Syracuse Peace Council Pages

compiled by Andy Mager

New Program Priorities

Since the “hot” Iraq War ended, the Peace Council has been engaged in a process to develop program priorities for the coming months. That process has involved dozens of people in a variety of forums. Two primary (listed first) and two secondary priorities have been identified and work has begun. The success of these efforts depends on the active involvement of volunteers.

Challenging the Bush Agenda: This expands on work begun to build connections with diverse Central New York groups who are hurt by the Bush agenda. The program will link aggression and domination abroad, to increasing inequality and repression at home. Its goal is to create a broad and powerful local movement to promote an agenda based on human needs, equality and peace. Contact Andy Mager or Jessica Azulay.

Iraq Followup and US Foreign Policy: There is a continued need for attention to the US occupation of Iraq, related Middle East issues and the US role in the world. Much of this work will be educational and there is a strong desire to identify a concrete local campaign. Contact Carol Baum or Jessica Maxwell.

Local Youth Violence: Explorations have begun to identify a productive role for SPC in local youth anti-violence efforts. The project will include the holistic perspective which the Peace Council brings to this problem. Contact Andy Mager or Jessica Maxwell.

Vision and Strategy Work: Rather than jumping from crisis to crisis, we want the Peace Council’s work to be guided by a long-term vision for the kind of world we want to create and a strategy for how we get from here to there. Contact Carol Baum or Jessica Azulay.


Birthday Celebration a Great Success

Nearly 300 people turned out in early May to celebrate SPC’s 67th birthday and hear Ed Kinane’s eyewitness report from Baghdad. The crowd far exceeded our expectations, making it clear that opposition to Bush’s aggressive foreign policy remains strong.

The energy was great, Ed’s talk was informative and we raised nearly $5,000—a record for a birthday celebration (to the best of our knowledge). Videotapes are available for loan from the office. Special thanks to the organizing committee—Brian Caufield, Linda Perla, Rae Kramer, Janie Garlow and Beth Mosley—St. Andrews Church, the Community Choir, the dessert makers, the kitchen crew, Nick Orth for the birthday cake, donations from Provisions and the Food Co-op, and all those who advertised in the program or contributed in other ways.

Ed and Cynthia Banas, who returned even more recently from Iraq, are available to speak to community and faith groups, classes and civic clubs. For information, contact Jessica Maxwell.

Open Meeting Helps Set Program Priorities

Over 25 people sacrificed a beautiful spring afternoon to attend the 2nd annual Peace Council Open Meeting on Saturday, May 10. The group heard reports about Peace Council activities over the past year and provided input about program directions (see above). A committee looking at SPC’s organizational structure will utilize additional ideas generated at the meeting. For information, contact Andy Mager.


SPC Endorses Bill of Rights Campaign

The Peace Council has endorsed and is actively participating in the Bill of Rights Campaign initiated by the New York Civil Liberties Union. Outreach is currently underway to create a coalition with the goal of passing a Syracuse Common Council resolution opposing the Patriot Act. The Campaign might also engage in other local action supporting civil liberties. Contact Jessica Azulay or Barrie Gewanter, NYCLU, 471-2821, <cnynyclu@aol.com>.

Weekly Peace Vigils
Every Tuesday from 4:45 – 5:45 pm.
• June 3: Valley Drive and Seneca Turnpike (Valley)
• June 10: Erie Blvd. W. and W. Genesee St. (Westside)
• June 17: S. Salina and East Colvin (Southside)
• June 24: E. Genesee St. and Erie Blvd. (Dewitt)
• July 1: Rt. 695 exit ramp to W. Genesee St. (Fairmount)

Israeli Activist Busy in Syracuse

Israeli peace activist Jessica Nevo came to Syracuse to speak at the Peace Council potluck in mid May. In addition to speaking to 50 people there, she spoke to a small group at Syracuse University, appeared on a half hour segment of WCNY TV’s Central Issues and was interviewed on WSYR’s Jim Reith Show.

