Blogs :

PANEL DISCUSSION
Police, ICE and Immigrant Safety in Westchester County


Tuesday, October 22nd at 6pm • Yonkers Riverfront Library • 1 Larkin Center in Yonkers, NY 10701

PANELISTS

Joseph Castelli
Police Chief, White Plains Police Department

John J. Mueller
Acting Police Commissioner, Yonkers Police Department

Richard Conway
Chief of Police, Port Chester Village

Jessica Young, Esq.
Westchester Supervising Attorney, Make the Road New York

Diana Sanchez
Yonkers Sanctuary Movement

Vanessa Agudelo (moderator)
Peekskill Trustee & New York Immigration Coalition

For more information, contact:
914-222-3244 • wcprny.org [email protected]

Dear WESPAC,

I’m writing on behalf of The Borgen Project, a nonprofit that is working to bring political attention to severe poverty. I’m hoping you can forward this to members of your organization. We’re trying to build support for programs that impact the world’s poor. The details are below and I appreciate your consideration. 130 million girls around the world are currently not enrolled in school. With an absence in educational opportunity for young women in various regions around the world, they are more likely to contract diseases such as HIV.

When they are thrown into child marriages, these adolescents face pregnancy and high rates of infant mortality. They are typically in regions that are more susceptible to environmental disaster, or are more often exposed to violence and extremism.

Keeping Girls in School Act is a bill that works to create diplomatic and innovative programs that close the gender gap in education. When girls are enrolled in school, poverty rates drop. The risk for disease, child marriage, and extremism in turn drops as well. When these women are given the opportunity to fight gender bias with independence and capable of creating their own careers, they are able to better help their own communities and in turn help stabilize these regions.

This transformation is crucial in fighting for justice around the world, so we must act. The need: 45 emails in support of Keeping Girls in School Act for the state of New York. Why this matters: Political offices tally how many calls, letters and emails they receive in support of each bill or program. Leaders and their staff use this info to determine how the leader should vote. 2 quick and easy ways to help: We need you… and we’ve made it incredibly simple for you to have an impact today.

Visit this link and enter your address: https://borgenproject.org/issues-homepage/#/42 Our system will automatically send an email to the Congressional leaders representing you. This only takes 30-seconds to do and has a huge impact. Mobilize friends and family to do likewise. Forward this email to anyone you think who you think cares enough to take action. That’s all there is to it! If you’re looking to get involved with The Borgen Project, information on national volunteer opportunities (writers and political team) is listed here and internships are listed here.

Thank you!

Madison Daley

This enormously moving tribute to their son remains so valid today. Here is what WESPAC members Phyllis and Orlando submitted to the New York Times days after September 11th, 2001. It was not published by the New York Times:
 
Not in our Son’s Name 
By Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez
Copy of a letter sent to to the New York Times 
 
Our son Greg is among the many missing from the World Trade Center attack. Since we first heard the news, we have shared moments of grief, comfort, hope, despair, fond memories with his wife, the two families, our friends and neighbors, his loving colleagues, and all the grieving families that daily meet at the Pierre Hotel.

We see our hurt and anger reflected among everybody we meet. We cannot pay attention to the daily flow of news about this disaster. But we read enough of it to sense that our government is heading in the direction of violent revenge, with the prospect of sons, daughters, parents, and friends in distant lands dying, suffering, and nursing further grievances against us.

It is not the way to go. It will not avenge our son’s death. Not in our son’s name.

Our son died a victim of an inhuman ideology. Our actions should not serve the same purpose. Let us grieve. Let us reflect and pray. Let us think about a rational response that brings real peace and justice to our world. But let us not as a nation add to the inhumanity of our times.


Copy of the Rodriguez’s letter to the White House: 
 

Dear President Bush:

Our son is one of the victims of Tuesday’s attack on the World Trade Center. We read about your response in the last few days and about the resolutions from both Houses, giving you undefined power to respond to the terror attacks.

Your response to this attack does not make us feel better about our son’s death. It makes us feel worse. It makes us feel that our government is using our son’s memory as a justification to cause suffering for other sons and parents in other lands.

It is not the first time that a person in your position has been given unlimited power and came to regret it. This is not the time for empty gestures to make us feel better. It is not the time to act like bullies.

