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.

Happy Birthday, Pete Seeger!

BYDICK FLACKSPETER DREIER

Pete Seeger would have turned 100 today. Few figures in American history have lived as influential and deeply radical lives as he did. Let’s celebrate him today.

Pete Seeger performs in the Clearwater Benefit Concert Celebrating his ninetieth birthday at Madison Square Garden on May 3, 2009 in New York City. Bryan Bedder / Getty

This May Day, subscriptions start at $1 if you follow this link.

Pete Seeger, one of the most influential artists in American history, would be 100 on May 3, were he still alive.

Pete provided much of the soundtrack for the political awakening of several generations of activists. The songs he wrote, including the antiwar tunes, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” “If I Had a Hammer” and “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and those he has popularized, including “This Land Is Your Land” and “We Shall Overcome,” have been recorded by hundreds of artists in many languages and have become global anthems for people fighting for freedom. He introduced Americans to songs from other cultures, like “Wimoweh” (“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”) from South Africa, “Tzena, Tzena” from Israel (which reached number two on the pop charts), and “Guantanamera” from Cuba, inspiring what is now called “world music.”

Thanks to Seeger’s influence, protest songs — via folk, rock, blues, and soul genres — became popular and even commercially successful. He recorded over eighty albums — of children’s songs, labor, civil rights, and antiwar songs, traditional American folk songs, international songs, and Christmas songs. Among performers around the globe, Seeger became a symbol of a principled artist deeply engaged in the world.

Yet even during the height of the 1950s and 1960s folk revival and the popularity of protest music, Seeger was blocked from network TV and the media spotlight because of his left-wing politics. Millions sang his songs without knowing his name.

Seeger’s life and legacy offers some clues for working through perennial riddles faced by American socialists and radicals. How to make use of a relatively privileged background to promote social justice — rather than be paralyzed by guilt? How to create a popular art that doesn’t succumb to banality, cynicism, or spectacle, but that helps inspire activism?

Early Days

Seeger came of age during the 1930s, when many artists, playwrights, novelists, filmmakers, and musicians aligned themselves with the upsurge of worker militancy and protest. His father, Charles Seeger, and his stepmother, Ruth Crawford Seeger, were leaders in these efforts. Charles, a well-known composer and musicologist, helped create a collective of radically minded composers during the Depression, hoping (and largely failing) to invent a revolutionary proletarian music.

Many participants, including Aaron Copland, Marc Blitzstein, and Earl Robinson, became major figures in classical music and musical theater. Charles eventually was drawn to the notion of creating a democratic popular song movement by reviving the work songs, spirituals, ballads, and dance tunes of American racial, ethnic, and regional subcultures.

It was that vision that inspired the young Pete. During a visit to a folk music festival in North Carolina while still in high school, he heard bluegrass music played on a five-string banjo for the first time. When he returned home, he listened to records and learned to imitate what he heard. In 1938, he dropped out of Harvard in his sophomore year to try his own hand at changing society by becoming a banjo-picking itinerant folk musician.

A major influence was folklorist Alan Lomax, who produced recordings of politically conscious folk musicians like ex-convict Huddie Ledbetter (known as “Leadbelly”), Appalachian mineworker organizer Aunt Molly Jackson, and Woody Guthrie. Lomax hired Pete to work for him at the Library of Congress’s Archive of American Folk Song, where he learned many of the songs he would sing throughout his career.

Pete’s life mission was crystallized when he met Guthrie in March 1940 at a benefit to raise money for migrant farm workers. Pete was impressed by Guthrie’s ability to fuse folk melodies and lyrics about contemporary events. Guthrie had become a radio voice for the swelling Okie population of Southern California, singing about their plight, and developed close ties to union and Communist activists. Pete traveled with Guthrie, singing at migrant labor camps and union halls, and developing his performance skills.

In 1941, at age twenty-two, Seeger formed the Almanac Singers with Lee Hays and Millard Lampell, later joined by Guthrie, Bess Lomax, and others who rotated in and out of the group.

