No Child Behind Bars: Living Resistance from the US to Palestine

by Nina Stein, Jewish Voice for Peace

On Feb. 1, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven will be partnering with Tree of Life to present a program “No Child Behind Bars: Living Resistance from the US to Palestine.”  The presentation will feature Ahed Tamimi*, a charismatic and articulate 15 year old from the West Bank Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh, who will discuss the brutal injustices to which she and others her age are subjected on a continuing daily basis.

Ahed will be joined by Amanda Weatherspoon, a Unitarian Universalist minister and Black liberation activist from the San Francisco Bay Area, whose ministry is centered on collective liberation and cross-movement solidarity between oppressed people. Nadya Tannous, a writer and organizer who has researched the detention of Palestinian minors since 2013, will join the two to provide additional insight into the realities Palestinian minors face within the Israeli detention system.

In addition to discussing the life of Palestinian children under Israeli occupation, the presentation will show how the struggle for human rights in Palestine is inextricably linked with the struggle for civil and human rights here in the US.

The event will take place on February 1 in New Haven at 7 p.m. at Sudler Hall, William L. Harkness Hall, Yale University on Cross Campus.

This presentation is part of a three week, 18 city U.S. tour organized by Friends of Sabeel (FOSNA). FOSNA is part of Sabeel, a movement initiated by Palestinian Christians, which promotes theological, moral and legal principles for peace in the Holy Land.

Email: newhaven@jvp.org; Web: www.jvpnh.org; Facebook: jvpnewhaven; Twitter: @jvpnewhaven

* Ahed, who was originally to appear in person, has been denied a travel visa by the U.S. State Department, so arrangements are being made to have her speak about the situation on the ground and share her story by live-stream video.

New Haven Hosts Replica of Solitary Confinement Cell

by Allie Perry, Shalom UCC, NH and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

What is it like to be isolated and segregated in a small prison cell 23/7 for days, weeks, years, and in some cases even decades?  The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is clear.  It is not just like torture; it is torture. According to Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, holding a person in solitary confinement for a period of time longer than 15 days is torture. On any given day, however, around 80,000 people in the United States are being held in solitary confinement.

To help people understand that prolonged isolation is a form of torture, NRCAT has created a replica solitary confinement cell. The NRCAT replica confinement cell has traveled around the country and is now coming to New Haven.

For three weeks, the cell will be on display at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street, for the first week, Monday, Jan. 30-Saturday, Feb. 4; at Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High Street for the second week, Sunday, Feb. 5-Saturday, Feb. 11; and for the third week, Feb. 11-18, at the Yale Law School library, 127 Wall St.

Initiated by three New Haven United Church of Christ congregations (United, Redeemer, and Shalom), this project had engaged a powerful coalition of community, religious, and university organizations. In addition to the churches, organizers of this project include: the New Haven Free Public (Ives Memorial) Library, the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, the Orville Schell Human Rights Center at Yale Law School, Dwight Hall at Yale, My Brother’s Keeper, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Wilton Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the CT ACLU, Malta Justice Initiative, and Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice.

The project’s goals are to provide opportunities to experience a simulation of isolation; to educate the use of solitary confinement, including practices in Connecticut; and to equip people to advocate for limiting and stopping the use of solitary confinement, precisely because such prolonged isolation is cruel, unusual, and degrading treatment.  For the schedule of the extensive program of speakers, panels, book talks, performances, and films during the three weeks that the cell will be in New Haven, go to: www.insidetheboxnhv.org/events.

“We Won’t Go Back!” People’s World African American History Month Celebration

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“Revisiting Frederick Douglass Two Centuries Later: WE WON’T GO BACK,” is the theme of this year’s 43rd Annual People’s World African American History Month Celebration.

The event to be held on Sunday, February 26, will feature guest speaker James M. Bradford, drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and a performance by Ice the Beef Youth including the speech that famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave in New Haven.

The event will be held at 4 p.m. at Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave. After filling the Peoples Center to overflow for years, a larger venue was chosen last year.

