Politics in Plain English at the Institute Library

by Bennett Graff, Institute Library

The Institute Library, 847 Chapel Street, is proud to announce the launch of a new monthly program Politics in Plain English. Following in the tradition of the Library’s one-time role during the Civil War — when it served as a lyceum where such luminaries as Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Henry Ward Beecher, and Theodore Parker spoke — the Institute Library once more seeks to become New Haven’s center for a conversation about civics in the America at a time when such a conversation has never been more needed.

The discussions are hosted by John Stoehr, editor and publisher of The Editorial Board, contributing writer to Washington Monthly, and columnist at the New Haven Register. $10 suggested admission—free light refreshments served.

Politics is simpler and more complex than most realize. Fortunately, there are good people able to see through the haze and talk about issues plainly and honestly. Hosted by the Institute Library and sponsored by The Editorial Board, Politics in Plain English brings a panel of writers and thinkers to New Haven to debate current events and bring you into the conversation.

Tuesday, March 12, 7:30-9 p.m. What’s Up with Liberalism and the Left? Josh Holland, contributing writer for The Nation, and Batya Ungar-Sargon, opinion editor for The Forward, takes on the revived embrace of the once-maligned term “liberal” by the left and explore the pushes and pulls of the collection—or is it a coalition?—of interests and political leanings that now make it up.

Tuesday, April 9, 7:30-9 p.m. Peeking Under the Hood: The “Invisible Primary” of 2020. Our guests, Jacob Hacker of Yale and Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg News, will look not only at the role primaries play in the rough and tumble of selecting candidates, but also at the early jockeying of the “invisible primary,” as candidates coyly deflect press inquiries, leak intel on primary opponents, and position themselves before the starting gate opens.

For more information, please contact John Stoehr at johnastoehr@gmail.com or (912) 247-0515 or Bennett Graff at bennett_lovett_graff@hotmail.com or (203) 640-3573.

The Great Migration: Then and Now — 45th People’s World African American History Events Feb. 24

Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“The Great Migration: Then and Now — Fleeing Terror, Searching for Jobs and Equality,” is the theme of the 45th People’s World African American History Month celebration on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. at the Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave., New Haven. The day includes a march at 2:30 p.m., arts and writing competition, guest speaker, drumming and dance.

Some stories will be told of the many African American families in New Haven who trace their roots in the city to the great migration from the South in the 1930s and 40s when companies like Winchester recruited workers to come up from North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. They were fleeing Ku Klux Klan terror and looking for a better life.

Stories will also be told of the migrants from Central American countries coming to New Haven and the United States today, fleeing terror and economic devastation in their countries and hoping to find new opportunities for their families.

The “Jobs for Youth — Jobs for All” march will call on Yale to meet its signed commitment to hire from neighborhoods with high unemployment such as Dwight, Dixwell, Newhall, Fair Haven and the Hill. The march leaves the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St., at 2:30 p.m. and will wind through the Dwight neighborhood to Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave., for the 4 p.m. program.

Guest speaker Chauncey K. Robinson, journalist and social media editor of peoplesworld.org from Los Angeles, California, believes that writing and media, in any capacity, should help to reflect the world around us, and be tools to help bring about progressive change. She says she seeks to make sure topics that affect working-class people, peoples of color, and women are constantly in the spotlight.

The program will include drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and African dance with Ice the Beef. Ice the Beef Youth supports each other through education, dreams, goals, and talent by meeting, sharing stories, laughing, joking, and expressing feelings. They are on Facebook.

Prizes and acknowledgments of entries to the Arts and Writing Competition grades 8 to 12 will be presented. Students are asked to reflect in artwork, essay, poetry, rap or song about grandparents or great-grandparents who came up from the South in the past, or about someone who came up from Latin America or elsewhere recently. “What did they find? How can we continue the struggle for good jobs and equal rights to fulfill the dreams of those who came and made New Haven home?  What are your dreams for a better life?” Entry deadline is Feb. 14. For information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com.

