Monthly Archives: July 2013

Purple flowers, Central Park 6

Purple Flowers Central Park 6 1 September 2012 (1024x683) (800x534)

Waves of purple roll on.

Central Park
Manhattan, New York
1 September 2012

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Pray for peace on Korean Peninsula

My friends Hyeyoung Lee and Kurt Esslinger serve as the Young Adult Volunteer coordinators in Daejeon, Republic of Korea for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). They offer this prayer for PC(USA) members to use during the season of prayer called for by the statement on the Peace of the Korean Peninsula. It is posted here with their permission.

God of the universe, God of the nations,
The people of the Korean Peninsula are crying out,
They no longer wish to live in the shadow of war,
They no longer wish to have resources diverted from life toward death,
They no longer wish to live in fear of the next possible misjudgment in calculation and rhetoric,
They yearn for healing and truth,
You call us to be a people of light, of life, and of peace,
But we have stood silent as our country perpetuates the machinations of death, darkness, and war.
How long, O Lord, must the Korean people live in a state of war?
We confess that we stood by and watched as we split an unwilling country into two,
We confess that those we voted into office ignored the context of a people tired of colonization,
We confess that our military has taken advantage of Korean gratitude,
We confess that our SOFA agreement denies justice to all those harmed by our representatives,
We confess that military presence comes hand in hand with the presence of brothels and sex trade,
We confess that we would much rather pretend this is “their problem,”
We confess that we believe we have no responsibility,
We confess that we hope to continue a policy of isolation despite its ineffectiveness,
We confess that we find it easier to continue the tired old song of hostility than to boldly move toward peace,
Help lead us into a future with the possibility of life,
A future where tools of death are laid down and the call of life,
Rise up a passion for justice, for peace, and for advocacy in your children,
Give our leaders the creativity to find new effective steps toward peace,
Give us the will to reunite families,
Help us lift up the voices of peace within the Korean Peninsula,
Gracious God of forgiveness and healing,
May we be transformed into effective agents
in partnership with the people of Korea
in making your Heavenly Commonwealth of Peace a reality on this planet.
Amen.

May it be so.

See you along the Trail.

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Run4Justice

Support Interfaith Worker Justice.

Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ) has played a significant role in the fight for economic and worker justice in the United States since 1996. IWJ advances the rights of workers by engaging diverse faith communities into action, from grassroots organizing to shaping policy at the local, state and national levels.

Team Worker Justice Runners is a diverse and dynamic group of runners of all levels brought together by a shared commitment to protecting and advancing workers’ rights. They will run in the upcoming Chicago Half-Marathon on September 8 to raise funds for the work of Interfaith Worker Justice.

My friend, Sung Yeon Choi-Morrow, works for IWJ and will run.

I have made a donation to support IWJ in Sung Yeon’s name. You can do the same – or you can support any of the other Team Worker Justice Runners members.

Today I decided to make a larger commitment. I won’t run. But I will walk. In solidarity with Sung Yeon and the Team Worker Justice Runners, I will walk 13,110 steps on September 8. A half-marathon being 13.109 miles, that equates to 1,000 steps per mile.

If my modest effort inspires you to donate, please support the Team Worker Justice Runners.

If my modest effort inspires you to act in solidarity, let me know and I will pass it along.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of workers.

See you along the Trail.

 

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Of life and death; of family and mentors

My friend Laura Mariko Cheifetz has created a blog. Her intelligence, creativity, imagination, love, and passion for justice will make this worth reading.

Her recent post on the death of Satoru Nishita, her grandfather, and Bert Tom, one of her mentors, provides an introduction to her work and an example of what to expect when you subscribe. Here are a couple of excerpts:

My grandfather, Satoru Nishita, and my mentor Bert Tom died last week. I sent a text to a Korean American pastor friend of mine saying, “All these old guys are leaving us.”
This, of course, was not meant to be a theological statement.
This was a statement that was perfectly me: a bit dramatic. I am struggling with the passing of a generation of Asian Americans who faced racism and the assorted foibles of their professions with dignity. The generation of my grandparents, born in the U.S. but imprisoned by its own government for being of Japanese descent during World War II, is a generation that left a profound imprint on my generation and my mother’s generation, and it is slipping away before we get a chance to hear all the stories.

