Love, Daniel: In Remembrance of “Father Dan,” 1921–2016

by Joan Cavanagh (one of the NH Sunday Vigilers at Broadway, Park and Elm Streets)

“Eternity is a rose, Dante says/ We will wear/ give/ Yes, have time for.” Daniel Berrigan

daniel-berrigan-democracy-nowIn May 1968, in Catonsville, Maryland, 20 miles from my home town, nine people napalmed draft records of young men headed for Vietnam. Father Daniel Berrigan, one of the nine, named it “the burning of paper instead of children.” Dan was in North Vietnam earlier in 1968, and had held a Vietnamese child in a shelter while American pilots dropped bombs overhead.

Those non-electronic records could not be reconstructed. Hundreds of Americans were presumably exempted from going to war.

This incendiary act of nonviolent civil disobedience forced us all to witness what napalm did to paper and to imagine what it did to flesh and blood in our names as United States citizens. My 14-year-old view of the war as a nightmare that might one day claim the lives of some of my older class-mates evolved into a deeper awareness that it had already made a nightmare of other young lives: the unnamed and unseen Vietnamese.

In August 1973, eight months after the Paris Peace Accords, the U.S. war on Indochina continued. 100 people were arrested at the White House. The day of our first Federal Court appearance, the elevator stalled between floors. Dan flashed his signature elfish grin, then glanced heavenward with outstretched hands, palms up.

Draft board raids eventually gave way to raids on other offices prosecuting the war more covertly. I turned 21 in April 1975 while serving a 52-day sentence in the Women’s Detention Center in Washington D.C. Dan, veteran of a much longer, much more serious prison stay, sent poetry and a letter: “Dear Joan, I don’t know if they let poems into Caesar’s Harem. I hope so. Sometimes it helps…When you get out, springtime will be upon us all. That will be worth waiting for. We’ll all have a bash! Love, Daniel.”

Dan visited Jonah House and Advaita House in Baltimore several times while I lived there. His lightness of being often defused community conflicts and restored clarity of purpose sometimes abandoned in favor of argumentation and self-righteousness. His pecan pies were a sinfully rich delicacy which sweetened continued discord.

Sometimes I walked with him to the Baltimore train station for his return trip to NYC. Dan carried very little baggage.

I did not see him or talk with him for nearly four decades. We disagreed on his approach to abortion in the 1980s. I wish I had known him again in his later years, our beloved old “radical priest” caring for AIDS and cancer patients, joining the occupiers at Zuccotti Park, continuing to resist endless war – still living out the kindness and clarity of his poetry in action. Now his absence has come to stay: a sadly welcomed eternal presence.

Labor History: Looking Back, Moving Forward – Annual Conference June 5

by Joan Cavanagh, GNHLHA director/archivist

Members and friends of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association are invited to its annual conference and meeting on Sunday, June 5, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. at 267 Chapel St., New Haven. The conference, “Labor History: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” will honor the organization’s late President, Nicholas Aiello, showcase its 28-year history and discuss plans for the future.

Author Anthony Riccio, who interviewed Nick for his books, The Italian American Experience in New Haven and Farms, Factories and Families will present “Sisters and Sweatshops: The Life of Nick Aiello,” and will give this year’s Augusta Lewis Troup Award to Louise Fortin, Nick’s sister and a retired garment worker.

Frank Annunziato, outgoing Executive Director of the American Association of University Professors, University of Rhode Island Chapter, who co-founded LHA with Aiello in 1988, will discuss the organization’s mission and its early years, inviting contributions from others who were among its first members. The Director, Joan Cavanagh, and current Executive Board members, including Bill Berndtson, President, and Steve Kass, Vice President, will talk about LHA’s accomplishments during the first 16 years of the 21st century, including its work to produce a labor history curriculum for Connecticut’s public schools.

As always, there will be time for refreshments and socializing. The organization’s troubadour, noted musician Frank Panzarella, will provide labor songs.

If you want to learn more about LHA’s history, have ideas about how to move forward in the 21st century, and/or simply want to learn more about LHA, please join us on June 5th to look back at what has been accomplished and to imagine and plan the future. For more information, please call (203) 668-9082 or contact joan@labor.history.org.

PAR Articles and Calendar Items Due Thursday, May 19

Dear PAR Contributors –

Readers want to know: What is the purpose of your organization? How are you building your group? What campaigns are you organizing? What events are you planning?

The deadline for the June Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter is Thursday, May 19. Please send in to this e-mail address – parnewhaven@hotmail.com – articles about your group’s recent and current activities and upcoming actions and events.

PAR does not print an issue for July or August. If you have calendar items or articles for the summer months, please send them in to be included in the June issue.

We are asking everyone to limit her/his article to 350 words. Be sure to indicate your name and organization as they should appear in your byline.

Please keep in mind that as layout space permits, we will include photos.

IMPORTANT: Don’t neglect to add your organization’s contact information such as phone number, e-mail address or website, so our readers can get more information about what your group is doing.

If you haven’t written recent articles for PAR, please include information about your group’s purpose. Do not use different fonts or sizes in your article.

About calendar items:
If you mention an event in an article, please also send a SEPARATE calendar announcement.
Please give street addresses for any events or meetings, even for “well-known” public buildings.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please indicate whether your event location is wheelchair accessible.
You can also send us SAVE THE DATE items about future events, even if you do not yet have all the details in place.

The Newsletter will come out approximately Saturday, May 28. Please consider this when submitting calendar items.

Here are other suggestions about submitting copy to the PAR Newsletter:

  1. If you ask or encourage new groups to submit articles or calendar items to PAR, please give them a copy of these tips.
    2. Submit copy by e-mail, either as regular text or as an MS Word or attachment (.doc or .docx).
    3. If you are a first-time author for the PAR Newsletter, thank you! We hope you will subscribe and encourage others in your organization to do so.
    4. If you know of someone who wants to write an article but does not use e-mail, send an e-mail to us with that person’s name and phone number or call Paula at (203) 562-2798.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT INSERTS:
We prefer to carry articles and calendar listings rather than inserts. But if you have an insert to include in the Newsletter, we ask you to send the information contained in the flyer to this e-mail address as well so that it can be easily added to the PAR calendar.

Your organization must make and pay for the inserts. We will be able to handle only those inserts that are a full sheet (8.5 x 11) or half-sheet (8.5 x 5.5) of paper. We cannot accept postcards or cardstock flyers. There is a fee of $7 for inserts.

Please call Paula at (203) 562-2798 if you want an insert in the next newsletter.

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Many thanks! We’re looking forward to your articles!

Thank you for your help in creating this community newsletter

– PAR Planning Committee

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