Dedication of White Oak Tree and Plaque For Theresa Carr

by Joan Cavanagh, a friend of Theresa’s

On Saturday, May 20, at 2 p.m. in Jocelyn Square Park (Humphrey, East, Walnut and Wallace streets), the friends of Theresa Carr and the City of New Haven will plant a white oak tree and erect a plaque in memory of the long-time New Haven activist.

While she lived on Walnut Street Theresa was instrumental in restoring the park and received recognition for her work in 2005. Throughout her life, this self-described “Marxist-Leninist lesbian feminist” was an activist for economic and social justice, peace, and the preservation of our planet.
Theresa died of cancer on March 27, 2014 at the age of 59. Her last words were “Keep doing our work.” Especially in these times, when economic injustice, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, war-making, the dismantling of social welfare and environmental protections are the clear goals of our highest-ranking government officials, the meaning and importance of her instruction (and if you knew Theresa at all, you know that it wasn’t a mere suggestion) cannot be exaggerated.

Theresa would be 63 on May 23. This event is occurring the weekend before so that out-of-town friends can more easily attend. If you knew Theresa well or slightly, have just heard about her or simply would enjoy learning about and remembering a remarkable life while sharing a picnic in our beautiful park on a (hopefully sunny) spring day, please join us!

There will be a flyer in the May PAR newsletter about the event. Please feel free to email or call me with any questions: joan.cavanagh@gmail.com, (203) 668-9082.

In Memoriam Bill Hackett

It is with great sadness that the PAR Planning Committee informs our readers about the death of Bill Hackett. In the mid-to late 90s, Bill edited the PAR newsletter. Years later he again edited the newsletter when he was on the PAR Planning Committee. He left the Planning Committee four years ago to move to Nevada. Even thousands of miles away, he wanted to see what was happening in New Haven and kept up his subscription to PAR. Bill worked with many Nevada peace and progressive organizations and was a Nevada delegate for Bernie Sanders last year.

Bill was kind and empathetic and had a great sense of humor. He had a quiet way about him and was passionate about justice and fairness for all people. Planning Committee members are grateful for the chance to have known him and worked with him on PAR as well as other issues.

Our deepest condolences to all his family, especially his children, Holly and Patrick.

William C. Hackett formerly of West Haven, CT passed away on Feb. 17, 2017. The son of the late William & Agnes (Koenig) Hackett, Bill is survived by his children Holly & Patrick (Shayna) Hackett and their mother Terry Raffone. He is also survived by his sisters Charlene Hackett & Maureen (John) Bombace and many nieces & nephews. He was predeceased by his sister Kathleen Katz and brothers Thomas & James Hackett. Bill enjoyed tinkering with computers, horse racing, watching Jeopardy, trivia nights and political activism. He will be missed by those who loved him. A private memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to a charity of your choice.

Tony Dominski, Feb. 10, 1944-Sept. 8, 2016

by Susan Klein

A memorial gathering to celebrate the life of Tony Dominski will be held on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, 2-5 p.m. at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St. Please come to share light refreshments and fond memories.

Tony arrived in New Haven in 1966 to study environmental science at Yale Forestry School. He joined the American Independent Movement, a local grassroots effort opposing the war on Vietnam and exposing the shortcomings of urban redevelopment. He led the effort to inject science into activism around urban ecology, and was a founder of the Science Action Group, which expanded the first Earth Day in 1970 into six weeks of actions called the Environmental Offensive, gaining national attention.

Tony taught at Pratt Institute and built a consulting firm that evaluated the environmental impact of urban and small-town development projects. He and pediatrician Morris Wessel published a groundbreaking study of lead poisoning in children, which helped force reduction of permitted lead levels in housing and the environment. In 1979 Tony moved to Santa Barbara, teaching at UCSB and becoming executive director of its first recycling enterprise. Later he moved to Tallahassee to evaluate environmental impacts for the state of Florida. He also wrote grants for Florida House in Sarasota, winning significant funding from Toyota for environmental projects.

Still consulting in Florida, Tony returned to New Haven and joined the Energy Task Force, which pressures the city and state to improve energy efficiency and sustainability. He helped save horseshoe crabs at three Connecticut preserves: Westbrook, Sandy Point, and Charles Island. In all his work, Tony constantly looked over the horizon, promoted the most far-reaching analyses and proposals for the environmental directions society must take, and brought people together with his thoughtful, cooperative and spiritual approach to life.

