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

GARE Presenters

https://youtu.be/Cm0DIKWZwtQ

On December 15, we will launch the Justice Roadmap 2021 to call for bold legislative change to decarcerate jails, prisons and immigrant detention centers and address the harms of the criminal legal and immigration systems. 

Join us to demand that New York dismantle systems that criminalize, incarcerate and deport our communities and build a world where all of us can thrive

**MEDIA ADVISORY**

Contact: 

Katie Schaffer, [email protected]communityalternatives.org, 646-265-2044

Nada Khader, [email protected]gmail.com, 914-449-6514

Vanessa Agudelo, [email protected]nyic.org, 914-482-1241

Luke Grandis, [email protected], 917-702-8781

CLAIMING URGENCY AND A PROGRESSIVE MANDATE FOLLOWING THE ELECTION, NEW COALITION LAUNCHES DEMANDING DECARCERATION

RALLIES WILL TAKE PLACE OUTSIDE OF A JAIL, PRISON, IMMIGRANT DETENTION CENTER & THE GOVERNOR’S MANSION AS NEW COALITION CALLS FOR ACTION

WHEN: December 9th at 11am

WHERE:

WHAT: Rallies outside of a county jail, state prison, immigrant detention facility and the Governor’s mansion announcing the launch of a new coalition: Decarcerate the Hudson Valley. The new coalition will be building power throughout the Hudson Valley to demand action by local and state elected officials to address the crisis of mass incarceration. Following the November elections, advocates and impacted people urge state legislature to act on a progressive mandate.

WHO: Formerly incarcerated Hudson Valley residents, families with incarcerated loved ones and advocacy organizations in the Hudson Valley including: Alternatives to Incarceration Coalition Westchester, Beacon Prison Action, Beacon4BlackLives, Black Lives Matter Hudson Valley, Call BlackLine, Center for Community Alternatives, Community Voices Heard, Dutchess County Progressive Action Alliance, End the New Jim Crow Action Network – Poughkeepsie, Equitable Future, Inc., I Am Citizen, Irvington Activists, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, LIFE Progressive Services Group Inc, Newburgh LGBTQ Center, New York Immigration Coalition, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, Mid Hudson Valley Democratic Socialists of America, NYCLU Hudson Valley Chapter, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, Release Aging People in Prison – RAPP, Showing Up For Racial Justice Westchester Chapter, VOCAL-NY, WESPAC Foundation, Inc., Westchester Coalition for Police Reform (WCPR), Westchester for Change, Yonkers Sanctuary Movement.

BACKGROUND:

  • While we have seen real decarceral success in the Hudson Valley since 2019 – with a 36% reduction in the number of people jailed pretrial – mass incarceration continues to be a crisis. 

  • Each day, there are over 13,000 Hudson Valley residents languishing in county jails and state prisons. (In October 2020, there were 2,200 people incarcerated in county jails each day and 11,152 incarcerated in state prisons.)

  • In addition, there are over 4,000 people subject to parole supervision in their Hudson Valley communities.

  • There continue to be stark racial disparities. 

  • Local and county governments in the Hudson spend over $856 million each year on the carceral system. This includes nearly $406 million on jails alone.

 

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Thank you SO much to all who have already given to sustain WESPAC!  In order to meet our budgetary targets, we must raise between $8,000 and $10,000 at this holiday time.  A contribution in any amount will help sustain us during these challenging times.  You can make a secure donation in less than a minute with any credit or debit card using this link here

 
With our deep appreciation in advance,
 
Nada

ARA Board Diversity Speakers

September 10 – October 1, 2020

At this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, advocates, policymakers, law enforcement, and community leaders around the country have raised concerns about policing and public safety.
 
People want change. They want America to be better. That call for change is unmistakable, but the path forward remains unclear. It’s time to reimagine 21st century public safety and redefine the role of police in creating safe communities, together.
 
This September, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice are partnering to convene a series of six livestream conversations to reimagine the future of public safety and redefine the role of policing in America today.
 
These sessions will culminate in the release of a public report that will include substantive and innovative conclusions for communities to consider as they reimagine the future of public safety. The report will serve as a roadmap for local communities to follow as they work toward committing to policing practices that ensure equal justice for everyone. We must collaborate and create a blueprint for the future of public safety—and what that means for policing—together. (See press release.)
 

RSVP today to receive reminders ahead of each conversation! 
Each event will be streamed live on our Facebook and YouTube pages. 

IADL: U.S. sanctions targeting International Criminal Court are an outrage against international justice

See the statement on our website:
https://iadllaw.org/2020/09/iadl-u-s-sanctions-targeting-international-criminal-court-are-an-outrage-against-international-justice/

On 2 September 2020, U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the imposition of sanctions on Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and prosecution jurisdiction director for authorizing such an investigation, including war crimes committed by U.S. forces, for which U.S. officials bear responsibility.  These sanctions were based on a declaration by U.S. President Trump of a national emergency on this subject in June of 2020. 

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) rejects as outrageous these sanctions on senior prosecution officials of the International Criminal Court.  IADL will be investigating the best ways to challenge these sanctions.

