Wells Fargo Middletown Shut Down for 2 Hours; Protesters Demand Divestment from Dakota Access Pipeline

Dan Fischer, Dragonfly Climate Collective

For nearly two hours on April 7, customers were unable to get into the local Wells Fargo branch. A police officer told people attempting to enter that they would not be able to do so. After all, 76-year-old climate protester Vic Lancia had locked himself to two trash bins, each filled with 500 pounds of concrete and rocks, blocking entrance to the front door. Around the corner, nine Wesleyan students linked arms in order to prevent cars from accessing the drive-thru. They chanted “You can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil!”

Local residents, students and members of climate justice groups–about 45 people in total–protested outside Wells Fargo in opposition to the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The proposed $3.8 billion oil pipe-line would threaten the drinking water and land of the Stan-ding Rock Sioux and surrounding indigenous communities in so-called “North Dakota” and other states, posing dangers to the environment and to indigenous sovereignty. Wells Fargo has invested $120 million in the pipeline’s development.

Middletown residents and Wesleyan students have repeatedly protested at Wells Fargo over the past months, but this demonstration marked an escalation in local efforts, with people breaking the law in order to disrupt the bank’s activities.

“I will not stop letting my voice be heard as an indigenous woman. I stand here to protect water from being polluted,” said Katrina Harry, a Navajo woman who joined the demonstration.

“Settler colonialism is a structure that has displaced Native Americans from their land for hundreds of years, and the Dakota Access Pipeline is another violent colonial project endorsed by the United States government,” said Wesleyan student Angel Martin. “I am coming to show solidarity with the water protectors who resisted and are still resisting DAPL. I am coming because indigenous sovereignty matters and native lives matter.”

For the full report of the action and to see photos, please go to http://www.capitalismvsclimate.org/2017/04/wells-fargo-branch-shut-down-for-two-hours-protesters-demand-divestment-from-dakota-access-pipeline.

Barghouti and Nader Accept Gandhi Peace Award

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Hundreds gathered at Yale’s SSS building on April 23 to celebrate the Gandhi Peace Award being jointly given to Omar Barghouti and Ralph Nader. The award has been presented since 1960 by Promoting Enduring Peace (PEP).

Omar Barghouti

Omar Barghouti was introduced by Rebecca Vilkomerson, the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. She decried his Israeli arrest on March 19 as “politically motivated.” She called him a “charismatic speaker, a brilliant writer, savvy campaign strategist, and a principled thinker.”

Barghouti began his talk by noting Palestine “lingers on in colonial chains.” He dedicated his award to Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israel. He asked that his $2,500 prize money be given in equal shares to Black Lives Matter, Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and Friends of Sabeel North America. He talked about the “striking similarities” between Israeli treatment of Palestinians and that of blacks in the days of apartheid South Africa. He noted the recent decision of Barcelona, Spain, which ended its complicity with Israeli settlements and explicitly defended boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). He also listed many other BDS victories.

Ralph Nader was introduced by activist and mediator Charles Pillsbury, who said he was inspired to be a lawyer by Nader and wanted to be one of the activists dubbed “Nader’s Raiders.”

Ralph Nader said he was a student of Gandhi’s thinking that “open non-violent disobedience be active and not passive.” He said, “Peace is desirable not just on philosophical, religious or argumentative grounds, but a survival mechanism which transcends cultures.”

He talked about terrorism, and said the worst terrorism was “state terrorism” which “is always legitimized as in the ser-vice of national defense.”

At the end of his talk, he mentioned Palestinians and Israelis.

He denounced settlements as “illegal colonies.” He talked about breaking the grip of the lobby AIPAC on Congress and categorized some of the resolutions it advances as “bloody beyond belief.” He asked “Who has killed more than 400 times the number of innocent men, women, and children than the other side? The answer is the Israeli government.”

The talks were warmly received with standing ovations.

For more on this year’s awards, visit http://www.pepeace.org/gpa-2017-video-and-photos.

