Cassandrea Tucker and Matt Wahlgren Address Anti-Racism Vigil

Rev. Matt Wahlgren of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Cassandrea Jones-Tucker of CommonUnity gave the opening remarks for Fremont’s Anti-Racism Vigil on June 3, 2020 attended by over 500 community residents. We would like to share with you their inspiring words.

We stand vigil – Matt Wahlgren

OUR CHARGE – Cassandrea Tucker

The Rev. Matt Wahlgren
St Paul’s Episcopal Church
Fremont, Ohio

Today I am here to repent. I here to repent for all the times I have been silent. All the times I didn’t stand up to racist statements, and demeaning jokes.  I repent of the deep damage my silence has done to this world.

Rabbi Joachim Prinz, a refugee from Germany at the March on Washington said,

The most urgent and most disgraceful, the most shameful, the most tragic problem is silence.”

We are here to lift the dark veil of silence. 

We are here to stand with those who have been oppressed for far too long. What has been happening in this country to our black and brown friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens is not civil and it’s not right.  We gather because there is clearly more work to be done.  I am sorry that I have not been moved to this point earlier in my life.  I am sorry that I thought I could pretend I was not part of the problem and quietly live my life.  But the time for that delusion is over. So today I stand with all of you.  I have learned that it is not enough to say ‘I’m not a racist’…it is not enough claim to be an ally and stand beside someone else in their fight.  I have learned that we need work hand in hand to make change. Today we raise our voices together and cry out ENOUGH! and tomorrow and the days after we work for long lasting systemic changes for equality and equity for all.”

This is not a momentary stand we make together today, but a turning and setting a new trajectory that must continue until justice is done.  Until laws are created to hold accountable those that abuse power, until the talks we have with our children are the same talks.

We stand against racism in all its subtle and not so subtle forms.
We stand against the systems that incarcerate black and brown bodies at unjust rates.
We stand against those that fear others, and do violence to bodies because of pigmentation.
We stand against the hurt that continues to be caused by even those that are supposed to protect.
We are only against these things because we are for something so much greater. Today…
We stand for equity and equality for all.
We stand for love that can celebrate the differences between us.
We stand for ears that can hear even when the message hurts because it shines a bright light on our souls.
We stand for a world where we all come together.
We stand today because love calls us to. Love calls us to go out and open some eyes.

James Baldwin said “Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.”

Today we stand out here with our signs and our voices because this blindness is unacceptable.  I pray and I hope that love will open our eyes and the eyes of those passers by.

Lets get out there and help some people see! Let’s heal the blind!

Cassandrea Jones-Tucker, CommonUnity
Opening Remarks: OUR CHARGE

Call and response: Say their names.

KEITH LAMONT SCOTT
ERIC GARER
EZELL FLOYD
DANTE PARKS
FREDDIE GRAY
LAQUAN MCDRONALD
GEORGE MANN
AKAI GURLEY
TAMIR RICE
NATASHA MCKENNA
ANTHONY HILL
WALTER SCOTT
FREDDIE BLUE
JOSEPH MANN
SANDRA BLAND
JUNIOR PROSPER
FLOYD DENSE
ALTON STERLING
PHILANDRO CASTILLE
BOTHAN JEAN
ATATIANA JEFFERSON
AHMAUD AUBREY
SEAN REED
BREONNA TAYLOR
GEORGE FLOYD

OUR CHARGE
From Noose to Knee – I cannot breath…Hands up

As I briefly speak with you, you will hear excerpts from The Negro National Anthem, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Langston Hughes.

We feel injustice has transitioned from a noose to a knee.

We are here acknowledging the deaths of the names just called and granted those were only a few. Whenever pain is inflicted or the body is cut, we hurt and we bleed. We are bleeding for justice. We are present to represent people that are tired, rightly, we are frustrated with failed policies and practices in systems we encounter daily, we are angry and grieved, we are heartbroken and honestly we are exhausted with the systemic problems of injustice and disparities harming our communities. We hear and see our family being senselessly killed, and lack of consequences of not confronting long-standing problems, law enforcement bias, and the false myth that we, people of color are dangerous or guilty until proven innocent.

We don’t have to be violent to protest, to have our voices heard, but we must be focused, we must be effective and we must be purposeful.

