Tell Army to drop AWOL charges against single mom - and other WNPJ Action Alerts

In early November 2009, Specialist Alexis Hutchinson (left), a single parent with a one-year old son, missed her unit's deployment to Afghanistan because her arrangements for childcare fell through at the last moment, due to circumstances beyond her control. The Army initially allowed for an extension of time to find another option; however, the extension was revoked. Spc Hutchinson understood that that her son, Kamani, would be taken away from her and placed in the county foster care system. Facing the real risk of permanently losing her parental rights, Spc Hutchinson went AWOL for approximately 24 hours and missed her unit’s deployment. Now the Army has filed four separate court martial charges against Specialist Hutchinson.
Action Step: Courage to Resist has started an online petition for people to register their support for Ms. Hutchinson. Personal letters to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillip, Deputy Commanding General of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, GA (address here...) are also urgently needed.

More WNPJ Action Alerts below...

Action Alert 1: Tell State Senate not to weaken protections against new nuclear waste generators
Action Alert 2: New bill provides process for resolving disputes over racist school mascots
Action Alert 3: Don't let the Senate gut the Clean Air Act
Action Alert 4: Tell Army to drop AWOL charges against single mom
Action Alert 5 - Madison: Help workers win back stolen wages
Action Alert 6: Free Palestinian human-rights activist Wa’el Al-Faqeeh
Action Alert 7 - Madison: New wellness services available for vets


Action Alert 1: Tell State Senate not to weaken protections against new nuclear waste generators
Background: On January 27, a special State Senate committee considering the new "Clean Energy Jobs Act", (SB 450  .pdf)  will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. in Room 412 East of the State Capitol to examine the bill's most controversial aspect: a provision that would weaken Wisconsin's common-sense requirment that builders of new nuclear plants should be able to certify there is a safe place to put the highly radioactive waste produced by the plants. This hearing provides Wisconsin citizens with their first chance to tell state legislators that making it easier to build more nuclear reactors should not be part of a proposed Clean Energy Jobs bill.
Action Step: Come to the hearing on the 27th at 10am to register and testify against changing our current law requiring that a federal nuclear waste repository be operating to handle high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power reactors before any new ones can be built. Also please call your State Representatives to urge them to support a Clean Energy Jobs act without the pro-nuclear provision.
Contact for more info: Diane Farsetta, Carbon Free, Nuclear Free campaign coordinator, (608) 250-9240, farsettad@gmail.com

Action Alert 2: New bill provides process for resolving disputes over racist school mascots
Background: More than 30 schools in Wisconsin still use "indian" logos or mascots, but when native people in these communities raise objections to these racist symbols, they are often met with hostility and even threats of violence. Senate Bill 25/Assembly Bill 35 would create a process by which the Department of Public Instruction can review complaints about racist school mascots, and attempt to resolve these issues in a fair manner. Assembly Bill 35 has already passed out of the Assembly Education committee, but Assembly leaders Tom Nelson and Speaker Mike Sheridan have not yet scheduled a vote in the assembly. The Senate Education Committee has already heard testimony, but have not yet voted on the bill.
Action Step: Please call your State Representatives to urge them to support SB25/AB35. If you are in the district of Rep. Nelson or Sheridan, it is especially important that you urge them to bring the bill to the floor of the Assembly for a vote, and if your Senator is on the Senate Education Committee, please call them as soon as possible, because the committee is expected to vote soon.
Contact for more info: Barb Munson, Wisconsin Indian Education Association Indian Mascot and Logo Task Force, 715 693-6238, Barb@Munson.net