Celebrate May Day May 1 with International Workers’ Day Rally and General Strike

Call for General Strike on May 1!

For full video coverage of the May Day festivities, visit http://www.thestruggle.org/Mayday%202017%20in%20New%20Haven.htm.

The rally begins with speakers and performers on the New Haven Green from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 1, and will be followed by a Solidarity March starting at 5 p.m.

New Haven joins a call for a nationwide strike to demonstrate our economic power by not going to work, not going to school and stopping business as usual. We aim to highlight the economic power of workers: immigrants, women, Muslims, LGBTQ folks, Native Americans and African Americans and every other marginalized group that is currently under attack by the Trump administration.

We are asking you to join us and show solidarity: close your business on May 1; don’t go to work; don’t go to school.

Join the rally on the New Haven Green from 12 to 5 p.m. Speakers, live music, children’s activities, and a May pole! Join local justice, peace, equality, and labor groups as well as social service organizations, educators, students, healthcare workers, artists and ALL people on the Green.

Join the international workers’ march from the Green through Fair Haven at 5 p.m.

Funded in part by a grant from RESIST, Somerville, MA; web: http://resist.org; phone: (617) 623-5110.

Resistance Thursdays at the People’s Center

by Andrea Kaiser, Yale U. Retirees Association

The Peoples Center is hosting an ongoing potluck supper event every Thursday evening at 37 Howe Street. It’s an informal occasion where progressive people of all ages get together to share ideas and experiences over a good homemade supper.

Everyone present has an opportunity to talk about something that they considered has been important recently. One event was a students’ walkout at the Metropolitan Business Academy, a New Haven high school. The students were protesting the history curriculum which only mentioned slavery in its history of African-Americans. The students were threatened with suspension for participating in the peaceful protest.

Another event was the rally in support of UNITE HERE Local 33 when 12,000 petitions were presented to Yale President Peter Salovey’s office. Several persons at the potluck had been there and told a lively account of petitions strung out end-to-end stretching for blocks. A spirited discussion followed after both stories.

Resistance Thursdays are held every Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and are open to everyone of all ages. (There have been people from high school age to 95!) It’s a potluck supper; bring a dish if you can, or just bring yourself.

Discussion Series Talks Immigrant Rights

by Rocel Beatriz Balmes & Sara Tabin, Yale Daily News Staff

Over 50 New Haven residents and Yale affiliates gathered in the Yale Law School on Monday night to discuss immigrant and worker rights as part of the final installment of the Yale and New Haven Discussion Series.

The event, titled “Local Activism in the Trump Age: Protect Immigrant and Worker Rights,” began with a panel and then opened into a group discussion. Panelists included Fatima Rojas of Unidad Latina en Acción, Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri of JUNTA for Progressive Action, Rev. James Manship of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and Michael Wishnie ’87 LAW ’93 of the Law School. Monday’s discussion, the fourth and final one in the series for this academic year, centered on current activism in New Haven and the role allies can play in the efforts to resist President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policy.

“[Trump] has really created this heightened anxiety and depression in our community,” Rivera-Forastieri said. “[This] is something I have never seen before.”

During the panel, Rivera-Forastieri said many allies have come forward since November’s election to help, but that at times the outpouring of support can be overwhelming. Some have ended up creating more work for immigrant advocacy groups, who have to reply to emails and keep track of the new volunteers, she added.

Read the whole story here at Yale Daily News: Discussions series talks immigrant rights

City Launches Third Annual Bike Month

by Ashna Gupta, Staff Reporter, Yale Daily News

New Haven residents and bike-afficionados gathered at the Bradley Street Bicycle Co-op from 6 to 8 p.m. on [April 19] to celebrate the launch of the third annual New Haven Bike Month.

Caroline Smith, a co-organizer of New Haven Bike Month, kicked off the month with a launch event that included food, speakers and community art. The launch featured bike portraits by “Faces of Cycling,” a project partnering with New Haven Go that highlights the diversity of cyclists in the Elm City.

