SPC in Action

From the May/June 2019 PNL #866

various contributors

PDF Version


Join In with SPC’s Summer Activism

Summer is a great time to be out in the streets! Here are a few key projects where SPC activists are doing just that. Please join us.

Our annual Hiroshima Day dramatic procession through downtown Syracuse (August 6) is one of our largest summer events, and we’ll need all hands on deck to make it a strong statement for peace. This year’s procession will kick-off our participation in Physician for Social Responsibility’s “Back from the Brink” campaign (see Youth Peace Award piece). We’ll need help with outreach, making and fixing props, developing a leaflet and participating in the procession itself. To help, contact carol@peacecouncil.net or call the office.

Another big project is SPC’s booth at the downtown Syracuse Arts and Crafts Fair, July 26-28.  We’ll need people to create engaging display(s), set up and clean up, petition at and staff the booth, and more. Contact michaela@peacecouncil.net or the office.

Also, for many years we have had a presence outside the main entrance of the NYS Fair at the end of August. Contact carol@peacecouncil.net to help make that happen.

Michaela Czerkies

NOON—20 Years of Solidarity

Twenty years ago local activists came together to discuss how we might offer solidarity with our neighbors of the Onondaga Nation. We gathered at a time when other Central New Yorkers actively and viciously opposed land claims by the Cayuga and Oneida Nations. We expected that the Onondaga Nation would pursue a similar legal case to address the illegal theft of their land over 200 years ago. 

We knew that if we organized effectively, the response in Onondaga territory could be different—and it has been. When Onondaga filed their historic Land Rights Action in March 2005, the public reaction was openminded and largely supportive. 

Since that time Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) has continuously sought to educate ourselves and the broader community about the history of relations between our peoples and how we might begin to repay the debt that we owe the Onondaga Nation and people. NOON’s work is based on our responsi-bility to uphold the treaty obligations to which our nation committed ourselves and our ethical responsibility to act justly.  

Although the US courts have so far denied justice to the Onondaga, our work continues to grow and expand, including extensive work on environmental issues of concern to the Onondaga. NOON meets the second Tuesday of every month and is always looking for new folks to join our work. Contact Jack or Sue (see "SPC Program Committees" on left).

Andy Mager

Thanks to our Student Activists

Three exceptional student activists worked with SPC this past semester. Maddie Bohrer (Onondaga Community College) and Laith Abdalla (OCC) interned with us and Marni Libby (SU) was a service learning student.

They all came ready to work and learn and jumped into projects. Maddie did a bit of everything, but her focus was the Birthday Dinner and her participation was invaluable, as was her humor. She arranged ads, made phone calls, did massive publicity, got food donations and spent her entire day doing set up and clean up. Laith worked primarily on a wide range of research projects essential to Justice for Palestine's campaign against Israeli military detention of Palestinian children, while always willing to help with other miscellaneous needs at the office. Marni researched newspaper articles from across the country surrounding the adoption of Indigenous Peoples’ Day (over 100 communities that have done that), and presented her findings to NOON (Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation).

We’re grateful for their work, and are thrilled that Maddie and Marni plan to continue working with us.

Carol Baum and Michaela Czerkies

Beyond War and Militarism


Tax day Action. Thanks to Ann Tiffany for making the signs. Photo: Carol Baum


The Beyond War and Militarism Committee (BWaM) continued our Alternative Education series with a talk by Physicians for Social Responsibility past President Dr. Ira Helfand on March 18 (for more on PSR’s “Back from the Brink” campaign, see "Peace Award," below). Then on April 29, World Beyond War’s Gretta Zarro made an encore appearance, this time to identify and analyze myths that typically accompany the concept of war. She presented fundamental truths that are almost always absent in mainstream discussion of international relations. (See worldbeyondwar.org/inevitable for information about the myths.) 

