Success Story

Lisa Fernandez receives the 2011 'Global Citizen" award

The UNA-USA Dane County member group met this weekend in Madison to celebrate UN Day with the annual luncheon. For the 4th year, a Dane County resident was chosen to receive the Global Citizen Award for international justice work. This year's recipient is Lisa Fernandez, RN - who leads the Wisconsin-Nicaraugua Wheelchair Project (WNWP).  Lisa is a member of WNPJ - as were the past three recipients of this award; Mike Boehm, Winds of Peace in Vietnam; Jennifer Loewenstein, Madison Rafah Sister City Project; and Norma Berkowitz of FOCCUS. To learn more about this group, contact Todd Kummer at finchcrk@tds.net

Obama promises all troops out of Iraq by Christmas

U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of this year, as required under a 2008 agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments. The Obama administration made repeated efforts to win approval for keeping some U.S. forces in Iraq after the Dec. 31st 2011 deadline, but the refusal by the Iraqi government to grant legal immunity to U.S. troops eventually doomed any such agreement, and forced the U.S. to hold to the earlier withdrawal timetable.

Dayton, Ohio welcomes immigrants to grow local economy

Faced with a declining population, the City Commission of Dayton Ohio voted unanimously last week to adopt a plan to "Create an inclusive community-wide campaign around immigrant entrepreneurship that facilitates startup businesses, opens global markets and restores life to Dayton neighborhoods." The Welcome Dayton Plan (.pdf) hopes to attract immigrants as a way to grow the local economy, based on nation-wide studies that show immigrants create new businesses and complement the American workforce. Read more...

2011 WNPJ Fall Assembly & Awards Celebration Highlights

On Saturday, October 8th, Senator Fred Risser was presented a "Lifetime Peacemaker" award by the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice. "From sponsoring one of the first lesbian and gay rights bills in the country back in 1982, to taking a stand for workers' rights as one of the 'Fighting 14' earlier this year, Senator Risser has long fought the good fight," said Diane Farsetta, WNPJ Executive Director.

CSWAB gains better soil testing for explosives

In response to a campaign by WNPJ member group Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger, Wisconsin State regulators have ordered the U.S. Army to improve soil test methods for a carcinogenic explosive that has contaminated groundwater and drinking water wells in rural communities near Badger Army Ammunition Plant.   The precedent-setting decision by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) is expected to prompt similar requirements at other military bases where dinitrotoluene (DNT) contamination has been found.

Menominee School District drops race-based nickname

Athletic teams at the Menomonie School District in Dunn County will be changing their nickname from "Indians" to "Mustangs," in response to complaints received about the districts use of race-based logos and mascots. School Board President Colleen Davis told Wisconsin Public Radio that, "We knew a complaint was going to come, it was imminent. We had gotten several phone calls saying if the board did not respond in the near future they would just go ahead and file a complaint with the state." Under Act 250, a state law enacted last year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is required to review any school district's use of race-based logos or mascots if a complaint is received from a resident of the district. Several Wisconsin school districts have changed their team nicknames since the passage of the law, including the Osseo Fairchild School District, which dropped its "Chieftains" nickname in June after being ordered to do by the DPI.

Mayors for Peace reaches 5000 member cities

With the addition of 19 new member cities on September 16th, Mayors for Peace reached 5003 member cities, becoming the largest international, direct-membership association of local governments in the world. Mayors for Peace member cities are located in 151 Countries and 188 U.S. Cities, including Wisconsin members LaCrosse, Madison, Milwaukee and Waukesha.  Since 2003, thousands of cities have been inspired to join Mayors for Peace in support of its ‘2020 Vision’ of a world free of nuclear weapons by the year 2020. The total number of citizens represented worldwide by Mayors for Peace is approaching one billion.

Boston Mayor Threatens to Withdraw from ICE’s Secure Communities Program

Boston Mayor Menino is calling for a change or the end of the deeply flawed Secure Communities program that's deported nationally 61,234 immigrants with no prior criminal record.

Secure Communities shares the fingerprints of individuals booked into jails with federal immigration databases.  It severely hinders local law enforcement’s ability to protect the public, because those fingerprinted for suspicion of minor crimes may eventually face deportation.  The program is supposed to only deport those guilty of serious crimes, but nationally 47% of those deported were low-level offenders and 28% had no criminal record.  Many cities and states, including New York, Illinois, Colorado, DC, and parts of California, have threatened to drop the program.  On July 11, Boston Mayor Menino announced that he too had serious doubts about the program.

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