Once the annual bike month officially starts in May, events will include various open street events, bicycle clinics, prize giveaways and other celebrations of biking culture.

“At its core, its main mission is that every single person stays excited and empowered to ride bikes,” Smith said.

Source: City launches third annual bike month

Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes FY2018 | War Resisters League

The current edition of the War Resisters League’s famous “pie chart” flyer, Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes, analyzes the Federal Fiscal Year 2018 Budget.  (FY 2018 is 1 October 2017 – 30 September 2018).  Perfect for Tax Day leafletting, as a focus for forums and panels and workshops and more!

Because the Trump administration did not release its full budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 in time for production of this flyer, and Congress has not yet finalized the FY2017 budget, the figures here are based on the 2017 proposed budget altered to incorporate budget-related announcements, including at least $54 billion more for the Pentagon, increase in Homeland Security, and reductions for other slices of the pie.

Each year War Resisters League analyzes federal funds outlays as presented in detailed tables in “Analytical Perspectives” of the Budget of the United States Government. Our analysis is based on federal funds, which do not include trust funds – such as Social Security – that are raised separately from income taxes for specific purposes. What federal income taxes you pay (or donít pay) by April 18, 2017, goes to the federal funds portion of the budget.

Read the whole story and download, or order, all their flyers here: Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes FY2018 | War Resisters League

Arrest of Omar Barghouti Complicates Gandhi Peace Award

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, PEP

At 4 p.m. on April 23, Promoting Enduring Peace is to hold its 46th Gandhi Peace Award ceremony, honoring consumer activist and Pentagon critic Ralph Nader and Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) activist Omar Barghouti. On March 19, Israeli authorities arrested Barghouti supposedly for “tax evasion.” (Download the event flyer here)

A special meeting of the Board of Directors of Promoting Enduring Peace reaffirmed its choice of Omar Barghouti as co-winner of the Gandhi Peace Award despite the arrest. The Board has full confidence in Omar Barghouti and assumes that Israel is carrying through on its threats to harass and silence Palestinian activists. Barghouti is being honored for his leadership in the BDS movement, which uses the peaceful tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure the Israeli government to respect Palestinian rights.

The Gandhi Peace Award has been awarded for over fifty years. It was first given to former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Other laureates include Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez, Amy Goodman, Rabbis Arik Ascherman and Ehud Bandel, Bill McKibben, Medea Benjamin, Tom Goldtooth and Kathy Kelly.

Promoting Enduring Peace was originally founded in 1952 to foster world peace, in particular to help prevent a world war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and has since embraced efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change and species extinction. Its motto is: “Peace on Earth, Peace with Earth.”
The award ceremony this year will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 23 in New Haven at the Strathcona Hall, 1 Prospect St.

In the past year the Israeli government has threatened BDS activists and Omar Barghouti in particular. At a conference in Jerusalem one Israeli minister called for Barghouti to be denied residence rights in Israel. Another called for the “civil targeted elimination” of BDS leaders. Last May Barghouti’s travel permit was revoked. Now he’s been arrested (though released on bail).

You can sign a petition urging the Israeli government to drop the gag order Omar Barghouti’s case, dismiss the charges, and restore his permission to travel abroad and to return to his home.

We could use your help in gaining Barghouti’s ability to come to the U.S. for the award and for the ceremony in general. Contact PEP at office@pepeace.org.

Visiting MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellows Talk About Challenges of Poverty, Housing and Family Stability

by Vada Crosby, Christian Community Action

On April 25 at 5:30 p.m. at Hill Career Regional High School, 140 Legion Avenue, New Haven, Christian Community Action is excited to host From Compassion to Action: The Road to Hope, a candid conversation about the pathway to family stability. This event is free and open to the public.
The featured speakers are Matthew Desmond, Ph.D., and Juan Salgado, recipients of the 2015 MacArthur “Genius” grant awards. The MacArthur Fellowship is awarded to individuals who show exceptional creativity in their work, and the prospect for more in the future.

