Reopening of the War Memorial

With a big ceremony, the restored and earthquake-proofed Veterans Building in San Francisco Civic Center was reopened Wednesday, September 16, 2015. The lively event included a great Marine band and much applause for the veterans, who attended in numbers. Mayor Ed Lee cut a giant ribbon with giant scissors, and among other things promised to end veteran homelessness in San Francisco soon. The role of the building in the signing of the UN Charter was extolled – “on this very stage” the historic event occurred on June 26, 1945.

I was reminded by a friend, Eliz Weinberg, onetime UNA SF Director, that people too often miss the significance of the signing of the UN Charter at the War Memorial Veterans Building.

The UN Charter begins with these words, “WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind…”

The War Memorial was built after WW I in memory of soldiers who died in that war, and the UN was chartered to bring an end to war. What more fitting location could be found for the signing of the Charter? Seventy years later we remember. It is up to us to prove that humanity can find the unity it needs to establish peace on earth.

2015 Sep16 War Memorial Reopening

Photo and Report by Roger Eaton

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Finalized Text of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the 169 related targets

Here it is! Ready to be adopted by the United Nations on September 27, 2015.  Keep our fingers crossed!

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/7891TRANSFORMING%20OUR%20WORLD.pdf

SDGs

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July 26, 2015 draft of the SDG resolution for passage by the UN in September

Here’s the latest version – this is an inspiring document – we will post the final draft as soon as we have it.

TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD:  THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

OUTCOME DOCUMENT FOR THE UN SUMMIT TO ADOPT THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA: DRAFT FOR ADOPTION

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Equal Pay Day in San Francisco

Notes from Nicole Rangel on the press conference at San Francisco City Hall, April 14, 2015,  for Equal Pay Day

Roger Eaton and I attended this event and it was great!

I wanted to share some notes with you on the attendees:

Cathy Corcoran, AAUW President

Cathy Corcoran, AAUW President

AAUW
SF Board of Supervisors (who voted that same day on a Resolution)
Equal Rights Advocates
Bay Area Equal Pay Coalition
US Dept of Labor
Ca Commission on the Status of Women
SF Commission on the Status of Women

and on related legislation proposals that we may want to show our support for:

SB 358 the Ca Fair Pay Act
AB 1454 the Statewide Equal Pay Ordinance

as well as the Federal Paycheck Fairness Acts which will update the Equal Pay Act from 1973.

I also learned that the “Cities for CEDAW” campaign incorporates equal pay rights which is great for SF!

Roberta Guise of AAUW

Roberta Guise of AAUW

I also wanted to share what I thought was the most maddening statistic (from Equal Rights Advocates) which is that California Latinas have the worst pay gap making only 44% of what a white man earns and not reaching their equal pay day until well into October of this year. Meaning that in October of this year, Ca Latinas paid at that rate will earn what white men in their jobs earned in 2014.

And here is a link to an article on the Press Conference published April 15 in the SF Chronicle.

(Nicole Rangel and Roger Eaton are both UNA-SF Directors.)

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A Christmas Present from the White House

Pablo CastroA Christmas Present from the White House
by Pablo Castro

The news that US President Barack Obama has announced a new beginning of diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than 50 years is a welcome Christmas present for many. For a few contrarians it comes as another mistake made by the White House; these nay-sayers frankly do not know how to react and can only find excuses, not reasons, to be opposed.

The decision to change policies between the two nations is a great sign that there is hope for peace and understanding between them. It is also an example how world leaders can make a difference and change the course of history for the betterment of the global family. There is much to be gained by this decision and much to be learned by those who fail to give an opportunity to diplomacy, understanding, optimism and hope.

Many families will now have the opportunity to reunite, share and move into the future with a much different outlook on life. The future of many is about to change. The hope for peace is now a reality.

The courage necessary to make decisions like this is remarkable when we realize how powerful opposition and negativism has seemed.  I am encouraged to rediscover that we as humans can actually change for the better. The realization that leaders can find the solutions and work out differences to bring us closer to peace is magnificent.

