by Steve Watrous
I spoke at the Peace Billboard rally on August 16 by focusing on statements from leaders of the UN and its World Food Program [WFP]. I think you’ll find their words powerful, but with a caveat.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on March 23:
“The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war. That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. To warring parties:
Pull back from hostilities;
Silence the guns;
Stop the artillery;
End the airstrikes.
This is crucial to help create corridors for life-saving aid, open windows for diplomacy, and bring hope to the most vulnerable to COVID-19.”
The billboard called “to end starvation on Earth.” Most likely, the agency best positioned to do this is the UN WFP. According to a UN news release, in July the WFP announced that it is scaling up food assistance to an unprecedented 138 million people who face desperate levels of hunger as COVID-19 tightens its grip on some of the world’s most fragile countries.
The cost of the WFP’s response is estimated at $4.9 billion – with an additional $500 million special provision to prevent famine in countries most at risk.
“Three months ago at the UN Security Council, I told world leaders that we ran the risk of a famine of biblical proportions,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley in July:
“Today, our latest data tell us that, since then, millions of the world’s very poorest families have been forced even closer to the abyss. Livelihoods are being destroyed at an unprecedented rate and now their lives are in imminent danger from starvation. Make no mistake – if we do not act now to end this pandemic of human suffering, many people will die.”
Here’s some important information not in my speech.
On July 2, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, as the Santa Barbara UNA chapter observed:
“Yet there has been hardly any mention of this UN Global Ceasefire in the media: on TV or radio, in newspapers, etc. Additionally the world is still experiencing wars and conflicts, not a global ceasefire.”
Plus, COVID and starvation have only become worse since Guterres called to silence the guns.
It’s up to us who support the UN and its goals to pressure our government to make that billboard’s message come true and, really, it can’t wait until January.
Statement by UNA National Leadership
As we commemorated Nelson Mandela International Day on July 18th, another champion and advocate for human rights left this nation and earth. Throughout his life, Congressman John Lewis was an example of someone who truly walked the talk and was deeply committed to social justice and equity, helping shape the civil rights movement and keeping it alive until today.
Congressman Lewis was a follower and colleague of Martin Luther King Jr., participated in lunch counter sit-ins, joined the Freedom Riders in challenging segregated buses and – at the age of 23 -- was a keynote speaker at the historic 1963 March on Washington:
“If we do not get meaningful legislation out of this Congress, the time will come when we will not confine our marching to Washington… We must say, ‘Wake up, America, wake up!’ For we cannot stop, and we will not be patient.”
Despite many attacks and beatings, Congressman Lewis never lost his activist spirit, taking it from protests to politics. He was elected to the Atlanta city council in 1981, then to Congress six years later. Once in Washington, he focused on fighting against poverty and helping younger generations by improving education and health care.
Known as “the conscience of Congress,” he brought in a new era in the struggle for equality in America, and in recent years became a moral compass during political turmoil.
The UN Association of the USA is committed to keeping Congressman Lewis’ legacy alive, standing up and advancing human rights at home and around the world. Our mission of educating and advocating for a strong US-UN partnership has never been more critical and needed to achieve racial justice. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Congressman Lewis’s family, his colleagues and friends.
Let’s honor Congressman Lewis and the many lives and sacrifices made through decades and take the movement to the next level. Now is the time to bring lasting peace and human rights to all!
National Council Chair
UN Association of the USA
By: Steve Watrous
Wonderful opportunities beckon all of you citizens of the world: programs on global issues now so easily accessible by Zoom. The national UNA offers frequent webinars and the Milwaukee UNA chapter will start fall forums via Zoom.
The Zoom software is readily available, you don’t have to let people see you, and you can usually get in by telephone. Most programs are free.
For example, today I watched "Exacerbating the Gender Gap: COVID-19’s Impact on Women and Girls," which is part of UNA-USA’s Global Engagement Online Series. The audience could ask questions and it ended with a call to action. This one was just for UNA members.
Last week UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered the 18th annual Mandela Day Lecture, which focused on the various inequalities that are being exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This and many such zoom opportunities are NOT limited to UNA members.
Looking ahead, consider an intensive, 4-part webinar during August on “Global Governance.” I’m also getting invitations to presentations/discussions about nuclear issues, timed to the anniversary of Hiroshima, and some include speakers from Japan.
I imagine that you members and supporters are already getting many Zoom invitations but if you want more, we are listing some of these opportunities in our Instagram messages or on our Events Page and scroll down.
