Thousands March Against Trump and Demand Equality

by LouAnn Villani, JVPNH and MECC

By a very rough count 10,000 women and male allies and their daughters marched and rallied in Hartford’s Capitol at the “Women’s March CT, Rise and Resist 2018.” I stood with members of Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven, the Middle East Crisis Committee and the Tree of Life Educational Foundation holding banners about imprisoned Palestinian women and watched people pass by us for 50 minutes.

There were lots of signs and banners with a funny and vulgar mix that mocked Donald Trump. There was a drawing of a uterus with the words “This Machine Kills Fascists.” Another very colorful sign said, “Elect a Clown, You Get a Circus.” A good number worked off his notorious “sh**hole” remark. One had a picture of Trump being flushed down a toilet.

A lot of signs were pro-immigrants and #BlackLivesMatter, including one large banner. Other signs were about elections, “Grab Them by the Midterms” and “I’m a Nasty Woman and I Vote.” Throughout the march, there were supporters of Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose.

One sign I liked said “I March Because Silence Is Not an Option. I Will Not Be Complicit.” Several had the words ‘I Stand With Her” next to a photo of the Statue of Liberty. Many had the words “I Will Not Go Quietly Back to 1950s #Resist.”

For chants, a Latino contingent was loudest and most enthusiastic. And like last year people yelled, “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Donald Trump Has Got to Go,” “We Need a Leader, Not a Creepy Tweeter,” “Dump Trump” and “This is What Democracy Looks Like.”

Our banners had drawings and a photo of Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old Palestinian girl whom the Israelis arrested a month ago and are threatening to put in jail for years for slapping a heavily-armed Israeli soldier. Perhaps 100 people commented in support and took photos of us. We also gave out 1,000 half-page flyers which were snapped up in less than 30 minutes.

The march was fantastic, and we sent word of what we did to the Tamimi family in Palestine.

Black History Month Events at the Wilson Library

by Marian Huggins, New Haven Free Public Library

This year’s Black History Month theme for the library fea-tures two prominent writers: James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Along with partners from Project Longevity, we will show the film I Am Not Your Negro, a work adapted from an unfinished James Baldwin manuscript. The screening will be held at the Wilson Branch, 303 Washington Ave., New Haven, on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.

James Baldwin, described as an “American Novelist and Social Critic,” unearths the hard truths about racism in America while describing his responses to the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers and Malcolm X.

Langston Hughes, whose birthday by the way is Feb. 1, was a prolific poet and social activist as well. His writing could be biting, but was usually cloaked either in humor (as in the Jesse B. Semple Stories) or softened by the hopefulness of a future when all would be accepted, like in the poem “I, Too”:

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

The Urban Life Experience Book Discussion Series will feature a biography of Langston Hughes for our February meeting, Feb. 24 at noon. New readers are welcome and readers can choose whatever biography (or autobiography) written for teens and adults they’d like to read for the discussion. The Langston Hughes biography is in conjunction with our Black History Month celebration and it fits in with the cultural and social justice theme of the discussion group. The book discussion will be followed by the film Hughes’ Dream Harlem at 1:30 p.m.  Wilson Branch, New Haven Free Public Library, 303 Washington Ave., (203) 946-2228.

My Homeless Diary I, II and III

by Wendy Hamilton, advocate for the homeless


It’s Saturday morning, and I’m sitting on my couch reading EVICTED by Matthew Desmond. An hour ago I had bought DD coffee at the train station and watched at least a dozen homeless men and women trying to sleep upright on the benches. They are not allowed to recline or unfold. I recognize some of them. The scene is heartbreaking.

Yesterday a skinny homeless teenager wearing only a cotton shirt and a dirty blanket walked through the station. I offered him money, but he refused.

Every day I meet new faces on the street and greet old ones. I pass out small amounts of money to a few knowing that at best it will buy some time in a warm place. I fantasize organizing a small group of these folks to sit with me every day in the mayor’s office (large waiting room) to shame the city into doing something. There are large empty buildings with heat including City Hall right in the center of New Haven.

The “shelters” are inadequate and awful, away from the city center. Yale Corporation and the city and the city hospital exclude the homeless and even though there are charities and outlets for food and clothing, the most important tool for survival, housing, is denied. We all lose our humanity as a result.


New Year’s Day — temp is 14F — I walk to the train station for coffee at 8 a.m. Amongst the homeless trying to rest is an elderly white man, scabs on his face, babbling and grimacing, wearing only a thin jacket and PAPER pants, no hat. I ask one of the station police to call an ambulance telling him I am a nurse, and he tells me one just dropped this man off. “He was discharged.” We looked at each other.

