April 14 2006 Program Update
Next Update Due Thursday, May 4
note: due to the holidays, many of our members have taken a couple of days off to be with their families and friends. Stay tuned for next program update for a full report!
Save the Water Campaign Update
Seven members of the Water Campaign team leaders had three-day retreat in Lakewood, Ohio (Yoshiko's condo)
The purpose of the meeting was to review our past accomplishments, review how consistent our program content has been to the original Save the water campaign statements for short and long term goals; and plan our future actions strategically. We were able to assign tasks so that we can move forward more efficiently.
Some of major discussion included issues of privatization, maneuvers made by GAT, World Bank etc. Development of actions to alert the communities about impacts of large corporation such as Coca Cola and Nestles operating under different names filling the super market shelves There will be increased effort against bottled water as a tool for public education. More complete report will be made available in a near future.
At the end of the retreat on March 26 we felt that we met most of our goals set for the retreat.
Building the Beloved Community Issue Committee Update
Creating Caring Communities. The pervasiveness of racism in our society has caused the Thomas Merton Center to bring a series of anti-racism workshops to Pittsburgh. The first one is a 3 hour workshop on Saturday, May 20 at 2pm, (location still TBA) and is co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). This workshop is also sponsored by the BBC's East Coast Tour racial justice grant and is facilitated by BBC members Donna Lamb and Sha'an Mouliert, Chair. For more information, contact Edith Bell firstname.lastname@example.org or Sha'an Mouliert email@example.com
DISARM: Dismantle the War Economy for April 14:
BRANCH ACTIONS: Check our DISARM UPDATE for info on the many Branch activities and for resources on tax day leafleting. Bloomington and Philadelphia Branch will be among those leafleting. Philadelphia Branch is featuring, Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies, May 13 speaking on the theme of her new book," Challenging Empire: How, People, Governments and the UN Defy U.S. Power". MUST READING FOR US ALL. Tuscon Branch is featuring Maggy Zanger on April 15, who has trained independent journalists in Iraq, speaking on expectations and efforts of Iraqi people to participate in the restructuring of their country despite the death grip the US and its many enemies hold on the country. Southern California Branches prepare for WILPF sponsored May 20 Armed Forces Day demonstration at Vandenberg Air Force Base with Medea Benjamin (Code Pink), Bob Mitchell (Gold Star Families for Peace) and Que Keju (Marshall Islands target for missile defense ICBMs). Download flier at http://www.vpeaceldf.org/docs/vandenberg-may20andjune15v2.pdf. We look for reports from eastern Branches participating in the UFPJ anti-war march and festival in New York on Apirl 29. Contact www.reachingcriticalwill.org if you can help for WILPF in the anti-nuclear weapons tent.
DISARM COMMITTEE ACTION:
Watch EYE on Congress alerts for action info on the budget, getting out of Iraq, and aggressive new nuclear weapons programs. WCUSP please note: Ellen Barfield will be returning from Israel/Palestine around April 17 and can speak to WILPF sponsored groups. Reserve before end of April for the International Vancouver Peace Conference and for the Global Network International Conference. Susi Snyder and other active international and U.S. WILPFers will be there. Events are June 23-28 and Info will be on our DISARM UPDATE. Our DISARM committee is now preparing for Hiroshima/Nagasaki week with UFPJ and ABOLITION 2000, and for Space for Peace Week with with international WILPF and Global Network. Branches will want to do the same. Watch our DISARM UPDATE for details. And of course we must focus energy on preventing bombing of Iran and the aggressive new U.S. nuclear weapons programs.
In early March, WILPF Haiti Issue Committee members, Marge Van Cleef, Joan Drake, Jacqueline Nerrette and Shirley Pate, offered a workshop on Haiti at the National Venezuela Solidarity Conference that was held in Washington, DC. The workshop was well-attended and included a lively Q&A session. From solidarity activists to Venezuelan government officials, it appears that Haiti is a priority and will always have a place on the Venezuelan agenda.
Haitian President-elect, Rene Preval, Visits US:
The President-elect of Haiti, Rene Preval paid a visit to the United States during the week of March 27. He first visited New York where he participated in a special UN Security Council session on Haiti. In this session, Mr. Preval stressed the need for significant international assistance to help rebuild Haiti. Further, he requested that the UN peacekeeping force, MINUSTAH, remain in Haiti a while longer to establish security in the country. Yet, he specifically stated that he wants MINUSTAH to focus its resources on training Haitian police, whose numbers he plans to increase once he assumes the presidency.
Mr. Preval arrived in Washington on March 29. Members of the Haiti Issue Committee participated in activities surrounding the visit of Haiti’s President-elect, Rene Preval, to Washington, March 28-30. Mr. Preval was received at the White House by George Bush and was received by the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States. The final event in the US was a talk before (and with) the Haitian community of Washington. Over 400 attended.
It should be noted that regardless of the venue, Mr. Preval was consistent in his remarks about the need to help the poor of Haiti.
A very insightful assessment of the challenges that lie ahead for President-elect Preval and the people of Haiti can be found in the April 1, 2006 press statement of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) entitled, “Giving Haiti’s New President a Good Launch,” at: