On Bill McKibben’s Climate Address at Yale Oct. 10

by Julia Berger, New Haven Activist

On Oct. 10, 2017, Bill McKibben, the environmentalist and founder of 350.org, spoke to a large crowd at Woolsey Hall, New Haven, on “Simply Too Hot—The Desperate Science and Politics of Climate.” (See video link below.)

He began his talk declaring that there is almost universal consensus on climate change and global warming. Recent earthquakes, flooding and large-scale fires attest to the dangers caused by global warming. The U.S., Europe and Asia, among the major creators of climate change, are downsizing their use of fossil fuels—just not fast enough.

Scientists and others have known and warned for 30-40 years about the dangers of the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer due to fossil fuel extraction and use. In the 1970s Shell Oil scientists confirmed the dangers of a looming global warming disaster, but Shell, instead of acting on their own scientists’ warnings, publicly went the opposite way, denying climate change. President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s put solar panels on the White House; Reagan tore them down.

McKibben concluded that we’ve lost 40 years in our struggle against fossil fuel industries.

Are we past the point of no return? No one knows.

The Paris Accords definitely don’t go far enough—fast enough. When Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Accords stating he was the President of Pittsburgh, not Paris, the mayor of Pittsburgh phoned Trump that Pittsburgh was going 100% renewable as fast as possible.

Individuals can also fight the giants to get alternate renewable energy sources. While not everyone can get solar panels (they are now way down in cost), each of us can pressure local governments to acquire community solar panels, wind turbines, etc., to meet community energy needs. We can individually divest our money from banks and stocks and bonds that fund the fossil fuel industries.

We can protest by marching and rallying to push our cause. Already protesters all over the world are putting their bodies on the line to interfere with fossil fuel extraction and pipelines.

As part of a nation majorly responsible for creating this problem, we should be creative and more active in this fight to preserve the planet.

At his alma mater, Harvard, McKibben tried in vain to get the wealthy university to divest from fossil fuels. The Yale Corporation also refuses to divest even as several colleges work on information to counteract global warming and even when the stock value of fossil fuel industries decline. Members of universities can protest by getting arrested. (McKibben recommended that older and financially secure individuals, such as tenured professors, might go this route.)

The task, the challenge for us all, is to speed up this anti-fossil fuel trend. Make it a priority. Write to your local newspapers. Publicize, publicize, publicize. Note: there was very little coverage of McKibben’s talk in the Yale Daily News and none in the New Haven Register as far as this writer could determine.

This Chubb Fellowship Lecture featured Bill McKibben, an author and environmentalist who, in 2014, was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the “alternative Nobel.” He is a founder of 350.org. More about Bill McKibben and the Chubb Fellowship at: http://chubbfellowship.org.

Watch the full lecture here:

Money Talks, and So Does Solidarity!

by Melinda Tuhus, New Haven Stands with Standing Rock

[As this issue of the PAR newsletter went to press, we received notice about the following event. We are printing it so people can be aware of the various local banks that are funding fossil fuel projects in the U.S. and other countries. For more information about this rally and future plans for New Haven Stands with Standing Rock, please e-mail nhswsr@gmail.com.]

Rally Wednesday, Oct. 25, 4:30-5:30 p.m., beginning on the New Haven Green, corner of College and Chapel streets. Then walk 3 blocks to visit 3 banks. The reason is that next week, 92 of the world’s largest banks are meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, to discuss environmental and social risk management policies regarding the climate and indigenous people’s rights to “free, prior and informed consent.”

Mazaska Talks (“Money Talks” in Lakota) is calling for global actions on October 23-25 focusing on banks that are funding fossil fuel projects that are endangering indigenous lands, water and cultures, and our global climate. Indigenous groups and the Fossil Free divestment movement started by 350.org have led individuals, organizations and local governments to withdraw billions of dollars from these banks. In the most recent success, in early October, BNP Paribas — Europe’s second largest bank — announced it is cutting funding to tar sands, all tar sands pipelines, fracking, LNG (liquefied natural gas), and Arctic oil projects. This kind of pressure works.

Join New Haven Stands with Standing Rock (NHSwSR) as we focus on banks in our community that are making these destructive investments. We will meet on the Green at the corner of College and Chapel streets, then pay a visit to TD Bank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo Bank, where we will highlight our campaign asking the city to move its $3 million a day operating budget out of Wells Fargo to a bank that prioritizes investments in our community. Wells Fargo just announced a drastic 18 percent drop in its third quarter earnings related to penalties it’s had to pay for its many unethical practices, putting taxpayers’ money even more in jeopardy.

Questions? Email us at nhswsr@gmail.com.

Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs needs your calls to the governor today

by John Humphries, Organizer

[On Oct. 26, the House of Representatives voted in favor of Dominion/Millstone. This bill now goes to Gov. Malloy. Call (800) 406-1527 and Demand that he not sign it. Call your legislators! (Find their number on this website in the sidebar.) Let them know what you think of their preferential treatment to the demands of the Dominion.]