Looking further ahead to fall, our usual monthly forums will NOT start at Redeemer Lutheran Church. Instead you can participate from the comfort of your couch via Zoom. Details are forthcoming but please save these dates:
September 12, Saturday:
Black Lives Matter, with Two Great Speakers, Plus Voting.
October 18, Sunday:
Speakers and Celebration of the Whitefish Bay Model United Nations Program.
November 11, Wednesday:
We Co-Sponsor the Annual Vets for Peace Event.
November 14, Saturday:
Global Issues Following the Election.
December 12, Saturday:
One more thing: CONGRESS. We have lots of Zoom meetings with the staff of our senators and representatives, arranged on our own or by allied groups. Usually these are predictable on the issues, but often we hear something to follow up on or an interesting tidbit.
For example, an aide to Sen. Ron Johnson mentioned that his boss does not react to President Trump’s mercurial tweets, and that Johnson sees Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “the adult in the room.” This is not so comforting to me but at least the staffers are talking to us.
To support our work and access the member-only Zooms, please join at UNA-USA for an Introductory membership of $25 and be sure to check the Milwaukee chapter affiliation box.
Early Summer 2020 Newsletter
President’s Message: We’re still here!
by Steve Watrous (President of the UNA of Greater Milwaukee)
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
by Zayna Tubeishat (UNA-GM Board Member)
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
A Tribute in REMEMBRANCE OF TWO Dynamic MILWAUKEE WOMEN LEADERS
Remembering Kate Marrs: a Chapter Leader
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.
Tribute to Nancy Theoharis: Longtime Milwaukee Advocate for Peace and 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 is a group of men and women who stand for peace and justice in the world and believe that the United Nations is an instrumental force for creating a peaceful world. Our chapter helps by educating, inspiring, and mobilizing people in the Greater Milwaukee Community to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations. Frank Zeidler co-founded the chapter.
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
by Hon. Teta V. Banks, Ed.D.
Chair, National Council United Nations
Association of the USA Member,
World Federation of UNA
The United Nations Association of the United States of America extends our condolences to the family of George Floyd and all other victims of racial violence. As we advocate for human rights, we condemn those who deny those rights to any men and women - in this case, to men and women and children based upon the color of their skin. The protests, demonstrations, and riots we now see in the streets of our nation are demands for justice and change. The cry, once again, is “No justice, No peace.” While we advocate for civic action, we know that violence begets violence. However, we also know, as Dr. King stated that “violence is the language of the unheard.” And we know that the struggle for civil rights in America has continued into the 21st century.
In the midst of the year in which we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Charter, we find ourselves in mourning and in outrage at a convergence of pandemics- the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic of racism. While we were yet in “shut down” as a country and as a world due to the novel coronavirus, the ever-present pandemic of racism ignited again the smoldering embers of 400 years with the murder of an African American man, George Floyd, by law enforcement in Minneapolis. The anger, frustration, and pain lay bare the soul of America’s original sin of slavery and its centuries-old aftermath. The convergence of this social cancer with the COVID-19 that has killed over 100,000 Americans, with a disproportionate number of African Americans, bears witness to the social disparities that now translate into medical vulnerabilities and precious lives lost.
Our reality is a conundrum far beyond a Dickensian dualism.
In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic with over 100,000 Americans dead and more than 3 million people dead worldwide, in the midst of CDC and NIH reports as well as African American scholars noting and explaining the impact disparities of the novel coronavirus on populations of people of color based on historically continuous systemic inequalities, in the midst of a fabricated friction attacking the World Health Organization, in the midst of a continuum litany of African American individuals’ deaths/murders at the hands of a nation’s law enforcement ( individually and collectively) , and now in the midst of demonstrations, protests, and violence in our cities throughout our nation, we find ourselves forced to see “more clearly” and see ”anew” the realities that are our America.
And we see this reality in a dichotomous lens. Our nation is touting the great step into space once more since a decade with the SpaceX venture to the International Space Station via public/private Tesla-NASA partnership, the United Nations is commemorating its 75th anniversary after its Charter that proclaims never again the “scourge of war” for succeeding generations with the commitment to protect human rights in that historic Universal Declaration of Human Rights document, nations throughout the world are in the midst of strategizing and implementing the Agenda 2030 of the Sustainable Development Goals that address every element that impacts sustenance of human life and our planet .
