Educate, Agitate, Organize: SPC IN ACTION

From the September 2014 PNL #837

compiled by Carol Baum

SPC Garage Sale

Reduce! Get rid of unwanted stuff. Reuse! Your trash is my treasure. Recycle! Down with planned obsolescence. And support the Peace Council at the same time!
This year’s garage sale is September 13-14: Saturday 9 am–5 pm, Sunday 9 am–12 pm, 401 Scottholm Blvd., Syracuse. Drop off your “gently used” items Wednesday-Friday, September 10-12 between 9 am and 10 pm. Wanted: household and sporting goods, books, DVDs, games, toys, furniture, linens, tools, plants, art, jewelry, lamps, holiday items, appliances and more.

Please NO clothing, old electronics, things that DON’T work and miscellaneous crap (oops! not-good stuff). Helpers welcome for set-up and sale. Food provided. Questions? Call Rae, 445-2840.

No West Shore Amphitheater!

Following a successful campaign by Citizens for a Better Plan (of which NOON/SPC is a part) to extend the public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed amphitheater project at Onondaga Lake, a public hearing was held on August 26. Our hope is that the Legislature will find, following the close of the comment period on September 5, that the DEIS is insufficient and must be redrafted. To learn about the statement’s shortcomings – and how to send in comments yourself – visit www.peacecouncil.net/noon/amphitheater.

Citizens for a Better Plan will continue strategizing on how to best challenge this rushed project, in particular its proposed location on top of 80-foot-deep hazardous wastebeds on the west shore of Onondaga Lake. See www.facebook.com/CitizensforaBetterPlan and also SPC’s website for fact sheets. Contact Amelia.

Eliminating Police Brutality in Syracuse

Two recent cases of inappropriate use of force by the Syracuse Police Department have prompted the United as One coalition to launch a campaign against police brutality in our city. We will target SPD’s Use of Force policy, which is extremely vague. The coalition will set up listening stations throughout the city during September and October to gather stories from victims of violence at the hands of police. Though there are ways for victims to report their stories and seek investigation (particularly the Citizens Review Board), we know that many fear retribution or don’t believe the system can actually deliver justice to them. We will add these stories to others to bolster our efforts as we push for a rewrite of the Use of Force policy. Contact Amelia.

Justice for Raul and Chuniece

In addition to launching the new campaign described above, United as One (UaO) is hoping to successfully finish its original campaign—the push for a jail oversight policy to prevent any more needless deaths at the County’s jail, ironically named the Justice Center. For the past four years UaO has worked to honor the memories of Raul Pinet, Jr. and Chuniece Patterson, and we are very excited that a bill is finally expected to go to vote in the County Legislature in October. The Public Safety Committee will discuss the bill on Monday, September 8 at noon and we expect the bill to go to vote on Tuesday, October 7 at 1pm. It is extremely important for the community to show its support for jail oversight at both meetings. Please come. Contact Amelia.

Aly Joins Immigration Media Campaign

On August 20, Aly Wane joined ten other undocumented immigrants in Washington, D.C. at a news conference to press President Obama to use his executive authority to increase the number of undocumented people eligible for some form of a deferred action program. Currently, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program allows a small number of undocumented people to receive temporary legalization and work permits. However many do not qualify, including Aly. 

At the news conference, the eleven immigrants symbolically applied for the program and shared their stories with the media.

Aly is a member of the SPC Steering and PNL Editorial Committees. He is a dedicated activist and a kind, thoughtful person who is an integral part of our community. We stand with him.

SPC Open House September 23

We’ve had a busy summer, and now off to an even busier fall! If you’d like to learn more about the Peace Council or become reacquainted, come to the Fall Open House. Meet SPC activists and learn how to become one yourself. Come to our office Tuesday, September 23 at 6:30 pm for pizza (including vegan pizza), good conversation and learning about SPC. If stairs are a problem, let us know and we will make it work. Contact Michael.

Jessica Azulay, Staff Organizer Extraordinaire

Farewell to Jessica Azulay who has left her position as SPC staff organizer after two years of dedicated work. She was active with us for years before joining the staff, previously serving on the Steering Committee and serving twice as a short-term staff organizer.

With a unique personal style that is simultaneously lighthearted and dead serious, Jessica has made her mark at the Peace Council. She is impeccably fair, believes deeply in sharing skills and is committed to transparency in organizational affairs. She thinks creatively and independently, raises questions and welcomes debate. Jessica brought an unshakeable commitment to non-hierarchical structures and equal sharing of responsibilities to the staff collective, where she offered a steady voice embracing both compassion and reason.

Jessica is passionate about her work, thoughtful about her words and skilled in many areas which have helped to move SPC forward. For example, she was the primary designer of the new website, wrote documentation for it and trained others to work with the new site. She is talented with numbers, understands budgets, and is willing to do the work involved in keeping SPC organized and solvent. Jessica is also a skilled researcher, writer and political thinker, who is articulate in clarifying and expressing information and analysis. 

