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7th Annual UNA-USA Earth Day Celebration

With Partnership: *Queens Museum of Art; *Queens Borough Hall; *UNA-USA Chapters; *Greater Queens Chapter of The Links, Inc.; *Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Alumnae Queens Chapter,

Program Features - Sustainable Society by Malikka Karteron; Wianek Polish Folk Dance; Solar Battery Charger by Thomas Edison H.S.; Poetry by Briana Dillahunt

Tables: SustyQ (Sustainable Queens); Earth Worm by UNA- Queens Chapter; Million TreesNYC; Flushing CSA; Queens Botanical Garden; UNFCU


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A memorable moment with Archbishop Desmond Tutu


Sonya Geder-Diggs

(Current Director & Former President of UNA-USA Queens)



I, member, and friend of historic grace Episcopal Church recently met Archbishop Desmond Tutu in Cape Town, South Africa for tea on Wednesday, February 11, 2015. Incidentally, it was the anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison 21 years ago. We met at the Desmond and Leah Tutu legacy foundation, which was formed to support local and international projects and initiatives that promote reconciliation, justice, and peace for the benefit of all.

Archbishop Tutu’s efforts to support noble causes have earned him a number of prestigious awards –


•Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his contribution towards resolving the issue of apartheid,

•Pacem in Terris Award,

•Sydney Peace Prize,

•Gandhi Peace Prize, and

•The Lincoln Leadership Prize.


South Africa’s first multi-racial elections were held in 1994 and Nelson Mandela was elected as the country’s first black president. Mandela then appointed Archbishop Tutu as the chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).


Fashion Show


Javed S. Ahmad

(Director of UNA-USA Queens)


It all started when Pat Hollander asked me to go to the Technical and Vocational School in Jamaica, New York and speak to the students of the MUN Class. So one fine morning I went to the school and talked to the students about UN and development and similar topics. However, students wanted to know an actual example of how developing countries were being helped. I stated that I could not give examples of UN’s mega projects, but could tell them what I was doing myself. In a subsequent session, I told them about the tiny little Bhaun school that I had founded seven years ago, to promote literacy but on community’s request, it tuned into a vocational school where young women Bhaun, (a village of Chakwal District in Pakistan) and surrounding communities began to learn tailoring, sewing and computer operations skills. “We have so far trained over 160 women in tailoring skills and about 50 in computer skills. Last year we added a handicraft course in Adda work.”. Model UN class at the Thomas Edison Technical High School, Jamaica, New York’s some 33 students, of both sexes, were bubbling with enthusiasm and curious to find out what they could do to help.

Later they came up with the idea of raising money by organizing a fashion show. They asked me to get some dresses made in Pakistan and in May 2014, they organized a very impressive fashion show in the school auditorium. This helped raised funds that were given to me to meet the development needs of the school.

(Photos of the organizers, and students of MUN who modeled.)


UNA-USA Queens Earth Day Celebration March 23, 2014

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UNA-USA Queens Chapter Highlight over the years...

Our United Nations Association (UNA-USA) team was very pleased to be able to meet with you on June 11th -- and especially to get the opportunity of meeting with Congressman Gibson himself. We were heartened to hear that he had a good understanding of the importance of UN peacekeeping, and told us of his positive experience in Haiti in 2010, where he commanded the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT) during the opening month of that humanitarian relief operation. We urge him to support the full funding of UN Regular Budget and Peacekeeping as they come up for appropriations before Congress.





We are proud to have provided the people of Queens, New York with a forum for input to the United Nations and an opportunity to support its programs and projects for more than 50 years.


The mission of UNA-USA is to inform, inspire, and mobilize Americans to support the principles and vital work of the United Nations, and to strengthen the United Nations system.


UNA-USA through its chapters, divisions, and programs:


•encourages U.S. leadership to work constructively through the United Nations on global issues,

•encourages everyone to achieve the goals of the United Nations Charter,

•educates the American public about the work of the United Nations by carrying out local activities related to the United Nations, and recruiting, engaging and retaining members.


