Gandhi Peace Award to Jackson Browne

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace Administrator

Promoting Enduring Peace is giving its Gandhi Peace Award this year to singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. He will receive the award on Friday, Sept. 14, at the John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts at Southern Connecticut State University, 501 Crescent St., New Haven. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Starting the program will be two speakers: Frida Berrigan, who has worked for years warning of the dangers of nuclear weapons, and Chris George, Executive Director of IRIS — Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services. Singers Ben Grosscup and Luci Murphy will provide entertainment. Tickets can be reserved online for a donation. The Eventbrite link is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gandhi-peace-award-2018-tickets-48315261247.

Jackson Browne is the first artist ever to receive the Gandhi Peace Award. The award recognizes Browne’s extraordinary contributions of time and talent to the inseparable causes of world peace, environmental harmony, and social justice. The award comes with a cash prize and a medallion forged from “peace bronze” composed of metals salvaged from the control systems of U.S. nuclear missiles. Consistent with tradition, Browne has been invited “to present a message of challenge and hope” to those present. A reception will follow.

The Gandhi Peace Award, named after Indian anti-imperialist and nonviolence advocate Mohandas Gandhi, derives its international renown from those who have accepted it over the years. Among the 54 awardees are Martin Luther King, Jr., Benjamin Spock, Dorothy Day, Daniel Ellsberg, César Chávez, Amy Goodman, Bill McKibben, Medea Benjamin, Tom Goldtooth, Omar Barghouti and Ralph Nader.

Browne has organized or participated in thousands of benefit performances to support the environment, social justice, and human rights as well as causes such as music and arts education in public schools and has worked with two former Gandhi Peace Award recipients, Amnesty International (1978) and the Children’s Defense Fund (1990). Browne has composed and performed songs widely regarded as among the most literate and moving songs in popular music, defining a genre of songwriting charged with honesty, emotion, and personal politics. In 2004 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

 

Truth on Trial — Kings Bay Plowshares Court Report on Aug. 2 Hearing

by Bill Quigley, attorney

King’s Bay Plowshares Update

In the June newsletter, PAR informed our readers about the King’s Bay Plowshares action of April 4, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the seven, Mark Colville, is from the Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven. They were charged with four counts: Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Govern-ment Property, and Trespass. On Aug. 2 they had a court hearing. The following was written by Bill Quigley, one of their attorneys, and published in The Nuclear Resister.

For four hours on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, the Kings Bay Plowshares appeared before U.S. Magistrate Stan Baker in federal court in Brunswick, GA, to argue that all charges against them be dropped. The peace activists set out six reasons why the charges of conspiracy, trespass, and two counts of felony damage to property should be dismissed. Detailed arguments are available at kingsbayplowshares7.org.

The theme of the hearing was clear: Thou shall not kill and these weapons will end life as we know it. Speaking to the court were Mark Colville, Stephen Kelly SJ, Anna Lellelid, Stephanie McDonald, Patrick O’Neill, Bill Quigley, and Carmen Trotta. Everyone who wanted to speak was given several opportunities to speak and truth was proclaimed.

The arguments were greatly assisted by sworn statements from Professor Francis Boyle, Physicians for Social Responsibility Director Jeff Carter, Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, and US Navy Captain Thomas Rogers.

What PAR Readers Can Do

We hope our readers will be able to help the Amistad Catholic Worker house while Mark is in prison. Luz Colville and others are continuing the work and have sent out the following list of supplies that are needed.

1) Donations of items for the community breakfast program: old-fashioned oats, grits, eggs, coffee, creamer, sugar, etc.

2) Gift cards for buying the above items

3) Checks made out to the Amistad Catholic Worker and mailed to 203 Rosette St., New Haven, CT 06519.

4) Volunteering: cook, serve meals, clean the yard, sort clothes, work in the garden, pick up donated furniture, etc.

Contact Luz at amistadcwh@yahoo.com about how you can help.

For more information about the Plowshares action and up-coming trial, see: facebook.com/Kingsbayplowshares.

