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.

On the Events of the Peaceful No Ban No Wall Rally on Saturday, Feb. 4

by Unidad Latina en Acción, ulaccion@yahoo.com

We are deeply disappointed by the way the media has reported on the events of the peaceful No Ban No Wall rally on Saturday. We depend on the press to ensure that the entire story is made known, to hold accountable all authorities involved, to fact check statements, and to be unbiased in their reporting. This has not happened.

Our account of the events is as follows: After a gathering of around 300 people at City Hall, a peaceful march began walking through downtown New Haven. Prior to arrival to Route 34, protesters were reminded that ambulances and other emergency vehicles must be allowed through.

Nonviolent protestors held the highway for approximately 30 minutes during which time state police arrived with several canine units. At one point, at least one citizen was observed leaving their car and joining the protest. A legal observer was reminding at least three different state police officers that protestors would move off the roadway for any emergency, at which point she was jumped on by a police canine.

At no point were any lights or sirens observed from an ambulance. However, when protestors were informed of a potential medical situation in a civilian vehicle, protestors immediately cleared the lane of their own accord and did not reoccupy it. Simultaneously, state police pointed pepper spray and used canines to intimidate protestors who were already in the process of clearing the roadway.

Marchers left Route 34 after being given one verbal warning about leaving the state highway. Shortly thereafter, marchers were kettled on North Frontage Road between Orange and State Streets, an illegal tactic in which police attempt to surround protestors with the intent of limiting their mobility in order to arrest them en masse. The march was able to take an alternate route through a parking lot towards City Hall, its intended end.

The march was cut short on Church Street approaching Chapel Street. Local police, at the direction of state police and without verbal warning, started using force to push marchers towards the sidewalk. As marchers complied by making their way to the sidewalk, police aggression escalated rapidly. At this point the crowd was only around 50. Marchers were hurried to get on an already packed sidewalk by the threat of pepper spray, batons, and three aggressive canines. As marchers were trying to make room on the side-walk, one person got a concussion from being thrown on the pavement by police, an elderly woman was knocked down by police, and pepper spray was deployed into the crowded sidewalk without warning.
The police mishandled the situation from start to finish. State police recklessly escalated the situation. As a sanctuary city, local police should be protecting their residents rather than violating their rights. The coalition of organizations involved in this event invites local police to work with us on training in nonviolent de-escalation tactics.

Our message must be highlighted: at a time when individuals’ and families’ very existence is being threatened by the Muslim Ban and the threat of a wall along our border, we are standing together to oppose state sanctioned violence and xenophobia. Together we are working towards a world without oppression. Unidad Latina en Acción, ANSWER Coalition, PSL, New Haven Space of Encounter.

“Calhoun” Becomes “Hopper” | New Haven Independent

by Lucy Gellman

Following protests over its namesake’s role in promoting slavery in the 19th century South, Yale’s residential Calhoun College has been renamed Hopper College, after a pioneering female mathematician.

The Yale Corporation voted to make the change Saturday after months of protest over the residential college being named after John C. Calhoun.

The new name honors Grace Murray Hopper, a computer scientist, engineer and naval officer who graduated with both a master’s and doctoral degree from Yale in the 1930s — three decades before the university’s undergraduate college became co-educational.

As a former U.S. senator, Calhoun served as a leading voice for slavery and against abolition. The residential college had been named after him since 1933, when Yale was seeking to woo more white Southerners to apply. When Yale decided to reach out to more black students decades later, the name became less of an attraction — and to some students, an insult.

Read the whole story here: “Calhoun” Becomes “Hopper” | New Haven Independent

Four Arrested In Pipeline Protest

by Lucy Gellman, New Haven Independent, Feb 16, 2017

Four protesters chained themselves together to block TD Bank’s doors at rush hour Tuesday and spread a Valentine’s Day message: If you love the environment, take your money elsewhere.

The demonstration took place beginning at 4:20 p.m. outside of TD Bank on Chapel Street downtown. It was part of a larger protest for which 50 or so New Haveners showed up, voicing their support for water protectors at North Dakota’s Standing Rock reservation a day after a federal judge denied a stay request from Native American Tribes trying to halt construction of the $3.7 billion, 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline.This marks the latest of the local protesters’ divestment-geared efforts, which have included downtown rallies each month since October.