During the Great Migration (1916 to 1970), six million African Americans left the South. They moved to cities like New Haven in the North and the West. They were fleeing discrimination, lynchings, denied rights and a lack of jobs. They were searching for a better life for themselves and their children.

As they settled they found that segregation and racism were not just in the South. The migration gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement and before that to the art, literature and music of the Harlem Renaissance that stirred the country and the world.

Artist Jacob Lawrence created a series of paintings about the Great Migration in 1940. He said, “And the migrants kept coming…their struggles and triumphs ring true today. People all over the world are still on the move, trying to build better lives for themselves and for their families.”

In 2018 famed activist and scholar Angela Davis said, “I believe that the major civil rights issue of the 21st Century is the issue of immigrant rights.”

Think Global–Run Local: Annual Run For Refugees Feb. 3

Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) is accepting registrations now for its annual Run For Refugees. This 5 kilometer run/walk will take place on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. It begins and ends at Wilbur Cross High School, 181 Mitchell Drive.

Last year a record crowd of 3,000 were in the run. Be part of history as we attempt to break last year’s record!

Registration and sponsorship information is at www.RunForRefugees.org and Irisct.org.

Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children

Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven

Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) and Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOLEF) are reaching out to organizations to endorse our resolution in support of the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. If you are affiliated with an organization, please see the resolution at www.tolef.org/pal-children, and get your organization to sign on. This can be done online.

JVPNH and TOLEF have been leading an effort to get our five CT congresspeople to co-sponsor the bill, which was introduced in the previous congressional session as bill HR.4391 by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN). It has 30 co-sponsors, including six from New England. We had in-person meetings with each of our congresspeople. Each expressed interest, but none signed on as co-sponsors.
Rep. McCollum is very likely to re-introduce the bill in the new Congress, and we are renewing our effort to get our CT delegation to sign on. At this point, we are reaching out to organizations to show support by endorsing the resolution, which calls on our CT delegation to sign on to the bill.

Please see the resolution at http://www.tolef.org/pal-children, and get your organization to join with the many others which have already signed on.

Why Run for Mayor? by Wendy Hamilton

Wendy Hamilton, NH homeless advocate and mayoral candidate

PAR readers may remember the article Wendy wrote in the Feb. 2018 issue of PAR about homelessness and Mark Cochran. Mark died shortly after Yale New Haven Hospital discharged him in winter with no place to go. Wendy has filed the paperwork to run for mayor and has asked if we would share her concerns with our readers.

One day I just felt fed up with the chaos, the lies, the crazy spending, the near bankruptcy, the greed, the lack of compassion, the apathy…

Justin [Elicker] and Liam [Brennan] were sitting on the fence. I decided to commit to the research and the signature-collecting because I want to be heard at the Democratic primary debates coming this fall.

After making a list of city problems, I saw they fit into four categories–Housing, Budget, Safety, and Transportation.

Housing is no longer affordable for the masses without job security and bank loans for the working poor. The cost of living increases during years of flatline wages and a widening wealth gap. Developers and slumlords are getting all the breaks. Homelessness exists in every town and city and is growing despite what mass media says. Foreclosures and evictions are everyday occurrences.

The Budget is a runaway train growing by $100 million plus with our current mayor in office. We are in debt and near bankruptcy. The biggest contribution comes from our property taxes. Biggest expenditures are police, fire, and school systems, all of which need revamping with fair and intelligent contracts and pensions. We also have a huge yearly debt payoff. Yale, on 50% of the town land, only pays about 1/33 of the yearly take. The state offers a little better money but not enough.

Safety, which includes physical elements like crime, fire, pollution of air and water and climate change, is also a desirable feeling for the public to have and many don’t feel safe here for many reasons. Our police and firefighters require contracts to make them feel safe and appreciated. City residents require a civilian review board that can address their problems by affecting real change. We need to stop treating the homeless, the addicted, and sex workers (mostly homeless women) like criminals. We need year-round hazardous waste collection and cleaner parks that operate for the public benefit, not just the lucky few. We need to get housing quickly for those living on the street.  We all need affordable medical care.

