Jonathan Grindell was born in the Five Towns and spent his high school years in Long Beach. He became inspired by social justice struggles during his time as an undergrad student at Pennsylvania State University, where he earned a BA in Telecommunications. His inherent feminism eventually led him to embrace animal liberation.
While at Penn State, Jonathan was also a part of The Village. The Village formed after the school administration was not actively confronting racial death threats aimed at students of color. As a result, he was involved in the occupation of the student union building for a 9-day period that led to more diversity programs being offered by the university.
Jonathan joined the Peace Corps to promote Sustainable Development in Nicaragua. Following his service, he was accepted into Arizona State University’s Global Technology & Development graduate program where he earned his MS in Science & Technology. His master’s thesis examined the notion of global community and how technology enables community members to organize without borders. His case study was the animal rights movement.
Currently, Jonathan volunteers with Long Island Food Not Bombs. He helps pick-up and distribute food to the hungry each Sunday in Hempstead.
Jonathan joined the staff of LIPC in March of 2007, where he is currently working on the Repowering Campaign. Jonathan can be reached at 516-541-1006 ext.15 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Thursday, May 31st the LIPC organized a press event where Long Island clergy spoke out against the war in front of the Massapequa Park office of Congressman Peter King. King is the lone Long Island member of Congress to vote last week for legislation providing $120 billion for Iraq funding without any timetable to end the war. As the Iraq War has entered its 5th year, U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians continue to die and become wounded in large numbers. This event was one of several national efforts in association with “America Speaks Out on the War”, a national project in which American voices from
different walks of life are calling for a safe and responsible end to the war.
Representing the Long Island Council of Churches, Mary Dewar said, “The 4 years of this war has resulted in the sacrifice of over 3,400 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians without any significant progress towards a multi-ethnic democracy.” According to Dewar, a recent honoree at the LIPC luncheon, “The hundreds of billons spent on the war have been taken out of the pockets of the poor and the mouths of the hungry. As a faith leader, I cannot remain silent as the President and other national leaders persist in continuing a senseless, destructive, and immoral conflict.”
“This war, resulting in the wholesale killing of both combatants and civilians, and the severe dissolution of the human bond, is the most egregious violation of the values we hold most dear” said LIPC member Dr. Anne Klaeysen, Leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island.
Holding up signs and starting chants such as, “Bring ‘em Home Now” and “Stop the War”, dozens of protestors had a presence that captured the
interest of motorists and pedestrians in the busy thoroughfare, while media covered the event.
“Peter King voted to give President Bush a blank check to continue the war,” LIPC Director Lisa Tyson said. “Instead, he’s stood with a President who is deaf to the will of the American people. Given the President’s stubborn refusal to listen, only enforceable timetables will bring the war to a conclusion.”
Other progressive Long Islanders and clergy who participated in the event included Megan O’Handley with the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, Rabbi Janet Liss of the North Country Reform Temple, and Reverend Noel D’Amico.
The public is now overwhelmingly disillusioned with the conduct of the war, with a majority of independents and even
substantial numbers of Republicans calling for a change. A May 18-23, 2007 New York Times poll found that 52 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of independents now think the war is going at least somewhat badly; only 36 percent of Republicans held that opinion in April. (The figure is 89 percent for Democrats, and 76 percent for the nation as a whole.) Sixty-three percent of all Americans, 61 percent of independents and even 42 percent of Republicans believe that the U.S. should set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq sometime in 2008.
LIPC and its statewide affiliate, Citizen Action of New York, are members of a national coalition known as Americans Against Escalation in Iraq that includes citizen, labor, veterans and student groups. The effort to deescalate the war in Iraq become reality without your continued support.
Brentwood, NY)- The members of Long Island Progressive Coalition’s Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) gathered Tuesday, March 20 to rally the communities of Brentwood, Central Islip and Wyandanch in support of Governor Spitzer’s proposed education budget. The State Senate voted for a counter budget that would largely reverse the Governor’s basic funding reforms. It was this charge that lead an overflowing crowd to voice their emphatic claim that the State Senate budget was both unfair and immoral.