We are forced to see more clearly the good, the bad and the ugly. But we have seen this before. Yet, today with the “urgency of now” we must not only see but act. We must not only advocate but commit. We must not only be a voice but be a vehicle of change. Gandhi told us, “Be the change you want to see.”
How each of us chooses to be the change will be our decisions. For our UNA members, we can choose the ballot, we can choose the advocacy actions, we can choose education. We can choose to march, to teach, to speak the truth to power, to pen the ideas of change, to be social change agents. Whatever the means, we refuse to be the “unheard.” Individually and collectively we, as UNA, have a charge to keep. That charge is written into the very document creating the existence of the United Nations. It reads: “We the Peoples of the United Nations determined… to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war … to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person…”
In these times of conflict, in these wars, let us stand strong in the faith of our founding document. Let us not waver nor falter in our commitment to human rights for all. Let us not be bowed nor bent to inhumane ideologies. Let us not fear to uphold the higher laws of humanity. Let us reaffirm that the UNA stands for human rights. We stand for justice. We stand for the future of humanity.
Statement from the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) on Police Violence, Human Rights Abuses, and Racial Oppression Against Black Americans
For eight straight days, cities across our nation have erupted in pain and fear, gathering to ask when the injustice will end. Our nation is not crying out because of this single act of violence. Our nation is crying out because hundreds of years of oppression, systemic racism, police brutality, and human rights abuse on Black America makes eight days of outrage seem short.
After World War II, the U.S. led efforts to create the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document meant to serve as a global roadmap for freedom and equality, protecting rights of everyone, everywhere. But we haven’t lived up to this ideal. Human rights are not guaranteed for black people in America. In many cases, they are actively oppressed, overlooked, and denied. As a country that is supposed to be a leader on the world stage, this is our most dangerous shortcoming.
The United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA)’s advocates work continuously to uphold human rights and expose racial injustice everywhere, not just over the past eight days but over the past 75 years. Our movement is built on the stories of our UNA-USA members and our mission is guided by their actions. We call upon our members, advocates and allies to demand our systems be changed. We will voice these demands to leaders at every level, from our city council to the White House.
U.S. human rights violations are on display, for all the world to see. Our flawed systems, built on oppression and deeply rooted in racism, are exposed. It’s up to all of us to determine whether this moment becomes a turning point in history. We need to move forward with a commitment to use our voices, our stories, our ballots, and our liberties to call out injustice whenever we see it, whether it’s happening here in the U.S. or somewhere else in the world. Humanity has a responsibility to learn and to listen, to have the hard conversations, to tell the stories that make us feel vulnerable, to compare our experiences, to look around at our dinner tables and examine which perspectives are missing.
And then, we need to turn up the volume.
Every moment we feel hopeless is an opportunity to hold our elected leaders accountable. Advocacy is how we move forward.
For every Black American who has ever felt scared, rather than safe, by police presence, we advocate for systems of accountability for and prevention of police violence.
For every Black American who has ever been denied equal pay, education, or access to healthcare, we advocate for equality.
For every Black American exercising the right to participate in peaceful protest, we advocate for your freedom.
For George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, we will not rest until justice is served.
Written by: UNA-USA Headquarters
BLACK LIVES MATTER
Our action does not stop with this statement. Read a message from UNA-USA Executive Director Rachel Bowen Pittman on her plans to guide the UNA-USA community to take meaningful action against racial injustice.
By Jack Murtaugh and Steve Watrous
We prepared this report for our April 2020 annual luncheon but alas, due to COVID-19, our last public event was in March. We continue to be active, but that’s another article.
The highlights below reflect the issues we addressed over the during 2019-2020 at general meetings, primarily at the United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee (UNA-GM) monthly forums on global issues. These meetings also promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations for achieving peace, human rights, and social and economic justice.
Our chapter educates on these goals but we’re not the only ones in Milwaukee. Several local agencies and organizations that serve the community are also taking action on the SDGs. The UNA-GM is reaching out to them as partners, as you’ll see below.
We also don’t stay in our region of southeastern Wisconsin. UNA-GM members participate in regional, national and international meetings of the United Nations Association. During the year we contacted members of Congress – in Washington and in district -- and local elected officials about global issues, often with a local angle.
Chapter meetings were usually on the second Saturday morning in Redeemer Lutheran Church, at 19th and Wisconsin Ave., but check our website for updates. When in-person forums resume, note that we welcome non-members!