Tony was the first of twelve siblings. He married three wonderful women: Joelle Fishman, Donree Bruce, and Constance Amrita Joy. All who knew him cherished Tony for his offbeat, perceptive and irreverent sense of humor, infectious laugh and strong sense of caring for his family, friends and the planet.

Calling All PAR Readers: Help Fund the Theresa (Carr) Tree and Memorial Plaque in Jocelyn Sq. Park

by Joan Cavanagh, a friend of Theresa Carr

Theresa Carr, May 23, 1954 – March 27, 2014

“Keep doing our work.”

This is a request for PAR readers to contribute what they can to help raise $675 to plant a tree and erect a memorial plaque in Jocelyn Square Park for Theresa. Please make your contributions out to PAR, note in the memo line that it is for “The Theresa Tree,” and send to PAR, P.O. Box 995, New Haven, CT 06504, on or before Jan. 1, 2017.

Many PAR readers knew Theresa Carr, whose activism spanned several communities and countries. A self-identified “Marxist-Leninist Lesbian Feminist,” she gave her fierce intelligence to the interconnected struggles for peace and justice.

In her years in New Haven, Theresa worked with many groups including the New Haven Action Committee Against Repression, New Haven Coalition for Justice in El Salvador, Spinsters Opposed to Nuclear Genocide (SONG), the Women’s Pentagon Action(s) and the Coalition to Stop Trident. The actions often involved arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience. She also served on the board of the New Haven Women’s Liberation Center and worked in her trade as a union carpenter.

Creativity was her hallmark. With other members of SONG, she once painted a blank billboard in full daylight at the State Street exit off I-91 with the iconic image of a woman kicking a neutron bomb; and, during a trial of SONG members for actions against U.S. military intervention and funding of repressive regimes in Central America, the marble (male) justices on the steps of the courthouse on Elm Street one morning mysteriously wore purple headbands.

Theresa traveled extensively and worked in many other communities. In Florida, she completed a master naturalist program, cared for stranded whales, and became an active member of the Key West Tara Mandala Buddhist Sangha community.

In 1981, Theresa bought and rehabilitated a house on Walnut Street across from Jocelyn Square Park with her partner. Later she spearheaded the renovation of the deteriorated city park, now a beautiful oasis in our neighborhood. Friends of Jocelyn Square Park awarded her a Certificate of Appreciation on Sept. 3, 2005.

Following a double mastectomy and a rigorous alternative treatment protocol for metastatic breast cancer in 2011, Theresa cultivated land in northern Florida until her cancer returned. Her last words before she passed here in New Haven at her Walnut Street home were, “Keep doing our work.”

Please help mark this important life as we move into our next, crucial phase of resistance in these fearful times.

Community mourns loss of respected defense attorney Diane ‘Cookie’ Polan

While readying this newsletter for print, we learned of the death of New Haven defense attorney Diane “Cookie” Polan.

In addition to being a friend to many PAR readers, Cookie made herself available to area peace and justice activists who engaged in civil disobedience and who needed legal advice. Personally as well as professionally, Cookie was a defender of justice and her passing is a great loss. Just a week before her death at age 65, she was awarded the 2016 Champion of Liberty Award by the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers. An annual award in her name was established to carry on her legacy.

Our deepest sympathy to her family, spouse Linda Barrett, daughters Maya and Rosa, and her sister Kelly.

See local remembrances of Cookie in other stories by following the links below.

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Tributes poured in from the legal community Friday as word spread that acclaimed defense attorney Diane “Cookie” Polan had died Friday morning at her home in New Haven.

Polan turned 65 in March. One month later, she learned she had an inoperable brain tumor.

Her death came just one week after the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers gave her the 2016 Champion of Liberty Award and created an annual Diane “Cookie” Polan Award. She was unable to attend that event.

Read more here: New Haven loses ‘Champion of Liberty’ with death of lawyer Diane ‘Cookie’ Polan

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From the New Haven Independent

Diane Polan was New Haven’s toughest “cookie” — and New Haven became a better place as a result.Polan, a crusading criminal defense and civil rights lawyer, died Friday morning from an inoperable brain tumor at the age of 65.Her nickname was “Cookie.” She was sweet, but she didn’t crumble easily. If at all.

Source: Civil Rights Champion Diane Polan Dies | New Haven Independent

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From the CT Law Tribune

by KAREN ALI, The Connecticut Law

Tribuneongtime criminal defense lawyer Diane “Cookie” Polan of New Haven, known by her colleagues and the rest of the bar as fierce yet kind, passed away Friday morning.

Polan, who turned 65 in March, was diagnosed in April with an inoperable brain tumor.

