Films On Purpose hosts films that speak to the issues of today – to incite thought, discussion and action. Our goal after the film and discussion is to present ways that you can make a difference in your life every day.

East of Salinas

If you are interested in advocating for legislation that would positively impact the lives of immigrant families in our community, Neighbors Link is currently working to pass the Access to Representation Act and
New York for All. More information about both pieces of legislation are available here.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at Neighbors Link,
please visit Volunteer at Neigbors Link

A special thank you to Oscar Ramos, Neighbors Link, the Friends of Neighbors Link, our three panelists: Luisa Granda-Rodriguez, Elizabeth Tonne-Daims and Fernando Gomez, and to
www.PCTV76.org for running tech and recording the panel discussion.

Also, thank you to all who donated clothing – both at the event and before. They will be taken to a newly opened Free Store at 12 W. 40th St. operated by Team TLC NYC  www.ttlcnyc.org

Wings Over Water

If you would like to get involved, please visit the following sites:
https://www.sawmillriveraudubon.org/ where you can learn more about birds and habitat in the Hudson River corridor, and get information about bird walks and Audubon preserves.
https://www.3billionbirds.org/  for info on bird population decline
https://www.3billionbirds.org/7-simple-actions things you can do to help the bird population recover 
https://homegrownnationalpark.org/ – for info on planting native plants and feeding pollinators (including birds)

A Home Called Nebraska

If you would like to get involved in volunteer work, advocacy or provide financial support, information about each organization is below. 

Ossining for Refugees is an official Community Sponsorship organization, bringing together neighbors, houses of worship, community organizations and key service providers in Ossining, Briarcliff, Pleasantville, and Croton, with the shared mission of welcoming and integrating federally-sponsored refugees into our community. For more information or to support their work, visit: https://ossiningforrefugees.org/

Neighbors Link’s mission is to strengthen the whole community through the healthy integration of immigrants. For more information or to support their work, visit: https://www.neighborslink.org/

What would Jesus Buy?
Here are some ways you can rethink your shopping:

  • Buy less: 
    • Think ‘Do I really need this?’ (This includes food.)
    • Wait – maybe a day – before you buy, try to buy local, buy durable goods, buy used
    • Refuse – Re-use – Repair -Borrow – Lend – Barter
    • Spend time:
      • cook a meal, take someone to a museum, a park, a show
      • Make gifts – jam, pickles, bird houses, art, knitted items …
      • Share your knowledge – teach a skill, share memories (photo books, family stories)
    • Give to charity (money or goods or time, and say ‘no’ to the ‘free gift’)
    • Plant a Tree in honor of someone

Some Resources and Ideas:

  • The Church of Stop Shopping and more about their missions:      https://revbilly.com/
  • Dr. Susan Rubin – @DrSuRu Instagram and Twitter  www.drsusanrubin.com
  • Anne Jaffe Holmes – Federated Conservationists of Westchester County:   www.fcwc.org
  • Helen Meurer – Conservation Advisory Council, Climate Smart Communities, PleasantvilleRecycles
  • Buy Nothing Facebook Groups (Pleasantville/Thornwood/Valhalla)
  • Freecycle.org
  • Craigslist
  • St John’s Thrift Store – open Mondays and Saturdays 10am-2pm
  • Tag sales (churches, households, online FB groups)
  • Consignment stores
  • Repair – Jo’s Shoe Repair, Cooley St, local (dry) cleaners (mend clothes)
  • Repair Cafes
  • Facebook groups: Pleasantville Community Makerspace, Craftivist
  • PleasantvilleRecycles sports swap, annual Halloween Costume swap at VillageCoLab.org
  • Take advantage of local theatre, music, art, museums etc.
  • Share things – tools, clothes, toys, camping gear, pop-up tents … etc.
  • Start a ‘Stop ‘N’ Swap’      https://www.grownyc.org/swap
    • Ideas: jewelry, formal wear, toys, kids’ clothes,
  • Tree planting: https://plantwithpurpose.org/     https://www.trilliontreecampaign.org/

Here is the link f you would like to watch, re-watch the film or share it with friends: What would Jesus Buy?