Representatives of the Rohingya American Society in Milwaukee spoke about the violence against the Rohingya people in Myanmar.
A physician active in global health advocacy presented on "Eradicating Global Respiratory Diseases."
We celebrated International Women's Day with a focus on the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and other global women's issues
Chapter members who participated in an MATC study tour to Ghana discussed the trip.
Exiles from western Cameroon shared the distressing experiences of their families and friends suffering the burning down of their villages and killings by Cameroon government forces.
Also in April, the United Nations Schools of International Learning (UNSIL) program held it's World Fair at the UWM Panther Arena. It is a groundbreaking effort by the Milwaukee Public Schools, initiated with grants from a UNA-GM Chapter member and assisted by a board member. Some 2000 students in 4th through 8th grades participate in a year-long curriculum that prepares them for being global citizens. These students demonstrate their work at the World Fair with displays and presentations about the countries and issues they studied.
We held the 4th Annual UNA-GM Luncheon with a national speaker on "What has the United Nations Done For Me Lately?" We presented Global Citizen Awards to Will Allen, Phil Blank and Joan Bleidorn, and the Global Educator Award to Janet Nortrom.
We sent delegates to the national United Nations Association-USA summit in Washington, DC, and they reported back on the work of the United Nations, the hot issues being addressed by UNA-USA and its chapters, and visits to congressional offices on Capitol Hill.
An expert board member gave a presentation on "The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change, Climate Justice, and the Global Climate Strike." Another member shared research on "Working with Sickle Cell Disease." A representative of the ONE Campaign called for support in getting Congress to provide money for the Global Fund.
Our annual joint program on United Nations Day featured the theme "Spotlight on United Nations Women" for the 2019 event. Students in the Model United Nations Program at Whitefish Bay High School presented their video interview with Joan Robertson, who initiated the Whitefish Bay UN Day Celebration 13 years ago.
Members and other volunteers staffed the UNA-GM booth at the Holiday Folk Fair for three days. The booth displayed information on the UN as well as providing interactive activities for children and adults.
Also, our chapter joined with the local Veterans for Peace to celebrate Armistice Day on November 11. Speakers discussed Nuclear Disarmament and Veterans’ Health Care. UNA-GM was one of the co-sponsors of the event.
The 2019 Greater Milwaukee Celebration of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights took place on Saturday, December 14. The theme was "Basic Human Rights: Global and Local" with presentations by many community groups. The Celebration was a collaborative effort of the City of Milwaukee Equal Rights Commission, Milwaukee County Human Rights Commission, and UNA-GM.
An organizer from Wisconsin Citizen Action spoke on "Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege?”
This forum had two parts: the UNA chapter's Annual Meeting with the election of Board Members and Officers; plus, with the presidential primaries in high gear, we included other peace groups in a unique PowerPoint presentation on the Democratic and Republican candidates’ positions on war and peace issues.
"Women Speaking out Against Oppression" was the focus of the International Women's Day Celebration at the March 14 Chapter meeting, with help from other groups. Presentations included the campaign to pass the UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as a Milwaukee City ordinance, the problem of women in prison accessing good medical care, and women's struggles for reproductive rights in Wisconsin.
PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE USE
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF GREATER MILWAUKEE
AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS & FURTHER INFORMATION
WATROUS@UWM.EDU (E-MAIL) / 414-933-3033 (PHONE)
“As of April 14, 2020 President Trump said that the United States would freeze all funding for the World Health Organization (WHO). This is an outrageous decision while the whole world remains in the midst of an unprecedented battle with COVID-19.
The impact of such a freeze could be catastrophic to the treatment and prevention of the coronavirus around the world including in our own communities. As the coronavirus pandemic reminds us, a contagious disease anywhere in the world could infect people in the Greater Milwaukee Area in a few days.
The United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee and our national organization, the UNA-USA, stand with the WHO. We have made a chapter donation to the WHO and we're asking our Members of Congress to reject this freeze.”
Steve Watrous – President of the UNA of Greater Milwaukee
The World Health Organization has been the guiding organization for global health since its founding in 1948. The WHO and all other UN humanitarian agencies must be fully funded by all nations including the United States.
WHO has directed and coordinated international health within the United Nations system with 7,000 people working in 150 country offices and in six regional offices. WHO has extensive experience in fighting epidemics, diseases, other health outbreaks, and has distributed life-saving vaccines to millions of people.
