"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.
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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