Archive for June, 2014

UPDATED INFORMATION REGARDING SUNITHI BAJEKAL’S MEMORIAL SERVICE

June 15, 2014

UPDATED INFORMATION REGARDING SUNITHI BAJEKAL’S MEMORIAL SERVICE

The Utica community lost a committed activist last week. Sunithi Bajekal was a dear friend of mine and helped many in need. She will be greatly missed.

Please take note that the arrangements for Sunithi’s memorial service have changed. Here are the details:

Sunithi Bajekal – Memorial Service
Saturday, June 21st 5pm
1607 Genesee St, Utica

The Memorial Service will be on June 21 at 5 PM, at the Resource Center for Independent Living (RCIL), 1607 Genesee Street, Utica. RCIL occupies the former Temple Beth El.

There will also be a vigil on Hart Street at 3 PM, and then a walking procession to the service at 5 at RCIL.

People are encouraged to bring food for after the service, but kitchen facilities are not available at RCIL, so it should be something that doesn’t have to be warmed.

 

sunithi

John Furman

President
Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.
P.O. Box 411
Utica, NY 13503-0411
315-725-0974
cnycitizenaction@gmail.com

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. was developed from the Utica Citizens in Action, a multi-issue public interest association affiliated with Citizen Action of New York.  It was founded in 1997 to address critical social, economic and environmental issues facing residents of Oneida, Herkimer, and Madison Counties.  Members of our group worked to empower low and moderate income Central New York residents to participate in shaping the policies that affect their lives, such as economic justice, environment, housing, education, economic development, health care, public benefit programs, and consumer issues.   Our projects include research and policy development, public education on a wide range of public policy issues, development of educational materials, community outreach and grassroots organizing, coalition development, training, and lobbying.  Please join our email list by sending an email to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com with the subject heading – Join List.  We also invite you to become a member of our group and attend our meetings.

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CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER June 12, 2014 Vol. 1, No. 9

June 13, 2014

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER
June 12, 2014
Vol. 1, No. 9

NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC. (ESTABLISHED IN 1997)

HEADLINES

UTICA COMMUNITY LOSES MUCH LOVED ACTIVIST

JOIN THE FIGHT FOR INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE ON TUESDAY, JUNE 17
BUS LEAVING UTICA AT 10 A.M.

CNYCIA TO OPEN ONEIDA SQUARE OFFICE IN UTICA

CELEBRATING GOOD TIMES, GOOD MUSIC AND GOOD FOOD AT 2014 JUNETEENTH JAZZ EVENT

WFP SUPPORTS ILION CANDIDATES

CALL YOUR STATE LEGISLATOR TO EXPAND AGING SERVICES

MOVIE ABOUT SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE CHANGE

ROOTS OF INJUSTICE, SEEDS OF CHANGE
TOWARD RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH AMERICA’S NATIVE PEOPLES

UPSTATE N.Y. IWW TO PICKET, MONDAY, 6/16 IN COOPERSTOWN IN SUPPORT OF PETITION TO MLB ON SWEATSHOP PRODUCTION OF LICENSED LOGO GEAR

REYNA-ROSE BAND TO PERFORM AT CHRIST CHURCH COFFEE HOUSE

MEMO TO POTENTIAL WHISTLEBLOWERS: IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING

 

sunithi

 

UTICA COMMUNITY LOSES MUCH LOVED ACTIVIST

I was very sorry to sad hear that Utica community activist Sunithi Bajekal died last Friday. I knew her since I was a child. She served as an important mentor and role model and helped to inspire my activist work. A native of India, she was a fighter for peace and social justice and was a member of many groups including the NAACP, Community Action, Utica Citizens Lobby, Mohawk Valley Peace Coalition, and Occupy Utica. Sunithi was also a great supporter of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. She was also a poet, painter, and potter. People of all walks of life loved her kindness and commitment to fighting for a more just world. Please attend the commemorative service to honor her memory at the Unitarian Church on Higby Road on June 21 at 1 p.m. Sunithi, we will miss you very much. John Furman

 

FF worker rising

 

 

JOIN THE FIGHT FOR INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE ON TUESDAY, JUNE 17
BUS LEAVING UTICA AT 10 A.M.

