WILPF: February 2015

WILPF: February 2015


WILPF will meet Thursday February 12, 7 PM, at Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 1584 N Van Ness.  This meeting is open to all members.


February 4, first Wednesday of each month at noon at Fresno County Courthouse; come on the month in which your birthday falls! Wear black, bring a sign if you wish, and stand in silence for peace.


February 25,  3 PM (4th Wednesday of each month)  Jean Hays does outstanding interviews on subjects involving WILPF interests and activities.  Tune in!


Meetings on selected Mondays at 7 PM.  Call Ellie at 229-9807 for details.



One Billion Rising’s third annual VDAY is upon us! Come celebrate the event with Fresno Rising on Saturday, February 14th.  VDAY began as a call to action due to the statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. This year we are rising for REVOLUTION. Last year, 200 countries participated in VDAY. Lets get together as a community to create the best VDAY yet! To get involved, please contact Kyla at 346-8253 or “like” the Fresno Rising page on Facebook.



                  Marjorie Cohn returns to Fresno on Sunday,  February 8th, 2-6pm at Community UCC, at 5550 N. Fresno St., near  Barstow.

Join WILPF, Peace Fresno, and other local groups in welcoming Marjorie Cohn to discuss her new book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues. She will also speak on the Senate Committee’s Torture Report.  There will be  opportunities to ask questions on these subjects, and her book will be available for purchase.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor of law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, specializing in international human rights law, and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild.  She lectures worldwide on international human rights and U.S. foreign policy and provides legal and political commentary for many major media outlets. Cohn spoke about government sanctioned torture and human rights as the 2012 keynote speaker for the Human Rights Coalition of the Central Valley’s inaugural event.

Cohn said many people don’t realize that attacks authorized by President Obama have killed more people with drones than died on 9/11, and that only a tiny percentage were al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders.



Betty Sempadian, an active member of Fresno WILPF, went to Cuba in December.  She had never been there before although her refugee parents, Armenian Genocide Survivors, had somehow managed to marry there.  She started the trip with a great 5 AM airport joke, and finished it singing “I Left My Heart in Old Havana.”  Her report will be run as a 3 part serial in the WILPF page.

It was a memorable trip to visit Cuba in December and be present when the last of the Cuban Five were released and when Obama announced that the U.S. is “taking steps to increase travel, commerce and the flow of information to and from Cuba.”  He said, “Neither the American nor Cuban people are well-served by a rigid policy that took place before most of us were born.”  We joined all the people in the festivities of laughter,  song and dancing in the streets, sharing their joy.

This will be a start to end the tragedy that, for more than a half century, the population of Cuba, which was no threat to the United States, suffered immensely under an embargo and sanctions so severe that parents were close to starvation because they chose to feed their children rather than themselves.  At the same time our own citizens were deprived of friendship and interaction with a people from whom we can learn much.

Our group of eight traveled  with a cultural exchange license from the US government under the auspices of “Witness for Peace,” a politically independent nationwide grassroots organization of people committed to nonviolence and led by faith and conscience. This provided us a great opportunity to learn how ill-informed we are of what has taken place in Cuba from 1958 to the present.  The Cuban reality that you have read is out of date and generalizations are far off the mark.  One must go there to understand how a population of eleven million creatively made use of what they had to survive.

Before the revolution 60% of the land was in US hands. Other countries did settle with compensation except for the US.  Cubans do want a better relationship with us but want to make their own changes in their government., not wishing to go back to being the Monte Carlo of the Caribbean filled with hotels and casinos controlled by outsiders.  Free enterprise has begun recently with restaurants heading the list.  We enjoyed fine dining in more than one restaurant.  Though far behind in the abundance we have here,

it clearly appears they are not prepared to give up their state free medical care and education benefits for each person.  Cuba now has one of the highest literacy rates in the world and their physicians are known world wide for their care in a crisis.

Many are working with Ebola patients in West Africa now.

Continued next month

Betty Sempadian

The WILPF page is edited by Leni Villagomez Reeves, physician, activist, translator,  and apprentice journalist.  Contact me at lenivreeves@gmail.com

Dec. 17 – All the Cuban 5 free, diplomatic relations restored and Cuban/Angola veteran Lazaro Ostelaza’s Birthday!
Dec. 17 – All the Cuban 5 free, diplomatic relations
restored and Cuban/Angola veteran Lazaro Ostelaza’s Birthday!


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

    View all posts
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x