Communities & Focus Areas :

Yemenis are starving

Press Release

For immediate release                

 

Contact:

 

Martha Hennessy – 802-230-6328; [email protected]

Carmen Trotta347-259-8536; [email protected]

Cathy Kelly773-619-2418;

[email protected]


Yemen Is Starving: Peace activists, protesting the mounting humanitarian crisis in Yemen, to begin week-long fast and vigil at the UN.

 

New York, NY — On April 10, 2017, approximately 20 peace activists will begin a week long vigil and fast in front of the United Nations. They are calling for peace and justice in Yemen, and standing in solidarity with its civilian population. They will also be demanding an end to U.S. complicity in a war that is taking a devastating toll on the Yemeni people.

 

Ravaged by war, blockaded by sea, and regularly targeted with Saudi and U.S. airstrikes, Yemen is now on the brink of total famine. 

 

Yemen is currently being ravaged by a brutal conflict, with injustices and atrocities on all sides. More than 10,000 people have been killed, including 1,564 children, and millions have been displaced from their homes. UNICEF estimates that more than 460,000 children in Yemen face severe malnutrition, while 3.3 million children and pregnant or lactating women suffer acute malnutrition. The U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition is also enforcing a sea blockade on rebel-held areas. Yemen imports 90% of its food; because of the blockade, food and fuel prices are rising and scarcity is at crisis levels. While Yemeni children are starving, US weapons makers, including General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, are profiting from weapon sales to Saudi Arabia.

 

At this critical juncture, all member states of the UN must urge an end to the blockade and airstrikes, a silencing of all guns, and a negotiated settlement to the war in Yemen.

 

With their fast and peaceful protest, the activists will urge a radical departure from U.S. policies exacerbating the deadly tragedy facing Yemeni civilians.

 

Participants note their responsibility to ensure that the U.S.:

  1. Stops all drone attacks and military “special operations” within Yemen
  2. Ends all U.S. weapon sales and military aid to Saudi Arabia
  3. Provides compensation to those who suffered losses caused by U.S. attacks.

 

The activists will gather each day from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the United Nations Isaiah Wall, on First Avenue between 42nd and 43rdStreets. They will be joined by activists and supporters from around the U.S. who will share their protest and peaceful witness to the tragedy currently befalling the people of Yemen.

 

Partnering in this project are members of the New York Catholic Worker community, Code Pink, Witness Against Torture, the Upstate Coalition to End the Wars and Ground the Drones, Friends of Franz and Ben, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Veterans for Peace NYC Chapter 34, World Beyond War, Kairos Community, Just Foreign Policy, Peaceworkers, Pax Christi Metro New York, Know Drones, World Can’t Wait, Granny Peace Brigade, NY, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, D.C., Benincasa Community, NY (list in formation)

 

Social Media: FB/Twitter @FastingForYemen; Facebook Event: https://goo.gl/REWlb5; HTs: #FastingForYemen #YemenIsStarving #RememberYemen    

 

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Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Militarism and Foreign Policy, Movement Building, Racial Justice

WESPAC 2017 Awards Dinner

Please consider making an additional contribution to allow students and fixed income the opportunity to attend.

$

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Frontpage, Movement Building

Open Letter to NYS Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins

[email protected]

Dear Senator Stewart-Cousins,

As a constituent I would like to communicate my strongest possible objection to your recent vote in favor of S2492, S2493, and S4837, all springing from a misguided and repressive effort to outlaw Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions – frequently through the camouflage of general penalizing of boycotts – largely on the grounds that BDS is anti-Semitic.

In the first place, as a daughter of the American Civil Rights Movement, how can you forget the role that boycotts – as in the Montgomery Bus Boycott – played in overturning Jim Crow in this country?  Do you recall how international  boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against South Africa helped to overthrow apartheid in that country?  Do you remember that very recently Governor Cuomo backed a boycott against North Carolina because of legislation in that state that discriminated against the LGBT community? 

Boycotts are conscientious, nonviolent approaches to promoting political, economic, and social change against perceived injustices. They are Constitutionally protected under the First Amendment. New York State is opening itself to a barrage of lawsuits that will be costly and time-consuming if it persists in this campaign to demonize and penalize BDS and its supporters because of their opinions.  BDS calls for the protection of fundamental human rights that are civil rights in this country.

