Arts of the Syrian Revolt

by Stan Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

There’s no way to pretty-up the immense suffering in Syria, but at our program at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, we used photos, photos of artwork and music as a way to keep spirits up. The audience of mostly Syrians was very appreciative.

Featured was a world class professional photographer whose work has appeared in many news sites and newspapers. Dylan Connor, a teacher, professional singer and member of the Syrian-American Congress spoke and sang. He visited the Jordanian “Free Zone” right next to Syria this year and distributed aid to Syrian refugees and recorded their stories.  We showed Connor’s music video “Idlib” and he sang songs including “Man of Peace” which was part of Little Gandhi, the first Syrian film considered for an Academy Award. In addition to viewing the art we discussed the remaining liberated zones in Syria, Idlib in the northwest, Rukban in the south and the third of the country controlled by Kurdish forces. In Connor’s music video we saw large crowds waving the original flags and chanting the same slogans that appeared in 2011.

The event was sponsored by Promoting Enduring Peace, the Middle East Crisis Committee and cosponsored by nearly ten other groups.

Interestingly enough the New Haven-based Syrian artist Mohammed Hafez has an exhibit in the city of Fairfield at a different university. It’s called “Collateral Damage” and it will run until Dec. 15. It’s at the Fairfield University Museum in the Walsh Gallery, Quick Center for the Arts. Hafez’s works, which highlight the trauma of refugees and the destruction inside Syria, have gotten enormous attention.

Two News Reports on Disability Access

by Joseph A. Luciano, disability rights activist

1) Seymour shows hostility against downtown senior-disabled residents

All 38 residents of Seymour’s downtown Columbus Street may have gasped in dismay when they realized their street had been re-paved and white-striped—but without the handicapped parking spaces that had been there when they moved in. Instead, a glut of new signs warns of no parking on their side of the street and two-hour parking on the other.

One Columbus Street resident, Amanda (not her real name) goes for dialysis three times a week. Exhausted afterwards, she just wants again to park close to her apartment and go in for a nap to recover. Now that there are no handicapped spaces on Columbus—where 37 other senior-disabled per-sons live—she drives around looking for a parking space. Most always there is none: customers of the growing antiques and gift shop businesses in downtown have taken all of them.

So, Amanda resorts to parking in the municipal parking lot, which is on the other side of the block she lives on. Town Hall know-it-alls blithely think that lot is convenient for her. But they aren’t pushing a walker over pot holes, cracked pavement, and then over fake-brick bumps as they trudge around Tony’s Diner to get home. For her, it’s a long, laborious walk. It’s a hardship.

There is no justifiable reason for having a fire lane nearly the entire length of Columbus Street instead of parking spaces. There is also no reason for not having handicapped parking in the downtown district. The selectmen, P&Z, economic development and engineering have simply adopted a generally hostile attitude towards seniors and senior housing downtown. It may be that town leaders feel Amanda has little to offer the community when, in fact, over 18% of the population (50 million Americans) have disabilities and are living more independently and participating more actively in their communities. Each is a potential customer.

2) Want to be marooned somewhere? Try “Cross Service Area Transit”!

This writer, an ADA certified passenger, warns about using wheelchair bus transport called “Cross Service Area Transit” (CSAT). For it to work without being marooned depends on precise timing and coordination worthy of a circus trapeze act. Recently I was marooned if not abandoned at the transfer station established by Connecticut ADA service providers.

A year ago without public or rider input—and without safeguards—CONNDOT invented CSAT. In theory, the first bus company takes you to a transfer station, where a different bus company takes you to the next transfer station. Coordination between bus companies is poor to nonexistent. There is no real-time shared information about locations of buses of different companies that are meeting up at transfer points.

I have just updated the Underground Travel Guide of “Accessible” Places to Visit in New Haven County. Readers will notice that venues and visitor attractions outside of New Haven County will not be reviewed for ADA compliance and accessibility. Because of my location, trips out of New Haven County require CSAT, which I refuse to try again. Readers are welcome to submit their reviews (for ADA compliance/accessibility) of venues and visitor attractions outside of New Haven County. Please send text and photos to DRAGconnecticut@yahoo.com. 250-300 word limit. (203) 463-8323.

