SPC in Action

From the July/August 2016 PNL #851

compiled by Carol Baum

Shame on Cuomo! Our Right to Boycott for Human Rights
On June 15, SPC members of the Justice for Palestine committee joined a rally in Albany to decry Governor Andrew Cuomo’s June 5 Executive Order seeking to punish supporters of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement in support of Palestinian human rights. The Governor’s action galvanized activists from across New York – Palestine solidarity activists, civil liberties defenders, faith organizations, elected officials, antiwar groups and more. The crowd delivered over 12,000 petition signatures calling on Governor Cuomo to rescind Executive Order 157: “Directing State Agencies and Authorities to Divest Public Funds Supporting the BDS Campaign Against Israel.”
Rally goers heard from varied speakers on the importance of BDS and the links between the Palestinian struggle and broader justice movements.
Thanks to Maizy Ludden, Debra Lewis and Casey Mitchum for making banners and buttons and to the nineteen people who attended from Syracuse. Thanks to drivers Carol Baum, Julienne Oldfield, Pat Carmeli, Lisa Cohen and Katie Feyh.
In the coming months, the Justice for Palestine Committee will be working with other local and statewide groups to host a Teach-In about BDS. We will continue to participate in international campaigns exposing how corporations like G4S, REMAX, and AirBnB profit from the occupation of Palestine.

Rally inside the Capitol Building in Albany to decry Cuomo’s executive order and protect supporters of the Boycott, divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Photo: Carol Baum.



Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemorations To Come
Every August, we reflect on the lessons of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1946. This year’s commemoration begins with a Peace Picnic at the Thornden Park Lily Pond from 4pm until sundown on Saturday August 6, the day Hiroshima was bombed.
On Tuesday August 9, the day of the bombing of Nagaskai, all are invited to join a dramatic “March for a Nuclear-Free Future.” Volunteers are needed to make props for the procession, help with outreach, and carry props and puppets. We will gather at 11:30 am at the City Hall Commons on Warren Street in downtown Syracuse and step off at 12 noon, ending at the Everson Museum plaza.


Jobs for City Residents!
On June 6 the Common Council passed (7-1) the Syracuse Resident Employment Ordinance and on June 16, the mayor signed the ordinance into law. The new law will secure 20% of in-state workhours for city residents whenever the city issues contracts solely with its money (i.e., not with federal or state grants), for construction and service contracts over $100,000.
This victory came after a year and a half of hard work. Besides drafting and negotiating the final language, the Urban Jobs Task Force (UJTF, of which SPC is a member group) gathered 1471 signatures from city residents supporting this initiative. This law is a compromise – the UJTF would have preferred a higher workhour percentage than 20% and a requirement for hiring from distressed city areas, but in the end felt it was important to get the law on the books. Since the city will electronically monitor the workhour data and conduct an annual review, the UJTF sees future opportunities to strengthen this law.
-Aggie Lane


Thanks, Amelia!
SPC staff organizer extraordinaire Amelia Lefevre will soon be leaving staff. Although we are oh so sad to see her go, we are very happy for her, as she prepares to give birth to her second child. While mothering will be her primary focus for a while, we’re grateful to say she’s not leaving SPC – Amelia is planning to take a leave of absence from SPC’s Steering Committee, but expects to fully participate again next year.
We will miss Amelia’s presence at the office and her good work here very much. She came to SPC as a volunteer in 2009, and brought with her a lightness in her step, a love of nature (especially trees), a heart already experienced in change-making and a fierce dedication to alternative print media. She joined the PNL editorial committee and never left.
SPC was thrilled when Amelia applied for a staff organizer position, and asked her to join the staff collective in 2012. She continued her work with the PNL and became the coordinator, which for a monthly publication that is printed with very little money can be quite the challenge. Over the last two years Amelia took real leadership regarding SPC’s anti-racism work, challenging us to become a strong anti-racist organization. She worked to develop her own capacity to be an effective ally to People of Color, and co-facilitated two study groups – one on Anti-Racism and White Privilege, and the other on Poverty and Segregation in Syracuse.
We all wish her the best and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with her as she steps back from staff responsibilities and turns to the amazing task of raising the next generation!!