We must evaluate ourselves. What is fueling the momentum we have right now? Is it anger, frustration, hurt or injustice?

I appeal to you, the energy we have now is what must fuel us. But, it cannot be fueled with OUR anger and frustration because that turns into rage.

We must stay fueled with purpose. We must stay fueled to be heard. When we are heard, we can bring about change. We cannot become weary. Look at those standing next to you, this problem is not Black, Brown or White problem. Neither can this be fixed if we feel it is not our problem. It is moral problem of right and wrong! Dr. King stated, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” We cannot generalize and put everyone in the same category.

We cannot paint law enforcement officers with one broad stroke, as we cannot and do not appreciate being categorized with those whose behaviors do not represent us.

We cannot go back to where we were prior to May 25, 2020, neither would we choose to go back.

Reduce violence against unarmed Black and Brown Men and Women.

We must demand and expect better for ourselves and our children.

Who are we?

We are:
Tenacious
Resilient
We are no longer tolerating what we once tolerated.
We are courageous, we are fueled with determination, inspiration and hope.
We are raising awareness.
We need to stay informed.
We agree time for change is way overdue.
We want justice, not only from the lives taken from us, but for our children.
We must acknowledge the culture we live in and change the culture.
We can do that with peaceful protesting, putting ourselves in the position to have a voice and change policies and Know, the world is forever changed by who we are!

Langston Hughes wrote,
I had only hope then, but now through you,
Dark ones of today, my dreams must come true:
All you dark children in the world out there,
Remember my sweat, my pain, my despair.
Remember my years, heavy with sorrow –
And make of those years a torch for tomorrow.
Make of my pass a road to the light
Out of the darkness, the ignorance, the night.
Lift high my banner out of the dust. S
tand like free men supporting my trust.
Believe in the right, let none push you back.

We must respond as one voice in CommonUnity.

Our children are watching us, their future depends on our actions today and as we move forward.

I pray for us, our courage, strength our peace and direction

Marching progress forward and not forget what drives us push forward, our work is not done until we feel victory is won, until we can boldly stand and say Liberty & Justice for ALL.

We must vote and we need to vote on every level.

We are the difference we need!

 

 

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Fremont Vigil for Racial Justice

June 3, 2020

Press Alert

Anti-Racism Vigil: Stand for Justice for George Floyd and all victims of racist violence

Today, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, Corner of Front and State, Fremont, OH

Contact: Josie Setzler, 419-559-3759

Community members will stand vigil for justice for George Floyd and all victims of racist violence. The Rev. Matt Wahlgren and Cassandrea Jones-Tucker will offer opening remarks at the park at the corner of Front and State St. Participants will line the sidewalks on State St.

Vigil cosponsors are People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County, Fremont Chapter NAACP, CommonUnity, and Justice for Migrant Women.

Statements from our speakers and cosponsors:

The Rev. Matt Wahlgren, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church: “I have learned that it is not enough to say ‘I’m not a racist’…it is not enough claim to be an ally and stand beside someone in their fight.  I have learned that we need to work hand in hand to make change. Today we raise our voices together and cry out ENOUGH! and tomorrow and the days after we work for long lasting systemic changes for equality and equity for all.”

Dr. Regina Vincent-Williams, Fremont Chapter NAACP: “We all want change. Who wants to see anyone Black or White, male or female, old or young on the ground with that person’s life squeezed out of him or her? We want all policemen involved in Mr. George Floyd’s murder to be arrested and charged.  We also want equality.  In jobs, in housing, in education, in healthcare access – in all areas!  We helped build this country and we are tired of being second class citizens.”

Mónica Ramírez, Founder and President of Justice for Migrant Women: “Justice for Migrant Women joins all of those fighting for the safety, dignity & humanity of the Black community. We are heartbroken that the Black people continue to be attacked, discriminated against, and denied rights, protections and fair treatment by police, institutions and people across our country. We demand the defense of Black Lives and lift our voices, once again, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Cassandrea Jones-Tucker, CommonUnity: “CommonUnity’s mission is to offer community leaders a voice, address concerns, bring awareness of community events as we strive towards the betterment of our community. I recall Harriet Tubman’s words: ‘If you hear dogs, keep going if you see the torches in the woods, keep going, if there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.’ I will keep going until we have liberty and justice for all.”

