Peace Council Pages

Educate, Agitate, Organize


compiled by Carol Baum

Syracuse Peace Council
2013 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13203
(315) 472-5478
OFFICE HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 10 am - 5 pm
STAFF and INTERN Email Addresses:
Andy Mager
Carol Baum
Jessica Maxwell
Aly Wane

Hundreds marched through downtown Syracuse protesting the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. Don’t miss this year’s March on Thursday, March 19. Photo: Mike Greenlar

Out of the Voting Booths and Into the Streets
Obama's recent decision to send an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan is a confirmation that community organizations and peace groups need to continue to push for change in US foreign policy. As people in our community and around the world struggle to make ends meet during a devastating economic crisis, Thursday, March 19 will mark the beginning of the 7th year of the US occupation of Iraq. Please join us in a march to demand an end to US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan and a shift from bloated military spending to meet human needs.

We will gather at noon at the park at the corner of Adams St. and S. Salina St., downtown, and march to the federal building, stopping at key offices along the way. Please consider making sandwich board style signs to wear with slogans related to ending the war and building a peace economy. The march will finish at the Federal Building with a brief rally ending at 1 pm. Contact Carol or Jessica.

March on the Pentagon:
Saturday, March 21 SPC will send a bus to the national March on the Pentagon, Saturday, March 21. The bus will leave at 1 am and return very late Saturday night. Seats are $40-75 sliding scale ($50 covers the actual cost of the seat, $75 will enable us to offer some reduced price seats). Reserve your seat soon as we only have one bus reserved. For march details and a list of sponsoring groups, visit To reserve your seat, contact Jessica.

Persevering for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel
The recent upswing in organizing on Palestine and Israel has continued with a group meeting twice monthly to lay the groundwork for ongoing work. On February 19, 30 people heard Gaza native and SU graduate student Raed Sharif talk about what life has been like in his homeland, and SPC activist Brent Bleier shared his experiences from a recent visit to Israel. Some ideas under discussion for local action include concerted grassroots educational efforts, pressuring federal elected officials and developing a study group. New folks are welcome. Contact Andy.

Hope in a Time of Turmoil
"I think that we continue to bet on hope. We are not resigned to accept a present that is exclusive and repressive…Art invites us to freedom…to dreaming-to that right to dream that cannot be taken away from us. If we lose this we lose everything. We

This piece “Charango” (a small South American stringed instrument) is part of Jafeth’s series Otras Huellas...otros Mundos (Other traces other worlds)

dream and work in the search for this better world that we deserve." -Colombian artist Jafeth Gomez Ledesma

A collaboration between ArtRage Gallery, CNY-Cajibio Sister Partnership, the Caribbean/Latin America Coalition of CNY (a partner organization of SPC), the Casita Cultural Center Project at Syracuse University and the CORA Foundation ing of Plan Colombia and presentation
Thursday, March 5 at 7 pm: Meet the Artist and presentation
Friday, March 6 at 8 pm: Good-bye Fiesta and fundraiser - featuring Music by Colleen Kattau and Some Guys

Strike for Peace Sunday, March 1!
As we go to press we already have 36 teams registered for SPC's 2009 Bowlathon, taking place Sunday, March 1, at Flamingo Bowl (7239 Oswego Rd., Liverpool). We anticipate a total of over 40 teams participating in two sessions. Session A bowls 12:30-2:30 pm (please arrive by noon to sign in and get shoes); Session B bowls 3-5 pm (please arrive by 2:30 pm). If you haven't registered yet, walk-ins are also welcome. Always a good time for all ages, the bowlathon is also SPC's first fundraiser of the year, bringing in much needed financial support. Contact Jessica.

NOON Plugs Away
Nearly a year and a half ago a federal judge in Albany heard arguments in the Onondaga Land Rights Action, the case in which the Onondaga Nation is seeking recognition that its land was taken illegally in the late 1700s and early 1800s. No decision has yet been made, since Judge Kahn is waiting to hear whether the federal government will join the Onondagas in their suit. During this time of legal limbo, Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation has continued our educational and advocacy work seeking justice for the Onondagas and environmental restoration (see article). In March we'll staff an educational outreach table at Carousel Mall. Contact Andy.

Carole Resnick shares her thoughts at the SPC Strategic Planning Retreat on February 7. Photo: Chuck Lochnertaken

Activist Appreciation: Carole Resnick
Long-time activist, strong political thinker and writer, top-notch facilitator, organic gardener, dedicated parent and problem solver, Carole has rejoined SPC's Steering Committee after a hiatus of several years. Her organizing passions are the politics of food, free trade, Israel-Palestine and supporting the traditional government of the Onondaga Nation. She also works on SPC's program committee, cooks for each SPC Birthday Dinner and is an integral part of revising the Neighbor to Neighbor, Nation to Nation booklet (on the relationship between the Onondaga Nation and CNY).

Carole speaks, writes and acts. Her 2003 PNL article on "The Takeover of the 'Organic' Food Market" became one of our most reprinted articles ever. Recently she co-coordinated food for SPC's weekend retreat, preparing vegan meals of (mostly) locally and organically grown foods. She has supported the traditional government of the Onondaga Nation for many years and is helping create a workshop for activists on working as allies.

Just before Israel's attack on Gaza in December, she wrote the to PeaceList email listserv: "As a Jew who has felt the responsibility to stand up against the occupation, I am coming to realize much more clearly that this problem belongs to all of us. I am asking that our political community take on this ongoing, US-funded war in our work." There is now a group starting to do just that.

Thank you, Carole, for your work and spirit!