The United States has for some time claimed that it is exempt from the laws which bind the rest of the world, seeking permanent international impunity for itself.   The United States openly seeks to evade international accountability for its responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the world, not only by refusing to join the Court but by U.S. President Trump declaring that the potential for an ICC investigation into international crimes in the war in Afghanistan is a “national emergency.”

That the International Criminal Court prosecutors are investigating the United States can be declared a “national emergency” makes a mockery of the word “emergency”. 

Of course, such an investigation follows the United States’ illegal invasion and military occupation of Iraq after years of devastating sanctions, torture of prisoners, and devastation of the country that led directly and indirectly to the deaths of millions of Iraqis. The United States continues to illegally occupy Afghanistan, having killed and wounded thousands of Afghans over nearly 20 years of ongoing military attacks, while continuing drone strikes, extrajudicial killings and other war crimes and crimes against humanity around the world.

It must further be noted that this also comes in response to the Prosecutor’s approval of an investigation into Israeli war crimes in Palestine, about which the U.S. and Israel have exerted tremendous pressure on both Palestinian and international actors in an effort to uphold permanent impunity for ongoing Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity. It further follows the submission of a complaint by Middlesex University law professor William Schabas against Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump adviser Jared Kushner before the ICC for their support of illegal Israeli colonial settlement activities in the West Bank of occupied Palestine.

The ICC was established in order to prevent serious crimes against civilians and put an end to impunity when domestic law does not or cannot provide a remedy.  For years, the bulk of ICC actions were directed at African officials, even in relatively weak cases. The US imposed sanctions are an attempt to prevent the ICC from performing a truly international or universal role, since any such court or judicial project must be able to hold the U.S. and its allies accountable for their crimes.

Sixty-seven member countries of the ICC have issued a joint statement expressing their support for the Court as an independent and impartial judicial institution, and 10 members of the UN Security Council have done the same. It is incumbent upon all States Parties to the Rome Statute act to defend the Court and address these latest threats to the international rule of law by the United States. We further call on the UN General Assembly to condemn these U.S. actions.

It must be noted as well that these sanctions come amid the ongoing use of unilateral coercive measures, in violation of international law and the United Nations charter, by the U.S. government; for example, against Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Zimbabwe. These unilateral coercive measures are a form of economic warfare and an attempt to impose regime change upon any country that rejects the dictates of the United States, and the sanctions on individual ICC prosecutors fit precisely into this framework. 

The IADL rejects the US attempt to suppress international justice and any form of accountability for U.S. and Israeli officials through direct economic attack and the threat of criminal prosecution against victims and their advocates simply for pursuing justice.

We affirm that this announcement will not chill our efforts to hold U.S. officials and their allies, including Israeli officials, accountable and to support our members and colleagues working to do so in a variety of forums and venues, especially the International Criminal Court. 

9 September 2020

Beinart:

 “Well I think ultimately the right of a refugee return, not just to the West Bank but also to Israel proper. Now, one of the ways Land for All thinks about that, is through a notion of those Palestinians refugees remaining, being citizens of a Palestinian state based in West Bank and Gaza, even as they live in Israel proper, right? While Israeli settlers stay in the West Bank and retain their Israeli citizenship. Right, so this is where a confederation model could work. But I do think that the way a two-state solution has been conceived by some people, which is essentially to say, virtually no right of refugee Palestinian return to areas inside Israel proper – I have come to the view that I think that would be unlikely to be that effective of a solution. And I also think that we have to really have a conversation about the morality of telling… we are a people who for 2000 years have prayed every morning since the creation of modern liturgy, for a return to this land – how do we tell people who grew up in a place, that they don’t have the right to return to that place? So I think that one of the reasons that I would favor a confederation model over a two-state model, if I had to choose between the two at this point, is that I think it creates more opportunity for meeting people’s legitimate rights to have the option of returning. That does not mean going to someone’s house and kicking them out of their home. And I don’t think it’s the way most Palestinians I know think about it. But it means maybe compensation and it means having the right to return to the city where you were born. I mean again, one of the things that comes across to anyone who spends time with Palestinian writing and learns from the Palestinian experience, is the enormous power and the importance for people of being able to go back to places that were precious to them. And one of the things that I find appealing about the confederation model, even if one doesn’t go fully towards the one-state model, is it provides some way of realizing that. And I am saddened that in our Jewish discourse, that we are people who take so much pride in our ability to remember, to not forget, and to hold sacred memory and to try to fulfil it, are so dismissive of that when it comes to Palestinians”.     Read full article here: https://mondoweiss.net/2020/07/peter-beinart-and-the-palestinian-right-of-return/

“Children in Detention, an introduction to the No Way to Treat a Child Campaign” was originally recorded on June 16, 2020.

58 minutes
https://www.classwars.org/NoWayTreatChild.mp3

Panelists: Kwame Holmes, PhD, Scholar in Residence, Human Rights Program, Bard College, AND Shaina Low, U.S. Advocacy Officer at Defense for Children International, Palestine.

Permission to air this program has been granted by the four sponsoring groups, Jewish Voice For Peace – Hudson Valley, Mideast Crisis Response, Veterans For Peace, and Women in Black – New Paltz.