We urge you to think about how our government can develop peaceful, rational solutions to terrorism, solutions that do not sink us to the inhuman level of terrorists.

Sincerely, 
Phyllis and Orlando Rodriguez

Membership Dues 2019

Dear Members and Friends of WESPAC,

Together, we have supported WESPAC through its 45th anniversary!  Inspired by our rich history, and proud of our nurturing role, WESPAC serves a unique role as a hub for progressive organizing in the county.  We connect people with each other, support a wide range of campaigns and strengthen movement building locally by developing long term relationships with grassroots leaders, workers and environmental groups.

Some of the highlights of this past year include our annual awards dinner with Marc Lamont Hill.  His theme “radical imagination” explored the need for progressives to rise above social inhibitions and imagine true freedom, including freedom for Palestinians. He urged us to channel the bravery of abolitionists and enslaved “freedom fighters”: 

“What happens to our politics when they get tested? What happens when something is on the line. When the job promotion is on the line, when your friendship network is on the line, when your TV job is on the line, … what are you going to sacrifice, what are you going to put aside for justice?”

Another highlight from this past year was the Westchester Social Forum.  WESPAC continues to play a lead role in organizing the Westchester Social Forum, an annual gathering of social justice activists which grew out of the World Social Forum process, bringing together activists, organizers, people of color, working people, poor people, and indigenous people with the goal of building ties between organizations to help build a broader social justice movement. 

Hundreds of Westchester activists and visionaries gathered in March to exchange ideas and information, foster solidarity and celebrate our work to create a more just and equal society. The current political climate has energized both seasoned and new activists who are working to build alliances and find solutions to pressing local issues. 

WESPAC continues to work in coalition for racial equity and criminal justice reform with #FREEnewyork, Start SMART NY and the Antiracist Alliance; for renewable, safe energy and urgent climate action with Food and Water Watch, for immigrant protection with the New York Immigration Coalition, .  WESPAC is also playing a key role in standing up for the civil and constitutional rights of all those who speak out for Palestinian freedom.  

This past year, we have worked together with community partners to show up for our progressive values, as we experience increased levels of repression from the federal government, as we witness growing threats to the wellbeing of the planet and our communities, as profit is placed over people and land, and corporations, not people, control our democracy.  

WESPAC continues to serve as a leading force for progressive social change in Westchester.  We continue to educate and organize for a more just and peaceful world, an end to militarism and racism and a more fair economy that works for all.  Our members continue to advocate for public policies that support immigrant rights, public education, worker rights, affordable housing, safe & renewable energy, LGBTQ rights and healthcare for all.  

The only way we can continue our work is with your help.  Dues are $100 per person annually, or $50 for students and persons with a fixed income.  We are grateful for all levels of support and no one is turned away for lack of funds. Volunteer hours are welcome in lieu of payment and can be arranged with the office.  Please make your tax-deductible contribution today via the donate button at wespac.org or by check in the enclosed envelope.  We are asking for all dues to be received by September 30th.

We are proud of the role we play as a hub for grassroots organizing with a mission to strengthen movement building in the promotion of human rights and self-determination for all communities.  We need your support now more than ever to make this cherished community institution stronger!  

For the WESPAC Community,

Nada Khader, WESPAC Director

PS. Every tax-deductible donation you make goes directly to our critical work for social justice and peace.  Please like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!  

www.wespac.org       Facebook: Explore WESPAC   Twitter: @WESPAC_NY

On September 20 people everywhere will walk out of their homes and workplaces to join young strikers in the streets. We know governments won’t deliver climate action and justice on their own, so we’re going on #ClimateStrike to show them what people power is capable of. #StrikeWithUs ClimateStrikeNYC.net 
 
WESPAC is organizing a solidarity contingent to participate in the historic youth organized NYC Climate Strike on Friday, September 20th with Greta Thunberg who has just arrived in NYC from Sweden in an emission free racing yacht as she plans to speak at the UN on the urgency of climate change and the need to take action.
 
WESPAC Board Member Delia Marx will be our point person for the WESPAC solidarity contingent. On Friday, September 20th, she and others will catch the 10:41am train from White Plains arriving at Grand Central at 11:28am to then take the subway down to Foley Square which is the starting point for the Climate Strike. Please email Delia if you would like to be part of our contingent at [email protected]. If you are coming down on a separate train line and would like to ride down to Foley Square together, please let Delia know so that we can have a designated meeting point at Grand Central.
 