Two current energy questions—Millstone and offshore wind —are linked, and how CT responds in the coming months will impact the state’s workers and communities, as well as the region’s electric grid, for decades to come.

Tell legislators: Protect Millstone’s workers, not its shareholders. Recently we published an op-ed that lays out a vision for resolving the ongoing “debate” about the Millstone nuclear plant with a long-term strategy to protect the plant’s workers and communities and to replace it with renewables (including offshore wind) when it does eventually retire.

Last month, the Senate passed a bill designed to give Dominion Energy (Millstone’s owner) a special deal, even though the out-of-state corporation has produced no evidence of economic hardship and has made no commitment to remaining open even if they get such a deal. The House may take up the measure in the coming week.

Tell them to REJECT any special deal for Dominion Energy that doesn’t require a long-term commitment to Millstone’s workers and communities.

Offshore Wind: Clean Energy & Jobs for CT

On September 20, more than 60 labor, religious, environmental and business leaders gathered at IBEW Local 90’s union hall to learn about the potential for local jobs and eco-nomic development from the regional push for offshore wind.

As neighboring states aggressively pursue development of offshore wind resources in federal waters off the coast of New England, CT must act quickly to catch up and secure a share of the economic benefits for our ports and coastal communities.

More than 130 people from 60+ towns across the state endorsed our statement about the need for offshore wind to be included in the Comprehensive Energy Strategy. We look forward to working with all these allies to build a broad-based offshore wind campaign in the coming months.

CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, ctclimateandjobs.org.

Join CWEALF for Sneak Peek Screenings of ZERO WEEKS! Nov. 3 and 17

CT Women’s Education and Legal Fund is hosting a series of “sneak peek” screenings of ZERO WEEKS, a new documentary that makes the case for paid family and medical leave for all workers across the country. Though the film will be officially released early next year, the Zero Weeks team identified CT as one of their target states and is allowing an exclusive first look. Students and Seniors free. $10 suggested donation at the door to benefit the CT Campaign for Paid Family Leave.

First Screening: Friday, November 3, 7-9 p.m. University of New Haven’s Alumni Lounge, 300 Boston Post Rd., West Haven.

Second Screening: Friday, November 17, 6-8:30 p.m., First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Rd, Old Lyme.

Creating a Vision for the GNH Labor History Association Nov. 29

by Steve Kass, President, GNH Labor History Association

After a 5-year organizing effort to get labor history taught in the Connecticut public schools, the “labor history bill” was ceremonially signed into law on July 29, 2015, by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The legislation directs the state department of education to make a curriculum available in “labor history and law, including organized labor, the collective bargaining process, and existing legal protections in the workplace.”

Connecticut became only the third state in the nation to have a bill that supports the teaching of labor history in the public schools.

Since then, the GNHLHA has spent the last two years trying to get the labor history curriculum downloaded onto the Connecticut State Department of Education social studies division website.

The final step is to disseminate the labor history curriculum to Connecticut teachers.

Please join us from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at the New Haven Central Labor Council (267 Chapel St., New Haven) to discuss the future of our organization. Pizza will be served promptly at 5:30 p.m. This session will be facilitated by SEIU union organizer Steve Schrag. We need your input and energy!!

For more information, go to laborhistory.org.

People’s World Amistad Awards: Resisting Together

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards are dedicated to “Resisting Together So We Can Move Forward.” The event will take place on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, 425 College St, New Haven.

We are excited to announce this year’s awardees Peggy Buchanan, Rep. Robyn Porter, and Camila and Carolina Bortolleto. All are on the front lines of resisting the policies of white supremacy, hate, division and fear that threaten democracy and our future. All are fierce warriors in the forefront of demanding priorities for workers’ rights, peace and equality that put people and planet before profits.

The Awards will take place on Saturday, December 9 at 4 p.m. at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church at 425 College Street, New Haven. Marco Reyes took sanctuary there in July to resist deportation and separation from his family. The event will pay tribute to the Reyes family and Unidad Latina en Acción. The unions at Yale have their offices at the church. The event will pay tribute to the ongoing struggle of Unite Here Local 33 for union recognition and a contract.

  • Peggy Buchanan is Connecticut AFL-CIO campaign manager and former president, Greater Hartford Labor Council who has dedicated her life to solidarity and organizing workers on the job, in the community and to run for public office.
  • Rep. Robyn Porter represents the 94th District and co-chairs the Labor Committee in the Connecticut General Assembly where she leads for social justice, equality and workers’ rights as an elected official and at the grass roots level.
  • Camila and Carolina Bortolleto are courageous twins who co-founded CT Students For a Dream which has become a statewide voice and organization of youth “undocumented and unafraid” and organizes for the rights of all immigrants.

