Mohawk Valley Freedom School


WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2014 at 6:00pm




This Wednesday, October 22 the local prisoner justice organization Incarcerated Flavors is having its second letter writing to prisoners event, with many more in the works. October 22 was chosen as a date for this event as this is the very same day that two young men, Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton, in 1966 formed the Black Panther Party in Oakland, CA. Because of the Black Panthers’ political activism, their vision for a more just world, and their community survival programs such as the Free Breakfast for Children Program, Free Busing to Prisons Program, and Free Medical Clinics to name just a few, the organization was virtually destroyed by the FBI and multiple police forces in a covert program later reveled to the public as COINTELPRO. Multiple Panthers were targeted for their beliefs…

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WHAT: Running Down the Walls – 5k Run/Walk/Jog/Bike/Skate
WHEN: 1:00pm, Sunday, October 19th
WHERE: Proctor Park– Culver Ave/Rutger St. in Utica, NY.
COST: $10 donation (people will not be turned away for lack of funds)

Countless political prisoners languish in prison cells around the world. The US is no exception – 100s of political prisoners, many of them who were targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program during the Civil Rights and New Left movements of the 1960s-70s, are locked up in prisons across the US. Thankfully, organizations exist to raise awareness of these political prisoners and support them. One such group is the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC).

Every year, prisoners and supporters of political prisoners organize solidarity events with a 5km road race called Running Down the Walls. Last year, runs were held in in Albuquerque (NM), Arcata (CA), Ashland (OR), Bellefonte (PA), Boston (MA), Denver (CO), Elmore (AL), Inez (KY), Los Angeles (CA), Marion (IL), New York (NY), USP Navosta (TX), Pelican Bay (CA), Phoenix (AZ), Tucson (AZ), and Toronto, Ontario. This year we hope to expand the amount of runs in prisons and other cities, as well as increase the amount of funds raised for community projects. This is the very first time that Utica will have this event.

This year’s run in Utica is taking place later than other runs but it is still in the spirit of solidarity and conjunction with runs that took place in cities and prison yards across the country.

Over $70,000 has been raised over the years by ABC, both through Running Down the Walls and other events. Local activists will split the raised funds from this event with the local prisoner justice organization Incarcerated Flavors which is organizing the event.


* Run/walk/bike/roll in the 5k – We need participants who can run/walk/bike/roll the 5k and are able to collect financial pledges to offer as donations to the run.

* Volunteer for the run – We need people who are willing to staff a registration/literature table, hand out water, and help chalk the route beforehand.

* Donate to the run/sponsor a participant – If you are not able to attend, but want to support this fundraising effort, please email and someone will meet you to pick up your donation.

If you have any questions, please contact or 315 732 2382. See you at the race!

For more information on ABC, Jericho Movement (another political prisoner support group) or Incarcerated Flavors, please check out:


Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements

A book talk by editors Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein of the new book Until the Rulers Obey.Where: Mohawk Valley Freedom School (500 Plant Street in Utica at Cornerstone Community Church)
When: Friday. October 3 at 7:00pm

Sponsored by the Mohawk Valley Freedom School, CNY Citizen Action, and others.

Ross and Rein will give an overview of social movements in Latin America – what they are, their history and current struggles – and dialogue with the audience on the lessons these movements have to offer to people here in the U.S. engaged in working for a better world.

Here is a bit of information about the book itself:

Until the Rulers Obey: Voices From Latin American Social Movements includes interviews with more than 70 organizers, activists and scholars from 15 countries, Mexico to Argentina. The movements they’re part of helped bring new governments to power after decades of austerity and dictatorship. They’ve mobilized on a broad range of issues, fighting against mines and agribusiness and for housing and land; for rights as women, workers, LGBT and indigenous people; for the survival of their communities and our planet. Their organizing runs the gamut of nonviolent social change strategies, from land occupation to electoral participation to creating alternative communities.

Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein say, “This is the book we’ve been waiting for. Anyone interested in the explosion of social movements in Latin America—and the complex interplay between those forces and the ‘Pink Tide’ governments—should inhale this book immediately.”

Until the Rulers Obey is a profoundly necessary book. Little has been published about Latin America in the way of an overview from 1989 to the present, even less in the voices of the protagonists themselves. The great experiments of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s failed, but new and in many cases less dogmatic approaches to social justice have taken root in a number of countries south of the border. This book explores those efforts, often in the words of the change-makers themselves. Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein have done us a great service. Read this book for access to what the U.S. corporate media still doesn’t want us to know.”
—Margaret Randall, author of Sandino’s Daughters Revisited, When I Look Into the Mirror and See You, and Che on My Mind
For more information, please call 732-2382 or email


Protest Police Violence and the Killing of Michael Brown

When? Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 6:00pm

Where? Watson-Williams Park on James Street near Steuben in Utica

On February 24th, 2012, 17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman for “looking suspicious.” Though Martin was unarmed, Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges. On November 23rd, 2012, 17 year old Jordan Davis was gunned down by Michael Dunn for being a passenger in a car that played “loud music.” Though Davis was unarmed and not even focused on Dunn, Dunn’s trial for first-degree murder was declared a mistrial. On August 9th, 2014, 18 year old Michael Brown was slaughtered while his hands were up–a universal sign for surrender!–by police officer Darren Wilson. Though he surrendered and was unarmed, Wilson chose to end Brown’s precious life.

We saw something similar here in Utica on July 5th, 2002 when the then Utica police officer Samuel Geddes killed resident Walter Washington. Geddes’s actions were said to be “a reasonable and justifiable use of deadly physical force.” He was later promoted to a sergeant.

All victims had one thing in common: they were black.

The killing of innocent young black men is an unjust, immoral, and racist action that has become commonplace in America. We must fight collectively, diligently, and strategically to battle police brutality, racial profiling, and any other method that allows these murders to happen.

Please join us on August 21st, 2014 to gather in protest against police brutality, racial profiling, and to fight for Justice for Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Walter Washington, and the millions of other precious black lives that have been unjustly taken throughout the history of America. We will meet at 6 o’clock pm at Watson Williams Elementary School Park on the corner of Steuben and James.

“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line…”
W.E.B. Dubious
The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

“…the problem of the twenty first century remains the problem of the color line.”
Cornel West
Preface: Race Matters (2001)

Friday, August 8, 2014
at the Mohawk Valley Freedom School / Cornerstone Community Church
(500 Plant Street in Utica near State Street)
Please enter on the side entrance.

There will be a meeting this Friday to discuss how we can get involved locally to support the struggle in Palestine. Among the topics discussed will be planning future protests, educational events, and supporting the BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Israel. If you would like anything added on the agenda, please let me know.

LANGUAGE NEEDS: This meeting will be in ENGLISH and ARABIC. If you need another language to translate the discussion to, please let me know.
Finally, there is another “Day of Rage” / Free Palestine protest in Albany this Saturday:

Please email or call me if you have any questions. Let’s build a local movement to help free Palestine and end the occupation!

in solidarity and struggle,

Brendan Maslauskas Dunn
315 240 3149 (cell)


Free Gaza! – Rally and Protest
Friday, July 25, 2014
Utica, NY
(At the intersection of Genesee Street and the Baron von Steuben monument)!

End the siege in Gaza!
End the bloodshed!
End the occupation!
End Israeli apartheid!
End US complicity!

In light of ongoing events in the Gaza Strip, a coalition of Utica activists will descend upon the Memorial Parkway in front of the Baron von Steuben statue at the intersection with Genesee Street in South Utica.

About the Rally

The rally, in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, resulting from the current Israeli military incursion, Operation Protective Edge, will commence at 5 PM on Friday July, 25th. Among those involved are Occupy Utica, The Mohawk Valley Freedom School, The Green Party of Oneida and Herkimer Counties, local Palestinian refugees and other community action groups. This protest will also be carried out in conjunction with others like it in cities around the world.

