Peace Council Pages

Educate, Agitate, Organize

compiled by Jessica Maxwell

Syracuse Peace Council
924 Burnet Ave., Syracuse, NY 13203
(315) 472-5478
OFFICE HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 10 am - 5 pm
Staff Email Addresses:
Andy Mager
Carol Baum
Jessica Maxwell

The Bush Coronation

Protests, counter-inaugurals, and civil disobedience marked Bush’s official inauguration on January 20. Locally, SPC organized activists to hold a banner on the Spencer St. overpass above I-81 from 4:30-5 pm.Rush hour traffic was greeted with the message, “NOT OUR LEADER, Impeach Bush.” Three other local actions happened independently. A contingent of discarded Christmas trees held a “Trees Against Bush” demonstration in Clinton Square during the morning. The trees wore signs such as “Trim the Executive Branch.” The Syracuse Cultural Workers gathered with signs at noon in front of the Federal Building to protest as Bush took his oath of office. Another group gathered on Marshall Street at the same time.

That evening, about 35 people attended SPC’s program on electoral reform. Panelists Bo Lipari of New Yorkers for Verified Voting [www.nyvv. org], Megan Quattle-baum of Common Cause [www.common] and Marisol Hernandez, who worked with local voter education efforts in the Latino community.

About 100 residents of Syracuse, Cortland, and Binghamton boarded two buses to join the DC protests against Bush’s second inauguration. Members of the Student Environmental Action Coalition organized the trip with help from the Syracuse Peace Council and the Syracuse Greens. Thousands of people attended the counter-inaugural events in DC despite heightened security. Police cars and vans were a common sight, but protestors managed to get around with the support of many DC residents. In a city where 90% of residents did not vote for Bush, marchers were greeted by waves from people in buildings, car honks in support, and bystanders cheering or giving the thumbs-up.

While marching with throngs of people, drums and chants kept the spirit of protestors high as they tirelessly hoisted their signs in the air. Demonstrators were restricted from certain areas such as the inaugural parade route, where sign size was limited and bags searched. Protestors standing outside the security checkpoints were often challenged by Bush supporters waiting in line. They held strong, however, with the clear message that under a second Bush term US citizens face threats to our civil liberties, an unjust war in Iraq and the threat of pre-emptive strikes elsewhere. A massive cry for peace and justice was shouted out in DC by thousands of people who had come from around the country.

The Passing of a “Shero”
For years Jolie Christine Rickman inspired many of us with her lyrics, music and activism – and the seamless web betwee n them. Jolie, partner of former SPC staffer Bill Mazza, passed away on January 19 following a battle with cancer,waged with her trademark grit and humor. A memorial service will be scheduled Contact SPC regarding the memorial service to be held in Syracuse. Jolie ¡presente!

Jolie Christine Rickman in Action.
Pholio: Jamie McCallum

Welcome Kelsy and Lauren
We’re thrilled to have two energetic and talented new interns working with us full-time! Kelsy Waggaman has been working with the Youth and Militarism Task Force and helping organize SPC’s annual bowl-a-thon (below). Lauren Neider helped coordinate SPC’s counter-inaugural activities on January 20 and is helping to set up an Iraq working group to address the ongoing US occupation (below).

Youth and Militarism
SPC is a part of the Youth and Militarism Task Force. The Task Force is looking forward to an engaging agenda for the next few months. The January 12 Draft and Draft Registration information program went well, and has energized our work to educate young people about their options regarding the military. We plan to focus on educational programs for schools and faith/community center youth groups. This will include tabling at schools (counter-recruitment) and encouraging public schools to change their policies for releasing student information to military recruiters under the No Child Left Behind Act.

