Tag Archives: refugees

Go, Worcester and Stephen Colbert, go!!!🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

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Shepard-GreaterThanFear

TONIGHT!

Community Consultation Forum on Immigration Law!

Are you part of a family that has recently immigrated to the United States?

Are you concerned about the changes in immigration law, and do you have questions about how they may affect you?

Come to a Community Consultation Forum where you will hear from Immigration Law Attorneys and have the opportunity to ask them your questions.

The first Community Consultation Forum will be held TONIGHT, Tuesday, March 21, 6 PM – 9 PM

At St. Peter’s Church, 929 Main Street (please enter by side doors)

Translators in Spanish and several languages will be present at the forums!

Future forums will be held on:

Saturday, April 22, at Friendly House, 36 Wall Street from 1 PM – 4 PM

Thursday, May 25, at Ascentria Care Alliance, 11 Shattuck Street, from 6 PM – 9 PM

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From the NAACP Worcester Branch:

This is a reminder that our next general membership meeting will be on March 27, from 6:30-8:00PM @ the YMCA located at 766 Main St. Worcester.

Pat and George will not be in attendance, therefore Lenny Cooper the Worcester NAACP 3rd Vice President and Economic Development Chair and I will be facilitating the meeting.

Karen King for (SURJ) Showing Up for Racial Justice will be coming in this month to speak about the work being done by SURJ Worcester.

Best,

Fred Taylor Member-at-Large
Executive Committee

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We the People! Please share!

WE THE PEOPLE CAMPAIGN

“We the People is a nonpartisan campaign dedicated to igniting a national dialogue about American identity and values through public art and story sharing.

“Print [these posters], paste it, post it — just don’t sell it. Share this art with your community!”

By Shepard Fairey:

Shepard-GreaterThanFear

Shepard-DefendDignity

Shepard-ProtectEachOther

By Jessica Sabogal:

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By Ernesto Yerena:

WE THE RESILIENT FINAL WITH TYPE !!!

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Last week’s Worcester rally in support of immigrants and refugees… (photos: Mayor’s Office)

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We the people!

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And …

Black Culture Movie Night

At the Worcester Public Library
Salem Square

Compiled by Parlee Jones

Feb 15 – Wednesday

Black Culture Movie Night

6 p.m.

Hidden Colors – Part 1

Hidden Colors is a documentary about the real and untold history of people of color around the globe. This film discusses some of the reasons the contributions of African and aboriginal people have been left out of the pages of history. Traveling around the country, the film features scholars, historians, and social commentators who uncovered such amazing facts about things such as: *the original image of Christ * the true story about the Moors *the original people of Asia *the great west African empires *the presence of Africans in America before Columbus
*the real reason slavery was ended *And much more.

Feb. 22 – Wednesday

Black Culture Movie Night

6 p.m.

Trials of Muhammad Ali

No conventional sports documentary, THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI investigates its extraordinary and often complex subject’s life outside the boxing ring. From joining the controversial Nation of Islam and changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali,to his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War in the name of protesting racial inequality, to his global humanitarian work, Muhammad Ali remains an inspiring and controversial figure. Outspoken and passionate in his beliefs, Ali found himself in the center of America’s controversies over
race, religion, and war. From Kartemquin
Films, this film examines how one of the
most celebrated sports champions of the
20th century risked his fame and fortune to follow his faith and conscience.

Feb. 25 – Saturday

Black Culture Movie for Children

2 p.m.

Zarafa

Under the cover of darkness a small boy,
Maki, loosens the shackles that bind him and escapes into the desert night. Pursued by slavers across the moon-lit savannah, Maki meets Zarafa, a baby giraffe – and an orphan, just like he is – as well as the nomad Hassan, Prince of the Desert. Hassan takes them to Alexandria for an audience with the Pasha of Egypt, who orders him to deliver the exotic animal as a gift to King Charles of France. And so Maki, Zarafa and Hassan take off in a hot-air balloon to cross the Mediterranean, setting off an adventure across Northern Africa, the bustling port of Marseilles, and over the snow-capped peaks of the Alps, arriving at last in Paris. But all the while, Maki is determined to find a way to return Zarafa to her rightful home.

