Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

East Bay and San Francisco Branches

March 2020

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Work to Advance Peace, Justice and Human Rights


The global health pandemic posed by the coronavirus affects us all, and is changing rapidly every day. We are starting to get a glimpse of what this may mean for our future, and what it can teach us about our world. The pandemic reminds us of the fragility of our tightly-coupled social systems and supply chains. Getting through coronavirus will be an exercise not just in building societal resilience, but relearning the values of cooperation, compassion, generosity and kindness, and building systems which institutionalize these values. This is a time for solidarity and action. It is an opportunity for real and systemic change.


HAVANA (Reuters) – Communist-run Cuba said it dispatched a brigade of doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help in the fight against the novel coronavirus at the request of the worst-affected region Lombardy.

The Caribbean island has sent its “armies of white robes” to disaster sites around the world largely in poor countries since its 1959 revolution. Its doctors were in the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against ebola in West Africa in the 2010s.

Yet with the 52-strong brigade, this is the first time Cuba has sent an emergency contingent to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries, demonstrating the reach of its medical diplomacy.

This is the sixth medical brigade Cuba has sent in recent days to combat the spread of the new disease abroad. It has sent contingents to socialist allies Venezuela and Nicaragua as well as Jamaica, Suriname and Grenada.

We are all afraid but we have a revolutionary duty to fulfill, so we take out fear and put it to one side,” Leonardo Fernandez, 68, an intensive care specialist, told Reuters late on Saturday shortly before his brigade’s departure.

He who says he is not afraid is a superhero, but we are not superheros, we are revolutionary doctors.”

Fernandez said this would be his eighth international mission, including one in Liberia during the fight against ebola.

Italy is the country that has been worst affected by the highly contagious virus that originated in China, with the northern region of Lombardy bearing the brunt of the contagion.

Its death toll rose on Saturday by 546 to 3,095, according to its head of welfare, Giulio Gallera, who requested the Cuban doctors.

We are going to fulfill an honorable task, based on the principle of solidarity,” said Graciliano Díaz, 64.

Cuba built a healthcare system that was the envy of the developing world with economic aid from former ally Soviet Union, though some of those advances have been lost since the communist bloc collapsed.

Many Cuban hospitals have fallen into disrepair and Cubans say they have difficulty finding medicine, a situation the government says is largely due to decades-old U.S. sanctions although analysts blame also the inefficient state-run economy.

Still, Cuba has one of the highest ratios worldwide of physicians per capita even when excluding those doctors abroad, and its medical brigades for disaster relief continue to earn Havana goodwill worldwide.

In a time of crisis, the Cuban government, the Cuban people … have risen to the occasion, they have heard our appeal and they have responded,” Jamaican Health Minister Christopher Tufton said on Saturday upon greeting 140 Cuban medical professionals at Kingston international airport.

Britain also thanked Cuba last week for allowing a British cruise ship that had been turned away by several Caribbean ports to dock on the island and for enabling the evacuation of the more than 600 passengers onboard.

Meanwhile Cuba, which is known for its disaster preparedness, is stepping up measures at home too to stem the coronavirus contagion. Twenty-five cases have been confirmed so far.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel announced late on Friday the country would be closing its borders to foreign non-residents from Tuesday in a major blow to one of the motors of its cash-strapped economy, tourism.

Thousands of doctors and medicine students are also going door-to-door monitoring their local communities.

March 21, 2020: Reporting by Nelson Acosta; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Christopher Cushing

Here’s a link to the entire Reuters article

PAT ELDER TOUR on exposing the Pentagon as a hidden polluter of our water was CANCELED but you can become informed link to



The invited anti-nuclear speakers were Marylia Kelley with TriValley CARES and Jackie Cabasso with Western States Legal Foundation (WSLF) and Mayors for Peace.  Marylia talked about new nuclear weapons systems, “low yield” ones on submarines, new bomb plants, and the need to focus our work on the House Armed Services Committee. Jackie warned us that this is an unprecedented nuclear period around the world, the threat of the use of nuclear weapons is very high, countries are playing dangerous nuclear games, and countries are withdrawing from nuclear treaties. On a more positive note, Jackie did say there is a new dialogue with Russia on reducing nuclear weapons. Jackie asked that we always include the words “United Stateswhen talking about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  She also talked about the Mayors for Peace program, which has signed on 7869 cities around the world and 218 U. S. cities: http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/ 

There were also Announcements/Updates from WILPF Issue Committees, plans for the 75th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (for us the Livermore Action with TriValley Cares), and a discussion of the WILPF solidarity actions in 2020 to tie in with the 100th Anniversary of Suffrage. A possible theme of “100 Years of Women Voting: None of Us are Equal until All of Us are Equal” was discussed.