Could it be that other countries are in the President’s plans?  Crazy thoughts that peace is possible may be “what the doctor ordered”.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Pablo Castro,
President, UNA USA SF

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Sharing from San Francisco by Pablo Castro

Pablo Castro

Pablo Castro, President UNA-SF

From UNA San Francisco

As the world approaches another “end of the year”, I want to reflect on some of the traditions that somehow mean more than all the bad news we get.

No matter how far our love ones live nor how much snow and rain there is, nor the hours we will wait at the airport, we will try to go there and share some hugs, family arguments, football on TV, memories, great meals and walks. In some cases, the trips are sometimes the last opportunity to see the old folks and that makes it more important.

I am not fond of traditions, I should confess, but visiting parents, sisters and brothers, grandma and grandpa and the grand kids is such a great joy, that I am willing to admire the tradition of Thanksgiving.

I also seem to like Christmas, a little, not that much; I am one of those who thinks about the poor while having dinner (sorry) and I do not get to enjoy those holidays that much for that reason.  I also remembered that some long time ago, there was nothing to eat in my house on Christmas Night and I had 3 younger and hungry brothers to live with; my father had recently lost his job. On Christmas Day, there were no toys to unwrap and no cookies, no cake, no milk.

I do think that getting together and sharing is a wonderful thing though, but it does not have to be just on 2 occasions, it should be all the time.

I would like to suggest support for new global tradition that one day the whole world would share what this planet offers, including the love that humans are able to give and receive from each other, regardless of color, gender or race. We will share the food, the animals, the tools and knowledge that people created over the years. We will have no conflicts to hurt each other with, we will practice diversity and tolerance and we will exchange gifts with people from all over the world and congratulate each other for having a great year and no wars, no refugees, fresh water and clean air.

Well, I better stop here; it is wonderful to dream.
Anyway, please be well and have a great Thanksgiving Day wherever you are and who ever you are, wherever you came from and… share.

Pablo Castro

President
UNA USA SF

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Nuclear Weapons and the International Security Context, Oct 28, 2014

http://intermix.org/unasf/NuclearWeaponsandtheInternationalSecurityContextwithfinallistofendorsers.docx

The following statement was endorsed by UNA-USA San Francisco Chapter:

Nuclear Weapons and the International Security Context

Civil Society Statement to the United Nations First Committee, 28 October 2014

            At the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, states parties reaffirmed their commitment to a “diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies to minimize the risk that these weapons ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination.”[i] Nearly five years have passed; another Review Conference is in the offing. Nuclear stockpiles of civilization-destroying size persist, and progress on disarmament has stalled.[ii]

The commitment to diminish the role of nuclear weapons in security policies assumed that de-coupling nuclear weapons from conventional military forces would help facilitate elimination of nuclear arsenals. Yet there has been little progress in reducing the role of nuclear weapons. All nuclear-armed states are modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Modernization efforts include development by the leading nuclear weapons states of new nuclear-capable missiles, aircraft, and submarines that will incorporate advances in stealth and accuracy.[iii]    Publicly available information shows that nuclear weapons continue to have a central role in security policies, and in the case of the United States, the integration of conventional and nuclear forces in current war planning.[iv]  Potential adversaries of the United States see its advantage in long-range conventional forces as a rationale for retaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals.

The decoupling of nuclear from conventional military forces is further impeded by arms-racing in non-nuclear weapons of strategic significance. These include missile defenses, more accurate and powerful stand-off weapons, and concepts such as “prompt global strike” that aim to hit targets anywhere on earth with a non-nuclear payload in an hour or less. The United States has taken the lead, but many others are participating in this accelerating new arms race which is not constrained to a bi-polar confrontation.

