CCA debuts new creative project with concert “Singing History”

We have started a new ongoing project at CCA, called CREATE☮PEACE.  To learn more about it, click the link.

Singing History: The American Story You Aren’t Taught in School

Featuring
The Starvation Army Band

Friday August 14, 7pm
Church of the Open Arms
3131 N. Penn, Oklahoma City
                                                            
Freewill Donations, give what you can:  $1?   $5?   $50?

Fundraiser for the Center for Conscience in Action
centerforconscience.org

You are invited to attend a unique musical event, where history gets revised to include the progressive contributions of workers, people of color, women, LGBTQ, leftists and the entire 99%.

Please share and spread the word:

Continue reading CCA debuts new creative project with concert “Singing History”

Chelsea Manning supporters gather in Oklahoma hometown to celebrate her 27th birthday and demand release from prison

NEWS RELEASE

On Wednesday, December 17, for the second year, supporters of Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) will celebrate the Oklahoma-born whistleblower’s birthday in her hometown of Crescent, which is about 40 miles north of OKC. The event is hosted by last year’s sponsor, the Center for Conscience in Action (CCA), now joined by local chapters of Amnesty International throughout the state, with a grant from Amnesty USA to help with expenses.

The event will take place in the middle of the small rural town, at El Palmo Restaurant at 224 N. Grand (Map: goo.gl/maps/gu2a2),beginning at 6:30 pm. Representatives from CCA and the Equality Center of Tulsa will speak.

Manning, who will be 27, was an Army intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq who leaked thousands of documents to Wikileaks in 2010, exposing war crimes and unjust detainment, torture and prisoner abuse, diplomatic deception and embarrassingly candid communications relating to US policies in the war on terror. Court-martialed in 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years and is serving that sentence at Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas. Immediately after the verdict, Manning announced her medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and desire to live as a woman, along with the change of name.

CCA has held numerous support events for Manning since her arrest in the summer of 2010, joining the international support network that funded the legal defense and continues to raise funds for an appeal and advocate for a pardon or clemency as well as proper medical treatment for the gender dysphoria. Amnesty has also been advocating on Manning’s behalf for several years and has named her one of the world’s top political prisoners and among their “individuals at risk” for whom global action is promoted.

The party will be combined with an advocacy letter-writing campaign, as well as cards and letters to be sent to Manning at Ft.Leavenworth. Donations will be collected for the support network’s drive for the legal appeal case.

Since her sentencing, Manning herself has become more and more vocal about her case and with thougthful criticism of US national security policies, having published op-eds in The New York Times, The Guardian, and other newspapers as well as through Amnesty and the Chelsea Manning Support Network websites.

Amnesty has several chapters in Oklahoma, including OKC, Norman High School, OSU and Tulsa.

For more information:
Chelsea Manning Support Network – chelseamanning.org
Amnesty International Petition – campaigns.amnesty.org/actions/write-for-rights-chelsea-manning

CCA to Present 2014 Awards for Courageous Peacemaking

2014 award trio

Recipients: Sadie Mast, Chelsea Manning, and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance

The Center for Conscience in Action, along with local friends and supporters, will honor Oklahoma peacemakers in a program on Sunday, October 26 in Oklahoma City.

This is the fourth year that CCA (formerly the Oklahoma Center for Conscience and Peace Research) has recognized Oklahomans who have contributed to a culture of peace by courageous individual action, but this year, rather than a single award, several will be presented.
“We are very excited to expand our annual recognitions this year, and especially with the particular individuals and groups we have selected,” said Rena Guay, CCA’s Executive Director.

The 2014 awardees are Sadie Mast, who will be honored for her many years of service to local peace organizing; Chelsea Manning, a native of Crescent, Oklahoma, who is serving a 35-year sentence at Ft. Leavenworth for exposing war crimes; and Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, a small but powerful group of activists who have used direct action and creative public awareness campaigns to help Oklahomans better understand the connections between energy policy, environmental justice and state economic policies.

“Sadie Mast has been a force for peace and community building in Central Oklahoma for decades, and the organizations, causes and events she has contributed to are, literally, countless.” Guay said. “Chelsea Manning has sacrificed her freedom so that the world could know the realities of US war making. And Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance has revived in our community a critical factor in progressive organizing: resistance.”
The program will take place at Church of the Open Arms, 3131 N. Penn in OKC on Sunday October 26, beginning at 4pm. The public is invited to this free event. Light refreshments will be served.

Included in the schedule is a presentation about projects that CCA is involved with, including the Fort Hood Support Network, Restoring Justice Oklahoma and a community bicycle recycling program founded by Richard Geary.

Drop “terrorism hoax” charges against peaceful protesters, petitions demand of Oklahoma County DA Prater

Supporters to deliver over 14,000 signatures to demand end to politically motivated overreach

OKLAHOMA CITY – Supporters of the Center for Conscience in Action will gather at the Oklahoma County courthouse on Friday January 24 in support of two activists who have been charged with carrying out a “terrorism hoax” when extraneous glitter fell from a banner during a peaceful protest action at Devon Tower on Dec. 13, 2013.