Transportation is a city theme. We have trains, buses, major highways, bike and pedestrian trails, and a harbor. We are part of East Coast Metro which includes several huge cities.  The age of automobiles is over, but city hall hasn’t figured it out yet. 25% of us have asthma. Our air is just plain dirty. Bike travel is on the rise fortunately (I am 70 and own 2). Bus routes and schedules need to be examined and improved here. Many here can’t afford a bike or a car or a cab. Cab service is pricey and undependable here. A $40 million boathouse that took years to build on its own pier lies empty and unavailable to us even though our taxes paid for it — a colossal waste.

I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Reminder: Coalition for People Is Looking for Board Members

The Coalition for People annual meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at the main New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St. We need people on our board to help prioritize the many issues facing people (housing, healthcare, discrimination, various injustices) in our area so we can mobilize and act effectively. Please mark our meeting on your calendar. We hope PAR members will consider joining the board, which meets once a month.

All are invited to attend the annual meeting. Membership dues are $5 annually (due at the annual meeting). Pizza will be served. RSVP if you will attend and if you want to be elected to the board. For more information, email coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com or call (203) 468-2541.

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) Gathering Momentum in Connecticut

by Owen Charles, Chair Shoreline Green Party

December 18 and Jan. 22 at the New Haven Public Library were the first organizing meetings of a movement to institute Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) in Connecticut. Over 60 people turned out to show their support and get involved, including a number of state representatives, political party leaders, and other organizations. Watch out for the next meetings (likely to be 3rd Tuesdays, 6 p.m., at the NH Public Library) and for progress in the state legislature.

Instituted last year in Maine, Ranked Choice Voting is becoming a real possibility given recent progressive wins in the legislature, and the popular recognition that we need to re-democratize our electoral system.

RCV works by allowing voters to rank their top candidates for an office, and if their top choice does not have enough votes in the first round of counted votes, their next choice is activated… until a winner with greater than 50% is determined. It is a way of ensuring all votes count, greater participation in elections, avoiding the ‘spoiler effect,’ and ensuring that winners are capable of obtaining a majority.

Active in beginning this process and presenting at the meetings have been Adam Friedman and Liz Popolo from Voter Choice MA, Steven Winter (National Popular Vote) of New Haven, Jefferey Hart of New London, and Caleb Kleppner (Fairvote) of New Haven.

State Rep. Josh Elliott pointed out that although he introduced but was not able to proceed with an RCV bill in the last legislative session, the huge number of people and groups supporting it this time is “a very good sign.”

Many dedicated individuals appeared at the meetings and are rolling up their sleeves to get involved. The movement has formed committees for outreach, communication, policy and fundraising and will continue to grow, develop and plan an organized approach to getting RCV in place in Connecticut. Check back for updates–more to come!

Sign up for more information from the CT groups: bit.ly/rcv-ct-signup.

Jan. 19 Women’s March in Hartford

On Jan. 19, the third annual Women’s March took place in cities all over the country. The Hartford march is reported to have 2,500 to 3,000 in attendance. The following excerpt is from CT News Junkie. See the full story at www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/20190119_womens_march_smaller_in_numbers_but_loud_with_its_message.

One of the organizers, Melissa Kane, said Connecticut has much to be proud of when it comes to pushing issues women care about.

“We need to thank the hundreds of women who ran for office,” she said as the crowd roared. She quickly added: “We are making a difference.” She noted that the Connecticut General Assembly saw a record number of women elected in 2018.

Originally spurred by the election of President Donald Trump, the Women’s March has become an annual event involving hundreds of thousands of women across the country who show up to demonstrate over issues, such as racial equality, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, health care access, and protections for the environment, among others.

In Hartford, as was the case across the country, many held signs poking fun at Trump, such as: “Lock Him Up!”

PAR wants to hear from our readers who attended any of the Jan. 19 marches for our next issue. Please send your reports to parnewhaven@hotmail.com.