The Almanacs lived and worked collectively, playing at union rallies and left-wing benefits, composing songs they hoped would serve the organizing efforts of the time, including Guthrie’s “Union Maid” and Pete’s “Talking Union,” his first composition. Even Eleanor Roosevelt was a fan. But the Almanacs Communist affiliations made them a target of right-wing press red-baiting and FBI scrutiny. The group disbanded when Pete and Woody joined the armed forces in 1943.

Pete, Woody, and other left-wing musicians wrote a flood of patriotic songs. They hoped that the war against fascism would set the stage for a struggle to end racism in America. In the immediate aftermath of the war, a massive strike wave seemed to portend a progressive political movement to advance beyond the New Deal.

Targeted by the Red Scare

Filled with optimism, in 1946 Seeger led the effort to create People’s Songs, an organization of progressive songwriters and performers, dominated by but not confined to folk musicians, and People’s Artists, a booking agency to help members get concert gigs and recording contracts.

When former vice president Henry Wallace ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket in 1948, Seeger traveled with him, distributing song sheets at every meeting or rally so that sing-alongs, led by Seeger, would alternate with Wallace’s speeches.

That year, Seeger and Hays (both former Almanacs), along with Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman, formed the Weavers, hoping to continue what the Almanacs had started but aiming for more mainstream audiences. Their repertoire featured dynamic arrangements of American and global folk songs, with an occasional political song, that proved popular as a nightclub act.

Gordon Jenkins, a leading record impresario, saw them at the Village Vanguard and signed the group with Decca Records. They had several huge hits. In 1950 their recording of an Israeli song, “Tzena Tzena,” reached number two on the pop charts, and their version of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight, Irene,” reached number one and stayed on the charts for half a year. Other recordings — “On Top of Old Smokey,” “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine,” “Wimoweh,” and “Midnight Special” — also made the charts; their 1951 recording of Guthrie’s “So Long It’s Been Good to Know You” reached number four.

But the Weavers’ commercial success was short-lived. As soon as they began to be widely noticed, they were targeted by anticommunist witch-hunters.

Several former FBI agents founded the newsletter Counterattack in 1947 to expose Communism in American society. In 1950, the newsletter issued a special report, “Red Channels: The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television.” It listed 151 actors, writers, musicians, broadcast journalists, and others whom it claimed were part of the Communist influence in the entertainment industry — including Seeger and the Weavers. Hollywood studios, TV shows, and other venues blacklisted people who were named.

The Weavers survived for another year, but the escalating Red Scare caught up with them. Their contract for a summer television show was canceled. They could no longer get bookings in top nightclubs. Radio stations stopped playing their songs, their records stopped selling. They never had another hit record.

Seeger left the Weavers to pursue a solo career, but he was blacklisted from the early 1950s through the mid-1960s. In 1955 he was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to discuss his political affiliations at a hearing called by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, basing his refusal on the First Amendment. It took seven years for the courts finally to overturn that conviction and validate Pete’s stance.

Even as the McCarthyist fever was lifting, Seeger was kept off network television. In 1963 ABC refused to allow him to appear on Hootenanny, a weekly show that owed its existence to the folk music revival Seeger had helped inspire. Joan Baez and other young folk singers boycotted the show, but Seeger advised them instead to use the opportunity. Ironically, “hootenanny” was a word that Seeger and Guthrie had popularized, using it to label the free-form folk music concert/parties that were spreading around the country.

During the blacklist years, Seeger made a living by giving guitar and banjo lessons and singing at the summer camps, churches, high schools and colleges, and union halls that were courageous enough to invite the controversial balladeer.

In 1966, he hosted a folk music program on a New York City’s nonprofit UHF TV channel, Rainbow Quest. His guests comprised a racially and musically diverse group of veteran and newly emerging country, bluegrass and folk singers, including Johnny Cash, Doc Watson, Roscoe Holcomb, Judy Collins, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, the Clancy brothers, Elizabeth Cotton, Rev. Gary Davis, Len Chandler, Tom Paxton, Bernice Reagon, Jean Ritchie, and Patrick Sky. The station had a limited viewership at the time, but the programs were taped; some can be viewed on YouTube and bought on DVD.

Out From Under the Blacklist

Despite his exclusion from mainstream media, Seeger’s cultural significance grew enormously in the sixties.

