Quest For Democracy 2024

Embarking on a Quest For Democracy 2024, in the heart of Sacramento, CA, was nothing short of an electrifying journey. On that monumental Monday, April 29, 2024, East Point Point Academy stood shoulder to shoulder with an array of esteemed partner organizations at the majestic State Capital. Together, we ignited a fervent rally and embarked on a stirring march, unified in our unwavering resolve to eradicate the shackles of slavery.

The atmosphere pulsated with an indomitable passion, reminiscent of the very essence that fueled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s transformative vision. With each step forward, each impassioned chant, we echoed the spirit of resilience and justice that defines our collective quest.

Reflecting on our progress, we recognize the distance we've traversed and the battles we've won. Yet, in the grand tapestry of democracy, there remains an uncharted path ahead, beckoning us with its promise of a more equitable tomorrow. Our journey is far from over; it is a perpetual odyssey, one fueled by the relentless pursuit of an ideal world.

As we stand on the cusp of possibility, let us reaffirm our commitment to the cause. Let us press forward with unwavering determination, for it is only through our collective effort and unwavering dedication that the dream of true democracy shall be fully realized. Together, let us march onward, undeterred by the challenges that lie ahead, until every soul basks in the radiant glow of freedom and equality."

 

Please review Quest For Democracy (Q4D) for more information. 

 

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Caring for Our Unhoused Neighbors

Caring for our unhoused neighbors is a compassionate endeavor at the heart of our community. Recognizing the inherent dignity and worth of every individual, we strive to provide support, resources, and solidarity to those experiencing homelessness. Through outreach programs, shelter services, advocacy efforts, and community partnerships, we aim to address the root causes of homelessness while offering immediate assistance and pathways to stability. By fostering a culture of empathy and inclusion, we are building a more compassionate society where everyone has a safe place to call home.

Join us in extending a helping hand and creating a brighter future for our unhoused neighbors.

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Joining Forces to End Human Trafficking

East Point Peace Academy has partnered with multiple organizations to combat human trafficking through prevention, victim support, policy advocacy, international cooperation, and empowerment. Our vision is to create a world where every individual is free from exploitation, and through collaboration, we're raising awareness, providing comprehensive support to survivors, advocating for policy changes, fostering international solidarity, and empowering individuals with economic opportunities.

Join us in this transformative journey as we work towards a future filled with peace, justice, and compassion. 

 

 

        

        

  

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To Our Supporters

Dear Supporters,

In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s timeless wisdom, we at East Point Peace Academy are driven by the belief that nonviolence holds the key to breaking the cycle of revenge and fostering lasting peace through reconciliation. Since our inception in 2013, we have been dedicated to spreading the transformative teachings of Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation.

Our commitment to change knows no bounds, and we are proud to introduce our latest workshop series, "Trans-Communality: Selling Social Change Without Sell Out." Through workshops both within correctional facilities and in our communities, we have been actively diverting adults from re-entering the criminal justice system, forging a path toward brighter futures for individuals, families, and neighborhoods impacted by mass incarceration.

Now, as we embark on an ambitious five-year plan, we need your support more than ever. With your generous donations and grants, we aim to expand our reach and deepen our impact. Together, we can turn the tide against poverty, violence, and incarceration in under-resourced communities, bringing about tangible and lasting change.

Join us in our mission to create a world where compassion triumphs over conflict, and every individual has the opportunity to thrive. Your support today will help shape a brighter tomorrow for generations to come.

With heartfelt gratitude,

East Point Peace Academy

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Announcing New Leadership

Speaker Series at Sonoma State University

 

East Point Peace Academy,

Jimmy Ballard brings with him many years of practical experience both as a community leader and as a Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation trainer. We are going to let him introduce himself with his own words!

Born in the deep south, I am a product of the Jim Crow era and the resulting Civil Rights movement. Throughout my lifetime, I have been directly or indirectly impacted by the racist and hate driven ideologies of slavery, segregation, mass incarceration and the far reaching tentacles of other such racial caste systems throughout the world.

The driving force in my life is my spiritual faith and a belief in the infinite wisdom of the guiding principles of nonviolence. As a leadership team member, I aim to advance the cause of social justice through the teachings of Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation. I further intend to create a space for a "just peace" that fosters healing in individuals, and cultivates leaders who  in turn facilitate the healing of others. Through collaboration with other community organizations, and networking with individuals, businesses, and service providers, I hope to reach across cultural and economic divides in the creation of a more just society. 

