Seymour’s Public Comment Policy Discriminates Against Disabled Citizens

This article is written by Joseph A. Luciano, Disability Rights Action Group of CT about himself.

Seymour Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and elder rights advocate Joe Luciano, says his hometown treats public comments provided by citizens with disabilities differently than those given by citizens without disabilities. He has filed an ADA discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice against the Town of Seymour and its first selectman, Kurt Miller.

“Citizens who appear in person to speak their comments have an unfair advantage,” says Luciano. “Their comments are entered into meeting minutes in detail. Mine, however, are entered merely as ‘Correspondence received,’” Luciano says. “All state municipalities, including Seymour, must accommodate persons with disabilities,” he says.

Luciano is unable to travel to evening town meetings because there is no wheelchair transport when meetings begin and end. So he sends his public comment by email and snail mail. Paratransport services are not provided at night in Seymour. “While I use my wheelchair in daylight to ride to downtown places, I do so at risk of life and limb riding in streets and gutters. Absent crosswalks, an impassable sidewalk on DeForest, absent curbcuts—and unremoved snow—are mobility barriers blocking access to sidewalks. At night I cannot safely travel the block and a half to town hall to speak my public comment,” says Luciano.

According to Luciano, the pitfalls and shortcomings of the snow-removal ordinance addressed in his emailed public comment were not entered into the minutes, which show comments in detail spoken by other citizens who presented theirs. “The minutes omitted essential points of my comment. That is, the same property owners year after year flout the snow removal ordinance. They do so with impunity because town safety authorities do not monitor and enforce compliance of ordinance even though enforcement with fines of up to $100 a day is mandated. Sidewalks with unremoved snow are mobility barriers,” explains Luciano.

According to Luciano, barriers to public accommodations and public services have inflicted staggering economic and social costs on American society and have undermined our well-intentioned efforts to educate, rehabilitate, and employ individuals with disabilities. Municipalities that refuse to accommodate persons with disabilities equally in public meetings prevent society from benefiting from the knowledge, skills and of PWDs. “The ADA guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.” DRAGconnecticut@yahoo.com (203) 463-8323.

Come to the African American Women’s Summit

by Mary Jones, Summit Coordinator

The African American Women’s Summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at the Immanuel Baptist Church, located at 1324 Chapel St.

The theme this year is “Enhancing Our Community and Family Life through Health, Nutrition, Housing, Insurance and Social Justice.” Experts in the areas of health, nutrition, housing, insurance and social justice will lead a panel discussion. Workshops topics will center around our theme.

This year will feature an Authors’ Row comprised of prominent authors in the community and surrounding areas. They will be discussing their latest book. Purchase a book and get it autographed by the author. Lunch will feature entertainment. There will also be vendors.

Come out and celebrate our 21 years of service in the community. For your convenience, you may park at Shure Funeral Home located at 543 George Street. You can enter the lot from George Street or Day Street. You may also park at St. Paul UAME Church at 1267 Chapel Street. The parking lot is located on Dwight Street behind the church. Please park between the white lines only.

History Lessons: U.S. Government Targeting of Activists. Al Marder to speak at New Haven Museum April 14

by Henry Lowendorf, U.S. Peace Council

Following World War I the government went after leftists and anarchists with the Palmer raids.
In the 1940s and 50s, following World War II, the government passed the Smith Act to attack Communists, trade unionists, filmmakers and other progressives.

In the 1960s the government created CoIntelPro to go after the Black Panther Party and anti-war activists.

In each case assassinations, arrests and expensive trials were used to protect the establishment from dangerous ideas spreading among the people. That the government violated the Constitution it was sworn to uphold? No matter. The press shouted approval.

A leader of the peace and civil rights movement today, Al Marder, the last remaining target of the Smith Act in CT, is interviewed by historian Mary Donohue in the spring edition of Connecticut Explored. Al will also be interviewed by Judge Andrew Roraback at the New Haven Museum on April 14 at 5:30 p.m. Marder is the President of the US Peace Council, President of the Amistad Committee, Chair of the CT Freedom Trail, former Chair of the City of New Haven Peace Commission, among others.

There are recognizable lessons for today.

For more information, contact Henry Lowendorf at (203) 389-9547, grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com.

Thurgood Marshall Award Acceptance Speech by Lula White transcribed

Lula White Receives Thurgood Marshall Award

As reported in the last newsletter, Lula White of New Haven, a former Freedom Rider during the Civil Rights Movement [and a long-time member of PAR], received the Quinnipiac University Black Law Students Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award on Feb. 25. We are grateful that LouAnn Heller recorded the speech and transcribed it for our readers. Congratulations, Lula! You are an inspiration.

 

We give all the credit to all the leaders. But where would all the leaders be without the followers? And I was one of these followers.

