Pages

  • About Us
  • Archives
  • Blog
  • Contact
  • Counter-Recruiting
  • Home
  • Mission Statement
  • Subscribe
  • What You Can Do
  • What’s Cooking?
January 10th, 2017

JROTC prelude

We don’t know exactly how long our children have been learning military protocol as part of their high school curriculum, but JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp) has been in NYC schools for a long time. Established in 1916 as part of the National Defense Act, our research tells us that there has been a JROTC program in New York City schools since at least 1994 when what was to become one of the largest JROTC programs in the country opened at Francis Lewis High School in Queens. It didn’t take long before it was a hugely popular program.

Even though many aspects of the program are popular with children and their parents, members of GPB and other groups vehemently oppose the military in our schools in any of its many guises–whether it be a JROTC program or recruiters roaming the halls or being on the corner when children leave for the day.

We want our children to be students, not soldiers. And we don’t want our children encouraged to kill other people’s children. We believe that militarization should be kept out of high schools and that any positive attributes the program may have should be available to all children. Given our certainty regarding the detrimental effects of a military presence in schools, we have made it our business to be in the faces of our city council members to object to the 1.5 million dollars of taxpayer money allocated to funding JROTC in the schools. More recently, we have taken on the task of convincing Carmen Fariña that allowing children to march with dummy rifles is antithetical to a policy of 0 tolerance for guns in the school. The chancellor has been shrugging us off. “They’re only toys,” she said.

Please watch this powerful video produced by Chicago Veterans for Peace to fully understand our position. And please read and comment on the exchange of letters between the Granny Peace Brigade and Chancellor Fariña’s office.

– Joan Pleune
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Share
January 10th, 2017

Exchange of Letters Between the Granny Peace Brigade and Chancellor Fariña’s Office re JROTC

In early December the Granny Peace Brigade sent the following letter via snail mail to Chancellor Carmen Fariña and also to members of New York City Council.

December 2016

Dear Chancellor Fariña,

One and one half million dollars of New York City taxpayer money is spent to fund Junior Reserve Officers Training programs in eighteen New York City high schools.

In addition to being opposed to the militarization of our children, we in the Granny Peace Brigade would like to point out that the JROTC programs glorify the use of weapons within the schools and at public events.

This is not in compliance with New York City policy prohibiting real or imitation weapons in schools.

(Citywide Behavioral Expectations to Support Student Learning, p.19)

We call upon you to do the right thing and defund all military programs in New York City high schools.

We can find better things for our children to hold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We received this response via email.

Dear Ms. Harris:

Thank you for writing to the Chancellor on behalf of the Granny Peace Brigade. We appreciate you sharing your concerns with us, and apologize for the delayed response.

Please be advised that New York City JROTC programs do not involve handling weaponry and use non-operational, dummy rifle replicas solely for military drills, which are conducted in a supervised setting.

Moreover, our JROTC programs are rooted in principles of youth leadership and community service. The JROTC class curriculum commonly includes leadership, team-building, citizenship, post-secondary planning, health, and physical fitness drills. Approximately one half of JROTC instructor salaries are reimbursed by the military JROTC programs. Students apply to the JROTC programs either directly through the high school admissions process, or self-select to be involved generally in 9th grade. Furthermore, early morning and after-school activities including drills (physical fitness, color guard, drum corps) and tutoring are frequently offered. JROTC programs provide students with a supportive niche of belonging and personalized attention within the larger school community, as well as a greater sense of involvement in school life. Participation in JROTC programs also has a positive impact on student achievement (e.g., graduation rates).

I hope this information has been helpful.  Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of our students, and I wish you and your family a joyous holiday season.

Sincerely,
Anessa Hodgson
Communications Associate
Chancellor’s Strategic Response Group

Here is our reply.

Dear Ms. Hodgson,

First off, the GPB really appreciates your December 23 email reply to our concerns about JROTC in New York City schools. So often responses to our concerns are perfunctory. It is clear that you devoted time and thought to your response.

