Women's International League for Peace and Freedom St. Louis Branch

Ally Spotlight: Antajuan Addams Sr., Manager of New Roots Urban Farm 

Antajuan Addams Sr, of NRUF and Erica Williams of A Red Circle

Invest in Black Farmers! Talking to Antajuan Addams Sr. you can’t help but respond to his keen interest in supporting the community—and especially Black Farmers. Adjacent to the former St Liborius Church (now SK8 Liborius), the New Roots Urban Farm uses the magnetic force of lush, organic vegetation, chickens and bunnies (soon a goat?), and an outdoor kitchen to bring together people of all ages, learning from each other as they do the work of growing food.  By reaching out to artists and folks who are interested in volunteering or hosting an activity at the garden, Antajuan masterfully organizes events that draw crowds all summer.  

Recently Antajuan took a trip to a Black-owned farm in North Carolina, where he stayed with the owners, an elderly couple who invited him to learn all he could from them during his week’s visit. Upon his return to St Louis, preoccupied with sifting through all he had learned, he stopped to check on the animals at NRUF. As he opened the gate, out of nowhere an 8-year-old blew past him.  With a quick greeting on his way to see the chickens, the boy said, “this is my safe space”. (A tear started to form as Antajuan shared this story.)

His own background and life experiences have shown Antajuan that the “safe space” of NRUF can be used to elevate the social, emotional and mental space of local youths. He is proud of the results of the extensive mentoring program that he organizes and ministers. Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 10:00 am to 6:00 p, students from nearby St Louis University and Washington University work alongside local youths. This communal effort helps provide the college volunteers with a better grasp of systemic poverty and racism, all the while providing positive inspirations and connections to the community. https://www.solidaritystl.org/

Additionally Antajuan is the Farm Supervisor at the North County Agricultural Education Center (NECAEC) https://www.facebook.com/ncaecnp/ , where he commits his efforts to bringing a new generation of neighbors to the experience of preparing nutritious food with one’s own hands.  He refers to this work of growing strong bodies and minds by nurturing seeds into great food as the “Health Garden”.  The verdant mustard greens, salad vegetables, beans, tomatoes, squash and okra naturally attract interest and soon people want to pet the bunnies and hold the chickens.  “Go hunt for eggs!”, proud papa says to his 6-year-old daughter, who now has some skills of her own. 

A person holding a chicken

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Even though Antajuan grew up literally walking past the garden that has become New Roots Urban Farm on his way to school every day, he did not determine to become involved in farming until much later. Instead, he recalled being welcomed by Catholic Workers and encouraged to develop an interest in the natural world.  He reflects fondly on opportunities to go to summer camp in the country, and especially on the encouragement he received from Mary Ann McGivern of the Sisters of Loretto. It was she who helped him convince his 2nd grade teacher at the now shuttered Jackson Elementary School to put his entire class to work planting tulip bulbs as part of a classroom project.  Years later, that experience is now the germ of a future plans for school outreach.

When asked, “What are your plans are for the next five years?”, Antajuan replied that he is interested in learning about opportunities for the Black gardeners “he grows” through his mentoring programs.  This includes finding land in the city to rent or own, with the goal of growing fresh produce year-round. He would like help creating a business plan that he could use when applying for grants and/or creating a ‘go fund me’ page. If you have a background in this sort of thing, volunteers are needed.  https://newrootsurbanfarm.com/

Calling himself “the richest poor man in St Louis”, Antajuan not only encourages us to support Black farmers, but marvels at and celebrates the power of their work and the community it helps to build.

Back at the WCC

turned on floor lamp near sofa on a library room

Our last meeting was held at our office in the World Community Center. We are grateful because Lynn S. has been a gracious hostess and meetings held at her home have been comfortable and cozy, however, it was good to be in the space where historically we have be ensconced. It felt good to be in an activist space with that activist energy and that activist vibe! WILPF St Louis has been at the WCC since its founding in 1976 – welcome back to us!

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, Missouri) · 9 May 1976, Sun · Page 116
via newspapers.com

100+ Organizations Sign Letter to Senate Finance Committee Opposing Subsidies for Nuclear Power in Build Back Better Act 

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WILPF St Louis was one of the signing organizations – scroll down to find our name!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30 , 2021 

100+ Organizations Sign Letter to Senate Finance Committee Opposing Subsidies for Nuclear Power in Build Back Better Act 

 WASHINGTON, D.C.// November 30, 2021//

Over 100 organizations, including Friends of the Earth, Indigenous Environmental Network, Food & Water Watch, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and more sent a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and other members of the committee urging them to remove the $35 billion nuclear production tax credit (nuclear PTC) from the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376), and to instead invest in a just and equitable transition to safe, clean renewable energy. 

