2013 E Genesee St., Syracuse, NY 13210
Monday and Wednesday
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
*Please call before popping in*
Stay in Touch
SPC Program Committees
BEYOND WAR AND MILITARISM
(also part of CNY Solidarity Coalition)
Ron Van Norstrand
JUSTICE FOR PALESTINE
NEIGHBORS OF THE ONONDAGA NATION
(315) 492-2684 or email@example.com
NUCLEAR FREE WORLD
(315) 391-4484 or firstname.lastname@example.org
PLOWSHARES CRAFTSFAIR COMMITTEE
SPC STEERING COMMITTEE
Mariana Pernia email@example.com
Welcome to the New SPC in Action!
This is our first SPC in Action Newsletter on our recently redesigned website! For the print version, click here. In this newsletter, we have:
- SPC in Action Online!
- Get Involved!
- SPC NEWS
- SPC COMMITTEES
- COALITIONS & ORGANIZATIONS
– SPC Newsletter Editorial Committee
SPC In Action Online!
Welcome to the renewed e-newsletter, “SPC in Action,” an electronic newsletter that can keep you updated on the latest news and events happening at the Syracuse Peace Council (SPC). We too miss the old paper version but rising costs and ecological concerns have inspired us to find new ways to stay in touch and share with you the many ways in which we are working towards creating a more peaceful and just world.
We also want to acknowledge all of the people who have put their time and energy into volunteering for the Peace Council over the past couple of years. Through the many transitions we have experienced, you have remained steadfast in your commitment to promoting peace and social justice. We are truly grateful for your unwavering support.
In this newsletter, you will find information about upcoming events, actions, and campaigns, as well as highlights from recent events and actions.
We want to thank everyone who helped put this newsletter together, from the writers to the editors, and everyone in between. We could not have done it without your support and dedication.
We hope that you find this newsletter informative and inspiring. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions for future issues.
Thank you for your ongoing support of the Syracuse Peace Council. Together, we can make a difference.
In peace and solidarity,
Ayeh and Lee,
There are many ways to get involved with the Peace Council, and every contribution counts: attend an event, join a committee, volunteer at the office, or organize a rally or demonstration.
We provide training and resources for all volunteers, and there are many opportunities to contribute from home. Help with publicity and outreach, by posting flyers, joining our social media team, or tabling at events. Use your artistic skills to create materials, or help with small tasks like running errands or making phone calls.
As we move into Spring and Summer 2023, we have a number of exciting actions and events coming up, including the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal and the Golden Rule Peace Boat arriving in July. We need your help to organize transportation, housing, meals, talks, and educational events for these occasions.
Support the Syracuse Peace Council by volunteering your time or donating any amount to help us replace inequality, hierarchy, domination, and powerlessness with mutual respect, personal empowerment, cooperation, and a sense of community. As a politically independent and grassroots organization, we rely on people-power to challenge the existing power relationships among nations, people, and the environment!
We are seeking interns for summer 2023 who are enthusiastic and passionate about working to create a world of peace, freedom, equality, and social justice and who are motivated to take action to end military aggression, imperialism, and all forms of oppression. By interning at our office, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about important issues of the day as well as the basics of grassroots organizing from outreach to publicity to fundraising. To learn more about our different summer internships, click here.
Fill out our volunteer form or contact Lee or Ayeh at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315.472.5478 to find out more about how you can get involved. Let’s work together to create a more peaceful and just world. Thank you for your support!
– Ayeh Hajjari
Syracuse Peace Council
The Syracuse Peace Council (SPC) is seeking interns who are enthusiastic and passionate about working to create a world of peace, freedom, equality, and social justice and who are motivated to take action to end military aggression, imperialism, and all forms of oppression.
GOLDEN RULE PEACE BOAT
Organizing for the nonproliferation and abolition of nuclear weapons, with our local work on the Golden Rule Peace Boat and Back From the Brink Campaign.
SOCIAL MEDIA / E-COMMUNICATIONS
Help build and maintain SPC’s social media presence, e-announcements, and website to keep our community updated on our organizing and advocacy and how to get involved.