CT Green Party Supports National Prisoner Strike, Green Candidates Demand Reforms to CT Criminal Justice

Owen Charles, Chair, Shoreline Green Party

From Aug. 21 to Sept. 9, 2018, prisoners around the United States will be participating in strike actions, calling for an end to inhumane conditions of confinement, including overcrowding, lack of rehabilitation services, labor at a fraction of the minimum wage, and the absence of any meaningful process by which prisoners may voice grievances.

The Connecticut Green Party and its candidates for public office express their solidarity and support for the prisoners’ strike and observe that here, in the “land of the free,” the U.S. has the largest prison population and the highest percentage of the population in prison of any country in the world. In this election season, with so much discussion about the role of voting in effecting change, there has been little discussion about those to whom the right to vote is denied. That includes millions of African American voters whose votes are suppressed through both legal and illegal means, as well as transgender voters who are prevented by antiquated ID laws from being able to vote.

Disenfranchisement is also a fact for 6 million citizens in the US who are presently or were incarcerated. When government deprives human beings of their right to peaceably and lawfully oppose unfair treatment, it forces those human beings to take up other means of protest. The national prisoner strike is the cry of resistance of a population that the government tries to keep silent.

The Green Party of Connecticut and its candidates for public office call on the State of Connecticut to implement the following measures that would help to address the over-incarceration that especially affects people of color and poor people in our state, and the dehumanizing conditions that exist in our prisons:

Abolish money fines and cash bail. Fines are a regressive tax on poor people, and cash bail is nothing less than the criminalization of poverty. Whether or how a person is treated when they are arrested should not depend on the size of their bank account!

  • Assign an ombudsperson to oversee the health care system in Connecticut’s prisons;
  • Provide genuine mental health treatment, not just pill-pushing.
  • Ensure educational programs are available in prisons as part of rehabilitative services;
  • Abolish slave labor. Guarantee the Connecticut minimum wage for all prison labor; and
  • Restore the vote. Enfranchise all prisoners and formerly incarcerated people.

UNPACKING RACE — A Workshop Sept. 14-16

by Citywide Youth Coalition

Are you challenged by how to deal with race issues in your practice, institution or in the classroom? Are you concerned about the impact of racism in your city and state?

The Undoing Racism/Community Organizing workshop is an intensive three-day workshop designed to educate, challenge and empower people to undo the racist structures that hinder effective social change. The training is based on the premise that racism has been systematically constructed and that it can be undone when people understand where it comes from, how it functions, why it is perpetuated, and what we can do to dismantle it.

The workshop is offered by the Peoples Institute for Survival and Beyond, a national, multi-racial, anti-racist collective of veteran organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social change. Since its founding in 1980, the Peoples Institute has trained over 200,000 people in hundreds of communities throughout the United States and internationally. It is recognized as one of the most effective anti-racist training and organizing institutions in the nation.

The workshop addresses the following areas:

  1. Analyzing Power: Effective organizing requires accurate analysis of the systems that keep racism in place. The training examines why people are poor, how institutions and organizations perpetuate the imbalance of power, and who benefits from the maintenance of the status quo.
  2. Recognizing The Internalized Manifestations Of Racial Oppression: The training explores how internalized racial oppression manifests itself both as Internalized Racial Inferiority and Internalized Racial Superiority.
  3. Defining Racism: In order to undo racism, organizers and educators must understand what racism is, and how and why it was constructed. The training explores how the idea of race was created to implement systems that benefit some people and oppress and disadvantage others.
  4. Understanding the Manifestations of Racism: Racism operates in more than just individual and institutional settings. The training examines the dynamics of cultural racism, linguistic racism, and militarism as applied racism.
  5. Learning From History: Racism has distorted, suppressed and denied the histories of people of color and white people as well. The training demonstrates that a full knowledge of history is a necessary organizing tool as well as a source of personal and collective empowerment.
  6. Sharing culture: The training demonstrates that even as racism divides people, sharing culture unites us. Cultural sharing is a critical organizing tool and is central to the training.
  7. Organizing to Undo Racism: The training explores principles of effective organizing, strategic techniques of community empowerment, the importance of community accountability and the internal dynamics of leadership development.

