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.

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

This was a fabulous presentation today by Evan Pritchards and very well attended:

White Plains, formerly known as Quarropus, was once well known as a fossil-free transportation hub; the meeting place of three important watersheds connecting the mid-Hudson with the East River and Long Island Sound. White Plains and its neighbors today span seven strategically located waterways, and the portage routes where the Siwanoy and Weckquaesgeek peoples once carried their canoes from one to the other are still in place. By making and marking new trails, supporting local canoers with information and supplies, and a few other inexpensive and potentially lucrative changes, White Plains could add a new layer to its infrastructure that would make it the DIY “Venice of New York,” boosting business and recreational traffic in a way that makes a bold statement about America’s future. All we have to do is GET OUT THE BOAT!

EVAN PRITCHARD, guest on The History and Discovery channels, ABC and CNN, is a Mi’kmaq descendant, an award-winning historian, author of over seventy books, environmental activist, guest educator on Sloop Clearwater, founder of a Center for Algonquin Culture, and former professor of Native American Studies at Vassar, Pace, and Marist. This talk is based on his newest book Mapping Manahatoauc. (currently self published): 

https://www.facebook.com/WESPACFOUNDATION/videos/218938262894364/

“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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

| EVENT DETAILS |

Event Name

Honoring Black Lives Lost Rally 

Date

Friday, July 10, 2020

Time

6PM – 8PM

Location

Westchester County Courthouse, 111 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. White Plains, NY

Chief Sponsor

Westchester Coalition for Police Reform (WCPR)

| PRESS CONTACTS |

Nada Khader 

[email protected]

Lui Villa

[email protected] | 914-439-4571

| INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES |

Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. 

[email protected]com | 718-433-7170

GATHER WITH FAMILIES TO HONOR LIVES LOST TO POLICE VIOLENCE

Building a Community Through Solidarity

July 1, 2020 – White Plains, NY – On Friday, July 10th at 6PM, please join the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform at the Westchester County Courthouse to honor the lives impacted by police violence and to bring awareness to the need for police reform. Led by Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., impacted families will come together to share their experiences for an evening of communal solidarity.  The event, emceed by Sunitha Malieckal of the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform, will feature speakers from the community consisting of leaders, advocates, and political officials committed to social justice, action, and reform.  As voiced by Mr. Chamberlain Jr., “We will not rest until every human being is afforded true safety in every corner of Westchester County.”  In this time, let us gather, let us listen, so we may “plan, strategize, organize and mobilize” to build a better community together. 

Speakers:

  • Sorraya Sampson, President & CEO, Urban League of Westchester County, Inc. 

  • Nada Khader, Executive Director, WESPAC Foundation

  • Damon Jones, New York Representative, Blacks in Law Enforcement of America

  • Mayo Bartlett, Civil Rights Attorney

  • Cynthia Turnquest Jones, Delta Sigma Theta Westchester Alumnae Chapter

  • Mondaire Jones, Candidate for US Congress (CD-17)

  • Mimi Rocah, Candidate for Westchester County District Attorney

  • Patrick Schelle, ARA 

  • William Wagstaff Civil Rights Attorney 

  • Jeffery Deskovic, Deskovic Foundation 

  • Nate Graves, Youth Activist

 

Event Co-sponsors

  • Westchester Coalition for Police Reform
  • Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence 

  • New York Civil Liberties Union – Lower Hudson Valley Chapter 

  • WESPAC Foundation 

  • Westchester Blacks in Law Enforcement of America

  • AntiRacist Alliance

  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – Westchester Alumnae Chapter 

  • Ethical Culture Society of Westchester 

  • VOCAL-NY Westchester Chapter

  • Black Westchester Magazine

  • Westchester Black Political Conference

  • Urban League of Westchester County, Inc.

  • Indivisible White Plains

  • Indivisible Westchester

  • Indivisible New Rochelle

  • Tha B.U.M.P. The Brown Urban Mother Partnership

  • Progressive Women of Pelham

  • Progressive Women of NY

  • Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus

  • Kappa Alpha PSI – New Rochelle – White Plains Alumni Chapter

 

The Westchester Coalition for Police Reform is dedicated to improved police-community relations, police transparency, accountability, and independent oversight of law enforcement.


 

 

Hello everyone,
 
Here is an important announcement from a new coalition that has formed in Westchester County as a result of the recent primary election experience.
 

There were egregious issues during the NY 2020 primary election (from delays of absentee ballots, voter suppression during early voting and 2-, 3- and 4-hour lines to vote on primary day) as evidenced by the deluge of complaints posted on social media and covered by the press. There is widespread outrage, which is more than warranted.

To address these alarming issues, a coalition is being formed under the moniker “Concerned Voters of Westchester,” inviting Westchester-based organizations that represent the diversity of our county to join in the initiative.

The coalition plans to call on elected officials to conduct a robust investigation into all election violations by immediately holding public hearings to ensure an accurate, fair, fully accessible, safe and secure election for November.

If you would like your group to join this coalition and sign onto the letter (attached), please reply to  [email protected]gmail.com   by Tuesday at noon with your group’s name and contact person.

There is now a petition calling for public hearings to mount public pressure and this email account ([email protected]gmail.com) where voters can send in their primary voting experiences. Incident summaries and the sources are being compiled into a compendium for presentation to elected officials and election authorities.
Please amplify this petition and contact email to your organization’s members to enable them to voice their concerns using all the communication methods you use, e.g., email, social media, meetings, etc.

