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Peace Initiative Shasta County

The rhetoric from the recent Presidential election has caused concern and fear that the civil/human rights of some religious, racial, disabled, mentally ill, LGBTQ, ethnic minorities and public policy dissenters will be lost. There has been an increase in hate and intolerance.

In November 2016 a group of citizens in Shasta County CA met to draft a PEACE Initiative; the mission, vision, & values statements are still in draft form and a Facebook group has been formed. They are meeting again on Thursday, December 15, 2016 from 6-8 p.m. in the Foundation Room at the Redding Public Library. All are welcome.

“The PEACE Initiative Shasta County (People for Equality through Advocacy, Collaboration, and Education) is being formed to give support to our voices and collective action for an inclusive community. We believe in thinking globally but truly acting locally on behalf, and for the benefit, of all our citizens.”

Shasta County Citizen Advocating Respect (SCCAR) if a group that “works to promote social justice, equal opportunity and to increase awareness of the needs and concerns of all Shasta County’s varied communities.” SCCAR was formed in 1988 “in response to a racially motivated shooting that occurred in Redding. A group of citizens, outraged at this attack, decided it was time to publicly speak out against racism and racial violence. SCCAR has evolved to become actively supportive of community efforts to oppose hate crimes of all types. The members of SCCAR work to promote social justice, equal opportunity and to increase awareness of the needs and concerns of all Shasta County’s varied communities.”

NORCAL Outreach Project provides support to the local LGBTQ community. Formed in 2008, NCOP is “a non-profit organization located in Redding, California aimed with the vision for a more diverse and globally accepting community.”

Stand Against Stigma supports the one in four people who struggle with mental illness. Every year, approximately 40 people in Shasta County die by suicide.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California “is an enduring guardian of justice, fairness, equality, and freedom, working to protect and advance civil liberties for all Californians”

Christiane Amanpour in a powerful CPJ video is calling on the media to rise up and do their jobs: “I believe in being truthful, not neutral…we must stop banalizing the truth… I never in a million years thought I would be on stage at the Committee to Protect Journalists‘ International Press Freedom Awards appealing for the freedom and safety of American journalists at home.”

I am thankful that we live in a country where people have the right to peacefully assemble to bring about a more peaceful and inclusive society. The United States has the First Amendment to the Constitution, which protects freedom of speech and other rights, but these same protections are not  available in some parts of the world, so it takes courage and moxie to be a reporter both here and elsewhere.

Globally, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting is “an international network of organizations that supports local reporters, citizen journalists and civil society activists in three dozen countries in conflict, crisis and transition around the world. They contribute to peace and good governance by strengthening the ability of media and civil society to speak out. They do this by training, mentoring and providing platforms for professional and citizen reporters; building up the institutional capacity of media and civic groups; and working with independent and official partners to remove barriers to free expression, robust public debate and citizen engagement.”

IWPR strives for impact in three areas: Promoting Free Expression – building the skills of professional and citizen journalists working in traditional media and in social and new media; Strengthening Accountability – supporting the capacity of civil society and human rights groups to more effectively advocate for government and institutional accountability; and Building Inclusive Societies – supporting peace and reconciliation in conflict zones around the world.

We all have to stand up together for the vulnerable, whose voices are not heard and to make our voices heard.