Nuclear war will not come as a bolt from the blue.  It will come when national elites misjudge one another’s interests in a conflict on the borderlands of some nuclear-armed country, and “conventional” warfare escalates out of control.  This is all the more likely in the 21st century strategic context where stealthy, precision stand-off weapons and delivery platforms face sophisticated and increasingly capable air and missile defenses, while electronic warfare measures target sensors and data-dependent systems. These elements can interact at levels of speed and complexity that defy human comprehension, much less rational decision-making.

For more than two decades, the political and military elites of the leading nuclear-armed states have engaged in perilous double-think about their arsenals. They have assured their publics that the continued existence of nuclear weapons in civilization-destroying numbers no longer presented a real danger because the risk of war among nuclear-armed states was a feature of the Cold War, now safely past.  At the same time, they have done everything necessary to keep catastrophe-capable nuclear arsenals long into the future, as a hedge against the day when the most powerful states again might make war with one another.

Today we see a new round of confrontations among nuclear-armed states, in economic and political circumstances that bear worrisome resemblances to those that brought about the devastating wars of the 20th century. Amidst one crisis after another from Ukraine to the Western Pacific, the world’s most powerful militaries brandish their nuclear arms, while claiming that “routine” exercises with weapons of mass destruction pose no danger, could never be misconstrued or get out of hand.

To those who view the world from the heights of power and privilege in nuclear-armed states, all this only gives further reason to hold on to the weapons they have, and to develop more. For the vast majority of humanity, struggling just to get by in a world of immensely stratified wealth and power, it means a return to madness, to a world where at any moment the people can be annihilated to preserve the state.  The lack of urgency on disarmament in the ruling circles of the most powerful states should shock the conscience of every person who still has one.

The growing risks of great power war and use of nuclear weapons make the abolition of nuclear weapons all the more imperative. It is far more likely to succeed if linked to economic equity, democracy, climate and environmental protection, and dismantlement of highly militarized security postures. For our part, Abolition 2000 members and partner groups are organizing a large-scale civil society conference, march and rally on these themes on the eve of the 2015 NPT Review Conference, the presentation of millions of signatures calling for the total ban and elimination of nuclear weapons, and local actions around the world.[v]

— Statement coordinated by Western States Legal Foundation, Oakland, California, USA, a member of the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons. Endorsed by 100 international, national, regional and local civil society organizations in 11 countries (plus 8 individuals for organizational identification only).

Statement endorsed by:
Action AWE, London, United Kingdom

Arab Human Security Network, Damascus, Syria

Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility, USA

Ban All Nukes generation (BANg, international)

Basel Peace Office, Basel, Switzerland

Beacon Presbyterian Fellowship, Oakland, California, USA

Beyond Nuclear, Takoma Park, Maryland, USA

Brooklyn for Peace, New York City, New York, USA

Campaign for Nuclear DisarMament, United Kingdom

Christians For The Mountains, Dunmore, West Virginia, USA

Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP), India

CODEPINK, USA

Code Pink Golden Gate Chapter (Bay Area Code Pink), California, USA

Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Crabshell Alliance, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Democratic World Federalists (international)

Earth Action (international)

Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC (Clergy and Laity Concerned), Berkeley, California, USA

Fairmont, MN Peace Group, Fairmont, Minnesota, USA

Fellowship of Reconciliation, USA

Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation, Washington, USA

Friends Committee on National Legislation, USA

Fukushima Response Bay Area, northern California, USA

German chapter, International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, Berlin, Germany

Green Shadow Cabinet, USA

International Network of Engineers and Scientists (INES)

INND (Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders), Seattle, Washington, USA

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)

International Peace Bureau

Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo), Japan

Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, Missoula, Montana, USA

Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, New York City, New York, USA

Le Mouvement de la Paix, France

LEPOCO Peace Center, Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,   USA

Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, Garden City, New York, USA

Los Altos Voices for Peace, Los Altos, California, USA

Metta Center for Nonviolence, Petaluma, California, USA

MLK (Martin Luther King) Coalition of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA

