SPC in Action

From the Jan/Feb #870

by various authors

Download a pdf of this article


No War With Iran

Joe Heath was one of many community members who spoke outagainst the US getting
into another war. Photo: Michaela Czerkies


On Saturday, January 4, SPC gathered  along with several other community  organizations and over a hundred  community members and activists in Clinton Square to say NO to war with Iran! Activists spoke about the history of US aggression toward Iran  
and intervention in Iran’s politics; the  crippling toll that US sanctions have  taken on the Iranian people; and the US role in perpetuating endless wars in the Middle East at the cost of millions of lives  and trillions of dollars. Together, we called for diplomacy instead of military action; for Congress to reassert its War Powers  and refuse authorization and funding for a war with Iran; and for an end to these endless wars and their dehumanization of people in the Middle East. To get involved in local organizing for peace  with Iran, contact SPC.

– Michaela Czerkies


Winter Street Heat
Please join us the first Tuesday of  the month from 4-4:45pm at Hancock  Airbase (E. Molloy Rd.) for our public presence calling for an end to attacks  by weaponized drones. Next dates are February 4 and March 3. All are  welcome—bring a sign or use one of ours.  Questions? Call Ann or Ed, (315) 478-4571.


Celebrate SPC’s 84th Birthday Dinner march 28!


Justice for Palestine

Celebrate SPC’s birthday on Saturday, March 28! Our keynote  speaker is Dr. Ira Helfand, co-founder and past president of  Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a leader of both the  International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)  and the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, both Nobel Prize-winning organizations. Dr. Helfand will speak about “Fighting the Dual Threats of Nuclear Disaster and Climate Collapse,” and the Back from the Brink campaign  to build a grassroots movement to prevent nuclear war (preventnuclearwar.org). He  describes what we face with grim clarity, and has an achievable program and belief that we—ordinary people—can pull us back from the brink of nuclear war. You can get involved with the dinner by being a table host, advertising in the written program, helping with setup and cleanup, and more! Contact Michaela or Carol to voluntee

  – Diane Swords


Getting to Fairness
Syracuse residents, especially minorities, will not benefit from  the upcoming I-81 jobs if nothing changes about realities of the current construction trades. For a fairer outcome, the Urban Jobs Task Force (UJTF) pushed for two collaborative processes.  The first is a steering committee to help the city launch Syracuse Build (SB), Mayor Walsh’s construction trades training  initiative for Syracuse residents. The second is a “big table” of  relevant stakeholders, committed to finding creative solutions to achieve local hire on I-81.For the UJTF, the ultimate goal is negotiation of a community workforce agreement (CWA) to govern the I-81 Project. CWAs are Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) that include community workforce provisions. PLAs are agreements between the trades  unions and the lead agency for a project, which in the I-81 case  is the NYS Department of Transportation. The good news is that the Mayor has created these processes, and both the trade unions and the UJTF are SB steering committee members and sit at the “big table.”  So how can you help? Sign our CWA-PLA petition at www. ujtf.org.  

– Deka Dancil and Aggie Lane



Speakers gave voice to stories of children who have been imprisoned in New York State, at
the southern border, and in Palestine. Photo: Carol Baum.



Justice for Palestine

On November 20, Universal Children’s Day, Justice for Palestine was joined by Unchained and the Syracuse Immigrant and Refugee Defense Network for a rally outside of Rep. Katko’s office to demand an end to the inhumane detention of children at the   US-Mexico border, in New York State, and in Palestine.We delivered over 700 petition signatures urging Rep. Katko to cosponsor HR 2407, the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act. We are continuing to build support for this legislation through petitions and organizational endorsements—contact michaela@peacecouncil.net if your organization is interested.

Join us on Monday, February 17, at 7pm for a free screening of the documentary The Wanted 18 at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave). The film depicts the true story of the Israeli army’s pursuit of 18 cows, deemed a national security threat, from a dairy co-op in Beit Sahour during the First Intifada.

– Michaela Czerkies



SPC’s 49th Plowshares A Success!
Our endless thanks to the incredible Plow-shares committee, the crafters and vendors, the entertainers, The Mission restaurant, and all SPC volunteers who worked hard to make Plowshares 2019 a huge success: a weekend of community, music, laughter, love, and joy, to celebrate the culmination of a decade of diligent social justice work. Thank you.

     And just think...next year is the 50th!

– SPC Staff


A Better Future for Onondaga Lake
A Better Future for Onondaga Lake encourages concerned members of the public to reach out to the County Office of the Environment (OE) about the beach feasibility study process. The County claims there will be no beach if the public says no.

There are multiple reasons to say no, including that the lake is not “cleaned up” (26 health-impacting contaminants remain); there is intense noise pollution from the Thruway next to the proposed beach area; and Onondaga Lake is a sacred site.

