Levy Meets With Immigration Agency Ignoring Pleas of Immigrant Coalition for a Meeting

A coalition of groups representing the interests of immigrants on Long Island sent a letter late last week to County Executive Steve Levy requesting that he meet with them before conferring again with the federal immigration agents of the Department of Homeland Security. But Wednesday, January 12 without consulting the coalition Levy met with the federal agents.

Newsday reported on Thursday that

"Meeting with Suffolk officials Wednesday for the second time in a month, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials agreed to provide Suffolk authorities with a 24-hour-a-day contact to help determine whether people arrested on felony charges are undocumented immigrants, Levy spokesman Ed Dumas said. ...... Nadia Marin-Molina of the Hempstead-based Workplace Project said that by checking on people's status before they are convicted of anything, people who committed no crime could end up in deportation proceedings. .... employers sometimes falsely accuse their immigrant employees of crimes.

Levy's latest plan comes after he dropped his idea of 'deputizing' Suffolk police officers, giving them the same powers as federal immigration agents. Levy said it could have helped crack down on undocumented immigrants who commit violent crimes and then flee after posting bail or serving time.

But the idea provoked an uproar among pro-immigrant groups, civil rights leaders and the Suffolk PBA, who said Levy was exaggerating the extent of the problem and pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment."

The immigrant support coalition includes the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, the American Friends Service Committee, the Long Island Chapter of the American Jewish Committee, the Workplace Project, the Farmingdale Citizens for Viable Solutions, Brookhaven Citizens for Peaceful Alternatives, the Unitarian Universalists of the South Fork Social Action Committee, the North Fork Hispanic Apostolate and several other groups.

The coalition wrote Levy that ".... proposals for increased county cooperation in immigration enforcement has caused great worry and confusion among Suffolk’s immigrants. .......... we believe that current County discussions with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should be informed by the input of those in daily contact with the impacted community."

Some information above provided by Nadia Marin-Molina of the Workplace Project.

Harvesting Strawberries

In summer

my teenage daughters

hair waving freckles,

legs and arms swinging,

walk barefoot to the garden in our back yard,

pick greens,

wash them, make salad

or cook with olive oil and garlic

and we eat together

on the wooden table under the mimosa tree

beside hammocks and chimes,

then drive or walk three miles to plunge in the Atlantic.

On January 4, 2005

six Palestinian children ages eleven to seventeen

harvesting strawberries

were killed by Israeli military

paid, in part, with dollars we send in taxes

from our jobs.

A newspaper photo showed an almond eyed boy

carrying the body of his younger brother.

The children were harvesting strawberries.

Kathy Engel January 6, 2005

Margaret Mead: Her spirit is still with us!

In the 2-1/2 years that the East End Women in Black have been holding vigils for peace in Sag Harbor and in Bridgehampton some well-known women have appeared to give the east end group support. Probably none of these are as renowned as the late anthropolgist and author Margaret Mead (1901-1978). Of course Ms. Mead never joined the group which started in August of 2002 in Sag Harbor. According to the American Museum of Natural History, the organization Mead was associated with for many years:

"Margaret Mead (1901-78) taught generations of Americans about the value of looking carefully and openly at other cultures to better understand the complexities of being human. Scientist, explorer, writer, and teacher, Mead, who worked in the Department of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History from 1926 until her death, brought the serious work of anthropology into the public consciousness.

A deeply committed activist, Mead often testified on social issues before the United States Congress and other government agencies. She hoped that through all of these efforts others would learn about themselves and work toward a more humane and socially responsible society. As she once said, "I have spent most of my life studying the lives of other peoples -- faraway peoples -- so that Americans might better understand themselves."

It is clear that her spirit has informed the women who founded our local vigil and will continue to give us all inspiration.

It should also be noted that the local vigils have been held continuously since August 2002. They continue on the 1st Sunday of each month in Bridgehampton at 3pm at the Monument and on the 3rd Sunday each month at the Sag Harbor wharf, also at 3pm.

Southampton Press Reports: Women Are Still In Black

The following article appeared in the January 6 2005 edition of the Southampton Press (see "Margaret Mead: Her Spirit is Still With Us")

Women Are Still In Black

By Gavin Menu

With the start of the new year, the East End Women in Black have planned more silent vigils in opposition to the war in Iraq in both Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor, where more than two years ago members began showing public opposition to both the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the plight of Palestinian people.

The vigils, which members say are the longest-running protests in the area, began as part of an international movement that was spearheaded by Israeli and Palestinian women in the 1980s. That group also declared that it was determined to break the cycle of violence in the Middle East.

In August 2002, the East End Women in Black began a string of protests on the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. Last year, they held vigils at the war monument on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton. And while the number of protesters has dipped at times, members of the group say that since the reelection of President Bush, opposition to the war in Iraq has again begun to swell.

“Women in Black are back in Sag Harbor,” said Kathy Engel, one of the founding members of the organization. “You realize that a lot of people are deeply anguished by all of this. It is clear to many of us that the president does not have a mandate.”