Montrose Peace Vigil, Montrose, California, USA

Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, Walnut Creek, California, USA

Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice, Palo Alto, California, USA

Nafsi Ya Jamii community center, Oakland, California, USA

Nevada Desert Experience, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

No Nukes Action Committee, northern California, USA/Japan

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Santa Barbara, California, USA

Silicon Valley Chapter, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Menlo Park, California, USA

Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Takoma Park, Maryland, USA

Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Nukewatch, Luck, Wisconsin, USA

Oakland CAN (Community Action Network), Oakland, California, USA

Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA

Office of the Americas, Santa Monica, California, USA

Oregon PeaceWorks, Salem, Oregon, USA

Our Developing World, Saratoga, California, USA

Pacem in Terris, Wilmington, Delaware, USA

Pax Christi International

Pax Christi USA

Pax Christi Long Island, New York, USA

Pax Christi Metro New York, New York City, USA

Peace Action, USA

Peace Action West, California, USA

Peace Action Staten Island, Staten Island, New York, USA

Peace Boat, Japan/international

Peace Foundation, New Zealand

Peaceworkers, San Francisco, California, USA

People for Nuclear Disarmament, Australia

Physicians for Social Responsibility, USA

Physicians for Social Responsibility – Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility, California, USA

Popular Resistance, USA

Prague Vision Institute for Sustainable Security, Prague, Czech Republic

Proposition One Campaign, Tryon, North Carolina, USA

Rachel Carson Council, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Reach and Teach, San Mateo, California, USA

Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, Boulder, Colorado, USA

RootsAction.org, USA

Scientists for Peace, Germany

Sisters of Charity Federation, North America

Sisters of Charity of New York, New York City, New York, USA

Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
Swedish Peace Council. Sweden

The Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy,

The Colorado Coalition for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Denver, Colorado, USA

The Ecological Options Network, EON, Bolinas, California, USA

The Human Survival Project, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

The Nuclear Resister, USA

The Peace Farm, Amarillo, Texas, USA

The United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society (international)

Topanga Peace Alliance. California, USA

Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment), Livermore, California, USA

2020 Action, USA

United for Peace and Justice, USA

United Nations Association, San Francisco, California, USA

US Peace Council, USA

Veterans for Peace, USA

War Prevention Initiative, Portland, Oregon, USA

WarIsACrime.org, USA

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – US Section (WILPF US)

World Future Council (international)

World Peace Now, Point Arena, California, USA

Dr. Joseph Gerson, American Friends Service Committee, USA*

Stephen McNeil, American Friends Service Committee, Wage Peace program, San Francisco,  California, USA*

Aaron Tovish, International Campaign Director, Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign*

David McReynolds, former Chair, War Resisters International*

Rev. Marilyn Chilcote, Parish Associate St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, California, USA*

Sarah H. Lorya, MA, School Outreach Coordinator,

AFS-USA, Inc.*

Don Eichelberger, Abalone Alliance Safe Energy Clearinghouse, San Francisco, California, USA*

Libbe HaLevy, Nuclear Hotseat Podcast, USA*

*for purposes of identification only



[i] 2000 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Final Document, Volume I, NPT/CONF.2000/28 (Parts I and II), p.15; reaffirmed by 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Final Document, Volume I, p.19.

[ii]  See Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Worldwide deployments of nuclear weapons, 2014,”Bulletin of Atomic Scientists online, 2014.

[iii] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Slowing Nuclear Weapon Reductions and Endless Nuclear Weapon Modernizations: A Challenge to the NPT,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 2014 No.70 p.94.

