No Child Behind Bars: Living Resistance from the US to Palestine

by Nina Stein, Jewish Voice for Peace

On Feb. 1, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven will be partnering with Tree of Life to present a program “No Child Behind Bars: Living Resistance from the US to Palestine.”  The presentation will feature Ahed Tamimi*, a charismatic and articulate 15 year old from the West Bank Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, who will discuss the brutal injustices to which she and others her age are subjected on a continuing daily basis.

Ahed will be joined by Amanda Weatherspoon, a Unitarian Universalist minister and Black liberation activist from the San Francisco Bay Area, whose ministry is centered on collective liberation and cross-movement solidarity between oppressed people. Nadya Tannous, a writer and organizer who has researched the detention of Palestinian minors since 2013, will join the two to provide additional insight into the realities Palestinian minors face within the Israeli detention system.

In addition to discussing the life of Palestinian children under Israeli occupation, the presentation will show how the struggle for human rights in Palestine is inextricably linked with the struggle for civil and human rights here in the US.

The event will take place on February 1 in New Haven at 7 p.m. at Sudler Hall, William L. Harkness Hall, Yale University on Cross Campus.

This presentation is part of a three week, 18 city U.S. tour organized by Friends of Sabeel (FOSNA). FOSNA is part of Sabeel, a movement initiated by Palestinian Christians, which promotes theological, moral and legal principles for peace in the Holy Land.

Email: newhaven@jvp.org; Web: www.jvpnh.org; Facebook: jvpnewhaven; Twitter: @jvpnewhaven

* Ahed, who was originally to appear in person, has been denied a travel visa by the U.S. State Department, so arrangements are being made to have her speak about the situation on the ground and share her story by live-stream video.

New Haven Hosts Replica of Solitary Confinement Cell

by Allie Perry, Shalom UCC, NH and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

What is it like to be isolated and segregated in a small prison cell 23/7 for days, weeks, years, and in some cases even decades?  The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is clear.  It is not just like torture; it is torture. According to Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, holding a person in solitary confinement for a period of time longer than 15 days is torture. On any given day, however, around 80,000 people in the United States are being held in solitary confinement.

To help people understand that prolonged isolation is a form of torture, NRCAT has created a replica solitary confinement cell. The NRCAT replica confinement cell has traveled around the country and is now coming to New Haven.

For three weeks, the cell will be on display at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street, for the first week, Monday, Jan. 30-Saturday, Feb. 4; at Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High Street for the second week, Sunday, Feb. 5-Saturday, Feb. 11; and for the third week, Feb. 11-18, at the Yale Law School library, 127 Wall St.

Initiated by three New Haven United Church of Christ congregations (United, Redeemer, and Shalom), this project had engaged a powerful coalition of community, religious, and university organizations. In addition to the churches, organizers of this project include: the New Haven Free Public (Ives Memorial) Library, the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, the Orville Schell Human Rights Center at Yale Law School, Dwight Hall at Yale, My Brother’s Keeper, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Wilton Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the CT ACLU, Malta Justice Initiative, and Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice.

The project’s goals are to provide opportunities to experience a simulation of isolation; to educate the use of solitary confinement, including practices in Connecticut; and to equip people to advocate for limiting and stopping the use of solitary confinement, precisely because such prolonged isolation is cruel, unusual, and degrading treatment.  For the schedule of the extensive program of speakers, panels, book talks, performances, and films during the three weeks that the cell will be in New Haven, go to: www.insidetheboxnhv.org/events.

“We Won’t Go Back!” People’s World African American History Month Celebration

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“Revisiting Frederick Douglass Two Centuries Later: WE WON’T GO BACK,” is the theme of this year’s 43rd Annual People’s World African American History Month Celebration.

The event to be held on Sunday, February 26, will feature guest speaker James M. Bradford, drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and a performance by Ice the Beef Youth including the speech that famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave in New Haven.

The event will be held at 4 p.m. at Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave. After filling the Peoples Center to overflow for years, a larger venue was chosen last year.

Douglass’ extraordinary leadership for freedom guides us in today’s stormy political climate with his powerful call to action: “If there is no struggle, there can be no progress….Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will….The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

In 1864 Douglass (1817-1895) addressed more than 1,200 free Black men gathered at Grapevine Point (now Criscuolo Park) in New Haven to become soldiers in the 29th Regiment of the Union Army and fight in the Civil War.

