Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Lompoc Peace

The Lompoc Coalition for Peace and Justice is a group of concerned citizens who wish to educate the public on social justice issues such as war, poverty, social inequality and attacks on democracy. We encourage people to question and challenge commonly held assumptions about American government and society by presenting alternative points of view. Conversely, we discourage passive, uncritical reliance on corporate mass media and official government press releases for the information we depend on to make informed decisions that impact all of our lives.

In the past two and a half years we have presented a series of films and forums to our local community on issues of national and international importance. Our goal is to educate the public and broaden the awareness of our fellow citizens on matters that concern us all, but are too often ignored by the mainstream media. We plan to present the people of Lompoc with an alternative perspective, which will hopefully encourage thoughtful debate and critical thinking, two very important components of a democratic society. Our ultimate hope is to build a proactive coalition of like-minded groups within the Lompoc community, who will continue to expand and educate the public about our ideals for peace and justice well beyond Santa Barbara County.

For those of you who may not know this, the city of Lompoc is located 8 miles east of Vandenberg Air Force Base. We find ourselves literally on the doorstep of the military industrial complex. Much of our local economy is dependent on the base and a significant number of employment opportunities are found there. Although many people of this community are opposed to the administrations policy of pre-emptive war without end, they have been intimidated into silence for fear of jeopardizing their livelihoods. Furthermore, a large percent of our community is comprised of military and retired military personnel and their families who hold very conservative views.

Because of the conservative nature of this community we have faced an enormous amount of opposition to our peace activities. But it is also because of this that we are determined to continue our efforts to educate the community about alternatives to violence and war, about peaceful resolutions to conflict, about social justice issues around the world and about the threats to our civil liberties and our democracy perpetrated by the current administration.

In the past two and a half years we have held weekly Women In Black vigils in Lompoc protesting war and violence perpetrated against civilians. We staged anti-war marches during the run up to the war on Iraq and have had numerous vigils and demonstrations since then in solidarity with peace actions around the world. We have brought nationally renowned speakers to our community to discuss issues such as the Patriot Act, interfaith alliances, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the human costs of our current “war on terror.” One of our most recent events featured members of Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and the local chapter of Veteran’s for Peace who shared with us the impact of our current foreign policy on American families.

If you would like more information about our group or would like to become involved in our efforts please contact us at lompocpeace@yahoo.com.