I’d like to recognize some people who should be recognized. First of all, since we are in a law school, I’d like to recognize all the lawyers, black and white, who worked pro bono in the civil rights movement.
I want to also recognize a lot of the Southern black students who were part of the civil rights movement because they had more to lose than northern students had. Some were kicked out of the universities they attended, even the black universities that they attended. Some of them who planned to become teachers never got jobs, at least down South because they were blackballed.

I want to thank women Freedom Riders who were mothers. I was very young, but I don’t think I could have left my children even if I had a good husband to take care of them. I want to thank those women who stayed away from their children for two months so they could stand with us and march. And I want to thank their husbands too.

I also want to thank the Southerners who provided homes for civil rights workers at great risk to themselves. They could have lost their jobs, their homes could have been blown up. Yet they got no credit.

And last but not least I’d like to thank the clergy for being so supportive of the movement. I especially remember one clergyman who was a rabbi. He drove up to Parchman where we were incarcerated and spoke to each of us. He took each one of our names, our parents’ names and addresses and wrote to them. He said “I have seen your daughter today and she’s well and in good spirits”. That took a lot of courage because Jews were not liked in the South. In fact his synagogue was bombed.

And let’s not forget the children who took part in the movement. People said they were used, that they were pushed by unscrupulous adults.  They were not being used. Even a child knows what freedom is and they missed their laws too.

Tax Day Leafleting April 15 City Hall, Brewery Street P.O.

Nancy Eberg, Greater New Haven Peace Council

Join us on Tax Day! On Friday, April 15, we will have two opportunities to attempt to educate and connect with the tax-paying public. Efforts will be made to emphasize where our tax dollars are going. For example, that $350 billion is allocated for brand new, state-of-the-art nuclear weapons in this federal budget.

From 12-1 p.m. we will meet in front of New Haven City Hall, 165 Church St., and from 5-6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Brewery Street Post Office. Sponsored by the Greater New Haven Peace Council. Any questions, call Henry at (203) 389-9547, or e-mail grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com. Hope to see you there!

Open Conversations about Racism and Privilege

Please join us for our “Chicago Dinners”: Open Conversations about Racism and Privilege on Thursday, April 28, 12-2 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Avenue. This will be a bilingual conversation with translation. A light meal will be provided. This event is sponsored by the Multicultural Advisory Council of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the New Haven Free Public Library, the Connecticut Mental Health Center Committee on Diversity and Health Equity, and the Connecticut Mental Health Center Citizens Collaborative. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Elizabeth Flanagan, (203) 764-7592 or elizabeth.flanagan@yale.edu. Please indicate if you will need a sign language interpreter.

April 15-16, Women’s Studies Conference, SCSU

Alisha Martindale, Women’s Studies Program

Organizers of the 22nd Women’s Studies Conference “#FeministIn(ter)ventions: Women, Community, and Technology” are excited to announce our keynote speaker will be Anita Sarkeesian. A media critic and public speaker, Sarkeesian is the creator of Feminist Frequency, a video web-series that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives. Her work focuses on exposing and deconstructing the sexist stereotypes and patterns in popular culture, and highlighting issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spaces. She has received particular attention for her video series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, which examines tropes in the depiction of female video game characters. In 2015, she was chosen as one of the Time 100, Time Magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

The conference will be held at Southern Connecticut State University Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16. Conference sessions will juxtapose global, comparative, inter-sectional, interdisciplinary, and inter-generational perspectives for the collective re-thinking on women, community, and technology. Expect serious fun through meals and performance, with women, girls and their allies speaking of their struggles and power. Registration is required for attendance. Please email the Women’s Studies Program at WomenStudies@Southernct.edu or call (203) 392-6133 for more information on registering for this event or to register as a vendor for the fair.

Be sure to visit the Women and Girls’ Fair while attending the conference. The fair features a number of local female-centric, female-owned businesses and organizations aimed to introduce you to local and regional handmade goods, gifts, crafts, and more.

Get Ready for Rock to Rock!

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven-León Sister City Project

Only in its eighth year, the Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride has quickly grown into one of the region’s largest environmental events and fundraisers. Starting at 9 a.m., the event itself — on Saturday, April 30 — is a day-long celebration of Earth Day and New Haven’s rich environmental and cultural resources.

1,500 cyclists will travel between West Rock and East Rock, with celebrations on both sides of the city. Along the way, they will eat tasty food, hear great music, take on environmental challenges and service projects, and explore the city’s parks. They will travel along the Farmington Canal Trail and official city bike lanes, pass through many of the city’s beautiful neighborhoods, and make stops in Edgewood and Beaver Pond Parks on their way between the Rocks. In 2016 there will be five rides: the 8-mile family-friendly ride; a 12 mile adult ride; the 20-mile ride; the 40-mile ride; and a metric century (60+ miles), all traveling through scenic and park filled routes in the New Haven region. Music at various stops and at the end at East Rock will be provided by CT Folk and with include performances by local musicians.

