Community activist, speaker, friend and now author, Greg Coleridge talks about his new book, “Depth of Change.” He gives his advise on getting involved in the community has well as his experience fighting for others.
May 20, 2022 Veteran activist Greg Coleridge speaks at Cleveland Peace Action’s 2022 Annual Meeting, on the challenges and opportunities for change in an interconnected world. A lively Q&A follows Greg’s talk, including ideas on Inspiring and sustaining our activist energies.
Selected articles, columns, editorials, letters, sermons, poems, talks and testimonies over four decades on economic, environmental and social justice; democracy; foreign policy/peace/nonviolence and systemic change/movements. Their analysis and calls to action are as timely today as ever.
Greg Coleridge is Co-Director of the national Move to Amend coalition, which works to enact a Constitutional Amendment to abolish corporate constitutional rights (“corporate personhood” for short) and political money defined as First Amendment-protected “free speech.” He previously worked for more than three decades for the Midwest Region of the American Friends Service Committee in Ohio where he educated, advocated and organized with diverse individuals and organizations at the local, state and national levels employing a range of strategies and tactics on issues of peace/anti-war, nonviolence, international trade, economic conversion, local and federal budget priorities, monetary reform, housing, privatization/corporatization of public services, hunger, jobs, poverty, local currencies, alternative media, toxic/radioactive pollution, campaign finance reform and corporate power/rule/rights.
More defense dollars only worsen inflation (letter to editor) 4 North’s secrecy was objectionable (letter to editor) 5 KSU/May 4 and the need for action (letter to editor) 5 The Future of National Security and Economic Conversion (talk) 6 Agenda for the peace builders (editorial) 9
Spirituality, Nonviolence and Social Change (sabbatical report) 12 Nonviolent Revolution (sermon) 21 Bosnia: Military Intervention Is Not The Answer (letter to editor) 26 A few resolutions for public officials (letter to editor) 27 Gift-buying for the conscientious (column) 28
Visions of an alternative “Contract” for America’s cities (editorial) 31 Nuclear weapons still addictive (column) 34 Submarine floats as cities sink (column) 38 No need for bombs – Japan on verge of surrender (letter to editor) 41 U.S. must learn from the past (column) 42
Do we live to U.N. standards (column) 47 Put people power back on agenda (article) 50 GM strike localizes world woes (column) 55 The Costs of Technology (article) 59 U.S. takes easy way out on China (column) 63
Our Friend John (poem) 69 Has time for HOURS finally come? (column) 70 Apathy Funeral Service (talk) 73 Ethics and the Culture of Development: Building a Sustainable Economy (Cuba conference report) 75 Change in Relationship to Corporations Urged (talk) 78
Yes-Simple math: Less money, more democracy (editorial) 80 A Call for Help for Uniontown, Ohio (article) 82 Public Hearing sponsored by Robert Martin, U.S. EPA Ombudsman, on Industrial Excess Landfill (testimony) 84 Democracy, Corporations and the World Trade Organization (article) 88 Wrong Turn in Ohio: A wake up call for other states (article) 90
Rumors of USA Democracy Counterfeit (article) 92 Personal Reflections on 9/11 (letter) 99 Corporate Invading and Escaping (article) 103 Evolution and Social Change (article) 107 U.S. Hypocrisy and Immorality (talk) 108
The Invasion has Begun…But so has the Resistance (spoken word) 109 Citizens over Corporations: A Brief History of Democracy in Ohio and Challenges to Freedom in the Future (forward to booklet) 113 Mantra of US Mainstream Left (article) 117 A Fraction of Democracy (article) 117 Statement on Department of Defense Spying on AFSC 120
Request to Rep. Dennis Kucinich to Introduce Legislation Renaming Department of Defense to Department of War (letter) 122 Closing Remarks at U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW) National Conference 123 Ranting and Raking on Eminent Domain (article) 129 Keynote address at Martin Luther King Community Gathering 133 10 Democratic Reasons to Oppose Senate Bill (SB) 117 (article) 140