Earth Day is April 22nd and WILPF is honored to have Osprey Orielle Lake speak about her work and answer questions. Osprey is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International, working nationally and internationally with frontline, grassroots and Indigenous leaders, policy-makers, and diverse coalitions to build women’s leadership and climate justice, Osprey was the visionary behind the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit, which brought together 100 global women leaders to draft and implement a ‘Women’s Climate Action Agenda.

To register for One WILPF calls, click on link below. https://myaccount.maestroconference.com/conference/register/NW7UOTL6KBLOV3E

During our confinement, you can listen to PAST ONE WILPF CALLS HERE:



by Nancy Price Co-chair

Good news! Federal lawmakers recently introduced the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act. WILPF’S Earth Democracy proudly joined more than 470 groups that signed on to a letter of support for this important bill.

Here’s what you can do now:

Contact your elected officials in the House and Senate to ask each member to support the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act. Find contact information for your representative here and for your senators here.

Here’s what you need to know:

This bill reduces throw-away plastics by making plastic manufacturers take responsibility for collecting and recycling waste, by setting up a refundable deposit program for all beverage containers, and by banning the export of plastic waste and certain types of plastic that are hard to recycle or cause an outsized environmental damage.

It won’t be easy to get this bill signed into law!

For more information read environmental reporter Sharon Lerner’s article, “Waste Only: How the Plastics Industry Is Fighting to Keep Polluting the World“.

Here’s why we must break free from plastic pollution!

  1. China and SE Asian countries are rejecting our plastic trash! According to Sharon Lerner, by 2015 the US recycled about 9% of its plastic waste (even less today), with 79% of all plastic ending up in landfills scattered all over the world. She reports that much of the “recycled” plastic scrap that the U.S. sent to China appears to have been burned or buried instead of being ”refashioned” into new products. By 2019, Other countries are not accepting plastic and paper trash for recycling “Journal article by Saabira Chaudhuri, “Recycling Rethink: What to Do with Trash Now That China Won’t Take It“.
  2. Here’s Why Plastic Use Must Be Cut. We have almost run out of time. The facts about plastic pollution cannot be denied: most facilities across the country are not able to sort, sell, and reprocess much of the plastic companies produce. (Read “Just a Tiny Fraction of America’s Plastic Can Actually Be Recycled, Report Finds“). Therefore, almost all trash is going to clogged landfills or incinerators, both “false solutions” with serious environmental and public health impacts.
  3. Plastic Profits Contribute to Global Warming. One 2019 report found carbon emissions by the plastics industry could equal those of 600 coal-fired power plants by 2050. Just think of the carbon footprint.
  4. Plastics Production Perpetuates Environmental Injustice. Pollution from plastics manufacturing or trash incineration is a matter of environmental justice, not just the health of waterways and the ocean. Nationwide, low-income residents and communities of color living near these facilities are exposed to polluted air and water linked to cancer, birth defects, neurological damage, and other serious conditions.

The Poor People’s Campaign Stands With the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
View the 2-minute video of Rev. Barber and Liz Theoharis speaking directly to WILPF at

NEXT (VIRTUAL) MEETING: Saturday, April 11, 10 am by conference call.

Email us at wilpf@wilpfeastbay.org for instructions if you want to attend.


Local branch web pages

www.WILPFEastBay.org or www.WILPFSF.org

WILPF East Bay

P. O. Box 13083, Oakland, CA 94661

WILPF-San Francisco

P. O. Box 590253, San Francisco, CA 94159


National WILPF www.wilpfus.org

International WILPF: www.wilpf.org