A diverse mix of speakers ranging from students, parents, teachers, and school superintendents followed the theme of the night by answering the question “What if our schools had the fair funding we deserved?” Amparo Stadler a Central Islip parent said, “We’re only asking for our share, nothing more and nothing less. If we got our fair share we could at least know that every kid here has a fighting chance. The status quo has them fighting against the odds.” School superintendent Michael Cohen added, “The Governor’s budget takes bold steps to address the shameful history of separate and unequal schools right here on Long Island.”
The Governor’s education budget is nothing short of an historic investment that will deliver a $3.8 billion increase for schools on Long Island and upstate. These increases will be phased in over four years. For example, the schools in Senator Trunzo’s district alone will receive $157 million in annual classroom operating aid by 2010. More importantly, the Governor’s budget proposal would create a new funding formula that is fair and equitable and targets future investments at the state’s most needy districts. While the Senate Majority’s plan would provide many high needs districts, including many on Long Island, an increase in 2007-08 that is on par with the Governor’s plan, in future years the Senate Majority plan would mean wealthy districts receive a substantially higher percentage increase than poorer districts.
The State Senate had released their version of the budget, which they were referring to as “Foundation plus”. This budget offers 1.2 billion dollars more in school aid. Schools like Central Islip and Brentwood stand to receive little of that increase while the wealthiest school districts in the state would receive a 96% increase in school aid on average. “We support increases in school aid and we want every school district to benefit, but only if it’s given in a fair and equitable way. The Senate is purposing a bill that locks in a lifetime of inequality. Why would Senators Trunzo and Johnson support this budget?” said Leila Warren of North Bay Shore. Though the State Senate bill provides more dollars, students in high needs districts will lose out in the long run due to a fundamental shift away from basing aid on need. Bree Wright, a sophomore from Wyandanch emphatically stated, “It’s like the Senate is offering us $20 today instead of $5 more in our allowance. I’ll take the $5 extra allowance money every time.”
Just as the Governor’s budget places a focus on the educational needs of high needs districts, there is new tax relief in other parts of the budget designed to focus on the needs of those communities of average needs. The result means Long Island as a region will truly benefit. Schools that need smaller class sizes, more programs, and better strategies to boost student achievement will get the attention they need. While communities that are being crippled by property taxes, largely a result of school costs, get significant tax relief. Mr. Andres Rios, a Brentwood resident, sums it up like this, “Our kids finally get money to make sure they graduate and folks who live in districts with high graduation rates and good programs get a break on their crazy property taxes. It’s like we all get what we need.”
The Alliance for Quality education saw this last budget fight as a question of basic justice and ethics, not simple funding increases. “The lack of consideration to high needs districts is unacceptable. The Governor’s formula will give every school district an increase while targeting funds in high needs districts. Included in this are accountability measures to make sure every dollar reaches the classroom,” says Danielle Asher of the Long Island Progressive Coalition. “It’s not about the money, it’s about basic fairness.”
Many of the students from Central Islip, Brentwood and Wyandanch are highly aware of the circumstance around what was being invested in this budget decision. Most of the pupils have a real interest in the future of educational achievement. Maria Peña, a senior at Central Islip high school had this to say at the end of the event, “Governor Spitzer’s proposal is the first time in all my school years I do not feel ignored by the State. We need to make sure they do right by us and the next generation.”
On April 2, 2007 Governor Spitzer held a press conference in Manhattan announcing the substantial breakthrough of our fourteen year struggle to deliver a quality education to every child. Based upon Governor Spitzer’s proposal New York State is making a record statewide increase in school funding this year. Parents have gained the strong system of accountability proposed by Governor Spitzer that will drive funding to key educational strategies including smaller classes, full day pre-kindergarten, teacher quality, after school program and other reforms.
The fair school aid formula proposed by Governor Spitzer has been adopted largely intact. We have established the essential tool we have always lacked in order to fairly and fully fund our schools. In this budget we partially use that tool, next year, we must fully use the tool. The formula adopted this year makes an historic commitment to a fivefold growth in classroom operating aid by 2010-2011 with the lion’s share of this money going to high needs schools.
“This year, by adding his voice to the struggle for quality education, Eliot Spitzer forged a fair funding formula against fierce opposition,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “Now the Governor and our communities must continue hand in hand to secure an enduring legacy of educational excellence by ensuring this formula becomes the centerpiece for how we distribute every dollar of classroom funding.”