Electronic Voting Machines Undermine Democracy (testimony) 143 Auctioning the Magna Carta (article) 145 The U. S. Constitution: Pull the Curtain (article) 145 Reducing the Power of Juries (article) 155 The Spirit of Change (article/play script) 156
Municipalizing Democracy (article) 163 Democracy Taxed (article) 165 Local Economic Self-Determination (workshop presentation) 167 Six Ways Corporations Profit from War (article) 173 Pillars of Peace (sermon) 175
Opening Remarks at United National Action Conference – on Iraq and Afghanistan 179 Letter to Senator Sherrod Brown on BP Deepwater Horizon and IEL disasters 181 “One Nation” March Organizers Should Remember Coxey’s Army (editorial) 183 The Rigor of Research and Fundamental Monetary Change (talk) 186 Fracking issue tests citizen’ authority (letter) 192
Testimony on Ohio’ New “Plunder Law” – House Bill 193 Corporate Power: The Legacy of Santa Clara (talk) 196 Banking Political Influence (talk) 198 Lessons from Past Movements that Inform our Current Movement (talk) 202 Participation in our undemocratic democracy (article) 204
Organizing for the Right Rights (article) 204 Corporate Chameleons (article) 208 Four Problems with Billionaires Privatizing American Science (article) 209 The Wrath of Steinbeck: Corporate Personhood (article) 210 Supreme Authority: The Growing Power of the US Supreme Court and Democratic Alternatives (article) 212
Different problems. The same solution.(article) 220 Ronald McDonald is not a person (article) 223 Pope Heats Up Climate Change Debate (article) 224 Trans-Pacific Partnership would be assault on U.S. democracy (letter to editor) 225 Monetary History Calendar (intro) 226
Flint’s Water AND Democracy Crisis (article) 227 Testimony on Political Campaign Contribution Limits 228 3 lessons from organizing for justice during the RNC (editorial) 232 Trumped Up Democracy: 10 Reflections on the 2016 Elections and the Future (article) 234 Commit to seeking common ground (letter to editor) 240
This is What Democracy in Ohio Looks Like! Ohio’s Self-Determination “Infrastructure” (intro to directory) 241 Hacked Off by the Electoral College (article) 244 Democracy Convention (article) 249 With Democracy So Sick, Medicare for All Will Be Uphill Battle (editorial) 252 Winter Solstice (article) 256
Big Love Fest Mentors of Love (talk) 256 Don’t Let the Ability to Rein In Corporate Rule Slip Through Our Hands Like Water – Time to Amend the Constitution Now! (article) 258 Knowing history is key to saying no to corporate rights (article) 262 Remarks at Uniting Families Rally 265 Curing the cancer of the body politic (article) 267
Holy Toledo! (article) 270 How Wealth RULES the World (book review) 271 The Declaration of Independence, Then and Now (quiz) 272 Move to Amend poems 274 Simply reversing Citizens United will not stem the tide of corporate money polluting politics (editorial) 276
Ending the Monetary Pandemic (article) 278 Changed “Modes of Thinking” Needed to Create Real Justice and Livable World (editorial) 285 The U.S. Constitution is hopelessly outdated. It’s time to re-envision it (article) 288 Big Tech Shouldn’t Be the Arbiter of Our Free Speech Rights (editorial) 291 Thank you Darnella Frazier (article) 294
FirstEnergy should be put out of business (editorial) 295 Kent “Democracy Day” Public Hearing (testimony) 296 Holistic Solutions to Holistic Problems (talk) 298
Voting rights and a spike in deadly domestic violence against women in Lorain County since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, were two of the topics discussed Jan. 17 during a virtual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
The Interfaith Ministries of Lorain County and Lorain Interfaith Association sponsored the program.
More than 30 participated in the Zoom platform program dubbed “The Cry of Universal Justice.”
“There has never been a more important time to educate, advocate and organize for justice in all its forms than now,” said Imam Paul Hasan, one of the celebration’s organizers. “Like Martin Luther King Jr., we must work today, to not only expand civil rights, but also voting rights, economic justice and social justice for all people of all races, religions, ethnicities, genders, ages and economic conditions.
