Peace Council Pages
Educate, Agitate, Organize
SPC IN ACTION
compiled by Carol Baum
Syracuse Peace Council
|SPC rang in the New Year with a renewed call for peace—at home and globally. The unseasonally warm weather brought out a nice crowd to Clinton Square for our annual New Year’s Eve Vigil. Photo: Mike Greenlar|
Let the 75th Celebrations Begin
SPC hopes you’ll join us for the kick off of our 75th Anniversary Celebration with Harry Belafonte on Monday, January 31 at 7 pm at Syracuse Stage. Tickets, which will go fast, cost from $15 (low income) to $1,000 (peace champion).
Work is underway to transform what had been planned as a primarily internal celebration of our 75th anniversary into a Community Celebration. We’re working with SU to bring a major speaker next fall and are beginning discussions with other educational and cultural organizations about dedicating an event during the coming year to celebrate SPC’s anniversary. More details soon. Contact Andy.
SPC’s New Staff
SPC’s hiring committee received over 20 applications for our staff organizer position…and we’re excited to announce that Ursula Rozum was hired in December. An SPC activist for the past two years, Ursula is already known to many in the SPC community for her work with Bikes 4 Peace, the Caribbean Latin America Coalition and other local organizations. Ursula will work to improve SPC’s people power resources. Welcome Ursula! Read more about her.
It’s a New Year, Let’s Work for Change
War. Inequality. Violence. It’s all connected. Start 2011 with a resolution to speak out against injustice and to take action for a more peaceful world. The Peace Council invites you to a New Year’s Open House at our office at 2013 E. Genesee St., Wednesday, January 19 from 6-7:30 pm (parking available in the back). Learn about the Peace Council’s work, how we fit into Syracuse’s progressive tradition, and how you can join our work for social change. If you’ve been reading the Peace Newsletter and wanting to get involved, this Open House is for you! Refreshments. RSVP to Ursula.
SPC’s 40th Plowshares
Over 120 craftpersons and artists sew and saw, paint and carve, and otherwise prepare their perfect things to sell to thousands of shoppers. The Plowshares committee plans over several months, hones the application, juries the crafts and works with SPC staff on so many details: publicity, street signs, program, the press. Hundreds of volunteer hands carry boxes and put up signs and do the many, many, many tasks necessary to transform Nottingham High School into a beautiful community of honest commerce and activism.
The performers make us smile and weep. The Mission makes delicious food for us all. And the attendees, shoppers, networkers make it all happen as they come smiling through the door. Surely December 4 and 5 proved a great success as SPC’s 40th edition of Plowshares graced our community. As usual, it was over in a flash, and Sunday evening we worked to restore the set for school the next day. Plowshares is SPC’s largest fundraiser each year and we are so glad for the growth in this event.
Thanks and gratitude are extended to the movers and shakers, decorators, cleaners and all the others who make Plowshares an event that brightens everyone’s spirits. See you next year December 3 and 4, 2011. We’ll be there!
The Radical Reading Group is back
It’s cold out there, so why not curl up together around a good book and conversation? In January we’ll be reading Barack Obama and 21st Century Politics: A Revolutionary Moment in US History by local activist and academic Horace Campbell. The book is available at the Peace Council office for $15. On Feb 1 at 7 pm we’ll meet at 300 Berkeley Dr. The author will join us for a discussion about building the movement for peace and justice in our community. ( See Horace’s article).
We expect the Public Service Commission to make a decision on National Grid’s rate hike request at their January 20 meeting. The Public Power Coalition will hold a demonstration in response to the decision—either to celebrate a victory for grassroots activism if the hike is denied, or to express our outrage. Either way, we encourage you to come show your support for a municipal utility in Syracuse, so we don’t have to constantly defend our electric rates from corporate greed. We plan to gather downtown on the day of the decision—details TBA. Look for CNY Public Power on Facebook to stay in touch.
SPC continues to talk to dozens of students every month through our high school outreach. This spring we plan to table every other month (instead of monthly) in the city schools so we can reach out to nearby rural schools as well. We’re also involved with anti-bullying work at the city schools and gearing up for our second annual Art for Peace contest. Our next organizing meeting will be Monday, January 24 at 7 pm at SPC. Please join us in supporting youth activism and peace work in our schools. Contact Andy or Jessica.
Winter Peace Outreach and Anti-Drones Activism
Warm up with some hot winter activism! Join the Peace Outreachers the first Tuesday of each month to protest the reaper drones at Hancock Air Base—that’s 4:15-5 pm outside the main entrance on E. Molloy Rd., Mattydale. We’ll supply the signs, you supply the spirit. Contact Ann Tiffany or Ed Kinane (478-4571).The Anti-wars Committee continues to educate the community about the drones at Hancock Air Base. Regional anti-drone activism is building, and recently there have been two regional meetings in Syracuse. More are planned. Contact Carol.
