People are waking up to the injustices and corruption throughout the world, said speakers at last week’s Peace Symposium, addressing issues that ranged from cruelty and homelessness to social justice.
Two main themes recurred throughout the symposium. The first is awakening to injustice, especially in the United States. The second: peace and justice are not only possible, but a right of all sentient beings.
“There is a very noticeable rising of national and international movements in response to this moment in history that we live in where there is a growing social and economic and ecological crisis,” said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, national director of Move to Amend.
The 2014 Lane Peace Symposium attracted approximately 400 people on its first day.
In an address by Mary Spilde, she said Lane discovered what it cares about when it decided to create the Peace Center. This served to emphasize Lane’s commitment to being a local driver of change.
Among the more popular topics was Yellowstone’s buffalo.
The remaining 3,400 buffalo that live in Yellowstone National Park are in danger, according to Good Shield Aguilar, a speaker at the Peace Symposium. When the buffalo wander out of the park, they are subjected to massive hazing and firepower, Aguilar said.
The reason? They are eating grass.
Aguilar showed video footage of buffalo being hazed and killed. According to Aguilar, the reason cited by authorities for the attacks is because the buffalo transmit a livestock disease called brucellosis.
“This isn’t something that has ever happened,” Aguilar said. “The real reason is that the buffalo eat grass meant for cows.”
The Buffalo Field Campaign 2013-2014 newsletter cites, “The Montana Department of Livestock, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks; National Park Service; U.S. Forest Service; and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service” as being responsible for hazing hundreds of buffalo this spring using horses, ATVs and a helicopter.
In a statement from the Peace Symposium, committee attendees were invited “to engage in honest conversations about oppression, power, cultural paradigms, diversity and privilege.” The reason for such honesty, the committee states, is “these conversations are necessary components of building and expanding cultural competency and fostering peace.”
Lane’s Peace Center has been hosting Peace Symposiums since 2007.
“It’s been a wonderful event,” Stan Taylor, chair of Lane Peace Center and Faculty Instructor said. “The ASLCC and the Council of Clubs made the event possible.”