Sing Seeger Songs to Benefit IRIS May 17

by Kim Stoner, NH Society of Friends

A singalong concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of folk singer and activist Pete Seeger will be held at Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike in Hamden on Friday, May 17th. We will sing to celebrate Seeger’s music and his life-long efforts on behalf of peace, justice, and the earth. The concert is a benefit for Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS).

Seeger passionately believed that singing together not only built community but could help heal our planet. Towards the end of his life, he said that if there’s still a world a hundred years from now it would be in large part because of people singing with each other.

Audiences in this singalong tribute concert will sing together using our new songbook containing fifty classic songs Pete Seeger led throughout his life, specially designed for Seeger centennial event. This event will feature Emma’s Revolution, Charlie King, Annie Patterson and Peter Blood-all of whom worked closely with Pete Seeger during his life.

Emma’s Revolution is the award-winning activist duo of Pat Humphries & Sandy O, whose songs have been praised by Pete Seeger and covered by Holly Near. They convey the energy and strength of their convictions, in an uprising of truth and hope for these tumultuous times.

Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist. Pete Seeger hailed him as “one of the finest singers and songwriters of our time.” They worked together to help build the People’s Music Network.

Annie Patterson & Peter Blood are the co-creators of the best-selling songbook Rise Up Singing. They have led sing-along concerts across North America and abroad building “hope & change through song.” www.groupsinging.org.

Concert details: Pete’s 100th Singalong Concert Friday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike in Hamden. Info: Paul Hammer (475) 201-3810, pauldhammer@yahoo.com.

Tickets & information: www.riseupandsing.org/events. Adults: $20, students and low income $10. For more information: www.riseupandsing.org/seeger-100th.

Tweed New Haven Airport Redux

[Extracts from Yale Daily News article 4/23/19 by Natalie Bussemaker and Siddsrth Shankar]

For years, city and state residents and officials have debated whether or not to expand Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport. But despite numerous pleas from local city government, no substantial progress has been made on the issue due to state and local laws that prevent the expansion of the airport’s runway from 5,600 feet.

In January, Mayor Toni Harp unilaterally terminated New Haven’s 2009 Memorandum of Agreement with East Haven, which limited the runway length, arguing that the restriction was illegal. And last month, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Transportation Committee passed a bill that would end the state’s legal restriction on Tweed’s runway length. Still, the bill needs to be approved by the full Connecticut House of Representatives and Connecticut Senate and signed by Gov. Ned Lamont SOM ’80 to become law. According to state Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, the chances that the bill will make it into law this legislative session — which closes in just over a month — are slim….

Looney said a “necessary precursor” for him to support any legislation that would repeal the statute restricting Tweed’s runway length is the development of a “community benefits plan.” According to Looney, the plan would address soundproofing, noise concerns and traffic reconfiguration, as well as mitigate the environmental impact of the changes to Tweed.

“There’s a number of environmental advocates in the neighborhood who are raising issues about what the environmental impact of airport development would be given the predictions of rising sea levels over the next 20 years, concerns about wetlands [and] concerns about flooding,” Looney said. “All of that would have to be addressed in any plan.”

Expansion proponents note that New Haven is one of the most underserved air travel markets in the nation and that a longer runway will open the door to flights to major cities.

Currently, Tweed only offers daily service to Philadelphia and once-a-week service to Charlotte, N.C. According to a Yale press release supporting Tweed’s expansion, expanding the runway would add 1,000 jobs in the region, generate $122 million in revenue and increase the state and local tax base by $4.5 million. According to Kevin Rocco, the chief executive officer of BioRez, Inc. — a medical device start-up in the city — the stalled progress on Tweed enhancements has come at the expense of efficiency and growth for businesses in the region….

“The responsibility is going to be with [Lamont] to help move a plan forward with a commitment of state resources and broad-based inclusion of community input, because the city’s had an opportunity to do so for several years and has not,” Looney said.

