Peace Council Pages
Educate, Agitate, Organize
SPC IN ACTION
compiled by Carol Baum
Syracuse Peace Council
What a Celebration!
|A sold out crowd celebrated peace activism on January 31 at SPC’s 75th anniversary kickoff event with activist and musician Harry Belafonte, and local talents Jack Brown, Colleen Kattau and Jackie Warren-Moore. Photo: Kristin Mosher|
Activist, singer and actor Harry Belafonte headlined SPC’s 75th Anniversary Kickoff Celebration on January 31. Syracuse Stage was jam packed with a diverse array of SPC friends and supporters who enjoyed an inspirational evening. In addition to Harry’s delightful and witty recollections, he offered a strong call for all of us to take action. Onondaga Nation faithkeeper Oren Lyons offered a welcome on behalf of his nation, local poets Jack Brown and Jackie Warren-Moore shared powerful spoken word pieces and Colleen Kattau and Some Guys closed out the evening with music.
The event generated great media attention for SPC in print, on radio and television, including a small piece in the Wall Street Journal (see our website for a full set of links and more photos). We also raised about $12,000 to support our programs. Thanks to the scores of people who made it successful and especially to SEIU 1199 for major assistance. Mark your calendars for the next major event—An Evening with Noam Chomsky, Wednesday, May 11 at 7 pm, at Nottingham High School. Contact Andy.
Peace Jam at Nottingham
On February 9, SPC’s Youth & Militarism committee teamed up with local socially conscious music acts Sophistafunk and Joe Driscoll to offer music with a message at the Peace Jam Assembly at Nottingham High School (photos at SPC’s website). Jack Brown, a new SPC Steering Committee member active with the Y&M committee and the vocalist for Sophistafunk, helped to conceptualize the program. Unfortunately, car troubles prevented Joe Driscoll from participating in the two assemblies which reached over 300 high school students. The assembly closed with Nottingham student activist Leyana Dessauer and SPC staff organizer Jessica Maxwell talking about the pivotal role that youth can and have played in movements for change. Information tables outside the auditorium were staffed by SPC activists and the Q Center – which provides resources to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students and allies.
Youth & Militarism is also gearing up for our spring Art for Peace contest and will staff information tables at several rural high schools this semester. Special thanks to Kristian Rodriguez for coordinating the effort. Contact Andy or Jessica.
Be an Anti-Wars Activist!
Opportunities abound in the next two months. Contact Carol.
Peace Outreach: March 1, from 4:15-5 pm at Hancock Airbase.
Join us outside the main entrance of Hancock Airbase (East Molloy Rd., Mattydale) to protest its involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Reaper drones are flown over Afghanistan remotely from the base; the base is also a primary drone maintenance training center. It will soon be a pilot and sensor operator training center, remotely flying training missions over the Adirondacks.
March 19: Veterans for Peace Action in Washington, DC
SPCs Monthly Program
Friday, March 25
Center for Peace & Social Justice
Sometimes you just want to sit back with like-minded people and talk about issues you care about, plot a revolution, or just have a cup of tea and make some new friends.
Stop by for the kickoff of SPC’s Leftist Lounge.
April 9: Bring the Troops Home Now! March and Rally in New York City and San Francisco.
The United National Antiwar Coalition has called for major bi-coastal antiwar demonstrations on April 9. SPC may organize buses; we certainly are happy to help with carpools. See UNACpeace.org.
April 21-22: Ground the Drones, Stop the Wars! - Syracuse
Activists from Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse, and points between have come together to plan a day full of action, including an educational evening, a walk to Hancock Air Base and speakers. Keep watching our website, listserv and the April PNL for more details.
Syracuse Activists Head to DC!
From April 8-10, members of the Caribbean and Latin American Coalition will travel to Washington, DC for the Education and Strategy Conference on US Militarism. We will join Latin America solidarity activists, people of faith, academics, students, antiwar and immigration activists, labor, women, and all sectors which are working to build a better world. To learn more, visit lasolidarity.org and to carpool, contact Ann, 478-4571.
Radical Reading Group
The Radical Reading group meets again on Tuesday, March 1 at 7 pm at 300 Berkeley Dr., Syracuse to continue discussing Horace Campbell’s Barack Obama and 21st Century Politics (book still available at the SPC office). In March we’ll choose new readings for the coming months. The Radical Reading Group will meet monthly on the 1st Tuesday. To join, contact Ursula.
Egypt: Ain’t No Power Like the Power of the People
|SPC organized a Stand with Egypt demonstration in front of the Federal Building on February 4. The energy was palpable as we marched and chanted. Photo: Carol Baum.|
Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation
On February 22, just after the PNL went to press, the closing celebration for the Onondaga Land Rights & Our Common Future series was held at the Onondaga Nation School. Discussions are already underway about continuing the work of the series.
NOON continues to focus on Onondaga Lake, partnering with the Onondaga Environmental Institute and the Onondaga Nation on the Onondaga Lake Community Education Program to share information and promote public advocacy for a truly clean lake. Invite us to present to your group!
NOON has put our effort to pass a Syracuse Common Council resolution on Onondaga Land Rights on hold. Join NOON, friends from the Onondaga Nation and attorney Joe Heath on Monday, March 14 at 5 pm at the SPC office, 2013 E. Genesee St. for a brainstorm and discussion of ways to advocate for Onondaga Land Rights within our community. Contact Andy.
