Where in Oxford is OCPJ this summer?

In a college town, it is tempting to think that everyone goes on vacation from the end of May to the beginning of September. War, voter suppression, lack of affordable housing, food insecurity, budget crises, transphobia, and White nationalism never take a break. So neither do we. OCPJ is skipping our Board meeting in June, but we will continue to participate in local community events, and partner with other groups in actions for justice. Here is where you’ll find us…

June 6, 7:00 pm, 118 W. High St, Meeting of the Police Community Relations and Review Commission, standing alongside the Oxford Branch of the NAACP. We will hear and comment on recommendations to City Council, following up on external review of OPD response to a November 18, 2023 Brick Street incident. We imagine a community conversation in the fall to address continuing concerns about use of force.

First and Third Tuesdays of the month at 7:30 pm, 118 W. High St., to give input to Oxford City Council on a proposed levy to increase property taxes for Oxford residents to erase the growing deficit in funding of City EMS/Fire services.

June 20, 6:30 pm, Uptown Park for Enjoy Oxford!’s first Pride Picnic. The evening’s performance is by Miami University Steel Band. We will be sharing a table with Welcoming and Affirming faith communities, and will have buttons, stickers, information about oppressive bills currently being considered in the Ohio State Legislature, and small rainbow fruit skewers, since it’s a picnic!

June 24, 5:00-7:00 pm, 104 E. Church St., monthly meeting of Oxford Area Solutions for Housing (OASH), community-based planning to prevent homelessness and fill resource gaps for those who are unhoused in the Oxford area.

July 9, we will support Oxford Area Solutions for Housing (OASH) in their presentation at the weekly luncheon of the Kiwanis Club of Oxford, Ohio.

August 2, 6:00-10:00 pm, Red Brick Friday “Books on the Bricks”. We will display and read children’s picture books that have been challenged and banned around the country. Frequently, these books focus on experiences of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ characters.

Everyday action–so many possibilities–just to name a few–volunteering at the Talawanda Oxford Pantry and Social Services (TOPSS) or Thread Up Oxford; tending the pollinator garden at the Oxford Community Park; or writing postcards with members of Defending Democracy, a bipartisan sub-group of the Butler County Progressive PAC.



by Ann Fuehrer, Facilitator

Eighteen months ago, I published a blog post on this website on the “Oxford Homelessness Network.” At that point, two other members of the OCPJ Board, Karen Anders Francis and Linda Simmons, and I were beginning efforts to address the resource gaps that result in a small but significant number of people who reside in the Oxford area being unhoused. Everyone has the basic human right to have their survival needs met, and that includes having affordable, safe and predictable shelter. Given the “market conditions” (eg Miami University hands-off stance, absentee corporate owners, motives for greatest profit) that exist in the city, 54% of renters are housing burdened, and the majority of people who work in Oxford don’t live in Oxford–many of them can’t afford to live in Oxford, though they might want to.

Thirty years ago, then Director of OCPJ Linda Musmeci Kimball published an article in the January/February 1993 issue of the Peace Center Press, entitled “Affordable Housing in Oxford: The Silent Shame.” Many of the conditions that existed then still plague us today. The Oxford Homelessness Network has been doing good work to identify and challenge these issues. We have been formally joined by Diane Ruther-Vierling, former Executive Director of the Family Resource Center, and members of the Eradicating Systemic Poverty group from the Oxford Presbyterian Church, to expand our scope. Now, Diane and I are joined by Jenny Bailer and Anne Bailey to form the planning team of a relatively new coalition, Oxford Area Solutions for Housing (OASH). Last night, we hosted 30 members of the community, from a number of different sectors, to plan for a Point-In-Time Count of people who are unhoused in the Oxford area. The costs of the Count are supported by grants from the McCullough-Hyde Foundation, and the Oxford Masonic Foundation Inc. This is the first step in raising public awareness that, yes, there are as many as 100 people in our community who have no permanent residence, who periodically are sheltering outdoors, or whose families are torn apart by lack of affordable housing and support services. Next steps will include assuring a cold shelter this year, and making stronger links among local first responders, and with County resources, to fill local gaps

OASH meets regularly on the fourth Monday of the month from 5:00-7:00 at the Oxford Presbyterian Church Seminary Building at 104 E. Church St. We gather around six round tables, each of which represents a different sector of the community (Civic/Philanthropy, Human Services, Economy, Faith communities, Education, and Government). We enjoy pizza and salad (donations welcome), have a brief presentation by the planning team that catches us up on progress and orients our work for the evening, and then work on action plans in small groups for an hour, before returning to the large group for reporting out and synthesis. We welcome you to join us to offer experience, expertise, skills, time, energy, inspiration, labor, ideas, and most of all your moral clarity that silence and ignorance lead to injustice–we are all accountable for the housing first of ourselves and our neighbors. If you’d like more information, feel free to contact me at


Share Bread not Bombs 2023!