Guest speaker James M. Bradford is active in the anti-prison movement and Working America in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He chairs the Communist Party of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Winners of the High School Arts and Writing Competition will present their essays, poems or artwork on the theme “How can we best unite against bigotry and injustice?”

Students are asked to express in artwork, poetry, essay or song: “On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, leading abolitionist, orator and writer who fought against slavery and for women’s rights, how can we unite against hate, bigotry and injustice to continue his legacy in today’s world?” Submissions must be received at 37 Howe St. by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Also on exhibit will be drawings from the Martin Luther King celebration at Peabody Museum created at the People’s World table on the theme, “How can we best unite against hate?”

Donation is $5 or what you can afford. For more information e-mail: ct-pww@pobox.com.

Thank You to Donors for the “Theresa Tree and Plaque”

by Joan Cavanagh, a friend of Theresa Carr

PAR readers may remember in the December newsletter there was a request for contributions to raise the funds to plant a tree and erect a memorial plaque in Jocelyn Square Park for Theresa I. Carr. Many PAR readers knew Theresa, whose activism spanned several communities and countries. A self-identified “Marxist-Leninist Lesbian Feminist,” she gave her fierce intelligence to the interconnected struggles for peace and justice.

Thanks to the following PAR readers and other donors, we have raised the money to plant a tree and place a memorial plaque to Theresa at Jocelyn Square Park on May 23, 2017, her 63rd birthday.

  • Anonymous
  • Gerrie Casey
  • Jay and Mildred Doody
  • Mary Fischer
  • Mary Johnson
  • Midge Jolly
  • Cornelia Kinnauer
  • Susan Klein and Henry Lowendorf
  • Preston MacAndrews
  • Pat Mikos and Jae Patton
  • Paul Mishler
  • Steve Rowley

Thanks also to Paula Panzarella and the PAR Planning Committee for accepting the checks on behalf of this project, and for delivering the payment to the Parks Dept.

Following the tree planting, there will be a gathering of friends and neighbors in the park. All are welcome! Details of the event will be forthcoming in the April issue of PAR. With much gratitude, Joan Cavanagh.

Is Your Nonprofit Looking For Funding in 2017? Upcoming Workshops for Grant Writers

Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

If you are planning to apply for a grant through the 2017 Responsive Grants Process, you will want to attend this webinar! Join us for a Grantseeker Information Webinar Thursday, Feb. 9, 1-3 p.m. www.cfgnh.org/StrengtheningNonprofits/WorkshopsEvents.aspx.

Who should attend? Nonprofits serving the 20-town region of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, including the five towns served by its partner in philanthropy, the Valley Community Foundation. Or Nonprofits applying for a 2017 Responsive Grant from either foundation.

Participation is strongly encouraged, even for experienced Responsive Grant applicants.
Learn: all of the community foundations’ grant processes; how to apply for the Responsive Grant process; the timeline, from start to finish; application types and attachments; upcoming workshops to support your application preparation. Space is limited; please register early. Attend from your office: Register to receive information on accessing the live webinar via your computer. Attend in person: Register to join us at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven on the day of the webinar.

Applications are online! You don’t have to wait for the Grantseeker Webinar to start your application. The deadline for Responsive Grant applications is 5 p.m., Thursday, March 30. For more grant information and eligibility criteria, visit cfgnh.org/grants or valleyfoundation.org/grants.

Why is the Department of Developmental Services So Afraid of Publicity?

by Robin Latta, Our Families Can’t Wait

When it comes to the privatization of CT group homes for residents who cannot speak for themselves, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) strikes out to attempt to keep advocates for the developmentally disabled from talking to the media.

DDS is targeting people who speak out against privatization including parents of group home residents, State workers who are dedicated to caring for them, and other advocates who are against the lower wages and consequent frequent turnover of staff associated with privatization that would disrupt the good quality of care for residents.

DDS knows the public can easily grasp this issue and the fear they have is that we all understand too easily that people who cannot speak for themselves are most vulnerable to exploitation.

Recently, at a public hearing at the State Capital in Hartford a jam-packed crowd of union workers, parents, guardians and advocates spoke out before DDS officials to let them know that they wanted a fully funded DDS with core services to support those who need it most.

Early on in the process of this year’s efforts to privatize CT group homes, one of the parents decided to file a lawsuit against DDS to protect her son from being subjected to the possibility of him being cared for by low paid, unqualified caregivers.

