Friends Advocacy Teams

Peace on EarthEpisode 75, recorded 04.15.2017: The Friends Committee on National Legislation is a non-partisan Quaker lobby that dates back to 1943. Speaking for its constituent Quakers, or “Friends,” the group leverages its nationwide network to advocate “social and economic justice, peace, care for the Earth, and good government,” according to its statement of legislative policy.

In this episode, E. Garnet Fay, the chair of the Public Policy Committee of the Illinois Conference of Churches, and David Kelm, a non-Quaker “friend of a Friend,” discuss the FCNL and its efforts to craft peace-oriented policy, including a recent focus on cutting Pentagon funding.

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Our Guests

E. Garnet Fay
Having grown up on a farm in north-central Illinois, E. Garnet Fay graduated from Northwestern University and received a JD degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law. An Oak Park resident, he practices law in the area of Wills and Trusts and Estate Administration with an office in the Monadnock Building in Chicago. An active member of the Society of Friends since joining as a “Convinced Friend” in 1979, he has been involved in a variety of Friends concerns, including serving on committees of the American Friends Service Committee, chairing the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago. Garnet presently chairs the Public Policy Committee of the Illinois Conference of Churches and serves on the board of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago. He has long supported the Friends Committee on National Legislation, having headed the Development committee and served in other efforts of the FCNL.

David Kelm
David grew up in the country between Lockport and Lemont, IL. When he realized his mother would not be able to afford his college tuition he decided to become a hair stylist and work his way through. He got his BA from Concordia University in 1992 in a returning adult degree completion program. During the thirty years between high school and his BA, he had a successful career as an owner-stylist. David sees himself, like many today, as spiritual but not religious. His thinking has been strongly influenced by ‘A Course in Miracles’, the writings of Eckhart Tolle, the skill set known as ‘Non-Violent Communication’, the trainings of the ManKind Project and in being a Laughter Yoga Facilitator. David, though not a Quaker, is referred to as a FOF (friend of a Friend) and as such has attended four annual national lobby days in DC, where he first became aware of the Advocacy Team concept. On the night of the election he was on a train to DC for last year’s annual meeting and he decided bringing the Advocacy Team home would be his way of ‘turning the other cheek.’

For More Information

Friends Committee on National Legislation- Advocacy Teams
Friends Committee on National Legislation- Issues

Credits

Episode Producer: Tom Broderick
Sound Recording: Charles Austin
Post-production: Charles Austin
Web Page: Charles Austin and Bob Roman

Boycott the Braids

Episode 73 – Recorded March 10, 2017.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program in the tomato fields of Florida has eliminated modern-day slavery and sexual violence, improved farmworker wages and guaranteed basic protections for tens of thousands of workers. In this episode, Tom Broderick interviews Lupe Gonzalo, member and leader of CIW about how the Fair Food Program works, how it has benefited the workers in the field, the history of CIW, and just why CIW is leading a boycott of Wendy’s.

Translation is provided by Yaissy Solis, national co-coordinator for the Student/Farmworker Alliance, a national network of students and youth working in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

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Our Guests:

Lupe Gonzalo is a member and leader of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). Ms. Gonzalo is a farmworker herself, with over 13 years of experience working in the fields of Florida. As part of the Fair Food Program, Ms. Gonzalo and her colleagues conduct worker-to-worker education sessions on human rights in the fields on all farms participating in the Program. Ms. Gonzalo’s work at the CIW includes hosting daily radio shows on the CIW’s low-power community FM radio station, leading the weekly women’s group meetings, receiving complaints of abuses in the fields, managing wage theft claims, and investigating cases of modern-day slavery. Finally, Ms. Gonzalo represents the CIW at a national level, speaking publicly on the challenges faced by farmworkers in Florida, both during major actions with thousands of consumers and in dozens of presentations throughout the year.

Yaissy Solis works as national co-coordinator for the Student/Farmworker Alliance, a national network of students and youth working in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Ms. Solis has substantial expertise in the fields of student/youth organizing, economic justice, movement building and direct-action campaigns.


