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:
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."