In the 1960s he sang with civil rights workers at rallies and churches in the South and at the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Along with the Highlander Center’s Guy Carawan, he popularized the song “We Shall Overcome” among civil rights activists and at concerts in the United States and around the world.

He invited the Freedom Singers — a group of SNCC activists — on stages and supported their efforts. He got a Carnegie Hall audience to sing songs of the Southern freedom movement, just when these songs were on the lips of teenagers being hosed down in Birmingham. In a letter to Seeger, Martin Luther King Jr thanked him for his “moral support and Christian generosity.”

As the anti-Vietnam War movement emerged, Pete and banjo were frequently seen on protest front lines. In the process, Pete’s youthful hope of helping foster a movement that sings was coming true.

Pete began to break through the mainstream media blacklist. He signed a contract with Columbia Records, which promoted his growing number of albums, filled with labor, civil rights, and peace songs as well as special songs for children, including the popular “Abiyoyo.” In 1966, Seeger recorded an antiwar anthem, “Bring ‘Em Home.” “If I Had a Hammer,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and “Turn, Turn, Turn” became major hits for other artists like Peter, Paul, and Mary, the Byrds, Trini Lopez, and even Marlene Dietrich.

One of the most popular network TV shows in the late 1960s was a variety program hosted by the wise-cracking, folk-singing Smothers Brothers. In September 1967 Tom and Dick Smothers defiantly invited Seeger onto their CBS show, the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, to challenge the blacklistTrue to his principles, Seeger insisted on singing a newly composed antiwar song, “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy.”

CBS censors refused to air the song, but public outrage forced the network to relent and allow him to perform the song on the show a few months later, on February 17, 1968. The audience for that show — 13.5 million households — was even larger than Seeger’s appearance five months earlier.

Two days after Seeger sang “Big Muddy,” CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite — perhaps the nation’s most trusted person — called on President Lyndon Johnson to withdraw American troops from Vietnam. On March 31, Johnson — facing strong opposition from antiwar candidates Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy — announced he would not seek reelection that year. Quite possibly Pete’s lyrics about the “big muddy” and the “big fool” had something to do with LBJ’s political demise.

Vindicated, Finally

Perhaps to Pete’s surprise, mainstream America eventually acknowledged his cultural role and moral stature during the final two decades of his life. In 1993, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. A year later, he was honored by the Kennedy Center and President Bill Clinton presented him with the National Medal of Arts. In 1996, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2009, he and Bruce Springsteen sang at Barack Obama‘s inaugural celebration at the Lincoln Memorial — leading more than half a million people on the mall and millions of people watching on TV in a rendition of “This Land is Your Land.”

Pete told his own story in a kind of narrative songbook, Where Have all the Flowers Gone? in 1993. He also became the subject of several biographies, including David King Dunaway’s How Can I Keep from Singing? The Ballad of Pete Seeger, Alec Wilkinson’s The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger, and Alan Winkler’s To Everything There Is a Season: Pete Seeger and the Power of Song, and several books for children. Folk historians Ronald D. Cohen and James Capaldi edited a book of articles about him called The Pete Seeger Reader, and in 2007 PBS broadcast Jim Brown’s documentary, “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song” as part of its American Masters series.

Late in life, he welcomed Rob Rosenthal, a Wesleyan University sociologist, and Sam Rosenthal, a musician and writer, to dig through his extensive writings — letters stored for decades in his family barn, notes to himself, published articles, rough drafts, stories, books, poems, and songs— to produce Pete Seeger: In His Own Words, published in 2012

Some of the nation’s most prominent singers recorded songs honoring Seeger, including Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions. On his ninetieth birthday in May 2009, more than 15,000 admirers filled New York City’s Madison Square Garden for a concert honoring Seeger. The performers included Springsteen, Baez, Tom Morello, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Billy Bragg, Rufus Wainwright, Bela Fleck, Taj Mahal, Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dar Williams, Ani DiFranco, and John Mellencamp.

Throughout his life, Seeger believed that his mission that was not just about injecting politically conscious songs into the musical mainstream. He sang plenty of songs supporting particular causes and campaigns, but that was not his essential purpose. His ultimate goal, one that he learned from his father, was to help inspire and sustain democratic action.