We 💙 Mayor Joseph Petty!

By Rosalie Tirella

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pics: R.T.

We love our Mayor Joe Petty – a good man, a modest man, a family man, a man we’d like to claim our Urban Superman! Since he’s been mayor I’ve availed myself of his services! I’ve called/texted Petty about illegal dumping, drug houses, street lighting problems here on Ward Street – the nitty gritty of inner-city life that you need to stay on top of 24/7, if you want to create a safe, liveable city. I’ve contacted him many, many times. I’d say weekly!!! He and his staff have come through for our ‘hood every time!

And Joe’s talked of the finer things too – stuff we in-city denizens would love to see happen here: a dog park for our pits and huskies and hounds, a sports field for our kids in our three deckers, mounted police on real horses – magical nature! These “good things in life” are sometimes out of our reach – but they blunt the sharp edges of our lives here, take some of the sting out, make people feel GOOD, like we MATTER.

ALL LIVES MATTER!!

But Joe Petty’s only human – we all screw up sometimes…the hot mic, the cold truth (which we may never know)…the evil Gaffney calling for a resignation so he can be our mayor. GAK!

IT’S TIME FOR FORGIVENESS, PEOPLE!

PERSPECTIVE, PEOPLE!

Petty’s done a lot for this town! Let’s let go…let God!

Petty is not a racist or classist – he’s been there for all the diverse ethnic and cultural groups that call Worcester home. For years. He works to turn the cacophony of 21st century Worcester life into JOYFUL NOISE! America! I am proud of him for that – and forever grateful. For me, that’s what city life’s about – DIVERSITY!  The excitement as we discover new and different perspectives, foods, music, religions… I love mixing with all the folks in my neighborhood – I’m the minority here! And, always,  everyone, for almost four years, has been great: Beauty and her little brother, the teens walking down my street, the Latino guy across the street who jumped my car battery just a few days ago, in the brutal cold. Our conversation was pleasant, comfy in the January ice box of Woo! He was so nice to me – and vice versa.

The people just new to America – or almost newbie – is the Worcester of today! Mayor Joe Petty gets that – he embraces our new city – unlike Turtle Boy and his folks who want to see Woo whiter, more upper-middle class … more suburban, with cool stuff to do. Just minus the other REAL stuff! If you cannot dig in and enjoy or at least try to understand the new city, then maybe you need to move on – as Turtle Boy Aidan Kearney has (to Jefferson, MA) – and watch the grass grow green…

I remember one especially fine Mayor Joe Petty moment: It was a weekend a few years ago and he attended a gathering of new immigrants to Worcester – a group whose name I can’t even remember, so obsure to me (shame on me). There were maybe 20 or so folks who came together for the cultural event. All were poor, few could speak English. But there was the news story about Joe at the event. There was Joe smiling and meeting and greeting – letting these people (refugees?!😌) know that they had a seat at the Worcester table. That they mattered.

Of course, Aidan Kearney on his Turtle Boy blog and his minions in the comment section had a field day: What’s Petty doing there? What a waste of time and energy!!! When Woo has so many urgent problems that need solving NOW! What a dope!

But Aidan and his followers, including his biggest supporter the politically conniving City Councilor Michael Gaffney, don’t get it! When the mayor does this kind of stuff – it’s outreach – he is nipping potential urban problems in the bud: Getting new people – especially kids – to trust Worcester govt and all her branches: our police, our schools, our city councilors. Why feel disconnected?, he is telling them with his hand shakes, hugs and food sampling. Why feel alone?

A sense of not belonging makes it easy for kids growing up to join a gang, hate City Hall, eschew voting, embrace damaging parkland, the hood where you live. Better to shower them and all the people with love! We’re a Catholic, Muslim, Old Time Religion kind of town that embraces LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING. We know how to do the right thing. The smart thing! The American thing!

Forgiveness, people! Let’s move on!

Go, Joe, go! We know your a good mayor – a good man! We’ve got YOUR back!

Go, Worcester, go! “Power to the people!”