Our fight for higher wages is heating up!

A bus will be picking up local residents on Tuesday, June 17 at 10 a.m. to attend the Albany Rally to raise the minimum wage. The bus will be stopping at the parking lot at the North Utica Shopping Center (50 Auert Ave, Utica, NY 13502, off Herkimer Road near Berkshire Bank). There is no charge for the bus. Lunch will be provided. Please arrive 15 minutes earlier.

Cities across the country are taking action to raise wages for low-wage workers — with Seattle recently passing a $15/hour minimum wage. And now, thanks to the work of unions, community groups, faith leaders and the Working Families Party, the governor is standing with workers in support of a $10.10/hour statewide minimum wage in NY and the right for localities to raise the wage even higher.
Now is the time to RaiseUpNY! This is our moment — join us at the State Capitol on Tuesday, June 17 to pressure legislators to take action now!
http://nyworkersrising.org/events/%5D

Rally to RaiseUpNY!

When: June 17, Bus Leaves Utica at 10:00 a.m. at the North Utica Shopping Center Parking Lot (50 Auert Ave, Utica, NY 13502, off Herkimer Road, near Berkshire Bank.) Please arrive 15 minutes earlier. Bus will be coming back to Utica at about 6 p.m. Transpiration is available to the North Utica Shopping Center.

Where: Capitol steps in Albany, NY.

What: Rally in Albany in support of $10.10 minimum wage and the right for cities and counties to raise the wage even higher.

Call John Furman at 725-0974 or send an email to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com to make a reservation

Who: Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc, Working Families Party

Click here to RSVP and we’ll send you more details. [insert link: http://nyworkersrising.org/events/%5D
The media will be covering the event, and a big crowd will help make sure we get the attention of the state senate to RaiseUpNY now.

 

 

CNYCIA TO OPEN ONEIDA SQUARE OFFICE IN UTICA

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is delighted to report that we will be opening an office at the Cornerstone Community Church on Plant Street on Oneida Square in Utica. The office will enable our organization to form coalitions with other progressive groups, hold meetings and events, and provide a space for community volunteers. We are seeking community volunteers and college interns to help us with organizing, community outreach, web and social media design, and public relations and issue work. We would also greatly appreciate donations of office equipment and supplies (e.g., computer, printer, copier, book case, chairs table, desk, supplies, paper). Please contact us at 315-725-0974 or cnycitizenaction@gmail.com if you would like to support our social justice work

 

 

jazz_full2014 (1) (1)-1

CELEBRATING GOOD TIMES, GOOD MUSIC AND GOOD FOOD AT 2014 JUNETEENTH JAZZ EVENT

FREEDOM, FUN, FOOD AND JAZZ will be celebrated at the 2014 JUNETEENTH JAZZ EVENT. A festive celebration of Flag Day, Juneteenth (the end of slavery) and America’s Art Form-Jazz in the spotlight at Hotel Utica.

This is a magical collaboration of our region’s musical giants, amazing vocalists, and fabulous soul food. The evening begins at 6:30, on Saturday, June 14. Tickets are just $35 per person, and over-night packages are available. The second annual event is hosted by For the Good, Inc.

Live music will be led by the Juneteenth Jazz Band consisting of: “Doc” Woods, Cosmo Castellano, Salvatore Alberico and John Piazza, Jr. Leah Kahawhitha Shenandoah and Max Smith the Mayor of Oneida are the headliners. The Matthew Rockwell Group will open the show. Guest Soloists include Astena Smith, John Bowens, Panama Harris and Cassandra Harrris-Lockwood will serve up standard Jazz anthems and torch songs.