Read the entire report here: Four Arrested In Pipeline Protest | New Haven Independent

Hundreds Pledge To Fight Deportations

by Lucy Gellman, New Haven Independent, Feb 16, 2017

After a day of false alarms, over 100 people packed a downtown gathering spot to sign up to serve as legal observers, accompany defendants to court, get arrested at protests, and put a rapid-response hotline on speed dial in preparation of anticipated federal raids on undocumented immigrants.

That event took place Wednesday evening at the New Haven Peoples Center on Howe Street.

Starting at 7 p.m., over 100 New Haveners and people from surrounding communities — with dozens left waiting outside — packed the venue’s main room for “Resisting Deportation: A Workshop for Allies.” The two-hour event—part info session, part call-to-arms—was hosted by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) New Haven, with several members from Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) and Junta for Progressive Action.

Read the entire report here: Hundreds Pledge To Fight Deportations | New Haven Independent

Calling on Senator Murphy to Oppose Senate Bill #170

by Stanley Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

Imagine if your business or group supported Cesar Chavez grape boycott your state government put you on a blacklist, and you would be forbidden all state contracts and any pension fund investment. Or maybe state authorities punish you because you refused to buy Nestle products in the ’70s when it was dressing up saleswomen as nurses and pushing baby formula on women in the poorest countries in defiance of all good health sense. Imagine if when Macy’s and Woolworths boycotted Nazi German goods in the ’30s they would be sanctioned. What if the states did something similar to groups demanding action against Sudan because of what its government did in Darfur?

Senate Bill #170 proposes just that in regard to one boycott, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement that works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law. It was proposed by Florida Sen. Rubio and has 28 cosponsors including CT Senator Blumenthal. It goes beyond boycotts. It punishes any “entity” that advocates “sanctions” so it could be triggered if a group called for a cut-off of cluster bombs to Israel. If passed SB #170 would be an outrageous violation of free speech and a very bad precedent for trade unions who use the weapon of boycott to support striking workers. An effort is being made to persuade CT Senator Chris Murphy to oppose the bill. Labor lawyer John Fussell wrote a terrific letter to Murphy about #170 and 194 CT residents signed on to a similar letter opposing #170 that was hand-delivered to him at his town meeting in West Hartford. Email him through his website or even better call his office in DC at (202) 224-4041. For details see www.TheStruggle.org.

Far from punishing people for advocating BDS, state governments should support it. A few years ago Connecticut’s Treasurer reported that the state had $32 million invested in State of Israel Bonds or stocks in Israeli companies.

Reminder: PAR Articles and Calendar Items Due Friday, Feb. 17

Dear Progressive Community Members:

Readers want to know:

  • What is the purpose of your organization?
  • How are you building your group?
  • What campaigns are you organizing?
  • What events are you planning?

The deadline for the March Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter is Friday, Feb. 17. Please send to this e-mail address – parnewhaven@hotmail.com – articles about your group’s recent and current activities and upcoming actions and events.

We ask you to limit your article to 350 words. Be sure to indicate your name and organization as they should appear in your byline. (see other articles for examples.)

Please keep in mind that as layout space permits, we will include photos.

IMPORTANT: Don’t neglect to add your organization’s contact information such as phone number, e-mail address or website, so our readers can get more information about what your group is doing.

If you haven’t written recent articles for PAR, please include information about your group’s purpose. Do not use different fonts or sizes in your article.

About calendar items:

If you mention an event in an article, please also send a SEPARATE calendar announcement.
Please give street addresses for any events or meetings, even for “well-known” public buildings.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please indicate whether your event location is wheelchair accessible.
You can also send us SAVE THE DATE items about future events, even if you do not yet have all the details in place.

The Newsletter will come out approximately Monday, February 27. Please consider this when submitting calendar items.

Here are other suggestions about submitting copy to the PAR Newsletter:
1. If you ask or encourage new groups to submit articles or calendar items to PAR, please give them a copy of these tips.
2. Submit copy by e-mail, either as regular text or as an MS Word or attachment (.doc or .docx).
3. If you are a first-time author for the PAR Newsletter, thank you! We hope you will subscribe and encourage others in your organization to do so.
4. If you know of someone who wants to write an article but does not use e-mail, send an e-mail to us with that person’s name and phone number or call Paula at (203) 562-2798.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT INSERTS:
We prefer to carry articles and calendar listings rather than inserts. But if you have an insert to include in the Newsletter, we ask you to send the information contained in the flyer to this e-mail address as well so that it can be easily added to the PAR calendar.

