Barghouti and Nader Accept Gandhi Peace Award

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Hundreds gathered at Yale’s SSS building on April 23 to celebrate the Gandhi Peace Award being jointly given to Omar Barghouti and Ralph Nader. The award has been presented since 1960 by Promoting Enduring Peace (PEP).

Omar Barghouti

Omar Barghouti was introduced by Rebecca Vilkomerson, the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. She decried his Israeli arrest on March 19 as “politically motivated.” She called him a “charismatic speaker, a brilliant writer, savvy campaign strategist, and a principled thinker.”

Barghouti began his talk by noting Palestine “lingers on in colonial chains.” He dedicated his award to Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israel. He asked that his $2,500 prize money be given in equal shares to Black Lives Matter, Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and Friends of Sabeel North America. He talked about the “striking similarities” between Israeli treatment of Palestinians and that of blacks in the days of apartheid South Africa. He noted the recent decision of Barcelona, Spain, which ended its complicity with Israeli settlements and explicitly defended boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). He also listed many other BDS victories.

Ralph Nader was introduced by activist and mediator Charles Pillsbury, who said he was inspired to be a lawyer by Nader and wanted to be one of the activists dubbed “Nader’s Raiders.”

Ralph Nader said he was a student of Gandhi’s thinking that “open non-violent disobedience be active and not passive.” He said, “Peace is desirable not just on philosophical, religious or argumentative grounds, but a survival mechanism which transcends cultures.”

He talked about terrorism, and said the worst terrorism was “state terrorism” which “is always legitimized as in the ser-vice of national defense.”

At the end of his talk, he mentioned Palestinians and Israelis.

He denounced settlements as “illegal colonies.” He talked about breaking the grip of the lobby AIPAC on Congress and categorized some of the resolutions it advances as “bloody beyond belief.” He asked “Who has killed more than 400 times the number of innocent men, women, and children than the other side? The answer is the Israeli government.”

The talks were warmly received with standing ovations.

For more on this year’s awards, visit http://www.pepeace.org/gpa-2017-video-and-photos.

Celebrate May Day May 1 with International Workers’ Day Rally and General Strike

Call for General Strike on May 1!

For full video coverage of the May Day festivities, visit http://www.thestruggle.org/Mayday%202017%20in%20New%20Haven.htm.

The rally begins with speakers and performers on the New Haven Green from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 1, and will be followed by a Solidarity March starting at 5 p.m.

New Haven joins a call for a nationwide strike to demonstrate our economic power by not going to work, not going to school and stopping business as usual. We aim to highlight the economic power of workers: immigrants, women, Muslims, LGBTQ folks, Native Americans and African Americans and every other marginalized group that is currently under attack by the Trump administration.

We are asking you to join us and show solidarity: close your business on May 1; don’t go to work; don’t go to school.

Join the rally on the New Haven Green from 12 to 5 p.m. Speakers, live music, children’s activities, and a May pole! Join local justice, peace, equality, and labor groups as well as social service organizations, educators, students, healthcare workers, artists and ALL people on the Green.

Join the international workers’ march from the Green through Fair Haven at 5 p.m.

Funded in part by a grant from RESIST, Somerville, MA; web: http://resist.org; phone: (617) 623-5110.

Unity and Solidarity Can Win! The People’s World International Workers’ Day Program May 7

by CT Peoples’ World Committee

In May, 1886, in Haymarket Square, Chicago, workers died in a rally for the 8-hour day. The Haymarket riot became the start of the International Workers’ Day or May Day.

“We won’t go back” is the theme of the celebration at 5 p.m. May 7 in Hartford put on by the CT People’s World Committee. There will be a slide show of May Day celebrations around the world, a panel discussion of “Today’s Struggles: Voices from the Front Line,” live music and a homemade buffet. A donation of $5 is suggested or what you can afford. The celebration will be held at the King-Davis Labor Center, 77 Huyshope Ave., Hartford.

For more information or to inquire about carpooling, email ct-pww@pobox.com.

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.

64 Days of Nonviolence — April Events

by Women’s Studies Program, SCSU

The 64 Days officially begins each year on January 30, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, and ends on April 4, the day we commemorate Dr. King.

Sponsored by Women’s Studies Program, (203) 392-6133, womenstudies@southernct.edu. Southern CT State University, 501 Crescent St.

All events are on the campus of SCSU unless otherwise noted.

April 3: Prayer Vigil for Nonviolence and Peace (12:15 p.m., Buley Library Patio).
April 4: Panel “Breaking Good: The Role of Forgiveness and Atonement in Reducing the Number of Incarcerated Women in Connecticut” (5-8 p.m., Engleman Hall B 121 A&B).
April 6: “Peace Talks: Our Place in the Social Justice Movement,” with Peace Development Fund and Gardening the Community, Springfield, MA (5-7:30 p.m., Engleman Hall B 121 A&B).
April 13: Slut Walk at SCSU (Panel Discussion at 1 p.m. in Engleman Hall B 121 A&B, One-Mile Walk on Campus beginning at 3 p.m.).
April 17: The Pre-Rally Festival, an annual event to stop violence against women and shatter the silence (12-3 p.m., Buley Library Patio).
April 18: “Take Back the Night,” an annual event to stop violence against women and shatter the silence
(7 p.m., Residential Life Quad).
April 21: “Transforming the World with a Feminist Degree & Vision: Women’s Studies Alumnae/i Summit” (2-8 p.m., Adanti Student Center Ballroom B).
April 22: Team SCSU Rock-to-Rock Earth Day Ride (10:30 a.m., TBA).
April 26: Cultural Fest (11:30 a.m., Academic Quad).
April 27: OWL (Opportunity for Women’s Leadership): The 12th SCSU Women’s Studies Leadership Team with James Hillhouse High School, Metropolitan Business Academy, Wilbur Cross High School and West Haven High School young women (8 a.m.-3 p.m., Engleman Hall B 121 A&B).

