2000 Annual Report
On November 18, New York City People's Life Fund held its 2000 Annual Meeting at the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute. Following below is the text of our update to membership:
Thirty Years of Activity
July 4, 2000 marked the beginning of our 30th year of activity. Not too many groups galvanized by the Sixties demand for change have withstood the test of time. But we're still in there, and so are a number of groups to which we've awarded grants or loans over the years. Among the organizations continuing to contribute in their own unique way to the New York City community are:
- Callen Lorde Community Health Center (formerly St. Marks Clinic)
- Good Food Coop
- Third World Newsreel
- Brooklyn Women's Martial Arts
- Disabled in Action
- Living Theatre
- New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH)
This year New York City People's Life Fund has provided support to several new organizations and renewed support to organizations that have become old friends.
The Year in Review
1999 was a banner year for grants and discretionary gifts—we awarded almost $13,000 in all. Moreover, NYC PLF has added several new groups to our roster, namely, Juvenile Education and Awareness Project, People United for Children (PUC) and the Anthony Baez Memorial Fund.
For a complete list of grants awarded and a brief description of the organizations and their work, please see our Complete List of Grants.
This was also a banner year for the left. The Seattle demonstration, the Washington spring rallies as well as the sizable number of protesters at the Republican and Democratic conventions, who held forth despite brutal and desperate police tactics, attest to a slow but steady re-emergence of a more radical consciousness. It was also a credit to organizers who mobilized this vast array of groups—labor, environment, animal rights, welfare recipients, the nonviolent left, to name but a few—and to the ability of diverse people to reach consensus on tactics and strategy, express unified demands, and stand together.
New and Ongoing Projects
One of last year's noteworthy activities was the initiation of a yearly honorary event commemorating the efforts and accomplishments of those in the war tax resistance movement who, by virtue of their life and work, have had a significant impact on the movement. We also honor resisters who have had significant impact on the peace movement. Our first honoree, June of last year, was Ed Hedemann. This year we will jointly honor Karl Meyer, whose work has had a profound impact on furthering awareness of the effectiveness of telepone tax resistance, and Kathy Kelly, a devoted war tax resister whose peace efforts stretch beyond the boundaries of the nation, into the international arena—most significantly in Iraq.
The New York City People's Life Fund remains committed to broadening its horizons beyond the confines of the war tax resistance community. Not only does the Life Fund distribute funds to crucial projects in the city, but it also has taken on the task of spreading the word about peace and social justice. Toward that end, we have proposed site presentations in conjunction with local groups covering the following topics: the origins of war tax resistance, its role during war and in time of “peace,” pacifism and nonviolence in our daily lives, e.g. its relation to domestic violence and other topics. Unfortunately our efforts have been stymied by the difficulty of involving ourselves with groups already under heavy pressure to perform, with limited personnel, the tasks integral to their functioning. That is not to say that some of these efforts will not bear fruit in the future. But in the meantime, we continue to pursue the difficult, but crucial goal of organizing forums or site presentations and preparing the ground for coalition to become a reality.
Sallie Marx's recent trip to Boston to meet with members of New England WTR resulted in a fruitful exchange of ideas. At this meeting, they compared notes on what both organizations are doing, how efforts can be made more effective and initiated an exchange of data and brochures. The hope is for more contact and an ongoing exchange of material between the two groups.
As we enter the 21st Century, war tax resistance faces some significant hurdles. Certainly, it must use its previous accomplishments, and use them well, as a springboard for the future. But one thing is apparent—it cannot remain mired in the past. Now, more than ever before, we must be creative in our efforts. As we widen the scope of the work of the Life Fund, so we must turn our attention to re-energizing WTR strategies.
Our web site continues to serve as a further and even more direct outreach within our own circles. Visitation rates to the site seem to be on a steady increase, and we hope to augment the site with an e-mail list, to which we will send periodic announcements.
The effort to broaden the scope of NYC PLF's endeavors and the projects this effort has engendered are a culmination of 30 years of struggle. They have brought the Life Fund to a new stage: the goal is not just to survive, but to flourish.