Racial Justice :

WESPAC Foundation supports the work of the Anti-Racist Alliance which is the lead group in Westchester that explores the ongoing harm of institutionalized and systemic racism in our country today. We have honest discussions in a mixed group of how white privilege impacts both people of color and white folk in Westchester County in the form of excessive police force, access to quality education, employment and housing and many other areas. We listen to the range of experience that people of color have to endure in a society that continues to disproportionately benefit white people . For more information, visit antiracistalliance.com

WESPAC Middle East Committee invites you to participate in Palestine book reading together

Yesterday the WESPAC Middle East Committee met and discussed plans for this year’s 70th Nakba Commemoration with the Westchester Palestinian Community.  
To gear up for a larger event later this Spring, we will be reading together Susan Abulhawa’s very fine novel “Mornings in Jenin” to better understand the Palestinian narrative.  The committee would like to invite members of the broader social justice community to join with us in this book reading.
We will read a third of the novel by the end of February (first 100 pages), and will convene at WESPAC on Tuesday, February 27th at 7pm to discuss the first third of the novel.  The book is available both at local libraries as well as online.  Please let us know if you will be joining us.


“Every now and again a literary work changes the way people think. Abulhawa…has crafted a brilliant first novel about Palestine… [This] intensely beautiful fictionalized history… should be read by both politicians and those interested in contemporary politics.” –  Library Journal

“This complex story is beautifully told… The perspective is brutal, yet ultimately not without hope… [Abulhawa] draws us into the nightmare of her heroine’s existence with convincing passion.” –  Historical Novels Review

“Illuminating and deeply moving, Abulhawa’s epic resonates with compassion…You can’t ask more of historical fiction.” –  Brooklyn Rail

“Abulhawa’s pathos and mastery enables the reader to taste, smell and grasp the chronicles of Palestine as if one is actually there… Lovely and heartrending, this story is a must-read for those who wish to not only understand the catastrophe of the Palestinians with their heads but with their hearts.” –  Palestine Chronicle

Winner of the USA Book News Best Books Award” – 

#FREEnewyork Westchester Town Hall

Made in Palestine – Evening of Comedy, Dance and Music

Online Tickets Available Here for Purchase: https://tickets.tarrytownmusichall.org/eventperformances.asp?evt=2028

Palestinian – what images come to your mind…

A hilarious comic who has been the headliner at shows at both New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and has performed around the country and internationally to sold-out audiences?

Do you think of  young boys and girls, dressed in elaborate costumes, swirling in precision as they perform the classic Palestinian folk dance of Dabke?

Or maybe, the beautifully intricate and delicate traditional embroidery that has long graced the clothes of Palestinians and has recently become the inspiration for couture and hip fashion alike?

No, this isn’t what immediately pops into your thoughts. We understand. Unfortunately, the long and rich cultural history of Palestine has long been overshadowed by other images portrayed in the media.

We aim to change that and we need your help!

MADE IN PALESTINE, a one- night event planned for Sunday, Nov. 19th at the Tarrytown Music Hall, will showcase the beautiful and light-hearted side of Palestine.

WESPAC Foundation, a leading force for progressive social change in Westchester since 1974, has long advocated for a just and lasting peace to the Israel/Palestine conflict. We are aware that many Americans know little of the multi-faceted cultural heritage of Palestine – the music, the food, the art and the struggle to have their narrative understood. We will highlight aspects of this rich culture and, we hope, leave you hungry to learn more.

We are so excited that comedian and author Amer Zahr will headline MADE IN PALESTINE. Palestinian American Performance Poet Remi Kenazi and a NJ Palestinian folkloric dabke dance troupe will open the show.  Authentic food will be served and fair-trade artisan gifts and products from Palestine will be available for purchase.

We are seeking financial support from the Social Justice and the Arab-Palestinian community and others to underwrite this exciting opportunity.  We hope that you will support this event by choosing one of the sponsorship options listed below. I will call you in a few days to discuss this invitation and share more details about the show and how you might like to become involved.

We hope you will join us in what will surely be a fun and  entertaining evening with important, long-lasting effects.


