SPC in Action

From the September 2012 PNL #817

compiled by Jessica Azulay

Anti-Drone Activism – It’s Everywhere
SPC’s Ground the Drones, End the Wars Committee is working locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. For more details, see peacecouncil.net; upstatedroneaction.org; or contact Carol.

The Tableau at the State Fair. At PNL production time,  the SPC Players had performed our anti-drone tableau for three hours each on two days, standing just outside the Fair’s main entrance. We gave out 800 leaflets had numerous good conversations.We expect to be there four more times.

Help Upstate Activists Go to Pakistan. Several upstate activists are joining a humanitarian delegation to Pakistan from September 21-28. The group, led by CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin and facilitated by Shahzad Akbar of the Pakistani NGO, The Foundation For Fundamental Rights, plans to meet with and help victims of drone strikes and participate in a peace march in Waziristan (in central Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan). Financial assistance is needed. To contribute, send a check to the Syracuse Peace Council, with “Pakistan trip” in the memo line. Delegates will be available to speak to community groups upon return.

Peace Outreach

Show your opposition to war and the reaper drones! Bring your own sign or use one of ours.

Tuesdays: 4:15-5 pm

Sept 4

Hancock Air Base Entrance (E. Molloy Rd., b/w Thompson & ownline Rds., Mattydale)

Sept 11

Westcott & E. Genesee (University)

Sept 18

Hancock Air Base Entrance

Sept 25

Westcott & E. Genesee

Saturday 9-10 am

Park St. across from the Regional Market main entrance.

Contact Ed or Ann, 315-478-4571.

September 9 – The 174th Fighter Wing Becomes the Attack Wing. On September 9, the 174th Fighter Wing at Hancock Air Base will hold a ceremony trumpeting their new name – the 174th Attack Wing. This reflects their change in mission from flying fighter aircraft to operating the reaper drones. While we appreciate the honesty of the new name, we strongly protest the mission. A demonstration is being planned.

Protesting Rep. Buerkle and Her Love of Drones. SPC activists protested outside Ann Marie Buerkle’s fundraiser on August 6. You too can protest at Buerkle’s appearances – get some friends together or call the office and we’ll put the word out. Bring your own signs or use ours. Her town meeting dates are posted on her website.

Hancock 15 Court Appearances. The Hancock 15 are activists from Binghamton, Ithaca, Syracuse and Albany, who were arrested on June 28 for blocking the entrance to Hancock Air Base in an effort to prevent war crimes from being committed there. Their next appearances at the Town of Dewitt Court are October 10 at 9:30 am to argue motions and November 14 for the trial. Support in court is welcome. Contact Carol to confirm dates and times.

Leafletting Downtown with the Grim Reaper. Initiated by SPC’s Ground the Drones interns, Claire Bach, Rachel Cary and Gavin Caster, we have started occasional leafletting in the community. With a Grim Reaper and a model reaper drone to help engage people, we’ve given out many leaflets and had great conversations. To join us, give us a call to find out our schedule.

Performing The Predator. Written by Binghamton area activist Jack Gilroy, this play presents a lively conversation among a senator, major, college student and peace activist about the role of armed drones in the military. We have presented this play at several local churches as a staged reading followed by Q&A. Can you arrange a presentation for your group?

Win a Sweet Bike!
We will be raffling off a Bianchi Cortina Hybrid bike to a lucky winner at the Westcott Street Fair. Get your tickets from now until September 23 at the SPC office. This is a great way to support the Peace Council and grab your chance at scoring a sweet ride that doesn’t use gas! Tickets are $2 each (or 3 for $5, 7 for $10). Already have a bike? Consider buying tickets in someone else’s name.

Paddling the Hudson to Honor Native Treaties
From July 31-August 3, a group of Onondaga Nation residents, other Haudenosaunee people and Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) activists traveled down the Hudson River in canoes, kayaks and boats as a trial run for next year’s Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign. The Campaign seeks to honor the 400 year-old Two-Row treaty of friendship and peace between the Haudenosaunee and Europeans. It was beautiful to paddle on that powerful river, with eagles flying overhead, sharing good laughs with friends old and new. We learned a great deal and connected with many people in that region who are excited to support next year’s full trip from Albany to New York City on the river. To help with the project, contact Andy.

