Success Story

Thanks for a wonderful assembly and awards reception!

Many thanks to all who joined us in La Crosse on Saturday for WNPJ's member assembly and 13th annual awards reception, with special thanks to our host Tracy Littlejohn and the Hmong Cultural and Community Center!

Our awardees included (from left to right in the picture) Peacemaker of the Year - Adult Babette Grunow, Lifetime Achievement Award winner Al Gedicks, Peacemaker of the Year - Senior Pat Popple, and Peacemaker of the Year - Youth Key Jackson.  (Not pictured is our Dennis Bergren LGBTQ Advocacy Award winner Sharon Whitney, who was unable to attend.)

To see more pictures from the day, click here.

Successes for the Wisconsin River and Vermont

Last week, the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board voted 6 to 2 against a frac sand mine proposed next to the Wisconsin River, near the Iowa border.

Those who spoke at the Board's meeting were overwhelmingly opposed to the mine, as were the Board members themselves.

"The members felt that visual intrusions from potential dust and lighting would cause the activity to become visible from the river," explained the Board's director.

In other good environmental news, Entergy announced it would close its Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor at the end of 2014.  The nuclear company said the reactor was "no longer financially viable."

Wisconsin's Kewaunee nuclear reactor was shut down in May, also due to economic factors.

Victory for Iraqi labor rights!

"Anyone who doubts whether international labor solidarity makes a difference should speak to Hassan Juma'a Awad, President of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU)," reports US Labor Against the War.

"Months after the Ministry of Oil lodged a criminal complaint against Brother Juma'a and after seven or more postponements, his case was finally heard by a Basra count. ... In 30 minutes the court decided to drop the charges. The company lawyer and the prosecutor repeated the accusations against Hassan but could produce no evidence that the Iraqi economy suffered any damage as a consequence of strikes by oil workers over broken promises, unsafe working conditions and lack of respect for their rights."

The Federation of Oil Unions in Iraq stated, "This is an accomplished victory for supporters of freedom of trade union work and supporters of the freedom to work and assemble in Iraq and all over the world, and is the best proof that international and domestic solidarity is capable of reestablishing free and legal trade union work."

WNPJ was one of 164 organizations from around the world that signed onto a statement in support of Hassan and labor rights in Iraq.

Illinois communities block for-profit immigration detention center

On July 3, the city of Joliet, Illinois announced that the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is withdrawing its plans to build a for-profit immigration detention center in that city.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights applauded the news as "a victory for the many local residents of Joliet and surrounding communities who took strong leadership to oppose the for-profit jail.  The Concerned Citizens of Joliet made their voices heard at city council meetings, educated their neighbors, built alliances, and registered and turned out voters in the April elections.  These efforts crossed ethnic and racial lines and showed that Joliet’s diverse communities will unite against the common enemy of mass incarceration devastating their neighborhoods."

Twelve true patriots - including Joy First of WI!

"Who are the true patriots of today?  Not the flag-wrapped politicians who send other people’s children off to be killed or disabled in wars to make the world safe for big businesses," writes Bill Quigley, before suggesting 12 people we should celebrate on Independence Day.

One of Quigley's "true patriots" is Joy First of Mt. Horeb, who's active with WNPJ member groups Pledge of Resistance and WI Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars.  Quigley lauds Joy as a "Wisconsin grandmother of five who has been arrested over 30 times for protesting against the Iraq invasion, the war in Afghanistan, the US drone assassinations."

Congrats, Joy (with Cindy Sheehan in photo), and happy Inter-dependence Day, all!

Contaminated Badger soil will be removed

Thanks to decades of informed advocacy by Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) and others, the WI Department of Natural Resources is supporting the most thorough clean-up option for contaminated soil at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant near Baraboo.

"Keeping in mind the future use of the site as the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area, this cleanup is protective of human health for even the most sensitive populations," a DNR official told the Wisconsin State Journal.

The DNR will hold a public open house on June 26 at 6 p.m. at the Ruth Culver Library, 540 Water St., Prairie du Sac.  "We are taking the extra step of holding this open house because of the widespread interest and the long history of public involvement in the Badger cleanup effort," explained the DNR's regional director.

Mukwonago schools to change race-based logo

"Wisconsin's Supreme Court has denied an appeal from two Mukwonago residents who challenged the process by which the state ordered the town's school district to drop its" race-based team name and logo, reports the Milwaukee Journel Sentinel.

The Court's decision means that the state Appeals Court's ruling, in favor of the change, stands.

The school's race-based team name and logo was examined, following a community complaint made under Act 250, a law passed after decades of advocacy by the Wisconsin Indian Education Association, students, civil liberties and anti-racism groups, among others, and supported by WNPJ.

Illinois becomes 14th state to back overturning Citizens United

The Illinois General Assembly passed a resolution "call[ing] upon the United States Congress to propose and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, Speech Now.org v. FEC, Buckley v. Valeo and other related cases that allow for unlimited election spending."

Illinois is the 14th state to support overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, which found that unlimited and undisclosed corporate spending on elections was protected by the First Amendment.  Nearly 500 local municipalities across the country have passed similar resolutions.

If you think Wisconsin should follow our southern neighbor's example, click here to sign a petition calling for a statewide advisory referendum on Citizens United.

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