Program Update for March 31st 2006

Women Challenge US Policy: Building Peace on Justice in the Middle East Campaign

Building the Beloved Community Issue Committee
DISARM: Dismantle the War Economy Issue Committee
Advancing Human Rights Issue Committee
Corporations V. Democracy Issue Committee

WCUSP
The Women Challenge US Policy: Building Peace on Justice in the Middle East (WCUSP) Campaign has been reading about the Israeli Lobby and US Middle East Policy. John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University wrote a study of the Israeli Lobby. An edited version appeared in the March 23, 2006 volume of the London Review of Books. This research has sparked debate on all sides of the political spectrum. While the WCUSP leadership team does not have a consensus opinion on the Mearsheimer / Walt research, we welcome the debate on
the causes of US policy in the Middle East. We believe it is important to recognize both the power of lobbying in creating government policy and the continuation of US hegemonic aggression since World War II.
Please go to the News and Action Alerts Section of our webpage for more information: http://wilpf.org/campaigns/WCUSP/newsaction.htm

Building the Beloved Community
Fresno, CA WILPF has received a $500 racial justice grant from National WILPF. They will be doing a book discussion of "Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice" by Paul Kivel. They will be meeting for five sessions, every other month, starting March 25th. Fifty-eight women have signed up with about 1/2 WILPF members and 1/2 community members. The group will be facilitated by five members from the National Coalition Building Institute.

The BBC has received a $1750 racial justice grant from National WILPF to present the East Coast Tour of Creating Caring Communities Workshop (for details) http://www.wilpf.org/issues/uforje/UFO_actions.htm for the Catonsville, MD branch of WILPF (with invitations to Baltimore, Coucher, and DC branches) June 10th, and in Pittsburgh, PA in May.

Members and branches are sending answers to the survey on racism for the International Committee on Racism. You can access it at http://www.wilpf.org/issues/uforje/racism_survey.htm

Donna Lamb presented Being an Effective Activist-the Personal side and Sha'an Mouliert's workshop Creating Caring Communities at the National Conference on Organized Resistance at the American University in Washington DC, February 3-5. You can access details and photos at http://www.wilpf.org/issues/uforje/bbc_in_dc.htm

The Building the Beloved Community Issue Committee brochure is available in PDF and can be downloaded at http://www.wilpf.org/issues/uforje/BBC%20Brochure.pdf

DISARM: Dismantle the War Economy for March 31:
Branch Actions: Jane Midgley finished a productive west coast book tour (supported by WILPF Branches) on Women and the U.S. Budget. Boston WILPF has helped produce a video on dangers of bio-defense research. Santa Cruz Branch has sent hundreds of postcards to their Senators asking for a ban on DU weapons, and shown DU documentary locally. We're gathering reports of WILPF events in the March13 to 20 week of action to end the occupation of Iraq. Tucson WILPFers joined in blockading Raytheon, producer of Tomahawk Cruise missiles used in the Shock and Awe bombing, with some arrests, Portland OR WILPF helped organize over 20,000 in one of the world's three largest demonstrations. Ellen Barfield (Baltimore Branch) joined the war veterans marching from Mobile to New Orleans. Committee Action: WILPF is co-sponsoring international Space for Peace Week and related events with Global Network. Susi Snyder is now at a UNIDIR symposium in Geneva -- led by China, Russia and Canada, on preventing an arms race in outer space -- and is helping us lay the foundations. Now it is also time to look ahead to April (and even May). Ellen Barfield is travelling with U.S. war veterans to Palestine and Israel in early April to meet with former warriors in that conflict who have now turned to non-violence. She is willing to speak to WILPF Branches and WCUSP when she returns. Eastern Branches can participate in the UFPJ sponsored nuclear tent at the April 29 anti-war and pro-justice march and festival in NYC April 29 (endorsed by WILPF). Western Branches can join the WILPF DISARM sponsored demonstration at Vandenberg Air Force Base with Medea Benjamin and a Marshall Islander on May 20. Everyone can prepare for the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster on April 26 by gearing up to resist the new U.S. energetic promotion of nuclear power. We're still looking for someone to go to Kiev for the Chernobyl conference there April 22-26. Details on all of the above and more on DISARM UPDATE accessed through www.wilpf.org.

Advancing Human Rights Issue Committee
Progress in Milwaukee! A High School student group chapter of Amnesty International is embarking on a program to educate themselves and the students of their school about CEDAW! Rose Daitsman was invited to speak at their meeting last week about her experiences at the Training for Local Treaty Implementation which included observing the CEDAW committee in action. She was gratified by the reception and the interest in the local Human Rights Coalition!

The Barnstable County Human Rights Commission met recently with Cape Cod VNA to learn and listen to some of the stories that the foreign language interpreters --who work with English speaking medical staff, and accompany, or assist immigrant/none English speaking people treated in the local health care settings-- have to tell of their experiences observing how people are treated. The reports are not good, and provide evidence of ongoing racism in the health care arena. Barnstable County established the Human Rights Commission last fall, in response to a well organized advocacy campaign by the Cape's Anti-Discrimination taskforce, led by WILPFer Jacqueline Fields and Johanna Flacks. Now, as a Commissioner on that body, Jackie is struggling to get the office set up and staffed, and to secure adequate funding for its operations.

Corporations V. Democracy Issue Committee
WILPF on Cape Cod has joined in the creation of the Cape Care Resolution Campaign. This concerns a non-binding resolution in spring town meetings to petition the county government to further develop a proposal for a single-payer, community-owned health insurance program for everyone on Cape Cod. It is nothing less than a taking of our health care into our own hands, a great use of municipal and county governing processes.

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