Peace Council Pages
Educate, Agitate, Organize
SPC IN ACTION
compiled by Carol Baum
Syracuse Peace Council
|SPC folks call for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention center and an end to media support for torture in front of WSYR Radio on January 11. Pictured (from left): Shirley Novak, Aggie Lane, Jeanne DeSocio, Paul Frazier and John Brulé. Photo: Andy Mager|
On January 11, the sixth anniversary of the first prisoners being brought to Guantánamo, over 50 cities around the US demonstrated to close it and end torture. SPC activists gathered outside the WSYR radio offices to draw attention to the media’s role in lending credibility to torture. WSYR airs syndicated programs whose hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, are pro-torture.
About 30 people held signs, some with quotes from those hosts. We were visited by a representative of the Jim Reith show, resulting in a five-minute on-air interview, and also by the station’s market manager. Good conversations were held, and we plan to meet with station representatives soon.
While Guantánamo was being protested in Syracuse, hundreds were marching on the US Supreme Court in orange jumpsuits. Forty marchers were arrested outside, while forty others, including SPC activist Ed Kinane, were arrested within the building itself. Most of the 80 were detained for about 30 hours. Many refused to give their real names and instead told their captors and the court, “I’m representing [name of Guantánamo prisoner].” Most pled not guilty. The action was organized by Witness Against Torture (www.witnesstorture.org).
No to Year Six in Iraq
The Iraq Organizing Committee is in high gear organizing support for the Winter Soldier Project of Iraq Veterans Against the War (March 13-16) and protests marking the fifth year since the US invasion of Iraq (March 19).
The first Winter Soldier investigation was a three-day gathering in 1971 sponsored by Viet Nam Veterans Against the War in which veterans gave testimony about war crimes they had committed or witnessed. The upcoming Winter Soldier Project will bring US veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan together to share their experiences publicly. While the venue is small, there are plans for simulcasts. Leading up to the event, we will provide speakers to groups, along with a DVD of excerpts from the first Winter Soldier investigation.
For more information, contact Carol or Jessica.
Training/Skill Sharing Workshops in February
SPCs Monthly Program
The Face of Illegal “Aliens”
Thursday, February 21 @ 7 pm
The documentary “Dying to live” paints a more human, startlingly more complex picture of the immigration issue. Join SPC for a free showing of this riveting, award-winning documentary. Bring an open mind. Please contact Aly for more information.
Move to Center
Expected in March!
Yes, March is the month we’ve all been waiting for! With renovations proceeding at a steady pace in the new Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice, SPC fully expects to move in March. We’ll need lots of help carrying files, desks, computers, etc.
We are on the verge of making history, as we leave our longtime home on Burnet Ave. and embark on a new collaborative home. Contact Carol or Jess.
SPC activist Ann Tiffany received an Unsung Hero[ine] award at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at Syracuse University on January 20. It is hard to imagine a more fitting person for this honor than Ann, for whom nonviolence is both a strategy and a way of life.
|Ann Tiffany (right) raises her voice against the Iraq War in front of the Syracuse Federal Building, May 15, 2007. To her left are Don Paulus and Rae Kramer. Photo: Kristin Mosher|
She has worked tirelessly for justice and peace for almost 25 years, covering a wide range of issues, including: the Sanctuary Movement in the eighties; providing protective accompaniment to Haitian villagers in the nineties; the movement to close the US Army’s School of the Americas (spending six months in prison for an act of nonviolent disobedience); the Sister Community Project with Cajibío, Colombia (where she has made several trips); SPC’s Local Cost of the War Committee and affinity group; and board president of the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice. She also provides much-needed organizational support, and has helped SPC in countless ways (including painting the outside of the building).
Ann is reliable, good humored, energetic and persistent, and always available to help someone in need. Thanks for your work and spirit. Congratulations!
Not Waiting for the Courts
While awaiting a decision on the Onondaga Land Rights Action from the federal courts, SPC’s Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation project recently decided to embark on a campaign to pass a Syracuse Common Council resolution supporting the Onondaga Nation’s call for environmental clean up and justice. The effort is just getting underway, and it’s too early to assess the difficulty of gaining passage for a meaningful statement. Additional assistance is welcomed.
This campaign, and other aspects of NOON’s work, will benefit from two “community fellows” joining us from a new initiative at Syracuse University. We welcome and look forward to working with Jennifer McCafferty and Peggy McWeeney.
|Weekly Peace Outreach|
One more month of mid-day outreach. Put on your winter hat and grab a sign …
February 7 Seneca Tpk. and S. Salina St. (Valley)
Back to School
The Military Alternatives Education Project (MAEP) is gearing up for spring semester after the brief winter break. We now have regular info tables once a month at each of the city high schools, and are working on a career fair for local high school students to be held in April. Contact Jessica if you’re interested in staffing an information table or to invite a representative from MAEP to speak to your class or organization on selective service, military recruitment, military service, conscientious objection or other related topics.
SPC’s Birthday Celebration
Saturday, April 26
Excitement is building for SPC’s 72nd Birthday Celebration on Saturday, April 26 featuring radical historian and activist Howard Zinn. Some challenges in Howard’s life have led us to adjust the timing of the event.
The event will begin at 4:30 pm with Howard speaking and then answering questions. Dinner will start at 6 pm and be followed by a brief program including updates on SPC’s work. At 7:30 we’ll clear away the tables to get ready for music and dancing.
Tickets are $10-$72 (sliding scale), with all the action taking place at St. Lucy’s Auditorium, 432 Gifford St., Syracuse. We’re looking forward to holding this in this larger and new-to-us space.
Howard Zinn, author of The People’s History of the United States and many other important works, is a leading radical historian, writer and activist. His work has inspired and informed several generations of activists, including people like Alice Walker, Daniel Ellsberg and more.
Full information, including a form for online reservations is at www.peacecouncil.net/bday. A solid committee has formed to organize the event, but additional helpers are always welcome. Contact Andy.
Become an SPC Pledger
Currently thirty-six people pledge money to SPC on a monthly or quarterly basis. We would love to increase that number to fifty. Pledges are particularly important because they provide income we can count on.
Pledging can be very easy – we can either send you a reminder pledge card every month or quarter, or you can arrange to have a direct transfer from your bank or credit union. Contact Carol for details.
Please, consider pledging $5, $10, $25 or more per month. Your money will be carefully and well spent.
Organizing for SPC’s annual Strike for Peace Bowlathon is in full gear. This year’s event will be Sunday, March 2, 12 noon - 5 pm (there are two sessions) at Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool (local subscribers see stuffer). The entry fee is $15 for adults, $10 for kids 12 and under (includes 2 games and shoes).
Organize a team of your friends, family, workplace, union, faith community, etc. of 4-6 people – all ages welcome – and send in your registration form by February 18. Come prepared for raucous fun – outrageous attire is encouraged. Prizes will be awarded! Flyers and forms available at the SPC office or online at www.peacecouncil.net/bowl. For information, contact Jessica or ask one of our committee members: Joan Conley, Ruth Florey, Rae Kramer, Beverly Springer and Wendy Yost.
Short but Sweet
SPC was thrilled to have the enthusiasm of Danielle White around the office during the winter break. While home from college, Danielle came in regularly to fix some of our peace outreach signs, make signs for our January 11 protest against torture, and generally help around the office. If you’d like to set up a regular time to work in the SPC office, contact a staffperson.