Concerned Voters of Westchester Coalition Mission:
Elections, a non-partisan issue, are the bedrock of our republic’s democracy. This diverse coalition of citizen voters and organizations are vested in accurate, fair, fully accessible, safe and secure elections. We are dedicated to ensuring that the Westchester County Board of Elections fulfills its obligation to conduct fully compliant, legal elections that provide confidence to the electorate that elections are fair, fully accessible, safe and secure. The mission of this group is to exert extraordinary pressure on, and advocate for action by all elected officials and authorities who are both vested in and responsible for accurate, fair, fully accessible, safe and secure elections in November 2020 and beyond.

Stay tuned!  We are organizing additional actions to pressure authorities to address systemic problems with our elections.

 

 

Here is the recording of an important webinar with South Dakota State Senator Red Dawn Foster on the work of Return to the Heart Foundation, an Indigenous-led grantmaking organization that empowers women-led initiatives throughout Indian Country. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=594420184612151 For Native Americans, Covid-19 has hit hard, from the growing number of infections in Navaho and Hopi Nations to the racism that the Lakota continue to face in protecting their borders. South Dakota State Senator Red Dawn goes into detail about how Native nations are staying resilient and how mutual aid can support their efforts.

 

What a magnificent awards gathering the WESPAC Community had last night!  Between the awardees and our keynote speaker, we were all transported to the realm of possibility and the world that we can make happen together!  Take a listen: https://www.facebook.com/WESPACFOUNDATION/videos/747136596090336/?vh=e

WESPAC 2020 Dinner Journal Final

The Antiracist Alliance, WCPR, the local chapter of NYCLU as well as WESPAC have worked together to put together this letter. We are asking for additional organizations, groups and congregations to please add your names if you support our list of specific reforms outlined in the letter. Now is the moment. If you agree, please sign on here June 5, 2020

A Call to Police Leaders

Communities across the country, including our own, are angered and appalled as we witness an unending stream of callous, disrespectful, and often deadly encounters between police and civilians. While many of these events occur elsewhere, both individual experience and published research reports tell us that there is not a community in Westchester County that is not afflicted by disturbing police-civilian encounters, racially biased policing practices, and a problematic lack of transparency by its law enforcement agencies. 

This is a call for you to make a firm and public commitment to transparency, accountability, and a zero-tolerance approach to police misconduct. 

While we are wary after decades of refusals to reform, we remain willing to partner with our law enforcement leaders who embrace the tenets of accountability, transparency, equal justice, and respect for all human life. 

Below you will find a list of specific reforms that we wish to see implemented immediately here in Westchester. Achieving these recommendations will send a strong message to all members of our community that our leaders are committed to fundamentally redefining the relationship between our police department and our community. This is tough work, but if we commit to it, we can build a stronger community: one that is rooted in the fundamental ideals of liberty and justice for all.

In peace and commitment to partnership for the safety of all,

Residents and organizations of Westchester County (list is still in formation):

AntiRacist Alliance 

Black Westchester

Blacks in Law Enforcement

CD17 Indivisible

Indivisible New Rochelle

Indivisible Scarsdale 

Indivisible Westchester Districts 6 & 7

Indivisible White Plains

Indivisible Yorktown Heights

Larchmont/Mamaroneck Indivisible

NYCD16-Indivisible

PISAB/The People’s Institute; for Survival and Beyond NY/Northeast

SURJ Westchester Coordinating Committee

WESPAC

Westchester Black Political Conference

Westchester Coalition Against Islamophobia

Westchester Coalition for Police Reform

Westchester for Change 

Westchester Martin Luther King Jr. Institute for Nonviolence

OUR EXPECTATIONS

We expect you, as leaders with authority and responsibility for law enforcement in Westchester County, to assume full responsibility for meeting the highest possible standard of accountability, transparency and equal protection to all residents and visitors to our county. Our specific expectations are detailed below. 

  • Make publicly available the current policies and patrol guides of all law enforcement agencies under County jurisdiction, including but not limited to policies on: de-escalation tactics, implicit bias, use of force, department diversity, enforcement of low-level offenses, field interviews, search and seizure, use of surveillance technology, and the penalties for violating these policies.

  • Make public the training materials used for police officers: including hours spent training on de-escalation, implicit bias, and use of force. 

  • Commit to collecting comprehensive data on all police stops – including the rationale for the stop and the race, ethnicity, age, and sex of people stopped – and making that data publicly available. 

  • Pass legislation/Require officers making police stops to provide an identification card, state the reason for the interaction, and to state that you may not be searched without your consent without probable cause. 

  • Pass legislation/Require a full, independent investigation into any police-civilian interaction that results in civilian injury or death. 

  • Advocate for legislation that would make the measures outlined above mandatory throughout New York State, including Repeal 50-a, (the law which currently cloaks police officers’ disciplinary records in secrecy), the Right-to-Know Act, which requires officer identification during police stops, and the Police-STAT Act, which requires that police departments collect and report data on police stops so that they can be monitored for patterns of racial profiling.

 We remain committed to working to advance racial justice and hold our police officers accountable, and we invite you to join us in this fight.