Youth Anti-War Organizing
In August, SPC hosted a gathering for young activists interested in increasing youth-led anti-war activism in CNY. The meeting came out of the desire to create a comfortable space where youth could share ideas and work creatively to develop actions to challenge militarism and US imperialism. In September, several more Youth Anti-War meetings will be scheduled (check the SPC website or call SPC). To get involved, come to a meeting or contact Ursula.

March for a Nuclear Free World
On July 22, SPC and Peace Action members, friends and neighbors gathered in Thornden Park to teach children to fold peace cranes, write haiku, make floating lanterns, and fly kites. It was a great way to connect with new people. On August 6, the 67th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, about 60 people gathered in downtown Syracuse for our annual Dramatic Procession. Our new puppet (see Activist Appreciation) garnered much-deserved attention from those we passed on the street.

Activist Appreciation – Simon Morrin
Simon Morrin is one of those activists who has steadily contributed time and talent to the movement behind the scenes for many years. A long-time anti-nuke activist and regular participant in our annual Hiroshima Procession, Simon created our new Scream puppet for this year’s event. It’s a dramatic, dark character inspired by images seen in global protests following the Fukushima disaster. While the committee found the image, it was Simon’s precise design and building skills that really brought it to life. Simon also helped to stabilize the carrying poles for Olivia, our dove puppet, and was part of the cooking crew at our 75th anniversary dinner. It’s just this sort of creative energy that keeps our movement vibrant. Thanks, Simon!

September Open House
Peace takes all of us — and there are so many ways to contribute to the Peace Council’s activism and organizing. Friends old and new are invited to visit the Peace Council on Monday, September 24 at 7 pm to share and learn about  ways to get involved. We need Jacks and Jills of all trades: artists, writers, organizers, learners, educators, bakers, sign-makers, tablers, etc. Refreshments served. RSVP to Ursula.

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions
In mid July, CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel staffed an outreach table at the annual Middle East Cultural Festival at St. Elias Church. We began distributing a new flier about the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. We plan to develop a local campaign in conjunction with the international BDS movement to raise local awareness and increase pressure to end the occupation. Contact Andy.

Exciting Treasures at the
SPC Garage Sale

*Reduce - get rid of unwanted stuff: household and sporting goods, books, DVDs, games, toys, furniture, linens, tools, plants, art, jewelry, lamps, holiday items, appliances and MORE. (Please NO clothing, old electronics, things that DON’T work.)
*Reuse - your trash is my treasure
*Recycle - down with planned obsolescence
LOTS!!! of Stuff, LOW!!! Prices
September 8-9: Saturday 9 -4, Sunday 9 -12, 401 Scottholm Blvd., Syracuse. Drop off your “gently used” items Wednesday-Friday, September 5-7. Questions? Call Rae 445-2840. Helpers WELCOME for set-up and sale. Food provided.

Welcome New Staffers Jessica and Amelia
SPC is delighted that we’ve been able to make a smooth staff transition with the hiring of Jessica Azulay to fill the position so ably held for over nine years by Jessica Maxwell. Jessica Azulay has served on the SPC Steering Committee since 2009 and was a temporary staff member several years ago. She brings a wealth of skills and experience as an organizer, problem solver, writer and political analyst. In addition to her time at SPC, Jessica also is a part-time staffer at the Alliance for a Green Economy, of which SPC is a member organization.

We also welcome Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre onto staff, to coordinate the Peace Newsletter. Amelia started working with SPC as a member of the PNL committee in 2009. She then became a stipended intern and was later hired as a temporary staff member to organize the SPC Summer- Crafts Festival. She’s been a member of the SPC Steering Committee since 2011. She brings attention to detail, a warm spirit, great energy, enthusiasm, and deep commitment to social justice activism to her work. Amelia also works part-time on the staff of Peace Action.

We look forward to many contributions from both Jessica and Amelia in the coming years.

