ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

July 29, 2009

2009.07.29: 7 p.m. Tonight in Bk: Report by Councilman Charles Barron and Gaza Convoy Members

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, July 29, 2009 12:41 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: 7 p.m. Tonight in Bk: Report by Councilman Charles Barron and Gaza Convoy Members

Report Back: An Evening with Councilman Charles Barron and
other Viva Palestina Convoy Activists Fresh From the Gaza Strip

Councilmember Barron and over two hundred convoy participants recently returned from their Humanitarian Mission to the Gaza Strip. They accomplished their goal in breaking the genocidal siege on Gaza by delivering humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. While the mission was ultimately a success, it was not without its challenges and roadblocks along the way, including a “showdown” at the Suez Canal with the Egyptian Military. The presentation will include pictures and some video revealing the devastation experienced by the people of Gaza. All are encouraged to attend this very special event.

The Viva Palestina convoy was organized in conjunction with Pastors for Peace. Listed below are a few people who played a leading role in this effort include British Parliament Member George Galloway, Councilman Charles Barron, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, M1 of Revolutionary Hip Hop group Dead Prez, Viva Palestina National Organizer Fatima Mohammadi, Nancy Leigh of Existence Resistance, activist Lamont Carolina, Operation P.O.W.E.R Co-Chair Nayo Simmons, Bill Doar of Al-Awda, and Brandon King of The New Malcolm X movement.

Wednesday July 29th – 7pm
The House of the Lord Church
415 Atlantic Avenue
Between Bond and Nevins Streets, Brooklyn
2,3,4, or 5 Train to Nevins or the A/C train to Hoyt & Schermerhorn

Some Background on Gaza:

July 27, 2009

2009.07.27: RE: Reminder – J.C. Meeting Tomorrow Night at 6:30 pm

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2009 2:31 PM
To: Wright, Deborah; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Reminder – J.C. Meeting Tomorrow Night at 6:30 pm

Please advise what is on the agenda.

Thank you.

From: Wright, Deborah
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2009 1:41 PM
Subject: Reminder – J.C. Meeting Tomorrow Night at 6:30 pm

Just a reminder that there will be a J.C. Meeting tomorrow night, starting at 6:30 pm.  As usual, pizza and soda will be served.

Hope to see all of you there!

Deborah L. Wright, Esq.


UAW Local 2325 –  Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (AFL-CIO)

568 Broadway, Room 702A

N.Y.,  N.Y.  10012-3223

Phone:     (212) 343-0708

Fax:         (212) 343-0966

Mobile:     (609) 712-3818


2009.07.27: Tonight, 7 p.m. in Brooklyn: From Jerusalem To Gaza

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 12:48 pm

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2009 12:48 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Tonight, 7 p.m. in Brooklyn: From Jerusalem To Gaza

Back from Gaza

From Jerusalem To Gaza

An Evening with Archbishop Atallah Hanna
and Viva Palestina Convoy Activists Just
Returned from Gaza

Join Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition and the US Palestine National Network in welcoming Archbishop Attalla Hanna, the spokesman of the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem and Palestine, and Viva Palestina Convoy activists who broke the genocidal siege on Gaza with British MP George Galloway. Join the battle to save
Jerusalem and end the blockade of Gaza.

Monday, July 27th – 7 pm
Salam Church, 345 Ovington Ave
Between 3rd and 4th aves. Brooklyn

For more information, please contact or call 718-228-8636.
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition – NY

Support our work! Visit to make a donation.

July 22, 2009

2009.07.22: 3:30 Today: Tell Lance, Inc: Keep Stella D’Oro in the Bronx

Filed under: Labor Solidarity — nyclaw01 @ 9:37 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 9:37 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: 3:30 Today: Tell Lance, Inc: Keep Stella D’Oro in the Bronx

Rally to

“Tell Lance, Inc: Keep Stella D’Oro in the Bronx!”

Wednesday, July 22nd @ 3:30PM
85 Broad Street

Please join Stella D’Oro workers and supporters tomorrow, Wednesday July 22 at 3:30PM for an impromptu rally/picket outside the offices of Goldman Sachs at 85 Broad Street.

As many of you are aware, Brynwood Partners, the current private equity owners of Stella D’Oro, are in talks to sell the Stella D’Oro brand to Lance, Inc., a North Carolina-based manufacturing and marketing firm. The problem is Brynwood wants to sell the Stella D’Oro brand only, without the plant.

If the deal between Brynwood Partners and Lance, Inc. moves forward, Lance will inevitably relocate production to one of the non-union facilities it already owns, leaving the plant — and the workers — in the Bronx stranded.

We’re rallying outside Goldman Sachs because, as one of Lance’s high-profile investors, they have the power to dissuade Lance, Inc. from going through with this damning deal. The event tomorrow is being thrown together at the last minute, but we need as much support as possible to let Lance, Inc. and its investors know we are serious.

