Movement Building :

Occupy may day

WESPAC connects organizations, people and issues across all divisions, recognizing that we cannot win a better world if we stay divided. WESPAC promotes movement building through regular potlucks that bring people together to share food, knowledge and build relationships. WESPAC has developed a Speakers Bureau that can provide effective speakers on a variety of current social justice issues. WESPAC is an active member of a number of local coalitions including: the Hudson Valley Fair Economy Coalition, the Hudson Valley Community Coalition and the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform.

WESPAC 2017 Awards Dinner

Please consider making an additional contribution to allow students and fixed income the opportunity to attend.

$

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Frontpage, Movement Building

Open Letter to NYS Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins

[email protected]

Dear Senator Stewart-Cousins,

As a constituent I would like to communicate my strongest possible objection to your recent vote in favor of S2492, S2493, and S4837, all springing from a misguided and repressive effort to outlaw Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions – frequently through the camouflage of general penalizing of boycotts – largely on the grounds that BDS is anti-Semitic.

In the first place, as a daughter of the American Civil Rights Movement, how can you forget the role that boycotts – as in the Montgomery Bus Boycott – played in overturning Jim Crow in this country?  Do you recall how international  boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against South Africa helped to overthrow apartheid in that country?  Do you remember that very recently Governor Cuomo backed a boycott against North Carolina because of legislation in that state that discriminated against the LGBT community? 

Boycotts are conscientious, nonviolent approaches to promoting political, economic, and social change against perceived injustices. They are Constitutionally protected under the First Amendment. New York State is opening itself to a barrage of lawsuits that will be costly and time-consuming if it persists in this campaign to demonize and penalize BDS and its supporters because of their opinions.  BDS calls for the protection of fundamental human rights that are civil rights in this country.

Even when such bills speak more generally about boycotts against American allies, they are aimed at BDS and assert, explicitly or implicitly, that BDS is anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism involves the promotion of hatred and discrimination against Jews as a people. BDS seeks to change Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. The former victimizes a people; the latter criticizes a state. BDS is not anti-Semitic. To assert that it is is dangerously to misuse the term “anti-Semitism” and to engage in specious unreason.

Under international law recognized by the vast majority of nations of the globe, the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands is illegal, and Israeli treatment of Palestinians is an abuse of human rights. Therefore, supporters of BDS act out of respect for international norms. Why would you assist in enacting NY State laws that contradict international law and moral standards?

BDS attempts to pressure Israel to act in accordance with international law. I have been to the West Bank and E. Jerusalem and observed at close hand in November 2012 what the occupation looks like. It is physically brutal and psychologically Kafka-esque  – an arbitrary and cruel imposition of shifting, unpredictable rules and regulations enforced through overwhelming force against a subject people that make their daily life an unrelenting grind. It is a policy of ethnic-cleansing: make life so intolerable that people who can leave do so, and the others drift into hopelessness and despair. That the vast majority of Palestinians resist this abusive regime nonviolently day in and day out  is a testimony to their steadfastness in the face of injustice. I was deeply shamed to see the Israeli policies abetted by U.S. connivance. Much of the equipment and weaponry  used to enforce the occupation is stamped “Made in America.”  This ugly fact does not escape the notice of the peoples of surrounding lands for whom American policy is synonymous with repression and violence.

Members of Jewish Voice for Peace-Westchester would be only too happy to talk with you about Israeli policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and why BDS is probably the best way to bring the change that must come soon, or Israel’s claims to be both Jewish and democratic will be impossible to sustain before the world.

Your record of accomplishments in defending the interests of your constituents is widely recognized.I am deeply disappointed by your votes on S2492, S2493, and S4837 and can only assume that if you had had better information at your disposal, you would have voted against them. I hope that JVP-Westchester can help provide that information and will call your office soon to see about making an appointment for members to meet with you.

