Submitted by Coalition of Concerned Residents of Monroe County on Tue, 2014-08-26 15:16
Open Letter to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks Regarding Rochester's Homeless Crisis
Dear County Executive Maggie Brooks,
Monroe County has a moral and, under Article 17 of the New York State Constitution, a legal obligation to care for all its residents especially our street homeless. We implore you to reverse the lock out of homeless persons from the Civic Center Garage until Monroe County puts into place a permanent plan to house all homeless.
On Thursday, August 14, 2014, Rochester held its own National Moment of Silence Against Police Brutality in Washington Square Park. The local vigil was organized via Facebook by Kelly Scott of Rochester. It was in response to the recent deaths of Michael Brown; Eric Garner, who was killed July 17 on Staten Island; and John Crawford III, who was shot Aug. 5 in Beavercreek, Ohio. All are African-American males who died at the hands of white police officers.
Submitted by Julie Gelfand (photos: Julie Gelfand) on Fri, 2014-08-22 22:18
On August 20, the owners of the Civic Center Garage in Rochester, NY decided that after many years of making this indoor heated space open and accessible to the homeless who had no other solution for shelter, they would enforce measures to keep the homeless out. That evening, representatives from the staff of the House of Mercy (Rochester, New York), St. Joseph's House of Hospitality, and others chose to protest the move by refusing to leave the garage.
The wars in Syria, Gaza and Iraq aren't isolated battles. They are linked by an overarching policy of Imperialism primarily by the US. Scott Williams and Judy Bello explain, followed by questions and answers.
Even in rain and a thunderstorm about 120 people turned out for the third rally for peace in Gaza and an end to the Israeli occupation and apartheid-like conditions of Palestine. This week's demonstrators were joined by local Jews in the Jewish Voice for Peace. The group reminds us that actions of the Israeli government do not represent the Jewish religion. On this same day the US government authorized an additional $225 million in military aid to Israel.
Has political activisim in the US reached an impasse since the end of Occupy? Tom Nomad, author of The Master's Tools and other anti-political books at LBC Publishing talks about these and other issues.
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.