Life on Parole — Film and Talk-Back at Milford Public Library, 57 New Haven Ave., Jan. 23

Life on Parole — Film and Talk-Back at Milford Public Library, 57 New Haven Ave., Jan. 23

Milford Library and Milford Speaks Out are pleased to co-host a screening and discussion Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m., of Life on Parole, a documentary produced by FRONTLINE and The New York Times. Life on Parole goes inside the parole system in Connecticut to examine ongoing efforts to rethink parole: A condition that offers freedom, but comes with strict prohibitions like with whom one can live with, where one can go, what time one has to be home, and more.

“Most people who are in prison in America will one day be released on parole,” says Matthew O’Neill, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning director of Life on Parole. “And as Connecticut brings its prison population down and attempts to give parolees more chances to succeed, we wanted to see if the experience of the parolees reflected these changes.”

With unique access inside Connecticut’s corrections system, as well as camera-phone footage filmed by the parolees themselves, the film follows four former prisoners as they navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole — from finding work, to staying sober, to parenting — and doing it all while under intense supervision from the state. A discussion will follow the screening. Admission is free.

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Forms Community Leadership Teams

The mission of New Haven LEAD is to implement a LEAD model that reduces incarceration and criminal justice involvement for persons living with substance use disorders.  The overall goal is harm reduction for the participant, their families, and the community.

The next meeting of the Community Leadership Team is on Thursday, Jan. 3, 6 p.m., at Christian Community Action at 168 Davenport Ave. More people can be involved with this to help establish policy. Residents of Hill North, Hill South and Downtown are especially welcome, as these are the neighborhoods where LEAD is presently focused. Site Contact: Shaunette Marquis, Family Coach, Christian Community Action. RSVP to Cynthia at CWatson@newhavenct.gov.

LEAD only works if there is meaningful community input. Establishing mechanisms to ensure such input can serve to keep the program actors accountable and keep the processes connected to community needs and interests. A Community Leadership Team needs to have interested community members, neighborhood leaders, people with relevant lived experience, etc. who are not already represented by groups linked to the LEAD Policy and Operational Workgroups. Such a team can prove incredibly useful both operationally and for program sustainability.  (Taken from: LEAD National Support Bureau, www.leadbureau.org)

New Haven LEAD’s website is veoci.com/veoci/p/dashboard/h2567kvepg. For more information, contact Cynthia Watson, Project Manager for LEAD. Office: (203) 946-4905, cell: (203) 668-0154, cwatson@newhavenct.gov.

City Homeless Demand Bill Of Rights, Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent

Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent

Verna spent five years sleeping on the streets after she lost her manufacturing job.

Now living in her own Fair Haven apartment, she’s still haunted by the constant stress, anxiety, and humiliation she felt whenever city police asked her to move from a bench or a sidewalk grate or a stretch of grass downtown where she had managed to fall asleep.

On Monday afternoon, Verna added er voice and her story to a broader call by local homelessness advocates seeking to codify a city “bill of rights” for New Haveners without a home.

Read the full article at http://www.nhindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/homeless_rights

United in Struggle for a Better World — People’s World Amistad Awards

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.

Eva Bermudez Zimmerman made history as the first Puerto Rican candidate for Lt. Governor in Connecticut. An SEIU union organizer representing childcare workers, her passion for justice began as a child and touches communities everywhere.

Shellye Davis is president of the Hartford Labor Coalition and co-president of the Hartford Federation of Paraeducators affiliated with AFT Connecticut. She is a leader for the rights of public sector union members and the people they serve.

Louise Simmons is an acclaimed educator and labor-community activist. She was a City Councilperson in Hartford (People for Change Party), has led many racial and economic justice organizations and has chaired CT Center for a New Economy board.

The annual Awards are presented to allies by the Connecticut People’s World Committee on the occasion of the 99th anniversary of the Communist Party USA. We come together in hope and unity as increased economic and racial inequalities, climate change and war give rise to new organizing by youth, low-wage workers and the 99% toward a society that puts people and planet before corporate profits.

 

Petition: Return Khashoggi’s Remains

Stanley Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

At a meeting in the West Haven library in November, a suggestion became a petition. While the Saudis and the U.S. investigate the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, an idea bubbled up for a simple act of decency that could be concluded right away: the return of the remains of Khashoggi to his family. The Middle East Crisis Committee created a petition that simply says “Saudi authorities should return the body of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi to his family. They should also return all other bodies of those executed or killed by the Saudi government.” You can get to it by visiting MoveOn.org.

