Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – June 2020

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – June 2020

Membership Brunch Cancelled Due to Circumstances

The WILPF Membership Committee regrets to announce that the rescheduled Membership Brunch has been cancelled. The rescheduled date was June 20. However, due to the shelter-in -place order that most WILPF members are practicing, there was not another alternate date to choose for this year.

Members are still urged to send dues ($35) and any donations to P.O. Box 5114, Fresno, CA 93755, along with any changes to personal info.

WILPF Women in Suffrage is the theme to be highlighted in some way before the year passes. Creative opportunities are being explored and presented to the executive board and members.

—Evonne Waldo

Can’t Stop Fresno WILPF

Fresno Branch members and committees are active—Join us!

We’re meeting by phone. Committees are as active as they can be without risking their members. We are staying safe, staying home and staying active.

At a recent WILPF meeting by conference call, members started by checking in and letting their WILPF sisters know how they are doing. We’re planting gardens, learning diabetic dog care, doing yoga, Zoom-teaching music to the children of farmworkers and taking pictures of Syrian refugee children, building greenhouses and quilting. We’re walking and talking and smiling with our neighbors from a safe distance.

We’re lobbying by conference call with CARA. We are writing letters about affordable housing to the California state legislature, promoting the SavingLives Medical Collaboration with Cuba Campaign, getting the Jane Addams Peace Association Books ready for when the schools and libraries are ready for us.

Legislative Committee


The Fresno Branch of WILPF and our Legislative Committee formed part of a group of organizations that supported four bills dealing with affordable housing currently in the California Assembly. AB 3352 would require cities and counties to respond to code enforcement complaints submitted by tenants, without conditioning inspections on whether the tenant is currently on rent.

AB 2406 creates a rental registry that requires that all landlords that own five or more units submit info on rents and vacancies. AB 2895 extends the anti-rent gouging prohibition to mobile homes. AB 2782 requires mobile home park conversions to other uses to include advance notice and mitigation measures for tenants.


Sen. Patrick Leahy (D–Vt.) and Rep. Jim McGovern (D–Mass.), along with 25 co-signers from the U.S. House and Senate, directed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to confirm that U.S. policy does not preclude companies and humanitarians from providing essential medical equipment, food and information to the people of Cuba to combat COVID-19. 

We will send letters urging our representatives to sign on (Sen. Dianne Feinstein is one of the original signatories) and more:

In a letter signed by Leahy, McGovern and 25 members of the Senate and the House, they note that it is “dangerous and contrary to our longstanding tradition of not politicizing the delivery of humanitarian aid. In such an unprecedented emergency caused by a deadly virus that is so easily transmissible, public health and safety must take precedence.”

We welcome the concern expressed over the way the current administration has been tightening the long-term economic sanctions against Cuba during the current crisis, but want to go further in stating that all the various economic and travel sanctions in place against Cuba should be lifted on a permanent basis. 

Library Committee

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom–Fresno Branch Library Committee suggests the following books for your consideration. We hope that parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and all caregivers might find these books beneficial for sharing with children, especially during this time of “togetherness.”

—Cheryl Caldera

The Jane Addams Peace Association: Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards

The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community and equity for all people. For further information and book suggestions by age group, subject and theme, visit www.janeaddamschildrensbookaward.org.

The 2019 award winners and honorees:

Winner in the Books for Younger Children category: The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson ​demonstrates the power of sharing stories to break down barriers and build community​. The Selection Committee noted that “the lovely, lyrical lilt of Woodson’s unrhymed verse cradles young readers as they bear witness to explicit othering.”

Winner in the Books for Older Children category: Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes is a timely and haunting depiction of two African American boys who die before reaching manhood, victims of violence. Drawing on traditions that view ancestors as guides to the living, author Parker Rhodes imagines these dead boys as healers righting the wrongs of this world. This complex work of magical realism leaves readers wondering about what might have been if these “ghost boys” and others had lived to adulthood. The book imagines a young Emmett Till as a guide to one of these boys and provides the reader with a context to understand the historical nature of the fear-based violence against Black men and boys.

Other honorees:

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani vividly shows the impact of India’s partition in 1947 as the political events in one country become personal. Twelve-year-old Nisha records her observations in a diary written to her deceased mother as her home becomes unsafe for her family, and they flee across the desert, seeking solace with her maternal uncle and then later with her father’s family. The daughter of a Muslim mother and a Hindu father, Nisha gains strength from her writing and her cooking, but is shocked into silence at one point, finding her voice, losing it and finding it again as she takes tentative steps toward a future in a world that is nothing like her beloved homeland.