She concludes:

These old guys. While death claimed my grandfather and my mentor, in very different ways their lives taught me to struggle against Death, against powers and principalities, against environmental destruction and racism. They leave us with a legacy of commitment to justice, and a desire that the beauty of the world be revealed.

As she celebrates her family in the post  Laura invites me to remember and give thanks for family members and mentors who taught and shaped me through the years. As I read, I saw Bert’s face (I knew him) and imagined the face of Satoru – I met him through Laura and her mother. As I read, I also saw the faces of those who have been and who now are part of my life. I give thanks for the life of Satoru and Bert. I give thanks for my family and mentors. And I realize I have some calls to make and letters to write.

Check out In Life & In Death, We Belong to God. Remember. Give thanks.

See you along the Trail.

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Time for an end after 60 years

IMG_2732 (533x800)On June 25, 1950, conflict broke out on the divided Korean Peninsula. North Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel, an artificial line of demarcation chosen by the winning superpowers after World War II, invading South Korea.

The police action, the Korean Conflict, the Korean War expanded to include forces from South Korea, North Korea, the United States, and the People’s Republic of China. Fifteen other countries provided combat troops to the United Nations Command, created by UN Security Council Resolution 83, recommending that members of the United Nations aid South Korea.  Several other countries provided humanitarian aid. The Soviet Union aided North Korea with advisers and  material assistance.

The fighting ranged up and down the Korean Peninsula with neither side gaining an advantage. The number of killed and wounded among combatants and non-combatants is disputed. CNN suggests that:

The toll of the war included about 1.2 million deaths in South Korea, 1 million deaths in North Korea, 36,500 deaths for U.S. troops and 600,000 deaths for Chinese soldiers.

After more than three years, an armistice was signed on July 27, 2013 – sixty years ago. This armistice was a truce, a ceasefire. A treaty ending the war has never been signed. Military commanders from the People’s Republic of China and North Korea signed the armistice with the US-led United Nations Command signing on behalf of the international community. South Korea did not sign.

The truce has generally held, but many of the people living on the Korean Peninsula want a true peace. They view such a peace as the an important step toward the end of the periodic tensions and confrontations that arise. In this anniversary year, efforts to seek such a peace are increasing.

The ecumenical community in the United States has created a Korean Peace Petition to send to the Obama Administration. The petition, which you can download and sign, encourages the administration to move toward a path to peace and reconciliation

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Presbyterian Church of Korea issued a Joint Statement on the Peace of the Korean Peninsula that called members and congregations to join in a Season of Prayer for peace in Korea. My friends Kurt Esslinger and Hyeyoung Lee serve as mission co-workers in South Korea. They have written a prayer for the Season of Peace that begins:

God of the universe, God of the nations,
The people of the Korean Peninsula are crying out,
They no longer wish to live in the shadow of war,
They no longer wish to have resources diverted from life toward death,
They no longer wish to live in fear of the next possible misjudgment in calculation and rhetoric,
They yearn for healing and truth,
You call us to be a people of light, of life, and of peace,
But we have stood silent as our country perpetuates the machinations of death, darkness, and war.
How long, O Lord, must the Korean people live in a state of war?

Check out the whole prayer. Use it. Use other prayers. Pray for the peace of Korean Peninsula.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Current Events, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), United Nations

Orange Day – 25 July 2013

Koenig July Orange DayUN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign invites us to celebrate the 25th of every month as an Orange Day – a day to witness and work for an end to violence against women and girls.

This month the focus is on making cyberspace safe space for women and girls.

A tweetup will take place at 11:00 AM Eastern time with the hashtag #orangeday.

I am in – spreading the word and wearing my orange tie.

How about you?