Kiss the Ground

From the film and the talk by Allison Turcan, we learned we can all participate in combatting climate change by some simple steps. Here are a few:

  • Buy local, farm-grown produce
  • Plant a vegetable garden
  • Plant a tree
  • Support farmers’ markets
  • Compost at home
  • If you live in Pleasantville, you can supplement your backyard composting by participating in the food scraps recycling program buy organic regeneratively-farmed produce 
  • When eating meat, buy only pasture-raised beef and pork

If you’re interested in some of the science behind it all, you might enjoy this presentation by. Maya Almaraz, PhD, John Muir Institute, UC-Davis hosted by Saw Mill River Audubon’s Advocacy Committee.

 Or join the Community Green Read Bedford 2030 and learn more about the importance of soil!

For additional information on how to get involved, go to DIGfarm.org. and https://kisstheground.com

The Biggest Little Farm

To Support “The Biggest Little Farm” and provide a free screening at a school or a copy of the DVD for a school library, donate to http://www.der.org/donate/the-biggest-little-farm

Other organizations to donate or learn about regenerative farming are The Rodale Institute, which supports research and education on regenerative farming https://rodaleinstitute.org/why-organic/organic-basics/regenerative-organic-agriculture/ and Kiss the Ground which has a purchasing guide for how to support regenerative farming with your purchases https://kisstheground.com/thinkregeneratively/

Local organizations to either donate or volunteer are:

 Co-Lab visit their website:  https://villagecolab.org/  or email Susan Chupungco (susan.chupungco@gmail.com).

Cash: Cash donations can be brought to any garden workday or dropped in the mail slot at the church.  Please put cash in an envelope and write ‘garden’ on the outside. 

Venmo: Send a digital gift to @susanchupungco with the comment ‘garden’ or a plant emoji.

Check: Make check payable to ‘NYAC’ and mark garden in the memo. You can drop checks in the mail slot at the church or mail to 70 Bedford Road, Pleasantville, NY. 

 *If you would like a receipt for your contribution, please contact susan.chupungco@gmail.com.  She will need your information in order to provide a receipt.  

The Collaborative Farm Project is on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/505017827538617

To volunteer or donate to Hilltop Hanover Farm, our local County-owned organic farm that provides produce to local food pantries, education, and a farm market, visit their website:  https://hilltophanoverfarm.org/

Environmental Film Series – Queen of the Sun, Seed: The Untold Story, and Modified

We partnered with Federated Conservationists of Westchester County (FCWC) to make these three environmental films available for viewing:

Queen of the SunSeed: The Untold Story, and Modified

The films, all produced by Collective Eye,  are still available for a short while longer for viewing on www.PCTV76.org (click on the film names to get to each one)

The panelists shared their opinions and concerns about food production & pollinators.

To find out more about the panelists:

Joan Gussow http://joansgarden.org/

Lewis Ziska, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health  https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/people/our-faculty/lhz2103 Lewis co-authored this article about declining nutrients for bees:  https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2016.0414

Carol Capobianco director of the Native Plant Center https://www.sunywcc.edu/about/npc/

For more information on pollinator pathways, yard care, mulch mowing, and more:

http://www.leleny.org/, https://www.pollinator-pathway.org/, https://www.healthyyards.org/, and local garden club https://pleasantvillegardenclub.org/

Beekeeping: http://www.NYBeeWellness.org, https://www.brooklyngrangefarm.com/beekeeping-education-program, https://pollinator.cals.cornell.edu/master-beekeeper-program/, http://www.bees.nyc/, https://www.bbg.org/gardening/article/native_bees

All of Me – Llevate Mis Amores

Together with Neighbors Link, we brought this movie to our community. We held a Zoom Panel Discussion with the filmmaker, Arturo Gonzalez Villasenor and several members of Neighbors Link.

Ways to get involved:

  1. Join Neighbors Link’s mailing list to stay informed of advocacy and volunteer opportunities. Sign up at www.neighborslink.org or email Katie at kgraves-abe@neighborslink.org
  2. Make a donation to support the work at www.neighborslink.org


Films on Purpose’s presentation of 13th was one of the highlights of the past fifteen months of screening documentaries in our community. For the first time our venue was Holy Innocents Church and we played to a crowd of 75, our second largest audience ever. Ava Duvernay’s film is powerful in its own right, but what made the night particularly memorable was the panel.

