Events


At 10 AM on Sunday, Nov. 20, community-based peace group Waynepeace successfully completed its first “Occupy Honesdale” action. This action had begun 40 hours before, at 6 PM Friday, Nov. 18, with the setting up of tents and canopies in Honesdale’s Central Park – directly across the street from the local affiliate of investment firm Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. We conducted this action in support of, and in sympathy and solidarity with, the “Occupy Wall Street” gathering in New York City and the many similar “Occupy” protests taking place across the country and around the world.

“Occupy Honesdale” was a legal, permitted action; we had obtained a permit for the encampment, with minimal restrictions, from the Honesdale Borough Council on Monday, Nov. 14. Word was sent out to local activists and the media through email and social media immediately after the approval.

Our intents were simple: in the face of the increasingly violent repression of the “Occupy” encampments in major cities such as New York and Oakland, we wished to let the political and financial “Powers That Be” know that the virus has already spread – that the discontent embodied by those protests is in fact already present everywhere, even in small towns and rural areas like our own. We also wanted to encourage people to discuss the many issues raised by the Occupy movement, and how those issues are affecting their lives and the life of our communities.

Three Waynepeace activists, Kathy Dodge, Chuck Heyn, and Skip Mendler, camped out in the park for two nights. During our time there, we were joined by approximately three dozen local citizens who dropped by to share support, food, music – and most importantly their stories, their wishes, and their concerns about the problems inherent in our current economic and political systems. Our visitors included working people, professionals, academics, farmers, the unemployed, students, and children.

Together, we found much to be concerned about. From a health care worker who spends more time with her paperwork than with her clients, to overworked teachers, to struggling farmers, again and again we heard of hard-working people who are finding it difficult to cope with the physical and mental demands of a system hell-bent on profit. Above and beyond these personal struggles, we view with growing apprehension the emergence of a world order marked by two trends – either of which would be disturbing enough, but which in combination give reason for profound alarm.

On the one hand, we see the insidious but increasingly blatant hand of “corporatocracy” shaping public policy for the benefit of corporations and their wealthiest shareholders and executives – the rule of the so-called “1 Percent.” On the other, we see the increasing scarcity of resources leading to a “leaner, meaner,” and more militarized world of ever-growing inequality and poverty. We fear that democracy cannot survive in a country starkly divided between rich and poor.

But we also found reasons for hope, and examples of successful resistance to the burgeoning power of the “corporate state.” Consumer-based revolts such as the recent Netflix debacle and the backlash against increased debit card fees show that citizens can effectively exert the “power of the purse” when they want to. Events like the delayed DRBC vote about fracking in the Delaware Valley, and the postponement of the Keystone XL pipeline, suggest that political institutions are indeed still sensitive to shows of popular outrage and opposition.

We believe that part of the solution lies in increasing the resilience of our communities – in making them both more interconnected and more individually self-sufficient. We believe that we must develop broader awareness and a greater sense of empathy with others, both close and distant. We must be willing to seek new solutions, and leave behind old and tired debates. The Occupy movement is not just about redefining our institutions, it is about changing the ways we interrelate as human beings, and the ways we make decisions that affect each other. We invite all those who are dissatisfied with “the way things are” to spend the winter re-examining and re-evaluating the “truths” we have always been told – and to meet us in the parks and on the streets when we re-emerge in the Springtime of 2012. We will be posting information on our website, http://www.waynepeace.org, that may be helpful in this process.

We would like to express our gratitude to the many people who helped make this happen – first of all, to the Honesdale Borough Council, for allowing us to move forward; Assistant Borough Secretary Judy Poltanis and Public Works Director Rich Doney were very helpful. Grace Episcopal Church was, as ever, very generous in making its facilities available to the public. We wish to thank Mark Terwilliger, Dennis Keller, and “Banjo” Ron Streczyk for sharing their musical talents with us. We would also like to acknowledge the young men who staged a creative mock “counter-demonstration” Saturday afternoon, and whoever it was that set off some firecrackers in the early hours of Sunday morning – thank you for bothering to take notice. We are grateful to Andrea Heyn, Heidi Schneider, Nancy Dymond, and everyone else who brought food for us to share. Frank PeterSun of All American T Klothing and Kulture shared some of his T-shirts and artwork. And to those who stopped by with concrete offers of assistance and information – we shall move forward. “This is the beginning of the beginning.”