The best testament to this vision can be seen in his public performances and in the way he lived his life. He wanted people to make their own music, and realize their own power, rather than be passive consumers or docile citizens.

Pete was an outstanding musician, inventive and skillful with the five-string banjo (which he brought out of obscurity) and the twelve-string guitar (which he learned to play from Leadbelly). His voice was a serviceable if cracked tenor. But people didn’t go to a Seeger concert to watch him play and sing — nor did he want that. Instead, he wanted people went to participate.

His concerts and records taught audiences songs to take away and sing on their own. He carefully crafted a stage persona that inspired audiences to join him. Every Seeger concert involved a lot of group singing, including multipart harmonizing of South African chants, gospel hymns, rounds, and anthems — which Pete would elicit with patient insistence.

He introduced audiences to song-makers like Leadbelly and Guthrie from his earlier days, and in so doing revealed song treasures and life stories that have become integral to American culture. He sang new songs by writers that his audiences may never have heard of. He was one of the first to perform Dylan’s early songs. He taught audiences songs about workers, draft resisters, civil rights activists, and Wall Street Occupiers. He taught the world “We Shall Overcome,” and asked British folksinger Billy Bragg to write new words appropriate to Tiananmen Square and incidents of nonviolent resistance.

Seeger was an organizer as well as an artist. He organized the Almanac Singers and People’s Artists. In 1950, he helped found and sustain Sing Out! magazine, which has served as a primary folk music source ever since. In 1959, he helped launch the Newport Folk Festival, which brought together on a shared stage the practitioners of every kind of roots music, and is still going on.

In 1969, he started the nonprofit group Clearwater, near his home in Beacon, New York, that included a newly built sloop and an annual celebration dedicated to cleaning up the polluted Hudson River. The effort, at first written off as simplistic and naive, helped inspire the environmental movement. The Hudson, once filled with oil pollution, sewage, and toxic chemicals, is now swimmable.

An Authentic, Radical Life

Seeger owned much of his success to his wife Toshi Ohta Seeger. Although Harold Leventhal was Pete’s professional manager, Toshi was the one who organized his personal and political affairs. The couple, married in 1939, lived most of their life together in a log cabin close to the river, a place they built and developed with their own hands and where they raised their children. Toshi died in July 2013; Pete died six months later at age ninety-four.

To honor the hundredth anniversary of his birth, his fans will be sponsoring many concerts, tributes, publications, and, in May, a comprehensive six-CD set, Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection, which includes twenty previously unreleased recordings, accompanied by a two hundred page book.

Pete Seeger’s life is one worth examining. Very few people in American history have lived more authentic and morally radical lives.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dick Flacks is emeritus professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His most recent book (co-authored with Mickey Flacks) is Making History / Making Blintzes: How Two Red Diaper Babies Found Each Other and Discovered America. His weekly radio program, “Culture of Protest,” has been heard for thirty-five years at www.kcsb.org. He co-authored, with Rob Rosenthal, Playing for Change: Music and Musicians in the Service of Social Movements.

Peter Dreier is the E.P. Clapp distinguished professor of politics at Occidental College. His most recent book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame. His next book, We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism — American Style, a collection of essays co-edited with Kate Aronoff and Michael Kazin, will be published in 2020 by The New Press.

Westchester Social Justice Forum 2019

Opportunity to help WESPAC Investment Fund Grow

Dear Friends and Members of WESPAC,

 
I write to tell you of an extraordinary opportunity to help WESPAC. As many of you know, WESPAC has been exploring different options for improving our financial independence so we can assure the continuation and expansion of our own programming, and support for our community partners, into the future. 
 
From now through the end of this year, you can help WESPAC grow its investment fund beyond the value of your own gift. A very generous supporter has agreed to match any gift to WESPAC’s investment fund of cash, stock, mutual funds or bonds up to a total of $5,000 by December 31, 2018.  The value of a gift of stock to WESPAC is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the law (please consult your tax advisor), and there may be other benefits as well including possible capital gains tax savings that your advisor can confirm with you.  This contribution to WESPAC offers you the opportunity to release stocks that are not aligned with our social justice values so that WESPAC can sell them and re-invest in sustainable impact investing.
 
