I’ll get to the point. STAY HERE. Stay in Tennessee, stay in Davidson County or Lebanon or Clarksville and focus on supporting local groups working on specific issues. The darker it
gets, the brighter your light, your
willingness, will shine.
Governor Bredesen is
on the verge of dismantling
TennCare, a program that serves
1.3 million Tennesseans. At least
430,000 will have no insurance
and the remaining 900,000
are going to receive severe
restrictions in their coverage.
NPJC, Tennessee Health Care
Campaign, and others of the
TennCare Saves Lives Coalition
will need committed and focused
volunteers and support to
advocate for what is left of the
Tennessee health care system.
NPJC has continued to do health
care organizing through a newly
formed Grassroots Organizing
Committee on TennCare (GROC) (See Tammy Nix’s story on page
6). If you know people who are on TennCare, we are collecting their
personal stories so we can demonstrate the human face to changes in
health care policy.
The Nashville Youth for Peace and Justice are at the early stages
of doing work on equity issues in the Metro school system and will
need support from local teachers, students and others connected with
the system. The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition
continues to advocate for the right of all immigrants to have a driver’s
license, allowing them to sustain themselves and families while creating
a majority of the bounty that we all enjoy (highways, homes, harvesting,
picking, manufacturing, sewing, etc.).
At NPJC it is essential
that we build relationships and
get to know, understand and
support each other’s issues.
This February (see inside) 30
new and emerging activists
will get an opportunity to
explore their commitments to
social justice through NPJC’s
Leadership Institute: Training
for Grassroots Organizing. Jen
Cartwright, our NPJC Director
of Education, has been working
hard connecting with different
grassroots organizations like
the Organized Neighbors of
Edgehill, Bordeaux Beautiful,
Homeless Power Project and
other groups to determine how
NPJC can best support them
to do the good work they are
doing for equitable housing and
a clean environment in our neighborhoods. We invite you to consider
being a student in the nine-week institute, or send people our way.
Like it or not, WE are U.S. Americans. We can run to Canada or
Mexico but our U.S. “privileges” and therefore responsibilities will
follow us there. We carry a responsibility to claim what we want for
this globe and how we want to utilize our citizenship/residence and
activism to move us in that direction. It is possible to change this world
and this country. We are doing it every day and many of us are having
fun while we do it.
Letter From the Center
by Matt Leber, Coordinator
Local Progressive News from the Nashville Peace & Justice Center
vol. 5 - issue 1 - January 2005
NPJC Leadership Institute......3
Radio Free Nashville News.....3
Leadership Institute Calendar....4
Eyes Wide Open Exhibit.........6
War Resisters League..........6
From a TennCare Enrollee.....6
What’s New at NPJC.................7
Stop Religious Discrimination...7
(continued on page 8)
Where Do We Go from Here?
December’s candlelight vigil to help save TennCare.
More than 50 homeless people died on the streets of Nashville in 2004. On Saturday, December 18, we stood for 40 minutes in the cold sunshine to honor their lives and their passing. We
heard their names called out into the clear morning air.
The morning began with breakfast offered by Food Not Bombs,
along with donations of sleeping bags, blankets, jackets and the like
for any who were interested. Howard Allen of the Homeless Power
Project (the group which organized the event) welcomed the crowd
and announced the speakers, including Vice Mayor Howard Gentry,
Metro Councilman Mike Jameson, Rev. Don Beisswinger and John
Zirker of the Homeless Power Project. Also participating in the event
were the American Legion Post 82 Color Guard, singer Vida Finley
and singer/songwriter Peter Moon. Vice Mayor Gentry spoke of the
plan Mayor Bill Purcell has unveiled to end homelessness in Nash-
ville within 10 years, and Councilman Jameson read the non-binding
council resolution recognizing Homeless Memorial Day. A variety of
people—an elderly man, a physically challenged woman, a 10-year-old,
a teenager and others—read the names of the 57 people who have died
this year. Thirteen of them had only an initial for a last name, because
that’s all anyone knew.
Will the 17th Annual Nashville
Homeless Memorial Day Be the Last?
by Marguerite Mills, First Unitarian
Universalist Church of Nashville
January 4: Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing
Monthly Meeting, 5:30-7 p.m. at NPJC*. Agenda includes
moratorium planning for first quarter 2005, electing chapter
leadership for 2005 and organizing against first-quarter
executions. More Info: www.tcask.org or 615-329-0048.