Dinner will be provided on Friday, Sept. 14. Breakfast and lunch will be provided on Sept. 15 and 16.
Costs: $350 (non CWYC members) Partial scholarships may be available; $100 (CWYC members). Info: justmoves.nationbuilder.com/sept_2018_application.

Note: There are 30 open seats available for this workshop. Please contact Addys Castillo, addys@cwyc.org or (203) 464-7838 for further information.

Reflections on the Past Green Year

by Owen Charles, Shoreline Green Party

A little over a year ago, we obtained official chapter-hood for our Shoreline Green Party. It was a joyous thing, springing forth from a rather unjoyous series of disappointments. Many were dismayed by the weakening of democracy in America, the championing of corporate interests by both major parties, and the 2016 election with its home-grown election fraud.

So we came together to see if the grass was greener on the other side—and it was!—Fertile with ideas and fresh perspectives, and inquisitive minds;— Open to citizen participation, running for office, and a shared and self-determined people’s agenda.—Not your typical political party owned, operated, bought and sold by large corporate interests.

On Feb. 26, 2017, we launched with the aim to “start preparing to run candidates, get involved an important issue and legislation advocacy and upturn the status quo of a troubled political system as an official regional chapter of the Green Party!”

I’ll briefly reflect on what we have done in a year, with pride and congratulations to a smart, vibrant, friendly, hard-working, dedicated, growing Shoreline Green Party team! Many more details can be found on our Facebook @shorelinegreenparty and website shorelinegreenparty.org.

  1. Visibility and Activism: We organized gatherings and protests (net neutrality, immigrants rights, May Day and others), marched in the Guilford Parade. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube videos (check it out at Shoreline Green Party on Youtube).
  2. Inspiration and Solidarity: Our first annual Songs of Solidarity in Oct. 2017 at the Guilford Library was standing room only (70+), amazing performances and sing-alongs with a line-up of incredible local artists (stay tuned for “Second Annual!”). We sponsored a showing of “Requiem for the American Dream” at Guilford Library.
  3. Local Democracy in Action: Organized public support to stop privatization and development of the Academy School in Madison, ban fracking waste in a number of towns, and stop the development of a waste dump in Clinton.

Our first four candidates in 2017, in Clinton and Madison, each had impressive showings with over 1,100 votes. We now have four local candidates for this Nov. 6! with key campaign support and volunteering from dozens of people.

Clinton members have led the way in getting appointed to Town commissions and boards.

If you are interested in these kinds of actions, please join with us in the Shoreline Green Party! We welcome participants from all surrounding areas including New Haven and environs and are working with other local groups and welcome doing that more.

Please reach out to us by joining our Facebook group @shorelinegreenparty or contacting me! Owen Charles owencharles2003@yahoo.com or shorelinegreenparty@gmail.com; phone (203) 421-1094.

Local Catholic Worker Mark Colville Jailed for Plowshares Action against Nuclear Missiles

by Stephen Kobasa, Kings Bay Plowshares support group

Mark Colville of the Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven was one of seven Catholic Plowshares activists who carried out a Plowshares action on April 4, at the Kings Bay Naval Base, St. Mary’s, Georgia, where Trident ballistic missile submarines and their nuclear weapons are based.

The seven chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who devoted his life to addressing the triplets of militarism, racism, and materialism. In their statement, which they carried with them, the group quoted King: “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world (today) is my own government.”

A federal indictment charges the seven with four counts: Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Government Property and Trespass. In response to news of the indictment, Mark wrote from the Camden County Jail, “Once again the federal criminal justice system has plainly identified itself as another arm of the Pentagon by turning a blind eye to the criminal and murderous course from which it has repeatedly refused to desist for the past 70 years.”

