SPC in Action

From the March/April-2019-pnl-865

various contributors

Brittany Ramos DeBarros to Keynote SPC 83rd Birthday Dinner March 30


Brittany Ramos DeBarros. Photo: Summer/Fall 2018 CUSLAR Newsletter

This may be the first-time an active-duty captain in the US army reserve has celebrated SPC’s Birthday Dinner. Under the hashtag #DroptheMIC, Brittany Ramos DeBarros demands an end to the Military Industrial Complex (the "MIC"), exposes injustice and brings support to the group About Face: Veterans Against the War (aboutfaceveterans.org). We first met Brittany at the Poor People's Campaign (PPC) sit-in at the War Room in NYS' Capitol last summer. A key spokesperson for the PPC, she was also a primary organizer of the action. 
Brittany stated at a Washington, DC rally last year, “I’m a woman, I’m White, I’m Latina, I’m Black, I’m Queer, and I’m a combat veteran. As a person existing at the intersection of these identities, I carry a grave conviction in my core that there can be no economic, racial or gender liberation without addressing the militarism that is strangling the empathy and morality out of our society. ”Brittany uses her intersecting identities and experience of state terrorism while deployed in Afghanistan to protest the environmental threats of the US military.

Brittany’s timely message supports and unifies all our struggles at SPC.

The dinner is Saturday, March 30 at University United Methodist Church (324 University Ave., Syracuse). Doors open at 5:30, dinner starts at 6:00, and the program starts at 7:30. The suggested donation is $30, with a sliding scale of $10-60, but no one is turned away for lack of funds. You may come for the program please donate what you can.

This year SPC is experiementing with having a meat option for dinner. The idea of offering meat grew from a desire to be more welcoming towards a diversity of people, which can mean a diversity of palates. The main course is lasagna—with meat, vegetarian or vegan (which is also gluten free).

Make your reservations by calling 315-472-5478, filling out the form at tinyurl.com/yyl34mcz, or mailing your check to the SPC office. All details are on SPC’s website and Facebook event page.

– Peter Swords

Three Ways to Get Involved with SPC

Help at the Birthday Dinner. SPC’s 83rd Birthday Dinner is coming up on March 30, featuring speaker Brittany DeBarros (see above). We’re looking for table hosts, cooks, and plenty of volunteers to help with set-up and clean-up.
Join the Fundraising Committee. SPC is independently funded through individual donations and fundraising events. We haven’t had a Fundraising Committee to coordinate and expand upon these efforts
in several years, and we’d like to convene one! No prior experience required (but it would be helpful)—if you’re an innovative thinker and/or simply have an ability to follow through, consider participating.
Work with Social Media. With so many social media platforms to use, who can keep up with them all? If you’re creative and social media savvy, help develop some original content for us to further engage
with our supporters, members and the local social justice community.
– Michaela Czerkies

SPC Statement on Recent Accusations of Anti-Semitism

It has come to the attention of SPC’s Steering Committee that accusations of anti-semitism are being circulated about the Peace Council. To be perfectly clear:

• There are many forms of oppression designed to prevent solidarity among different groups as well as provide more power and wealth to other groups. Anti-semitism is one of those forms.

• SPC condemns anti-semitism, as it does all forms of oppression.

• SPC criticizes the US government along with many other governments across the globe. There are those who believe that any form of criticism of the government of Israel is by its nature anti- semitic.
     SPC does not believe that.

• SPC is committed to non violence as an operating principle and that is a central element of our vision for the world we work to create. We discuss that and our relationship to liberation struggles at peacecouncil.net/statements.

• SPC believes that BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) as a tactic in putting pressure on a government to change its policies is a nonviolent tactic.

– SPC Steering Committee and the Justice
for Palestine Committee

Why White people don't Talk About Racism

ACTS’ (Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse) March 25 Race Matters Book Club (open to the public) will discuss White Fragility by Robin Diangelo. She notes white folks get charged up around racial discussions, mainly because we want to be known as good, moral people. I will be facilitating a discussion potentially filled with denial, anger, guilt and defensiveness. I’m prepared, though I long for the day when we will sufficiently educate ourselves to understand our participation in racial separation and inequality to help us effectively address this oppression. 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of
ACTS—multi-faith advocacy to help achieve racial and social justice. 2019 also marks the 400th year since the first slaves were sold into bondage in what is now known as the US. The US has never
undertaken a truth and reconciliation commission around this codified inequality and structural oppression. Without that, a good first step is understanding how the white dominant/supremacy culture was
built and how whites benefit while others are harmed. Then we can effectively work on dismantling it to create an equitable future for EVERYONE. Please join us for ACTS’ April 9 Spring Banquet: “People Have the Power” with keynote speaker Bishop Royster, National Political and NE Regional Director for Faith-In-Action. Tickets are available at acts-syracuse.org.

