SPC in Action

From the July/August 2018 PNL #861

Various authors

Activist Appreciation: Barry Gordon

Many of us know Barry from his years at Eureka Crafts and/or as the “Spoon Man” at Plowshares Craftsfair—the crafty creator of functional utensils worthy of artistic display. Those of us at the Beyond War and Militarism Committee have also enjoyed and benefited from his equally skillful analysis of social justice issues, enlightened by his knowledge of cultural geography.

He personifies the notion of a Thinker and Doer. Often entertaining and always informative, his contributions, whether they are political, economic or climate-related, continually encourage us to “connect the dots.” As our “elder” scribe he dependably reports on our activities and his editing artistry immensely improves and advances our work. His gentle manner and regular expressions of gratitude to others lead us by example and contribute to our cooperative, supportive labors. He walks the walk, a tireless committee member and proud owner of an electric Volt that he uses to get to rallies and marches, often transporting others.

We are all enriched by his studious involvement and inspired by his role as “Deliberator-in-Chief.”

– Ron Van Norstrand


CNY Solidarity

SPC was a founder of the CNY Solidarity Coalition in November, 2016. This affiliation has been valuable for both organizations. CNYSC’s committees address a wide range of issues from federal legislation to climate justice to “Beyond War and Militarism” (a crossover project between SPC and CNYSC) to state and local legislation.

As a developing organization CNY Solidarity struggles with matters of privilege, which we are addressing vigorously. Having been organized to oppose the Trump agenda, CNYSC is integrally involved with the growing local coalition fighting Trump’s immigration policies. An energized community is committed to turning back the inhumane and racist “no tolerance” policy and the unresolved scandal of family separation. One of our early members, Dana Balter, is the Democratic candidate for the Congressional seat currently shamefully occupied by John Katko.

Our next meeting is Sunday July 29, from 3-5pm at the North Side Learning Center (501 Park St., Syracuse). Join us! For more information, check cnysolidarity.org or Facebook.

– Paul Weichselbaum


Poor People’s Campaign

 “Somebody’s hurtin’ my people and we won’t be silent anymore” is a theme of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call to Moral Revival. The 40 days from Mothers Day until June 23 were national days of action, learning and arts, and launching the movement around the country. “Moral fusion non-violent direct action” took place in Albany and 40 other state capitals every Monday of the 40 days, with many participants from Syracuse, some arrested for their actions. This phase of the campaign culminated in Washington, DC on June 23 with a huge rally and march. Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharris led, while many people affected by the four evils of racism, poverty, militarism and environmental destruction passionately inspired national action to “fight poverty, not the poor.”

Follow-up meetings are set to plan the next phase locally. See CNY Poor People’s Campaign on Facebook for how you can help build “a new and unsettling force to save the soul of our nation!”

– Diane Swords and Peter Swords

Part of the Syracuse contingent who bussed down to Washington, DC for the Poor People's Campaign rally and march.


Hiroshima Day: Participate in a Peaceful World

The Nuclear Free World Committee is busy planning our annual Hiroshima Day memorial

procession and picnic. On Hiroshima Day, August 6, we will gather behind City Hall Commons at 11:30; the procession steps off at noon. For this to be an impactful and striking event, we need 50-60 community members to walk with us, carrying props and banners. The intent is to remember the horrors of nuclear war and disaster, while advocating for the peace and beauty that is possible.

The picnic will take place towards the end of August (date and time TBA) at Thornden Park. Each year, we remember the story of Sadako Sasaki by creating paper cranes and floating lanterns on the pond. Sadako was two years old when the US bombed Hiroshima, and died of leukemia due to radiation exposure when she was just twelve. While in the hospital, Sadako created over 1,000 paper cranes to pray for personal healing and world peace, following the ancient Japanese legend that a person who makes 1,000 paper cranes will have their wish granted.

We need you—contact Michaela (michaela@peacecouncil.net).

– Hilary-Anne Coppola


Beyond War and Militarism

Much of the June activism of the Beyond War and Militarism committee focused on the Poor

People’s Campaign, with members participating in each of the six weekly events in Albany and

the June 23 rally in Washington, DC. We will continue to be involved as the campaign

enters its next phase.

