Two members of the Des Moines Catholic Worker community, Julie Brown and Jessica Reznicek, have returned from Palestine, where they spent the month of February as part of a delegation from Michigan Peace Teams.
They kept a blog throughout their trip, which can be found here:
Two members of the Des Moines Catholic Worker community—Julie Brown and Jessica Reznicek—are currently in Palestine doing Third-Party Nonviolent Intervention work. Please follow their progress at their blog:
Our work in the West Bank includes third-party non-violent intervention to provide support to those who have invited our help. In the past this has meant providing accompaniment to Palestinian children to/from school, giving their parents peace of mind, witnessing and documenting violations of human rights at checkpoints, or acting as a calming presence to help diffuse a potentially violent situation. Sometimes team members simply model acts of kindness and service, respect and compassion. Our team will seek to prevent and reduce violence on a very local and human level.
MPT has trained hundreds of people in nonviolent action, based on the teachings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. You have likely seen the media coverage of the conflict in Israel/Palestine, and the recent escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip. The need for this peace work is greater than ever.
Being newly minted CWers and broke, we need help….
This four-week commitment will cost us approximately $3,500 each.
MPT is a grass-roots organization with a very modest budget. Our team will need to cover all of our own expenses; including plane tickets, trainings, and food/lodging on the ground.
We would be extremely grateful for donations of any amount, large or small. Please consider arranging a group donation from your faith, community or school organization. Your organization can also support us by inviting us to speak about this work before or after my deployment.
Please make checks out to the Rachel Corrie Project …. and mail to the Rachel Corrie CW House, 1317 8th St., DM IA 50314
The Des Moines Catholic Worker is working to begin a new ministry in honor of Rachel Corrie—the 23 year old American who was run over and killed by an Israeli bulldozer on May 16, 2003 while trying to prevent the home demolition of two Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip.
Our aim is to contribute in a regular way to international solidarity movements in Central and South America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia by sending community members on a regular basis to volunteer with nonviolent protective accompaniment organizations like the International Solidarity Movement, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Michigan Peace Teams, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Justice and Peace, Witness for Peace, and others.
Our immediate goals for the Rachel Corrie Project are to:
1) Stand in solidarity with everyday people across the globe under foreign military occupation by providing direct material support to indigenous nonviolent popular resistance movements.
2) Train Des Moines Catholic Workers in new forms of nonviolent direct action, protective accompaniment, human rights, international law, history, culture, faith, and language, and the role of US imperialism around the world.
3) Educate our local community back here at home about the human rights issues facing many of the world’s peoples.
4) Change US foreign policy by building a social movement dedicated to peace and justice and powerful enough to dismantle the US empire.
5) Provide a sanctuary for international solidarity activists from other organizations to recover mentally, spiritually, and physically after an intense, potentially traumatic experience in a warzone.
In providing a space for their healing and the dissemination of their experience through writing and speaking tours, we hope to, in a small way, make this work more attainable and sustainable.
We will roll out a full proposal by this summer and have the necessary funding in place to begin this project no later than January 1, 2013. Luckily, estimated costs are relatively low, between $5,000 and $10,000 a year.
We’re excited about the possibilities this new project offers for us to contribute in some small way to the international movement for peace and justice.
We met with Rachel’s parents—Cindy and Craig Corrie—twice this Fall to solicit feedback and input from them about our ideas.
Cindy and Craig Corrie are the founders of the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Freedom, a nonprofit foundation whose mission is “to “conduct and support programs that foster connections between people that build understanding, respect, and appreciation for differences, and that promote cooperation within and between local and global communities.
The foundation encourages and supports grassroots efforts in pursuit of human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice, which we view as essential to world peace.”
The Rachel Corrie Project's first delegation has returned from the West Bank, and are now available for presentations. If you would like more information, or to invite them to share their experiences with your organization, please contact us at the above email address.
Loras College - 12-1pm
Loras College - 2:30-3:50pm
Clarke University - 7-8pm
Kansas City, MO
Holy Family Catholic Worker - 7pm
Des Moines, IA
Plymouth Congregational Church - 7pm (preview presentation)
Iowa City, IA
People for Justice in Palestine
Iowa City Public Library - 6:30pm
Des Moines, IA
AFSC Middle East Peace Education Project
Time and Location TBA
The Rachel Corrie Project is an effort by a small Catholic anarchist-pacifist community in Des Moines, Iowa to train everyday people in third party nonviolent intervention and solidarity models and place them with peace teams in armed conflict zones overseas, as well as to provide a sanctuary for returning international solidarity activists.
We know that nonviolent witness and resistance takes different forms in armed conflict zones and that the relationship between indigenous communities and international solidarity activists must be informed by power and privilege education and cultural awareness.
Some of our members have traveled in Latin America and the Middle East with groups like Christian Peacemaker Teams, Witness For Peace, Justicia y Paz, and the International Solidarity Movement.
We are interested in conducting more trainings and placing more of our community members in short and long-term stints with organizations like yours to global hot spots. We are also interested in exploring how we can open up our community's four Victorian homes to other international human rights workers who need a safehouse to recuperate after time abroad, like those doing long stints abroad.
The Des Moines Catholic Worker community's major program is the running of a drop-in center, soup kitchen, and house of hospitality on the near northside of Iowa's capital city, Des Moines. We also practice nonviolent resistance, prophetic witness, and speaking truth to power. The Rachel Corrie Project is an intentional effort to expand the scope of our work and broaden our ministry.
"Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and don't give up.
I feel like I'm witnessing the systematic destruction of a people's ability to survive. It's horrifying.
Sometimes I sit down to dinner with people and I realize there is a massive military machine surrounding us, trying to kill the people I'm having dinner with.
We are protecting civilians. We are unarmed. We are no threat to you. Please do not shoot.
We should be inspired by people... who show that human beings can be kind, brave, generous, beautiful, strong - even in the most difficult circumstances."