Peace Council Pages

Educate, Agitate, Organize


compiled by Andy Mager

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

Make a New Year’s Resolution: Get Involved
SPC’s Plowshare’s Craftsfair attracted more people than ever to its socially and environmentally conscious marketplace. Photo: Andy Mager
As you ponder the coming year, consider making a commitment to join SPC’s work. Work with a caring, passionate community of people to help bring just peace to the world. Here’s a sampling of opportunities:
  staff information tables in local high schools (2+ hours/month)
  run daytime errands  (2+ hours/month)
   coordinate the monthly Peace Newsletter mailing party  (4+ hours/month)
help develop SPC’s program to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and remove the Reaper Drones from our community
  gather and edit items for the monthly   PNL community calendar (2-4 hours/month)
  join an SPC committee or partnership—fundraising, outreach, youth & militarism, anti-wars, Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, ACTS core team, CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine & Israel, Caribbean/Latin America Coalition… (2+ hours/month)
  take photographs and/or video at SPC events (2+ hours/month)

SPC’s giant peace dove Olivia graced this year’s entrance to Plowshares. Photo: Andy Mager

Plowshares #39: It’s a Wrap 
The SPC Plowshares Craftsfair committee works for months on craftsfair applications, jurying crafts, doing everything to make it a go. The office lines up volunteers for the many, many hands it takes. The folders and staplers finish the program and they’re in a pile, waiting. It always goes so fast!

We set up on Friday night, building our own community of commerce and activism. Honest craftsperson and eager buyer prepares to meet and make business. Everyone prepares to see friends, old and new. Saturday morning comes, the doors open. We remark on how many folks are walking around the cafeteria or how warm it is in the gym. Someone orders a breakfast burrito; it’s delicious. Someone eyes a new booth. The singers and dancers make us smile. The television cameras come, the reporters ask questions, the Syracuse Peace Council makes the news for something different than its usual activities.

Then before we can blink an eye, it’s Sunday evening and we’re cleaning up. We’ll tell stories about the weekend, be delighted over our purchases and be grateful to be part of such an adventure as Plowshares. And next year we’ll do it all over again. See you there!


Nonviolent Direct Action
What We Really Learned from MLK

Wednesday, January 20 at 7 pm
Artrage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave.)

Join us for an introduction to some of the uses of nonviolent direct action in movements for peace and social justice.
This will be a participatory event: following brief presentations, we will practice some of the skills and tactics used successfully by activists to achieve their goals. Contact Jessica.

Free. Refreshments. Handicapped accessible.

PS: This year’s December 5-6  craftsfair at Nottingham High School was the most successful ever financially, raising $25,000 to support SPC’s work.

-Marie Summerwood

End the Siege of Gaza
CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine & Israel is organizing a March to Protest the Israeli Siege of Gaza on Monday, December 28 at 4 pm at the Syracuse Federal Building, corner of Washington and Clinton Streets in downtown Syracuse. Come out to demand human rights for the Palestinian people and support the International Gaza Freedom March. Contact Debra George, 345-8118, or Pat Carmeli, 546-4514.

Syracuse Youth Opt-Out On December 11, we turned in over 100 opt-out forms collected by our Youth and Militarism Committee to the Syracuse City School District. These forms, filled out by city high school students, will prevent the district from sending their contact information to military recruiters (as otherwise required by the No Child Left Behind Act – see November/December PNL). That total represents a semester of our staffing information tables monthly during lunch periods at local high schools.

Each time we staff a table at least a couple of students stop by who are thinking about joining the military. Last month at Henninger High School one student was shocked to learn that you can’t just quit like any other job. A Corcoran student said she was planning to join the National Guard to pay for college by working one weekend a month for the military without going overseas. After a conversation and looking at some of our information, she changed her mind and signed an opt-out form.

In January, we hope to step up our work by supplying display materials to local community centers, staffing tables in two rural schools and engaging students in a more hands-on project such as a peace poster contest or classroom presentations. We need additional people to join us in this exciting work. Our next organizing meeting is Wednesday, January 20, 4 pm at SPC. Contact Andy or Jessica.

A Henninger student picks up free peace stickers at SPC’s youth and militarism table. Photo: Andy Mager

Anti-Wars Organizing
On Wednesday, December 3, Syracuse joined at least six other upstate NY communities in saying “No US Escalation in Afghanistan: Troops Out Now!” About 35 activists protested outside the Federal Building in downtown Syracuse the day after Obama’s announcement to increase US troops.

