At press time, it appears that a US war against Iraq is likely to start in early March during the new moon. Efforts to prevent this catastrophe and to oppose it if it is launched remain vital. Please find ways to plug into the following efforts to avert war.
For the second consecutive month, six busloads of Central New Yorkers journeyed to a national anti-war demonstration. February 15, 2003 was the largest coordinated day of anti-war demonstrations in world history (see page 7 for details). Local participation was coordinated by the Peace Council, Peace Action and SEIU Local 1199 Upstate. Special thanks to Brian Dominick and Jessica Azulay who did an extraordinary job of coordinating the busses.
A noontime demonstration at Clinton Square on February 6 drew nearly 100 people and led to the call for four additional noontime anti-war gatheringsFebruary 20, 27 and March 6 and 13. Weekly Tuesday peace vigils continue at rush hour (moving to 4:45-5:45 pm on March 11). See the calendar on the back cover for full details.
Anti-war statements are currently circulating among nurses and artists, while statements from labor, senior citizens and children have been submitted to the newspapers during the past month.
A Peace Council organized news conference on February 15 initiated the Green Ribbon Campaign with the slogan: Support Our Troops, Bring Them Home. The conference featured three Central New Yorkers opposed to war against Iraq who have family members in the Persian Gulf with the US military Robin Miller an Oswego mother of two active duty military sons, LeMoyne student Lisa Muscato whose sister is in Kuwait, and Herman Bieling whose two sons are in the military, one in Jordan and the other in Germany. Ribbons are currently available at: Alto Cinco, Bersani Gallery, Coffee Pavilion, Eureka Gallery, Freedom of Espresso (both shops), My Sisters'Words, Nancy's Coffee, Onondaga Community College, Seven Rays Bookstore, Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Syracuse Cultural Workers, Syracuse Real Food Coop, The Mission Restaurant, Westcott Community Center. Please help prepare ribbons, find additional distribution sites or plug into the campaign in other ways. Contact Jess at 472-5478, email@example.com.
Last month's Peace Newsletter noted that the Peace Council's effort to purchase ads on the back of CENTRO buses was denied. We are currently working with the ACLU to address this censorship. An effort to put the same image on Syracuse area billboards had a similar fate. Discussions are currently underway to determine how to move forward with that effort, which has received financial support from the American Friends Service Committee and Church World Service and logistical support from THINC.
Lawn signs are still available for a donation at the Peace Council.
Nearly 5,000 copies of the February Peace Newsletter were distributed. This is the largest distribution for a regular issue in over a decade. SPC-TV continues to provide weekly perspectives from the anti-war movement on Time Warner Cable (Sundays at 8 pm on Channel 98). The Peace Council helped organize a successful teach-in at Syracuse University on Feb. 7 and is assisting with a teach-in at Onondaga Community College on Feb. 26. SPC co-coordinator Carol Baum spoke at a teach-in at Upstate Medical Center on Feb. 19.
A series of discussions on the role of civil disobedience and direct action in our local movement for peace and justice will continue on Wednesday eveningsMarch 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 6:30-8:00 pm at the Peace Council.
Peace Council activist Ed Kinane is currently in Iraq as a nonviolent witness. (see page 5)
The Peace Council and Peace Action are jointly hosting a reception and benefit performance of the play Copenhagen at Syracuse Stage on April 6. A dessert reception, starting at 1 pm, will precede the matinee performance of the play at 2 pm. Michael Donald Edwards, director, will speak at 1:30.
Copenhagen, written by Michael Frayn, won a Tony Award for its piercing treatment of a hypothetical conversation between two nuclear scientists who played roles in the development of nuclear weapons Niels Bohr and his student, Werner Heisenberg. In recalling their past conversations during World War II, the physicists grapple with the roles they each played in the development of nuclear technology and the consequences of the knowledge they helped bring to the world. The play addresses a critical issue and timely issue.
General tickets are $30, with additional contributions to the Peace Council and Peace Action warmly welcomed. (Tickets can be purchased from the Peace Council and picked up at the Syracuse Stage box office before April 6.) Please reserve your seats by March 24. Checks should be made out to Syracuse Peace Council and sent to our office. Please fill out and return the enclosed form (only in mailed PNLs) to order tickets. If you have any questions, please contact the office.
The Peace Council continues to be visible at a wide range of events throughout the community. Volunteer help is needed for ongoing efforts as well as special events. We will be tabling on a monthly basis at Carousel CenterMarch 14-16 and April 11-13. We will have a table at the Ani DeFranco concert at the Landmark on March 24. We would like to have a weekly presence at the regional market on Saturdays beginning in April. Contact Andy at 472-5478 if you'd like to get out and talk with your neighbors about building a world of peace and justice for all people.
Peace Council co-coordinator Andy Mager and his partner Cheri Capparelli are expecting a baby in early March. Andy will be out on paternity leave for two weeks and then working reduced hours thereafter. To help fill-in, an additional part-time, temporary staffperson is being hired. Jessica Maxwell's time on staff has also been extended through the end of August.
Office staffing is greatly eased by the variety of volunteers who contribute. New office volunteers include Kate Murphy, Jim Bengtson and Patrick Band. They add to the support already provided by Marge Rusk, Joanna Keltos, Becky LoDolce, Joan Conley and Sam Feld. More help is needed, particularly if you also have computer skills. Contact Carol at the office.
After a year of effort, Democracy Now! is now available locally on Time Warner Cable. Democracy Now! videos will begin airing every Saturday from 9-11 am on March 1 on Channel 98. The show will be a compilation of highlights from the week's shows. Doug Igelsrud is coordinating this new project with support from Paul Pearce. We continue to encourage requests for Democracy Now! to be aired on WAER radio. Contact Ron Ockert, Director of Programming, WAER, 215 University Pl., Syracuse NY 13244, 443-4021, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Peace Council's work with young people continues to expand, with outreach at Nottingham, Corcoran and Fowler High School happening during February. We provided information about military recruiting, draft registration and youth activism for peace. Many young people signed forms to have their names removed from lists which the Syracuse City School District will be turning over to military recruiters. A campaign to convince the schools to change their process from one where students "opt out" to one where they "opt in" is being considered.
Wilfredo Torres, who recently left the military because of his opposition to a war on Iraq spoke at the SPC Potluck on February 20, along with speakers from local youth anti-war groups.
The Youth Empowerment for Peace group continues to meet every Tuesday afternoon from 4 to 5 pm at the Peace Council. At the end of February the group sponsored an educational program on Islam and War on Iraq at Manlius Pebble Hill School. They are also working on an educational photo exhibit which will look at young peoples' experiences of war. For information, email: youthempower4 email@example.com, or call Andy at SPC, 472-5478.
Peace Action of Central New York is seeking applications for its Young Peacemakers Award again this year. The $500 award will go to an Onondaga County high school senior who has shown a devotion and commitment to peace, justice, and conflict resolution. The student should have engaged in activities in school, place of worship, or community which indicates his or her passion to work on the underlying causes of war, violence, and injustice. The application deadline is March 14. For information, or an application, call the Peace Action at 478-7442 or download it from www.cnypeaceaction.com.