City mayor extols peace for Sept. 11

By Chris Treadway in the Contra Costa Times

reposted with permission

As the nation observes the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks Tuesday, Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin is using the occasion to deliver a message of nonviolence that she hopes will resonate with the community.

McLaughlin will present a proclamation at Tuesday’s City Council meeting honoring September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Chuck Greene of Marin County will accept the proclamation on behalf of the organization, which describes itself as "founded by family members of those killed on September 11th who have united to turn our grief into action for peace."

Greene’s brother, Donald Freeman Greene, was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 93, which was hijacked and ultimately crashed in rural Pennsylvania. Donald Greene, 51, left a widow and two children.

"I am so much looking forward to presenting this proclamation to such a profoundly inspiring organization," McLaughlin said. "I had been thinking of what might be the best possible light in which to recognize this tragic event. I came across this group and was really inspired by their incredibly positive response, even in light of their own very personal and tragic experience."

The city would do well to heed the example the organization sets, she said.

"With this proclamation, I am encouraging the many Richmond families who have been impacted and suffered so tragically from local violence to continue to come together and bring forward our collective message for a peaceful Richmond," McLaughlin said.

September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows counts more than 150 family members of Sept. 11 victims in its ranks, as well as others who support the group’s cause. This past year, it also established a network with similar family organizations in 23 countries beset by violence.

The lesson that violence begets more violence is one that can be applied locally as well as internationally, said Terry Greene of Boston. She is the sister of Chuck and Donald Greene and a member of Peaceful Tomorrows.

"From our perspective, we see violence itself as the enemy, whether it is inflicted by individuals, organized factions or nations," she said on behalf of her brother and Peaceful Tomorrows. "Rather than lashing out, we see the need to address the root causes of conflict and learn how we can support rather than destroy one another."

Chuck Greene has firsthand experience with the struggle Richmond faces in breaking the cycle of violence, she said, through his work as executive director of Centerforce. The San Francisco-based nonprofit organization works with individuals currently or formerly incarcerated or engaged in the criminal justice system.

"We are grateful for the recognition being given by the city of Richmond of our efforts and to the commitment it reflects on the part of the city to advance effective, nonviolent models to proactively prevent and resolve conflict," Terry Greene said. "From our perspective, we see violence itself as the enemy, whether it is inflicted by individuals, organized factions, or nations."

A proclamation honoring the organization September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows will be presented when the Richmond City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the City Hall South council chamber, 1401 Marina Way South.

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