Although we hate to see her go, we are proud of her leadership as the current staffperson for Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE), where she works full time. We’re grateful that Jessica will remain active with SPC and continue to serve on the Steering Committee. Thank you so very much for all of your work!

Thanks to Our Summer Interns

SPC has been graced once again with three terrific summer interns—Sharon Dellinger, Brianna Shetler and Holly Reedy.


Brianna and Sharon
coordinating SPC’s
downtown outreach
tabling.
Photo: Carol Baum

Sharon and Brianna were the brains and brawn behind the weekly Downtown Outreaches. Each week they set up an SPC table on the sidewalk by the Farmer’s Market and interacted with shoppers for two hours. They also joined the Ground the Drones Committee and helped organize the State Fair tableau. In addition, Sharon, whose numerous skills include office systems analysis, helped a great deal with our database. Brianna did a bit of everything, including being an SPC representative with Solarize Syracuse and organizing the recent “Drone Deliberation” talk and film showing.

Holly’s focus was Bikes 4 Peace (B4P), so she was in the office less. She also worked on SPC’s weekly e-newsletter and helped with a variety of odd jobs.

We are so grateful to Brianna, Holly and Sharon for their spirit, humor, flexibility and most of all dedication—and look forward to working with them in the future.

Seeking PNL Website Worker

Do you want to help launch the Peace Newsletter into the digital age? Are you interested in learning about SPC’s website? The PNL is looking for a long-term volunteer to take charge of moving the newsletter’s archives from SPC’s old website to our new one. Website visitors can currently view all PNL archives back to Issue #1 from 1936, but individual articles are only tagged and searchable back through 2012. This is a multi-month project that requires substantial training. You must commit to work on the project regularly (weekly or bi-weekly) for a minimum of six months. Contact Amelia.

People’s Climate March Bus

On Sunday, September 21, there will be an unprecedented climate mobilization in New York City, the People’s Climate March (www.peoplesclimate.org/march). Buses are in the process of being organized from Syracuse by Sierra Club and possibly others. Check www.peacecouncil.net—we’ll put information there as we get it.

Intern for Peace and Justice in the Fall

SPC is seeking interns who want to change the world. Whether you want to work for peace in the Middle East or here in Onondaga County, we are interested in you (or someone you know). Interns can focus their work on any of our committees (see page 2), or on event organizing (including SPC’s upcoming Birthday Dinner on November 1 and our December Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival). We also welcome your own ideas for internships.
Interns at the Peace Council need to be self-starters and comfortable operating in a grassroots environment. Hours, start date and length of internship are flexible. Check out the intern application at www.peacecouncil.net/internships-in-activism.

Drone Activism and Dewitt Town Court

Much of the summer has been spent dealing with court:

•  In early July, Mary Ann Grady Flores was sentenced to one year in prison for violating an order of protection which she received after a nonviolent civil resistance action at Hancock Air Base. She is currently out on $5,000 bail, having received a stay of sentence as her appeal is being heard.

 • On July 22, seven activists were arrested at the base for delivering a war crimes indictment and a people’s order of protection. Two were accused of violating orders of protection and given $10,000 bails each. Within the week, their bails were reduced to $100.

• There was some great news at the end of July. Vietnam veteran and Buffalo resident Russell Brown was acquitted for participating in an action in April, 2013. He had lain in the roadway across from the base to symbolize the death of drone victims.  Russell told the jury, “Lying in that road was the most peaceful moment I’ve experienced since I left Vietnam. I was silent then in the face of those atrocities and I can’t be silent anymore.”

 • Court appearances and trials continue and need your support. Check out the dates on upstatedroneaction.org/WebCalendar/month.php

 •  Legal help is needed and expenses are mounting. Please consider making a check out to Upstate Drone Action and send to UDA c/o the Syracuse Peace Council, 2013 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13210. Contact Carol.

Local Ground the Drones Work

A recent Ground the Drones outreach table netted eighteen letters to Rep. Maffei about drones. A “Drone Deliberation” program drew a small group to hear local anti-drone activist Ed Kinane speak and then view the film Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars. Our State Fair tableau engaged fairgoers to read our literature and talk with us.
As part of Upstate Drone Action, we’ve also started work on the Day of International Action to Ban Weaponized Drones and Drone Surveillance (Sunday, October 5). Contact Carol.

Bike Raffle: Go the Extra Mile for Change

Tickets for SPC’s annual Bike Raffle are available now. Support SPC while getting a chance at a Bianchi Cortina hybrid, valued at $450, from Mello Velo Bike Shop (550 Westcott St.) Tickets are 1 for $2, 3 for $5 and 7 for $10 and are available at ArtRage Gallery, Mello Velo, Strong Hearts Café, Syracuse Real Food Co-op, SPC, and the Pewter Spoon Café in Cazenovia. The drawing will be held September 21, at the Westcott Street Cultural Fair.

