War Resister’s League shows where our tax dollars go in 2014

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Medea Benjamin to receive the 2014 Gandhi Peace Award 7 p.m. April 16, United Church on the Green

by Augusta Girard, PEP Program Coordinator

medea-benjamin-iIn a world where peace and environmental harmony seem ever out of reach, the Gandhi Peace Award recognizes peace and environmental heroes whose sacrifices bring the world we dream of just a little closer.

Don’t miss the presentation of the Gandhi Peace Award, 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 16, at the United Church on the Green, 270 Temple St., New Haven, to the nation’s most renowned peace activist, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and the international human rights organization Global Exchange. For more than 30 years she has advocated for peace and social justice, traveling to  Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere to bring attention to the innocent people killed by U.S. drone weapons. Benjamin is the author of eight books. Her latest book Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, will be on sale at the event. Medea has been described as “one of America’s most committed — and most effective — fighters for human rights” by New York Newsday, and “one of the high profile leaders of the peace movement” by the Los Angeles Times.

She recently confronted President Obama to his face during his 2013 foreign policy address, who said, “We need to listen to that woman.” Her recent trip in support of the women of Gaza made headlines when she was brutally assaulted and deported by the Egyptian government. Don’t miss her stories of danger, courage, and imagination to achieve victories for peace and social justice.

Over the past half-century Promoting Enduring Peace has presented the Gandhi Peace Award to Eleanor Roosevelt, César Chávez, Daniel Ellsberg, Dorothy Day, Amy Goodman, Bill McKibben, and other great peace heroes. It comes with a cash prize and a bronze medallion fashioned from metal forged from the control systems designed to launch  America ’s nuclear missiles during the Cold War by the company, From War to Peace, located in California. The event is free and includes a reception that will follow the ceremony. Music will be provided by Robert Messore.

To learn more, go to pepeace.org/2014gpa or call (202) 573-7322.

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Annual Meeting of the Coalition for People, 4:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, NHFPL

by Pat Florio, Coalition for People

Join us in celebrating the Coalition for People’s 32nd annual meeting in the program room of the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St.
Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. Frank Panzarella and the Flint Ladder Circus Band will provide music. Our speaker will be Steve Thornton, labor and community organizer. Pizza will be available and we also welcome potluck contributions.

“Sometimes You Have to Pick a Fight to Win a Fight” —  So many critical problems in New Haven, so many enormous challenges. How does a progressive organization even get started? The Coalition for People has played a central role in networking with area activists for a lot of years now. We have within our ranks a wealth of organizing skills and decades of practical experience. Even with all the campaigns that already take place in the city, there’s still much more to do–if that’s the direction we decide to take.

At our upcoming annual meeting on April 21, long-time organizer Steve Thornton will describe the successful community/labor coalition that defeated the privatization of Waterbury Hospital, saving union jobs and critical health care services.

Building from the ground up, during 2012-2013, Waterbury activists and neighborhood people took on the most powerful forces in their city. They framed their demands strategically. They engaged in high-profile tactics that were fun, raised public awareness, and built their power. And they won!
“In the organizing world, there’s really nothing new under the sun,” says Steve. “But every time progressive forces win, it’s worth examining and analyzing what works.”

With forty years of community and union organizing experience in Connecticut and New England, Steve Thornton will give a talk and a multi-media presentation, after which he will lead a discussion.

The program will end at 7:30. Please join us for this celebratory, entertaining, and inspiring evening.

We need to know how many people to expect so that we order enough pizza. Please RSVP to Mary at (203) 387-7858. Thank you!

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About The New Haven Educators’ Collective; A Call To Join

by Leslie Blatteau and Chris Willems

The New Haven Educators’ Collective is made up of students, parents, teachers and citizens concerned about the radical agenda of the corporate education “reform” industry in the Greater New Haven area.

We are organizing to defend, celebrate and ensure access to quality public education in New Haven. We work with children, families and communities in and around New Haven to raise awareness about the role of public schools in a healthy democracy.

We seek an open dialogue around the REAL issues that affect quality schooling. We share information about the forces aligned against public schools while simultaneously giving individuals support to improve their public school communities.

We believe every student should have access to a high-quality, fully funded public education.

We believe schools should have increased funding in order to meet students’ social, emotional and academic needs. Our schools have been under-resourced for too long.

