People Against Injustice News: Sept. 24 Protest, Meeting with Sen. Winfield Oct. 5

by Jane Mills, PAI

People Against Injustice joined several other local justice groups in writing a letter to city leaders and state prosecutors protesting the August 17 arrest of a young man, “Mykel,” on Kensington St. in New Haven whose only crime appeared to be filming the police. He faced a misdemeanor charge of resisting or interfering with police. To sign-on to the letter go to Change.org and search using this phrase “Support the right to record police in New Haven.” A copy of his video is linked in the online petition. It is legal to record police in public in all 50 states.

A protest on his Sept. 24 court hearing date was held in front of the New Haven courthouse during which people showed their support, asking us questions or calling out from their cars. We handed out info cards and talked to reporters. At  10 a.m. a group of us attended Mykel’s court hearing. The charge against him was dropped.

We are lodging this as a victory but concerns remain about representations about the video made by the state to the judge during Mykel’s brief hearing and about the fate of his Facebook account, which was taken down by Facebook for “verification,” after he posted his video of the police. We will continue to look into both.

State Sen. Gary Holder Winfield will attend PAI’s next regular meeting on Oct. 5 to review possible legislation for the 2015-2016 legislative session. Newcomers are welcome. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. sharp on the lower level of the main branch of the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street (at corner of Temple Street).

PAI has launched a Facebook page. Please visit our page, named “People Against Injustice – PAI” at this url: www.facebook.com/PeopleAgainstInjustice.

People Against Injustice is a New Haven-based, grassroots organization committed to reform of the criminal justice system. Since its founding in 1996, PAI has worked on dozens of justice-related issues, including over incarceration and the War on Drugs, prosecutor and police misconduct, and racial and economic disparities in the justice system. PAI engages in direct action as well as educational initiatives. Reach us at peopleagainstinjustice@riseup.net.

‘Speak Out for Justice’ Oct. 7 with Remi Kanazi and Bishop John Selders

by Stanley Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

Come to the New Haven Library on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. for “Speak Out for Justice.” Meet Remi Kanazi, Palestinian-American poet and activist, on the release of his new collection of poems: Before the Next Bomb Drops: Rising Up from Brooklyn to Palestine. He also wrote Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine.

remi-kanaziKanazi writes and performs political poetry addressing topics such as human rights, Palestine, Iraq, and Islamophobia. Approaching his work from a humanist perspective, Kanazi says, “I’m not a nationalist, I’m not an ethno-centrist. This isn’t about me being a Palestinian or me being an Arab. It’s about a system of oppression and what’s being done to a people. So whether you’re talking about police brutality or the US-Mexico border or Afghanistan or the war in Iraq or the plight of Palestinians, what they’re going through and the injustice that’s being perpetrated against them is what matters. And that’s what we’re working against – systems of oppression.”

Our program also features Bishop John Selders, a leader of “Moral Mondays” who has led protests in Hartford against police brutality and who took part in the “All Roads Lead to Ferguson Tour” in July and August.

The Right Reverend Doctor John L. Selders, Jr. is an ordained minister serving in the United Church of Christ, the Organizing Pastor of Amistad United Church of Christ, Hartford, CT, Associate Chaplain at Trinity College, Hartford, CT and Executive Director of Zezzo House (an 18 unit housing project). John worked for 12 years as a Lecturer at Yale Divinity School in New Haven.

The program is sponsored by the Middle East Crisis Committee. MECC was founded in New Haven in 1982. Our TV program “The Struggle” www.TheStruggle.org has been broadcast on over 30 stations weekly since 2003. We’ve covered civil rights and black lives matter struggles over the years. Our latest is coverage of the Newark New Jersey protest: www.thestruggle.org/older_featured.htm
Executive Director: Stanley Heller, (203) 934-2761.

NO to Medically Assisted Suicide

by Joan Cavanagh, Second Thoughts Connecticut

“An Act Providing a Medical Option of Compassionate Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Adults,” Proposed Bill No. 668, has been referred to the Judiciary Committee for the spring 2015 Connecticut state legislative session. It is being sponsored and promoted by some of our most progressive state legislators, including Gary Holder Winfield, Roland Lemar and Toni Walker.

