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.

64 Days of Nonviolence — April Events

by Women’s Studies Program, SCSU

The 64 Days officially begins each year on January 30, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, and ends on April 4, the day we commemorate Dr. King.

Sponsored by Women’s Studies Program, (203) 392-6133, womenstudies@southernct.edu. Southern CT State University, 501 Crescent St.

All events are on the campus of SCSU unless otherwise noted.

April 3: Prayer Vigil for Nonviolence and Peace (12:15 p.m., Buley Library Patio).
April 4: Panel “Breaking Good: The Role of Forgiveness and Atonement in Reducing the Number of Incarcerated Women in Connecticut” (5-8 p.m., Engleman Hall B 121 A&B).
April 6: “Peace Talks: Our Place in the Social Justice Movement,” with Peace Development Fund and Gardening the Community, Springfield, MA (5-7:30 p.m., Engleman Hall B 121 A&B).
April 13: Slut Walk at SCSU (Panel Discussion at 1 p.m. in Engleman Hall B 121 A&B, One-Mile Walk on Campus beginning at 3 p.m.).
April 17: The Pre-Rally Festival, an annual event to stop violence against women and shatter the silence (12-3 p.m., Buley Library Patio).
April 18: “Take Back the Night,” an annual event to stop violence against women and shatter the silence
(7 p.m., Residential Life Quad).
April 21: “Transforming the World with a Feminist Degree & Vision: Women’s Studies Alumnae/i Summit” (2-8 p.m., Adanti Student Center Ballroom B).
April 22: Team SCSU Rock-to-Rock Earth Day Ride (10:30 a.m., TBA).
April 26: Cultural Fest (11:30 a.m., Academic Quad).
April 27: OWL (Opportunity for Women’s Leadership): The 12th SCSU Women’s Studies Leadership Team with James Hillhouse High School, Metropolitan Business Academy, Wilbur Cross High School and West Haven High School young women (8 a.m.-3 p.m., Engleman Hall B 121 A&B).

On the Events of the Peaceful No Ban No Wall Rally on Saturday, Feb. 4

by Unidad Latina en Acción, ulaccion@yahoo.com

We are deeply disappointed by the way the media has reported on the events of the peaceful No Ban No Wall rally on Saturday. We depend on the press to ensure that the entire story is made known, to hold accountable all authorities involved, to fact check statements, and to be unbiased in their reporting. This has not happened.

Our account of the events is as follows: After a gathering of around 300 people at City Hall, a peaceful march began walking through downtown New Haven. Prior to arrival to Route 34, protesters were reminded that ambulances and other emergency vehicles must be allowed through.

Nonviolent protestors held the highway for approximately 30 minutes during which time state police arrived with several canine units. At one point, at least one citizen was observed leaving their car and joining the protest. A legal observer was reminding at least three different state police officers that protestors would move off the roadway for any emergency, at which point she was jumped on by a police canine.

At no point were any lights or sirens observed from an ambulance. However, when protestors were informed of a potential medical situation in a civilian vehicle, protestors immediately cleared the lane of their own accord and did not reoccupy it. Simultaneously, state police pointed pepper spray and used canines to intimidate protestors who were already in the process of clearing the roadway.

Marchers left Route 34 after being given one verbal warning about leaving the state highway. Shortly thereafter, marchers were kettled on North Frontage Road between Orange and State Streets, an illegal tactic in which police attempt to surround protestors with the intent of limiting their mobility in order to arrest them en masse. The march was able to take an alternate route through a parking lot towards City Hall, its intended end.

The march was cut short on Church Street approaching Chapel Street. Local police, at the direction of state police and without verbal warning, started using force to push marchers towards the sidewalk. As marchers complied by making their way to the sidewalk, police aggression escalated rapidly. At this point the crowd was only around 50. Marchers were hurried to get on an already packed sidewalk by the threat of pepper spray, batons, and three aggressive canines. As marchers were trying to make room on the side-walk, one person got a concussion from being thrown on the pavement by police, an elderly woman was knocked down by police, and pepper spray was deployed into the crowded sidewalk without warning.
The police mishandled the situation from start to finish. State police recklessly escalated the situation. As a sanctuary city, local police should be protecting their residents rather than violating their rights. The coalition of organizations involved in this event invites local police to work with us on training in nonviolent de-escalation tactics.

Our message must be highlighted: at a time when individuals’ and families’ very existence is being threatened by the Muslim Ban and the threat of a wall along our border, we are standing together to oppose state sanctioned violence and xenophobia. Together we are working towards a world without oppression. Unidad Latina en Acción, ANSWER Coalition, PSL, New Haven Space of Encounter.

Hundreds Pledge To Fight Deportations

by Lucy Gellman, New Haven Independent, Feb 16, 2017

After a day of false alarms, over 100 people packed a downtown gathering spot to sign up to serve as legal observers, accompany defendants to court, get arrested at protests, and put a rapid-response hotline on speed dial in preparation of anticipated federal raids on undocumented immigrants.

That event took place Wednesday evening at the New Haven Peoples Center on Howe Street.

Starting at 7 p.m., over 100 New Haveners and people from surrounding communities — with dozens left waiting outside — packed the venue’s main room for “Resisting Deportation: A Workshop for Allies.” The two-hour event—part info session, part call-to-arms—was hosted by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) New Haven, with several members from Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) and Junta for Progressive Action.

Read the entire report here: Hundreds Pledge To Fight Deportations | New Haven Independent

1 2 3 4 6