Ohio Music Education Association invites Avon High Symphony Orchestra to perform at state conference “We need to tell our Senators to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, but we must also come together on the ground here to end the many injustices and forms of violence in our neighborhoods, streets and families in Lorain and across the county.”
Greg Coleridge, a voting rights activist, spoke extensively on voting rights as did Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley.
The right to vote has become hot button topic in the country in light of the highly contested 2020 presidential election.
Since that 2020 election, many states have enacted legislation that some say is cutting back on the voting rights of minorities.
Coleridge laid out what is in the current federal voting rights bill that is making its way through Congress and why the right to vote is so important and must be protected.
He said he gets that many people question just how important casting a vote is in this day and age when there is a perception that so many elected officials are in the pockets of big donors.
“I get the skepticism in the African American community and the lower income community and many even in the progressive community of the importance … of voting,” Coleridge said. “I share that skepticism to a certain extent.”
But, he noted it’s important to remember that voting “is a step, an important step,” to maintaining a democracy.
Coleridge said remaining active in the community also is an important.
He also warned that not using or losing the right to vote can allow others to be elected with agendas that could harm the marginalized in society.
“They can do a lot more harm to us than we have even seen,” Coleridge said. “We talk about justice.
“If we elect the wrong people, if we don’t step up, then certainly people, that do get elected can do a heck of a lot of injustice in all its forms toward us.”
Domestic violence Virginia Beckman, executive director of the Lorain County Safe Harbor/Genesis House Shelter, also gave a presentation.
Beckman noted that since the start of the pandemic in 2020, 11 women in Lorain County have been killed in what she termed “domestic homicides.”
There were zero deaths tied to domestic violence in Lorain County in the years 2018 and 2019, she said.
Beckman tied her speech to King’s belief that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“To lose 11 lives in less than two years to domestic homicide, is shocking,” she said.
In her presentation, Beckman zeroed in the recent murder of 24-year Milenna Lopez.
She noted Lopez had multiple restraining orders in place through courts against her alleged killer, James Kimbrough III, but they could not save her.
Beckman said tougher laws must be enacted to prevent men accused of domestic violence from being able to repeatedly be granted bail when they violate protection orders.
“Many of these cases are not behind doors,” she said. “In many cases, the victims have reached out over, and over and over again to our justice system pleading for help from our justice system.”
Beckman said many women caught up in the cycle of domestic violence are resigned to the fact that their partner eventually will murder them.
“They come to the realization, they come to a level of acceptance in their own fate,” she said. “This is unconscionable in our community and it absolutely is a clear, clear illustration of injustice.”
LORAIN — On the eve of the U.S. Senate starting debates on a new voting rights bill, community activists in Lorain recognized the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy on Monday.
The Lorain Interfaith Association and Intrafaith Ministries of Lorain County hosted an MLK Day celebration via Zoom, with the bulk of the discussion focusing on the new voting rights legislation.
U.S. Senate Democrats will debate legislation that combines the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — both previously passed by the House — starting today.
Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley hopes legislators “get some guys” and decide the legislation is “too important not to pass,” he said during Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
“To honor Dr. King, we can’t step backwards,” he said.
Oberlin resident Greg Coleridge, outreach director for Move to Amend, agreed.
King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” confirms the man’s place as a radical, focused on systemic changes, Coleridge said.
King looked at the root of things, Coleridge said, and legislators and activists must take that same approach now.
“’We the people’ has never been ‘all the people,'” he said. Voter suppression tactics have long kept people from being involved in protecting the right to vote, as some feel the current democracy is not worth defending. And those tactics have become more blatant, with the Republican Party out front, he said.
The legislation in Congress now, the Right to Vote Act, includes expanding what can be used as voter identification, restores voting rights to felons when released from prison and requires pre-clearance of voter laws in states that have a history of discriminatory voting practices, he said.
He said he understands individuals’ skepticism on the relevance of voting, as many feel their state and federal legislators don’t represent their interests or pass laws that help in their day-to-day lives.