It is imperative that we as their constituents and supporters on many other initiatives contact them immediately to demand that they withdraw their support for this legislation and work to defeat it.
Last month, Elaine Kolb clearly explained why the disability rights community is so opposed to this legislation. She described her painful fight for the necessary treatment and services to sustain her partner’s life as long as possible: “Patti Deak lived and died with dignity, with multiple disabilities, using a power wheelchair, hospital bed, Hoyer lift, hearing aids, and a ventilator… With cut-backs in so many essential services, the message behind assisted suicide is that death is cost-effective. For those of us in danger of being denied what we need to live, ‘Compassion and Choice’ feels more like ‘Contempt and Coercion’” (emphasis added).

I experienced such contempt and coercion while fighting for treatment for my elderly mother, Catherine (1922-2012), who suffered from vascular dementia and a severe heart condition. As her health care advocate, I was continually and repeatedly harassed, bullied and threatened by various health care professionals at Yale-New Haven Hospital to “let her die.” As a Medicare/Medicaid patient, she was costing them too much and her life was not valued. You can read the details of this experience at http://www.nhregister.com/opinion/20140304/forum-aid-in-dying-bill-neither-compassionate-nor-wise.
All this occurred in a state where medically assisted suicide is not yet legal. Whatever its language, such a bill cannot be tweaked or improved to be made safe or unthreatening to those of us who are physically, mentally and/or emotionally vulnerable. The potential for coercion and abuse, both by a health care system increasingly concerned with profit and, in some cases, by family and friends who are tired of the “burden” of care, is simply too great.

Joan Cavanagh is a member of Second Thoughts Connecticut and a long time peace and justice activist.

Gathering Mourns Leelah Alcorn’s Suicide

by Maya Leonardo, Justice for Jane

New Haven activists joined thousands of others across the country to mourn Leelah Alcorn on January 10. In the wake of the transgender 17-year-old’s suicide, activists have mobilized across the country to stand for trans rights and an end to so-called ‘conversion therapy.’ While trans suicides are not uncommon, the visibility of Leelah’s was widespread, including a suicide note widely reposted.
New Haven has become a hotbed of trans activism, with the Justice for Jane campaign bringing together activists from all over Southern Connecticut. Jane is a 17-year-old trans girl being held in DCF custody at a men’s facility in Middletown. Just like Leelah was, she is being denied the right to express her gender.

Attendees at the vigil and rally made promises to Leelah to help fix society. One of the most poignant came from IV, a Justice for Jane organizer.

“I want to make a promise that I will keep fighting for our community, no matter how hard the struggle gets. Jane is 17 just like you, Leelah. I promise to fight to make sure she lives the life you deserved, and to fight for all young people who are being abused like you and Jane. We will keep the struggle alive for you, and we will tear down the system that took your life, keeps our community down and discourages us from living.”

No Jail Time for Drone Protestor! Read his statement to the judge here

[For previous coverage, visit http://par-newhaven.org/2014/12/05/new-havens-mark-colville-sentenced-for-protesting-at-drone-base-near-syracuse-ny-democracy-now/}

by Mark Colville, Amistad Catholic Worker

colville

My family and I are back home after some surprising developments at the sentencing hearing in the Syracuse court. I’m writing this by way of update for those who have expressed their care and concern for us but may not have heard the outcome or any of the details. Some links are posted below which provide a good explanation of the action for which I was brought to trial. Most of all, though, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have been walking with us in so many beautiful ways during this time. We could not possibly have felt more loved and supported, so thank you all.

We all were proceeding with the well-founded belief that I was facing a long jail sentence. The judge himself had made it clear before trial that he would sentence me to the maximum Read more

Drop All Charges Against Luis Anglero, Jr!

End Police Brutality from Hartford To Ferguson.

Demand justice on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 8 a.m. at the Hartford Courthouse, 101 Lafayette St.

Less than two weeks after the murder of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson MO., Hartford police officer Shawn Ware used a taser on Luis Anglero, Jr., in an unjustified use of force that was captured on video and shocked all who viewed it. Luis was injured from the resulting fall to the pavement, and was subsequently charged with “breach of Peace in the second degree” and “interfering with police.”  This was an attempt to turn the victim into the criminal.