Our next program will be July 23 with long-time Veterans for Peace and anti-war organizer John Amidon. He will have recently returned from the Nevada Desert Experience Sacred Peace Walk, during which he and others brought "The Peoples Indictment of the Nevada National Security Site" to the site and were arrested. He will speak on "Calling Out the Department of Energy." Watch for details.

 We hit the streets on a cold and windy Tax Day, standing about fifty feet apart on E. Genesee St., Syracuse, each holding a sign, “Burma-Shave” style (for those old enough to remember). Each sign was similar with a statement reflecting the “Money for War OR Money for [something good]” theme. We received many positive responses from drivers, indicating support for the message and the effectiveness of this form of protest. 

As a joint committee of SPC and the CNY Solidarity Coalition, BWaM has provided reports during Coalition meetings, always emphasizing the connections between the resources taken from us by the War Budget and how those funds could be used at home. 

Barry Gordon

Youth Peace Award—June 10

Nuclear Free World (NFW) Committee will present the 2019 Youth Peace Award on June 10 at 7pm at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave., Syracuse). Award recipients are Maria Phillips, a senior at the Public Service Leadership Academy at Fowler High School, and Martine Dosa, a freshman at Nottingham High School. Please come hear what young peace activists are doing in our community.

In March, the NFW and the Beyond War and Militarism Committees hosted a talk by Dr. Ira Helfand, co-founder and past President of Physicians for Social Responsibility, on the national “Back from the Brink” campaign (preventnuclearwar.org). This campaign calls on the US to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:

1) Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first

2) Ending the sole, unchecked authority of any president to launch a nuclear attack

3) Taking US nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert

4) Cancelling the plan to replace the US’ entire nuclear arsenal with nuclear weapons with enhanced capabilities.

5) Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

­– Margrit Diehl


Justice for Palestine Commemorates 71st Nakba Anniversary

Justice for Palestine Committee (JfP) members are continuing to focus on No Way to Treat a Child, an international campaign sponsored by American Friends Service Committee and Defense for Children International, and endorsed by Jewish Voice for Peace and US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. We invite people to gather petition signatures for the recently re-introduced House bill HR 2407, the “Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act” by Rep. Betty McCollum (Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, MN) and to assist in organizing local educational events. Keep an eye out for our summer activities!

On May 15, JfP hosted the annual Nakba commemoration and community gathering (Nakba, or “catastrophe” in Arabic, refers to the violent expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland to establish the state of Israel). Batoul Mufreh, an SU International Law student from Jerusalem, spoke on housing discrimination and displacement in East Jerusalem, followed by discussion. As this year's event fell during the holy month of Ramadan, food was served and the fast broken together after sunset.

Julia Ganson


Activist Appreciation: Julia Ganson


Julia speaking at sPC's 83rd Birthday dinner. Photo: Julio Urrutia


Julia Ganson is a delight to organize with—which is fortunate because her vision and activism include many issues that might seem unconnected to some, but are deeply interwoven to her. She is especially passionate about Palestine solidarity (becoming a mainstay in Justice for Palestine), and also works with Beyond War and Militarism. A frequent contributor to the PNL (with a focus on Palestine, where she spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in 2017-18), she joined the editorial committee and is the primary editor of this issue’s special section on Islamophobia and antisemitism. As the PNL goes to press, Julia is preparing to spend two weeks volunteering with an immigrant support group at the US border with Mexico

Julia brings her good humor, patience, openness and political savvy to her organizing. An excellent communicator, she is gifted as both a speaker and a listener. She is happy to discuss ideas that are different from hers and learn from those conversations. She is comfortable trying the new—be it a job, community, volunteer work, idea. A sociologist-activist, she currently works for a whistleblower support organization.

Thank you Julia, for who you are and what you do.

Carol Baum and Michaela Czerkies



Alliance for a Green Economy (AllianceforaGreenEconomy.org) invites you to join our Community of Climate Responders as we build awareness of solutions, work together to reduce emissions, and organize to win the right and resources to accelerate a just transition to renewable energy.

