Local Branch Activities

May, 2009: Spotlight on Santa Cruz, CA.

Developing WILPF’s Legislative Priorities at the Local Level

By Jan Harwood

Rescue Democracy, Curb Corporations committee:

Six Santa Cruz WILPF members attended a Democracy School training conducted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) in May, 2008 and formed the  branch's Corporation vs Democracy Committee the next month.  After study and discussion, the group focused on two activities.

The first was to work with the existing Light-Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) and Californians Against the Spray groups in Santa Cruz, to develop an ordinance that will prevent any government entity or corporation from spraying any toxic substance in Santa Cruz without the express permission of the people of Santa Cruz.  The ordinance is in its final editing and will be presented to the Santa Cruz City Council after further community organizing for support.

The second activity was to develop a schedule of events to educate the public about the undue power of corporations over our lives, our health, our education and our government, with the goal of training people to take action to restore democracy.  The series is called “Restore Democracy: Curb Corporate Power.”  To date, there have been five events in this series:  Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, speaking about the bail-out of Wall Street; the CELDF trainers holding a public meeting on the spray ordinance; and David Dilworth of Helping Our Peninsula’s Environment (HOPE) explaining how to revoke the charters of corporations which do public harm.  In December  showed the film Are Corporations People? and  Jim Mosher of Felton Flow described how their community fought and won back their water rights against a mega-corporation.

The series continued with a public talk and trainng earlier this month featuring David Cobb / Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap of Democracy Unlimited Humboldt County (DUHC). The goal of the training was the formation of issue coalitions to develop actions in the Bay Area to assert the peoples’ rights against corporate power. We expect to continue with educational events, skill training and community actions."

Water Committee:

The Committee has focused for the past few years on educating the public about the detriments of bottled water - to our health, to our pocketbooks, and to the environment. We secured the support of the Santa Cruz City Council: they signed onto the US Mayors' Resolution, as did the County Board of Supervisors, which declared support for public water over bottled water; we successfully lobbied State Assemblyman Sam Farr to support an upcoming bill to create a National Water Trust Fund, which will give municipalities the money needed to upgrade and maintain public water systems, rather than sell them to private corporations.                

We know that water is bottled and sold for the profit of big corporations - Nestle, Coke, Pepsi - so this work naturally led right into efforts to limit the power of corporations.  Thus the Water Committee has become a subcommittee of the 'Rescue Democracy, Curb Corporations committee,' and will continue to work along with National WILPF to demand water as a human right.  We currently have petitions to the UN to recognize water as an
inviolable right; we're working with restaurants to create 'bottled water-free zones', and we continue to promote and sell stainless steel water bottles as a replacement for plastic.

April, 2009 Local Tax Day Actions

WILPF Maine will be holding Tax Day events in both Bath and Brunswick. They will set up an ironing board and a bean poll. Passersby will be asked to distrbute a cup of beans into mason jars labeled with tax categories (education, health care, environment, social services, military, energy, infrastructure). A news article is sent to local papers reporting on the choices of local citizens, showing how they differ from federal priorities.

WILPF Portland continues to vigil on a weekly basis. Their current focus is shedding light on Afghan women resisting a military solution. On International Women's Day, 15,000 Afghan women wore blue scarves and prayed for peace and stability.

WILPF San Jose knows there is less foot traffic at local post offices since so many peope are using online tax filing. To cap off a month of actions coordinated by their local peace and justice center, they will be visiting their Congresspeople's local offices on April 15. Both the Senate and the House are in recess April 3-19.

WILPF Pittsburgh will hold its annual Tax Day educational rally and penny poll on Wednesday, April 15 from noon to 4 p.m. next to the Squirrel Hill post office. People will be encouraged to show how they'd like their tax dollars spent in jars designated food, housing, education, health care, and military.

Is Racism Over? On Saturday, May 2 WILPF Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church are sponsoring an event to engage the community on statements like "I'm not a racist," and "We have made so much progress, I don't think racism is a problem anymore." The program will be held at Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church, 1110 Resaca Place, Pittsburgh from 9:30 a.m. to noon. It is open to the public.

March, 2009 Local WILPF Branch International Women's Day Celebrations

WILPF Tucson celebrates with the Tucson Raging Grannies, Tucson Vice Mayor Karin Uhlich, first US Congresswoman and Lifelong Pacifist, Jeanette Rankin, and the voices of Military Women

Listen to a 2 minute excerpt of the upcoming solo show, Coming In Hot, produced by Kore Press and adapted from their recent best-seller Powder: writing by women in the ranks from Vietnam to Iraq.
You can also click on the play symbol (right facing triangle) below.

WILPF Houston is creating their first “Country Camp,” for children ages 9 to 13 during spring break. It grows out of their summer day peace camp, which is celebrating its 10th year this July.

WILPF Bloomington is sponsoring a talk by Madi Hirschland on her experiences in Kenya providing microloans.

WILPF Cleveland invites you to celebrate International Women's Day with a Reader's theater: excerpts from women's writings on war and peace and a Roundtable Discussion on Women's Roles in Securing Human Rights.

WILPF Maine invites you to a "snack" pot luck to celebrate International Women's Day on Sunday, March 8, 2009 from 2:30 - 4:30 in the Fellowship Hall of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Brunswick 15 Pleasant Street, Brunswick.

WILPF DC representatives Ellen Thomas and Joan W. Drake will meet in the spirit of International Women's Day at Peace House in Washington, DC, with Gyung Lan Jung, South Korean Representative of Women Making Peace. In honor of International Women's Day, WILPF DC's March 3rd branch meeting at Peace House will focus on women's role in peacemaking.

WILPF Houston is busy with a first time ever "Country Camp" for 5 or 6 children ages  9 to 13---during spring break Sat--Tuesday. This grows out of the week long summer day Peace camp that has been  going for 10 years this July.

WILPF Pittsburgh will perform Jan Maher's play,“Most Dangerous Women,”  about the founders of the women’s peace movement.  It will be performed on March 26 for the 6th time.  This time it will be videotaped for larger distribution. The WILPF Pittsburgh Raging Grannies will sing and talk at the Pittsburgh public main library about women in the labor movement, healthcare, war and peace  to celebrate Women’s History Month.

"As a woman I cannot send my son to war to kill another mother’s son”, a quote from Jan Maher’s play

WILPF Santa Cruz has a unique way to recognize the contributions of it's members. Once a year at the March meeting, the current holder of a simple wooden doll chooses another member for their commitment to peace and gives her the doll. On the doll it says in Swedish: "Frida of Peace from Friend to Friend." Frida, the name of our Peace Doll,
means peaceful or tranquil.
Frida was first given to Patricia Schroeder in 1986 by the Swedish hosts at an international peace conference co-sponsored by WILPF, which was held in the shadow of the fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown. Patricia was told to pass the doll to a friend who worked for peace and thus was born our Branch tradition.
Each year the current holder of the doll chooses a new home for Frida.

WILPF Los Angeles will hold its annual International Women's Day Luncheon at Taix Restaurant on Saturday, March 7 at 11:30 a.m. Jackie Goldberg, former member of the California State Assembly, Los Angeles City Council, and Los Angeles Unified School Board will speak on "Change We Can Believe In: How to Make it a Reality."

Would you like to share your branch's activities on our website? Email web(at)wilpf(dot)org

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