21st Annual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy of Environmental and Social Justice Jan. 15 & 16

by Josue Irizarry, Peabody Events Coordinator

The Yale Peabody Museum at 170 Whitney Ave. will open its doors for a free, 2-day festival in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sunday, Jan. 15, noon to 4 p.m., and Monday, Jan. 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In his tireless efforts to work toward equality for, and harmony between, all people, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. strove to raise awareness about public health concerns and urban environmental issues that disproportionately affect communities. In recognition of the progress that has been achieved in these areas, and with optimism for the future, we will celebrate with music, dance, a teen summit, a community poetry open mic, a poetry slam and educational activities.

Join us on Sunday, Jan. 15 from 12 to 4 p.m. for our 8th annual Teen Summit event celebrating the legacy of Dr. King. In this interactive workshop, teens from all over Connecticut will come together to participate with dynamic youth leaders in an effort to promote social and environmental justice. The Teen Summit program will focus on the power of youth social activism and their role as advocates of social justice in their communities.

An important component of this celebration is our Zannette Lewis Environmental and Social Justice Community Poetry Open Mic and Poetry Slam. The Community Poetry Open Mic is on Sunday, Jan. 15 from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. and Monday, Jan. 16, from 11 a.m. to noon. The open mic is an exciting aspect of our festival that gives people an opportunity to honor the spoken word legacy of Dr. King by sharing original poetry or song. Pre-registration is required for the open mic. The Poetry Slam includes well-known poets from around Connecticut and the United States.

The New Haven Museum will open its doors for free on Monday, Jan. 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Storytelling takes place at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

For more information, visit http://www.peabody.yale.edu.

Public Talk by Paul R. Fleischman, M.D. – January 16, 3:30 p.m., Yale University

by Aruna Pawashe, event organizer

The Connecticut old student community is pleased to host a public talk by Dr. Paul R. Fleischman, M.D., entitled “Stepping Stones of Meditation: A Path Through a World of Uncertainty.” The talk will be on Monday, Jan. 16, at 3:30 p.m. (Martin Luther King Day). It is free and open to the public. The venue is Yale School of Medicine, Mary S. Harkness Auditorium, 333 Cedar St.

For more details and to register go to https://meditation-talk-yale.eventbrite.com.

Dr. Fleischman trained at Yale University, practiced psychiatry for over thirty years, and was appointed a teacher of Vipassana by S.N. Goenka. In the recent past he has lectured at numerous universities in the U.S. as well as in many countries around the world. In this year’s third annual lecture at Yale, he will discuss simple and practical methods to attain a good life. He is the author of Wonder: When and Why the World Appears Radiant and many other books. See http://www.pariyatti.org for a collection of his writings, many of which can be accessed for free.

The talk is co-sponsored by the Yale Chaplain’s Office, the Wellbeing Program at Yale, the South Asian Studies Council, the Hindu Students Council, the South Asian Graduate and Professional Association,the Yale Program for Medicine, Spirituality and Religion, and the New Haven Meditation Sangha.

In the event of cancellation due to inclement weather, the event will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m.
For more information, please contact Aruna Pawashe at (203) 824-8465.

Bus Tickets Are Available from New Haven to the Inauguration Day Protest in D.C.

Progressive people from all over the country will be descending on Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20 to stage a massive demonstration along Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day. The bus to D.C. will leave at 11:45 p.m. on the night of Thursday, Jan. 19 from New Haven Green at Church and Chapel streets. We will return from D.C. the following night and arrive back around 12:30 a.m., Jan. 21. All tickets must be purchased in advance and will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are $55 round-trip.

To buy a ticket or for more info, email ANSWER in Connecticut at connecticut@answercoalition.org or call (203) 903-4480.

Greater New Haven Green Party Plans for 2017

by Patricia Kane, Organizer

The Green Party of New Haven, energized by new members as a result of this year’s Presidential election, is expanding the Chapter and gearing up to recruit people searching for a new party with a progressive agenda.

