By Jane Stoever
PeaceWorks is sponsoring “Race Issues ARE Peace Issues,” a panel discussion and workshops on April 27, Sat., 3-6pm, at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut, KC, MO. PeaceWorks asked Lucky Garcia, a former Army soldier who served in the Iraq War and current community organizer and writer, to coordinate the event. I recently interviewed her for this Q&A.
Q: Why did you choose this title for the April 27 event?
A: Very violent things are happening in the United States and in Kansas City. Young people of color being hunted down by the police, being shot and killed while unarmed—it’s not a peaceful life for them. There is no rest, no peace. Nor for refugees seeking help. According to The Kansas City Star, there were 47 police killings from 2005 to 2016, in Kansas City, MO. There have been several more since 2016. In this political climate, acts of cruelty are not limited to police violence and the separation of families because of their documentation status—many white supremacists now feel emboldened to inflict violence on people of color and LGBTQ people.
Q: Who is the audience for this program?
A: We are calling together PeaceWorks members and other activists, largely white people in social justice organizations, to look at what’s happening in our backyard. We need to do more together on local issues as well as on global issues, such as war, nuclear tension and nuclear weapon production. We hope this event will help get the peace activist community on the same page, to strengthen our collective power. We also hope to see participants who strive to empower people in our neighborhoods for peace and racial justice.
- What groups will have members speaking on the panel, leading the workshops, and tabling?
- We have a strong and diverse set of speakers who I hope will present a good overall picture of the issues that people of color struggle with in the Kansas City area.
One Struggle KC
One Struggle KC is a Black-led coalition of Kansas City activists seeking to connect the struggles of oppressed Black communities, locally and globally. Disproportionate policing in communities of color and poor communities has led to an unprecedented incarceration rate of members of those communities, which feeds the Prison-Industrial Complex (including immigration detention centers) that profits off the backs of Black and Brown communities.
Workshop: Accessibility and Inclusion in the Arts.
Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation (AIRR)
AIRR recognizes and is working tirelessly to keep families together and end the humanitarian crisis our immigrant community is facing. We believe that all people, no matter where they were born, deserve a chance at a safe and dignified life. AIRR is committed to empower and uplift the voices of the immigrant community and provide them with the tools they need to better protect themselves and their families.
Workshop: Reflections of White Supremacy in Immigration Law: Past, Present, and Future.
Al-Hadaf is a Palestinian-led activist group dedicated to the realization of a free Palestine, and to a cultural and political revival within the Palestinian-American community in Kansas City.
Workshop: Deep dive into the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS Movement) and what it looks like for anti-Zionist communities locally and globally.
Showing Up for Racial Justice Kansas City (SURJ KC)
SURJ KC is a local network organizing white people for racial justice in accountability to People of Color (POC). Through Personal Support, Political Education, and Solidarity Action, SURJ KC moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for racial justice.
Workshop: Principles for Mobilizing White Folks for Racial Justice
Q: What events in your life have paved the way to your poetry and community organizing?
A: I come from a long line of strong Chicana/Indigenous women who didn’t have much but fought every day for our survival. Sharing resources, supporting each other, resilience and the power of women is all I have ever known. Having fought in the Iraq War definitely set me up for leftist activism and truth seeking. I started writing poetry, stories, and essays at a young age, but writing about the effects of war, poverty, and mental illness have really taken my writing to a new place.
—Jane Stoever leads PeaceWorks’ Communications Team.