About the Cause

While recognizing the State of Israel’s right to defend itself, international opposition to their policies toward Palestine has grown for decades. Among those policies most contested are the overwhelming military responses to alleged Palestinian provocations; Israel’s “collective punishment” philosophy, which involves a deliberate policy designed to punish the entire population of Gaza; the disparity in Israeli versus Palestinian firepower (Israel’s is the 11th largest military in the world, Palestinians have no military); Israel’s controversial apartheid policies against Palestinians; the death toll from Operation Protective Edge, which stands at over 400 as of the writing of this press release (with up to 80 percent of those deaths being civilian according to The Guardian); the use of banned/illegal/controversial weapons (white phosphorous, DIME munitions); the continued and illegal seizure of Palestinian land, property and assets; the continued denial of a viable economy from being formed in Palestine; Israel’s embargo against goods reaching Palestine; the diversion of 80 percent of Palestine’s fresh water resources into Israel.

The rally will be held as part of a growing international call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, as well as the recognition of Palestine’s borders which make Israeli settlements illegal, the repeal of apartheid policies in Israel and recognition of Palestinian right to self-determination and human rights.

There is no position being taken on justifying either side’s violence, however with Israel’s enormous historic disparity in the ability to carry out destruction, as well as casualties inflicted, with significant US military aid, the State of Israel must be held accountable for the violation of dozens of internationally recognized treaties and laws.

Since 2000, over 6,000 Palestinians have been victims of the Israeli military – most of them, civilians. With the 600+ deaths in the last few weeks, and over 90 in the city of Shujaiya alone, this most recent Israeli offensive has been one of the most destructive yet.

– written by Derek Scarlino (with additions from Brendan Dunn)

Contact For more information and if you are interested in getting involved with a local Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel, please contact, Brendan Maslauskas Dunn –, 315 240-3149


A coalition of local groups will be sponsoring the “Fight for Fifteen” May Day Vigil for Fair and Living Wages on Thursday, May 1 between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. on the public sidewalk on 100 block North Genesee Street (across the street from the Hess Gas Station), Utica.

“We are holding this event to press for a higher minimum wage, improved wages for food service, child care, and hospitality workers, and living wages for all workers,” said Brendan Dunn, one of the organizers for the event.  “We are joining with countless people across the country to demand a $15/hour minimum wage. This is a new movement that has gained considerable momentum in Seattle and has its roots in the recent upsurge of fast food worker organizing. May Day is internationally recognized as Labor Day and has its roots in the US. In recent years it has been revived by the immigrant rights and labor movements.”

Over three million workers in New York–37 percent of the state’s labor force–work in low-wage jobs that pay less than $15 per hour, according to a 2014 report by the National Employment Law Project and the Fiscal Policy Institute. Census data show that workers of color in New York are disproportionately concentrated in low-wage jobs, with 49 percent of Hispanic workers and 48 percent of black workers throughout the state holding jobs that pay less than $15 per hour.

Two out of three (66 percent) small business owners in New York think cities and counties should have the authority to set their own minimum wage rates above the state level, according to a new poll released by Small Business Majority. The poll signals broad levels of support among small businesses for legislation introduced this year (S. 6516/A. 9036) by State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assemblyman Karim Camara that would grant localities in New York the authority to set their own minimum wage rates.

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, found that 77 percent of small business owners in New York support setting the minimum wage above the state’s current rate of $8 per hour, as well as indexing the minimum wage to rise each year with the cost of living. The respondents were predominately Republican–with 45 percent of small business owners identifying as Republican, 40 percent as Democrat and 15 percent as independent or other.

The event is free and open to the public.  Local co-sponsors include Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., IWW, Mohawk Valley Freedom School, Occupy Utica, and MoveOn.   For more information or transportation, please contact John Furman 315-725-0974, Dunn 315-240-3149,

For event details, please refer to or .  Follow events on  ‪#FightFor15 ‪#15Now  #FightFor15CNY.