News from KNOW – Feb. 2014

News from Kalamazoo Nonviolent Opponents of War (KNOW)

February, 2014

In this issue:

KNOW friendship pot lucks

Soup night fund raiser March 21

Nuclear expert speaking here on public health and nuclear dangers

Islam in Global Perspectives series continues

Minimum wage petition drive

Dept. of Peace message

Film series on Palestine/Israel continues

Environmental activist from Harlem to speak

Faith and Climate Change events

WMU Divest kickoff

Plowshares sentencing

Peace House event on inequality

Steve’s Cultural Corner

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Do you love good food and conversation?  KNOW invites you to our pot lucks!

They are now held every 4th Thursday at 5pm at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Kalamazoo.  Park and enter in the rear of the building and the meals are held in the 3rd floor.  We are inviting groups and individuals from Kalamazoo’s vibrant peace and justice community to make brief presentations.  It’s a nice way for folks to find out what’s going on and share ideas in a friendly, relaxed environment.  Try it you’ll like it!

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KNOW PRESENTS what might be called a Soup Night Cabaret for Peace

on Friday, March 21, 2014, at 6:00 pm.

You don’t want to miss out on a wonderful evening of KNOW’s famous soups and special entertainment. This is our primary event to fund KNOW’s activities during the year.


St. Luke’s Episcopal Church 247 W Lovell St, Kalamazoo, MI

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“Nuclear Power: What You Need to Know about Price, Pollution and Proliferation”

Feb. 12-17 Michigan speaking tour by Alfred Meyer, PSR national board of directors

Who: Alfred Meyer, member, national board of directors, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR). PSR is the U.S. affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, winner of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. Alfred Meyer co-chairs PSR’s Radiation and Health Committee. Mr. Meyer is networking PSR with other groups and efforts regarding the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima Dai-ichi in Japan, and is Past-President and Secretary of the board of Friends of Chernobyl Centers U.S., which works with Chernobyl Centers for Psycho Social Rehabilitation in five Ukrainian communities greatly affected by the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe in 1986.

6:30-8:30pm, Wed., Feb. 12, Chapel, Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain Street, N.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (free street parking available in area after 5:00 pm, or there is a parking ramp about 3 blocks away at Pearl and Ionia;

7:00pm, Thurs., Feb. 13, WMU, Sangren Hall, Room 1910, Kalamazoo, MI

Refreshments to follow.

6:30-9:00pm, Fri., Feb. 14, Lake Michigan College, Rm. 141, 125 Veterans Blvd., South Haven, MI 49090

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Islam in Global Perspectives Schedule

The Department of Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University announces the Islam in global Perspectives speaker series. All lectures are free and open to the public. They will take place on Thursdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the WMU Multicultural Center in Trimpe Hall, 1081 Knollwood Hall. Parking is free in lots 39 and 100. Light refreshments will be provided. Contact Alisa Perkins for more information.  KNOW is a co-sponsor.

Thursday, Feb. 13

Mara Leichtman, Michigan State University, “Conversion to Shi‘i Islam and the Transformation of Religious Authority in Senegal.”

Thursday, Feb. 20

Sally Howell, University of Michigan-Dearborn, “Building on Difference: Detroit’s First Mosques, 1912-1962.”

Thursday, March 20

Dawud Walid, Council of American Islamic Relations-Michigan, “Challenges of Racism and the Acculturation of American Muslims.”

Thursday, March 27

Nathan Tabor, University of Texas, “Ethical Publics and Urdu Poetics in Muslim North India.”

Thursday, April 3

Tabassum Ruby, Western Michigan University, “The Power of Images and Muslim Women: A Critical Reflection on Sharia in Canada.”

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News from Michigan United and the petition drive to raise the minimum wage in Michigan:


We are excited to announce that our coalition has turned in ballot language to the Board of Canvassers to move forward an initiative to put a raise in the minimum wage on the ballot in Michigan this November. Now, we wait for approval of this language in order to begin a petition drive to put the initiative on the ballot.

