Tag Archive: activism

Torture is a Moral Issue

Torture is a moral issue. This is the heading for a  quarter-page ad in June 13th’s New York Times op-ed section. It is an announcement of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture which is a non-profit group headquartered in Princeton, NJ that formed early this year. Cardinal McCarrick, Rabbi Jerome Epstein, Dr. Sayyid M. Sayeed, Dr Rick Warren and 22 other prominent religious leaders from a diverse background have endorsed the campaign’s statement against the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading tactics by our government.

In May, a month that is devoted to the Virgin Mary, Pope Benedict XVI spoke to a crowd at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love just outside Rome. He gave a recitation of the rosary and then spoke of the love of God and of Mary as a sign of that love. Pope Benedict concluded by speaking of the power of love and the current imperative for choosing love over violence in dealing with our enemies “there is a need to convert to God, to God who is Love, so that the world may be freed from war and terrorism”.

Also in May, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing Colin Powell speak. He was not most proud of his accomplishments in war, but of his accomplishments in bringing and maintaining peace. He spoke what he believes is the only way to end terrorism. It is, according to a 4-star general, through small acts of kindness that we will end the fear and the hate that feeds terrorism.

If the Pope and a 4-star general can agree to choose diplomacy over bombs and love over violence then why can’t we?

In a letter to the Senate in support of the McCain-Warner Ammendment to the Defense Authorization Act Bishop John H. Ricard, speaking on behalf of the USCCB wrote “In a time of terrorism and great fear, out individual and collective obligation to respect basic human dignity and human rights, even of our worst enemies, gains added importance.”  At a time when the Pentagon is re-writing the Army field manual to remove language that relates to the Geneva Convention and prohibitions against the use of inhumane treatment of prisoners, and detainees at Guantanamo are committing suicide because they have lost all hope this statement is very poignant.

To view NRCAT’s statement against torture go to www.nrcat.org.  Please endorse this statement and tell your legislators that your faith tells you that you must choose love because torture is a moral issue.

Wells Keddie, Labor Educator and Activist, Dies at Age 80

New York governor Al Smith was often called “The Happy Warrior,” but the man I know who was best suited to that title was Wells Keddie, a labor studies professor, stalwart union member and social activist at Rutgers University. Keddie, who died recently at the age of 80, was a fighter without rancor — there was something about his temperament that allowed him to be affable and welcoming even with his opponents. Even when he was up to his eyebrows in academic infighting and negotiations with the university (he was a bulwark of the American Association of University Professors), Keddie came across as a serene man enjoying life to the hilt.

He was also a walking encyclopedia of labor history and its lessons — lessons that have become more relevant than ever, with unions everywhere on the ropes and the Republican administration in Washington apparently intent on recreating the predatory mores of the Gilded Age. I last spoke with him about a year ago, as I was starting a round of research into a Hudson County labor war of the early 1930s, and I could hear he was suffering from a condition that left him barely able to speak. That was the unkindest cut of all for a man who was one of the championship talkers.

Bergen Grassroots Launches Bergen County’s First Antiwar Billboard Campaign


Photo by Keith Krebs

Written by Paul Eisenman

  Bergen Grassroots has posted what we believe is the first antiwar billboard sentiment in our home county, Bergen.

  We have launched this advertising campaign to underscore our commitment to continuing to pressure the Bush administration, as well as our Congressional representatives in the 5th and 9th Districts, to bring the troops home from Iraq NOW.

  With funds raised from Bergen Grassroots members, we have rented a total of four billboards over the next three months. We are profoundly grateful to all who made this first stage possible.


Rally for Marriage Equality

The NJ Supreme Court will hear arguments this Wednesday, February 15, in a historic case which 4will determine if New Jersey becomes the second state to legalize same-sex marriage. A Superior Court and Appeals court have previously upheld the state’s position that the state Constitution does not guarantee same-sex couples the right to marry.

“Honestly there’s a part of me that tries to not think about the court case because it’s tiring to keep getting your hopes up,” said Princeton Township resident Shelley Krause, who along with her partner, Terri Riendeau, are raising a son, Dominic, 4.

“If we’re really lucky, by the time he gets old enough to ask if we’re married, we’ll be able to give him an answer that won’t hurt his heart,” Krause said.

Garden State Equality had learned that right-wing activists will hold a “marriage is between a man and a woman” demonstration in front of the New Jersey Supreme Court on Wednesday morning. In an email to supporters, they ask that people come out at 8:30AM on Wednesday morning in front of the Hughes Justic Complex, 25 Market Street, Trenton:

Look, our side is at a disadvantage during weekday daytime hours. We work or have other significant responsibilities, whereas the right-wingers hate for a living and have the money to fly professional protesters in from across America.  So, dear friends, we at Garden State Equality beg you with all our hearts: If your job allows, please join us in Trenton on Wednesday, February 15, 2005 at 8:30 am.

(click here to get directions)

New Beginning for Princeton Democratic Club

Last night I was elected president of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization. It was a contested election, with the other candidate being the “establishment” candidate.  But we campaigned hard and won, 156 – 59, on a platform of activism, expansion, inclusiveness and openness. Juan Melli also got elected to the executive board.

UpdateJanuary 23, 2006 at 11:33:39 EST by jmelli Wally Edge:

A new generation offers a leader

There was a changing of the guard among liberals in Princeton last night in a race for President of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization, a group of Democrats from Princeton Borough and Princeton Township. Jenny Crumiller, a fundraiser for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign and a Democracy for America member, defeated Dick Bergman, who got his start in politics working for Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern, by 156-59 margin. Bergman, who worked as a budget analyst for the New Jersey Legislature and spent thre years working in the Carter White House, had been the handpicked candidate of Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand. With more than 350 members, the PCDO is the largest local Democratic club in Mercer County.