I then walked the mile to YNHH ER off York St. It was 9 a.m. and holiday-quiet. Two nurses stood by the reception desk, and I asked for the name of the head doctor of the ER. One of these women wore a vest that said Jessica, Emergency. She started to write down the useless number for “patient relations.” I said I wanted a name so I could write a letter of complaint. She refused and called the two hospital guards (private police) who grabbed me under the armpits and threw me out the front door. Two women patients near the entrance saw this. Luckily I landed on my feet. One cop, C. Larson, told me to get off hospital property.

Later that day I wrote a letter to Dr. Gail D’Onofrio, head medical doctor for the ER at YNHH. No reply so far.

I also found out via the internet that a Baltimore psycho-therapist named Imamu Baraka had a similar experience in his city. Homeless people are denied medical care and hospital admission. I am a witness.


Bad news: In January, at a community board meeting, I learned “MC,” Mark Cochran, had died before the holidays. You can read his story in the New Haven Independent at He was 55, a beer drinker and a chain smoker, small of stature, friendly, and a lifelong local. He succumbed to 20 years of homelessness, slogging through heat and cold until it killed him along with his habits.

Yale New Haven Hospital refused to admit him for more than two days. YNHH might have given him more time literally and figuratively. I told them he needed a long stay on a locked down detox ward before he could get housing of any kind. I did mention a heart problem and possible skin disease. I was shown the door. Two days later he was back on Chapel Street.

He was also failed by the local housing system which insists on rules, regulations, and endless delays before subsidized housing is granted or made available. It is slow torture. Even Kafka would be shocked by its cruel complexity.

Good news: I met a young homeless man who is going to Gateway Nursing School, and I offered to help. And Bea C. who is head of SWAN (Sex Workers Allies Network) has been traveling to other cities, networking, and has expanded that group, I found out. Most New Haven sex workers are homeless people.

Teach-In Feb 24: Explore the Toughest Questions Facing the Climate Movement

by 350CT and Sierra Club

On Saturday, February 24, noon to 6 p.m. at the Ernest O. St. Jacques Auditorium, Elmwood Community Center, 1106 New Britain Ave., West Hartford (entrance via South Quaker Lane and then to Burgoyne Street) come to a Teach-In: For a Livable World! Climate Justice Now! Hear experts and activists exploring some of the toughest questions facing the climate movement. Speakers include:
Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United since 2007. She is also a researcher and program manager, working on women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial and economic justice.
Anne L. Hendrixson, Director of Population and Development Programs at Hampshire College. She has examined the gendered and racialized ways that environmental thinkers have framed population in relation to resource scarcity, food insecurity, conflict and violence, environmental degradation and climate change.

Sean Sweeney, Director of the International Program on Labor, Climate & Environment at the Murphy Institute, City University of New York and coordinator of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, a global network of 42 unions from 16 countries.

Martha Klein, Chapter Chair of the Sierra Club of Connecticut, and a leader in the fight to stop the use and transport by pipeline of climate-wrecking fracked gas in our state.

Alexis Rodriquez, Fairfield representative of the Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda and an advocate of decolonization. He has been involved with hurricane relief efforts and the campaign against coal ash dumping in Penuelas.

Cynthia Jennings, environmental and civil rights attorney and a councilwoman in Hartford. She has brought the issue of environmental justice in Hartford to national attention.

Workshops include: Become a Citizen Lobbyist for the Spring 2018 Legislative Session; What Would an Independent Mass Action Strategy Look Like?; The Fight for a Green, De-Colonized Puerto Rico; Fight for Green Affordable Mass Transit; Nuclear Power is NOT Renewable!; Get Your Town to Commit to 100% Renewable This Year!

For more information: 350CT at (203) 350-3508 or email

Sierra Club of CT 860-542-5225 or

By Our Presence, We Grieve Those Who Have Been Killed

By Allie Perry, Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice

If you happened to walk by New Haven’s 1905 Civil War memorial at the Broadway triangle New Year’s Day 2018 at 6 p.m., you might have wondered why, in freezing cold temperatures, a group of eleven was gathered around a cairn of field stones. They were there giving witness and calling attention to the on-going violence of the U.S. wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, by adding yet another stone to the cairn. Each stone is a memorial, inscribed with the number of U.S. service people who died in the previous month in Iraq and Afghanistan and with the approximate number of Iraqi and Afghan civilians killed. Each month the cairn gets higher and heavier, as the cumulative death tolls go up.

This monthly observance began in December 2007. Stephen Kobasa proposed the memorial and secured the New Haven Board of Park Commissioners’ permission to construct it. Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice provided the leadership, inviting local faith communities to lead the monthly rituals. Over the decade since, members of many New Haven area congregations have participated, including: St. Thomas More, First Presbyterian, Amistad Catholic Worker, Center Church, the University Church, Unitarian Society of New Haven, the Zen Center, Shalom UCC, Church of the Redeemer, Congregation Mishkan Israel, United Church on the Green, First Unitarian Universalist Society of New Haven, St. Paul and St. James, Ascension Catholic Church in Hamden, St. Thomas Episcopal.