“On the other hand, while voting isn’t sufficient, it’s necessary,” he said. He implored attendees to call U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, who has voted against partisan voting reforms in the past. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, has previously spoken in support of his party’s voting rights acts, including recorded remarks shown Monday at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in Oberlin.
While sparking lengthy discussion, the issue of voting rights was far from the only topic presented at “The Cry for Universal Justice” on Monday.
Lorain County Public Health Director Mark Adams touched on misinformation and the pandemic, noting there is a disconnect continuing where people are seeking advice not from experts but from YouTube videos and social media.
The omicron variant continues to overcrowd hospitals, he said. While death rates for COVID-19 aren’t as high as before, the current variant is making people sick faster, he said.
Lorain County’s vaccination rate is very high, he said, without the assistance from federal or state-run vaccination efforts — it’s been just LCPH and 33 partnered pharmacies getting just shy of 65 percent of the county vaccinated, according to state data.
Tonya Birney with Lorain County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Services Board said COVID-19, violence in the community and other trials can get individuals bogged down with a lack of breath.
While young people are just surviving, health care and mental health professionals are struggling to balance a workforce shortage with the community’s need. She said community members must come together to support one another — service providers can’t do it alone.
Genesis House’s Virginia Beckman touched on one cause of trauma: lives lost to domestic violence, including the 11 individuals killed between 2020 and 2021.
The first month of 2022, Milenna Lopez, 24, of Lorain, was killed at the Sheffied McDonald’s where she worked. The man wanted in connection with her slaying, James Kimbrough III, is the father of two of her children and had violated several protection orders against him by Lopez, according to police and court records.
Beckman questioned how much money does society funnel into the justice system — police, judges, bailiffs and corrections officers — for women she works with to have to come to terms with the fact that their abuser will murder them.
“No matter what they do to try to save their own life, they come to a level of acceptance in their own fate,” she said.
Imam Hasan noted, “If we’re not protecting our women, we’re derelict in our duty.”
Khalid Samad, president of Peace in the Hood in Cleveland, offered holistic solutions to holistic problems. He, and his staff, work with young Black men to provide mentorship, often to those coming from single-parent households.
One of his mentees, Eric Jefferies, said his mother tried to be everything — as his birth father wasn’t in their home for very long — but it left him confused and not understanding what a man was or is supposed to be. When he met Samad, he said he began learning what it is to be a man — handling situations calmly, being humble and knowing oneself before speaking on others, he said.
Contact Carissa Woytach at (440) 329-7245 or email@example.com.
Akron Beacon Journal | Letter to the Editor | Greg Coleridge | May 12, 1990 [Note: Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the tragedy. Much of what was written 30 years ago remains relevant today.]
The inscription on the new May 4 memorial at Kent State University, “inquire, learn, reflect,’ sends an incomplete and troubling message. The means needed to prevent further U.S military intervention abroad and death to dissenting citizens of these policies at home require more than mere inquiry, leaning and reflection. They require action.
Inquiry, learning and reflection alone have never and will never check abuses of power by governments and corporations. Only through actions like marching, lobbying, writing, boycotting, striking, voting and movement building can governments and corporations be democratized and held accountable for their behavior.
Anyone who believes that social change happens on by inquiry, learning and reflection doesn’t know how power in our society works. If we do nothing, power will become ever more concentrated in the hands of government and corporate “leaders.”
Only through doing – actions, deeds or whatever else you may call it – can we recapture the power that is rightly ours. As Thomas Jefferson said, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”
If we don’t act as well as inquire, learn and reflect, two things are certain: More U.S. interventions in Third World nations and violent police actions to quell domestic dissent will take place. And more space and stone will be needed to build more monuments like those honoring the dead in Southeast Asia and Kent State.
“The ‘We the People Amendment,’ introduced last month by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wa.), write the authors “is authentically grassroots and populist. It is honest, transparent, visionary and anti-establishment. It’s time we tear down our mental walls and act to expand the democratic space that makes possible this and so many other needed constitutional, political, economic and social structural changes.” (Image: Move to Amend)