Syracuse Peace Council Amelia Lefevre speaking at news conference in 2014.
Amelia Levfevre speaking at a 2014 news conference condemning a Staten Island Grand Jury’s failure to indict the white officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man. Walt Dixie of the National Action Network (NAN), is pictured at the right. The event was organized by NAN, SPC and the Center for Community Alternatives. Photo: Ursula Rozum



High School Students Receive Peace Award
The Nuclear Free World Committee celebrated the social change efforts of five high school activists with the 2016 Youth Peace Award at a ceremony and dinner on June 7. The recipients were: Abshiro Abubeker, a Fowler High School senior, who raises awareness about her Oromo People’s non-violent struggle for land rights; Kristina Liu, a Fayetteville-Manlius High School junior, who works on women’s rights issues with the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation’s Girl Ambassadors for Human Rights program; Lauren Ashby and Olivia Vaught, Nottingham High School juniors, who organize dialogue circles with the Seeds of Peace project; and Kema Ndebay, a Henninger High School junior, who is an organize with the “Two Miles Is Too Far” student movement for increased public transportation for students. Special thanks to Youth Peace Award event organizers Margrit Diehl, Linda Kraemer, Diane Swords, and Sally Salfadi.

High school student recipients of the 2016 Youth Peace Awards in Syracuse.
Syracuse City School District Youth Peace Award recipients:  Abshiro Abubeker, Olivia Vaught, Lauren Ashby, Kristina Liu, and Kema Ndebay.  Photo: Ursula Rozum.



Dispelling Myths About Nuclear Energy
Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) invites everyone to learn about the Public Service Commission’s proposals for changing NY’s energy system, speak at public hearings, and send comments to the PSC and Governor Cuomo (CleanUptheCleanEnergyStandard.org). AGREE supports the renewable energy portions of the Clean Energy Standard but opposes nuclear subsidies, asking instead for investment in additional renewables, efficiency, and just transition for workers and communities. We are dispelling myths about nuclear energy, explaining that nuclear is a dirty and dangerous barrier to renewables, and advocating for a #carbonfreenuclearfree energy future. Visit AllianceforaGreenEconomy.org and read our article on page 9 for more information.


Win a Sweet Bike
It’s time for SPC’s Bike Raffle fundraiser. This year’s raffle is once again supported by Mello Velo Bike Shop (550 Westcott St., Syracuse). Tickets to win a Raleigh hybrid bicycle are $2 for 1, $5 for 3 and $10 for 7, and are available at SPC, the Syracuse Real Food Coop, Syracuse Cultural Workers, and from SPC volunteers. The drawing will be on September 18 at the Westcott Street Fair. To help with selling raffle tickets, contact Katie at 315-472-5478.


Bikes 4 Peace Returns this Summer
Tragedies like the Father’s Day shooting near Skiddy Park remind us that violence is a constant presence in our community. Bikes 4 Peace began in 2003 as part of a response to heightened violence in Syracuse, and this summer, SPC activists are re-launching the program.
Bikes 4 Peace brings people together by organizing pop-up bicycle repair clinics. Volunteer mechanics share repair skills and promote access to an inexpensive environmentally and socially conscious mode of transportation – cycling.
This summer, repair clinics will be held Wednesdays from 5-6:30 pm. On July 6, 13, and 20, pop-up clinics will take place in Skiddy Park at the corner of Tully and Tioga Streets in Syracuse. On August 3, 10, and 17 the Bikes 4 Peace repair team will be at the Brady Faith Center, at 404 South Ave., Syracuse.
Please let us know if you can help with transportation, outreach and promotion, and/or bike repair.
-Maizy Ludden



NOON Supports Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center
On June 14 the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation Steering Committee met at the Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center (6680 Onondaga Lake Pkwy, Liverpool; www.skanonhcenter.org). We heard from Phil Arnold and Sandy Bigtree about the creation of this educational facility which places the Onondaga Nation’s history in the center. This is a complete transformation of a facility that had been the longtime home of a colonial narrative focused on French Jesuits who spent 18 months in Onondaga Territory over 350 years ago.
Skä•noñh (“peace” in the Onondaga language) provides a broad history of the formation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Onondaga culture, relations with the European newcomers and Haudenosaunee relations with the natural world. NOON encourages people to visit Skä•noñh and support its vision and ongoing development.
-Andy Mager


