The Granny Peace Brigade congratulates our sister, Vinie Burrows on her receiving the Clara Lemlich Award, together with five other honorees on May 1st, 2017. The Lemlich Awards is a celebration of the achievements of older women, and if anyone fits the description of someone who qualifies for this award it’s Vinie, though it was fascinating to hear about the lives of all the honorees; all were different and all deserving.
Vinie is an actor, author, radio host, teacher and fighter against war, violence and racism for decades. She continues her activism as well as her acting career, currently starring in the off-Broadway production: Samara. She started her acting career on Broadway as a teenager with Helen Hayes in the Wisteria Trees, quickly followed by six more Broadway productions. However, frustrated by the quality and quantity of roles offered the actor of color, Vinie took control, ultimately developing eight original one-woman shows. She has toured four continents and performed over 6000 times. As a Granny Peace Brigader though, she has been a staunch advocate and defender of peace, justice, human and civil rights on the street, at political and other fora, and in the theater.
Vinie was introduced to the audience by Kalie Kamari, a young rapper, in classical rap fashion. He also said a few personal remarks moved by the stories of the women honored and the value, the importance of these lives to influence and inspire younger generations.
The Clara Lemlich Awards was named after the union organizer and social activist who lived and fought for the rights of women working in the garment industry over one century ago. Other sisters in the Granny Peace Brigade honored to receive the Clara Lemlich Award are: Lillian Pollak, Louise Meriwether, Marie Runyon and Joan Wile in 2011; Molly Klopot in 2013; and Lillian Lifflander in 2015. We are so very proud of their achievements and continue the struggle for peace, justice and resistance!
Marty Rajandran for the Granny Peace Brigade photos: Bud Korotzer
The U.S. approving, almost 70 years ago – 29 November 1947 – the United Nations General Assembly adopted the plan for partition of British Mandatory Palestine, which recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States. Almost 50 years ago, a result of the Six Day War was that the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem became Occupied Territories. The Israel-Palestine conflict continues.
For information, ‘Granny Peace Brigade letter to President Donald J. Trump, dated February 7, 2017, on matters related to the Israel-Palestine conflict’ acknowledges the generosity of U.S. assistance to Israel, but draws attention to the need for recognition of Palestinian legitimate rights in a viable homeland, as well as for action for the securing of these.
Deeply concerned with this conflict over decades, after describing possible dire end results, Noam Chomsky wrote — the last sentence of ‘Fateful Triangle-The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians’ (1999) — “Such consequences need not come to pass, but they might, and if they do, privileged sectors of American, Israeli, and Palestinian society have a lot to answer for, in my opinion.”
It is 70 years since the USA dropped a Uranium bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and a Plutonium bomb on Nagasaki on August 9th. Today Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is ignoring the will of the Japanese people by dismantling Article 9 of their Constitution which rejects war and/or arming for war.
ARTICLE 9 of the Japanese Constitution.
(1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
(2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.
The amazing part of Article 9 is that in human creativity terms, it is as important a tool as was the invention of the wheel. It affirms TRUST in the human capacity to work with others and gives dignity and strength to the role of being an activist for Pacifism. The Granny Peace Brigade supports our Code Pink sisters in Japan who will continue to protest P.M. Abe’s regressive move toward Militarism.
Besides the USA using atomic bombs in 1945, we are still maintaining 113 bases in Japan (mainly on Okinawa despite huge public opposition). And here at home the Pentagon has in place a 30-year upgrade of our nuclear arsenal at a staggering cost of $35 Billion per year until 2045 !!
What are drones? Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are aircraft without pilots. Some are operated by computers on board; others by a human being in another location. The human operator can be thousands of miles away.
Are drones useful? Remote sensing drones can gather information using visible light cameras, infra red cameras, radar systems, biological and chemical sensors, and laser spectroscopy to detect the airborne presence of microorganisms, particulates like soot, and the concentrations of chemical elements in the air. Information collected by drones is relayed to ground stations in real time and can be used for forest fire detection, search and rescue, meteorological research and to monitor all sorts of human activities.
What is a surveillance drone? Surveillance drones use remote sensing technologies to monitor human activity. They come in many sizes and shapes. The MQ-1 Predator, made by General Atomics was initially designed for military reconnaissance and surveillance. It is 27 feet long, with a wingspan of 55 feet, and a max gross takeoff weight of 2,550lb. It can fly for up to 40 hours. The Raven, made by AeroVironment with a wingspan of 4.5 feet and a weight of 4.8 pounds “is a lightweight solution designed for rapid deployment and high mobility for military applications, requiring low-altitude surveillance and reconnaissance intelligence.” Other surveillance drones are manufactured in Israel, Canada and Turkey and are used by the militaries of those countries. A number of police forces in the U.S. have applied for drone permits.
How are weaponized or combat drones used? Weaponized drones, e.g., the Predator armed with Hellfire missiles have been used by the U.S. military to kill enemy soldiers on battlefields. They also have been used by the U.S. for targeted killings in countries where we are not at war. Armed Predator drones were first used (2001) to kill people in Afghanistan. They have since been used for that purpose in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.
What is targeted killing? Targeted killing is a program of killing individuals who are not on a battlefield. The U.S. uses Predator drones in a secret program of targeted killing without a legal determination of guilt. No charges are pressed. No trials are held. “Allowing the use of warlike tactics far from any battlefield — using drones or other means — turns the whole world into a war zone and sets a dangerous example for other countries which might feel justified in doing the same.” See the American Civil Liberties Union FAQs About Targeting Killing. Drone strikes targeted at people identified as “terrorist” or “militants” have also killed civilians. “Sourcing on civilian deaths is weak and the numbers are often exaggerated, but more than 600 civilians are likely to have died from the attacks [in Pakistan]. That number suggests that for every militant killed, 10 or so civilians also died.” Daniel L. Byman for the Brookings Institution
The Granny Peace Brigade was one of around 25 local groups participating in Hunter College’s annual Community Day. Among these groups were several working with women in the community, those working with immigrants and especially the “dreamers,” safe sex. Amnesty International/New York and League of Women Voters were also there.