The letter opposes a provision in the Build Back Better Act that would grant over $35 billion to prop up aging, increasingly uneconomical nuclear reactors for the next six years. The two largest beneficiaries of the nuclear PTC would be Exelon ($13.5 billion) and Energy Harbor ($3.0 billion)–both of which are at the center of federal corruption cases over state-level nuclear subsidy bills enacted in Illinois and Ohio in 2016 and 2019.  

The letter highlights the climate, economic, and environmental justice concerns with the proposed nuclear subsidy, in addition to evidence that nuclear power is too dirty, dangerous, expensive, and slow to be a viable solution to the climate crisis. Further, the letter points out that the nuclear PTC is duplicative, as there is already $6 billion in Civil Nuclear Credits in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would directly subsidize unprofitable nuclear reactors whose closure would impact emissions targets.

Tim Judson, NIRS executive director said that “To spend billions of dollars of the limited BBBA budget on a wasteful nuclear bailout would be a gross policy failure. This is especially so, because it would be on top of the $6 billion for Civil Nuclear Credits in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. We urge the Senate Finance Committee to prevent this scandal in the making.”

Hannah Smay with NIRS added, “There is no public policy justification or climate rationale for a nuclear subsidy in the Build Back Better Act. The Nuclear PTC will not create a single new job. It will not deliver any investments to environmental justice communities. Wasting the next decade subsidizing aging, increasingly uneconomical nuclear power plants will incentivize environmental racism and obstruct real solutions to the climate crisis.” 

The 120+ organizations call for federal investments in a transition to efficient, renewable, clean energy technologies that can scale up as rapidly and affordably as possible to reduce emissions as aggressively as possible. Not only does nuclear energy fail to meet any of those criteria, investing billions of dollars in subsidies for old reactors directly funnels public investment away from environmentally just, equitable, and sustainable solutions to the climate crisis. 

The letter states “The Nuclear PTC is no substitute for the now-canceled Clean Energy Performance Program (CEPP) proposal. CEPP was projected to achieve 80% emissions-free electricity by 2030, at a cost of $150 billion. If allocated to renewable energy, the funding dedicated to the nuclear PTC would fund tax credits for more than enough wind and solar generation to replace aging, unprofitable nuclear power plants with safe, clean, sustainable, carbon-free, renewable energy..” 

Read the letter and list of organizations here. 

The 120+ organizations demand that the Senate Finance Committee cancel the Nuclear PTC and direct the funding to measures in BBBA that provide real solutions to climate, jobs, and justice.

The Nuclear Information and Resource Service is an organization devoted to the just energy transition from nuclear to clean, renewable energy sources and advocates for a nuclear-free, carbon-free future. They are located near Washington DC in Takoma Park, Maryland.

Contact Hannah Smay via email at hannahs@nirs.org or by phone at (208) 340-0531

What’s ailing Democracy?

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Maria Ressa won the Nobel Peace Prize this week for her career as a Filipina journalist working to shed light on the Duarte regimes’ corruption. She spoke of representing all journalists who must sacrifice so much to hold power to account and to bring you the truth. She started an online news publication “Rappler”after being pushed out of leading her country’s largest broadcasting newsroom. She will return to the Philippines from Oslo facing up to 100 years of  prison on trumped up charges. In her acceptance speech, she read a list of journalist murdered around the world, starting with the brutal dismemberment of Khashoggi, naming more from  Belarus, Malta, Hong Kong, Venezuela, Myanmar and Russia.  She named three dead from her own country learning just 36 hours ago that her former colleague Jess Malayan was killed with a bullet to his head. 

  “The great infestation of lies put out against us is a result of the poor state of the information ecosystem”.   In the third world, in the Philippines, internet service come to rural areas as Facebook. The lies and propaganda fed by state actors and pernicious types are the great threat to democracy.The Facebook algorithms that promote extreme positions and feed hate boost profits . Disinformation is pitting us against each other setting the stage for the rise of dictators around the world.“

  She says “at the core of journalism is a code of honor”, but state actors, the Chinese for example, generated disinformation by using AI bots on Facebook. Marcos is ahead in the elections by spewing lies about his adversaries on Facebook. Maria Ressa says, A war with cheap armies on social media, designed by humans coding for profit alone. Democracy depends on truth to develop trust in the  vote in elections to take on these existential matters of climate and peace we must unite to fix. Protect truth by protecting journalists and use laws to reign in social media.

Based The Guardian and on Amy Goodman reports from Democracy Now! 