The community is invited to get in on this traditional Freedom celebration with America’s finest cultural ambassador which always to bring people together. Jazz. The event is open to the public, tickets are $35, and can be purchased by calling: 315-797-2417.

 

WFP SUPPORTS ILION CANDIDATES

The Mohawk Valley/Central New York Working Families Party today announced its support for candidates for Village of Ilion offices. The WFP endorsed the following Democrat Party candidates in the June 17 election:

Terry Leonard- Mayor
Fred Hartmann & Kalman Socolof- 4 year term – Village Trustee
Bridget Trevor-McKinley- 2 year term – Village Trustee

Leonard, Hartmann, Socolof, and Trevor-McKinley are all Democrats.

“We believe that the slate of candidates headed by Mr. Leonard reflects the values of the Working Families Party,” said John Furman of the local Working Families Party. “Creating jobs and rebuilding our economy should be our top priority. The WFP is confident that our candidates will fight for middle class families and small businesses. The American middle-class is the engine of our economy. We all do better, when we all do better. “

Founded in New York State 1998, the Working Families Party has organizations in seven states and is swiftly expanding. More than 60 community organizations and labor unions in New York have affiliated with the Working Families Party, representing more than 1 million members. In the 2011 election, the Working Families Party provided the margin of victory for Mayor Robert Palmieri of Utica.

In the 2012 election, 241,531 New Yorkers voted for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the WFP line, making it the leading third party vote-earner in the state’s U.S. Senate race. WFP voters also provided the margin of victory for Rep. Bill Owens in the North Country.

For more information, please contact Furman at (315) 725-0974. The email address is uticaromewfp@gmail.com

 

 

CALL YOUR STATE LEGISLATOR TO EXPAND AGING SERVICES

Your call to your State Assembly and Senate representatives can make the difference in expanding aging services in your community this year.

During the recent state budget negotiations, NY StateWide Senior Action Council and other advocates for aging services were pleased to see the Legislature add $5 million dollars in funding to the Community Services for the Elderly (CSE) program funding (a 24.5% increase in funding over the amount allocated in 2013.) Traditionally, funding for this program requires a 25% local government match. But with local governments not anticipating and budgeting for the increased CSE funds, many may not be able to draw down the additional money granted by the State Legislature. Leaving money that has been set aside for aging services sitting in the state treasury when there are huge needs in communities will be tragic.

Now we are calling upon the NYS Legislature to allow the $5 million of supplemental funding recently appropriated for CSE to be distributed by the NYS Office for the Aging to the local Area Agencies on Aging without local governments needing to come up with additional money to support the match. Let’s get the extra funds to provide services out to the community, without the additional and unnecessary barrier that exists for the local government to match the state grant with 25% local dollars.

Make 2 phone calls and make a difference.

Call your Assemblymember (518-455-4100 Assembly switchboard) and Senator (518-0455-2800 Senate switchboard). If you don’t know the name of your representatives, call your local Board of Elections (listed in the phone book under government offices.) Or use this link and enter your zip + 4 to find out who represents you.

Urge your state representatives to make sure that the “Budget Clean Up bill” removes the required 25% local government match for the additional Community Services for the Elderly funds.
Make your calls June 11, 12, 13 and 16. The Legislature plans to adjourn for the year on June 19.
They should not go back to their districts without fixing this glitch.

 

Nourishflier

 

MOVIE ABOUT SOLUTIONS TO CLIMATE CHANGE

What’s the story of your food? Kirkland in Transition presents Nourish: Food and Community, as the last in a series of movies, Solutions: Local Responses to Climate Change, exploring ways of increasing local resilience and sustainability. The movie, 27 minutes plus additional short films, will be shown and followed by discussion on Monday, June 23, 6:30 p.m., and Wednesday, June 25, 3:00 p.m., at the Kirkland Town Library, 55 ½ College St, Clinton, NY.