Linda Malik, ACTS community organizer, acts.cny@gmail.com

Dr. Ira Helfand Speaks—March 18


Dr. Ira Helfand presents at the NGO Committee on Disarmament,
Peace and Security on the horror of nuclear war. Photo: @IPPNW,
October, 2018


On Monday, March 18, Dr. Ira Helfand will speak on “Moving Back from the Brink: Countering the Growing Threat from Nuclear War,” at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave., Syracuse) from 7-9pm. His free talk is on Physicians for Social Responsibility’s (PSR) “Back from the Brink” project to abolish nuclear weapons.
Currently, Ira co-chairs PSR’s Nuclear Weapons Abolition Committee and also is co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). He is on the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons’ (ICAN) International Steering Committee. Both IPPNW and ICAN are Nobel Peace Prize recipients.
The talk is a collaboration of the Beyond War and Militarism and the Nuclear Free World Committees.

CNY Solidarity Coalition

CNY Solidarity works on issues that impact our community. New state legislators were sworn in this past January, giving NYS a Democratic majority in both the Assembly and the Senate. Solidarity’s State Legislative Action Team (SLAT) is mobilizing support for a more progressive platform at the state and local levels. Issues that have seen little movement now have a chance to move forward. Reproductive health care, sensible gun control legislation and voting reform have all passed the state legislature in the past month. SLAT members have been activein LET NY Vote lobbying efforts, going to Albany for workshops and calling legislators. We look forward to working on the Green Light Campaign, the NYS DREAM Act and the NYS Health Act. However, the majority of our recent effort has focused on supporting the Community Grid for I-81.

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

– Kelli Ward

Nuclear Free World Committee

We’re excited to be co-hosting a talk by Dr. Ira Helfand on Monday, March 18 with the Beyond War and Militarism Committee. See page 4 for details. Starting in April, there are more opportunities to be out in the streets with messages of peace and social justice. Please join us—bring a sign or use one of ours. Contact Ann Tiffany or Ed Kinane at 315-478-4571. NFW is also networking with NYS Code Pink to promote their pledge to “Divest from the War Machine” and initiated a collaboration between them and the Reinvestment Alliance. This local effort encourages individuals and groups to remove resources from banks and investments that are harmful to society and then reinvest them in credit unions, community banks and companies that are socially responsible. We met with Senate staff to promote the Code Pink divestment pledge to refuse money from weapons makers, and also S. 3667, Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2018, to maintain nuclear treaties and oppose modernization Nominations for the 2019 Peace Youth Award are due April 15. Nominate high school students in Onondaga County who have been working toward peace, justice and protecting the environment. Go to peacecouncil.net for an application form.

– Margrit Diehl

spring into Street Heat

Starting in April, there are more opportunities to be out in the streets with messages of peace and social justice. Please join us—bring a sign or use one of ours. Contact Ann Tiffany or Ed Kinane
at 315-478-4571

Tuesdays: 4:15-5pm
April 2 – Hancock Air Base (6000 E. Molloy Rd.)
April 9 – Adams and Almond (Rt. 81 underpass)
April 16 – Hancock Air Base
April 23 – Adams and Almond
April 30 – Adams and Almond
May 7 – Hancock Air Base
May 14 – E. Genesee St. and Erie Blvd. East

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

Activist Bling for the Community Grid

Community Grid activists Kerin Rigney, Elaine Denton, Diana and Maddie Bohrer hard at work in SPC's office making buttons and signs in support of the Community Gridoption for I-81. Pickup buttons and flyers at SPC. Go to communityforthegrid.com to sign a petition and rethink81.org for great information.
Photo: Carol Baum.

Beyond War and Militarism

Our small committee continues to be active. We participated in the vigorous cold-weather protest against Trump’s emergency power grab for his wall, and in the demonstration urging the US to cease its aggression towards Venezuela. We continued our Alternative Education series with an excellent presentation by former teleSUR English journalist Richard Gaunt in February. He provided a valuable historical perspective to help us understand the situation in Venezuela and why the US is hostile towards it. Also, Diane and Peter Swords offered a workshop on “Ending Militarism: Central to Ending Poverty and Racism” at the recent teach-in organized by CNY Solidarity Coalition. Our next Alternative Education series event is a Monday, March 18 talk by Dr. Ira Helfand (see above), organized jointly with the Nuclear Free World Committee.

