Report on Coalition for People Annual Meeting

On April 17, the Coalition for People held its first annual meeting since 2014. Among the 24 attendees, there were many past members and some newcomers to the group.

The gathering started off with music by Flint Ladder. A slideshow featuring CFP founder Mary Johnson played during the performance.

Elected board members are Dorothy Johnson, Elizabeth Neuse, Holly Hackett and JoAnn Moran. If anyone wants to still join the board, they can be considered during the monthly business meetings. Please call (203) 468-2541 if you are interested in joining the board.

The keynote speaker was Rev. Bonita Grubbs, Director of Christian Community Action. She spoke about the long history of Coalition for People, the legacy of Mary Johnson, what it means to be organizing and inspiring people, and always pushing for what is right, even though it may not always be immediately evident. She gave the example that that week scientists were able to photograph a black hole, proving Albert Einstein’s theory about the existence of black holes, 64 years after Einstein’s death. Many ridiculed Einstein when he first presented that theory, just as many people call activists crazy for trying to change things. But just because we as activists don’t get immediate results doesn’t mean we’re crazy or wrong. Rev. Grubbs talked about the individual lights of each person, their intelligence, skills, how people have their own understanding, that everyone can bring their lights together, discuss reality and solutions from her or his own perspective, and shine the light to push things forward.

Discussion of various topics followed – affordable housing, Yale New Haven Hospital’s plan to move the primary care centers to Long Wharf, healthcare, homelessness, justice. It was a good gathering to share the concerns of Coalition members and supporters, as well as those new to CFP.

The monthly board meetings are open to the membership. For June, July and August, our meetings are on the third Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Avenue (June 19, July 17, and August 21). For more information, email coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com. Thank you!

Happy May Day! Continue the Struggle for Justice!

by the PAR Planning Committee

Since the nationwide strike for the 8-hour workday in 1886, the first of May has become a historic day for the struggles of working people, and for over a hundred years May 1 has been celebrated as International Workers’ Day. Locally, in 1970, the May Day protests on the New Haven Green demanded freedom for Bobby Seale, justice for the Black Panthers, and the end of the Vietnam War. Starting in 1987 and continuing for thirty years on the Green, the annual May Day celebration each year brought together dozens of organizations to promote their work for labor rights, peace, human rights, and economic rights to the broader New Haven community. And since 2006, city-wide marches for immigrants’ rights are held on May 1. Peace, racism, police brutality, union struggles, fair wages, anti-war, immigration, a safe environment, criminal justice issues, labor history, welfare rights organizing, the right to healthcare — these are some of the struggles and issues in the celebration of international solidarity.

April was a month full of upsurge. From April 11-21, Stop & Shop workers from Connecticut, Rhode Island and

Massachusetts (31,000 workers) were on strike. The union considers the new contract a victory, preserving healthcare and retirement benefits and providing wage increases. The next strike in Connecticut will be unionized workers in nursing homes. They are scheduled to strike on May 1.

For days there have been massive protests and marches in New Haven and Hamden condemning the thoroughly unjustified Hamden and Yale police shooting in New Haven of two African-Americans in their early twenties on April 16. Thankfully, Stephanie Washington is recovering from her bullet wounds, and Paul Witherspoon was not hit. Video from the police body cameras has not yet been released. As of this writing, people will gather at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 6 at the Hamden Town Hall for the Legislative Council Meeting. We urge our readers to join in the many rallies for justice around these and other issues and be inspired by the many people at the forefront of these struggles for their lives and their livelihoods.

May Day 2019 — 100 Years of Struggle for Workers’ Rights

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

The annual Connecticut People’s World rally for International Workers’ Day will highlight union organizing today and in history. Themed “May Day 2019: 100 Years of Struggle for Workers’ Rights,” the rally will be held on Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St. The event, held during the 100th anniversary year of the Communist Party USA, will include a brief history of labor organizing by the Communist Party since its founding in 1919 and continuing today.

