SPC in Action

From the September 2013 PNL #827

compiled by Jessica Azulay

Obama Greeted by Demonstrators


Photo: Jessica Azulay

Demonstrators waited for hours along Teall Ave. and Robinson St. to send President Obama environmental and antiwar messages on August 22. Obama was in town to speak about education at Henninger High School, and the activist community was out in full force to greet him.

Anti-fracking activists attended by the hundreds, calling on the President to protect clean water and air, and to prevent worsening global climate change by leaving natural gas in the ground.

Photo: Jessica Azulay

Antiwar activists also called on the President to end drone warfare, stop funding the Israeli military, and end military aid to Egypt. Activists also demanded freedom for convicted wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, who was sentenced the day before to 35 years in prison.


Photo: Mike Groll/AP

SPC staffers Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre and Ursula Rozum made national news when they interrupted the President’s speech inside Henninger to unfurl a banner and call for Manning’s release.



Ground the Drones, End the Wars at the State Fair

For the sixth year, SPC will present a silent tableau outside the gate of the New York State Fair. The theme of this year’s tableau is “The Two Faces of Drones,” in which half of the tableau shows the death and destruction caused by weaponized drones around the world, while the other half focuses on the effects of surveillance drones in “Our Town, U.S.A.”

Looking ahead, September 26 brings the trial of the “Ash Wednesday Drone Protesters” at the Town of Dewitt Court (public welcome – contact Carol for time).  We will have a visit from Kathy Kelly – who will have recently returned from Afghanistan – October 13-15, and participate in a “Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance” Summit from November 16-17 in Washington, DC. Work also continues on the local Anti-Surveillance Drone Resolution. We welcome your participation in any way you are able. Contact Carol.


Get Down and Support the Peace Council!

On Thursday, September 12, at 7:30 pm, come out to Metro Bar and Lounge on Westcott Street for a music and dance benefit for the Peace Council. We are excited to have two excellent local acts: RootShock playing reggae/soul and Dos Equis playing latin-folk fusion, featuring Colleen Kattau and Laura Sue the Silver Nightingale, who will perform her new “Drone Song.” For more information, contact Ursula.


Interns Wanted

The Syracuse Peace Council is seeking interns who are enthusiastic and PASSIONATE about stopping killer drone attacks and ending US military occupation overseas, and who are MOTIVATED to take ACTION for a world of peace, compassion and equality. By interning in our office, you’ll have the opportunity to learn the basics of grassroots organizing from outreach to publicity to fundraising. To apply, contact Ursula and fill out the application at http://www.peacecouncil.net/internships-in-activism.


The War on Terror – Making Us All the Enemy

CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel will present a talk by Steve Downs on Tuesday, September 17 at 7 pm at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave.). Steve Downs, former Chief Attorney with the NY State Commission on Judicial Conduct, was a member of the defense team for Yassin Aref, who was prosecuted and convicted of terrorism-related charges. Out of this experience he came to realize that not only had the government convicted an innocent individual, but it had done so deliberately under a program referred to as “preemptive prosecution,” which is being used to arrest and convict Muslims throughout the US on contrived charges. In 2008, he became one of the founders of Project SALAM to document and protest preemptive prosecution. Contact Jessica.


They Say “Wiretap,” We Say “Fight Back”


Protesters at Restore the Fourth Rally,
July 27. Photo: Ursula Rozum

On July 27, activists took to the streets of downtown Syracuse to protest escalating surveillance by the National Security Agency and other government entities and corporations. About 40 people gathered at the Federal Building and then marched through the city, past the Syracuse Wine and Jazz Festival and the Downtown Arts and Crafts Fair. The protesters called for an end to drones and militarization of the police, indefinite detention under the NDAA, no more prosecution of whistleblowers, and no more warrantless NSA surveillance programs. The protest was organized by Defend the Fourth, a new group in CNY, with assistance from the Syracuse Peace Council. We were joined by the Syracuse Green Party, Central New York Patriots, Occupy Syracuse, and People Against the NDAA. Another protest is being planned for September 17, Constitution Day, in concert with groups all over the US. Details TBA.



“The Suffering Grasses” Film Screening

“When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”
Join the Peace Council on September 24 at 7 pm at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave.) for a film showing and discussion via video with director Iara Lee. With thousands dead and counting, the ongoing conflict in Syria has become a microcosm of political tensions in the Middle East and an unsavory reflection of the world at large. Against the backdrop of the Arab Spring and the complicated politics of the region, this film seeks to explore the Syrian conflict through the humanity of the civilians who have been killed, abused, and displaced to the squalor of refugee camps. ­Http://films.culturesofresistance.org/suffering-grasses.