– Barry Gordon

Activist Appreciation—John Carroll

John came to SPC last Fall with an extensive background in cooperative living, and started out by helping at the office in various ways—uploading previous PNLs to our website, participating in PNL mailing parties, and compiling our bi-weekly e-newsletter. John’s been intimately involved in our exploration of various database and website upgrade options, using his computer knowledge and sharp attention to detail to research and test various programs. This ongoing project has required a lot of time and energy, and his diligent efforts have been extremely helpful in evaluating what might be the best fit for SPC.

He’s also known as an amazing fermenter and cook, and can often be found generously sharing varieties of his homemade sushi at meetings. John has been a friendly face around the office, approaching our work with humor, dedication, and patience. We’re grateful for his kind and generous spirit, and his contributions to peace and justice!

– Michaela Czerkies

Former Black Panther 21 member speaks in Syracuse

Sekou, d é qui and Matt joined SPC activists and friends for lunch.
Photo: Matt Meyer.


On February 23, SPC co-sponsored, ArtRage Gallery hosted, and Gwen Chaffin, Dr. LaToya Lee and Rahzie Seals organized a terrific panel: “From Panther 21 to 21st Century Revolutions” featuring Sekou Odinga (a Panther 21 on
probation after decades in Marion supermax prison), déqui kioni-sadiki (radio producer and Sekou’s partner), and Matt Meyer (long-time activist with Fellowship of Reconciliation and War Resisters League). Here were three quietly impassioned speakers who described the relentlessly prosecuted Black Panthers’ path-breaking social programs. These included free breakfast for black school children and other initiatives that later spread throughout the land.
Sekou revealed that the terms of his parole forbade him from discussing certain themes. And, answering a question about what it was like to finally be “free,” Sekou responded that upon his release what really took him aback was how little solidarity he found among many activists on the outside.

To learn more, see Latoya Lee’s article in the Jan/Feb 2019 PNL.

– Ed Kinane


Build Your Organizing Skills—Saturday, April 13

RiseUp for Social Action, in conjunction with a number of community organizations, including SPC, is offering a daylong conference on skill-building for community organizers and activists on Saturday, April 13, 9am-3:30pm at Bishop Harrison Center, 1342 Lancaster Ave., Syracuse. The day will include three workshop sessions (with multiple choices during each session) and a keynote talk on addressing poverty, featuring an organizer from PUSH Buffalo.

The day will include three workshop sessions (with multiple choices during each session) and a keynote talk on addressing poverty, featuring an organizer from PUSH Buffalo.

Workshops will be lead by a diverse group of community organizers and will include Working as an Ally to a Targeted Group, Facilitating Effective Meetings, Understanding Privilege/Confronting Oppression, Communication Tools for Effective Organizing, The Work that Reconnects—Exploring Sacred Activism, Role of Nonviolent Direct Action in Social Movements, Meeting with Public Officials, Defining Your Issue, Using Power Analysis for your Campaign, Creative Arts for Social Change, Fundraising for Grassroots Organizing, Research for Activists, Working with Mainstream Media and Social Media for Organizing.

There is a sliding scale fee of $0 to $25 to attend. Support for this project has been provided by a “What If...” mini-grant from the Gifford Foundation. The fee includes lunch. Childcare will be available, as well as Spanish translation for the keynote and some workshops. Register online at: actionnetwork.org/groups/RiseUp. To learn more, email RiseUpCNYTraining@gmail.com.


Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation

Cindy Squillace and team continue to put much effort into Witness to Injustice workshops. There continues to be high demand for the workshops in the area. The Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center is currently working on a Friends of Skä•noñh volunteer organization to help with programming, outreach, and fundraising needs. If you are interested in helping to create this organization, please contact Jack Manno at jpmanno@esf.edu. The Law Office of Joe Heath is circulating a sign-on letter to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of the Interior urging them to provide adequate warnings at all new fishing access points at Onondaga Lake
and its immediate tributaries. The letter also asks them to fund outreach on fish consumption advisories and a study of the effectiveness of signage and outreach. NOON has signed on. If your organization is interested, email adelaide.lee.rosa@gmail. com or alma.lowry@gmail.com. We’re also happy to say that our initial run of 10,000 Neighbor to Neighbor, Nation to Nation booklets has almost run out. A
reprint will be ready in the near future.

– Hilary-Anne Coppola


AGREE’s Work Never Stops

Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) fights for clean, sustainable, renewable, equitable, accountable and local energy for all NYers. We’re partnering on the HeatSmartCNY.org campaign to promote renewable heating options for our 5-county CNY region (for workshops and open houses, check HeatSmartCNY. org). We’re intervening in utility rate cases and other regulatory proceedings to win regulatory support for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The work never stops, and neither do we. Please join our mailing list at AllianceforaGreenEconomy.org to receive action alerts so you can help us win!

– Andra Leimanis