Douglass’ extraordinary leadership for freedom guides us in today’s stormy political climate with his powerful call to action: “If there is no struggle, there can be no progress….Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will….The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

In 1864 Douglass (1817-1895) addressed more than 1,200 free Black men gathered at Grapevine Point (now Criscuolo Park) in New Haven to become soldiers in the 29th Regiment of the Union Army and fight in the Civil War.

Guest speaker James M. Bradford is active in the anti-prison movement and Working America in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He chairs the Communist Party of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Winners of the High School Arts and Writing Competition will present their essays, poems or artwork on the theme “How can we best unite against bigotry and injustice?”

Students are asked to express in artwork, poetry, essay or song: “On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, leading abolitionist, orator and writer who fought against slavery and for women’s rights, how can we unite against hate, bigotry and injustice to continue his legacy in today’s world?” Submissions must be received at 37 Howe St. by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Also on exhibit will be drawings from the Martin Luther King celebration at Peabody Museum created at the People’s World table on the theme, “How can we best unite against hate?”

Donation is $5 or what you can afford. For more information e-mail: ct-pww@pobox.com.

Sex Worker Allies Network (SWAN): Fighting for the Human Rights of Sex Workers

by Maya Menlo and Patricia Kane, SWAN

On Oct. 25, 2016, the New Haven Police Department (NHPD) arrested 14 sex workers in a sting. News media outlets published mug shots of the arrestees. The Sex Worker Allies Network (SWAN) formed in response to this archaic and unjust behavior. SWAN is comprised of a diverse group of New Haven residents, and is headed up by Beatrice Codianni, longtime community activist, and Brett Davidson, Connecticut Bail Fund co-founder.

One of SWAN’s first steps was to organize a rally at City Hall to protest the arrests as well as the public shaming of sex workers in New Haven. Mayor Toni Harp expressed doubts about the wisdom of the NHPD’s approach in an interview with WNNH shortly after the rally.

Members of SWAN met with Interim Police Chief Camp-bell to voice opposition to the sting. Chief Campbell suspended future sting operations in order to allow time to evaluate alternate approaches suggested by SWAN.

SWAN is tracking the arrestees’ criminal cases and has made free legal representation available to those who are interested.

SWAN volunteers have also been walking the streets to reach out to local sex workers, distributing bags of winter apparel and personal care items. Although SWAN’s work has just begun, the response from local sex workers has been overwhelmingly positive. SWAN is committed to lifting up the voices of sex workers in our community.

Studies show that many sex workers are victims of child-hood sexual and psychological abuse. They continue to be targets of violence, including by police, who trade sex for no arrest, or pressure them to become snitches – which endangers their lives.

Many of the sex workers to whom SWAN has spoken have multiple health issues. Some are homeless. SWAN is currently applying for a grant to fund its outreach expenses, and to cover the salary of one or more caseworkers to attend to the needs of local sex workers. In addition, SWAN is also working to raise funds to provide supportive housing to sex workers and women returning from prison. Please contact Patricia Kane (203) 559-1974 to get involved in SWAN’s efforts.

Jews, Muslims Gather on New Haven Green to Protest Islamophobia, Hate Crimes

by Kate Ramunni, New Haven Register, Dec. 22, 2016

Two groups that have been the target of hate crimes joined together Wednesday [Dec. 21} night to jointly recommit to justice for both and urge others to do the same. Members of Jewish Voices for Peace and the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut gathered on the New Haven Green, where they sang songs, held signs and advocated for tolerance. More than 30 people huddled together and traveled from corner to corner around the Green as evening traffic rushed by. [….]

“It’s gotten difficult to be a Jew or a Muslim in American society,” said Patrick Korth. “They are irrationally targeting the wrong people,” he said as he stood with the others at the corner of Chapel and College streets.

