Gasping Whiteness: A Play & Community Workshop

Bregamos Community Theater (BCT), 491 Blatchley Ave., presents Gasping Whiteness at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, which explores the impact of white supremacy on parenting in progressive, middle class communities. The play tells the stories of two families (one white and one African-American) as they encounter divides of race and struggle to respond, as well as the story of a masked figure who is buried at the play’s end — a funeral which also serves as a call to action.

Presented as a staged reading, the play runs one hour and is followed by a one hour facilitated dialogue, exploring how the themes of the play speak to our lives and our stories.

Gasping Whiteness’ cross-racial, cross-generational ensemble includes playwright Will MacAdams and social justice educator/theatre maker Trenda Loftin (who co-direct and also perform in the piece); two Western Massachusetts child actors, ages ten and 11; and Atlanta-based visual artist Angela Davis Johnson, who developed its visual landscape.

Sliding scale ticket prices. 100% of the proceeds benefit local organizers for racial justice: CTCORE-Organize Now! (www.ctcore-organizenow.org) and Students for Educational Justice (www.students4edjustice.org).

For tickets and more information, go to: gaspingwhitenessnewhaven.brownpapertickets.com. Seating is LIMITED. Get your tickets early!

Taking Coals to Newcastle with HB 5898

by Lisa Blumberg, Second Thoughts CT

Trump wants the Affordable Care Act to implode. Republicans seem willing to swell the ranks of the uninsured and to cut Medicaid funding. There are corporate imperatives to reduce healthcare costs even if quality is diminished. Many people are unable to access basic care and minorities, the old and people with disabilities are often subject to medical prejudices or “quality of life” misconceptions. (1) Legalizing doctor assisted suicide in these times would be akin to taking coals to Newcastle.

Let’s not be confused by rhetoric. The bill (HB 5898) that the Connecticut legislature is poised to consider has nothing to do with “aid in dying.” Aid in dying is palliative care to improve the quality of a person’s remaining life. The World Health Organization views such care as a human right. (2)  Doctor assisted suicide would not expand desperately needed access to palliative care or otherwise increase healthcare choices. Patients already have the right to refuse any type of treatment. The bill is not about patients’ rights but about the authority of doctors. It sets forth the circumstances under which a doctor could actively prescribe lethal drugs to directly cause the death of a supposedly willing patient without fear of liability.

Legalized assisted suicide is exploitable by for-profit entities. There have been cases in Oregon of insurers denying payments for new treatments but offering to pay for lethal drugs. (3)

Proponents talk of “safeguards.” Nothing can prevent an erroneous prognosis or keep a vulnerable person from subtly being steered. Since the bill is about permitted medical behavior and not about patient protection, the minimal criteria written into the bill apply only to the prescribing of the lethal drugs, and not to their use. Who is to know if in any particular case the drugs are self-administered or what a person’s mental state is when she decides to swallow the drugs?

We should focus on efforts to reduce healthcare inequities and not on legitimize assisted suicide. As progressives, we need to care.

Lisa Blumberg is a member of Second Thoughts Connecticut, a bi-partisan organization composed of citizens with disabilities and advocates who oppose the legalization of assisted suicide.

Footnotes
1 http://notdeadyet.org/2017/08/anita-cameron-three-big-reasons-black-people-should-join-the-anti-doctor-assisted-suicide-movement.html
2 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ palliative-care
3 https://dredf.org/public-policy/assisted-suicide/why-assisted-suicide-must-not-be-legalized

Frida Berrigan to Deliver the Mark Shafer Lecture

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

Promoting Enduring Peace’s big event for March will be the Mark Shafer lecture this year given by Frida Berrigan. Berrigan is a long-time anti-nuclear activist. Frida writes the Little Insurrections blog for Waging Nonviolence and is the author of “It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing into Rebellious Motherhood,” a memoir of her childhood as their daughter and her adult life as an activist and a mother. She lives in New London with her husband Patrick Sheehan-Gaumer and their three children.