It is extremely important to support the WHO in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO is the only international organization that can coordinate information globally on coronavirus outbreaks and research being done in 100 countries.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the WHO has mobilized scientists, shared data and information, delivered essential supplies to where they are needed most, and issued guidance and recommendations for countries to follow. WHO staff are training millions of health workers in countries least prepared for the deadly disease and distributing protective equipment. If the United States government doesn’t fund efforts to keep the coronavirus from spreading freely in these places, it will be placing millions of people at high risk for infection and death.
It is projected that many more people will die from the impact of the pandemic as health systems are overwhelmed and food production and supply chains break down. The head of the World Food Program has issued a dire warning that the worst outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic will cause increased poverty and widespread starvation.
Food shortages will cause 265 million people to suffer chronic hunger. There will be multiple famines, mostly across Africa. With 821 million people in the world already food insecure, millions could perish with 300,000 deaths a day from starvation and disease by the end of 2020.
More than ever before, this is the time for the United States to support the UN and the WHO and engage in cooperation with the international community. All nations should heed the call by the Secretary General of the United Nations to cease conflict and cooperate on humanitarian relief across the globe.
Steve Watrous has served as the President of the UNA of Greater Milwaukee for the past five years. In this capacity, he has:
The UNA of Greater Milwaukee is a group of men and women who stand for peace and justice in the world and believe that the United Nations is an instrumental force in creating a peaceful world by educating, inspiring, and mobilizing people in the Greater Milwaukee Community to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations.
The UNA of Greater Milwaukee has usually held in-person meetings on the 2nd Saturday of each month from January - June and September - December from 10 AM - Noon at Redeemer Lutheran Church (rear entrance) located at 631 N. 19th Street in Milwaukee. The monthly in-person meetingsare open to the public and have featured a presentation & 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.
by Jim Carpenter, Chair of Peace/Conflict Committee
Our UNA Chapter is working with the End the Wars Committee of Peace Action WI to “end the scourge of war”, which is one of the goals upon which the UN was founded.
This committee is a collaboration of the several anti-war groups and individuals including our own UNA Chapter, Peace Action WI, Vets for Peace, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, members of Unitarian Universalists, etc. We meet once a month at Peace Action WI, 1001 E. Keefe. We also support the “stand for peace” that occurs every Saturday from noon to 1 PM at various intersections.
For more information click here
Our recent focus has been to ask Congress to reassert its constitutional authority over war (Article 1, Section 8) and then use this authority to stop President Trump from starting a war with North Korea. Starting a war is not legal under the U.N. Charter and, off course, it is terribly immoral -- akin to mass murder in the view of peace activists.
Our committee’s position is that the military option should be “off the table” in our negotiations with North Korea. We have no more right to attack North Korea for their possession of nuclear weapons than they have a right to attack us for our possession of nuclear weapons. If North Korea refuses to “de-nuclearize” we will have to learn to coexist with them as we do with China and Russia.
We believe all nations must find a path to abolish all nuclear weapons and this will not happen until we end the double standard for possessing nukes, where some nations are allowed to have them and others are not.
We are asking Congress to support the legislation “No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea Act” H.R 4837 (co-sponsored by Rep. Gwen Moore and Rep. Mark Pocan) and “Preventing Preemptive War in North Korea Act of 2017” S.2047. Senators Baldwin and Johnson have not co-sponsored S.2047 and they need to be called: 202-224-3121.
We also decry our abandonment of the Iran Nuclear Deal, the mistreatment of the Palestinians and the use of violence by any nation to solve international disputes. We will convey this message during a peaceful demonstration outside the War Memorial (by Art Museum) Tuesday, June 5, at 11:15 a.m. The Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, will be giving a talk in the War Memorial.
Come join us as we stand for PEACE in the streets of Milwaukee.
Organized by the Chair of the Peace/Conflict Committee, Jim Carpenter: 414.347.0353
Stand for Peace, Saturdays from Noon to 1 PM
March 7: Capitol & Oakland
March 14: 16th & Wisconsin
March 21: Sherman & North
March 28: National & Greenfield
April 4: King & North (folding cranes to follow at Friends Meeting House in Riverwest from 2-4)
April 11: 51st & Silver Spring
April 18: Wells & 16th St
April 25: 27th & National Ave
PHOTOS FROM OUR YEMEN PROTEST
We are the members of the United Nations Association Chapter of Greater Milwaukee. Here to share our news and experience of the United Nations