You can also go the extra mile by selling Bike Raffle tickets. Pick up an envelope of 20 tickets with full instructions at SPC, or contact Michael and we’ll send them to you.

Gaza Rallies and Vigils Draw Many

CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel continues to hold public events toward ending the massive violence against civilians in Gaza. More than 200 people rallied at the Federal Building in Syracuse on July 25, with representation from SPC, Ithaca Jewish Voice for Peace, Cornell Coalition for Justice in Palestine and many in the local Palestinian and Muslim communities.

SPC is holding weekly vigils at the intersection of Erie Blvd E. and E. Genesee St. every Friday from 4:30-5:30. Come hold a sign on this major commuter route. We also encourage you to boycott companies that benefit from the occupation. Don’t buy Sodastream, Sabra Hummus, Tribe Hummus, Ahava, Hewlett Packard or Motorola.

To learn more about us, go to “Free Palestine” on the “Campaigns” tab on SPC’s website.  

Move To Amend

The Move To Amend (MTA) campaign  continues to organize nationally for a constitutional amendment establishing that a corporation is not entitled to the rights of persons and that election spending is not a “free speech” right of corporations. MTA is part of the New York For Democracy coalition which recently signed a majority of the NY Assembly and nearly half of the NY Senate onto a letter calling on Congress to pass an amendment. We’ll survey candidates for office this fall through our “Pledge to Amend” campaign, educating voters on their responses. Locally, MTA is working to make Syracuse the twentieth New York municipality to call for an amendment. MTA meets the third Thursday each month, 7-9 pm at the Center for Peace and Social Justice. Contact Michael or see www.movetoamend.org/NY-Syracuse. SPC is an endorsing organization of Move To Amend.


We are Solarizing Syracuse

Your neighbors are looking into whether they can reduce their environmental impact and save money by going solar. Are you? Solarize Syracuse, a project organized by local community organizations (including SPC) and Syracuse-area residents, offers people the opportunity to learn about how solar energy works and find out whether their property is suitable for solar. Through a partnership with a local solar company, Solarize offers bulk purchase discounts to our community, so the more people who sign up to go solar, the more everyone saves. More than 200 people have signed up so far for a free solar quote and several contracts have been signed. With all the incentives and tax credits available, solar can be more cost-effective than utility electricity rates. Don’t miss this opportunity. Attend one of our free workshops (see calendar) or visit www.solarizesyracuse.org.

Ruth Putter ¡Presente!

Longtime activist Ruth Putter died in April, 2014. Throughout her long life she was a committed social justice activist and feminist. She was a talented photographer and much of her work documents more than 70 years of peace and social justice movements, civil rights and feminism. She co-authored a book of photographs and writings on the Women’s Peace Encampment at Romulus, NY and had many exhibits of her work.

Ruth was incredibly generous. After the death of her husband Norton, Ruth offered to fund the creation of ArtRage: The Norton Putter Gallery, and was instrumental in the restoration of the Matilda Joslyn Gage House in Fayetteville (Gage was a feminist contemporary of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony). She donated time and money to many groups and in death left money to a number of them. SPC is grateful and proud that she included us. Thank you, Ruth, for what you’ve done, who you were and your investment in the future.

Celebrate Fall at Sycamore Hill Gardens  

The Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice is so busy managing the building for us tenants that they hold only one fundraiser a year – and it is a lovely event. Get outside on Sunday, September 7 from 11 am to 4 pm at Sycamore Hill Gardens (2130 Old Seneca Turnpike, Marcellus) for an afternoon in a country garden. Tickets are $5-50 sliding scale (more if you can, less if you can’t) in advance and $10-50 at the door (free for children under 8). Tickets are available at the SPC office, Cooperative Federal, Syracuse Food Coop and ArtRage.

Bikes 4 Peace

Bikes 4 Peace is drawing to a close after another successful summer. We held four busy bicycle repair clinics at two locations in Syracuse – Northeast Community Center and Brady Faith Center. We gave five bicycles to children who had helped repair them and provided parts and guidance to repair numerous bikes brought in by neighborhood residents. In addition we passed out three large bags full of new bike helmets courtesy of the Onondaga County Traffic Safety Advisory Board. A lot of kids went away happy those evenings with the parents who assisted us.

We also gave two bikes to Brady Faith’s Pedal to Possibilities program, which holds community bike rides with formerly homeless people who can earn a bike after riding a set number of miles.

For next summer we’re looking for possible Bikes 4 Peace clinic sites on the near west side. If you have an idea for a site, please contact Dave Kashmer at 315-350-7642 or daveekash@gmail.com.

Bikes 4 Peace will hold an end of the season bicycle repair party, time and place to be announced. Until then, thank you to our volunteers; special thanks to Dave Kashmer for coordinating this summer.

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