SPC Pages

Compiled by Carol Baum

The last few weeks have been very intense for everyone working to prevent a major escalation of the US war on Iraq. Although we did not prevent war, the anti-war movement has shown itself to be undeterred, insisting that a war that was wrong months ago is still as wrong today. This strength of spirit will be necessary in the months to come.

The Peace Council continues to respond to the changing situation, and we are incredibly heartened by the outpouring of local activism and support. A lot has happened, and more is being planned each moment. For up-to-the minute information, check the SPC website, the Peace-List, the SPC Announcements List, or call (see below).

Iraq: Where Do We Go From Here?

The Peace Council’s steering committee had an emergency meeting the Saturday after the US invasion began. Up until then, almost all of SPC’s efforts had been focused on preventing war. When war appeared imminent, we shifted to planning the Emergency Response Demonstration. The demonstration was energetic and powerful, as over 500 Central New Yorkers expressed anger and grief at the actions of the US government. (see page 1)
For the next week, the focus continues to be on expressing those feelings, as well as asserting and maintaining our right to speak out. As time goes on, the messages and methods will need to evolve.
For now, we are committed to the continued visibility of anti-war activism, along with maintaining and increasing the opportunities for public discussion of the war on Iraq, the “war on terrorism,” and their ramifications. We invite you to join us.

How Your Can Help

Anti-War Visibility
• Help create a “Wall of Concern” – a place for the entire community to express feelings and thoughts about people affected by the war (contact Brian Caufield at bcaufield@excite.com).
• Join an anti-war postering team to poster throughout the Syracuse area.
• Help us revamp the successful lawn sign campaign. Should we create an updated add-on, a new sign, or just leave them as they are?
• Hang beautiful postcards of the faces of Iraqi children. We are distributing them to help humanize our “enemy.”
• Participate in the Green Ribbon Campaign. In anticipation of ribbon campaigns to support the troops, the Peace Council created its own – “Support the Troops, Bring Them Home.” Thousands have been distributed, and are available at locations throughout the Syracuse area. Contact Jessica Maxwell at the office for more information and display kits.

• Several demonstrations will have happened by the time you read this. Others will be in the works. Call the office to see how you can help out.
• Tuesday Peace Vigils, a weekly presence for peace for one and a half years, continue from 4:45pm-5:45pm at various locations. Upcoming vigils are listed in the calendar on page 16.
• Thursday peace rallies have been organized for the next several weeks, due to popular demand. Join us from noon-1pm at Clinton Square on April 3, and April 10.

• We will be producing a special issue of the PNL. Watch for it, read it, and help distribute it.
• Also in the works is a simple, highly accessible flier for mass distribution. We will need lots of help to get it everywhere in the community.
• We plan to set up a mobile Listening Booth — a place for people to speak out and be heard, regardless of their views (to help, contact Rae Kramer at sqlarousse@aol.com).

Community and Sustenance
• SPC’s monthly potluck will be Thursday, April 24 (see calendar for details). The topic will be announced later.
• We have just begun to plan SPC’s 67th Birthday Celebration. It’s a fun event, and we’ll need lots of help. Call Carol Baum at the office for details.

Stay Informed
Events have been organized quickly, and ideas are bubbling over. To find out what the Peace Council is doing:
• Join the SPC Announcements list, a low volume email announcement list providing information about upcoming events. To subscribe, send a blank email to <spcannouncements-subscribe@lists.riseup.net>
•Check the SPC website: www.peacecouncil.net
• Join the Peace-List, a (currently) high volume listserve on anti-war activism in Central New York, as well as on resources and occasional conversation. To subscribe to the list, email <listserv@listserv.syr.edu>, leave the subject line blank, and in the body type: subscribe Peace-List your name
.• Please call 472-5478, or visit the office (Monday – Friday 9:30am to 4pm; someone is usually here later. On Wednesdays, the office is open until 8 pm). The office is at 924 Burnet Ave. between Beech and Teall (in Syracuse).

