SPC in Action

From the May 2015 PNL #842

compiled by Carol Baum

 

Nuclear Free World Committee Joins SPC — Celebration May 27
This spring, you’ll notice a new committee working with SPC—the Nuclear Free World committee! We are thrilled that activists with Peace Action CNY have decided to bring their organizational resources and energy into SPC. For years, the two groups have collaborated on a number of projects, so it feels very natural, like a close friend joining the family. On Wednesday, May 27 at 7 pm at ArtRage Gallery, the Nuclear Free World Committee will host the annual Youth Award—which this year will also kick off the new chapter in our anti-war organizing work. Friends of SPC and Peace Action are warmly invited to attend! 
A major committee focus this spring and summer will be acknowledging the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the connections to our ongoing work of exposing the true costs of the US policy of endless war. Would you like to join the Hiroshima Day planning committee? Contact Ursula. 
Four Drone Resister
Cases Dismissed!
No it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke—on April 1, Town of Dewitt Court Judge Jokl dismissed all charges against four defendants following the April 2013 nonviolent protests at Hancock, “in the interest of justice.” SPC Steering Committee member Julienne Oldfield was among the four.
Binghamton area activist Jack Gilroy, who had been charged in the same protest, recently served three months in jail following a jury trial last summer. 
For updates on cases and upcoming court appearances, see www.upstatedroneaction.org. Please be aware that court dates can change suddenly. Contact Carol.
Strike for Peace
On April 12, over 130 community activists participated in the Strike for Peace Bowlathon. This year’s coveted Team Spirit award went home with Team RABL (Radical Anarchist Bowling League), captained by Zarha Dillon of the Bread and Roses Collective House and The D.R.E.A.M. Freedom Revival, which brought three teams organized by Michael Messina-Yauchzy! We are especially grateful to the team captains who organized their friends to raise funds for SPC. 
Thank you also to Bowlathon Committee members Wendy Yost, Sandy Porter, Lindsay DeMay, Rae Kramer and Ursula Rozum for helping make it such a great event. If you’d like to help organize this fun fundraiser with us next year, contact Ursula. 
CNY vs. the TPP
Throughout March and April, SPC activists flooded Rep. John Katko’s office with calls about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), urging him to oppose “Trade Promotion Authority” aka Fast Track, for this secretly negotiated multi-national trade agreement (see PNL issue # 841 for background information). The Fast Track would require Congress to vote “yes” or “no” on the TPP without changes or amendments. TPP would impose global trade rules that benefit transnational companies at the expense of local and national considerations. Opponents of TPP are calling it “NAFTA on steroids” and “global corporate personhood.” Visit www.peacecouncil.net for updates on organizing to stop Fast Track and the TPP. You can also call Ursula or Brian at the SPC office.
County Seeking Jail
Review Candidates
The Onondaga County Legislature has until June 26 to institute a jail incident review 

Nuclear Free World Committee Joins SPC — Celebration May 27

This spring, you’ll notice a new committee working with SPC—the Nuclear Free World committee! We are thrilled that activists with Peace Action CNY have decided to bring their organizational resources and energy into SPC. For years, the two groups have collaborated on a number of projects, so it feels very natural, like a close friend joining the family. On Wednesday, May 27 at 7 pm at ArtRage Gallery, the Nuclear Free World Committee will host the annual Youth Award—which this year will also kick off the new chapter in our anti-war organizing work. Friends of SPC and Peace Action are warmly invited to attend! 

A major committee focus this spring and summer will be acknowledging the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the connections to our ongoing work of exposing the true costs of the US policy of endless war. Would you like to join the Hiroshima Day planning committee? Contact Ursula. 

 

Four Drone Resister Cases Dismissed!

No it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke—on April 1, Town of Dewitt Court Judge Jokl dismissed all charges against four defendants following the April 2013 nonviolent protests at Hancock, “in the interest of justice.” SPC Steering Committee member Julienne Oldfield was among the four.

Binghamton area activist Jack Gilroy, who had been charged in the same protest, recently served three months in jail following a jury trial last summer. 

For updates on cases and upcoming court appearances, see www.upstatedroneaction.org. Please be aware that court dates can change suddenly. Contact Carol.