Finally, we wish to dedicate this action to the memory of Fran Hepburn of Callicoon, who passed away recently. Fran was with us from the beginnings of Waynepeace and our sister organization in Sullivan County NY, Sullivan Peace and Justice. She will be missed.

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On Tuesday, September 6, Waynepeace will host an open discussion entitled “From 9/11 to 11/6,” beginning at 5 PM at the Wayne County Public Library, 1406 N. Main St., Honesdale.  The discussion will look back at events over the ten years since the attacks of 9/11/2001, and forward to the elections due to take place on November 6, 2012, from the perspective of the movements for peace and social justice.  What have we learned? How have we – and the nation, and the world – changed? What have we become?  Most importantly, what do we do next?

Refreshments will be served.  The discussion will be followed by a public reading of the names of American soldiers killed in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan during the preceding month.

Note: Use of Wayne County Public Library facilities by Waynepeace does not
imply endorsement by WCPL of Waynepeace’s policies or positions.

Due to the recent inclement weather, Waynepeace’s program featuring local charity “One Big Boost,” which had been scheduled for February 1, has been rescheduled for March 1 at 5 PM at the Wayne County Library. The presentation that had been planned for March 1 is being moved to Tuesday, February 8, at 5 PM.

This will feature selections from the “History Makers” DVD series, which highlights the biographies of prominent African-Americans in many fields of endeavor throughout American history. Produced by Russell Simmons, the series groups these biographies around common themes of “Faith,” “Courage,” and “Success.” These inspiring personal stories include such luminaries as Ruby Dee, B. B. King, Ossie Davis, Gordon Parks, Vernon Jordan, and Isaac Hayes, and demonstrate the importance of perseverance, faith, risk-taking, and determination in the face of seemingly overwhelming obstacles. Refreshments will be served.

Note: The use of Wayne County Public Library facilities by Waynepeace does
not constitute an endorsement by WCPL of Waynepeace’s policies or positions.

(This event, previously scheduled for Feb.1, was rescheduled due to inclement weather.)

On Tuesday, March 1, Waynepeace will host a presentation about a locally founded, global charitable organization called “OneBigBoost.” The presentation will begin at 5 PM, at the Wayne County Public Library on North Main Street in Honesdale.

OneBigBoost started just over a year ago, when two friends, retired art teacher Beth Burkhauser of Scranton and music teacher Marianne Milks of Honesdale, were invited to visit an impoverished public school in south-central Nepal. Friends pitched in to help purchase two laptop computers, a video projector, software and many books, which the women brought with them.

While they were finishing up their visit to Nepal, the quake struck in Haiti. it was an automatic response for all who know Beth and Marianne to contribute assistance for those affected by the quake, and since then other projects have emerged.

Marianne Kuiper Milks has been active in aid programs of many types and in many places. A life-long musician and private music teacher, she has a deep interest in global equality. She and her husband Carl, an allergist in Honesdale, have been deeply involved with relief efforts in Haiti since 2000. Haiti, says Marianne, “manages to steal volunteers’ hearts, in spite of all the pain and suffering.”

Beth Burkhauser currently teaches art education curriculum at Keystone College. She is Founder and Chair of The Hexagon Project, which guides students through a process of social comprehension and subsequent expression through art.

Over the past year, OneBigBoost has been inundated by gifts and support from people around the world, including a grant from the NE PA chapter of the United Nations Association, and has been able to accomplish far more than initially anticipated. Marianne and Beth believe that this is in part because they tend to all deliveries themselves, and 99.9% of gifts go directly to the intended causes.

For more information about OneBigBoost, visit their website at www.onebigboost.org, or contact Marianne Milks, (570) 226-6888, sunnyday.mkm@gmail.com.

Note: Use of Wayne County Public Library facilities by Waynepeace does not represent an endorsement By WCPL of Waynepeace’s policies or positions.

Local activist group Waynepeace brings its series of public discussions into the New Year with a presentation entitled “Just Lie Back and Enjoy It: The Wonderful Benefits of American Plutocracy” featuring fictional CEO T. Bigglesworth Bellows, at 5 PM on Tuesday January 4, 2011, at the Wayne County Public Library on Main Street in Honesdale.