Sponsorship Opportunities

Benefactor                       $1000

6 VIP tickets and listing in program

Sponsor                            $  500

4 VIP tickets and listing in program

Friend                             $  250

2 VIP tickets and listing in program

Supporter                         $ 100

Listing in Program


Front inside cover            $ 750

Back outside cover          $ 750

Back inside cover             $ 300

Full-page                            $ 150

Half-page                           $ 100

Quarter-page                   $   75

Business card                   $   50

Name as you would like it to appear in listing:

Please send Black and White Graphic for Ad by November 3rd, 2017

TO:   WESPAC Foundation

     77 Tarrytown Road, 2W

     White Plains, NY 10607

For more information, call the WESPAC office at 914.449.6515 or email [email protected]

Report Back from Annual NACOLE Conference

Nada will be presenting a report on Thursday, September 28th at 7pm at WESPAC regarding her participation at the Annual NACOLE Conference on behalf of WCPR.  

On September 10th, hundreds of members of law enforcement, community leaders, elected officials, journalists, academics, students and oversight professionals will gather in Spokane, Washington, for the annual four day NACOLE conference (National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement): http://www.nacole.org/2017_annual_conference .

Conference attendees will be able to choose from 31 different concurrent and plenary sessions on a wide range of topics including Building Community Trust, Trauma Informed Policing, Auditing for Accountability, Evaluating Police Use of Force and much more.  Attendees will be part of a learning and networking event that will provide inspiration, ideas and practical knowledge as we work for a vision of implementing best practices and enhanced police legitimacy in our local communities and around the nation.  

After Charlottesville: A Conversation with Local Law Enforcement

After Charlottesville: A Conversation with Local Law Enforcement

Thursday, September 7th at 7pm at the new WESPAC Office location
77 Tarrytown Road, Suite 2W
White Plains/Greenburgh, NY 10607

Join the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform as we speak with Detective Keith Olson, President of the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association and Damon Jones, Blacks in Law Enforcement of America’s NY Representative, about policing, community relations and accountability in an era of emboldened white supremacy.  This community forum is free and open to the public and will be facilitated by WESPAC Director Nada Khader.  There is plenty of free parking on site. Take the driveway all the way to the top behind the building.  For more information, call the WESPAC office at 914.449.6514.

Call for all citizens to join in the efforts for inclusion and respect for the human rights in New Rochelle

David is a core trainer with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and is the founder/leader of New Rochelle Against Racism

Call for all citizens to join in the efforts for inclusion and respect for the human rights in New Rochelle

The recent violent events in Virginia have surprised many who do not believe that a racist ideology of white supremacy is alive and well in this country. However, it is not a surprise to people of African descent and other people of color. As members of New RoAR (New Rochelle Against Racism), we reject the notion that this ideology is limited to Neo Nazi, KKK or any other overt member of a so-called white nationalist group. We also reject the notion that in the absence of these horrible events, white supremacy doesn’t exist. The consistent historical and current impact of structural and institutional racism is embedded in all of the major institutions of this country.

As a result, for our purposes this statement also applies to New Rochelle, New York.

We believe that only a consistent racial analysis of the current policies and decision making by our city, school and social service providers will provide the level of accountability needed to achieve racial equity. We reject the belief that our demographic diversity alone is an effective lens for evaluating the health of our city.

We call on all citizens to join in the efforts for inclusion and respect for the human rights of those who are most impacted by these racist policies and practices.

Moving forward, we will highlight when and where these concerns need to be addressed. We intend to hold accountable community groups representing those oppressed by these systems and institutions. We will not hide in the shadows or blame people for the conditions in which they live.

We believe that our collective efforts will alter the way power is currently exercised by all of the systems in our city.

David Peters,

New Rochelle Against Racism (New RoAR)

Rally to Protect Immigrants!

