Vol. 1, No.1 A Community News Service April 1976
Peoples Temple Minister Receives National Award
Rev. Jim Jones has been named as one of the nation’s 100 Outstanding Clergymen by Religion in American Life, a large and highly regarded interfaith organization. Jones, who established the Peoples Temple Christian Churches (all part of the 1.4 million member Christian Church [Disciples of Christ] denomination, of which FBI Director Clarence Kelley and several U.S. Senators and Congressmen are a part), met with Vice President Rockefeller at an awards dinner in New York. The Vice-President extended his congratulations to Jones and then expressed his appreciation for the churches’ human service ministry.
Jones’ work on behalf of the community was instrumental in his receiving the award. The Temple has had wide-ranging impact on the Bay Area, and diverse individuals and organizations have benefitted from the Temple’s support.
Among those who have received financial and other kinds of assistance are: the TEL-HI medical clinic; the American Cancer Society; the North of Market Senior Escort Service; Fresno Bee newsmen jailed for refusing to reveal confidential sources; The Heart Association and other medical research and testing programs, such as Sickle Cell Anemia; KQED and other educational programs; Big Brothers of America; anti-hunger groups; city schools; hospital development; the Center for Self-Determination; the Banks/Brightman Defense Fund; and many others. In addition, emergency food and clothing programs reach out to hundreds of the needy.
It is Rev. Jones’ belief that if every church would attempt to meet the needs of at least its own, they could help function as the answer to tyranny, injustice, and despotic governmental systems. It is in this light that the Temple maintains ongoing programs of human service. The Church’s many Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant members implement these programs of health care, the elderly, education, children, youth counseling, drug abuse prevention, conservation and ecology, and free legal services. A large fleet of Greyhound-type buses are serviced by the church’s own mechanics and drivers. The church also operates a 40 acre childrens ranch. and has established award winning, innovative care homes for senior citizens.
The Temple’s extensive program of support for higher education currently has students enrolled from college prep programs through medical school. A job training program is also presently being coordinated that covers such practical and useful areas as printing, mechanics, plumbing, automotive and diesel mechanics, electronics, bus and truck driving, agriculture, homemaking, bookkeeping and secretarial skills.
PRAISE FROM ALL QUARTERS
These programs, led and inspired by Rev. Jones, and the church’s commitment to social justice and democratic principles has earned it enthusiastic support from many quarters Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY) wrote that Pastor Jones is “showing the kind of commitment to justice which our nation so desperately needs.” Equally kind words of support and encouragement have come from such prominent people as Dr. Paul Erlich, world-famous scientist; John A. Buggs, a Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; Senators Mondale, Proxmire, Gravel, and Magnuson; Representatives Clausen, Waldie, Bingham, and Stokes; and newspapers and organizations around the country. Perhaps Sam Ethridge of the National Education Association, summed it up best when he said: “The efforts of your church to live in racial harmony and equality are exemplary; you are obviously putting into practice the humanitarian ideals most needed by our society and churches.”
Banks Rally – Sat.
With placards and banners calling for “No Extradition” and “Drop the Charges,” thousands will join together this Saturday on behalf of Dennis Banks, leader and co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM). They will protest what they see as another tragic chapter in a long history of persecution of Native Americans by the U.S. Government and its agencies. Participants will assemble at 11 AM at 25th and Harrison. The march will proceed to the Civic Center Plaza for a 1 PM rally at the State Building, where Banks himself will be speaking. Lehman Brightman, leading Native American educator and the man who gave Banks sanctuary in California, will also address the rally. Other speakers will include Rudolfo “Corky” Gonzales, William Kunstler, and John Trudell. Over one half million signatures have been collected on petitions asking Governor Jerry Brown to deny extradition to South Dakota.
Banks is wanted in South Dakota on a controversial conviction for possession of arms in a riot “without intent to kill.” According to the San Francisco Examiner, defense witnesses reported that they had been threatened by the prosecutor, Attorney General William Janklow. Receiving similar threats, Banks’ own attorney also quit the case in midtrial, leaving him to defend himself. The appeal for a mistrial was denied.
Banks’ bitter plight has been compounded by the treatment of his wife, Ka-mook, in an Oregon prison, where until recently she was being held. Ka-mook birthed a baby girl while in jail and named the child “Iron Door Woman.” Immediately after birth the infant was separated from her mother by prison officials.
Touched by this mother’s plight and moved to action by reports that she was in ill-health and receiving inadequate medical attention, the multiracial congregation of Rev. Jones’ church came to Ka-mook’s rescue. They raised the necessary $20,000.00 bail to secure her release. Banks thanked Rev. Jones and the more than 2,500 people who were on hand for his reunion with Ka-mook. In a voice choked with emotion, he said, “A week ago my wife was behind an iron door, my children were in Oklahoma. You, in your love, have moved the iron door.”
