Inauguration Day rally and forum, January 20, 2017.
Judy Ancel, Director of Labor Studies at UMKC and executive producer of the Heartland Labor Forum on KKFI 90.1 FM, admitted, “I came here with a mounting sense of dread. If fear for many of us but especially for our immigrant communities. Trump and Company know they’re not popular. I think they will act swiftly and restructure and lock in their rule as fast as they can. We must be ready to oppose. All of us need to take up one another’s issues and take up our own!” Addressing labor and union issues, she explained, “What we’re seeing is direct corporate rule of the United States and the world.”
Most of us, Ancel added, are working people. From issue to issue, from climate change to health care, these are working class issues, and working people are impacted the most. We can’t ignore the state government. State politicians are working with ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and the Koch brothers. “The Missouri legislature is poised to pass right to work. It’s a blatant appeal to selfishness, saying you can get all your representation (as a worker) free, without paying union dues. It aims at bankrupting unions and dividing the workplace,” said Ancel. “We all need to oppose right to work because all working people, whether union or not, will be affected.” As a member of the Missouri Jobs with Justice leadership, she said they will be working on ballot initiatives for 2018 to raise the minimum wage and probably to reverse right to work with a constitutional amendment. “We will begin collecting signatures this spring,” said Ancel. “Please help.”
Ancel also urged everyone to ask senators not to approve Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor, Andy Puzder. The fast-food executive opposes raising the minimum wage, currently $7.25, beyond $9, opposes the Affordable Care Act, and has said businesses are too heavily regulated. Ancel added, “The ex-Hardee’s executive has violated most of the laws he’d be in charge of enforcing as secretary of labor.”
The Cross Border Network
Sara Baker of the American Civil Liberties Union said the ACLU is ready to litigate on critical topics, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). In addition, “We have to fight for transgender people in Kansas and Missouri, and we’re prepared to do so,” said Baker. Already there is one bill pending before the Missouri General Assembly that attempts to limit refugee placement in the State of Missouri without the consent of the General Assembly. The ACLU expects similar bills to last year’s bills that would have required driver’s licenses to contain the driver’s country of citizenship to also be introduced. Legislators may also legislate to increase barricades used against protesters, she warned. For the 17 th year, lawmakers (who work with ACLU) will introduce a non-discrimination act and try to get it passed. In addition, ACLU is supporting legislation to prohibit bias policing and incentivize change within law enforcement agencies that police in a disproportionate way concerning racial minorities. Baker asked forum attendees to volunteer with ACLU, to write state senators and representatives, and to come to Jefferson City on Feb. 28, ACLU lobby day, to talk directly with legislators.
President Trump built his campaign on attacks on immigrants, threatening to round up all of the 11 million undocumented persons, disparaging all Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers, insulting a federal judge of Mexican heritage. And oh, yeah, the wall!
The impact has been great already. Some have packed up and left. Some are living in heightened fear. An already broken immigration system is anticipated to get much worse.
My wish list of things we can do:
- We have 46 organizations in the KC area that work on immigration issues. We are trying to bring them together, to work together, to be prepared, to get involved with one another.
- Sign a statement of conscience (see austinferguson.com).
- Call your US representatives today (202-225- 3121) to encourage the passage of the Bridge Act (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy, or BRIDGE), a bill that would protect the dreamers—young undocumented persons who were brought to the US as children.
- Consider, in your congregations, the possibility of becoming a true sanctuary to provide safety for those in danger of being deported.
- Encourage your schools to be safe places that will refuse access to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents.
- Oppose the confirmation of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions for attorney general.
- Consider becoming, now, a temporary guardian for a child who is in the deportation process. We need help.
- Accompany your immigrant friends to court. Go to the deportation court and observe, at 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite 525, KCMO 64108.
- Film raids and arrests. Teach everyone how to live-stream, on Facebook, so arrests can be documented.
- Volunteer to help at the Family Detention facility.
Good morning. My name is Kendyl Gibbons.
