Yale Arrests 48 Students Demanding Climate Justice for Puerto Rico

by Nora Heaphy, Fossil Free Yale

On the last day of Yale’s 2018 Fall semester [Dec. 7], 48 students, professors, and New Haven community members were arrested after a 5-hour occupation of the Yale Investments Office.

We were sitting in to demand that Yale direct its fund managers to cancel their holdings in Puerto Rico’s debt and divest from the fossil fuel industry. After 6 years of trying to engage with the Yale administration, the few channels available had failed us, and our only alternative was direct action.

As Puerto Rico struggles to recover from a climate change-fueled hurricane and a massive debt crisis, Yale’s fifth largest fund manager Baupost is suing to have its debt repaid before the island can rebuild, and renowned Yale Chief Investment Officer David Swensen sits on the board of Baupost. Our university’s investments in injustice don’t surprise us. We also know that Yale invests at least $678 million in fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil and Antero. These corporations intend to extract and burn as much coal, oil, and natural gas as possible, regardless of the consequences to islands like Puerto Rico. And they’ve spent billions funding climate denial and paying off politicians to lobby against climate policies like a Green New Deal.

In the Investments Office lobby, members of our coalition presented on Puerto Rico’s debt and the roots of Yale’s endowment in slavery, held trainings, sang songs, and read statements of support from around the world. Meanwhile, 450 students marched to the Investments Office and rallied in support, as those inside were arrested. The Yale administration—who had recently published a statement blaming climate change on everyday consumers rather than fossil fuel corporations—chose to arrest its students rather than have a conversation with us. A few days later, at the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility’s public meeting, we again confronted the administration’s failure to act in the face of climate injustice. Our calls for moral leadership from Yale have been met with stalling, inaction, and a willful naiveté that amounts to gross negligence. But students, New Haven, and Puerto Rico are powerful, and we will hold this university accountable.

Email fossilfreeyale@gmail.com to get involved.

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.

Coalition for People Needs You on Its Board

This year the Coalition for People has taken on the issues of New Haven’s lack of affordable housing, the “hospital-dumping” of homeless who are discharged to the street, instances of injustice and other concerns.

We will hold our annual meeting on Wednesday, April 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the main New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St. We need people on our board to help prioritize the many issues in our area so we can mobilize and act effectively. Please mark our meeting on your calendar. We hope PAR members will consider joining the board, which meets once a month.

All are invited to attend the annual meeting. Membership dues are $5 annually (due at the annual meeting). Pizza will be served. In March send us your RSVP if you will attend and if you want to be elected to the board.

Our next board meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2-4 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. in the community room, lower level. All are welcome to attend. For more information, email coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com.

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.

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.

 

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.

And Take Away Guns from Most Cops, Too

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

In the March 24, 2018, “March for Our Lives” the emphasis was on taking military rifles out of the hands of civilians and other measures to curb the lust to sell weapons from the out-of-control gun industry. Absolutely right. Yet, there’s another demand that should be made: Sharply limit the number of police with guns.

A few days before the march a young man was shot to death in Sacramento. He was in his own backyard. It was dark and police were looking for someone suspected of break-ins. A policeman said he saw something and yelled, “Gun, gun, gun.” Police shot Stephon Clark 20 times. All he was holding was a cell phone.

Last May in Bridgeport, Conn., 15-year-old, Jayson Negron, evidently stole a car and went joyriding with some friends. He was chased by police almost immediately, drove the wrong way down a street, was stopped, a policeman challenged him and within a few minutes Negron is shot dead and a passenger wounded.

Angry protests broke out after these killings as they did after Michael Brown and so many others were shot. Demands were made for severe punishment of police, but in all but a few cases, the police were found by prosecutors or juries to have used “reasonable” force.

Read the whole story on Peacenews.org: And Take Away Guns from Most Cops, Too | Stanley Heller – peacenews.org

How To Resist War Taxes | War Resisters League

Resisting war taxes is really very simple — don’t pay all the tax due on your annual Federal income tax form, or don’t pay the Federal excise tax on telephone bills, or both.

Summarized below are a few war tax resistance methods. Detailed descriptions can be found in WRL’s War Tax Resistance: A Guide to Withholding Your Support from the Military and through war tax counselors. Contact the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) for counselors in your area. The probability of collection or prosecution varies among the methods; all — except #4 — are illegal. Serious consideration must be given before embarking on these types of resistance.

1) File and refuse to pay your taxes. This involves filling out an IRS income tax return (e.g., Form 1040) and refusing to pay either a token amount of your taxes (e.g., $1, $9.11, $100), some “military” portion (approximately 1% for nuclear warheads, 4% for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 30% for current military spending, 50% for current and past military spending combined — see WRL’s pie chart for the latest percentages), (or click on the image below to download the pie chart) or the total amount (since a portion of whatever is paid goes largely to the military). Include a letter of explanation with the return.
2) File a blank IRS 1040 income tax return with a note of explanation.
3) Don’t file any Federal income tax returns.
4) Earn less than the taxable income.
5) Resist telephone taxes.

Read more about refusing to support the war effort by not paying taxes here: How To Resist War Taxes | War Resisters League

VICTORY! Charges Dropped Against ANSWER Organizer Norman Clement!

by ANSWER CT

In a victory for protest and resistance, prosecutors were forced on Friday, March 9 to drop the most outrageous charges against ANSWER Coalition organizer Norman Clement stemming from his brutal and unjust arrest at the hands of the State Police at the Feb. 4, 2017 protest in New Haven against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and planned wall on the Mexican border.

In the 13 months since the arrest, prosecutors and the entire court system dragged the case on to wear out organizers and supporters, knowing there was no evidence for the fabricated charges like “inciting a riot.” Prosecutors attempted to pressure Norm to plead out to charges without any evidence to substantiate their charges. Police lies about emergency vehicles being blocked during the protest were quickly exposed by local media. Police and their mouthpieces in the media tried to paint Norman Clement as a leader of the pro-test. While Norman is a leader in many movements, the march was a spontaneous response to the outrageous and racist policies of the Trump administration.

As we have said before, we consider it to be no coincidence that the two people arrested on February 4, 2017 were people of color. Norman is Indigenous and Nate Blair, who was pulled to the ground and arrested by the New Haven police, is Black. We also consider it no coincidence that Norman was targeted for being a well-known organizer against war, police terror and for the rights of Native peoples. In addition to his work in Connecticut, he traveled twice to Standing Rock as a Water Protector. The March 9 announcement shows that it is the power of the people coming together that will get justice and fight state oppression.

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