NEIGHBORS OF THE ONONDAGA NATION-NOON
NOON educates and organizes in solidarity with Onondaga people on Onondaga Land. ongoing projects include the effort to replace the Columbus Statue in downtown Syracuse, Witness to Injustice experiential workshops on the history of the colonization of Turtle Island, planning for Indigenous Peoples Day 2023, and outreach tabling at community events.
Plowshares Craftsfair 2022
Greetings from the Plowshares planning committee! We are happy to be updating you on the other side of another successful Plowshares, which found us back at Nottingham High School for that first weekend in December 2022. The fair saw attendance numbers akin to 2019, with about 3,000 people visiting the fair’s more than 100 vendors, both new and familiar. Planning was a bit easier than it had been during the previous few years’ ever changing landscape, and we are grateful to be able to focus on internal development as we begin planning for 2023.
Having added several newer members over the past 5 years, the committee has been bringing those members deeper into the fold by teaming up Plowshares veterans with newer folks to share their wisdom and details of making the magic happen. We are considering expanding the committee again by adding new members, and we know that by learning from those who have been there from the beginning we will ensure Plowshares continues for the next 50 years!
We are also working on growth in the technology department, as we consider moving some aspects of planning into the digital age. The committee is considering changing over to online options for several things, from applications to the layout of the Cafeteria and Gym floors. Our aim is added ease and more streamlined shared access for planning purposes, and we are cautious but excited about the possibilities.
What will never change is our commitment to the roots of Plowshares, which remain centered on true community, peace, and access for all. The committee thanks everyone who has a hand in making Plowshares happen, and will be actively seeking volunteers of all ages and abilities to keep the momentum going. We give a special shout-out to Rae Kramer, the raffle queen, whose contributions to Plowshares and our community have been invaluable, and to whom we feel endless gratitude and love; she will be deeply missed.
Please visit SPC Plowshares Craftsfair page for details of how to get involved in Plowshares 2023!
– Carmen Crafts
The Peace Council’s fiscal year runs from July through June. The half-year review for December 31, 2022 found that, overall, the Peace Council was in good shape for that point in the year. We had a strong Plowshares which met our budgeted figure, netting over $40,000. Over the past twelve months, the savings that are available to supplement operations (that is, the money not already encumbered to the various committees) increased by $1,600. This is important because our personnel costs will be higher than last year given all the aspects of the transition from former staffers Carol and Michaela to current staffers Lee and Ayeh. Bookkeeping costs were also lower last year but will return to previous levels with the recent hiring of Kaitlyn.
An area of concern is that the overall giving (contributions/pledges/appeals/ memberships) was down. Even in early January when most of the year-end contributions had come in, we were at about 37% of our projected $34,500 target through June 2023 instead of close to 50%. Please respond as generously as you can when you receive the Spring Fund Appeal scheduled for later May.
– Chris Riley
Bookkeeper Comings and Goings
Welcome to Our New Bookkeeper: Kaitlyn Shanahan
In February 2023, SPC hired Kaitlyn Shanahan as the bookkeeper to replace Chris Riley who had been filling in since Amelia Lefevre left in August of 2021. A graduate of ESF and a former Westcott Nation resident, Kaitlyn has been a Watershed Inspector for Owasco Lake, worked for Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and participated in Occupy Syracuse. You may have even met Kaitlyn at the Regional Market where she currently manages sales for “Food & Ferments“, a local food producer.
In recent years, Kaitlyn made a shift in her career track and now has a small bookkeeping business. Being the bookkeeper for an organization like the Peace Council aligns with her professional goals which have remained the same across the years: to work towards a better future. Welcome, Kaitlyn!
– Chris Riley
Kudos and Thanks to Our Outgoing Bookkeeper: Chris Riley
It is impossible to overstate the contribution Chris Riley has made to SPC’s financial well-being.
