Report on Jewish Voice for Peace National Meeting

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace

Several members of the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) New Haven chapter were among the 600 attendees at the bi-annual JVP national membership meeting in Baltimore, March 13-15. The weekend was filled with inspiring keynotes, fact-filled breakout sessions, hands-on workshops and planning exercises, and a somber and moving Jewish memorial service for those who lost their lives during the brutal assault on Gaza by the state of Israel this past summer.

A significant focus of the event was the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS is a non-violent call by over 150 organizations in Palestinian civil society for three actions by Israel: ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. The call is conditional on these, and includes an end to BDS once they are implemented. BDS is not punitive but simply a means to achieve Freedom, Equality, and Justice for Palestinians long denied these fundamental human rights.

While the Israeli election occurred 2 days after the end of the JVP meeting, the racist rhetoric of Benjamin Netanyahu, his promise to maintain the occupation indefinitely, and the endorsement of his values by the Israeli electorate only serve to raise the importance of using BDS as a tool to achieve human rights for Palestinians. Find out more about the BDS movement at http://www.bdsmovement.net.
Rabbi Brant Rosen of JVP spoke from the heart: “I’d like to suggest that a deeper understanding of this value [love of the Jewish people] should not stop at love just for fellow Jews. After all, while the word Yisrael does refer to the Jewish people, it also literally means ‘one who wrestles with God.’ Seen thus, we might interpret it as love for all who struggle, to love all who fight as we have for freedom and justice and tolerance in the world, to stand in solidarity with those who struggle against tyranny, and are beaten, imprisoned, tortured or killed for doing so…these are the members of our tribe, perhaps our most sacred tribe.”

Angela Davis concluded her stirring plenary by remarking “We are compelled to speak back with the voices of our humble solidarity, and one of the most important of these voices is Jewish Voice for Peace. Carry on!”

JVP New Haven contact info: web: www.jvpnh.org; email: newhaven@jewishvoiceforpeace.org; facebook: jvpnewhaven; twitter:@jvpnewhaven.

Calls Needed for a Fair Budget in CT

by Art Perlo, Better Choices

Please call your State Representative and State Senator!

The budget for the State of Connecticut is now under consideration. Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s proposal includes cuts to housing, nutrition, youth programs and more as a way to close the budget deficit. This is wrong and unnecessary.

The Better Choices Coalition, made up of unions, service providers and faith organizations, is calling on the legislature to raise revenues from the top incomes, and cancel the cuts. If the top 5% paid taxes at the same rate as the bottom 95% there would be no budget deficit.

Even though Gov. Malloy has said he would not increase taxes, the state legislature also has input into the budget and can make proposals.  A more fair tax system helps middle and low income families and their communities.

The Finance Committee of the State Legislature is in deliberations now. Please urge your legislators to amend the Governor’s proposal:

  • Make taxes more fair by increasing the tax rate on the portion of incomes above $500,000.
  • Cancel the cuts on human needs, services and cities.
  • Support the Women’s Economic Agenda including paid family and medical leave, ending wage theft, and requiring big corporations to make a contribution to the state budget for each worker paid poverty wages.

Just a few calls will get the attention of your State Rep and State Senator and let them know that their constituents want fair taxes, not cuts.

PAR Articles and Calendar Items Due Friday, March 20

Dear PAR Contributors —

Readers want to know: What is the purpose of your organization? How are you building your group? What campaigns are you organizing? What events are you planning? The deadline for the April Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter is Friday, March 20. Please send in to this e-mail address – parnewhaven@hotmail.com – articles about your group’s recent and current activities and upcoming actions and events.

We ask that you to limit your article to 350 words.

Be sure to indicate your name and organization as they should appear in your byline.

Please keep in mind that as layout space permits, we will include photos.

IMPORTANT: Don’t neglect to add your organization’s phone number, e-mail address or website so our readers can get more information about what your group is doing.

If you haven’t written recent articles for PAR, please include information about your group’s purpose. Do not use different fonts or sizes in your article.