 

Strike for Peace

On April 12, over 130 community activists participated in the Strike for Peace Bowlathon. This year’s coveted Team Spirit award went home with Team RABL (Radical Anarchist Bowling League), captained by Zarha Dillon of the Bread and Roses Collective House and The D.R.E.A.M. Freedom Revival, which brought three teams organized by Michael Messina-Yauchzy! We are especially grateful to the team captains who organized their friends to raise funds for SPC. 

Thank you also to Bowlathon Committee members Wendy Yost, Sandy Porter, Lindsay DeMay, Rae Kramer and Ursula Rozum for helping make it such a great event. If you’d like to help organize this fun fundraiser with us next year, contact Ursula.

 

CNY vs. the TPP

Throughout March and April, SPC activists flooded Rep. John Katko’s office with calls about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), urging him to oppose “Trade Promotion Authority” aka Fast Track, for this secretly negotiated multi-national trade agreement (see PNL issue # 841 for background information). The Fast Track would require Congress to vote “yes” or “no” on the TPP without changes or amendments. TPP would impose global trade rules that benefit transnational companies at the expense of local and national considerations. Opponents of TPP are calling it “NAFTA on steroids” and “global corporate personhood.” Visit www.peacecouncil.net for updates on organizing to stop Fast Track and the TPP. You can also call Ursula or Brian at the SPC office.

 

County Seeking Jail Review Candidates

The Onondaga County Legislature has until June 26 to institute a jail incident review committee and to reinstate the county’s Human Rights Commission, following the passage of legislation shepherded by the United as One Coalition. The Legislature is in the process of selecting people to comprise each body. Contact the Legislature at 435-2070 if you would like to be considered as a potential committee member.

The United as One Coalition will meet next in July. Contact Amelia.

 

Be the Media! Skillshare: Letters to the Editor 

Letters to the Editor are an effective way to make our voices heard about critical issues that impact our world and community, and to make sure that local media reflects the concerns of citizens, not just political and corporate elites. On Monday. May 11 at 6 pm at 2013 E. Genesee St. we are hosting a LTE writing workshop during which participants will learn tips for writing effective letters that will get published and educate readers. Join this training led by Ursula Rozum, SPC staff organizer and Post Standard guest columnist, and Brian Escobar of the Peace Newsletter Editorial Committee. At the end of training, participants will have a drafted LTE ready to submit to our local papers. Please contact Ursula to let us know you are coming. 

 

Veterans for Peace to Meet

Veterans for Peace (VFP) is a global organization of military veterans committed to building a culture of peace by using their experiences and lifting their voices. CNYVFP Chapter 51, one of 100+ chapters in the US and Vietnam, was built by such voices. After a short time of relative quiet, those voices are ready to soar again, to raise awareness and change public opinion. SPC is strongly supporting this effort. 

Won’t you add your voice? All are welcome to the next meeting of CNYVFP on Wednesday, May 13, at 7 pm in the accessible Community Room of the Center for Peace and Social Justice (2013 E. Genesee St.). Use the parking lot entrance and go straight. For more information: Barbara Humphrey, behumphrey@gmail.com.   

– Barbara Humphrey

 

Got Human Rights? Palestinians Don’t!

CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel continues to host well-attended educational events. On April 19, we hosted a talk titled “Got Human Rights?” with Palestinian organizer Iyad Burnat. Burnat spoke about life under Israeli occupation, his village’s ongoing struggle for justice and freedom, and what inspires him to continue non-violent resistance. Iyad is the coordinator for the Popular Committee in Bil’in, Palestine, a small farming village seven miles west of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. 

Our next major event will be the 5th annual Nakba commemoration on Sunday, May 17 from 4:30-6:30 pm at ArtRage (505 Hawley Ave, Syracuse). “Nakba” refers to the 1948 Palestinian exodus that occurred when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs left, fled or were expelled from their homes in what is today the State of Israel. The commemoration features a film, food and poetry. Contact Ursula.

 

8-Foot Giant Books Block Hancock Air Base Gates 


Bev Rice of NYC and giant books blockading the main entrance of Hancock Air Base
Photo: Ellen Grady

On March 19, the twelfth anniversary of the US illegal invasion of Iraq, seven members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars shut the main gate of Hancock Air Base with a giant copy of the UN Charter and three other giant books – Dirty Wars (Jeremy Scahill), Living Under Drones (NYU and Stanford Law Schools), and You Never Die Twice (Reprieve). 

