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Do Justice, Seek Peace, Build Community set for Oct. 20 , 2002

Peace under the threat of war, global justice campaigns, and public policy work in Oregon are among the timely topics for a special Round Table slated for Sunday, Oct. 20, from 2:30 pm to 5 pm, First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park Ave., downtown Portland. Free and open to the public, the event will be hosted by the Rev. Ron Stief of the United Church of Christ's Public Life and Social Policy Office in Washington D.C. and Andrea Cano, Western Regional Organizer for the national Justice and Peace Action Network.
"Do Justice, Seek Peace, Build Community" Round Table set for Oct. 20, 2002

Portland, OR - Peace under the threat of war, global justice campaigns, and public policy work in Oregon are among the timely topics for a special Round Table slated for Sunday, Oct. 20, from 2:30 pm to 5 pm, First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park Ave., downtown Portland.

Free and open to the public, the event will be hosted by the Rev. Ron Stief of the United Church of Christ's Public Life and Social Policy Office in Washington D.C., Andrea Cano, Western Regional Organizer for the national Justice and Peace Action Network, and the UCC's Central Pacific Conference Justice and Witness Ministries. According to Cano, the Round Table will highlight the factors of organization, response and action by model projects in the region, and will offer and opportunity for all participants to share their creative strategies for 'what more needs to be done to achieve peace and justice in such a volatile world.'

Panelists will include Dr. Chris Hogness of the Multnomah Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), coordinator of new interfaith-based peace group; and Phillip Kennedy-Wong, Public Policy Director for Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO). Most recently, EMO issued it's Guide to Oregon Ballot Measures in preparation for the upcoming elections.

Also, Dr. Patricia Rumer, founding member of the Jubilee USA Network in Oregon, and Grace Kuto, vice president of the Harambee Centre and member of the Executive Committee of the Pacific Northwest Region of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) will share coalition work on canceling the international debt of the world's poorest nations and the AIDS crisis in Africa, plus the implications of these global campaigns for Oregonians.

Rev. Stief, whose office coordinates the United Church of Christ's education and legislative action on state and federal issues, will also describe the denomination's latest project called Take Action, a website which enables immediate communication with Congress. (www.ucc.org/justice/action). Rev. Stief will also talk about emerging initiatives throughout the country advocating against the war with Iraq, promoting corporate ethics, assuming environmental stewardship, among others.

Cano, who is one of three national organizers resourcing about 7,000 members of the Justice and Peace Action Network, will also share how the Coalition Against Hate Radio, a Portland-based group is attracting national attention as the prototype for local organizing to challenge radio stations on content that promotes bigotry, racism, and violence.

While seating is not limited, an RSVP would be appreciated, by calling (503) 731 8874, which is also the contact number for further information.

Speakers' Background

Rev. Ron Stief is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and prior to serving with the UCC, he was the Executive Director for the Center for Ethics and Economic Policy for 12 years in Berkeley, California. Ron is a board member of the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, a Chicago-based organization that advocates for justice for low-wage workers. In addition, he leads educational workshops and speaking tours advocating justice in tax policy, international policy, issues affecting women and racial/ethnic communities, employment and community development strategies, and public issues that can be addressed through religious ethics. Most recently, he attended the World Summit on Sustainable Development convened by the United Nations in South Africa.

Andrea Cano has over two decades in serving community, national and international organizations in their commitment to social transformation, including the World Council of Churches (Geneva, Switzerland), the Latin American Council of Churches (Quito, Ecuador), Centro Dr. Alberto Rembao for Theological/Religious Studies and Christian Social Action (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico), Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (Portland, OR). Most recently, she was the director of the Microradio Implementation Project, a national initiative under the auspices of the UCC, and funded in part by the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Andrea is a former Robert F. Kennedy Fellow.

Phillip Kennedy-Wong joined EMO earlier this year as the Director of Public Policy for EMO's 17 Christian denominations. Prior to EMO, Kennedy-Wong worked in community and labor organizations and advised neighborhood groups on urban planning and policy matters. He also served as Organizing Director for the Workers Organizing Committee, an advocacy group of low-wage immigrant workers for workplace justice in the Portland area. Phillip also served as Neighborhood Planner for the Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program, a non-profit group promoting community development and civic participation through leadership development, where he assisted many community residents in advocating around livability issues.

Patricia Rumer, currently the Executive Director of the Zimmerman Community Center, a faith based project in the Pearl District, brings her national and international experience to the Northwest. She is the former General Secretary of Church Women United, Director of the Latin America/Caribbean Office for the United Church Board for World Ministries, and has traveled extensively throughout this hemisphere, plus several countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Patricia also participated in the Pillars for Peace for the 21st Century consultation convened by the National Council of Churches in 1998 which looked at ways churches could influence global thinking on international peace as they had during World War II, to speak prophetically to peace rooted in justice, and to encourage the development of an international political framework for collaboration.

Grace Kuto was born and raised in Kenya. She is vice president of the Harambee (a kiswahili word for let's pull together for the good of the community) Center, a non-profit organization which helps to resource the Chwele Health Clinic in her home village. Grace is also on the Advisory Board of the World Affairs Council, a member of the AFSC Executive Committee (Pacific Northwest Region), past chair of the Multicultural Resource Center (Portland State University), past president of SARNA (Society of African Residents in North America). She is also the author of Harambee! African Family Circle Cookbook, 1995. Last summer, she helped coordinate the AFSC-sponsored "Africa: Peace with Justice Educational Tour" with speakers from political, religious and academic backgrounds who arrived in Portland to promote a better understanding of issues facing the African continent.

Chris Hogness of the Multnomah Monthly Meeting of Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), is promoting an ecumenical project to explore nonviolence work within and between Portland area congregations in the wake of 9/11, and current US war strategies. Throughout the month of October, the Friends Meeting House in Portland is host on Wednesday eves for non-violence study groups about Martin Luther King, Jr., Leo Tolstoy, Dorothy Day and the writings of Lee Griffiths. When he is not organizing for peace, Chris is a medical doctor specializing in family and internal medicine.

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