Bread not Bombs 2023 brought us together again!

For the 37th time, we gathered in community on Saturday, November 4 in the Undercroft at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Oxford. We switched to a potluck format but welcomed everyone, whether or not they brought a dish, and had plenty of delicious food! In solidarity with workers, our menu included our tradition of beans and rice and bread. Peter Carels and 5 friends of OGADE Drum Group accompanied our spirited exchange.

We recognized the decades of committed activism of our two Peace & Justice Award winners, Kathy McMahon-Klosterman and Vanessa Cummings. Each of them continues to work tirelessly for justice, equity and inclusion of all members of our community. Last year’s P&J winner, Shana Rosenberg, updated us on the progress of Thread Up! Oxford, and we shared the call for attending the December 15 meeting of Miami’s Board of Trustees from last year’s other P&J recipient, Chantel Raghu. Vice-Mayor Raghu is calling on Miami University to cover the costs of Oxford providing EMS and fire services to Miami’s campus. Friends and community members socialized and spoke out about local justice concerns, including gun violence, and the need to support local unions, and groups like Democratic Socialists of America.

This year’s dinner received considerable support from the community, including donations of coffee from Thurstons’ Oxford Coffee Company; condiments and foodstuffs from MOON Co-Op; and bottled water from Rev. Beverly A. Simmons and God’s House of Praise & Worship. Representatives of our host, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Rev. Julie Blake Fisher and Rev. Kip Colegrove, joined us for the fun. As always, the event could not have happened without the committed volunteers and Board members of OCPJ: Margarette Beckwith, Kathie Brinkman, Susan Callan, Barbara Ann Caruso, Marilyn Elzey, Ann Fuehrer, Andy Garrison, Ann Geddes, James Klosterman, Pat Meade, Mary Rezaian, Linda Simmons, Jerry Stanley, and Josette Stanley. Photos provided by Mary Rezaian and Margarette Beckwith.

Looking forward to seeing you for the 38th time in 2024!


OPEN LETTER TO OCPJ COMMUNITY: Decrying Hamas terrorism and violence in response

An Open Letter on the current crisis in the Middle East.  

From: Barb Caruso, President of the Board, and Ann Fuehrer, Facilitator, of OCPJ 


Dear Members and Friends,

Over the last several days Ann and Barb have been meeting and talking about how the current murder in the Middle East comes to us in Oxford and to the work of OCPJ. Guided by much reading and many conversations we have examined the Organization’s mission statement and history as we plan OCPJ related actions. We are sharing some of our thinking below, followed by an action plan for engagement with the city, education of the community, support of Hillel and the students it serves, and ways to engage others in the area touched by these events. We welcome your response, guidance, and suggestions for future activism. We stress that this is our initial thinking.

It has been a week since the attack by Hamas terrorists on the Israeli / Jewish people. It was and is a horror. Yes, there is a larger political context, and we don’t live there subject to the close-up trauma, or the complicated history, but we know brutality when we see it. We also recognize the virulent antisemitism that continues to be at work in the world and in our country and note that among the many responses and gatherings pertaining to these recent events some have called for the death of Jews and have celebrated genocidal history.

And now we are witnessing the ravaging of Palestinian people whose homes are leveled and who are forced to run or be killed by a government’s bombs. Our President says the U.S. will act with “moral clarity,” but apart from Hamas’ horrendous attack, there seems to be little “clarity” in the rush of events, mixed motives, and shared trauma of war. The Iliad poet says war and its deaths are the “great leveler” among people of different status and identity. All become the same people in death. My (Barb) mother would say “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

It is tempting to call the perpetrators of the massacre “evil” and the defenders’ revenge or retaliation righteous, but in fact we are talking about real people who do these terrible things. Our species. We have to face up to that. Choices have and are being made and acted on. Is there not another way to go forward? Can’t we pick the stick up at the other, not retribution and war, end?

