SPC in Action

From the July/August 2019 PNL #867

Various contributors

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Hiroshima Day—August 6

“Olivia,” the dove in the Hiroshima procession, needs people to hold her.
Photo: Julio Urrutia


On Tuesday, August 6, SPC’s Nuclear Free World Committee will hold its annual Hiroshima Day dramatic procession through downtown Syracuse. We will meet behind City Hall Commons (Washington and Warren Sts.) at 11:30am to get set up, and then step off at noon. This procession marks the 74th year since the US’ devastating use of the atom bomb on Hiroshima. We will commemorate the attack three days later on Nagasaki on Friday, August 9 with a potluck peace picnic and lantern floating at the Thornden Park lily pond at 5:30pm. There will be crafts, games and a lantern floating.

Many people are needed for the procession to be as powerful as possible. Please contact Michaela (michaela@peacecouncil.net) to help out.

This year’s procession also marks the beginning of our participation in “Back from the Brink,” a well thought-out campaign initiated by the Union of Concerned Scientists and Physicians for Social Responsibility. With the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock set this year at two minutes to midnight, we are redoubling our efforts to prevent nuclear war. For more details on the campaign, see article on page 9.

It all starts on August 6—join us downtown for this gathering of remembrance and hope.

– James Erdman



Nuclear Free World Honors Young Activists

In June the Nuclear Free World Co  mittee of SPC presented the 2019 Youth Peace Award to Maria Phillips, a senior at the Public Service Leadership Academy at Fowler High School, and to Martine  Dosa, a freshman at Nottingham. Maria works on initiatives to address poverty and violence in our community, and Martine is a strong advocate for gender equality as well as disability rights and inclusivity. To read more about their incredible work in the community, visit peacecouncil.net/programs/nuclear-free-world-committee.

At the celebration we paid tribute to Jack Mannion, who died on May 25, 2019. For many years with his wife, Stephanie Miner, Jack sponsored the Youth Award. He was a fervent advocate for peace and justice in our community and will be greatly missed.

 – Margrit Diehl



SPC Garage Sale – Donate and/or Volunteer!


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 7 from 9am-4:30pm at 401 Scottholm Blvd., Syracuse. Donations are eagerly accepted from Wednesday-Friday, September 4-6, anytime from 10am onward 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


Community Control of the Police


SPAARC’S press conference. Photo: Carol Baum


On June 21 the Syracuse Police Accountability and Reform Coalition (SPAARC) held a “Community Control of the Police” press conference to respond to the trend of excessive use of force by the Syracuse Police Department in recent weeks as well as recent years. SPAARC proposed legislation to create accountability for police officers through greater power for the Citizen Review Board (which investigates police misconduct), requirements for officers to wear body cameras, and a mandate for officers to exercise de-escalation instead of empowering them to respond with disproportionate force with no repercussions. To listen to the speakers at the press conference, go to SPAARC’s Facebook page. (SPC was one of the groups participating in the press conference.)


On June 28, many community members attended the “Community Discussion on the Use of Force,” hosted by the Mayor’s Office and the Syracuse Police Department (SPD). Directly affected people courageously took over the microphone to demand that their concerns be addressed. Much more work needs to be done, and we must all keep the pressure up on the Mayor and the police. To read the SPD’s current “Use of Force Policy,” go to tinyurl.com/yxjoqzr7. To see a model “Use of Force Policy,” Campaign Zero (www.joincampaignzero.org) has an excellent example at tinyurl.com/y2j4avmy.

– Carol Baum




Dahr Jamail to Speak


The Beyond War and Militarism Committee’s (BWaM) next educational program on Monday, August 19 at 7pm is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to hear from one of our finest journalists. Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq. Dahr reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years. He will present on the intersection of climate disruption and militarism. The program is free and at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave., Syracuse).

At our July 23 program we heard a first-hand account of the April 2019 Nevada Desert Experience Sacred Peace Walk, from John Amidon, a member of Upstate Drone Action and Veterans for Peace, and Sheri Bauer, a singer songwriter.

BWaM is a joint committee of SPC and the CNY Solidarity Coalition and reports during Coalition meetings.

– Ron Van Norstrand



Summer Street Heat

There are so many opportunities to stand up for what you believe in! Bring your own signs or use one of ours. Contact Ann Tiffany or Ed Kinane at 315-478-4571.

