Thursday, December 6, 2012

IYAD BURNAT Sunday, December 16, 2 pm

Memorial United Church of Christ
Palestinian Civil Resistance Leader Speaks in Madison:
Sunday, December 16, 2 pm
5705 Lacy Road, Fitchburg

Iyad Burnat is a Palestinian farmer and leader of the Bil’in Popular Committee.
He is on a US speaking tour about the campaign of non-violent civil resistance which has mobilized thousands of Palestinians, Israelis and international activists against the theft of Palestinian land for the Israeli "separation wall" throughout the West Bank. These protests have maintained a commitment to non-violent methods in spite of armed military opposition that has resulted in many injuries and some deaths.

Iyad will tell stories of life in the occupied West Bank, and discuss the prospects for non-violent popular resistance to bring peace and prosperity for all people. His presentation will be accompanied by photos and videos, including footage from the acclaimed documentary Five Broken Cameras which was made by his brother Emad Burnat and Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi.

Free and open to the public

Co-sponsored by American Jews for a Just Peace-Madison, Christ Presbyterian Church, Colombia Support Network, The Crossing, Family Farm Defenders, First United Methodist Church-Madison, Madison-Arcatao Sister City Project, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Memorial United Church of Christ-Fitchburg, Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, Pilgrims of Ibillin, Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison, Muslim Students Association, and Students for Justice in Palestine-Madison.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Sister, Cynthia Laitman, by Judith Laitman

When my sister died in 2010 of brain cancer, I was devastated. She was one of those people who was so engaged in the world, that it was hard to imagine her not being a part of it anymore. She was brave, and brilliant, and funny, and kind. But she was also fierce in confronting social and moral wrongs. Days after her death, I knew I had to do something that would be a fitting and lasting memorial to her. I had been well-acquainted with Playgrounds for Palestine for several years because of the work being done by our chapter in Madison, Wisconsin. I knew that PfP was providing thousands of children a basic right of childhood – the right to have a safe place to play – something that had been taken away from them due to overarching injustices in their region of the world. Cynthia loved children as much as she hated injustice, so it was clear to me that building a playground in her name would be the perfect way to honor her and continue her legacy.

My sister, Cynthia Joy Laitman, was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1938. She was a devoted mother, and grandmother. She was also a medical writer and editor, a published author, an educator, and a political and social activist. Cynthia’s personal experience with her first pregnancy led her to write “DES: The Untold Story,” which was published by St. Martin’s Press in 1981. The book remains one of the definitive works on the subject.

She had a long and productive career as a medical writer, working for the University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery, the National Wildlife Health Center, the World Health Organization, and as the managing editor of the Annals of Surgery. She was especially proud to earn her Ph.D. in communications at the age of 63. She also served as a professor of communications at Edgewood College, developing original courses in propaganda and political manipulation.

Cynthia was a committed activist to a host of progressive causes, and she believed that anything was possible. She was a passionate advocate of human and animal rights, and a fearless opponent of corporate greed and the abuse of power in government. In 2007, “Bill Moyer’s Journal” shadowed her for a day as she went about lobbying the Wisconsin legislature as a grassroots activist fighting for consumer protection against huge corporate interests.

Most of all I remember my sister, not for her professional accomplishments, which were many, but for her qualities of character – her warmth and generosity, her exuberance and optimism, and her great big heart. She set a rare example of courage combined with compassion that inspired everyone who knew her.

Cynthia was also a rescuer and protector of those most vulnerable to the cruelties of human society. I like to think of her spirit hovering over the children at the Dair Ammar playground, listening to their laughter and reveling in their joy, and making sure they are safe.