In August 2021 she became SPC’s temporary bookkeeper, a position that should have ended in six months, until someone new was hired. Hiring a new person proved difficult, and Chris, dedicated and responsible person that she is, agreed to stay on. So now, 2.5 years later, Katilyn has been hired and Chris is officially leaving the bookkeeper position. We are lucky that she will continue as assistant bookkeeper, a role she has filled for many years, supporting and training new SPC bookkeepers and preparing SPC taxes, among other things.
SPC is also very fortunate that Chris will remain on as an integral part of SPC’s Finance Committee which she joined around 15 years ago (also she had already been doing SPC financial work for several years before). Currently, Chris does much of the financial analysis, prepares the yearly budget, researches solutions to problems as they come up, communicates regularly with our fiscal sponsor (and helped set up the original agreement)—I could go on and on, but you get the idea. There is nothing having to do with SPC’s finances that Chris has not been a part of.
Chris is a hard-working, thorough, and careful thinker who understands SPC and wants to support it in the best way she can. In addition, she is a joy to work with—with her intelligence, follow-through, kindness, cooperative spirit and insightfulness.
For many, finances are not the first thing they think of when they decide to become activists. But finances is what allows activism to happen. In a way finances are like the foundation of a house providing the support we need to build a better future.
We are so grateful that Chris is a part of SPC. Thank you so much, Chris. Words are inadequate to express our appreciation of what you have done and what you continue to do.
– Carol Baum
Beyond War and Militarism (BWAM): Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal
BWaM Takes it to the Next Level
After our slow-down during COVID-19, the Beyond War and Militarism Committee (BWAM, a joint committee of SPC and the Syracuse Solidarity Coalition) has many ongoing projects. Within the last year, we have seen the war on Ukraine persist, the US military budget increase, and the nuclear threat accelerate. 2022 also marks 20 years since the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the resulting continuing tragedies—all of which need creative response. To join us in any of the following projects, please contact Ron Van Norstrand at email@example.com.
Medea Benjamin’s Visit on April 20 and 21
SPC organized a visit from Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of CodePink, and BWAM was a part of the organizing team. Medea spoke on Friday April 21 at 7pm at the Bishop Harrison Center (1342 Lancaster Ave., Syracuse) on a book she recently co-authored with Nicholas Davies—War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict (O/R books). The talk was attended by more than 60 people and lead to a lively question and answer session.
Support Upstate Drone Action Coalition’s (UDA) Local Anti-Drone and Merchants of Death Actions
On Friday morning, April 21, UDA, in concert with the national Merchants of Death campaign (see next item), peoples’ subpoenas were served to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand’s downtown Syracuse offices, and then the nearby Chase Bank, the Catholic diocese chancelry, Lockheed Martin and the Hancock killer drone base (6000 E. Molloy Rd.). Medea Benjamin will be joined us and great fun was had by all. For a video of the events, go to Upstate Drone Action.
Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal
BWAM is participating in a national campaign organizing a Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal to be broadcast online the weekend of November 10-13 (Armistice Day weekend, which BWAM will also be organizing for). The Tribunal will “hold accountable—through testimony of witnesses—U.S. weapons manufacturers who knowingly produce and sell products which attack and kill not only combatants but non-combatants as well …. The Tribunal will hear the evidence and render a verdict.” The weapons manufacturers of focus are Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics and Boeing.
The War in Ukraine
How to end the war in Ukraine is a complex issue in which people on the Left have differing opinions. BWAM is studying and discussing how to address the war in Ukraine in a way that doesn’t violate SPC’s commitment to nonviolence or feed into the military/industrial complex drive for profits from perpetual weapons sales and lobbying for US militarism.
Helping our Friends in Afghanistan
Over time, members of the US peace movement have gotten to know some residents and citizens of Afghanistan who have worked for peace. Some are still in Afghanistan and are at risk. We are working to find more ways to support them.
The Golden Rule Peace Boat Comes to CNY July 16-17
The Golden Rule, a direct action sailboat, has a history of interposing itself where it can disrupt nuclear bomb testing. In 1958 the boat and its small, fearless nonviolent crew voyaged to the Marshall Islands testing area in the Pacific. Owned by Veterans for Peace, it has embarked on a coast-to-coast journey to educate U.S. people about nuclear weapons. This July 16-17 BWAM will be welcoming both the boat and the crew to Central New York. Details forthcoming. Mark your calendars and join us!
