SPC in Action

From the May/June 2018 PNL #860

Various authors

Upcoming Nakba Commemoration

The Justice for Palestine Committee has been mobilizing for the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic, referring to the mass expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians between 1947-49). We will hold a rally on Tuesday, May 15, from 4-5 pm at the Federal Building in downtown Syracuse. Help is needed with sign-making, phoning, and more.

 On Fridays, we have been demonstrating in DeWitt in solidarity with Gaza’s Great Return March, where Palestinians are demanding their internationally recognized right of return to the villages they were displaced from in 1948 (see page ___).

On April 24, we joined Syracuse University students and organizers from Jewish Voice for Peace and the Palestine Solidarity Collective in protesting SU’s decision to host a talk by Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan. Dayan is a vocal advocate for population transfers and Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.

– Michaela Czerkies


Join in the Poor People’s Campaign

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is a continuation of the work Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began 50 years ago, just before his death. This movement intends to be led by the poor, marginalized and moral agents to unite our country in understanding and ending systemic poverty, systemic racism, militarism and ecological devastation.

The Campaign will launch on Mother’s Day, with direct action in Albany on Monday, May 14 (and in many other state capitals). The first local watch party (we’ll be watching live-streamed speakers) will be on Sunday, March 13 at University United Methodist Church (1085 East Genesee St., Syracuse  - time tba). This will be followed by 40 days of actions, and educational and cultural events.

 For more information, please sign up at www.poorpeoplescampaign.org or contact the Central New York group at cnypoorpeoplescampaign@gmail.com.

– Beth DuBois


Nuclear Free World - Youth Award  

The Nuclear Free World Committee will present the annual Youth Peace Award this June 4. This year we will recognize Syracuse Students for Change, a group of students from local high schools who have joined together to reach out across the community to protest gun violence. They have organized marches, sponsored meetings and town halls, met with elected officials, and participated in voter registration drives. We invite you to join us in supporting and encouraging these young peace activists on June 4 as we present the award and hear about their work. Please visit www.peacecouncil.net for more details on the event timing and location.

– Margrit Diehl


Other Voices, Other Choices TV Series  

SPC is now the local sponsor of a cable access TV series titled Other Voices, Other Choices. The series is produced by videographer Wilton Vought, and airs in Syracuse on Spectrum channel 98 on Thursdays from 7:30-8:30pm. It promotes alternative, non-corporate news and commentary. For example, Wilton videotaped much of the recent Conference on US Foreign Military Bases and produced several shows on it.

"Local sponsor" means SPC has signed an agreement with Spectrum which allows Wilton, who lives outside Spectrum's Syracuse TV coverage area, to have a regularly-scheduled time slot on the cable access TV channel in Syracuse.

The show airs in several cities in NY and beyond. You can also find it on YouTube: https://tinyurl.com/yas7dmfo

Wilton Vought


NOON Activities April

Organizing for Indigenous Peoples Day, not Columbus Day. The Syracuse School Board held a community forum about an initiative to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day on the school calendar. Many NOON members and others spoke up about the need for our children to learn the truth of what happened to indigenous peoples of this land and how, despite attempted genocide, Native people are still here. Please email the Syracuse Board of Education (BoardofEducation@scsd.us) now to advocate for this change - the board is expected to make a decision soon. For Cindy Squillace’s powerful op-ed piece on the subject, go to https://tinyurl.com/ya4dnex3.

Offering the Witness to Injustice Program. This is an experiential group learning activity telling the story of the European invasion of the Americas. It was recently offered to 60 people in the Syracuse Community Choir as part of their preparation for the June 9 Summer Solstice Concert (www.syracusecommunitychoir.org) at the Onondaga Nation School. If your organization is interested in learning more about the Witness to Injustice program, contact Cindy Squillace at 315-415-5508.

Being an Ally event. NOON is offering a public event focusing on what it means to be an ally to Native Peoples in general and specifically with the Onondaga Nation. It will take place at the Ska~nohn Great Law of Peace Center on May 22 (www.skanonhcenter.org).

Informational tabling. We continue to have informational/educational tables at events. Please contact Paul Eiholzer at 315-243-4498 if you would like NOON to come to your event, or if you are available to help staff the table. This is a good way to volunteer for NOON if you are looking to get involved.

NOON meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month from 7-8:30 pm at the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice. Just call SPC first to make sure there are no changes.

– Cindy Squillace and Jack Manno


Direct Action Trainings

SPC volunteers and staff led three nonviolent direct action trainings this winter/spring. The first, held for members of the Immigrant and Refugee Defense Network, was attended by about 15 people in late February. The most recent trainings, held on April 7 and May 5, were attended by about 20 people each, including many local activists interested in the nationally coordinated nonviolent moral direct actions happening as part of the Poor People's Campaign (see p__). Others who came are involved in mobilizing faith communities, anti-fascist organizing, calling attention to and eradicating militarism in our communities, and other issues and movements.

Many thanks to everyone who helped make these trainings happen, including the training team (Carol Baum, Ed Kinane, Jordan Krick, Rae Kramer, Andy Mager, Jessica Maxwell, Ann Tiffany) and to host organizations (Lutheran Atonement Church, University United Methodist Church, Workers Center of CNY).  

– Jessica Maxwell


Community Grid

After much research and discussion, the CNY Solidarity Coalition voted overwhelmingly to support the Community Grid to replace the I-81 viaduct through downtown Syracuse. Of the options being considered to replace the viaduct, the Community Grid is the least expensive, removes fewer buildings and is the most sustainable for Syracuse. The construction of I-81 decimated the predominantly African American 15th Ward and continues to limit opportunities in the neighborhoods obstructed and disrupted by the raised highway. This is an opportunity to partially right the wrong of historically racist policies in Syracuse.