For More Information:

Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Student/Farmworker Alliance

Alliance for Fair Food

Fair Foods Standards Council

Sign the Boycott Wendy’s Petition

 


Credits:

Episode Producer – Tom Broderick

Recording engineer – Bob Roman

Post production – Chelsea Anderson

Theme music – Brandon Payton-Carrillo

Blog editor – Bob Roman


 

The Emancipation of Cecily McMillan

Recorded 11.03.2016 — Chicago DSA’s Aaron Armitage interviews Cecily McMillan on her memoir. McMillan is a DSA activist who had been involved in the Wisconsin protests

Cecily McMillan
McMillan at press conference upon release from Rikers Island.

against Governor Scott Walker and in Occupy Wall Street. In an almost accidental connection with Occupy, she was arrested under dubious circumstances for assaulting a police officer, convicted, and sentenced to Rikers Island.

This interview explores the intersection of the personal and the political. In particular, McMillan describes growing up in an isolated rural Texas town, her dawning awareness of a larger world that leads to a continuing reassessment of her sense of identity. McMillan and Armitage discuss the Walker protests and Occupy Wall Street: It’s good, bad, and inadequate aspects.

In the end, many of the problems facing the poor

Cecily McMillan
McMillan at Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

and marginalized end up being regarded as personal problems. But, as McMillan notes at the end, “if it becomes personal, there is no language to deal with it.”

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More Information

The Emancipation of Cecily McMillan by Cecily McMillan

A Tale of Two Cities and Rev. Pinkney

Recorded August 25, 2016. It’s a story of racism, class, corporate power and the denial of democracy and justice. It is a story of how neoliberal policies are affecting all parts of our country. Tom Broderick interviews Robert McKay and Paul Sakol about how Reverend Edward Pinkney ran up against an obdurate and vindictive local Establishment in Benton Harbor / St. Joseph, Michigan, that has put him in jail… for possibly a long time.

Robert McKay is a member of the Central Coordinating Committee to Free Rev. Edward Pinkney and a spokesperson for the Free Reverend Pinkney Campaign.

Paul Sakol was the Executive Director of the Blue Gargoyle Social Service Agency in Hyde Park covering the south side of Chicago from 2002 to 2007. He was the Executive Director of the Lupus Foundation branch in Illinois 2009 to 2011. He is a social worker who did psychotherapy and administration for various mental health and social service agencies in Chicago and northeastern Indiana. He worked for the Federal Government in DC for 9 years early in his career for HUD and the OMB. His education includes an MBA and an MA in Social Work both from the University of Chicago. He is an LCSW in the State of Illinois.

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For More Information

Black Autonomy Network Community Organization

Justice4Pinkney

Two Towns, Two America: The Story of Rev. Edward Pinkney” by Paul Sakol

Why Is Rev. Edward Pinkney in Prison? Another Case of Political Persecution” by Jackie Miller


The Crime & Tragedy of Honduras

Recorded June 16, 2016. On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military exiled the democratically elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya. On March 2, 2016, Berta Cáceres, a leader in the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), was assassinated. The proximate cause was her leadership in the campaign to prevent the damming of the Gualcarque River, but Gualcarque dam was but a part of nationwide corporate resource extraction project that has earmarked almost 30% of the country’s land for mining concessions and the construction of hundreds of dams to power them.

In this episode of Talkin’ Socialism, Chicago DSA’s Tom Broderick is in conversation with Victoria Cervantes and Celeste Larkin about these developments in Honduras and the solidarity campaigns for human rights in Honduras and for justice for Berta Cáceres.

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Vicki Cervantes is a founding member of the Chicago based solidarity and human rights organization, La Voz de los de Abajo. La Voz de los de Abajo was created in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras. After the military coup in Honduras in June 2009, La Voz de los de Abajo helped to found the Honduras Solidarity Network (HSN). Vicki is currently the North American coordinator in North America for the HSN. She travels regularly to Honduras and spends time in the campesino and indigenous communities and with the resistance movement.