It seems to us none of this historic and contemporary conflict has been inevitable but reflects a dearth of ethical imagination and a patriarchal viewpoint that elevates values of control, possessiveness and righteousness, that equates might and right, that sees things as a zero-sum game, that uses tools of oppression and appropriation of the power to define, stigmatize and name one party “animals” and the other “filth” thus dehumanizing both. This is not a world, a home, we want anyone to live in. And as African American poet and theorist Audre Lorde says:  “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” 

We believe OCPJ has and should advocate for and use different tools as we discern and act on our mission. Since our focus is “local” we begin with “Listening” to our communities and “acting in solidarity” with our neighbors. What we hear is that in Oxford the global is local. The threat is everywhere. And we “hear” Oxford has a history of responding to this threat. 

One such response was 2017 solidarity with the national 1995 Not in Our Town Movement. The community of Oxford and Miami University took a joint stand against hatred and bigotry with the kickoff of the Not In Our Town initiative. It was in response to local incidents of intimidation as well as those that had occurred nationally. The Not In Our Town mission is to guide, support and inspire people and communities to work together to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe and inclusive communities for all. The national Not In Our Town movement was launched in 1995 as Billings, Montana residents stood up for their neighbors after a series of hate crimes targeting Jewish and Native American residents of the town.

 As we “listen” we “hear” that as a consequence of the genocidal terrorism and advent of war in Israel, along the Gaza Strip, Jewish and Palestinian people in Oxford and everywhere, are experiencing a renewed threat even as they are grieving the violence and loss. We believe it is time for us, for the City and University, to recommit to Not in Our Town. 

On Thursday Ann attended a program, “Jewish&: Understanding Jewish Student Identity on Today’s College Campus”, at Hillel at Miami University. (This program will be offered several more times in the near future.) The gathering was designed to help provide a deeper understanding of who the Jewish people are while also providing campus and community partners with tangible ways to help Jewish students feel not only safe on their college campus but truly welcomed. As she listened she “heard” that many Jewish students feel safe from immediate  attack, but many do not feel welcomed. They are the targets of online bullying. They wake in the morning to a swastika on the whiteboard on the door of their residence hall home.

Executive Director of Hillel at Miami University, Whitney Fisch, who appreciates the support

of President Biden calling out the futility of violence, suggested local ways to act in solidarity with the students and Hillel. She encourages local support and participation in Hillel life. All

members of the community may attend Shabbat services, braid and purchase Challah for

healing, walk past the Hillel building at 11 E. Walnut St. to make sure it is secure, and put signs

in our yards that affirm that all are welcome here. Whitney reports that last year, Hillel at Miami University welcomed 700 unique students, including transgender Jewish students who are reeling from the double oppression of transphobia and antisemitism, and Jewish students of color who know they are targeted because of multiple stigmatized identities. Services to support such a large community of students requires monetary funds— we can send a donation by visiting their website at or DONATE to Hillel at Miami University. We can also openly affirm that peace will not result from war.

All this thinking and listening has led us to an initial action plan for OCPJ that we will take to the Board for discussion and likely affirmation:

  1. Continued solidarity with Hillel: attending events, facilitating programs, etc.
  2. Conducting at least one What? So What? Now What? Program in our Townhall Series focused on this crisis. 
  3. Make a statement to City Council on Tuesday urging official recommitment to Not in Our Town and the issuing of a resolution.
  4. Publicly disseminating the Peace Pledge below.
  5. Creating opportunities to discuss this topic at our Annual Bread Not Bombs Dinner 

Members and Friends, as we listened to those around us and planned the actions above we also listened to the history of OCPJ. Earlier this week Linda Musmeci Kimball sent all of us her recent version of the Peace Pledge for Peace Makers adapted to this moment. See below. It’s built on OCPJ responses to previous conflicts and makes use of a statement from the Board of the Dayton Peace Museum. The two of us support this statement and will take it to the Board of OCPJ for discussion and hoped for affirmation of OCPJ’s commitment. Please communicate with us or other members of the Board your views on our plans and your wishes for our work going forward.

In solidarity,

Ann and Barb

For a Just Peace, we:

Express our support for the security of Israel and Israelis.

Express our support for a just and dignified peace

   for Palestine and the Palestinian people.

Reject militarism as a response to territorial and political

   disputes, exclusions, and injustices.

Feel empathy for those who have come under attack and 

   who have been living with the fallout of violence.

Support non-escalation and avoidance of temptations for revenge.