The expanded party, which will partner with neighboring towns, will reach out to potential members to develop a list of local priorities, plus identify and support GP candidates for local office.

The only requirement for membership in the Green Party is acceptance of the 10 Key Values that can be found online at http://www.gp.org/ten_key_values_2016.

  1. Grassroots Democracy.
  2. Social Justice And Equal Opportunity
  3. Ecological Wisdom
  4. Non-violence
  5. Decentralization
  6. Community-Based Economics
  7. Feminism And Gender Equity
  8. Respect For Diversity
  9. Personal & Global Responsibility
  10. Future Focus And Sustainability

On the national scene, Dr. Jill Stein has twice campaigned for President, despite being excluded from the national debates and despite the dismissal of her and Bernie Sander’s campaigns as insignificant. Many Greens became Democrats to work and vote for Bernie, but returned to the GP once his candidacy ended. Now many disaffected Democrats and Independents are turning to the GP because of their disillusionment with a rigged political system.

In the past, GP members Allan Brison, Joyce Chen & John Halley were elected to the New Haven Board of Alders. GP member Ralph Ferrucci earned 20 percent of the mayoral votes the year he ran under the Guilty Party banner. CT resident and long-time Green Ralph Nader continues to be an advocate on the local and national levels.

The opening event will be on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. with the screening of Michael Moore’s film “Where to Invade Next,” a lighthearted search for new ideas abroad worth bringing back to the U.S.–followed by refreshments and discussion. Email newhavengreens@yahoogroups.com or go online at http://www.facebook.com/NewHavenGreenParty/?fref=ts for more information. Reservations are requested to insure seating is available.

‘Syria: We Want Action’ public meeting 2 p.m. Jan. 7, Old Lyme

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

A group of Syrian-American women in CT are spearheading efforts for Syria. They are not giving up despite horrendous casualties and war crimes. They met with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s staff in an effort to get airdrops to the million under siege in Aleppo. In mid-December some 60 Syrians and Egyptians and others marched in Hartford from CT’s Capitol building to the Federal building demanding justice for Syria.

On Saturday, Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. there will be a public meeting about Syria called “Syria: We Want Action” at the Sheffield Auditoium in the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Rd., Old Lyme.
The main speakers are Yasser Munif, a Syrian professor of sociology who teaches at Emerson college in Boston, and Dr. Ammar Traboulsi, a Syrian-American psychiatrist who is working on projects to help Syrian refugees in Jordan. The sponsors are also hoping for some music.

The main emphasis of the event will be to determine concrete proposals to help the Syrians in Syria and the Syrian refugees. There’s a big campaign in the UK to get airdrops of food to those under siege. Some 138,000 have signed a petition in favor of it and reportedly a majority of the Parliament is for it, but not the leadership of the parties at this time. We in the U.S. are far behind. The Left campaigned against U.S. bombing of the regime in 2013, but has generally dropped the ball since then. Under a misguided idea that only the U.S. and its clients can be imperialist, most of the Left has turned a blind eye to terrible human rights abuses by Russia and Iran. As Trump and Israel again stir up the pot of war against Iran, a just settlement in Syria would help pull the rug from under their plans. For more information, see http://www.pepeace.org and http://www.thestruggle.org.

Sex Worker Allies Network (SWAN): Fighting for the Human Rights of Sex Workers

by Maya Menlo and Patricia Kane, SWAN

On Oct. 25, 2016, the New Haven Police Department (NHPD) arrested 14 sex workers in a sting. News media outlets published mug shots of the arrestees. The Sex Worker Allies Network (SWAN) formed in response to this archaic and unjust behavior. SWAN is comprised of a diverse group of New Haven residents, and is headed up by Beatrice Codianni, longtime community activist, and Brett Davidson, Connecticut Bail Fund co-founder.

