Peace Council Pages

Educate, Agitate, Organize


compiled by Carol Baum

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

Hiroshima Day
About 100 people came out for this year’s Hiroshima Day Procession. Photo: Mike Greenlar
The Hiroshima Day events, held August 5-6, brought the community together to commemorate horrors of the past and work toward a nuclear-free future. The Interfaith Service and Lantern Launch at the Everson Plaza downtown was a moving evening of reflection led by members and leaders of various faith organizations. The sight of children wading in the pool heightened the meaningfulness of the lantern launch. There couldn’t have been a more beautiful day for the Dramatic Procession, which began on the sidewalk but soon took to the streets. Observers shouted questions to the marchers along the way, and they were very receptive to the leaflets and paper cranes that were handed out.

Birthday Dinner
Energy is building for SPC’s 73rd birthday celebration on Saturday, October 3 at St. Lucy’s Auditorium. Dinner will feature a bounty of local foods (vegetarian with vegan options). After dinner, this year’s program features Jerry Levy performing Howard Zinn’s one act play Marx in Soho. We’re excited to announce that we will have a sign language interpreter for the performance.

Dinner is at 6:30 pm, with the program starting at 7:30 pm. We ask for a sliding scale donation of $15-73 (73 being SPC’s age this year). Make your reservations by September 25 by contacting Joe Marusa at 877-3432 or completing the form at

SPC’s February Retreat Bears Fall Program Fruit
One outcome of SPC’s strategic planning retreat last February was to increase our locally-focused work, with an eye toward working with more diverse communities. To this end we set four goals for ourselves:

1) Re-vision SPC’s antiwar work so that it has a more local focus and reaches out to diverse groups. Over the last year, general education/

protest has been primary and youth and militarism /counter recruitment work has been secondary. We will reverse that, so that significantly more staff time will go into youth and militarism work and less into general education. We’ll focus on the drones at Hancock Field’s Air National Guard Base as a secondary issue. The effectiveness of these projects depends on YOU – with more activists/volunteers much more can be done.

2) Identify a new issue area for SPC to work on that is within our priorities and has potential for increasing the diversity of whom we work with. To this end SPC has joined the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse. ACTS is an inter-faith, multi-racial, urban-suburban coalition of mostly faith communities that organizes to address local social, economic, educational and political concerns.

3) Identify areas to cut so that we have the resources (particularly staff time) to carry out new program priorities. Since the staff are so heavily involved in the Peace Newsletter, we will reduce it to eight pages, with the option of one 16 page issue each quarter (the page number must be a multiple of eight). An additional 16 page issue is possible if a sympathetic group is responsible for eight of those pages (or if the editorial committee gets a massive influx of energy).

4) Better integrate and improve synergies between SPC programs. This is still being worked on.

These changes will be evaluated at the December Steering Committee meeting. Please contact Carol with any thoughts or feelings you have on this … or to get more involved.

SPC intern Sara Watrous and longtime SPC activist Rae Kramer helped create SPC’s display for the Downtown Arts & Crafts Festival this year. Photo: Carol Baum

Summer Intern Reflections Peace is not just a bunch of hippies singing and dancing in fields. Peace can only be achieved through hard work and focus of dedicated individuals. Peace, as I’ve learned at SPC, involves so much more than the word can seem on the surface. That the people here have devoted their lives to this ideal brings me a renewed outlook on humankind and view for my own future.

My summer at SPC has awakened me to the movements combating the plethora of social justice issues that linger in our world. With this has come amazing learning experiences with the staff, fellow interns and active SPC members. Ed Kinane said it best when he told us that it would be a long road ahead of us as activists, and we may question why we have chosen that road. “Because you just can’t help it. Because there’s something about how the society functions that you just don’t agree with and that you feel you need to do something to change it.”

SPC is a way of life. I could go on and on about the projects I worked on but the things that really marked me and will stay with me even after I go back to college are the little things: our Thursday communal lunches, the way we start every meeting by going around and saying how we are, our democratic process, open-mindedness…
Thoughts from Staci Schweitzer, Tivona Renoni and Sara Watrous


Report Back from Palestine
Tuesday, September 22 at 7 pm
Artrage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave.)

Jessica Maxwell and Ann Tiffany returned in early August from a delegation to Palestine and Israel. Spending most of their time in Jerusalem and the Hebron area of the West Bank, they met with Israeli and Palestinian organizations nonviolently working for a just peace. They also accompanied Palestinian children in the South Hebron Hills on a peace march and learned about the daily resistance to injustice.

Free program. Refreshments provided. Contact Jessica. 472-5478.

NOON Continues Pressing Common Council
Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) continues to press the Syracuse Common Council to pass a “Resolution of Respect for and Reconciliation with the Onondaga Nation.” We’re hopeful that continued public pressure (they’ve received scores of phone calls, letters and postcards) will convince the Council to pass the resolution, which commits the city to partner more actively with the Onondaga Nation and recognizes the injustices inflicted on the Onondaga.

Please contact your Common Councilor and the at-large councilors. See for councilors’ contact information and the resolution text. Contact Andy.

Palestine-Israel Working Group
CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel had a very successful weekend at the Middle Eastern Festival, getting 150 petition signatures, giving out lots of thoughtful literature and selling books, t-shirts, etc.

We’re now selling tickets and encouraging people to check out the play “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” being performed by the Simply New Theater on Saturdays, September 5 and 12 at the Civic Center. Tickets are available from SPC for $10-20 (sliding scale). The group is focused on using The Lemon Tree (see July-August PNL) as an educational tool. We hope to start a study group in September. Book discussions will be held at four libraries in October, leading up to a presentation by author Sandy Tolan at 7 pm on Thursday, October 22 at LeMoyne. Contact Andy.