Josie Setzler, People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County: “Law enforcement and government leaders need to know that community members are paying attention. We see the racist violence our black brothers and sisters have been suffering, and we want accountability.  We stand publicly to support the Black Lives Matter movement and to call for respect, dignity, and justice now. The black community has waited far too long.”

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Pandemic-related announcements

1. Vigils: PPJ will resume our weekly vigils for peace and justice, beginning May 20, and every Wednesday, 4:30 – 5:30 pm, weather permitting, corner of Front and State St., Fremont.  We will wear masks and observe strict social distancing. To join our vigil phone notification list, call our vigil convener Dave Pasch, 419-419-8625.
2.  Meetings: PPJ has adopted a monthly Zoom meeting schedule on the third Wednesday of each month, 7:00 – 8:00 pm. The Zoom meeting link will be provided through our new Google group. See #3. Spring/Summer PPJ Zoom meetings: May 20, June 17, July 15, and August 19.
3. Google group: Routine communication and discussion (including zoom meeting info) is now being shared via our new Google group [PPJFremont]. If you would like to join this group, please let Josie know (josiesetzler@gmail.com).
Peace and solidarity,
People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County
Bringing together Sandusky County residents and friends who want to work together for peace, social justice, and environmental sanity.
 
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Imagine Peace at PPJ’s County Fair Booth 2019

This gallery contains 26 photos.

It’s an annual tradition! We had our first fair tents back in 2007 and 2008. We took a few years off and now we’ve been back at it for the last half dozen years. Our fair booth chair Elaine Bast … Continue reading

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Natalia Alonso to speak at our February 20th meeting

Natalia Alonso
We are pleased to welcome Natalia Alonso, founder of Los Niños de Corsos, as guest speaker at our next meeting of People for Peace & Justice on Wednesday, February 20, 6:30 pm, at First UCC, 1500 Tiffin Rd., Fremont.  We’ll begin with a potluck dinner.  We invite you to join us!
Natalia, a student at Ross High School in Fremont, organized a large scale grassroots campaign, called Los Niños de Corsos, to help the families who were affected by the ICE raid at Corsos in Sandusky in June. R She spoke at the June rally we cosponsored in Norwalk in support of justice for the Corsos workers and their families. The News-Messenger’s latest article about Natalia tells about her invitation to speak at the Women’s March in Cleveland last month, one of many speaking invitations she has accepted.  We are so delighted that she has agreed to be our guest at our Feb. 20 meeting!
Natalia at Seneca County ICE facility
Natalia and fellow Los Ninos de Corsos members join a protest at the ICE detention facility at Seneca County Jail in Tiffin last summer.
Corsos rally in Norwalk
Natalia was one of the featured speakers at a Norwalk rally attracting some 250 people in support of the families of Corsos workers who were detained in the raid.

Corsos rally in Norwalk 3Corsos rally in Norwalk 2

 

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Speaker: Global Climate Disruption

Please join us for our Nov. 14 public education event at Terra State Community College:

Climate Change flyer photo 2

Noted Climate Change Educator to Speak at Terra State Community College

Terra State Community College will host Dr. Andy Jorgensen, Wednesday, November 14, 7:00 pm, in the Neeley Center for a presentation entitled: “Global Climate Disruption: How do we know? What can we do?”

Dr. Jorgensen is Associate Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Toledo and a Senior Fellow at the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE).

The presentation will give background information about the climate change phenomenon and methods which have been used to characterize these changes. The human dimension of the problem and possible solutions will be emphasized.

Participants will be able to share their views using personal response devices and to compare their replies to those of more than 10,000 members of Dr. Jorgensen’s previous audiences.

Dr. Jorgensen developed climate change curricular materials which are included in a web repository of over 300 resources hosted by NCSE. His work on climate change education has been supported by grants from NASA and NSF.

Jorgensen has received a University of Toledo Outstanding Teaching Award and was twice appointed as a Master Teacher in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The event is cosponsored by Terra State Community College and People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County.

Climate Change Presentation flyer

Feature article about the presenter in the Fremont News-Messenger

 

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PPJ is at the county fair this week

“Meet me at the Fair!
We invite you to stop by our booth at the Sandusky County Fair this week, Aug. 21 – 26!  People for Peace & Justice’s booth will feature two actions:
1. Still registered to vote?  Check here! 
We’ll help fair-goers check their voter registration online and/or give them info to do it at home.  If they’re not registered, we’re prepared to help them register on paper or online.
2. Sign our  “We Welcome Immigrants” sign. 
We’ll take the finished signature posters to the offices of our members of Congress.  The posters will also make a trip to DC in January (with Josie) to be photographed in front of the White House!
 