Action Alert 3: Don't let the Senate gut the Clean Air Act
Background: In December, the Environmental Protection Agency ruled that Carbon Dioxide and other greenhouse gases "threaten the public health and welfare of the American people" through the mechanism of global climate change, setting the stage for government limits on greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Air Act. Now, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) has introduced a resolution that will block the Clean Air Act's ability to regulate global warming pollution and crack down on dirty coal power plants.
Action Step: Call Senators Kohl (202-224-5653) and Feingold (202-224-5323) and urge them to oppose the Murkowski resolution. WNPJ member group 1Sky has a handy web tool that makes it easier to send our Senators an email, too.
Contact for more info: Katy Walter, 1Sky, 608-251-7020 ext. 28, kwalter@cleanwisconsin.org


Action Alert 4: Tell Army to drop AWOL charges against single mom
Background: In early November 2009, Specialist Alexis Hutchinson, a single parent with a one-year old son, missed her unit's deployment to Afghanistan because her arrangements for childcare fell through at the last moment, due to circumstances beyond her control. The Army initially allowed for an extension of time to find another option; however, the extension was revoked. Spc Hutchinson understood that that her son, Kamani, would be taken away from her and placed in the county foster care system. Facing the real risk of permanently losing her parental rights, Spc Hutchinson went AWOL for approximately 24 hours and missed her unit’s deployment. Now the Army has filed four separate court martial charges against Specialist Hutchinson.
Action Step: Courage to Resist has started an online petition for people to register their support for Ms. Hutchinson. Personal letters to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillip, Deputy Commanding General of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, GA (address here...) are also urgently needed.
Contact for more info: Courage to Resist, 510-488-3559, email here...


Action Alert 5 - Madison: Help workers win back stolen wages
Background: In mid-November, workers at the recently opened Palis Cafe on Regent Street in Madison have reported to the Worker Rights Center that they had not been paid for months of work.  Since then, other workers at Palis Cafe have come forward with similar complaints, but the owner of Palis Cafe, Meshel Aldae, who is also owner of the Madison restaurant King of Falafel, has refused to make full restitution to the workers despite repeated efforts by the Worker Rights Center.
Action Step: Please call the owner, Meshel Aldae, at 608-255-7254 to demand that he pay his workers.
Contact for more info: Patrick Hickey, Worker Rights Center, 608-255-0376, worker1@sbcglobal.net


Action Alert 6: Free Palestinian human-rights activist Wa’el Al-Faqeeh
Background: Palestinian human-rights activist and proponent of nonviolent resistance Wa’el Al-Faqeeh has been detained without charge by Israeli authorities for over a month, and is now facing trial in a military court scheduled to begin on the 19th of January. Al-Faqeeh was one of five human-rights activists arrested on Dec. 9, 2009, after more than 200 Israeli soldiers invaded the city of Nablus on a mission targeting grassroots activists for arrest.
Action Step: Contact the American Consul General in Jerusalem and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to demand that they investigate Mr. Al-Faqeeh's arrest and bring pressure on the Israeli government for his release.
Contact for more info: Barb Olson, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, 608-238-1227, rafahsistercity@yahoo.com


Action Alert 7 - Madison: New wellness services available for vets
Background: Madison-area volunteers are now working with the Veterans Administration to provide free alternative wellness therapies to veterans, including: relaxation training, beginning level yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong, and meditation at the William Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital.
Action Step: Please pass this news on to veterans you know, and to any friends and family who may also know veterans.
Contact for more info: Veterans wanting to attend wellness classes should call Erica Sundby at the VA (608-256-1901 ext 11052). Kristi Rietz (608-256-1901 ext 11339) has more information on the Alternative Therapies program. People who want to help expand the number of free and reduced-cost services available to veterans in Wisconsin should contact Todd Dennis, Iraq Veterans Against the War - Madison, 715-533-2887, todd@ivaw.org


WNPJ is forwarding these weekly alerts from member organizations, individual members and national affiliates. If you are a WNPJ member and have an alert you would like posted in this weekly WNPJ Action Alert e-bulletin, please send it for review to Steve Burns, WNPJ Program Director at: outreach@wnpj.org.

Sent 1/23/10, Steve Burns, Program Director, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice