Action for Disarmament: 10 Things You Can Do!

disarmament, disarmament education, Kathleen Sullivan, Bill Yotive, UN, nuclear disarmamentOn Tuesday, April 15, the UN Department of Public Information and UN Office for Disarmament Affairs held a book launch event at the Dag Hammarskjold Library in UN Headquarters in New York City. The book was authored by our friend Dr. Kathleen Sullivan and Bill Yotive and is entitled Action for Disarmament: 10 Things You Can Do!

Students from the UN International School were among those in the audience and three students ended the program by performing an original rap they wrote after being inspired by a class on nuclear nonproliferation they took at school.

About the book, from the UN website:

In a world where weapons small and large remain a threat to humanity, the United Nations’ new book “Action for Disarmament: 10 Things You Can Do!” shows youths actionable steps they can take to personally lead the call for disarmament. The book presents a variety of resources for the reader to learn about history and modern uses of weapons: guns, bombs, nuclear and biological weapons.

The reader is encouraged to use that knowledge to foster a dialog with peers, the media and politicians. Suggestions are given for points of discussion as well as methods to tailor them to be concise and have impact. The action-driven format of the book makes it both an excellent primer on disarmament and also one on civic engagement.

Speakers at yesterday’s event included UN Messenger of Peace and actor, Michael Douglas, and the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane. The photo above shows authors Kathleen and Bill engaging the students in the audience in a quiz from their book, and giving those who answered copies that were signed by UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon.

To order your copy of this fantastic book, please click here. You can also find out more about the great disarmament education work Dr. Kathleen Sullivan does at Hibakusha Stores by clicking here. She was also involved in creating the UN Cyber School Bus, which you can find here.

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PANYS Goes to Nicaragua!

Last year I was selected to be a Global Justice Fellow for New York Area Young Leaders with American Jewish World Service (AJWS), specifically to work on the International Violence Against Women’s Act (IVAWA). This bill, which is currently working its way through the American legislative system, will codify a position within the American government to specifically focus on violence against women and girls abroad, setting the precedence that this behavior will no longer be tolerated. IVAWA will also create a framework for programming and grant work within five different developing nations that have yet to be specified, which have ongoing gender based violence issues such as domestic violence, LGBT inequalities, and high rates of femicide. This fellowship also includes an international component, with the intention that fellows learn from grassroots organizers attempting to combat the same issues that IVAWA targets.

A tribute to Sandino, the namesake of the Sandinista political party.

From March 16th to March 23rd, I was in Nicaragua as a part of my AJWS fellowship, meeting with and learning from the nonprofit organizations that are attempting to combat an array of gender based issues, often without the help of local, municipal, or federal forces. In 2012, law 779 was passed in Nicaragua that made violence against women a criminal offense. This was a groundbreaking victory for women’s rights groups across the nation, and was great stride forward for women in Central American and the Caribbean. However, a recent reform to the law makes it mandatory for women to now mediate with their aggressors. This reform has put the lives of women in danger yet again under the claim from conservatives that law 779 was sexist against men. Because of this setback, the fight to end gender-based violence in Nicaragua has taken to the streets, where cohorts of activists have formed nonprofit organizations that are exercising their right for equality.

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PANYS – A Student’s Perspective

Working with Peace Action New York State has been a truly valuable, once in a lifetime experience that not many get granted the  opportunity to have and I wanted to share my gratitude. As a student intern I have gained a sense of empowerment and pride I never before had due to the encouragement of PANYS. Being just a small component contributing to a larger greater movement is humbling to know. PANYS has given me the tools I needed to take an idea of “peace” and turn it into something tangible and engaging for my generation to be intrigued by. In the past year that I have served as an intern I was able to take the idea of peace activism and turn it into a shared experience with my peers and together, mold us into a productive group to help share our message of mutual interest, a message of a world that can simply co-exist. We have had multiple campaigns and events covering a whole spectrum of ideas that all pertain to our idea of what peace means to us. I have enjoyed meeting other students who share the same interests and enthusiasm and watch them utilize their individual skill sets to help the overall productivity of the group as well as their individual accomplishments through their efforts put into the group. We have grown as an organization, as a group of friends, to help network, support, strategize and better each other while simultaneously trying to contribute to this world in a positive way.

Of course with anything there have been struggles, maintaining progress with various setbacks, bureaucracy, logistics, and this semesters favorite setback, inclement weather! However sharing our stories with the whole student network through monthly conference calls with Student Outreach Coordinator Lindsay Monin have helped keep us motivated as these are all shared experiences. Many times when I felt a slight sense of defeat, feedback from other interns has given me faith that challenges are inevitable but can be overcome. Given the advice of my peers, Lindsay, and the input from the rest of UAlbany Peace Action members, we have been able to persevere, work together, and continue to have great goals and events in the future. Knowing this has been a personal reinforcement that there is good in this world and that peace can and will be achieved, it’s all just a matter of a little time and understanding.

We are all brothers and sisters. I cannot wait to see what our future holds.​

Contributed by Juli Ersfeld
Former UAlbany Peace Action President and Student Organizer

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Report From the 2nd Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons – Nayarit, Mexico

Beatrice Fihn, ICAN, ban treaty, nuclear ban treaty, nuclear weapons, Nayarit, humanitarian impact

Beatrice Fihn of Reaching Critical Will and ICAN addresses the conference (photo by ICAN)

From 11-12 February the government of Mexico hosted the 2nd Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Nayarit. The first such conference was held in Oslo, Norway in March 2013. In all, 19 more countries registered to attend the conference in Nayarit than were in Oslo, and before the conference officially began the government of Austria announced it would host a third follow up conference in Vienna before the end of 2014.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) organized a civil society conference around the governmental conference in Mexico to focus on advocacy for a treaty banning nuclear weapons. ICAN is a coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with 331 partners in 80 countries. Their conference focused on lobbying delegations during the governmental conference to support a ban treaty and on what campaigners could do in their home countries between Mexico and Vienna to strengthen support for a nuclear ban treaty. More than 100 NGO representatives attended the ICAN conference, some of whom participated on panels at the governmental conference and others who made interventions from the floor.

