United for Peace and Justice March 28th March 2009 in New York City, USA

NYC United for Peace and Justice

Join the NYC-UFPJ Facebook Group!

Help Bring out NYC!

April 4th National March on Wall Street

Help us spread the word to every college, every congregation, every school, every union, every tenant’s organization, every community group and to people on the streets.  For leafleting in Brooklyn, click here For leafleting in other parts of NYC, click here.

Pick up fliers at the 
UFPJ office, 630 9th Ave, suite 215B (bet. 44th and 45th Streets) You will need ID to show the doorman.  The building is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.  

We also need volunteers for phonebanking and for jobs on April 4th. Sign up to volunteer here or call 212-868-5545.

Download fliers here

Thursday, March 19
Fund Homes, Not War! Fight Poverty, Not People!
NYC-UFPJ joined in this Solidarity Rally

Over a hundred peopled rallied in solidarity with a group of homeless people who occupied a vacant building in East Harlem to bring attention to property warehousing. El Barrio/East Harlem is full of vacant buildings and lots, which are owned by private landlords as well as the city, at the same time as rents-and homelessness-continue to climb. In fact, the borough of Manhattan contains enough vacant properties to house every homeless family in the city! 

For more information, contact Joe at 646-314-6423 orjoe@picturethehomeless.org.

Students or Soldiers?

The  Students or Soldiers?  Coalition of which NYC United for Peace and Justice is one of the founding members is working towards educating and spreading the word about aggressive military recruitment in NYC public schools. With the declining numbers of military enlistees, military recruiters can be found in even greater numbers in the hallways and classrooms of our high school students.

In January, we will be launching a public pressure and education campaign to insist that Chancellor Joel Klein puts policy into place that protects students from predatory military recruitment.  To receive information about this and other NYC Campaigns, sign up here for NYC alerts. 

DID YOU KNOW? Out of the 1000 students surveyed;*

  1. 35% said that military recruiters have access to multiple locations, which is in violation of DOE rules.  
  2. 27%  of 12th graders report military recruiters using class time.
  3. 73%  stated they did not receive a military recruitment opt-out form or did not know if they received such a form. (The opt-out form keeps student’s personal information private and away from military recruiters).

Read More about the issue

On Thursday, Oct. 23rd, at 56 high schools in NYC, volunteers handed out over 10,000 opt-out forms helping to protect student privacy from military recruiters!

If you are interested in helping with this effort or want to know more, please  contact Leslie Kielson at NYC UFPJ at (212) 868-5545.

*From we want you(th)


Part of a national call to action by United for Peace and Justice

Close to 200 people gathered in Grand Central Station on Thursday, July 10, 2008 to oppose the plans of a possible American military attack on Iran.  As they froze in their positions for 5 minutes at 5:30 sharp, the attendees wore “No attack on Iran” signs and shirts calling for peace.  The “freezers” sent a clear message of opposition to a new war to the current administration and the forthcoming one.  More than 500 fliers were handed out to people passing by.

Click here for pictures and videos of the event

Pedal for Peace 2008 

Pedal for Peace everyday with a P4P t-shirt!  Buy one here.

Help us reach our 2008 fundraising goal of $10,000. 

On May 31st, dozens of intrepid cyclists braved the rain and participated in Pedal for Peace 2008. Despite the rain, everyone had a great time. We received many cheers, peace signs and raised fists as we rode through East Harlem and Harlem chanting "Money for Schools, not war! Fund our communities not the war! 

Please help us to be able to do this work by making as generous a donation as possible! 

No More Funding for the War! 

Download NYC Cost of War Flier and go to any busy location to get the word out and encourage others to make the call. 

NYC Cost of War Flier (English) 
Que Hacer con Quince Billiones (Español)


Saturday, March 22

Thousands joined hands on March 22 for a powerful demonstration of our sorrow and our outrage. 

Check out photos and video footage at:http://dianelent.com/fiveyears.htm 
Matt's Blog 
Channel 7 News Coverage: 

Casualties of Iraq War Fliers.A Grieving Iraqi Father. A Wounded Soldier. An Iraqi GirlCoffins Coming Home. Boots. A Soldier who Lost his Life. Boots and Helmets. These are Word documents so you can add your own picture if you prefer. 

Start a Peace Group in Your Neighborhood! 
NYC-UFPJ has embarked on a Neighborhood Organizing Project to help people start very local groups in their neighborhood, school or religious institution. Neighborhood based organizations are critical in helping to build the movement because they reach people who might be opposed to the war but haven't known how to get involved. In addition, very local protests and educational events draw in new people and give them a way to meet other like-minded people in their communities.