I am the senior minister here at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church.
I am pleased to welcome everyone to this morning’s gathering, on this difficult day for many of us.
Our congregation has no creed of beliefs that everyone must share; we strive to deal authentically with questions about how to live an authentic life of joy and service in this wonderful and sometimes tragic world.
All of us need encouragement to grow into the people we hope to become; here at All Souls, that is what our community tries to do.
We teach the equal dignity and unity of human beings, without regard for gender, race, age, wealth, ability, sexual identity, religion, birthplace, or any other diverse quality.
I am proud this morning to reaffirm our commitment to the freedom, safety, and dignity of our gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and queer neighbors and loved ones, and all who support them. We continue to affirm that civil marriage is a civil right, both morally and legally. We affirm that our government must not allow discrimination in housing, employment, medical care, or any other form, against gay, lesbian or transgender people. We reject the premise that such unjust practices represent religious freedom. We will not allow our queer sisters and brothers and neighbors, and ourselves, to be returned to closets of ignorance, rejection, hatred, and fear. We will stand with and speak up for the GLBTQ community, knowing that, as our elder brother Martin once showed us, a threat to human dignity anywhere is a threat to human dignity everywhere. No president, or administration, has the right to diminish any of our people, and we commit ourselves today to the struggle against oppression in every form.
TRAIN WHISTLE. Hear that whistle? The peace train’s pulling out of the station!
Thank you each one for presenting and attending. Your presence here is a sign that you are committed to the first essential step in citizenship: SHOWING UP!
No one of us here can attend to all of the concerns raised here today.
But each one of us here can—and must—discern where we are going to lend our little weight toward the tipping point of justice and peace.
I hope we all take courage in the testimony of Martin Luther King Jr., who lived (and died) in the conviction that: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Peace works! But we have to work as well to help bend that arc of justice into a multi-colored rainbow of equality for all (no exceptions!).
And we can’t wait for someone else to do what WE must do. Now in this moment, now in this day, WE are the ones in a perilous time called to respond to the challenge of Ghandi: 'Be the change that you wish to see in the world.'
In this new year may we be newly resolute! ... Resolute to discern fact from falsehood, resolute to support fellow peacemakers, resolute to protect our Bill of Rights, resolute to speak the truth in love, resolute to resist, to speak up, to act up nonviolently whenever and wherever freedom and equality are under attack!
I hope to see each other often in this new year—at events like those listed on the back of your flier, at the women’s march tomorrow, at activities of truth-telling during these First Hundred Days of a new administration. We need you. We need each other.
TRAIN WHISTLE: The peace train is pulling out, brothers and sisters. All aboard!
Peace is a broad topic and has been addressed by all of the other panel members from their diverse perspectives, so excuse me if I restate some of their comments.
But first reflecting on almost president Trump and the peace of our nation and world, the phrase “Loose cannon” comes to mind. As you know and can visualize it refers to a metaphor involving a muzzle-loading cannon mounted on wheels on a ship. If not properly secured it could break loose and present a hazard to sailors or fire at the wrong target... With that visual in mind I will quickly comment on some concerns about Trumps impact on peace in our world and leave it to you to reflect on the metaphor:
First the dangers we face:
- Trump is proposing a massive increase in military spending of $50-80B or more, specifically to add ships to the Navy. He wants to go to 355 ships, principally for the containment of China. Currently the U.S. discretionary budget spends between 54% and 57% on the military – over $1trill. Paraphrasing Dr. King, “The U.S. military weapons and expenditures being used all over the world explode at home. They destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America.”
- Who has seen Trump’s tweets saying, “Bring it on…” especially one “bring on the arms race.” And we know the administration will be going forward with the trillion-dollar nuclear triad. – He has also said "Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all." -- - but will the rest of us?