We believe that schools CAN improve when teachers have autonomy to develop transformative curriculum and pedagogy that promotes critical thinking, creativity and compassion.

We believe that the overreliance on high-stakes testing and mandated curriculum serves as a dangerous means to sort, label, and punish students, teachers, and schools.

We believe our work includes stopping attacks on low-income students and communities of color. Punitive policies which push students into the school-to-prison pipeline must be acknowledged and changed to make schools welcoming, productive and safe.

We believe economic policies that value profit for the few over health and wellness for the many result in an underfunded system that politicians and policymakers label as failing.

We believe an honest discussion of this economic policy must be a part of our plan.  Extreme tax cuts for the wealthy and a bloated military budget cannot coexist with a fully-funded public education system accessible to all students.

Come to Wall Street Pizza (90 Wall Street ) on the first and third Fridays of the month from 4–6 p.m. to join in this ongoing work. We’ll be in the back room. Or call Allan Brison, (203) 782-6808.

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Teaching Labor History in the CT Public Schools Legislative Update

by Steve Kass, Exec. Board, GNH Labor History Association

In 2013, the Teaching Labor History in CT Public Schools bill reached the floor of the CT state legislature. After passing the labor and education committees, the bill was never brought up for a vote and died. This was the second year in a row that the GNH Labor History Association initiated the bill to teach “labor history and law, including the history of organized labor, the collective bargaining process and existing legal protections in the workplace.” The bill has worked its way through the legislative process with the help of Connecticut AFT. It has strong support from the Connecticut AFL-CIO and thirteen statewide unions.

Unfortunately, a bill often takes 3-5 years to pass into legislation. Only 8% of the bills first proposed are written into law.

This year’s 2014 bill, proposed by Senate Majority leader Martin Looney during the “short” legislative session, uses the same wording as last year’s bill but adds on the watered-down language: “and the history of free market capitalism and entrepreneurialism and their role in the growth of the American and world economics.” This new language is an effort to win support from the Republicans who have strongly opposed this bill.

To his credit, Looney continues to spearhead the legislative effort. He feels so strongly about the bill that he often takes the unusual step of testifying during public hearings, citing personal family union history. So far this year, the bill has passed a public hearing of the labor committee.

According to a poll by the independent Hart Research, 54 percent of adults said they know little about unions. They said their chief sources of knowledge were personal experience, people in unions and the media. Significantly, learning in school was not even mentioned.

The implications of the research are clear. To a very large degree, Americans are uninformed or misinformed about unions, the labor movement and the role that workers have played, and do play, in our nation’s economic, political and cultural life. This is the reason that Connecticut and the nation deserve to have labor’s story told. Please call your legislators and ask them to support this bill.

2014 Labor History Association Annual Meeting April 27

by Joan Cavanagh, LHA Archivist and Director

The 2014 Annual Conference and Meeting of the GNH Labor History Association will take place on Sunday, April 27 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Council/Teachers Building, 267 Chapel St., New Haven. This year’s keynote speaker will be Cecelia Bucki, Professor of History at Fairfield University. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Connecticut History and the author of Bridgeport’s Socialist New Deal 1915-36. Her presentation will focus on the radicalizing wave of strikes during World War I in Bridgeport’s munitions and other industries.

The 2014 Augusta Lewis Troup Pass It On awards will be presented to Steve Thornton and Edith Prague. Those who attended last year’s meeting will remember both: Steve for his talk about the HealthBridge strikers, Edith for her interchange with her old friend, former State Senator Ed Gomes, one of last year’s awardees.

Steve is a recently retired organizer with the largest health-care workers union in Connecticut, District 1199/SEIU, as well as with the Greater Hartford Central Labor Council. He is also on the national steering committee of US Labor Against the War (USLAW). He has just published A Shoe-leather History of the Wobblies: Stories of the International Workers of the World in Connecticut. Edith retired as a State Senator in 2012 and was a strong advocate for the elderly, health care rights and labor during her career as a legislator. She was appointed by Governor Malloy in 2013 to serve as the Commissioner of Connecticut’s newly created Department on Aging.

The gathering will also include music from our troubadour, Frank Panzarella; updates about the work of Labor History, including our new exhibit, “Our Community at Winchester : An Elm City Story;” and time for members and friends to enjoy refreshments and socializing. There will be a brief business meeting for members at the conclusion to elect 2014-16 officers. For more information, contact joan@laborhistory.org.