Recognize the shared humanity of all people in the Middle East

   and the shared need for peace.

 Invite affected communities locally to be open to dialogue

    and continue mutual engagement.


We know you want to do something!

Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice has been a transformative force in the Oxford community since 1979. Our citizens’ movements have significantly impacted injustices that continue to exploit our neighbors locally, and promote conflict rather than peace in our region, nation, and globally. OCPJ uses a variety of strategies and tactics to raise public awareness of exploitive systems, challenge government inaction, and advocate for peace and justice initiatives, making good trouble.

The graphic above represents the areas of focus in which OCPJ members, Board leaders, and local partners are involved. A great big thank you to all who commit significant time, energy and $ to promoting justice-based initiatives. Follow any of the active links below to learn more about or become involved in local initiatives. For more information, or to become involved, email our Board President Barbara Ann Caruso at, or our Facilitator, Ann Fuehrer, at WE NEED YOU and YOU NEED US!

Ukranian Action

Family Resource Center


Climate Action Steering Committee

Oxford Sustainability newsletter

Oxford Area PFLAG

Oxford branch of the NAACP

Lived Experiences: Race at Miami University

League of Women Voters Oxford

Oxford City Council

OCPJ website

OCPJ Facebook page


Bread not Bombs Returns!

Bread not Bombs is back after a two-year pandemic hiatus.  On Saturday, December 3, 2022, 75 members of the community gathered in the undercroft of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church with Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice (OCPJ). Thirty-seven volunteers, organized by long-time OCPJ member Ann Geddes, made it possible for us to share a homemade meal of beans and rice, enjoy the music of Judy and Warren Waldron and the drumming of OGADE, and appreciate the activism of two winners of the annually awarded Peace and Justice Awards. 

OCPJ recognized Oxford’s Vice-Mayor Chantel Raghu with one of our annual Peace and Justice Awards.  A second award went to Shana Rosenberg, who is a member of two of the City of Oxford’s Commissions, the Housing Advisory and the Planning Commissions, and founder of Thread up Oxford.  Although they each make unique contributions, both Chantel and Shana work within the structure of City government AND outside of that structure to address basic survival needs—food, clothing and shelter—of vulnerable, really all, members of the community, through sustainable practices that keep food waste or fabrics out of landfills.  They work seemingly tirelessly, contributing their time, energy and homes to redistributing resources, working in solidarity with those living in poverty. 

The first Bread not Bombs dinner happened in 1986, organized by OCPJ’s co-founder and first Director, Linda Musmeci Kimball.  This year’s BnB program, emceed by Board President Barbara Ann Caruso and Facilitator Ann Fuehrer, included Linda’s recounting of OCPJ’s beginning in 1979 and early years; a scrapbook of many of the photos Linda kept over the years was shared with attendees.  Long-time OCPJ member Kathy McMahon-Klosterman gave a moving tribute to co-founder Jane Strippel, who died at the end of October 2022.  Children enjoyed doing crafts and exploring picture books on Iran, Ukraine, and citizen movements for peace and justice.  We sold buttons, stickers, peace calendars and other merchandise at our Peace Market.  Flyers and displays provided education and calls to action on homelessness and environmental justice in Oxford.

If you’d like more information about OCPJ and how to join; OCPJ trifold brochures, buttons or stickers; or if you’d like to become more actively involved, including joining the Board of OCPJ, contact Ann at

Photos provided by Mary Rezaian and Margarette Beckwith.  

Board President Barbara Ann Caruso

Shana Rosenberg, Ann Fuehrer, Linda Musmeci Kimball
Chantel Raghu, Ann Fuehrer
Enjoying dinner
Judy and Warren Waldron enjoying a break from playing


