2012 Annual Report

The support of our members and the Long Island peace community has sustained our work to end war, to reorder national priorities and to shift spending toward creating jobs and meeting the needs of our communities. With our peace partners, we have endeavored to address the challenges of militarism, poverty and racism – the triplets of evil – and to continue the work of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Alliance’s commitment to engage the next generation in dialogue and action in shaping America’s role in the world and in creating a more peaceful world is strong.  Etana Jacobi, a Hofstra graduate and Democracy Fellow at CCE, and now our new Assistant Director, with Program Assistant, Kayla Rivara, represent the future of our peacework on Long Island. In addition, we are a community partner of Hofstra’s Center for Civic Engagement and have had the privilege of working with interns who have provided insight and creativity about how we make the issues of war and peace relevant to a generation who has grown up in a time of war with little or no apparent effect on their lives.

Our plan in 2013, with Etana, Kayla and others, is to engage students in a sustained dialogue about war and peace, about the future of the planet, about the world they envision. The Alliance will support their efforts on campus and elsewhere. We are inspired by the level of activism of so many young people – on drones, on victims of war, on meeting the needs of their neighbors – and how they have responded to the aftermath of the recent hurricane with work and assistance.

In 2012, the Alliance has continued to involve Long Islanders in building the world we wish to see – and to save future generations from the scourge of war. We have educated students and community members about the costs and consequences of war – lives lost – the erosion of civil liberties – the use of torture and rendition – the violations of international law with the use of drones – and have called for a U.S. foreign policy based on the rule of law, international cooperation and protection of human rights.

Spring programs at Hofstra University and at the Shelter Rock Forum, co-sponsored by the Alliance, included: a panel on Occupy Wall Street; Trita Parsi on Iran; Chris Hellman on National Priorities and the Budget; Phyllis Bennis on the U.S. in the Middle East; and Medea Benjamin on drones. In August at UUCSR, with Great Neck SANE/Peace Action, we solemnly marked the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Many of these spring and fall programs are broadcast on cable television.

The 2012 Elections provided an opportunity to raise critical questions for candidates about US foreign policy – on accelerating withdrawal from Afghanistan, on preventing a war with Iran, on initiating a global conference for a nuclear free world, on cutting military spending and on tstopping he use of drones. With the STOPWAR working group, which meets to plan actions and programs, we produced a Voters Education Guide that was sent to congressional candidates. About 1,000 were distributed in districts as part of our peace education campaign.

In September, Jeremy Scahill spoke at Hofstra about his visits to Afghanistan and the killing of civilians, mostly women and children, by the use of drones by the CIA and the military. The annual Gandhi program on Peace and Nonviolence on October 3, sponsored the Center for Civic Engagement (CEC) and the LI Alliance, brought Cornell West to speak on poverty and the election. The event was attended by over 1000 students and community members and engaged them in a thoughtful and substantive dialogue which was unique in so many ways.

An Alliance peace vigil and speakout brought student and LI community voices to the Presidential Debate at Hofstra on October 16. It was covered by News 12, Newsday, LI Press, WRHU and other media. With CCE, the LI Alliance organized a Community Forum and Debate Watch which was broadcast live by Democracy Now with Amy Goodman. The community panel included: Sister Jeanne Clark, Pax Christi LI; Charlene Obenauer, Jobs with Justice; Sergio Argueta, STRONG; Nadia Marin Molina, National Day Laborer Organizing Network; Frederick K. Brewington, Civil Rights Attorney; Jeannine Maynard, Greater Uniondale Area Action Coalition; Professor Carolyn Eisenberg, Hofstra University; Margaret Melkonian, Kayla Rivara and Etana Jacobi, LI Alliance; Mario Murillo and Gregory Maney, Co-Directors of CEC. About 300 high school and college students, community members and activists watched the debate and participated in  speak-out and wrap-up sessions.

Moving forward, the LI Alliance will build on its collaboration with peace, religious, labor, immigrant and social justice groups. We will nurture and provide space for the energy and ideas of young people.

The LI Alliance relies on the support of our members, our colleagues, Hofstra University, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, the Center for Civic Engagement and our peace community partners. We are grateful for your persistent pursuit of peace.

Margaret Melkonian, Executive Director

Andrea Libresco, President

December 8, 2012