SPC in Action

From the June 2013 PNL #825

compiled by Jessica Azulay

Funeral procession at Hancock Field Airbase for
victims of US drone attacks, April 28. Photo:
Kristin Mosher

SPC Out and About

As the weather warms, Peace Council activists have the opportunity to take our educating and organizing out into the community. July 4-6 we will have a booth at the annual JazzFest at Jamesville Beach, and July 26-28 SPC will be at the Downtown Arts and Crafts Fair. If you’d like to volunteer to help staff an outreach table, or if you have a suggestion of an event that the Peace Council should participate in, please contact Ursula. We welcome new and experienced tablers and are very interested in finding new outreach venues! SPC will also have contingents in the Juneteenth parade and the Pride parade, both on June 16. To join SPC at the parades, contact Amelia.


Get on the Bus for a Frack-Free Future

On Monday, June 17, SPC and Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation will join people from across New York in Albany to demand freedom from dirty energy, calling on Governor Cuomo to reject fracking and lead the nation in constructing a renewable energy economy here and now in New York. To sign up for the bus, visit www.peacecouncil.net or contact Emily at New Yorkers Against Fracking, 416-4128.



The Peace Council’s summer youth bike repair program is back! This summer, our volunteer bike mechanics will organize repair clinics for youth Wednesday evenings. Our first repair clinic will take place on June 26 at the Northeast Community Center, 716 Hawley Avenue from 5 - 7 pm. We welcome adult volunteer mechanics of all skill levels interested in working with youth to promote cooperation and problem solving skills through bike repair. There are also many other ways to participate, such as fundraising, graphic design, putting up promotional posters and by donating bicycles in need of light repairs. Contact Ursula.


Outreach Training

In preparation for a summer of educating, agitating and organizing, join SPC for an interactive workshop to brush up on outreach skills on June 19, 7:30 pm at 2013 E. Genesee St. We’ll go over techniques for engaging new people to talk about the various issues Peace Council activists are working on. We ask that if you attend the training, you also sign up to help out at one of this summer’s outreach opportunities. Snacks and refreshments served! Please RSVP by contacting Ursula or at www.peacecouncil.net


Tell Schumer “No Missile Defense in NY!”

On May 6, Senator Schumer contacted Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, asking him to place a new ballistic missile defense battery at Fort Drum in upstate New York, “should the Pentagon determine that such a system is cost effective and necessary for national security.” This project is a $3.6 billion pork-boondoggle we cannot afford.

Call Sen. Schumer (202-224-6542) and ask him to reject the East Coast missile defense system proposed by the Department of Defense. Here are three reasons it’s a bad idea: Ballistic Missile Defense doesn’t work. Studies by both the National Academy of Sciences and the Defense Science Board have heavily critiqued these systems. There is no threat. Threats this system is supposed to guard against - attacks by Iran and North Korea - do not exist. Neither country has such long-range ballistic missiles. It’s outrageously expensive. The cost estimate for the interceptors is $3.6 billion, and if the past is any predictor of the future, that cost will surely increase. Call Senator Chuck Schumer and tell him to say “No” to Missile Defense in NY.


Two Row Paddling Begins

In just two months the long planned Two Row Wampum Symbolic Enactment of the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch immigrants will set off from Rensselaer (across the river from Albany) for a 13 day trek down the Hudson River to the United Nations in New York City. Hundreds of people will paddle and thousands will participate in other ways.