[For more about the environmental hazards of Tweed Airport expansion, see our March 2019 issue, par-newhaven.org/2019/02/26/tweed-airport-and-climate-change-the-environment-is-both-local-and-global]

Is Your PAR Subscription About to Run Out?

by PAR Planning Committee

The Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter publishes from September through June. Subscriptions from many of our readers will expire with the June issue.

We hope you enjoy your subscription and value the PAR newsletter as a community resource. To see if your subscription is due for renewal, please look at your address label. If “201906” is printed on the label to the right of your name, your subscription ends next month. Please send in $13 for 10 issues (Sept. 2019-June 2020) so that you can continue to read about what local organizations are doing and you can submit articles about your own organization.

The Progressive Action Roundtable was started in January 1993. After several months, this community Newsletter became the main activity of PAR, giving New Haven area organizations an opportunity for networking and for advertising their activities.

We hope to hear from you.

Students Disrupt David Swensen Talk and Occupy Investments Office

(contributed photo)

NEW HAVEN, CT – Student demonstrators interrupted a public talk given by Yale Chief Investments Officer David Swensen and NPR correspondent Chris Arnold on Tuesday, calling on Swensen to meet the demands of students who were occupying the Yale Investments Office for the third time in the past five months. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/FossilFreeYale.

Half an hour into the financial advice presentation described as “teaching students to invest like Yale does”,” more than 40 members of the Yale Endowment Justice coalition stood up, holding banners reading “Yale is Complicit” and “Inaction is not an option.”Lorna Chitty YC’20, a member of the Yale Democratic Socialists, interrupted Swensen to inform him that earlier that afternoon, 20 students and community members had begun a third sit-in in the Investments Office. She asked when Swensen would respond to the years of student activism calling for fossil fuel divestment and cancelling Puerto Rico’s debt.

As Swensen sat without replying, Arnold urged the protestors to bring their complaints at another time.. Chitty responded: “We have gone through all of your administrative channels, we have written countless reports, we have delivered our demands to your door, and you remain invested in the climate crisis that threatens all our futures and is already impacting the people of Puerto Rico.” The student organizers marched out of the lecture hall, chanting “Cancel the Debt,” leaving only about half of the original attendees. .

This isn’t the first confrontation between Swensen and student organizers. In March 2018, Yale’s legendary investments manager faced backlash following an email exchange with the Yale Daily News, in which Swensen called the editor-in-chief a “coward” and wrote, “Don’t you understand simple English?”

Students point to Yale’s holdings in the Puerto Rican debt crisis as an example of investments that aren’t consistent with Yale’s stated commitment to climate change. “As Puerto Rico struggles to recover from a climate change-fueled hurricane and a massive debt crisis, Yale’s fifth largest fund manager Baupost is suing the island to be repaid first. Our demands for bold moral action from Yale have been met with silence. That’s why we’re continuing to take direct action to hold our university accountable to principles of climate justice” said Adriana Colón-Adorno YC’20, a member of Despierta Boricua, the Yale Puerto Rican students association. Yale’s CIO David Swensen sits on the board of Baupost.

Fossil Free Yale has been working with the Yale administration for six years to divest the university’s $29 billion endowment from fossil fuels, but students’ frustration with administrative stalling and inaction has led them to take more drastic actions like disrupting an event. “Nonviolent direct action is a necessary and just response to a rigged and fraudulent democratic system of representation,” says Ross Pennock, DIV ’21, a member of the Endowment Justice Coalition.

While the students were walking out of the lecture hall, the Yale Police Department was issuing citations to 20 more students and community members for refusing to leave the Investments Office until Yale agreed to meet their demands. This sit-in follows a December action at which 48 students were arrested, the largest university fossil fuel divestment direct action in history, as well as a March sit-in at which 17 students were arrested. The activists promised they would continue to hold Yale accountable to principles of climate justice.

