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.

Dr. Alice Rothchild to Speak on Historical and Ethical Challenges in Israel/Palestine July 30

by Joyce Rawitscher, Israel/Palestine Peace Group of NE CT

Alice Rothchild

Alice Rothchild

On Saturday, July 30, the Seventh Annual Potluck Picnic of the Israel/Palestine Peace Group of Northeastern Connecticut starts with a picnic at 4 p.m. The featured speaker, Alice Rothchild, physician, author and filmmaker, has focused her interest in human rights and social justice on the Israel/Palestine conflict since 1997. She will talk about “A Personal Journey: Facing Historical and Ethical Challenges in Israel/Palestine,” at 6:30 p.m. at the home of Joyce and George Rawitscher, 343 Codfish Falls Road, in Storrs. The public is welcome.

Dr. Rothchild practiced ob-gyn for almost 40 years. Until her retirement, she served as Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School. She writes, blogs, and lectures widely, and is the author of Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience, and On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion. She directed a documentary film, “Voices Across the Divide,” and is active in Jewish Voice For Peace. Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/ Palestine will be published in early 2017.

Information: (860) 429-3107, joycerawitscher@gmail.com.

Open Conversations about Racism and Privilege

Please join us for our “Chicago Dinners”: Open Conversations about Racism and Privilege on Thursday, April 28, 12-2 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Avenue. This will be a bilingual conversation with translation. A light meal will be provided. This event is sponsored by the Multicultural Advisory Council of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the New Haven Free Public Library, the Connecticut Mental Health Center Committee on Diversity and Health Equity, and the Connecticut Mental Health Center Citizens Collaborative. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Elizabeth Flanagan, (203) 764-7592 or elizabeth.flanagan@yale.edu. Please indicate if you will need a sign language interpreter.

Lula White Receives Thurgood Marshall Award

Lula White of New Haven holds the mug shot from her 1961 arrest.

Lula White of New Haven holds the mug shot from her 1961 arrest.

Lula White of New Haven, a former Freedom Rider during the Civil Rights Movement [and a long-time member of PAR], received the Quinnipiac U. Black Law Students Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award on Feb. 25.

The Marshall Award is given in honor of the first African-American appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Marshall epitomized individual commitment to civil rights.

White was born in Eufaula, Alabama, to parents who were farm workers. When she was young, her family moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and then to New Haven, where she attended Hillhouse High School.

In 1954 she became a civil rights activist after reading an article about the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which ended legal segregation in public schools. To read more about Lula White’s receipt of the award, visit The New Haven Register or Quinnipiac U News and Events. or WTNH.com.

Campaign Ongoing to End Sieges in Syria

by Stanley Heller

In mid-January photos of skeletal men and boys from Madaya, Syria made news worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are under siege across Syria mainly from Assad-Hezbollah forces and some from ISIL and other Islamists. The U.N. Security Council declared the sieges illegal in 2014.
Promoting Enduring Peace http://www.pepeace.org and CODE PINK http://www.codepink.org have called for airdrops of food and medicine and had a joint letter to that effect printed in the New York Times. Thousands have signed the CODE PINK petition calling for the airdrops. A link to it is at the PEPEACE site.

In New Haven on Feb. 21, the Syrian architect/artist Mohamad Hafez spoke about his work and about his country at the United Church on the Green Parish House. He showed slides of his streetscapes that combined ruined areas topped by areas where the elite lived on in comfort. He explained that what is commonly called the Syrian Civil War started as a mass protest against the tyranny of the ruling family. For more info on this event visit http://peacenews.org/tag/mohamad-hafez.

 

Stand with Planned Parenthood in New Haven! — Saturdays in New Haven.

by Deb Malatesta, WORD

Women Organized to Resist and Defend (WORD) stands with Planned Parenthood. We recognize the important role that these clinics play in making vital healthcare accessible to those who need it. In many
areas, they are one of the few places that women can receive abortions, trans people can receive inclusive care, and all people have access to cancer screenings and HIV/STI treatment. The importance of this resource is recognized by poor and working people across the country. It is not something new for the right-wing to whip up “pro-life” hysteria and aggression to attack Planned Parenthood. Intimidation and violence against clinics, staff and patients are an all too frequent occurrence.

The summer release of the highly manipulated and dishonest “undercover” video has reinvigorated the violent attacks against clinics. Several clinics were attacked by arsonists, building sites were vandalized and, as is well known, the Colorado Springs clinic was attacked by a terrorist who killed three people. Here in New Haven, the presence and boldness of anti-choice religious fanatics has increased since the Colorado Springs attacks. They have been harassing patients, workers and passersby with angry misogynistic rhetoric.