In the US, youth and adults, institutional and grassroots organizations, climate-focused and social justice groups, are coming together as a unified front to demand the change we need to save our future. The youth have been leading the way and demanding bolder action, and now it’s time for everyone else to back them up. 

To accomplish this, a youth climate strike coalition has come together to collaborate on the campaign. The youth strike coalition, coordinated by Future Coalition, includes national youth-led groups such as Zero Hour, Earth Uprising, Fridays For Future USA, Sunrise, US Youth Climate Strike, and Extinction Rebellion Youth. 

The climate crisis is the largest threat of our time, and we’re counting on our collective power to demand immediate and decisive action. This is our opportunity to move beyond the traditional climate bubble and expand the table of who is involved in this movement. It is time to lift up the voices and stories of young people on the frontlines of this crisis and ensure we are creating an intergenerational and intersectional climate justice movement. To join the New York Climate Strike, please click here.

WESPAC has confirmed a coach bus for the Saturday, September 21st March in Washington, DC https://wethepeoplemarch.org/.  We are departing from the North White Plains train station (free parking all day located at 1 Haarlem Avenue in North White Plains, NY 10603) promptly at 6am and leaving DC to return the same day at 5pm.
 
Tickets can be purchased here on a first come first serve basis (49 seats only) at $50 per person round trip: Tickets for WESPAC Bus to DC
 
We have already received requests for discount tickets.  If you are not able to travel but would like to help a student, fixed income or unemployed attend, please make your contribution here: https://wespac.org/donate/ and write Sept. 21 bus to DC in the memo section.  You may also send in a check to WESPAC Foundation, 77 Tarrytown Rd, Suite 2W    White Plains, NY 10607.
 
See you in the streets!

 

Shades Repertory Theater

For Immediate Release:

Shades Repertory Theater

Garnerville Arts Center

55 West Railroad Avenue

Garnerville, N.Y. 10923

Box Office: 845.675.8044

Theater: 845.271.4295

www.shadesrep.com

Shades Repertory presents play on first African-American Woman to give birth while incarcerated in 1958.

(Garnerville, N.Y.) The Shades Repertory Theater opens it’s 2019 Season with a dynamic production of Samuel Harps’ Award-Winning play CLOVER, directed by veteran actor Mel Hancock. The play is inspired by the true story of the first woman to give birth in a North Carolina prison in the Summer of 1958.

The explosive two act drama will be performed by a talented group of NYC actors in the Dye Works Theater at the Historic Garnerville Arts Center on September 5, 6, 7 at 8p. (Doors Open at 7:30)

The play brings awareness to the epidemic of female incarceration in the U.S., which now stands at over 200,000, which is a 700% increase since 1980. Of this staggering statistic, 60% of these women have children under the age of 18.

CLOVER is co-sponsored by the Rockland Based Organization The Gordon Center for Black Culture & Arts (gordonbca.org)

Tickets are $20 – $18 for Students and Seniors online tics – eventcombo.com

ELIAS FOUNDATION ACTIVIST FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM 2019 SECOND COHORT – OPEN FOR NEW LETTERS OF INTEREST

The Elias Foundation is excited to once again announce this opportunity for Fellowships in underserved communities. We are accepting Letters of Interest from activists in the Hudson Valley working in local movement building in communities hardest hit by injustice and inequality.

Please note: the deadline for sending a Letter of Interest is September 30, 2019.  

The goal of this program is to strengthen and build social justice movements by developing activists’ skills and capacities in the Hudson Valley.  The Elias Foundation hopes to identify and support the work of people from the grassroots and frontline communities. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who self-define as low-income, people of color, indigenous, immigrant, women, trans, gender nonconforming, LGBT and/or queer, youth, working class and disabled.

Each awardee will receive a total of $90,000 over five years of support ($25,000 for the first three years, $10,000 in fourth year and $5,000 for the final year). This support is aimed at people working in underserved communities who would not normally have access to this kind of funding.

To read more about the Fellowship, the criteria for applying and information on Letters of Interest, please visit the Elias Foundation website.

You can also contact Polly Withers at [email protected]org if you have any questions or would like to nominate someone. Thank you.

Jackie Mann
President
Elias Foundation