Jessica, who has been active with peace, human rights and feminist groups in Israel since 1984, talked about the need to bring together the very different stories told by Israelis and Palestinians. She was here during the anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel—marked by Israelis as Independence Day and by Palestinians as Al Nakba, The Catastrophe. Jessica believes that an end to the Israeli occupation is the clear step needed for peace to begin. Unfortunately, she is not hopeful of this occurring in the near future.

Maintaining our Staff

The Peace Council has been tremendously productive over the past eight months. An important factor has been the willingness of the Steering Committee to add staff to take up the workload. This was done with the recognition that we were taking a financial risk by using up most of our savings. In the coming months we will decide whether we can add a third permanent staff position. (Our current staff includes two permanent staff—Carol Baum and Andy Mager, and two temporary staff—Jess Maxwell and Jessica Azulay.) Please consider making a contribution, becoming a monthly or quarterly pledger or helping participate in fundraising efforts.

“We Are Everywhere”

Or, at least we’d like to be. We are now tabling at the Regional Market every Saturday (7 am-1 pm), thanks in large part to core volunteers Jim Bengtson, Mayer Shevin and Ray Trudell. In June we will be marching in the Annual Pride Parade on Saturday, June 21. Meet us at 2 pm at the trolley parking lot (corner of Clinton and W. Onondaga Sts.) We will also be tabling at the Pride Festival that afternoon (1-9 pm) and at the Downtown Arts Fair (June 27-29). All this means that we need lots of volunteers to help staff these valuable outreach opportunities. Contact Andy Mager.

Summer Help Needed

The Peace Council staff is looking forward to some well-deserved vacation over the summer. This means that our need for volunteers is stronger than usual. We need regular office volunteers, people to work on specific projects and folks to help clean up and fix up the house. Internships for high school or college students are also available. Get in touch. The next volunteer orientation is scheduled for Tuesday, June 10 at 7 pm at the office.

Come lend a hand for our House Work Project on Saturday, June 7 from 10 am-4 pm. We’ll be cleaning, organizing, painting and fixing. People with all skill levels are welcome. Stop by and check out our beautiful front garden, put in last year by volunteer Dick Lewis.

“Can the SOA” Continues

To help pay their outrageous $5500 fines, valiant friends continued collecting returnable cans and bottles while Mike Pasquale and Rae Kramer were guests of the feds. Now they are back and the campaign continues. Please bring clean returnable cans and bottles to the following locations:

• SPC, 924 Burnet Ave. – leave bags outside the garage
• Syracuse Real Food Co-op, 618 Kensington Rd. – leave bags with coop staff
• Westcott Community Center, 826 Euclid Ave. – leave bags with center staff – or –
• Return them yourself and send the money to Rae Kramer, 401 Scottholm Blvd., Syracuse 13224. Thanks for your part in closing the School of the Americas.

SPC June Potluck
The June potluck is “Civil Liberties Under Attack: From the Rosenbergs to the Patriot Act(s).”
On the 50th anniversary of execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a video and speakers will recall that case, and Barrie Gewanter of the NY Civil Liberties Union will discuss the dangers posed by the Patriot Acts.
The event is Thursday, June 19, at the Westcott Community Center, 826 Euclid Ave., Syracuse. The potluck is 6-7 pm, and the program is 7-8:30.

SPC Summer Changes
Beginning in June, the Peace Council will be open Monday-Thursday from 11 am-6 pm and Fridays 11 am-5 pm.

July/August Peace Newsletter

A combined July/August Peace Newsletter will be available in early July. If you have August events, please submit them by June 16.

WANTED: Recommendations for our summer reading pile.

We are hoping to publish a stimulating list in the July/August issue of the PNL. Please send a brief review (200 words max) of a book that:
• raised your consciousness
• broadened your mind
• brought some clarity
• scratched an itch
• tickled your funny bone
Works that deepened your understanding and/or strengthened your ability to communicate effectively about peace, justice, political, and economic issues are especially welcome. Email <pnl@peacecouncil.net> Thanks.

Staff Emails:
Andy Mager <andy@peacecouncil.net>
Carol Baum <carol@peacecouncil.net>
Jessica Azulay <jessica@disconnection.org>
Jessica Maxwell <piccalilli@earthlink.net>