Get Involved with the Greater New Haven Peace Council

by Mary Compton, co-chair, GNHPC

The Greater New Haven Peace Council is a local peace activist group founded in the 70s. We work for peace, universal disarmament, economic and social justice, and international solidarity with the peoples of the world. We recognize that the struggle for peace is indivisibly connected with the rights and needs of working people.

We are currently organizing on a resolution that calls for public hearings on moving funds from the 717 billion dollar military budget to fund human needs. The resolution asks members of Congress to report on their efforts to create a strategy to reduce military spending to fund human needs. The central question we ask is, what could cities and towns do with money redirected from a military budget that takes up 61% of the federal budget.

We are a coordinating member of the Global Coalition Against US/NATO Foreign Military Bases, which took place on Nov. 16-19 in Dublin, Ireland. It calls for the closure of all foreign US/NATO bases. The conference was successful with many groups participating who had not worked together in the past. We are looking forward to our members’ return for reports from other countries and to discuss future actions. The basis for this success was a Unity Statement signed by all coordinators of the Conference. Visit nousbases.org for video coverage.

We meet on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the People’s Center, 37 Howe St., New Haven. Our weekly vigils take place on Fridays in front of City Hall at noon. Our fliers address current issues of war and peace. Find us on Facebook: @newhavenpeace Website: uspeacecouncil.org. Email: grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com.

Is the Green Fund the right fit to fund your project?

Need Funding for Your Environmental Project? The Greater New Haven Green Fund May Be Able to Help!

Request for applications (RFA) is now open for the Greater New Haven Green Fund’s 2019 grants cycle. Funding up to $10,000 is available. Visit the website and download the application.
Deadline for submitting your application is Jan. 11, 2019, 5 p.m. Contact us with questions at info@gnhgreenfund.org. http://www.gnhgreenfund.org.

Two Ballot Initiatives for the Nov. 6 Election

When you go to the voting polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6, there will be two ballot initiatives that you can vote on.

  1. Connecticut “Transportation Revenue Lockbox” Constitutional Amendment

    Overview: The measure would require that all revenue placed in the state’s Special Transportation Fund (STF) be used for transportation purposes, including the payment of transportation-related debts. The state legislature would be prohibited from spending the fund on non-transportation purposes. The STF is funded by the motor fuels tax, motor carrier road tax, petroleum products gross earnings tax, certain motor vehicle receipts and fees, motor vehicle-related fines, and a portion of state sales tax.

    A “yes” vote supports this amendment to prohibit lawmakers from using the state transportation fund for anything other than transportation purposes.

    A “no” vote opposes this amendment to prohibit lawmakers from using the state transportation fund for anything other than transportation purposes.

  2. Connecticut Legislative Requirements to Transfer State Properties Constitutional Amendment

    Overview: The Connecticut General Assembly has the power to pass land conveyance legislation, which allows the state to transfer or sell specified parcels of public land to other entities, such as local governments for projects or private developers. The ballot measure would require a public hearing on conveyance bills, no matter which state department would make the land transfer. The measure would require a two-thirds vote of each chamber of the state legislature to authorize the transfer, sale, or disposal of land under the control of the state agriculture or environmental protection departments.

    A “yes” vote supports this amendment to (1) require a public hearing on bills to authorize the transfer, sale or disposal of state-owned properties, such as state parks, forests, and con-served lands, to non-state entities and (2) require a two-thirds vote of the Connecticut General Assembly to author-ize the transfer, sale, or disposal of land under the control of the state agriculture or environmental protection departments.

    A “no” vote opposes this amendment to (1) require a public hearing on bills to authorize the transfer, sale, or disposal of state-owned properties and (2) a two-thirds vote of the Connecticut General Assembly to authorize the transfer, sale, or disposal of land under the control of the state agriculture or environmental protection departments.

People’s World Amistad Awards Dec. 8

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards will take place on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 4 p.m. at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, 425 College St, New Haven. We come together “United in Struggle for a Better World – Unidos en La Lucha por un Mundo Mejor.”