While Mark is in prison, the work of the Amistad Catholic Worker is being continued by Luz Colville. Support for that work can take any of several forms:

1) Donations of items for the community breakfast program: old-fashioned oats, grits, eggs, coffee, creamer, sugar, pancake mix, pancake syrup, cereal, milk powdered or fresh, canned evaporated milk, margarine, pasta, pasta sauce, tomato sauce, rice, beans, napkins, toilet tissue, rolls of paper towels;

2) Gift cards for purchase of above items;

3) Checks made out to the Amistad Catholic Worker and delivered or mailed to 203 Rosette St., New Haven, CT 06519.

Take Part in a Fun Event in West Haven to Support Youth with Disabilities, Tuesday, July 24

by Christopher Zurcher, Center for Disability Rights

The 2018 Center for Disability Rights Wheel-A-Thon – a fundraising and community awareness campaign to benefit the youth programs and activities of CDR and its partners – will take place from 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 24, at Savin Rock Conference Center, 5 Rock St., West Haven.

Registration will take place and pizza will be served to registered participants from 6 to 6:45 p.m. The ceremony starts at 6:45 and ends around 7 p.m. when the walk begins. Awards to walkers will be distributed around 7:30 p.m. and there will be live entertainment throughout the event.

Wheel-A-Thon participants can walk, roll in a wheelchair or ride a bicycle along a 1-mile route. Register and participate as an individual or form a team with your family, friends, and co-workers. To register to participate, visit the “Participate” page of the wheel-a-thon.org website.

The money raised during the 2017 Wheel-A-Thon provided Summer Empowerment Camp opportunities to nine high school juniors and seniors and provided five Wheel-A-Thon Scholarships.

Individuals who are not part of a team but who raise at least $25 for young people with disabilities can participate in the CDR Wheel-A-Thon as individuals.

Buy your tickets or make a donation to support CDR’s youth activities here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-cdr-wheel-a-thon-tickets-43038218470.

For more information call CDR at (203) 934-7077. Ask for Sandy or press Extension “10,” and she will return your call as soon as she can. If you prefer email, please send email to info@cdr-ct.org.

Free ‘Underground Travel Guide’ for Persons with Disabilities

by Joseph A. Luciano Sr., Disability Rights Action Group

This guide is currently in PDF format and can be useful to persons with disabilities, especially those using wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, or other mobility devices and seeking education, fun, entertainment, shopping, or dining experiences.

You may be (or you may know) a person who uses mobility devices and wants to “go out” to a mall, shopping center, store, museum, theater, library, or restaurant. You should know whether your destination is accessible – by ADA standards. You may find barriers there. For example, there is no ramp to get over steps at the entrance or the doorway is too narrow. Worse, the restroom is totally inaccessible!

Today – even 28 years after enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act – many public entities and their employees still do not know about their obligation to provide ADA 1990 access and mobility standards. You should not assume your destination has complied with federal law. Incidentally, educational materials including brochures, booklets, guides, and instructional videos about disability rights are free at ADA.gov under “Technical Assistance Publications.”

The Underground Travel Guide also gives advice on how to use the paratransit system. As good as it is, the system has a few quirks and snags you should be aware of. Connecticut has 12 ADA service providers comprised of vans and minibuses equipped with lifts to board and deboard persons using wheelchairs. Go to https://www.ctada.com/ServiceProviders.asp to see the providers serving your community and your destination. To learn how to obtain service click on the provider serving you. (Depending on the destination you may need to ride with more than one provider.)

The providers are:

  1. Greater Hartford Transit District
  2. Greater New Haven Transit District
  3. North-East Transportation Company
  4. Southeast Area Transit District
  5. Valley Transit District
  6. Middletown Transit District
  7. Milford Transit District
  8. Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority
  9. Windham Region Transit District
  10. Housatonic Area Regional Transit District
  11. Norwalk Transit District
  12. 9-Town Transit/Estuary Transit

The travel guide is copyrighted and is provided free here: https://tinyurl.com/2018-travel-guide.

For more information, e-mail DRAGconnecticut@yahoo.com or call (203) 463-8323.

Grammar School Students Who Already Challenge and Change The World

by Frank Panzarella, community activist

The Green Wolves, fourth-grade students at Elm City College Preparatory Elementary School, came up with that name for their own wonderful and imaginative adventure in becoming young activists.