Volunteer Orientation
Our next volunteer session is Tuesday, April 8, from 7-8:30pm at the SPC office. If you’ve been thinking about getting involved, this is a friendly, easy way to test the waters. For more info, contact Carol Baum at SPC. Please join us –volunteers are the lifeblood of the Peace Council.

Rae and Mike Return
In early March, Rae Kramer and Mike Pasquale returned home after having served six month prison sentences for nonviolent civil disobedience at the School of the Americas. They were freed in time to participate in the outpouring of anti-war activism.
We are thrilled that they are back, and grateful that they have jumped fully into local peace work.

In the Midst of This, a Baby is Born
At 6:26 am on Sunday, March 9 my partner Cheri Capparelli gave birth to our son, Eli Marco. He has been a true gift, reminding me of the many treasures of life—love, connection, wonder and more. With the war, it has been difficult to be away from the office and not participating as actively in the Peace Council’s work. However, being with Eli has also reminded me of the precious nature of all life. Taking care of him will both temper my commitment to changing the world, while at the same time providing new motivation for doing so. Eli will begin spending time regularly at the SPC office when Cheri returns to work in late April. He’ll be looking for friends to play with while our crucial work continues.
—Andy Mager

Welcome to Jessica Azulay
We’re delighted to welcome Jessica Azulay to the Peace Council staff. She has been hired for 4 months, while Andy is on paternity leave and working fewer hours. Her second week here, Jessica organized the St. Patrick’s Day Rally and the SPC contingent in the parade. Her third week she played a major part in organizing the Emergency Response Demonstration. She brings great organizing, writing, and lay-out skills to the work, as well as energy, commitment and creativity. And, like Rae and Mike, she too came in the nick of time (merely days before Andy and Cheri had their baby).

Bus Ad Sightings
Yes, it finally happened. SPC, in concert with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Church World Service, got anti-war ads up on the “tails” of 10 Centro buses. We’ve had several calls from people not pleased with the ads. We’d love to hear from people who are pleased. Call in an ad sighting, with date and location, and you’ll win a beautiful peace button!

See page 13 to learn about challenges we encountered in getting the bus ads to run and other concerns about the tightening spaces for dissent.

Support the Muslim Community
In response to the recent FBI harassment of the local Muslim community, the Peace Council issued a press statement condemning racial anti-Muslim discrimination on the part of the government and the media. In addition, SPC organized a rally on St. Patricks day with the theme, “No To War, Yes to Civil Liberties.”

See page 7 for information on the community meetings which have been held to support the Muslim community in Syracuse. See the stuffer for community statement of support (in PNLs which are mailed out).

Ed and Cynthia Remain in Baghdad
Local activists Ed Kinane (and also Peace Newsletter Editorial committee member) and Cynthia Banas have remained in Baghdad as members of the Iraq Peace Team. We honor their commitment to being with the people of Iraq during this time, and look forward to their safe return. See page 5 for more reports from the Iraq Peace Team.

Doctors’ Delegation Visits Clinton’s Office
Sixty-one people signed the Doctors for Peace Statement that appeared in the Post Standard in January. A four-person delegation from this group met recently in Senator Hillary Clinton’s Syracuse office with her Syracuse staff person, Cathy Calhoun. Cathy was receptive, sat with us for 40 minutes, listened well, and took notes. We each made points about why we were against the Iraq war. We lobbied for Senator Clinton’s support of a resolution requiring the President, before using military force against Iraq, to obtain the approval of Congress with new legislation. We also expressed our concern about the erosion of civil liberties following the 9/11 attack and our worries about a new bill being introduced, The Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, which would significantly broaden law enforcement powers.

At the end of the visit, we left Cathy the Doctors for Peace Statement and the list of all of the signers. I felt that it was a successful lobbying effort and that our views had been heard.
—Dick Weiskopf