Muslim Solidarity
On February 26, the CNY Bill of Rights Defense Campaign sponsored a showing of the documentary Waiting for Mercy: The Case Against Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, along with an appearance by the filmmaker, Ellie Bernstein. This event was in recognition of the February 26th six years ago, when 150 Muslim and Arab families in the Syracuse area were aggressively interrogated by federal and local law enforcement agents as part of the investigation of Dr. Dhafir. We mark this day to make a statement that selective, insensitive and discriminatory treatment is not acceptable in our community.

The film is about an FBI sting operation that took place in Albany, New York in 2004 that was designed to entrap two Muslim men (who had no prior criminal history) and portray them as potential terrorists. The men were convicted of supporting terrorism and sentenced to 15 years in prison. There are many questions about the case that remain.

To learn more about the CNY Bill of Rights Defense Campaign, contact Carol.

Farewell Miriam
Longtime SPC supporter Miriam Bieling passed away on January 30, 2009. Her commitment to SPC continues through the many contributions of her son Herm, who first came to an SPC meeting with his parents over 40 years ago.

Longtime SPC staffperson and now Syracuse Cultural Workers Publisher Dik Cool recalls the fundraising dinners hosted by Miriam and her late husband Herman at their Lafayette homestead in the early 1970s. "Miriam would set up a big table in the side yard. All the food was organic (from their garden), long before 'organic' was a common word." For the 700th PNL in 1974 (misnumbered as we realized years later), Miriam and Herman wrote "SPC is the one source in the area which speaks the Truth for the common person; where one can go to discuss all the issues confronting us…." In the fall Miriam moved to an assisted living center where she organized a discussion group. Our thoughts go out to Herm and his family.

SPC Strategic Planning Retreat
SPC recently held a weekend retreat focused on long-range planning. Twenty-five people attended each day, with most staying overnight. The goals were to:
review the outcomes of the 2005 strategic planning process

create a plan for the next several years, identifying SPC's primary goals, general program direction, and organizational structures and/or changes needed to achieve these goals

Joe Marusa, Sara Natanson, Nick Cavanaugh, Peter Sinatra, Richard Vallejo, Ben Burdick, Ed Kinane and Carol Baum enjoy a wonderful lunch during SPC’s recent strategic planning retreat. Photo: Chuck Lochner

Saturday was focused on program, Sunday on infrastructure. As a summing up, we identified priorities to address over time. The first is programmatic - we plan to work towards diversifying the membership and leadership of SPC by reprioritizing and/or adding programs, giving special attention to how these are affected by the current historical moment.

Thanks to Frolic Taylor of Deer Hill Bed and Breakfast; Sera Brown and Carole Resnick for organizing and cooking most of the food (and Rose Viviano and Terry Gavagan for their main dishes); SPC's Program Committee (Julie Gozan, Jessica Maxwell, Carole Resnick, Ann Tiffany and Rose Viviano) for planning and facilitating Saturday; the overall facilitation team (Nick Cavanaugh, Jake Eichten and Carol Baum); and Aimee Jurista for notetaking and hosting "overflow" guests.

For more information, contact Carol.

Table with the Military Alternatives Education Project
MAEP tables regularly at Syracuse high schools to provide students with accurate information on military service and alternative ways to pay for college and receive job training. On Thursday, March 5, MAEP will participate in Nottingham High School's Career Fair, sharing information on careers in peace, social justice and community organizations. We are actively seeking additional people to help us staff tables. Contact Jessica.

SPC’s Monthly Program

Why Pay for War?

Tuesday, March 17 at 7:00 pm

What if all those who opposed the Iraq War refused to pay for it? SPC has long supported conscientious objection to serving in war and to paying for it. Come learn about war tax resistance as one way to live out your beliefs in creating a more peaceful and just world.

Refreshments FREE. 472-5478

Study Group Takes a Break
The SPC Study Group is going on hiatus for a while. Many of the members have decided to devote their energies towards other projects (many of them SPC-related). The combination of the coming spring and the new presidency provides space for reflection and renewal. In that spirit, we are brainstorming ideas about how to re-vision the Study Group in the future. One idea is to make the group more issue-based for specific periods of time so that community members could join in the discussions they are most passionate about. We invite all of you to help us with this re-visioning. Feel free to send your ideas to Aly.

Another Loss for the Movement
Just before the PNL went to press we received word that longtime activist Peter DeMott had passed away following an accident. SPC mourns his loss and sends our best wishes to his family.

Peter lived for years at Jonah House before moving to Ithaca with his partner Ellen Grady. Both were actively involved with the Atlantic Life Community, participating in Plowshares Actions and other forms of nonviolent resistance to war. Peter's loss reminds all of us of the fragility of life and the importance of carrying on the struggle.

Fair Share Tax Reform
SPC has signed on to support the Fair Share Tax Reform initiative to roll back tax cuts for the wealthiest New Yorkers. A statewide campaign is underway to push for legislation which raises taxes on those earning $250,000 and above to help balance the projected budget deficit (see

The primary movers behind the project are SEIU 1199, Citizen Action, Working Families Party and New York State United Teachers.

Mark your calendar for a major rally on Thursday, March 5 at 4:30 pm at Second Olivet Missionary Baptist Church, 416 West Onondaga St. For more information, contact Rick Oppedisano, or 424-1743 x142 or Tanika Jones, or 435-2480.

Thanks to ArtRage
PNL readers might have noticed that many of SPC's educational events have been taking place at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley St.). The director of ArtRage, Rose Viviano, is also on SPC's steering committee and has been very encouraging of our using the space. Not only are we surrounded by amazing political art there, but it is handicapped accessible. The large meeting room on the second floor of the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice (where SPC's office is) is not yet accessible, so we are very grateful

Change the Times Broadside Needs Distributors
The Anti-Wars/Occupations Committee is working on a newsprint broadside for wide distribution. We're looking for help in distribution. Contact Carol or Jessica.