Economic and Human Rights :

Water

WESPAC promotes Economic Justice through promoting fair trade year round and helping to organize the annual Margaret Eberle Fair Trade Festival in White Plains. We also partner with the Wassaic Community Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) http://wassaiccommunityfarm.com. WESPAC is an active member of the Hudson Valley Fair Economy Coalition that meets monthly at the Union Hall in Port Chester, and we have taken a lead role in promoting a public bank for the State of New York. To get involved, please contact the office at 914.449.6514 or by email at [email protected]

Please sign statement in support of Palestinian Prisoners on the 37th day of their hunger strike

Please sign statement in support of Palestinian Prisoners on the 36th day of their hunger strike:

https://goo.gl/forms/HZmKDfN8zBllRrMO2

 

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

Statement in Support of Paid Sick Leave

Please sign statement in support of paid sick leave for all Westchester County workers: https://goo.gl/QXK2qY

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

Westchester Social Forum!

Building the Movement for Social & Ecological Justice

 

Join community organizations in Westchester for a social forum on May 20 to exchange ideas and information, foster solidarity, and celebrate our work to create a more just and equal society. We live in a time of struggle as we witness growing threats to the well-being of our planet and communities, as profit is placed over people and land, and corporations, not citizens, control our democracy.

 

Yet, we, the people, have the collective power to organize a movement for change. The Westchester Social Forum will provide the space to learn from one another, strengthen our organizing skills, and connect as a community.

The day will include a people’s march, workshops on organizing for social and ecological justice, and a culminating cultural celebration! We hope you can join us!

Construyendo el Movimiento por la Justicia Social y Ecológica

 

Únase a organizaciones comunitarias en Westchester durante un foro social en mayo para intercambiar ideas e información, fomentar solidaridad y celebrar nuestra labor para crear una sociedad más justa e igualitaria. Estamos viviendo tiempos de lucha, mientras presenciamos crecientes amenazas al bienestar de nuestro planeta y nuestras comunidades, que anteponen la ganancia de dinero por sobre el pueblo y la tierra, y donde las corporaciones, no los ciudadanos, son los que controlan nuestra democracia.

 

Sin embargo, nosotros, el pueblo, tenemos el poder colectivo de organizar un movimiento por el cambio. El Foro Social de Westchester proveerá el espacio para aprender de unos y otros, fortalecer nuestras habilidades organizativas y conectarnos como una comunidad.

 

El día incluirá una marcha popular, talleres sobre organización social y justicia ecológica y culminará con una celebración cultural. ¡Esperamos que puedan unirse a nosotros!

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Criminal Justice, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Environmental and Food Justice, Frontpage, Movement Building, Racial Justice

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    

 

All information in this Communication, including attachments, is strictly confidential and intended solely for delivery to and authorized use by the addressee(s) identified above. This transmission is sent in trust for the sole purpose or delivery to the intended recipient. It may contain privileged, confidential, proprietary and/or trade secret information entitled to protection and/or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you are not the intended recipient, please take notice that any use, distribution, disclosure or copying of this Communication, is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful and that any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance upon it, is unauthorized. If you have received this Communication in error, please notify the sender and delete this Communication, including any attachments, from your computer. (svr10)

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

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

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

Make Westchester a Sanctuary!

Satellite map of Westchester County, desaturated.

Satellite map of Westchester County, desaturated.

Make Westchester a Sanctuary! Convertir Westchester en un Santuario!

March and Rally in downtown White Plains on Black Friday, November 25th

Assemble at 12 noon at the Fountain (intersection of Main Street and Mamaroneck Avenue in downtown White Plains)
12:30pm march to the Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd statue located at 111 Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd. in White Plains

This march and rally has a permit with the City of White Plains and is organized by WESPAC Foundation, Inc. and supported by the Lower Hudson Valley Chapter of the NYCLU, the White Plains Greenburgh Chapter of the NAACP, the White Plains Religious Leaders, Westchester for Change (list in formation)

For more information contact [email protected] or call 914.449.6514.  Signs will be provided:

Make Westchester a Sanctuary       Convertir Westchester en un Santuario 

Keep Families Together                  Mantener unidas a las Familias

Path to Citizenship for All               Proceso de naturalización para todos

Drivers Licenses for the Undocumented      

Licencias de conducir para los indocumentados

Climate Change Action Now

Respect Indigenous Sovereignty 

Protect our Constitution

Protect our Bill of Rights

Support our Veterans

Black Lives Matter: support racial justice

Muslims are part of our Family

People with Disabilities are part of our Family

Respect and Support Women’s Rights

Respect and Support LGBTQ Rights

Support a Living Wage: we need economic democracy

Support our Workers and Unions

Westchester Welcomes Refugees

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

Saudis must face consequences for promoting extremism

Last December, Farah Pandith of the Council on Foreign Relations, who was the first State Department special representative to Muslim communities, called for Saudi Arabia to face consequences if it did not stop promoting extremism. She wrote in the New York Times

“I traveled to 80 countries between 2009 and 2014 as the first ever U.S. special representative to Muslim communities. In each place I visited, the Wahhabi influence was an insidious presence, changing the local sense of identity; displacing historic, culturally vibrant forms of Islamic practice; and pulling along individuals who were either paid to follow their rules or who became on their own custodians of the Wahhabi world view. Funding all this was Saudi money, which paid for things like the textbooks, mosques, TV stations and the training of Imams…We should expose the Saudi financing of extremist groups masquerading as cultural exchanges and ‘charity’ organizations and prevent the Saudis from demolishing local Muslim religious and cultural sites that are evidence of the diversity of Islam. If the Saudis do not cease what they are doing, there must be diplomatic, cultural and economic consequences.” [1]

Eight months later, the New York Times reported:

“Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t agree on much, but Saudi Arabia may be an exception. She has deplored Saudi Arabia’s support for ‘radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.’ He has called the Saudis ‘the world’s biggest funders of terrorism.'” [2]  

But neither Clinton nor Trump has yet addressed the conclusion of what Farah Pandith wrote eight months ago: there must be consequences for the Saudis if they do not cease what they are doing.

Instead of sanctioning the Saudis, the U.S. government now plans to reward them. On August 8, the administration notified Congress of intent to sell $1.15 billion of weapons to Saudi Arabia. But Senator Murphy and Senator Paul are expected to introduce a bipartisan resolution to disapprove the administration’s Saudi arms deal. [3]

Urge Congress to support the Paul-Murphy resolution to disapprove the Saudi arms deal by signing our petition at change.org.

Thanks for all you do to help make America more just,

Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy

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

Solidarity Vigil with Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance

dakota-acces-pipeline

What: Solidarity Vigil with Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance

WhenWednesday, September 14, 2016, 12pm to 1:30pm

Where: The Fountain in Downtown White Plains (Intersection of Main Street and Mamaroneck Ave), White Plains, NY 10601

Solidarity Vigil with Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance. We will also link to the resistance locally working to STOP the Spectra Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (AIM), which is planned to run next to the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Spectra AIM Pipeline is being built by the same company as the Dakota Access Pipeline.  We will have a few signs but please also bring signs.

Speakers: Ms. Betty Lyons (Onondaga Nation), President of the American Indian Law Alliance and Ms. Karenna Gore, Director for the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, as well as local Westchester County residents who recently traveled to the Sacred Stone Camp in Lakota Territory [North Dakota].

Sponsors: WESPAC Foundation, American Indian Law Alliance, Center for Earth Ethics, Resist Spectra Pipeline, Friends of Turtle Island Committee-WESPAC. 

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Environmental and Food Justice, Friends of Turtle Island, Frontpage, Movement Building