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Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

Grandma Drone Protester’s Second Jail Letter: Ithaca Catholic Worker Mary Anne Grady Flores, Feb.29, 2016

In Activism, Anti-War, Letter on March 2, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Jamesville County Jail
(Onondaga County Correctional Facility)
Monday, February 29, 2016
Second week of Lent
67 days until May 6 – my release date

Grandma Drone Protester’s Second Jail Letter:

On January 19, 2016 I was remanded after a county court decision upheld a lower court verdict that I was guilty of violating the terms of an order of protection while photographing 8 Catholic drone protestors at Hancock Air force Base.Orders of protection were originally created to protect domestic violence victims and witnesses who might be subject to intimidation.

A month later while in jail I realized that Friday, Feb. 19 was important to me for four reasons. First, it was the seventh anniversary of my brother-in-law Peter DeMott’s sudden passing, leaving my widowed sister Ellen with four daughters to raise. Peter was a rock in our family and is sorely missed. We miss his energy, his wit, his deep bass radio voice, his random acts of kindness, his recitation of poetry, his mixing hot sauce with all his food. We miss his tireless efforts of putting his body at many gates, or climbing over fences or driving into military bases or witnessing at corporate military contractors’ facilities like Lockheed Martin, to end the madness of the never ending racist colonial wars of the U.S. empire. I hold Ellen, the tireless organizer of anti-killer-drone actions at Hancock Airbase, and each of their gifted daughters in prayer and in love.

Second, on that Friday, our 88-year-old mom, Teresa Grady, was officially accepted into Hospice. This past December, mom broke her hip and has declined since then. My siblings and I have been blessed caring for her 24/7 in her home for almost two years. It’s been a struggle since January 19, when I entered jail, especially as she nears her final days. My mother, along with my dad taught us that our faith meant we were supposed to stand up for human rights and justice. I learned that the jail might provide a death bed visit. First, they told me I had to prove that mom is my mother by getting my birth certificate. My counselor, Ms. Kash, has to handle a caseload of about 140 cases. Nevertheless, doing the best she could, she responded to my request to speak about mom’s decline, coming to the busy hub of the Pod – the guard desk – instead of the counselor’s office two feet away respecting confidentiality or sensitivity to the situation. The counselor asked me

“What’s your mom’s name and her doctor’s name? “What’s your mom’s date of birth where is she? Who’s caring for her? When I explained that Mon is being cared for at home by the family she responded. “Oh, that’s going to be a problem! It’s a security risk. You can’t have any family members with you while you’re there.” I said, “Mom can’t be left alone. I’ll be in shackles!”

Some other sergeants said it’s highly unlikely they would let me go to the house. Whether I stole a band aid, murdered someone, or photographed non-violent drone protesters, my transport guards would treat me the same.

Within the jail, there are different security levels designated to us inmates, but it doesn’t apply as we leave the prison walls.

This past Friday, Feb. 25, I was surprised by the jail authorities announcing they were taking me to see mom at home! I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t tell anyone ahead of time. When the unmarked car pulled up by mom’s house Clare, who was on duty for mom, noticed us and ran in to tell mom, who was in the living room in her hospital bed. When we entered the house Clare was jumping up and down with tears streaming down her cheeks. The two officers informed her that she couldn’t call anyone or the half-hour visit would be over. I walked, shackled, wrists to waist and ankles, to be at mom’s side, leaning over her to kiss her big smiling face. I told her over and over that I loved her, my tears wetting her soft cheeks. I asked if she was in any pain. “No, I’m not in pain. I’m o.k.” She kept smiling and fell asleep. What a precious, blessed moment. Mom slept through the rest of the visit. We left Clare with mom and drove back to Jamesville in brilliant sunshine passing Lake Cayuga in gratitude, marveling at all of creation and in thanksgiving for mom’s life.

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Protest For Jobs Photo Gallery

In Activism, Grassroots, Jobs, Taxes on February 24, 2016 at 3:30 pm

The first Protest for Jobs organized by the Urban Jobs Task Force in Syracuse saw over  a dozen people out in the February cold, albeit sunny, weather, letting the public and COR Development know that public funding should provide jobs for the community.  Protests will take place monthly at the corner of Solar and Court Streets, 3rd Thursdays at 12 noon. Photo credits to Diana Green.

Urban Jobs Task Force begins Monthly Protests of COR – OCIDA Tax Deal

In Activism, Direct Action, Economics, Jobs, Press Release, Uncategorized on February 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm

SYRACUSE – Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 12 noon ujtflogoCapture

Urban Jobs Task Force and community members will launch monthly protests of the $44 million tax deal granted by Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA) to the Inner Harbor developers, COR. On the 3rd Thursday of every month, we will protest this tax deal less we forget how this tax deal hurts vulnerable city residents.

We will protest:

  • the inequity of this tax deal. COR is building the Inner Harbor using more than $70 million of public money, $44 million in tax breaks approved by OCIDA, with no accountable, verifiable community benefits as jobs and contracts for city residents.
  • the undemocratic nature of the largest component of this tax deal, the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT). The PILOT was never approved by the elected body of Syracuse, the Syracuse Common Council.
  • the emerging practice of OCIDA. OCIDA is signaling developers that it is “OK” to avoid the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency and its scrutiny. This practice is disrespectful and disempowering.

