Seymour’s Senior Center To Comply With ADA Accessibility Standards

Joe Luciano, Disability Rights Action Group of CT

Seymour’s senior center has agreed to comply with ADA 1990 accessibility mandates after an investigation by the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. In February 2016 I filed a complaint after observing that the center’s picnic grove and its two picnic tables were inaccessible. Many center members use wheelchairs. A 6-inch curb posed a barrier to the grove; a crosswalk was absent. The picnic tables were built by town high school students who, together with their teachers, were unaware that the ADA requires picnic tables to be wheelchair accessible.

Rather than making a simple modification (adding extensions to the table ends), the center removed the tables and closed the grove. The center will also post larger signs at its public entrance indicating the location of the accessible entrance. (Existing signs were too small and could only be read after climbing the steps to the able-bodied entrance.) The center will also fix the inoperable doorbell at its acces-sible entrance and post signage giving phone numbers for contacting center staff.

For more information: DRAGconnecticut@yahoo.com.

ICE Overrides Blumenthal on Deportation | NHIndy

Christopher Peak, New Haven Independent, Aug 21, 2017

Marco Antonio Reyes Alvarez, the undocumented Ecuadorian immigrant who has found sanctuary from deportation in a church downtown, might face a pro-longed stay at First & Summerfield due to a new directive that limits the ability of members of Congress to halt remov-al orders. Federal legislators have regularly introduced “private immigration bills,” which, if passed, would grant permanent legal residency to a person who entered the coun-try illegally. More importantly, while the private immigra-tion bills were being considered, federal agents at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) used to hold off on deporting the individual. If a U.S. senator was willing to stick his neck out for an undocumented immigrant, author-ities would take that into consideration before kicking the immigrant out of the country. Read the full article at NewHavenIndependent.org.

New Haven Stands with Standing Rock petitioning Mayor Harp to cut ties with Wells Fargo Bank

Dear Friends,

Thank you for signing our petition asking the City of New Haven to move its operating budget out of Wells Fargo bank to a local or regional bank that is big enough to handle the account but is not guilty of gross violations of human rights (such as funding the Dakota Access pipeline) and customers’ rights not to be cheated, such as has been exposed multiple times at Wells Fargo. This is part of a powerful national (and international) campaign.

Sign the petition here if you haven’t already

https://goo.gl/forms/wAS2UwHHGhTdu83v2

We’ve met with Mayor Harp and her controller. We’ve collected many hundreds of signatures on our petition in person, and the link to the electronic version is below, in hopes that you will help us spread the word through social media or your own personal lists. (Signers must be New Haven residents.)

Please come to our rally on Aug. 31 to press the mayor to do the right thing, and invite your friends, family and co-workers.

New Haven: Cut Ties with Wells Fargo!
WHAT: Rally to demand the City move its operating funds out of Wells Fargo bank
WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 31, 4:30-6 p.m.
WHERE: Outside City Hall, 165 Church St. (across from the Green)
WHO: Everyone who wants justice for the Standing Rock Sioux (we’ll have an update) and the taxpayers of New Haven
WHY: Wells Fargo invested in the Dakota Access pipeline and invests in other dirty energy projects and immigration detention facilities; it has been caught several times ripping off its own customers; Wells Fargo is not a safe place for our money!

Solidarity,

Melinda for NHSwSR

Sign the petition here if you haven’t already

https://goo.gl/forms/wAS2UwHHGhTdu83v2

Queer, There, and Everywhere, Author Talk and Book Signing Monday, June 19, 6:30 p.m.

World history has been made by countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of them. Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 23 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encom-passes every culture, in every era. By turns hilarious and inspiring, the beautifully illustrated Queer, There, and Everywhere is for anyone who wants the real story of the queer rights movement.

Sarah Prager is the author of the new book Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World. Also the founder of the Quist mobile app, Sarah has dedicated the last four years to making LGBTQ history engaging and accessible for youth. This career has taken her to the White House, several universities across four countries, the offices of companies like Google and Twitter, the American Embassy in Mexico, and beyond. Sarah lives in Wallingford with her wife and daughter.
Come meet Sarah Prager on Monday, June 19, 6:30 p.m. at the Mitchell Library, 37 Harrison St. For info: (203) 946-8117, www.nhfpl.org.

Shops Close On “Day Without Immigrants” | New Haven Independent

At least 40 New Haven businesses kept their stores bolted all day Monday to demonstrate the contribution that immigrants make to the region’s economy.

New Haven’s cuisine was most noticeably impacted by city’s participation in a national “Day Without Immigrants” strike — with restaurants as varied as Kasbah Garden Cafe (owned by a Moroccan) on Howe Street to La Molienda Cafe (owned by a Peruvian) on Grand Avenue all vacant for the day. Less visible were the contractors, like maids and gardeners, who didn’t take any gigs.

“The only way we can really demonstrate ourselves, especially for the ones who don’t have any documents and cannot vote, is to show that we have weight in the economy of this country,” said John Lugo, a 15-year organizer Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA).

Source: Shops Close On “Day Without Immigrants” | New Haven Independent

Letter re: Adjunct Faculty Organizing at UNH

I am writing to ask for your support in the campaign for workers’ rights at the University of New Haven. Contingent faculty are attempting to form a union to improve their working conditions.

As you may know, contingent faculty make up 76% of college educators nationally and 73% of University of New Haven’s campus. Adjuncts make a fraction of the wages and benefits of tenured faculty and have little to no job security from semester to semester. The nature of this type of work means many faculty are working for close to minimum wage with no hope for full-time employment, despite their commitment to providing a quality education to their students.

A letter of support from you, especially one that asks for neutrality from the administration, would be of great benefit to their cause. Neutrality means they will not interfere with the workers’ federally-guaranteed rights to organize a union in their workplace. [….]

Letters can be sent to my email, jodie.leidecker@seiu.org. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like more information regarding this campaign. Thank you for your support of workers’ rights and the improvement of higher education.

Sincerely, Jodie Leidecker, Organizer-in-training, SEIU Faculty Forward in partnership with The 4 C’s (Congress of CT Community Colleges)

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.

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