Educate, Agitate, Organize: SPC IN ACTION

From the May 2014 PNL #834

compiled by Carol Baum

Land Rights Action Goes International

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation held a “Support the Onondaga Nation’s Quest for Justice” gathering two days after the Onondaga’s April 15 filing of a petition with the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States. The petition asks the Commission to rule that NYS committed human rights abuses against the Onondaga by denying them a court hearing for their claim that their land was taken illegally. People gathered at the Inner Harbor to support the continuation of this journey toward justice. Contact Amelia or Carol to learn more or get involved.

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation gathered at the Inner Harbor
on April 17 in celebration of the Onondaga’s April 15 filing with
the Organization of American States. Photo: Jim Dessauer


Cornel West Speaks April 27 — Rally and March at Hancock Follow

On Sunday, April 27 at 2 pm (doors open at 1:30), renowned activist and scholar Cornel West will speak at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church, 515 Oakwood Ave., Syracuse, as part of the National Spring Days of Actions Against Drones. Admission is free. He will talk about “Connecting the Dots: Racism, Poverty and Drones.” At 4:30, immediately following his talk, there will be a rally and permitted march to Hancock Air Base (where drones are remotely piloted over Afghanistan and drone pilots and sensor operators are trained). Gather at the OCM BOCES parking lot (6820 Thompson Rd., near the intersection with E. Molloy Rd.). The march’s theme, “People’s Orders of Protection Against Drone Terror,” alludes to the needs of people around the world to be protected from drone attacks, as well as to the Orders of Protection served to many activists who have participated in nonviolent civil resistance at the Base.
Both events are organized by the Syracuse Peace Council and the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, and co-sponsored by many groups throughout New York. Contact Carol.

Spring Open House

Peace Council activists are involved in a number of exciting local campaigns and initiatives—and each of these efforts presents opportunities for taking collective action to educate, agitate and organize for a more just and peaceful world. Friends old and new are invited to visit the Peace Council on Monday, May 26 at 7:30 pm to learn how to get involved in our work this summer. We need Jacks and Jills of all trades: artists, writers, organizers, learners, educators, bakers, sign-makers, tablers, etc., to help educate about the US drone wars, organize for justice in the criminal “justice” system, work for environmental justice alongside our Onondaga neighbors, organize to curb corporate power and work for a just peace in Palestine and Israel. Please come and spread the word to family and friends. Refreshments served. RSVP to Ursula.

Palestinian Land Day Commemorated

On March 30, CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel hosted our annual commemoration of Palestinian Land Day, marking the 1976 resistance by thousands of Palestinians living within Israel who protested the appropriation of their land by the Israeli government. This was the first act of mass resistance by the Palestinian minority within Israel and was harshly responded to by the Israeli police, with six Palestinian demonstrators killed and 100s wounded and jailed. Commemoration of this day honors the history of Palestinian resistance within Israel and the continuing efforts of the Palestinian people for justice.

The program was outstanding, with a panel presentation by five Palestinian residents of both Israel and the Occupied Territories. The story of the Israeli Occupation and Palestinian resistance was told not only through words, but also through contemporary Palestinian art and music. The result was heart opening and motivating. This is work that must continue, as we are the ones who can take responsibility for influencing the US role in supporting the Israeli military economy.In this regard, CNY Working continues to spread the word regarding the international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). Modeled on the international actions taken to pressure South Africa to end its apartheid policies, BDS is a nonviolent means of making our voices heard regarding Israeli violations of international law and human rights. Contact Ursula.

March Against Monsanto

On May 24, millions of activists around the world will once again March Against Monsanto. This is a grassroots call to action that aims to expose the control which companies like Monsanto have over the global food system. Marches will occur on six continents, in 52 countries, with events in over 400 cities. In Syracuse, activists connected with GMO Free CNY will organize a march, followed by a community gardening activity in downtown Syracuse. For more information, contact Frank, 308-1372.

Activist Appreciation: Katie Barrett

Fun, friendly, fierce and reliable. Katie Barrett has been active with the Peace Council for over 10 years, coming to anti-war marches, mailing parties and lending a hand wherever she can. Like so many SPC activists, Katie makes the big picture connections and helps us see the ways our  combined individual actions are working towards a more just and peaceful world. Katie was very active in Occupy Syracuse. You will find her at meetings and in the streets agitating for a ban on fracking, organizing outreach activities in support of GMO food labeling, and participating in collective actions to challenge corporate rule and influence over US democracy.

Bikes4Peace is Back!

The Bikes4Peace team of volunteer bicycle mechanics organizes free bike repair clinics during the summer for youth throughout Syracuse. We accept donations of used bicycles which youth (and adults) can earn by fixing them up alongside our volunteer mechanics. Our goals are to encourage cooperation and self-sufficiency, and to nurture a deeper love and appreciation for bicycles as a vehicle for community empowerment.
To celebrate Bike Month, on Monday, May 19 at 7 pm, Bikes 4 Peace will host Bike Night, featuring a screening of “Bike Shorts,” a collection of short films about US bicycle culture followed by a brief orientation to Bikes 4 Peace. In June, we will announce dates and locations for summer bike repair clinics. We are also looking for volunteers interested in helping put up fliers, inventory and organize tools and parts, take photos, and organize fundraising activities. To get involved, contact Dave at 350-7642 or Ursula.

NOON Booklet Published

After many years of working on an expansion and revision of a booklet originally published in 2001, Neighbor to Neighbor, Nation to Nation: Readings About the Relationship of the Onondaga Nation with Central New York, USA, has been published by Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation. At 80 pages, the booklet was a labor of love and the result of close collaboration between NOON and members of the Onondaga nation.
We will have a publication party in the early summer—check SPC’s website for details.
We are in the process of creating a distribution plan for this excellent educational tool. If you would like one, stop by SPC for a free copy. Contact Carol.