Students Occupy Yale Investments Office, Demanding Action on Climate Injustice in Puerto Rico

[Below are excerpts from the press release PAR received on March 4 regarding the action at Yale]

Yale University police arrested and issued citations to 17 Yale students who held an occupation of the Investments Office [March 4] demanding that Yale direct its fund managers to cancel their holdings in Puerto Rico’s debt and divest the endowment from fossil fuel companies. A total of 30 students and New Haven community members participated in the sit-in lasting the entire afternoon. They have emphasized that they will continue returning to the Investments Office until the University takes action on their demands.

In the face of hurricanes, devastating California wildfires and the latest UN climate report, bold and comprehensive action is needed to address climate change. Climate change exacerbates existing economic inequity, as seen in Puerto Rico, where several “vulture funds” that hold Puerto Rico’s considerable debt are demanding to be repaid before the island can rebuild and support its poorest residents. Research has shown that the intensity of hurricanes like Maria, which struck the island in September last year, is being exacerbated by climate change.

“As Puerto Rico struggles to recover from a climate change-fueled hurricane and a massive debt crisis, Yale’s fifth largest fund manager Baupost is suing the island to be repaid first. Our demands for bold moral action from Yale have been met with silence. That’s why we’re continuing to take direct action to hold our university accountable to principles of climate justice,” said Adriana Colón, a member of Des-pierta Boricua, the Yale Puerto Rican students association. Yale’s CIO David Swensen sits on the board of Baupost.

For six years, student and community organizers have worked with the Yale administration to advocate for the divestment of Yale’s $29.4 billion endowment from fossil fuel corporations. Yale would join 998 institutions that have committed to divesting $7.2 trillion from the fossil fuel industry worldwide. Most recently, Middlebury College announced it will divest its $1 billion endowment from fossil fuel companies. For more information, please contact Martin Man at martinmi5@hotmail.com or call (845) 505-9281.

Liberty Community Services at New Haven Libraries

Liberty Community Services offers one-on-one consulta-tions at NHFPLs for those with basic needs (jobs, food, shelter, and health and wellness issues).
Ives Main Library, 133 Elm Street
* Mondays to Fridays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
* Saturdays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Fair Haven Branch Library, 182 Grand Avenue
* Thursdays, 5-7 p.m. * Saturday, April 6, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Wilson Branch Library, 303 Washington Avenue
* Tuesdays, 5-7 p.m *Saturdays, April 13, 27, 10 a.m.-1p.m.

Coalition For People Annual Meeting, April 17

The annual meeting of the Greater New Haven Coalition For People will be on Wednesday, April 17, from 4:45-7:30 p.m. in the Program Room, lower level of the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St., New Haven.

Coalition For People through the years

Coalition For People led the successful campaign to have the downtown bus stops restored around the New Haven Green; demanded the hospitals adhere to the Hill-Burton Act and provide free health care to people who could not afford it; promoted universal, comprehensive single-payer health care; organized in neighborhoods to curb drug dealing and violence; won guarantees of jobs for New Haven residents at projects and businesses receiving city assistance; and worked with many other organizations in the New Haven area on issues of justice, racism, welfare rights, peace and the environment.

This past year we have taken on such issues as New Haven’s lack of affordable housing, the rights of the homeless, “hospital-dumping” of patients to the street who have no where to go after they are discharged from the hospital, lack of disability access to public places, and development of a program to provide resources for people with behavioral issues who would otherwise be put through the court system for creating a disturbance or other minor infractions or misdemeanors.

We are honored that our guest speaker will be Rev. Bonita Grubbs, Executive Director of Christian Community Action. Music will be performed by Flint Ladder. Our meeting and light dinner are free.
We invite you to become a member of Coalition For People and join our board. Annual dues are $5. Only members are eligible to vote during the business portion of the meeting.

RSVP is necessary. Please call (203) 468-2541, or e-mail coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com.