“With beautiful visuals and inspiring stories, the Nourish film traces our relationship to food from a global perspective to personal action steps. Nourish illustrates how food connects to such issues as biodiversity, climate change, public health, and social justice.
• Hosted and narrated by actress Cameron Diaz.
• Features interviews with best-selling author Michael Pollan, sustainable food advocate Anna Lappé, chef Bryant Terry, pediatrician Dr. Nadine Burke, and organic farmer Nigel Walker.” http://www.nourishlife.org.

This is the last of the films we’re showing this spring, but in September we hope to screen The Wisdom to Survive: Climate Change, Capitalism, and Community –http://olddogdocumentaries.org/shop/the-wisdom-to-survive/. We also hope to gather ideas for action from all of you — and maybe start implementing some of them!

Kathy Collett

For more information, contactkirklandintransition@gmail.com.
http://www.facebook.com/ClintoninTransition
Kirkland in Transition is part of a movement to envision and work towards a future of interdependence and cooperation, creating a resilient local community that will grow more of its own food, generate more of its own power, build houses using local materials, and move towards sustainable transportation, economy, and ways of life.

 

 

ROOTS OF INJUSTICE, SEEDS OF CHANGE
TOWARD RIGHT RELATIONSHIP WITH AMERICA’S NATIVE PEOPLES

Date: Saturday June 21, 1:00-3:30 PM

Location: Skänoñh – Great Law of Peace Center (Look for St Marie Among the Iroquois), 6680 Onondaga Lake Parkway, Liverpool, NY 13088

Price: Free will donation at door

Please pre-register with Gail Bundy at gbundy@rmi.net or 607-423-0503

The Toward Right Relationship project of the Boulder Friends Meeting (Quakers) developed this workshop in response to calls from Indigenous leaders and the World Council of Churches. The 2-hour exercise traces the historic and ongoing impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery, the 15th-century justification for European subjugation of non-Christian peoples. The goal is to raise allies level of knowledge and concern about these impacts, recognize them in ourselves and our institutions, and explore how we can begin to take actions toward “right relationship.” A Resource Kit with suggestions for continued study, reflection, and action will be provided.

We can nurture these seeds to bring forth the fruits of right relationship among all peoples by:
● Repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery
● Supporting Implementation of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
● Working toward right relationships in our community

Co-Sponsors include: Doctrine of Discovery Study Group, Skänoñh – Great Law of Peace Center, Friends Meeting in Syracuse

 

 

UPSTATE N.Y. IWW TO PICKET, MONDAY, 6/16 IN COOPERSTOWN IN SUPPORTOF PETITION TO MLB ON SWEATSHOP PRODUCTION OF LICENSED LOGO GEAR

The Upstate N.Y. Regional General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) will conduct an informational picket and petition drive on Monday, June 16th at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Main Street, Cooperstown, NY, beginning at 11:30 a.m. The action will call attention to the production of Major League Baseball licensed logo items like shirts, jerseys, hats and banners that comes from sweatshops around the globe, including Bangladesh. Some of these items are produced by the lowest paid garment workers on the planet, who face severe repression of their rights, harassment, sexual abuse and other offenses common to factories tied to a global race to the bottom for wages and working conditions.

“If labels can be protected by laws backed up by sanctions, why is it that the human being making those garments cannot have legal protections?”,Charles Kerhnaghan, Director of the Institute for Global labor and Human Rights, said recently. The Upstate N.Y. IWW, in conjunction with the union’s Bangladesh Working Group, will ask baseball fans to sign a petition to Major League Baseball Commissional Bud Selig which demands more accountability on how the sport sources the highly profitable licensed logogear.

“MLB must assure its patrons that workers who produce these goods are treated fairly, not only to the letter of the law as it applies to minimum conventions but to also include…collective bargaining rights, safety standards that are subject to regular inspection of facilities, paid leave”, the petition demands, along with other rights like overtime pay.