If you are interested in starting a group in your neighborhood, give us a call and we can provide information and resources to support you in doing that.  Ask for Leslie Kielson at 212-868-5545. 
Click here for a Guide to Organizing a Neighborhood Based Peace and Justice Group.

NYC-UFPJ Voter Engagement Campaign!

Suggested Locations for Leafletting
A list of good locations for leafletting.

Tips for Handing Out Leaflets
Here are some how-to's and tip to help you make the most of your leafletting efforts.

Know Your Rights: Demonstrating in New York City
Information from the New York Civil Liberties Union about your legal rights when demonstrating in New York City

Protect Student Privacy!

Million Doors NYC Meet-Ups

Voter Registration Information

Students or Soldiers? Issues Page

Students or Soldiers? Coalition Page

Students or Soldiers?

River to River Locations
River to River Locations

Winter Soldier Fundraiser
Iraq Veterans Against the War and VVAW New York chapters host fundraiser for upcoming Winter Soldier event

River to River: Join Hands for Peace
River to River: Join Hands for Peace

NYC March to End the War Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bush Demo, Sept. 19th, 2006


We will mark the 3rd anniversary of the War on Iraq by turning out in massive numbers to demonstrate to our elected officials that this war must end and all the troops be brought home now!

Protest Focuses on Iraq Troop Increase

Veronika Lukasova for The New York Times

Sean Dianni, Zak Kirkwin and Kelly Wilbur traveled from Providence, R.I., to attend Saturday’s antiwar demonstration on the National Mall.

The event drew demonstrators from across the country, and many said that in addition to taking their discontent to the streets they planned to press members of Congress to oppose the war.

“When we voted it was a directive to bring our troops home now,” said the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, referring to the November elections when Democrats won control of Congress.

Demonstrators listened to speeches from a roster of politicians and entertainment figures including the Rev.Jesse Jackson; Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio and a candidate for the presidency in 2008; and Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California. The actors Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins also addressed the crowd.

“We need to be talking not just about defunding the war but also about funding the vets,” Ms. Sarandon said, adding that more than 50,000 had sought treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs while benefits for them continue to be cut.

With Mr. Bush facing low approval ratings and Congress continuing to debate the terms of a nonbinding resolution opposing the troop increase, elderly people in wheelchairs, housewives pushing strollers, seasoned dissenters in tie-dye and veterans in uniform turned out to protest.

“I grew up during the Vietnam War, but I never protested it and never had my lottery number called to go fight,” said David Quinly, a 54-year-old carpenter from Prairie Village, Kan., who arrived here Friday night with about 50 others after a 23-hour bus ride.

“In my view, this one is a war of choice and a war for profit against a culture and people we don’t understand,” Mr. Quinly said. “I knew I had to speak up this time.”

Along the north side of the Mall, teenagers in T-shirts featuring sinister depictions of Mr. Bush chanted, “End the lunacy; end it now.” A man wearing prison stripes carried a sign with the likeness of Vice President Dick Cheney. A man on 30-inch stilts, dressed asAbraham Lincoln, carried a sign quoting him: “But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” A tall, clear plastic column stood overflowing with thousands of shoes symbolizing the civilians killed in the war.

“I’ve got a son who just got out of the military and another still in,” said Jackie Smith, 65, from Sunapee, N.H., whose sign read “Bush Bin Lyin.” “And I’m here because this is all I can do to try to help them.”

Tassi McKee, from Bastrop, La., who said she was a staff sergeant in the Air Force, was among a small contingent of about 20 active-duty service members who turned out. “I believe this has become a civil war, and we are being hurt and making matters worse by staying in the middle of it,” Sergeant McKee said.

She said that it was not illegal for active-duty members to attend protests but that it was strongly discouraged.

Veterans were more numerous among the crowd.

Dressed in the olive green, military-issued flight jacket that he said he wore during the invasion of Iraq while serving as a Marine sergeant, Jack Teller, 26, said he joined a caravan from Greenville, N.C., because he felt that it was his duty.

“I don’t like wearing the jacket because it reminds me that I participated in an immoral and illegal war,” said Mr. Teller, who had “Iraq Veterans Against the War” stenciled on the back of his jacket. “But it’s important to make a political statement.”

Fernando Braga, a 24-year-old Bronx native who is a member of the Army National Guard, said that he was skeptical of the war before it started. Mr. Braga said his views hardened into opposition while he served in Iraq from March 2004 through January 2005.

“My own commander told us when we arrived that if we thought we were there for any reason other than oil then we had another think coming,” he said. “I realized even commanding officers were against it but following orders.”