Welcome SPC’s New Interns
After a slow fall semester for interns, the Peace Council has seven interns for the winter/spring. Rose Dillman, a SUNY-ESF senior and editor of the Knothole student paper, is working to help the PNL create a stronger online presence and assisting with outreach and membership development. Hannah Dean-Wood, also an ESF student, has been contacting rural schools to schedule SPC counter-recruitment tables and is working on the Bowlathon. Hope Collins, a Middle East Studies major at Syracuse University, is working with CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel on a variety of tasks, including educational events at local campuses and revising outreach materials. Carol Halter, a student at Onondaga Community College, has joined SPC’s Bowlathon Committee. Liz Hess, a Syracuse University student, is working on the Art for Peace contest, our weekly e-newsletter, and additional e-communications. Candace Bonaventura, a Le Moyne student and Alexis Fazio, from SU, are both doing video work for SPC.
SPC is very thankful for a donation last year that helped us purchase additional computers and for Andy Molloy’s ongoing help in creating new workspaces for so many interns. Please help welcome our new interns and support their interest in peace and social justice work.
Children’s Peace Workshop Training a Great Success
A group of warm, friendly workshop participants took the chill off a cold winter’s night recently as they learned how to facilitate our Children’s Peace Workshops. Eight people came filled with ideas and energy and left with paper crane making skills and the framework for a children’s lesson on peace. Thanks to Diane Swords, who served as the trainer and to Terry Gavigan for providing the lesson plans.
Now to use those skills! Please invite us to present at your place of worship, school or other place children congregate.
This program is co-sponsored by SPC and Peace Action. Contact Carol.
Gearing Up for Spring
Core members of Bikes 4 Peace are meeting monthly to prepare for spring training and plan summer workshops. Keep an eye out for a multi-session training in late April/May. We had 20 people attend our one-day training last year. We plan to have an application process for this year’s expanded training (still free!) and will ask all who attend to sign up to work at two of our summer youth workshops. We have also begun exploring the possibility of expanding Bikes 4 Peace into a year-round program similar to Bikes Not Bombs (Boston) or Recycle-a-Bicycle (NYC), which offer many components, including youth training programs and a community bike shop. Contact Jessica or Ursula to help out.
Make a Financial Commitment to SPC
SPC’s Fundraising/Development Committee has initiated a campaign to reach 75 pledgers by the end of the 75th anniversary year. Pledgers commit to a monthly or quarterly contribution to provide a strong funding base for SPC. Pledging options continue to grow: you can pay by check, automatic transfer from Cooperative Federal Credit Union or by credit card. Our 75th Anniversary offers an opportunity to put us on a much stronger footing for the coming decades of activism. Contact Andy.
Outreach Tabling Update
Last month, the Peace Council connected with students at OCC and ESF. Students wrote Valentine’s cards to Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle urging her to oppose the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. In March, we’ll table at ArtRage’s Women Rock! Fundraiser. To help grow the peace movement in our community, let us know of opportunities to table at events your group is organizing or join SPC’s Tabling Team. Contact Ursula.
|New Steering Committee member Jack Brown performed at SPC’s 75th anniversary kickoff celebration. Photo: Kristin Mosher|
Activist Appreciation: Jack Brown
Energetic, funky, engaging and lyrical are some of the words which describe SPC activist Jack Brown. A spoken word artist and lead singer for the rising musical trio Sophistafunk, Jack began working with SPC last spring when his band performed at a benefit for NOON. He jumped into our youth and militarism work, spicing things up with his remarkable ability to connect with young people. He’s staffed tables at local high schools (including getting kicked out of Fowler!), spoken to government classes and recently performed at Peace Jam at Nottingham (see accompanying piece). Jack also joined the SPC Steering Committee at the beginning of the year. We look forward to many years of jammin’ and rockin’ together for peace and social justice.
North Country Public Power
Syracuse Public Power activists had a unique opportunity to meet with members of the team that brought Public Power to the North Country–including two of the lawyers, the primary engineer and the financial adviser. We had a brief but informative meeting at the Syracuse airport as they were returning home from a training session with the newly formed North Country Power Authority, which is on track to begin serving 24 towns and municipalities in Franklin and Lawrence Counties in January 2012. Their experience offers invaluable lessons for our public power efforts as we continue to meet with city officials and gather information to support a municipal utility for the city of Syracuse.
SPC’s Energetic Retreat
Over twenty SPC activists headed out to Cazenovia February 5-6 for a weekend of discussion, evaluation and planning. The lovely Deer Hill Bed and Breakfast provided a cozy, well-supplied venue, and the harsh winter weather helped all appreciate the overnight accommodations. Many hands coordinated logistics, food, agenda setting and note-taking to allow us to have a productive and fun weekend. Thanks to all who participated.
On Saturday, we heard reports about SPC project committees and coalition work. We evaluated our outreach efforts and discussed how to better share resources and facilitate communication within the Peace Council. On Sunday, the Steering Committee reviewed highlights from Saturday’s discussion and agreed to implement three new efforts to promote communication and sharing among SPC committees, and to help new people understand how all of SPC’s work is connected to our core principles and mission. We are drafting a new brochure about SPC’s many program areas, will begin hosting open monthly political discussions (see box p.3), and plan to provide every SPC project with a list of available SPC resources and expectations.
SPC’s Program Committee will reconvene to help focus our Youth & Militarism work—which cannot follow up on all of the many ideas and opportunities identified in the past two years (unless more people come forward to share the work). That committee will also look at how to increase our other antiwar work. If you have feedback on what would help you participate in SPC’s antiwar efforts, please contact Jessica.