Desmond is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Social Sciences and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project at Harvard University. He is the author of the award-winning book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, a New York Times best-seller, a nonfiction finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award, and the winner of the PEN America/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction.
Salgado, a renowned community leader, is president and CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino in Chicago, an organization that adapts principles of contextualized learning to equip immigrants and their families.

This discussion will raise awareness of issues affecting urban centers across Connecticut, a state where the cost of living is high, quality housing stock is limited and even families whose heads of household are employed are at risk of homelessness. Beverly Gage, a professor of 20th century American history at Yale University, will moderate.

The event’s host, Christian Community Action, a non-profit agency, has been an advocate since 1967 for New Haven families that are homeless as well as many others struggling with the challenges of poverty. CCA’s programs include an emergency shelter, transitional housing, a food pantry and a variety of support services, including job search assistance, family counseling, and workshops.

For more information, please contact Vada Crosby, CCA Marketing Associate, at (203) 780-8379 or vcrosby@ccahelping.org, or visit CCA at ccahelping.org or http://www.facebook.com/ccahelping. Christian Community Action, 168 Davenport Ave., New Haven, CT 06519.

Get Involved with SURJ New Haven

SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) is a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ provides a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change. To get involved, join the SURJ New Haven General Body Google Group. We use this group to let members know about last-minute events and actions as well as to coordinate SURJ’s presence at actions. Go to groups.google.com, search for our google group, and click “join.”

Another way to get more involved is by volunteering with our committees and working groups to organize and facilitate events. These groups often meet outside of general body meetings. If you see a project you might be interested in, email gina.p.roussos@gmail.com to get connected with the co-chairs.
Education Committee. Co-chairs: Amber Kelly, Gina Roussos, and Teresa Sandoval-Schaefer, working to educate our community on racial justice issues through film screenings, workshops, and group discussions.

Action Committee. Co-chairs: Mandy McGuire-Schwartz, Karen Grossi, and Sarah Lipkin. Get out in the streets! Work directly on campaigns for racial justice! Work in solidarity with local orgs to directly challenge white supremacy!

Canvassing Committee. Co-chairs: Ian Skoggard and Fabian Menges, developing inclusive outreach and base.

Deportation Defense Committee. Co-chairs: Natalie Alexander and Anna Robinson-Sweet collaborating with Unidad Latina en Acción to resist deportations and advocating for policies that protect our immigrant community.

Research Committee. Chair: Mandy McGuire-Schwartz, conducting background research to inform and support existing and new campaigns.

Fundraising Committee. Co-chairs: Reed Miller and Chelsea Granger, working to raise funds to support SURJ’s work and the work of local POC-led orgs.

New Haven Public Schools Committee. Chair: Karen Grossi, building a community coalition addressing racial justice in New Haven public schools.

Welcoming Committee. Co-chairs: Karen Grossi and Kacey Perkins, orienting new members to SURJ’s work and helping them find ways to plug in.

Criminal Justice Committee. Chair: Teresa Sandoval-Schaefer, designing campaigns to demand police accountability in local cases of police brutality and in pursuance of criminal justice.

Holding Ground Conference Saturday, April 8

by Sarah Moon, conference organizer

Holding Ground exists to nourish and support artist-activists while building connections among us that help sustain our ongoing work as change-makers. In these challenging political times, we are committed to facilitating a space of inclusivity for people of all ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities and religious affiliations.

With our second Holding Ground Conference April 8 at the Unitarian Universalist Society, 608 Whitney Ave., we aim to bring together those who identify as artists (of any medium) and whose work is rooted in their commitment to sustainability and local communities. The goal of the conference is to provide attendees with an opportunity to connect with their guiding purpose and gain renewed energy to bring back to their work. By coming together in community, we can find support and inspiration from fellow, similarly-motivated artist-activists.