Michael McPhearson, executive director of Veterans for Peace, said more than 100 veterans from the Iraq war participated in the march, and several hundred veterans from previous wars attended as well.

Robert Watada, 67, of Honolulu, a retired executive with the State of Hawaii who said his son, First Lt. Ehren K. Watada, was to be court-martialed next month for refusing to deploy to Iraq, said: “So many thousands of our own have died and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and for what? And still we are having to push Congress to block the president.”

At least 3,065 American military personnel have been killed and at least 22,834 have been wounded since the start of the war in March 2003, according to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a Web site that tracks Department of Defense numbers. The United Nations has estimated that at least 35,000 Iraqis have been killed each year since the war started.

President Bush, who often spends weekends at Camp David, was in Washington on Saturday but had no public events scheduled. He spent part of the morning on his weekly bicycle ride at a Secret Service training facility in Beltsville, Md.

The White House issued a statement in response to the demonstration. “The president believes that the right to free speech is one of the greatest freedoms in our country,” said Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman. “He understands that Americans want to see a conclusion to the war in Iraq, and the new strategy is designed to do just that,” referring to Mr. Bush’s plan to increase troop levels in Iraq.

The protest was largely organized by the group United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of 1,400 local and national organizations.

“This war has been going on longer than she has been alive, and Cheney says it will be a 50-year war,” said Annie Yanowitz, a housewife from Amherst, Mass., pointing to her 2-year-old daughter, Amira.

“I find that totally inappropriate that our children may grow up with this war continuing,” Ms. Yanowitz said.

Police officials declined to provide crowd estimates, but Hany Khalil, a spokesman for United for Peace and Justice, said the protesters numbered about 400,000. Smaller antiwar protests took place on Saturday in other cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

In Washington, counterprotesters also converged on the mall in smaller numbers, but the antiwar demonstration was largely peaceful.

There were a few tense moments, however, including an encounter involving Joshua Sparling, 25, who was on crutches and who said he was a corporal with the 82nd Airborne Division and lost his right leg below the knee in Ramadi, Iraq. Mr. Sparling spoke at a smaller rally held earlier in the day at the United States Navy Memorial, and voiced his support for the administration’s policies in Iraq.

Later, as antiwar protesters passed where he and his group were standing, words were exchanged and one of the antiwar protestors spit at the ground near Mr. Sparling; he spit back.

Capitol police made the antiwar protestors walk farther away from the counterprotesters.

“These are not Americans as far as I’m concerned,” Mr. Sparling said.

Another counterprotester, Larry Stark, 71, a retired Navy officer who fought in Vietnam for five years and was a prisoner of war, said, “We never lost a battle in Vietnam but we lost the war, and the same is going to be true in Iraq if these protesters have their way.”

The protesters on Saturday were undermining troop morale, Mr. Stark said, and increasing the likelihood of a premature withdrawal.

“It’s like we never learn from the past,” he said.

Kevin Wolf/Associated Press

Julie Ide of McLean, Va., selects from a variety of signs made available to protesters before Saturday’s event.

Michael Christopher Brown for The New York Times

Some people today were seasoned protesters; others were attending their first such antiwar gathering.

Jay Westcott/Getty Images

Soldier’s boots and a flag-draped

Stefan Zaklin/European Pressphoto Agency

War opponents preparing for today’s protest on the National Mall. The shoes and names written on the box represent civilians killed in Iraq.

Michael Christopher Brown for The New York Times

Carlos Arredondo with a memorial to his son, Lance Cpl. Alexander Arredondo of the Marines.

Plan to Change Student Lending Sets Up a Fight
WASHINGTON — The private student lending industry and its allies in Congress are maneuvering to thwart a plan by President Obama to end a subsidized loan program and redirect billions of dollars in bank profits to scholarships for needy students.

The plan is the main money-saving component of Mr. Obama’s education agenda, which includes a sweeping overhaul of financial aid programs. The Congressional Budget Office says replacing subsidized loans made by private banks with direct government lending would save $94 billion over the next decade, money that Mr. Obama would use to expand Pell grants for the poorest students.

But the proposal has ignited one of the most fractious policy fights this year.

Because it would make spending on Pell grants mandatory, limiting Congressional control, powerful appropriators are balking at it. Republicans say the plan is proof that Mr. Obama is trying to vastly expand government. Democrats are divided, with lawmakers from districts where lenders are big employers already drawing battle lines.

At the same time, the private loan industry, which would have collapsed without a government rescue last year, has begun lobbying aggressively to save a program that has generated giant profits with very little risk.

