By: Judith Le Blanc, Field Organizer
Nationally, PA is spearheading the organizing of an international conference on April 30- May1 at Riverside Church and a march, rally and peace and music festival in midtown Manhattan timed with the opening of the UN Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference. Go to www.peaceandjustice.org for more details.
Peace Action NYS (PANYS) is throwing out the welcome mat here in our hometown, NYC for the thousands who will come from US and abroad to send a strong message to the UN and to the White House: “We need a world free of nuclear weapons, in our lifetime!”.
PANYS chapters are busy planning activities between now and May 2 to strengthen ties with other peace groups, begin new relationships with other constituencies in the community especially with faith groups, communities of color , immigrants and students. PANYS main goal is to come through the mobilization stronger and bigger!
PANYS is mapping out a plan that includes internal goals with a public competition between chapters on the petition calling on President Obama to take a giant step towards abolition by initiating good faith negotiations for a nuclear convention! Chapters are discussing their goals and a friendly but feisty competition for signatures is about to begin.
One chapter has collected 300 signatures in the past few weeks. They decided to print the dates and website for the NPT activities on 1000 pencils and have been giving them out as they petition.
Educational forums, visits to community groups and plans for April tabling are underway. PA Staten Island formed a ”homegrown” speakers bureau. They held a briefing session for the local speakers, made lists and set up appointments. They have begun work with a peace club at a community college and spoke to two classes at another college. Next stop: local churches.
In Albany, the chapter organized a forum in the downtown public library picked up some new contacts and used the meeting to get fired up to organize a bus to NYC.
The Buffalo chapter, Western NY Peace Center, is helping to mobilize for the March 21 immigrant rights march in DC. They are going to leaflet for the May 2 NYC demonstrations and bring the petitions with them. They know that immigrants often leave their home countries because of wars, both military and economic. Matching for immigrant rights at home and for peace around the world is a perfect combination of solidarity and political grassroots power!
PANYS is working with the Doris Schaffer Memorial Fund which is offering grants to NYS chapters for organizing public events in the run up to the NPT activities. The Fund is also sponsoring an educational forum in Manhattan chaired by Phil Donahue on April 8 to mobilize for the NPT events.
Chapters are engaging with the organizations that are organizing for healthcare, housing and education. Their goal is to broaden the call to change the Federal spending priorities and shift the 58% of discretionary spending on the military to meeting human needs here at home and abroad! On LI, they are contacting groups like Jobs With Justice and Erase Racism to meet and discuss the NPT events. They are approaching clergy who are concerned about Afghanistan to join the May NPT activities, as well.
For decades, PA has been one of the strongest grassroots voices for nuclear disarmament. In 2010, PANYS and national PA are again showing bold and effective leadership in giving the nuclear disarmament movement a new surge in 2010. For more information about PANYS, go to http://www.panys.org/. Get involved in the NPT activities in NYC April30-May 2 http://peaceandjusticenow.org/