The nonviolent activists also held a banner quoting Article 6 of the US Constitution, stating that every treaty signed becomes the supreme law of the land. They brought the books to Hancock to remind everyone at the base of the signed treaties that prohibit the killing of civilians and assassinations of human beings.

Among those arrested were Syracusans Ed Kinane and Julienne Oldfield.

 

Much To Do About Drones

SPC’s Ground the Drones, End the Wars committee works locally and as part of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars. The focus of both groups is Hancock Air Base, just outside Syracuse, where drones are piloted to fly over Afghanistan; it is also a training maintenance technicians. 

SPC’s Committee has continued our lobbying and twice monthly Street Heats at Hancock’s main entrance (see page 4). Recently we participated in a Playback Theater event in Poughkeepsie, organized by Drone Alert Hudson Valley. Playback Theater is an improvisational theater in which we were invited to share our stories about our anti-drone activism, which were enacted on the spot. Then on April 18 we presented a staged reading of the play The Predator at the Dewitt Community Library. The play invites dialogue and is an excellent introduction to different points of view regarding weaponized drones. If you would like us to perform for your faith community, class, library or group, contact Carol.

 

Great Conferences Coming Up

The next few months are busy with connecting to other peace and social justice activists nationally. Contact Carol if you’d like to join SPC activists going to:

 United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) Conference, May 8-10 in Secaucus, NJ. www.unacpeace.org

 The Left Forum, May 29-31 in New York City. www.leftforum.org

 The US Social Forum, June 24-28 in Philadelphia. www.ussocialforum.net (can also contact  Richard Vallejo: vallejo@riseup.net).

All of these events  have great speakers and workshops, and are amazing opportunities for cross fertilization of issues, coalition building, learning and fun. 

 

A Just Energy Transition for NY

Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) is busier than ever this spring. In March, we gathered with community partners and participants from the 2014 Solarize Syracuse campaign to celebrate a successful effort that doubled installed solar photovoltaic systems in our target area. We also announced an ambitious Solarize CNY campaign for 2015 that will encompass Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego Counties. The CNY Regional Planning and Development Board will take the lead on the regional organizing, while AGREE will focus on the city of Syracuse.

In April, we co-organized a two-day meeting of the Energy Democracy Working Group in Albany. Participating groups are addressing the Public Service Commission’s Reform the Energy Vision process, the proposed Clean Energy Fund, legislation related to Shared Renewables (such as community net metering, to make technologies like solar accessible even to those who can’t put it on their property) and Energy Affordability. In addition to adopting a draft mission statement and principles, the group changed its name to the Energy Democracy Alliance.

We also continue watchdogging our local nuclear plants. Exelon Corporation, owner of the Ginna nuclear reactor near Rochester, recently negotiated a special above-market contract with Rochester Gas & Electric, which will raise the rates of all RG&E customers. The contract has yet to be approved by the Public Service Commission, and public hearings have been scheduled for May 6 (Webster, NY) and May 7 (Rochester, NY), with the public comment period extended to May 20. Visit www.allianceforagreeneconomy.org for details on this and all of our campaigns.

– Jessica Maxwell

 

Move To Amend

On Saturday May 9, Move To Amend (MTA) co-sponsors the DREAM Freedom Revival presentation of “The Rise of FRANKENCORP: Has a Corporate Monster Stolen Our Rights?” at Southwest Community Center (401 South Ave.), 7 pm. The show includes provocative, original skits and songs including “We the People Move to Amend.” Admission is free; a $5 donation is welcome.  

On April 2, MTA held a rally in downtown Syracuse, with 40 people calling on President Obama to issue an executive order requiring all federal contractors to disclose their political contributions. Legislators deciding whether we go to war should not receive secret money from corporations that profit from war! 

To learn more, contact Michael Messina-Yauchzy at 315-663-5640, mmy229@gmail.com.

– Michael Messina-Yauchzy

 

NOON Updates

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) meets the second Tuesday of every month from 7-8:30 at SPC. You’re welcome to join us. Please contact Carol first in order to more fully understand agenda items. Here are a few things we’re up to:

 We are exploring how to interact with the Onondaga Lake clean-up. Even though the quality of the lake has improved, there is still much more that should be done. 

