Widespread Food Insecurity in New Haven, CT

From the Greater New Haven Peace Council leaflet of Dec. 8, 2017

  1. On December 2, 2017, the New Haven Register ran an eyeopening article on its front page that should have created a huge public outcry from readers.
  2. The article addressed the growing problem of FOOD INSECURITY in New Haven. It also could have applied to other cities in Connecticut, one of the richest states in the richest country in the world, and beyond.
  3. There is something drastically wrong with an economic system that has the worst gap of individual income between the haves and the have nots than any other industrialized country in the world! We have become a country of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.
  4. Numerous local organizations and agencies and 13 affected individuals worked together on the eight-page report. Their investigation painted a pretty bleak picture:
    1. Over 22 percent of city residents are food insecure. That means they either do not have enough food each day or the money to buy food that they and their families need.
    2. One out of three adults in the city’s lowest income neighborhoods are impacted.
    3. Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable.
    4. Food insecurity among Latino residents across New Haven is even higher at 34 percent!
    5. Food insecurity among residents in the six lowest income neighborhoods is at a shocking 50.1 percent!

THIS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!

The report also showed there are people who work full time or have multiple jobs and still go hungry. How can this be, you say? Many work at or below minimum wage and have to choose between food and

(1) keeping their utilities on; or
(2) affording very high rents in broken down rat traps; or
(3) paying for necessary medications.

The group’s survey also found that most people that are food insecure were not eating, on average, from 10 to 14 days per month just so their children could have enough to eat.

Hypocrisy so thick you need a knife to cut it. Our five CT Democratic representatives often speak about the problems many seniors face on hunger, homelessness, low or unpaid wages. They loudly complain about Republican budget cuts on the poor and working classes. Yet they continually betray us by voting more money for the military and weapons of war. In July 2017, all of them voted to increase the military budget that exceeded last year’s 700+ billion dollars. Trump was asking for a $52 billion increase, they voted to give him an additional $24 billion beyond his request. Just think what that extra money could have done to help our people here at home.

The government takes $11.3 billion of CT taxpayer money to fund the Pentagon each year. From 2001 to 2017 it took away over $1.2 trillion each year to pay for past, present and future wars and for maintaining over 850 U.S. military bases in 172 countries.

Connecticut could have used some of that money to meet the needs of all its people. The following could have been created in the last five years:

  • 35,000 living wage jobs at $15 an hour
  • 35,000 infrastructure jobs
  • 35,000 clean energy jobs
  • 30,000 elementary teaching jobs

Remember, if the proposed Republican tax cuts for the super-rich and largest corporations go through, it will be at our expense as trillions of dollars are sucked out of essential programs we and our families and friends depend on.

We must stop our destructive culture of endless wars, violence, and economic slavery!

We must stand up and speak out. It’s your children! Your parents! Your money! Your future! Your planet! Your lives!

Please call: Representative Rosa DeLauro, Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal at their Washington, D.C. Offices. Telephone (202) 224-3121.

Make that call TODAY.

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

Mary Johnson, March 29, 1922-Aug. 13, 2017

It is with great sadness that the Progressive Action Roundtable Planning Committee informs our readers that Mary Johnson, a founding member of PAR and leader, strategist and active participant in most of PAR’s committees, has passed on.

We dedicate this issue of our newsletter to Mary. Without her guidance, ideas for informing the public and each other of rallies and events, optimism in the struggle for justice and her persistence in fighting for people’s rights throughout the years, there may not have even been a Progressive Action Roundtable. We all owe so much to her.

Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

Mary was directly active in many of the organizations that are PAR-affiliated. She was also active in most of New Haven’s progressive organizations. She most likely was a founding member of many.
She was a great political and personal influence on many. PAR encourages our readers to send in their reminiscences of her. In the words of Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

A memorial is being planned for her with details upcoming.

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.

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

Local 33, Welcome, Latest Union at Yale!

The battle for Yale to recognize the graduate students’ union continues. The past month Local 33 and its supporters have upped their visibility with the encampment on Beinecke Plaza and those who have been fasting. The culmination of the protest was at the Yale graduation on May 22, when over 1,500 supporters of Local 33 took to the streets demanding that Yale recognize the right of the graduate students to organize. The supporters, wearing the colors of Local 33—a bright orange shirt and mortarboard—marched from Dixwell Ave. to Elm and College St. When the Yale procession started with university officials at the head, the marchers sang “We shall not be moved,” which changed to clapping when the graduates walked across Elm St. to the Old Campus. The group of those fasting in wheelchairs also joined and led the marchers to Church St. and City Hall, where they finally broke their fast.

Read all about it: www.local33.org and yaledailynews.com/blog/2017/05/22/local-33-protesters-march-on-old-campus-end-fast.

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.

Discussion Series Talks Immigrant Rights

by Rocel Beatriz Balmes & Sara Tabin, Yale Daily News Staff

Over 50 New Haven residents and Yale affiliates gathered in the Yale Law School on Monday night to discuss immigrant and worker rights as part of the final installment of the Yale and New Haven Discussion Series.

The event, titled “Local Activism in the Trump Age: Protect Immigrant and Worker Rights,” began with a panel and then opened into a group discussion. Panelists included Fatima Rojas of Unidad Latina en Acción, Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri of JUNTA for Progressive Action, Rev. James Manship of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and Michael Wishnie ’87 LAW ’93 of the Law School. Monday’s discussion, the fourth and final one in the series for this academic year, centered on current activism in New Haven and the role allies can play in the efforts to resist President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policy.

“[Trump] has really created this heightened anxiety and depression in our community,” Rivera-Forastieri said. “[This] is something I have never seen before.”

During the panel, Rivera-Forastieri said many allies have come forward since November’s election to help, but that at times the outpouring of support can be overwhelming. Some have ended up creating more work for immigrant advocacy groups, who have to reply to emails and keep track of the new volunteers, she added.

Read the whole story here at Yale Daily News: Discussions series talks immigrant rights

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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