Success Story

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.

US mayors say: Bring the war money home

Wisconsin mayors John Dickert of Racine and Paul Soglin of Madison were among those speaking in favor of a resolution passed by the US Conference of Mayors Monday, calling for efforts to end our current wars and asking the President and Congress to "bring these war dollars home to meet vital human needs."

The last time the mayors did that was during the Vietnam war. David Swanson offers a detailed rundown on how it happened.

Mayor Soglin also described the resolution on CNN. You can view the video below.

German government announces plan to phase out nukes

Just one week after the Swiss government announced plans to phase out the use of nuclear power, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her own nuclear "exit strategy," with a plan to shut down all of Germany's nuclear plants by 2022. Merkel's shift was especially dramatic, given that she had been promoting nuclear plants as a safe "bridge" to renewable energy less than a year ago. The change comes less than a week after thousands of people across Germany took part in protests against nuclear power. The previous pro-nuclear stance taken by Merkel's Christian Democratic Party was also blamed for the party's poor showing in recent elections.

Swiss announce plan to phase out nuke plants

The Swiss Cabinet announced today a plan to completely phase out the country's use of nuclear power in favor of wind, solar and other renewables. The announcement comes days after an estimated 20,000 people took part in the biggest anti-nuclear protest in Switzerland in 25 years. The recommendation  will be debated in parliament, which is expected to make a final decision next month. If approved, Switzerland's five nuclear reactors would go offline between 2019 and 2034 after they reach their average lifespan of 50 years. Switzerland now gets about 40% of its electricity from nuclear power. Full story here...

Illinois withdraws from controversial deportation program

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has announced that the state will withdraw from Secure Communities, a controversial federal program that claimed to focus on deporting undocumented immigrants who pose a danger to the public. In fact, the program has thrown a wide net over the immigrant community, rounding up many people who have no criminal record. Governor Quinn noted that more than 30% of those caught and deported in Illinois under Secure Communities had never been convicted of a crime. Quinn's action

State Dept. backs down on visa denial for Afghan human rights activist

Thanks to a grassroots campaign on her behalf, Afghan human rights activist and former Member of Parliament Malalai Joya has now been granted a visa by the U.S. State Department, a little over a week after her visa application was initially rejected. Joya, an outspoken critic of the war in Afghanistan, was informed by State Department officials that she would not be allowed into the U.S. for an extensive speaking tour because she “lived underground” and was “unemployed,”  even though she had been granted visas 4 times over the past several years (Joya, who has spoken against the control of the Afghan government by corrupt warlords, is often forced to go into hiding in response to death threats she has received.) Although the State Department's delay caused her to miss events scheduled for New York and Washington DC, she was able to appear in Boston on March 25th in a joint appearance at Harvard with Noam Chomsky to present "The case for withdrawal from Afghanistan."

Illinois Abolishes Death Penalty

In a victory for justice that has been 20 years in the making, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law SB 3539, a bill that adds Illinois to the ranks of 15 other states that have abolished the death penalty. Quinn's predecessor, Governor George Ryan, placed all executions on hold after a series of high-profile cases in which death-row inmates were found to be innocent or the victims of police wrongdoing. Explaining his decision to commute the sentences of 15 death-row prisoners to life in prison without any chance of release, Quinn told the Chicago Sun Times that "once the decision was made to sign the law abolishing the death penalty, it should be abolished for all." The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty has set up an online form here to allow you to send a message of thanks to Governor Quinn and the bill's sponsors.

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