The group will deliver letters and petitions to District Attorney David Prater calling for him to drop the charges against Stefan Warner and Moriah Stephenson, which they consider overreach by the police and DA office to discourage future protest in OKC.

devon banner

“Our city has a long history of nonviolent civil disobedience going back to the lunch counter sit-ins conducted by Clara Luper and her students in 1958,”  said James M. Branum, legal director of the Center for Conscience in Action. “We believe that Warner and Stephenson are following in that great tradition. We urge DA David Prater to drop the felony terrorism hoax charges in this case.”

The case has garnered media attention around the globe. Supporters from central Oklahoma and across the country have contributed over 14,000 signatures on two petitions related to the case.

The Devon Tower action was organized by the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance. For background and details on that protest visit www.gptarsandsresistance.org

A media availability will take place in the lobby of the Oklahoma County Courthouse at 3pm, prior to the group entering the DA’s office to present the materials to Mr. Prater. The organizers will also be available for interviews immediately after the drop off.

Some of the petition signatures will also go to Gov. Mary Fallin.

The Center for Conscience in Action, formerly the Oklahoma Center for Conscience,  is a group of organizations and citizens committed to nonviolent action to end war, injustice and environmental destruction, and to create a more equal and peaceful society through the development of personal conscience and collective action. For more info, see centerforconscience.org

Statement on Manning gender transition story

The Oklahoma Center for Conscience issues the following statement in regards to the announcement of the desire of Bradley Manning to transition to female and be known as Chelsea Manning. Quotes from this statement should be credited to Rena Guay, OCC Executive Director.

Anyone who has given the Bradley Manning case more than the most cursory attention would have known that the Army private attested to gender dysphoria issues as early at 2009, and in fact was diagnosed with the condition by military doctors, facts that were part of the defense mitigation efforts during the sentencing phase of the court-martial.

Now, after a cruel and deeply unjust sentence of 35 years has been given, for the media to instead sensationalize the desire of Bradley Manning to live as Chelsea Manning, while not untypical of American media in general, is nonetheless a further travesty. It is a distraction from the very serious consequences for our society and system of government to have whistleblowers treated like terrorists, and information equated with treason.

Another day, another black eye for the mainstream media as concerns this case, and the unconstitutional and immoral actions of our government in general.

Regardless of gender, Bradley/Chelsea Manning is a person of uncommon integrity and courage. The willingness to be open and honest about her medical condition, and desire to transition to better reflect her inner identity, is testament to that.

We will certainly honor Manning’s request to use Chelsea E. Manning in all references, and to use the feminine pronoun from this point forward. Like a name change for any individual, learning to use (or hear) a new name for someone one knows, whether personally or as a public figure, may take time and practice, but it soon becomes natural.

We will continue to support Chelsea Manning through the legal appeals process and advocacy campaigns for pardon or clemency. Further, we call on the US military to treat gender dysphoria as the medical condition it is and to allow doctors caring for Manning to treat her appropriately with standard hormone therapy.

Statement on the sentencing of Bradley Manning

The Oklahoma Center for Conscience has issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement of a 35 year sentence for Bradley Manning, marking the conclusion of his court-martial and the beginning of appeals and petitions for clemency/pardon. This statement can be published in full or part. Credit quotes from it to Rena Guay, OCC Executive Director.

The Oklahoma Center for Conscience, due to its mission of opposing the injustices and evil of war, has stood against the prosecution and punishment of Bradley Manning since his arrest in 2010. We joined the Bradley Manning Support Network and have worked alongside activists around the world to educate the public about the war crimes and government misdeeds that the Wikileaks documents helped expose. We have organized numerous events in Oklahoma to express this support, expand awareness and demand that the real criminals — those who perpetrated war crimes in the name of the United States — themselves be brought to justice. We believe that blowing the whistle on war crimes is not a crime, and neither is publishing information that the American public has a right to know.

Today we are angered and heartbroken at the sentence of 35 years meted out to Bradley Manning, a sentence far greater than any ever given to servicemembers who killed innocent civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan and disproportionate to punishment of Americans involved in torture.  Or, for that matter, who lied the country into an unnecessary and illegal war. By the end of 2013, Manning will have been imprisoned longer than was William Calley, who led the slaughter of 500 innocents in My Lai (and that was mostly house arrest).

We have taken on this work because of our heartfelt belief in the courage and heroic motives of Bradley Manning, and we were further spurred into action by being in Oklahoma, where Manning was born and raised. Because of our location, we have been contacted by media from around the world, while most Oklahoma media outlets ignored, trivialized or distorted what is doubtless an historic case with serious domestic and global ramifications, while also failing to recognize local support for Manning.

Tonight we will gather for a vigil in Crescent, Oklahoma, Bradley Manning’s home town. We will mourn what is, so far, a lost opportunity to re-orient our priorities as a nation to one that truly values truth and democracy, rather than only giving them lip service. We deplore the actions and words of our President and Congress, who have failed to fulfill their oath of office, and who have allowed this nation to succumb to fear, suspicion and the endless greed of war profiteers. We reject that national zeitgeist as necessary for our security, and with today’s news, we vow to continue to resist immoral policies and actions, regardless of who is administrating and advocating them.

Individual resistance, community power