CNY Solidarity Coalition

United in defense of our community and our neighbors

December 2017 Nominees for Coordinating Committee

Dec 17, 2017 – Coordinating Committee Election

Nominee Statements

Jennifer Blusk

I would like to serve on the coordinating committee.
I have been active with the coalition since December 18th 2016.  I have helped maintain a list of media contacts and have made media calls the morning of rallies and demonstrations.  I have led 2 newcomer break out groups.  I’ve attended many full coalition meetings, break out groups, demonstrations, and meetings with elected officials.

I care about resisting the Trump/Pence. etc. agenda.  I have acted on that caring in an organized way.  Am I thusly qualified?

I am motivated to serve on the committee because I want to see the coalition’s activities continue to change the trajectory toward justice for a growing number of people, sustainability, and equal opportunities for getting ahead.  I admire and appreciate the skills and spirit of others in the coalition who have dedicated personal time and energy to keep the resistance up.  I would like to take a turn at serving in the coordinating capacity in order to sustain the coalition’s efforts.  I’m relatively new to being politically active.  I would like to use my influence to motivate more new activists to participate and to find and use their voices.
Thank you for considering my nomination.

Kris Bryson

My name is Kristopher Bryson. In the past I have served on the Finance Committee, the Town Hall Committee, and the Campaign Workshop Committee for the coalition, and am currently seeking a position on the Coordinating Committee. I took a brief hiatus from the Coalition to serve as campaign manager for Karen Docter running for Town Justice in Dewitt.

As I shift my focus back to the Coalition, I’m excited by the wide array of important causes the coalition is currently supporting. This is my first reason for seeking a spot on the Coordinating Committee. The role of the Coordinating Committee is one of support. It is an opportunity to handle a lot of the administrative and organizational tasks to clear the way for our other members to really make a difference in their chosen area. My hope is that, through service on the Coordinating Committee, I can have a real substantial impact on all of the work done by the coalition and in addition to the other individual committees on which I serve.

The other reason is simply that I feel like the position fits. Many of my skills lend themselves to this role. My time in both Americorps and Peace Corps have afforded me experience and training in large and small group facilitation as well as programming and event management. I work well on a team, believing collaboration and open honest discussion is one of the best ways to arrive at the optimal solution, and I always strive to be as inclusive as possible. Finally, I am a strong believer in the importance of a willingness to constantly grow with whatever situation you are in. I strive to take everything as a learning opportunity using both successes and failures to improve my performance in the future. Thank you for your consideration.

Deka Dancil

I am 25 years old, born and raised in Syracuse, NY. I have one son, Maximilian. I was born into extreme poverty and managed to graduate from SU by taking advantage of programs like Say Yes, On Point for College and STEP. Having seen the affects of poverty first-hand I was impassioned to help others very early on. I went to school for Policy Studies and hope to one day penetrate local and state government (many many years from now). I currently work for the Boys & Girls Club as a Teen Program Coordinator and am dedicated to holding positions that allow me to serve those less fortunate than me. I have served on the board for the Urban Jobs Task Force for over a year now and have been involved with the CNY coalition since March. I am interested in being on the coordinating committee because I believe that I have valuable insight from my life and professional experiences that can help the group make effective change.

Gina Iliev

My name is Gina Iliev. I am the Health Equity Coalition Coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Central and Western NY. I am also a graduate student and Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. As an active member of the Syracuse area over the last year, I have work to bring awareness to many of the issues that affect the daily lives of families, particularly women and marginal communities. Much of the work I have done has been in coalition with CNY Solidarity’s community outreach and defense. Though those activities, I have joined the effort to mitigate the affects of the Onondaga Creek flood plain cost to the residents of the south side. I’ve held discussion of white supremacy and privilege and much more. I’m also a board member of the NYCLU, and sit on a number of committees. I would enjoy the opportunity to shape the future of CNY Solidarity.

Marianna Kaufman

I appreciate the nomination to the coordinating committee of the CNY solidarity coalition. I was very active in the general coalition and the legislative arm of the coalition one year ago and I remain a firm believer of the power of grassroots movements to create change. Over the past year my participation efforts have included becoming an active member of the coalition’s Beyond War and Militarism committee and the coalition’s Syracuse Rapid Response Team, which works in conjunction with the Workers Center of CNY. I also newly sit on the steering committee of the Syracuse Peace Council, a founding member of the coalition along with the Workers Center.
I am convinced that we must use this time of change and awakening that the Trump administration has provided us, to move beyond our usual comfortable circles. We must educate ourselves beyond media-sponsored partisan rhetoric, in order to understand clearly the deeply rooted systemic injustices that keep us from realizing a more equitable society. We must also use this opportunity to create positive local change, and I am comforted to see this desire reflected in recent meetings and discussions regarding lead exposure, poverty, and Syracuse’s I-81. I look forward to the opportunity to support the coalition on the coordinating committee.

