SPC in Action

From the September 2011 PNL #807

compiled by Carol Baum

Peace Council Pages


Hiroshima and Nagasaki Commemorations

On August 1, SPC and Peace Action hosted a paper crane-making and lantern-assembling party, sharing the story of Sadako Sasaki as adults and children learned to make those symbols of peace. Then on August 4 we held the fourth annual Interfaith Sharing for Peace, featuring representatives from eight Syracuse congregations, children’s activities, and a lantern floating ceremony. On August 9, the day the US dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, over 50 people took part in our annual procession through downtown Syracuse, despite persistent rain. A new route took us by the farmers’ market in Clinton Square, giving us the opportunity to hand out hundreds of leaflets as well as some paper cranes. In news coverage SPC and Peace Action emphasized the connection between nuclear weapons and nuclear power in light of the ongoing repercussions of the meltdowns in Fukushima, Japan. Ending on the lawn of the Museum of Science and Technology in Armory Square, we joined together in reading the Community Affirmation for Peace.

Thanks to the organizing committee of Carol Baum, Terry Gavagan, Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre and Diane Swords.

—Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre

Ground the Drones Activism
Hundreds of thousands of people attend the NYS Fair—and we’re bringing the anti-drones message to them with a tableau (a stationary street theater piece) in front of the main entrance. The piece tells the story of the impacts of a drone attack in Afghanistan. We’re planning to be there August 29, September 3 and September 5. Please join us—contact Carol.

We in Syracuse have had a model drone to use in our actions, but other upstate communities have not. Thanks to drone builders Nick Mottern and Rochester-area activists, a model drone building workshop was held recently in Palmyra. SPC activist Julienne Oldfield participated and five model drones were created for communities to use in their protests.

Hancock 38 Trials
On April 22, thirty-eight people from throughout Upstate NY and beyond were arrested during a “die-in” at the Ground the Drones – End the Wars action at Hancock Air National Guard Base in Mattydale. After a number of court appearances over the summer, the obstruction of governmental administration charge has been dropped (the protesters are currently charged with disorderly conduct) and the cases have been joined together for one trial. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for August 24; hopefully, at that time a trial date will be set.

For more information, contact Carol.

Ten Years Later
On October 6, at the start of the eleventh year of war in Afghanistan, there will be a concert and rally in Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC to kick off an occupation and nonviolent civil resistance to end corporatism and militarism (see october2011.org). Want to participate? Contact Carol.

Help Youth Opt Out of the Military
Last year, SPC maintained a consistent Truth in Recruiting presence in our city high schools, as well as two rural schools. This fall, our Youth and Militarism committee particularly wants to help students complete forms to “opt-out” of having their contact information sent to military recruiters. If you’d like to assist staffing informational tables, making presentations or developing materials, contact Andy or Jessica.

Bring the War $ Home
We need your help to organize a coherent movement to shift our nation’s spending priorities from war-mongering to peace-making and sustainability. At the national level, new resources and campaigns continue to build, many of which are connected to the New Priorities Network, newprioritiesnetwork.org. Brave New Foundation has also launched warcosts.com, an effort to counter the influence of military contractors on government spending priorities. The US spends over $2 million per minute on the military, and a whopping 40% of the interest on our federal debt is a result of our bloated military spending. Look for an upcoming teach-in on militarism and the US economy, come to one of the Bring Our War $ Home Peace Outreaches, or get involved with the committee to support this critical effort. Contact Carol or Jessica.

Activist appreciation:  Emma Anderson
Bikes 4 Peace got lucky in 2010 when Emma Anderson joined our team. Emma earned her bike mechanic stripes with Boston’s Bikes Not Bombs. She came to Syracuse to work at Baltimore Woods Nature Center as an Environmental Educator with Nature in the City.  Emma brings a sense of humor and organization to Bikes 4 Peace, helping us develop a new logo and win the Salt City DISHES grant. She is a skilled communicator with youth and adults and has been a tremendous asset to Bikes 4 Peace. If you stopped by SummerCrafts, you may have seen Emma selling tickets for the bike raffle. We are very happy to be working with Emma to write a business plan for a Bikes 4 Peace community bike shop.

SPC Garage Sale Sept. 10-11
SPC’s annual garage s will be held Saturday, September 10 (9-5 pm) and Sunday, September 11 (9-12 am) at 401 Scottholm Blvd. Syracuse. No early birds please. Drop off donations (at 401 Scottholm Blvd.) anytime September 7-9. We’re looking for saleable items in good condition, no clothes. Contact Rae Kramer (445-2840) to help.

The Garage Sale is a great way to recycle things you no longer need and find items you can use at a bargain … plus you’re helping SPC.

Hydrofracking Battle   Heats Up
NOON continues to work for a permanent ban on hydrofracking in NYS. Join our efforts by contacting Governor Cuomo (518-474-8390, Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYS State Capitol Bldg., Albany, NY 12224). Also join the effort to push the Department of Environmental Conservation to extend the public comment period to 180 days on their deeply-flawed draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS). Join us for an “Evening of Fun Fighting Fracking” from 5-11 pm on Wednesday, September 24, at the Palace Theater, 2384 James St. Full information is at shaleshockcny.org, or call Lindsay Speer, 475-2559 x104.
Celebrating 75 Years in Style!

Building on the successes of the Harry Belafonte and Noam Chomsky talks, we continue to celebrate our 75th anniversary in style!

