In May of 2014, What's Hot aired an interview with Reverend Lewis Stewart. Rev. Stewart talked about United Christian Leadership Ministries--a new group he formed to fight for social justice. Rev. Stewart was involved in a push to get an independent civilian review board in the early 90's before becoming a prison chaplain. Howard Eagle engages Rev. Stewart about the past and the future of Rochester.
On April 29, 2014, Rochester Indymedia journalist Ted Forsyth and a few other witnesses testified in a court case in Dewitt--just outside of Syracuse--on behalf of John Amidon. Specifically, Amidon was arrested for attempted trespass and wearing a mask (the grim reaper) at an anti-drone demonstration last May. John got up on a barricade and was hauled off of it by Officer Brad Baker. The prosecution claimed Amidon was a potentially violent protester who was jumping the barricade in order to get others to follow. John got on the barricade to do a little dance for the crowd. Forsyth took video of his arrest and Amidon's being hauled off the barricade. The video was used in the trial multiple times.
On April 30th, the next morning, Kathy Manley--Amidon's attorney--sent this email:
"Hi Ted - If you haven't heard yet, we won on both charges. The victory may well not have happened without your video - it was really instrumental - we watched it probably 6 times during the trial and then the judge watched it again while he was deliberating. Without that the judge would likely have believed the cop claiming it looked like John was trying to/ about to cross the barrier.
"You were a great witness. Perhaps you shouldn't have been so sure about how many officers pulled him off them wall but it was an easy mistake to make, and no big deal. Thanks SO MUCH! - Kathy"
In more recent news, Judy Bello reports that, "Mary Anne Grady Flores was sentenced this evening after being convicted of Contempt of Court for violating the Order of Protection taken out by Col. Evans to keep her (and the rest of us- there are 50 outstanding) away from Hancock Base where the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars has been protesting for the last several years. She was sentenced to 1 year in Jail and a $1000 fine for walking in the road in front of the base during a demonstration despite the fact that she came as an observer and was just taking pictures. She was sent to jail immediately despite the fact that her attorney, Lance Salisbury, has made a request for a stay which will be reviewed next week."
This is a video of a talk titled "Everyday Revolutions" that took place at this year's Left Forum. Speakers included Leina Bocar, Dario Azzellini, Diego Ibañez, & Marina Sitrin. The talk happened on May 31, 2014.
Millions of people around the globe have been organizing alternative value systems and social relationships to those of capitalism -- revolutionary alternatives -- still within capitalism, but against it -- aiming to overcome it. These alternatives are part of a process of creating everyday revolutions -- beginning to prefigure our desired future while still in the present. These everyday revolutions are one part of a larger anti-capitalist movement. In this panel we will discuss what some of these everyday revolutions look like, as defined by people in movement around the world. The discussion will range from the examples of recuperated workplaces, from Latin America to Europe; the new global movements and the focus on creating horizontal social relationships and the day to day organizing in Brooklyn for housing and self organization. There is no blueprint or academic framework that once met means revolution has been achieved, but rather we see it as an ongoing and changing process in which everyday revolutions is a key element.
On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, a public hearing was held where the community gave nearly two hours of testimony regarding Ban the Box legislation. The legislation, The Opportunity to Compete Ordinance, was supported by a large body of public advocacy organizations as well as individuals with stories of discrimination and heartache over not being able to find legitimate work after doing their time for the crimes they committed. The bill was initially sponsored by Adam McFadden.
May 13, 2014:
City Council defered voting on the legislation because so few of the councilmembers were present. The vote was deferred to the following Tuesday, May 20.
On Tuesday, May 20, 2014, Rochester City Council voted unanimously to ban the box! According to the D&C, "The new law effects both public and private employers with four or more employees and is effective in 180 days.
"There are exceptions, such as for police and firefighters and other professions where felony convictions specifically bar a person from employment."
On July 9, 2014, Rochester Indymedia sat down with Sister Grace Miller and C.W. Earlsey of House of Mercy to discuss the current issues facing poor people and people without homes in Rochester. Sister Grace and C.W. also updated us on the ongoing struggle to find a new, bigger building for their work, the situation with the folks living in the Civic Center Garage, and the ongoing denial of the county to take responsibility for burying the poor with dignity.
Finally, Sister Grace and C.W. announced an upcoming car raffle, dinner, and garage sale fundraiser to be held at Our Lady of Mercy High School (1437 Blossom Rd, Rochester, NY) on July 19, 2014 from 9am to 5pm.
