2006.01.30: January 30, 2006: Headlines: COS - El Salvador: Politics: Election2006 - Kefalas: The Coloradoan: John Kefalas says Moral obedience a key part of leadership

Peace Corps Online: State: Colorado: February 8, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Colorado: 2006.01.30: January 30, 2006: Headlines: COS - El Salvador: Politics: Election2006 - Kefalas: The Coloradoan: John Kefalas says Moral obedience a key part of leadership

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John Kefalas says Moral obedience a key part of leadership

John Kefalas says Moral obedience a key part of leadership

"As I marched to honor the life and works of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and thought about the example of Rosa Parks' prophetic and nonviolent witness on the bus that fateful day in 1955 in Montgomery, Ala., I reflected more deeply on what this all means to us in 2006." John Kefalas was a candidate for Congress in 2004 and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador.

John Kefalas says Moral obedience a key part of leadership

Moral obedience a key part of leadership
John Kefalas, Fort Collins

As I marched to honor the life and works of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and thought about the example of Rosa Parks' prophetic and nonviolent witness on the bus that fateful day in 1955 in Montgomery, Ala., I reflected more deeply on what this all means to us in 2006.

King showed the world new ways for achieving justice, social change and equality. In public life, he was a Baptist minister, civil rights leader, nonviolent activist and peacemaker. His philosophy of nonviolent resistance led to his arrest several times, and he believed that civil disobedience in the face of unjust laws was appropriate. He understood that for the sake of conscience and in adherence to higher laws, nonviolent civil disobedience or moral obedience was an effective tool for change. This is his legacy.

King went through various transformations during his life, especially when he made the unmistakable connections between the Vietnam War and the abject poverty and stark injustices at home in America. But the most amazing thing about what he stood for was his deep commitment to the central values of democracy and freedom.

In 1965, after the Selma voting rights marchers were brutally repressed and after the Voting Rights Act was finally signed into law, King stated the following words before the Synagogue Council of America: "The stirring lesson of this age is that mass nonviolent direct action is not a peculiar device for Negro agitation. Rather, it is a historically validated method for defending freedom and democracy, and for enlarging these values for the benefit of the whole society." This is his legacy.

I offer these words to you because King is one of my heroes, and I am running for public office - Colorado House District 52. As a statement of conscience in opposition to our government's funding of wars, I have been known in the past for redirecting federal income and telephone excise taxes. Yes, I take risks for what is right, and I stand by these acts of moral obedience as an expression of my values and religious faith, which have prompted my involvement in other acts of moral obedience.

Yes, I have been arrested as a matter of principle and for nonviolent social change, especially when our government broke laws during the 1980s. I am proud of this history and continue to believe in the spirit, strength and action that King exemplifies.

We all agree that election campaigns should take the moral high ground and focus on issues that matter such as living wage jobs, quality and accessible education, universal health care, environmental protection, public safety and equality.

I am running for House District 52 in 2006 to fulfill my vision of a fair and sustainable economy that works for all and does not discriminate against anyone. I will serve the people of this community as an honest and accountable citizen legislator to make laws that are in the public interest and provide for the common good. My campaign is based on central democratic values such as fairness, compassion, equal opportunity, healthy families and a strong middle-class.

As a 30-year resident of Fort Collins who has raised his family here, I care about our community, and my entire adult life has been dedicated to creating positive change, empowering people and building community. In the spirit of the black Greensboro, N.C., college students who sat in at a segregated Woolworth's lunch counter on Feb. 1, 1960, thanks for listening.

John Kefalas, Fort Collins, is a Democratic candidate for District 52 in the Colorado House of Representatives.

When this story was posted in March 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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PCOL is proud to announce that Phase One of the "History of the Peace Corps" is now available online. This installment includes over 5,000 pages of primary source documents from the archives of the Peace Corps including every issue of "Peace Corps News," "Peace Corps Times," "Peace Corps Volunteer," "Action Update," and every annual report of the Peace Corps to Congress since 1961. "Ask Not" is an ongoing project. Read how you can help.

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Peace Corps suspends program in Bangladesh Date: March 16 2006 No: 827 Peace Corps suspends program in Bangladesh
Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez announced the suspension of the Peace Corps program in Bangladesh on March 15. The safety and security of volunteers is the number one priority of the Peace Corps. Therefore, all Peace Corps volunteers serving in Bangladesh have safely left the country. More than 280 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Bangladesh since the program opened in November 1998. Latest: What other newspapers say.

Invitee re-assigned after inflammatory remarks Date: March 16 2006 No: 825 Invitee re-assigned after inflammatory remarks
The Peace Corps has pulled the invitation to Derek Volkart to join the Morocco Training Program and offered him a position in the Pacific instead after officials read an article in which he stated that his decision to join the Peace Corps was in "response to our current fascist government." RPCV Lew Nash says that "If Derek Volkart spoke his mind as freely in Morocco about the Moroccan monarchy it could cause major problems for himself and other Peace Corps volunteers." Latest: The Ashland Daily Tidings has issued a request for all Peace Corps communications on the case.

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Nicholas J. Slabbert says in his article in the Harvard International Review that an imaginatively reinvented Peace Corps could powerfully promote US interests in a period when perceptions of American motives are increasingly relevant to global realignment. His study envisions a new role for the Peace Corps in five linked areas: (1) reinventing America's international profile via a new use of soft power; (2) moving from a war-defined, non-technological, reactive theory of peace to a theory of peace as a normal, proactive component of technologically advanced democracy; (3) reappraising Peace Corps as a national strategic asset whose value remains largely untapped; (4) Peace Corps as a model for the technological reinvention of government agencies for the 21st century; (5) redefining civil society as information technology society. Read the article and leave your comments.

March 1, 1961: Keeping Kennedy's Promise Date: February 27 2006 No: 800 March 1, 1961: Keeping Kennedy's Promise
On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order #10924, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency: "Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed--doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language. But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps--who works in a foreign land--will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace. "

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Story Source: The Coloradoan

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - El Salvador; Politics; Election2006 - Kefalas


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