The experience of organizing food service workers who won a union last year at United Airlines will be shared by Jaime Myers-McPhail who lived in Colorado for several months working on the campaign, and his colleague Charlie Delgado who participated for a shorter time. Myers-McPhail is an organizer in New Haven with New Haven Rising and Unite Here.

“May Day Around the World” slide show will show workers’ protests and actions from every continent including many demands for equality for immigrant workers. The afternoon will be capped off with labor songs led by some of those who participated in the newly formed labor chorus at the Women’s March in Hartford this year.

On May 1, 1886, thousands of workers marched in Chicago to demand relief from brutal 12- and 14-hour workdays. A few days later, a suspicious bomb killed several Chicago police and protesters in Haymarket Square. Four of the march leaders were framed and executed. In their memory, May Day was proclaimed a day of international workers’ struggle and solidarity. In the United States, May Day took on new life when immigrant workers from Latin America held mega-marches for their rights in 2006. May Day 2019 is part of the resistance against the anti-people Trump/ Republican white supremacy agenda, and the rising movements to put peace, planet and people before profits

Donation is $5 or what you can afford. A fund appeal for the People’s World will be made. For information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

Yale Shot Stephanie Washington

by Joshua Caytetano, Yale Daily News, April 18, 2019

[Article below is excerpted from yaledailynews.com/blog/2019/04/18/cayetano-yale-shot-stephanie-washington]
The shooting of Stephanie Washington, a young black New Haven resident, by an officer of the Hamden Police Department and Yale University Police should produce grave concern and protest within the Yale student community.

Click to read more on the GoFundMe page

GoFundMe (click to read more)

Facts are still emerging, narratives are still changing, but one incontestable truth persists: Hamden and Yale University police shot an innocent, unarmed black woman. The University has the opportunity to take the steps toward racial reconciliation in front of a local and national audience. Yale can move from silence and complicity to solidarity with our hurting neighbors. One way is to commit to pressure local law enforcement to ensure a transparent investigation and a just outcome.

Other steps toward solidarity can include: 1) The issue of a public apology, 2) A commitment to terminate the employment of any responsible party, 3) A review and revision of YPD’s relationship to the broader New Haven community, and 4) A renewed, material commitment to these communities of need. But until the University proves itself to be a reliable partner for justice, this movement must begin with the students.

As Yale students, we must ask ourselves, “Is my safety ensured at the expense of someone else’s?” In light of this shooting, the answer should be an unequivocal yes.

Within the University’s protective bubble, we can easily ignore the uncomfortable truths that implicate our institution in injustice. We must correct our vision to include the many overlooked and under-considered people who challenge our presumption of moral superiority.

How can we be national advocates for justice if we allow the injustices in our backyard to pass unnoticed? How can we study centuries of racial oppression in our classrooms, yet not speak up when we witness it first-hand? Stephanie Washington might not have died from the bullet, but this fact in no way lightens the burden of responsibility. We must continue to #SayHerName, along with other black and brown people who have been brutalized by the police.

[editor’s note: there is a gofundme page set up for helping Stephanie get back on her feet. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-for-stephanie-washington

Joshua Cayetano is a first year at the Yale Divinity School. Contact him at joshua.cayetano@yale.edu.

Sing Seeger Songs to Benefit IRIS May 17

by Kim Stoner, NH Society of Friends

A singalong concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of folk singer and activist Pete Seeger will be held at Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike in Hamden on Friday, May 17th. We will sing to celebrate Seeger’s music and his life-long efforts on behalf of peace, justice, and the earth. The concert is a benefit for Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS).

Seeger passionately believed that singing together not only built community but could help heal our planet. Towards the end of his life, he said that if there’s still a world a hundred years from now it would be in large part because of people singing with each other.

Audiences in this singalong tribute concert will sing together using our new songbook containing fifty classic songs Pete Seeger led throughout his life, specially designed for Seeger centennial event. This event will feature Emma’s Revolution, Charlie King, Annie Patterson and Peter Blood-all of whom worked closely with Pete Seeger during his life.