Last week, at the very bittersweet annual meeting of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association, Polan was given a special award: The Champion of Liberty Award. It is so special that it’s not handed out every year, only when a recipient is deemed worthy enough.

Source: Recent ‘Champion of Liberty Award’ Winner Diane Polan Passes Away | Connecticut Law Tribune

This issue dedicated to the memory of Dr. Morris Wessel, Judi Friedman and Lou Friedman

The PAR Planning Committee dedicates this September issue to Dr. Morris Wessel, Judi Friedman and Lou Friedman. These three people devoted their careers and their lives to help create a safer, healthier, more peaceful world.

morris-wesselProgressive Action Roundtable extends its condolences to the family of Dr. Morris Wessel, who passed on at age 98 on August 20. Dr. Wessel was a pediatrician in New Haven for forty-two years. In the 1970s he investigated the lead levels in children, and in 1974 helped found The Connecticut Hospice, the first hospice in the United States. He and his wife, social worker Irmgard Rosenzweig Wessel who died in 2014, were greatly respected and admired by many of us in the PAR community. He is survived by four children, David, Bruce, Paul and Lois; eight grandchildren; two great-grandchildren and hundreds of former patients. Contributions may be made to the Morris and Irmgard Wessel Fund, a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, which makes annual awards to unsung heroes who are improving life for residents of the city. For more about Dr. Wessel: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/morris_wessel

friedman-judi-louIt is with great sadness that PAR learned of the passing of Judi and Lou Friedman of Canton on July 25. They both suffered with painful and debilitating health issues. Judi led the People’s Action for Clean Energy organization for forty-three years and has regularly written articles for the PAR newsletter. Lou was co-founder of Beyond Nuclear, a national non-profit promoting a nuclear-free world. For decades, PACE has been a resource for information and action on clean-energy issues and energy efficiency. Judi and Lou helped educate many of us about the dangers of nuclear power. At its annual meeting in the fall, PACE will be honoring the lives of Judi and Lou.

For more information, contact Mark Scully, Chairman of PACE, at mwscully29@gmail.com.

Daniel Berrigan, Poet

by Stephen Vincent Kobasa

Poetry was in everything that Daniel Berrigan did, and not only in his writing. He knew from the Old Testament prophets– Isaiah, of course, but also the less familiar, fierce voices of Daniel, Hosea, Micah, none of them “minor” in their demands or their fidelity – that metaphors were another way to change the world, and that even voices of condemnation needed music to make the conscience turn and listen.

The Catonsville 9 Statement, with its chill irony of apology for “the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house,” was written to take the place of an original draft that Berrigan found wanting. It was not enough to do the action, it was essential to make the words fit the doing.

He was in one respect a selfish man, as the Golden Rule is selfish, using the treatment we expect for ourselves as the measure of how others are treated. And, like Thoreau, he broke the law, first of all, to disassociate himself from murder in the name of the state. He would have called this, as required by his Catholic faith, acting to save his soul.

Darkness was familiar to him; he made no secret of this. And he lived in a time, as we do, that hope is not easy. But that never kept him from doing what was required.

We exchanged poems from time to time and he was always more generous in praise of mine than they deserved. But to be told that there were words he found in them that mattered was the kind of wild grace he granted to everyone he touched through all his days.

And he wrote his own best elegy, as one would expect:

The poem called death
is unwritten yet. Some day will show
the violent last line,
the shadow rise,
a bird of omen
snatch me for its ghost.
And a hand somewhere, purposeful as God’s
close like two eyes, this book.

Love, Daniel: In Remembrance of “Father Dan,” 1921–2016

by Joan Cavanagh (one of the NH Sunday Vigilers at Broadway, Park and Elm Streets)

“Eternity is a rose, Dante says/ We will wear/ give/ Yes, have time for.” Daniel Berrigan

daniel-berrigan-democracy-nowIn May 1968, in Catonsville, Maryland, 20 miles from my home town, nine people napalmed draft records of young men headed for Vietnam. Father Daniel Berrigan, one of the nine, named it “the burning of paper instead of children.” Dan was in North Vietnam earlier in 1968, and had held a Vietnamese child in a shelter while American pilots dropped bombs overhead.

Those non-electronic records could not be reconstructed. Hundreds of Americans were presumably exempted from going to war.

This incendiary act of nonviolent civil disobedience forced us all to witness what napalm did to paper and to imagine what it did to flesh and blood in our names as United States citizens. My 14-year-old view of the war as a nightmare that might one day claim the lives of some of my older class-mates evolved into a deeper awareness that it had already made a nightmare of other young lives: the unnamed and unseen Vietnamese.