- Michael Flynn, Trump’s nominee for National Security Advisor, and others are deeply committed to ratcheting up the “war on terror” and on ISIS. The last 16 years of the war on terror has only served to recruit more terrorists, legitimize the use of force for both the U.S. and extremists, and expanded extremist violence. General David H. Petraeus, former commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and the “surge” in Iraq, often commented, “you can't kill your way out, of an insurgency. You just can't. You have to find other kinds of ammunition, and it's not always a bullet."
- Regarding the Iran Deal. Good news -Trump is backing off from their initial plan of ripping it up, but if it does happens, it would be a disaster.
- We have seen Trump already picking a fight with China. So far the Chinese have been responding calmly and are not adding fuel to the fire. But it doesn’t look good. But this could be an escalating flashpoint.
I could go on but suffice it to say there are many more international relations issues that suggest a move away from diplomacy for the mutual wellbeing of conflicting parties and more likely loose cannon kinds of response to these relations and immerging crisis
As many of you recognize peace is not just the absence of war but the presence of justice. A world in which might makes right and the U.S. negotiates only the best deal for America, meaning American multinational corporations, without regard to justice, and to the increasing poverty and human suffering left behind in its wake, offers little hope for peace.
A world in which we are divided against each other, demonizing, scapegoating, blaming or at time competing with other marginalized groups for small gains handed out by the oligarchy, there is little hope for peace.
Hope comes from joining together. Building consensus about a shared vision and agenda for our future. It means using the principles of nonviolence and taking actions that expose the immorality of the unjust and so doing, build a movement in support or our common agenda; it is bringing political, economic, social, emotional, or moral pressure to bear in pursuit of justice.
It will not be easy. It will not be quick and it will be a process that will need continual nurturing and recreation. I will leave you with the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who recognized that peacemaking can only be successful if it is a creative living process. He said: "We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence." –
This is our challenge, a challenge with an incentive provided by Mr. Trump. His Presidency may be just what we need to help us rise up to seek just and a sustainable and peaceful future.
Good morning! My name is Justice! I'm the Education Chairperson and a Core Organizer with One Struggle KC. Thank you for inviting me to speak on this panel.
I'm sure that I don't have to remind you of all of vile things that Donald Trump has said and done before, during, and after the election. We know that he is hostile and sexist towards women and the LGTBQIA community. We know that he discriminates against Muslims, and makes fun of disabled Americans. We know that he categorically believes that black people are lazy and that Mexicans are criminals and rapists. We have heard the tape of him joking about committing sexual assault, and we have seen the disgusting ways in which he responds to reporters and those seeking accountability on behalf of the American public.
For Donald Trump to be elevated to the highest office of the land is a slap in the face to all marginalized groups that have fought to make gains in positive directions. Certainly for those lazy Black folks, whose ancestors built America's wealth on their bare backs, and their sons and daughters, who rally in the street when a cop kills yet another unarmed person.
The impact a Donald Trump presidency would have on social justice groups would remain the Same. Our position has not changed. We have always been under attack.
Some of my white brothers and sisters are just awakening to our reality. Seeing for the first time what people of color have been saying all along.
We began in a defensive position. The African Holocaust killed millions of Blacks being transported to the Caribbean and the Americas for slave labor. We were under attack then!
During the Civil Rights movement, leaders were battered and beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge because they wanted equal voting rights. We were under attack!
Then the Black Power Movement, where J. Edgar Hoover declared that the free breakfast program for poor black children was the greatest threat to National Security and allowed the CIA's secret cointelpro to infiltrate, attack and kill members of the Black Panther Party. We were under attack then!
Now, today, the Movement for Black Lives, where activists have been targeted and faced with charges such as lynching … the disgusting irony of a black woman having to fight such charges when the history of that trauma rests on the other side … trumped-up charges … no pun intended.
We have BEEN under attack.
Targeted for the entirety, poised to be America's chattel, one way or another.
Our most notorious leaders have either been assassinated, imprisoned for life, or have had to flee this country for safety.
We will remain a target as long as racist systems of oppression—that allow the Donald Trumps of the world to excel to the highest office without substance or credential—are in place.
