Reconstructing the Dream: March and Event Mark African American History Month 4 p.m. Feb. 25

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

The 44th People’s World African American History Month Celebrations, “Reconstructing the Dream” will be keynoted by Rev. Scott Marks, director of New Haven Rising and co-founder of Connecticut Center for a New Economy. He will address the way forward for equality and justice in 2018, 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, and 150 years since W.E.B. DuBois was born. A national leader of Unite Here, Marks has organized people from all races, nationalities and genders to fight for their homes, jobs and communities. He is traveling the country to train new African American union leaders and is organizing the I AM 2018 effort to carry forward Dr. King’s legacy.

The event will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. at Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave, New Haven, CT 06511. Prior to the event, a march has been organized from the New Haven Peoples Center through the Dwight neighborhood to Troup School. The march, themed “Jobs for Youth, Jobs for All,” will remember neighborhood youth who have been killed, and is sponsored by Ice the Beef, New Elm City Dream/YCL and New Haven Rising.

The event will be opened with drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray. Prizes will be awarded in the Arts and Writing Competition Grades 8 through 12. Students were asked: “What lessons can we learn from Dr. King’s courageous life? What kind of collective action is needed in 2018 to carry his legacy forward? A video “Remembering Dalzenia Henry, Grace Cummings, Emma Fair” will honor the memory of three African American Communist women leaders in Connecticut. Ice the Beef will perform excerpts from King and DuBois.

A donation of $5 or what you can afford is requested. No one will be turned away

Thousands March Against Trump and Demand Equality

by LouAnn Villani, JVPNH and MECC

By a very rough count 10,000 women and male allies and their daughters marched and rallied in Hartford’s Capitol at the “Women’s March CT, Rise and Resist 2018.” I stood with members of Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven, the Middle East Crisis Committee and the Tree of Life Educational Foundation holding banners about imprisoned Palestinian women and watched people pass by us for 50 minutes.

There were lots of signs and banners with a funny and vulgar mix that mocked Donald Trump. There was a drawing of a uterus with the words “This Machine Kills Fascists.” Another very colorful sign said, “Elect a Clown, You Get a Circus.” A good number worked off his notorious “sh**hole” remark. One had a picture of Trump being flushed down a toilet.

A lot of signs were pro-immigrants and #BlackLivesMatter, including one large banner. Other signs were about elections, “Grab Them by the Midterms” and “I’m a Nasty Woman and I Vote.” Throughout the march, there were supporters of Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose.

One sign I liked said “I March Because Silence Is Not an Option. I Will Not Be Complicit.” Several had the words ‘I Stand With Her” next to a photo of the Statue of Liberty. Many had the words “I Will Not Go Quietly Back to 1950s #Resist.”

For chants, a Latino contingent was loudest and most enthusiastic. And like last year people yelled, “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Donald Trump Has Got to Go,” “We Need a Leader, Not a Creepy Tweeter,” “Dump Trump” and “This is What Democracy Looks Like.”

Our banners had drawings and a photo of Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old Palestinian girl whom the Israelis arrested a month ago and are threatening to put in jail for years for slapping a heavily-armed Israeli soldier. Perhaps 100 people commented in support and took photos of us. We also gave out 1,000 half-page flyers which were snapped up in less than 30 minutes.

The march was fantastic, and we sent word of what we did to the Tamimi family in Palestine.

Black History Month Events at the Wilson Library

by Marian Huggins, New Haven Free Public Library

This year’s Black History Month theme for the library fea-tures two prominent writers: James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Along with partners from Project Longevity, we will show the film I Am Not Your Negro, a work adapted from an unfinished James Baldwin manuscript. The screening will be held at the Wilson Branch, 303 Washington Ave., New Haven, on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.

James Baldwin, described as an “American Novelist and Social Critic,” unearths the hard truths about racism in America while describing his responses to the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers and Malcolm X.

Langston Hughes, whose birthday by the way is Feb. 1, was a prolific poet and social activist as well. His writing could be biting, but was usually cloaked either in humor (as in the Jesse B. Semple Stories) or softened by the hopefulness of a future when all would be accepted, like in the poem “I, Too”:

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.
Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

The Urban Life Experience Book Discussion Series will feature a biography of Langston Hughes for our February meeting, Feb. 24 at noon. New readers are welcome and readers can choose whatever biography (or autobiography) written for teens and adults they’d like to read for the discussion. The Langston Hughes biography is in conjunction with our Black History Month celebration and it fits in with the cultural and social justice theme of the discussion group. The book discussion will be followed by the film Hughes’ Dream Harlem at 1:30 p.m.  Wilson Branch, New Haven Free Public Library, 303 Washington Ave., (203) 946-2228.