Greg Giorgio, Chair of the IWW’s Bangladesh Working Group and a member of the Upstate N.Y. IWW, said that these demands come at a time when Major League Baseball should be under similar scrutiny as the retailers who have been tied to the factory deaths in Bangladesh over the past few years.

“Companies like WalMart, JC Penney, The Gap, Children’s Place, Benetton; they are guilty of murder by any other name in relation to their involvement in the carnage at places like Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh. And they are now shirking responsibility for reparations payments to the victims’ families.

Major League Baseball should be getting the same critical judgment with their contracting in similar factories in Bangladesh and other countries,” Giorgio said. “How long will it be until the next fire, collapse or workers’ tenement disaster is tied to an MLB production scheme?”, he asked.

The petition to Bud Selig is included in the Bangladesh Working Group’s “Black Cat Moan” newsletter, a pdf is attached herein.

For more information, please contact Greg Giorgio, 518 861-5627 or ggwob56@yahoo.com .

 

 

Reyna-Rose Band 1

 

REYNA-ROSE BAND TO PERFORM AT
CHRIST CHURCH COFFEE HOUSE

SWEET AMERICANA WITH A HIGH MOUNTAIN SOUND PLAYED ON MANDOLIN AND APPALACHIAN DULCIMER

The Reyna-Rose Band, a regional duo noted for its unique blend of distinctive vocals and mountain instruments, will perform at the Christ Church Community Coffee House in Sherrill at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 20.

The band consists of Reyna Stagnaro and Eileen Rose. They have recently entertained at Art On The Porches in Strathmore, Creekside Coffeehouse in Skaneateles, the Norwich Bluegrass Festival, and Hillview Community Church Coffee House in Baldwinsville. Their music has been played on WAER 88.3 ‘Common Threads’ and WCNY 91.3 FM ‘Bluegrass Ramble’.

Reyna Stagnaro is a singer/songwriter and mandolinist from Hamilton, NY. She also performs in the duo Dove Creek, and is an alto in the Sojourners Gospel Choir at Colgate University. She is currently recording her 3rd CD ‘Painted Hills’ with 14 original tracks.

Eileen Rose is a singer/songwriter and plays the mountain dulcimer and percussion. Her voice and instrument ring with a true Appalachian sound. She performs with Larry Hoyt and the Good Acoustics, Genesee Ted, and Mark Zane and Friends. She lives in Fayetteville, NY.

Reyna-Rose Band performs originals, covers, traditionals and instrumentals with beautiful harmonies – and great spirit! Come out and hear this unique duo present a sweet slice of Americana.
The event Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/events/715329345180720/?context=create&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming&source=49

For more information on the band, please use this link:
http://www.facebook.com/ReynaRoseBand

A sample of songs can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkOezOkvZeIBNIkQ_vM4d2eQa7BYT3QbP http://www.youtube.com/TheMandolinWind

Christ Church United Methodist is located at 417 Park St., Sherrill. Refreshments will be served. The coffee house is open to the community. A free will offering will be accepted. Children as well as adults are welcome. For more information, please call 725-0974. The church website is: http://www.christchurchsherrillny.com

 

 

MEMO TO POTENTIAL WHISTLEBLOWERS: IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING

By Norman Solomon

Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing creates a moral frequency that vast numbers of people are eager to hear. We don’t want our lives, communities, country and world continually damaged by the deadening silences of fear and conformity.

I’ve met many whistleblowers over the years, and they’ve been extraordinarily ordinary. None were applying for halos or sainthood. All experienced anguish before deciding that continuous inaction had a price that was too high. All suffered negative consequences as well as relief after they spoke up and took action. All made the world better with their courage.

Whistleblowers don’t sign up to be whistleblowers. Almost always, they begin their work as true believers in the system that conscience later compels them to challenge.

