WILPF – May 2017

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Library Committee members, community volunteers, staff of Malaga Community Center, parents and children, with books donated by WILPF Fresno. photo Leni V Reeves

WILPF BUSINESS MEETING

WILPF will meet Thursday May 11 at 7 PM, at Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 1584 N Van Ness.  This meeting is open to all members.

WOMEN IN BLACK  May 3,(first Wednesday of each month) at noon at Fresno County Courthouse; come at least once this critical year! Wear black, bring a sign if you wish, and stand in silence for peace.

STIR IT UP – WILPF – ON KFCF 88.1 FM (Listener -supported Free Speech Radio for Central California)

May 24,  3 PM (4th Wednesday of each month)  Jean Hays does outstanding interviews on subjects involving WILPF interests and activities.  Tune in to 88.1!

RAGING GRANNIES

Meetings on selected Mondays at 7 PM. Call Ellie Bluestein 559-449-1817 for details.

April has been an exciting and event-filled month.

Earth Week activities included the Earth Day Faire WILPF booth, with lots of information and activities related to protecting our Mother Earth, San Joaquin River blessing led by the Choinumni Tribe and graced by the music of Lance Canales, Fresno People’s Climate Movement Rally, Adam Scow of Food & Water Watch discussing winning a 100% Clean Energy Future for California. The Earth Democracy Committee led by Joan Poss and Jean Hays did a tremendous job of organizing.

The WILPF Library Committee participated in Earth Week activities by scheduling presentations at two Fresno elementary schools. The committee visited Centennial Elementary School kindergarteners and presented a lesson on the life cycle of a tree. Fourth graders at Fremont Elementary School heard & talked about the life cycle of water and its importance in our valley.  Singing, reading books, questions & answers, doing a rap all added to the involvement of the children.  (Special thanks to Janet Capella, Donna Salwasser, Jean Hays, Sandra Rios Balderrama, Gioia Frank, Karla Aguilar and Ann Carruthers who participated in these events.) Beginning in June, the Committee will schedule its donations of the 2016 Jane Addams Peace Award books to four library branches: Betty Rodriguez, Central, Gillis & West Fresno.

The Pastors for Peace Caravan came to Fresno and WILPF members went with Caravan members to visit our legislators’ offices and demand an end to the blockade of Cuba and a sane and mutually respectful foreign policy. There was a lively evening event, with Manolo de los Santos and Blanca Monett informing us about Cuba and Caravanistas sharing their experiences. Three Fresno WILPF members will be going to Cuba with the Caravan this July.

Legislative Committee presented a letter to our representatives and senators giving our views on 6 points. See the letter on this page.

Library Committee members Janet Capella, Jean Hays, and Donna Salwasser with students. Photo Leni V Reeves

DAKOTA ECOGARDEN Q’S AND A’S

written by Nancy Waidtlow

What does WILPF have to do with it? WILPF has supported the Eco Village Project/Dakota EcoGarden since its beginnings in 2012.

What do we do at the Dakota EcoGarden? Provide transitional Housing for 12  to 14 homeless people, with an earth-friendly, cost-effective emphasis. And we try to spread the word that it can be done and that economic factors are one of the main causes of homelessness and one that our advocacy can impact. We are backed by the non-profit Eco Village Project of Fresno, which is the vision of Art Dyson, renowned Fresno architect.

EcoGarden resident, James, and CSUF construction management student, working on the new eco shelter prototype. Photo Nancy Waidtlow

Where can you find us? We have a house, two Art Dyson-designed eco shelters, and eight tents on .59 of an acre at 2231 W. Dakota Ave. in Fresno. Website: ecovillagefresno.org. Facebook: Dakota EcoGarden. Contact: nancywaidtlow@gmail.com, phone 224-1738.

What can you do? Come see us. Support us. Advocate for greater compassion from our governmental entities. Start your own version of the DEG. Consider housing a homeless person or persons at your church or in an unused part of your house or yard. The tents at the DEG are not the most comfortable way to live, but the safety and access to other amenities in the house make this a much better option than living on the street. Look up Community First! in Austin, Texas for a much larger project for housing the homeless.