Many, if not all of us, know families and people that work hard at full time, minimum wage jobs, yet are not able to earn enough to make ends meet. We are looking forward to making sure that these hardworking folks get a much needed raise to provide a more dignified life for themselves and their families and to give a boost to Michigan’s economy.

We expect to launch a petition drive for signatures to put this initiative on the ballot later this month or in early March, and we will stay in contact as this work moves forward.



Allison Colberg

Deputy Director

Michigan United

930 Lake Street

Kalamazoo, MI 49001


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“Victory for peacebuilding !”  message from Bobbi Jo and Dept. of Peace:

Yea!!!  The efforts of the Peace Alliance to use email to alert local Department of Peace (DoP) peacemakers of an opportunity to influence Congress paid off.  Congress increased the  allocation for peacebuilding funding in the national budget.   See the victory results in the article below:

Before the holidays we sent out several action alerts urging you to contact Congress to support peacebuilding funding in three different areas: Complex Crises Fund (CCF), Conflict Stabilization Operations (CSO) and the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). Your efforts paid off!  The thousands of messages and calls they received from us and other groups helped not only keep funding, it actually grew.

This is significant since many parts of the Federal Budget saw radical cuts this year, and the U.S. House of Representatives had been consistently voting to completely eliminate funding for these peacebuilding priorities.  Thanks for all you did to help.

We received our full requested ask for CSO, bringing it up to $45.2 million (up from $27m in 2013), CCF received the full $40m (up from $36m in 2013) and there was also an additional $6,016,000 for U.S. Institute of Peace, bringing their total up to $37m (that’s still short of our $41m ask, but a healthy increase from last year). You can learn more about these three agencies here.

CSO: $45,200,000

USIP: $37,000,000

CCF: $40,000,000

We would of course like to see our nation invest much more broadly in peacebuilding work, and we have work to do in each of these agencies to get them even more focused on the more leading-edge peacebuilding work, but this is very encouraging news.  Let’s stay vigilant in our efforts.

Together, we are making a difference!

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Film series on Palestine/Israel continues…

Location: WMU: Multicultural Center in Trimpe Building: on Knollwood Ave. south of the traffic circle, across from the large parking lot behind the University Bookstore.  Parking will be available at the Wesley Foundation.

Peace Center and KNOW are showing three films to educate people about the Israel Palestine Conflict.

Come out to WMU for entertaining and moving films that show how Israelis and Palestinians are in fact often working together for a just peace.   And come see what exactly the U.S. is supporting in this area of the world.

-Wednesday, March 12: Budrus

-Wednesday, April 2: Where Should the Birds Fly-the first film made by Palestinians living the reality of Israel’s siege and blockade of Gaza

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The University Center for the Humanities “Changing Climates” speakers series  returns on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:00 pm in 2452 Knauss Hall, WMU with Peggy Shepard. Peggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice in West Harlem, which has a 24-year history of engaging residents in community planning and campaigns to affect environmental protection and health policy.

Ms. Shepard’s presentation will define environmental justice and discuss its challenges and achievements through the years.

Additionally: In advance of Ms. Shepard’s talk, ARCUS Center at Kalamazoo College is hosting a conversation in the Olmstead Room on Tuesday, Feb. 18 from 11-12:30. You are invited to this conversation as well.

Both events are free and open to the public.

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Hope for Creation: Faith & Action in a Time of Climate Change

A series of presentations about climate change and how people of faith might take meaningful action here in Kalamazoo. Each evening will begin with a simple soup supper followed by a presentation by a community expert on climate change and conversation among participants.


– Monday March 10, 2014 Faith Communities Adapting to a Changing Climate. Cybelle Shatuck,

University of Michigan

– Monday March 17, 2014 The Economic Debate on the Costs of Climate Inaction. Ahmed Hassan, Kalamazoo College

– Monday March 24, 2014 Climate Change and Agriculture in Michigan: What we’ve seen and what we can expect. Phil Robertson, Kellogg Biological Station

– Monday March 31, 2014 Our Response in Kalamazoo.