The event will take place on Tuesday, March 26 in the Great Hall of the Parish House of United Church on the Green at 323 Temple St. (by the corner of Wall Street). The event will begin at 7 p.m. It’s free. More details at PEPeace.net.

Berrigan comes from a distinguished family of activists. Her mother, Elizabeth McAllister, is in Glynn County Jail. McAllister took part in the Kings Bay Plowshare action in Georgia in 2018. Seven activists entered the nuclear sub base, with hammers and their own blood which they used to try to “convert swords into plowshares.” Incidentally, New Haven’s Mark Colville also took part in the action and is in the same lockup. The trial of the Plowshare activists will begin in March or April.

Frida Berrigan spoke for Promoting Enduring Peace last year at the Gandhi Peace Award event honoring Jackson Browne and got a spontaneous standing ovation. The Mark Shafer Lecture was started in 2013 in honor of peace activist Mark Shafer.

Earlier in the month PEP will have its Annual Meeting, looking at the past year and talking about world developments in peace and environment. It will take place on Thursday, March 7 starting at 6 p.m. in the Marrett Room of the New Haven Free Public Library on 133 Elm St. It’s open to all, but only active members can vote on internal issues.

Another March event of note is the “United Against Fascism and Racism” event in New York City. It’s part of an international effort. It’s happening at noon Saturday, March 16 in Foley Square.

Finally, we’re looking for volunteers to help plan an April conference about the climate crisis. Tentative title, “A Green New Deal and Other Ideas on Averting Climate Catastrophe.” Reach us at office.pepeace@gmail.com.

March 16 National March on Washington: Hands Off Venezuela! No Coup, No sanctions, No New U.S. War!

by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER)

On Saturday, March 16, thousands of people will march in Washington, D.C. against the Trump administration’s effort to engineer a coup in Venezuela and a new devastating war there. The aggressive policy against Venezuela repeats the ugly pattern of wars for regime change in the oil-rich countries of Iraq and Libya. National Security Advisor John Bolton is reading from the same script, declaring a “troika of tyranny” in Latin America (like the “axis of evil”) as a precursor for regime change first in Venezuela, and then Cuba and Nicaragua. Trump has always said that the “mistake” of the Middle East wars was that the U.S. didn’t “take the oil.”

It is time to stand up and with a clear voice say NO to the newest example of the “Monroe Doctrine,” which the U.S. government has used for over two centuries to repeatedly invade Latin America and Caribbean, control its politics and extract its resources.

The White House aims to overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro and replace him with Juan Guaidó. Guaidó is a U.S.-trained operative who was unknown to the vast majority of Venezuelans before he proclaimed himself president — at Vice President Mike Pence’s urging. Although Guaidó has the backing of Trump, the CIA, and the Republican and Democratic Party leaderships alike, huge numbers of Venezuelans have marched to reject this coup and defend their independence.

On March 16, the people of the United States will come together to say:

  • U.S. hands off Venezuela!
  • NO to the coup — the U.S. does not have the right to select other country’s leaders!
  • NO to the sanctions, oil embargo and economic war on Venezuela that aims to cause suffering for ordinary people in the country.
  • NO to intervention and war from the U.S. and their proxies in the region.

    info@answercoalition.org

A Call for National Mobilization to Oppose NATO, War, and Racism

Nancy Eberg, Greater New Haven Peace Council

A broad coalition of international peace groups is organizing a mobilization, calling for an end to NATO, war, and racism. There will be a rally on Saturday, March 30 at 1 p.m. in Washington, D.C. at Lafayette Park (across from the White House), followed by a march past the World Bank and IMF (tools used to control poor countries). A rally with noted anti-war activists will follow. This year marks the 70th anniversary of NATO, an arm of US global military aggression.

Ironically, NATO chose April 4 to commemorate this occasion—the same date as Martin Luther King’s assassination. He believed that there was a deep-rooted relationship between militarism and the social, racial, economic, and environmental injustices that plague our society.