I believe that in order to strengthen community resolve in our at-risk communities, we must first recruit and train a diverse group of peace warriors and supporters who can effectively reach across social constructs to address the issues that most affect our at-risk communities. The ultimate goal is to use nonviolence to counter the negative effects of injustice in our society. I look forward to serving our community.

Please join us in welcoming Jimmy into this new role with East Point Peace Academy!

In community and love,

East Point Peace Academy

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Public Apology

"The time is always right to do what is right." – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 5, 2023

Dear East Point Peace Academy Community,

In Social Justice circles there are many collaborations, partnerships, and collective works in moving towards support of various movements near and far.  In the spirit of that tradition, East Point Peace Academy (“East Point”) organized fundraising and participated in a cohort to go to Line 3 to support the Indigenous led actions there; under an Indigenous delegate appointed by Indigenous Elders of Idle No More (INM) SF Bay.

East Point Peace Academy staff members traveled with other cohort members to the Line 3 Action, during which the group stayed at Camp Migizi along with other cohort members who had traveled independently to Line 3. Central to participation in the Line 3 Action, sited on Indigenous lands and led by Indigenous folks, was a commitment to be in support of Indigenous leadership, including the Delegate chosen by the Grandmother Advisors of INM.

At some point in this journey, there were a series of transgressions that the Delegate for the cohort tried to address with East Point leadership and representatives. East Point representatives had to be reminded of the cultural protocol of being “Good Guests” on Indigenous lands, under Indigenous leadership. As a result of East Point not demonstrating the responsibility of being “Good Guests” on Indigenous lands, there was a banning of East Point as an organization from any further participation at Line 3. Several months later, the Grandmother Advisors invited members of East Point leadership and staff who went to Line 3, to participate in an Indigenous restorative process. Unfortunately, it was not possible for reconciliation to occur. We did learn from the Grandmother Advisors that our staff person, who had resigned from East Point early last year, did write an individual letter of apology and participated in a process with them which resulted in reconciliation.

By the time the Board was made aware of the status of this conflict, the banning and the events that had transpired, over a year and a half had passed since the trip to Line 3.  There was so much to learn from this experience, including how to be appropriate on the land of the community they (East Point representatives) were serving and how to participate in an Indigenous process. This learning was missed, apart from our one staff member who stayed committed to the process.

As a Board we recognized that East Point  as an organization could have been better “guests” and also could have been stronger in good intention, heart, mind, spirit and tongue in the restorative process.  As a result of the transgressions, there were deep spiritual and cultural harms that were experienced by the cohort’s Delegate and all who were present. We understand that harms of this nature are felt far beyond the initial interactions and primary participants. However, an organization that represents restorative processes must also, when necessary, stand in discomfort and be accountable.  Even if the act of “bearing witness” is required outside of one’s comfort zone.  The sacredness of this work demands that those that participate in the facilitation of restorative processes, must also be in action when called to join that accountability circle.

We, as an organization, publicly apologize to Idle No More SF Bay, the Delegate and any participants of Line 3 that were impacted/harmed by the actions of representatives of East Point; unsanctioned by the East Point Board.  

East Point lost a valuable opportunity to re-assess what it means to learn in the midst of conflict; and had a unique opportunity to learn from already established Indigenous restorative processes practiced for thousands of years.  We have deep gratitude for the Grandmother Advisors who reached out to us so that we could learn, after the fact is better than not learning at all, and publicly take responsibility for East Point Peace Academy and its representatives.

Over the years many people have contributed their time and resources to our organization in support of the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the work of Dr. Bernard LaFayette and David Jensen. We would not be in integrity with their support, sacrifices, and contributions, if we did not learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others. We stand with All Our Relations and remain in circle until all of us can be reconciled.

In Respect,
East Point Peace Academy Board 

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Transitions

Dear East Point Family,

East Point Peace Academy has long recognized the impact of socio-economic injustice and the legacy of race, gender and class discrimination that has decimated our communities on a large scale. As Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation practitioners, we endeavor to move collaboratively in the direction of social justice while recognizing that there will be conflicting methods and differences of opinions on how we get there. And we know that the arc of the universe bends towards justice, therefore “every step taken towards justice is a step in the right direction.” Inasmuch as Kazu Haga has resigned from the Leadership Team to pursue his interests, we want to acknowledge his community work and collaborations in the development of East Point and its programs over the past 10 years.