Cop Review Panel Passes, With Teeth | New Haven Independent

by Markeshia Ricks

A 22-year quest for justice culminated Monday night as Emma Jones watched New Haven’s Board of Alders vote to create an all-civilian review board (CRB) with power to investigate officers accused of misconduct.

The Board of Alders voted unanimously during its first meeting of the year to create the new version of the CRB.

 Emma Jones, whose son was shot dead by an East Haven police officer, was given a standing ovation after the vote. Markeshia Ricks Photo

Emma Jones, whose son was shot dead by an East Haven police officer, was given a standing ovation after the vote. Markeshia Ricks Photo

That vote came after weeks of public pressure and behind the scenes negotiating among alders and activists. After Monday night’s votes were cast, Jones— who became the most visible proponent of such a board after an East Haven cop chased her son Malik into Fair Haven in 1997 and shot him to death — was given a standing ovation by alders and activists who took the efforts that she started across the goal line.

Read the whole story here: Cop Review Panel Passes, With Teeth | New Haven Independent

Yale Arrests 48 Students Demanding Climate Justice for Puerto Rico

by Nora Heaphy, Fossil Free Yale

On the last day of Yale’s 2018 Fall semester [Dec. 7], 48 students, professors, and New Haven community members were arrested after a 5-hour occupation of the Yale Investments Office.

We were sitting in to demand that Yale direct its fund managers to cancel their holdings in Puerto Rico’s debt and divest from the fossil fuel industry. After 6 years of trying to engage with the Yale administration, the few channels available had failed us, and our only alternative was direct action.

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 to have its debt repaid before the island can rebuild, and renowned Yale Chief Investment Officer David Swensen sits on the board of Baupost. Our university’s investments in injustice don’t surprise us. We also know that Yale invests at least $678 million in fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil and Antero. These corporations intend to extract and burn as much coal, oil, and natural gas as possible, regardless of the consequences to islands like Puerto Rico. And they’ve spent billions funding climate denial and paying off politicians to lobby against climate policies like a Green New Deal.

In the Investments Office lobby, members of our coalition presented on Puerto Rico’s debt and the roots of Yale’s endowment in slavery, held trainings, sang songs, and read statements of support from around the world. Meanwhile, 450 students marched to the Investments Office and rallied in support, as those inside were arrested. The Yale administration—who had recently published a statement blaming climate change on everyday consumers rather than fossil fuel corporations—chose to arrest its students rather than have a conversation with us. A few days later, at the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility’s public meeting, we again confronted the administration’s failure to act in the face of climate injustice. Our calls for moral leadership from Yale have been met with stalling, inaction, and a willful naiveté that amounts to gross negligence. But students, New Haven, and Puerto Rico are powerful, and we will hold this university accountable.

Email fossilfreeyale@gmail.com to get involved.

Bridgeport Power Plants Are an International Problem

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

People are not getting the message. The U.N. climate scientists say we must cut carbon emissions in half within a dozen years or we’re going to really screw up the climate. People read the words and go off to something else. The authorities will take care of it. But they’re not.

In Bridgeport, we have the Bridgeport Harbor Station — the last coal-burning plant in New England. It gives out all kinds of dangerous chemicals. After years of protest, it is slated to be replaced. That’s good news, BUT it will be replaced by a methane-burning power plant. The methane burning plant will actually throw off 6 times the carbon dioxide as does the current coal plant!

It will spew an estimated 1.6 million tons a year compared to a quarter of a million the coal plant emitted in 2017. It also will have to be fed with methane which currently comes from a U.S. production and piping system that leaks methane like crazy. And methane in the short run (and all we have is the short run) is 100 times worse as a global warming gas than carbon dioxide.

The coal-burning plant should be shut down immediately. The building of the methane plant should be stopped. Yes, yes, think of the expense. But think of the climate hell we’re creating. The U.S. has mothballed nuclear power plants at even more expense. It’s an emergency. Treat it like that and come up with a solution.