“The administration has decided that it wants to capture the profits of federal student loans,” said Kevin Bruns, executive director of America’s Student Loan Providers, a trade group that is fighting Mr. Obama’s plan.

To press its case, the nation’s largest student lender, Sallie Mae, has hired two prominent lobbyists, Tony Podesta, whose brother, John, led the Obama transition, and Jamie S. Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration.

For lenders, the stakes are huge. Just last week, Sallie Mae reported that despite losing $213 million in 2008, it paid its chief executive more than $4.6 million in cash and stock and its vice chairman more than $13.2 million in cash and stock, including the use of a company plane. The company, which did not receive money under the $700 billion financial system bailout and is not subject to pay restrictions, also disbursed cash bonuses of up to $600,000 to other executives.

Sallie Mae said that executive compensation was lower in 2008 than 2007 and that the stock awards were worthless in the current market.

Critics of the subsidized loan system, called the Federal Family Education Loan Program, say private lenders have collected hefty fees for decades on loans that are risk-free because the government guarantees repayment up to 97 percent. With the government directly or indirectly financing virtually all federal student loans because of the financial crisis, the critics say there is no reason to continue a program that was intended to inject private capital into the education lending system.

Under the subsidized loan program, the government pays lenders like Citigroup, Bank of America and Sallie Mae, with both the subsidy and the maximum interest rate for borrowers set by Congress. Students are steered to the government’s direct program or to outside lenders, depending on their school’s preference.

Private lenders say they still provide valuable service, marketing, customer relations, billing, default prevention and collection of delinquent loans. The lenders say the budget savings could be achieved without ending their role and are pushing to keep the system in place, including an arrangement approved by Congress last year by which they are paid to originate loans but can resell them to the government.

Martha Holler, a spokeswoman for Sallie Mae, said the company wanted a compromise. “To be clear, there are those who are fighting to preserve the historic financing structure for federal student loans,” she wrote in an e-mail message following up on a telephone interview. “Sallie Mae is not among them. In fact, we support constructive alternatives that would generate a similar level of taxpayer savings to achieve the administration’s important goals.”

Lenders are also emphasizing the jobs they provide.

Sallie Mae’s chief executive, Albert L. Lord, held a town-hall-style meeting last week at the company’s loan center in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., with two Democrats, Senator Bob Casey and Representative Paul E. Kanjorski, to announce the return of 2,000 jobs that were sent overseas in 2007.

Mr. Lord, in his opening speech, insisted that Mr. Obama’s proposal offered new opportunities, but he said he would fight to keep the current system mostly intact.

“We can either meet or beat the budget savings that are in the president’s budget with the exact same system that we have got working now with maybe a few tweaks,” he said.

But to preserve a profitable role for private lenders and still achieve Mr. Obama’s savings seems extremely difficult if not impossible; initial projections put forward by Sallie Mae could reach only 82 percent of the president’s goal over five years.

Last year, to keep education financing from drying up, Congress expanded the government’s role, including the repurchase of loans, which Sallie Mae and some other lenders say should be mandatory going forward.

“When you add that all up, a very legitimate question to ask is why do we even need private lenders,” said Representative Timothy H. Bishop, Democrat of New York and a former provost of Southampton College.

For Mr. Bishop and many other education advocates, Mr. Obama’s plan to expand the existing direct loan program used by more than 1,500 schools is obvious and long overdue.

But the administration has a fight on its hands.

New York Times
In Rescue of Captain, Navy Kills 3 Pirates

President Obama had authorized the use of force if Capt. Richard Phillips was believed to be in danger, so U.S. snipers fired when the pirates aimed an automatic rifle at their hostage.

Plan to Change Student Lending Sets Up a Fight

Private lenders are moving against President Obama’s plan to redirect billions in bank profits to needy students.

Black Voters Waver on Support for Paterson
Black Voters Waver on Support for Paterson

Gov. David A. Paterson of New York, whose ascension last year set off joy in black communities, now faces growing doubts from black leaders and voters.

In Afghanistan, Soldiers Bridge 2 Stages of War
In Afghanistan, Soldiers Bridge 2 Stages of War

The war stands to become more invigorated and hopeful, but perhaps more bloody, as U.S. units push into Taliban sanctuaries.

New Ballpark Statistic: Stadium’s Toilet Ratio

If nothing else, $2 billion worth of stadiums should buy shorter restroom lines, at least for women.

$80,000 for a Year Off? She’ll Take It!
$80,000 for a Year Off? She’ll Take It!

A law firm offered some employees a third of their base pay to take a year off from their regular jobs.

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