Presented by an interfaith partnership of the Bronson Park churches, other local faith communities and the Climate Change Working Group of WMU.

Hosted by First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo, 212 South Park St., Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Childcare will be provided. Free and open to the public.

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Kickoff for a movement to get WMU to disinvest from carbon polluters  (oil and coal companies)

Join us Thursday February 13th at Noon at the solar panels next to the Miller Auditorium parking structure

Keynotes speakers at the rally will include, first of all Dr. Alfred Meyer. Dr. Meyer is a social  activist who serves on the board of directors of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and  co-chairs the Radiation and Health Committee.

Paul Clements, political science professor at WMU and Democratic Candidate for Congress will also be presenting along with two WMU students and  one Kalamazoo College student about their efforts towards divestment.

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Sentencing II of Transform Now Plowshares

3 peace activists face possible 5-9 years sentences for peaceful protest of nuclear weapons. 3 brave elderly resisters cut through fences and wrote peace messages on the wall of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility.

Date:  Feb. 18th

Location: Federal Court House
KNOXVILLE, TN, 37902-2327
Park at Presbyterian Church, S. E. of the court house. Best to contact Kim if you plan to go so you don’t get lost & so we have a head count. or call Kim’s cell 248-515-2380

Michigan Stop the Nuclear Bombs Campaign

More Info:

Support actions you can take:

1. Sign “Roots Action” petition, leniency for the Oak Ridge 3, nonviolent nuclear protesters

2. Contact your legislators and ask them to co-sponsor this proposed legislation

HR-1650, the Nuclear Weapons Abolition and Economic and Energy Conversion Act

3. Read then vote “Lenient” at poll at bottom of article in Oak Ridge web site:

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From Peace House:

Let’s get together at 321 Phelps Avenue this Thursday, February 13 at 7:30pm for Clarification of Thought.  This month’s installment is a great one.  Dr. Timothy Raedy is the director of the Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations at Western Michigan University (They do good, important work.    Check them out at  He’ll lead us in a conversation on the topic of “Building the Beloved Community at a Time of Shrinking Resources, Misplaced Priorities and Misinformation.” He will give us an overview of national- and state-level policies that are making life more difficult for people with low incomes. He will also share ideas regarding how we may proceed in the vital work for racial and economic justice in Kalamazoo.

As always, the event is free and light refreshments, also free, will be served.  The setting is very friendly, welcoming and informal.    Peace House discussions are open to anybody, so please feel free to spread this e-mail far and wide.

For more information on the event, call  269 492 1206.    More information on Peace House can be found at  You can subscribe to this e-newsletter by clicking on the “Stay in Touch” link and following the directions there.

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Cultural notes from Steve Senesi–

“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” a play by Rajiv Joseph

This is a play produced by the theater students at WMU.  The Los Angeles times  declared it  “the most original play about the Iraqi war.”  the final shows are coming up February 13 and 15 at 8 pm and a sun matinee at 2:00 on Feb 16. It is in the Williams theater in the Gilmore Theater complex just east of Miller Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased via phone 387-6222 or in person  at the university box office. $20.00  general; seniors $18.00; students $10.00; WMU students $5.00.  Phyllis and I saw the play last Thursday and we’re still talking about it. Its not an easy play, and borders on the theater of the absurd.   That doesn’t mean it is not incomprehensible nor funny… It is more of an intellectual rather than emotional play. if you like puzzles, intellectual conundrums, Woody Allen, I think  you’ll find this play satisfying and stimulating. It says a lot about the consequences of war and violence without being preachy. The set is  quite a technical feat contributing greatly to the meaning of the play as well as the overriding visual images of a gold plated gun and a toilet seat made of gold. If you go lets have coffee and discuss it.



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We invite you to LIKE our facebook page.

Check out “Critical Issues/Alternative Views” cable show on Sundays at 8pm on channel 95 and Tuesdays at 9pm on channel 97.  Also the shows are posted on youtube:

Best wishes, stay warm!

Daniel Smith, KNOW communications chair