By Rosalie Tirella

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I’m the grand-daughter of immigrants…
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Rosalie and her Polish grandpa many moons ago🌃

All of us Americans, if we look far back enough, or just over our shoulders to our parents, have roots that lead back to other lands, places that often persecuted us, kept us down, treated us like second and third class citzens and worse …

These past few years the blood has flown in Syria – horrible oppression and chaos and war. Maybe President Obama should have sent troops into Syria, U.S. combat boots on the ground, especially after the country’s “leaders” began using poisonous chemicals to kill dissidents, killing the children, too. Horrific. Many Syrian families swarmed into inflatable “boats” to cross the ocean to leave their hellish country for new countries … They had hope. But they were poor…So many of the people, little children!, didn’t make it…

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“Turkish media identified the boy as three-year-old Alan Kurdi and reported that his five-year-old brother had also met a similar death. Both had reportedly hailed from the northern Syrian town of Kobani, the site of fierce fighting between Islamic state insurgents and Kurdish forces earlier this year.” The Guardian

When Donald Trump bans Syrian refugees from American soil for months, this can happen…

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“A Turkish police officer carries the young boy who drowned in a failed attempt to sail to the Greek island of Kos.” The Guardian. Photographs: Reuters.

And this …

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Trauma

Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney has sunk to a new low, and his toxic political shell game could have brought our city to its knees. But instead the people were glorious and rose up and rallied! – HUNDREDS IN A JANUARY SNOWSTORM OUTSIDE OUR CITY HALL! Where, in the snow and raw New England cold, they shouted, NO! NO! NO! NEVER IN OUR CITY! Refugees and immigrants ALWAYS welcome here!

And then, inside Worcester City Hall, people whose roots extend to countries all over the globe got up to testify – tell their family stories. Armenia. Vietnam. Central America. Italy. Ireland. Africa. They were saying: Listen to our stories. The refugee and immigrant stories of today are our stories! AMERICAN stories!

Lovely!

The Gaffney resolution went down to defeat tonight. So will City Councilor Konstantina Lukes’ miserable proposal. A toxic after-thought cobbled together by – get this! – the daughter of Albanian immigrants who owned and operated a diner in Connecticut! (What would your father think of your shit-sandwich, hold the compassion, Konnie? You were the apple of his eye!)

Worcester is not Trumpland! We are not a police state where people are bullied into doing what our impetuous, vindictive, dangerous new president wants them to do! As Worcester Mayor Joe Petty said to the peaceful, yet ebullient (cuz they were on justice’s side😇) crowd before the City Council meeting: He – WE – will not allow WALLS TO GO UP BETWEEN GROUPS OF PEOPLE. In Worcester, the walls COME DOWN!

Go, Mayor Petty, go!!!

No one, no child, should fear that he or she will be forced to leave Worcester, their home: friends, school, church, work, sports teams, a routine they call their own … a place where they’ve begun to realize their unique American Dream!

Power to the people! We, the people, can do amazing things! We did, here in Worcester, TONIGHT!!!

Just every day people …

Go, Mayor Petty, go! Go, America, go!!! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

By Rosalie Tirella

This is how Worcester City Councilor Michael Gaffney describes tomorrow’s rally for refugees and immigrants. His every word toxic, divisive … DELIBERATELY misleading. He’s a bright guy – full of himself – he knows how to make his every word glow evil:

“Joe Petty, the Mayor of Worcester, calls for a mob to descend on our City to coerce local officials to violate their oath of office.”

Calling Joseph P. McCarthy! Calling Joseph P. McCarthy!

This, on the other hand, is how Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty and his office describe the event. Petty is a good, intelligent, sensitive city leader. He’s a great listener, a great bridge-builder between our communities – a perfect fit for the Worcester of 2017: diverse, striving, multi-lingual, up and coming!

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pic: R.T.

From the Mayor’s Office:

“Good evening …

“Tomorrow evening, January 31 at 6 PM in front of Worcester City Hall, Mayor Joseph M. Petty, will be addressing a crowd that is peacefully protesting President Trump’s executive actions on immigration and recent, divisive city council orders.

“Hundreds are planning to attend the Solidarity Rally in support of Worcester’s refugees and immigrants.

“The event is sponsored by dozens of organizations.