Your organization must make and pay for the inserts. We will be able to handle only those inserts that are a full sheet (8.5 x 11) or half-sheet (8.5 x 5.5) of paper. We cannot accept postcards or cardstock flyers. There is a fee of $7 for inserts.

Please call Paula at (203) 562-2798 if you want an insert in the next newsletter.

E-mail us if you’d to join our monthly planning meetings or help with the mailings. We always welcome more helpers and new ideas!

Many thanks! We’re looking forward to your articles!

Thank you for your help in creating this community newsletter

With love and solidarity,

– The PAR Planning Committee

New Haven Hosts Replica of Solitary Confinement Cell

by Allie Perry, Shalom UCC, NH and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

What is it like to be isolated and segregated in a small prison cell 23/7 for days, weeks, years, and in some cases even decades?  The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is clear.  It is not just like torture; it is torture. According to Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, holding a person in solitary confinement for a period of time longer than 15 days is torture. On any given day, however, around 80,000 people in the United States are being held in solitary confinement.

To help people understand that prolonged isolation is a form of torture, NRCAT has created a replica solitary confinement cell. The NRCAT replica confinement cell has traveled around the country and is now coming to New Haven.

For three weeks, the cell will be on display at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street, for the first week, Monday, Jan. 30-Saturday, Feb. 4; at Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High Street for the second week, Sunday, Feb. 5-Saturday, Feb. 11; and for the third week, Feb. 11-18, at the Yale Law School library, 127 Wall St.

Initiated by three New Haven United Church of Christ congregations (United, Redeemer, and Shalom), this project had engaged a powerful coalition of community, religious, and university organizations. In addition to the churches, organizers of this project include: the New Haven Free Public (Ives Memorial) Library, the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, the Orville Schell Human Rights Center at Yale Law School, Dwight Hall at Yale, My Brother’s Keeper, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Wilton Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the CT ACLU, Malta Justice Initiative, and Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice.

The project’s goals are to provide opportunities to experience a simulation of isolation; to educate the use of solitary confinement, including practices in Connecticut; and to equip people to advocate for limiting and stopping the use of solitary confinement, precisely because such prolonged isolation is cruel, unusual, and degrading treatment.  For the schedule of the extensive program of speakers, panels, book talks, performances, and films during the three weeks that the cell will be in New Haven, go to: www.insidetheboxnhv.org/events.

“We Won’t Go Back!” People’s World African American History Month Celebration

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“Revisiting Frederick Douglass Two Centuries Later: WE WON’T GO BACK,” is the theme of this year’s 43rd Annual People’s World African American History Month Celebration.

The event to be held on Sunday, February 26, will feature guest speaker James M. Bradford, drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and a performance by Ice the Beef Youth including the speech that famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave in New Haven.

The event will be held at 4 p.m. at Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave. After filling the Peoples Center to overflow for years, a larger venue was chosen last year.

Douglass’ extraordinary leadership for freedom guides us in today’s stormy political climate with his powerful call to action: “If there is no struggle, there can be no progress….Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will….The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

In 1864 Douglass (1817-1895) addressed more than 1,200 free Black men gathered at Grapevine Point (now Criscuolo Park) in New Haven to become soldiers in the 29th Regiment of the Union Army and fight in the Civil War.

Guest speaker James M. Bradford is active in the anti-prison movement and Working America in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He chairs the Communist Party of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Winners of the High School Arts and Writing Competition will present their essays, poems or artwork on the theme “How can we best unite against bigotry and injustice?”

Students are asked to express in artwork, poetry, essay or song: “On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, leading abolitionist, orator and writer who fought against slavery and for women’s rights, how can we unite against hate, bigotry and injustice to continue his legacy in today’s world?” Submissions must be received at 37 Howe St. by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Also on exhibit will be drawings from the Martin Luther King celebration at Peabody Museum created at the People’s World table on the theme, “How can we best unite against hate?”

Donation is $5 or what you can afford. For more information e-mail: ct-pww@pobox.com.

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