Attention remains focused, however, on Banks extradition. Recently, several groups have become aware of the dangers that await Banks upon his return to South Dakota. Attorney General Janklow, in an affidavit filed by Banks’ former attorney, stated that the solution to Indian militancy was a bullet through Banks’ head, reported the New York Times. Banks quoted South Dakota prison authorities as saying that his life expectancy would be but 20 minutes if he were returned. It is agreed that racist elements within and without the criminal justice system there have vowed to kill him. Two other AIM leaders have met violent deaths in recent years. Neither case has been solved.
Subsequently, Banks has been endorsed by other Bay Area groups: The League of Latin American Citizens, The Western Addition Project Area Committee, the Mission Youth Project, the Real Alternatives Program, the Bay Area Urban League, Delancey Street Foundation, and the Mexican American Political Association. Dennis Banks and his supporters are anxious to see the extradition request refused and the charges dropped. “For the first time in this country’s history, non-Indians need to stand in support of Indian people’s rights,” says Banks. If you would like to help, contact the Banks / Brightman Defense Coalition, 77 87 Earl Court, EI Cerrito, California, with your donations of funds or time.
Those of us who bring you this first issue of Peoples Forum want to see a newspaper that reports what people are doing -as individuals and as groups -to make our lives more humane. We conceive of Peoples Forum as a means of encouraging people. By combining our ideas, and sharing with each other our accomplishments, we think we can achieve these things:
- a better realization of our common goals
- provide a forum where the “little man” can have a voice
- help overcome the alienation and fragmentation that makes many people feel powerless and apathetic
Most people have nothing more than token recourse to the media for the airing of their concerns. Therefore we are establishing a newspaper that will serve as a citizens advocate … a newspaper that will give those who have _no say “equal time.”
If you feel you are not represented equally or fairly, we want to be of service to you. Write and let us know what you’re doing. We are an open forum for Bay Area community voices. (Anything you write that we print will bring you $10.00.)
There are some things we are not. We are not sectarian or partisan . . . nor is it our policy to propagate any religious doctrine. This newspaper will not be filled with innuendo and attacks on personalities; we do not see this as serving a useful function. People must unite, not divide.
Because of deadlines and the limited amount of time to get this issue out, it is not as thorough, versatile, or complete as we would like it to be. With your help, it will improve in the future. Please write us with your comments, suggestions, and stories. We need, and want, your input.
OUR EDITORIAL POLICY
We will not get involved in politics. candidatures. or the advocacy of any legislation. nor will we attempt to affect public opinion either directly or indirectly concerning such.
A distant rumble stops a few alert San Franciscans in their tracks. Unconcerned, they continue their shopping, paying little heed to the early warning. The ground starts swaying, lurching back and forth. The rumble Increases to a persistent din and reaches a deafening roar. Glass shatters and building fragments fly. Fires burst spontaneously from downed electrical wires and ruptured gas lines. Water mains rupture, spilling tens of thousands of gallons of water into the streets, causing severe floods. People run from collapsing buildings into the streets, only to be swallowed by the convulsing earth. Communications and power lines are cut, disabling hospitals and rescue units. Tens of thousands lay dead from the initial shock hundreds of thousands are seriously injured, and property damages already reach Into the billions of dollars. And just as the first shock subsides, a distant rumble is once again heard . .. a signal of more devastation to come . …
As a Bay area resident, you may have contemplated the above scenario, knowing you live astride a major network of earthquake faults. Indeed, the above would be no exaggeration if a 1906-sized earthquake should hit an of our major cities. “A major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area w m result in one of the greatest disasters ever experienced in the United States,” said an official of one local earthquake agency. You may ask, is there anything that can be done about such a holocaust?
In China in 1975 tens of thousands of lives were saved in a strong earthquake (7.3 on the Richter scale) because the tremor had been predicted and appropriate actions taken. Within a few years the United States, as well as other earthquake zone nations, will be able to predict the occurrence of earthquakes with reasonable accuracy. But the simple prediction of earthquakes will not solve our problem. We must act on that knowledge, using our technology to insure our greatest safety.
The dilemma we face is one of priorities. We could soon have the technological know-how to predict an earthquake, yet the government is slashing funds for this type of research. We can engineer and plan cities in avoidance of fault lines, yet we continue to develop housing and shopping centers directly on top of them. We construct skyscrapers strong enough to survive a major earthquake, yet we delay in condemning or reinforcing unsound structures. We are not preparing as we should be.