Commemorate the 200th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ Birth

Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand. It Never Did, and It Never Will.

Quinnipiac University will mark the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth with a series of events to honor his life and his many achievements. One of the high points will be a yearlong exhibition curated by Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute that focuses on the time Douglass spent in Ireland and his enduring relationship with that country.

Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland. At the age of 20, he escaped to the north, where he quickly established himself as a talented speaker and writer.

In 1845, Douglass wrote his life story: “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Written by Himself.” To avoid being captured and returned to slavery, he traveled to Europe. He spent the first four months of his exile in Ireland, returning there three more times in 1846. Douglass described his time in Ireland as “transformative” and as “the happiest days of my life.” In 1847, he returned to America, his freedom having been “purchased” by female abolitionists.

Exhibit: Frederick Douglass Remembered.

Dates: Feb. 2, 2018, to Jan. 28, 2019
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.
Main Exhibition: The Lender Special Collection Room, Arnold Bernhard Library, Mount Carmel Campus, Quinnipiac University, 275 Mount Carmel Avenue, Hamden, CT 06518

Friday, Feb. 2. Frederick Douglass in Ireland: “The Black O’Connell” (Frederick Douglass in Éirinn: An Conallach Gorm) exhibition opens to the public.

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7-10 p.m. From Abolition to #BLM: A Conversation with Danny Glover at the Burt Kahn Court, Mount Carmel Campus. Driven by activists like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman, early abolitionist efforts became the foundation for contemporary debates over the meaning of freedom. The Black Lives Matter movement, named for the hashtag started on Twitter, is steeped in the American tradition of using free speech and social actions to further the fight for justice and equality. In a fireside-chat style program with Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean, Glover will explore the similarities of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and its early abolitionist roots (especially Frederick Douglass) to build connections, increase dialogue and end racism.

Wednesday, Feb. 14. Happy Birthday, Frederick! Events throughout the day include special cupcakes and a chance to meet Nathan Richardson (Douglass enactor).

Tuesday, Feb. 20. “Frederick Douglass at 200.”
Memorial service to mark Frederick’s death on February 20, 1895. The service will include a selection of readings in English and Irish, accompanied by traditional Irish music and 19th-century American hymns. Light refreshments will be provided afterward. This event will take place at the Center for Religion on the Mount Carmel Campus.Thursday, February 22. Kenneth Morris and Nettie Douglass, descendants of Frederick Douglass, discuss how they are preserving his legacy. Also, a statue of Frederick Douglass at age 27 (when he visited Ireland) will be on display at the Quinnipiac University School of Law on the North Haven Campus, 370 Bassett Road, North Haven. For more information, please contact: Ann Marie Godbout, Assistant to Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, (203) 582-6576, ighi@qu.edu, http://www.qu.edu/on-campus/institutes-centers/irelands-great-hunger-institute/frederick-douglass-remembered.html.

PAR Featured on WPKN Radio. Listen.

On Jan. 8, Scott Harris, host of Counterpoint on WPKN Radio (89.5 FM), interviewed Paula Panzarella, one of PAR’s editors and Planning Committee members.

The Planning Committee felt this interview would be a great way to introduce PAR to the many progressive organiza-tions active in the peace movement, the struggle for immi-grant rights, work with Black Lives Matter, promotion of environmental projects, the struggle for civil rights, criminal justice issues, the push for healthcare for all, etc. Many thanks to Scott Harris and WPKN for agreeing to give PAR this opportunity to reach a new audience.

We hope that groups which were not familiar with PAR will send us articles and their event listings so PAR readers can learn about the work they are doing and get involved. PAR readers can listen to the interview on the following link: http://counterpointradio.org/2018/mp3/180108d-ctpt-panzarella.mp3.

New Haven Public Schools Parent Community Statement on the Appointment of Dr. Carol Birks

[The following article was sent to PAR in an e-mail from New Haven Public Schools parent community. We have edited it slightly. The organization can be contacted at newhavenpublicschoolparents@gmail.com.]