“All are welcome to attend.”

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Michael Gaffney, we’re begging you: Get some therapy! You’re not well. The mayoral seat isn’t worth all your scheming, your contorting the truth like a midway pretzel, your scapegoating minority groups … hurting so many people – that means the City of Worcester!

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AMERICAN IDEALS – AMERICA! – always in style! (especially in Worcester😄)

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TOMORROW! Tuesday, Jan. 31

Before the Worcester City Council meeting!

6 p.m.

WORCESTER CITY HALL – Main Street

BE THERE!

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pic: R.T.

This demonstration, in support of Worcester’s immigrants and refugees, is to show THE CITY AND THE WORLD that Donald Trump and City Councilor Michael Gaffney’s hate-filled demagoguery has no place in Worcester! They will not score political points with our most vulnerable people – most of them women and children (under 12 years of age!)!

Let’s stop the madness in Worcester!

This demonstration is organized by Showing Up for Racial Justice Worcester. To learn more and sign up, check out their FB page!

Go, Worcester, go!

Go, Mayor Petty, go!

GO, AMERICA, GO!!!!!!!!!

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pic: R.T.

– Rosalie Tirella

So important in Trump times! Tomorrow! Immigrants, refugees – KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! … and More Woo News You Can Use!

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And …

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Community Concussion Education Lecture

Concussion education is the first step in creating a safe environment for all of our children!

FREE!

Concussion Workshop – Wednesdays, January 11 and 25

Time: 5 pm

Place: YMCA OF CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS,
766 Main St.

Open to ALL!!!

Speakers:

Jessica Gravel PT, DPT Outpatient Concussion
Dr. Robert C. Cantu Concussion Center

Matthew White MEd, ATC, PES Head Athletic

Trainer, Dr. Robert C. Cantu Concussion Center

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😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇😇

Attorney General’s Monthly Office Hours

NEED HELP?

Are you not being paid at least minimum wage or overtime?

Disputing a purchase or return of a faulty product with a business?

Do you need help resolving an issue with your landlord?

Are you facing discrimination?

Talk to the Attorney General’s Office!

Come to the Attorney General’s Monthly Office Hours!

As the People’s Law Firm, our staff will be ready to assist you and answer your questions!

The 3rd Wednesday of each month at the
Worcester Connections Family Resource Center of YOU Inc.

Next Date: 1/18/17 from 11:30 am-1 pm

Office of the Attorney General Maura Healey

Questions? Call (617) 963-2313 |

www.mass.gov/ago

Please note: Though attorneys from the Attorney General’s Office can advise people generally of their rights, the AGO cannot represent individuals, nor can attorneys from the AGO provide legal advice to individuals.

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Perfection …

Worcester news you can use …

THE INFORMED IMMIGRANT

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“Informed Immigrant” is a continuously updated resource website for immigrants and allies across the United States.

Please share!

As the Informed Immigrant website states,

Current resources include:

A compilation of frequently asked questions on topics that include legal support, employment, DACA, deportation defense and more

A National Immigration Law Center (NILC) fact sheet on the rights of everyone living in the United States, regardless of status

A list of search tools and hotlines to help identify appropriate legal services

A running list of immigrant rights & services organizations across the United States

Informed Immigrant was put together by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, Center for Community Change, FWD.us, National Immigration Law Center, SEIU, and United We Dream, among other organizations.

The site is also offered in Spanish (Korean coming soon).

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERS FOR IMMIGRANTS IN THE U.S.:

These FAQs provide information and recommendations that may help you prepare once President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20, 2017.

The information is on what we know today. We will continue to update it with more information once we have it.

Please note that the information is not legal advice.

Every person’s situation is different, and you should talk to a qualified immigration lawyer or a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)–accredited representative so that you can make the most informed decision for yourself.