Our message to Goldman is simple: “Tell Lance, Inc.: Keep Stella D’Oro in the Bronx!” As for Lance, we want them to know that if they buy Stella D’Oro and relocate production from the Bronx, we’ll never give them a minute’s rest.

We’ve always been able to count on you in the past — and we hope we’ll be able to count on you tomorrow! Please come out at this critical moment in the campaign!

Who: Stella D’Oro workers and community and labor supporters
What: Rally to tell Lance, Inc. and its investors — “Keep Stella D’Oro in the Bronx!”
Where: Outside Goldman Sachs, 85 Broad Street
When: Wednesday, July 22nd, 3:30PM-5:00PM

Thanks for all your support!

In Solidarity,
Stella D’Oro Solidarity Committee

July 15, 2009

2009.07.15: Troy Davis Case (Michael Letwin)

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 12:00 am

Troy Davis Case
Michael Letwin, St. Mary’s Church, NYC
July 15, 2009

I am a public defender at the Brooklyn office of the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Division.  From 1990-2002, I was President of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325 (ALAA). Since 2001, I have been a co-convener of NYCLAW.

In some ways this is an unusual case, because the execution of Troy Davis is opposed not only by opponents of the death penalty, but by 27 former judges and prosecutors, and the former head of the FBI. This reflects several things:

–Weakness of the evidence against him.

–Blatant lack of fairness in evaluating that evidence.

–Growing popular rejection of the death penalty.

–Tenacious work of Troy’s famiily, AI, CEDP and many others.

So why is the state of GA still so intent on murdering him? There are certainly many reasons due to the politics of this particular case. But the most fundamental reason is a criminal justice system that—as a matter of deliberate policy—systematically targets communities of color for search and destroy policing, widespread criminalization and inhumane sentencing. I’m not just talking about the death penalty, and I’m certainly not talking just about Georgia or the South. Just look at the innocence epidemic across the U.S., all the people who have spent years in prison, many of them on death row, after being wrongly convicted.

Just look at NYC, where our brother Yusef Salaam and the other Central Park defendants were falsely accused. Despite recent reduction in Rockfeller drug law sentences, there has been an explosion in the number of racially discriminatory stop and frisks. The vast majority of these do not result in an arrest, and most that do are for charges as riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, open alcohol containers, fare beating, walking between subway cars, and marijuana possession.

Despite growing popular support for MJ decriminalization, between 1997-2007, the NYPD arrested and jailed nearly 400,000 people for possessing small amounts of marijuana, ten times the number of the previous ten years. And even though only 26 percent of the city population is Black, they were 52 percent of those arrested for MJ. Meanwhile, whites made up 35 percent of the population, but only 15 percent of those arrested for MJ.

In 2007, the NYPD stopped nearly 469,000 New Yorkers. Eighty-eight percent were found completely innocent of any wrongdoing. The racial disparity in the stop-and-frisk encounters is almost identical to the disparity in marijuana arrests: Though they make up only a quarter of the city’s population, more than half of those stopped were black.

These drugs and other “quality of life” offenses shouldn’t be criminalized to begin with. For they help propel the indiscriminate arrests that serve only to generate criminal records for hundreds of thousands of people of color, and are routinely accompanied by false accusations, physical threats, beatings and torture.

NY may have no official death penalty. But just like Alcohol Prohibition, Drug Prohibition ensures violent turf wars that kill people in poor neighborhoods. And NYC’s CJ policies give the NYPD a green light to act as death squads, victims of which include Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Anthony Baez, Sean Bell, Black cops like Omar J. Edwards, and just a few days ago in Brooklyn, Shem Walker — none of whom were even brought to court, let alone guilty of anything.

Why: Individualized racism plays a role, but real racism is institutional, i.e., policy. 1960s CRM/BPM led to rising expectations and demands by young POC, while growing de-industrialization. System responded by rolling back and containing primary agency of change: youth of color. Primary vehicle: white fear of crime, “war on drugs,” MMS. Result: Prison-Industrial Complex.

So we need a mass movement to save Troy Davis — and all the other young people of color who otherwise will be devoured by a CJS, which runs on racism and injustice.

July 14, 2009

2009.07.14: Today, 4-6 p.m.: Urgent Protest: Let Charles Barron & Aid Convoy Into Gaza

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 8:51 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 8:51 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Today, 4-6 p.m.: Urgent Protest: Let Charles Barron & Aid Convoy Into Gaza

(Members of the the Viva Palestina US Convoy discussed below include former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney, New York City Council Member Charles Barron, and many other New Yorkers.)

Today, July 14, 4-6 p.m.: Let the Viva Palestina Convoy into Gaza!