In order to combat the Trump Agenda, we're going to need active engagement. We need you to support our work.
Missouri has passed a law that would make school fights a felony. Completing the School-to-prison pipeline.
Missouri has introduced a bill that would make it a hate crime to assault a police officer … again, the irony!
Answer calls to action!!!! Show up!!!!
White Folks who want to do good work to advance the movement should connect with SURJ-KC. Showing Up for Racial Justice. Get educated on how to become an ally. Part of the movement requires that you commit to getting educated.
We need to understand why it's not OK to shout “All Lives Matter” when we proclaim that Black Lives Matter.
We need you to understand why the “great” idea of having coffee with cops may seem happy and safe for you, but frustrating and traumatic for communities of color that face oppression and brutality from them.
Would you ask a battered woman to sit down and have coffee with her abuser so that they can work out their differences?
How to engage others? SURJ!
It is important to seek leadership from those who have been actively engaged in this work. It is important to honor the leadership of people of color who have laid the foundation for this work with their blood, bone, sweat and tears—those who have sacrificed title and position to advance the movement to this point.
We do this by listening and taking direction from people of color. We do this by learning to balance the scales that are uneven from the weight of oppression carried by Black people.
We do this by committing to becoming re-educated. We do this by speaking up and confronting bigotry.
Now is the time to put in the work. Now is the time for agitation. Now is the time to seek active engagement. Connect with local groups and commit!!
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere.
Editor’s note: Justice was asked, during the Q&A, to comment on police brutality. She said, “I’ve talked to people (in Kansas City) who’ve been beaten. We’ve engaged with the family of Ryan Stokes to seek justice after he was shot (fatally shot in 2013). The KCPD told his family he had to be shot in the chest. That was not the case.”
The lack of medical care access for 30 million Americans is not complicated – we don’t need to do a lot of policy-wonking to understand the issue. It is simply a moral issue: in the wealthiest country in the world with the most advanced medical technology on the planet, tens of millions of our residents have no access to medical care if and when they need it. They will suffer with ailments that could be treated and many will needlessly die.
Even with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the immense amount of tax dollars that have been funneled into the program for the past few years, the number of our uninsured fellow Americans dropped from 50 million to 30 million. The 20 million who have gained some coverage and, more or less, some access, could lose even that access now that the Republicans have control of both houses of Congress and the presidency.
With what could the Republicans replace the ACA that would provide even a comparable amount of access to the formerly uninsured? Nothing! They have nothing except the status quo ante. The ACA was a Republican idea in the first instance – it was their program and the only one President Obama could possibly move through the Congress.
Let’s be a little wonky and discuss what is known as the medical/loss ratio, which simply is the ratio of actual medical services provided by an insurer to the amount of money skimmed off for salaries, advertising, shareholder dividends, and other expenses involved in the administration of health insurance. That ratio in the health insurance industry is generally between 60/40 and 80/20. This means that under the best scenario, 80 percent of premium dollars are devoted to actual medical services and 20 percent are devoted to administration. Under the worst conditions, only 60 percent is devoted to medical services and 40 percent to administration.
Although the ACA limited the M/L ratio to 85/15 and forced the insurers to rebate money to the insured if the actual medical services provided dropped below 85 percent. Nevertheless, taxpayers are carrying the insurance industry for administration costs that would not be necessary under a single-payer system.
Consider Medicare, for instance. The M/L is 98.5/1.5. In other words, the administration cost of Medicare is only 1.5 percent of revenue from the payroll tax, Social Security deductions (Part B), and other premiums.
It is also important to consider that half of the U.S. workforce is paid less than $30,000 per year. Approximately 40 percent is paid less than $20,000 per year. Without an affordable, i.e., single-payer health care system, literally half of U.S. workers will be priced out of the health insurance market – even if they have ACA. This is immoral in a country with the abundance of the U.S.