Emma’s Revolution is the award-winning activist duo of Pat Humphries & Sandy O, whose songs have been praised by Pete Seeger and covered by Holly Near. They convey the energy and strength of their convictions, in an uprising of truth and hope for these tumultuous times.

Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist. Pete Seeger hailed him as “one of the finest singers and songwriters of our time.” They worked together to help build the People’s Music Network.

Annie Patterson & Peter Blood are the co-creators of the best-selling songbook Rise Up Singing. They have led sing-along concerts across North America and abroad building “hope & change through song.” www.groupsinging.org.

Concert details: Pete’s 100th Singalong Concert Friday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike in Hamden. Info: Paul Hammer (475) 201-3810, pauldhammer@yahoo.com.

Tickets & information: www.riseupandsing.org/events. Adults: $20, students and low income $10. For more information: www.riseupandsing.org/seeger-100th.

Is Your PAR Subscription About to Run Out?

by PAR Planning Committee

The Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter publishes from September through June. Subscriptions from many of our readers will expire with the June issue.

We hope you enjoy your subscription and value the PAR newsletter as a community resource. To see if your subscription is due for renewal, please look at your address label. If “201906” is printed on the label to the right of your name, your subscription ends next month. Please send in $13 for 10 issues (Sept. 2019-June 2020) so that you can continue to read about what local organizations are doing and you can submit articles about your own organization.

The Progressive Action Roundtable was started in January 1993. After several months, this community Newsletter became the main activity of PAR, giving New Haven area organizations an opportunity for networking and for advertising their activities.

We hope to hear from you.

Liberty Community Services at New Haven Libraries

Liberty Community Services offers one-on-one consulta-tions at NHFPLs for those with basic needs (jobs, food, shelter, and health and wellness issues).
Ives Main Library, 133 Elm Street
* Mondays to Fridays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
* Saturdays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Fair Haven Branch Library, 182 Grand Avenue
* Thursdays, 5-7 p.m. * Saturday, April 6, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Wilson Branch Library, 303 Washington Avenue
* Tuesdays, 5-7 p.m *Saturdays, April 13, 27, 10 a.m.-1p.m.

A Conversation & Community Dialogue With Corey Menafee

by Patricia Kane, Chair, New Haven Green Party

Corey Menafee

Corey Menafee

In June, 2016, Corey Menafee, a worker in the Hospitality Section of Yale University, assigned to Calhoun College, now renamed Grace Murray Hopper College, took a broom handle and smashed a stained glass window portraying an enslaved man and woman with a basket of cotton. He was arrested, charged with a felony, and forced to resign his job. Many people know about the incident, but few know much about either the man, a college graduate who majored in journalism, who did this act of protest, or the various community groups that joined to support him.

Please join us at Gateway CC on Thursday, March 28, to hear about Corey’s growing up in New Haven, how he grew in his college years and what the situation in New Haven was when he returned home to start a career.

A Community Dialogue will follow Corey’s interview. Learn which organizations are ready to use your energy and commitment to be part of the changes we want and need. Refreshments provided.

RSVP to the New Haven Green Party page on Facebook to ensure seating. Cosponsored by Gateway.

The Great Migration: Then and Now — 45th People’s World African American History Events Feb. 24

Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“The Great Migration: Then and Now — Fleeing Terror, Searching for Jobs and Equality,” is the theme of the 45th People’s World African American History Month celebration on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. at the Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave., New Haven. The day includes a march at 2:30 p.m., arts and writing competition, guest speaker, drumming and dance.

Some stories will be told of the many African American families in New Haven who trace their roots in the city to the great migration from the South in the 1930s and 40s when companies like Winchester recruited workers to come up from North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. They were fleeing Ku Klux Klan terror and looking for a better life.

Stories will also be told of the migrants from Central American countries coming to New Haven and the United States today, fleeing terror and economic devastation in their countries and hoping to find new opportunities for their families.

