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

Statement of Solidarity on the Anniversary of Kristallnacht

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.

Out of Our Silos: To Defeat Anti-Semitism, Jews Must Unite With Others Targeted by White Supremacy (Hannah Sassaman, In These Times)

Amy Goodman Interviews Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari of Kol Tzedek synagogue

Palestine Legal Statement on Tree-of-Life-Synagogue

Jewish Voice for Peace:  Together We Heal, United We Fight

Art Journaling at WESPAC

Susan Sheppard’s class at WESPAC has begun!
Quote from Roger: “I want to say: Today’s class was truly amazing, fun, healing, relaxing and a lot of other positive things!
I absolutely loved this and really suggest this to anyone that can make it. Susan was incredible! Thank you so much for guiding us today.”
It is not too late to sign up!  
Art Journaling Class at WESPAC every Wednesday with Susan Sheppard alternating start time 6pm or noon.  Next Wednesday, July 25th, the class starts at noon.  Please contact Susan with all questions and to register  [email protected]optonline.net .  $20 per class towards WESPAC – no one turned away:

From Susan: An art journal is a “visual diary.”  In addition to (or maybe in place of ) words, the journal keeper uses visual images to portray his/her thoughts and feelings.  During these very stressful times an art journal can serve as a little haven in a world of madness.
 
My vision of this class is having the participants create an art journal over a series of workshops with or without the guidance of prompts combined with a variety of art techniques.   For example, for the first class I would like to prepare the first few pages for future work and creating a self-portrait using collage.  The prompt would be “The Me Nobody Knows.”  The class would occur over several weeks depending on interest.   Each participant would have to provide a “journal”  (water color pad, composition book, or a hard cover book) , magazines and images that appeal to them, and writing tools of their choice.  I would provide other tools and materials. 
 
Some techniques are collage, printing, stenciling, drawing, painting, Zentangle, etc.  The prompts can be whole class , personal to the participants, or pulled from a jar.

Racial Impact of Marijuana Policing in Westchester County

Racial Impact of Marijuana Policing in Westchester County

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

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2128989074044735/

Is Westchester Ready for Police Accountability

Is Westchester Ready for Police Accountability?

Saturday, June 30th at 5pm (refreshments starting at 4:30pm)
The Rev. Shelton Doles Community Center Theater
250 South Sixth Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10550

Join Bridge to Africa 360, African Family Unity Forum and the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform for a community conversation about the value of civilian oversight of law enforcement as well as an update on the status of the Mount Vernon Civilian Review Board and the Right to Know Act that is gaining momentum around New York State.

Panelists include:

  • Mount Vernon City Council member Delia Farquharson
  • Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Shawn Harris (invited)
  • Panel moderator is Mount Vernon CCRB Steering Cte member Geoff Munroe

This event is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Mount Vernon Recreation Department.

Westchester Social Justice Forum 2018!

For all details please visit: https://www.westchestersocialforum.org/

An Evening to End Solitary Confinement at WESPAC

New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement

Tuesday, April 10th, 6:30pm to 8pm
at WESPAC, 77 Tarrytown Road, Suite 2W, White Plains, NY 10607

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].  

Please do not remain silent about Solitary Confinement while 80-100,000 human beings are trapped and remain invisible  each year for infractions as minor as possession of too many postage stamps.   Create an opportunity for others to learn the truth about solitary confinement.  SWASC Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement has created two 8 minute videos that encapsulates what people need to know.  
 
Take Action.  We need everyday people, like you and me, to show these videos to our informal and formal  networks. Use your smart phone.  Keep it Simple. Discussion will automatically follow from these provocative and thoughtful presentations.
 
Johnny Perez: Three years in Solitary 
 
Mary Buser – The Helping Professions & Solitary Confinement
 
We also created a petition for people to sign asking the governing commission to reconsider current practices we believe to be unethical and human torture.  
 
Website Resource: Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement
 
We have a monthly newsletter.
Sign up now.
 
National Networking Conference Call on the third Monday of the month at 7pm EST.
 
Conference call number (515) 739-1015 PIN. 455-445-570#
 
One hour zoom presentation:
Zoom presentation
 
Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement: Undoing Racism in the Criminal Justice System. (2/18)
 
This video (1hour) offers a brief U. S. history of structural racism and discussion of solitary confinement and specifically the issue of dual loyalty for mental health professionals. 
 
Sandra Bernabei, LCSW is a co-convener and steering committee member of SWASC as well as a community organizer and a social worker in private practice in Westchester and NYC. She is the past-president of NASW-NYC.
 Sandy is the founding member of the Antiracist Alliance. 
 
Marguerita Johnson Tolson BSW, CASAC-T is a graduate student at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services. She is completing an internship with Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement.
 
 
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Martin Luther King Jr

Separate and Unequal

https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/506/separate-and-unequal

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.
 

Reviews

“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.

MADE IN PALESTINE

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

PROGRAM Ads

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]

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