03/28/2009: "Peace, Social Justice Activist Visits Lopez"
Bob Schultz, a representative since the 1980s of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) in Washington, D.C., will visit Lopez Center March 29, 7 pm, for an interactive discussion about ways each of us can help make a difference in what he calls the “new” D.C. He will suggest specific, practical ways for citizen lobbyists to use the ‘FCNL toolbox" on behalf of peace, justice and earth care.
The largest peace lobby in Washington, D.C., FCNL has succeeded in recent years in efforts to block funding for new nuclear weapons; building Congressional support for banning cluster munitions; passing legislation prohibiting permanent U.S. bases in Iraq,; and authorizing and funding non-military resources for America's overseas engagements. FCNL staffers enjoyed considerable access to the Obama Transition Team in the run-up to inauguration of our new President.
Started by Quakers and, today, comprised of people in all walks of life, FCNL is the oldest registered ecumenical lobby in Washington. “Basically, they are lobbyists you can believe in,” says John Helding, member of the Lopez Island Quaker Worship Group which is sponsoring the talk. “Bob will give us the inside scoop on the ways of Washington, Capitol Hill and how FCNL and the peace lobby really can and do make a difference. That’s IF we stay involved!”
Schultz was involved recently in a successful effort to gain Washington Sen. Patty Murray's co-sponsorship of legislation banning cluster bombs, and worked with Sen. Cantwell on a peace-related bill to provide economic development aid to the frontier regions of Pakistan.
A retired professor of ethics and social philosophy, Schultz was appointed in 1990 to the founding faculty of the University of Washington, Bothell. Among his teaching responsibilities, he regularly led the Washington D.C. Seminar on Human Rights, taking over 300 university students for week-long seminars to the State Department, the Pentagon, embassies, elected officials, and non-governmental organizations across the political spectrum.
In 1932, Schultz notes, FDR offered this challenge: "You have elected me; now organize a movement to make me do what you want." He sees a parallel in President Obama's call for citizen participation in public life. "But while today's climate in the nation's capital is more promising than it has been for years for citizens to lobby on behalf of peace, justice and earthcare," he warns, "such citizen lobbying of the Congress will need to be pursued with vigor to prevent the inertia of a return to business as usual on Capitol Hill."
Schultz, who lives in Port Townsend, is traveling around Puget Sound addressing groups about ongoing efforts to actually create change in Washington and how to be involved. Anyone interested in peace and social justice issues, locally and world-wide, will want to attend.
Schultz will also be interviewed by Helding for Spirit in Action, the Quaker Worship Group’s weekly radio show on KLOI. Watch The Weekly for the date of the interview.