What will we do when half the hospitals collapse and 300,000 lie injured? Where will we go when ocean front houses slide into the sea, or when dams begin to leak, forcing mass evacuation? What will we say when we learn that BART’s underwater tube has snapped? Or that 2000 of our children have died in school, because the structure had not been adequately reinforced or evacuation planned for? What will we do then?
Ponder the facts. Our lives and the lives of our children are at stake.
(We invite your responses and creative suggestions.)
Free Services in Danger
Stop by any day of the week and good things are happening. Free and low-cost health care is getting to the people who need it. Educational services bring pleasure and better job hopes to youth and senior citizens alike. Any way you look at it, the people at Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center and Health Clinic are a vital helping hand in the Chinatown-North Beach neighborhood.
But Tel-Hi is at the point of closing if San Francisco fails to raise the funds to keep this program on its feet.
Peoples Temple Christian Church has lead [led] the way with a $1500.00 donation and a pledge to make a specified payment every month for a year.
But Tel-Hi still needs your help. Help where you know help is getting to others locally. Any donations will be of great benefit to your community.
Viet Nam Vets Aid Seniors
Senior citizens in San Francisco’s tough Tenderloin district have been afforded the benefits of an excellent and very humane service in the North of Market Street “Senior Escort” program. This highly successful interracial effort, in which eight young Vietnam war veterans serve as protective escorts, advisors, and advocates for the aged, recently faced extinction when funds from the State grant had been completely exhausted.
Jean Mellor, the program’s director, made an urgent appeal to all San Franciscans to keep this essential service alive. Many people responded, the first being Peoples Temple, which donated the initial $6000 needed to keep the program going.
In giving the donation, the Rev. Jim Jones of Peoples Temple said, “We, along with the Nation of Islam, have been working to eliminate violence. We feel if groups that are Christian and Muslim can cooperate, then certainly all of us ought to be able to get together to do something to eliminate the great degree of violence that threatens our communities. And the Senior Escort program does that in a very significant way.”
Following the Temple’s donation, enough funds were assigned the program to keep it above water. However, the Senior Escort service still needs your support and help. We hope San Franciscans will be moved to keep this essential service alive. (Our congratulations to Jean Mellor, the program’s Director, who was recently named one of the Bay Area’s “Most Distinguished Ten” citizens by the San Francisco Examiner.)
To all democratic, reform, and progressive minded people: Whatever one’s own opinion regarding Patty Hearst, one wonders how one’s sympathies would be affected if she were one’s own daughter. Considering all she has undergone… there should be no smug rejoicing at what may well be the destruction of a young woman’s life. Some of us can’t help but think…”But for the grace of God, there go I.”
* * * *
Chief Gain comes to the S.F.P.D. highly qualified. San Francisco is very fortunate to have a man so committed serving its citizens.
Help Seen For Domestic Workers
So-called “domestic workers” have long been some of the most disenfranchised members of America’s working force. Although these 3.4 million workers comprise the third largest labor force in the U.S., they still suffer intolerable working conditions. They are historically without protection or any fringe benefits. The average annual income of 65% of all domestic workers is less than $1,000. The average life expectancy is 23 years less than that of affluent Americans.
Finally they are beginning to receive some of the protection and benefits they have long needed and deserved. Here in San Francisco, the Household Technicians Organization is starting to help inform these workers of their rights and to help them gain minimum wage, health insurance, workman’s compensation, and other benefits. Mr. John Reed, director of the recently formed organization, feels that for the first time hope, dignity, and better employment conditions are on the horizon for the forgotten “domestic” workers of San Francisco. Mr. Reed is concerned, as we all should be, that this organization barely continues to exist on the gifts, donations and dues it receives now.
Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!
… a community service for our readers…
If you would like a highly ethical and honest, reliable church person with excellent references, contact the following individuals by addressing them care of 1859 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94115:
“Private duty nurse”
If you would like to offer or ask for employment, please write to us at 1859 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94115. We shall print all the material we have room for.
Peoples Temple sponsors as a community service “The Temple Forum,” a radio broadcast heard every Saturday morning at 11:00 on KFAX, (1100 on the dial). Various guests and speakers will address themselves to the current issues and relevant topics of the day. The needs and problems of the community will also be discussed. You are invited to tune in.
Peoples Temple also conducts a sane spiritual healing service that is heavily attended. If you would like to attend, write to 1859 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94115. You may also contact one of the ministers at 922-6418.
Your opinions are important! Please let us know what you would like to see in Peoples Forum.
VOL.1, ISSUE 1
A periodical published by:
Peoples Temple Christian Church
1859 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94115