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Planting seeds of peace

Dear friends,

This week, the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center is tabling at the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden, thanks to the invitation of Students for Action, the group of high school students focused on registering their peers to vote and on electing representatives who will pass legislation to keep communities safe from gun violence.

This morning we had a young girl swing by our table and pick up a button that said, “Drop Beats, Not Bombs.” Her dad wrestled it out of her hands, put it back on the table, and picked up a replacement button with a peace dove. She wasn’t happy, immediately returning his choice and picking up the one she wanted, which said, “No War.” Her mom took one look at it, and said “Good choice.”

Interactions like this are not uncommon — a young man interested in our Alternatives to Military Service materials, pulled away by his dad. We see this happen in schools, too. Meanwhile, outside there is a large red Marine Corps pick-up truck, a National Guard rock-climbing wall, and young kids carrying around Customs and Border Patrol backpacks. 

Militarization is the norm at the fair and in schools. But every time we are out and about, a young person picks up a “What you should know before enlisting” brochure, or grabs that “No War” button, despite outside pressures. A veteran or a teacher stops by to thank us for being there, or to sign a petition. A grandmother picks up a stack of counter-recruitment materials to share with the families in her apartment complex.

Though we don’t have shiny trucks, big budgets, or sales pitches, we have allies and truth on our side — and the opportunity to greatly impact people’s lives with both.

We are grateful for the support our our community. Even though many of us pay taxes that end up in the Pentagon budget and in military contractors’ pockets, for 15 years, hundreds of Whatcom County residents have supported WPJC. We are lucky to be in a position to plant seeds with young folks at baseball games, the county fair, the farmers market, and schools. Thank you for supporting WPJC’s work as donors, volunteers, and allies.

In peace,

New website look

Please visit to check out a refreshed look and feel, new content, and more!

WPJC launched this refreshed website last week. We are excited to have a more modern web presence and hope that you can easily find your way to important information. Please send an email to with feedback.

Some highlights of the new website include:

Who we are, where you can get a quick glimpse of the organization and get to know our staff and board members.

What we do, which gives an overview of our current work for active nonviolence, and international solidarity, and as a local hub for peace and justice work. 

Get involved, where you can access the latest action alerts, find out about upcoming events, and subscribe to the e-newsletter.

Donate, which allows you to securely donate online to support WPJC. You can sign up for a monthly gift to sustain our work all year. 

There is also a landing page for Alternatives to Military Service, which is a great link to share with anyone considering enlistment, or who wants to explore their options for after high school.
7-9 p.m., August 15
Black Lives Matter monthly meeting
First Congregational (2401 Cornwall Ave.)

4-5 p.m., August 17
Peace Vigil
Corner of Magnolia and Cornwall

6 p.m., August 17
Veterans for Peace monthly meeting
Co-op Connections Building (405 E. Holly, Room 103)

6-9 p.m., August 17
“Revitalizing Cultural Knowledge and Honoring Sacred Waters: Documenting the oral history of the life on the Nooksack River”
Lummi Wex'liem Building (2100 Lummi View Dr.)

3 p.m., August 18
"Yes on 1631" canvassing training
Re-Sources (2309 Meridian)

11:30 a.m-1 p.m., August 20

Dignity Vigil
Downtown bus station (Railroad and Magnolia)

2-4:30 p.m., August 25
Roundtable discussion: What about Audism?
LocalGroup Studio (221 Prospect)

7 p.m., August 28
Amnesty International monthly meeting
Upstairs at downtown Co-op (1220 N. Forest)

12-4 p.m., September 3
Labor Day Picnic
Squalicum Creek Park (1001 Squalicum Way)

September 7
Drinks for Good benefiting WPJC
Camber Coffee (221 W. Holly)

6-9 p.m., September 21
International Day of Peace
The Majestic on North Forest

Registration open for Alternatives to Violence Project

Basics workshop in late September

The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) understands that conflict is a normal part of life but believes that violence — whether verbal, physical, emotional, or spiritual — doesn't need to be. AVP believes that conflict can be used as a tool for change and transformation.

AVP seeks to establish, by teaching practical skills, a peaceful community where members have the ideals, the expectation, and know-how to reach positive, powerful resolutions to conflict situations.

AVP offers hope, training and confidence to help each of us, individually and in community, to change this world, our country, every neighborhood and our homes, to the peaceful places where we all wish to live.

The Basic level AVP Workshop is an intensive learning experience that teaches interpersonal conflict resolution skills. These experiences in small groups and in one-to-one interactions help build a sense of community. Trust role-plays also provide an opportunity to explore this power as well as learn and practice creative ways to respond to real-life conflicts.

The Basics workshop will be held in downtown Bellingham Sept. 28-30, 2018.
You can register here.

Dismantle border imperialism

SOA Watch's Border Encuentro, November 16-18, 2018, will focus on building grassroots analysis around, and highlighting the devastating impact of, border imperialism, including the displacement of youth, indigenous communities, campesinos and communities of color, driven by U.S. security, political and economic interventionist policies.

The Border Encuentro is about challenging all of these injustices while also providing the opportunity to build resistance against border imperialism and solidarity with peoples' struggles for popular power -- in the United States, the borderlands, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Chile, Palestine and beyond! Our theme seeks to echo and uplift popular resistance movements across borders that have been led by indigenous communities, black and brown communities, campesinos, students, workers and women throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, including the movements for "poder popular", which surged in Chile in the 1970's.  

Our Encuentro this year also comes at a time when attacks on immigrants and communities of color in the United States, across the Americas, and beyond are escalating. To address and challenge increasing levels of state violence, this year's Encuentro will focus on a bold list of demands:
  • An end to Plan Mérida and the Alliance for Prosperity.

  • Demilitarization and divestment of borders

  • An end to U.S. economic, military and political intervention in Latin America, and the closure of SOA/WHINSEC

  • An end to the racist systems of oppression that criminalize and kill migrants, refugees and communities of color. 

  • A call for respect, dignity, justice and the right to self-determination of communities

We are excited to welcome you and your communities to our transnational weekend full of music, art, workshops, forums and protests. Our broad-based grassroots power will cross borders and push back against the violence and militarization that maintain the racist status quo. Migrants and refugees continue to be forced to flee from US-trained repressive security forces, only to be confronted with a militarized border, racist immigration laws, and xenophobic rhetoric. As social justice activists are being targeted for assassination and state repression throughout the Americas, we say BASTA!

Register for the Encuentro

New WPJC's blog

Summer intern Cherie writes the first installment in a series about inequality and veterans of the U.S. military. Check it out here: "There are no unwounded soldiers"
Copyright © 2018 Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, All rights reserved.

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