SCOTUS vs Roe v Wade

SCOTUS on Roe v. Wade

Below and attached please find a Board Statement from Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice re the Supreme Court’s decision re Abortion. We will be organizing further activism consistent with OCPJ’s “local” mission and welcome and NEED your participation.
In solidarity,Barb Caruso, President, for the OCPJ BoardAnn Fuehrer, OCPJ Facilitator
Statement from  the Board of Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice Concerning the  Recent Supreme Court Decision on Roe.
     After the leak of the draft of the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, we knew this day was coming. We deplore the Court’s vote overturning the Roe v. Wade decision, and expect that this denial of rights, this insistence on  Forced Birth,  will be mirrored in future decisions on cases challenging other rights. It is not yet settled exactly how individual states will respond. Ohio has already activated a six week rule, and we have a clear idea of the horrific impact of forced birth. We need to focus on Ohio’s proposed draconian anti-choice laws with attention to the intersecting forces of gender, racism and poverty, and mobilize in anticipation.     If you are like our Facilitator, Ann Fuehrer, since announcement of the decision on Friday morning, you have heard from a number of organizations already–so far, Ann has heard from Pro-Choice Ohio, the League of Women Voters, the ACLU, PFLAG, SURJ (Showing up for Racial Justice), the President of her women’s college alma mater, and a justice organization of her faith community.  Those organizations and many others encourage monetary donations to support their efforts, attending protests in nearby cities, contacting members of state legislatures to express views on proposed state laws, speaking out about threats to some individual rights at the same time that other individual rights (eg concealed carry) are broadened, and considering positions of candidates for office in the November election.        There are a number of specific actions that we could take locally, such as working on a resolution of the City of Oxford to pressure state government, and collecting and making available resource information for folks seeking an abortion, supporting organizations that provide funds to preserve access to abortion or distribution of information about self-managed abortion..      Be on the lookout for future programs from us. Members interested in organizing around choice and women’s healthcare should contact Barb Caruso, Board President, at, or Ann Fuehrer, Facilitator, at  We will facilitate an OCPJ force for choice group.



by Ann Fuehrer,

On May 1, 2022, three members of the Board of Directors of Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice made a presentation as part of a public conversation on Affordable Housing in Oxford. We were invited by the Eradicating Systemic Poverty Committee of the Oxford Presbyterian Church, sponsors of the event, to talk about our vision and plans to address the basic subsistence needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our Community, individuals and families who, at night, are sleeping in their cars, camped out under tarps in honeysuckle thickets, or couch surfing.

We believe it is a moral commitment to community accountability that resources should be available to meet the basic subsistence needs of all members of the Talawanda School District and Oxford communities. But in calendar year 2021, about 10% of the 422 families served by Talawanda Oxford Pantry and Social Services had no permanent residence. Between March 1, 2021 and February 28, 2022, the Family Resource Center (FRC) provided wrap-around services to 79 individuals who were homeless, and provided referrals to another 22 homeless individuals who did not qualify for FRC’s other services Some community members do not believe that there are people who are homeless in Oxford–they don’t observe street people panhandling. But the Oxford Police Department knows better–they routinely ask people who are encamped on private property to move, or arrest individuals who are trespassing on private property in hopes of finding a warm place to sleep. The FRC cold shelter, which operated at 106% of capacity from November of 2020 through March of 2021, belies the myth of a fully housed Oxford.

We perceive a Field of Horrors instead of a Field of Dreams in Oxford. The implicit message we’ve received from the lack of political will to honor Article 25 of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that everyone’s subsistence needs should be met, suggests “If we don’t build it (a shelter for people who are homeless), they won’t come (we won’t attract people who are transient and looking for a meal and a place to sleep, and not finding it in other towns).” The theme of the May 1 event hosted by the Eradicating Systemic Poverty Committee was ““Housing on the Continuum: Homelessness, transitional housing, and affordable housing in the Oxford community”. At the public visioning session to receive input about Oxford’s proposed comprehensive plan, Oxford Tomorrow, held at Oxford Bible Fellowship on the evening of April 18, 2022, public concern about the shortage of affordable housing for residents at all income levels was named and included in a number of City initiatives. However, the continuum of affordability did not reach down to individuals who are only able to afford to squat in empty sheds, or locate their tents along the railroad tracks that separate the Oxford Country Club from the Miami Mobile Home Park. In its February, 2021 “Oxford, Ohio Housing Needs Assessment” report, the Bowen National Research group estimated that approximately .3%, or 67 individuals, in Oxford are homeless. The Family Resource Center’s service statistics from 2021 show that this is a significant underestimation of the need in our community. Recent evictions from apartments and mobile homes that are affordable, but only because the majority (54.0%) of renter households are considered “housing cost burdened” (paying over 30% of income towards housing costs), will increase the number of individuals and families who will be forced to rely on friend and kinship systems for shelter. The majority of people who work in Oxford can’t afford, or choose not, to live in the City.