Celeste Larkin is Public Policy Coordinator Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (CRLN). CRLN is a grassroots organizing and advocacy institution in Chicago that focuses on changing U.S. interventionism and trade policy in Latin America. CRLN also works to stop deportations in Chicago and change immigration policy to make life better for immigrants.



 For More Information

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Recorded May 14, 2016. Tom Broderick interviews Ciera Walker, Congregational Organizer at the Community Renewal Society, and Rev. Christopher Griffin, an activist with the Community Renewal Society, about the Society’s proposed FAIR COPS ordinance and about their report Who Watches the Watchmen?

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Our Interviewees

Christopher Griffin

Christopher L. Griffin is a product of the Chicago Public Schools graduating from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School. He then attended Columbia College in Chicago where he studied Photography and Film. As a member of the First Baptist Congregational Church in Chicago, Illinois he received his calling into ministry in 1979 and was licensed at the age of 16. His desire to follow his calling took him to seminary where began his biblical studies at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

He was a founding member of Son Light Ministries, a youth drama ensemble comprised of youth and young adults from various churches in the Chicago area. He was also a youth supervisor in the district and state Illinois Missionary Baptist Conventions from 1981 through 1994.

He has been guest speaker on numerous occasions for a variety of social justice and religious organizations over the years such as the Older Boys & Girls Youth Conference, the Midwest Missionary Baptist Youth Conference, the Northwood River District, Illinois Missionary Baptist Convention, the International Sunday School Broadcast, the LEADERS Network and the Community Renewal Society.

Rev. Griffin has served in many areas of ministry over the years. Most recently he served as Youth Pastor of the Y-LIFE Ministry for high school aged youth (2009-2015).

In May of 2015 after 35 years of service he resigned as the Assistant Pastor of Administration at First Baptist Congregational Church (2011-2015) and joined Soul City Church on Chicago’s near west side.

Chris resides with his wife of 27 years (Angela) in East Garfield in Chicago and is currently employed by the City of Chicago where he has worked for 30 years.

They have two daughters, Angel Imani and Ashley Nyota.

Ciera Walker

Ciera Walker is the congregational organizer for the south side of Chicago and south Suburbs. Ciera is committed to serving the vulnerable, oppressed, and impoverished. As a Chicago Native, Ciera was raised on the Southside of Chicago and in her late teen she moved to Texas. Ciera studied at Lamar University and received a bachelor’s degree in social work. She continued her studies art University of Illinois at Chicago, Jane Addams College of Social Work, and received a Master’s degree in Social Work, with a concentration in community health and urban development.  By being exposed to the structural racism in Chicago and the blatant racism in the south, Ciera took a vow to stand against social and economic injustice.

Ciera is also an ordained Minister through the Church of Jesus Christ House of Prayer INC. She is married to Pastor Christopher Walker and to their union they have four children.

Episode 62 — Syria’s Great Migration

Recorded March 12, 2016. Syria’s civil war has displaced an enormous percentage of its population, either internally or to an external diaspora. DSA’s Tom Broderick interviews Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, founder and Executive Director of the Syrian Community Network, about the dimensions of the problem and about the work of the Syrian Community Network: welcoming Syrian refugees to Chicago and helping them make sense of a new culture.

Suzanne Akhras Sahloul
Suzanne Akhras Sahloul

Suzanne Akhras Sahloul is the founder and Executive Director of the Syrian Community Network, a community based refugee support network. The  Syrian Community Network based in Chicago promotes the spirit of community, family and Syrian culture. Suzanne is also the founder of the Syrian American Medical Society’s Midwest Foundation serving as its President from 2004-2006 and as SAMS National Foundation President from 2005-2007. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University. Suzanne is currently pursuing a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership at the Kellogg School of Management. Additionally, Suzanne has also served as PTA President and as a board member at her children’s school. Suzanne is married to Dr. Zaher Sahloul and they are the proud parents of three children.