The annual Awards are presented to allies by the Connecticut People’s World Committee on the occasion of the 98th anniversary of the Communist Party USA. We come together in hope and unity as increased economic and racial inequalities, climate change and war give rise to new organizing by youth, low-wage workers and the 99% toward a society that puts people and planet before corporate profits.

In Solidarity, People’s World Amistad Awards Committee

We invite you to place an ad in the greeting book and take a bloc of tickets to honor the awardees and the occasion. The ad deadline is Nov. 17, 2017. Ads range in price, starting at $15. Tickets are $10. For details, contact People’s World Amistad Awards, (203) 624-4254. E-mail formatted ad copy or text: ct-pww@pobox.com or mail to: 37 Howe St, New Haven, CT 06511.

Hate Has No Home Here: Silent Rally, Milford Green, Sunday, Oct. 8.

HHNHH, Milford Chapter

We — those who oppose racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, hate speech and bullying — will join in silence on the Milford Green to show our opposition to the hate we have witnessed in OUR communities, OUR neighborhoods and OUR schools.

We are an assembly of all ages, colors, religions, genders (and those without), nationalities, political parties (we are absolutely nonpartisan) and sizes.

This is not just a Milford issue, it is a Connecticut issue, it is a national issue. We invite those who have witnessed hate to join us and send a clear message to the world: Hate Has No Home Here. Silent Rally, Milford Green, Sunday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m., 125 N. Broad St., Milford.

Courageous Women of Resistance Tour in CT — Oct. 21-29

by Tree of Life Education Foundation, tolef.org

In the history of popular struggles, a most important chapter will be the role of women who with courage and unflagging determination work for justice and human rights in their communities. Women helped to bring clean water to Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, and women were at the forefront of the encampment at Standing Rock, by the contagion of their spirit helping to build an international community of resistance.

Likewise in Israel and Palestine, in the refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, in organizations such as “Bedouin Women for Themselves” and “Grassroots Jerusalem,” women are helping to build a non-violent resist-ance movement. By refusing to be silenced or compromised by the militarism of settler colonialism, these women are speaking truth to power and in doing so, they are helping to bring enlightenment and engagement in the struggle to build a better and more peaceful future for their children.

This program will be taking place at the following locations: Saturday, October 21, Yale, New Haven – details to come. Sunday, Oct. 29, The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Street, Old Lyme – details to come.

The Courageous Women speakers: Madonna Thunder Hawk, a member of the Oohenumpa band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, has a long history of grassroots activism prior to her formative work for Lakota People’s Law Project (LPLP) as a Tribal Liaison. She is co-founder of Women of All Red Nations (WARN), as well as the Black Hills Alli-ance—which prevented corporate uranium mining in the Black Hills and proved the high level of radiation in Pine Ridge reservation’s water supply.

Fayrouz Sharqawi works as the Advocacy Coordinator at Grassroots Jerusalem, a platform for Palestinian community-based mobilization, leadership and advocacy in Occupied Jerusalem. They believe that the challenges and responses of Palestinian communities must be articulated and led by them.

Mary Johnson, March 29, 1922-Aug. 13, 2017

It is with great sadness that the Progressive Action Roundtable Planning Committee informs our readers that Mary Johnson, a founding member of PAR and leader, strategist and active participant in most of PAR’s committees, has passed on.

We dedicate this issue of our newsletter to Mary. Without her guidance, ideas for informing the public and each other of rallies and events, optimism in the struggle for justice and her persistence in fighting for people’s rights throughout the years, there may not have even been a Progressive Action Roundtable. We all owe so much to her.

Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

Mary was directly active in many of the organizations that are PAR-affiliated. She was also active in most of New Haven’s progressive organizations. She most likely was a founding member of many.
She was a great political and personal influence on many. PAR encourages our readers to send in their reminiscences of her. In the words of Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

A memorial is being planned for her with details upcoming.

Seymour’s Senior Center To Comply With ADA Accessibility Standards

Joe Luciano, Disability Rights Action Group of CT

Seymour’s senior center has agreed to comply with ADA 1990 accessibility mandates after an investigation by the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. In February 2016 I filed a complaint after observing that the center’s picnic grove and its two picnic tables were inaccessible. Many center members use wheelchairs. A 6-inch curb posed a barrier to the grove; a crosswalk was absent. The picnic tables were built by town high school students who, together with their teachers, were unaware that the ADA requires picnic tables to be wheelchair accessible.

Rather than making a simple modification (adding extensions to the table ends), the center removed the tables and closed the grove. The center will also post larger signs at its public entrance indicating the location of the accessible entrance. (Existing signs were too small and could only be read after climbing the steps to the able-bodied entrance.) The center will also fix the inoperable doorbell at its acces-sible entrance and post signage giving phone numbers for contacting center staff.

For more information: DRAGconnecticut@yahoo.com.

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

Steve Kass, GNHLHA Executive Board, President

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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