Activist Appreciation: Doug Igelsrud


Doug at the Hiroshima Day Procession in 2011.
Photo: Diane Lansing

Doug Igelsrud has been a consistent behind-the-scenes activist in Syracuse for several decades. An avid media watcher and critic, Doug was early to realize the power of  the radio show, Democracy Now!, to spread the word about activism and social justice issues. Doug recorded the show and put together segments to air on Time Warner Cable’s public access channel each week for over a decade. At the same time, he also consistently participated in efforts (thus far unsuccessful) to get Democracy Now! aired daily on WRVO, WAER or WCNY. We’ll miss Doug’s involvement with Democracy Now! (he’s retiring from that effort and would like someone to take his place), but owe it to him and the rest of us, to keep up the struggle. Thanks, Doug.



NOON Update

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation is about to complete some long term and very exciting projects. A new historical marker is almost ready for Onondaga Lake Park, and the revised and expanded Neighbor to Neighbor, Nation to Nation booklet will soon go to the printer.  We plan to have community celebrations for each of these accomplishments!

How can you keep up to date with NOON’s work? A great way is to sign up for our very low volume listserv. We put out an e-newsletter every few weeks on topics and projects of interest (including a calendar of events). To sign up, go to syracusepeacecouncil.org/noon or contact Carol.

And speaking of completing major projects…NOON congratulates the Two Row on the Reenactment paddle and other events. They were amazing.



Thank you to the Brady Faith Center, the Northeast Community Center, and the Spanish Action League for hosting our Bikes4Peace free repair clinics for youth. Our team of volunteer bike mechanics helped more than 50 kids fix bikes and learn basic repair skills. Bikes4Peace will be selling recycled bicycles at the SPC Garage Sale on Sept. 7 and 8. Buy or donate a bicycle to help Bikes4Peace raise the funds we need to buy supplies for next season. Contact Ursula.


Singing Clear

Help us raise funds to reprint the popular benefit CD, Singing Clear, filled with superbly rendered songs for a clean planet. Proceeds go to benefit Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation / Syracuse Peace Council to support our environmental activism. This is a great way to help us spread the message and stop the destruction of our ecosystems. Donate today to get your advanced copy and no-fracking paraphernalia, and help us spread the word by visiting our Indiegogo Campaign at http://igg.me/at/singingclear/x/414893.


Farewell Summer Interns!

The Peace Council office hosted a talented team of interns this summer. The multi-talented Sarah Eggers helped to organize the Peace Council’s Phonathon and summer outreach booths, and helped to motivate SPC’s participation in the movement to support army whistleblower Private Manning. Stephanie Joyce brought her artistic talents to give the Peace Council’s print materials new flair and to update props used in the Hiroshima Day procession and the Ground the Drones tableau. A meditation devotee, Mike Smith contributed his focus and organizing skills to the Ground the Drones committee and the planning of the Youth RIOT conference. Saptarshi Lahiri supported administrative work around the office. Weston Hoy helped to update the signs used for weekly outreach and for the Ground the Drones State Fair tableau. We’ll miss their daily presence and energy, and look forward to ongoing shared organizing and activism!


Resisting Imperialism and Oppression Together (RIOT!)

Youth RIOT has set the date for our conference, “War & Its Intersections,” for Sunday, September 29, location TBA. Panels will run from 1-5 pm; registration opens at noon. As we go to press, the planned panels will cover such topics as: War & Religion; War & the Environment; Internal Imperialism – the Police State and Mass Incarceration; Actions, Solutions & Tactics; Media Warfare – the Language of Imperialism; War, Labor & Education; Nuclear Weapons Set the Stage; and What is Revolution?

Planning meetings for the conference are often at 5:30 pm on Mondays. Call Amelia to find out if we are meeting on a given week or to find out how you can plug in to this effort.


United as One

UaO has had a busy summer. While efforts continue to install an accountable oversight body for the county’s “Justice” Center, coalition members also responded to the horrific use of a Taser on Brad Hulett, a disabled man, while he was riding a Centro bus. On August 7, SPC participated in a UaO press conference demanding justice for Brad Hulett, who suffered a broken hip, and other victims of police brutality. On August 21 we joined UaO in hosting a Speak Out Against Police Brutality at Southwest Community Center. Contact Amelia to find out more and get involved.