Mr. Bellows (a creation of actor, writer, and Waynepeace co-founder Skip Mendler of Honesdale) is CEO and Chairman of the Board of Bellows Industries Worldwide International, the planet’s largest manufacturer of hot-air hand dryers, blast furnaces, car cigarette lighters, and flame throwers. (As the company slogan goes, “Where there’s hot air, you’ll find a Bellows.”) A proud member of the Billionaires for Wealthcare, he is an unapologetic advocate for plutocracy (government by the wealthy).  In fact, Bellows maintains, the US has been a plutocracy for years, and “it’s high time we quit pretending otherwise.”

In his presentation, Mr. Bellows will discuss the ramifications of the Supreme Court’s recent “Citizens United” decision, which led to an unprecedented amount of anonymous campaign donations being raised during the 2010 election cycle.  He will cavalierly dismiss as “pish-posh” the silly objections raised by democracy activists that such levels of spending skew the political process, and lead to policies that favor the wealthy at the expense of ordinary citizens.  He will also gleefully recount recent events, such as the unsuccessful struggle to rescind the so-called “Bush tax breaks,” and make the case for Reaganesque “trickle-down economics” – which he describes as “the perfectly common-sense proposition that when your feet stink, the thing to do is wash your hair.”

The public is invited to attend this surprisingly free presentation.    Refreshments will even be served, but seating will be limited.

Please note: Use of Wayne County Public Library facilities by Waynepeace does not constitute an endorsement of Waynepeace policies or positions by WCPL.

 

 

On Tuesday, November 2, Honesdale resident Dick Forman will share his experiences of working in the South during the Civil Rights era. His talk, sponsored by Waynepeace, will be held at the Wayne County Public Library in Honesdale, beginning at 5 PM.

Born and raised near Seattle, Dick moved to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania with his family in 1960. After graduating from Cornell University in 1966, he joined the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA Program). After training by the Urban League, Dick was assigned to a public housing project in Atlanta’s West End, where he established numerous community action projects for pre-school, youth, adults and seniors. 1n 1967, Dick was accepted by the United States Teacher Corps and assigned to teach African-American students in segregated public schools in Galveston and Aldine, Texas. He also worked with the Community Action Council of Galveston as a community organizer. After two years of service and completion of a Master of Secondary Education Degree at the University of Houston, he was recruited by the University to teach in an innovative resident on-campus program with 18- to 23-year-old Mexican-American migrant worker youth from the Rio Grande Valley.

In the 1970’s, Dick worked with a large construction trade union safety, education and training program as Education Director. He served for 25 years as Executive Director of the Associated General Contractors of New Jersey, retiring in 2006. Dick now lives in Honesdale with wife Sandi and a shelter dog, Savannah.

Come hear a unique and little-heard perspective on some of the momentous events of the 1960’s, and on the not-so-momentous but still impactful day-to-day work involved in the struggle for social justice. Refreshments will be served.

(The use of Wayne County Public Library facilities by Waynepeace does not constitute an endorsement by WCPL of Waynepeace’s policies or positions.)

 

In partnership with the Economics Department of King’s College
The Peace and Justice Center announces:

The 2010 Barbara Sabol Lecture

“So much to be thankful for …”

by Rob Robinson of Picture The Homeless

Monday, October 25, 2010 at 7:00 PM
Burke Auditorium at King’s College

Please join us on Monday, October 25, 2010, 7:00 PM, Burke Auditorium, King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA.  Mr. Rob Robinson is a member of the Campaign to Restore National Housing Rights which is supported by the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI).

He is also a member of the Land and Housing Action group of the Take Back the Land Movement which is coordinated by the US Human Rights Network.  Rob honed his skills as an activist working as a board member and housing campaign leader with Picture the Homeless, a grassroots organization in New York City.

The Take Back the Land Movement asserts that housing is a human right and, as such, the policies which violate that right are morally wrong and, therefore, must be directly challenged.  As such, organizations across the US are engaging in “live-in” campaigns designed to house human beings and directly challenge those policies and laws that promote vacant housing during this housing crisis.  Too many of our citizens are forced into overcrowded conditions.  Homelessness has soared to never before seen numbers while the very banks that foreclosed on our property are being bailed out by the tax dollars of the people they forced into homelessness.

The NEPA Organizing Center will be on hand to provide follow up information and related initiatives.

For more information, see the Peace Center’s website.

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