In the face of these attacks to prevent the right to abortion access, it is imperative that women and men stand up to show their support right now. Right-wing bigots are using fear-mongering tactics to take away women’s right to choose and the right to affordable healthcare. The right-wing seeks to blame the most vulnerable poor population to hide the reality that they would rather take the money for themselves than provide poor women and men with healthcare and resources. Women won the right to choose with a mass movement of women and men in the streets.

WORD stands in solidarity with Planned Parenthood and is fighting back against these attacks! We’re in New Haven every Saturday morning 8-10 a.m. at Planned Parenthood at the corner of Edwards Street and Whitney Avenue. Join us and become a part of the movement to defend women’s rights! Come out on Feb. 6 to defend the right to access healthcare and to choose when to have a child! On Feb. 6, we will have a mass action of Planned Parenthood supporters in New Haven at 9 a.m. For more information, contact http://www.defendwomensrights.org or (203) 787-8232.

Unidad Latina en Acción Against Wage Theft

Joseph Foran, ULA

On Dec. 2, about 15 members of Unidad Latina en Acción and allies met with Mayor Harp and Police Chief Esserman.  We read to them a letter that documented the many specific cases of Goodfellas Restaurant failing to pay employees minimum wage. A wage theft victim from Thai Taste gave his personal testimony.

Mario Cerame, an attorney on 1st Amendment rights, sent a letter to Mayor Harp outlining the violations that the New Haven Police Department made when stopping a protest outside of Goodfellas on Nov. 20 and arresting John Lugo, charging him with disorderly conduct.

We will be meeting with Mayor Harp’s office to follow up on our policy recommendations. Mayor Harp and Chief Esserman must condemn the actions of the officers who violated our constitutional right to assemble without police intimidation and retaliation. Our members have the right to protest anonymously, and it is illegal and inappropriate to demand identification, especially when NHPD and Goodfellas have threatened to use IDs to create a blacklist. Officers must be educated that a civilian noise complaint alone is not grounds for arrest. We also assert our right to record any interactions our members have with police. Our families shall not be threatened, and officers shall not question our decision to bring children to peaceful protests. New Haven must immediately revoke the outdoor seating license of Goodfellas restaurant. It is unacceptable that our city is facilitating a criminal enterprise at Goodfellas, an enterprise that has been found guilty of wage theft on multiple occasions by multiple government agencies and is currently under investigation for forced labor, wage theft and other threats to the health and safety of New Haven residents. The City of New Haven gave Goodfellas the license, and the City of New Haven is the only entity that can revoke it.

Two members of ULA (Karim Calle and I) agreed to attend meetings of the Community Policing Task Force to address the issues we raised in our letter. We are also collaborating with Board of Alders on wage theft. Meanwhile, public actions against wage theft at Goodfellas, Thai Taste, and other establishments continue.

Excerpts of Letter from US Labor Against the War (USLAW) Nov. 19, 2015

by uslaboragainstwar.org

For the first time since World War II, at the close of a long night of terrorist attacks on Nov. 13, France found itself under mandatory curfew. Since the announcement that France would treat this as an “act of war,” over 150 counter-terrorism raids have taken place. A manhunt is raging, not to mention the bombing of the capital of ISIS in Syria.

The events that have transpired in France are a stark reminder of the violent and challenging world we live in. We mourn the loss of life of our brothers and sisters from acts of terrorism and condemn the violence that caused that loss of life.

We should be clear about where this problem of rapidly metastasizing terrorism comes from. Our problem has consistently been us – nations with power and influence. Instead of using diplomatic means to solve crises, we have turned to military strategies that have lead us farther and farther down the wrong path. Even our president has admitted that using the military to solve this problem seems futile. So killing and maiming many innocent civilians in pursuit of terrorists will likely make things worse, not better. Sadly, the very people we’ll be bombing in Syria and elsewhere hold the key to the solution. It will take the work of the citizens of this region to make their situations better. Anything else will lead to more displacement.

We should also remember that what happened in Paris on that Friday night happens with regularity in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. These countries experience similar tragedies yet don’t receive the goodwill bestowed upon the French. Most days they are ignored. While it doesn’t diminish the horror and sadness that we should all feel at what Parisians have experienced, it certainly makes you wonder where we draw the line when it comes to human suffering. Are Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Afghans or Lebanese somehow less deserving? We should view a loss of life anywhere just as deserving of international solidarity and support. Anything less is hypocrisy.

[Full text of letter was printed for the Nov. 22 Sunday vigil leaflet and can be read at http://newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com.]