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson, is an empowering anthology that encourages resilience when “the world feels upside down.” Budding social activists looking for inspiration and ways to rise up, resist the status quo and raise their voices in harmony as they seek to change the world will find plenty of inspiration in the 30 different pieces featured here. Written by diverse authors, the poems, essays, stories and letters, many portraying personal struggles, reflect a universal portrait of humanity. Intensified by the unique artwork of 22 artists, each page celebrates diversity and shines a light on life’s daily complexities.

In The Day War Came​, Nicola Davies is inspired by real events. It begins in a most ordinary way with a family sharing breakfast before school, but their ordinary routines are interrupted when war comes. The simple but moving text, coupled with the child-like colored pencil and watercolor illustrations, powerfully communicates the plight of an unidentified and unnamed child refugee displaced by war. She flees with others, on a truck and in a leaky boat, looking for safety and help, as people turn away. This uncomplicated portrayal of the refugee crisis invites conversations about empathy and inclusivity.

Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love​ tenderly distills a profound human truth—we each need to be seen and loved for ourselves—in a deceptively simple way. After a transformative trip to the local swimming pool and a subway ride home with what appear to be mermaids, Julián explains to his loving ​abuela​ that he is also a mermaid. She helps Julián reveal his inner self in a resplendent mermaid parade on the beach. The strength and heart of the book are in how the story is told in minimal text, with luminous ​illustrations. Julián’s revelation celebrates the diversity of the human race, gender expression and people of all body types and colors.

Cuba and the Bolivarian Alliance Committee

We’ve been working on this campaign at the national and local level: U.S.-Cuba-Canada Collaboration in Fighting COVID-19—National Network on Cuba and Canadian Network on Cuba Campaign.

COVID-19 is ravaging the United States, with the most vulnerable communities, especially African Americans, Native Americans and Latinxs/Chicanxs, disproportionately affected. The entire healthcare system is strained beyond its capacity to provide adequate care and treatment.

Now is the time for international medical cooperation and solidarity. We are launching a campaign to call for medical collaboration with Cuba, to gain access to Cuban medical expertise to assist in fighting COVID-19.

Many countries are now drawing on Cuba’s expertise in fighting COVID-19. At the time of this writing, Cuba had more than 1,200 medical personnel serving in more than 20 countries, including Italy. In the coming days and weeks, more Cuban medical missions will be dispatched to other countries.

These missions reflect Cuba’s long history of medical internationalism. Many of the medical personnel now intimately involved in the fight against COVID- 19 are part of the specially trained Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade against Disasters and Serious Epidemics, which distinguished itself in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Cuba also offers treatment regimens, some of which are not available in the United States and Canada. Specifically, we call for the following:

  1. Allowing U.S.-Cuba-Canada medical, clinical and scientific collaboration, including inviting Cuban medical brigades to provide direct medical assistance and/or to provide advice and guidance in treating COVID-19.
  2. Incorporating Cuba’s Interferon Alfa 2B Recombinant in clinical trials in the United States, Canada and the WHO, and the granting by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for Cuba’s Interferon Alfa 2B Recombinant.
  3. Ending U.S. economic and travel sanctions against Cuba, including its extraterritorial nature and the attempts to stop all other countries accepting Cuban medical brigades and assistance, and all ongoing measures that prevent Cuba accessing and importing medical equipment and medicines to confront COVID-19.

The WILPF-US Section and the WILPF Fresno Branch have endorsed this effort.

You can endorse this campaign as an individual by e-mailing savinglives@us-cubanormalization.org. Please.


The WILPF page is usually compiled and edited by Leni Villagomez Reeves (lenivreeves@gmail.com).

Normally we meet on the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 1584 N. Van Ness Ave. This meeting is open to all. There will be no meeting this month.

Listener-supported free speech radio for Central California

May 27 (fourth Wednesday of each month). Jean Hays does outstanding interviews on subjects involving WILPF interests and activities. Tune in to 88.1!

Committees are still at work even though we cannot meet in person!

Contact Jean Hays at skyhorse3593@sbcglobal.net.

Contact Ann Carruthers at acarruthers@earthlink.net.

Contact co-chairs Jean Hays and Catherine Fowler at 559-313-7674.

Meets via phone and e-mail. Contact Leni at lenivreeves@gmail.com.

Call Patty at 559-999-9709.

For details, contact Teresa at taca_03@ymail.com or 559-360-8054.

Send dues to WILPF Fresno, P.O. Box 5114, Fresno, CA 93755. WILPF membership is $35/year.

For inquiries, information and updates, contact Evonne Waldo at evonnewaldo@yahoo.com.

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  • 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.

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