 Yours sincerely,

Priscilla Read

Tarrytown, NY

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Militarism and Foreign Policy, Movement Building

We want an accountable Westchester Human Rights Commission

https://www.change.org/p/westchester-county-board-of-legislators-we-want-an-accountable-westchester-human-rights-commission

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Frontpage, Movement Building

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

Justice Mondays continues on March 20th

Please share widely:

 
 The Westchester Social Justice Community, a network of progressive groups, will gather for the 8th weekly Justice Monday on Monday, March 20th from 12-1 pm at the Renaissance Plaza Fountain at the corner of Main Street and Mamaroneck Avenue in downtown White Plains. The weekly rallies include speakers who highlight the pressing issue of the week, as well as community members who have personal experiences to share. The goal of the gatherings is to engage with the public in a common space at a time when our basic rights are being threatened by policies of the new administration.

Rally with us on Monday, March 20th at 12 noon in downtown White Plains to support public education in our next installment of Justice Mondays! 

Our vital institution, a cornerstone of our democracy, is under attack at every level. The Trump/DeVos agenda at the federal level, along with the push in Albany to send our tax dollars to charter, private and religious schools together pose an existential threat to public education. Silence equals acceptance. Join us to fight back!

Please share the Facebook event widely: https://www.facebook.com/events/254399864963585/

Groups that are part of the Westchester Social Justice Community: 

Call to Action Hudson Valley: Syrian Refugee Crisis: https://www.facebook.com/calltoactionhv/

Community Voices Heard: www.cvhaction.org

Concerned Families of Westchester: https://www.facebook.com/ConcernedFamiliesofWestchester/

Food & Water Watch: https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/state/new-york

Hudson Valley Community Coalition: http://hvccoalition.org/

Knowdrones.com: https://www.knowdrones.com/

Lower Hudson Valley Progressive Action Network: https://www.facebook.com/LHVPAN/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

Mount Vernon United Tenants: http://mvut.org/

Indivisible Rivertowns: https://www.facebook.com/groups/indivisiblewestchesterrivertowns/

Indivisible Westchester: http://www.indivisiblewestchester.org/

Prevent Gun Violence—Westchester: http://www.preventgunviolence.org/

Sustainable Port Chester Alliance: https://www.facebook.com/portchesteralliance/

Up and Up Action Initiative: https://www.facebook.com/UUAction/?fref=ts

Walkabout Clearwater: https://walkaboutclearwater.org/music/home.php

WESPAC Foundation: https://wespac.org/

Westchester for Change: https://www.facebook.com/groups/westchester4change/

 
 
Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Frontpage, Immigration, Movement Building

Rally in support of Immigrant Rights – Monday, February 20th

Rally In in support of Immigrant Rights – Monday, February 20th

Rally at the fountain in downtown White Plains (intersection of Main Street and Mamamaroneck Ave) from 12 noon to 1pm

https://www.facebook.com/events/1345733042131900/

List of Participating Organizations in the Westchester Social Justice Community:

Community Voices Heard: http://www.cvhaction.org

Concerned Families of Westchester: https://www.facebook.com/ConcernedFamiliesofWestchester/

Food & Water Watch: https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/state/new-york

Hudson Valley Community Coalition: http://hvccoalition.org

Knowdrones.com: https://www.knowdrones.com

Lower Hudson Valley Progressive Action Network: https://www.facebook.com/LHVPAN/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

Mount Vernon United Tenants: http://mvut.org

Indivisible Westchester: https://www.facebook.com/groups/228920050895653/

Prevent Gun Violence—Westchester: http://www.preventgunviolence.org

Up and Up Action Initiative: https://www.facebook.com/UUAction/?fref=ts

WESPAC Foundation: https://wespac.org

Westchester for Change: https://www.facebook.com/groups/westchester4change/

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Frontpage, Movement Building

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

Candlelight Vigil Monday at 6pm against gun violence and use of county center for gun shows