Phonathon Reminder
Did you get a call from the Peace Council in July as part of our Annual Phonathon? Thank you to everyone who responded to our fundraising appeals as we work to sustain our budget through the summer! Over three nights, we made over 500 calls. If you are able to donate at this time, please remember to send in your contribution. Also, a special thanks to our cooks, Wendy Yost, Julienne Oldfield and Ann Tiffany, who provided delicious homecooked meals to our hardworking Phonathon volunteers.

Thank You, Interns!
It’s unanimous. This year’s summer interns, individually and collectively, have been spectacular activists. Most of our summer interns have ended their formal stint here, although some are staying in the area and will continue to be SPC activists! They are Claire Bach, Rachel Cary, Gavin Caster, Lana Hijazi, Kirstie Pena, Joseph Perez, Shakira Smith, Kelsey Titus, and Aya Yamamoto, all hard workers, creative, fun, and smart. Thank you, Intern Activists. You made our summer!

Latin America Solidarity
Fall is a busy time for the Caribbean and Latin America Coalition, and there are many ways to get involved in work for justice in the Americas! On September 26, the CNY Colombia Support Network hosts a screening of the documentary “Impunity” at ArtRage Gallery at 7pm. “Impunity” looks at how the victims of the US trained military are denied justice by the Colombian legal system. In early October (date TBA) there will be an orientation meeting for folks interested in joining the annual protest at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, GA. Contact Ursula.

Immigration Reform: Let’s Talk About It

I would like to thank all of the wonderful people who attended the “Coming Out of the Shadows” event on June 25. The kindness and hospitality that I have received from my fellow Syracusans has been truly heartening. I am also glad that the Obama administration implemented its Deferred Action Program on August 15, which will allow many young undocumented people to get temporary two-year-long permits, allowing them to work legally. However, this program is quite restrictive, and many undocumented people like myself cannot qualify (in my case, I am too old).

We still have a long way to go in this country to create an immigration system that will be fair and humane. I will continue to speak in the community about my story and how it relates to the broader crisis of immigration in this country. Please contact me at aly@peacecouncil.net if you would be interested in a talk or dialogue-based forum on this controversial issue.  – Aly Wane

Onondaga Nation Hosts Water Is Life Festival
NOON and the Onondaga Nation are hosting the Water is Life Festival on Saturday, September 15 from 11 am to 9 pm at the Onondaga Nation ballfield on Rt. 11A. Musicians and speakers will educate and inspire people to prevent hydrofracking in New York State. The free event will feature good food, native arts and crafts, and good fun! At press time, confirmed performers include Colleen Kattau and speakers include ecologist, writer and activist Sandra Steingraber. Contact Jeanne or Bork at the Onondaga Nation Communications Office, 492-1922 or ononcomm@gmail.com.

United As One
The United As One coalition, of which SPC is a member, continues to meet to organize around civil rights violations at the Onondaga County “Justice” Center. The coalition is also supporting the efforts of member organization Disabled in Action to address the lack of accessibility at the new downtown Syracuse Centro Transit Hub, particularly for the elderly and people with disabilities. The Transit Hub is also under scrutiny over severe restrictions placed on free speech, such as the designation of “free speech zones”—limited areas where groups can hold protests and pass out leaflets. On August 24, United As One protested Centro’s failure to address the inaccessibility and free speech concerns. Contact Ursula.

SPC Out and About
On September 23, the Peace Council joins our Westcott Nation neighbors at the Westcott Street Cultural Fair! We’ll have several tables with information about the overall work of SPC, and the specific projects of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation and CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel. Stop by or better yet, enjoy the day-long event by helping out at one of our tables. Contact Ursula.

Abolish Corporate Rule!
Have you heard of Move to Amend, the national grassroots campaign to abolish corporate personhood and reverse Citizens United (the Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates for corporate money in elections)? Move to Amend of Onondaga County meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7 pm at the Center for Peace and Social Justice. September 29-30 local activists head to Massachusetts for a regional organizing training and conference. On September 12 at 7 pm, there will be a screening of the film “Inside Job” at ArtRage Gallery to raise funds for the trip to the conference. Sliding scale $5-25. Contact Michael 663-5640.