SPC in Action

From the September/October 2016 #852

compiled by Carol Baum

Justice for Palestine
On August 25, the Justice for Palestine Committee hosted a regional demonstration outside the New York State Fair. 35 people attended this Governor’s Day protest to denounce Governor Cuomo’s attacks on the BDS movement.  On June 5, the Governor had issued an Executive Order to create a “blacklist” of individuals and organizations that support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement with the intention of cutting them off from financial resources. This attack on our political free speech harks back to the McCarthy era. Please contact the Governor’s office and ask him to rescind his Executive Order immediately. The Committee greeted author and activist Miko Peled on September 16 for local discussions. Peled’s 2012 book, The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine, is an account of how he, the son of an Israeli general and a staunch Zionist, came to realize that “the story upon which I was raised … was a lie.” Peled was moved to peace activism after a suicide bomber killed his 13-year-old niece.

 

Cuomo's BDS blacklist protest in Syracuse
Regional activists protest at the main entrance to the NYS Fair to denounce Governor Cuomo’s attacks on the BDS (Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment) movement. Photo: Ursula Rozum.

 

 

Birthday Dinner
We are excited to welcome Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK: Women for Peace to be the featured speaker at the Peace Council’s 81st Annual Birthday Dinner on Saturday, October 29 at 6:30pm at Bellevue Heights Methodist Church (2112 S. Geddes St.). Dinner will feature local, seasonal fare. Admission has a the sliding scale of $15-75 with a suggested donation of $30—more if you can afford it, less if you can’t. Medea is currently promoting her newest book, Kingdom of the Unjust: Beyond the US-Saudi Connection. Her book explains the origin of the Saudi state; the internal repression of dissidents, migrant workers, women, non-Sunnis; and the toxic US-Saudi alliance that is based on oil and weapons sales. Volunteers are needed to make this years birthday dinner a success! Help is needed selling tickets, table hosting (providing table settings), cooking, setup and more. Contact Brian.

 

 

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation
New Mural. NOON recently supported the creation of a new mural about the Great Law of Peace at LeMoyne Elementary School in Syracuse. NOON worked with principal Jason Armstrong for nearly a year to bring this new piece to life and funded it. Onondaga Snipe Clan artist Brandon Lazore created the mural in early August. It depicts the founding gathering for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy along the shore of Onondaga Lake and replaces a mural depicting Father LeMoyne. An unveiling will be held in September after the school year begins.
Onondaga Lake. We continue to educate about the pollution remaining in and around Onondaga Lake. We are also watching Onondaga County to make sure they do not go back on their promise to return some lakeshore to the Onondaga Nation. NOON is developing a presentation about Onondaga Lake to share with other groups in the community. To invite us to speak to your group, please contact Carol.
Dakota Access Pipeline. The Onondaga Nation and NOON are supporting the Standing Rock Sioux resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline, which is planned to be 1166 miles long (to run through what is now North and South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois), will carry 570,000 gallons of explosive Bakken crude oil per day. This violates treaties, numerous federal environmental and cultural resource protection laws, and there has been no meaningful consultation with the numerous Indigenous Nations whose land and waters will be crossed. See onondaganation.org.

 

Brandon Lazore signing the new Great Law of Peace mural at LeMoyne Elementary
Brandon Lazore signing the new Great Law of Peace mural at LeMoyne Elementary School in Syracuse. Photo: Andy Mager.

 

 

Drone Petition at the State Fair
The New York State Fair claims to be a family friendly space. This is flaunted by the exhibit of the 174th “Attack” Wing of the NY Air National Guard (housed at Syracuse’s Hancock Air Base). The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars petitioned at the State Fair to urge Governor Cuomo and the Fair Advisory Committee to no longer allow the 174th to display weapons and drones (see petition insert). Geoff Oldfield, Julienne Oldfield, Ed Kinane, Leslie Lawrence, Barbara Humphrey, Dave Kashmer, Carol Baum and Zan Garrity were at the Fair collecting pages of signatures and handing out leaflets. The 174th’s exhibit is chilling. Children flock to a drone pilot simulator. One person “pilots” the drone; another chooses a target. The “pilot” then pushes a button to release a “missile.” A few seconds later the target is destroyed, and the “players” are delighted. Assassination by drone is transformed into a game. Please join us at the next Upstate regional meeting in Buffalo, Sunday, October 16.

 

SPC asks fairgoers to sign a petition to take down drone promotion display.
As part of Upstate Drone Action, SPC asked fairgoers to sign a petition, asking the Fair to remove the display of the the 174th Attack Wing at Hancock Air Base. The display promotes drones and invites
people to “play” in their drone operator simulator (the goal to blow up a building). Photo: Carol Baum.

 

 

SPC Co-Sponsors the Truth Tellers Speakers Series with ArtRage
ArtRage Gallery’s first show this season is “Finding Your Power,” portraits from Robert Shetterly’s Americans Who Tell the Truth series. We are thrilled to cosponsor talks throughout the fall by some of his subjects.
October 2 at 4pm – Frida Berrigan, activist and author of It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing into Rebellious Motherhood.
October 6 at 7pm – Mara Sapon-Shevin on “What do you say? Challenging people of all ages to confront oppression.”
October 16 at 4pm – Vanessa Johnson’s one woman show celebrating the “Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” Fannie Lou Hamer.
November 1 at 7pm – Screening of the documentary Brother Outsider, celebrating the life and work of Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin.
November 12 at 7pm – Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation and activist for indigenous rights and environmental justice.

