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Sharon Delgado
Sharon Delgado
The Reverend Sharon Delgado is an ordained United Methodist minister, executive director of Earth Justice Ministries, and author of “Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization” (www.shakingthegatesofhell.org).



No Jury Trial in Beale Case

Jun29

by: on June 29th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

Sharon Delgado released from custody

 

Last October, I was arrested for civil disobedience with eight other people during an anti-drone demonstration at Beale Air Force Base. Charges were dropped against four of my co-defendants. The case against the remaining five of us continues.

Our trial will be held on August 12 in federal court in Sacramento. We had hoped to make our case before a jury, but on Thursday U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn K. Delaney denied our lawyers’ request for a jury trial. In other words, we will not be able to testify before a jury of our peers, some of whom might be sympathetic to our reasons for taking the action we did at Beale. Instead, we will be tried before Judge Delaney, a representative of the very system that charged us with misdemeanor trespass for publicly challenging its drone warfare program. Although we each face up to six months in federal prison, $5000 in fines, and five years’ probation, our case does not qualify as serious enough to warrant a jury trial.

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A Resurgence of Humanity

Jun23

by: on June 23rd, 2013 | Comments Off

Kathie and Sharon as children

Tomorrow my sister Kathie plans to go to a “Moral Mondays” demonstration in Raleigh. She may even participate in civil disobedience there. Because she lives in North Carolina, I’ve been watching the right-wing coup that has been taking place in what has been a relatively progressive Southern state. The state took over Asheville’s public water district, which has always been locally-run and locally-funded, without negotiation or compensation. The legislature is now in the process of dismantling voting rights, firing environmental regulators, cutting unemployment compensation, firing teachers’ aides, increasing class sizes, and ending safety net protections for the most vulnerable people.

Powerful billionaire Art Pope, active in ALEC, is now North Carolina’s Budget Director. Pope has been called “a cross between the Koch brothers and Karl Rove.” Big money, corporate sponsors, and entrenched political players are clearly at work here, aligned to make true democracy irrelevant. And yet, in the face of incredible odds against them, people are rising up to say “no.”

This is not just happening in North Carolina, but around the world: in Taksim Square, in Brazil, in Idle No More and related actions against the Keystone XL pipeline, in anti-drone actions, in appearances of still-alive Occupy movements. People are also engaged in smaller but persistent struggles taking place around the world.

It is heartening to see people rising up in resistance to the Powers that Be. Why? For one thing, many of us know that only through “we the people” is there any hope of turning back the ascendant evil of today’s domination system, which consumes life and threatens the future. For another, when people join together, rise up, say “enough,” and organize new ways of being in community, it is an expression of our humanity. I’m convinced that the Spirit is present wherever people resist dehumanization and come more fully alive.

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A Call to Resist

May22

by: on May 22nd, 2013 | 1 Comment »

Chris Hedges has again issued a call to conversion, a call to leave behind the moral inertia that the global system of corporate domination instills in its subjects, a call to rise up for the sake of life. He says, “It is time to build radical mass movements that defy all formal centers of power and make concessions to none.” He goes so far as to say, “Resistance to tyranny saves our souls.” Read the article here: We, the Vast Underclass, Must Rise Up Against Global Mafia – or Die.

In this article, Hedges likens the global system of unrestrained free-market capitalism to the doomed ship Pequod in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. He writes, “We are sailing on a maniacal voyage of self-destruction, and no one in a position of authority, even if he or she sees what lies ahead, is willing or able to stop it. Those on the Pequod who had a conscience, including Starbuck, did not have the courage to defy Ahab. The ship and its crew were doomed by habit, cowardice and hubris. Melville’s warning must become ours. Rise up or die.”

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Drone Warfare: There has to be a different way

May16

by: on May 16th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

Yesterday I was interviewed by Alan Stahler on KVMR Radio about why I engaged in nonviolent direct action and was arrested at Beale last October. (You can listen to the Podcast below.) In the interview, Alan said, “Using drones must save American lives. What’s your objection to them?” My initial answer: “It may be that using drones save American lives, but there has to be a different way.”

The U.S. Drone Warfare Program is flouting the rule of law, killing thousands, terrorizing whole communities, and making enemies. There has to be a different way, a way that can lead to mutual concern and lasting security for people in the United States and others. There has to be a way that can lead to peace.

U.S. drones have killed thousands of people, mostly civilians, including hundreds of children. Yes, our drones go after alleged terrorists. We have kill lists, made up of individuals who have been approved by the president or the CIA for targeted killings. But our drones do not only go after particular individuals. The majority of U.S. drone attacks are “signature strikes” based on looser criteria. In some areas, any man of military age is considered a militant and a legitimate target.

Drone strikes often result in civilian casualties. Hundreds of children have been killed. Friends of mine who have traveled to regions under fire by drones describe an atmosphere of fear and terror, children having nightmares, people afraid to gather in groups, go to funerals, or send their children to school. Whole communities are being terrorized. We are not only causing great harm to people in the communities we target, but making enemies and creating a cycle of violence that may last for generations.

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Children, Earth Day, and Activism

Apr22

by: on April 22nd, 2013 | 1 Comment »

“The kinship that children feel for animals and their ongoing disappearance from us literally brought me to my knees that night, on a sidewalk in my own village. It was love that got me back up. It was love that brought me to this jail cell.” Sandra Steingraber

Today is Earth Day. Yesterday the film “How the Kids Saved the Parks” brought me to tears. It tells the story of how a group of children from Grass Valley Charter School worked to prevent the closure of the South Yuba River State Park, one of the parks that California had planned to close in 2011 due to budget cuts. In watching the movie, I was amazed at how articulate the children were in expressing their passionate feelings about this issue.

