Early Summer 2020 Newsletter
- President’s Message: We’re Still Here!
- Solidarity Statement from the UNA of Greater Milwaukee: We Say Black Lives Matter!
- Peacekeeping Amid a Pandemic: How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Intensifying Tensions in the Middle East
- Register, Vote and Followup!
- A Tribute in Remembrance of Two Dynamic Milwaukee Women Leader
- Information About the United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee
President’s Message: We’re still here!
We’ve missed you. We had a strong spring schedule of public events through mid-March, but then had to cancel our annual spring luncheon and every other public activity because of the coronavirus. We also put our newsletter on hold, until now.
Our board has stayed healthy and active and we hope that’s true for all of you members and supporters.
Adapting to political work in times of virus, the chapter has had several virtual activities lately and is planning something for every month of fall, although not necessarily in-person.
Please hold this date: September 12, Saturday morning.
Our national office has organized a variety of programs and our chapter has participated in the national consultation to guide the UN, the national UNA Annual Meeting, and the national week of action. We’ve had several Zoom meetings with congressional staff about peace issues and the World Health Organization. We sent out a news release about support for the WHO.
We have found various ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement, such as writing our own solidarity statement (below), marching, forwarding statements from our national office and signing on with a broad coalition to demands put forward by the African-American Roundtable.
Although it seems like ages ago, February 8th was our chapter’s Annual Meeting. We now have a board of 14 energetic and diverse people dedicated to furthering the UN and its goals.
The officers are, yours truly continuing as president, Elodie Ontala as VP, Annette Robertson as treasurer, and Martha Collins as secretary. Martha is a new addition to the board along with Zayna Tubeishat, and Abraham Harrison Lincoln Larkoh.
You can see the whole board list with bios of the new members and a review of our many 2019 activities on our updated website at http://unamilwaukee.weebly.com/
As always, we invite you to join the chapter and our efforts. It’s easy and inexpensive to join on-line at https://unausa.org/join/membership/
Please don’t forget to check the box for affiliation with the Milwaukee chapter. The UNA-GM Chapter, and the UN, need you now more than ever.
Solidarity Statement from the UNA of Greater Milwaukee: We say Black Lives Matter!
The Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world,”
The United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee stands in solidarity with those who continue the struggle for equal rights and against racism in the U.S. and around the world. We say Black Lives Matter!
We strive to uphold the fundamentals of the United Nations, which was forged in the shadow of bigotry, strife and genocide of war. We call for the U.S. to adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other UN treaties protecting the rights of all people.
As our communities across the country continue to demand racial justice, we support their right to protest under the democratic principles of the UN and the Constitution of the U.S. The attacks with tear gas, rubber bullets, acts of violence, and the arrests of peaceful protesters must cease. Arrests and citations with costly tickets are meant to stifle dissent.
We decry the racist murders of unarmed persons including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Joel Acevedo here in Milwaukee. We are disturbed by a resurgence of Black men found hanged under suspicious circumstances that may be lynchings. We ask Congress to pass the anti-lynching legislation that has been introduced this year.
We call for a restructuring and reallocation of funding of the criminal justice system. An extremely disproportionate number of black and brown people have been victims of police violence and exploitation by the bail system, fines, legal proceedings, and imprisonment.
Involuntary servitude is still practiced in the U.S. prison system. This must be abolished. We support efforts in Wisconsin to remove this from our state constitution.
We reaffirm our commitment to upholding the founding principles of the United Nations and our members will continue to challenge racism and all forms of discrimination, to change the system of white privilege, and to hold police and governmental institutions accountable.
Peacekeeping Amid a Pandemic: How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Intensifying Tensions in the Middle East
Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East have become even more challenging. Countries that have been struggling prior to COVID-19 are now on the brink of economic collapse and experiencing historic humanitarian crises.
With countries like Lebanon nearing bankruptcy and Yemen suffering from what has been named the “world’s largest humanitarian crisis,” the Middle East is experiencing a pandemic upon a pandemic. Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres has stated that “ending the war is the only solution” for the doubly horrific reality Yemen is currently confronting.
With Israel's annexation plan nearing fruition and extreme levels of poverty and desperation facing the vulnerable populations in the neighboring states, the coronavirus pandemic seems to have become a catalyst for more, not less, war. Deteriorating health in the region could increase the potential for political instability.
King Abdullah of Jordan has warned of a “massive conflict” with Israel if it follows through with the now infamous Trump-supported annexation plan. UN experts warn that following through with the plan “would violate a cornerstone principle of international law and must be meaningfully opposed by the international community.”
