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

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

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

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

The War in Syria Cannot Be Won. But It Can Be Ended.

 
Phyllis Bennis
October 31, 2016
The Nation
 
The left is profoundly divided over the conflict, but we should at least agree on a set of principles to end it.

 

yrian-Americans demonstrate near the United Nations to demand a cease-fire in Syria, New York, May 1, 2016.,  Sipa via AP Images

 

We need a powerful movement demanding an end to the war in Syria. The United States and to some extent the global antiwar movements remain largely paralyzed. There are some campaigns responding to specific congressional and other war moves, with some particularly good work against US support for Saudi Arabia. But as a movement, we seem unable to sort through the complexity of the multi-layered wars raging across Syria, and unable to respond to our internal divisions to create the kind of powerful movement we need to challenge the escalating conflict. (more…)

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

Final Pre-Trial Conference for Kenneth Chamberlain

kenneth

Posted in Blogs, Director's Blog, Racial Justice

The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine

The birth of agro-resistance in Palestine
 
For decades Israel has been driving Palestinian farmers 
off their land by imposing restrictions on agriculture. 
But one company, Canaan Fair Trade, has found an innovative 
way to resist
 
 
Jonathan Cook
The Link (Americans for Middle East Understanding)
September – October 2016
 
Article pdf attached.

  
Jonathan Cook won the 2011 Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. 
His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan 
to Remake the Middle East 
(Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s 
Experiments in Human Despair 
(Zed Books). You can read all of Jonathan’s 
recent reports and commentaries on his website, the View from Nazareth: 
www.Jonathan-Cook.net and on his blog: www.Jonathan-Cook.net/blog/

 
 
Article sources:
Posted in Communities & Focus Areas, Environmental and Food Justice, Militarism and Foreign Policy, Racial Justice

The Freedom to Boycott for Justice and for Human Rights

Freedom to Boycott

Letter to the Westchester Jewish Council from Howard Horowitz:

Dear Elliott, Shabbat Shalom,

I am writing to express my deepest concern and objection to the decision taken by WJC to actively endorse legislation that in its spirit and in its specifics is unconstitutional and an assault on free speech. The call for a legislated ban or boycott of businesses that want to participate in a voluntary boycott of Israel until it ends the occupation and the ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights is hypocritical, and is a blatant effort to silence dissent. You do not even distinguish between boycotting Israel and boycotting settlement enterprises on stolen Palestinian land.  As a respected member of the business community for over 40 years, and as owner of a business for over 30 years, I have the right to participate and have my business participate in a nonviolent movement without fear of recrimination from my own government. The problem here is the Israeli occupation and the settlements, which have been deemed illegal according to international law and which violate the moral code I believe you and I abide by. The occupation and the settlements, which are expanding as I write this, put Israel in grave danger and ultimately will spell a disaster  for the country.  From this perspective, participating in the BDS movement is a more “pro-Israel” stance than is the position you advocate.  Yet, I and others are threatened with legal and financial retribution from our  local and state governments should we see the violence of the occupation and the expanding settlements and want to register dissenting voice against it by participating in nonviolent action to stop it.

I am confident you are aware that this legislation emerges out of an organized intimidation campaign developed by the Netanyahu government and its supporters in Israel, and propagated by ZOA and AIPAC. As a citizen of this county and this state, I must conclude that that our local politicians are being held hostage and our legislators and governors have been put in a bind.  Has the state been blackmailed into making dissent illegal?  How many millions of Jews and others—including our immediate forefathers in the 1950s—have been persecuted by this form of McCarthyism? This is the realization of the worst fears of the Jews and of the Reform movement in particular; that is, the fear of Zionist and Israeli meddling in our internal affairs. Jewish history teaches us to beware and to be wary of any effort to silence dissent.  Given our collective history, any organization that claims to represent Jews and their organizations in our community must question not support the wisdom and efficacy of punitive legislation in a free society.

Israel is in the gravest of danger, not from BDS, but from its own actions and policies. There is real danger that Israel will succumb as a result of the ascendancy of the right wing, fundamentalist, religious dominated parties that have no tolerance and no love for the liberal democracy we want and claim Israel to be. This can only spell disaster for the country.   The people we so want to identify with in Israel—the secular, progressive, liberal religious segments of politics and society—need us now more than ever to just say “no” to draconian policies and legislation, including the legislation you have endorsed today. 

By your words and actions, you are also nurturing the ever-growing divide in the Jewish community and the ever-increasing alienation of Jewish youth. I have confidence the Reform movement will not long stand for this kind of undemocratic censorship by the powerful over the powerless.  We cannot be blinded by what we are being told is “kosher” pro-Israel-ism.  We are fed such hateful propaganda  that we refuse to see not only the truth of what is going on in Israel, but the tremendous harm it will bring to Israel and its future.  Do you really believe that to ban BDS strengthens the forces of progress, peace and justice in Israel?  If there is no BDS alternative for bad behavior, what tools do the forces of progress have to influence the behavior of the Israeli government not only toward Palestinians but towards secular, Jewish society in Israel? 

More and more American Jews are coming to understand the situation in Israel as I do.  There will come a day—and I hope it will not be too late—that Jews in the US will say “no” and withdraw support from and take real actions against the fundamentalists (with Netanyahu the false, friendly face of a government that is out of line with our values) who currently dominate the discourse and the policies in Israel. Once that happens, an Israeli government that is in line with our values will thrive and succeed. It is time to rethink what it means to be pro-Israel.  I hope you will understand what is at stake here.

I will close with this: I believe in “never again” and so I will not remain silent within my Temple, in the Jewish community and in the wider community nor refrain from expressing my opposition to this legislation and to the WJC’s endorsement of it. I urge you to convey to the Board of Legislators to let this legislation die quietly.   

Respectfully,

Howard Horowitz

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