The “adultification” of black girls leads to harsher disciplinary treatment, researchers found

A new report found that adults view young black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than white girls starting as young as 5 years old. 
Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood,” released on Tuesday by Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality, shows that society’s perception of black girls leads to their “adultification.” The report shows that adults believe that black girls seem older than white girls of the same age, and think that black girls need less nurturing, protection, support and comfort than white girls. It also found that people assume black girls are more independent, know more about adult topics and know more about sex than young white girls.
The report ― which built on information from a 2014 study by Phillip Goff that found that black boys are more likely to be viewed as older and suspected of crimes starting at age 10 ―is the first of its kind to focus on girls. Researchers surveyed 325 adults from racial and ethnic backgrounds in a ratio that mirrors the country’s population. Many of the adults surveyed had a high school diploma or higher. They found the biggest differences in the ways adults view children in the age brackets 5-9 and 10-14. These differences continued to a lesser degree in the 15-19 age bracket.
Rebecca Epstein, lead author and executive director for the center, and Jamilia J. Blake, co-author and an associate professor at Texas A&M University, broke down the relationship adultification has on the ways black girls are disciplined during a press conference call Tuesday
“One reason this might be occurring is because black girls are being held to the same stereotypes we have of black women,” Blake said. “Black women have historically and currently been seen as being aggressive, loud, defiant and oversexualized. And I believe, along with many other researchers, that the stereotypes of black women are being mapped on to black girls.” 
The report stated that “potential implications” for the findings could be research exploring how these perceptions of black girls affect how they are disciplined at school and beyond. Black girls are five times more likely to be suspended as white girls and twice as likely to be suspended as white boys, according to research used in this study. 
And though they make up less than 16 percent of the female school population, black girls account for 28 percent of referrals to law enforcement and 37 percent of arrests. Black girls are also almost three times more likely than white girls to be referred to the juvenile justice system and 20 percent more likely to be charged with a crime.

Georgetown Laws Center on Poverty and Inequality
“The consequences of entering the juvenile justice system can’t be ignored,” Epstein said. “As we know, it can change the course of a girl’s life. But despite these startling statistics, there’s precious little research about why this different treatment happens; why are black girls subjected to more discipline and greater contact with the juvenile justice system? And at the center, we wanted to look at those possible root causes.”
During their research, Epstein recalled talking to a young black girl who said her teacher told her, “You’re just like an angry black woman.”
Blake said these attitudes take away from black girls having a childhood.
“There’s kind of this social stereotype and of course there’s something about being resilient, being independent, but when this stereotype is put on girls at a very young age, it really robs them, whether they realize it or not, of this kind of naiveté of being a child,” she said.
The authors said they hope that researchers and teachers examine the “causal connection between adultification and harsh treatment,” and that policymakers make concerted efforts to counteract this bias. Epstein said Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality will being doing its part by creating an initiative on gender justice and opportunity later in the year. In all future related efforts, Epstein said it’s essential to center those affected the most. 
“In all of this work, voices of black girls themselves should be front and center to the work,” she said. “We encourage black girls to raise their voices about this issue and, of course, for adults to listen to them. All black girls are entitled to and deserve equal treatment, including equal access to the protections that are appropriate for children.”

No Apartheid in Our Name: LGBT Jewish Groups Block “Celebrate Israel” Parade


JVP Westchester Letter to the Board of Legislators

Dear Members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators:

On June 12 at 10 a.m. the Legislation Committee is scheduled to discuss an anti-BDS resolution referred to on your website as ID # 10140  Resolution – LEGISLATORS KAPLOWITZ AND MAISANO: Proposed Reso – Anti BDS Movement.

On behalf of the members of Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester, I urge you to withdraw, or vote against, this resolution. 

Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester is a national membership organization, with over 60 chapters and more than 200,000 online supporters, that seeks to promote a peace in Israel/Palestine based on international law, human rights, equality, justice, and security for all the peoples of the region. Our Westchester chapter is one of five in New York State.  As an organization and as individuals, we support Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS).   

Like many JVP members, I have been to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In fact, I just returned from two weeks there.  I found the racial segregation and domination of Palestinians to be arbitrary and cruel.  Since the illegal 1967 annexation of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods and the land of 28 Palestinian communities deprived those residents of the protections of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the land expropriation, forced transfer of Palestinians and establishment of settlements has been systematic and premeditated. 

There is no public housing for Palestinians, and they are prevented from building homes by the requirement of a permit, which is routinely and arbitrarily withheld from Palestinians, and in the very few cases in which permits are granted, they are very expensive.  The 20,000 homes built without permits containing more than 85,000 Palestinians are all subject to demolition, with the cost of demolition imposed on their owners. 