You can resist by calling at (315) 435-2647, emailing Travis- Glazier@ongov.net, or submitting a comment at www.ongov. net/environment/submit-public-comment.html. The next beach feasibility study public meeting hosted by the County OE will likely be at the end of February, and your presence there is neces- sary to influence decisions that will cause the least harm in our community and protect water. Please stay alert for information about when and where to come to the next public meeting.
– Hilary-Anne Coppola

Join Upcoming White Privilege Workshop
As part of our commitment to developing our understanding of white privilege and its implications for social justice work, the following workshop will be held on Saturday, March 7, from 9am–3pm at Bishop Harrison Center (1342 Lancaster Ave, Syracuse)—Understanding White Privilege, Challenging White Supremacy, Working for Social Justice. This workshop provides an opportunity for participants to discuss how white privilege, white supremacy, and different types of oppression affect daily life while giving strategies for addressing issues of privilege and oppression, and advancing social and economic justice. Our presenters are Twiggy Billue and Deka Dancil. Donations welcome, sliding scale $0-50. See more details and pre-register online at www.cnysolidarity.org as seats are limited.
– Peter McCarthy

Nuclear Free World Committee
The Back from the Brink campaign to build a grassroots  movement to abolish nuclear weapons is becoming  increasingly crucial. We’ve gotten ten local groups to endorse  the campaign so far and are seeking more! Join us in speaking  with community groups and religious congregations, Common  Councilors, and state and federal legislators. We must ask all  candidates running for office what they would do to reduce our  nuclear arsenal and calm international tensions. Can the US  lead the way to stepping back from the brink? Learn more at  preventnuclearwar.org.

The UN Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference will begin  at the UN on April 27, 2020. From April 3-26 Buddhist  nun Jun-san Yasuda is leading a walk from Buffalo to New  York City though areas where nuclear waste dumps threaten  Indigenous territories. This Walk for a Nuclear Free Future brings disarmament to the attention of communities along the  way. Please join the

– Margrit Diehl


BWAM Activities Continue
The Beyond War and Militarism Committee (BWaM)  continues our Alternative Education series. On March 16 at  7pm we will present a free screening of the film Nuclear Savage at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave). The film exposes the  struggle of Pacific Islanders for dignity and justice after decades of human radiation experiments conducted on them by the US  government. On April 20 Pat Hynes, a retired environmental  engineer and Professor of Environmental Health, will speak  about the connections between militarism and climate disaster.

BWaM participated in the emergency NO War with Iran  rally on January 4, and this participation evolved into plans for  a comprehensive effort to examine and resist US imperialist activity towards Iran. On January 13 we held an initial public  meeting to initiate this process. Contact SPC to get involved.
– Ron VanNorstrand and Barry Gordon


Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation
In October and November, as part of a collaborative program  with the Skä-nohñ Great Law of Peace Center, we conducted  ten Witness to Injustice workshops in three Syracuse City High  Schools, providing an opportunity for over 200 students to gain  a glimpse into the experience of being colonized and targeted  for genocide. The workshop was well received by students and  teachers, and may be able to continue into future years.

In December we met with Mayor Walsh to discuss our  campaign to get the city to start commemorating Indigenous Peoples Day rather than Columbus Day. As part of that work we are again circulating our petition calling on Syracuse, Onondaga  County and the Syracuse City School District to make this  change. We’d love help circulating the petition. Keep an eye out  for details of an event to turn in those petitions in the coming weeks. Contact andy.mager@gmail.com.  
– Andy Mager

Alliance for a Green Economy
Our HeatSmart CNY program continues going strong. In  the past year, over 60 households and businesses have reduced or  eliminated their fossil fuel use by installing heat pumps and/or  insulation, dramatically reducing their carbon footprints.  If you  want to learn how you can do this too, visit HeatSmartCNY.org,  follow us @HeatSmartCNY, and look for upcoming workshops and open houses in Madison and Oswego County! 

AGREE will also be hosting two workshops in conjunction  with ArtRage Gallery’s Fire and Ice exhibit: AGREE’s Jessica  Azulay will present “Energy 101—A Guide to New York’s Energy System” on Thursday, March 5 from 7-9pm and “100%  Renewable How?” on March 12 from 7-9pm at ArtRage  Gallery.  Both are important for climate change activists and energy affordability advocates who want to understand how the energy system works and who to target to get what we want, making a clean energy future a reality! More resources are also available at AllianceForAGreenEconomy.org.
– Lindsay Speer


We Deserve the Right to Know!

SPAARC (Syracuse Police Accountability and Reform  Coalition) is supporting legislation that would require Syracuse  Police Department officers to get affirmative consent to search people. The law would also require officers to provide business  cards each time they stop someone, stating their identity, the reason for the stop, and Citizen Review Board contact  information, and it would mandate data reporting by the police department. This three-fold law will strengthen protections for  those stopped by police, notify them of how to lodge complaints if necessary, and provide crucial data that will make it easier for  watchdog groups to show patterns of misconduct.

Please join SPC in supporting this important legislation.  People are needed to make phone calls to city councilors,  attend another public meeting in February, and assist in public  education. Contact Amelia at the SPC office to get involved.
– Amelia Lefevre