The goals for 2016 are $200,000 raised and 1,500 riders. In 2015, the Ride attracted 1,307 registered riders – the largest number ever; 2,958 donations made to local environmental work; $186,802 raised – up from our previous $152,158 record; 40 sponsors, contributing $60,912 and critical in-kind support; 100+ volunteers; 20-plus high-impact environmental organizations whose work is fueled by this event. Creating a city full of healthy food, street trees, community gardens, green jobs, outdoor adventures, clean and accessible parks, bike trails, educational opportunities and much more. Register at http://www.rocktorock.org or for more info call (203) 285-6147.

Best Video Film and Cultural Center April Schedule

1842 Whitney Avenue, Hamden. (203) 500-7777. All events are at 8 p.m. and $5 except where noted.

  • Friday, Apr. 1. Blues Rock: Just Us with Noah Kesselman
  • Sunday, Apr. 3. 2 p.m. Free. Afternoon Bluegrass Jam
  • Sunday, Apr. 3. Best Video Film & Cultural Center & The Institute Library present “Books To Film: The Way,” with special guest Jack Hitt at The Institute Library.
  • Monday, Apr. 4. Film Screening: “The Best Man”
  • Wednesday, Apr. 6. Indie Rock with Redscroll Records
  • Thursday, Apr. 7. Blues: The Moody’s BluesBEST-VIDEO
  • Friday. Apr. 8. Folk: Hugh Birdsall & Dana Takaki
  • Monday, Apr. 11. Film Screening: “The Contender”
  • Thursday, Apr. 14. Indie Rock: Spit-Take, Box Fan
  • Tues., Apr. 19. Film Screening: “Bulworth”
  • Wednesday, Apr. 20. Jazz: Badslax
  • Thursday, Apr. 21. Indie Folk: The Mid Season
  • Friday, Apr. 22. Jazz: Rebecca Abbott & Friends
  • Monday, Apr. 25. Film Screening: “A Face In The Crowd”
  • Thursday, Apr. 28. Sephardic Music: The Heretics Of Cordoba

May Day Celebration on the Green 2016!

by Jeff Spalter, May Day Celebration Committee

Come celebrate May Day, International Workers’ Day, from noon until 5 p.m. Sunday, May 1, on the New Haven Green. (Raindate: Sunday May 8.)

maypole-smallThis is the 30th consecutive year of May Day on the Green. May Day is a multi-cultural festival featuring live music, poetry, dance, children’s activities, speak-out time, a May Pole Dance, free vegetarian food and displays and information tables from local labor, peace, social service and social justice groups. May Day is a participatory event that is free and everyone is invited.

At a time when labor unions are being harassed around the country, we celebrate labor unions as being a workers’ best hope. At a time when immigrants are still struggling for their rights, we celebrate our immigrant heritage and culture. At a time when violence threatens our communities, we say tax the rich and give us jobs. At a time when US forces and drones are still deployed around the world, we say no more war.

Our featured performers on the Green include Coalition Hip Hop, N-Finity Muzik and Not Here.
For more information visit us at http://www.facebook.com/newhavenmayday or call Jeff Spalter (203) 843-3069, jeffreyspalter@netzero.net.

May Day mission statement: to organize a multi-cultural festival that honors and celebrates our labor history and the labor, peace, social service and social justice groups that today continue the struggle for peace and human rights.

2016 Annual Conference and Meeting: Labor History: Looking Back, Going Forward

Joan Cavenaugh, Archivist/Director, GNH Labor History Association

The theme of this year’s annual conference and meeting on Sunday, June 5, from 1:30 to 4:40 p.m., has a special poignancy given the death of our co-founder and President Emeritus, Nicholas Aiello, last November, as well as the passing of so many of our members in recent years. We will be honoring them and looking back at the history of this organization as we also envision our future.

laborAnthony Riccio’s presentation, “Sisters and Sweatshops: The Life of Nick Aiello,” will be a keynote, with discussion to follow. We urge all who have memories of Nick and stories to share to come prepared to do so!

There will also be a presentation about LHA’s 28 year history, followed by a discussion of its future. This is a crucial time not only to look back at what has been accomplished, but to imagine and begin to plan ways to accomplish the organization’s continuing goals in a social climate that is markedly different than it was in 1988. We need all hands on deck for this discussion session!

This year’s Augusta Lewis Troup award will be presented to Louise Fortin, sister of Nicholas Aiello and a retired garment worker.

The conference will conclude with the annual meeting, where members in good standing will vote on the newest by-laws revisions and for the slate of officers for 2016-2018.

If you have memorabilia from Nick’s life or from the 28 years of the Labor History Association’s work, please contact us ASAP. We’re thinking about possible formats to display such things for posterity.
Visit the conference website at http://www.conference.ctcor.org.

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