March 17, 2022
Ann Fuehrer, Facilitator
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. Our geographic home is Oxford, Ohio.
On February 24, 2022, Russia began an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. President Biden had, before that date, warned that attack was imminent. Wanton destruction of cities and killing of military personnel and civilians have continued for three weeks now. About 3 million people have fled their homeland, while President Zelenskyy’s administration has remained in Kyiv, rallying and supporting volunteers and members of the military who have resisted the Russian military’s invasion.
I am challenged by information overload from constant CNN and NPR reporting on the war. When I listen to friends and colleagues, they want to have a clearer understanding of what is happening, and guidance about how they can most forcefully respond. To provide education and to catalyze a citizen’s movement, OCPJ has chosen two tactics that have been staples of our toolkit for many years, and which will undoubtedly be repeated far into the future–injustices are regularly perpetrated. And, in this time of manufactured untruths and “fake data”, we must seek trusted expertise to bring clarity. In this time of violent suppression, we must rally publicly in protest.
On March 10, 80 Miami students and community members gathered in Oxford Memorial Park to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine, including members of our own community. Angela Trubceac and Liza Skryzhevska, residents of the local community whose homelands are Moldova and Ukraine, shared with the group the plight of their relatives there. Poetry by Lyuba Yakimchuk and music by DakhaBrakha set the tone of requiem for those suffering death. Members of the crowd expressed their own outrage, fear and grief, and committed internally to action.
On March 13, Miami University Professor Emeritus of History Robert Thurston made a 25-minute presentation to 18 participants. Bob, a longtime supporter of OCPJ, clearly laid out the long history of political, religious and cultural dynamics in the relationships among Putin, The Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine. A question and answer period helped clarify the implications of eight centuries of events, but most notably the likely consequences of the recent invasion and genocide. Participants were given a list of resources compiled by OCPJ supporter Carole Katz to facilitate future individual actions.
OCPJ sponsored the public gathering in the park because members of the community asked for it. We organized the “What? So what? Now what?” program to provide education to catalyze a citizen’s movement for justice. We will continue to sponsor events in this vein. Our next planned “What? So what? Now what?” program will be held on Thursday, April 14 at 7:00 pm, virtually, on the topic “Oxford Tomorrow: Comprehensive planning for our future as a just community”. We are prepared to sponsor public gatherings (protests or vigils) and informed conversations to educate in service of supporting citizens’ movements for justice, whenever the need arises.