Without access, needless suffering and even loss of life expectancy occurs. Indeed, we have, for the first time in U.S. history, seen a reversal of the continuously increasing life expectancy we have experienced since the founding of the U.S. government in 1789.
Here are the positive steps we must take:
1. We all must become advocates for single-payer health care such as a Medicare for All program.
2. In that advocacy, we need to inform ourselves and become knowledgeable – knowledge is power!
3. Knowledge and plans for action can take place in meetings and forums.
4. We must be visible in the political process through protests and trips to the statehouse. We can find our congresspersons’ offices and put pressure on them – make them un-comfortable (get in their face).
5. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org; 785 550 3576 for any help in putting the knowledge piece together and strategizing.
It is important to keep in mind that the medical-industrial complex spends twice as much as the military-industrial complex for lobbying and buying political offices. During passage of the Affordable Care Act, eight lobbyists for every member of Congress were working to drive health care toward a system that provided massive profits to corporations and as little health care to patients as possible.
Editor’s note: In a departure from his prepared remarks, above, Kingsley said he was one of the “Medicaid 23” who were arrested in Jefferson City at the Capitol in 2016. “Eighty-three percent of the 23 of us were black,” he said. “I got my pardon from Gov. Nixon before he left office, and I thought, ‘Good! I can go get arrested again!’”
Muslims have been here since the horrendous days of economic slavery. Muslims have many concerns in addition to immigration and deportation, such as health care, reproductive rights, the environment. At the end of the day, if we go down, we all go down together on this horrendous sinking ship of an administration … the apocalypse that’s happening right now.
The United States has participated in hundreds of wars (attacking) persons of color. We’ve ripped the environment apart for corporate gain. We are far from a nation that can pride itself on liberty and justice for all. Let me share a quote from “Let America Be America Again,” by Langston Hughes:
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers,
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!
Editor’s note: The Jan. 21 Kansas City Star carried this message: “(Fatima) Mohammedi urged everyone, Muslim or otherwise, to stand up for civil liberties. “We have to stick together,” Mohammedi said, “in this horrendous sinking ship of an administration.”
Friends: Let’s open the Trump CORPORATE Cabinet and look inside, if we can stand the shock, and see who our new leader has picked. Then, as citizens – not senators – we’ll vote to see who’s left standing. Ours may be a mock hearing, but the real hearing is a mockery of democracy.
The head of the congressional ethics office (which some Republicans recently tried to shut down) said that Trump and Republican leaders are pushing for cabinet confirmation hearings before ethics reviews are completed. In the minds of peace and justice workers, here are the top seven most shocking and fearful cabinet or cabinet-level picks.
Jeff Sessions – Attorney General
Listen to the words of Jeff Sessions: “The NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference are un-American and they work to force civil rights down the throats of people.” Micah Kubic of the Kansas ACLU said, “Instead of using the power of the government to defend the right to vote, he [Sessions] used it to prosecute and persecute those who tried to register Black voters in Alabama.”
All those in favor of Sessions for Attorney General, say yes.
All those opposed, say NO. (gavel!)
Andy Puzder – Labor Secretary
Puzder pays many of his fast food workers only $7.35 per hour. He does not want to raise wages to a livable wage, and he is anti-union. Records show a history of health and safety violations under Puzder’s watch. This would be the worst pick for our local StandUp KC organization and our country.
All those in favor of Puzder for Secretary of Labor, say yes.
All those opposed, say NO. (gavel!)
Betsy DeVos – Education Secretary
The teachers’ union is against this nomination. The president of the Michigan Board of Education said of the billionaire, the “DeVos agenda is to break the public education system, not educate kids, and then replace it with a for-profit model."
Seems to me, then we would not only have a military-industrial complex and a prison-industrial complex, but we would also have an education-industrial complex.
All those in favor of DeVos for Education secretary, say yes.
All those opposed, spell NO, N-O. (gavel!)
