by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World
This year’s Amistad Awards will be presented by the People’s World at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 at an anniversary rally in New Haven at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, 177 College Street, on the theme “Justice for All. In Solidarity with Black and Latino Youth. Stop the Right-wing Attacks.”
Jill Marks, Ciro Gutierrez and Cindy Harrity, three grass roots leaders and organizers, will receive the awards.
Special recognition will also be given to Edie Fishman marking her 80th year as a grass roots leader for justice since joining the YCL at age 14.
A cultural program in solidarity with Black and Latino youth struggling for survival, jobs and education will highlight the event.
The annual awards are presented to allies by the People’s World on the occasion of the 96th anniversary of the Communist Party USA.
Jill Marks stepped up this year as an organizer with New Haven Rising. She was elected in the September primaries to represent Ward 28 on the New Haven Board of Alders, as part of the labor-community alliance majority. She is mother of six, choir director of her church and has worked alongside her husband Rev. Scott Marks for many years.
Ciro Gutierrez is a member leader of SEIU 32 BJ in Hartford. He is now on the negotiating committee in a key labor battle covering 2,000 building service workers, part of national contract negotiations. He has fought for justice for immigrant workers and janitors for many years. He immigrated from Peru, became a citizen and raised three children here.
Cindy Harrity organized for Communication Workers of America 1298 for ten years until her recent retirement due to health. She got involved in the fight for workplace fairness over health insurance as a part-time worker. She has since organized around the country and supports husband John Harrity’s work as president of the CT State Council of Machinists.