|New Jersey Peace Action launches "Justice Not War" campaign in response to September 11th tragedies
||Photos from Newark Penn Station Vigil 9/21/01|
|MONTCLAIR, NJ - September 21 - New Jersey Peace Action announced it was launching a"Justice Not War" campaign to mobilize against calls for US military actions that would result in the further loss of innocent lives.
"Those who planned and financed the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Pennsylvania terrorist attacks must be indicted and brought to justice, but America must not seek retribution by killing even more innocent people and destroying livelihoods," said Madelyn Hoffman, director of New Jersey Peace Action.
"We need to de-escalate the cycle of violence, or it will inevitably return again to our shores," said Peggy Monges, president of NJPA. "We need greater security measures where appropriate, but we must not allow this act of terrorism to undermine our basic Constitutional freedoms."
New Jersey Peace Action decided on the "Justice Not War" campaign at an emotional emergency meeting on Sunday where thirty-five activists shared their personal experiences over the World Trade Center tragedy, including eyewitness accounts of the attack, missing spouses, relatives and friends, and the harrowing 16-hour rescue shifts by a mother's son in the NYPD.
"The local and national outpouring of sympathy and concern for the victims and their families is moving and inspiring," said Hoffman, "and the sacrifices and risks being taken by the rescue workers are unbelievable. Peace Action is encouraging its members to donate blood and to support relief efforts in any way possible."
Several other issues will be raised by New Jersey Peace Action in its "Justice Not War" campaign.
Americans need to guard against and oppose any efforts to scapegoat or attack Arab-Americans or Muslims in connection with the September 11th events. Regrettably, such incidents appear to be on the rise. But activist Anna Nelson voiced confidence that the deep solidarity and compassion Americans are expressing for the victims and their families will be extended to potential targets of hate and bigotry.
NJ Peace Action plans a Teach-In for September 29 to analyze and discuss U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Finally, New Jersey Peace Action believes the September 11th attacks are a chilling wake-up call that the proposed $360 billion Star Wars Missile Defense program cannot defend against a terrorist attack via airplane, ship or suitcase.
"Pakistan and India now have nuclear weapons, and Russian control over nuclear materials is at risk." said South Mountain Peace Action co-chair Paul Surovell. "There has never been a more important time to strengthen nuclear arms control and disarmament, but the Bush Administration threatens to undermine the entire structure of nuclear arms control by its plan to abrogate the ABM Treaty."
Monges added: "In our horror and grief over the massive destruction and loss of life at the World Trade Center, we can begin to sense the potential nightmare of nuclear weapons, which would be infinitely more destructive. Our only protection from nuclear weapons is their abolition, a goal that has been endorsed by the United Nations"
This Friday, New Jersey Peace Action mourned the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. NJ Peace Action also officially launched its "Justice Not War" campaign at vigils at the following locations: Morristown Green in Morristown, Watchung Plaza in Montclair, Penn Station in Newark, Roosevelt Park, Route 1 South, just south of the Menlo Park Mall, Journal Square in Jersey City.
NJ Peace Action is one of the nation's oldest grassroots disarmament organizations, is the Montclair-based affiliate of national Peace Action (70,000 members), committed to nuclear abolition and shifting spending from the military to community programs.