The ban treaty represents a new and unstoppable movement supported by civil society and governments from around the globe. This movement shifts dialogue away from nuclear disarmament and deterrence to a focus on the humanitarian impact of nuclear detonations. A nuclear ban treaty will happen in our lifetime, and soon. This movement will succeed with or without the participation of the nuclear armed states. As stated in the Chair’s summary from the 2-day conference in Mexico: It is the view of the Chair that the Nayarit Conference has shown that time has come to initiate a diplomatic process conducive to this goal. Our belief is that this process should comprise a specific timeframe, the definition of the most appropriate fora, and a clear and substantive framework, making the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons the essence of disarmament efforts. It is time to take action. The 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks is the appropriate milestone to achieve our goal. Nayarit is a point of no return.

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Come to the 2014 PANYS Annual Meeting – Saturday, March 29 in NYC!

Peace Demands ActionPlease join us for this year’s PANYS Annual Meeting on Saturday, March 29 in NYC!

at the Goddard Riverside Community Center (593 Columbus Ave. at 88th Street) from 8:30 am – 6:00 pm

Our keynote speaker will be Miriam Pemberton of IPS, who will speak about transitioning from a war-based to a peace-based economy and how you can help this transition in your town. We will also have Paul Kawika Martin from the Peace Action national office talk about national plans for action around Syria, Iran, Ukraine and more.

Please RSVP by March 24 to info@panys.org or call 646-723-1749

Please also take part in our “Fly Kites, Not Drones” week of action the week of March 24 – 28!

We are asking our chapters, allies, and friends to drop off a miniature toy kite with the message “Fly Kites, Not Drones!” at the local office of their Member of Congress to protest U.S. use of drone warfare. When you drop off your kite, please also drop off our drone fact sheet ( download here) and let your MOC know that similar actions are taking place in Afghanistan, Germany, and the UK this month. Please take pictures and/or write a written report about your experience and send to us at info@panys.org. Thanks!

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Become a Member of PANYS Today!

Join Peace Action of New York StateMembers = political power, and PANYS needs YOU to help give us the power to educate and influence decision makers by becoming a member of PANYS!

And this year, with your membership you get a free 20-week subscription to the Nation magazine!

Click here and become a member todayit’s easy, and your membership means more political power for progressive change and funding to promote our student organizing. Thank you!

Read about the importance of dues paying members in a great article by Broome County Peace Action president, Ann Clune below the jump… Read more

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Give The Gift of Peace!

PAFNYS has had a remarkable year, and we need your help with a tax deductible end of year donation to keep up the good work!

Please click here to make a donation or to give a gift in someone’s name to the Peace Action Fund of New York State!

PAFNYS is a relatively small organization, so your gift or end of the year donation will make a real and visible impact.

Each dollar you donate to PAFNYS goes a long way toward advancing our work compared to donations to larger organizations.

  • We are training the next generation of peace activists and creating student chapters on college campuses
  • PAFNYS was part of the successful grassroots effort that prevented a war in Syria
  • Our “move the money” campaign advocates for funding human needs over weapons and wars in the federal budget
  • PAFNYS is a founding member of the Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE), advocating for a carbon-free, nuclear-free NYS energy future
  • We actively engage in drone education and action, and much more!

Please click here and give a holiday gift you know will have special meaning and have an immediate impact on
creating a more just and peaceful world!

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Medea Benjamin of Code Pink awarded the William Sloane Coffin, Jr. Peacemaker Award!

On Monday, October 28, 2013, Peace Action Fund of New York State held its annual William Sloane Coffin Award Event, this year honoring co-founder of Code Pink, Medea Benjamin.

Medea spoke about how she became active in the peace movement and about the work she is currently engaged in to ground drones and end wars. It was truly an incredible evening, and PAFNYS thanks everyone who came, supported the event, and worked to make it happen! Thank you especially to Medea for being our honoree and for being such an inspirational activist! To see pictures from the event – held at the beautiful Greenhouse at Scholastic in SoHo – please click here. Many thanks to Matt Weinstein of Brooklyn for Peace for his amazing photography!

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No War with Syria!

President Obama created a “red line” for U.S. intervention in Syria at the use of chemical weapons, which he is now certain the Assad government has used on civilians. Instead of making an executive decision to strike, President Obama will be putting the question of whether or not to intervene militarily in Syria to the Congress. This is our opportunity – call your representative, senators, and the White House comments line today to say you do not favor military action in Syria. Instead, the U.S. should send humanitarian aid to refugees and call for the convening of a high-level meeting to discuss non-military alternatives for helping the Syrian people and ending over two years of bloodshed.

White House comments line: 202-456-1111
House of Representatives: 202-224-3121
Senator Gillibrand: 212-688-6262
Senator Schumer: 212-486-4430

See below the jump for rallies and events against military action in Syria in NYS… Read more

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2013 DSML Event – Film & Forum: From Neighborhoods to Settlements

Please join Peace Action Fund of New York State and Massachusetts Peace Action at this year’s Doris and Donald Shaffer Memorial Lecture in the Berkshires:

Tuesday, August 27, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Berkshire Museum – 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA
Seating limited: please register in advance at DorisDonShafferLectures.com
or by calling 1-800-838-3006
Film & Forum, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Reception with Speakers, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

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