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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
Statement of Solidarity on the Anniversary of Kristallnacht
by Howard Horowitz, member of the WESPAC Foundation Board
Tonight, we will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Great Pogrom, which the Nazis euphemistically dubbed ‘the Night of Crystal’ – Kristallnacht. This anniversary comes at a moment in history when anti-Semitism is still prevalent, and we are still plagued by evil and hatred (Rabbi Josh Weinberg).
At WESPAC Foundation we remember Kristallnacht and the Holocaust with a message of “solidarity” with all those struggling for justice in these dark times. Solidarity is uplifting, meaningful and a call to action. In our thinking about this, let me share with you an excerpt from a post by Robert Herbst of Larchmont, a civil rights lawyer, a peace and justice activist and who identifies as Jewish:
“In the wake of Pittsburgh, there is no Jewish future in turning inward, either physically, spiritually, or politically, here in the United States, or in the Middle East. The insecurities of the nation and world we have made and live in since the Second World War are widely shared by all except those who have accumulated the money and power to escape them. Rather than locking ourselves away, it is to the Others we must turn – white, black and brown, Christian and Muslim, poor, working and middle class – if we are to have any hope of Tikkun Olam.”
There is an urgent and immediate need for a statement of solidarity. Echoing Charlottesville, there are those among us already muddying the waters claiming “there are bad guys on all sides—left and right.” We reject anti-Semitism in all its forms and expressions wherever and by whomever it is expressed. What happened at Tree of Life is Trump-supported, right wing white nationalism, plain and simple. It has nothing to do with left or anyone else and certainly not anywhere in the struggle for justice in Palestine.
Our struggles are bound up with the many communities facing violence and oppression during these dark times, and we call your attention to just a few of the statements of solidarity that are so needed as we commemorate Kristallnacht.
Community Forum on the Racial Impact of Marijuana Policing
in Westchester County
Thursday, July 26th at 7pm
White Plains Library Auditorium
100 Martine Avenue in White Plains, NY 10601
In a state where racially biased policing is the norm, Westchester County stands out as one of the worst offenders.
Between 2013 and 2017, Black and Latino people were vastly overrepresented among those arrested for marijuana possession relative to their presence in Westchester’s population–despite data showing similar rates of use across populations. While only 14 percent of the County’s residents are Black, Black people comprised over half (52 percent) of those arrested for marijuana possession. Latinx people have also been disproportionately impacted, comprising just 17% of residents, but 34% of arrestees.
This massive increase of Westchester residents involved with the criminal justice system has had significant reverberations. A marijuana arrest creates a permanent criminal record that can easily be found by employers, landlords, schools, credit agencies and banks.
This public discussion will examine the long-term costs and consequences of unequal enforcement of marijuana prohibition in Westchester, solutions to address the harms caused to communities, and efforts to legalize marijuana in New York State while creating a diverse and inclusive industry.
Sponsored by: Drug Policy Alliance, WESPAC Foundation, Westchester Coalition for Police Reform, NYCLU, VOCAL-NY, and more
For all details please visit: https://www.westchestersocialforum.org/
We will be joined by Cynthia Williams, a 2015 Beyond the Bars of Justice Fellow at Columbia University, who spent time in a federal facility and who will speak about how arbitrary and dehumanizing the system is, how she coped and how people end up in solitary confinement. She will also speak about the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement and will inspire us to get involved and to effect positive change.
This event is free and open to the public. WESPAC has 10 copies of the book Hell is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement in our office that are available now ahead of the event for people to read and become more familiar with this issue. Please call to arrange pick up. The United Nations has defined solitary confinement as a form of torture. Free will offerings to support Cynthia and this work will be requested. For more information, call 914.449.6514 or email [email protected].
“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” –