Graduates in Action: Barbara Zelter Puts Social Justice Training into Action

Every Friday night, a downtown church in Raleigh, North Carolina, fills with more people ZELTERthan it can hold. The diverse group meets to discuss the logistics of the direct action events that have, since late April, taken place each Monday at the North Carolina State Capitol. The movement is known as "Moral Monday."

A mix of progressive Christian leaders, college students, minimum wage workers, social workers and many others, the broad coalition of protestors are united in their concern about recent policies by the North Carolina legislature that they believe are a concerted effort to limit the civil and economic rights of ethnic minorities and those living below the poverty line. These policies include a move to make Christianity the official religion of the state, remove extended benefits for over 70,000 people, the decision to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion provision (which would cover an additional 500,000 people) and the repeal of the state’s earned income credit.

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"A Gandhian Approach to Syria"

The following reflection was written by alumnus George Payne, who is Peace and Justice Educator at the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence.

It is clear that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not support military involvement in Syria. Some denounce military action because Syria does not immediately endanger America’s national security. Others contend that two dreadful attempts at nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan have left Americans war weary. And still others decry the use of force based on its limited effectiveness in deterring the Bashar al-Assad regime.There are also detractors who base their opposition on economic and political philosophy. Following a foreign policy agenda that dates back to President Washington, this group asserts that a war in Syria will not promote the mandates of the Constitution, nor will it prevent a foreign dictator from encroaching on the livelihood of American citizens. If this opposition was not staunch enough, President Obama must answer critics within his own party who prefer hard diplomacy to military action. This group believes that diplomatic overtures to China, Iran and Russia may be the only way to bring peaceful order to this crisis.

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