SPC in Action

From the June 2012 PNL # 815

compiled by Carol Baum

Ground the Drones Work Heats Up
Much has happened in the last month, with more to come throughout the summer.

Court appearances of Hancock Peacewalkers. Thirty-three people from throughout Upstate NY were arrested on April 22 while walking peacefully on the shoulder of the road to Hancock Air Base. Charged with marching without a permit, they are being arraigned on various dates at the Town of Dewitt court. Many have a pre-trial hearing on Thursday, June 14. Join us in court to support them; hospitality is also needed. Contact Carol for court time.

Drone Summit in DC. Four SPC activists participated in CodePink’s Drones Summit in Washington, DC, April 28-29.

Peace outreach arrests. At the May 2 peace outreach at Hancock Air Base, Ed Kinane and Dick Keough were arrested for assembling without a permit. These and the April 22 arrests raise First Amendment/free speech issues. As the cases wind their way through court, we will obtain permits for the peace outreaches, but under protest (not having done so for the previous two years of outreaches there).

Staged readings of The Predator play. The play asks audiences to grapple with issues around drones. We recently presented at SU’s Conference on Activism, Rhetoric and Research. Any suggestions of other venues?

 The next regional meeting is in Ithaca in early June.

Other upcoming plans include street theater at the State Fair.

To get involved, contact Carol.

Aly Wane speaking before the Noam Chomsky talk in May of 2011. Photo: Ray TrudellAly Wane speaking before the Noam Chomsky talk in May of 2011. Photo: Ray TrudellActivist Appreciation:  Aly Wane
Aly Wane’s first interaction with SPC was when he came to SPC’s Study Group in early 2004. He had driven from where he worked at Unity Acres, a Catholic Worker farm providing hospitality to homeless men. Everyone immediately knew he was special. An admitted news junkie, he is an avid reader, insightful political analyst, riveting speaker and an incredibly sweet, caring, supportive person.
Over the next few years Aly became an integral part of SPC and our community. He served as a long term intern and now, although no longer an intern, he comes into the office almost every day. He has been part of the PNL editorial committee, both as a writer and editor, for eight years and works passionately for immigration reform. He is a gifted communicator in both the written and spoken word, and many people have had the pleasure of doing one-on-ones with him.

Aly is a born connector—of people and of ideas. Please join us as we celebrate Aly as a loved and valued member of our community on Monday, June 25. For more details contact Carol.

Turning the Tide Against Nukes
With over 350 signatures (including four Syracuse common councilors) on our petition to close the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant until it addresses immediate safety concerns, the Alliance for a Green Economy has stepped up the pressure to phase out nuclear power in NY. If you haven’t signed yet, you can do so at agreenewyork.org.

We’re gearing up for a summer of outreach and strategizing, including supporting a Peace Walk led by long-time Buddhist peace walker Jun San. The walk will begin at the Onondaga Nation, pass through Syracuse and Oswego, and go around Lake Ontario into Canada, finishing in Buffalo. Look for an event in Syracuse the week of July 10. Contact Jessica to get involved.

SPC’s Monthly Program

Poetry for Peace

Wednesday, June 13, 7 pm
Thornden Park Amphitheater

Poetry has a special way of reaching deep inside and touching important truths. That’s part of what makes it such a powerful medium for inspiring social activism. Join us for SPC’s annual poetry event, featuring a variety of amazing local poets and slammers and an open mic. Contact Andy.


Reading Group
In May, the Radical Reading Group began discussing Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. The meetings have been rich and well-attended, with perspectives shared by an inter-generational and racially diverse group. In addition to addressing the legal racial caste system Alexander describes in her book, the discussion has been enriched by personal stories of dealing with the “corrections” system. The next meeting of the Radical Reading Group will be on June 6 at 7:30 pm at SPC. Contact Ursula.

United as One
SPC joined with other partners of the United as One coalition to organize a vigil outside the “Justice” Center on May 12 calling for justice for Raul Pinet, who had died in custody in 2010 due to the actions of jail guards. Over 50 people attended the event, where members of Raul’s family spoke out, the pattern of Justice Center abuses was pointed out and dozens of people chalked messages on the sidewalk and jail wall.

Chalked messages in front of the “Justice” Center in memory of Raul Pinet, Jr., who was killed there in August 2010. Photo: Barrie Gewanter.Chalked messages in front of the “Justice” Center in memory of Raul Pinet, Jr., who was killed there in August 2010. Photo: Barrie Gewanter.