The Task Force is offering a Draft Information Workshop for people who want to assist in outreach work. The seven-hour training (9:00 am-12:30 pm on Saturdays, February 12 and 26) will cover the basics of Selective Service rules, regulations, and options; conscientious objection and non-registration, in order to “teach choice” to draft-age youth. Training materials cost $15 (no one excluded for lack of funds). The program is limited to 15 participants, so please reserve your spot by February 9. Contact Kelsy Waggaman at SPC or [].

Iraq Organizing
As we go to press, SPC is establishing a committee to coordinate our Iraq organizing work. The crisis and devastation continues to escalate under the US occupation. We see little hope that the elections will bring either security or democracy to Iraq. Our organizing efforts must be strategic and consistent if we are to impact US Iraq policy. To join the committee or help in some other way, contact Jessica at SPC.

SPC’s Vision
SPC scheduled three meetings in late Januaryand early February for members of our staff, steering committee and other standing organizational committees to engage in a long-term planning process. The last meeting is scheduled for February 12. We will evaluate SPC’s current program and organizational development work, set goals and develop strategy for achieving those goals. Discussions of relocating the SPC office have been deferred until after this process is completed.

We’ll wrap up our planning process just before the United for Peace and Justice coalition’s national assembly – February 19-21 in Saint Louis, MO. As one of over 800 member organizations, SPC will send a representative to participate in the gathering. Look for an update on the results of this process in a future PNL.
SPC’s 2005 Steering Committee: (top, left to right) Emily Moeller, Joan Conley, Nick Poulos, Barbara Humphrey, Mike Pasquale, Beth Mosley, Dik Cool; (bottom, left to right) Carole Resnick, Carol Baum, Andy Mager, Jessica Maxwell and Tina Musa. (Missing from photo: Gary Bonaparte and Shirley Novak.) Photo: Kelsy Waggaman

Direct Deposit to SPC
Regular pledges provide SPC with a predictable and reliable source of income throughout the year. If you’re a member of the Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union this can be very simple and easy - you can pledge to SPC through direct deposit. If you’d like to start off the new year with a regular quarterly or monthly commitment to SPC, contact Gerry Russo at SCFCU, 471-1116, to arrange an automatic withdrawal. Then simply email or phone SPC so we can look for your contribution on our monthly credit union statement.

Activist Appreciation
If you’ve checked out our online Peace Newsletter [] lately you probably noticed a more attractive look, including graphics. We thank Nancy Newman for these improvements.

Nancy, a researcher and administrator at Upstate Medical University, expressed interest in working actively with the Peace Council in response to last year’s spring fund appeal. After an email exchange, she took on the web posting of the PNL in May and has been devotedly doing it monthly. Her favorite part of the work “is learning something new about web development programs and getting it to work right.”

Peace Newsletter Help
While we’re proud to publish a quality newsletter each month, we’d like more hands to share the work. Unlike much activism, we get to see the fruit of our labor each month. The PNL editorial committee is looking for people to:
coordinate graphics (5+ hours/month)
gather information and lay out the monthly community calendar (6 hours/month)
serve on the editorial committee (10 hours/month)
help edit articles (variable).
Contact Andy.

Get Involved!
If you want to get more involved but haven’t, or want to learn more about SPC, our current program priorities and organizational development projects, stop by for our next monthly orientation – Thursday, February 3 at SPC, 7 to 8:30 pm. We’ll provide refreshments. This is a perfect opportunity to ask questions, meet other new folks and identify projects and tasks you’re interested in working on.

Pledge Solidarity with Muslims – Feb. 25
The CNY Bill of Rights Defense Campaign, of which SPC is a part, is again asking Central New Yorkers to stand in solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers on February 25.

Two years ago, on February 26, 2003, federal and local law enforcement agents aggressively interrogated 150 local Muslim and Arab families as part of investigating Help the Needy, a charity to which many of the families had donated. The agents were intimidating, intrusive and insensitive: the Syracuse-area Muslim and Arab community still feels the impact.

