New Haven Labor History Association Annual Conference and Meeting June 25: Reviving the Labor Movement

Steve Kass, GNHLHA Executive Board, President

This year’s annual conference and meeting of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association (GNHLHA) will honor an organization and an individual with the “Pass It On” awards in addition to having a keynote address on reviving the labor movement.

The honorees are IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) and Frank R. Annunziato.

1) IRIS started in 1982 and continues to this day to be a vital organization that works in New Haven to resettle refugees and other immigrants from around the world since 1982. IRIS is named after the iris flower, which thrives all over the world and is a symbol of hope and faith.

The numbers and nationalities of clients have fluctuated as the world has changed in the past 34 years. Currently, IRIS addresses the critical needs of hundreds of refugees; about 420 arrived in New Haven and surrounding towns in 2016. Refugees come from a wide range of war-torn countries, including Sudan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

IRIS recognizes that welcoming persecuted people from other countries is both an ancient and universal custom, and part of a long tradition in the United States. In today’s political climate of hatred and mistrust, organizations such as this provide an extremely important beacon of hope to us all. This award also recognizes the historical link between immigration and labor.

2) Frank R. Annunziato’s career and commitment to the labor movement spans almost 50 years. He is an academic (PhD thesis on collective bargaining in education), writer, teacher, workshop leader, activist, labor historian and organizer. He recently retired as the Executive Director of the University of Rhode Island, American Association of University Professors after 17 years. He was the founding president of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association in 1988.

As always, there will be time for refreshments and socializing with our troubadour, Frank Panzarella, serenading us with labor songs. Please join us on Sunday, June 25 from 1:30 – 4 p.m. at the Greater New Haven Central Labor Council, 267 Chapel St.

PACE to Host House Tour and Electric Vehicle Show on Saturday, June 10

People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) will host a tour of a beautiful, award-winning, energy-efficient home in East Haddam, CT at noon and 2:30 p.m. on June 10. In addition, the tour will include an electric vehicle show featuring EVs from the New England Electric Automobile Association. The home, a winner of the 2015 Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge, is an example of how energy efficient homes can also be beautiful and comfortable to live in. It features a dramatic, open floor-plan, passive solar design, an extremely tight building envelope, close attention to air quality and state-of-the-art HVAC and solar technologies. Come experience this house in person.

For tickets, go online to www.pace-cleanenergy.org and click on EVENTS. For additional information, call (860) 217-3686.

Queer, There, and Everywhere, Author Talk and Book Signing Monday, June 19, 6:30 p.m.

World history has been made by countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of them. Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 23 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encom-passes every culture, in every era. By turns hilarious and inspiring, the beautifully illustrated Queer, There, and Everywhere is for anyone who wants the real story of the queer rights movement.

Sarah Prager is the author of the new book Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World. Also the founder of the Quist mobile app, Sarah has dedicated the last four years to making LGBTQ history engaging and accessible for youth. This career has taken her to the White House, several universities across four countries, the offices of companies like Google and Twitter, the American Embassy in Mexico, and beyond. Sarah lives in Wallingford with her wife and daughter.
Come meet Sarah Prager on Monday, June 19, 6:30 p.m. at the Mitchell Library, 37 Harrison St. For info: (203) 946-8117, www.nhfpl.org.

Jewish Voice For Peace 2017 National Membership Meeting

Susan Bramhall, Jewish Voice for Peace

Seven members of Jewish Voice For Peace New Haven traveled to Chicago to join over a thousand others at the semiannual national membership meeting of Jewish Voice For Peace (JVP) March 31 – April 2.

This year’s conference reflected the intentional efforts of JVP to become more inclusive and delve deeply into the implications of intersections with related social justice movements. Many speakers presented information on the underlying colonial and racist nature of the Zionist project leading us inevitably to understanding the many separate struggles as one movement with common goals.

The first day of the conference was devoted to the first-ever gathering of Jews of color, Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in solidarity with Palestine and in partnership with JVP (JOCSM). A general session presented by Ilise Cohen titled “Understanding Israeli State Racism and Hierarchy through Mizrahi History, Accommodation, Struggles, and Resistance” was an eye-opening tour of racism within the Jewish community. JOCSM and JVP stand in strong support of the #BlackLivesMatter Vision For Black Lives platform.