STREET HEAT is just one, very unencumbered way to work for peace and social justice. We’re part of years – decades–long local grassroots tradition here and in Ithaca and elsewhere. We stand out and up for what we stand for.
EVERY FRIDAY 4 to 4:45 p.m JUSTICE FOR PALESTINE The west sidewalk of the broad intersection of Erie Blvd East & East Genesee St. in De Witt (across from the Fire Dept.)
EVERY SATURDAY 9 to 9:45 a.m RANGE OF ISSUES (racism, anti-war, anti-nuke, etc.) Across from Syracuse’s Regional Market, 2100 Park St. at the offramp from Liverpool/Park St. exit of 81 N.
FIRST & THIRD TUESDAYS OF THE MONTH 4 to 4:45 p.m. KILLER DRONES Hancock AFB (home of the 174th Attack Wing of the NYS National Guard)
– Carol Baum
Justice for Palestine
The Justice for Palestine committee was founded in the wake of the December ‘08 Israeli attack on Gaza. The committee is a community educational and organizing project. We provide grassroots education and generate political pressure needed to re-orient US policy toward ending the occupation of Palestine.
For the past several years we have worked with national and international organizations on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement; the No Way To Treat A Child Campaign which aims to challenge and end Israel’s prolonged military occupation by exposing widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system; defend Palestinian children and hold perpetrators of grave rights violations accountable. The committee has worked on The Campaign to Defund Racism, a Palestinian-led movement to end the use of ‘charitable’ funds raised in the United States to carry out the mission of Israeli settler organizations. It aims to uncover wrongful acts being funded by these organizations through the use of their charitable status, stop the exploitation of US charitable laws that fund settler extremism and violence, and as a result, the subjugation and displacement of Palestinian communities. Lastly, we have worked locally to bring attention to a bill that U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced. The Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act also known as H.R. 2407(now called H.R.2590). The bill prohibits U.S. taxpayer funding for the military detention of children in any country, including Israel. This bill finds that Israel detains and prosecutes between 500-700 Palestinian children each year in a “military court system that lacks basic and fundamental guarantees of due process in violation of international standards.”
We continue to educate the local community on the displacement and mistreatment of Palestinians domestically within Palestine and the US and internationally due to the Israeli occupation. We will continue to hold protests, vigils, show films, documentaries and hold spaces for people who bare witness to the human rights violations faced by anyone who criticizes the way Israel is existing today. Our goal for this year is to send a community member on a delegation to Palestine in time for the fall olive harvest. We will be collecting donations to support this member on their trip through an organization called Eye Witness Palestine. Your donation will be greatly appreciated. Below are a list of events coming up, please add them to your calendar, we hope to see you soon.
– Aziza Zahran
May 15, 2023, 7:00 pm 8:30
Justice for Palestine presents
Gaza Film Screening
In commemoration of the Nakba
Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice
Nuclear Free World (NFW)
SPC’s Nuclear Free World Committee has been busy! Our mission to eliminate the threat of nuclear war has been made all the more urgent by Russia’s war against Ukraine, and the deteriorating relations between the US and China. We have focused much of our attention on the Back from the Brink Campaign, which calls for taking missiles off hair-trigger alert, commits the US to a policy of no first use, ends the trillion-dollar plan to modernize the entire US nuclear arsenal, and works towards a complete ban on nuclear weapons.
We arranged meetings with staff from Senators Schumer and Gillibrand in November 2022 to urge their support of legislation related to Back from the Brink. More recently we met with Ryan Sweeney, Legislative Director for Rep. Brandon Williams (NY-22). We urged his support of House Resolution 77 which endorses Back from the Brink and the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). TPNW has now been ratified by close to 70 countries!
We had a a few exciting events in April:
- April 20th to 21st: Medea Benjamin, founder of Code Pink and long-time social activist, has a new book War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict, co-authored with Nicholas Davies. She visited Syracuse and gave three talks, at Syracuse University, at Le Moyne College, and at Bishop Harrison Center.