About calendar items: If you mention an event in an article, please also send a SEPARATE calendar announcement.

Please give street addresses for any events or meetings–even for “well-known” public buildings.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please indicate whether your event location is wheelchair accessible.You can also send us SAVE THE DATE items about future events, even if you do not yet have all the details in place.The Newsletter will come out approximately  March 28; please consider this when submitting calendar items.

Here are other suggestions about submitting copy to the PAR Newsletter:

1. If you ask or encourage new groups to submit articles or calendar items to PAR, please give them a copy of these tips.

2. Submit copy by e-mail, either as regular e-mail text or as an MS Word attachment (.doc or .docx).

3. If you are a first-time author in the PAR Newsletter, thank you! We hope you will also subscribe and encourage others in your organization to do so.

4. If someone else from your organization who doesn’t have e-mail is going to write an article, we can arrange to receive a disk or a paper copy.  Send an e-mail to us and include the name and phone number of the person who needs help, or call Paula at (203) 562-2798.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT INSERTS:

We prefer to carry articles & calendar listings rather than inserts. But if you have an insert to include in the Newsletter, we ask you to send the information contained in the flyer to this e-mail address as well so that it can be easily added to the PAR Calendar.

Your organization must make and pay for the copies of the insert, and you must call Mary Johnson (203) 387-7858 in advance to see if there is room for it.  There is a fee of $7 for an insert, which we hope will offset the extra postage.

We will be able to handle only those inserts that are a full (8.5×11) or half (5.5×8.5) sheet of paper (not postcard).

It would be very helpful if groups that submit an insert could send someone to help with the mailing. Call Mary (203) 387-7858 to volunteer.

We always welcome more helpers and new ideas! If you would consider attending the monthly planning meeting or helping with the Newsletter mailing, please call Mary Johnson at (203) 387-7858.  Many thanks! We’re looking forward to your articles!

Thank you for your help in creating this community newsletter. — PAR Planning Committee

To renew your own subscription or buy a subscription for a friend, the rate is $13 for 10 issues (check made out to PAR, & mailed to PAR, PO Box 995, New Haven, CT 06504 The subscription charge almost covers our production costs (printing, postage and post office box).

We encourage all to re-subscribe and buy gift subscriptions before we have to raise the rate to $15.

PAR Articles and Calendar Items Due Friday, March 20

Dear PAR Contributors —

Readers want to know: What is the purpose of your organization? How are you building your group? What campaigns are you organizing? What events are you planning? The deadline for the April Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter is Friday, March 20.

Please send in to this e-mail address – parnewhaven@hotmail.com – articles about your group’s recent and current activities and upcoming actions and events.

We ask everyone to limit their articles to 350 words. Be sure to indicate your name and organization as they should appear in your byline.

If you haven’t written recent articles for PAR, please include information about your group’s purpose.

Do not use different fonts or sizes in your article.

List either a phone, e-mail address or website so that readers will have a way to get further information.

Read more

Jewish Voice for Peace National Gathering in March

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) will be holding its bi-annual National Membership Meeting (NMM) in Baltimore on March 13-15. Over 500 activists united for human rights in Israel and Palestine will share experiences, discuss and debate, learn new skills, and strengthen the activist community.

JVP has grown from one modest local organizing group in Berkeley in 1996 to a national organization with 72 chapters across the country in 2015. New Haven’s JVP chapter formed in 2014, and will be represented by 7 attendees. JVP nationally has over 9,000 members and nearly 200,000 on-line supporters–people who are demanding equal justice for all, building dynamic new alliances, and transforming Jewish community.

The National Membership Meeting is called “We’re Not Waiting” because the phenomenal work and successes of the last year show that JVP is breaking through into the mainstream, and that no one’s permission is needed to stand up and put it all on the line now in the the fight for justice.