“Don’t Bank on the Bomb” on June 26 was the most recent installment of the Committee’s Alternative Education series. The primary focus was divestment from financial institutions and funds that provide resources for companies that manufacture and provide service for nuclear weapons and nuclear energy production. Representatives from Hansen’s Advisory Services and Cooperative Federal discussed alternative choices for socially responsible investing (see page __).

Noted war resister Kathy Kelly’s talk on July 16, “Let Yemenis Live: Ending US Complicity in the War Against Yemen” was a powerful major event.

– Barry Gordon


Honoring Young Community Activists

On June 4, the Nuclear Free World Committee presented its annual Youth Peace Award. The cash awards, generously sponsored every year by Jack Mannion, Stephanie Miner and others, are presented to local high school students who promote peace and social justice in their schools and communities. This year we awarded Grace Getman of Christian Brothers Academy, Hussein Hassan of Henninger High School, and the group Syracuse Students for Change. Grace has advocated for women’s rights, worked to support immigrants in our community, and is a dedicated environmental activist. Hussein came to the US from Ethiopia in 2014. He has become a leader in the refugee community, working against racism and discrimination. Syracuse Students for Change is an organization of students who came together after the tragedies at high schools like their own. They organized the Syracuse March for Our Lives and hosted a congressional candidate forum. Mahkai Josiah Bailey (aka Truth Speaker), a senior at Henninger High School, gave a riveting spoken word performance.

– Margrit Diehl


Building Support for Palestinian Rights in CNY

On May 15, the Justice for Palestine committee organized a demonstration to commemorate the Nakba, Over 60 people attended the demonstration outside the Syracuse Federal Building to call on Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to denounce the killing of dozens of nonviolent protestors in Gaza. In addition to heartfelt speeches from members of Jewish Voice for Peace, Veterans for Peace, and the local Palestinian community, the event closed with traditional “dabke” dancing to celebrate Palestinian culture and resistance.

On July 12, the Justice for Palestine Committee hosted an ice cream to benefit the Middle East Children’s Alliance which provides aid to families in Gaza. This comes on the heels of the Presbyterian Church (USA), which represents nearly 1.5 million people in the US, voting overwhelmingly in support of justice for Palestinians.

In the coming months, we are looking for CNY activists to help build support for the McCollumn bill (HR 4391), which calls for an end to Israel’s detention of minors and the separate-and-unequal military court system for Palestinian children living under occupation. Please contact candidates running for Congress and ask them to support this bill—Dana Balter (dana@electdanabalter.com) and John Katko (John.KatkoNY24@mail.house.gov). For more information, contact Ursula (ursula.rozum@gmail.com).

– Ursula Rozum

Thanks to Our Summer Interns

We have three wonderful individuals interning with us this summer. Hilary-Anne Coppola is an experienced activity coordinator and environmental educator, and is helping with NOON’s free literature and preparation for Hiroshima Day. Taylor Gould, a LeMoyne student, has been lending her knack for art and materials organizing to developing graphics, organizing our vast array of posters and producing the e-newsletter. Askar Salikhov, a soon-to-be graduate student at Syracuse University, is on several committees and has taken on research and photography projects. All three interns have joined the PNL Editorial Committee in creating this issue! We’re so happy they are working with SPC this summer.

– Michaela Czerkies

Three More Ways to Be a Part of SPC

Help plan the Peace Picnic. We preparing for a Peace Picnic, to be in late August. It usually involves a variety of activities (dancing, yoga, etc.), music, craft-making and of course, food! Help make this a fun community gathering—contact Michaela (michaela@peacecouncil.net) to help.

Develop Workshops. Do you have organizing skills to offer? SPC members are always looking to learn and grow, and we welcome those with practical knowledge in grassroots organizing tactics, strategies, or best practices to connect with us.

Distribute the PNL. Help us ensure the Peace Newsletter is available all across Syracuse. Wonderful volunteers distribute the PNL in different neighborhoods, and we are looking for people to take routes on the Westside and Marshall St.

– Michaela Czerkies


Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival – Save the Date

It’s hot now, but in just four-an-a-half months, Plowshares will be here. It’s Saturday December 1 from 10-5pm and Sunday December 2 from 11-5pm.