We will urge:

  • negotiations between COR and the City to end the lawsuits by adding verifiable, accountable job and M/WBE goals through a community benefits agreement for city residents on the Inner Harbor project.
  • IDA reform at the state level that creates firm IDA jurisdictional boundaries and project transparency by requiring a workforce profile connected to the jobs created. At a minimum, this profile would describe the workforce by zip code, ethnicity and gender.

We will continue to pressure for Economic Inclusion!

Monthly protests: 3rd Thursday of month, 12 noon to 12:30 pm, Corner of Solar and Court Streets

Contact: Aggie Lane, 315-478-4571, aggielane@verizon.net

FIVE ARRESTED HOLDING HUGE “DRONES KILL CHILDREN” BANNERS ACROSS HANCOCK REAPER DRONE BASE MAIN ENTRANCE

In Activism, Anti-War on September 21, 2015 at 7:11 pm

This morning, September 21, the U.N.-designated World Day of Peace, five members of the grassroots human rights coalition, Upstate (NY) Drone Action [upstatedroneaction.org], were arrested as they held aloft three large banners together spanning the Hancock’s main entrance and exit driveways.

Hancock is on East Molloy Road in the town of DeWitt just north of Syracuse, NY. It hosts the 174th Attack Wing of the New York Air National Guard, home of the “hunter/killer” [the Pentagon’s phrase] MQ9 Reaper drone.

Reapers are unmanned robotic assassins flying missions 24/7 over Afghanistan and other Islamic nations.

One of those arrested noted, “The Reaper not only kills and maims humans, it destroys homes, and displaces and terrorizes whole communities. U.S. taxpayers pay for such terrorism which perpetuates violence and generates enormous ill will against the United States.”

Today’s event at Hancock’s main gate is only one incident there in Upstate Drone Action’s persistent nonviolent campaign to expose the Hancock war crime. Since 2010 there have been over 165 anti-war-crime arrests at the base, resulting in extreme bails, maximum fines, incarcerations, and Orders of Protection…as well as some acquittals.

Those arrested: Bonny Mahoney, Ed Kinane & Julienne Oldfield of Syracuse and Dan Burgevin and James Ricks of Ithaca. All were detained but released by Onondaga County Sheriffs around noon with appearance tickets charging them with trespass and disorderly conduct. Their court date is 6 p.m., October 14, in the DeWitt (NY) Town Court.

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Note: The following statement was read by James Ricks aloud to military personnel behind the main gate.  It was composed by James, Ellen Grady & Ed Kinane:

DRONES KILL CHILDREN — DRONES FLY, CHILDREN DIE

The United Nations General Assembly has declared today, September 21, 2015, an International World Day of Peace. As we stand here at the main gate of Hancock Air Base, its “hunter/killer” MQ9 Reaper drone arrogantly patrols Afghan skies 24/7 — killing innocent children there and likely elsewhere.

We U.S. citizens and taxpayers look on with horror at the millions of refugees fleeing airborne terror and are shamed by our unconsented complicity. Too many drone victims are precious and beloved children. We bring their images and their silenced voices to Hancock today.

As members of the Upstate Drone Action Coalition, we come to this War Base – home of the Reaper and the 174th Attack Wing of the NY National Guard – seeking to prevent the murder of these innocents, both on this day and for all days.

We are here to uphold law, both domestic and international.

We are here to bring the images of their victims both to the Hancock chain of command and to the U.S. public.

Specifically, we are here to say NO to the maiming, murder and terrorizing of children.

Since 2010 this grassroots Coalition has sought to expose state-sponsored drone war crime. The crime is multi-layered. It includes extrajudicial execution/assassination, contempt for due process, the undermining of international law and national sovereignty, the murder of the undeniably innocent –- both within and beyond any recognized zone of war.

Unjustified on any level, save “might makes right,” such terrorism prepares fertile ground for perpetual conflict. This criminality benefits few besides war-profiteering corporations.

To the extent that WE, THE PEOPLE ignore our laws and our Constitution — allowing our government to kill whoever it wants, wherever it wants, however it wants — we make the world less safe for children here and everywhere. We demand that the Hancock chain of command and the United States to STOP THE KILLING!

— Upstate Drone Action Coalition, Town of DeWitt, New York, 21 September 2015

Bomb Trains in Syracuse?- What You Need to Know

In Activism, Energy, Video Documentation on May 12, 2015 at 10:07 pm

Exclusive Video by Indy Media CNY – http://bambuser.com/v/5508440

CaptureBombTrainsArtRage

A presentation on Bakken crude oil trains with Sandy Steubing, an activist and organizer with PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy.

“Every week trains loaded with volatile crude oil “fracked” in North Dakota’s Bakken shale travel through Syracuse. With very little public awareness and no study of environmental impacts, the gas & oil industry has made our region a dangerous hub for highly flammable oil using these “bomb trains.” The rail system was never built for this kind of dangerous cargo, yet these trains travel through population centers and next to schools, homes, and businesses.”

As a next step in, you can also submit supportive comments, and share on social media, the Letter to the Editor on Syracuse.com by Indy Media CNY Publisher Frank Cetera – http://www.syracuse.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/05/new_york_must_take_steps_to_stop_oil-train_transit_your_letters.html