Ms. Engel said the vigils will now be held the first Sunday of every month at 3 p.m. in Bridgehampton, and the third Sunday of every month in Sag Harbor. The next vigil will be Sunday, January 16, at Long Wharf.

“There was a time right before the war when we had a lot of numbers,” Ms. Engel explained. “But what’s happened now is you wake up and see this is still going on and you know you want to do something. People are regrouping—you saw that at the Republican National Convention in New York. Major social change takes a long time.”

Dan Steiger, one of many men who are involved in the protests, said that the rising death toll in Iraq is likely the main cause for the increased opposition.

“The interesting thing I find is that people have been committed to this since the August before the war started,” Mr. Steiger said. “The numbers are up in terms of deaths, and the media is covering it more.”

Margaret Mead, another member of the group, called it “essential” that an outlet be provided for people who want to express their commitment to peace. “Don’t ever doubt that a small number of dedicated individuals can change the world,” Ms. Mead said. “In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Last Sunday’s vigil in Bridgehampton, the first of the New Year, was marked by a contribution from Sag Harbor songwriter Brother Khafra, whose song “Old Men Love War” honored the peace work done by East End Women in Black. Mr. Khafra said on Tuesday that he’s committed to the long haul when it comes to fighting for peace.

“It’s time to really talk about who is who,” he said. “Whatever happened to protest songs? We have no time to waste. We have no time for a CD. We have to at least make people conscious about what’s going on.”

Ms. Engel said that larger national protests are being organized, and that the East End chapter of Women in Black will do everything possible to attend. The group has already participated in several national movements, including the protests at the GOP convention this summer.

“You never know when something is going to come along that gives you strength and inspiration,” Ms. Engel said. “It’s clear that there is tremendous angst about this war.”

Issue Date: Southampton Press 1/6/05

Copyright, The Southampton Press

Report Back From Farmingville Meeting

Cesar A. Malaga of the Hispanic American Association attended the Greater Farmingville Community Association (GFCA) meeting on January 7. Here is a summary of his report:

Less than 30 people attended the meeting presided over by GFCA President Ray Wysolmierski who once again showed his hate for Latinos. He indicated that there are 20 million undocumented immigrants in the USA, and that "10,000 cross the Mexican border every day" . He spoke about the "comic book issued by the Mexican Government and the survival kit provided to cross the dessert to get into the USA". Wysolmierski repeated his reference several times to the "invasion" of the USA by Mexicans. He is against the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be the next Attorney General.

Congressman Bishop was firm in his stand against deporting undocumented immigrants and he indicated he is in favor of work visas and a road to citizenship.The Congressman favors legalizing of all undocumented immigrants.

There was Q &A. Some members of the GFCA want Congress to pass laws to deport undocumented immigrants. Several members were nasty to the Congressman.

Ray Wysolmierski said they will run their own candidate to replace Congressman Bishop. Their candidate will support whatever legislation GFCA asks them to pass.

Assemblywoman Ginny Fields followed Congressman Bishop. She suggested the Town should enforce zoning laws.

The GFCA plans to bring Kathy McKee, the woman who was instrumental in passing Prop. 200 [in California] to address the GFCA.

Michael O'Neill Letter on Tim Bishop and Farmingville

In response to 1st C.D. Congressman Tim Bishop's appearance in Farmingville at a meeting of the former 'Sachem Quality of Life" organization, renamed the Greater Farmingville Community Association, Michael O'Neill of Sag Harbor, a member of O.L.A. and numerous other organizations devoted to peace and justice sent the following (excerpted) letter to the congressman:

Jan 8,2005
Hon.Tim Bishop,

I just read an account of the meeting you had last night with the ersatz Sachem Quality of Life group, whatever their new new name, headed by the August President for Life, Ray Wysolmierski. I want to thank you for standing up to these bullies and telling them to their faces of your support for the undocumented immigrants; that you support making them legal by issuing work visas which could lead to citizenship. I want to thank you for the principled stand you took in face of what, I am told by an eyewitness there, was their nastiness--to use the term he used.

You could have easily have skipped their request for a meeting that you must have known would be hostile and I want to thank you for deciding to meet with them as their representative, which could well dampen the fervor of the anti-immigrant stance of the most strident among them and even move the less strident to see there are reasonable and principled solutions that would be much more beneficial to these hard-working, law-abiding immigrants as well as to our communities than those put forward by right-wing groups. They are, in the words of Morris Dees, one of our nation's treasures and founder of the Southern Poverty Law Services, "Hate must be exposed and denounced. It is our basic civic duty to respond to hatred when it appears in our community and promote tolerance in its place." On his web site he gives the links between these anti-immigrant goups and the same, old, dreary hate groups that have sprung up after years of laying the groundwork.

Many with less fortitude would simply have given up ever trying to connect with these folks to try to reason with them when they have shown themselves sbusive and mean to you in the past in other public venues. I hope there were reporters there to spread what to me was good news: the vocal opposition is really only the same three louts who scream about "invaders" and believe "illegal" is a genetic trait given by God and will always remain so."