We wish to address some fundamental concerns. First, is there a place for weapons in New York City Schools, even imitation weapons? We maintain that dummy weapons are not in compliance with NYC policy prohibiting real or imitation weapons in schools.

Our second concern has to do with children receiving  military style training in order to receive supportive services. We believe that JROTC should not be a prerequisite to providing “students with a supportive niche of belonging and personalized attention within the larger school community, as well as a greater sense of involvement in school life.” In fact, it should be incumbent upon the school system to provide all students with supportive services, community service opportunities and exciting programs.

We hope you can make time to watch a 3 -minute video concerning JROTC made by Veterans for Peace, Chicago. Veterans For Peace Chicago Education Not Militarization Campaign

We would welcome an opportunity to meet with the Chancellor to discuss these issues.

Dear Readers, We would be grateful for your comments on this exchange.

– Barbara Harris, Joan Pleune, Edith Cresmer, Nydia Leaf, Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade

 

Share
January 9th, 2017

Climate Deniers, Torturers — We Say No

Today in NYC two members of the Granny Peace Brigade joined hundreds of climate activists in a rally at the NYC offices of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand.

Four climate deniers have been nominated for key environmental positions in Donald Trump’s cabinet.

  1. Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, for Secretary of State
  2. Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator
  3. Rep. Ryan Zinke for Department of Interior
  4. Ex-Gov. Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy

It is time for our senators to stand up to Donald Trump and reject these climate denying nominees. And it’s time for us to make very sure our senators have stiff spines.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC two other members of the Granny Peace Brigade joined Witness Against Torture for their annual demonstrations to close Guantanamo.

President Obama has failed in his pledge of eight years ago to close the US detention camp at Guantánamo.  Congressional obstacles, misinformation perpetuated in the media, and the president’s own lack of will are all responsible for this policy disaster.  Guantánamo remains a living symbol of US torture and other human rights abuses, and a place of misery for the 59 men it still houses.  Most of them have never been charged with, let alone tried for, any crime.

In the remaining weeks before he leaves office, President Obama must do what he still can: expedite the release of cleared men and release the full 2014 Senate Torture Report documenting CIA abuses.

Human rights and the United States’ standing in the world face a new danger:  the possibility that President-elect Donald Trump will reinstate the use of torture.  He has also called for increasing the prison population at Guantánamo. (read more)

– Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Share
December 17th, 2016

A Wall That Speaks For Us – Union Square Station, NYC

Our vigil to recognize International Human Rights Day came complete with a serendipitous discovery. After 35 minutes in the cold, six ferocious women in golden szmatas (that would be us) beat it down the subway steps by Food Emporium, just east of Broadway, and there we found a paradise with much pedestrian traffic. We didn’t even have to swipe a Metrocard  to be there. So lovely were we (or maybe pathetic would be a better word), that some women thrust dollar bills at us. A trifle embarrassing, but hey, now we know what to do if times get tough. As Eva-Lee, Eleanor and I headed into the subway to make our way home, we found more than 25 folks hypnotized by a wall with thousands of post-its expressing the loves and concerns of citizens of the world, written one by one by all of us. The City Council official photographer was there, pursuing his own portrait project. He recognized me from City Council meetings and told me what a great bunch of activists we are. Then Eleanor and I got to break yet another camera lens.

Joan Pleune
video: Eva-Lee Baird
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Share
December 16th, 2016

BRRRRRing for Human Rights/Children’s Rights

The Granny Peace Brigade, together with friends from Vets for Peace and Pax Christi, weathered the coldest day in NYC this season (7F with wind chill) to commemorate Human Rights Week (Dec. 10-17th an actual designated week by the UN) with our focus, the rights of children everywhere to live in peace, dignity, provided with health care and education and protected from harm. We have all been shocked by the images of Aleppo this week, but fewer images of children dying in Yemen, fewer still of the endless war in Iraq, and the fate of children and their families in Gaza, Flint, Standing Rock, Myanmar, to name just a few of places where basic rights for children and their families are being denied.