The Questions:

1. I do not have DACA. Should I apply for it now?

2. I already have DACA. Should I apply to renew my DACA?

3. What will happen to DACA under the next administration?

4. What will happen to the information on DACA applications?

5. If my DACA is terminated, will I be able to work?

6. I have DACA and want to travel outside the United States. Is it safe to travel?

7. If I am undocumented and think I may be eligible for an immigration benefit, should I apply now?

8. I am undocumented and I have a U.S. citizen child. Is there anything I can do to protect myself?

9. What are my rights if ICE stops me in the street or my house?

10. Where am I safe from ICE enforcement actions?

11. How can the community report any ICE activities in violation of these policies?

12. Is it safe for me to protest and march in rallies?

13. What are sanctuary cities?

14. What will happen to sanctuary policies under the next administration?

* To learn the answers to these questions CLICK HERE!!!

www.informedimmigrant.com

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WORCESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY WAIVES YOUR LIBRARY FINES FOR HOLIDAY FOOD DONATIONS!

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The Worcester Public Library Trades Food for Fines During the Entire Month of December

At Main Branch, 3 Salem Square, Worcester

As part of the program, the library will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items.

For patrons with overdue library fines, every food item will equal $1 removed from their account.

Collected food will be donated to the Worcester County Food Bank.

“Unfortunately, there are still people right here in Worcester who don’t have enough to eat, and it’s up to all of us to help change that,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. “Whether or not you have any overdue books, I hope you’ll join me in helping the Worcester County Food Bank help the needy in our community.”

The items will be collected at the Main Library, 3 Salem Square, Worcester.

For every food item donated, $1 will be removed from the overdue fines on the patron’s account.

“This program is a win-win,” said Head Librarian Geoffrey Dickinson. “Holding a Food for Fines program at the Worcester Public Library allows us to offer those patrons who may have lost access to library services (from excessive overdue fees) an opportunity to regain their privileges by “paying” with food rather than cash. It also helps the community by collecting much needed food for the Worcester County Food Bank.”

The Worcester Food Bank’s list of recommended items includes cereal, rice, beans, soup, stew, chili, dry and canned pasta, macaroni and cheese, canned fruits and vegetables, canned tuna and chicken, and peanut butter and jelly. The library will not be able to accept food items in glass containers, home-canned items, opened foods, or foods past their expiration dates.

For more information on the Worcester Public Library and a complete list of events and programs visit mywpl.org.

Gordy parked in fashion … Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes backs Billy Breault’s proposed racist dragnet

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People against Billy Breault’s petition picketed his meeting.        photo: Gordon Davis

By Gordon Davis

Worcester City Councilor Konstantina (Konnie) Lukes has been a Worcester politician (serving on the Worcester school committee and city council) for almost 40 years. Lately, she has been scapegoating refugees and immigrants. In September 2016, at a Worcester City Council meeting, Lukes said, “We see signs here basically accusing us of being racist. I have yet to hear anybody tell me what I have done that is racist… Give me names, dates, times.”

Two months later, on November 15, 2016, Councilor Lukes voted to harass and terrorize immigrants and refugees. She targeted Muslims and Hispanic people. Lukes voted in favor of a petition before the Worcester City Council regarding the “financial” and “criminal” impact of newcomers to Worcester. The petition was drawn up by and is being pushed hard by William Breault.  Here is a small part of Breault’s petition – he wants the following from the city manager:  “… information from the City Administration on the financial impact incurred by the city for processing refugees or asylum seekers during the past five years, including the location of housing provided for them and the source of funding for that housing.”

Worcester city councilors Michael Gaffney,  Moe Bergman and Lukes signed onto this financial petition – how much money it costs the city to house and process newcomers and refugees.

Lukes was the sole Worcester city councilor who signed on to the criminal section of Breault’s petition. She voted to seek the records of immigrants arrested by the Worcester police.

Lukes could have acknowledged the positive impact that immigrants and refugees have on Worcester/America. She could have sought the number of hate crimes committed against  refugees and immigrants in Worcester. Instead, she sought the opposite.

Billy Breault, a longtime Main South resident, is known for many of his controversial, sometimes racist stances, such as trying to stop a funeral home from conducting the preparation of a Muslim man’s body for burial. On November 17, 2016, Breault tried to get support for his anti-refugee petition at a neighborhood meeting, which Lukes attended. Incredibly, instead of Councilor Lukes disowning Breault’s overtly racist petitions, she doubled down in her support of them. (Some folks have called Breault’s petitions Nazi policies.)