Growing out of this deepening connection is a new campaign that will be kicking into high gear this summer: Deadly Exchange. The project will focus on the deadly falsehood that violence against some communities will create security for others as has long been perpetuated by the policies of both the U.S. and Israeli government. The focus will be exposing and working to stop the training of U.S. police by Israeli forces in the art of occupation. And, yes, it happens in Connecticut as well as Ferguson and Atlanta. Stay tuned for more information.

A last note we’d like to share is that the New Haven chapter was honored to facilitate a well-attended train-the-trainers workshop on conducting Anti-Islamophobia workshops. We have just completed the second of these self-study sessions in partnership with members of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut and hope to offer more in the future. Contact Newhaven@jvp.org for more information.

Videos of keynote sessions by Judith Butler, Linda Sarsour, Rasmeah Odeh and others are all available online at nmm.jewishvoiceforpeace.org.

Connecticut: Still Unready for Independent Living

Joseph A. Luciano Sr., Disability Rights Action Group of CT

ADA compliance in my community (Seymour) and most of Connecticut’s other 168 hasn’t changed much since the diatribe I wrote in 2014.

In my hometown, 26 years, or 9,783 days of opportunities on the road to accessibility—and, therefore, achieving status as a Livable Community—have been wasted. 9,783 days! Most merchants, their employees and property owners still do not know about the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Or they don’t care—or have little incentive to care. Even today, community leaders have no incentive to provide educational town meetings, one-on-one counseling, or materials such as guides, or instructional videos. Incidentally, educational materials are free at ADA.gov.

Educating businesses about access should be community leaders’ top priority. Members of boards and committees themselves should be learning regulations on access and be instructing merchants. Or delegate someone with expert ADA knowledge to lead the way. Those who don’t know or who don’t care should just get out of the way. Or get pushed out of the way.

The Connecticut Main Street Center organization should end giving awards for “pretty” downtowns; it should instead give awards for ADA compliance or accessibility! Businesses that make themselves accessible open the market to consumers of all abilities and increase local economic development.
The program “Money Follows the Person” has had Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s strong support to move thousands of eligible persons out of nursing homes into independent living. This initiative, targeted for completion by 2016, is already saving government hundreds of millions a year. But there’s a catch: Independent living, or Aging in Place, requires communities to be ready as “livable” communities. (Communities become livable when their leadership implements ADA standards.)

My community’s leadership recently (and inexplicably) approved more senior/handicapped housing despite obvious community un-readiness for independent living. Result: All that seniors and persons with disabilities now living here can do is use their canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters to merely “stroll” around, looking into inaccessible shops.

Go figure.

To contact Disability Rights Action Group of Connecticut: DRAGconnecticut@yahoo.com, (203) 463-8323.

Environmental Leadership Series!

Deadline to Apply: June 6, 2017

Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of New Haven is proud to announce our Inaugural Environmental Leadership Series! Learn about the environment and your neighbor-hood, connect with useful resources and people, and aspire to create your own environmental projects.
This year’s workshops are as follows:

June 13, 2017: Climate, Health, and Neighborhoods
June 20, 2017: Home Energy-Efficiency, Going Solar, and Other Renewable Solutions
July 11, 2017: Planning a Project
July 18, 2017: Water in Your Home and Neighborhood
August 1, 2017: Talking Trash, Managing Waste, and Greening Neighborhood Spaces
August 8, 2017: Transportation Matters and Project Showcase

Participants must attend at least five of the workshops listed above. Sessions will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. at NHS of New Haven. Dinner will be provided. Visit our website to apply today! nhsofnewhaven.org/content/environmental-leadership-program.

The application, as well as $20 registration fee, is due by June 6, 2017. Scholarships are available upon request.

May Day/International Workers’ Day and Immigrants’ Rights Rally and March

Dozens of area organizations endorsed the day-long May Day and immigrants’ rights rally on the New Haven Green where many hundreds enjoyed entertainment, speakers and exhibits. The day ended with a march from downtown through Grand Avenue, a great example of networking and building a local coalition of resistance. In addition to the sponsors listed on the flyers, there were many more that helped build this day of action, such as Progressive Action Roundtable, People Against Injustice, May Day Celebration Committee, Food Not Bombs, the Shoreline Green Party and GNH Labor History Association.