- April 27th and 29th: Author Vincent Intondi visited Syracuse and spoke at Syracuse University and at Barnes and Noble about his new book: Saving the World from Nuclear Weapons: The June 12, 1982 Nuclear Disarmament Rally.
Dr. Intondi is from Syracuse and is a Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Race, Justice, and Civic Engagement at Montgomery College, Takoma Park, Maryland.
This summer the peace boat The Golden Rule is coming to Upstate New York. Veterans For Peace has recovered and restored the original peace ship, the Golden Rule, that set sail in 1958 to stop nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands, and which inspired the many peace makers and peace ships that followed. The reborn Golden Rule is sailing once more, to show that nuclear abolition is possible, and that bravery and tenacity can overcome militarism. It is scheduled to visit Syracuse July 16-17. Contact Ron vanNorstrand (firstname.lastname@example.org) or me (email@example.com) to find out how to get involved.
– Don Hughes
Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON)
In collaboration with WISH (Women of Italian and Syracuse Heritage), NOON continues efforts to remove the Columbus Statue in downtown Syracuse and move commemorations in our community from Columbus to honoring Indigenous Peoples Day. We filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief for the appeal of the case which has so far blocked the city of Syracuse from removing the statue. A ruling is expected in the coming months. Learn more, including reading the full amicus brief on our Replace Columbus page.
Witness to Injustice Programs
In 2018, NOON partnered with KAIROS Canada to present the Witness to Injustice Blanket Exercise in our region. The participatory educational experience helps people understand the effects of the colonization of North America on Indigenous people and nations, with a focus on the Haudenosaunee. NOON has created a strong partnership with Onondaga and other Haudenosaunee educators. Over the past five years we have conducted 90 workshops with over 2000 participants throughout Upstate New York and beyond. The program has been conducted at universities, secondary schools, faith communities and community organizations. We are partnering with the Onondaga County Public Libraries to offer several public programs later this year. Read about a recent program conducted virtually with folks in the Adirondacks here. See the NOON website to learn more or fill out the form to request a program.
Catholic Church Repudiates the Doctrine of Discovery
Following decades of advocacy by Indigenous Peoples and allies, on March 30, the Catholic Church finally issued a formal repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery (DOD). The DOD was a series of papal edicts which emboldened and provided religious and legal cover for the brutal conquest of much of the world by European powers beginning in the late 1400s. The DOD was enshrined into US law beginning in 1823. The US Supreme Court cited the DOD in a 2005 decision written by Ruth Bader Ginsburg which paved the way for the dismissal of Haudenosaunee land rights cases.
While the Catholic Church’s repudiation is a valuable first step, “it falls short of the kind of full accountability required to heal the still-festering wounds,” write Phil Arnold, Sandy Bigtree and Betty Lyons in a recent article Continuing Christian Domination: A Response to the Vatican’s Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery.
NOON continues to work on a variety of other issues including supporting the traditional Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫ (Cayuga) people under attack by an illegitimate government supported by the US, Onondaga Lake cleanup, return of land to the Onondaga Nation, adequate funding for the Onondaga Nation School, protecting Indigenous burial grounds and more. To get involved, contact Sue Eiholzer (firstname.lastname@example.org, 315-492-2684).
Peter Scheibe (1951 – 2022) ¡Presente!
Our community lost a good friend and supporter when Peter Scheibe died unexpectantly on November 25th. Peter’s involvement with the Syracuse Peace Council dates back to the early 1980s. He was a part of the OM (Organization and Maintenance) Committee, helped with birthday dinners, and marshalled for the Haig demonstration against US involvement in El Salvador. In fact, Peter and his wife Margaret Gelfuso met as members of the SPC-sponsored Mid-East Study Group in 1983.
In addition to his position as a Speech Pathologist for the Pre-K Program in the Syracuse City School District, Peter was on the Board of Cooperative Federal Credit Union for over twenty years. He also was involved in Parents for Public Schools, Westcott Community Center, and the Northside Learning Center, among other volunteer pursuits.