One simple way to make a charitable gift of securities is to direct a transfer from your IRA to WESPAC. You can count a transfer to a charity toward your required minimum withdrawal. There are other options as well. If you are interested in making such a gift but unsure how to proceed, please contact the WESPAC office at [email protected] or by calling 914.449.6514 and we can connect you with our investment advisor. 
 
Thank you for considering this unique opportunity to help WESPAC. Only by building our financial sustainability now can we guarantee support for the social justice struggles that lie ahead. 
 
For the WESPAC Board of Directors,
 
Natalie Kabasakalian

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

Farming While Black

Farming While Black: Uprooting Racism, Seeding Sovereignty 

An Evening with Amani Olugbala and Soul Fire Farm
Wednesday, November 28th at 7pm at WESPAC
77 Tarrytown Road, Suite 2W
White Plains, NY 10607

 

“Stewarding our own land, growing our own food, educating our own youth, participating in our own healthcare and justice systems, this is the source of real power and dignity,” writes Leah Penniman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY.  Her brand new book, “Farming While Black” is the centerpiece for a special gathering at WESPAC.
 
Come hear Amani Olugbala, Assistant Director of Programs at Soul Fire Farm, tell how our most cherished sustainable farming practices – from organic agriculture to the farm cooperative and the CSA – have roots in African wisdom.  She is a gifted storyteller and food justice advocate with over 15 years of experience in youth education and community outreach and a vital part of Soul Fire Farm.

Soul Fire Farm is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid. 
 
Books will be available for sale.  This event is free and open to the public.  Plenty of free parking on site.  Contributions to support this work will be gratefully accepted.

Palestine Embroidery Workshop

This workshop will focus on the preservation of the indigenous, endangered art of Palestinian embroidery. The workshop is centered on Wafa Ghnaim’s book, Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora, which preserves the craft of embroidery as well as the art of storytelling that is encapsulated in each traditional Palestinian motif. This workshop is open to all genders and ages but reserved for the first 15 people who register and pay. No refunds are possible. Wafa will give a public presentation in the same location following the embroidery workshop from 7pm to 8pm that is free and open to the public.  Register for the workshop here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tatreez-and-tea-palestine-embroidery-workshop-tickets-49793559878 

For generations, Palestinian women have gathered together with their daughters to work collectively on embroidery projects, bonding with one another over a cup of tea. Over time, and after the exodus of Palestinians from Palestine in 1948, embroidery has become an endangered art that has been subjected to decades of cultural appropriation. But embroidery represents more than just a village craft of old Palestine — it became the primary form of communication for Palestinian women who used needlework as a way to express their opinions, share their stories, and document their protest of occupation, war and violence.

To learn more about the project, please visit www.tatreezandtea.com.

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.

Honoring the Summer Solstice through Intercultural Community Ceremony

At this year’s Summer Solstice, Nathalie “BioDame” Reynoso will lead us in ceremony as we open the space to check in on our milestones. How have our baby-steps added up? What have we mulled over? We’ll press pause and resume for health, happiness, equilibrium, and equity’s sake.

Join us for a healing evening at “Honoring the Summer Solstice through Intercultural Community Ceremony.” The space will facilitate us in honoring our paths and realigning ourselves with what is and is not serving us during this time in which we have the most daylight

..so if you can, allow yourself this time to simply be and charge yourself up with that Community Solstice Sun 
(. ❛ ᴗ ❛.)

•Mantra and Manifest Actualization•

•Sun Shrine•

•Mindful Movement•

•Group Meditation•

Free and Open to the Public

Tuesday June 19, 2018  Led by Local Ceremonialist

6:30pm  Nathalie “BioDame” Reynoso

WESPAC Foundation  of the Westchester-based

77 Tarrytown Rd,  Suite 2W grassroots organization

White Plains, NY 10607  Ceremony Cerebellum

On-site Parking Available  cer[email protected]

*Bring items you’d like to add to the shrine  ~ love ~

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