Raul’s death was not just an isolated incident but indicative of a pattern that underscores the need for increased oversight and accountability mechanisms. Plans are already taking shape for a public forum in June. The United as One coalition meets the first Thursday each month at 6 pm at the Enable office located at 1603 Court St. Contact Jessica if you would like to represent SPC at this coalition.

SPC Out and About
Now that warm weather is here, opportunities abound to engage new people in our work for peace and social justice. On Saturday, June 9, the Peace Council will table at the Duck Race to End Racism. Then on Saturday, June 16, you are invited to march with SPC in the Juneteenth Parade (meet 11:30 am at MLK School, 416 E. Raynor St.) and the Pride Parade (meet 10:45am at the Q Center, 627 W. Genesee St.).

To join our outreach team, help staff tables at community events, organize new outreach tabling, and leaflet and door-knock, contact Ursula

Plowshares Application Deadline: June 4
The Plowshares Committee has been preparing for the 42nd annual Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival set for December 1-2 at Nottingham High School. The application for craftspeople and community groups is available for download at peacecouncil.net/plowshares. The application deadline is Monday, June 4 (dropped off at SPC’s office or postmarked). We look forward to another powerful community gathering and holiday shopping experience. The committee welcomes new members. Contact Lanny, 445-2840.

Weekly Peace Outreach

Want to spur conversations and let
thousands know you oppose war and
the reaper drones? Please join us! Bring
a sign or use one of ours.

Tuesdays: 4:15-5 pm

June 5

Hancock Air Base Entrance (E. Molloy Rd., b/w Thompson & ownline Rd.)

June 12

Northern Lights (Mattydale)

June 19

Hancock Air Base Entrance

June 26

Northern Lights (Mattydale)

July 3

Hancock Air Base Entrance

July 10

E. Seneca Tpk. & S. Salina St. (Valley)

Saturdays 9-10

Park St. across from the Regional Market main entrance.

Contact Ed or Ann, 315-478-4571.

Tide Turning for Palestine
Over 50 people attended our third annual Nakba Commemoration on May 20. This year’s event focused on the continuing nature of the Nakba (the catastrophe which created 750,000 Palestinian refugees in 1947-48). SPC intern Lana Hijazi shared the story of her family’s experience of the Nakba (also shared with the general public via a May 19 Post-Standard  op-ed), followed by a Skype conversation with Palestinian activist Mazin Qumsiyeh from Bethlehem, Palestine.

Up next is Rabbi Brian Walt speaking about the international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions to compel Israel to halt its violations of international law and human rights on Wednesday, June 20 at 7 pm at ArtRage, 505 Hawley Ave. Several new people have joined the committee, and more are welcome. Contact Andy.

Working as Allies  to the Onondaga
SPC’s Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation project recently spoke, along with the Doctrine of Discovery Study Group and Onondaga leaders, at an event in conjunction with the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City. Over 50 people, including folks from Venezuela and Australia, learned about our efforts in “Working as Allies to Indigenous Peoples.” The presentation received an enthusiastic response.

The Good Friends Garden, a collaboration between NOON and Onondaga gardeners, is planting and integrating permaculture principles in their work.

NOON’s monthly meetings are the second Tuesday of the month at 7 pm at SPC (June 12 this month). More helpers are welcome. Contact Andy.

Spreading the Word About the Two Row
Over the past month, meetings have been held with leaders at Ganondagan Historic Site (Victor, NY), the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley River Sloop Clearwater, the Environmental Consortium of Hudson ValleyColleges/Universities and with activists in New York City. All were positive steps in building the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign for 2013 (HonorTheTwoRow.org). The year-long, statewide educational and advocacy initiative seeks to honor native treaties and protect the Earth by sharing the powerful message of the Two Row Wampum Treaty. Committees are working on outreach, education, symbolic enactment planning, fundraising and Haudenosaunee connections. It’s an ambitious effort which is building momentum, but needs more help. Contact Andy.

No Frackin’ Way
The campaign to ban fracking for natural gas continues throughout New York. Bans and moratoriums have been passed by town, county, and village governments in over 100 communities. Members of Shaleshock CNY (of which NOON is a founding organization) have been educating CNY town boards and helping them to enact effective legislation to protect their land.