[ed. note--Emma Goldman's first home after immigrating to the United States with her family was Rochester, NY. In a town that loves to proclaim its radical heritage with Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, Emma, the anarchist, seems to want to be forgotten. On this Fourth of July, check out her essay against patriotism.]
WHAT is patriotism? Is it love of one's birthplace, the place of childhood's recollections and hopes, dreams and aspirations? Is it the place where, in childlike naivety, we would watch the fleeting clouds, and wonder why we, too, could not run so swiftly? The place where we would count the milliard glittering stars, terror-stricken lest each one "an eye should be," piercing the very depths of our little souls? Is it the place where we would listen to the music of the birds, and long to have wings to fly, even as they, to distant lands? Or the place where we would sit at mother's knee, enraptured by wonderful tales of great deeds and conquests? In short, is it love for the spot, every inch representing dear and precious recollections of a happy, joyous, and playful childhood?
Ukraine for much of its history has been fraught with complex problems. Our three panelists have the experience and expertise to address these issues. We call on you, the audience, as well, to help us understand what is going on in this dangerous corner of the world. Presentations by the panelists were followed by questions and answers, and discussion.
As I stood at the podium, in the third-floor chambers of City Hall during a May 20 Rochester City Council meeting, I thought about how amazing it was that I had stood in the exact same spot 25 years earlier, with men and women such as Minister Franklin Florence Sr., the Late Rev. Raymond Graves, Minister Lewis Stewart, Rev. Dr. John Walker, Rev. Willie Harvey, Sister Grace Miller, Sister Rita, Ms. Gwen Byrd, and many others.
Three of those people were also present May 20.
Amazingly, we had been there 25 years ago for the same purpose that we attended the May 20 meeting, i.e., to impress upon city leaders the importance of implementing an independent, civilian review process regarding brutal behavior by some members of the Rochester Police Department (RPD) .
We were there in order to bring those whom Rev. Graves was fond of identifying as "abusive, rogue cops" under control.
It is even more amazing that some of the people referenced above had organized, and pushed for, an independent, civilian review process at least 20 years before I was involved.
So, on May 20, there we were; at least 45 years after the very first efforts, still raising the same crystal-clear need.
Submitted by SusanGalloway on Wed, 2014-06-11 23:24
Gail Walker, Co-Director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace is also an award-winning radio producer and an on-air host and journalist. With over 15 years of involvement with Pastors for Peace, including as Communications Director, she has staffed more than 15 caravans of humanitarian aid to Cuba and Central America and worked extensively with marginalized communities.
Professor Harry Murray, of Nazarath College spoke at the Flying Squirrel Community Space on June 2 for their June Monday Mayhem programming. The discussion was on US drone warfare and treatment of antiwar protesters. Murray has been arrested multiple times protesting US military policy. His most recent arrest was last year at Hancock Air Force base in Dewitt NY, outside of Syracuse. He is scheduled for trial in 2015. Hancock is a base of operations for US drones operating in Afghanistan.
Submitted by naomi.mcgregor on Wed, 2014-06-04 20:57
A May 20, 2014, front-page article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle discussed the recent ‘La Casa scandal’ that has shocked the South Wedge community. The controversy involves a business venture entered into by Maria Bocanegra and her husband, Omar Ramos, with Rochester businessman Lyjha Wilton in 2013 to open and operate La Casa restaurant, located at 93 Alexander Street.
Submitted by SusanGalloway on Thu, 2014-05-29 05:30
Students parents, teachers and community members held a mock funeral to mourn the current regime of high-stakes testing at the expense of learning and teaching and to imagine a joyful resurrection of public education. The funeral was held outside the Rochester City School district Central Office in Rochester, NY.
We, as a People, have lost our way. The average American spends 5 hours a day wasting away in front of a TV while a global war is waged in our name for blood, oil, and gold. Like masses of walking dead we spend our time chasing dreams that are not our own; lusting after cars and shoes and iPhones without any consideration for how many beings are suffering as a direct result of our insatiable need to consume.
Rochester's Memorial Day Peace Parade kicked off May 26 2014. It was sponsored by Metro Justice of Rochester, Genesee Valley Citizens for Peace, The Flying Squirrel Community Space, The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, Rochester Against War and Rochester Friends Meeting (Quakers).
Seventy-five people came to the Twelve Corners park in Brighton May 24 in solidarity with a world-wide March Against Monsanto. Turnout was surprisingly good considering an error in publicizing the event caused most to not know about it until the day before.