There has been a great outpouring of sentiment and offers of help on the east end and across the USA for the victims of the great natural disaster that hit the people of the Indian Ocean rim. This shows the innate humanity of our people. We should all join in this effort.

Now consider this: Why has there been so little compassion and help for the victims of man-made disasters such as wars launched by our government? Why, when 100,000 Iraqis have died since the latest invasion of their country started have we not seen the pictures of the dead and the homes destroyed on network TV and the front pages of the major newspapers?

Perhaps the reason is that we don't want to look at victims of a disaster that we could have prevented. Or perhaps the reason is that these same media who could have told the truth instead told us all the lies put forth by Washington to justify a needless war.

Recently we were asked to help the latest disaster victims - the civilians of Iraq who have been driven from their homes in places such as Fallujah, an entire city destroyed in our futile effort to find 'security'.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent is one organization which is helping internal refugees of our un-holy war.
They can be reached on the internet at www.ifrc.org. Their report back from Iraq relates activities in Fallujah and more.
Other organizations are helping Iraqi victims of the war. Military Families for Peace, Code Pink and Global Exchange told a news conference in Amman that they had sent 600,000 dollars' worth of humanitarian aid to residents of the Iraqi town of Fallujah displaced by last month's massive US-led assault.

Peace and Justice Calendar - Starting Jan 13, 2005

  • January 16 (Sunday): Vigil for Peace at Sag Harbor Wharf at 3pm

  • January 16 (Sunday): Long Island Progressive Coalition South Fork Celebration 4pm - 6pm

  • January 20 (Thursday): Innauguration Day Discussion in East Hampton

  • January 22 (Saturday): Film and Viet Nam Vets' Discussion on Iraq War in Bridgehampton at 7 pm

  • January 25 (Tuesday): Jail Alternatives Group Meets in Riverhead at 12Noon

  • February 6 (Sunday): Vigil for Peace at Monument in Bridgehampton at 3pm

  • February 7 (Monday): Suffolk Peace Network Meets in Bellport 7:15 pm

    Details follow:

January 16 (Sunday): Vigil for Peace at Sag Harbor Wharf at 3pm

Starting Sunday, January 16 East End Women in Black return to Sag Harbor on the third Sunday of each month at the Wharf at 3pm. The vigil for peace and an end to occupations of Iraq and Palestine and a return of our troops from Iraq continues.

Contact: 631-831-4966

January 16 (Sunday): Long Island Progressive Coalition South Fork Celebration 4pm - 6pm

The South Fork Chapter of Long Island Progressive Coalition will hold a celebration for participants in the Get Out the Vote effort this past fall. A dinner party (bring lots of food- progressives are hungry people) will be held at the home of Jane and Bill Chaleff on Cedar Street in East Hampton.

For directions, etc. contact Seth at LIProgressive Coalition: 516-541-1006 ext. 13 or


January 20 (Thursday): Inauguration Day Discussion in East Hampton

An interfaith discussion will be held on Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20, from 12:30pm to 2:30pm entitled "Where Do We Go From Here?"

People of good will of all faiths and spiritual paths are welcome. The interfaith conversation is meant to mark our concerns about the challenges and choices our nation faces regarding authentic moral, spiritual and democratic values. The gathering has been planned to provide a meeting place for those on the East End who seek an open and inclusive direction in public policy. Reverend Rob Stuart will facilitate the gathering to be held at the parish house of Saint Luke's Episcopal Church in East Hampton. A brown bag lunch is suggested.

For further information contact Maryann Calendrille at 725-4926.

January 22 (Saturday): Film and Viet Nam Vets' Discussion on Iraq War in Bridgehampton at 7 pm

East End Veterans will sponsor a screening of the film "Hearts & Minds" followed by a discussion by Viet Nam combat vets on parallels and differences between the Viet Nam and Iraq wars, government policies and Pentagon strategies. The program wil be at the Bridgehampton National Bank Community Room at 7pm.

Contact: Michael O'Neill at leoneill@optonline.net


January 25 (Tuesday): Jail Alternatives Group Meets in Riverhead at 12Noon

The next meeting of Concerned Communities for Alternatives to Jail will be on Tuesday,January 25, 12 noon to 2 p.m. in the Crafts Room downstairs at the Riverhead FreeLibrary, 220 Court Street


February 6 (Sunday): Vigil for Peace at Monument in Bridgehampton at 3pm
East End Women in Black continue the vigil held since August 2002 on the first Sunday of each month at the Monument (Route 27 and Ocean Road) at 3pm.

We vigil in support of peace and an end to occupations of Iraq and
Palestine and a return of our troops.

Contact: 631-831-4966

February 7 (Monday): Suffolk Peace Network Meets in Bellport 7:15 pm

This montly meeting will be at the Unitarian Fellowship on Browns Road at 7: 15 pm.

contact: Liz Folz mollydog4@aol.com or Karen Sackett rksrc@optonline.net