Please join in one or more of the following activities: come to a morning gathering followed by a legislative visit; wear the hajab for the day (for women); send a symbolic donation of $1 or more to a Muslim community organization; and/or stand in silent contemplation or prayer at the times Muslims pause in daily prayer.

PNL subscribers can see the insert for specific details on how to participate and the mail-in coupon. Others should contact Carol at SPC. In order to have a count to share with the Muslim community and the media, please let us know what you are planning to do that day.

Strike for Peace – March 6
Mark your calendars, organize your team and get your costume ready! SPC’s annual benefit bowl-a-thon is scheduled for Sunday, March 6 from 2-5 pm at Strike ’N Spare Lanes, 1777 Brewerton Rd. in Mattydale.

We’re looking to top last year’s stupendous effort: 51 teams, 250 bowlers and $3500 raised. Begin organizing a team from your school, college, union, community/activist group, faith community….

You don’t have to be a good bowler to have fun. Enthusiasm, striking (sic) attire and even performance art desired. Register as part of a team or on your own. Local subscribers see enclosed flier.

Register by February 24. The $10/person entry fee covers two games, shoes, and an SPC donation (fee is $12 after February 24). We hope you’ll seek out sponsors to help with the fundraising part of the day’s fun. Kids welcome; bumper lanes available.


Contact: Kelsy Waggaman at SPC. Down load registration forms at [].

New Progressive Coalition?
For the past year SPC has been convening monthly Justice Breakfasts. These convivial events are an effort to increase networking among local progressive organizations. SPC is partnering with the CNY Labor Federation to coordinate efforts to transform this casual effort into a more formal coalition.

Human Rights for Workers

NMASS, an injured worker group, is preparing a Human Rights Report to support the idea that the NYS Workers’ Compensation system does not meet ( remove “NAFTA”) (include “reasonable”) standards for health care and wage compensation (take out “agreed to in the Fair Trade Act”). The report will be developed from confidential interviews with injured workers about their experience. If you have a story to tell, and would like to schedule an interview, please call 315-696-8777. This is an unusual chance for injured workers to speak up, and to participate in their government. And....It’s about time!

Representatives from over a dozen groups working on peace, labor rights, civil rights, civil liberties, poverty, women’s issues, equal justice, the environment and cultural sharing are already plugging in. We’ve set up a list-serv to share information and continue discussion between meetings. We’re seeking to involve more organizations.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, February 16 from 8 to 9:30 am at the Brady Faith Center, 404 South Ave (opposite the Southwest Community Center), Syracuse. Contact: Andy at SPC, or Mark Spadafore, CNY Labor Federation, 422-3363 x11.
SPC’s Monthly Program
White Activists Confronting White Racism
Thursday, February 17
7-8:30 pm

Westcott Community Center
(corner of Euclid and Westcott, Syracuse)
followed by refreshments & discussion

Participatory discussion/workshop on how white people can constructively address their own racism and the personal and institutional racism in society. Racism and white privilege affect our lives in both subtle and obvious ways.

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON), an SPC program, has continued to increase its activism. Recently we have tabled and spoken to groups, met with Onondagas, and sent out an informational mailing. We’ll soon create buttons and bumperstickers, reprint the Neighbor to Neighbor, Nation to Nation booklet, and develop and deliver more presentations.

Contact Carol if your group is interested in a NOON speaker, or if you would like to help.

Weekly Peace Outreach

“End the War;
Bring the Troops Home”

Thursdays, 7:30-8:15 am

Feb. 3: Valley Dr. & Seneca Tnpk.
Feb. 10: James St. & Thompson Rd.
Feb. 17: S. Salina & East Colvin
Feb. 24: E. Genesee St. & Erie Blvd.


Young Peacemakers Award

Peace Action of Central New York seeks Onondaga County high school seniors commited to peace, justice, and conflict resolution. Applications are available for a $500 award.

Applications for the award are available from the Peace Action office at 478-7442 or download it at: []. The application deadline is March 18, 2005.