Wednesday’s demonstration was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace’s Network Against Islamophobia and set on the backdrop of Hanukkah, which starts Saturday night and runs through Jan. 1. The eight-day “festival of lights” celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple. Signs the demonstrators held laid out their beliefs: “We will not be silent when encountering Muslim and racist hate speech and hate crimes. We challenge through our words and actions institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned anti-black violence. We welcome Syrian refugees and stand strong with immigrants and refugees. We stand with Jews against Islamophobia and racism, rekindling our commitment to justice. We stand against U.S. policies on the ‘war on terror’ that demonize Islam and devalue, target and kill Muslims.”

“We need to change the direction of this country to address the problems of the world,” Korth said, “and we are not getting there with our politics.”

Read the whole story here at the New Haven Register’s website: Jews, Muslims gather on New Haven Green to protest Islamophobia, hate crimes

3-week Replica Solitary Confinement Cell Project opens Jan. 30

Join us at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St., for the opening event of the 3-week Replica Solitary Confinement Cell Project for New Haven with Mayor Toni N. Harp; Will Ginsberg, President & CEO of the GNH Community Foundation; Hope Metcalf, Yale Law School; and others.

Together with Yale Law School, Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, Sterling Library, the Joint Project Committee of New Haven UCC congregations, Wilton Friends Meeting, and My Brother’s Keeper, the NH Free Public Library is organizing this project as part of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), the nationwide interfaith campaign to expose and end the torture of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, jails and detention centers.

More information and a full program schedule will be forthcoming including Judy Dworin Performance Project, films, community panels and more! Thank you to our generous sponsors including the GNH Community Foundation, Dwight Hall and the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at the Yale Law School!

Jeremy Scahill Keynote Speaker in New Haven Oct. 8

Between the Lines Press Release

Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker of “Dirty Wars,” Jeremy Scahill will be the keynote speaker at Between The Lines/Squeaky Wheel Productions’ 25th anniversary event on Saturday, Oct. 8 at United Church on the Green, 270 Temple St., New Haven, from 2-4 p.m. He’ll address ongoing U.S. wars, drone warfare and other foreign policy issues facing the U.S. during this presidential election campaign and long after.

scahill-democracynowAdvance tickets are $10/ $15 at the door. Ticket outlet for main event: Best Video Film and Cultural Center, 1842 Whitney Ave., Hamden. Online tickets available at BrownPaperTickets.com: BetweenTheLines25thAnniversary.brownpapertickets.com.

Democracy in Action Awards will also be presented to Barbara Fair, New Haven community activist, to The Dragonfly Climate Collective and to Unidad Latina en Acción.

Scahill is an award-winning investigative journalist with The Nation magazine, correspondent for Democracy Now! and author of the bestselling book, “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army,” about America’s outsourcing of its military. He is a two-time winner of the George Polk Award and producer and writer of the Academy Award-nominated documentary film “Dirty Wars,” based on his book. His latest book is “The Assassination Complex.”

After the talk, a reception and silent auction will be held in New Haven, $50/ticket. Please RSVP by Saturday, Oct. 1 by calling (203) 268-8446. We’ll give directions when you reserve and/or send check made payable to Squeaky Wheel Productions, P.O. Box 110176, Trumbull, CT 06611. Please include email and/or phone.

For more information see: http://Squeakywheel.net or call (203) 268-8446.

Co-sponsors include Progressive Action Roundtable at PAR-NewHaven.org, The Greater New Haven Peace Council chapter of USPeaceCouncil.org, Promoting Enduring Peace at www.pepeace.org and Middle East Crisis Committee at thestruggle.org.

Jeremy Scahill to Keynote Between The Lines’ 25th Anniversary Forum 2-4 p.m. Saturday Oct. 8 in New Haven

Award-winning investigative journalist and author, Democracy Now! correspondent, a founding editor of The Intercept and Oscar-nominated filmmaker for “Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield” Jeremy Scahill will be the keynote speaker at Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine’s 25th Anniversary Celebration from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, 270 Temple St., New Haven, CT.

scahill-democracynowScahill’s speech, “Drones, Terrorism and The President,” will address America’s endless wars, “targeted assassinations” and the critical policy decisions facing our next president, issues largely ignored by U.S. corporate media. Scahill will also be signing his latest book, “The Assassination Complex,” with a foreword by Edward Snowden and afterword by Glenn Greenwald.