Dr. Ben Carson – Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Self-admittedly having no experience in government or running a large bureaucracy, Mr. Carson publicly waffled over whether to join the new administration, doubting his own ability. He would oversee an agency with a $47 billion budget.
Listen to Carson’s words: “poverty is really more of a choice than anything else.” How will this attitude affect those whom HUD was designed to help?
All those in favor of Carson to lead HUD, say yes.
All those opposed, say NO. (gavel!)
Scott Pruitt – Head of Environmental Protection Agency (This one scares me the most.)
Nancy Pelosi says the Pruitt nomination must be blocked "for the sake of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the planet we will leave our children."
Bernie Sanders and the League of Conservation Voters call Pruitt not just a global warming skeptic but "an outright climate change denier." He has sued the EPA 14 times to remove air and water quality regulations.
All those in favor of Pruitt to head the EPA, say yes.
All those opposed, say NO WAY. (gavel!)
Rick Perry – Department of Energy
A Perry campaign feature was to abolish the DOE. He didn’t know until he was told this week that one of the DOE responsibilities is nuclear arsenal security and nuclear waste cleanup? OOPS!
All those in favor of Perry to head the DOE, say yes.
All those opposed, say OOPS! NO. (gavel!)
And finally we’ll vote to confirm (or not) Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson – (AKA Tex Drillerson)
He has strong ties to Russia. He has strong ties to the Oil Industry. He’s tied in a double knot of conflict of interest.
The former Exxon Mobil CEO worked for a company that left a trail of carnage—from human rights abuses to the destruction of the environment. Remember the Exxon Valdeez!
All those in favor of Tillerson for Secretary of State, say yes.
All those opposed, say HELL NO! (gavel!)
The Citizens’ Cabinet Confirmation Hearings are adjourned. The people have spoken. O Lord, hear our prayer!
My spiritual training tells me that there is good in every person, even Donald Trump. In that belief and seeking to bring out that good, I have pledged to myself to offer the following prayer each day this year, but as I share this I am using the word “hope” instead of the word “pray” for the comfort of this ecumenical audience:
“We hope (pray) for unity and healing in our country and the world. We hope (pray) especially for newly elected leaders to political offices in our country, particularly President Trump and other members of his administration. Grant them the integrity and wisdom to serve the common good and to provide help and opportunity to people in need.”
This was taken from Sojourners in Washington D.C., with my addition of the specific reference to President Trump.
My peace focus today is on nuclear weapons. We are a people living on the edge of nuclear annihilation, with 15,000 weapons possessed by 9 nations, primarily Russia’s 7,300 and the U.S.’s 7,100.
What are President Trump’s thoughts about nuclear weapons? After some research, the best word I can come up with is “confused.” Has he really thought that much about it? I doubt it. His infrequent tweets on the subject are often contradictory. My personal belief is that an arrogant bully who easily discounts people’s worth is going to see nuclear weapons as something he wants to have access to and even use.
Let’s be clear that our country’s nuclear policy has been problematic under President Obama and would probably have continued to be so under a President Hillary Clinton. The Obama administration has a 30-year $1 trillion nuclear “modernization” program planned, in complete opposition to our country’s pledge in the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to seek the removal of nuclear weapons from our world.
Suppose the Trump Administration arrives in Washington championing a hawkish agenda highlighted by a major nuclear weapons buildup and loose talk of waging and winning a nuclear war. If enough people demand it, that intended policy can be turned around. Why do I say that?
I say it because it happened in the 1980s with the Reagan Administration. A wave of popular opposition to Reagan’s planned hawkish policies forced a complete change in policy, with Reagan joining the march toward a nuclear-free world.
A positive measure going forward is strong public support for 2017 UN negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The UN General Assembly voted in favor these negotiations on December 23, 1916 by 113-35- 13. The U.S. voted no, has urged allies to boycott the negotiations, and initially tried to stop funding for the 4 weeks of negotiations scheduled for March 27-31 and June 15 to July 7.