Cory Greene, one of the subjects interviewed in 13th, brought a group from How Our Lives Link Altogether! (H.O.L.L.A.!) an organization he co-founded while incarcerated. He, Victor Alvarez and Keron “Ron” Bennett brought their powerful and very personal perspective to the evening.

Alice Fontier, Director of Criminal Defense at the The Bronx Defenders, shared her knowledge and passion of years of hard work on behalf of the underserved community in the Bronx.

And Pleasantville’s own John Nonna gave us the long view with his insight from his many years fighting for social justice.

We wish to thank the panel and Father Burns and Tom Conaty from Holy Innocents for their gracious hosting of our event.

Here are some actions you can take:

  • Read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
  • Find a local chapter of Black Lives Matter (blacklivesmatter.com) and show your support by attending an event or making a donation.
  • Learn about Showing Up For Racial Justice (showingupforracialjustice.org), which works to “Organize white people for racial justice.
  • Get involved in #Cut50, (cut50.org) an initiative working to “popularize the idea that we can smartly and safely reduce the number of people in prisons and jails by 50% by pursuing transformative legislation.
  • Show your support for the Equal Justice Initiative (eji.org) which is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
  • Learn about social privilege. Reflect upon the privileges you may or may not have. A tool to get started is Peggy McIntosh’s Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. (nationalseedproject.org)
  • View the film The House I Live In (theHouseILiveIn.org) on the toll of the war on drugs on individuals.

Go to www.aclu.org/issues/mass-incarceration#act for additional suggestions


11 Things YOU Can Do RIGHT NOW to Reduce Plastic in Our Environment

•Bring your reusable bags when you shop at supermarkets or other stores.

•Don’t buy or use water in single serving plastic bottles. Carry a reusable bottle, and for gatherings you host consider a pitcher of tap water.

•Ask for no straws in restaurants and fast food establishments. (You can buy stainless steel or edible straws online.)

•Choose products that come in cartons instead of plastic: such as laundry detergent, milk and other beverages.

•Reduce your use of plastic bags for produce, reuse bags you have, or buy reusable washable produce bags available online.

•Use aluminum foil or wax paper in place of plastic wrap.

•Reuse plastic containers whenever possible. Return plastic catering trays to the store where you got them.

•If you can’t reuse it, recycle it (here’s a guide to recycling in Pleasantville, also applicable elsewhere: pleasantvillerecycles.org/recycling.html

•Choose products with less packaging whenever possible.

•When you’re away from home bring your plastic containers home to recycle whenever possible. (Don’t use trash cans just because there’s no recycling bin.)

•Ask take-out restaurants to omit plastic tableware if you do not need it.


We would like to thank the 150 concerned citizens who came to the Mount Pleasant library for the screening of Salam Neighbor, a moving documentary that follows two young American men who spend a month in a Jordanian refugee camp near the Syrian border to understand and document the human tragedy of today’s refugee crisis.

The Library co-sponsored the event with Films on Purpose.  The screening was followed by presentations by Felice Gelman and Andrew Courtney of Hudson Valley “Refugee Call to Action” for Refugees and Kathie O’Callaghan of Hearts and Homes for Refugees.  They spoke about their own experiences with resettling refugees in Westchester County, and about possible courses of action in response to the administration’s immigration ban. The speakers offered some suggestions of organizations to contact for more information on how to volunteer or make contributions, some of which are listed below:

Hearts and Homes for Refugees

HIAS – Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
contact Rachel Mayer

Catholic Charities
contact Kelly Agnew-Barajas

Westchester Refugee Task Force
Mary Refling


Note from Peter Russell and Kathie O’Callaghan –

Good morning, many, many thanks to your Films On Purpose group for the insightful film and good discussion last evening. Kathie O’Callahan of Hearts and Homes for Refugees mentioned the helpful suggestions HIAS has for those who want to do more and to build on the outstanding capacities our country has in place to help refugees wherever they are and especially with resettlement in our Westchester communities.

Please see the action note and attachments below from Rachel Mayer, HIAS’ Special Resettlement Project Coordinator, with whom we have been working. I would like to highlight several actions for advocates and doers in addition to what Rachel has listed.

1- Once the 120 day suspension is lifted, be ready to volunteer and support materially the very fine authorized agencies set up for resettlement in Westchester and nearby areas, especially Catholic Charities, HIAS, Church World Service, IRIS (Integrated Immigration and Refugee Services) in New Haven, and IRC (International Rescue Committee) in NYC area.