Climate Change and the Urgency to Act

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven Climate Movement

New Haven Climate Movement has launched a campaign to have the City of New Haven pass The Emergency Resolution to Restore a Safe Climate. The Resolution states, “New Haven declares that we face an existential climate emergency that threatens our city, region, state, nation, civilization, the natural world, and humanity.” The Resolution also states that: “New Haven officially commits to leading an emergency mobilization effort that, with appropriate financial and regulatory assistance from state and federal authorities, ends community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by or before Dec. 31, 2030, and immediately initiates an effort to safely draw down carbon from the atmosphere.” Please sign the petition at newhavenclimatemovement.org.

This Resolution is part of a growing national movement declaring that we are in a climate emergency and commit-ting cities to addressing it in time to avoid the worst outcomes. Local governments have become leaders of the climate emergency movement and are inspiring others to do the same. Los Angeles, Berkeley, Richmond, CA, and Hoboken, NJ, have passed emergency resolutions organized by the national organization The Climate Mobilization.  New Haven passed a Climate Framework in 2018 so it has a guide to follow. Beyond this, there are significant jobs and public health benefits of taking action now.

From The Climate Mobilization A Call for Safe Climate: To protect humanity, we need a massive transformation of our economy and society in a matter of years, not decades. We must rapidly direct our resources toward a singular national purpose: restoring a safe climate for our world.

From the Connecticut Governor’s Council on Climate Change: “With over 600 miles of coastline and 2.2 million people living in shoreline communities in Connecticut, the state’s residents and communities are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of weather and climate events. Connecticut residents are already beginning to experience such effects as climate change ramps up. For instance, in Connecticut alone, Hurricane Irene (2011) caused power outages affecting 754,000 customers and over $1 billion in damage, and Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused power outages affecting more than 600,000 customers and inflicted almost $2 billion in statewide damages. The latter forced thousands of Connecticut residents to evacuate, saw thousands apply for FEMA assistance, damaged roads and infrastructure, and took nine days for utilities to restore power. Many of Connecticut’s coastal communities and assets face an escalating risk of storm events exacerbated by climate change.”

For more information on the Resolution, or to get involved, contact Chris at nh@newhavenleon.org or call (203) 562-1607.

Plowshare Activist, Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville Returns to Jail

On the night of April 4, 2018, New Haven resident and Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville was arrested with 6 others at a non-violent Plowshares action at Kings Bay Naval Base, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. The naval base has six ballistic missile submarines and two guided missile submarines.

“Nuclear weapons kill every day through our mining, production, testing, storage and dumping, primarily on Indigenous Native land. This weapons system is a cocked gun being held to the head of the planet” (from the statement of the seven arrested Plowshares activists).

Mark Colville was granted bail for skin cancer treatment that was successfully treated.

The following excerpts are from Mark before he and his wife Luz returned to Georgia, where, on Dec. 11, he self-surrendered to Georgia authorities.

Greetings in the peace that the world cannot give…

 

From the beginning, my participation in the Kings Bay Plowshares action was first of all an act of contrition for complicity in the sins of nuclearism and empire, and I’ve regarded any incarceration as penance for those sins.  But the jail has also been for me a place of ministry, personal faith-development and formation of conscience. …

With this in mind, there are no misgivings or mixed feelings about going back to Glynn County Detention Center, but rather a sense of rejoicing that, as Dan Berrigan liked to say, one has the freedom to go to jail.

A week ago, judge Cheesbro accepted a motion to return the bail money that was posted on my behalf and put me back in the jail on December 11.

This Tuesday, Luz and I will show up at the Glynn County Detention Center and part ways again, for another undetermined length of time. We will do this mindfully, reaching hands of solidarity toward our extended global family members who are now at this country’s border facing atrocities and uncertainties far beyond whatever hardships we might be obliged to bear.

…I’ll look forward to your postcards, and delight in all news of your ongoing efforts to bring about the nonviolent collapse of the U.S. empire, in defense of all creation…

Love and Prayers, Mark

[For the regulations on how to send letters to Mark, please see www.kingsbayplowshares7.org/jail-addresses]

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