“It took years of involvement with a mendacious war policy, evidence of which was apparent to me as early as 2003, before I found the courage to follow my conscience,” Matthew Hoh recalled this week. “It is not an easy or light decision for anyone to make, but we need members of our military, development, diplomatic and intelligence community to speak out if we are ever to have a just and sound foreign policy.”

Hoh describes his record this way: “After over 11 continuous years of service with the U.S. military and U.S. government, nearly six of those years overseas, including service in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as positions within the Secretary of the Navy’s Office as a White House Liaison, and as a consultant for the State Department’s Iraq Desk, I resigned from my position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of war in 2009.”

Another former Department of State official, the ex-diplomat and retired Army colonel Ann Wright, who resigned in protest of the Iraq invasion in March 2003, is crossing paths with Hoh on Friday as they do the honors at a ribbon-cutting — half a block from the State Department headquarters in Washington — for a billboard with a picture of Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. Big-lettered words begin by referring to the years he waited before releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

“Don’t do what I did,” Ellsberg says on the billboard. “Don’t wait until a new war has started, don’t wait until thousands more have died, before you tell the truth with documents that reveal lies or crimes or internal projections of costs and dangers. You might save a war’s worth of lives.”

The billboard — sponsored by the ExposeFacts organization, which launched this week — will spread to other prominent locations in Washington and beyond. As an organizer for ExposeFacts, I’m glad to report that outreach to potential whistleblowers is just getting started. (For details, visit ExposeFacts.org.) We’re propelled by the kind of hopeful determination that Hoh expressed the day before the billboard ribbon-cutting when he said: “I trust ExposeFacts and its efforts will encourage others to follow their conscience and do what is right.”

The journalist Kevin Gosztola, who has astutely covered a range of whistleblower issues for years, pointed this week to the imperative of opening up news media. “There is an important role for ExposeFacts to play in not only forcing more transparency, but also inspiring more media organizations to engage in adversarial journalism,” he wrote. “Such journalism is called for in the face of wars, environmental destruction, escalating poverty, egregious abuses in the justice system, corporate control of government, and national security state secrecy. Perhaps a truly successful organization could inspire U.S. media organizations to play much more of a watchdog role than a lapdog role when covering powerful institutions in government.”

Overall, we desperately need to nurture and propagate a steadfast culture of outspoken whistleblowing. A central motto of the AIDS activist movement dating back to the 1980s — Silence = Death — remains urgently relevant in a vast array of realms. Whether the problems involve perpetual war, corporate malfeasance, climate change, institutionalized racism, patterns of sexual assault, toxic pollution or countless other ills, none can be alleviated without bringing grim realities into the light.

“All governments lie,” Ellsberg says in a video statement released for the launch of ExposeFacts, “and they all like to work in the dark as far as the public is concerned, in terms of their own decision-making, their planning — and to be able to allege, falsely, unanimity in addressing their problems, as if no one who had knowledge of the full facts inside could disagree with the policy the president or the leader of the state is announcing.”

Ellsberg adds: “A country that wants to be a democracy has to be able to penetrate that secrecy, with the help of conscientious individuals who understand in this country that their duty to the Constitution and to the civil liberties and to the welfare of this country definitely surmount their obligation to their bosses, to a given administration, or in some cases to their promise of secrecy.”

Right now, our potential for democracy owes a lot to people like NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Kirk Wiebe, and EPA whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo. When they spoke at the June 4 news conference in Washington that launched ExposeFacts, their brave clarity was inspiring.

Antidotes to the poisons of cynicism and passive despair can emerge from organizing to help create a better world. The process requires applying a single standard to the real actions of institutions and individuals, no matter how big their budgets or grand their power. What cannot withstand the light of day should not be suffered in silence.

If you see something, say something.

________________________________________

Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, which launched ExposeFacts.org in early June. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”

 

 

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE NEEDED

Please submit your articles, news item, and calendar listings to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

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