Those of us who live here really love the river. This “park” is a patchwork of accessible areas stretching 20 miles along the river. It includes miles of hiking trails, four historic bridges, and the nation’s only wheelchair-accessible wilderness trail, the Independence Trail.

Several of my grandchildren gathered signatures for this effort. Wonderful teachers helped them organize. Community support was high. Local nonprofit South Yuba River Citizens’ League (SYRCL) activated their network of volunteers. We were all thrilled when the “parks” were saved from closure.

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Tax Day Demonstration Against Drones

Apr16

by: on April 16th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

Our anti-drone action this morning at the federal courthouse in Sacramento was one of many actions taking place around the country this month, during the April Days of Action Against Drones. Five of us still face federal charges for trespassing onto Beale Air Force Base last October during an anti-drone protest. We were protesting drones based at Beale, Black Hawk surveillance drones, which identify targets for killer drones. Even more, we were challenging our government’s illegal and morally reprehensible policies that include kill lists, targeted assassinations, and remote-control killing.

Our trial was originally scheduled for today, but it’s been postponed. Still, today, April 15, Tax Day, is a good day for a demonstration against drones. The drone program consumes billions of our tax dollars. Our government cuts programs that promote the common good and serve basic human needs, while it pours billions into hi-tech robotic killing machines that destroy human lives and communities halfway around the world. To find out more about my motivation for taking this action, go to “Why I Crossed the Line at Beale.”

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Hope and Guantanamo

Apr13

by: on April 13th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

“Remember those who are in prison as if you are in prison with them.”Hebrews 13:3

Every Thursday afternoon, for years now, a group of Women in Black and their male allies gather at the freeway overpass in my home town, Nevada City, California. Women in Black is a “world-wide network of women committed to peace with justice and actively opposed to injustice, war, militarism and other forms of violence.”

On Thursday, April 11, we joined these friends with our “Torture is a Moral Issue” banner and our signs to “Close Guantanamo.” This local action was one of many taking place around the country on the National Day of Action to Close Guantanamo and End Indefinite Detention, sponsored by Witness Against Torture and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

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Day of Action to Close Guantanamo

Apr11

by: on April 11th, 2013 | Comments Off

Today, April 11, is the National Day of Action to support the Guantanamo hunger strikers and to call for Guantanamo to be closed. This effort is sponsored by Witness Against Torture and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

Find an action near you and/or call President Obama urging him to fulfill his promise to close Guantanamo. There are phone numbers below, along with a script for callers to use. Support the hunger strikers and end indefinite imprisonment without trial. Close Guantanamo now.

What you can do:

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Speaking Peace on Palm/Passion Sunday

Mar25

by: on March 25th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

This blog post is taken from the speech that The Reverend Sharon Delgado gave at a Tour de Peace event with Cindy Sheehan in Nevada City, California, on Palm/Passion Sunday, March 24, 2013. See the video here: Sharon Speaking Peace.

Hi friends. It’s good to be here with all of you. I’m so glad to be part of a community of people who are passionate about peace.

The first peace group I ever attended was the Nevada County Anti-draft Coalition. Our kids were young teenagers, and the government had just re-instituted draft registration. It was 1979. Not long after that, I became involved in the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign. I was motivated to work for peace out of concern for my children.

I was also motivated by my faith. The first time I was arrested for peace was over 30 years ago, at the Nevada Test Site, on Good Friday. We prayed and sang under a rustic cross, then held the barbed wire for each other and stepped through onto the test site. I felt connected to Jesus, the faithful Jew who had engaged in nonviolent direct action so many years before.

I don’t always speak about how my faith motivates me, but today is Palm/Passion Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, the first day of Holy Week. This morning all the children were marching around the church singing “hosannah” and waving palm branches, because that’s what the people of Jerusalem did so long ago when Jesus came into the city riding on a donkey. Then we went downstairs and played “Pin the Jesus on the Donkey.”

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A Billion Rising: A Movement of Spirit

Feb14

by: on February 14th, 2013 | 4 Comments »

My beautiful mother, Ruth, celebrated her last birthday two years ago on Valentine’s Day. She spent the day with Elmer, the love of her last years. She died a month later.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to highlight V-Day and the global movement to end violence against women. My mother was the victim of violence in her childhood, as was I and so many people, both women and men, whom I know. If we really love women, children, and other vulnerable people, we will not accept the astronomical rates of violence in our world today.

Today I’ll be joining a local gathering of One Billion Rise. People on every continent are rising up, led by women and supported by men who are allies, to demand an end to the violence that is destroying so many lives. This violence in our families and communities reflects the domination and violence of the institutions, systems, and ideologies that govern our world.

This global culture of domination and violence must be transformed. There is another way: a way of communion, cooperation, true partnership, mutual nurturing, understanding, empathy, peace. As we dance together, simultaneously, in communities around the world, we demonstrate that possibility and we build energy for a global transformation of values, mores, and cultures.

You can find a gathering and learn the anthem and dance at One Billion Rise. You can also find out more about the issue and support the movement to end violence in other ways. For instance, our group, Earth Justice Ministries, works with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), which offers workshops to foster empathy, conflict resolution, and nonviolent communication in prisons and in communities around the world. I will return to this issue of nonviolence again and again in my blog and in my occasional postings to Tikkun Daily.

I feel my mother’s benevolent spirit, sending out blessings to me, to my loved ones, and to all of us who are engaged in efforts to create a compassionate world. I gain energy knowing that she is encouraging me on, and that all the ancestors, the ones who have gone before, the “great cloud of witnesses,” are invested in our work of building a world of justice, peace, and beauty. We can join with our brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, in this movement of Spirit, this work of God.