We are excited to announce this year’s awardees, Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, Shellye Davis and Louise Simmons, three women on the front lines resisting the policies of white supremacy, hate, division and fear that threaten democracy and our future. Three fierce warriors in the forefront demanding workers’ and immigrant rights, social justice, peace and equality for a better and sustainable world.
A solidarity tribute will be made to Nelson Pinos and his family in sanctuary at the church since last November. Special recognition will be given to Chaz Carmon, director of Ice the Beef Youth, for his extraordinary talent and dedication to provide opportunities for young people in the performing arts. A reception will follow.

PAR readers may remember that the late Mary Johnson, our newsletter coordinator, received the People’s World Amistad Award in 2007.

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. 20, 2018.

Tickets: $10 each or $25 each for solidarity tickets (includes name in book). To place an ad in the greeting book or to ask questions, please contact People’s World Amistad Awards at ct-pww@pobox.com, (203) 624-4254.

Christian Community Action continues to serve the community after 50 years

Christian Community Action has been serving the community for over half a century. The support of friends and neighbors like you is what makes this work possible. CCA is able to provide help, housing, and hope to families that are homeless in New Haven because of the various individuals, businesses, houses of worship, civic groups, schools and foundations that have committed themselves to reaching those in need. Read more about us at ccahelping.org.

CCA Thanksgiving Basket Drive:
Donations of Turkeys, Canned Goods, and Pastas are in high demand
Please refrain from donating glass items
Drop off donations at:
168 Davenport Ave. New Haven, CT 06519
By: 11/14/2018 at 5:00 P.M.

‘Rachel’s Children’ speakers program in Madison to highlight Palestinian children Oct. 19

by Yann van Heurck, Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society

Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society of Madison, and Guilford Peace Alliance, together with Tree of Life, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven, Middle East Crisis Committee, and other groups, are cosponsoring a speakers program in Madison to highlight the situation of Palestinian children. Rep. Betty McCollum, who is cosponsoring House Resolution 4391 “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children,” says the following about this situation:

“Children as young as 12 years old are taken from their beds at night by Israeli soldiers and police. They are bound, blindfolded, and taken to detention centers. Under Israeli military law they are denied access to lawyers during interrogation, and even the youngest children are regularly denied access to their parents during interrogations …. With 40 percent of the Palestinian population under age 14, peace between Israel and the Palestinians starts with promoting the dignity and the inherent human rights of Palestinian children.”

Defense for Children International/Palestine says that “Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes an estimated 500 to 700 children each year in military (not civilian) courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights.”

Tree of Life and its cosponsors are asking us all to respond to the sound of Rachel “weeping for her children” that can be heard in all Palestinian and Israeli mothers and fathers who yearn for a better future for their children. Speakers are Israeli Jew and former soldier Eran Efrati, an expert on US-Israeli military collaboration; Ruba Awadallah, a Palestinian-American researcher for Defense of Children International/Palestine; and Lara Kiswani, a Palestinian-American lecturer from San Francisco State who specializes in anti-racist campaigns.

We invite everyone to attend the program at Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society, 297 Boston Post Rd., Madison 06443, on Friday, Oct. 19, 6-9 p.m. There will be a Museum of Zionism exhibit, speakers program, buffet and Tree of Life products for sale. Admission is free, donations welcomed.
Info from tolef.org and from Yann at janinawoelfin@gmail.com.

Download the program flier here.

Rally for Climate Change, Jobs Draws Crowd

by Melinda Tuhus, New Haven Stands with Standing Rock

This article was sent to PAR from the author Melinda Tuhus. It was originally published in the New Haven Independent on Sept. 10, 2018. The full article can be read at www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/climate_change_jobs_rally_draws_crowd.

A diverse crowd gathered on the (New Haven) Green Sunday afternoon, Sept. 9, for Connecticut’s own version of Rise Up for Climate, Jobs, and Justice.

It was one of 800 similar actions held around the world over the weekend ahead of a critical conference of provincial, state, municipal government and business leaders from around the globe convened this week by California Gov. Jerry Brown to push forward solutions to the climate crisis.

Traditional folk singers alternated with young rappers, Wes and Q, from Hartford in revving up the crowd, which also witnessed a “battle” between a 60-foot-long “fossil fuel dragon” and an “earth hero” armed with a sun shield and wind turbine sword, played to the hilt by young climate fighter Sam Rosenberg.