Even when such bills speak more generally about boycotts against American allies, they are aimed at BDS and assert, explicitly or implicitly, that BDS is anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism involves the promotion of hatred and discrimination against Jews as a people. BDS seeks to change Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. The former victimizes a people; the latter criticizes a state. BDS is not anti-Semitic. To assert that it is is dangerously to misuse the term “anti-Semitism” and to engage in specious unreason.

Under international law recognized by the vast majority of nations of the globe, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands is illegal, and Israeli treatment of Palestinians is an abuse of human rights. Therefore, supporters of BDS act out of respect for international norms. Why would you assist in enacting NY State laws that contradict international law and moral standards?

BDS attempts to pressure Israel to act in accordance with international law. I have been to the West Bank and E. Jerusalem and observed at close hand in November 2012 what the occupation looks like. It is physically brutal and psychologically Kafka-esque  – an arbitrary and cruel imposition of shifting, unpredictable rules and regulations enforced through overwhelming force against a subject people that make their daily life an unrelenting grind. It is a policy of ethnic-cleansing: make life so intolerable that people who can leave do so, and the others drift into hopelessness and despair. That the vast majority of Palestinians resist this abusive regime nonviolently day in and day out  is a testimony to their steadfastness in the face of injustice. I was deeply shamed to see the Israeli policies abetted by U.S. connivance. Much of the equipment and weaponry  used to enforce the occupation is stamped “Made in America.”  This ugly fact does not escape the notice of the peoples of surrounding lands for whom American policy is synonymous with repression and violence.

Members of Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester would be only too happy to talk with you about Israeli policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and why BDS is probably the best way to bring the change that must come soon, or Israel’s claims to be both Jewish and democratic will be impossible to sustain before the world.

Your record of accomplishments in defending the interests of your constituents is widely recognized.I am deeply disappointed by your votes on S2492, S2493, and S4837 and can only assume that if you had had better information at your disposal, you would have voted against them. I hope that JVP-Westchester can help provide that information and will call your office soon to see about making an appointment for members to meet with you.

 Yours sincerely,

Priscilla Read

Tarrytown, NY

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Militarism and Foreign Policy, Movement Building

We want an accountable Westchester Human Rights Commission

https://www.change.org/p/westchester-county-board-of-legislators-we-want-an-accountable-westchester-human-rights-commission

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Frontpage, Movement Building

The Benefits and Limits of Civilian Review Boards

The Benefits and Limits of Civilian Review Boards

Monday, April 3rd at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in White Plains, NY
6pm to 6:30pm light refreshments and networking
6:30pm panel begins promptly

An interactive panel discussion with law enforcement, members of the Albany and Syracuse Civilian Review Boards, and the President of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement including:

  • Frank L. Fowler, Syracuse Chief of Police
  • Brian Corr, NACOLE President and Director of Cambridge, Mass. Police Review and Advisory Board
  • Ivy Morris, Vice Chair of Albany CPRB (Citizens’ Police Review Board)
  • Zach Garafalo, Albany CPRB
  • Mallory Livingston, Chair, Syracuse CRB
  • Yusuf Abdul Qadir, Director of the Syracuse Chapter of the NYCLU

Panel will be moderated by Law Professor David Dorfman at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

This forum is organized and sponsored by the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform https://www.facebook.com/WCPRNY/ and is co-sponsored by the Pace Criminal Justice Institute. Seating capacity limited to 90 persons.  RSVPs required at [email protected] at which point room instructions will be given. 

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Criminal Justice, Director's Blog, Frontpage, Movement Building, Racial Justice

Justice Mondays continues on March 20th

Please share widely:

 
 The Westchester Social Justice Community, a network of progressive groups, will gather for the 8th weekly Justice Monday on Monday, March 20th from 12-1 pm at the Renaissance Plaza Fountain at the corner of Main Street and Mamaroneck Avenue in downtown White Plains. The weekly rallies include speakers who highlight the pressing issue of the week, as well as community members who have personal experiences to share. The goal of the gatherings is to engage with the public in a common space at a time when our basic rights are being threatened by policies of the new administration.

Rally with us on Monday, March 20th at 12 noon in downtown White Plains to support public education in our next installment of Justice Mondays! 

Our vital institution, a cornerstone of our democracy, is under attack at every level. The Trump/DeVos agenda at the federal level, along with the push in Albany to send our tax dollars to charter, private and religious schools together pose an existential threat to public education. Silence equals acceptance. Join us to fight back!