The “Jobs for Youth — Jobs for All” march will call on Yale to meet its signed commitment to hire from neighborhoods with high unemployment such as Dwight, Dixwell, Newhall, Fair Haven and the Hill. The march leaves the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St., at 2:30 p.m. and will wind through the Dwight neighborhood to Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave., for the 4 p.m. program.

Guest speaker Chauncey K. Robinson, journalist and social media editor of peoplesworld.org from Los Angeles, California, believes that writing and media, in any capacity, should help to reflect the world around us, and be tools to help bring about progressive change. She says she seeks to make sure topics that affect working-class people, peoples of color, and women are constantly in the spotlight.

The program will include drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and African dance with Ice the Beef. Ice the Beef Youth supports each other through education, dreams, goals, and talent by meeting, sharing stories, laughing, joking, and expressing feelings. They are on Facebook.

Prizes and acknowledgments of entries to the Arts and Writing Competition grades 8 to 12 will be presented. Students are asked to reflect in artwork, essay, poetry, rap or song about grandparents or great-grandparents who came up from the South in the past, or about someone who came up from Latin America or elsewhere recently. “What did they find? How can we continue the struggle for good jobs and equal rights to fulfill the dreams of those who came and made New Haven home?  What are your dreams for a better life?” Entry deadline is Feb. 14. For information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com.

During the Great Migration (1916 to 1970), six million African Americans left the South. They moved to cities like New Haven in the North and the West. They were fleeing discrimination, lynchings, denied rights and a lack of jobs. They were searching for a better life for themselves and their children.

As they settled they found that segregation and racism were not just in the South. The migration gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement and before that to the art, literature and music of the Harlem Renaissance that stirred the country and the world.

Artist Jacob Lawrence created a series of paintings about the Great Migration in 1940. He said, “And the migrants kept coming…their struggles and triumphs ring true today. People all over the world are still on the move, trying to build better lives for themselves and for their families.”

In 2018 famed activist and scholar Angela Davis said, “I believe that the major civil rights issue of the 21st Century is the issue of immigrant rights.”

Why Run for Mayor? by Wendy Hamilton

Wendy Hamilton, NH homeless advocate and mayoral candidate

PAR readers may remember the article Wendy wrote in the Feb. 2018 issue of PAR about homelessness and Mark Cochran. Mark died shortly after Yale New Haven Hospital discharged him in winter with no place to go. Wendy has filed the paperwork to run for mayor and has asked if we would share her concerns with our readers.

One day I just felt fed up with the chaos, the lies, the crazy spending, the near bankruptcy, the greed, the lack of compassion, the apathy…

Justin [Elicker] and Liam [Brennan] were sitting on the fence. I decided to commit to the research and the signature-collecting because I want to be heard at the Democratic primary debates coming this fall.

After making a list of city problems, I saw they fit into four categories–Housing, Budget, Safety, and Transportation.

Housing is no longer affordable for the masses without job security and bank loans for the working poor. The cost of living increases during years of flatline wages and a widening wealth gap. Developers and slumlords are getting all the breaks. Homelessness exists in every town and city and is growing despite what mass media says. Foreclosures and evictions are everyday occurrences.

The Budget is a runaway train growing by $100 million plus with our current mayor in office. We are in debt and near bankruptcy. The biggest contribution comes from our property taxes. Biggest expenditures are police, fire, and school systems, all of which need revamping with fair and intelligent contracts and pensions. We also have a huge yearly debt payoff. Yale, on 50% of the town land, only pays about 1/33 of the yearly take. The state offers a little better money but not enough.

Safety, which includes physical elements like crime, fire, pollution of air and water and climate change, is also a desirable feeling for the public to have and many don’t feel safe here for many reasons. Our police and firefighters require contracts to make them feel safe and appreciated. City residents require a civilian review board that can address their problems by affecting real change. We need to stop treating the homeless, the addicted, and sex workers (mostly homeless women) like criminals. We need year-round hazardous waste collection and cleaner parks that operate for the public benefit, not just the lucky few. We need to get housing quickly for those living on the street.  We all need affordable medical care.