January 7: Dance Your Prayers at Nashville Friends
Meeting House. 8-10 p.m.; warm-up at 7:30 p.m. $10 cover,
first time free.
January 9: Resist War (with your life). War Resisters
League monthly meeting at 1827 Morena Street, Nashville.
Potluck at 6 p.m., meeting at 7 p.m. More Info: 615-322-
January 11: Amnesty International Nashville Monthly
Meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. at NPJC*. Agenda includes
electing chapter leadership for 2005 and letter writing for
Fessahay Yohannes (Eritrea). More Info: [email protected]
January 15: EarthMatters Tennessee Annual King Day
Winter Gathering and Potluck, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the
eARTh Food Park, Lealand Avenue & Gale Lane at the I-440
overpass in South Nashville. Speakers include Rev. Edwin
Sanders and Daynise Couch (beginning 12:30 p.m.). Games,
food, music and some of Dr. King’s recorded speeches. More
Info: www.earthmatterstn.org or 615-252-6953.
January 17: Nashville’s
Annual Reverend Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
City Wide March and
Convocation. 9-11 a.m.
gathering at march sites,
12 p.m. convocation at
TSU with keynote speaker
Rev. James Tex Thomas.
More Info: 963-5331.
January 17: MLK with
NPJC and Greater Bethel
at Greater Bethel AME on
12th and South Street.
Service: 8:30 a.m. March: 9 a.m. MLK was assassinated just
as he began taking his strongest stands for peace (Vietnam)
and for justice (sanitation worker rights in Memphis). Join
us as we march and recommit ourselves to these causes.
January 18: Nashville Chapter of Americans United
for the Separation of Church and State Business
Meeting, 7-8:30 p.m. at NPJC*. More Info: 615-646-9946 or
January 20: Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program:
Exploring Issues of Crime and Justice Behind the
Walls with Rev. Janet Wolf, Thursdays from 5:30-7:30
p.m. through May 19. More Info: 615-297-8764 or
January 27: Mozart’s Birthday Benefit Concert for NPJC
at Edgehill United Methodist Church, 1502 Edgehill Ave.
7-9 p.m. $5. More Info: [email protected] or
January 27-29: Health Action 2005, 10th Annual
Grassroots Conference of Families USA, Mayflower
Hotel, Washington, DC. More Info: Families USA, 1334
G Street NW, Washington, DC 20005; 202-628-3030;
[email protected] or www.familiesusa.org.
February TBA: Nashville Chapter of Americans United
for the Separation of Church and State Meeting, with
speaker Hedy Weinberg. More Info: 615-646-9946; email
[email protected] to be notified of date.
February 1: Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State Killing
Monthly Meeting, 5:30-7 p.m. at NPJC*. More Info: www.
tcask.org or 615-329-0048.
Feb 3-6: UN Peace Advocate Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Presents Inner Engineering at Nashville’s Renaissance
Hotel (beginning 6:30 p.m. on Thursday). Program offers
powerful scientifically structured practices that transform one
inwardly to promote peacefulness, natural conflict resolution,
and compassion toward all beings. $225. More Info (and
Registration): 615-665-3812 or [email protected]
February 6-8: Defend the Dream: Economic Opportunity
and Tax Fairness, United for a Fair Economy’s National
Conference and Lobby Day, Washington, DC. Networking
on progressive taxes and estate taxes. Registration $75.
More Info: www.faireconomy.org.
February 8: Amnesty International Nashville Monthly
Meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. at NPJC*. Final plans for
International Women’s Day; letter writing. More Info:
February 12: Annual Love Your Mother Earth Valentine’s
Day Event from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the eARTh Food Park,
Lealand Avenue & Gale Lane at the I-440 overpass in South
Nashville. Special gifts, prizes and activities designed to
deepen our love for Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants.
More Info: www.earthmatterstn.org or 615-252-6953.
February 16: A Month of Sundays with the Green
Team, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville’s
environmental advocacy group. Free and open to the public
at 1808 Woodmont Blvd. What would you discover if you
traced the wires from your light switch to its energy source?
Find out in the documentary Kilowatt Ours by Jeff Barrie
at 7 p.m. Potluck at 6 p.m. More Info: 615-383-5760 or
February 19: Tennessee Coalition to Abolish State
Killing Board of Directors Meeting from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
at NPJC*. Open to the public. More Info: www.tcask.org or
February 23: A Month of Sundays with the Green