Unionized Starbucks

closed white and green starbucks disposable cup

 Workplace fairness, good safety conditions and common decency should always be the rule. After many years of complaining about working conditions employees at a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, have successfully created the first unionized Starbucks. One store out of 8,953 domestic stores and won by shear grit. The management put up huge resistance using such tactics as hiring a group of new employees to dilute the vote, sending out of town managers and executives to discourage unionizing and closing down some stores. To unionize is the lawful right of all American employees- if they can swing it.

  They were making $14 an hour and work conditions especially after the pandemic set in were desperate: under staffing, chaotic work hours, difficulty arranging sick days and with frontline workers new stresses of health risks. 

   Robert Reich described the vote, “ only 19 baristas and shift supervisors voted in favor of unionizing, 8 voted against….. it marked a huge victory, especially after Starbucks waged the huge anti-union campaign.”

  Restaurant workers in the United States have the lowest pay and fewest benefits of all  corporate America. Maybe these employees were encouraged by seeing the well organized McDonald’s employees ‘Fight for 15 and a Union’ campaign. They have worked hard and long, locally meeting at the World Community Center where throngs of excited young people spoke together listened met.  Kellogg’s workers are still striking over tiered benefits and wages for new hires. Last summer, local auto workers were striking over the same tiered benefits and low wages. New hires may wait in ‘part time’ positions for twenty years, that’s corporate abuse. Amazon is putting up similar resistance to their employees unionizing. And at, Home Depot, according to a friend, employees dare not utter a word about organizing if they want a job. 

  The shareholders and corporate heads are doing very well. Starbucks executive Kevin Johnson made over $14 million last year and that’s expected to go up. The Starbucks culture presents the company as being socially responsible and call their employees’ -“partners”. The employees are not co-owners nor do they share in the profits of the business. This is Greenwashing. Let’s hope the union trend can build on this success. In the meantime boycott Starbucks, Kellogg,Amazon, HomeDepot etc, but be sure to write a letter to management and cc the corporate head. 


city street skyline building

 It is exciting to hear New York City has joined ICANs Cities Appeal. I watched a live link of the cheers and comments from the trenches yesterday. This has been in the works for three years. The cities’ Comptroller explained his vote this way “I pledge as New York City Comptroller to work with this community and explore the process of this divestment of New York City pension from the sale and manufacture of nuclear weapons. City Hall is located across the street from the birthplace of the Manhattan Project.  The comprehensive legislation adopted by NYCity Council yesterday, calls on the US government to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. (TPNW)

  The Public Pension fund today has approximately $475 million invested in nuclear weapons producers this represents less than .25% of the city pension funds holdings however these holdings generally under perform socially responsible investment. From the ICAN press release

the history of nuclear weapons in New York City is long and marked by struggle. From the ICAN press release: Council Member Daniel Dromm, stated, “…we will not remain idle under the threat of nuclear annihilation. We seek to right the wrongs of Nuclear harms by divesting funds, upholding international law and remediating the environmental damage produced by the Manhattan Project.

   ICAN press release, The Bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing 200,000 people. During these early days the Army weaponized a nuclear research program at Columbia University, even pressing into service the universities football team to move tons of Uranium. During the cold war the US military built a ring of nuclear weapons missile bases in and around New York City, housing approximately 200 war heads making New York City more of a target for attacks. 

   Today these communities continue to be affected by the legacy of the Manhattan project. Radioactive materials were handled at 16 sites throughout New York City including university labs, contractor warehouses and transit points, six of those sites concentrated in marginalized communities, have required environmental remediation and in some cases this remediation is ongoing.

  We in St.Louis have our nuclear legacy. Wouldn’t it be great to see an upswell of interest in banning nuclear industries both from a Nuclear Free Zone and St.Louis City pension funds.

Roe v.Wade

woman protesting for women s rights

  Today’s Tuesday December 7, 2021 Post Dispatch, had a Letter to the Editor that captured, I think, the very best argument against overturning Row. Of course the short form is “ If a woman’s heart is beating, leave her the @#$&$ alone! Aside from this, is a serious rational appeal submitted by Sandra Greenberg of Bridgeton. I will quote a few lines. She begins with “Whose life and rights are more important? They cannot be equal. Does the woman, who is a fully sentient and self-aware being, stay in control of her body, or does the state control her body on behalf of a non-sentient embryo that may, or may not, fully develop? I think this point is important because the state takes possession of the unborn by controlling the woman. And we all know this  interest in possession fades as soon a feeding and diapering begin, times a minimum of 21 years, at the cost ,of say, a million dollars over 21 years. Just the hospital birth can cost $20,000, up from there with medical complications but only in the United States of America. Over the Canadian border hospital birth is nearly free.