The crisis in Venezuela will be a focus of this action. Colombia, a NATO member, is working with the US to destabilize the Venezuelan government, purporting to move “humanitarian aid” into the country. Actually, they are attempting to create a coup against the leadership, hoping to put in a leader more conducive to their aims. If the US really wanted to aid the populace, it could remove its economic sanctions.

At present, there are no plans for group transportation from Connecticut to DC, but check for updates on the website No2NATO2019.org. The local sponsor for this event is the Greater New Haven Peace Council.

Any questions, call Jim at (203) 933-4043.

Democracy Died in December

Yann van Heurck, Guilford Peace Alliance, JVP

In December the Israeli Knesset voted against equality for all its people in violation of Israel’s own Declaration of Independence. Christians, Druze and Muslims officially don’t have equal rights to Jews. Plans are underway to expel 36,000 Palestinians from the Negev and formally annex the West Bank.

In September the Israeli government, in an official letter to the Supreme Court, said that Israel could ignore international law anywhere in the world, violate the sovereignty of foreign countries, and disregard international law in any field it desires. Israel forcibly seized nearly 80% of Palestine in 1948 after being given 55% in the 1947 UN partition, and in 1967 took the whole country and started settling colonists there in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The myth of Israeli democracy is dead.

Many PAR readers attended last October’s Tree of Life program at Shoreline Unitarian church in Madison highlighting HR 4391, the US bill to stop US funding for Israel’s illegal detention and torture of Palestinian children (over 500 of whom died in last summer’s Israeli attacks on Gaza). Tree of Life and Jewish Voice for Peace ask people to sign ToL’s petition to support this bill in the new Congress at tolef.org. The bill does not affect US military aid to Israel.

New Haven Free Public Library Augments Outreach to Residents in Need of Basic Services

by Ashley Sklar, NHFPL

A Community Engagement Award from the National Network of Library of Medicine (NNLM) will allow the New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) to expand its successful partnership with Liberty Community Services (LCS) beyond Ives Library to the Fair Haven and Wilson Branch Libraries starting this winter. The All of Us grant effectively doubles the hours of LCS counselors on-site at NHFPL locations and also provides funds to augment the library’s print collections on health and wellness in English and Spanish.

The goal of the NNLM grant is to strengthen health literacy and increase access to high-quality free health resources in partnership with public libraries. Integral to the NNLM grant, LCS staff members inform their library clients about MedlinePlus.gov, a freely available federal government website that aims to provide “information on health conditions, wellness issues and more in easy-to-read language.” The NNLM promotes public libraries’ vital role as trusted sources of health and wellness information in the community. Building towards that trust, NHFPL continues to foster its successful partnership with LCS, now in its sixth year. LCS offers one-on-one consultations at Ives Main Library for those with basic needs (jobs, food, shelter, and health and wellness issues), conducting 976 appointments and serving 563 individuals in 2018.

City Librarian Martha Brogan praised the collaboration, asserting that “NHFPL and LCS will continue to seek stable funding sources to sustain their productive partnership and to extend services to all five locations.”

Liberty Community Services Hours at NHFPL:

Ives Main Library, 133 Elm St.
* Mondays to Fridays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (last appointment at 2:30 p.m.)
* Saturdays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (last appointment at 12:30 p.m.)

Fair Haven Branch Library, 182 Grand Ave.
* Thursdays, 5-7 p.m.
* Alternating Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (March: 9, 23; April: 6)

Wilson Branch Library, 303 Washington Ave.
* Tuesdays, 5-7 p.m., Alternating Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (March: 2, 16, 30; April: 13, 27)

Ashley Sklar, Public Services Administrator, NHFPL, www.nhfpl.org, asklar@nhfpl.org, office: (203) 946-8835.

Boycotting Saudi Arabia

by LouAnn Villani-Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

A number of groups got together in February and called for an economic, cultural and entertainment boycott of Saudi Arabia. The groups are horrified by the Saudi regime war on Yemen, its murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its imprisonment of feminists and others.

There are legislative efforts to force the Trump administration to stop its participation in the Saudi war on Yemen. A bill passed the House this year that invokes the War Powers Act to end U.S. involvement, but its future in the Senate is uncertain. The Senate Republican majority has increased after the election, and the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee appears to be a supporter of the Trump line. Even if it passes the Senate, Trump can veto the legislation so the whole effort may just “send a message” while the calamity in Yemen continues.

