Pax Christi, the Peace of Christ, strives to create a world that reflects this peace by witnessing to the call of Christian nonviolence. Although the majority of members are Roman Catholic, Pax Christi is open to all people who want to work for peace in the spirit of the nonviolent Jesus.
Pax Christi Memphis meets the second Tuesday of
every month at the Quaker Meetinghouse located at 3387 Walnut Grove, Memphis, TN 38111. Additional parking is available on Prescott, or in the Kroger Parking lot across the street.
For more information, or if you need a ride to our meeting, call Janice Vanderhaar at 362-9364.
Building peace, economic & interracial justice through a spirituality of nonviolence
News and Notes
Number 3, March 2017
|Campus Organizer Sydney Kesler will present|
program on local Black Lives Matter chapter
Sydney Kesler, College Student Organizer for the Official Black Lives Matter Chapter in Memphis, will update Pax Christi Memphis on the work with which the movement is currently involved. Her presentation will begin at 7 pm on Tuesday, March 14th.
Sydney is completing her junior
year as an undergraduate student at the University of Memphis majoring in Marketing Management with a minor in African American Studies.
The Official Black Lives Matter Memphis Chapter is just over a year old.
“We are proud of the important work that we are undertaking which includes our: vigils for black children and black women, free lunch program, panel discussions, community forums and direct action demonstrations,” she said. “We fight for liberation of all black people. We lift black women, black people who are a part of the LGBTQIA community, and black people who are often left out of the narrative for the fight for justice and equality.
March 14th Gathering
Sydney Renee Kesler
The program will begin at 7:00 after we share a
potluck dinner at 6:30. All are welcomed.
The public is invited to join us for a potluck dinner at 6:30 pm that will precede Sydney’s talk at the Quaker Meetinghouse, Walnut Grove at Prescott.
Black Lives Matter is a Pro-Life Movement
The deacon, himself a man of color, was particularly critical of the blowback directed at civil rights icon Andrew Young, a former Georgia congressman, Atlanta mayor and ambassador to the UN. Speaking in the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, Young accused activists of “being stupid,” telling a group of college football players that members of the group were wrong to react with anger and emotion to social injustices.
Young even invoked the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. to criticize the tactics of BLM activists. In an earlier interview, he told the Washington Post, “You don’t get angry with sick people, you work to heal the system. If you get angry, it is contagious, and you end up acting as bad as the perpetrators.”
Young’s speech, and similar subsequent remarks, were met with protests and even criticism by the NAACP. Our deacon pointed out that Young had been called an “Uncle Tom” by many in the Atlanta movement and wondered aloud why BLM activists couldn’t behave more like the peaceful demonstrators gathered in Washington on that particular weekend.
It was at that moment that it occurred to me that Black Lives Matter is a pro-life movement.
My thoughts ran back to watching television interviews with Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, parents of Trayvon Martin. It was their child, a 17-year-old high school student killed by a neighborhood watch captain while walking unarmed through a Miami Gardens neighborhood, who brought national media attention to the issue of killing young men of color by law enforcement officials and others. In fact, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is said to have first appeared in response to the acquittal of Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman.
I recalled the “Mothers of the Movement” who took the stage at the Democratic National Convention and held back tears to speak of the deaths of their children.
“Give me two moments to tell you how good God is. Give me a moment to say thank you,” said Geneva Reed-Veal, whose 28-year-old daughter, Sandra Bland, died in jail after being pulled over for a traffic stop in 2015. “We are not standing here because he’s not good. We are standing here because he’s great.”
Reed-Veal demonstrated the commitment of faithful parents to the cause of protecting their sons and daughters from senseless, preventable killing, as did the eight brave women who stood with her that evening. All over the world now, mothers and fathers are standing with their communities to campaign against “… a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.”
Their statement bears resemblance to other pro-life statements I have heard. While some will argue that “those lives can’t be compared to the innocent, unborn,” I would suggest the life of an unarmed individual regardless of their color, history or situation is worth just as much. They are entitled to the protection and due process afforded us all by our legal system.