The day’s schedule will be as follows:
9:30-10 a.m. — Coffee and snacks
10 a.m.-1 p.m.– The Work That Reconnects. Workshop led by facilitator Coleen O’Connell.
1-1:30 p.m.– Lunch
1:30-3 p.m. — Small group sharing of our projects and offering feedback
3-5:30 p.m.– Collaborative art project.
Coffee, tea, snacks and lunch will be provided. The cost is $20. We will have a driver at Union Station at 9:30 a.m. to pick up anyone arriving by train. Please email us if you will need a shuttle pick-up. Find us on Facebook. Register here! http://www.eventbrite.com/e/holding-ground-conference-tickets-30892804209

Stop Congressional approval of illegal and immoral wars. Support funding human needs.

Dear Peace Activist!

Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford asked the Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations to provide a LEGAL BASIS for the so called War against Terrorism. This would allow increased intervention in Yemen and Somalia. It would finally put a “legal” coating on, i.e., Congressional approval of, the illegal and immoral Bush/Obama/Trump wars.
We must organize an all-out campaign against this maneuver to “legalize” the aggression of US foreign policy!

We must couple this with our all-out unity approach against the Trump budget of pitting a shameless increased military budget against desperately needed funds for human needs!
The Peace movement must unite, mobilizing our members and allies.

Yours in peace, Alfred L. Marder, President
Greater New Haven Peace Council
Member of the World Peace Council

March Events During the 64 Days of Nonviolence

The 64 Days officially begins each year on Jan. 30, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, and ends on April 4, the day we commemorate Dr. King. All events are on the campus of Southern CT State University unless otherwise noted. Women’s Studies Program, SCSU, 501 Crescent Street. (203) 392-6133, womenstudies@southernct.edu.

March 1: “Visioning” Sessions for the Reflection Garden Project. There will be three discussion/visioning sessions: Student Focus, 1-2 p.m.; Faculty/Staff Focus, 3-5 p.m.; Community Focus, 6-8 p.m. ASC Ballroom. All sessions are open to all participants.

March 2: A reading of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, with Iota, Iota, Iota, the SCSU chapter of the National Women’s Studies Honor Society. 7:30 p.m., Engleman Hall B 121.

March 3: Screening and Discussion of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. 12:30 p.m., TBA.

March 3: A reading of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, with Iota, Iota, Iota, the SCSU Chapter of the National Women’s Studies Honors Society. 7:30 p.m., Engleman Hall B 121.

March 6: Prayer Vigil for Nonviolence and Peace. 12:15 p.m., Buley Library Patio at SCSU.

March 7: Elm City Collective International Women’s Day Celebration Kick-Off at SCSU. 7 – 9 p.m., Adanti Student Center Ballroom.

March 8 (Tentative): Alex Wilson (Cree) on Two-Spirit and Queer Indigenous Feminism as Epistemology and Pedagogy.

March 21: Courageous Conversations on White Privilege. 5 – 7 p.m., Engleman Hall B 121.

March 22: An Interfaith Dialogue: “We Are All One: Interfaith Perspectives on the Diversity & Oneness of the Global Human Family.” 1 – 2 p.m., Engleman Hall A 120.

March 22: Screening of the Documentary, Adama, followed by a Q & A with Adama Bah and filmmaker David Felix Sutcliffe. 6 – 8 p.m., Adanti Student Center Theater.

March 24: Coalition of Women’s Studies in Connecticut & Rhode Island. 9 – 3 p.m., University of New Haven.

March 25-April 1st: SCSU Bike Week.

March 25: New Haven Social Justice Bike Ride: 13 mile bike ride through New Haven that celebrates current and historical social justice sites in our city. Bikes and helmets available for loan. Free! Limited to 25 people. 6:30-9:30 a.m., TBA.

March 25: The 21st Annual African American Women’s Summit, a Sisters’ Collective in New Haven. 8 – 3 p.m., Beecher School, 100 Jewell St., New Haven.

March 30: Wig and Clothing Drive for Transgender Day of Visibility. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., SAGE Center.

March 30: Shoruq Debka and Hip Hop Theatre Performance. 7 – 9 p.m., Engleman Hall C 112.

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