Finding Strength in Unity:
The Greater Syracuse Progressive Coalition

Born just after the 2004 election, the Greater Syracuse Progressive Coalition has slowly,
Graphic:Sonia Jimenez
but steadily created the foundation for a stronger progressive movement in our community. Initiated by the Peace Council and the CNY Labor Federation, additional coalition member groups currently include the Center for Community Alternatives, CNY NOW, Caribbean Latin American Coalition, Mental Patients Liberation Alliance, Partnership for Onondaga Creek, Peace Action, Planned Parenthood of the Rochester/Syracuse Region, SEIU 200United, Student Environmental Action Coalition-SU/ESF, Syracuse/Onondaga County Human Rights Commission, Syracuse Cultural Workers, Syracuse Greens and Syracuse United Neighbors. Over a dozen other organizations have been involved without formally affiliating.

The coalition meets the last Monday of every month at 5:30 pm at the CNY Labor Federation, 404 Oak St., Syracuse to "share information across these groups and to collaborate on issues of local, state, national and global consequence." After months of work to create a mission statement and reach out to all sectors of the progressive community, the coalition has now taken on its first project: advocating for transparent, equitable and verifiable voting machines in Onondaga County.
Voting is a precious right that most US citizens can exercise, though sadly many do not. With all its flaws and inequities, the electoral process remains an important arena for ordinary citizens to maintain and extend our rights.

The debacle of the 2000 Florida presidential election raised awareness about the importance of counting every vote. With growing concerns about how the 2000 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) is to be implemented, several groups in New York State have taken a clear position on the type of voting system best suited to ensure that each person's vote counts.

New York State is currently "out of compliance" with HAVA and has passed responsibility for implementation to each individual County. Implementation should be completed by the 2006 election primary in September, which implies that local election officials must choose voting machine technology soon, unless NY receives a waiver allowing a year extension.

In Onondaga County, the League of Women Voters and the Sierra Club have been working diligently on this issue. The Progressive Coalition has begun working with them to ensure the best possible system is in place in Onondaga County. Stay tuned as plans evolve!

Coalition meetings are open to all who supports the mission statement. Next meeting is Monday, March 27 at 5:30 pm at the CNY Labor Federation, 404 Oak St. Learn more about the coalition at www.peacecouncil.net/coalition or contact Andy, 472-5478, andy@peacecouncil.net or Mark, 422-3363 x11, mark@cnylabor.org.

-Betty DeFazio and Andy Mager


Karen, founder of the Community Choir, is a mother, counselor, and activist, and believes that everyone can sing, no exceptions!