The support and solidarity for this year’s May Day was broad. Among the speakers prior to the march was Mayor Toni Harp, who declared that New Haven will remain a city welcoming to immigrants.
RESIST Foundation, which awarded a generous grant for the event, wants more people to know about their work so potential applicants and donors will be aware of Radical Philanthropy. Contact them at 259 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. Telephone: (617) 623-5110.

Website: resist.org.
Local TV station WTNH posted a video on its website with its news story: wtnh.com/2017/05/01/ new-haven-may-day-protests-take-on-new-urgency-under-trump/

Shops Close On “Day Without Immigrants” | New Haven Independent

At least 40 New Haven businesses kept their stores bolted all day Monday to demonstrate the contribution that immigrants make to the region’s economy.

New Haven’s cuisine was most noticeably impacted by city’s participation in a national “Day Without Immigrants” strike — with restaurants as varied as Kasbah Garden Cafe (owned by a Moroccan) on Howe Street to La Molienda Cafe (owned by a Peruvian) on Grand Avenue all vacant for the day. Less visible were the contractors, like maids and gardeners, who didn’t take any gigs.

“The only way we can really demonstrate ourselves, especially for the ones who don’t have any documents and cannot vote, is to show that we have weight in the economy of this country,” said John Lugo, a 15-year organizer Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA).

Source: Shops Close On “Day Without Immigrants” | New Haven Independent

Letter re: Adjunct Faculty Organizing at UNH

I am writing to ask for your support in the campaign for workers’ rights at the University of New Haven. Contingent faculty are attempting to form a union to improve their working conditions.

As you may know, contingent faculty make up 76% of college educators nationally and 73% of University of New Haven’s campus. Adjuncts make a fraction of the wages and benefits of tenured faculty and have little to no job security from semester to semester. The nature of this type of work means many faculty are working for close to minimum wage with no hope for full-time employment, despite their commitment to providing a quality education to their students.

A letter of support from you, especially one that asks for neutrality from the administration, would be of great benefit to their cause. Neutrality means they will not interfere with the workers’ federally-guaranteed rights to organize a union in their workplace. [….]

Letters can be sent to my email, jodie.leidecker@seiu.org. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like more information regarding this campaign. Thank you for your support of workers’ rights and the improvement of higher education.

Sincerely, Jodie Leidecker, Organizer-in-training, SEIU Faculty Forward in partnership with The 4 C’s (Congress of CT Community Colleges)

Local 33, Welcome, Latest Union at Yale!

The battle for Yale to recognize the graduate students’ union continues. The past month Local 33 and its supporters have upped their visibility with the encampment on Beinecke Plaza and those who have been fasting. The culmination of the protest was at the Yale graduation on May 22, when over 1,500 supporters of Local 33 took to the streets demanding that Yale recognize the right of the graduate students to organize. The supporters, wearing the colors of Local 33—a bright orange shirt and mortarboard—marched from Dixwell Ave. to Elm and College St. When the Yale procession started with university officials at the head, the marchers sang “We shall not be moved,” which changed to clapping when the graduates walked across Elm St. to the Old Campus. The group of those fasting in wheelchairs also joined and led the marchers to Church St. and City Hall, where they finally broke their fast.

Read all about it: www.local33.org and yaledailynews.com/blog/2017/05/22/local-33-protesters-march-on-old-campus-end-fast.

A White Oak for Theresa Carr | New Haven Independent

This year marks the third anniversary of New Haven activist Theresa Carr‘s death. The following was submitted by community member and former Spinsters Opposed to Nuclear Genocide (SONG) member Joan Cavanagh, a friend of Carr.

On Saturday, May 20, the City of New Haven and the friends and neighbors of Theresa I. Carr dedicated a white oak tree and plaque at Jocelyn Square Park (Humphrey, East, Walnut and Wallace Streets) in memory of this life-long activist for economic, social, political, and environmental justice.

Source: In Jocelyn Square, A White Oak For Theresa Carr | New Haven Independent