Read our giant poster about immigrants’ impact on our economy!
 

Here’s a sneak preview of our big sandwich board which will be in the entrance of our tent starting tomorrow morning!

When your feet get weary, please stop by our tent to sit down and hang with us for a while. Let’s enjoy some good conversation together!
Our booth is right across from the restrooms on the Rawson Avenue side of the fairgrounds. We’re within shouting distance of the Democrats’ tent.
*****************
Thanks to the folks who set up the booth this morning:  Elaine Bast (booth chair), Dave Pasch, Dave Johnson (easel construction), Judy Donnan (posters), Mike Ryan, and the Setzlers.  And a big thank you to Ed Schleter and Dave Pasch for lining up our great roster of volunteers to staff the booth!  Sincere thanks to our many supporters who donated during 2017 and 2018.  You’ve made it possible to do this booth without a special fundraising drive this year!  Hats off to all of you who have shown solidarity in one way or another.
******************
Remember…
“Meet me in St. Louis, Louis,
Meet me at the fair,
Don’t tell me the lights are shining
Any place but there…”
We hope to see you this week!
People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County

P.S.  We’ll be posting photos this week on our Facebook page and on our website.

 

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January 17th meeting – a little new year’s introspection

 

20170916_125816

Our first meeting of the new year is January 17th, starting with a 6:30 pm potluck at First UCC, 1500 Tiffin Rd., Fremont.

The new year gives us a nudge to reflect on our personal lives.  We can bring the same introspection to our community life in People for Peace & Justice.  Let’s spend a little time at this meeting on the following questions:

  • What draws you most to belong to this peace and justice community?  (The food, right?)
  • What has PPJ accomplished that makes you proud or happy to participate?
  • How would you describe the particular identity or purpose of this group?
  • Why did you start coming to meetings?  And is that still true or is it now something else?
  • What are your hopes for the group?
  • What changes would you like to see?
  • What are we called to do or be in 2018?

We will also reserve a little time to hear a report-back from Josie Setzler and Sr. Paulette Schroeder about their week in Washington, DC with Witness Against Torture, coming up Jan. 7 – 14,  You can follow the Witness Against Torture community’s activism next week at their Facebook page, website, or at Josie’s Facebook page.  #CloseGitmo #StopTorture #ResistIslamophobia

Here’s a poster showing a sampling of what they’ll be up to next week.

Gitmo Week of Actions graphic (1)

 

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Meeting will feature film on Danish nonviolent resistance to the Nazis

AForceMorePowerful

Join us next Wednesday, Nov. 15th, 6:30 pm, at First UCC for People for Peace & Justice’s monthly meeting.

6:30 pm – Potluck and open discussion on current events and potential actions we might take in response.
7:30 pm (approx.) – A half hour film and discussion:

From the PBS series, A Force More Powerful: A Century of Nonviolent Conflict

PROGRAM TWO: DENMARK — LIVING WITH THE ENEMY

 

When German troops invaded Denmark during World War II, the Danes managed to save most of their Jewish residents and prevent the Nazis from taking over Danish industry for the war effort. Learn how they opposed Hitler using nonviolent resistance.
In past meetings, we’ve viewed two other segments from this series.  One member described these segments as a way to foster hope in these dark times.  Nurturing that hope in our own hearts is what makes it possible for us to act together in community.
We hope you can join us!
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Oct. 18 meeting: Messaging this Moment

People for Peace & Justice Sandusky County
Monthly meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 18
First UCC Church, 1500 Tiffin Rd., Fremont
6:30 pm Potluck and informal conversation
7:30 pm Informal mini-workshop on messaging for progressives (led by Josie using the handbook below)

Messaging this Moment:  A Handbook for Progressive Communicators
View or download the handbook at:

How do we have conversations with family, friends, political leaders, or the public about the values we hold dear and the change we’d like to see?  How do we frame our message?  What approach works or doesn’t work?  Let’s explore and practice!

We hope you can join us!

msg-moment-handbook-cover-227x300

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