From Grove Harris, TOU Main Representative to the United Nations:
This gathering of a million people was so large that actual marching was pretty limited. (With 600,000 confirmed people on public transportation, it had to be larger than estimates.) From the crowds on the metro platforms to the solid masses in the streets, it was a time to slow down and enjoy the thoughtfulness of people’s expressions. I enjoyed handing out cards about our online video, Roots of Change: Food Sovereignty, Women and Eco-Justice, and listening to most of the speakers online later.
People came together peacefully to reclaim our democracy, to affirm women’s humanity and rights, and to celebrate reclaiming our streets and our capital. We found common ground for collective action. It was a powerful affirmation of renewed civic engagement.
Enjoy these images from the march! Photo credits: Grove Harris
Grove Harris represented the Temple of Understanding at this High Level Forum at the United Nations on January 17, 2017.
A few key themes were discussed throughout the day.
There was a clear recognition of the rise of anti-Muslim discrimination and hatred in many parts of the world. The global migration crisis, the rise of xenophobic movements, identity politics, the spread of violent extremist ideology, and terrorist attacks around the world, along with misinformation and negative stereotypes disseminated through various forms of media, have contributed to the challenge.
Many speakers underscored the connections between anti-Muslim discrimination and hatred and other forms of racism, xenophobia, and intolerance, including Antisemitism and anti-immigrant discrimination. In discussing possible solutions, there was broad recognition of the need to address all forms of discrimination and hatred, in particular on the basis of religion or belief, in all parts of the world by applying universal standards to provide equal protection to all individuals.
There was widespread consensus on the need for a concerted effort by all sectors of society to focus on solutions to this growing challenge. Three expert panels focused on key mechanisms to address this issue: i) Government Policies to Combat Anti-Muslim Discrimination and Hatred; ii) Civil Society Coalition-Building; and, iii) Positive Narratives to Promote Pluralism and Inclusion.
Grove took the opportunity to share Chicago Police Diversity Training Videos with Mr. Treene. These online videos include an overarching one on Security, Diversity, Respect, as well as brief videos on the following traditions:
Eastern Orthodox (https://archive.org/details/
We pleased to share a report from our colleagues at Temple of Understanding—India detailing their programs for 2015-2016. Highlights of TOU—India’s activities include:
- Participation in the Parliament of the World’s Religions themed “Reclaiming the Heart of Our Humanity” in October 2015
- International Interfaith Dialogue on 9th January 2016 themed “The Influence of Religion on the Place of Women in Society,” jointly organized by Der Missionszentrale der Franziskaner, Bonn, Germany; the Center for Peace and Spirituality International; Temple of Understanding—India; and Bahá’í Community of India
- Interfaith Dialogue for World Peace jointly organized by Temple of Understanding India and Focolare Movement on 20th January 2016 in honour of the visit of Madam Emmaus, President and Mr. Jesus Moran, Co-President of Focolare Movement
- Round table Conference themed “Religion & Sustainable Development—Fostering Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies” on 23rd November 2016 in collaboration with Woolf Institute, Cambridge and Georgetown University, Qatar. Some 27 outstanding scholars, including members of the Advisory Council of Temple of Understanding India Foundation, were invited by TOU—India founder/President Hon’ble Dr. Karan Singh for deliberations surrounding the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the contributions of religious communities towards their fulfillment.
For a full description of TOU—India’s 2015-2016 interfaith harmony and dialogue programs, please read the full report.
“All I wanted were five simple things: rice, beans, a horse, a goat, and a house,” Blain Snipstal, visionary Maryland farmer, social activist, and keynote speaker at the National Conference on Domestic Fair Trade, reflects. “And I’m now on a journey around the world to get those five simple things.”
Our agricultural system suffers from a loss of connection – from the food that we eat, from the land, from one another. The commoditization of food through industrial agriculture has fundamentally changed our relationships with both the harvest and the harvesters. And Snipstal, through what he calls “peasant farming,” is on a mission to change that.
