Stop All Violence: War Is Not the Answer

September 18, 2001

We join the rest of the nation in mourning those who died in the shocking and violent attacks on Tuesday, September 11. Our most heartfelt condolences go out to all those most directly affected by this tragedy. In truth, no one in this country, perhaps the world, has not been moved by this traumatic attack. Unfortunately, now the people of the US have experienced a reality that far too many people around the world live with every day. We find the targeting of civilians abhorrent under any circumstances and condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms.

Stop all Violence. We call on the Bush Administration and others to cease all inflammatory rhetoric that has increased racist attacks on Arab, Muslim, and other communities who have been targeted. Already we have seen attacks on mosques and at least two deaths. History has shown how racial stereotyping, advanced by government leaders during times of national crisis, can result in crimes against innocent, law-abiding Americans. We must constantly remind ourselves of historical examples such as the internment of Japanese Americans in the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, that show us the dangers of unchecked racism in the guise of national defense and security. If we truly value our freedoms and the principles outlined in the Bill of Rights, then we will remain firm in our commitment to uphold these rights for all people, Americans and non-Americans alike. This attack must not be used as an excuse to deny civil liberties.

Clearly, the actions on Tuesday, September 11, were inexcusable. War, however, is not the answer. We call upon President Bush and Congress to stop beating the drum of war and to not respond to a criminal situation with a military response. Justice would not be served by attacking nations or by killing additional innocent civilians. We remind the nation, its leaders and the world of the words of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, "Those who make justice impossible make violence inevitable." This idea, expressed by Dr. King, can help us to reflect upon the events of September 11, 2001 and to carefully consider the path our nation will follow in the aftermath. We must remember that the only possible strategy to control terrorism, must be to eliminate terror altogether, whether it comes in the form of a hijacked airliner or a U.S. made cruise missile.

The United States, often through violence as indiscriminate as that witnessed last Tuesday, has created and maintained horrible conditions for many throughout the so-called "third world". While U.S. corporate profits have soared and the U.S. economy has expanded, billions have been left impoverished and increasingly marginalized politically and socially. We see this everyday in the United States with the hundreds of thousands of homeless people on our own streets, the millions of unemployed workers in this country, and with the massive gaps in social services. We have seen this in the war in Iraq, and the following ten years of economic sanctions, leading to the deaths of over one million people, mainly
children. And we have seen this through the U.S. policy of supporting repressive regimes in places like Vietnam, Burma, El Salvador, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Israel/Palestine, Indonesia, Nicaragua and many others over the past several decades.

A U.S. response that targets civilian populations will only continue the cycle of violence. Stop all violence! War is not the answer!

Organizations/ Individuals that have endorsed:

Reverend Angela E. Oh, Civil Rights Attorney/ Lecturer
Inner City Struggle
Community Coalition
Nikei Civil Rights and Redress
Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates
Long Beach State La Raza Student Association
Pilipino Workers Center
Restaurant Workers Association Korea Town
Southern Californians for Youth
Torie Osborn, Executive Director of Liberty Hill Foundation
Thai Community Development Center
Youth Organizing Communities
American Friends Service Committee
Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador
Proyecto Adelante
Arts in Action
Communities for a Better Environment
Los Angeles Catholic Worker
Los Angeles Eco Village
Luis Rodriguez, author of Always Running
California Wellness Program of Pomona
Great Leap
Labor Community Strategy Center
California State University, Los Angeles: Cross Cultural Resource Center
Women's Resource Center
Pan-African Center
Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance
Chicano/a Resource Center
Asian Pacific Islander Resource Center
And More

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