 Distribution of the Neighbor to Neighbor, Nation to Nation booklet has been picking up. Volunteers have distributed them to Ithaca schools and colleges, Syracuse University, the NYS Historians Conference, Syracuse City Schools history teachers, in Saratoga Springs and elsewhere. To suggest other venues, contact Carol.

 We email a monthly e-newsletter to over 2700 subscribers, or you can find it at www.peacecouncil.net/noon. 

 We highly recommend ArtRage Gallery’s current exhibit on fracking, “Capillary Reaction: Hydrofracking and Irrevocable Loss.” NOON is one of the show’s co-sponsors. 

– Sue Eiholzer

 

PNL Seeks Sustaining Advertisers 

Did you know that you can get over 15% off the price of an ad in the Peace Newsletter if you advertise at least four times in twelve months?

Ads in the PNL reach thousands of readers each month who live locally and care about supporting local businesses. Our ad rates are cheap compared to similar publications, and your message is sure to be seen among the content, as we have a low ad to content ratio.

Contact Amelia for ad sizes and prices. Reserve space by May 13 for the June issue.

 

Thank You, Spring Interns!

The Peace Council was lucky to have an active and well-rounded group of interns working with us this spring. We enjoyed another semester with Zach Field, who continued working with CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel and also helped with general office tasks. Lindsay DeMay worked behind the scenes to support the annual Bowlathon, partnered with NYPIRG to screen a film about GMOs on the SU campus, and worked on social media management. Brian Escobar and Henry Nelson both worked on opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In addition to helping with all manner of odd jobs, Brian has written for the PNL and joined the Editorial Committee. Henry is organizing with the Ground the Drones, End the Wars committee.

We’re sad to see these internships end, but we hope to maintain connections with these great organizers and thinkers as they will all remain in the area for at least a little while longer.

 

Summer Interns Wanted

The Peace Council is accepting applications for summer internships! Whether you commit to an internship (typically 10-15 hours per week) or an ongoing weekly volunteer commitment, summer is a fun time to get more involved! This summer, we are planning outreach tables, the Hiroshima Day procession and more. You can find the internship application at www.peacecouncil.net/intern. To learn more about internship opportunities, contact Ursula.

 

Center Office Space Available

SPC’s offices are in the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice, which also houses Alliance for a Green Economy, NY Center for Alcohol Policy Solutions, New Yorkers Against Fracking, Public Citizen, Syracuse Alternative Media Network and Syracuse Greens. The Center’s mission is to “facilitate collaboration among groups working for peace and social justice,” and as such is committed to rents at reasonable prices to non-profits, as well as providing a green and accessible space. 

The Center has office space available—two small offices (one on the same floor as SPC!), one medium-sized office and one large office. Contact the Center at 315-701-1580 for more information.

Last summer the parking lot was redone with porous pavement, and a ramp was built to make the Community Room on the ground floor more accessible. To donate towards making the building more “green” and accessible, please send your donation to The Center, 2013 East Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13210, or go to www.syracusecenter.org.

 

Not Another Blank Check for War

On March 19, the twelfth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, anti-war activists rallied downtown to denounce President Obama’s request to Congress for Authorization for Use of Military Force against ISIS. Read the full statement opposing this blank check for war on www.peacecouncil.net. Speakers at the rally included Dave Kashmer of Veterans for Peace; Henry Nelson, SPC intern and activist at Syracuse University; and Ed Kinane, long time SPC activist who was in Iraq during the 2003 US invasion. We urge you to contact our federal representatives and ask them to vote against another AUMF that would further entrench the US in the endless war in the Middle East.

 

SPC’s Retreat Fruitful

SPC’s annual two-day retreat is the time each year when SPC activists step away from day-to-day organizing and problem solving to look at our larger vision. Saturday was spent getting to know each other’s political perspectives better, discussing different strategies of social change and evaluating SPC’s work over the past year. Sunday looked at how to better integrate the many parts of SPC, focusing on how committees can communicate better with each other and how they can better support each other in their work. By the end of the retreat we felt energized, full of ideas and specific plans for moving forward.

Thanks to Julienne Oldfield for making lunch both days and to everyone who participated.

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