Attendees at the 2013 NMM found it transformative. The 2015 schedule includes plenary sessions with keynote speakers Angela Davis, Rabbi Brant Rosen, Sa’ed Atshan, representatives from Badil and Zochrot, Eran Efrati, and JVP executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson. There are close to 50 breakout sessions on a wide variety of topics. Some examples: “From the Southwest Border to Palestine: Occupation, Militarization, and Resistance,” “Beautiful Trouble: Creative, Strategic Organizing Tactics, Tips, and Tools for Victory,” and “Theatre of the Oppressed: Building Solidarity by Recognizing our Privileges and Oppressions.”

Shabbat services will be held Friday and Saturday, with Havdallah marking the end of Shabbat on Saturday evening.

You can reach the New Haven JVP chapter at the following: www.jvpnh.org, email: newhaven@jewishvoiceforpeace.org facebook: jvpnewhaven, twitter: @jvpnewhaven
We’ll be reporting back in a future PAR newsletter on the highlights of the NMM.

Tell North Haven Board – Indian Mascots Aren’t Cool

Stanley Heller, based on his interview with Talia Gallagher for Indian Country Today Media Network
Talia Gallagher, a North Haven High School alumnus, is seeking to have the Board of Education change its sports team mascot. Currently the mascot is the “Indians.” The logo is like a stereotypical Plains Indian with a headband and several feathers. There was nothing particularly vicious in the way it was done, just unthinking. Students at games chant “tribe pride” and put on so-called “war paint.” Last year the girl who was winner of the school spirit contest was photographed wearing a full feathered headdress.

There is a campaign to change the name of the Washington pro football team away from the disgusting word “Redskins.” The word “Indians” itself isn’t offensive, but more and more people of Indian nations are speaking out against the practice of demeaning Indian nations by using them as mascots. There’s even a hashtag: #NotYourMascot.

Gallagher’s petition says the simple truth: “Towns and cities all around the country are starting to switch over to appropriate team names and mascots and it is time for North Haven to join the movement. Our town must take a stand and change the old and disrespectful ways people think about race.” Find it on Facebook by looking for “Change North Haven Indian Mascot.”

The New Haven Register says it’s time to abandon Indian mascots and notes there are 23 Connecticut teams with some variation of Indian mascot names. Quinnipiac University in Hamden changed the name of its mascot from the Braves to the Bobcats in 2002.

Besides signing the petition you can help by attending the North Haven Board of Education meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, at 5 Linsley St., North Haven. Even if you don’t live in the town you can applaud the speakers who support changing the mascot name.

An Invitation to Environmental Groups to Join in Peace and Planet Events

Kim Stoner, Board of Directors, Promoting Enduring Peace

Promoting Enduring Peace would like environmental groups to join us in mobilizing a broad coalition in support of nuclear disarmament this April in New York City.

Specifically, we invite you to participate in the Peace and Planet International Conference for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustainable World on April 24 and 25, and the rally and march on April 26. When representatives of the nations of the world gather at the United Nations for the 5-year Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, we want to deliver the message to these representatives that the peoples of the world want good faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons, as required by the Treaty since it entered into force in 1970.

Despite the end of the Cold War and President Obama’s pledge in 2009 to seek a “nuclear-free world,” there are about 17,000 nuclear weapons in existence worldwide, including over 7,000 in the US and 8,000 in Russia. According to a recent federal report on modernization of the US nuclear arsenal, over $1 trillion will be spent to upgrade US nuclear weapons over the next 30 years.

Proliferation of nuclear weapons also increases the likelihood of their use in regional conflicts, such as between India and Pakistan. This would, of course, result in tremendous human mortality and suffering and regional environ-mental effects from the blasts, the pressure waves, direct radiation and radioactive fallout. In addition, even a relatively small regional nuclear war (using 50 weapons on each side) would have devastating global environmental effects by sending vast amounts of smoke and soot into the atmosphere resulting in a nuclear winter lasting for a decade or more.