Their teacher, Kurt Zimmermann of their Expeditions class, saw the PAR newsletter on-line and invited us to do a training for young people on things to think about when becoming an activist.

While some were still shy, others were bursting with ideas and questions. They surprised us right off by quoting suggestions from our own notes before we even began.

These kids were very interested in environmental issues and showed us their current great campaign. They raised money to replace all the teachers’ disposable coffee cups with lovely ceramic mugs that had the teachers’ names printed on them, so the teachers would reduce their paper waste.

We were thrilled to meet this group of engaging and endearing students and thank Mr. Zimmermann for the opportunity. We thought PAR readers would be interested in the notes we left the students with.

An Activist Guide List – Questions to Ask Yourself

  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
  • “Doing something is better than doing nothing.”
  • “My way is not the only way.”

Passion

  • What are the issues you feel strongly about? What would you like to accomplish or change? What do you need to study and understand?
  • Are there other people you know concerned about these issues? Who can you talk with?

Organize

  • How can you educate people about why your issue is important?
  • What are your short term and long term goals? What would you like to see happen in relation to your cause?
  • Who is it you would like to reach on your cause?
  • Are there people or groups who might be allies in reaching your goals?

Action Plans

  • What kinds of actions are appropriate for your cause?

Educational events

  • Write letters, articles, and petitions.
  • Use social media.

Rallies and demonstrations

  • Picket lines
  • Speak at hearings or local government meetings.

Create a plan to advance your cause and build support

  • Call a meeting to plan your actions if necessary.
  • Figure out a group process.
  • Be aware of your members and their ideas.
  • Promote democracy in action – listen to all and learn to resolve differences.
  • Respect the rights of others to have different views.
  • Struggle for a programmatic unity on issues — in other words, something everyone in your group can agree on to take some action.
  • Have a summation meeting. Meet again after your action to figure out what worked and what didn’t. What do you think could have been better? Decide if you will do something next, and pick a date for another meeting to figure out what it will be.
  • Have fun doing good things for the benefit of everyone.

Connecticut Sued for Using Clean Energy Funds to Fill Budget Gap

by Paula Panzarella, Fight the Hike

The state legislature’s attempt to raid $155 million from the clean energy and efficiency funds has met with strong resistance.

On May 15, with CT Fund for the Environment as the lead plaintiff, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Hartford. Fight the Hike is one of twelve groups suing to get the funds restored for clean energy, conservation, and efficiency programs. These programs have helped Connecticut’s economy, improved health by lowering pollution from fossil fuels and resulted in lower costs for taxpayers. We demand their funding be fully restored!

These funds were for the energy programs that we have paid for through the surcharge fee on our United Illuminating and Eversource electric bills. The money was collected specifically to help consumers improve energy efficiency, take part in energy conservation programs, low-interest loans to help with solar panels, modernize furnaces, water heaters, etc.

Besides these programs helping consumers, they helped build up Connecticut’s economy. There are more than 34,000 people working in the energy-efficiency industry in Connecticut. It will be a staggering blow to these businesses and their employees if people cannot continue to have the assistance of these clean-energy programs.

The “Combined Public Benefits Charge” portion of our electric bill is how the Energy Efficiency Fund, CT Green Bank, and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are funded. To bolster the General Fund, the state is planning on seizing $155 million that was collected and earmarked for clean energy and efficiency programs.

By crippling these programs, it’s estimated that more than 6,600 jobs will be lost in the next two years, $21 million in state tax revenue will be lost, tens of thousands of people will not be able to receive energy assessments, weatherization upgrades, energy efficiency programs, and financial assistance for low-income ratepayers. The case will be heard before the end of June for a ruling to be made to stop the planned seizure of funds on July 1.

In other news, the legislature failed to pass an important large-scale community solar bill that would have allowed for 300 megawatts of new solar power. They passed a bill that would sunset net metering, another blow to the growing clean energy industry. Net metering allows homeowners to be credited for solar energy produced by their home that exceeds their usage (like rollover minutes on a cell phone).

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