To find out more about our activities and membership use the tabs above under the main heading.






December 10, 2014




The deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and the decisions by the related grand juries highlight again exchanges this summer between the U.S. Government and the reviewing committee of the United Nations on racial discrimination. The U.S. Government presented a report to the United Nations in August on its implementation of the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Despite progress, the reviewing committee asserted(1) and the U.S agreed(2) there are “stark racial disparities in the administration and functioning of the criminal justice system, including the disproportionate number of persons belonging to racial, ethnic and national minorities in the prison population.”


The UNA Southern NYS Division(3) and over 90 other organizations submitted related reports. Our report, “Race and the American Criminal Justice System,” was based on a seminar with several co-sponsors; it highlights important problems and gives possible solutions.

Racism is endemic to the American criminal justice system in many ways, and must be addressed aggressively and with urgency. Simple solutions will not suffice. Needed steps go well beyond body cameras and in-service training for police, and must address broader issues including adequate resources for public education, health and housing, stemming gun violence and increasing employment prospects. Police residence in and reflection of the communities they serve, community-police partnerships, and recruitment of ethnic minorities and women into police departments are all vital ingredients for long-term success.


Important to highlight: (1) In New York State (and elsewhere) officials use elementary school test results to help predict future needs for prison cells; (2) The state’s inmate population is three-quarters African-American and Hispanic; (3) The state’s recidivism rate is currently 40 percent; (4) Gov. Cuomo estimated college courses in prison to cost about US$5,000 a year versus $60,000 a year to house each prisoner; (5) Programs that focus on education for prisoners sharply reduce likelihood of repeat criminality; and (6) Support for reintegration and employment is similarly important.


For African-American and Hispanic youth especially, it can be terribly important not to become entangled in a system that currently is less “protect and serve” and more “contain and control.” In an effort to help, the New York Chapter of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America has published a pamphlet entitled “How do you survive police confrontation?”


We pledge to do our part in the following ways:

•Wide circulation of this statement to the media, public officials and other organizations and individuals;

•Provision of our shadow report to those desiring copies;

•Sharing the report of the December 10, 2014, Human Rights Day event by the UNA Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter, on the subject “Bringing human rights home: inequality, race and the United States,” held at the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, NY.

•Convening, in early 2015, by the UNA Southern NY Young Professionals, a seminar to explore racism, police brutality, and UN oversight in America -- with a specific emphasis upon recent events;

•Presentation, in February 2015, of our work and that of UNA-USA on the UN Universal Periodic Review of human rights and our Division’s shadow report on racial discrimination and the American criminal justice system, at the UNA-USA Mid-Atlantic Conference and National Members Day that is to be held at the United Nations.


Much has yet to be done, at all levels of government, by civic organizations and by individuals to ensure justice and embody the founding principles of the U.S. and the UN.


1.http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CERD%2FC%2FUSA%2FCO%2F6&Lang=en paragraph 20.

2.http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CERD/C/USA/7-9&Lang=en paragraph 68.

3. Co-sponsors of the July 2014 seminar -- Black Westchester Magazine, Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, The Correctional Association of New York, The Fortune Society, Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison, Theodore D. Young Community Center, Town of Greenburgh, New York, Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office.


The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is a membership organization dedicated to inform, inspire, and mobilize the American people to support the ideals and vital work of the United Nations. www.unausa.org


The UNA-USA Southern New York State Division includes a Young Professionals Group, chapters in Brooklyn, the Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City (Manhattan), Queens and Westchester, and work in the surrounding counties from Columbia to Suffolk.


The views in this article are those of the Board of the Southern New York State Division.



Jeanne Betsock Stillman, President

UNA-USA Southern New York State Division

Tel: 914-478-3450 unasouthernny@gmail.com www.unasouthernny.org @UNASouthernny



UNA-USA Queens Chapter | P.O. Box 670711 Kew Gardens, NY 11367 | e-mail: info@unaqueens.org