Join us for upcoming events in Central New York. Starting from Ithaca on June 5, people will travel for three days by foot and canoe in honor of the Two Row Wampum. Their journey ends at the Cayuga SHARE Farm in Union Springs for the annual Cayuga Picnic on June 8 from 10am-7pm. Contact Craig (walking) 435.201.4796 or John (paddling) 607.280.5191. The Syracuse Community Choir Two Row Concert is set for Friday, June 14 at 7 pm at the Onondaga Nation School, Rt. 11A. In addition to the choir, the concert will feature Dan Hill (Cayuga), Curtis Waterman (Onondaga), the Akwesasne Women Singers (Mohawk), Dream Freedom Revival, Chief Jake Edwards (Onondaga) and more. Cost is $0-20 sliding scale.  On Tuesday, July 2, Onondaga Nation paddlers will begin a canoe trip carrying a replica Two Row belt from their territory to Albany. They will travel up Onondaga Creek, and at mid-day will be joined by non-native allies for a Two Row Paddle across Onondaga Lake to Willow Bay where the Two Row Wampum Onondaga Lake Festival runs from noon to 9 pm. The educational and cultural festival features Onondaga speakers, the Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers, Akuma Roots, Cornbred, the Gunrunners, Colleen Kattau, children’s activities, native craftspeople and more. Full details at www.honorthetworow.org. Help is needed, 701-1592.


Urban Jobs Task Force

In May, the Peace Council signed onto the Urban Jobs Task Force (UJTF), a collaboration of community groups working to create a local economy that provides good jobs and job training for low and very low-income families, as well as more opportunities for local woman and minority-owned enterprises to receive work on publicly financed development projects. The UJTF’s current initiative is working on a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) for the Inner Harbor Development project. We would like to see CBAs whenever the government gives developers tax breaks. UJTF is looking for community activists from member groups to get involved in local organizing efforts. Contact Aggie Lane for more information (315-478-4571, aggielane@verizon.net).


Book Sale Fundraiser

Help the Peace Council meet our budget shortfall by purchasing some summer reading through our pre-order Book Sale before June 10. Titles available include the newest from Chris Hedges, Jeremy Scahill, Frances Moore Lappe, and Eduardo Galeano. Reserve and pre-pay for your books at www.peacecouncil.net/booksale and SPC earns 50% of the cover price. To show our appreciation, if you order two or more books, you can get a free Peace Songs CNY CD of local music. A paper order form can be downloaded from the website or filled out at the SPC office. Books will be available for pickup at the SPC office before the end of June. Get your summer reading and support the Peace Council today!


Don Hughes at the April 28 demonstration
at Hancock Field Air Base. Photo: David Pittman

Activist Appreciation: Don Hughes

Don Hughes recently joined SPC’s Ground the Drones, End the Wars Committee and has, in a very short time, become a much-valued and integral part of the committee. Don originally signed up to help coordinate set-up for the Resisting Drones, Global War and Empire Convergence weekend at the end of April. What he became was the sound person for most of the weekend. Don found the equipment, set it up, lugged it around, and before every workshop and performance made sure it was working well. He also became the general fix-it person and helped the weekend run much more smoothly.  Don was a pleasure to work with – knowledgeable, able to work on a shoestring budget, good humored through chaos, cooperative and unflappable. Thank you so much, Don, the weekend wouldn’t have worked nearly as well without you.


Ground the Drones!

SPC recently hosted the Resisting Drones, Global War and Empire Activist Convergence April 26-28, organized by the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars. It was a powerful event, drawing well over 200 people from the northeast for a weekend of workshops, networking and activism, culminating in a 275-person march to Hancock Air Base and 31 people being arrested for laying down in the driveway of the base and other civil resistance. For photos and more, see page 5.

The local committee will build on the momentum from this amazing event. Expect to be invited to support people in their court appearances for the civil resistance, participate in peace outreaches at the base and creative education on the streets, and of course join our street theater “tableau” outside the main entrance of the State Fair. We are happy to send speakers to your group or perform the short play, “The Predator.” Contact Carol.


Youth Against War

Five local youth leaders led a well-attended workshop at the Convergence to Resist Global War, Drones, & Empire. Conversation ranged from tactics we’ve tried, to ideas for new actions, to the particular challenges of reaching out to young people with an antiwar message. It was exciting to meet and hear from the several dedicated college students and others who traveled from around the state and the country to attend the Convergence. Energized by the conversation and connection, many among the group formed a new email listserv, the Youth Antiwar Network, to facilitate sharing of ideas across the state. Contact Amelia if you’re interested in organizing with other young people, or if you’d like to be added to the Youth Antiwar Network listserv.


