MAY-JUNE BRANCH EVENTS:
Click on underlined topics in blue for more details. We've also underlined Branches with web sites and included links. We know that many other Branches are also involved in putting an end to war. Please send your reports to DISARM.
Baltimore Branch: They're not exactly Branch events, but Ellen Barfield, our peripatetic DISARM co-chair is back from her April trip to Israel and Palestine for meetings of U.S., Palestinian and Israeli former "war fighters" who have turned to non-violence. WCUSP please note! Ellen is available to speak to Branches.
Ellen has considerable experience re Middle East and its issues. She was in Iraq with Voices in the WIlderness just before the U.S. bombings began, and also spent time there during the period of sanctions leading up to the war. She has also traveled previously to Israel and Palestine. In March she participated in the Mobile to New Orleans walk of war veterans calling for an end to the Gulf Wars in Iraq (and Iran?). Read a powerful news report that appeared in the UK Guardian. (Was there any significant U.S. press coverage?)
Bloomington, IN Branch: WILPF joined other peace groups on April 15 to leaflet on tax day, pointing out that over half of our income taxes go to pay for past, present and future wars. DISARM welcomes reports from other groups participating in tax day events.
Boston Branch: Claire Gosselin alerts us to Center for International Policy program in Washington D.C. on the NUCLEAR TURNING POINT: Does the Quest for U.S. Nuclear Dominance Undermine Non-Proliferation?
Boston Branch was a contributing sponsor to production of a new video on Boston, BIological Weapons, and the New Arms Race. Their DISARM committee works closely with ACE and the Roxbury African American Community on this issue. Many of our other WILPF Branches are in cities involved in this multi-billion dollar Manhattan Project for Bio-defense (and bio-weapons) development. It's past time to alert our communities. Check Sunshine project (click on Bio-weapons at the top) for an updated map and list of university and defense department bio-labs.
More from Boston: Wed May 3 A WILPF BENEFIT - WITH
St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, 138 Tremont St., Boston,7:30
Presenter YOLANDA KING, daughter of Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King, Jr. Join us as we celebrate women and all who nurture the traditions of peace, nonviolence, human rights, and justice! Admission $30.00. If you can give more, please do! And if that is too much - pay what you can! This is a WILPF benefit - all proceeds to Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. For more info call Andre (617/964-5267) or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. (Later reports indicate it was a great event, but expenses were high and thus earnings were low.)
Burlington, Vermont Branch: Robin Lloyd has reported for a three month jail term after going under the fence at the former School of the Americas. WILPF members Christine Gaunt and Rita Hohenshell were also arrested. Read all about it , and copy their prison addresses so that you can write and thank them for their brave witness. Also read Robin Lloyd's statement which she read to the trial judge.
Central Vermont Branch (Montpelier): Val Mullen
reports: On February 15 three members of Central Vermont WILPF were arrested
for refusing to leave the recruiting office in Barre after the Grannies sang to the recruiters. While this was going on there was a
vigil on the sidewalk with several people holding signs. The arrests were made in a very friendly manner! On March 16 the charges
were dropped, the day before they were to be tried.
Central VT WILPF members participate in a vigil every Friday outside the
federal building in Montpelier. During late March and April we
handed out leaflets about where your tax dollars are going. We also had tables at events and outside the Co-op with tax information. We
also held a tax resistance workshop at which we welcomed some new faces. We also co-sponsored a free showing of the movie "After the Fog" by Jay Craven about returning veterans from Vermont.
Cape Cod, MA Branch: Cape Cod WILPFers joined in the April 29 UFPJ peace march and festival in New York. The Branch continues to participate in weekly peace and justice vigils against the Iraq war and is promoting a petition to end the genocide in Darfur.
Los Angeles Branch: At the April WILPF meeting Carol Urner shared observations on WILPF at the UN in Geneva and attempts of the UN Committee on Disarmament to get around U.S. hamstringing of that body and continuing to block further disarmament negotiations. Grace Aaron witnesses by recording interviews with peace activists and showing them on public access TV. Go to her Social Uplift web site to access a popular streaming video on Ann Fagan Ginger filmed during her WILPF sponsored visit to Los Angeles area in February. Public access TV has currently been airing an interview with Carol Urner, DISARM co-chair.
Maine Branch: Christine de Troy reports: I would say that our branch's focus, as part of a local coalition of peace organizations, is on peace issues, such as demonstrations, meetings, a public film series, a newly opened once-a-month Coffee House discussion and more (the April discussion revolved around Pacifism -- a lot of uncertainty about that).
Also, members of our branch are deeply involved in our Second Annual Peace
Fair. The Fair takes place on August. 5th in Brunswick. It is a gathering-in
of a wide range of peace and justice organizations who present their information
to visitors -- involving people with discussions, letter-writing and more. Part
of the Peace Fair is also devoted to music, arts and crafts -- involving all
generations. Although the Peace Fair is planned under the aegis of Peace Works
(our local umbrella peace organization) WILPF members provide much of the leadership.