AGREE congratulates our staff member Lindsay Speer, Campaign Manager of the HeatSmartCNY program, on her “Sustaining Our Communities” award from GreeningUSA this month! Lindsay invites everyone in the 5-county CNY region to enroll in HeatSmartCNY (HeatSmartCNY.org/enroll or call 833-315-HEAT). Simply have a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to learn how your building could decrease or eliminate the use of fossil fuels for heating and cooling. Some enrollees are just getting information about non-fossil options for the next time their building’s heating and cooling or water heating system needs to be replaced, while others are taking their buildings off fossil fuels. 

Andra Leimanis


Street Heat

"No Us intervention in Venezuela!" was the focus of a special street Heat.
Meanwhile two sPC activists joined the Venezuelan embassy protectors
in Washington, dC, for a few days. This was part of a campaign o prevent
a Us-sponsored coup in Venezuela. Photo: Peter sinatra


There are so many opportunities to stand up for what you believe in! Bring your own signs or use one of ours. Tuesdays’ focus is on anti-war messages; Saturdays, all progressive signs are welcome. Contact Ann Tiffany or Ed Kinane at 315-478-4571.

  Tuesday: 4:15-5pm—focus is anti-war messages

May 28 – E. Genesee St. and Erie Blvd. E. (Dewitt)

June 4 – Hancock Air Base (6000 E. Molloy Rd.)

June 11 – South end of Northern Lights Mall (Mattydale), opposite Rt. 81 off ramp

June 18 – Hancock Air Base

June 25 – Northern Lights Mall (Mattydale)

July 2 – Hancock Air Base

July 9 – Corner of S. Salina and Seneca Trnpk.

July 16 – Hancock Air Base

 Every Saturday 9-9:45amall progressive signs welcome

Regional Market main entrance (Park St.)


SPC’s Birthday Dinner a Success

Keynote speaker Brittany ramos deBarros making a point at
our recent Birthday dinner. Photo: Julio Urrutia


Thank you to everyone who attended and helped with our 83rd Birthday Dinner on March 30! We had a full house at University United Methodist Church, complete with great food and company. Our keynote speaker, Brittany Ramos DeBarros, is an organizer with the NYS Poor People’s Campaign, as well as co-director of About Face: Vets Against the War’s “Drop the M.I.C.” campaign (M.I.C. = Military Industrial Complex). She spoke powerfully as a younger, intersectional anti-war activist.

Special thanks to head cook Ted Finlayson-Schueler and the rest of the food workers, organizing committee member Diane Swords, the table hosts, set-up and clean-up crews, our videographer and photographer, publicity people and everyone else who joined in. It takes a community to put on an SPC dinner.

Michaela Czerkies


CNY Solidarity Coalition

CNY Solidarity Coalition continues our work on both national and state/local issues. Some of this is accomplished in collaboration with our member organizations: SPC, Urban Jobs Task Force, the Workers’ Center of CNY, the CNY Labor Federation, and Syracuse Cultural Workers. Our members are also involved with many other community groups.

On April 13, we cosponsored a training day with Riseup for Social Action, with sessions on understanding privilege, social media, working with allies, power analysis, and other skills for social change.

Now that a recommendation has been made to move forward with the Community Grid as the replacement to I-81, we are increasing our focus on the effects it will have on local jobs, housing and equity of opportunity.

Recently we identified our critical issues: Climate Community Protection Act, NY Health Act, 81/Community Grid, Green Light Campaign (drivers’ licenses for all), voting rights, and war and militarism

Please join us. Sign up at cnysolidarity.org to receive weekly Action Alerts, which recommend actions to take on specific legislation before the federal and state legislatures. Check the website for our meeting schedule. 

Peter McCarthy



Tax day Action. Thanks to Ann Tiffany for making the signs. Phot:o: Carol Baum