Popular efforts must be made. One possibility is to use the BDS tactics being used against Israeli apartheid. CODE-PINK has already campaigned to get Black Eyed Peas and Mariah Carey to cancel their appearances in Saudi Arabia. It’s appealing to VICE media to end its production of publicity videos for the monarchy. Campaigns to get MIT to break ties with Saudi Arabia and (our own) efforts to get the University of New Haven to end its work for the Saudi police college are other examples. More about this on SaudiUS.org.

On another issue, MECC is continuing to support the courageous stand of Texas teacher Bahia Amawi in refusing to sign a pledge that she would not boycott Israeli goods. Texas passed an outrageous unconstitutional law requiring that promise in 2017. Amawi was fired for her actions. At present, she is suing and is being supported by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. It appears that no trade unions are supporting her or even noticing what’s happening. MECC is gathering signers of a letter calling on unions to rally to support Amawi.

Details at TheStruggle.org.

Tweed Airport and Climate Change: The Environment Is Both Local and Global

by Jeffry Larson, PAR Subscriber, CT Green Party member

Tweed Airport astride the New Haven-East Haven city line has long been an environmental concern to its neighbors because of the noise and pollution it creates. So they have organized a group, stoptweed.org, to limit the airport’s adverse impact. Unfortunately, they have been dismissed as NIMBYs by the corporate and academic jet-setters who find Tweed a convenient amenity.

The City of New Haven has recently abrogated its agreement to limit the length of the runways at Tweed Airport, and, with the state’s permission, plans to increase air traffic there. So, in addition to more local noise and pollution, there will be an increase in the amount of jet fuel emissions–one of the worst greenhouse gases–being poured into the atmosphere.

Tweed is a low-lying shoreline facility, vulnerable to rising sea levels: this would be one of the risks of a proposal hastening catastrophic climate.

Last fall the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued another report on the state of climate change. Denialists predictably dismissed it as “alarmist.” Even climate change activists take its conclusions as somehow assuring us that we have 12 more years to mend our fossil-fuel ways. But the IPCC has been severely criticized by actual researchers for being consistently overly cautious and loath to emphasize the real urgency of our plight. We do not have a guaranteed 12 years to forestall or mitigate climate change. Some leading scientists even believe we’ve already passed the carbon budget turning point.

Apparently, no environmental group or politician or journalist has expressed concern about this. They need to join with local grassroots groups. It is the jet-setters who are the NIMBYs here. As the director of Transport & Environment, one of the mainstream anti-aviation groups in Europe, says, “Air travel is the fastest and cheapest way to fry the planet.”

Ask your local elected officials, environmental groups or reporters why they are not raising questions about this proposed increase in our carbon footprint.

jeffrylarson73@yahoo.com

Politics in Plain English at the Institute Library

by Bennett Graff, Institute Library

The Institute Library, 847 Chapel Street, is proud to announce the launch of a new monthly program Politics in Plain English. Following in the tradition of the Library’s one-time role during the Civil War — when it served as a lyceum where such luminaries as Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Henry Ward Beecher, and Theodore Parker spoke — the Institute Library once more seeks to become New Haven’s center for a conversation about civics in the America at a time when such a conversation has never been more needed.

The discussions are hosted by John Stoehr, editor and publisher of The Editorial Board, contributing writer to Washington Monthly, and columnist at the New Haven Register. $10 suggested admission—free light refreshments served.

Politics is simpler and more complex than most realize. Fortunately, there are good people able to see through the haze and talk about issues plainly and honestly. Hosted by the Institute Library and sponsored by The Editorial Board, Politics in Plain English brings a panel of writers and thinkers to New Haven to debate current events and bring you into the conversation.