2- Connect with the local clusters of faith and civic groups who have been coming together for the past year to partner with the refugee agencies to create local teams to take on resettlement responsibilities in the way Hearts and Homes is doing in lower Westchester. The Westchester Refugee Task Force (WRTF) is the active coordination point for that; email Mary Refling at westchesterrefugeetaskforce@gmail.com or see the blog.

3- Beyond protests and criticisms of recent presidential executive orders, advocate with our elected representatives at all levels and in all parties to restore and enlarge the outstanding and very capable US refugee resettlement program working through nine authorized agencies (like Catholic Charities) across the US who have a terrific legacy of partnering with local communities. That means allowing in Syrians asap and as a first step increasing the overall number back to over 100,000 refugees each year and then many more. While the film’s focus was on the acute situation in Syria, refugees from other countries deserve our support.

4- Being ready to contribute to the non-profit groups such as the ones mentioned in the film and in this note and UN agencies such as UNHCR and UNICEF who are doing everything they can to help support refugees right now not only in camps but in neighboring countries such as Lebanon. Also, advocate with Congress and the administration to maintain federal funding of the US agencies such as USAID and the State Department programs helping refugees and the UN specialized agencies who are the first line of relief for refugees fleeing persecution.

Thanks, Peter


A note from Rachel Mayer

Dear all,

As you are all aware, Friday, January 27th President Trump signed a revised version of the Executive Order, concerning refugee entry into the United States. Below is a summary of the updated provisions:

Executive Order: Overview

1.The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is being suspended for a period of 120 days for all refugee populations. Beginning on February 3, all refugee travel will be cancelled until further notice.

2.Syrian refugees have an indefinite bar on being resettled, until such time that the President determines sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP.

3.The Executive Order bars entry of individuals from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya into the U.S. This applies to refugees, asylum seekers, tourists, visa holders, and Green Card holders from these seven countries.

4.Refugee Admission for Fiscal Year 2017 is amended from 110,000 to 50,000 refugees. As of now close to 30,000 refugees have already been admitted in Fiscal Year 2017.

5.After 120 days, the program will prioritize the resettlement of religious-based persecution claims of religious minorities.

6.The Secretary of DHS will examine existing law to determine the extent to which state and local jurisdictions may have greater involvement in determining placement or resettlement of refugees.  This point implies that the Administration is looking into the legality of states and local governments opting out USRAP (Section 5, Paragraph G of EO).

7.At any point, the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) may submit to the president the names of any additional countries recommended for similar treatment.

We advise all those who are from one of the seven countries listed in the EO (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya) and that are not yet U.S. citizens to not leave the country. Due to the EO, individuals from these countries will be barred from entering the U.S. or could be prevented from getting on flights to the U.S. or detained upon arrival at a U.S. airport.  As of now, the EO will have no effect on the legal status of refugees already in the U.S.. Refugees are eligible to apply for green cards after 365 days in the U.S. and citizenship after five years, provided that they meet all other naturalization requirements.

What you can do:

There has never been a more critical moment to show the Jewish community’s support for refugees. You can take action and publicly demonstrate your commitment to welcoming refugees by attending local events today, tomorrow and this week. Find an event in your area (we’ll keep updating this list). Print a HIAS sign to bring with you.

If you cannot attend local events, print and put a the sign in the window of your house or your place of worship.

Here are some other ways you can take action:
Send a message directly to President Trump. Join the thousands of HIAS supporters who have told him that we will not stand for this.

Call your Member of Congress to express your outrage. If you can’t get through, send a message through their website.

Stay Informed! Join the HIAS briefing call on Thursday, Feb 2 from 4:00-5:00pm EST (Details to come)

Organize your community to take action for refugees by joining the HIAS Welcome Campaign.

Join the more than 1,700 rabbis who have signed a letter in support of welcome (or ask your rabbi to sign).

Make a donation to support our work in protecting and welcoming refugees.

Share HIAS’ graphic on Facebook and Twitter to spread the word. Make sure everyone you know understands the devastating effects that Trump’s actions are already having on men, women, and children around the world.

We at HIAS appreciate all your efforts to support refugees and refugee resettlement.

Thank you for being partners in this fight,
Rachel Mayer, Hadas Yanay, Alla Shagalova, and Merrill Zack