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The monthly WILPF e-News is edited by Theta Pavis and prepared by Rachel Crosby. It is created with the help of many WILPF members, including Carol Urner, Program Chair. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis at "firstname.lastname@example.org"
"We can build a better world. Working together, we can create a world that respects the human rights of every human being, nurtures creativity and health, promotes unity, solidarity and peace, and uses resources in a way that protects the earth and affirms life."
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In this e-News:
There was a growing consensus at this summer's U.S. Social Forum that international human rights should be used as a framework for our activism. It's no surprise then that the "Sisters Across Borders" workshop -- organized by the WILPF Action Committee on Cuba and the Bolivarian Alliance and the Women & Cuba Collaborative -- was quite popular. More than 90 women attended the workshop, which featured presentations by Erica Swanson (Leadership Council for Civil Rights) on the Convention to Eliminate Racial Discrimination, Cindy Domingo (WILPF; U.S. Women and Cuba Collaboration on the Beijing Platform for Action) and Laura Roskos (WILPF) on CEDAW.
Organized by Jan Strout of the U.S. Women and Cuba Collaboration, the workshop sought to educate people about the use of U.N. human rights treaties to advance women's rights, racial and economic justice in the U.S., and to build solidarity and sisterhood among women worldwide. A highlight of the workshop was a presentation by Venezuelan activist Jayariyú Farias Montiel addressing strategies for specific women's projects on U.S. campuses and in communities in solidarity with Cuba and Venezuela as ways to increase women's political participation and to transform U.S. foreign policy to one of peaceful and just relations.
Lisa Rudman recorded the workshop in its entirety for the National Radio Project; excerpts from the workshop have been broadcast on the Women's International News Gathering Service (WINGS) and the audio file can be accessed here.
An estimated 15,000 people attended the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit in June. Many plan to bring the world-building spirit of the Social Forum home by participating in People's Movement Assemblies. Read about this exciting development in the action plan developed at the USSF. A recent blog post by WILPF Development Chair Robin Lloyd captures the atmosphere of the activist gathering. About 25 WILPF members participated, and they would like to thank Detroit member Terry Futvoye-Micus and intern Mary Darmody, who coordinated logistics for attendees and the WILPF literature table.
During the conference, WILPF also proposed a plan for Direct Action which was endorsed by the entire National Peace Conference. We also held an important workshop, "Women and War," which was planned and co-facilitated by Pat O'Brien and Marge Van Cleef (representing WILPF's End the Wars Issue Committee.) Speakers included Maria Butler from WILPF's Peacewomen project, Col. Ann Wright, (retired U.S. military and diplomatic corps) and Connie Houde, who is involved in a project building wells in Afghanistan. You can read more about it in the upcoming fall issue of Peace & Freedom. Nearly 40 people attended this workshop
Do you want to learn more about how the U.S. supports Israel? A new, original DVD series is available from the Western Asia Study and Action Group (part of WILPF's Cape Cod Branch.) Hear first-hand what life in occupied Palestine is really like, the real role of the U.S., learn about the plight of children in this region, listen to the words of Rachel Corrie and Howard Zinn, and much, much more. Begun as part of WILPF's "Women Challenge U.S. Policy: Building Peace on Justice in the Middle East" campaign, this study group researched the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Members wanted to take what they'd learned to the wider community, and produced this excellent seven-DVD collection. Funding was provided by WILPF and the Social Justice Ministry of First Parish Brewster.
One might think that the historic election of an African American president means we're on our way to a more equitable society in the U.S. This is far from the case. The ultra-conservative Tea Party Movement is spewing racist propaganda across the country. What started with a discussion about "fiscal responsibility" has morphed into hate speech, which is clearly anti-immigrant and racist. WILPF's Building the Beloved Community Issue Committee wants members to take a stand - let's make Republican Party leaders accountable for the Tea Party's racist messages. We've created a letter which members and branches can use as a template to send a message to the Republican Party leadership. Let them know that their lack of public statement on the actions of the Tea Party is paramount to accepting their reactionary and racist views.
For very recent news, see Jane Mayer's piece in the New Yorker Magazine about the Tea Party. Click here to read more about the corporate funds driving the Tea Party.