REGISTER, VOTE AND FOLLOW-UP
MyVote Wisconsin, a service of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, provides access to the following voter-related information:
The Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) Summer Youth Voter Registration Team Needs Your Help
WAVE Educational Fund's "Youth Voter Registration Team" is looking for voter registration outreach opportunities in the community. Please let them know of any contact suggestions or ideas for virtual voter registration. You may send ideas to Kristina Paris at kp@WaveEdFund.org
WAVE’s voter registration link is available at https://wave.votewisconsin.com/
Lobbying Meetings with Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Gwen Moore
UNA-GM Board Members held virtual meetings in June with staff members from the offices of Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Moore to lobby on issues related to the work of the United Nations.
A Tribute in REMEMBRANCE OF TWO Dynamic MILWAUKEE WOMEN LEADERS
by Gary Shellman (Past President & Current UNA-GM Board Member)
When I was a staff writer at the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern during the early 1980s, I received a call from Prof. Ken Grieb, director of international studies at UW-Oshkosh, coach of the school's national award-winning Model UN team and historian of Latin America. Ken asked me to come to campus and do a story about his most interesting and outstanding student: Kate Marrs.
Kate was a Fond du Lac mother of a flock of daughters, whose husband was suffering from terminal cancer. Ken wanted to share her remarkable academic achievements with the community. I interviewed Kate and the paper ran the story. This was how I met this incredible woman.
Shortly after I joined UWM's Institute of World Affairs, I encountered Kate, now a widow, on campus where she was working as a program assistant in one of the departments. Kate was heavily involved with Susan McGovern, who was the skilled manager of the Wisconsin High School Model UN.
Kate was the longtime liaison between the UNA of Greater Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Governor's Commission on the UN. Kate served on the Commission for Governors Lee Dreyfus, Tony Earl, Martin Schreiber, Pat Lucey, Tommy Thompson, Scott McCallum, and Jim Doyle. [The Commission was abolished under Gov. Walker.]
Kate was active in the UNA-GM chapter and the Unitarian Church as a peace and social justice advocate during her entire time in Milwaukee.
I am so glad we managed to make Kate one of our UNA of Greater Milwaukee Global Citizen honorees two years ago. She was a dynamo, full of love and charm, and ready to speak out for peace and social justice.
by Jack Murtaugh (UNA-GM Board Member)
Nancy Artinian Theoharis died on Saturday, June 6th, 2020 in Syracuse, New York where she had lived with her son, George, for the past three years. A committed Presbyterian and interfaith activist, she was a lifelong fighter for peace and equality from ensuring the rights and health of children with UNICEF, to land and freedom for Palestine, to a more racially just Milwaukee and the United States.
She embodied the vision and goals of the United Nations in all aspects of her life. She served on the Millennium Development Goals committee of the United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee. Her creative spirit and compassion permeated every organization and person that she touched. Her spirit of resistance joins the ancestors at a time when this country and the world cry out for justice.
In 1984, she co-chaired The Concert for a Peaceful World, presented by the Musicians Against Nuclear Arms at the Performing Arts Center under the direction of Conductor Lucas Foss and Chorus Director Margaret Hawkins.
Nancy's commitment to the well-being of children was demonstrated through chairing the Milwaukee Office of UNICEF, involvement in the Peace Learning Center, and fund-raising leadership for the Milwaukee Campaign to Ban Landmines in a section of Cambodia. Perhaps you bought educational or fun materials for children from Nancy at the old UNICEF store on West Vliet St.
As an active Presbyterian, she served on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Conference. She chaired its Peace and International Issues Committee that has sponsored a successful "Tuesdays in March" luncheon series on global and domestic social issues. She was honored with the Conference's Frank Zeidler Award for her long-standing commitment to Peace and Justice.
Information about the United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee
The UNA of Greater Milwaukee has usually held monthly, in-person forums that featured a presentation and discussion on a specific topic relevant to the work of the United Nations.
The monthly in-person meetings of the UNA of Greater Milwaukee have been cancelled until further notice in order to assure the health and safety for all members and participants during the coronavirus pandemic.
A Zoom meeting of the UNA-GM will be held in September.
Details will be provided in the next newsletter and our website.
The UNA of Greater Milwaukee would love to hear from you. You can communicate with the UNA of Greater Milwaukee at http://unamilwaukee.weebly.com/contact.html