In August 1973, eight months after the Paris Peace Accords, the U.S. war on Indochina continued. 100 people were arrested at the White House. The day of our first Federal Court appearance, the elevator stalled between floors. Dan flashed his signature elfish grin, then glanced heavenward with outstretched hands, palms up.

Draft board raids eventually gave way to raids on other offices prosecuting the war more covertly. I turned 21 in April 1975 while serving a 52-day sentence in the Women’s Detention Center in Washington D.C. Dan, veteran of a much longer, much more serious prison stay, sent poetry and a letter: “Dear Joan, I don’t know if they let poems into Caesar’s Harem. I hope so. Sometimes it helps…When you get out, springtime will be upon us all. That will be worth waiting for. We’ll all have a bash! Love, Daniel.”

Dan visited Jonah House and Advaita House in Baltimore several times while I lived there. His lightness of being often defused community conflicts and restored clarity of purpose sometimes abandoned in favor of argumentation and self-righteousness. His pecan pies were a sinfully rich delicacy which sweetened continued discord.

Sometimes I walked with him to the Baltimore train station for his return trip to NYC. Dan carried very little baggage.

I did not see him or talk with him for nearly four decades. We disagreed on his approach to abortion in the 1980s. I wish I had known him again in his later years, our beloved old “radical priest” caring for AIDS and cancer patients, joining the occupiers at Zuccotti Park, continuing to resist endless war – still living out the kindness and clarity of his poetry in action. Now his absence has come to stay: a sadly welcomed eternal presence.

In Remembrance of Sara Gregory

Susan Klein, NH Sunday Vigil and GNH Peace Council

Sara Kane Gregory, 58 years old, died at her home in New Haven on Jan. 4, 2016. She was born in Baltimore, MD, spent her teenage years in Naples, Fla, and earned a Masters of Education from the University of New Hampshire.

sara-kane-gregory-small

Sara with OccupyNH on the Green (Paula Panzarella photo)

Confined to a wheelchair after a car accident 25 years ago, Sara was known to hundreds here as a friend, a fellow activist, and an inspiration. In fact, she refused to be confined, going wherever she chose via public transportation, van, bus and train, despite difficulties with access. She even swam 3-4 times every week, in every season. Sara could recall choosing to live while in a coma after the accident, and live she did, to the utmost, with fierce independence and determination; she wanted no one to feel sorry for her.

Sara was an enthusiastic participant in political meetings, marches and rallies, in CT, in NY, in DC, and was particularly involved with Occupy New Haven in 2011 and 2012 visiting the encampment on the Green almost every day. She was passionate about peace, justice and equality, and never hesitated to speak her mind for all to hear. She voted in every election.

A great reader, Sara’s favorite authors included Dickens, Hardy, George Eliot and Jane Austen. She indulged in incisive, thoughtful literary and philosophical discussions at every opportunity. She also loved cats, drinking tea and baking bread. Sara had a deep and lasting influence on those lucky enough to know her; this vibrant and feisty woman will be sorely missed. Her family asks that you kindly donate a book to your local library in remembrance of Sara.

NICHOLAS AIELLO, Dec. 14, 1924-Nov. 5, 2015

by Joan Cavanagh, archivist and director, GNHLHA

nicholas-aielloWith great sadness the Greater New Haven Labor History Association records the death of our co-founder, President Emeritus and inspiration, Nicholas Aiello.

Nick was a long time organizer and business agent for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Local 125. Raised on Wallace Street, he came from a family of Italian-American garment workers. From a family of 14, Nick had seven sisters, all of whom worked in the industry for years. The pre-union conditions were “horrible,” as Nick described in an interview published in Anthony Riccio’s The Italian American Experience in New Haven: Images and Oral Histories, 2006:

“When New York got completely organized, the ‘runaway shops’… ran to New Haven where there were no union shops. And they would open up a storefront. They’d put twenty, thirty machines on the fourth floor and most of the stitching plants were on the fourth floor with no elevator … Then in the 1930s came the Amalgamated and they started organizing drives in the area.”

Nick also brought his passion as a union organizer to other endeavors, as a member of the New Haven Board of Aldermen, as Commissioner for the New Haven Housing Authority and as a leader for the Greater New Haven Central Labor Council.

In 1988, recognizing the importance of keeping labor and working class history alive for present and future generations, Nick co-founded the Greater New Haven Labor History Association with other labor activists. He was active in the organization for the rest of his life.

GNHLHA will honor Nick as part of our 2016 annual conference and meeting. Tentative date: June 5th.

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