Bringing down the Confederate flag

Over the weekend, a young freedom fighter and community organizer mounted an awe-inspiring campaign to bring down the Confederate battle flag. Brittany “Bree” Newsome, in a courageous act of civil disobedience, scaled a metal pole using a climbing harness, to remove the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol. Her long dread locks danced in the wind as she descended to the ground while quoting scripture. She refused law enforcement commands to end her mission and was immediately arrested along with ally James Ian Tyson, who is also from Charlotte, North Carolina.

VFP solidarity

Photo and story by Ellen Davidson

VFP Members Make Solidarity
Visit to Black Church

Three members of Veterans For Peace went to services at the mostly African-American New Progressive Baptist Church in Kingston, N.Y., June 21 to express sympathy and solidarity in the wake of the racist shootings at the  Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., June 17.

Woodstock, N.Y., VFP President Jay Wenk presented flowers and a card with VFP's statement on the killings to "NewPro" pastor Rev. Dr. G. Modele Clarke, who said, "You have no idea how moving that is." As Jay noted that the bouquet was in sympathy for the massacre, a member of the congregation asked, "The one in South Carolina?" Jay's response, "All of them," was met with shouts of approval.

Rev. Clarke's call to worship that morning stressed turning anger at the killings at "Mother Emanuel" into concrete action, saying "Talk is cheap … [you have to] put some feet on the talk, some feet on the faith." When he asked the congregation if they were familiar with the contoversy about the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina statehouse, Rita Worthington spoke from the pews, saying "I understand why it is a flag of legacy for some, but for us it is a legacy of hate … a legacy of white supremacy."

The VFP members got an ethusiastic welcome from the regular church-goers, who urged them to come back any time. "Your message about the importance of action really resonated with us," VFP National Board member Tarak Kauff told Rev Clarke, who uses his post to promote social justice, in particular prison outreach and street ministry.

Stand With Charleston Solidarity Action

Thursday, June 25
at 6:30 pm

A vigil to commemorate the nine Black people killed in a horrific act of white supremacist terror at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Corner of Market and Main St., Poughkeepsie

Congratulations to Kingston ENJAN (End the New Jim Crow Action Network) and our friends and allies. The Juneteenth Committee would like to give special thanks to Colia Clark, our speaker, to New Progressive Baptist Church, Reverend G. Modele Clarke, the New Pro Choir members of the church congregation, the Woodstock Jewish Congregation Task Force to End the New Jim Crow, the LGB TQ Task Force to Undo Institutional Racism and Mass Incarceration, Undoing Racism, Citizen Action, Center 4 Creative Education, Poughkeepsie ENJAN and the family Of Shane Watson. Thank you to the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas (including NYC and Albany) for attending and making our Juneteenth celebration a true community event! Also we thank Jim Peppler for his outstanding photos 

To see photos go to http:

Rally for a wage that meets basic needs!

Thu, June 18 at 9:30 AM
733 Main St, Poughkeepsie (in front of McDonalds)

Join us at the Main St McDonalds in Poughkeepsie as fast food workers and their allies call upon the Wage Board to raise the minimum wage of fast food workers to $15/hour. The press conference will begin at 9:30am.

Due to the state senate's inaction following years of organizing and mobilization by fast food workers and their allies, Governor Cuomo has established a three-person wage board to examine the wages of fast food workers across the state, which will hold a public hearing in Albany on June 22nd.

This is a critical moment for fast food workers and low-wage workers across the state. Gov. Cuomo has only put together this wage board because of the actions that workers and community groups have taken to demand a higher minimum wage - so we need to keep the pressure on.

Community members in Poughkeepsie who care about this issue will come together at the Main St McDonalds in Poughkeepsie to call on the Wage Board to do the right thing by raising the wage to $15. We will also call on our State Senator Sue Serino to do the same by supporting legislation to raise the minimum wage. Together, we will rally and gear up to go to the public hearing of the Wage Board on June 22nd in Albany, NY.