Street Heat
At least monthly since 2010 we have been demonstrating outside Hancock Air Base to call for an end to the illegal and immoral killing of human beings by the weaponized Reaper drone. Weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays we’ve been hitting the streets to call for an end to the militarism dominating US foreign policy. We want Hancock base personnel to rethink their role in that killing machine and we wish to remind the public of all the killing in our name. Please join us as often as you can. Contact Ann or Ed, 315-478-4571.
Tuesdays: 4:15-5 pm
July 19 – Hancock Air Base entrance
(E. Molloy Rd., btw. Thompson & Townline Rds.)
July 26 – Adams and Almond (Rte. 81)
Aug. 2 – Hancock Air Base entrance
Aug. 9 – Mattydale/Northern Lights
Aug. 16 – Hancock Air Base entrance
Aug. 23 – Mattydale/Northern Lights
Aug. 30 – Mattydale/Northern Lights
Saturdays: 9-9:45 am
Regional Market main entrance (Park St.)


Ground the Drones this Summer
SPC’s Ground the Drones, End the Wars Committee is once again planning to be at the NYS Fair at the end of August. But this time we’ll be trying something different – asking fairgoers to sign a petition. Please join us.
Another petition we’re promoting calls for closing the US’ Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and not replacing its functions anywhere else. Ramstein AFB is the site of a satellite relay station that enables drone operators in the US to communicate with drones in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and other targeted countries. The petition (at tinyurl.com/hvyf44b) will be delivered in September to the German and US governments by US drone whistleblowers.
Also, the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars will hold a retreat the weekend of July 30 – anyone who wishes to ground the drones is welcome to attend. Contact Ann (page 3) for details.


Donate to SPC
In early July, you may have received a call from the Peace Council as part of our annual Phonathon. The Phonathon is an important fundraiser for SPC and an opportunity to hear members’ thoughts about our work. Even if you didn’t receive a call, please consider donating – by sending a check to SPC at 2013 E. Genesee St. or online via credit card at peacecouncil.net/donate. Check donations of $50 and over may be tax deductible if written out to the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice, with SPC in the memo line.


Goodbye Brian Tackett
This summer we say goodbye and good luck to Steering Committee member Brian Tackett as he moves to Ithaca. Brian has been active with SPC since about 2011 when he began volunteering at outreach tabling events. As an intern in 2012, Brian became an expert in managing the SPC database and has since helped to organize Peace Newsletter subscriptions and membership and fundraising lists. A quiet but creative organizer, Brian initiated several direct actions at Syracuse University, including interrupting a CIA recruitment session. Thank you Brian for being an important part of our community.


Introducing SPC’s Summer Interns
Welcome to our new intern Maizy Ludden and to returning intern Katie Mouradian. Katie, a senior at Wells College and the president of the student government, decided to focus on fundraising for her internship, always an important need at the Peace Council. Maizy, a sophomore at Syracuse University, is working on projects related to Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, Bikes 4 Peace and the PNL. Both are exciting up and coming organizers and we’re so glad they are sharing their energy and enthusiasm with us!


Ollie Clubb, ¡Presente!
Long time peace and social justice activist Ollie Clubb died on May 28. An avid environmentalist and early climate change activist, Ollie could be seen riding his bike around his neighborhood well into his older years. His obituary says it better than we ever could. His activism “continued throughout his life and ranged from his work against nuclear proliferation to acting as the Co-Chair of the Syracuse Global Warming Action Network to his enthusiastic support of solar parking lot canopies.… He had a deep commitment to his Syracuse community and truly lived his belief that individuals and small groups could change the world.” Thank you, Ollie, for living so fully and so well, and inspiring us all.


SPC’s Retreat
SPC’s annual retreat was held on June 25-26. The first day focused on anti-racism; we decided to cut the second day short so we could attend the rally hosted by the National Action Network calling for, among other things, an independent investigation into the Father’s Day shooting. Thanks to all who came, and special appreciation to Julia Ganson for opening her home to us for the weekend.