 


Goodbye Peace Council
It’s my second summer here at SPC interning, and, well fed with strawberry popsicles from Ursula, I say goodbye to SPC. I started in the spring of 2015, as the anti-war research and outreach intern, but over time I eventually created my own internship, a combination of organizing and fundraising and media advisories. I’m not ready to say goodbye to the Peace Council yet, not ready to say goodbye to Brian, who used to intern with me, or to Ursula who has become a mentor, or to Carol who always remembers emotional check-ins, or to Maizy Ludden, the Bikes 4 Peace and NOON intern who already left. But I am ready to take the support, knowledge and friendships I’ve gained back to school and wherever else I end up. And good luck to the fall interns, and any future interns, who will find a home base at SPC the way I did.
—Katie Mouradian

 

 

Urban Jobs Task Force
A plan advocated by the Urban Jobs Task Force for two years has been adopted by the Joint Construction School Board, chaired by Mayor Stephanie Miner. It will ensure that 20% of workers on a $300M NYS funded school renovation project must be racial minorities, 20% must be minority and women-owned businesses, and 20% must be city residents. A goal of UJTF is to open up the building trades, which are almost exclusively white, to non-whites. Dozens of trade unions will hire workers who take part in trainings run by the program. SPC is a member organization of UJTF.

 

 

Plowshares Craftsfair December 3-4
As fall approaches, we start looking forward to the 46th Annual Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival, the first weekend in December. Plowshares, held at Nottingham High School, features over 120 local craftspeople and organizations, good food, entertainment and warm community spirit. It’s not too early to find items to donate for the Plowshares Raffle or the Silent Auction. Contact Carol to contribute. Don’t forget to save your holiday shopping for the first weekend in December—see you then!

 

 

Thanks, Ursula!
Staff organizer extraordinaire Ursula Rozum has just left SPC to become a full-time organizer with The Campaign for NY Health, whose goal is to pass the NY Health Act for universal health care in New York State. We’re thrilled that with Ursula there, universal health care organizing will go up a notch, but we’re very sorry to see her leave SPC’s staff. Ursula started with SPC in December, 2010 as volunteer coordinator. Ursula’s unbounded enthusiasm, love of life, fearlessness and genuine interest in people made her a perfect fit. She has organized with Nuclear Free World, Justice for Palestine and Bikes for Peace (where she was first introduced to SPC), as well as being our fundraising maven, membership coordinator, social media queen and all around connector of groups and people.
Ursula’s passion for the environment, Latin America, organically grown food and the anti-corporatization of the US (and the world) had her organizing many shorter-term campaigns. As a political analyst, she often inundated the Peace Newsletter editors with ideas, and as a strategic thinker, she challenged SPC issue committees to reconsider some of their approaches. Many of the welldesigned flyers and leaflets coming out of the office were due to Ursula’s creativity, and her love of “doing-it-yourself” had us hand printing t-shirts. We’re going to deeply miss Ursula and the great spirit she brings to everything she does and everyone she meets. But she’s not leaving SPC as a member, just changing the focus of her organizing. We look forward to helping her ease into a new role at SPC.

 

Ursula Rozum speaking at the Freedom to Boycott demonstration in Albany capitol
The intrepid Ursula Rozum speaking at the Freedom to Boycott demonstration in Albany’s capitol building on last June 15. Photo: Carol Baum.

 

 

Nuclear Free World
This summer, the Nuclear Free World Committee organized the commemoration of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On August 6, Hiroshima Day, 40 people attended a Peace Picnic at Thornden Park Lily Pond. On Tuesday August 9, 50 people marched with SPC in the annual procession. Thank you to Kayo Green and Rae Kramer for leading the reflection to conclude the march. In the coming months, the committee will lobby Congressional representatives and candidates to oppose increases in nuclear weapons spending and to support the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act, legislation that will cut $100 billion over the next decade. Contact Diane, drswords@gmail.com.

 

 

Welcome to Brian

SPC is delighted to welcome Brian Escobar to SPC’s staff collective. He brings previous experience as an SPC activist, having first interned with SPC in early 2015. His initial focus was anticorporate organizing and education; later he became a mainstay of the PNL editorial committee. In the last year he has helped challenge SPC to become a more consciously anti-racist organization, supporting SPC’s Anti- Racism and White Privilege Study Group, and the Poverty and Segregation in Syracuse Study Group. Brian is a brilliant thinker and analyst. He understands systemic oppression from both an intellectual and emotional viewpoint and works carefully against it. This summer Brian was a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention—be sure to read his article on the cover.

 

 

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. In calling for an end to the militarism dominating US foreign policy, we want Hancock base personnel to rethink their role in that killing machine and 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
Sept. 27 – Adams and Almond (Rte. 81)
Oct. 4 – Hancock Air Base entrance
(E. Molloy Rd., btw Thompson & Townline Rds.)
Oct. 11 – Adams and Almond (Rte. 81)
Oct. 18 – Hancock Air Base entrance
Oct. 25 – Adams and Almond (Rte. 81)
Saturdays: 9-9:45 am
Regional Market main entrance (Park St.)

 

 

5+ Ways to Get Active with SPC Right Now
Join a community of activists dedicated to peace and social justice! There are so many ways to connect—both through the issues we’re focused on and the “business” of running an organization. Here are but a few (visit SPC’s website for more):
• Put events up on the SPC website (we’ll teach you)
• Help in the office—with data entry, mailings, phoning
• Join SPC’s info tabling team
• Be on call for making signs
• Join the lobbying effort to oppose more expenditures on nuclear weapons
• Organize calendar items for the Peace Newsletter

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