Picket at Goodfellas for Wage Theft Leads to Arrest of Protest Leader

by Unidad Latina en Acción

On Nov. 20, 2015, New Haven Police arrested John Lugo, one of the leaders of Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), during a workers’ rights protest outside Goodfellas Restaurant. “You have no right to be here,” said the police to ULA. (Video at http://www.facebook.com/ULANewHaven/videos)

Stand with us: We will not be silenced. We will not be intimidated.

We have been picketing Goodfellas for 6 months. We have been picketing businesses that steal wages from workers for 10 years, and we will not stop. Arrest the owner of Goodfellas, not the peaceful protesters. Wage theft is a crime. Protesting for our human rights is not a crime. The CT Department of Labor and US DOL have found Gerry Iannaccone, owner of Goodfellas, guilty of stealing from dozens of workers. Yet this crime goes unpunished.

New Haven gets a lot of credit for being a welcoming city for immigrants. Is New Haven a welcoming city when immigrants are criminalized for peaceful protest and wage theft goes unpunished? Unidad Latina en Acción is currently supporting workers in cases of wage theft and discrimination in Goodfellas, Gourmet Heaven, 116 Crown, Thai Taste, Fair Haven Clam & Oyster, El Buen Gusto, La Carreta, among other local businesses.

In a press conference in 2014, Chief Esserman stated that wage theft is a crime under Connecticut law and that the NHPD is willing to act to enforce that law. In spite of those good words, the NHPD is doing the opposite: punishing the victims of wage theft and their advocates. On Nov. 6, 2015, Esserman walked into Goodfellas to eat dinner while ULA was picketing the restaurant, ignoring our attempts to speak with him. On Nov. 20, after the NHPD arrested John Lugo, one of the officers entered the restaurant and came out with a bag of food for the police. NHPD, which side are you on?

This is not the first time that the NHPD has colluded with the owner of Goodfellas to intimidate workers. In 2011, ULA filed an internal affairs complaint against NHPD after a sergeant demanded that protesters show ID at a workers’ rights picket outside Goodfellas, and he threatened that the owner of Goodfellas would use the IDs to create a “blacklist” so that protesters would not be employed by other restaurants. [See: http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20110122/complaint-filed-against-new-haven-cops-over-goodfellas-protest.]

Come to a Free Viewing of Roadmap to Apartheid

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace

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The New Haven Peace Council and Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven are presenting the film Roadmap to Apartheid. In this award-winning documentary, the directors take a detailed look at the apartheid analogy commonly used to describe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Narrated by Alice Walker (author of The Color Purple), and directed by white South African Ana Nogueira and Jewish Israeli Eron Davidson, Roadmap to Apartheid is as much a historical document of the rise and fall of apartheid in South Africa as it is a film about why many Palestinians feel they are living in an apartheid system today, and why an increasing number of people around the world agree with them.

The film will next be presented Saturday, Dec. 5, 2 p.m., at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St. Help us bring the issue of Israeli apartheid to public attention. We are ready to bring this documentary and a speaker to community groups that want to learn more about this issue. You can see a trailer of the film at http://roadmaptoapartheid.org.

Reach JVP New Haven at:
web: http://www.jvpnh.org,
email: newhaven@jewishvoiceforpeace.org,
facebook: jvpnewhaven, twitter: @jvpnewhaven.

A Call to All Peace Activists! Oct. 12

by Alfred L. Marder, President, US Peace Council, amistad.nai@rcn.com

On Monday, Oct. 12, the coordinating committee of Peace and Planet held an International Conference in New York which coincided with the United Nations’ meeting to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Among other matters, we discussed our concerns about the present conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. There are 15 countries already involved in the fighting. Two nuclear weapon powers are facing each other. THE DANGER OF WORLD WAR 3 IS NOT UNREALISTIC!

We agreed that we would call for the following of the global peace movement:

  1. Aim for Dec. 10, United Nations Human Rights Day with the slogan PEACE IS A HUMAN RIGHT!
  2. Global actions on the local, regional and national level, leading up to Dec. 10.
    The US Peace Council convened several peace organizations immediately after the meeting to call for actions. We agreed that Nov. 11, the day World War 1 ended, should be a Day of Global Actions.

We are united on these demands:

  1. Immediate diplomatic negotiations to end the conflict in Syria involving all interested parties, especially the Syrian government.
  2. Removal of all NATO forces from the states bordering Russia. Dismantle NATO!
  3. Remove ALL foreign troops from Afghanistan.

There will be a vigil at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 on the New Haven Green, at the corner of Chapel and College streets. Nov. 11 is the day World War I ended. The overarching slogan will be STOP WORLD WAR 3.

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