Tickets: $25/settler (non-indigenous); $15/student/low-income/refugee; Free for Indigenous folks. What does it mean to be a treaty person today in Kitchener-Waterloo? What is the untold history in Canadian society about colonization and movements of resistance? How do you push yourself to unsettle the settler within?
Perspectives On Peace
Laura Hamilton has arranged for KWPeace to use the Rotunda at City Hall on Saturday, 27 October 2018 from noon to 2:00pm (setup at 11:00am). Tamara Lorincz will be the speaker, and I believe Food Not Bombs will provide snacks. All KWPeace groups are invited to have display or information tables around the rotunda. …we’re calling the event “Perspectives on Peace” or “KWPeace Connections”.
KW Peace co-sponsor film?
From Tamara Lorincz: She’s wondering if KW Peace would “co-sponsor” a screening of the film A Bold Peace: Costa Rica’s Path to Demilitarization that she is hoping to screen at Conrad Grebel with Project Ploughshares this fall (likely early November) as this year is the 70th anniversary that Costa Rica abolished its army. The movie is a very powerful. It wouldn’t cost KW Peace anything to “co-sponsor” just to add “moral” support. (Tamara can’t be at the meeting on Thursday.) More info about the film is at http://aboldpeace.com/

Carbon Taxes

The Canadian Taxpayer Federation wrote an op-ed about carbon taxes a couple of weeks ago, which was picked up by the Waterloo Region Record. My response was published in The Record on 28 April 2018.

Canadians are demanding that governments act decisively

Carbon-tax advocates need to go big or go home — April 13

As a carbon-tax advocate, I need to respond to the challenge of the Canadian Taxpayers federation to go big or to go home. I totally agree that we need a significant carbon tax to change consumer behaviour. The pan-Canadian framework we have now with carbon pricing at $20 a tonne in 2018, increasing to $50 a tonne by 2022, is a start, but it is much too little to meet Canada’s carbon emission reduction targets. We need a tax that is at least $150 a tonne to start making real progress in reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. For reference, a $150 a tonne carbon pollution tax would increase gasoline prices by 34.8 cents per litre, while the $20 per tonne price that we have for 2018 increases gasoline prices by 4.6 cents per litre.

The question is whether this cost increase is fair to Canadians. We know that a carbon tax will modify consumer behaviour and spur investors and businesses to create alternatives to the use of carbon-intensive energy, through conservation and clean technology. That is a good thing, as it will reduce carbon emissions and position us as global leaders in a clean-technology future. Recently, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party platform included the replacement of Ontario’s cap-and-trade system with a revenue-neutral carbon tax. It asserted that a carbon tax is more transparent than cap-and-trade, and by making the tax revenue-neutral, it can protect the poor and rural populations from price increases, and not grow government revenues. The PC party has backtracked from that promise, now saying that it would simply dismantle the cap-and-trade system. It is unclear whether that would simply leave Ontario with a backstop carbon tax in 2019 as promised by the federal government, or if a Doug Ford as premier would oppose any plans by the federal government for a carbon tax.

British Columbia has a carbon tax of $30 a tonne. The revenues collected by the B.C. government through the carbon tax are used to protect the poor and rural areas from price increases, and also to fund corporate and individual tax cuts. This is where the debate on carbon taxes needs to go next — how much of a tax we need for climate action and what to do with that tax revenue. Canadians are demanding that governments act decisively with an effective carbon tax that protects the poor and those living in rural areas.

Caterina Lindman
Waterloo Region leader,
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Waterloo

The Canadian Taxpayer Federation is saying that carbon taxes need to be large to be effective, which is true. The minimum carbon tax level that the Federal government has mandated is a start, but it is too small to be effective. They are also saying that if the tax is large enough to be effective, Canadians will rebel against the price increases. At Citizens’ Climate Lobby, we think the revenues from the tax should be distributed back to households via an equal payment to each adult, with a half-share for children. This will protect low income households from the carbon tax, as low-income households use less fossil fuels than higher income households. Lower income households will get more money in dividends than they pay in carbon fees. As the carbon fee goes up, the difference between the dividend they receive and the fee they pay increases.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby also wants the government to end fossil-fuel subsidies. A subsidy to fossil fuels makes them less expensive relative to other fuels, and therefore, is counter to supporting clean energy. I am watching with concern that the federal government appears to be ready to support the Kinder Morgan Pipeline through guarantees and other subsidies. My friend, Laura Hamilton of Divest Waterloo, had a Letter to the Editor published this week about Kinder Morgan.

Regards,

Caterina

Pipeline project is not in the national interest

Re: Trudeau must act on Trans Mountain pipeline promise — April 11

The evidence of our destabilizing climate continues to mount across Waterloo Region, where residents recently braced for what Environment Canada anticipated as a potentially historic ice storm — this after extreme heat and flooding events this past year. The costs of climate change are increasingly obvious to us in this region. The solutions are also well known: we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically by pricing carbon, transitioning to renewable energy, using energy efficiently, and slowing the extraction and use of fossil fuels.

That’s why Canada’s intention to proceed with the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion — a project that would serve to expand Alberta’s tarsands production — is so alarming. Increasing emissions from the tarsands represent almost 60 per cent of the total projected growth in Canadian emissions between 2010 and 2030, completely undermining Canada’s commitment to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Instead of supporting pipelines that lock us into increasing emissions and climate crises, Canada can demonstrate leadership by phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, winding down fossil fuel extraction, and investing in a low carbon future. This pipeline is not in the national interest — rapidly reducing emissions while respecting Indigenous communities is.

Henriette Thompson
Waterloo

Laura Hamilton
Kitchener

Angela Carter
Kitchener

Opinion | Pipeline project is not in the national interest | TheRecord.com

Letter to Interfaith Grand River

Thank you for organizing the Interfaith Community Breakfast. It was good to hear many talk about peace, love, love for animals and so forth.

Many of us are respectful of people’s choices to provide sustenance and mostly do not comment about the food offered. However quite a number of people have chosen to live a vegan lifestyle to inflict as little harm to animals and the environment as possible and sadly there was very little
choice available at this breakfast. My wife refused to come to the breakfast as being diabetic she knew there would be nothing much to eat.

The fresh fruit, especially the berries where particularly welcome. None of the food was labeled as vegetarian, vegan or gluten free. I had no idea what the granola (?) was and I could not partake, as there was no alternative such as soy or almond milk. No protein for vegans.

So I only had fruit and cucumber for breakfast. Here is a simple U-Tube showing seven vegan breakfasts

At the end of the day there was lots of scrambled egg, which I don’t eat, but no more fresh berries when I went back for a possible second. Here is a viewpoint from many vegans about eggs.

The eggs are produced in horrendous conditions on factory farms where the male baby chicks are suffocated or ground to death alive. The milk and milk products are produced from cows who are raped to keep them pregnant (needed to produce milk) and whose lifetime is cut short to four or five years when they stop producing milk at commercial rates. The mothers cry for days after their babies are removed forcibly within a couple of days after birth.

After your $25 breakfast I needed to return home for a bowl of oatmeal, raisins and berries and to enjoy my coffee with soy milk. Quite disappointing.

I am sure the kitchen could have provided other alternatives such as beans on toast that do not involve animal suffering. With all the talk of peace and love for the creatures on this planet and the environment, one would have thought the breakfast itself could have been a testament to God’s love.

James Sannes

Canadian Representative for

Unitarian Universalists Animal Ministry