With the Community Grid, more land will be available for mixed income housing and well-considered development, adding to Syracuse’s tax base for schools, infrastructure and city services. The wrongs of racism can be further addressed if redevelopment is done with active involvement of affected residents.

Let's start to heal Syracuse with the Community Grid! To learn more please visit our website at www.cnysolidarity.org.

– Elaine Denton



Go Beyond War and Militarism

On April 17 retired SUNY-ESF professor Jack Manno discussed militarism and the environment for the seventh installment of the Beyond War and Militarism Alternative Education series. Going far beyond listing the destructive environmental effects of military activity, Jack provided an historical analysis of people's relationship with our planet, contrasting the vision of indigenous people who see the Earth as habitat to the militaristic-industrial and colonial view of it as a resource. Rejecting the immediate commodification-based outlook he celebrated the Seven Generations long-term perspective.

Four committee members attended the Climate Rally in Albany on April 23. As part of the bus ride teach-in Peter Swords spoke about the military as a major producer of greenhouse gases.

Because of scheduling difficulties including preparation for the Poor People’s Campaign (see page __) there will not be a presentation in May but the Committee plans to resume its series in June.

– Barry Gordon


Four More Ways to Be Part of SPC

(a continuing series)

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemoration planning and help. This August 6 and 9 mark the 73rd year since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Over the last year, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize and the Union of Concerned Scientifics moved their Doomsday clock to two minutes to midnight. We organize a Family Peace Picnic and a procession through downtown Syracuse and need a lot of help.

Help get the word out! Sign up for a PNL paper route. We print thousands of PNLs to distribute. This is an every other month job. We specifically need the Westside and Marshall St. routes covered – we have a list of places to bring them. You can also create your own route.

Summer Outreach Tabling. With the soon-to-come nice weather, SPC will be outside doing outreach tabling. We have free literature, buttons and petitions. Beginners will be matched with experienced tablers if that is helpful. Enjoy an event and help SPC at the same time.

Help edit the PNL. If you enjoy writing, this may be for you. We’re looking for second editors to help the first editors with their work. Our goal as editors is to support the writers in having the clearest, strongest voice they can have.

Contact Carol or Michaela to learn more.

– Carol Baum


Anti-War Street Heat in Spring  (lift from June July issue and insert dates)

Street Heat is back to its twice weekly public presence. Enjoy the weather as we call for an end to attacks by weaponized drones at Hancock AFB, and to the militarism and racism dominating US foreign and domestic policy. 

Tuesdays 4:15-5pm and Saturdays 9-9:45am by the Regional Market main entrance.

May 15   Hancock Air Base (6001 E. Molloy Rd)

May 22   E. Genesee and Erie Blvd. East (Dewitt)

May 29   E. Genesee and Erie Blvd. East (Dewitt)

June 5 and 19 Hancock Air Base

June 12 and 26 South end of Northern Lights in Mattydale (opposite Rte. 81 off ramp)

July 3 and 17 Hancock Air Base

July 10 and 24 Adam and Almond Streets near downtown Syracuse


Activist Appreciation: Marianna Kaufman

Marianna Kaufman seems to be everywhere – SPC Steering Committee member; activist with the Immigrant and Refugee Defense Network; weekly co-author of the Community Outreach and Defense Team’s e-newsletter; and member of the Coordinating Committee of the CNY Solidarity Coalition, to name just a few of the groups she organizes with.

Marianna was activated by Trump’s election and hasn’t stopped since.

She is a very kind, gentle soul, who possesses an underlying clarity of purpose and toughness. Her thoughtfulness and supportive energy help those around her be their best selves. We were thrilled when she joined the Steering Committee and she has thrown herself into organizing in a myriad of ways, including writing our fund appeal with Diane Swords last fall and co-administering our Facebook page.

Thank you, Marianna, for bringing your vision, analysis, courage and spirit to this work.

– Carol Baum



Birthday Dinner

Our Birthday Dinner on March 24 was a success! We are grateful to all volunteers who contributed their time and energy to bring us together over a delicious meal. Our featured speaker, Barbara Smith, is an author of the groundbreaking Combahee River Collective Statement and a cofounder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. She is also an organizer with the new Poor Peoples Campaign, In her presentation, Barbara discussed the ways white supremacy manifests itself, invited us to learn how the issues we focus on connect to racism, and emphasized the importance of intentionally diversifying our organizing as we look to people of color for leadership. Please visit www.peacecouncil.net to view a video of her talk, and be sure to check out photos from the event on our Facebook page.

– Michaela Czerkies


Summer Internships & Thank You Sam!

Farewell and thank you to our Spring intern, Sam Brown! As a member of our team, Sam has helped tremendously with outreach, visual media, and data-entry. We’ll miss her positivity and willingness to jump into any task, and wish her the best of luck as she continues her studies at Syracuse University!

We are seeking Summer interns who are enthusiastic and passionate about working to create a world of peace, compassion, equality, and social justice, and who are motivated to take action to end military aggression and all forms of oppression. By interning in our office, you'll have the opportunity to learn more about the important issues of our day, as well as the basics of grassroots organizing from outreach to publicity to fundraising. For more information about how to apply, visit www.peacecouncil.net/intern. If you know someone who might be interested, please pass this information on.

– Michaela Czerkies