Protest at the Egyptian Mission to the UN
304 East 44th St. (@ 2nd Ave.)
Sponsors: Al-Awda-NY, Existence is Resistance, International Action Center, International Socialist Organization, Campus Antiwar Network, New York City Labor Against the War, Vets for Peace. If you would like your organization to be a cosponsor, or for more information, please email .
What Else You Can Do

Contact the Egyptian embassy and ask that the Viva Palestina convoy be allowed to make its journey to Gaza without further delays. Call 202-966-6342, fax 202-244-4319 and e-mail

The Viva Palestina Convoy is being denied passage into Gaza by the Egyptian Government.

This convoy is the largest ever US humanitarian aid convoy, organized by British MP George Galloway and Vietnam Veteran and antiwar activist Ron Kovic, and is carry medical supplies for the people of Gaza, who have been the targets of brutal attacks and an ongoing blockade by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

The convoy’s delegation of about 200 people left for Cairo, Egypt from July 4-7, en route to Gaza to provide much-needed humanitarian aid to the people — wheelchairs, walkers and medical supplies. Participants include former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney, New York City Council Member Charles Barron, and members of numerous organizations.

Viva Palestina has issued the following humanitarian appeal:

Viva Palestina U.S. is calling on our friends and supporters to gather outside Egyptian consulates across the U.S. on Tuesday, July 14, as we make our way toward the Suez Canal and into the Sinai Peninsula to deliver humanitarian aid and medical supplies to the people of Gaza. We have met all the new bureaucratic requirements imposed by the Egyptian authorities, and we therefore have the right to expect a speedy passage to Gaza. However, we must prepare for unwarranted further attempts to frustrate us perhaps with a view to stopping such convoys in the future. Those individuals and groups gathering outside Egyptian consulates tomorrow will either be able to help us break through those blockages or be able to celebrate our overcoming them. We want to be on the border of Gaza on Tuesday night and in Gaza on Wednesday morning. Viva Palestina!

Let the Aid through!
Let the Convoy through!
Let the trucks through!
Latest News About Viva Palestina
Donate to Viva Palestina
Further Information

July 1, 2009

2009.07.01: Gaza Relief Events Today and Friday

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 10:26 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2009 10:26 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Gaza Relief Events Today and Friday
Today: 4-6 p.m.: Emergency Demonstration Against Israeli Piracy & Kidnapping

Gaza SiegeMcKinney

Former U.S. Congress Member Cynthia McKinney and other human rights activists aboard the Spirit of Humanity remain in Israeli custody

Story blacked out by most U.S. media. Other reports:

Against Israeli Piracy & Kidnapping
Free Cynthia McKinney and all kidnapped human rights workers!

Join Councilmember Charles Barron and others


at the

800 Second Avenue
(Second Avenue @ 43rd St.)

Last night, Israeli Occupation Forces attacked and boarded the Free Gaza Movement boat, the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, abducting 21 human rights workers from 11 countries, including Noble laureate Mairead Maguire and former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The passengers and crew are being forcibly dragged toward Israel.

The seizure of humanitarian supplies and abduction of human rights workers is an act of piracy, a crime under international law. When the boat was attacked, it was not in Israeli waters and was on a human rights mission to Gaza. Israel’s deliberate and premeditated attack on an unarmed boat in international waters is a clear violation of international law. Join us tomorrow from 4 to 6 pm at the Israeli Mission to demand an immediate and unconditional release of the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY, all 21 human rights workers, and the humanitarian supplies.

According to an International Committee of the Red Cross report released yesterday, the Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair.” Thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed earlier during Israel’s December/January massacre are still without shelter despite pledges of almost $4.5 billion in aid, because Israel refuses to allow cement and other building material into the Gaza Strip. The report also notes that hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of their patients due to Israel’s disruption of medical supplies.

Let the Humanitarian Aid through!
Free Cynthia McKinney and all kidnapped human rights workers!
Stop the blockade of Gaza!

Friday, 6 p.m.: Medical Aid Convoy to Gaza Sendoff Rally

Sendoff rally

Medical Aid Convoy to Gaza Sendoff Rally

When: 6 pm Friday, July 3, 2009

Where: House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (between Bond and Nevins Sts)


George Galloway, MP
Rev. Herbert Daughtry
City Councilperson Charles Barron
Cynthia McKinney
Ron Kovic

The next day, July 4th, hundreds of people from across the United States will depart New York for Egypt, where they will load trucks with millions of dollars worth of medical supplies and drive it to the besieged people of Gaza. While our government arms the Israeli war machine with weapons of mass destruction to murder the people of Palestine, we will bring humanitarian aid and a challenge to U.S. support for war, blockade and occupation.

For more info please contact Al-Awda at or (718) 228-8636

See also:
Labor for Palestine Supports Viva Palestina USA

Blog at