Over the years, as Peter’s participation in the activities of the Peace Council lessened, he and Margaret became stalwart pledgers. The commitment to financially support the Peace Council’s work was a continuation of his activism and is very much appreciated.
His intelligence, his humor, and his compassion combined to make Peter a worthy teammate in any endeavor and a friend par excellence. He is missed by so many.
– Chris Riley
On March 23, Rae Kramer (1947-2023)—pillar of the Syracuse Peace Council, costumed raffle lady of SPC’s Plowshares Craftsfair, pointed speaker of truth to court judges, girls’ soccer coach—after years of cancer, succumbed at her and Lanny Freshman’s home on Scottholm Blvd. Until near the very end, Rae, our local activist extraordinaire, was always smart and plucky!
Over the years Rae and I shared adventures. Taking time away from our work on the Peace Newsletter editorial committee, in 2005, we and a handful of friends flew to Colombia. The U.S.-fostered civil war there was raging. In Bogota for several days, we met with various civil resistance movement activists. Then, along with delegation organizer Ann Tiffany, one of Rae’s closest friends, we flew on to Putumayo Department in the far south. Midway, our flight was delayed by news that the FARC guerillas had just disabled the local airport control tower. Things were tense.
Back then, the Pentagon’s School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia was training and indoctrinating the Colombian and other Latin American militaries in anti-insurgency tactics. Those were also the days when over a dozen of us from Central New York were imprisoned at various times for our ritualized nonviolent actions there. Rae, in 2002, found herself serving six months in Danbury Federal prison.
Aaarrrg—I see I’ve nearly overrun my allotted space! So, dear reader, I encourage you to check out Lanny’s beautiful obituary for Rae Kramer at syracuse.com. But finally let me express how since 2010 Upstate Drone Action has really valued Rae’s diplomacy, especially in dealing with the state police at Hancock killer drone base—even when they were taking us off to be booked.
RAE KRAMER ¡PRESENTE!
– Ed Kinane
Rae Kramer: A Celebration of Life
Sunday, April 23, 2023, 1-4 pm
University United Methodist Church
1085 E Genesee St, Syracuse NY 13210
The building is accessible.
Please use the University Ave. side door.
Free lot parking directly across University Ave
Remembering Lance Hogan (1949-2023)
I met Lance and Beth in the 70’s… For many years this was my adopted family with kids! Lance was the most radical fearless lover of life I have ever known… He infused the world around him with the simply obvious notion that love and laughter make the world beautiful. Lance was kind, loving, deep and wide.
Lance was a longtime friend and worker for the Syracuse Peace Council and the larger Syracuse Peace community, many an event, dinner, and demonstrations would see Lance making sure everyone felt safe and welcomed and that the work got done.
Lance never took a job at any company that had any tie to the defense industry, and he quit jobs once he found out they had a defense contract. He was a proud union member, and he never crossed a picket line.
In every action, decision, and interaction, Lance embodied what it meant to fight for a better peaceful just world, where love should infuse everything.
In his obituary, his family wrote:
One of the letters we received sums up Lance and his life wonderfully, “Lance was inspired by family and friends and community and justice, to fun and joy and playfulness, and to keeping on, keeping on… Every day, in every interaction, Lance tried to live his life as an example of what it meant to be peaceful, to leave this world a little better than you found it. We think everyone who met him can agree that he did leave the world and all our lives a little better.
And so we will carry on… this time, leading with love.
– Karen Kerney
Activist Appreciation: Ayesha, Chloe, and Maia
We are pleased to introduce our latest activists, Ayesha Karim, Chloe Erwin, and Maia Gostin, for their outstanding contributions in re-establishing the SPC in Action e-newsletter and volunteering with the Syracuse Peace Council. Their devotion and perseverance to improve the world are truly remarkable.
Their diligent efforts in revamping the SPC in Action e-newsletter have provided the community with crucial information on peace and justice issues and forthcoming events in Syracuse. Their meticulousness and passion for the cause have resulted in a newsletter that is informative, engaging, and thought-provoking.