There are virtually no parks or swimming pools in East Jerusalem, except in Jewish settlements.   “Greater Jerusalem” – the Jewish-Israeli metropolitan area, now extends from Ramallah in the North, to the Dead Sea in the East, and Hebron to the South, facilitated by the Wall and a network of highways that tie the settlements into West Jerusalem and Israel.  By building and locating the Wall where it did, Israel effectively confiscated 9-11% of the West Bank and put the water acquifer inside it.  Israel now controls 85% of the water in the West Bank.  While water is plentiful enough in Jewish West Bank settlements to keep the swimming pools overflowing, Palestinian West Bank residents are often deprived of running water for many hours a day. 

In the West Bank, I saw up close how ugly, brutal and implacable the occupation is, enforced by overwhelming force and intimidation of the local population.  Many Palestinian families have endured raids of their homes without warning by Israeli soldiers.  Children as young as 12 years old have been taken from homes or streets and jailed without charges for weeks or months.  Two out of five Palestinian men have been held at one time or another in Israeli prisons, often without charge or trial.  Release is often conditioned on agreement to collaborate with authorities, making those released suspect in the eyes of their Palestinian brothers and sisters even if they have not agreed to collaborate.  Israeli soldiers, border police and settlers routinely walk around with guns, the latter too-often assaulting or taunting Palestinians children going to or from school. 

Tens of thousands of homes have been demolished, olive orchards have been destroyed, much of Palestinian agricultural land has been taken or threatened, while military checkpoints routinely make travel from one Palestinian town to another close by away take hours.  The United States has manufactured and delivered much of the military hardware and software used to enforce the occupation, to our shame and in violation of UN Security Council resolutions which call upon all UN member states to refrain from assisting or facilitating these violations of international law.

We oppose the Kaplowitz-Maisano resolution for the following reasons:

Legislative measures that demonize BDS and level false accusations against it and its supporters, even resolutions without the binding force of law, have a chilling effect on dissent. They are a form of indirect government censorship that undermines First Amendment protections. Further, they stifle the open exchange of ideas that could help resolve the tragic conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Boycott, divestment, and sanctions are nonviolent approaches to ending injustice. These tactics are protected under the Constitution and have a long and honorable history protesting segregation (the Montgomery bus boycott), unfair working conditions (the farmworkers’ grape boycott), an apartheid regime (the boycott of South Africa), and LGBT discrimination (boycotts of Arizona and North Carolina). 

 The BDS movement on behalf of Palestinian rights, which is supported by a growing number of us in the Jewish community, is directed against the discriminatory and oppressive policies that the government of Israel employs against Palestinians. Contrary to misinformation and the assertion in the Kaplowitz-Maisano resolution that  BDS as “a movement that seeks to undermine Israel and malign the Jewish people,” BDS is not anti-Semitic. It does not promote hatred or discriminate against Jews as a people but rather protests the policies of a state. Many Westchester Jews have written you protesting this misrepresentation. To misuse the term anti-Semitism in this way is to trivialize an odious phenomenon. As an organization guided by Jewish ethics and tradition, JVP supports BDS because we believe that enduring Jewish (as well as democratic) values require Israeli Jews to respect the humanity, dignity, and equal legal rights of their Palestinian neighbors.

 Under international law, the Israeli annexation and occupation of Palestinian lands is considered illegal and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians an abuse of human rights.  For decades, the stated policy of the United States Government has been that settlements in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. Americans who support BDS are therefore adhering to the principles to which their government pays lip service.

The anti-BDS initiative before you is wrong-headed. It discourages thinking and action that is humanitarian in outlook by seeking to end grave harm and suffering. It distracts attention from pressing local issues, serves no discernible local interest, and alienates politically active sectors of Westchester’s residents who believe that the freedom to hold dissenting views without government pressure is a foundation of American democracy. It encourages Israel to persist in policies toward the Palestinians that undermine its Jewish values and its claim to democracy, damage its standing in international public opinion and contravene international law and human rights.

For all these reasons, I and my JVP-Westchester colleagues urge you to vote against this anti-BDS resolution.

 Very truly yours,


Robert L. Herbst

Chapter Coordinator

Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester

Larchmont, New York 10538