Democracy in Action awards, public forum, Q&A and booksigning with Jeremy Scahill 2-4 p.m.
at the United Church on the Green, 270 Temple St., New Haven, CT (corner of Temple and Elm Streets).

Suggested contribution: ($10 advance, $15 at the door).

Call (203) 268-8446 or email info@squeakywheel.net.

Ticket outlet: Best Video Film and Cultural Center, 1842 Whitney Ave., Hamden.

Online tickets: BetweenTheLines25thanniversary.brownpapertickets.com.

A reception and silent auction will be held from 5-7 p.m. ($50 each).

Call 203-268-8446 for details or visit http://Squeakywheel.net.

Co-sponsors: Progressive Action Roundtable (PAR-newhaven.org) and The Greater New Haven Peace Council.

Al Marder to be Recognized Aug. 6 at New Haven Peoples Center Reception

A reception and fundraiser highlighting the history of the New Haven Peoples Center will recognize the leadership of it’s president, Alfred L. Marder over a span of 80 years for peace, equality and justice. The event will take place at Coogan Pavilion in Edgewood Park near Whalley Ave and West Rock Ave. from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, also marking Hiroshima Day.

Al Marder poses with New Haven peace activist and Peace Council member Mary Compton at the Peace Day celebration at the Amistad Memorial statue outside New Haven City Hall Sept. 21, 2015.  The statue was built thanks to his guidance and supervision. Marder is chairman of the Amistad Committee.  (photo: cjzurcher)

Al Marder poses with New Haven peace activist and Peace Council member Mary Compton at the Peace Day celebration at the Amistad Memorial statue outside New Haven City Hall Sept. 21, 2015. The statue was built thanks to his guidance and supervision. Marder is chairman of the Amistad Committee.
(photo: cjzurcher)

As founder of the Amistad Committee who served as chair of the City of New Haven Peace Commission for many years as well as the United Nations International Association of Peace Messenger Cities and the U.S. Peace Council, Marder has been called a “hero for peace.”

A resident of Westville, Marder has been active in New Haven since the age of 14 when he was a student at James Hillhouse High School. He expanded his vision through participation in events at the New Haven Peoples Center. The Peoples Center was founded in 1937 to provides social, cultural and educational opportunities for the community. With Al Marder’s participation, it was the site of the first inter-racial theater group in the city called Unity Players. This was one of many efforts that broke down racial segregation at that time.

Today the Peoples Center hosts the youth group New Elm City Dream, and is home to the immigrant rights group Unidad Latina en Accion as well as the SEIU 32 BJ janitors union and Greater New Haven Peace Council. The space is utilized by many social justice organizations.

The event will include an exhibition of Peoples Center memorabilia, remarks by Marder and refreshments. Donations will be accepted toward the restoration fund for the building which was erected in 1851. The Peoples Center, a site on the Connecticut Freedom Trail, is currently raising $10,000 as part of a grant to restore the windows, roof and entry door.

In his early years, Marder served as Executive Director of the Connecticut CIO Youth and Sports Organization and was President of the New Haven Youth Conference. During World War II and the fight against fascism, Al served in the U.S. Infantry from 1942-1946 in the European Theatre and received a Bronze Star. During the McCarthy period, as one who was persecuted for his ideas, he stood firm for civil liberties. He has supported every civil rights and workers rights struggle of his times.

Marder is known for bringing to light the story of the Amistad captives and its lessons of Black-white unity to achieve freedom. Through all the decades, Marder continues organizing, educating and creating positive change. His depth of knowledge, commitment to equality, powers of persuasion and indomitable spirit inspire generations in New Haven and throughout the world.