   She says, “Anti-choice is really about control”. She continues, “There would be a sharp decline in abortions if we supported Universal Healthcare, paid maternity leave, free day care and comprehensive sex education. Teach boys that preventing pregnancy is equally their responsibility.” The cost of these life sustaining measures is absorbed by every other western or wealthy country in the world. 

  To get edgy and morbid the letter writer continues, “make reversible vasectomy mandatory at age 18.” That sounds fair. Why not control the reproductive organs of the male body, which is easier and safer medically and less costly yet equally responsible for causing abortion?

  The letter writer quotes a Virginia state senator saying, “Tell women that, once pregnant, their rights end and they are nothing but a host.” Author adds, “A complete loss of body autonomy is, basically, slavery.” 

  I like the sign I saw at the Women’s March/ Planned Parenthood Rally this fall. It read, My uterus, my business! That would bring us closer to the global norm of gender equality. With that, world peace may likely follow. 

A Bit of Good Cheer

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by Lynn Sableman

The Repertory Theatre of St.Louis has the most wonderful Christmas Carol, with sweet children from our local choirs there to herald in a new age. The production is very different from the one imagined by Dickens. I liked the flouncy stage costumes, ghoulish ghost dancing and smooth acrobatics.  I had tears well up when we saw the tragic scenes and the addition of three peddlers moved the story along with charm. I enjoyed the jubilant converted Scrooge making things right in the end. It’s a tale that has resonance today. The new director at the Rep Hana Sharif has brought us a theatrical adventure that heals, a pleasing tale that makes the treacherous path ahead look doable. Perhaps we can set things right after all. 


A young woman started a zoom call today

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by Lynn Sableman

Her name is Shea and she lives in Chicago. She works for Code Pink. Yes, the righteous and petit  Medea Benjamin’s  organization. Shea has just been working on Chicago City Pension Divestment from the War Machine. Visiting each member imploring them to see the light. My heart sang. I like this, I told her about the WILPF disarm /end wars committee Warheads to Windmills project initiated by Elenor Holmes Norton. It asked Biden to sign the Ban the Bomb treaty now as well as converting Pentagon nuclear spending to Renewable energy. I have  been calling legislators to co-sponsor the Elenor Holmes Norton bill. Shea said she can send along contacts also interested in this project. I have joined local Friends Committee, 350.org and Sierra Club, looking to connect with our other allies as well. If you are connected with our current or potential “allies in peace” and could write short update blog posts for us, let WILPFstlouis.org know. In conjunction with Code Pink zoom attendees are receiving a kit with instructions for direct action. In the event someone organizes one we will be there in support. They aim to educate the public and shame and stigmatize banks, insurers, and other financial institutions that invest in fossil fuels, war industries, nuclear weapons ala  ICAN’s Don’t Bank on the Bomb program.  

  On this matter of reducing the Pentagon budget. Legislative work is being promoted by Senators Sanders and Edward Markey. Clearly stopping the Saudi war funding to be used against Yemen where $650 million would clearly add to the mounting genocide is imperative.  This is not who America is. Time throw aside these menacing “ profit for profit’s sake” neoliberal  notions. 

  Another StLouisian on the Code Pink zoom ‘Mirage’ spoke of jobs in every state strategically support thousands of jobs with high paying weapons manufacturing. Build Back Better would provide good paying green jobs for a clean energy future. It’s been held up by a coal Barron. Time for Biden to declare war on climate change, Force the end of fossil fuel subsidies. This is the only path to a survivable future. But industry owns congress the Koch money Barron’s control legislation continuing the fossil fuel addiction. We need to start funding renewable clean energy, battery technology is far better today. Congresswoman Barbara Lee has a bill requiring military report fossil fuel consumption. The Pentagon’s own dire risk assessment about the existential threat of climate change on the one hand and military s failure to report carbon emissions doesn’t add up. They need to have funds frozen until they do. Our war based economy is surely the death of the planet. We don’t have to continue with this racquet. Our two year olds today will inherit a tragic mess if congress continues to eat the fossil fuel and pentagon lobbyists lunch. 

  Please heed the call for direct action when we call.

The Cost of War at Home

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by Lynn Sableman

I watched this Code Pink production, I highly recommend it.
This Code Pink program demonstrates the intersectionality of these diverse movements. In narrow time frames seven leaders in left action inspire with stories of accomplishments in their chosen path. Young people do financial research in ICAN’s “don’t bank on the Bomb” financial records and oil investment. The final spot light is on a well spoken Poor People’s March leader. Please watch this. Send me your reactions!