Please share the Facebook event widely: https://www.facebook.com/events/254399864963585/

Groups that are part of the Westchester Social Justice Community: 

Call to Action Hudson Valley: Syrian Refugee Crisis: https://www.facebook.com/calltoactionhv/

Community Voices Heard: www.cvhaction.org

Concerned Families of Westchester: https://www.facebook.com/ConcernedFamiliesofWestchester/

Food & Water Watch: https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/state/new-york

Hudson Valley Community Coalition: http://hvccoalition.org/

Knowdrones.com: https://www.knowdrones.com/

Lower Hudson Valley Progressive Action Network: https://www.facebook.com/LHVPAN/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

Mount Vernon United Tenants: http://mvut.org/

Indivisible Rivertowns: https://www.facebook.com/groups/indivisiblewestchesterrivertowns/

Indivisible Westchester: http://www.indivisiblewestchester.org/

Prevent Gun Violence—Westchester: http://www.preventgunviolence.org/

Sustainable Port Chester Alliance: https://www.facebook.com/portchesteralliance/

Up and Up Action Initiative: https://www.facebook.com/UUAction/?fref=ts

Walkabout Clearwater: https://walkaboutclearwater.org/music/home.php

WESPAC Foundation: https://wespac.org/

Westchester for Change: https://www.facebook.com/groups/westchester4change/

 
 
Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Frontpage, Immigration, Movement Building

Rally in support of Immigrant Rights – Monday, February 20th

Rally In in support of Immigrant Rights – Monday, February 20th

Rally at the fountain in downtown White Plains (intersection of Main Street and Mamamaroneck Ave) from 12 noon to 1pm

https://www.facebook.com/events/1345733042131900/

List of Participating Organizations in the Westchester Social Justice Community:

Community Voices Heard: http://www.cvhaction.org

Concerned Families of Westchester: https://www.facebook.com/ConcernedFamiliesofWestchester/

Food & Water Watch: https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/state/new-york

Hudson Valley Community Coalition: http://hvccoalition.org

Knowdrones.com: https://www.knowdrones.com

Lower Hudson Valley Progressive Action Network: https://www.facebook.com/LHVPAN/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

Mount Vernon United Tenants: http://mvut.org

Indivisible Westchester: https://www.facebook.com/groups/228920050895653/

Prevent Gun Violence—Westchester: http://www.preventgunviolence.org

Up and Up Action Initiative: https://www.facebook.com/UUAction/?fref=ts

WESPAC Foundation: https://wespac.org

Westchester for Change: https://www.facebook.com/groups/westchester4change/

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Frontpage, Movement Building

Introducing the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform to the Yonkers Community

Introducing the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform to the Yonkers Community

Friday, February 10th at 2pm at the Yonkers Riverfront Library

1 Larkin Plaza in downtown Yonkers

This public forum is an introduction of the work of the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform to the Yonkers Community. Speakers include: co-founder of the coalition Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr., who lost his father in a police killing in the City of White Plains in 2011. Also, speaking will be the convener of the coalition, Rev. Doris Dalton, who is also the Executive Director of the Westchester MLK Institute for Nonviolence; Yonkers Community Organizer Hector Santiago and WCPR steering committee member Nada Khader who will speak about WCPR’s April forum on civilian oversight of local law enforcement.

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Criminal Justice, Director's Blog, Movement Building, Racial Justice

Urge Senator Schumer to resist Trump Agenda

Urge Senator Schumer to
Resist Trump’s Anti-Environmental Agenda and Entire Agenda

Thursday, February 2, 2017
Noon – 1:00 pm

Office of Senator Schumer
1 Park St., Peekskill, NY

Donald Trump’s presidency represents nothing less than an all-out war on our climate, environment, and communities. Tell Senator Schumer that we won’t stand for this!

Trump’s administration of Big Business cronies would protect corporate interests while endangering our water, air, and food, threatening our civil rights and safety, and risking climate chaos.

As the nation’s top Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer must stand strong against Trump’s catastrophic Cabinet appointments and his climate-destroying plans.

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Environmental and Food Justice

Indian Point to Close by 2021

Amazing news: Indian Point Power Plant to shut down by 2021!
 
We salute the founder of WESPAC, Connie Hogarth, for being instrumental in this movement and to all the members of IPSEC  the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (Marilyn Elie, Jeanne and Gary Shaw, and many others) who have worked for decades to shut down this aging, radioactive leaking nuclear power plant.
 
We thank you and love you: http://nyti.ms/2i0ZuC0
Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Environmental and Food Justice, Frontpage