SPC Retreat: February 5-6
Mark your calendars for the 2011 weekend overnight retreat on February 5-6 at Deer Hill Bed and Breakfast in Cazenovia. SPC activists are welcome to attend part or all of the day on Saturday (starting at 10 am), and stay the night and enjoy breakfast with the Steering Committee on Sunday morning. On Sunday, the Steering Committee will meet for the day and others are welcome to stay and observe or to enjoy outdoor winter activities. An agenda will be available later in the month. Contact Carol for questions and to RSVP.
|Brent Bleier at a June, 2010 demonstration to protest the Israeli
attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Photo: Andy Mager
Strike for Peace: February 27th
Get ready—the Peace Council’s annual Strike for Peace Bowlathon is coming up. It is always loads of fun for all ages. Last year we had over 200 people bowl. This year we’re once again at Flamingo Lanes in Liverpool for two sessions, 12:30-2:30 pm and 3-5 pm on Sunday, February 27. There will be prizes for costumes, team name, team spirit and more, as well as free Strike for Peace T-shirts for anyone who raises $50 or more through pledges.
Contact Carol to reserve a lane for your team. Entry fee is $15/adult, $10/youth 12 and under. Teams must be 4-6 people. The alley is completely accessible and bumpers are available. Fee includes two games plus shoe rental. High spirits and outrageous outfits desired!
No Olive Branches in Sight
CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel sponsored a lively discussion with Palestinian Israeli Bashir Bashir on alternatives to partition on a snowy December 7 eve. We’re working to bring Rabbi Brian Walt to Syracuse in the spring, and will continue educating Central New Yorkers about Palestine and Israel in order to move US policy toward support of a just peace. Contact Andy.
Activist Appreciation – – Brent Bleier
It is hard to imagine a time Brent Bleier has not been connected to SPC. We randomly chose a PNL—from 1981—and sure enough there he was, on the Steering Committee. Brent’s relationship to SPC has been similar to that of a foundation to the rest of the house—it holds it up, which allows the rooms to be full of activity. For the last two years, this has literally been the case as Brent is the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice building manager. He keeps the walks shoveled, the heat working and helps all the resident organizations with their needs.
In addition to his organizational support roles, Brent’s primary political activism focuses on Palestine-Israel. Brent, a Jewish peace activist, has been both an important part of CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel and the most persistent voice “noodging” the organized Jewish community to address this issue.
Brent is a sweet, gentle man who is in it for the long haul. Thank you, Brent.
Like Good Neighbors…
The closing celebration of NOON’s year-long Onondaga Land Rights and Our Common Future series was postponed due to snow.
Mark your calendar for Tuesday, February 22 at 7 pm at the Onondaga Nation School, Rt. 11A, Onondaga Nation Territory.
NOON organized a Thanksgiving Day Circle of Peace and Hope at Onondaga Lake. In addition to the 35 people who turned out, a large flock of geese made an appearance as well.
In mid-November NOON’s semi-annual gathering with Onondaga Nation leaders provided an opportunity to strengthen connections and share ideas. Our Onondaga friends again highlighted their concerns about hydrofracking. NOON applauds Gov. Patterson’s executive order for a temporary ban on horizontal hydrofracking. Thanks to the work of thousands of people across New York State and beyond we have won this temporary victory, but must continue working for a complete ban. We have updated and reprinted the hydrofracking section from the June PNL. Copies are available at the office or online at peacecouncil.net/noon. Contact Andy.
Paying the Bills
SPC is delighted to have Ursula Rozum join our staff. We’re confident that her energy focused on building SPC’s people-power resources will help SPC grow. But our budget also needs to grow. With that in mind, please consider a donation if you haven’t yet responded to the fall fund appeal. We’re also launching a 75 for 75 Campaign to recruit a total of 75 monthly or quarterly pledgers to support SPC in a consistent way. (This would be an ambitious 75% increase in pledgers over the coming year). SPC’s fundraising/development committee would welcome some new blood too! Contact Andy.
|Five Syracusans – Herm Bieling, Chris Jamison, Ed Kinane, Rae Kramer and Ann Tiffany – were part of an anti-war demonstration on December 16 in front of the White House. The activists, organized by Veterans for Peace, demanded that the President and our nation take to heart the message “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All” and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chris, Ed, Rae and Ann were arrested with 127 others. Ed is just to the left of the “How is the War Economy Working for You?” sign. Photo: Ellen Rachel Davidson.|
First Amendment-2; Local D.A.-0
On December 3, 2010, before County Court Judge Anthony Aloi, local attorney Joe Heath successfully defended Ed Kinane against the District Attorney’s appeal of an earlier decision in Geddes Town Court. Judge Aloi, ruling against the D.A., found that Judge John Kinsella—back in December 2008—properly dismissed the D.A.’s trespass and disorderly conduct charges against Ed.
Background: On Labor Day 2008 SPC activist Rae Kramer was leading the hooded and silent Ed (in orange jumpsuit and shackles) around the NY State Fair. A sign on Ed’s chest read “CLOSE GUANTANAMO.” After 30 or 40 minutes they were accosted by state troopers. The troopers were acting on a complaint by one of the many military recruiters trolling the fair.
Clear that his First Amendment free speech was being violated, Ed quietly refused the troopers’ (illegitimate) order to desist and disrobe. He was brusquely arrested and bundled off to a Geddes justice of the peace. Refusing to pay $1500 bail, Ed spent the next week in jail.
Meanwhile, the 170+ Guantanamo captives—despite President Obama’s inaugural pledge to close that notorious prison within a year—endure their eight-year ordeal. As they do each year, for eleven days beginning January 11, Ed and other Close Guantanamo activists will fast and do direct actions in DC in solidarity with those violated and forsaken men (see witnessTorture.org).