On Tuesday, October 4, Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel will speak in honor of SPC’s anniversary as part of SU’s University Lecture series at 7 pm at Hendricks Chapel. Then on Saturday, October 22, SPC’s Birthday Celebration will feature activist hijinksters extraordinaire The Yes Men. Dinner (space is limited to 200) begins at 6 pm and the program at 7:30 pm. Purchase tickets at the office or at peacecouncil.net/bday. (To see their latest work, go to theyesmen.org/hijinks.)

Democracy Now host Amy Goodman will speak on Thursday, November 3 at 7 pm, also at SU’s Hendricks Chapel. The next morning Democracy Now will broadcast from Syracuse in honor of SPC’s 75th anniversary to over 900 radio and television stations around the country. Don’t miss these great events and please use them as an opportunity to introduce a friend to SPC’s work. Contact Andy.

SPC Staff Evaluation At the request of both staff and SPC’s Steering Committee, the personnel committee embarked on a staff evaluation process this spring. Thanks to about 50 SPC activists for responding to the survey. In addition, each staff organizer completed a written self-evaluation and provided comments about each others’ work. The personnel committee met with each staff person and the staff as a whole; we will continue to follow up.

Feedback from the SPC community about our staff organizers was positive and supportive. And staff tell us that they found the process to be helpful.

Carole Resnick, for the Personnel Committee (Jessica Azulay, Carole Resnick and Rose Viviano)

Rebuilding an Organized Left Locally
SPC is active with two new local coalitions that grew out of the budget crisis and attacks on organized labor in early 2011. The Solidarity Committee of CNY (formerly Defend CNY, the group that turned out over 400 people for a solidarity rally in front of Syracuse China) organizes actions to support local strikes (Nine Mile Point workers, Verizon, etc.), challenges budget cuts to social programs, and is building a movement for economic justice. The solidarity committee meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 5:30 pm in the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice community room (ground floor, use entrance from parking lot at rear of building).

We are also working with the newly formed “We Are NY,” an alliance of individuals, unions, community groups and businesses working together to secure economic, social and political justice for all Central New Yorkers through dialogue, education and concerted community-based action. To learn more and view short video clips describing the mission, visit the recently launched website: wearenewyork.us.
Two-Wheeled Revolution

The Bikes 4 Peace repair season is winding down. Thank you to Spanish Action League for inviting us to participate in the Near Westside Multicultural Fair, to Adam Rozum for use of his truck, and to all the new bike mechanics who joined our team this year! On September 24, we encourage you to join us for Moving Planet, a day of action to demand a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The bicycle was chosen as the symbol for this worldwide action because it is accessible to both rich and poor. Read more about Moving Planet.   Contact Ursula.

Don’t Forget that Pledge
Over $7,000 has come in so far from our summer phonathon thanks to the hard work of the FUNdraising/Development Committee and a couple of dozen SPC activists. If you made a commitment to contribute, please send in your contribution as soon as you can. You can also always contribute online at peacecouncil.net/donate.

We’re working hard to meet our ambitious goal of 75 monthly or quarterly pledgers to celebrate 75 years. Please consider joining the 55 folks who are already providing this critical ongoing support to SPC. The FUNdraising/Development Committee is also looking for new folks as we say goodbye and thank you to Dik Cool who has served on the committee for nearly a decade. Contact Andy.

Thanks to Summer Interns
Interns come and go, but we still get sad every time we have to say goodbye!  SPC interns are Jacks and Jills of all trades and we appreciate their willingness to take on unexpected work. Here is a sample of what interns made happen this summer: Matt Wheelan, who chased a bird out of the office on his first day, assisted NOON with hydrofracking research. Lena Gluck helped SPC participate in Syracuse Stories and contributed to Nagasaki Day organizing. Burton Schaber, with Dania Souid, developed materials for the Bring the War $ Home committee, including the newest Penny Poll. Check out the video Burton created at SPC’s YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/SyracusePeaceCoucil). Dania provided administrative support for the phone-a-thon, the Arts and Crafts Fair and compiled the weekly e-newsletter. Danielle Limer-Nies organized Poetry for Peace and brought a positive attitude to outreach events and database work. Saptarshi Lahiri joined the PNL committee and has been a dependable tabler. We hope they will continue to work for peace and social change wherever they go.

Growing the Movement
On August 9, SPC hosted the first in a series of Activist Skillbuilding trainings. Thanks to Lindsay Speer for helping us hone our outreach tabling skills. SPC will host monthly orientations and trainings to welcome new folks to the Peace Council community and help spread the skills that we all need to be able to work for social change. The Fall Activist Orientation will take place on September 22 at the Center for Peace and Social Justice. To RSVP, contact Ursula. On Wednesday, October 12 at 7 pm, Andy and Carol will lead a training on effective meeting facilitation.

Challenging Islamophobia
A packed house at ArtRage Gallery heard Mohamed Khater’s take on Islam and the Arab Spring on July 27. Mohamed shared basic information about Islam and challenged misconceptions about Sharia law and the Muslim Brotherhood. CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel, which organized the talk, prompted the Post-Standard to print a summary of Mohamed’s talk as their featured opinion piece on Sunday July 31. You can find the link to his talk on YouTube and the article at peacecouncil.net/pal-is. Contact Andy.

PeaceSongsCNY: Deadline October 1
At press time there were already a dozen submissions for the Peace Council’s first-ever music for social change CD. We’re looking for a diverse musical compilation, so spread the word among your creative friends. Original submissions are encouraged but traditional (non-copyrighted) songs will also be considered. Submissions are due by October 1. For full details, see peacecouncil.net/songs or call Amber at 315-200-5266 or Jack at 732-266-9016.