Our Board members are contemplating the next steps to ensure this change results in the best path forward. The Board will engage an interim Leadership Team member to care for the organization during this time of transition. As an organization, East Point remains committed to continuing the work of institutionalizing and internationalizing the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through offering Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation trainings and related programming.

We value our communities and appreciate your patience and continued support during this period of contemplation and renewal. An announcement regarding our interim Leadership Team Member will be forthcoming. Please forward any questions or concerns to [email protected].

In love and community,

East Point Peace Academy

Board of Directors

 

 

 

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"Mourning the Gap": Ukraine, nonviolence, and the wider context

Ukrainian soldiers take cover from incoming artillery fire in Irpin

The day Russia invaded Ukraine, East Point’s core team member, Luis Miranda, sent an email to the rest of our core team. It began like this:

I’m feeling powerless… I don’t know if there is anything appropriate for us to do or anything to do at all.

Luis’s honest admission of powerlessness opened the door for the rest of us to give voice to our own versions of it. Our replies included phrases like “speechless and confused”; “helplessness and heartbreak.” We felt that some kind of solidarity statement from East Point might be meaningful, but we also struggled with the way such statements, when they aren’t combined with concrete actions in defense of life, can actually reinforce feelings of inadequacy and impotence. 

Expressing solidarity with words is a pale substitute for our heart’s deeper longing for justice. As important as it is, the same can be said for sending money in support of relief efforts, for those of us in a position to do so. As thousands of people are being killed and millions displaced in this new and utterly unjust war, we wish so badly that there was something we could do to actually stop the senseless death and destruction. We want the suffering to end.

This speaks to a kind of reckoning that nonviolence-oriented activists and organizers often shy away from. But we owe it to ourselves to be brutally honest: When it comes to countering extreme violence with nonviolence we are horribly unprepared. Nonviolence has undoubtedly made remarkable strides in the realms of community organizing, restorative justice, direct action, mass protest, and moral public accountability. As painful as it may be to admit, though, when these efforts come up short and the bombs start dropping, we and nonviolence are almost unequivocally left without anything approaching an adequate answer. 

It’s a strange and somewhat disconcerting experience as a flagbearer for nonviolence to feel so deeply inspired by Ukrainian people and volunteer fighters from around the world taking up arms to defend what they love. In the face of such extreme violence, absent an adequate response from the world of nonviolence, what else can we do but pray for their safety and hope that against all odds they somehow manage to hold the line.  

To add to the complexity, alongside our reality check about the inadequacies of nonviolence, we are also witnessing the paradox/irony that nonviolence may yet still be a primary driver to end this horrific war.

Nonviolent action is already playing a huge role. In Russia people are showing up to the streets, confronting the dominant, violent, hegemonic Russian state, and being arrested in mass because of their moral convictions. Many Ukrainians have also been demonstrating the power of nonviolence: in the way they’re crafting their narratives, in the ways they are engaging the so-called “enemy” from an unwavering stance rooted in the kinship between peoples, appealing to the humanity of the Russian soldiers and their families.

This is all to say that while our global nonviolence community may not yet have what it takes to stop a military invasion of this magnitude, it may still prove to be the Achilles Heel of the imperialists. We watch with such hope as courageous and creative practitioners of nonviolence steadily chip away at the impetus for war.

Meanwhile, though, the horror continues, and the seeds of the wars of the future are sown.

In her work as a facilitator and organizer, our friend Miki Kashtan often encourages groups to practice “mourning the gap” between what they have capacity to achieve and what they wish they had the capacity to achieve. This is vital, Miki argues, when a group’s work must proceed, even though some important need remains unmet. I think this practice has profound relevance right now for those of us committed to nonviolence.

Grief, it is often said, is the measure of our love. If this is true, and I believe that it is, “mourning the gap” holds great power for us right now. Along with our statements of solidarity and whatever we’re able to offer in support of the heroic relief work currently being done in and around Ukraine, may our mourning be a catalyst for deeper expressions of commitment. May it move us to support and wherever possible join with those experiments in nonviolent resistance that reveal the sacredness of life in the midst of war. May it also move us to double down on the hard work of developing our collective capacity to meet extreme violence with extreme nonviolence.

Another deeply important layer of this historical moment begs to be named. The humanitarian crisis in eastern Europe is of a monumental scale. In a matter of weeks nearly 6.5 million people have been displaced inside Ukraine, on top of 3.2 million refugees fleeing the country, and the belligerent megalomaniac who launched this war stands at the helm of a superpower more than capable of nuclear armageddon. As real and terrifying as this situation is, it is critical to remember that what is happening to the people of Ukraine is a continuation of a deeper wounded, traumatized human community reeling with its demons. 