Wes Clark Jr., the son of retired U.S. Army general and former supreme commander at NATO Wesley Clark Sr., was part of a group of veterans at Standing Rock one day after the Army Corps announcement. The veterans joined Native American tribal elders in a ceremony celebrating the Dakota Access Pipeline easement denial.
Lakota spiritual leader and medicine man Chief Leonard Crow Dog and Standing Rock Sioux spokeswoman Phyllis Young were among several Native elders who spoke, thanking the veterans for standing in solidarity during the protests.
Clark got into formation by rank, with his veterans, and knelt before the elders asking for their forgiveness for the long brutal history between the United States and Native Americans:
“Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. When we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness.”
Click the image to watch powerful footage of the Veterans’ apology to Native elders:
On December 4, the department of the Army announced that it will not approve an easement that will allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe. The following statement was released by Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II.
“Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes…”
But the fight is not over! So long as the project is still being funded, it may move forward at a later date. Please take action to cut off the Dakota Pipeline’s funding.
“While the US Army Corps continues its consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe about the river crossing, the Dakota Access pipeline project is in financial jeopardy. It is likely impossible for the company to meet its January 1 deadline, and if it does not, producers and shippers who two years ago committed to use the pipeline will have the option to renegotiate or even terminate their contracts… In August, a group of banks agreed to lend $2.5 billion to Dakota Access. But $1.4 billion of this loan is still on hold until the Army Corps grants the final permits for the pipeline. This means that there is still time for the banks involved in this loan to cut their line of credit.”
You can also join MoveOn.org in thanking the Standing Rock Sioux community and/or contributing financially to the tribe.
- Include your name and message in a thank-you card to be sent to Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman David Archambault II
- Make a tax-deductible donation to the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, which has established a special fund for the exclusive use of the tribe >>
Paul Eppinger, who led a campaign for Arizona to recognize a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. and later was involved in interfaith affairs, has died. He was 83.
The contentious battle in the late 1980s to pass a holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. in Arizona took six years, with one governor declaring a holiday and the next revoking it, and voters initially voting down a holiday but later, in 1992, supporting it.
Eppinger was the statewide director for the successful “Victory Together Campaign” to establish a state King holiday.
”I think this is precisely what Christians should be interested in to give proper leadership to a critical moral and ethical issue,” he said at the time. ”We look at the saints of all times and lift them up as heroes, but when it comes to us taking a stand in our local community, Christian churches are afraid of what people will think.
”Personally, I’ve never felt the spirit of Jesus more than when I am helping people who have been cast aside or who are down and out.”
Read more about interfaith leader Paul Eppinger >>
The Temple of Understanding stands with Standing Rock! Grove Harris, our Main Representative to the United Nations, is pictured (third from the right) with interns from Peace Boat US, which does peace missions around the world. This shot was taken on Nov. 15 on the way to a rally in support of Standing Rock protesters.
Over 100 water protectors were brutally arrested by Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) security forces — some locked in dog kennels and shot at with rubber bullets and pepper spray — just for standing up for their ancestral lands and our most precious resource, water.
Thousands have peacefully gathered in person and in solidarity to stop this 570,000 barrel-per-day pipeline that would endanger the water and ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux. People around the world have donated, showed up in person, and millions used Facebook’s ‘check in’ function in solidarity just this week.
And while this inspiring work is going on, the banks that we use every day are backing the project with hundreds of millions of dollars in loans and investment each.
Big News! Norway-based Bank DNB just announced it is reconsidering its financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline project. This is thanks your support and the brave water defenders who have been on the front lines standing up for the ancestral lands of the Standing Rock Sioux and our water.
The Alliance of Community Trainers has launched this campaign on CAUSES:
In this dire moment, we need to send a strong message that we will not let prejudice and hatred prevail. We call on every person of good heart to join us, to hold the vision that this country can yet become a place where we value diversity, cherish the freedom to believe and worship as we choose, and counter fear with courage and love.