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is urging all nations to take part in these negotiations. ICAN has set up a website (www.nuclearban.org) to provide information on the ban effort. You can go there and email the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. to ask the U.S. to participate. In coming months, they could generate a call for demonstrations at the U.N. during the negotiation periods.
In conclusion, I think of this past Monday’s MLK Forum, which spoke of MLK’s “beloved community.” Speaking to the coming of President Trump at one point, ED ACLU Kansas Micah Kubic said we need to “cry out, not cry in.”
So let’s go forward as the beloved community. What does that mean? It means if nuclear weapons emerge as an area of major concern, we will all join together and cry out about that. It means if a massive deportation of children of undocumented immigrants is implemented we will all join together and cry out about that. It means if there are attempts to harass and register Muslims we will all join together and cry out about that.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. A Sojourners piece expanded on it: “The arc of the moral universe will only bend if justice-seekers and peace-makers stand together to bend it.”
I am Henry Stoever, Chair of PeaceWorks, KC, and this Event, “The Community Responds to the Trump Effects,” is Co-Sponsored by PeaceWorks, KC, and by All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. We thank All Souls for their participation and the use of this wonderful space. In 1971, 45 years ago, a friend, Des Lawlor, spoke at the All Souls Forum in regard to the Vietnam Conflict. How wonderful that All Souls has provided this space for the vital issues of the day for all of these years.
Due to the serious concerns we have about the incoming administration, this is the place to be to be informed and challenged. The speakers were asked to focus on:
- 1. statements or policies made by Trump that are objectionable;
- 2. how those actions would impact you or your group, and
- 3. WHAT POSITIVE MEASURES SHOULD WE TAKE?
We are trying to focus on positive actions to defend and protect all who are vulnerable. We are trying to Stand Together, this Beloved Community in Kansas City, to insure the worth and dignity of each person. We will not stand to be intimidated or bullied. We must be actively engaged with our local, State and Federal Legislatures.
Presidential Oath of Office
The Presidential Oath of Office says the person elected “will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” This oath of office was first taken by President George Washington in 1789, and has been taken ever since. Mr. Trump never during his campaign has vowed to protect the Constitution, the People, and all that entails. It appears that Mr. Trump wants to do his own thing, and we fear that he thinks he is above the Law. Richard Nixon found he was not above the Law, and William Clinton went to trial in his impeachment.
The U.S. Constitution Preamble starts, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Remember that the Framers of our Government and our Constitution were very cautious concerning authoritarian forms of government, so they gave each Branch of Government only limited, express powers, so that each Branch is a check on the other Branch of Government, in our form of Checks and Balances. However, in our current situation, Mr. Trump is the President – Executive; Congress has a majority of Republicans in the Senate and House; and Mr. Trump will appoint his own ideologues for the US Supreme Court seats. WE HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO IF WE ARE TO HAVE A GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, AND FOR THE PEOPLE. That means we have to get to work on our Legislators, just like the Tea Party Persons did recently. We must stand up and demand our Rights.
COMMUNITY OF CONCERN AND LOVE, THE BELOVED COMMUNITY, DO WHAT IS RIGHT AND JUST!
Bette Tate-Beaver of the National Association for Multicultural Education talked about different silos in which, for example, people address the challenges of learning English as a second language. “In May,” she said, “we come together to demand change and equity in education. We have greater strength in working together.”
Noting President Obama’s last tweet in office, “I am still asking you to believe in hope,” Tate-Beaver affirmed, “We have to believe we can effect change. I’m a Native American and an African-American. This has never been a ‘kinder, gentler’ country.”
She added, “The majority of our kids in public schools are people of color or live in poverty.” However, Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, has for decades lobbied for charter schools and tax-funded vouchers for religious and other private schools. Tate-Beaver said, “If her interest is in funding private schools, we have to make it clear not only is this not acceptable, she is not acceptable. Contact members of Congress—your own and others on congressional committees. We have to work across faith lines, across ethnicity lines, across economic lines. We have to make noise!”