Nakba Commemoration

On Sunday, May 19, Syracuse Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel hosted our 3rd annual commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba. The commemoration marks the 1948 Palestinian exodus that occurred when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs left, fled, or were expelled from their homes in what is today the State of Israel. Al Nakba is roughly translated from the Arabic to mean disaster or catastrophe. The disaster hasn’t ended, as Palestinians have no way to return to their homeland, there is continued oppression of Palestinian people, and expanding occupation of Palestinian land.

The community gathering honored both the experiences of the past and the political challenges of the present.  Two members of the local Palestinian community spoke, Colleen Kattau shared some lovely music, we screened a video about the displacement of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem and the non-violent resistance which emerged in partnership with Jewish Israeli allies from West Jerusalem. We discussed and we shared food.

If you would like to join SPC’s work for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel, please get in touch with Jessica.


School’s Out but the Work Goes On

Counter-recruitment tabling in city high schools is on hiatus for the summer, but the work goes on as we develop new materials informing students about alternatives to military service. A steadfast volunteer in the Military Alternatives Education Project has compiled some research and now we need someone to step in for the production phase. Contact Amelia if you want to work on this project.


Prison Justice in Onondaga County

On May 7, representatives from the United as One (UaO) coalition met again with legislators as well as the administrator of the Citizens’ Review Board to hear about the challenges the CRB has run into in its new incarnation. Legislators gained insight and are now better prepared to craft an efficient, effective oversight structure for the county jail. UaO members continue to make use of the public comment period at each County Legislature meeting to speak in favor of such a structure. Join us on Tuesday, June 4 at 1pm at 401 Montgomery St., room 407.


Goodbye Interns!

Thank you Garrett Boak, James O’Hare and Gabrielle Ramirez for spending your winter interning with the Peace Council! Garrett and James, among many contributions, played key roles in preparing for the regional anti-war convergence held in Syracuse in April. Gabrielle organized a well attended event to educate about the struggle to clean up pollution from US bombing in her home country of Puerto Rico on the island of Vieques. Peace Council staff and activists are grateful for the enthusiasm and skills interns bring to our work. Intern applications are accepted on an ongoing basis – contact Ursula or visit www.peacecouncil.net/intern.


Yes to Clean Water
No to Fracking!

In July 2011, the Onondaga County Legislature passed a resolution supporting the transfer of ownership of an area of Onondaga Lake shoreline known as Murphy’s Island to the Onondaga Nation. NOON supported this legislation in partnership with Lloyd Withers of the Onondaga Shoreline Heritage Restoration.

As increasing attention is given to “future uses” of the Superfund sites around the Lake, NOON plans to to stay involved in this transfer and to be sure it is cleaned up to the standards necessary to make it acceptable to the Onondaga Nation. Reaching out to county legislators, the county executive, the DEC, and the  US EPA to be sure they all understand the public’s support for the Murphy’s Island transfer is an important NOON initiative.

NOON’s  anti-fracking efforts received a shock in mid-May when it was learned that there is a proposal to build a 60-mile extension of a natural gas pipeline between the Southern Tier (Millennium Pipeline) and Onondaga County near Syracuse (Tennessee Pipeline). The proposed route would proceed unacceptably close to the Onondaga Nation and the Tully Valley mud boils (already a source of concern in the sedimentation of Onondaga Creek). NOON will work with other groups and our neighbors, the Onondaga, to confront yet another threat to our environment. For more information on either of these issues, contact Jack Ramsden, 315-424-1454.


Ira Johnson Presenté

A longtime vendor from Plowshares passed on March 23.  Ira Johnson, 90, father of Marie Summerwood, died gently at home with his family.  He will be missed for his sense of humor and his recycled wooden wares. He stamped every toaster tong, every birdhouse and every other item he made with “Not Made In China.”