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Current Events, Human Rights, United Nations

Make cyber space a safe space for women and girls

from the UNiTE Web page with additional material

orange_day_fb_profile_image_medium300Last July the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign proclaimed every 25th of the month as Orange Day. Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign Global Youth Network, worldwide activities implemented on this day by UN country offices and civil society organizations strive to highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.

Under the heading ‘Safe spaces for women and girls’, this year the UNiTE campaign is focusing its Orange Day activities on highlighting recommendations of the agreed conclusions of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) which took place in March this year. In April, UNiTE focused on ‘Safe Work Place for Women and Girls’, in May it highlighted ‘Safe Homes for Women and Girls’ while in June, UNiTE’s Orange Day coincided with the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (June 26th) and the campaign focused on ‘State Custody and State Care as Safe Spaces for Women and Girls’’. This month, the campaign highlights ‘Cyber Space as Safe Space for Women and Girls’ and it is also the first birthday of Orange day.

ORANGE DAY ACTIVITIES (25th July)

This Orange Day, the UNiTE campaign will highlight both the need to end violenceagainst women and girls which take place in cyber space, and the positive role that information and communications technologies and programs can play in preventing and ending violence against women and girls.

What can you do?

  • Say no to violence against women and girls in cyber space.
  • Turn cyber space orange for Orange day.
  • Change your Facebook profile picture to the UNiTE campaign’s July 25 ribbon image.
    Post pictures of yourself wearing orange.
  • Use & share the photo of the UNiTE Ribbon.
  • On Thursday July 25, the UNiTE campaign will host a Twitter discussion, along with other partners, around how information and communication technologies can be used to prevent and end violence against women. Join us. Share information about initiatives you know about. Invite others to do the same. Learn about innovative projects. Follow @SayNO_UNiTE and #orangeday on Twitter.

SAMPLE SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGES

Twitter

  • Happy #OrangeDay!This month #UNiTE focuses on safe cyber space 4women&girls.Check out initiatives using tech2 #endVAW http://owl.li/mlJkgToday is #OrangeDay! Wear orange and #UNiTE to end #violenceagainstwomen and girls in cyber space. http://o wl.li/mlJkg
  • Say NO to #VAW & girls in cyberspace.This #orangeday,turn cyber space orange 2show ur support for #UNiTE campaign! http://owl.li/mlJkg
  • After #CSW57, #UNiTE campaign says harness technology as a tool to #endVAW and make cyber space safe for women&girls! http://owl.li/mlJkg

Sample Facebook messages

  1. Today is #OrangeDay and the UNiTE campaign is calling for cyber space to be safe and violence-free for women and girls. At CSW57 on ending violence against women and girls, governments committed to: “Support the development and use of information and communication technologies and social media as a resource for the empowerment of women and girls, including access to information on the prevention of and response to violence against women and girls; and develop mechanisms to combat the use of information and communication technologies and social media to perpetrate violence against women and girls, including the criminal misuse of information and communication technologies for sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, child pornography and trafficking in women and girls, and emerging forms of violence, such as cyberstalking, cyberbullying and privacy violations that compromise women’s and girls’ safety” Pg. 12 (WW).
  2. The UNiTE campaign has declared the 25th of each month #OrangeDay and today calls for cyber space to be a safe space for women and girls. Show your support by wearing orange and turning cyber space orange! Post pictures of yourself wearing orange, turn your profile picture orange and find out more about what you can do.http://owl.li/mlJkg
  3. Today is #OrangeDay, a day to take action to end violence against women and girls. The UNiTE campaign is focusing on making cyber space safe for women and girls. Join UNiTE’s Twitter discussion on using information and communication technologies to prevent and end violence against women and girls! http://owl.li/mlJkg
  4. Today – 25 July– is one year since the UNiTE campaign declared the 25th of each month as #OrangeDay. Since then, people all over the world have come together to take part in activities to prevent and end violence against women. See the photos.

Resources

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Current Events, Human Rights, United Nations