Demilitarization is, of course, part of the focus of the Peace Fair -- with active participation from the Society of Friends and others. In our letter of invitation to peace organizations we are stressing the concept of developing A Culture of Peace -- hope to center on that.
In terms of disarmament work, we do not have a study or specific action on the issue, except, of course, to support Global Network and participation in vigils/demonstrations at Bath Iron Works (where General Dynamics is the builder of nuclear destroyers).
Monterey County Branch was one of several supporting the WILPF co-sponsored demonstration at Vandenberg Air Force Base on May 20. About 200 people participated. See May 20 and June 15 on the May-June Calendar for more details. (Santa Barbara Branch has been a staunch supporter of these demonstrations. Members from Santa Cruz, Los Angeles and Portland OR Branches and from Oakland have also been involved in the demonstrations. They also participated in the rallies preceding the three trials and sentencing of MacGregor Eddy, Monterey member who was arrested for crossing the line at the Base in order to read the Vandenberg Principles to officers there.)
Monterey members are deeply involved in planning the WILPF West Gathering which will feature several DISARM related events.
New York Metro members participated in the Nuclear Tent at the UFPJ co-sponsored Stop the Wars march and festival on April 29. The Branch Raging Grannies, famous for their counter-recruitment actions, sang their hearts out along the march route. Jean Verthein of NY Metro is a WILPF UN Representative who reports frequently to the DISARM Committee and helps link us to both the WILPF UN office and to relevant Untied Nations events in New York.
Philadelphia Branch: Miriam Crawford reports on the Military Justice Committee with tax day vigils, a meeting with Phyllis Bennis and more.
Portland, OR Branch: This very active Branch helped bring out over 20,000 participants in their city's March 18 rally against continued U.S. occupation of Iraq. They also arranged public meetings where Jane Midgley introduced her new book on Women and the U.S. Budget. This Branch is already working on plans for their 44th observation of Hiroshima-Nagasaki week. Read Carol Urner's article on her March trip to Geneva for sessions of the Conference on Disarmament and WILPF International Women's Day seminar on Depleted Uranium and the Fissile Materials Cut off treaty.
Portland WILPF is a lead organization in planning the August 6 Hiroshima demonstration, working closely with Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Japanese community. The committee started work last winter and the program is already finalized.
Sacramento Branch: Ellen Schwartz reports: We had a fun time on Tax Day. We made copies of the War Resisters League pie chart, and I modified the bottom third of the back page to list contact info for the participating organizations: WILPF and Sacramento Peace Action. . We went to one of the downtown post offices from 11am-1pm, lunch time in an area with a fair amount of foot traffic, and easy parking, and a sidewalk where we could set up shop. The main post office is secluded and their rules keep us away from people who are coming to mail things.
In addition to the Pie Charts, Annie from Peace Action had put together small bags of peanuts with labels on them, giving various statistics on military spending in the budget. We had a great time. I’d approach people saying, “Get your tax refund here” and toss them a bag of peanuts, then hand them a leaflet and tell them “this is how the gov’t is spending the money it keeps.’ Not technically an accurate approach, since whether or not you get a refund, or how much, isn’t the important thing, but rather how much tax you pay—but we needed something catchy to get their attention. The people going in and out of the post office loved it. We even got about $6 in donations, even though we weren’t asking for money.
San Francisco Branch: Regina Sneed reports that the Branch will participate on Hiroshima Day, August 6 in a demonstration at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories against Bechtel involvement there in research and development of nuclear weapons. On Nagasaki Day, August 9, they will join in a similar demonstration at Bechtel Headquarters in San Francisco. Bechtel is one of the corporations profiting from nuclear weapons development highlighted in our Mil-Corp Manual and in WILPF Reaching Critical Will's DIrty Dozen: Partners in Mass Destruction. Read the report on Bechtel here. Frida Berrigan is updating the report for us for use during Hiroshima/Nagasaki week.
Santa Cruz Branch: Jan Harwood sends her report from the Nuclear Disarmament committee there. They have mounted a campaign on Depleted Uranium. She sends the text for a DU post card (they've already sent hundreds to their own Senators) and reports on a powerful video on DU available from Doctors Without Borders. They will present A Single Woman, a delightful and inspiring play about Jeannette Rankin (smell those rolls baking!).
Tucson Branch: Members joined in blockade of Raytheon as part of calls to end the war against Iraq. Raytheon manufactures the Tomahawk Cruise missiles used in the Shock and Awe bombing of Iraq (and capable of carrying nuclear warheads). Pat Birnie, who was among those arrested, sends us a news release.
Washington D.C. Branch is involved in the Haiti issue committee. They are currently investigating the Canadian police training for Haitians since some very negative reports have been coming out re both the police action there and the Canadian training program. In the past Canada has had one of the best training programs for UN Peace Keepers, so DISARM waits with interest to learn what D.C. WILPFers discover.