The GPB display highlighted our campaign against the use of drones everywhere, including NYC and the upcoming Peace and Planet events around the issue of a global ban on nuclear weapons. Barbara Harris prepared a display on Women in the Military: what women should know before signing up. She had many detailed conversations with both young women and men on the issue.
One young man read all the materials at the table. While no one was really interested in a military career (well, one young lady hoped to be a military chaplain), many of the flyer-takers said they would share it with people they knew who were considering military service/careers. Barbara was also interviewed by a young women from NYPIRG, New York Public Interest Research Group. The interview was basically on changes in higher education over the years, but knowing Barbara, it soon moved on to issues of privacy for young people in high school and the military.
There was interest in the Peace and Planet events, especially the Rally, planned on 26 April. The petition calling for a ban on nuclear weapons, to be handed over to officials of the UN on Sunday, garnered 32 signatures. Drones and their possible use in New York were also of interest to the students, young and old alike.
This event at Hunter is a highlight among our yearly actions. It provides an opportunity to talk with young people about issues of concern to them as well as to talk to them about our efforts. And it is not really a surprise, but there were several senior citizens enjoying the displays, taking advantage of Hunter’s excellent programs for alumni.
The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
780 Third Avenue, Suite 2301
New York, NY 10017
Dear Senator Schumer:
We, members of the Granny Peace Brigade, have been continually concerned with the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Thank you for your response of March 11, 2014, to the individual letter on Israel-Palestine from one of our members. Our desire, of course, is to prepare useful activities for encouraging public interest in U.S. Government action aimed at conflict resolution. Knowing of your concern, we have been in communication with helpful staff of your office since June requesting an appointment to meet with you for direct clarification of our point of view. We were informed that no meeting could be considered before next Spring.
The 47 year conflict between the Government of Israel as Occupying Power of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, and Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is truly tragic. This is not a dispute between political equals. Israelis and Palestinians have suffered in their homeland — Palestinians inordinately.
Having supported the 1947 United Nations partition of Palestine and recognized the State of Israel in 1948, does not the U.S. have a responsibility to promote the viability of the Palestinians as a people in their homeland? It is of interest that they are Semites, are ‘children of Abraham,’ most are adherents of one of the three major Abrahamic religions, the whole land of ‘Palestine,’ once shared, was their home. Of course, factors of cause and effect and action/reaction operate in perpetuation of the conflict. Continue reading Letter to Senator Schumer Regarding the Resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian Issue→
The Public Hearing on the Climate March was chaired by Donovan J. Richards, with several other members of the Environment Subcommittee joining. The objective was the Resolution 356 to support the Climate March in NYC, 21 Sept 2014 and its objectives, mainly to influence a positive outcome of the upcoming Climate Meetings at the UN in Sept towards a stronger national and global commitment in addressing climate change.
The Hearing opened with an overview of global warming by the Archbishop of Mexico! The Hearing concluded 3+ hours later with a strong statement by our Barbara Harris focusing on the importance of closing Indian Point, moving to renewable energy, especially solar energy, highlighting the efforts of CUNY throughout the metro area to introduce solar energy on rooftops, training programs on green energy, among other innovative activities that the city and Council can draw upon. The Chairman indicated that he expected that Council Members will be joining the March.He also emphasized the March was a “new” beginning to mobilize actions at all levels in the city, state and country towards a carbon neutral future. ACTION: Call our local council members ensuring they vote yes on Resolution 356 asap!
On August 1st a reporter on Aljazeera America News describing the carnage in Rafah said “today I saw several children…I have to say…I have never seen children look so shell shocked.” On the internet there is a picture of a very young child sitting on stones next to dead parents.
Has our Government no memory, no mercy, no shame, or is it that our holders of office fear loss of support if compliance with and assistance to the Government of Israel is not accepted as a ‘given’ duty?
What a wonderful day: warm, sunny, good spirits all around. Maybe we totaled 40,
which included Raging Grannies who sang many songs at Columbus Circle,
82nd St stop and at the Met….
the wonderful Rude Mechanical Orchestra that added so much to the stroll, families: Joan’s and Nydia’s and supporters from Brooklyn for Peace among others plus a young girl and her bike with her mother….who just joined from the start!
I think we all had very nice encounters with people as we walked and had the opportunity to chat about the day. And it was so encouraging to see people reading the cards so carefully as they were passed around.
We of the Granny Peace Brigade epitomize the revolt of seniors. Our “silver revolution” is certainly not muted and if our persistent, consistent actions for peace which we demonstrate with our physical bodies and our vocal cries, exhortations for peace, against the violence of war, poverty, racism, militarism, and materialism is viewed as passive then we must intensify our activities and our solidarity with the oppressed, dispossessed not only in these United States but around the world.
We STAND UP for a transformation of the values of this world society. We are no summertime soldiers. Like the evergreens surrounded by the bleakness of winter snows, we STAND OUT with the passion and wisdom of our years and with the love we have for all living things.
Sisters, it was so good to see you in my Lower East Side yesterday marching for peace and against nuclear war. Nothing muted about us!
Peace, Power, Love
– Vinie Burrows for the Granny Peace Brigade
Committed to the struggle to make a safe and peaceful world for all children and grandchildren