On August 27, 2014, nearly 100 community members from Hartford and the surrounding towns rallied and marched to Hartford Police headquarters to present a People’s Manifesto with a list of demands. Chief among those demands were for an immediate dismissal of all charges against Luis Anglero, Jr., and for charges to be brought against Officer Shawn Ware. To date, neither of those demands has been met. Court proceedings have continued against Luis, with his next hearing now scheduled for Wednesday, December 10, 2014. We, the people will be there to demand that the charges be dropped. Join us! For information: Debracohen51@gmail.com or christopher.hutch@gmail.com.

Darren Wilson not charged in shooting death of Michael Brown

As we go to press, the decision has just been announced by the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri. Police officer Darren Wilson will not be charged in the shooting death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, eighteen-year-old African-American who was shot and killed on August 9, 2014.

The St. Louis Grand Jury refused to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson. This decision is a failure of the justice system — but President Obama and US Attorney General Holder can make sure justice is served by taking action. The Department of Justice has the power to prosecute Officer Wilson under federal criminal charges. Raise your voice today to ensure our national leaders step in where Missouri’s politicians have failed, and secure justice for Mike Brown immediately.

A Ferguson Solidarity rally and march has been planned for Nov. 25 in downtown New Haven. Check next month’s PAR newsletter for an update.

In New Haven contact: newhavenrbnyc@aol.com or stopmassincarcerationct@gmail.com.

“My Name is Rachel Corrie” Nov. 1, New Haven

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace

On Nov. 1, 8 p.m. at Southern Connecticut State University, Charles Garner Auditorium, Engleman Hall (C112), join us for the one-night only performance of “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” a one-woman play about the American peace activist Rachel Corrie who was killed in Gaza in 2003 at the height of the Second Intifada while working with the International Solidarity Movement to prevent home demolitions. The play was a hit in London and New York. It is based entirely on Rachel’s own diary entries and emails from her mid-adolescence through her coming of age, to her untimely death.

Read more

“People and Nature before Profits” — People’s World Amistad Awards Dec. 7

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

This year’s Amistad Awards will be presented by the People’s World on Sunday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. at a “People & Nature Before Profits” anniversary rally in New Haven at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, 177 College St. (entrance corner of College and Crown).

Rising inequalities, climate change and war are giving rise to new organizing by youth, low-wage workers and the 99% for a society that values the needs of people and nature before corporate profits.

The event will celebrate the contributions of Meg Riccio, Alberto Bernandez and Daniel Durant, three leaders and role models who challenge economic and racial inequality and who are in the forefront to get out the vote for jobs, health care, union rights, immigrant rights and the needs of youth.

Read more

Pastors for Peace: Why the World Needs Cuba

by Augusta Girard, Program Director, PEP

At 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3 the annual Mark Shafer Lecture, sponsored by Promoting Enduring Peace, will feature Gail Walker, Director of Pastors for Peace and the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization. Held at the Yale Divinity School, 409 Prospect Street, Niebuhr Hall N12, parking is available and the event is free and open to the public.

Ms. Walker has staffed more than 15 caravans of humanitarian aid to Cuba and Central America and worked extensively with marginalized communities including the Garifuna in Honduras and Nicaragua. She is an award-winning radio producer, on-air host and journalist and holds an MA in Media Studies from the New School.

Gail Walker is interviewed by a television crew.

Gail Walker is interviewed by a television crew.

She is the daughter of Rev. Lucius Walker, the recipient of the 1993 Gandhi Peace Award. It is especially meaningful for PEP to have the daughter of a Gandhi Peace Award recipient as our featured speaker. To be able to carry on the work of such a noble and peace-loving man as her father is very rewarding for us to see. Read more

New Haven Citizens Protest Drone Warfares

Amistad Catholic Worker, upstatedroneaction.org

Syracuse, NY — Carrying flowers and documents to Hancock drone base can result in severe consequences. Drone resister, Mark Colville, of the Amistad Catholic Worker in New Haven, Conn., was found guilty, after a two day trial and 50 minutes of deliberation by a De Witt Town Court jury.

On Dec. 9, 2013, Colville and two Yale Divinity students brought a People’s Order of Protection to the front gate of the base to prevent further victims of drone attacks perpetrated from inside Hancock Airbase. This action was in response to a request on Nov. 25, 2013, by Raz Mohammad, an Afghan, whose brother-in law was killed by a U.S. drone strike. Gate personnel rejected the petition.

Colville, who’s not an attorney, chose to represent himself. Read more

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