The organized New Haven Public Schools parent community is disappointed by the Board of Education’s decision to appoint Dr. Carol Birks as Superintendent. The Board made this appointment against the overwhelming objections of parents, students, teachers, and community allies. In two hours of testimony, nearly every speaker echoed the assessment of the Board’s three educators and two student members: in a choice between Dr. Pamela Brown and Dr. Carol Birks, Dr. Brown is the more qualified candidate and the better fit for our district. Over 1000 signers of an online petition, together with hundreds of signers of school-based petitions, arrived at an identical conclusion.

The Board’s vote deepens the perception already held by many parents that “parent engagement” is a buzzword to be deployed when convenient, but not reflective of district practice. We are shut out of our children’s classrooms, not given a defined role in school planning and decision-making, and we have been flagrantly ignored in our expressed preference for Superintendent. …

We question the motives behind last night’s vote, particularly those of the Mayoral appointees. In a recent hearing before the Board of Alders Education Committee, one appointee pledged to represent the interests of parents. That commitment was not upheld in this vote, as the New Haven Public Schools parent community overwhelmingly expressed support for one candidate over another. …

Regrettably, in voting for Dr. Birks, four of the seven Board members — Mayor Toni Harp, District 2 representative Darnell Goldson, Jamell Cotto, and Frank Redente — ignored the expressed preference of students, parents, educators, and the wider community. As parents, our commitment is to our kids. We are not aligned with political factions. We are organized toward the sole goal of improving our schools so that they better serve all of our children. Thus we stand ready to work collaboratively with anyone who demonstrates commitment to this goal.

Money Talks, and So Does Solidarity!

by Melinda Tuhus, New Haven Stands with Standing Rock

[As this issue of the PAR newsletter went to press, we received notice about the following event. We are printing it so people can be aware of the various local banks that are funding fossil fuel projects in the U.S. and other countries. For more information about this rally and future plans for New Haven Stands with Standing Rock, please e-mail nhswsr@gmail.com.]

Rally Wednesday, Oct. 25, 4:30-5:30 p.m., beginning on the New Haven Green, corner of College and Chapel streets. Then walk 3 blocks to visit 3 banks. The reason is that next week, 92 of the world’s largest banks are meeting in São Paulo, Brazil, to discuss environmental and social risk management policies regarding the climate and indigenous people’s rights to “free, prior and informed consent.”

Mazaska Talks (“Money Talks” in Lakota) is calling for global actions on October 23-25 focusing on banks that are funding fossil fuel projects that are endangering indigenous lands, water and cultures, and our global climate. Indigenous groups and the Fossil Free divestment movement started by 350.org have led individuals, organizations and local governments to withdraw billions of dollars from these banks. In the most recent success, in early October, BNP Paribas — Europe’s second largest bank — announced it is cutting funding to tar sands, all tar sands pipelines, fracking, LNG (liquefied natural gas), and Arctic oil projects. This kind of pressure works.

Join New Haven Stands with Standing Rock (NHSwSR) as we focus on banks in our community that are making these destructive investments. We will meet on the Green at the corner of College and Chapel streets, then pay a visit to TD Bank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo Bank, where we will highlight our campaign asking the city to move its $3 million a day operating budget out of Wells Fargo to a bank that prioritizes investments in our community. Wells Fargo just announced a drastic 18 percent drop in its third quarter earnings related to penalties it’s had to pay for its many unethical practices, putting taxpayers’ money even more in jeopardy.

Questions? Email us at nhswsr@gmail.com.

Creating a Vision for the GNH Labor History Association Nov. 29

by Steve Kass, President, GNH Labor History Association

After a 5-year organizing effort to get labor history taught in the Connecticut public schools, the “labor history bill” was ceremonially signed into law on July 29, 2015, by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The legislation directs the state department of education to make a curriculum available in “labor history and law, including organized labor, the collective bargaining process, and existing legal protections in the workplace.”

Connecticut became only the third state in the nation to have a bill that supports the teaching of labor history in the public schools.

Since then, the GNHLHA has spent the last two years trying to get the labor history curriculum downloaded onto the Connecticut State Department of Education social studies division website.

The final step is to disseminate the labor history curriculum to Connecticut teachers.

Please join us from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at the New Haven Central Labor Council (267 Chapel St., New Haven) to discuss the future of our organization. Pizza will be served promptly at 5:30 p.m. This session will be facilitated by SEIU union organizer Steve Schrag. We need your input and energy!!