Tuesdays: 4:15-5pm—focus is anti-war messages
   July 30 – Corner or S. Salina and Seneca Turnpike
   August 6 – Hancock Air Base (6000 E. Molloy Rd.)
   August 13 – Corner of Geddes St. and W. Genesee St.
   August 20 – Hancock Air Base
   August 27 – Corner of Geddes St. and W. Genesee St.
   September 3 – Hancock Air Base
   September 10 – Eried Blvd. E. and E. Genesee St. (Dewitt)
   September 17 – Hancock Air Base

Every Saturday 9-9:45am—all progressive signs welcome
Regional Market main entrance (Park St.)



NOON Booklet Reprinted (and more)


In 2014, SPC’s Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation published Neighbor to Neighbor, Nation to Nation: Readings About the Relationship of the Onondaga Nation with Central New York, USA, a much-expanded version of an earlier booklet. 10,000 copies of the now 80-page booklet were printed and five years later we ran out. But there’s good news—we just received 3,000 more from the printer!


The Witness to Injustice (WTI) workshop continues to go strong. This interactive workshop is designed to help participants understand both intellectually and emotionally some of what Indigenous peoples have gone through since Europeans first colonized this continent. Contact Cindy (cindysquillace@gmail.com) to set one up for your group. NOON will hold a
WTI facilitator training August 10-11 for people who could help facilitate 7th grade school groups during weekdays in the Fall. Contact Sue (rsue@twcny.rr.com).

NOON has also joined with others to organize against the proposed beach at Onondaga Lake (see cover article). WE are planning a forum on the lake for late September—the lake, while improved, is not yet swimmable. There is still time to make an impact on decision-making. Contact Marianna (marianna.kaufman@gmail.com).

– Carol Baum



Activist Appreciation: Elaine Denton


Elaine (middle) making Community for the Grid buttons. It was her design (which
became a PNL cover). She also brought the hearts to paint. Photo: Carol Baum

Elaine Denton is a mom, political candidate, graphic designer, meticulous researcher and tenacious organizer. She was first a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and then became active with the CNY Solidarity Coalition, serving on its coordinating committee. She joined the Peace Newsletter editorial committee a little over a year ago, originally to “just” help with layout, but wrote several of the articles on state and local politics.


Elaine has a very kind and cooperative heart. She gives her all to issues she is passionate about and is good at encouraging others to join with her. She has donated her myriad skills in support of the Community Grid, fighting the proposed beach at Onondaga Lake, writing and laying out the PNL, and to state and local political activism. She has courage, and is an inspiring example of what one person can do. Elaine is a pleasure to work with; we are so grateful she has chosen to share her compassion and talents with SPC.

– Carol Baum


Harassment Interim Protocol Approved

SPC’s Steering Committee recently approved an “Interim Protocol for Reporting and Responding to Incidents of Harassment” for our organization. The Peace Council does not tolerate harassment of any kind. This document defines harassment and empowers a Review Committee to hear complaints, and take action to repair the situation and provide accountability. The protocol and short bios of Review Committee members can be found at peacecouncil.net/harassment-protocol.


The approval of this protocol is a step toward developing a comprehensive Code of Conduct and a permanent policy and protocol for dealing with harassment or inappropriate behavior of any kind. Feedback or questions about the interim protocol can be directed to protocolcomments@peacecouncil.net (or call the SPC office). This feedback will be collected to inform the drafting of the permanent policy, and there will be a formal and public period seeking input from SPC supporters when there is a draft permanent policy.

- Amelia Lefevre




AGREE Works for Energy Transition

This is a Climate Emergency, and ALL of us are needed to help make a rapid transition from fossil fuels and nuclear energy to a carbon-free, nuclear-free 100% renewable energy system! Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) advocates for safe, affordable energy and the development of a green economy. This summer you can help by signing up for the AGREE email alert list (AgreeNewYork.org) and by checking in with our HeatSmart CNY campaign (HeatSmartCNY.org). 


HeatSmart CNY is a community campaign making it easier and more affordable to install modern, clean heating and cooling solutions that don’t involve onsite fossil fuel combustion. We host free workshops and open houses to help everyone learn about how heat pumps work, and how you can be more comfortable, save money and save the planet by installing a heat pump in your home or business. Thinking of buying an air conditioner? Wait! Call us first (315-480-1515). Replacing an aging oil or propane heating system and wondering if you should get a fracked (“natural”) gas system? Wait! Call us first. The planet thanks you. And so do we!