At that first gathering, stones were placed, retroactively, documenting every month since the March 2003 start of the U.S. war against Iraq. Initially the inscribed numbers included deaths only in Iraq. As the hostilities in Afghanistan escalated, we started inscribing the stones with data for Afghanistan as well.

The permission granted in 2007 was for a temporary installation, to be dismantled when the wars end. Ten years later the violence continues, the wars persist, and, on every first Monday of the month, a group still gathers. By our presence, we grieve those who have been killed, we denounce the violence, and we renew our commitment to work fervently for the end of war and for justice and peace. Join us.

Use Your Creativity to Change the World (and this Newsletter)!

PAR Planning Committee

The Progressive Action Roundtable Planning Committee is happy to announce our first-ever contest for a bumper sticker and/or logo for our newsletter. What phrase or design would you want to see on the cars in front of you? What logo for our newsletter would really speak to your sentiments of a better world?

Depending on the number of entries, we estimate we will be able to announce a winner by June. We are offering a $100 prize for the winning entry. All entries must be in black and white, and be mailed to PAR, P.O. Box 995, New Haven, CT 06504.

Please include your name, address, phone number and e-mail address with your design. You do not need to be a subscriber to participate. Thank you!

Commemorate the 200th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ Birth

Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand. It Never Did, and It Never Will.

Quinnipiac University will mark the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth with a series of events to honor his life and his many achievements. One of the high points will be a yearlong exhibition curated by Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute that focuses on the time Douglass spent in Ireland and his enduring relationship with that country.

Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland. At the age of 20, he escaped to the north, where he quickly established himself as a talented speaker and writer.

In 1845, Douglass wrote his life story: “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Written by Himself.” To avoid being captured and returned to slavery, he traveled to Europe. He spent the first four months of his exile in Ireland, returning there three more times in 1846. Douglass described his time in Ireland as “transformative” and as “the happiest days of my life.” In 1847, he returned to America, his freedom having been “purchased” by female abolitionists.

Exhibit: Frederick Douglass Remembered.

Dates: Feb. 2, 2018, to Jan. 28, 2019
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.
Main Exhibition: The Lender Special Collection Room, Arnold Bernhard Library, Mount Carmel Campus, Quinnipiac University, 275 Mount Carmel Avenue, Hamden, CT 06518

Friday, Feb. 2. Frederick Douglass in Ireland: “The Black O’Connell” (Frederick Douglass in Éirinn: An Conallach Gorm) exhibition opens to the public.

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7-10 p.m. From Abolition to #BLM: A Conversation with Danny Glover at the Burt Kahn Court, Mount Carmel Campus. Driven by activists like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman, early abolitionist efforts became the foundation for contemporary debates over the meaning of freedom. The Black Lives Matter movement, named for the hashtag started on Twitter, is steeped in the American tradition of using free speech and social actions to further the fight for justice and equality. In a fireside-chat style program with Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean, Glover will explore the similarities of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and its early abolitionist roots (especially Frederick Douglass) to build connections, increase dialogue and end racism.

Wednesday, Feb. 14. Happy Birthday, Frederick! Events throughout the day include special cupcakes and a chance to meet Nathan Richardson (Douglass enactor).

Tuesday, Feb. 20. “Frederick Douglass at 200.”
Memorial service to mark Frederick’s death on February 20, 1895. The service will include a selection of readings in English and Irish, accompanied by traditional Irish music and 19th-century American hymns. Light refreshments will be provided afterward. This event will take place at the Center for Religion on the Mount Carmel Campus.Thursday, February 22. Kenneth Morris and Nettie Douglass, descendants of Frederick Douglass, discuss how they are preserving his legacy. Also, a statue of Frederick Douglass at age 27 (when he visited Ireland) will be on display at the Quinnipiac University School of Law on the North Haven Campus, 370 Bassett Road, North Haven. For more information, please contact: Ann Marie Godbout, Assistant to Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, (203) 582-6576,,

New Haven Solar Program Gains Momentum as Electricity Rates Increase

Solarize New Haven makes going solar easy and affordable. In the first eight weeks of its residential solar campaign, 90 New Haven homeowners have expressed interest in determining their home’s ability to capture solar energy and offset their electricity bill.

That number is expected to climb as United Illuminating’s residential electricity generation rates in January increased 27%. Solar’s ability to protect against future utility rate increases is one of its most appealing benefits.