Moreover, their volunteer work at the Syracuse Peace Council has been a substantial asset to the organization. Their enthusiasm, creativity, and hard work have assisted in advancing the organization’s mission of promoting peace and social justice through education, activism, and nonviolent action. They have demonstrated a willingness to exceed expectations to support the Syracuse Peace Council, and their efforts have been recognized and appreciated.
Ayesha, Chloe, and Maia have exemplified that activism is not just a catchphrase but a way of life. Their unwavering commitment to creating a better world for all is a testament to their character and their devotion to the cause of peace and justice. We are privileged to have such enthusiastic and committed activists in our community, and we express our gratitude to them for their service and motivation.
– Ayeh Hajjari
Coalitions & Organizations
Center Spotlight: Unchained
A conversation with Unchained’s Alyeska Dronsfield
Q: What would you say is Unchained’s biggest goal?
A: “Our main goal is total prison abolition. Albeit a big task, we want to create a world where prison isn’t necessary.”
Q: What is your favorite thing about working in the Syr. Center for Peace and Justice building?
A: “Everyone here! Although we may share different goals, we all share the same mindset that lives outside of capitalism; there’s a lack of greed. I feel like we don’t have to do it by ourselves anymore. There’s a community here that’s focused on everyone succeeding, there’s this lack of competition.”
Q: What is your role at Unchained?
A: “Communications Specialist. I run our social media accounts, create the graphic design, send emails, and participate in interviews like this one.”
Q: What is one word you think best represents Unchained?
Q: Why do you think most Americans are wary of total prison abolition?
A: “Simply, fear is an incredibly powerful tool. Prison abolition is painted as this radical, idiotic idea in circles of fear. They think once we “win” we’ll just open up all the prison doors and let these “awful, harmful” people run free or something. Most have this predetermined idea of what abolition would look like, but in reality, it encompasses way more than that. We need to end the root cause of people becoming incarcerated. Like working to end poverty and expanding education. Let’s stop the circumstances, then we don’t allow it to manifest into something harmful.”
Q: Where do you see Unchained five years from now?
A: “Way bigger! In all ways, we’ve been growing exponentially, especially in staff and membership. We currently have six staff people and a membership of over 200 people. This membership comes in two forms, either they’re on the outside, or the inside. Although both of these perspectives are important, the voices of those on the inside, are fundamental to Unchained. The leadership we have on the inside is vital.
– Chloe Erwin
CNY Solidarity Coalition
CNY Solidarity Coalition was founded in 2017 by organizations such as Syracuse Peace Council and many activists. It should come as no surprise that in 2022 and thus far in 2023, CNY Solidarity Coalition has promoted many community actions in support of issues of racial, economic and climate justice as well as social justice in opposition to war and in support of women’s reproductive rights. This was done through the efforts of our coordinating committee and four program committees: State and Local Action Team (SLAT), Indivisible Onondaga County (IOC), Climate Justice, and Beyond War and Militarism, a joint committee of Syracuse Peace Council and CNY Solidarity Coalition
SLAT continues a rigorous plan for addressing social injustice on the NYS-level, including to advance policies that benefit our local community such as Invest in Our New York and advocating for new taxes on the wealthiest to support public education, climate justice and eviction relief. SLAT works with Families for Lead Freedom Now, Legal Services of Central New York and DSA on remediation of lead poisoning in Syracuse, high quality lead testing and improved code enforcement.
IOC, just off an extremely eventful and successful 2022 election cycle, now looks ahead to engaging in the exciting endeavors created by the NY22 Summit to help develop a well-coordinated voter outreach and election plan for all elections in the NY22 congressional district in the coming years.The Coordinating Committee of CNY Solidarity Coalition schedules a series of speakers on stimulating and topical issues at each of its monthly or semi-monthly CNY Solidarity Coalition meetings, and provides a weekly newsletters with illuminating articles. Look for upcoming features on such topics as Micron, local elections, and social media training. To sign up for Coalition meetings and the newsletter, please visit here. Organization and committee actions and news can be found on our Facebook page.
– Christine Flynn