Peoples Forum, vol. 1, no. 1

PEOPLES FORUM

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.

HUMAN SERVICES

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.

BANKS ENDORSED

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.

 

Editorial

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.

 

Earthquake

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.)

 

Controversy

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”
“Physical therapist”
“Domestic work”

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.

 

Comments:

Your opinions are important! Please let us know what you would like to see in Peoples Forum.

PEOPLES FORUM
VOL.1, ISSUE 1
Circ.: 600,000
A periodical published by:
Peoples Temple Christian Church
1859 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94115

Originally posted on February 17th, 2013.

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