Tom Keck

I have been an active member of CNY Solidarity since the initial meeting in November 2016, and I served on the inaugural Coordinating Committee for the first half of 2017. In addition to Coord Comm, most of my involvement has been focused on the federal legislative action team, where I’ve helped throughout the year with disseminating weekly action alerts, preparing candidate surveys, drafting fact sheets, organizing rallies, coordinating with other Indivisible groups, and the like.

Dick Kornbluth

I am a Syracuse resident and a retired Home Performance contractor (Home Performance contracting treats the house as a system providing energy efficiency upgrades that address issues of comfort, health, safety and building durability). I have been active in CNY Solidarity since January. I currently serve on the Guidelines, Pledge and Legal committees and have been working actively with Peter McCarthy to organize and integrate the CNY Solidarity databases and create procedures to ensure that all people who have signed up either online or at events are put on the Solidarity information distribution lists. My main interest is to work to make CNY Solidarity a sustainable organization that will be a force for justice for the long haul.

Peter McCarthy

I have been involved in CNY Solidarity since January and have served on the Coordinating Committee since July. I have also been involved in the following efforts:

  • Development of policies: Purview, Financial Procedures, Coordinating Committee Selection, Legal Structure, Nonviolence Action Principles.
  • Working on cleanup of mailing lists and development of procedures for data entry and maintenance.
  • Initiated and assisted with Campaign Workshop.
  • Developed reference documents: Coalition Decisions, Communications Lists, etc.
  • Communications Committee member.

I look forward to continuing this work as a Coordinating Committee member for another term.

Misse Ross

My name is Misse Ross. My journey in social activism started about 4 years ago. At that time, I became aware of problems occurring at my children’s schools. I joined the pto to further investigate. I like to refer to that moment as jumping down the rabbit hole. From there I began volunteering at the school, joining the school leadership team, the superintendent’s parent council, and the governor’s parent review board. Throughout this process it became apparent that the problems happening at the school had little to do with the schools themselves or the people there. These problems are rooted from government policies, income inequality, systemic racism, and extreme poverty. I believe the key to affecting positive change is educating and engaging our community. CNY Solidarity is a leader in regards to that locally. Our social media spreads awareness, our protests draw attention to the issues, and we are engaging both the public and elected officials in discussion.
I would like to serve on the coordinating committee because I have many ideas on how to expand on what we are currently doing. I am a high energy person with an intense passion and commitment to improving my community. I have the time available to make CNY Solidarity a priority commitment.

I have an associate’s degree as a paralegal and worked as a teller manager at the M&T on South Avenue in Syracuse for 10 years. I have a wide range of skills and experience working with diverse groups of people.

I hope that you will consider me for the coordinating committee.

Ron VanNorstrand

I am a retired civil rights attorney. I was a staff attorney at legal Services of CNY for 12 years and in private practice for 22 years with a focus on housing and employment discrimination and disability discrimination, in particular special education, representing parents with children with disabilities. After retiring I took some time to travel, e.g., Afghanistan (Veterans for Peace [VFP] delegate on Voices for Creative Nonviolence Delegation) and Central and South America. Also, I have been primarily active in support of the Peace Council, the Workers Center and our local chapter of VFP. With respect to the coalition, I have been active in the sanctuary committee (rapid response team) and helped form the Beyond War and Militarism committee.

Paul Weichselbaum

Our work in the CNY Solidarity Coalition is critical to counteract the damage done by the Trump/Pence/McConnell/Ryan/Katko regime; to help build a progressive movement that will effectively represent our values both now and long after the Trump apparatus is defeated; and to rigorously inform ourselves and the whole CNY community about the facts of global climate change, wealth and income inequality, and the tools of repression and oppression that harm people locally, nationally, and internationally.

I have participated in progressive activism since 1967. For much of the past forty years I have been involved in Latin America solidarity, regularly facilitating meetings of Syracuse Covenant Sanctuary and the Caribbean / Latin America Coalition. In the 1990s I helped originate and lead the People’s RoundTable community forum. I had also been a leader of local New Jewish Agenda and a multi-synagogue progressive social action structure.

I wish to be a part of our Coordinating Committee to support the work of our many committees and action teams and to sustain open, clear, and effective communication about our objectives and the practical organizational means to help achieve them.


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