Recently, Hancock Air National Guard Base announced that hunter-killer Reaper drone missions “piloted” from nearby Hancock airbase are now being flown over Afghanistan, bringing the Syracuse area into the frontline of the war. The base’s public relations campaign is in full swing and on December 17, activists braved the weather to protest the drones during a base media event.

Much more needs to be done. Keep warm this winter with some hot organizing! The first organizing meeting of the new year will be Wednesday January 13, 7-8:30 pm at SPC. Contact Carol.

Supporting our Onondaga Neighbors
Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) has been active on multiple fronts this fall.

Our work to ban hydrofracking (a dangerous new method for extracting natural gas) in NYS continues at a feverish pitch. We’ve collaborated to organize educational/action meetings, spent scores of hours researching gas leases in Onondaga County and sent hundreds of postcards to the Governor and state representatives. We’ve also begun connecting with newly-elected Syracuse Common Councilors to seek their support for our Resolution of Respect for and Reconciliation with the Onondaga Nation.

See or contact Andy.

Onondaga Land Rights & Our Common Future II
In 2006, many hundreds of Syracuse residents, students and folks from afar flocked to Syracuse Stage for the ground-breaking educational series “Onondaga Land Rights and Our Common Future.” A revived collaboration is planning a follow up series beginning on Monday, February 8 at 7 pm at Syracuse Stage. The series is coordinated by NOON with co-sponsorship from various parts of Syracuse University, SUNY ESF, Le Moyne College, SUNY Empire State College and other area colleges. See or contact Andy.

Barb Kobritz helps with SPC’s 2008 move. Photo: Carol Baum

Activist Appreciation:   Barb Kobritz
Barb Kobritz, an SPC volunteer for over 30 years, is always thinking about SPC – about creative ways for us to raise funds and encourage more people to donate. But she’s also a doer – Barb has been on the finance and fundraising committee (you may have received a fund appeal letter from her), helped organize a pledge campaign (and pledges herself) and for the last two years was an integral part of creating and managing SPC’s Marketplace at Plowshares (which raises a lot of money). Barb is always available to consult on improving SPC tabling/merchandising displays. Thanks to Barb, the look and utility of our office entry area is vastly improved.

Barb does this all with great thoroughness, creativity and persistence.

Help Organize Our Strike for Peace Bowlathon
An energetic committee of Joan Conley, Ruth Florey, Rae Kramer, Jessica Maxwell and Wendy Yost has organized the SPC Bowlathon for the past two years. With the Bowlathon set for Sunday, February 28 at Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool, our first meeting is set for Tuesday, January 5 at 6 pm at 401 Scottholm Blvd. We would love a couple of more outgoing people to join us in recruiting teams, gathering prizes and promoting this fun-filled fundraiser. Contact Jessica.

SPC Retreat: January 30-31
We are now accepting RSVPs for our 2010 weekend overnite retreat on January 30-31 at Alverna Heights Retreat and Conference Center outside of Fayetteville. Active SPC supporters are welcome to attend part or all of the weekend. An agenda with specific times for activities will be available in January.

Even if you don’t want to join us for the retreat, come out on Saturday night at 7 pm to Boogie with us for Peace. Contact Jessica for any questions and to RSVP.

Mothers Against Gun Violence
Since last winter SPC activists have attended the Mothers Against Gun Violence vigils (5 pm on the Sunday after a killing at the homicide site). As we go to press, there have been 21 homicides in Syracuse (mostly of young black men). As survivors themselves of murdered family members, the Mothers are uniquely positioned to provide empathy and support to the murder victim’s family.

However, the Mothers do much more than vigil to stem violence. They offer timely support to the victim’s family and are expanding their efforts to prevent violence, working in schools and community settings.

Contact Helen Hudson, 345-8674,, or Tiffany Moore at to get on the vigil alert list or otherwise support the essential work of these remarkable women.

- Ann Tiffany

Local anti-SOA activist Nancy Gwin heads to trial
Central New York’s rich tradition of civil disobedience to close the US Army’s School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia continued on November 22, 2009 as Nancy Gwin, a long-time CNY Caribbean/Latin America activist, and three others from around the country were arrested for trespass. SOA grads perpetrated last year’s overthrow of Honduras’ elected president as well as hundreds of other crimes throughout Latin America.

Nancy’s trial will be on January 25 in federal court in Columbus, Georgia. The “SOA 4” may get up to six months in federal prison. Several Syracusans will go to Columbus to support Nancy. Contact Ann Tiffany, 478-4571 or check Kudos Nancy!

-Ed Kinane