The continuing threat of nuclear weapons has, for many of us, been present our entire lives. As a result, it requires a big psychological step for us to realize that the nuclear war culture, like the reliance on fossil fuels, is an aspect of our civilization that can and must change.

Please join us in organizing for the Peace and Planet events. For the specific demands of the organizers, please go to www.PeaceandPlanet.org.

March Events for the 64 Days of Nonviolence

by Bina Walker, Graduate Assistant, Women’s Studies Program SCSU

The 64 Days officially begins each year on Jan. 30, the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, and ends on April 4, the day we commemorate Dr. King. In our twelfth annual observation of the 64 Days at SCSU, we continue to celebrate the peace and justice heritage in many of our cultures and heritages, including our observation of Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Asian/Pacific Heritage Month.

Please join the Women’s Studies Program at Southern Connecticut State University for the following events.

  • March 4th: Women’s Wit and Wisdom “Beauty Across Cultures” with artist and educator Hanan Hameen (2-4 p.m.; Adanti Student Center 301)
  • March 5th: Performance Poetry Duo “About That Elephant” (7-9 p.m.; Adanti Student Center Ballroom A)
  • March 6th & 7th: Kingian Nonviolence Workshop with Victoria Christgau (1-7 p.m. & 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Engleman Hall B 121 A&B)
  • March 12th: “Gender Justice and Cyber Technology” an evening with feminist legal scholars on intersections of gender and technology (5-7 p.m.; Engleman Hall A 113)
  • March 21st: The 20th Annual African American Women’s Summit, a Sisters’ Collective in New Haven (8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Wexler-Grant School, 55 Foote St., New Haven)
  • March 25th: The 6th annual “The Z Experience,” a spoken word event in memory of Zannette Lewis, in conjunction with Women’s Appreciation Day & Sisters’ Gathering (7-10 p.m.; Adanti Student Center Ballroom B)

All events, except the 20th Annual African American Women’s Summit, are at SCSU, 501 Crescent St., New Haven.

Stop Police Terror! Stop Mass Incarceration!

by Stan Nishimura, Stop Mass Incarceration Network/New Haven

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network held a national conference on the weekend of Feb. 7-8 in Atlanta that was attended by over 100 people. There was initiated and approved at this conference a Call to continue to build and raise the level of resistance against the epidemic of murders of Black and Latino youth by the cops.

The heading of this Call says:

“Call from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network

APRIL 14—STOP BUSINESS AS USUAL! WE WILL NOT GO BACK! NO SCHOOL! NO WORK!
SAY NO MORE TO THE SYSTEM GIVING A GREEN LIGHT TO KILLER COPS!”

During the upsurges of protests in the fall and winter many in New Haven and surrounding areas came out to demand a STOP to these murders of our youth by the cops. Cornel West states that there is a murder of youth by authorities every 28 hours; this is unacceptable and this must stop.

Go to www.stopmassincarceration.net to see the Call and reports from the National Conference.
In New Haven, if you want to be part of organizing for April 14, contact Stan: smin.nh21@gmail.com.

Reading Series Starts in New Haven

by Bennett Lovett-Graff, Publisher, New Haven Review

The Young Men’s Institute Library is proud to host the Listen Here Short Story reading series. Join us for a night of classic short stories selected by the staff of the New Haven Review and read by cast members of the New Haven Theater Company. Reading starts at 7 p.m., with a talk back at 8 p.m. that explores the background, meaning, and dramatic interpretation of that night’s stories. Also, freshly baked cookies–a different batch at each reading–and tea are available. $5 suggested admission, but no obligaions! Next reading’s theme is “All in the Family?” Our stories are “North of” by Marie Bertino and “Scarecrow” by Betsy Boyd. Join us Wednesday, March 11, 7 p.m. at Young Men’s Institute Library, 847 Chapel St.

Save these other dates as well for future readings, same place, same time, different stories, different actors reading: April 9 and May 13. (Please note that the Institute Library is one flight up and, most unfortunately, not wheelchair accessible.) For more information, see www.institutelibrary.org.

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