City Engineer Giovanni Zinn welcomed people to New Haven on behalf of Mayor Harp and urged everyone to check out the 97 elements of the City’s Sustainability Framework and sign up to help usher them into reality.

Jen Siskind with Food & Water Watch urged everyone to call their member of Congress to support the OFF Act (Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, H.R. 3671). Of Connecticut’s five reps, only Rosa DeLauro has signed on so far.

“Climate change is the most crucial issue facing all of us for the rest of our lives,” John Harrity, retired president of the State Council of Machinists and chair of the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, said. And it’s happening now. “We all know that the fossil fuel economy can’t be sustained, but fossil fuel workers need a just transition to green jobs and new employment.”

The inclusion of “justice” in the day figured into several short speeches. Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda member Alex Rodriguez related two recent disasters that befell the island.

“My mom and grandmother were caught in the storm,” Rodriguez told the crowd. “For two weeks, my family was immensely frightened by the possibility that they may be dead. When we made contact, we had to pool all of our resources together to bring them home a month after the destruction took place. The CT Puerto Rican Agenda calls on the federal government to provide more housing vouchers to the many families barely surviving without a roof over their head. We also call for our debt to be eliminated, because the PROMESA bill signed into law in recent years makes it impossible to pay back debt owed to the United States and give government services such as healthcare and education back to our people.”

“We know that the struggle against climate change is ultimately a struggle against injustice, and we definitely have to stand together,” the Rev. Scott Marks of New Haven Rising said. “The people that experience the cost of climate change are poor people and people of color. If that is the case then poor people and people of color must take the front and help to lead this movement. So many things are coming together to have us be divided, but I’m telling you, the environment is a great thing to bring us all together.”

Coalition for People Updates

The Coalition for People is a grassroots organizing group committed to organizing people who are normally kept out of the decision-making processes because of poverty, racism, sexism or lack of education. We declare our commitment to creative and constructive action designed to empower people now under-represented in the institutions that affect all our lives.

Our organization is in the process of renewal as some board members, including our founder, Mary Johnson, passed on. We need to hear from members and potential members what are the issues of concern for you, and how would you like to be involved in making changes.

The Coalition for People is planning its annual meeting in April 2019. The past few months our work has focused on affordable housing and issues around homelessness. We are considering the main topic of our annual meeting will be a presentation on housing issues.

Business at the annual meeting includes a presentation of our revised by-laws to be voted on, nominations for board members and election of officers. We hope PAR readers will consider being involved with the Coalition for People and joining our board. Board meetings are once a month, and they are open to all our members to attend.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 2-4 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. in the community room in the lower level. We meet there the third Wednesday of each month. Please e-mail us if you need a different meeting time and tell us when you can meet. We are flexible and want to make meetings convenient for everyone who wants to join us. Contact coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com.

War Resisters League’s 95th Anniversary Oct. 11 NYC

War Resisters League’s 95th Anniversary October 11
Downtown Community Television Center
87 Lafayette St New York, NY 10013

Join us this Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. to commemorate our past and build for our futures while also honoring some of the folks that do the kind of liberatory and transformative justice work we need to create the world we want — one based on empathy, cooperation, and liberation.

Get your ticket today and join us in celebration!

For almost a century, WRL’s been building a mass movement against the war machine – from organizing one the first draft card burnings to centering war diaspora + frontline communities at the crux of our political programs and education, WRL and the antiwar left has grown, shrunk, and grown again, grappling with the realities of 21st Century militarism.

For our 95th birthday, we’ll be celebrating our ongoing collective struggle for a world free of militarism by honoring our past and lifting up the work of three amazing awardees. We’re pleased to announce we’ll be honoring and joined by sacral land rights activist Corrina Gould, movement artists The Peace Poets, and queer + racial justice activist Mandy Carter. Be prepared for food, fun, and a performance by Mahina Movement!

No one is turned away from celebrating our 95th Anniver-sary with us, and we would love to see you there whatever level of support you can give.

Ticket Options: STANDARD Ticket Price – $105.95

COMMUNITY Ticket Price – $60.95: Select this ticket option if you are a WRL member on fixed income.