An Invitation to a Liberation Seder April 27

Mikveh Warshaw, Mending Minyan and Jewish Voice for Peace

Join us for our second annual community liberation seder, hosted by Mending Minyan and Jewish Voice for Peace, New Haven (JVP) on Saturday, April 27 from 4:30 to 9 p.m. It will be held in the Congregational Church North Haven, 28 Church St. North Haven. Guests are asked to donate $15-$25, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. After costs are covered excess funds will be donated to a local charity.

During Passover, we recall the story of Exodus where the ancient Hebrew people were liberated from slavery. The night is filled with story-telling, ritual, song, and delicious food! For centuries Passover has been used by communities, Jewish and non-Jewish, as a time to build connections across movements and commit to celebrating liberation struggles. This year, as we read stories of the past, we connect the teachings to our current struggles for a more just world.

This event is hosted by Mending Minyan and JVP. Mending Minyan is a group of Jews and friends of Jews in the New Haven vicinity who are practicing deeply-rooted and joy-based Jewish ritual decoupled from Zionism and in service to building radical Jewish practices in support of struggles against white supremacy and colonization. JVP New Haven is a diverse community of activists inspired by Jew-ish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights in Palestine, Israel, the U.S., and globally. This event is hosted in the spirit of the liberation for all people, and thus we will be centering the experience of Black and Brown, Queer, Trans, Women, and working-class and other marginalized Jews and non-Jews. This event is open to people of all or no faiths and to children of all ages!

We will be having pot-luck style food so that we can share our wide tradition of dishes we cook for Passover. Please sign up to bring a dish if possible. We are also looking for volunteers to help with setup, break-down, and childcare. Contact us at mikveh.warshaw@gmail.com.

Combating Climate Collapse, Combating Fascism

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

To top off a month of climate action, Promoting Enduring Peace and other groups will be holding a forum on Sunday, April 28 called “A Green New Deal and Other Ideas on Avoiding Climate Catastrophe.” It will be held in the early afternoon at the Bridgeport Islamic Community Center, 703 State St, Bridgeport, CT. Details are being worked out so check at pepeace.org during the month.

Readers of the Progressive Action Roundtable surely know that the consensus of U.N. scientists has concluded that we must cut back carbon dioxide emissions to nearly half by 2030. That is a massive undertaking. The purpose of the forum is to debate what it will take to overhaul production and consumption so drastically in just 11 years. The Green New Deal popularized by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls for meeting all our power needs with “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources,” increasing electric car pro-duction, expanding rail lines and guaranteed jobs for all. Richard Smith, an ecosocialist who will be speaking at the event, says that to do a Green New Deal the government will need to nationalize energy and transportation systems, ration power use and plan the U.S. economy. Winona LaDuke has talked about an Indigenous-led Green New Deal that will not let the land and animals be taken as mere things to be used for human benefit. Anarchist Wayne Price talks about Revolutionary Ecosocialism which he sees as out-and-out anti-capitalist and a system based on decentralized planning. We hope to discuss all these ideas at the forum.

PEP is continuing to expand its archives on its newly designed website, pepeace.org. The archives are on climate and nature, Ukraine and Russia, anti-nukes, Korea and the struggle against fascism. Of note is a link to an article about India where a Hindi superiority party rules and the country is rocked by atrocities against Muslims. PEP urged a big turnout at the New York City demonstration “United Against Racism and Fascism.” Hundreds rallied and marched on March 16. TSVN covered the protest. See video on TheStruggle.org.

Taking Coals to Newcastle with HB 5898

by Lisa Blumberg, Second Thoughts CT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frida Berrigan to Deliver the Mark Shafer Lecture

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boycotting Saudi Arabia

by LouAnn Villani-Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

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

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

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

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

Details at TheStruggle.org.

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

by Jeffry Larson, PAR Subscriber, CT Green Party member

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

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

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

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

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

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

jeffrylarson73@yahoo.com

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