– Andra Leimanis




Solidarity for the Grid

CNY Solidarity Coalition has advocated for the Community Grid option to replace the I-81 viaduct. The NYS Department of Transportation has recommended the Grid option. A final decision will be made after a Public Hearing and Public Comment Period, sometime this fall. This project will have huge effects on the region, with major impacts on housing, transportation and jobs for the least privileged sectors of our community.


Two other major programs affecting the same area are planned: Syracuse Surge is an initiative including technology, housing, educational and employment initiatives. Blueprint 15 will focus on development of mixed-income housing. We will be watching our local, state, and federal decision makers as these projects develop. To stay informed, please check:

– Peter McCarthy




Relentless Persistence at Hancock Killer Drone Base


The message anti-drone activists brought to Hancock AFB. Photo: Heriberto Rodriguez


For about two hours on the rainy morning of June 20, as the latest in a decade-long series of nonviolent direct action tableaux at Hancock AFB, eight of us Upstate Drone Action activists blocked the main entrance of this Reaper drone hub. Our 8x3 foot banner, flanked by mourning mothers in hijab, declared: “Drones Fly, Children Die— Our Hearts Are Breaking.”


When we appeared, unannounced, at the base we provided the guards at the gate with our letter to Hancock personnel urging them to honor their oath to obey the US Constitution and not obey their officers’ illegal orders to perpetrate drone terrorism.


We were eventually arrested, cuffed, transported to the downtown Syracuse “Justice Center,” booked, and held for about 12 hours before being released in our own recognizance— charged with trespass, disorderly conduct (both violations) and obstruction of government administration, a misdemeanor. This OGA charge carries a maximum sentence of one year, and, if it isn’t dropped, will allow us a jury trial. The defendants: Dan Burgevin, Mark Scibilia-Carver and Tom Joyce (Ithaca area), Ann Tiffany, Ed Kinane, Julienne Oldfield, Lester Billips, and Rae Kraemer  (Syracuse).


Thanks to our videography team, the next morning brief footage of the action appeared on Democracy Now— with its international audience of millions. For more footage: www.upstatedroneaction.org.

– Ed Kinane



Justice for Palestine

Justice for Palestine ( JfP) continues our weekly Friday vigils for Gaza from 4:30-5:15pm at the intersection of E. Genesee St. and Erie Blvd. East in DeWitt. Join us!


The committee has developed a “Resolution/Memo of Support for Congressional Representatives” to co-sponsor HR 2407, the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Occupation Act.” JfP is looking for faith groups and community organizations interested in signing on and/or would like to host an event with us about military detention of Palestinian children for their congregations and constituencies. Contact michaela@peacecouncil.net if your group may be interested!


As part of our “No Way to Treat a Child Campaign,” JfP will screen the documentary Gaza: Still Alive on Monday, July 29 at 7pm at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave). The video highlights the ongoing and inescapable trauma of children living in rapidly deteriorating conditions under the 10+ years of Israel’s blockade and siege of Gaza, through interviews with mental health community workers, doctors from Physicians for Human Rights, and Palestinian children themselves.
– Julia Ganson


Sabbatical for Staff Organizer

SPC will be short-staffed for two months starting in mid August when long-time SPC staff organizer Carol Baum will be taking a sabbatical. So if you have been tempted to get more involved with the workings of SPC but haven’t gotten around to it, now is an especially good time to make that contact!


The last three years have been especially difficult for us all. Trump’s election, while it didn’t change the essential nature of US capitalism, racism, sexism, militarism, heterosexism, etc. was an engine that pushed these isms to even more extreme positions. SPC activists have been amazing throughout all of this—dedicated, supportive, hard-working and often overwhelmed themselves. Everyone occasionally needs a break to recharge and I am grateful for this opportunity.

– Carol Baum



Lights for Liberty Vigil


Hundreds musicians.of people lit candles after listening to powerful speakers and
Photo: Michaela Czerkies


On Friday July 12, over 15 community groups (including SPC) and hundreds of community members came together to demand an end to the migrant detention centers in the US (which many have called out as concentration camps) and the deplorable, inhumane conditions which asylum seekers in the camps experience. Donations to two local organizations that support immigrants, Friends of Farmworkers and Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition, were collected. If you haven’t already, please call your Congressional representatives to demand they take action to close the camps.

– Michaela Czerkies