In February of 2021, friends and members of OCPJ donated $14,000 to the Family Resource Center so that their cold shelter could remain open an extra month, and so that clients of the Center could have some of their housing costs supported during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, We’ve heard the suggestion that some people are living “rough” rather than going to shelters in other cities because they choose to do so–that is freedom of choice. But when faced with a dilemma–remain close to family and a job but have to camp out in a tent, or have access to a warm shelter with a shower but not to be able to interact with family members who live 20 minutes away from the shelter in Hamilton–individuals must struggle to decide which is the lesser of two evils. Local situations require local solutions. We are committed to supporting the good work that is being done by local social service agencies and City initiatives, while also recognizing the dangers faced by a small but significant number of our neighbors who have no good choices that will lead to the stability and dignity that housing in a familiar community, close to job and family, offers.

Homelessness and the dangers of living on the streets are problems everywhere, and have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Cities that successfully address the situations of the most vulnerable members of their communities have clear goals, are not ambivalent in their perspective on the existence and illegitimacy of homelessness, devote bureaucratic resources to providing wrap-around services and housing options–the labor involved in connecting with and supporting individuals in need must be honored and compensated–and acknowledge community accountability for all, especially those who are vulnerable because of the challenges faced by those born into life in poverty. “If you want peace, work for justice.”–Pope Paul VI. “They” are already here. “They” are our neighbors who work in the service industries and are not paid a living wage. Many complain about the extent to which the housing market in Oxford is influenced by Miami University’s housing policies, and the extent to which maximizing profit influences owners of rental units to let their stock remain vacant if not rented to affluent students, instead of making apartments and houses available to the unhoused. Justice is not being served by these decisions.

We are moving forward to hear and center the stories and experiences of those who are constantly traveling from one temporary shelter to another. We are proposing ways of redistributing resources to meet the unmet needs of ALL of our neighbors. Join us in our development of a homeless network, to work in solidarity with those who don’t choose the honeysuckle thicket, but see no other option, and those who are already doing the good work of justice, of providing housing for ALL.



was one of our most popular stickers at our Earth Fest display on April 16.  A photo of our table of trifold presentations, buttons, stickers, postcards and videos was featured prominently in the story “Earth Fest returns to Oxford” by Bob Ratterman in the April 24 issue of the Oxford Press—thank you Bob!  In that story, OCPJ’s Board President Barbara Ann Caruso was quoted as saying, “Environmental issues are interconnected with justice.”  Barb pointed out that challenges to environmental integrity adversely affect disadvantaged people and people of color.  New EPA guidelines recognize this, and use maps showing heat islands where inequities in access to healthy environments are highlighted.  US 27 north (College Corner Pike) in Oxford appears on every social vulnerability map—that’s where people of color and those who earn low incomes live.  The City of Oxford will be planting 52 trees, purchased with a Tree Canopy Restoration Grant from the state of Ohio, in areas with a high Social Vulnerability Index (.5065 in the northwest quadrant of the City, along College Corner Pike, in comparison to .2962 in the rest of the City).  Noted in our display, “Oxford has an established history of concern, care and maintenance of the urban forest, as evidenced by the community qualifying for the National Arbor Foundation’s Tree City USA status for 25 consecutive years.”

The situation in Oxford is not entirely positive.  A popular postcard in our Earth Fest display emphasized the importance that OCPJ puts on systemic dynamics in understanding which members of our community are most challenged by the severe shortage of affordable housing in Oxford.  Stressors related to existing in poverty, and associated mental health and addiction challenges, become clear when intersectional analyses of access to resources in the community, promoted by frameworks like Critical Race Theory, are adopted.  At the second public input session for the “Oxford Tomorrow” comprehensive plan, held on April 18, there was no mention of the need to address the particular situations of people who live close to the Earth, camping out in honeysuckle thickets or along the railroad tracks in the Miami Mobile Home Park.  Housing is a basic human right, and there is no justice as long as a significant percentage of the members of our community can only afford to park their bedroom (car) in a mother-in-law’s driveway, and use her bathroom and kitchen to meet basic subsistence needs.  In February of 2021, friends of OCPJ contributed $14,000 to the Family Resource Center to help keep their cold shelter in operation for an additional month.  On May 1, 2022, members of the OCPJ Board will participate in a public conversation, “Housing on a continuum”, which is being hosted by the Eradicating Systemic Poverty Committee of the Oxford Presbyterian Church—we will be promoting formation of an Oxford Homeless Network that works in coalition to support the good work that is being done currently, and to fill in the gaps where resources do not exist.