Weekly Peace Outreach

Stop the Drones:

After Labor Day, Peace Outreach will focus for the month on declaring our outrage at plans to base Drone bombers at Hancock Field. Pilots in front of computers will direct planes conducting surveillance and bombing missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Please join us.

Tuesdays: 4:45 - 5:30 pm

Sept. 1 Westcott & E. Genesee St. (Eastside
Sept. 8 Townline Rd. and E. Molloy Rd. (Mattydale, near Marine and Navy Stations)
Sept. 15 Hancock Air Base Entrance (East Molloy Rd., just west of Thompson Rd., Mattydale)
Sept. 22 Thompson Rd. and E. Molloy Rd. (Mattydale)
Sept. 29 Rt. 11, Northern Lights Shopping Center (Mattydale)

Every Saturday 9-10 am we’re also at the Farmers’ Market at Park St.

Build Long-term Sustainability for SPC
There are many ways you can support the Peace Council: through volunteering, pledging or gifting during or after your life.  Within each of those categories are various paths to support. You are probably familiar with volunteer opportunities or pledging but you may wish to know more about how you can ensure SPC’s work continues for many years to come.

There are many ways to provide long-term support for SPC. These include: Life Insurance or Annuity, Charitable Remainder Trust, Charitable Lead Trust, Bequest, Donor Advised Fund and Gifts. To learn more, see or look for details in future PNLs. I have offered to provide free consultation for people wishing to discuss long-term donations to SPC. Contact me at 637-5153 or

Progressive Mayoral Platform
Responses from all six mayoral candidates to the Progressive Platform for the New Mayor are being publicized widely (see Progressive Platform). Mark your calendar for upcoming candidate forums on Racial and Social Justice, Wednesday, September 9, 7pm, Hopps Memorial CME Church and Education, Thursday, September 10, 6:30 pm, Nottingham High School.

Donate and Shop at SPC’s Fall Sale
SPC’s annual garage sale is set for Saturday, September 12, 9 am-5 pm and Sunday, September 13, 9 am-1 pm at 401 Scottholm Blvd., Syracuse. This is a great opportunity to pass on things you no longer need or to pick up great bargains. To drop off donations contact Rae Kramer 445-2840. Last year we had an amazing selection of items and raised over $1,000 to support SPC’s work.

Redesigning SPC’s Website
For several years there has been talk of redesigning SPC’s website. Through a fortunate juxtaposition of events, that talk is about to become reality – we will soon hire WebRoot Solutions (Jessica Azulay and Brian Dominick) and Richard Vallejo, all of whom have strong connections to SPC.

The new website will use a content management system, making website updates simpler, so that more people will be able to participate and allowing for more dynamic content (i.e., greater ability for interactivity).

Special thanks to Paul Melnikow for guiding the process in the beginning, and to an anonymous donor who is matching $2 for every $1 contributed for website redesign (if you contribute $10, the donor will contribute $20). For more information or to make a contribution, contact Carol.

Activist Appreciation: Chris Riley
A former operations manager of Cooperative Federal, Chris Riley has gone where few activists dare go – into organizing and analyzing SPC’s finances. Chris has been a mainstay of the finance committee for over five years, doing financial analysis, budget creation, SPC’s taxes and bookkeeper support (and was our bookkeeper for a while herself). Her patience is boundless as she works to make SPC finances understandable to the numerically challenged. A proud detail person, Chris attends to the nitty gritty paperwork and careful reading that goes with finances.

Recently she was the support person for SPC phonathon callers, providing party blowers and encouragement – and is doing the follow-up analysis. She is level-headed, clear-thinking, extremely reliable and a pleasure to work with. We are so grateful that she has chosen to share her many talents with SPC. Thank you, Chris.

SPC’s antiwar tableau outside the State Fair in 2008 attracted the attention of thousands - including a lively debate in the Post-Standard. Photo: Carol Baum

Join SPC at the NYS Fair
SPC will once again have a highly visible antiwar presence outside the main gate of the NYS Fair. This year’s tableau, titled “Get our Priorities Straight: Fund Human Needs,” focuses on the connection between our bloated military budget and the economic crisis in our communities. You can join the tableau – either as a silent character or to hand out educational leaflets. Contact Carol or Jess or check SPC’s website.

Pedal On
Bikes 4 Peace has wrapped up another successful summer. Among this season’s highlights: several new energetic volunteers got involved; at our oldest site – Northeast Community Center – we have many youth who have participated for enough years that they are now teaching newer youth basic tasks like removing wheels and adjusting seats; a dedicated grandmother living across from Lexington Park brought four of her grandchildren to our clinic and we were able to successfully fix their two bikes along with two donated bikes so they can all ride together (we also gave each a free helmet).

This fall and winter we will explore the feasibility of a more permanent community bike shop that would promote long-term youth mentoring and low-cost services. If you’re interested, contact Jessica.

Phonathon Closes SPC’s Budget Gap
Over the past month nearly 20 activists called SPC members to seek financial support and get their input on SPC’s recent work. We had hundreds of interesting conversations and left many messages. Despite the difficult economic times, the response was extremely positive both financially and emotionally. We expect to raise a total of over $7,000 that will close SPC’s projected budget gap for the year. Thanks to all who participated, made donations and shared your thoughts with us. If you haven’t responded yet, please do so if you’re able.