Garage Sale Reminder

It’s not too late to do your spring cleaning! Reduce—get rid of unwanted stuff. Reuse—your unwanted stuff is my treasure. Recycle—down with planned obsolescence. And support SPC at the same time.

This year’s garage sale is Saturday, September 8 from 9 am-5 pm at 401 Scottholm Blvd., Syracuse.

Donations are eagerly accepted from Wednesday-Friday, September 5th-7th between noon and 8pm each day. Items can be left outside the garage at the sale location.

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 or other miscellaneous junk.

Helpers are especially welcome for Friday set-up. Food provided. Questions? Call Rae, 315-445-2840.

– Rae Kramer

Street Heat

It is critical to be on the streets—not only to continue to assert our rights to be there, but also to stand publicly for what we believe. Demonstrations and rallies are a key part of this. What Street Heat offers is a little different—it is a regular public presence at locations selected for their high visibility, including outside Hancock Airbase (home of the 174th Attack Wing of reaper drones). Please give it a try! Go a few times this summer and see what you think— if you're going to the Regional Market anyhow on a Saturday, stop by Street Heat first. Make a sign of your own or use one of ours. Contact Ann or Ed, 315-478-4571.

Tuesdays: 4-5:15pm

July 24  Adams and Almond Sts. (Rt. 81 underpass)

August 7 and 21 Hancock Air Base (6001 E. Molloy Rd.)

August 14 and 28 South end of Northern Lights Mall in Mattydale

September 4 and 18 Hancock Air Base

September 14 and 28 Erie Blvd. East and E. Genesee St., Dewitt

Every Saturday 9-9:45am Regional Market main entrance (Park St.)


NOON’s Educational Work Continues

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation hosted two highly successful events this spring. On May 24 about 70 people attended a panel presentation of NOON activists and Onondaga leaders titled “How to Be an Ally to Indigenous Peoples.” Drawing on NOON’s work over the past 15+ years, the discussion only scratched the surface of this important issue. Look for followup.

On June 10, NOON organized a day-long training on conducting the Witness to Injustice workshop, an experiential educational program teaching about the history of the European invasion of the Americas. A good mix of allies and native people learned together about how to conduct this powerful workshop. It was led by two experienced facilitators from KAIROS Canada, a group who created the initial teaching tool. It was heartening to hear that the model of collaboration they observed between NOON and the Onondaga was exactly the kind of connection they’re seeking to develop in communities across North America. NOON is looking for venues to share the workshop, contact Cindy Squillace, 315-415-5508.

– Andy Mager


Join the State Fair Petition Teams

The NY State Fair bursts onto the Syracuse scene from August 22—September 3 (Labor Day). The State Fair is an incredible petitioning opportunity and we plan to make good use of it. We invite you to join one of our petitioning teams outside the Fair's main entrance. There are several options for petitions, the foci will be on nuclear weapons, drones and militarism, and Palestinian human rights. Last year hundreds of people could hardly wait to sign a petition to keep Trump's finger off the nuclear trigger.

Contact Carol (carol@peacecouncil.net) for dates and times.

– Carol Baum


Families Belong Together and Free

On June 30, over 500 people rallied in downtown Syracuse against the Trump administration's deportation machine. We marched to the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) office on 401 S. Salina St., where we hung the banner, “ICE Kidnaps Migrants Here.” We concluded at the parking parking lot exit ramp where ICE agents leave the building with immigrants they want to deport and attached messages to the gate.

The CNY Workers' Center did much of the heavy lifting for the rally (with significant help from the International Socialist Organization’s local branch) and almost 30 other local groups (including SPC) co-sponsored it. The rally’s demands were: remove Border Patrol agents from the Regional Transportation Center; give all NY residents a change to get a driver’s license regardless of citizenship status, don’t renew the lease on the ICE office in Syracuse or give them a lease anywhere; and make Syracuse a sanctuary city.

– Carol Baum


SPC Booth at Arts and Crafts Fair

At the last minute, SPC was able to get a booth at the Downtown Arts and Craftsfair, which is July 27-29. Now need to make it happen! We’ll need a lot of help—people to staff the booth, set it up and take it down, and help get the materials together. Contact Carol (carol@peaecouncil.net).

- Carol Baum



Part of the Syracuse contingent who bussed down to Washington,
DC for the Poor People's Campaign rally and march.