For more information, go to laborhistory.org.

Hate Has No Home Here: Silent Rally, Milford Green, Sunday, Oct. 8.

HHNHH, Milford Chapter

We — those who oppose racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, hate speech and bullying — will join in silence on the Milford Green to show our opposition to the hate we have witnessed in OUR communities, OUR neighborhoods and OUR schools.

We are an assembly of all ages, colors, religions, genders (and those without), nationalities, political parties (we are absolutely nonpartisan) and sizes.

This is not just a Milford issue, it is a Connecticut issue, it is a national issue. We invite those who have witnessed hate to join us and send a clear message to the world: Hate Has No Home Here. Silent Rally, Milford Green, Sunday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m., 125 N. Broad St., Milford.

CT braces for DACA repeal | YDN

by Jon Greenberg & Angela Xiao

Since President Donald Trump announced earlier this month his intention to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, advocacy groups in the state have rushed to defend those who might be harmed by the loss of the program. DACA beneficiaries are also bracing for the possibility of giving up a future in the country they consider home.

DACA, an Obama-era policy, protects from hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States when they were 16 years old or younger deportation and allows them to acquire work authorizations. Meriden resident Jason Ramos, who counts many DACA recipients among his friends, said losing DACA would upend his friends’ lives.

“The main thing that happens when you lose DACA is it takes away your ability to have a life,” Ramos said. “It just means losing that ability to fend for oneself … one starts to feel helpless.”

Source: CT braces for DACA repeal

Nearly 150 March in Newhallville to End Gun Violence, Seek More Youth Jobs

by Mark Zaretsky, New Haven Register, Sept. 23, 2017

Nearly 150 people — including the mother of murder victim Tyriek Keyes — marched through the streets of the city’s Newhallville section Saturday morning, calling for an end to urban gun violence and more jobs for urban youth.

The anti-violence neighborhood march with the theme, Jobs For Youth, Jobs For All, in the Newhallville section of New Haven on September 23, 2017. Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Media

The anti-violence neighborhood march with the theme, Jobs For Youth, Jobs For All, in the Newhallville section of New Haven on September 23, 2017. Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Media

The march was organized by New Elm City Dream/Young Communist League, Ice the Beef and New Haven Rising in the wake of a youth survey done over the summer in Newhallville, said one of the organizers, Jahmal Henderson.

Marchers included the organizers, Newhallville residents, city alders and state legislators and members of area unions at Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University.

The march lost its police escort — and some of the reporters and photographers covering it — mid-way through when shots rang out and the shooting of a woman and two police officers was reported on Elm Street.

Source: Nearly 150 march in Newhallville to end gun violence, seek more youth jobs – New Haven Register

Courageous Women of Resistance Tour in CT — Oct. 21-29

by Tree of Life Education Foundation, tolef.org

In the history of popular struggles, a most important chapter will be the role of women who with courage and unflagging determination work for justice and human rights in their communities. Women helped to bring clean water to Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, and women were at the forefront of the encampment at Standing Rock, by the contagion of their spirit helping to build an international community of resistance.

Likewise in Israel and Palestine, in the refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, in organizations such as “Bedouin Women for Themselves” and “Grassroots Jerusalem,” women are helping to build a non-violent resist-ance movement. By refusing to be silenced or compromised by the militarism of settler colonialism, these women are speaking truth to power and in doing so, they are helping to bring enlightenment and engagement in the struggle to build a better and more peaceful future for their children.

This program will be taking place at the following locations: Saturday, October 21, Yale, New Haven – details to come. Sunday, Oct. 29, The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, 2 Ferry Street, Old Lyme – details to come.

The Courageous Women speakers: Madonna Thunder Hawk, a member of the Oohenumpa band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, has a long history of grassroots activism prior to her formative work for Lakota People’s Law Project (LPLP) as a Tribal Liaison. She is co-founder of Women of All Red Nations (WARN), as well as the Black Hills Alli-ance—which prevented corporate uranium mining in the Black Hills and proved the high level of radiation in Pine Ridge reservation’s water supply.

Fayrouz Sharqawi works as the Advocacy Coordinator at Grassroots Jerusalem, a platform for Palestinian community-based mobilization, leadership and advocacy in Occupied Jerusalem. They believe that the challenges and responses of Palestinian communities must be articulated and led by them.

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