We say: “US stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia; giving weapons to Israel and to “rebels” in Syria. End our endless wars.” Join us! We were so encouraged by a few passers-by who thanked us for our action, when we escaped the cold to the subway station below.
We will never make America “great” on the battered minds and bodies of children here and around the world.
And, tonight we also remember, Lillian Pollak, our 101 year old Granny, who was with us last year for Human Rights Week at Union Square, on a balmy 75F evening. “Peace in Gaza” was her plea! Her spirit lives on!

— Marty Rajandran
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Share
December 9th, 2016

Don’t Buy War Toys/Gifting that promotes life, learning and peace!

Dear Holiday Shoppers – War Is Not A Game

The Granny Peace Brigade continued its annual “Don’t Buy War Toys” campaign in one of the best known shopping areas in the USA: Herald Square…the home of Macy’s among others. In the blustery cold wind, our songs were a bit muted, but even then we were joined by a Raging Grannie from Rochester, who just happened to be walking by, and could not resist a protest song!  As usual, many thumbs ups and thank-yous and just one or two who disagreed.As we wish our friends a Merry Christmas, Happy Channuka, Happy Kwanza, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Happy etc.,  consider giving gifts that promote life, learning, and peace!

– Marty Rajandran with Barbara H., Bev, Edith, Eva-Lee, Joan,  Nydia, Regina, Tibby
for the Granny Peace Brigade

More photos on Facebook

Share
November 23rd, 2016

Granny Peace Brigade Awarded 2016 Pathmakers To Peace By Brooklyn For Peace

Brooklyn for Peace, a non-sectarian, non-partisan active peace and justice organization had its annual fund raising dinner on November 17, 2016.  It was held at the historic Plymouth Church, which has a history of abolitionism and resistance to oppression, in Brooklyn Heights.   For the fourth year, individuals who have played leadership roles in forging new pathways to the elimination of war and the struggle for peace, equality and social and economic justice were honored with the Pathmakers To Peace award.

The Granny Peace Brigade was among the honorees.  We were honored for our “…role model of sustaining hope with activism in demonstrations opposing war, the violence of poverty and racism, and standing for human rights and justice globally and locally.”

Ann speaking. Lrft to right, Joan, Vinie, Jenny, Phyllis and Connit

Left to right, Ann Shirazi, Joan Pleune, Vinie Burrows, Jenny Heinz, Phyllis Cunningham & Connie Norgren

 

This year’s other honorees include; author and English professor Moustafa Bayoumi at Brooklyn College for his work addressing “War on Terror” on the Muslim American community; Frances Fox Piven, social theorist and political science professor at the Graduate Center, City University of New York for her work on issues of income inequality and political participation; and Opal Tometi, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and Executive Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.

Officers of Brooklyn for Peace as well as honorees spoke about the dangerous times we are in, the enormous issues we are facing and, with the results of the recent elections identified that it will take “a broad unity of forces to lead the fightback and resistance to actions taken by Trump and the GOP Congress yet to come.”  The sense of not despairing and the need to increase activism in meeting challenges was apparent.  The audience applauded, cheered and gave standing ovations throughout the program indicating agreement with the work that has to be done, ongoing.

All in all, it was an encouraging and memorable event.  Now, to continue carrying on the fight for justice and peace.

– Phyllis Cunningham
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photo – Matthew Weinstein

Share
November 20th, 2016

November 17, 2016 – Granny Peace Brigade Counter-Recruitment Action

PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCE NIGHT at NYC PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS

On Parent-Teacher Conference night volunteers went to high schools throughout the 5 boroughs. Distributing flyers in front of a high school building for more than an hour to parents and students who are rushing into the school to meet with teachers may not seem like an upbeat activity.  But it’s remarkably rewarding for volunteers and parents.

Our goal is to provide educational and non-military options to parents and students and counter military promises and programs with relevant information concerning truth in recruiters’ hype.  We believe wholeheartedly that students and their parents should be aware that there are alternatives to military service and an education can be secured without risking lives in needless wars.