OCPJ is able to be a voice in the Community for peace and justice because of the financial support, and dedication of time and energy, by active members.  We sent out a call for new members and renewals in early January of this year—we have yet to hear back from many of you.  Please return your membership form and check to the Center for Peace and Justice, 16 S. Campus Ave, Oxford, OH.  45056, or go to our website,, where you will find the membership form and instructions about how to donate to support our work.  The PayPal option is available.  We need you to help determine the areas related to justice that OCPJ will pursue.  And you need OCPJ to be that vocal voice for Peace and Justice in the community.  Feel free to contact us at to let us know about the injustices you see and experience, and how you would like to be involved.


“Oxford Tomorrow: Environmental Justice”

The City of Oxford is in the process of developing a new comprehensive plan that will help shape future growth and change in the community for years to come. The City is calling that plan OXFORD TOMORROW. According to the website for the plan, “Oxford is already a unique and exciting place to be. We welcome all residents to participate in the planning process and contribute ideas on how to make Oxford even better. “

One way to make Oxford even better is to recognize that principles of environmental justice demand that we lessen disparities in access to healthy environments, like green spaces. In a May 17-24, 2021 article in The Nation , writer Amal Ahmed suggests that “Today the phrase ‘environmental justice’ is common parlance among environmentalists and climate activists, who understand that poor communities and communities of color across the globe will disproportionately bear the effects of climate change.” If we look at a map of the green spaces in Oxford, we see that the majority of the green spaces are located on the East side of the City, adjacent to the campus of Miami University. There are wonderful walking trails that run through these green spaces. This stands in stark contrast to the relative absence of green spaces along the College Corner Pike corridor that is the main thoroughfare in and out of Oxford in a northwest direction. Along the Pike, small businesses are interspersed with a mobile home park, a subsidized housing apartment complex, and moderately-priced rental units.

In 2022, the City of Oxford will plant about 50, two-inch in diameter trees along its streets after receiving funding from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban Canopy Restoration Grant in late November. of 2021. According to David Treleaven, Oxford’s Environmental Specialist, all 50 trees will be planted along roads in the northwest portion of the city, specifically College Corner Pike, Northridge Drive, Brown Road, and Fieldcrest Avenue, where the Social Vulnerability score is considered high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Social Vulnerability measurement was developed as a means to allocate resources to different communities. Several factors, including socioeconomic status, household composition and housing conditions can affect a community’s access to clean natural resources like air and water. Treleaven adds, “This grant incorporated an environmental justice component and with that, there is a Social Vulnerability Index and that works into the economics and environment of an area.”  Oxford’s Urban Forestry Program is an example of a local initiative that is informed by principles of environmental justice. We commend the City for planning and execution of initiatives that reflect principles of justice.  

Want to learn more about principles of environmental justice? How about Heat islands–urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas. Structures such as buildings, roads, and other infrastructure absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes such as forests and water bodies. Urban areas, where these structures are highly concentrated and greenery is limited, become “islands” of higher temperatures relative to outlying areas. Or The Social Vulnerability Index–calculated by the Centers for Disease Control, the higher the SVI of a census area, the more social vulnerability in that area, meaning that area may need more resources to thrive.

What other disparities in access to resources exist in Oxford? One of the issues that is most clearly addressed in the initial conversations about Oxford Tomorrow is the need for more affordable housing in Oxford. For 79 of the hundreds of households served by the Family Resource Center in 2021, affordable housing meant a car, a tent, a friend’s couch or shed, or a tarp in a honeysuckle thicket. In Oxford Tomorrow, what resources will be dedicated to meeting the survival needs of the most vulnerable members of our community?

The next Public Input session for Oxford Tomorrow is on Monday, April 18 from 6:00-7:30 pm at Oxford Bible Fellowship, located at 800 S. Maple St. Make sure you visit the Oxford Tomorrow website to register to attend on Monday night. Before then, visit the Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice table at Earth Fest. Earth Fest, celebrating Earth Day, will be held on Saturday, April 16, from 10:00 am-1:00 pm in Oxford’s Uptown Park. We will have lots more information for you, and more ideas about issues of justice that need to be addressed in Oxford’s comprehensive plan. Remember, our mission is to educate and act locally to recruit and organize a citizens’ movement with the sustained political power to construct a world of peace with social, economic, and environmental justice. Providing input to Oxford Tomorrow is an excellent way for you to be a part of this movement. Make sure you are ready to speak justice to power in making your contribution to Oxford Tomorrow. See you on Saturday in Oxford Memorial Park.