[iv] Nuclear weapons continue to be a core element of NATO’s strategic concept, with the nuclear arsenals of the United States, France, and the United Kingdom considered to be the “supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies.” Active Engagement, Modern Defence : “Strategic Concept For the Defence and Security of The Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation,” Adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon, 19th November 2010. The 2014 Master Plan of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command, responsible for the missile and bomber elements of U.S. nuclear forces, states that “AFGSC [Air Force Global Strike Command] will maintain and improve its ability to employ nuclear weapons in a range of scenarios, to include integration with conventional operations….” U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command, Strategic Master Plan 2014, p.9. Russia’s most recent publicly available military doctrine document states that “ [t]he Russian Federation reserves the right to utilize nuclear weapons in response to the utilization of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, and also in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation involving the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is under threat.” http://carnegieendowment.org/files/2010russia_military_doctrine.pdf

[v] Call to Action: Spring 2015 Mobilization for a nuclear free, fair, democratic, ecologically sustainable and peaceful future was released on 26 September, 2014, the first International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. http://www.abolition2000.org/?p=3546

 

 

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Autumn Lights Festival at the Lake Merritt Gardens

Photo of Art Committee Chair Keiko Nelson’s bamboo and bamboo chopstick sculpture with LED light. The event was successful with over 1,500 people attending. Over 4000 bamboo chopsticks were donated for the sculpture.

2014 Lake Merrit Autumn Lights

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On Violence Against Women by UNA-SF President Pablo Castro

Pablo Castro, UNA-SF President

Pablo Castro, UNA-SF President

You have probably heard the latest on the major networks regarding domestic violence by several NFL players. CNN, CBS, CSPAN and others are dedicating hours of their programming to discuss the latest video taken of a football player punching his fiancé in the face in an elevator, and then dragging her unconscious body into the hall. By the way, they are now married.

All of a sudden, additional stories came to light of other players who do and have practiced other types of domestic violence. We are now hearing the apologies, the blaming of their own parents and a discussion about the need for therapy for many players who make their living from a violent profitable game, a known breeding ground for domestic abuse. I find it interesting that many football players are considered celebrities, heroes and role models for youth. It is also interesting to learn that only a few weeks later, these same players are allowed to come back to the sport and play where they will again be admired and cheered by the stadium fans.

Sorry, I digress from my point which is that I am very disappointed that women’s rights advocates are somewhat silent in the media and this gives the impression that women are remaining quiet and allowing men to deal with this issue at hand as they see fit; the issue of violence against women. Some suggest that it is time that men begin dealing with this issue, but I challenge that notion.  I believe that the men in these cases who have spoken out against this player behavior have only done so because the players got caught and not because they intend to stop the violence.

It is clear that the league team owners are not concerned about women’s rights; if so they would have taken prudent steps long ago. The history of violence against women by professional league players is very long and the leagues have done little to address this problem effectively. The recent press statements made by league management are clearly driven by protecting their million dollar salaries. Violence against women is prevalent in many professional league sports including football, basketball and soccer to name a few. It stretches the boundaries across all professions and walks of life; Plumbers, engineers, contractors, soldiers, students, the rich and the poor. Violence against women has no boundaries.

I believe that now is the opportune time for women’s rights organizations to speak out against this explosion of media interest in a few high profile players. Where are the statistics on domestic violence? Where are the accountabilities being enforced and how? Where is the network coverage of the work done by CEDAW? I urge these organizations to act now by launching peaceful demonstrations and campaigns to generate greater awareness and advocacy initiatives on this issue. It is prudent to express outrage against the media sensationalism of high profile scandals that target improved ratings rather than education on this important issue.

I call on all women to write to our senators who have failed to ratify CEDAW and explain how they feel about a professional league football player punching a woman’s face in an elevator…in the United States…in 2014.

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UNA-SF Women’s Committee Chair Keynotes at Church Women United

Bronwyn Galloway addresses CWU
On Aug 2, 2014, Bronwyn Galloway had the keynote spot at Church Women United meeting.  She used the occasion to discuss UN Women and CEDAW, ending her speech by calling for building a bridge between the genders:

“So let’s keep in mind the goddess within in us as we work individually and together to build, or rebuild, the bridge between women and men that women arguably did not burn in the first place. Goddess bless us as bridge builders!”

Read the entire speech here.

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