DISCOUNT Ticket – $25.00: A limited number of these tickets are available for purchase.

Gandhi Peace Award to Jackson Browne

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace Administrator

Promoting Enduring Peace is giving its Gandhi Peace Award this year to singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. He will receive the award on Friday, Sept. 14, at the John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts at Southern Connecticut State University, 501 Crescent St., New Haven. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Starting the program will be two speakers: Frida Berrigan, who has worked for years warning of the dangers of nuclear weapons, and Chris George, Executive Director of IRIS — Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services. Singers Ben Grosscup and Luci Murphy will provide entertainment. Tickets can be reserved online for a donation. The Eventbrite link is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gandhi-peace-award-2018-tickets-48315261247.

Jackson Browne is the first artist ever to receive the Gandhi Peace Award. The award recognizes Browne’s extraordinary contributions of time and talent to the inseparable causes of world peace, environmental harmony, and social justice. The award comes with a cash prize and a medallion forged from “peace bronze” composed of metals salvaged from the control systems of U.S. nuclear missiles. Consistent with tradition, Browne has been invited “to present a message of challenge and hope” to those present. A reception will follow.

The Gandhi Peace Award, named after Indian anti-imperialist and nonviolence advocate Mohandas Gandhi, derives its international renown from those who have accepted it over the years. Among the 54 awardees are Martin Luther King, Jr., Benjamin Spock, Dorothy Day, Daniel Ellsberg, César Chávez, Amy Goodman, Bill McKibben, Medea Benjamin, Tom Goldtooth, Omar Barghouti and Ralph Nader.

Browne has organized or participated in thousands of benefit performances to support the environment, social justice, and human rights as well as causes such as music and arts education in public schools and has worked with two former Gandhi Peace Award recipients, Amnesty International (1978) and the Children’s Defense Fund (1990). Browne has composed and performed songs widely regarded as among the most literate and moving songs in popular music, defining a genre of songwriting charged with honesty, emotion, and personal politics. In 2004 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

 

Truth on Trial — Kings Bay Plowshares Court Report on Aug. 2 Hearing

by Bill Quigley, attorney

King’s Bay Plowshares Update

In the June newsletter, PAR informed our readers about the King’s Bay Plowshares action of April 4, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the seven, Mark Colville, is from the Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven. They were charged with four counts: Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Govern-ment Property, and Trespass. On Aug. 2 they had a court hearing. The following was written by Bill Quigley, one of their attorneys, and published in The Nuclear Resister.

For four hours on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, the Kings Bay Plowshares appeared before U.S. Magistrate Stan Baker in federal court in Brunswick, GA, to argue that all charges against them be dropped. The peace activists set out six reasons why the charges of conspiracy, trespass, and two counts of felony damage to property should be dismissed. Detailed arguments are available at kingsbayplowshares7.org.

The theme of the hearing was clear: Thou shall not kill and these weapons will end life as we know it. Speaking to the court were Mark Colville, Stephen Kelly SJ, Anna Lellelid, Stephanie McDonald, Patrick O’Neill, Bill Quigley, and Carmen Trotta. Everyone who wanted to speak was given several opportunities to speak and truth was proclaimed.

The arguments were greatly assisted by sworn statements from Professor Francis Boyle, Physicians for Social Responsibility Director Jeff Carter, Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, and US Navy Captain Thomas Rogers.

What PAR Readers Can Do

We hope our readers will be able to help the Amistad Catholic Worker house while Mark is in prison. Luz Colville and others are continuing the work and have sent out the following list of supplies that are needed.

1) Donations of items for the community breakfast program: old-fashioned oats, grits, eggs, coffee, creamer, sugar, etc.

2) Gift cards for buying the above items

3) Checks made out to the Amistad Catholic Worker and mailed to 203 Rosette St., New Haven, CT 06519.

4) Volunteering: cook, serve meals, clean the yard, sort clothes, work in the garden, pick up donated furniture, etc.

Contact Luz at amistadcwh@yahoo.com about how you can help.

For more information about the Plowshares action and up-coming trial, see: facebook.com/Kingsbayplowshares.

1 2 3 4 5 6 17