The meeting had been called to discuss ideas to pressure the University of New Haven to break its ties to the Saudi regime. The college assists the Saudi police college, the King Fahd Security College in Riyadh. The nature of the assistance is very vague. MECC’s discovery that one of the members of the hit team sent to Istanbul was a top Saudi forensic scientist who was on a Saudi forensic board with UNH’s Henry C. Lee attracted national and even international attention.

Saudi authorities arrested a score of people and intend to seek the death penalty for five. Surely after two months, the Saudi investigators know the location of the remains or the names of the Turkish operatives they claim disposed of the body. There is no reason the information should not be shared with the family and the public. The petition also mentions other bodies kept by the Saudi government as a continued punishment of families. A Saudi human rights group based in Berlin says over 30 bodies of people executed or killed in raids have been “detained” by the government.

It became apparent that President Trump, for all his talk of “severe punishment” of the killers of the U.S.-based journalist, will do nothing since the murder was ordered by high Saudi authorities and Trump doesn’t want to harm weapons sales. We cannot let the issue die. Please sign the petition.

For more on local actions, visit TheStruggle.org.

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.

‘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.

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.

 

CT Green Party Supports National Prisoner Strike, Green Candidates Demand Reforms to CT Criminal Justice

Owen Charles, Chair, Shoreline Green Party

From Aug. 21 to Sept. 9, 2018, prisoners around the United States will be participating in strike actions, calling for an end to inhumane conditions of confinement, including overcrowding, lack of rehabilitation services, labor at a fraction of the minimum wage, and the absence of any meaningful process by which prisoners may voice grievances.

The Connecticut Green Party and its candidates for public office express their solidarity and support for the prisoners’ strike and observe that here, in the “land of the free,” the U.S. has the largest prison population and the highest percentage of the population in prison of any country in the world. In this election season, with so much discussion about the role of voting in effecting change, there has been little discussion about those to whom the right to vote is denied. That includes millions of African American voters whose votes are suppressed through both legal and illegal means, as well as transgender voters who are prevented by antiquated ID laws from being able to vote.

Disenfranchisement is also a fact for 6 million citizens in the US who are presently or were incarcerated. When government deprives human beings of their right to peaceably and lawfully oppose unfair treatment, it forces those human beings to take up other means of protest. The national prisoner strike is the cry of resistance of a population that the government tries to keep silent.

The Green Party of Connecticut and its candidates for public office call on the State of Connecticut to implement the following measures that would help to address the over-incarceration that especially affects people of color and poor people in our state, and the dehumanizing conditions that exist in our prisons:

Abolish money fines and cash bail. Fines are a regressive tax on poor people, and cash bail is nothing less than the criminalization of poverty. Whether or how a person is treated when they are arrested should not depend on the size of their bank account!

  • Assign an ombudsperson to oversee the health care system in Connecticut’s prisons;
  • Provide genuine mental health treatment, not just pill-pushing.
  • Ensure educational programs are available in prisons as part of rehabilitative services;
  • Abolish slave labor. Guarantee the Connecticut minimum wage for all prison labor; and
  • Restore the vote. Enfranchise all prisoners and formerly incarcerated people.

UNPACKING RACE — A Workshop Sept. 14-16

by Citywide Youth Coalition

Are you challenged by how to deal with race issues in your practice, institution or in the classroom? Are you concerned about the impact of racism in your city and state?

The Undoing Racism/Community Organizing workshop is an intensive three-day workshop designed to educate, challenge and empower people to undo the racist structures that hinder effective social change. The training is based on the premise that racism has been systematically constructed and that it can be undone when people understand where it comes from, how it functions, why it is perpetuated, and what we can do to dismantle it.

The workshop is offered by the Peoples Institute for Survival and Beyond, a national, multi-racial, anti-racist collective of veteran organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social change. Since its founding in 1980, the Peoples Institute has trained over 200,000 people in hundreds of communities throughout the United States and internationally. It is recognized as one of the most effective anti-racist training and organizing institutions in the nation.