In early May, neighboring Vermont became the first state to ban fracking. Let’s keep working to make New York next! A Michigan group has started the process to enact a state constitutional amendment to ban fracking. Horror stories continue to come in from states where drilling is underway, including a pipeline rupture and a well explosion in PA. Contact Jack at 424-1454. 
– Jack Ramsden

Spring is a Great Time to Support SPC!
Our spring fund appeal featuring a letter from retired Col. Ann Wright was mailed on May 11. She wrote in part, “As I travel the country and the world, speaking and acting for peace, I have had the opportunity to work with many groups. During my visits to Syracuse, I have been deeply impressed by the work of the Syracuse Peace Council.”

If you received it, please consider donating generously. If you haven’t seen it, check it out at peacecouncil.net/donate. It includes a premium offer of a free PeaceSongsCNY CD with donations of $60 or more.

Welcome Summer Interns
We’re excited to welcome nine interns for the summer. They are: Claire Bach (focusing on Hiroshima commemoration, antiwars, Bikes 4 Peace), Rachel Cary (outreach, antiwars, hydrofracking), Gavin Caster (Ground the Drones, outreach), Lana Hijazi (video, Palestine/Israel), Kirstie Pena (youth publications and counter-recruitment), Joseph Perez (NOON, Palestine /Israel), Shakira Smith (Two Row Renewal Campaign outreach), Kelsey Titus (video work) and Aya Yamamoto (Two Row).

We can accomplish so much more with many hands, hearts and minds. We’re looking forward to a sizzling summer.

Laura Wilanski and friends perform at the eaceSongs CD release party at Metro on May 6. Photo: Jack Bocchino

CD Release Party a Smashing Success
The PeaceSongsCNY CD release party on May 6 saw great music, an enthusiastic crowd and lots of celebration of SPC’s work. Thirteen of the 18 artists featured on the CD performed. Get your CD (only $10) at the SPC office, Syracuse Cultural Workers (400 Lodi St.), Syracuse Real Food Coop (618 Kensington Rd.), Sound Garden (310 W. Jefferson St.) or online shortly. See peacecouncil.net/songs for details.

Pumped up for Summer
As we go to print, Bikes 4 Peace is preparing for our new volunteers/mechanics orientation (May 29) and finalizing summer dates and locations for free clinics. We’ll also be helping youth fix their bikes at the upcoming Southside Grows Healthy Festival on June 23, 10-3 pm in the Dunk ‘n Bright parking lot on S. Salina St. Contact Jessica or Ursula to get involved.

We Are New York
This Syracuse-area coalition sponsored a showing of Priceless on May 9, a documentary exploring how corporate money has corrupted politics in the US. A second documentary will be shown at 7 pm on June 21 at the Palace Theatre. The Heist examines how corporations stole our country and changed the rules of the economic and legal systems to their benefit. The film will be followed by brief commentary. The local Move to Amend chapter will table in the lobby with information on the movement to end corporate personhood through a Constitutional amendment.

SPC Acts in ACTS
SPC continues to be an active member of the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse by participating in the clergy caucus, the Leadership Council and the Food System Task Force. Currently the Food System Task Force is concentrating on the passage of the new Farm Bill to allow more monies to be allotted for two food stamp programs. To get involved with these or the Justice or Public Education task forces as an SPC representative, contact Carol

Help with Center’s Garden
The Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice (where SPC’s office is located) is looking for people to help with gardening/landscaping. We have a wonderful landscaping plan—most of the plantings are in, but they need to be maintained and more are planned. Let’s put some sparkle onto East Genesee Street and make the Peace Council’s home stand out. 

We have openings to join our landscaping committee. Contact Brent at 701-1580.
 – Walter Putter

Former SPC Staffer Marilyn Miller Dies
I’m looking at a PNL page from March, 1973. It has a photograph of 19 people—the Steering Committee and staff—in front of a wall plastered with Indochina Peace Campaign posters. An article introduces two new staff people: Marilyn Miller and Chris Murray.

Marilyn (Genever, in recent years) had coordinated the county-wide distribution (over 100,000 copies!) of “Six Million Victims” prior to Nixon’s re-election in fall, 1972. She brought a calmness, an “I’ve-seen-it-all-so-cut-the-BS” presence to the SPC office.

In her tenure (1973-1976) she worked tirelessly behind the scenes strengthening SPC’s infrastructure, working with volunteers and stabilizing a tumultuous office. She also held at least one SPC garage sale in Liverpool where she lived for many years. She passed away on April 25. Rest in peace Marilyn—and thank you.
– Dik Cool