New Haven residents must sign a contract by March 7 to qualify for Solarize New Haven pricing. To find out if your home is good for solar go to Residents who live in surrounding communities can also participate in Solarize by going to

Upcoming solar workshops will take place on Saturday, Feb. 10, 7-8 p.m., at the First Unitarian Universalist Society, 608 Whitney Ave., and on Sunday, Feb. 11, 1-2:30 p.m., at the New Haven Friends Meeting, 225 E. Grand Ave. More information about Solarize New Haven can be found by visiting or by contacting Chamae Mejias, (860) 331-1041.

PAR Featured on WPKN Radio. Listen.

On Jan. 8, Scott Harris, host of Counterpoint on WPKN Radio (89.5 FM), interviewed Paula Panzarella, one of PAR’s editors and Planning Committee members.

The Planning Committee felt this interview would be a great way to introduce PAR to the many progressive organiza-tions active in the peace movement, the struggle for immi-grant rights, work with Black Lives Matter, promotion of environmental projects, the struggle for civil rights, criminal justice issues, the push for healthcare for all, etc. Many thanks to Scott Harris and WPKN for agreeing to give PAR this opportunity to reach a new audience.

We hope that groups which were not familiar with PAR will send us articles and their event listings so PAR readers can learn about the work they are doing and get involved. PAR readers can listen to the interview on the following link:

A Fund-Raising Party for MECC March 3

by Stanley Heller, chairperson, MECC

The Middle East Crisis Committee (MECC) invites you to “Struggle, Resistance and Resilience in Solidarity with the Palestinian People,” a fund-raising party on Saturday, March 3 at 6 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of New Haven,  608 Whitney Ave., New Haven.

Learn about Mazin Qumsiyeh’s efforts in building the Palestinian Natural History Museum in Bethlehem. There will be food, music, and video; auctions and door prizes are planned. $25 suggested donation.

MECC is in its 35th year. For the past dozen years or so our biggest efforts have involved media. We have a weekly TV show on over 30 cable stations stretching from Maine to New York City. One focus of late is Saudi Arabia (KSA) and its war against Yemen, which has been completely supported by the Obama and Trump administrations. This past year saw an attempt to use the War Powers Act to completely cut off U.S. participation in the war via House Concurrent Resolution 81. However, it was sidestepped by leaders in Congress including powerful Democratic Party Whip Steny Hoyer. We did an interview with Malachy Kilbride who with six others were arrested inside Hoyer’s office demanding in vain a meeting with Hoyer or his staff. You can see the interview by going to and clicking on the black button for our YouTube channel “struggle-videomedia.” (Incidentally, while CT Sen. Chris Murphy is admirable on the Yemen issue, Sen. Richard Blumenthal has never spoken out against the atrocious war.) “Atrocious” is no exaggeration. Reuters had a video clip of destitute people in a Yemen garbage dump, eating and drinking in the garbage amid swarming insects.

Another video of note on is of efforts around the world to remember Syria. It’s called “2nd Day of Rage for Syria.” People mistakenly think the war is over. Hundreds of thousands are under Assad siege in Idlib and Eastern Ghouta. After its brutal obliteration of Raqaa, the U.S. is using a Kurdish force to establish a permanent presence in the northeast and Turkey has a chunk of the country in the north. MECC stands for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and in support of Syrian civil society demands for a ceasefire and honest elections.

Join us for this fund-raising event on March 3!

MLK Day, take action to finish the work King began

MLK Day, take action to finish the work King began. Call to Unity and Action. Varick Memorial AME Zion Church, 242 Dixwell Ave., New Haven. Light meal and hors d’oeuvres will follow the program. This event is part of New Haven Rising’s 2018 dues and membership drive. If you’d like to co-sponsor this event or have any questions please respond to this email or call: 203-710-1084. For more information visit the Facebook event page here.




‘PAR’ to be interviewed live on WPKN’s Counterpoint with Scott Harris tonight

Paula Panzarella, who has been a leader of the Progressive Action Roundtable in New Haven since its beginnings in 1993 (25 years ago) will be interviewed live by WPKN’s Scott Harris, of WPKN’s Counterpoint program, at 9:30 p.m. tonight on WPKN 89.5 FM, and on

If you are unable to listen either on the radio or online, then visit the WPKN’s archives to listen another time.

To listen to the program online visit this page and choose a player. (Try Flash first. It’s probably the easiest, though it is not considered by everyone to be the most secure. But you’ll probably be okay. Or if you are using a Mac and have iTunes, then that is probably easiest.)

From the Counterpoint page on WPKN’s website: 9:30 p.m. — Paula Panzarella, coordinator of the Progressive Action Roundtable of New Haven, CT, talks about the project, a forum for progressive groups in the Greater New Haven area, where actions and ideas are publicized so that others are aware of peace, health, justice, energy, environmental, and other issues for the common good.

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