Candlelight Vigil

Marking Gun Violence Deaths in Westchester as Legislators Prepare to Vote to Ban Gun Shows on County Properties

Monday, January 9

6:30-7:00pm

Front steps of Michaelian Office Building

148 Martine Ave., White Plains, NY 10601

Sponsored by Interfaith Clergy for Social Action and WESPAC

 

As Westchester County legislators prepare to vote on a bill that would ban gun shows from being held at the County Center on Monday, January 9, Interfaith Clergy for Social Action and WESPAC will gather concerned county residents for candlelight vigil from 6:30-7:00pm. 

 

The Vigil will be a time of prayer, song and silence to show support for the ban and to remember many people killed due to gun violence in Westchester. 

 

At 7:00pm legislators will vote on the bill.  If approved, it will be sent to the County Executive who is expected to veto.  An override would require 12 votes.  The Westchester County Executive lifted the ban in 2010 and a gun show is planned for later in January.

 

All are welcome to this public witness.  Candles will be provided.  This vigil has a permit with the City of White Plains.

 

Additional background in The Journal News, “Lawmakers move to block gun show advances”, Jan. 3, 2017.

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Movement Building

Make Westchester a Sanctuary!

Satellite map of Westchester County, desaturated.

Satellite map of Westchester County, desaturated.

Make Westchester a Sanctuary! Convertir Westchester en un Santuario!

March and Rally in downtown White Plains on Black Friday, November 25th

Assemble at 12 noon at the Fountain (intersection of Main Street and Mamaroneck Avenue in downtown White Plains)
12:30pm march to the Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd statue located at 111 Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd. in White Plains

This march and rally has a permit with the City of White Plains and is organized by WESPAC Foundation, Inc. and supported by the Lower Hudson Valley Chapter of the NYCLU, the White Plains Greenburgh Chapter of the NAACP, the White Plains Religious Leaders, Westchester for Change (list in formation)

For more information contact [email protected] or call 914.449.6514.  Signs will be provided:

Make Westchester a Sanctuary       Convertir Westchester en un Santuario 

Keep Families Together                  Mantener unidas a las Familias

Path to Citizenship for All               Proceso de naturalización para todos

Drivers Licenses for the Undocumented      

Licencias de conducir para los indocumentados

Climate Change Action Now

Respect Indigenous Sovereignty 

Protect our Constitution

Protect our Bill of Rights

Support our Veterans

Black Lives Matter: support racial justice

Muslims are part of our Family

People with Disabilities are part of our Family

Respect and Support Women’s Rights

Respect and Support LGBTQ Rights

Support a Living Wage: we need economic democracy

Support our Workers and Unions

Westchester Welcomes Refugees

Posted in Blogs, Communities & Focus Areas, Director's Blog, Economic and Human Rights, Movement Building

Colorful Parade of Westchester Social Justice Community

BLM 2It seems like the moment for us to bring all our campaigns together in a show of force and to strengthen our social justice movement in the Westchester County area.

 
What about having a colorful parade of all of our contingents standing up for what we believe in:
 
Path to citizenship for all people and immediate end to deportations and steps to protect people in our midst – sanctuaries etc.
First Nations independence and respect for treaties
Racial equity
LGBTQ equality
Renewable energies
Police accountability
End to drone warfare and surveillance
Black Lives Matter
Palestinian human rights
Student debt forgiveness and free college education
Universal health care coverage – single payer
Farmworker rights, dignity and protections
Living wage jobs for all
Refugee resettlement and welcome
So much more
 
Can we organize this before the holidays?   We know there will be lots of folks going down to DC for the January 21st inauguration.  Let’s do something big in Westchester before that.  I will be at the WESPAC office (31 Mamaroneck Ave, 4th floor, White Plains) at 7pm on Tuesday, Nov. 15th for anyone who would like to be part of the planning.
 
Best,
 
Nada
Posted in Movement Building