Tuesday, March 12, 7:30-9 p.m. What’s Up with Liberalism and the Left? Josh Holland, contributing writer for The Nation, and Batya Ungar-Sargon, opinion editor for The Forward, takes on the revived embrace of the once-maligned term “liberal” by the left and explore the pushes and pulls of the collection—or is it a coalition?—of interests and political leanings that now make it up.

Tuesday, April 9, 7:30-9 p.m. Peeking Under the Hood: The “Invisible Primary” of 2020. Our guests, Jacob Hacker of Yale and Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg News, will look not only at the role primaries play in the rough and tumble of selecting candidates, but also at the early jockeying of the “invisible primary,” as candidates coyly deflect press inquiries, leak intel on primary opponents, and position themselves before the starting gate opens.

For more information, please contact John Stoehr at johnastoehr@gmail.com or (912) 247-0515 or Bennett Graff at bennett_lovett_graff@hotmail.com or (203) 640-3573.

What You Can Do About Climate Issues I

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven León Sister City Project

Sign the New Haven Resolution Endorsing the Declaration of a Climate Emergency to Restore a Safe Climate: “I am very concerned that global warming has already set in motion disastrous changes to the Earth system, including accelerating ice mass loss from the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets, melting of the Arctic and thawing of the permafrost, ocean acidification, accelerating species extinction, and year-round forest fires. Also, 19,000 scientists in the 2nd Warning to Humanity (2017) agree that the only way to avoid “vast human misery” is to greatly change our quality of stewardship to the earth. As a result, I am asking New Haven to join with other cities across the country and declare a climate emergency–entailing the mobilization of programs to offer mitigation, resilience, and education on global warming.” Full resolution and petition at: newhavenclimatemovement.org/emergency-resolution.

What You Can Do About Climate Issues II

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven León Sister City Project

Join the Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride, New Haven’s biggest Earth Day celebration. On April 27, 1,200 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, and explore the city’s parks. In 2019 there will be five rides: the 5-mile family-friendly parade and 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. Live music at various stops and at the end at East Rock will be provided and include performances by local musicians. The event closes with a state-wide Climate Rally organized by 350 CT. All proceeds from Rock to Rock support over 25 high-impact environmental groups and projects. For more information go to www.rocktorock.org.

A Conversation & Community Dialogue With Corey Menafee

by Patricia Kane, Chair, New Haven Green Party

Corey Menafee

Corey Menafee

In June, 2016, Corey Menafee, a worker in the Hospitality Section of Yale University, assigned to Calhoun College, now renamed Grace Murray Hopper College, took a broom handle and smashed a stained glass window portraying an enslaved man and woman with a basket of cotton. He was arrested, charged with a felony, and forced to resign his job. Many people know about the incident, but few know much about either the man, a college graduate who majored in journalism, who did this act of protest, or the various community groups that joined to support him.

Please join us at Gateway CC on Thursday, March 28, to hear about Corey’s growing up in New Haven, how he grew in his college years and what the situation in New Haven was when he returned home to start a career.

A Community Dialogue will follow Corey’s interview. Learn which organizations are ready to use your energy and commitment to be part of the changes we want and need. Refreshments provided.

RSVP to the New Haven Green Party page on Facebook to ensure seating. Cosponsored by Gateway.

Readers want to know about your organization, what it’s doing and about upcoming events

Dear PAR Contributors,

Readers want to know about your organization, what it’s doing and about upcoming events.

We want to publicize the work groups have done and what they’re planning to do. We want to spread the word to others who will be inspired to join you.

Please send articles about your group’s recent and current activities and upcoming actions and events to parnewhaven@hotmail.com.

***Help inspire others through your commitment! ***

The deadline for the March Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter is Sunday, February 17.

GUIDELINES FOR ARTICLES ARE EASY!

350 words.

Include a headline.

Indicate your name AND organization name.

Include information about your group’s purpose.

Do not use different fonts or sizes in your article.

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Include your organization’s contact information.

If you mention an event in an article, please also send a calendar announcement with street address and complete location information and whether the venue is wheelchair accessible.

The PAR newsletter comes out approximately Thursday, February 28. Please consider this when submitting calendar items.

For more info visit par-newhaven.org