Alongside our immense grief over this war, we at East Point are nonetheless disturbed, though not surprised, at the way this new crisis has taken center stage over all the other crises that non-white People of the Global Majority are facing, and have been facing over the past many years: seven coups and coup attempts in African nations during the past year and a half, for example; the continuing refugee crises in Syria and Venezuela; the ongoing war and escalating hunger emergency in Yemen; Israel’s comparatively slow motion, yet ceaseless conquest of Palestine. Not to mention that fossil fuels and greenhouse gasses continue to ravage our climate and create sacrifice zones for marginalized peoples across the globe. 

So it is that I close by saying to our brave and beloved siblings of Ukraine and of all places where people are standing against oppression and imperialism: Our hearts and prayers are with you.

~

If you are able to offer financial support to aid the people of Ukraine, we encourage you to consider contributing to SLOT, a grassroots Polish organization helping Ukrainians fleeing the violence.

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2021 Year End Financial Statement!

Click Image to See/Download Full Budget

We've just completed our financial statement for 2021 and wanted to share them with you as part of our commitment to financial transparency! We're sorry this took us a little while this year. With many of our staff being away and us integrating laura onto our team, it's been a busy start to the year.

As always, as an organization that relies on the Gift Economy, we are so grateful for all of your support. Not only grateful, but we are constantly in awe of your generosity, and the generosity of the universe. We see everyday that when we are aligned with our true purpose, the universe supplies us with abundance and sustainability. 

Here are a few summary points for the year:

  • In 2021, we raised a total of $222,462.67!!!! That is amazing, for an organization with no fundraising staff, no fundraising events, and very little effort put into fundraising! This is the power of the Gift Economy. We are so grateful to each person who contributed!
  • We spent a total of $191,763.87. That leaves us with a net of $30,698.80!
  • As you may know, we practice what is known as "emergent budgeting." We do create budgets, but use them as VERY loose guidelines, knowing that there is no way for us to anticipate what might happen throughout the year. We make very little effort into making sure that our spending or fundraising is aligning with our budget, knowing that they were just guesses that we made at the start of the year.

    Instead, we focus our time, energy and human resources on our programs, and have faith that the work we are meant to be doing in the world will be supported and sustained. 
    • This means that throughout the year, we often times have expenses or income that was unanticipated at the start of the year. An example of this are the three delegations to the Line 3 struggle that we supported early in the year. This accounts for the majority of the $23,252.22 we raised through crowdfunding. The expenses are accounted for in Honorariums and Stipends for the delegates, Housing, Transportation and Travel Expenses. 
      • Honorariums and Stipends also includes payments for our Core Team members who are not on staff as well as facilitators and trainers throughout the year.
  • Another new thing you may notice in our budget is both income and expenses for the Possibility Alliance. The PA are friends of East Point and one of the founding organizations for the Fierce Vulnerability Network, and are now under fiscal sponsorship with East Point. This means that donations made to the PA come to East Point, after which we send it to them as a grant. 

 

If you have any more questions as you look through our budget, please feel free to contact us! We are only able to do our work because of your support. This means you deserve to know anything and everything about how your money is used!

With infinite gratitude,

The Core Team and Board at East Point Peace Academy

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East Point's Public Workshops

You may have noticed that we have not been offering as many public programs recently. This is because we've been having a lot of exciting internal conversations about reimagine our work moving forward. Our Core Team will be engaging in a revisioning process in the coming months, after which we will have a better sense not only of what programs we will be offering, but why.

Over the years, our work has expanded a lot, from simply offering Kingian Nonviolence workshops to offering a wealth of workshops and programs. Not only have our programmatic offerings expanded, but we have shifted from becoming just a training organization to a community of practice - gathering together and putting into practice the tools we are learning in our workshop spaces. 

As we move forward, we will continue to put resources into this community of practice - largely through our commitment to the Fierce Vulnerability Network (formerly the Yet-To-Be-Named Network). We want to build a powerful movement of healing and resistance working at the intersection of racial healing and climate justice.

As we gain clarity as to what that looks like, we will design programs that support that vision. This will mean launching a series of trainings to support engagement with this Network, hopefully later this Spring. 

In the meantime, you will be seeing a few workshops here and there from us. But please be on the lookout for bigger announcements soon about the future of our work! We can't wait to share them with you!

On Behalf of the East Point Core Team,

Kazu

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