The workshop addresses the following areas:

  1. Analyzing Power: Effective organizing requires accurate analysis of the systems that keep racism in place. The training examines why people are poor, how institutions and organizations perpetuate the imbalance of power, and who benefits from the maintenance of the status quo.
  2. Recognizing The Internalized Manifestations Of Racial Oppression: The training explores how internalized racial oppression manifests itself both as Internalized Racial Inferiority and Internalized Racial Superiority.
  3. Defining Racism: In order to undo racism, organizers and educators must understand what racism is, and how and why it was constructed. The training explores how the idea of race was created to implement systems that benefit some people and oppress and disadvantage others.
  4. Understanding the Manifestations of Racism: Racism operates in more than just individual and institutional settings. The training examines the dynamics of cultural racism, linguistic racism, and militarism as applied racism.
  5. Learning From History: Racism has distorted, suppressed and denied the histories of people of color and white people as well. The training demonstrates that a full knowledge of history is a necessary organizing tool as well as a source of personal and collective empowerment.
  6. Sharing culture: The training demonstrates that even as racism divides people, sharing culture unites us. Cultural sharing is a critical organizing tool and is central to the training.
  7. Organizing to Undo Racism: The training explores principles of effective organizing, strategic techniques of community empowerment, the importance of community accountability and the internal dynamics of leadership development.

Dinner will be provided on Friday, Sept. 14. Breakfast and lunch will be provided on Sept. 15 and 16.
Costs: $350 (non CWYC members) Partial scholarships may be available; $100 (CWYC members). Info: justmoves.nationbuilder.com/sept_2018_application.

Note: There are 30 open seats available for this workshop. Please contact Addys Castillo, addys@cwyc.org or (203) 464-7838 for further information.

Grammar School Students Who Already Challenge and Change The World

by Frank Panzarella, community activist

The Green Wolves, fourth-grade students at Elm City College Preparatory Elementary School, came up with that name for their own wonderful and imaginative adventure in becoming young activists.

Their teacher, Kurt Zimmermann of their Expeditions class, saw the PAR newsletter on-line and invited us to do a training for young people on things to think about when becoming an activist.

While some were still shy, others were bursting with ideas and questions. They surprised us right off by quoting suggestions from our own notes before we even began.

These kids were very interested in environmental issues and showed us their current great campaign. They raised money to replace all the teachers’ disposable coffee cups with lovely ceramic mugs that had the teachers’ names printed on them, so the teachers would reduce their paper waste.

We were thrilled to meet this group of engaging and endearing students and thank Mr. Zimmermann for the opportunity. We thought PAR readers would be interested in the notes we left the students with.

An Activist Guide List – Questions to Ask Yourself

  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
  • “Doing something is better than doing nothing.”
  • “My way is not the only way.”

Passion

  • What are the issues you feel strongly about? What would you like to accomplish or change? What do you need to study and understand?
  • Are there other people you know concerned about these issues? Who can you talk with?

Organize

  • How can you educate people about why your issue is important?
  • What are your short term and long term goals? What would you like to see happen in relation to your cause?
  • Who is it you would like to reach on your cause?
  • Are there people or groups who might be allies in reaching your goals?

Action Plans

  • What kinds of actions are appropriate for your cause?

Educational events

  • Write letters, articles, and petitions.
  • Use social media.

Rallies and demonstrations

  • Picket lines
  • Speak at hearings or local government meetings.

Create a plan to advance your cause and build support

  • Call a meeting to plan your actions if necessary.
  • Figure out a group process.
  • Be aware of your members and their ideas.
  • Promote democracy in action – listen to all and learn to resolve differences.
  • Respect the rights of others to have different views.
  • Struggle for a programmatic unity on issues — in other words, something everyone in your group can agree on to take some action.
  • Have a summation meeting. Meet again after your action to figure out what worked and what didn’t. What do you think could have been better? Decide if you will do something next, and pick a date for another meeting to figure out what it will be.
  • Have fun doing good things for the benefit of everyone.

The Poor People’s Campaign: A Moral Agenda Based on Fundamental Rights

Over the past two years, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has reached out to communities in more than 30 states across this nation. We have met with tens of thousands of people, witnessing the strength of their moral courage in trying times. We have gathered testimonies from hundreds of poor people, and we have chronicled their demands for a better society. The following moral agenda is drawn from this deep engagement and commitment to these struggles of the poor and dispossessed. It is also grounded in an empirical assessment of how we have come to this point today. The Souls of Poor Folk: Auditing America report reveals how the evils of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy and militarism are persistent, pervasive, and perpetuated by a distorted moral narrative that must be challenged.

We must stop the attention [deficit] that refuses to see these injustices and acknowledge the human and economic costs of inequality. We believe that when decent people see the faces and facts that the Souls of Poor Folk Audit presents, they will be moved deeply in their conscience to change things. When confronted with the undeniable truth of unconscionable cruelty to our fellow human beings, we must join the ranks of those who are determined not to rest until justice and equality are a reality for all. www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Connecticut-Fact-Sheet.pdf.

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