Peace Council Pages
Educate, Agitate, Organize
SPC IN ACTION
compiled by Carol Baum
Syracuse Peace Council
Marking Hiroshima Day
SPC, Peace Action and Pax Christi are planning a dramatic procession on Thursday, August 6 to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki sixty-four years ago, and to demand the abolition of nuclear power and weapons (see Sword"s article). We’ll gather at 11:30 am near City Hall (215 E. Washington St.); please wear white or light colored clothing. To involve young people, the committee will share the Sadako story and hold paper crane-folding workshops with youth at venues throughout Syracuse. There will also be an interfaith service at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, August 5 at the Everson Plaza, with a lantern-floating ceremony following. Come at 7 to make lanterns and cranes. Please join us. Contact Carol.
– Staci Schweitzer
SPC at the Great NYS Fair
Last year SPC staged a dramatic antiwar tableau several times outside the main entrance to the state fair. Thousands of people witnessed our message. On the last day of the fair, Ed Kinane, wearing an orange jumpsuit, black hood and “Close Guantanamo” sign, was accompanied through the fairgrounds by Rae Kramer, wearing an antiwar t-shirt. Police ordered them off the grounds and ultimately Ed was arrested. The case generated a wave of media coverage and public attention to free speech in our public arenas. Ed won the case (which is currently being appealed).
SPC is again planning a strong, visible antiwar presence at this year’s Great NYS Fair (August 27 to September 7). We welcome help with costumes and props, rides (to drop people off at the front gate), donations to purchase tickets for participants and, of course, people to participate in the actions. Our next work parties and planning meetings are Tuesdays, August 11 and 18 at 7 pm at SPC. Contact Carol or Jessica.
Support Onondaga: Contact the Common Council
In mid July, Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) launched a campaign to convince the Syracuse Common Council to pass a “Resolution of Respect for and Reconciliation with the Onondaga Nation.” Please take some time to contact the Councilors with your support.
We believe this can be a powerful statement of our community’s commitment to partner more actively with the Onondaga Nation and the importance of recognizing the injustices they have suffered.
It’s clear that the Common Council needs to be convinced that there is strong public support for this action and that it’s not just a “symbolic” step. See peacecouncil.net/noon for full information or contact Andy.
Welcome to SPC’s Summer Interns
SPC is extremely grateful to now have four (!) terrific summer interns.
Tivona Renoni, a SUNY-ESF sophomore, is our most recent addition. She is here full-time, working on NOON, the State Fair, Hiroshima Day and everything else.
Staci Schweitzer, an advertising, psychology and marketing student at SU, has designed fliers with flair and participates on many committees, including Hiroshima Day, Birthday Dinner and the website redesign.
Shefali Pandey, an SU graduate student in magazine, newspaper and online journalism is focusing on our website redesign and helping with the PNL.
Sara Watrous, a graduate student at the University of Quebec, is coordinating SPC’s booth at the Art and Crafts Fair, working with children to make paper cranes for Hiroshima Day, and helping with the PNL.
All of them are enthusiastic, creative and hard working. Because of them, we expect a particularly productive summer at SPC. If you (or someone you know) might be interested in an internship this fall or beyond, see www.peacecouncil.net/vol/intern or contact Carol.
Iraq Vet/ Conscientious Objector Visits Syracuse
|Iraq Vet Josh Steiber talks about his experience in Iraq during lunch at the Peace Council office. Photo: Andy Mager|
21-year-old Josh Stieber, an Iraq vet turned conscientious objector, visited Syracuse in mid-July as part of his travels across the country, where he is sharing his experiences while learning about alternatives to military involvement. Josh was deployed to Baghdad as part of the surge from February ’07 to April ’08 and spent the next year being reviewed for conscientious objector status. His cross-country hike, which he calls the Contagious Love Experiment (see his blog), is inspired by his love of the writings of Mohandas Gandhi and Jack Kerouac. Thanks to Marina Morrone for organizing the evening potluck/discussion and to all who helped with the luncheon/discussion.
John Oldfield – Presente!
Longtime community activist and SU professor John Oldfield passed away on July 6.
John Oldfield was a man who knew how to search for the truth, and one could always believe him when he said he found it. He was everywhere ferreting out problems, presenting solutions and harassing administrators until they too recognized how right he was. We will all miss him. He led the way in the Electrical Engineering Department at Syracuse University convincing administrators to invest in programs at the edge of Engineering Science. He drove the people with a high power radio transmitter to distraction as he showed them what they were doing to disrupt local radio reception.
A troika of three Johns (John Brulé, John Jureller and John Oldfield) was formed and following John O's lead, we made contact with pilots and government officials to establish the extent of the problem of flying drones through civilian airspace, and other related problems of establishing a drone program in Central New York.
I got to know John well when we attended the Free Press National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis in June, 2008. We had been working together on the Syracuse/Time Warner cable franchise and other issues as members the “Broadcast Media Review Group of CNY,” which he created. He got the attention of the Mayor and Common Council and we had several important meetings and hearings. John was tireless in this work. His untimely death is a shock to us all. He will be dearly missed.
On July 29 and 30, a group of SPC activists will call folks on our mailing list who haven’t contributed recently to touch base and seek financial support. While many people are initially hesitant to join the calling, it’s always an interesting and fruitful effort. We hope the phonathon will raise $4,000 to help bridge the several thousand dollar budget deficit projected for 2009.
SPC relies on the support of hundreds of people in our community to pay staff salaries, print the PNL, pay rent and utilities and cover the other expenses our work requires. If you get a call, please share your thoughts with us, and some of your money if you’re able. If you don’t get a call, consider sending a check anyway. Contact Andy.
CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel organized a well-attended educational program at the Cazenovia Library on July 7. Some 75 people, with various understandings of the conflict, shared Middle Eastern food, watched Anna Baltzer’s video and engaged in spirited discussion. The group staffed an outreach table at the Middle Eastern Festival at St. Elias Church in mid-July as well. Ed Kinane is available to speak about his recent trip to Palestine and Israel (see Kinane's article) and Ann Tiffany and Jessica Maxwell will be on a similar Christian Peacemaker Team delegation in late July. Contact Andy.
Pushing the Next Mayor in a Progressive Direction
At press time, the deadline for Mayoral candidates to return the “Progressive Platform for the New Mayor” survey is approaching. The information will be published on the Greater Syracuse Progressive Coalition’s website (peacecouncil.net/coalition) and via other venues. Look there for information about upcoming candidate forums addressing the various aspects of the platform. Contact Andy.
Weekly Peace Outreach
The Democrats won’t stop the wars, it’s up to us. Raise your voice…
Tuesdays: 4:45 - 5:30 pm
Every Saturday 9-10 am we’re also at the Farmers’ Market at Park St.
Drones at Hancock Field
In mid-May, “the Johns” (John Brulé, John Jureller and John Oldfield) met with Mike Whyland of Rep. Maffei’s office to discuss the problems of basing drone aircraft (unmanned aerial vehicles) at Hancock Field. Not only are there severe safety problems involved with flying them through civilian airspace, but the planes will be controlled from Syracuse while dropping bombs in Pakistan and Afghanistan, bringing war directly into our community. (For a full report of their meeting, see www.peacecouncil.net/drones.)
In early July, Dan Pearson of Voices for Creative Nonviolence shared his experiences from a fact-finding delegation to Pakistan. He had interviewed a survivor of a drone attack and spoke with numerous people displaced by the ongoing military offensive in the region. There is great concern about the increasing use of US drones in airstrikes that have killed hundreds of Pakistani civilians.
There is much work to be done educating our community about the drones. Contact Carol.
Supporting Human Rights in Iran
While SPC’s Peace-List featured lively debate about the unfolding events in Iran, Stan Bennett contacted SPC about organizing a local vigil in support of human rights there. SPC has assisted Stan in publicizing the vigils, a great example of an individual taking initiative and SPC sharing resources. Contact Stan, 452-9961, firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Gabe Angelone helps SPC move into its new home at the center. Photo: Chuck Lochner|
Activist appreciation Gabe Angelone
Gabe Angelone’s participation on the PNL Editorial Committee was warmly welcomed even before he began bringing his beautiful newborn Sophie to meetings. Gabe’s consistent, thoughtful contributions, as well as his attentive editing, help make the PNL a quality publication. We can always count on him to come to meetings with a full set of recent PNLs when we have questions about a previous issue. Gabe came to SPC with a strong background in the Middle East, having worked for a year in Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement. In addition to his contributions with SPC, Gabe loves playing ultimate frisbee and soccer.
|Bikes 4 Peace activist Ursula Rozum helps a youth fix a flat tire. Two older boys observe and then tackle another bike together. Photo: Oliver Wnyck|
Bikes 4 Peace has now completed clinics at the Northeast Community Center and Loguen Park. We’ve already recycled several bikes and worked with dozens of youth. Bike Syracuse also invited us to their annual fundraiser on June 21 to help fix bikes used for their city youth riding program. We’ll be hosting our final two clinics of the summer at the Spanish Action League (700 Oswego St.) on August 18 and 25 from 5-7 pm. We still welcome new volunteers as well as donations of bikes in need of minor repairs. Contact Jessica.
Mark your calendar, and put aside items you don’t need anymore for SPC’s annual Garage Sale: Saturday, September 12, 9 am to 5 pm; Sunday, September 13, 9 am to 1 pm. See the September PNL for details about where to bring items several days before the sale.
Marx in Soho in Syracuse
SPC’s annual birthday event, featuring a performance of Howard Zinn’s Marx in Soho by Jerry Levy, will be held on Saturday October 3 at St. Lucy’s (432 Gifford Street). Dinner is at 6:30 pm, with the program starting at 7:30 pm. We ask for a sliding scale donation of $15-73 (73 being SPC’s age this year!). We plan to cap the dinner at 200 people and will soon open our online registration page. We also welcome you to come for dessert and the show if you can’t make dinner. We will once again provide a scrumptious vegetarian dinner (with vegan options) composed primarily of local foods. Marie Summerwood and Carole Resnick have graciously offered to coordinate the meal. We’ll soon be seeking volunteers to host tables, staff the door, and help with set up and clean up. Contact Jessica.
SPC’s Website to Join the 2000s
SPC’s website could use a redesign and a group has come together to do just that. Take a look at our current website and give us your thoughts. What would you like it to have? Interested in social networking? Activist tools? Answer the survey on our site or contact Carol.
Help SPC’s Marketplace at Plowshares
As much fun as it is to go to the Plowshares Craftsfair and Winter Festival, it is just as gratifying to help make it happen. Plowshares is SPC’s biggest fundraiser of the year and an important piece of that is the SPC Marketplace, where SPC sells books, buttons, bumperstickers, t-shirts, etc. We are looking for a few people to join the committee that organizes the Marketplace – ordering, designing, setting up (and taking down) and staffing it. The current committee is experienced and will train people. Contact Barb Kobritz at email@example.com.
Visit SPC at the Downtown Arts and Crafts Fair
SPC will once again have a booth at Syracuse’s Downtown Arts and Crafts Fair July 24-26. It’s a great opportunity to interact with lots of people and make some money. Come visit and check it out – we’ll be on Montgomery St.