What are we celebrating? Drip irrigation is almost ready to go in the garden. We have had wonderful volunteers, especially from CSUF and Fresno City College, but also from the Fresno County Federal Credit Union and Edison High Key Club. Jackie Ryle is teaching us some organizing techniques that will help us progress toward our goals. Our hope to have solar energy for the house by summer had been stymied by the need to repair and strengthen the patio roof to hold the solar panels, but we have had generous donations that will allow us to fix the roof, and Nova West Solar will donate the solar installation, thanks to the recruiting efforts of Barbara Pyle. See www.ecovillagefresno.org and our Dakota EcoGarden Facebook page.


FRESNO WILPF LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE LETTER

written by Betty Sempadian

In the past, WILPF’s Legislative Committee has focused on one subject per month about current events and proposed legislation. We present it to our legislators, trusting they not only will consider the points we present, but also make our views known in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Because of the unusual circumstances taking place since the election, we offer our view this month on a number of points that we trust will come to our legislators’ attention.

1)  We were relieved to know that the Affordable Care Act was not disastrously replaced.  However, our branch of WILPF has long supported the “single payer idea,” which we believe eventually will replace the Mickey Mouse system we have, with a universal health care plan.  According to the Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, ten nations more free than the United States, have achieved universal health coverage. What’s striking about the list, is that of the eleven countries ahead of the U.S. in economic freedom, ten have achieved universal coverage. The two advanced economies with the most economically free health care systems—Switzerland and Singapore—have achieved universal health insurance while spending a fraction of what the U.S. spends. Switzerland’s public spending on health care is about half of America’s, and Singapore’s is about a fifth of our’s. It turns out the the right kind of health care reform could cover more Americans and increase economic freedom.

2) The American immigration policy started by the Obama administration in June 2012, that allows certain undocumented immigrants to the United States who entered the country as minors, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility must not be dropped. This policy has proven successful.

3)  In 2015, it was reported that up to 90% of drone casualties were not the intended targets.  America dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016. Undeterred by the disastrous commando raid on Yemen in the first days of his Administration, where several civilians were killed but the target got away, President Donald Trump has escalated US military involvement in the tragic Yemen conflict to an unprecedented level.

4)  The State Department has approved resuming arms sales to Saudi Arabia, previously blocked by Barack Obama, but  hastily approved by the new Administration. The arms will soon be deployed in Saudi Arabia’s war of aggression against its neighbor. For the US to support the carnage in Yemen is criminal.  Senator Rand Paul [R-KY] and Senator Chris Murphy [D-CT] oppose the sale. “I don’t know why we would give them precision-guided munitions that allow them to target civilians more efficiently,” Senator Murphy said,”We strongly urge you to oppose this action because there is no benefit to the US and the humanitarian crisis there merely continues to increase.”

5) We express serious concerns over cabinet appointees who are in favor of dismantling social justice protections and who in many cases, have a record of outspoken skepticism of, and in some cases downright hostility to the agencies they’ll oversee. How will this protect our citizens health, environmental and consumer interests? Your votes will profoundly affect their future. Lack of regulations equals lack of protection for our citizens, and for the Earth.

6) We totally oppose the retaliatory response by the Trump administration in their conducting a missile attack  on Syria. There are many facts we do not know about the Khan Sheikhoun poison gas explosion. There are conflicting stories. Let us wait to hear the truth. Our nation is not the world police nation! Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”


MEMBERS’ NEWS

Nora DeWitt has done a superb job as Membership Chair for a long time. We recognize and honor her great contribution, and we miss her gracious presence at WILPF meetings.

Nancy Hatcher was recently elected  to the US Board of Directors of Oaxaca Street Children Grassroots, also known in Oaxaca, Mexico as “Centro de Esperanza Infantil.” With the motto, “You change the world when you educate a child” this unique program provides sponsorships for children to be able to attend school.