Requested donation at the door is $25 or what you can afford, no one will be turned away. Tax deductible contributions to the restoration fund can be sent to PERA / New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St., New Haven CT o6511.

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100+ Attend May 1 International Worker’s Day March in New Haven

by Melinda Tuhus

may-day-2016-iiMore than a hundred people marched through downtown New Haven Sunday May 1, in the annual immigrants’ rights action. An enthusiastic crowd led by Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) braved cold May showers on May Day this year.

The march included mostly young activists, children and college students. There were many signs and banners and robust chanting. No more deportations!

The marchers were accompanied by a lively group of very humorous and energetic “Radical Cheerleaders.” As the group walked down Chapel Street, the chants called for free education and free health care for all, as well as immigrants’ labor rights. Yale senior Sebi Medina-Tayac, a member of the Piscataway Nation as well as ULA, said the group wanted to bring attention especially to immigrant labor in New Haven, which is concentrated in construction and food service.

ULA works to create a vision for workers’ rights and freedom for all people based not only on lefty labor movements, but also to show the labor movement as something that’s diverse, changing, global and inclusive of people from all backgrounds regardless of citizen status or the color of their skin.

may-day-2016-iMarchers stopped to chant in front of restaurants that they say have mistreated their workers. They said Atticus restaurant fired a long-time worker who spoke out against a pay cut and hired a union-busting firm to thwart the mostly immigrant workers’ attempt to unionize. The owner was not available and a manager said their policy was not to comment on the charges.

The march also stopped at Calhoun College to protest the college named after an avowed racist.

Thank you to New Haven Workers Association – Unidad Latina en Acción for continuing to fight for the dignity of all our communities! Together they seek to build unity for racial, gender and economic justice, including defending the freedom and dignity of and respect for all people and the planet.

Revive the Peace Movement

Stan Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

Several Connecticut groups are in the forefront of a new network, RPM, Revive the Peace Movement Network. Promoting Enduring Peace and the Middle East Crisis Committee joined with CODEPINK and a number of other groups and individuals to form the group to serve as a pole of opinion and a network for discussion and suggestions. Its website is http://www.RPM.world and it is eager for groups to join it and for individuals to get on its mailing list. Its common “Statement” is as follows:

For a Renewed Anti-War Movement

At a time when wars engulf whole regions of the world we must revive the anti-war movement. The peace movement must put greater pressure on politicians and parties to end U.S. wars and to redirect military spending to meeting social needs at home and abroad.

Our primary tools are education and non-violent direct action, such as mass demonstrations, protest, civil disobedience, boycotts and divestment.

We resolutely oppose the wars of the U.S., its allies and clients, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and U.S. support for repressive regimes such as Honduras and Bahrain.

We call for an end to U.S. support for Israel and for justice for Palestinians, in all of historic Palestine and in their places of refuge.

We also recognize that there are other oppressors in the world, from ISIS to Russia, from Iran to China, from North Korea to the Assad regime. We won’t hesitate to oppose their wars, interventions and cruelties.

War and preparation for war are major contributors to catastrophic climate change. Climate change causes declining living conditions that also significantly contribute to war. We need to break this vicious cycle and work for a sustain-able economy based on social and environmental justice, full employment and one hundred percent non-nuclear renewable energy.

War and climate disruption tragically uproot millions from their home countries. We need to open the borders to refugees and meet their needs for health, safety and human dignity.

We challenge the racism and Islamophobia used to justify wars and occupations and the denial of human rights to refugees.

Seven decades after Hiroshima, the human race is still at risk of nuclear annihilation. Nuclear war is an ever present danger. We demand the abolition of all nuclear weaponry.

The militarism and authoritarianism that the U.S. promotes abroad is reflected in the militarism and attacks on civil liberties in our communities at home.

We stand in solidarity with those such as Black Lives Matter who are advocating the demilitarization of police forces.

We stand in solidarity with those who seek liberation, social and economic justice, and democracy in all countries, including the United States.

Another world is possible, free of militarism and war.

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