Transportation is a city theme. We have trains, buses, major highways, bike and pedestrian trails, and a harbor. We are part of East Coast Metro which includes several huge cities.  The age of automobiles is over, but city hall hasn’t figured it out yet. 25% of us have asthma. Our air is just plain dirty. Bike travel is on the rise fortunately (I am 70 and own 2). Bus routes and schedules need to be examined and improved here. Many here can’t afford a bike or a car or a cab. Cab service is pricey and undependable here. A $40 million boathouse that took years to build on its own pier lies empty and unavailable to us even though our taxes paid for it — a colossal waste.

I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Cop Review Panel Passes, With Teeth | New Haven Independent

by Markeshia Ricks

A 22-year quest for justice culminated Monday night as Emma Jones watched New Haven’s Board of Alders vote to create an all-civilian review board (CRB) with power to investigate officers accused of misconduct.

The Board of Alders voted unanimously during its first meeting of the year to create the new version of the CRB.

 Emma Jones, whose son was shot dead by an East Haven police officer, was given a standing ovation after the vote. Markeshia Ricks Photo

Emma Jones, whose son was shot dead by an East Haven police officer, was given a standing ovation after the vote. Markeshia Ricks Photo

That vote came after weeks of public pressure and behind the scenes negotiating among alders and activists. After Monday night’s votes were cast, Jones— who became the most visible proponent of such a board after an East Haven cop chased her son Malik into Fair Haven in 1997 and shot him to death — was given a standing ovation by alders and activists who took the efforts that she started across the goal line.

Read the whole story here: Cop Review Panel Passes, With Teeth | New Haven Independent

Film Screenings with Stand Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Freedom Summer (2014), Saturday, Jan. 19, 2 p.m. at
the Wilson Library, 303 Washington Ave., chronicling the 1964 voter registration efforts in Mississippi. World Cinema Film Screening Tsotsi (Rated R) South Africa, 2005. English subtitles. Sat., January 26, 1 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave.

A young Johannesburg hoodlum lives by a code of violence after he steals a dead woman’s car, although he finds an infant in the back seat. Find out what happens next. Awarded the best Foreign Language Film 2006. Free popcorn!

Gandhi Peace Award to Jackson Browne

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace Administrator

Promoting Enduring Peace is giving its Gandhi Peace Award this year to singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. He will receive the award on Friday, Sept. 14, at the John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts at Southern Connecticut State University, 501 Crescent St., New Haven. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Starting the program will be two speakers: Frida Berrigan, who has worked for years warning of the dangers of nuclear weapons, and Chris George, Executive Director of IRIS — Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services. Singers Ben Grosscup and Luci Murphy will provide entertainment. Tickets can be reserved online for a donation. The Eventbrite link is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gandhi-peace-award-2018-tickets-48315261247.

Jackson Browne is the first artist ever to receive the Gandhi Peace Award. The award recognizes Browne’s extraordinary contributions of time and talent to the inseparable causes of world peace, environmental harmony, and social justice. The award comes with a cash prize and a medallion forged from “peace bronze” composed of metals salvaged from the control systems of U.S. nuclear missiles. Consistent with tradition, Browne has been invited “to present a message of challenge and hope” to those present. A reception will follow.

The Gandhi Peace Award, named after Indian anti-imperialist and nonviolence advocate Mohandas Gandhi, derives its international renown from those who have accepted it over the years. Among the 54 awardees are Martin Luther King, Jr., Benjamin Spock, Dorothy Day, Daniel Ellsberg, César Chávez, Amy Goodman, Bill McKibben, Medea Benjamin, Tom Goldtooth, Omar Barghouti and Ralph Nader.

Browne has organized or participated in thousands of benefit performances to support the environment, social justice, and human rights as well as causes such as music and arts education in public schools and has worked with two former Gandhi Peace Award recipients, Amnesty International (1978) and the Children’s Defense Fund (1990). Browne has composed and performed songs widely regarded as among the most literate and moving songs in popular music, defining a genre of songwriting charged with honesty, emotion, and personal politics. In 2004 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

 

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