Syracuse Peace Council Pages

compiled by Andy Mager

SPC 66th Birthday Celebration

The Peace Council’s birthday celebration is fast approaching. Please join us on Saturday, June 15, 2002 at 7:30 pm at St. Andrews Church, 124 Alden St. in Syracuse to hear Democracy Now host Amy Goodman. The cost is $5-15 (sliding scale) and the event is a fundraiser for SPC. Join us for tasty desserts, good company and a stimulating speaker.
Please contact Carol at the office to offer assistance by bringing a dessert, helping with poster distribution, set-up or clean-up.

Join Us for “Global Pride 2002”

Karen Hall’s cover article articulates the outrage that many of us feel about the local Pride Committee’s decision to call this year’s Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered Pride event “US Pride.” While Karen articulates a strong position to boycott the event, other peace-loving queers have decided to create a counter-presence in the event.
An initial planning meeting at the Peace Council developed two ideas: to march in the parade as a contingent with a peace and justice message and to stage a tableau (a stationary street theater piece) in the rally area at the Everson. To get involved with either effort, contact SPC.

Democracy Now Update
As reported in last month’s Peace Newsletter, WRVO has no plans to air Democracy Now. Initial contact has been made with WAER, the public radio station at Syracuse University. They sound more open than WRVO, but need to know that there is a demand for the show.
Please write to: Ron Ockert, Director of Programming and Operations, WAER JAZZ 88, 215 University Place, Syracuse, NY 13244, email: It is particularly important for him to hear why you think that Democracy Now would be an important addition to the news pro-gramming available in Central New York.
For further information, or to pick up a CD or cassette sample of the show, stop by or contact our office.

Farewell to Steadfast Friends
Long-time Syracuse activists Len and Judy Bjorkman will soon be moving to the Southern Tier. Len has been a true stalwart in peace and justice efforts for many years. A retired Presbyterian minister, Len was a Central New York pioneer in supporting a just Israeli-Palestinian peace and pushing us to understand the Arab world. In recent years Len has been a passionate voice calling for the end of the deadly sanctions against Iraq. In the aftermath of 9-11, Len again stepped forward to add his presence and energy to the call for a nonviolent response to “terrorism.” Judy has been a regular crafter at Plowshares for many years.
Len and Judy hold the record for being the longest-running monthly pledgers to the Peace Council (continuous since 1970). They will be sorely missed.

Become a Peace Council Pledger
There are currently 34 people or families who pledge ongoing financial support to the Peace Council. They form a very important stable source of funding for the organization. Please consider joining these dedicated supporters. Members of the Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union can set up an automatic transfer to make it simple and easy.
Our current pledgers range from $5/month to $250/quarter. We welcome your pledges (and contributions) at any level. Money can’t buy peace, but it can help the Peace Council work more effectively in our community. If you have any questions, contact Carol Baum at the office.

Weekly Peace Vigils
We’ve decided to vigil in the same place for two weeks in a row before moving. Please join us for this valuable community presence, Wednesdays from 4:45 – 5:45 pm.
• June 5 & 12 Valley Drive and Seneca Turnpike (Valley)
• June 19 & 26 Warren St. and E. Adams St. (Downtown)
• July 3 & 10 Erie Blvd. W. and W. Genesee St. (Westside)

NOON Booklets
We were initially disappointed to see the tiny Post-Standard article about the availability of Neighbor to Neighbor; Nation to Nation: Readings about the Relationship of the Onondaga Nation with Central New York, USA on April 29. By the end of the day our attitude had changed. We have distributed an additional 800 copies of the booklet between the through the Onondaga County Public Library System in the past month. It has been exciting to hear from people who recognize the valuable resource we have created. Copies of the booklet are available for free from the Peace Council.

People continue to appear out of the woodwork to lend a hand in our efforts to create a pleasant working environment at the Peace Council. Recent contributions have included Rose Viviano’s painting of Carol’s new office and Dan Sage’s repairs of the kitchen walls.
The May 18 workday was a great success, with some 20 people helping to clean, organize and fix up the office. Thanks to all who lent a hand. Unfortunately, the weather made it difficult to make much progress on outside painting which is very much needed. Additional painting projects are scheduled for Monday, June 10 from 3–8 pm, Friday, June 14 from 2–7 pm and Tuesday, June 25 from 1–8 pm. Contact Andy if you’d like to help with this, or other fix-up work.

Common Council Rejects Living Wage
On May 20, the Syracuse Common Council rejected the Living Wage ordinance initiated by the Labor-Religion Coalition. This disappointing setback for economic justice efforts in our community must be laid at the feet of local Democrats. Democratic Councilors Marty Masterpole, Bill Simmons, Rory McMahon and Mike Atkins reneged on their campaign pledges to support this legislation and joined Republicans Steve DeRegis and Joanie Mahoney in defeating it. At press time the Labor-Religion Coalition wasdeciding how to continue their campaign.
SPC Steering Committee member Rae Kramer spoke on behalf of the Peace Council at a hearing the previous week. She said in part, “The Peace Council sees the local campaign for a Living Wage Law as part of the larger struggle for fairness and dignity in our society and the world. The real answer to the problem of poverty is national legislation which makes the minimum wage a Living Wage, as it was meant to be. The real answer is ‘an economic system that places human need above monetary profit,’ as we say in our statement of purpose. The real answer is ‘fair trade’ not Free Trade. The real answer is creating a society where justice replaces charity, where no one would conceive of living in luxury while their neighbors couldn’t afford a decent meal.”

SPC Wish List
• Summer Volunteers (both Carol and Andy want to take some vacation time in the summer, but we’d like to keep the office open)
• A picnic table (the cherry tree creates a nice shady area in the backyard)
• Card tables (sturdy ones)
• A conference table for meetings

SPC Activists Face Trial July 8
Peace Council Steering Committee members Rae Kramer and Laura MacDonald will go to trial on July 8 in Columbus, GA for their resistance to the US terrorist training school at Fort Benning. The two will be joined by co-defendants Mike Pasquale, another Syracuse activist, and 40 others from around the country who all face up to six months in prison for opposing all terrorism. The Peace Council draws inspiration from these courageous activists For further details contact the SOA Abolitionists at 478-4571.

July/August Issue
We will be publishing a joint July/August issue of the Peace Newsletter, coming out in mid-July. Monthly publication will resume in September.