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

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

No Child Behind Bars: Living Resistance from the US to Palestine

by Nina Stein, Jewish Voice for Peace

On Feb. 1, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven will be partnering with Tree of Life to present a program “No Child Behind Bars: Living Resistance from the US to Palestine.”  The presentation will feature Ahed Tamimi*, a charismatic and articulate 15 year old from the West Bank Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, who will discuss the brutal injustices to which she and others her age are subjected on a continuing daily basis.

Ahed will be joined by Amanda Weatherspoon, a Unitarian Universalist minister and Black liberation activist from the San Francisco Bay Area, whose ministry is centered on collective liberation and cross-movement solidarity between oppressed people. Nadya Tannous, a writer and organizer who has researched the detention of Palestinian minors since 2013, will join the two to provide additional insight into the realities Palestinian minors face within the Israeli detention system.

In addition to discussing the life of Palestinian children under Israeli occupation, the presentation will show how the struggle for human rights in Palestine is inextricably linked with the struggle for civil and human rights here in the US.

The event will take place on February 1 in New Haven at 7 p.m. at Sudler Hall, William L. Harkness Hall, Yale University on Cross Campus.

This presentation is part of a three week, 18 city U.S. tour organized by Friends of Sabeel (FOSNA). FOSNA is part of Sabeel, a movement initiated by Palestinian Christians, which promotes theological, moral and legal principles for peace in the Holy Land.

Email: newhaven@jvp.org; Web: www.jvpnh.org; Facebook: jvpnewhaven; Twitter: @jvpnewhaven

* Ahed, who was originally to appear in person, has been denied a travel visa by the U.S. State Department, so arrangements are being made to have her speak about the situation on the ground and share her story by live-stream video.

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.

Why is the Department of Developmental Services So Afraid of Publicity?

by Robin Latta, Our Families Can’t Wait

When it comes to the privatization of CT group homes for residents who cannot speak for themselves, the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) strikes out to attempt to keep advocates for the developmentally disabled from talking to the media.

DDS is targeting people who speak out against privatization including parents of group home residents, State workers who are dedicated to caring for them, and other advocates who are against the lower wages and consequent frequent turnover of staff associated with privatization that would disrupt the good quality of care for residents.

DDS knows the public can easily grasp this issue and the fear they have is that we all understand too easily that people who cannot speak for themselves are most vulnerable to exploitation.

Recently, at a public hearing at the State Capital in Hartford a jam-packed crowd of union workers, parents, guardians and advocates spoke out before DDS officials to let them know that they wanted a fully funded DDS with core services to support those who need it most.

Early on in the process of this year’s efforts to privatize CT group homes, one of the parents decided to file a lawsuit against DDS to protect her son from being subjected to the possibility of him being cared for by low paid, unqualified caregivers.

DDS tried to fight back by taking her to Probate Court to try to take temporary guardianship of her son and his medical records because she “was not acting in her son’s best interests.” Why? Because the intense interest of the media on this case enabled her to tell the citizens of CT what was going on. And, in a courtroom full of supporters (which included the media) the legal maneuver by DDS was withdrawn a few weeks later.

At the same time, one dedicated State worker is being harassed because she was seen at a rally that drew media attention. Now DDS is trying to dredge up any employment history that could possibly discredit her.

These desperate tactics of character assassination are meant to frighten and deter others from standing up and speaking out for those who cannot speak for themselves.

On whose behalf does the State act to punish the caretakers? Is it on your (the community’s) behalf? If not, please stand up and say so! Contact Organizer Colleen McGill, cmcgill@seiu1199ne.org.

Inauguration Day Strikers Show Solidarity | NHIndependent

by Markeshia Ricks, Jan 20, 2017

They were Latino, black, U.S. citizens and the undocumented. They were LGBTQIA and people with disabilities. They were white allies and women, immigrants of all nationalities. They were of no religion and they were Muslim.

And at a protest that marched from City Hall and through downtown New Haven, they were all welcome.

As one activist put it Friday afternoon, a political campaign season filled with racism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, xenophobia, sexism and ableism had one positive effect: It brought people out of the silos of their individual causes and brought them all together.

More than 100 people turned out to City Hall on the same day as the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump for a general strike against the incoming administration. Participants were encouraged to stay home from work and school in protest to demonstrate that the very communities that were singled out for derision in the recent presidential election also make valuable contributions to the United States too.

Source: Inauguration Day Strikers Show Solidarity | New Haven Independent

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