One of SWAN’s first steps was to organize a rally at City Hall to protest the arrests as well as the public shaming of sex workers in New Haven. Mayor Toni Harp expressed doubts about the wisdom of the NHPD’s approach in an interview with WNNH shortly after the rally.

Members of SWAN met with Interim Police Chief Camp-bell to voice opposition to the sting. Chief Campbell suspended future sting operations in order to allow time to evaluate alternate approaches suggested by SWAN.

SWAN is tracking the arrestees’ criminal cases and has made free legal representation available to those who are interested.

SWAN volunteers have also been walking the streets to reach out to local sex workers, distributing bags of winter apparel and personal care items. Although SWAN’s work has just begun, the response from local sex workers has been overwhelmingly positive. SWAN is committed to lifting up the voices of sex workers in our community.

Studies show that many sex workers are victims of child-hood sexual and psychological abuse. They continue to be targets of violence, including by police, who trade sex for no arrest, or pressure them to become snitches – which endangers their lives.

Many of the sex workers to whom SWAN has spoken have multiple health issues. Some are homeless. SWAN is currently applying for a grant to fund its outreach expenses, and to cover the salary of one or more caseworkers to attend to the needs of local sex workers. In addition, SWAN is also working to raise funds to provide supportive housing to sex workers and women returning from prison. Please contact Patricia Kane (203) 559-1974 to get involved in SWAN’s efforts.

Green Fund Accepting Grant Applications Until Jan. 12, 2017

The Greater New Haven Green Fund promotes environmental quality and equity in the most environmentally distressed communities within the Greater New Haven area by providing local small grants to reduce pollution and create a more sustainable future. The Fund is seeking grant proposals for creative community-based initiatives that impact air and water pollution, as well as land conservation, sustainability, environmental education and youth leader-ship.

This year the Green Fund is particularly interested in encouraging small grant proposals of $3,000 or less from grassroots organizations. It has earmarked $18,000 of the total $48,000 to be used for this purpose and allotted $10,000 for smaller grants and $8,000 for microgrants. The smaller grants can be used for mission support and organizational capacity building as well as other projects that fit the priority areas of the Fund.

The Green Fund will also award $10,000 from the Community Benefits Agreement with Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc. (PSEG), owner of the Harbor Power Plant in New Haven. For this award the Fund seeks innovative proposals for activities that advance air quality initiatives in the areas of public education and outreach, public health studies, environmental justice and environmental analyses.

The deadline for 2017 applications is Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 at 4 p.m. Please check out the website for the Greater New Haven Green Fund, http://www.gnhgreenfund.org for further information and to download the application forms. Application forms are listed under the grants page titled small and large grants.

The New Haven Green Fund is a non profit 501(c)3 organization that was incorporated in 2006. It is administered by an independent board representing both local expertise and the communities that comprise the Greater New Haven Water Pollution service area. For more information, email info@gnhgreenfund.org, or call (203) 936-8136. Our mailing address is: Greater New Haven Green Fund, care of CFGNH, 70 Audubon St., New Haven, CT  06510.

The Listen Here Short Stories Reading Series continues 3rd Tuesdays

The Institute Library is proud to host the Listen Here Short Story reading series. Join us for a night of classic short stories selected by the staff of the New Haven Review and read by cast members of the New Haven Theater Company. Reading starts at 7 p.m., with talk back at 8 p.m. Also, freshly baked cookies–a different batch at each reading–and tea are available.

Admission is free!

Join us every third Tuesday of the month at the Institute Library, 847 Chapel St., New Haven. Our next reading will be Jan. 17. Stories TBA.

Please note that the Institute Library is one flight up and not wheel-chair accessible. For more information, visit us at www.institutelibrary.org.