DDS tried to fight back by taking her to Probate Court to try to take temporary guardianship of her son and his medical records because she “was not acting in her son’s best interests.” Why? Because the intense interest of the media on this case enabled her to tell the citizens of CT what was going on. And, in a courtroom full of supporters (which included the media) the legal maneuver by DDS was withdrawn a few weeks later.

At the same time, one dedicated State worker is being harassed because she was seen at a rally that drew media attention. Now DDS is trying to dredge up any employment history that could possibly discredit her.

These desperate tactics of character assassination are meant to frighten and deter others from standing up and speaking out for those who cannot speak for themselves.

On whose behalf does the State act to punish the caretakers? Is it on your (the community’s) behalf? If not, please stand up and say so! Contact Organizer Colleen McGill, cmcgill@seiu1199ne.org.

Inauguration Day Strikers Show Solidarity | NHIndependent

by Markeshia Ricks, Jan 20, 2017

They were Latino, black, U.S. citizens and the undocumented. They were LGBTQIA and people with disabilities. They were white allies and women, immigrants of all nationalities. They were of no religion and they were Muslim.

And at a protest that marched from City Hall and through downtown New Haven, they were all welcome.

As one activist put it Friday afternoon, a political campaign season filled with racism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, xenophobia, sexism and ableism had one positive effect: It brought people out of the silos of their individual causes and brought them all together.

More than 100 people turned out to City Hall on the same day as the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump for a general strike against the incoming administration. Participants were encouraged to stay home from work and school in protest to demonstrate that the very communities that were singled out for derision in the recent presidential election also make valuable contributions to the United States too.

Source: Inauguration Day Strikers Show Solidarity | New Haven Independent

Mary Herron Takes Charge

by Brian Slattery, Jan 23, 2017

Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington inspired similar rallies from coast to coast, including a march in Hartford that drew several thousand people to the state capitol. In New Haven at 12:15 p.m., the Green was witness to its own rally. Set up by Yale liaisons to the D.C. march, it had begun at 11 a.m. at Beinecke Plaza on Yale’s campus, with chalk drawings and singing by an a cappella group.

By noon the group had made its way to the Green, where it marched the perimeter of its western half for an hour. Hundreds of people were involved in the protest, which at its largest stretched in a line on Church Street from the corner of Elm to the corner of Chapel.

With chants of “Fired up, ready to go,” “Women’s rights, human rights,” “Keep your hands off my sister,” and “Let’s dump Trump,” the march made a few laps around the Green. Bystanders smiled and waved. A city employee on her way to work yelled, “Thank you! We’re with you!” Cars honked as they passed by.

Source: Mary Herron Takes Charge | New Haven Independent

PROTESTS IN DC

by Joan Cavanagh

I drove down to join the Jan. 21 women’s march with my friend Greg, of my self-adopted Baltimore Neumann family. My home-made sign read: “The swamp is rising. Resist.”

Although some organizations were represented, the march was overwhelmingly one of families and friends joining in sorrow and outrage, with a commitment to protect one another and resist this escalation of the war by the 1% against the rest of us and our planet.

Greg joined the protests on both days. I am submitting with his permission the following email that he sent out on Sunday morning, January 22nd:

“I’m completely overwhelmed by what I saw yesterday and the day before (Jan. 20). Yes, I was there for both days, and frankly inauguration day was even more inspiring than the awesome day that followed, in that there was a brave outpouring from young and old, people who recalled the days of anti-Vietnam War marches, civil rights marches, the Dream speech, and many young people drawn into the political arena of the streets for the first time. Apart from a few anarchists who couldn’t wait in line for their Starbucks fix, so widely reported by the media, there were only brave angry peaceful hearts out there on the street, more numerous it seemed to me than the largely misguided citizens from the Republican camp who rode the train into DC (yes, I talked to quite a few on the train and elsewhere). The bulk of the ‘deplorable’ camp did not seem to be arriving by train, but were chauffeured into the Capitol in black limos and SUVs and talked to no one, but we need to talk to those whose frustration drove them into the hands of the sociopathic leader and his oligarchic government-for-the-rich-and-entitled, who are steadfastly refusing to see the disaster that is looming in front of them. My hat is off to the Black Lives Matter women who peacefully blocked an entrance to the inauguration and were arrested, as well as the group who were arrested, jailed and tortured several days earlier on the steps of the Supreme Court for ‘trespass’ and ‘failure to disperse’. So we have our work cut out for us while we are still free to show what democracy looks like. And my hat is off to all the people who gave up sleep and comfort to travel from the middle of the country and New England and everywhere, as well as those who organized in their home towns for events like Newark, Delaware and sleepy Hilo, Hawaii!”