Black Lives Matter has grown to address issues beyond extrajudicial killings of black people by police and vigilantes. They work for the validity of life that includes the entire gender spectrum, gay community, disabled and all those who have been marginalized by systemic racism. They remain committed to nonviolence and I pray that their actions will always be met with a peaceful response.
While I’m far from being the first to recognize BLM as pro-life, reflecting upon the idea has made me proud to be involved with a Pax Christi movement that stands in solidarity with BLM and with all who struggle for justice and equality. I’m prouder still that our Memphis chapter will hear rom a young, dynamic local leader of BLM, Sydney Kesler, a student activist who will address our group this Tuesday evening at 7 pm.
It promises to be an informative, life affirming program.
From Reconciliation with Justice
Pax Christi USA Reflections for Lent
Practicing nonviolence leads us to believe in the inherent and God given beauty, dignity, and capacity for transformation of each person. Nonviolence is described as two hands: one hand to stop violence and the other to reach out to the opponent. Both are essential. Sr. Anne McCarthy, OSB
Practicing personal nonviolence in our group discussions is an important discipline in our work as peacemakers, and Jerry Bettice led our group in an exercise that reminded us all of some tools vital to effectively sharing our beliefs at the February gathering.
After a review of particular ground rules and guidelines, Jerry wisely engaged us, not in a hypothetical discussion, but in a dialogue centered around certain proposals and issues recently presented by a Pax Christi member.
Jerry pointed out the differences in debate and dialogue, such as assuming there is a right answer and you have it, versus assuming that many people have pieces of the answer and that together they craft a new solution. The group also learned that instead of listening to find flaws and make counter arguments, we should listen to understand, find meaning and identify agreement.
He emphasized the importance of speaking one at a time until everyone has had a chance to speak, and of restating what you heard for clarification to allow the other person to know if you have understood correctly.
A number of resources were shared and discussed. As the session concluded, participants seemed amazed that following the guidelines resulted in an amiable, fruitful discussion in which concrete ideas were thoughtfully expressed. All agreed that we would greatly benefit by reviewing these rules of civil discourse regularly as we engage one another and others outside our sphere.
The Gerard A. Vanderhaar Symposium
at Christian Brothers University
New York Times Bestselling Author
Hurt People, Hurt People
March 31st at 7 pm
Christian Brothers University Theater
Admission is free and open to the public
Visit www.gvanderhaar.org for more information
President and CoFounder of #Beyond Prisons,
a national leading voice in
Criminal Justice Reform.
Executive Director of JUST CITY,
a powerful, independent voice for the individuals, children and families who are or have been
in contact with the criminal justice system.
|MARCH 31 - APRIL 1|
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS UNIVERSITY
Organizer for the Detention Watch Network in Chicago, developing and supporting member campaigns to take action to end
Bridge Builders Community Action Coordinator who trains and supports youth organizers in creating social change in their communities.
Pax Christi represented at Women’s March
Pax Christi Memphis and Campaign Nonviolence joined an estimated 6,000 marchers as they walked in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st.
The Commercial Appeal reported, “The marchers were women and men of all ages, members of many races, representing various religions and sexual orientations. Jubilant in the sunshine of an unseasonably warm winter day, they carried signs, chanted slogans, played drums and rattled tambourines.”
Participants assembled at the courthouse on Adams and walked to a rally at the National Civil Rights Museum.
The march was billed as an affirmation and a call to action in the ongoing fight for women’s rights and human rights.
|Terry Hash Marches on Washington|
Pax Christi Memphis was also represented at the Women’s March on Washington by our dear friend Terry Hash, who left us this past year for retirement in North Carolina. She is pictured here with her college roommate Liz. The duo road tripped to DC after considering joining demonstrations in Charlotte or Raleigh.
“It was such a positive experience – so much great energy and love,” Terry reported. “It wasn’t just an anti-Trump movement, it was an anti-hate movement. Lots of love and respect in the air – the Spirit was moving!”
Terry said she witnessed a great display of nonviolent resistance in the nation’s capital. “It made me realize that if we truly want peace in the world, more women need to be in power and involved in making the rules!” she exclaimed.
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