There was a protest outside Breault’s meeting – pushback by many people in the community, including  the groups Show Up Against Racism, the Progressive Labor Party and Catholic Worker. These groups and others held signs. One sign read: “Stop Nazis’ Hate and Lies”; another sign said “No Racist Immigration Laws.” Inside the meeting some people engaged Breault and Councilor Lukes in heated discussion.

Councilor Lukes’ stance reminds me of the recent racist rants made by the Governor of Maine, Paul LePage. Governor LePage has stated that Maine’s opioid crisis is caused by Black and Hispanic people moving to Maine from Massachusetts. He has used the word “niggers” and “cunts” in his racist and sexist rants.

Like Lukes, Governor LePage has asserted that he is not a racist and that the people who are calling him a racist are themselves racist.

A reporter in Maine, Gattine, said the following:

“LePage floated the remarkable notion that calling out racism is equivalent to using racist and sexist slurs during his radio interview Tuesday, saying that being called racist is ‘like calling a black man the ‘N’ word or a woman the ‘C’ word. It just absolutely knocked me off my feet.”

After 40 years of political life during which time she showed much paranoia and wallowed in sensationalism, it is time for City Councilor Konnie Lukes to retire. In response to Lukes’ stance on this latest issue, many of her opponents are preparing to resist her – and President Elect Donald Trump’s fascist policies of mass deportations and a Muslim registry.

Gordon is parked in Yum Yums cuz I want to post now!

The War in Afghanistan, President Obama and Worcester PeaceWorks

By Gordon Davis

President Obama has broken his promise to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

This is not a surprise, but it is sad and it is discouraging. It means that the misery of war in Afghanistan will continue for an indefinite time. Only death, misery and refugees will be the product of the President’s decision.

When the United States went to war with Afghanistan in 2002 it was to avenge the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. George Bush was President when the Taliban was defeated and Al Qaeda went into hiding.

Worcester PeaceWorks was formed immediately after 9-11 by many in the Worcester peace community. Claire and Scott Schaeffer Duffy and Kevin Ksen played major roles. We held rallies in Worcester and went to the huge, anti-war rally in New York City – a worldwide event in which millions of people participated.

Worcester PeaceWorks tried to get the Worcester City Council to pass a resolution against the War in Iraq when several soldiers from Worcester were killed. The City Council would not hear the petition, citing Rule 33 of the Worcester City Charter.

Since then President Obama has killed or captured almost all of Al Qaeda who were responsible for the 9-11 attacks and withdrew troops from Iraq.

Worcester PeaceWorks, for the most part, stopped functioning after President Obama’s election in 2008. The Worcester Catholic Worker movement, including Mike True and the Center for Non Violence, continued to have anti-war demonstrations at Lincoln Square. The Progressive Labor Party would every so often call for an end to “imperialism” – as it did during the beginning of the Civil War in Syria.

President Obama ordered a drawdown of forces from Afghanistan with the hope that a government friendly to the USA would be able to rule Afghanistan after the American troops leave.

This has not happened.

After more than 10 years no government set up by the USA has been strong enough to defeat the Taliban.

This effort at nation building in Afghanistan has proven a failure.

There is no clear American policy there except to protect the suspect American friend, President Hammid Karzai, living in Kabul.

The people of Afghanistan are suffering, as can be seen in the thousands of refugees seeking asylum in the European Union.

Killing people with drones has done more harm than good, especially when so many civilians are killed. There is an insight of another of the irony in one Nobel Peace Prize winner, President Obama, killing another Nobel Peace Prize winner, the International Doctors Without Borders.

It looks like we have lost in Afghanistan, like we did in Vietnam.

It is time we get out and take those who want to leave with us as refugees.

It makes no sense to continue with the misery of war when we cannot win. 

The USA has avenged the 9-11 attacks and punished the perpetrators. It is time to declare “mission accomplished” and stop the killing and misery.  

Unfortunately, many in the Peace community, including Worcester activists, do not want to oppose politicians who are considered to be “progressive” candidates. 

Like the BlackLives Matter activists, the peace activists should compel the candidates to declare their intentions with Afghanistan, Israel and Syria.