Drones Quilt in Syracuse – Make a Piece

The Syracuse Peace Council sponsored the Drones Quilt Project the week of April 21. The quilt is a “visual petition,” commemorating international victims of combat drone strikes. Each patch has the name of the person who made it, as well as that of someone who was killed by a drone. Accompanying the quilt, informational posters and handouts are part of the exhibit. They are tools used to educate the public about the immoral and illegal combat drones program and the global damage that the program is responsible for. We included the quilt exhibition at our screenings of Dirty Wars at Syracuse University and Le Moyne College, and it will also be present at the talk by Cornel West.
Communities are encouraged to make pieces to be added to the quilt. We will host a “Quilt Piece-Making Party” on Wednesday, May 7 from 3-6 pm at SPC. No artistic or sewing ability needed—just a desire to make an impact in the world. We’ll supply the materials.
- Brianna Shetler

Move to Amend – McCutcheon Ruling

On April 2, the US Supreme Court issued its ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC. By a 5-4 vote, the Court struck down limits on the total amount that any one donor can give to candidates, party committees, and PACs during an election cycle. The Court defended access and influence for financial contributors as a key democratic right, indicating that donors have the same right to influence officials as do the constituents those officials are elected to represent.
In Syracuse, about 30 people took to the streets for a rally in response to the ruling. Syracuse Common Councilor Jean Kessner pledged to work with local democracy activists for a Common Council resolution to support a Constitutional amendment to overturn the previous Citizens United ruling.
Move to Amend of CNY will host an organizing training during the first week of June. Contact Michael, 663-5640.

No Parking in Our Lot in May

SPC’s home, the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice, will be seeing a construction project in May. With grant funding help from the County’s Save the Rain program, the Center’s parking lot is being rebuilt. At its completion, the existing concrete steps at the back entrance will be eliminated and the Center will be able to offer an accessible ramp to the back door and the Community Room.
During much of the month of May, the parking lot will be closed. The front drive will still be open for deliveries and dropping off people. Please expect to park on a side street during that time. It will be inconvenient for a month, but the big advnace in accessibility will be worth it.

Be a Summer Intern at SPC

Summer brings action in the streets—tabling, marching in parades, demonstrating, leafleting, educating at the State Fair, and more. The summer is a great time to work with SPC, and we especially welcome summer interns. To apply for a summer internship, see the “Get Involved” section of our website for an application. One internship comes with a small stipend. Contact Ursula.

Spring Fund Appeal

Have you received your spring fund appeal? As you can see reading “SPC in Action,” we’ve got a lot of exciting projects going on this spring and we need your support to keep them going! The Peace Council’s budget relies on your contributions, and we’re asking you to be as generous as possible, as we are facing a budget deficit nearing the end of our fiscal year. So please! Give what you can, pass the fund appeal on to a friend, and contact the Peace Council to find out how you can pitch in. Contact Ursula or Amelia.

Successful Bowlathon

Thanks to everyone who helped make the 2014 Strike for Peace Bowlathon a success! The Bowlathon exceeded its fundraising goal this year, netting about $3,000 to support the Peace Council’s organizing. Many thanks for the generosity of those who pledged in support of bowlers, as well all the bowlers and Bowl Mor Lanes. Congratulations to the winning teams! Best Team Name: Rainbowlers and Bowlysattvas. Best Team Costume: DREAM Freedom Revival and Team NSA. Best Individual Costume: Bob Stenger, Emily Bishop and Renee Vogelsang. Best Team Spirit: GMO Free Team and Strikin’ Psychs. Contact Amelia to be involved in Bowlathon organizing next year.

SPC Among Groups Honored at Conference

SPC was among the groups honored at the recent “Looking Back, Moving Forward: 50th Anniversary Conference on the Civil Rights Movement 1964-2014,” organized by the Cold Case Initiative of the Syracuse University Law School. (The Cold Case Justice Initiative investigates unsolved racially-motivated murders that were committed during the Civil Rights Era). In addition to panels and workshops, a dinner honored several Civil Rights Movement icons, as well as local social justice activists and groups. We were very honored to be acknowledged.

Staff Hours Swap

Staff organizer Jessica Azulay is cutting back on her hours at the Peace Council, and staff organizer Amelia Lefevre is increasing her hours. You can expect to see a little less Jessica and a little more Amelia around the office. Our staff collective periodically adjusts the distribution of hours among staff to accommodate our organizers’ other work responsibilities and personal lives. We will miss Jessica in some of the roles she has carried on so well, and we look forward to the opportunity for Amelia to contribute even more than she already has!

PNL Seeks Fact-Checkers

The Peace Newsletter Editorial Committee is looking for researchers and fact-checkers to supplement our editorial work. The ideal person for this role is a confident researcher, reasonably aware of global and/or national news, who can be available to work on articles on a tight schedule during one week each month. Contact Amelia.

Out and About with Ground the Drones

In addition to preparing for Cornel West’s talk and the rally and march afterwords, SPC’s Ground the Drones Committee has been out in the community. Contact Carol to help continue the work.
•    Ann Tiffany and Ed Kinane recently spoke at a Utica College forum titled “The Drones Are Coming: Why Central New York Should Care.”
•     We recently lent the film Dirty Wars to student groups at both Le Moyne College and Syracuse University.
•     Ed Kinane and Carol Baum were interviewed by a reporter from Expresso, a leading publication in Portugal, for a story about drones.
•     We organized a meeting between members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars with international law expert Mary McConnell.