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21st Annual Women’s Studies Conference, SCSU

by Melanie Lozada, Graduate Assistant, Women’s Studies Program

SCSU invites you to join them for the 21st Annual Women’s Studies Conference, “Ecology, Spirituality, Sustainability: Feminist and Indigenous Interventions” which will take place on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University Friday, April 11, 2014 and Saturday, April 12.

At this critical juncture as we face waves of ecological crises and witness spiritual alienation from the earth, critical reflections on the relationship between humans and the natural world are more urgent than ever.

The 21st annual conference seeks to examine feminist and indigenous analyses of and interventions in the exploitation and degradation of the natural world, and to promote the feminist-indigenous resistance and sustainability initiatives that address the crises on planet earth. This conference will also highlight and showcase feminist and indigenous thinking and practice against the intersecting oppressions across race, ethnicity, class and sexuality vis-à-vis the natural realm and continuum of species.

The keynote speakers include Majora Carter, a visionary, urban revitalization strategist, and public radio host and Dr. Hyun Kyung Chung, a Korean eco-feminist, theologian, and associate professor of Ecumenical Studies, Union Theological Seminary in NYC.

The conference schedule is available on-line here.

A limited number of free and reduced-rate registrations are available to PAR readers. Please contact Paula Panzarella at (203) 562-2798 for one of the forms.

For more information about the 21st Women’s Studies Conference, please phone (203) 392-6133 or go to: www.Southernct.edu/womensstudies.

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April 5 and April 26: Two Rock to Rock Events

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven / León Sister City Project

The 3rd Annual Rock to Rock Day of Service, takes place Saturday, April 5. Please join us for a day of fun and giving back! Last year we had over 100 volunteers working at sites across the city. Chipotle restaurant will supply free burritos for lunch. Discount on registration and $25 will be given to your choice of participating non-profits for the first 20 volunteers that sign up. This is a great way to engage with the community and help out local environmental organizations doing wonderful work. Sign up at rocktorock.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=cms.page&id=1019.

Saturday, April 26, Rock to Rock Bicycle Ride: New Haven’s biggest Earth Day celebration. Here’s how it works: You and about a thousand of your neighbors bicycle from West Rock and East Rock, with celebrations on both sides of the city. Along the way, eat tasty food, hear great music, take on environmental service projects and explore our city’s parks and neighborhoods. Families and college students, serious riders and weekend warriors are all welcome. Join our rock band! Register now! Looking for a challenge? Take our 20- mile, 40-mile, or metric century routes. Info: www.rocktorock.org.

CTV Returns to New Haven

by Joseph L.Schofield, Exec. Director, CTV

After nine and a half years at its location in Hamden, Citizens Television (CTV) returned to New Haven in January this year. CTV purchased the former veterinary hospital at 843 State St., which provides for adequate parking, more interior space, and substantial bus service to the easily accessible location.

As the cable television community access provider for New Haven, Hamden and West Haven, CTV is community-focused and trains residents in television production (both field and studio) so that they may put their own programs on television for the community. As such,

  • CTV has the only regularly televised live Jazz program in the state. “Bourbon Street” is produced and hosted by Andrew James every second Monday at 7 p.m. on CTV Channel 26 (Comcast).
  • “Healthcare From the Haven” (formerly “the Hill”) with Dr. Amit LaHav is live at 11 a.m. every third Saturday, Channel 26.
  • An old favorite, “Keith Calls It,” airs live every second Wednesday at 7 p.m., Channel 26, bringing timely community topics, entertainment and cooking programs.
  • CTV provides live daily satellite programming of the award-winning, alternative news program “Democracy Now,” with Amy Goodman, airing live each weekday morning at 8 a.m. on Channel 26 and repeated at noon.
  • Our Government Channel 96 provides full coverage of the aldermanic and legislative council meetings of the three towns.
  • CTV has long covered local events in the community.
  • We continue to play annually the “Sacco & Vanzetti” production (with Frank and Paula Panzarella) done years ago at the Long Wharf Theater, and
  • We recently began annual coverage of the Gandhi Peace Award ceremony by the organization Promoting Enduring Peace. We will cover this year’s ceremony on April 16 with award recipient Medea Benjamin of CodePink at the United Church on the Green.

We ask residents and organizations to please use our televised bulletin board for community events and announcements. Send them to bulletinboard@citizenstv.org.

For television production classes, call (203) 562-2288 or visit our website at www.citizenstv.org. CTV’s hours are Mon., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Tues., Wed., Thurs., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday hours are by appointment. Closed Fri. and Sun.

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New Haven Review and Institute Library Join Forces

by Bennett Graff, publisher, New Haven Review

Following its February 22 blow-out party celebrating publication of its 13th biannual issue–five years old and still running strong on an entirely volunteer basis–New Haven Review has formally announced its merger with the Young Men’s Institute Library, one of New Haven’s oldest cultural institutions.

“It seems the right thing to do in terms of where we are and where the Institute Library is,” noted publisher and one of New Haven Review’s founders, Bennett Graff, commenting on the remarkable turnaround engineered over the last four years at the Institute Library by its reinvigorated board of trustees and its executive director, Will Baker. As Graff pointed out, “New Haven Review originally sought to fill a gap in New Haven’s non-academic reading and writing community by offering everything from the journal publication to theater reviews to short story readings to radio programs” (more information on which can be found at www.newhavenreview.com). “But the Institute Library has done an incredible job in the last two years filling that gap with wonderful programs from Amateur Hour to the teen Word poetry program to its Library as People.”

The Institute Library’s Executive Director, Will Baker, welcomed the combination of talents and energy. “We’ve had annual ‘issue parties’ at the Institute Library for the last three years–at this last one alone we had 90 attendees–and we’re overjoyed at the volunteer energy and literary savvy that New Haven Review’s editorial team brings to the table.” Going forward New Haven Review will now become a “program” of the Institute Library, and its board a committee under the larger organization’s structure.

Joining the Institute Library as a member is $25 per year and easily done at http://institutelibrary.org/renew.html. New Haven Review, which maintains its own website, takes $20 year-long subscriptions at its own website at newhavenreview.com/index.php/print-editions/ subscribe/. Please consider supporting both of these great institutions if you are not already a member or subscriber–or both!

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The Fight for Affordable and Renewable Electricity

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

Please contact your state senators about S.B. 353, An Act Concerning the Development of Class I Renewable Energy Source Projects. This bill will go to the senate and we have only a few weeks before the vote. S.B. 353 will help develop more clean energy generation facilities. However, the bill calls for only two projects. To have an impact we feel there should be at least twelve, with the preference given to solar. There should be no cap on the aggregate megawatts produced.

Utility companies and the trees: Hundreds of people let the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority know that UI and CL & P’s plan to cut down and trim trees within 8 feet of power lines is unacceptable. PURA has asked both utility companies to scale back their tree-trimming. Both utilities said they will continue. PURA will issue a final decision next month. Call PURA: (800) 382-4586. To contact UI: (800) 722-5584 or CL & P: (800) 286-2000. Thank you!

News from People’s Action for Clean Energy

by Judi Friedman, PACE

The price of LED bulbs is dropping rapidly. They are usually under $10. They last much longer than incandescent bulbs, use far less electricity and have no mercury.

At www.gosolarct.com you can plug in your home address and a heat map of solar potential pops on the screen. A detailed web page enables you to calculate the money and power savings based on current electric bills. You can request quotes from solar companies that offer loans, leases or purchase agreements on solar panels.

And get ready for spring with NO-MOW grass! At the last PACE house tour, Doug McDonald of Westport had a luxurious lawn of grass that doesn’t need mowing. It is highly drought tolerant and requires less fertilizer. To learn more, contact Wildflower Farm: info@wildflowerFarm.com or (866) 476-9453.

Solar Tour / Seminar May 3: A Plainville family is using their good credit and equity to become a NET ZERO energy home. The couple has insulated their attic, installed solar electric panels, a solar hot water system and air to air source heat pumps, among many other things.

Their story: “We refinanced our home to pay for this project. By removing oil and electric bills we have freed up extra money in our monthly budget.[...]”

Don’t miss this unique chance to learn about financing, tax credits and rebates, computer monitoring, retrofits, and installer choices. Tickets: $15. Tours at noon and 2 p.m. Tickets available after April 10 from: PACE, c/o Donna Grant, 128 Melrose Rd., Broad Brook, CT 06016 Albert_grant@SBCglobal.net.

Download the May Day Registration form here.

 

Download the May Day Registration Form here::: MayDayReg2014.

 

 

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Don’t forget to visit the PAR events page for the latest, best progressive events in New Haven

April 2014 events