Gregory Neumann, Baltimore, MD

Report Back from the Inauguration Protest

by Chris Garaffa, ANSWER Coalition

The enormous outpouring of anti-Trump protesters in Washington DC, and indeed the country and the world, on January 20 was a sight to behold. Tens of thousands came to Washington DC to inaugurate the resistance to Trump’s ultra-right wing, pro-Wall Street agenda. From Connecticut, a busload of 55 people, many new to the movement, headed down to DC to join others to protest Trump’s Inauguration. Many others traveled from Connecticut by car or by train.

Thousands of anti-Trump demonstrators filled Navy Memorial Plaza sidewalks and plaza right on the parade route. The Guardian newspaper reporter covering the route tweeted that demonstrators far outnumbered Trump supporters. The rally at the Navy Memorial was broadcast live on Pacifica Radio Network and by C-SPAN. It was an amazing day!

People came from everywhere. Tens of thousands were literally blocked from Navy Memorial for as long as five hours by Secret Service at the main checkpoint on 7th St. through which demonstrators had to funnel. By the time Trump passed the Navy Memorial at 4 p.m. the crowd had swelled and filled the entire area from 7th to 9th St. on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Secret Service and the government used the checkpoints to block anti-Trump demonstrators from entering the Navy Memorial site. Many waited for up to five hours before entering the site. Thousands of others never made it in. The Secret Service in several places also set up an express lane so that Trump supporters could go straight through the checkpoints quickly. As Trump’s motorcade drove by, thousands chanted in protest. The message was loud and clear: Trump and his government of oligarchs will face resistance from the people!

Then, on January 21st, over 2.9 million people joined the women’s march across the country and around the world to say No to Racism, No to misogyny and bigotry. No to the Trump Agenda!

This massive grassroots movement of resistance will continue to grow. The people have spoken. No to Racism! No to bigotry! NO to the Trump agenda!

Women Roar Back to Trump on J21 and Pledge Resistance

by LouAnn Villani and Stanley Heller

Millions of women in the US and worldwide filled the streets in major and small cities to rebuke President Donald J. Trump for his contempt for women and threats to women’s basic rights over their bodies. It wasn’t just DC and NYC and LA. Numbers in smaller areas were astounding. 10,000 marched in Montpelier, VT, 12,000 in Oklahoma City, and thousands gathered in Columbia, SC. Rallies were held worldwide on seven continents, including Antarctica.

We were in NYC to march with Jewish Voice for Peace (CT). The JVP banner said “Resistance is the New Normal.” That was one of the key words of the day. People were not making appeals to Trump. Instead, there was a lot of anger and derision, much of it personal and some of it very vulgar. References to women’s private parts were on many signs and some referred to alleged Trump activities in Moscow like the sign that said “Urine Trouble.” Other signs read “A Woman’s Place Is in the Resistance,” “I Fight Like a Girl,” “Hands Off Our Bodies” and “United States of Nasty Mujeres.” Of course we just saw the signs in our area, a very small part of the sea of femininity.

Signs and chants weren’t limited to strictly women’s issues. Many chants talked about refugees, Black Lives Matter, the climate and the need to protect Muslim women. JVP and the Palestinian support group Adalah-NY chanted about Palestine. You can see a two-minute video of the signs with audio of a women singing a song from Adalah-NY at TheStruggle.org in its video section.

The question is what comes next. Some want to channel this back into the same old politics. That would be a disaster. If the warnings about Trump’s “fascist” ideas are true we don’t know if there even will be fair elections in our future. We also don’t want this to be seen as people disgruntled because Hillary and the Democrats lost. Truth be told that was much of the story of the last 8 years. Obama was at war every day of his presidency. His support for the Saudi and Israeli war-fare was disgusting, but so many gave him a pass because he was supposedly a progressive or someone who would listen sympathetically. During Obama’s presidency, rallies were small and very rarely was he mocked personally.

We need to discuss the ways people can resist without the politicians. We also need to talk about a far different future. For all the talk about the Obama “recovery” the election showed there are a lot of people in this super-rich country hurting badly, grasping at racist and women-hating solutions to their problems. The numbers people should have looked at were not the opinion polls, but the numbers on opioids, the numbers working three jobs to stay above water, and the number of “food insecure” children. If we call to go back to the warfare-welfare state we lose. We need to struggle for something far better.

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