State Commission on Human Rights Files ADA Complaint against Seymour Police Dept.

by Joe Luciano, Founder, Disability Rights Action Group of CT

The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities has filed an ADA complaint (CHRO Case 1730312) on my behalf against Seymour Police Department, which will have thirty days to answer. Citing Conn. General Statute § 46a-64, the complaint charges that a Seymour police officer expressed bigotry by mocking my mobility device, a power (wheel)chair, by calling it a “little cart” and by identifying me to other officers as “our motorized complainant” who needs to be “appeased.”

When, on Nov. 10, I called to report vehicles parked at Seymour’s Fishway Park blocking access on the sidewalk, the desk officer belittled my complaint, saying, “You can’t get your ‘little cart’ up on the sidewalk?” When I corrected him by saying, “It’s not a cart; it’s a power chair,” the officer said curtly, “Same thing!” Though I had identified myself by name and did not reveal I use a power chair for mobility, in conversations with other officers he referred to me as the “motorized complainant.” I feel he has a grudge against me either because I am a disabled person or openly an advocate for older persons. Or perhaps he has contempt for civil rights that the ADA of 1990 provides.

In settlement proceedings I will demand, among other things, that Seymour’s police department obtain—from a recognized training and development organization—sensitivity training to enable respectful police encounters with persons with disabilities and ADA education so that officers can learn about, and enforce, responsibilities and rights of persons with disabilities.

In my opinion, Seymour PD needs to accept that we older persons are here to stay. The community should get used to seeing, not ‘little carts’ drawn by ponies, but scooters, walkers, and wheelchairs of all kinds downtown. We live there.

DRAGconnecticut@yahoo.com

Jews, Muslims Gather on New Haven Green to Protest Islamophobia, Hate Crimes

by Kate Ramunni, New Haven Register, Dec. 22, 2016

Two groups that have been the target of hate crimes joined together Wednesday [Dec. 21} night to jointly recommit to justice for both and urge others to do the same. Members of Jewish Voices for Peace and the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut gathered on the New Haven Green, where they sang songs, held signs and advocated for tolerance. More than 30 people huddled together and traveled from corner to corner around the Green as evening traffic rushed by. [….]

“It’s gotten difficult to be a Jew or a Muslim in American society,” said Patrick Korth. “They are irrationally targeting the wrong people,” he said as he stood with the others at the corner of Chapel and College streets.

Wednesday’s demonstration was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace’s Network Against Islamophobia and set on the backdrop of Hanukkah, which starts Saturday night and runs through Jan. 1. The eight-day “festival of lights” celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple. Signs the demonstrators held laid out their beliefs: “We will not be silent when encountering Muslim and racist hate speech and hate crimes. We challenge through our words and actions institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned anti-black violence. We welcome Syrian refugees and stand strong with immigrants and refugees. We stand with Jews against Islamophobia and racism, rekindling our commitment to justice. We stand against U.S. policies on the ‘war on terror’ that demonize Islam and devalue, target and kill Muslims.”

“We need to change the direction of this country to address the problems of the world,” Korth said, “and we are not getting there with our politics.”

Read the whole story here at the New Haven Register’s website: Jews, Muslims gather on New Haven Green to protest Islamophobia, hate crimes

3-week Replica Solitary Confinement Cell Project opens Jan. 30

Join us at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St., for the opening event of the 3-week Replica Solitary Confinement Cell Project for New Haven with Mayor Toni N. Harp; Will Ginsberg, President & CEO of the GNH Community Foundation; Hope Metcalf, Yale Law School; and others.

Together with Yale Law School, Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, Sterling Library, the Joint Project Committee of New Haven UCC congregations, Wilton Friends Meeting, and My Brother’s Keeper, the NH Free Public Library is organizing this project as part of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), the nationwide interfaith campaign to expose and end the torture of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, jails and detention centers.

More information and a full program schedule will be forthcoming including Judy Dworin Performance Project, films, community panels and more! Thank you to our generous sponsors including the GNH Community Foundation, Dwight Hall and the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at the Yale Law School!

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