Non-Military Options for Life after High School flyer gives families a helping hand to survey many websites and resources for job skills training, scholarships, financial aid, community outreach, volunteer programs.
Questions to Ask – Points to Consider flyer offers information on recruitment practices and promises as well as questions to ask and responses to expect in order to inform families and the student of misleading or unclear information.

It was obvious that parents do not want their children to enlist.  Many expressed an anti-war message – a rejection of their kids going into the Armed Forces.
A father remarked,”Oh yeah, I’m 100% with you.”
A parent said she was going to make copies of the flyers to give out in connection with her work.
A student mentioned an interest in starting a Peace club.
A teacher asked about a speaker on the issues and non-military options in her classroom.

During the evening parents at every school thanked volunteers for the flyers and caring enough to provide this information to them. The feedback from parents was heartfelt and a connection that someone cares about their child’s future.
Many thanks to the 24 volunteers who participated in the counter recruitment action at 12 high schools throughout the 5 boroughs. Families received your largesse and benefited from the information.

Ending war one student at a time.
– Barbara Harris
Granny Peace Brigade
Anti-Military Committee

Share
October 28th, 2016

Ask Charlie Rangel to Vote Against the TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the trade deal negotiated in secret during the past 7 years among 12 Pacific Rim countries including US, Canada, Japan, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand.

The TPP was signed by ALL countries in 2015. BUT its not a done deal until it is agreed by national parliaments and in our case the Senate and House of Representatives. Rumors abound: will it be brought to a vote during the lame duck session of Congress (time between 8 November and the new Congress on 3 Jan, 2017)? Some say it will, since President Obama is pressuring Congress; some say the votes are not there to pass it.

Charlie Rangel has not clearly stated his position on the TPP. He is quoted as saying “Incentives could get traction for the TPP. .” e.g. if it were linked to a national infrastructure package, which might generate local jobs. As a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, he has significant influence within the Caucus. In addition, in a call to his DC office, an aide once stated: “if the President calls him and asks for his support, he will be there…”

We want him to support a NO Vote on TPP or if it does come up for a vote, To Vote NO!

Reasons to oppose the TPP :
-more US jobs will move overseas where costs of production are cheaper
-drug prices are likely to increase as patents will be extended
-no enforceable provisions for environmental, health safety, or labor protections
-no reference to the impact of TPP on climate change
-Worst provision: ISDS Investor State Dispute Settlement provision, which supercedes federal, state, and even local laws should a company from one of the participating countries considers that its right to conduct business is denied and thereby they can claim compensation, including for projected lost profits. Those administrating this are a 3-person corporate-led panel. This is already happening: Trans-Canada (Keystone XL Pipeline) is suing the US Government for $$$Billions under the ISDS for President Obama’s decision to stop the construction of the pipeline in the USA.

– Marty Rajandran

for the Granny Peace Brigade

For more information: http://www.Flushthetpp.org

Share
October 20th, 2016

Ms Gizmo Takes A Break

“How would you spend your own tax dollars?”
is the question we asked on the sidewalks of New York.

Ms. Gizmo has had a good run and now will wait indoors until the weather gets warmer.

2010_10_21gizmo

The chart below depicts results of our Penny Poll — Voters’ Preferences — at various locations around the city on twenty different days where, after careful thought, 3,018 people cast their 20 pennies into the Gizmo’s eight tubes. Each tube represents a Federal Budget category. There are hundreds of other budget categories of course, but we felt people could vote more quickly with fewer tubes. We’ve taken Ms. Gizmo to East Harlem, Brooklyn Boro Hall, City Hall, Union Square, Hunter College and 72nd Street and Broadway on the Upper West Side.

2012_08_28gizmochart_totals

Categories:
Arts & Culture
Education
Environment & Clean Energy
Health Care
Housing
Jobs
Military
Transportation

How would you spend your own tax dollars?
Please let us know —  Email us

We welcome people of all ages.
There is work to do. — In peace always.

Share