Pay Attention to the Signs at the Public Library

by Robin Latta – Coalition For People

The Coalition For People was in the habit of meeting once a month in a cozy niche of the New Haven Free Public Library (Ives branch) for decades. One fall day in 2016, however, Mary Johnson, our elderly but forceful organizer/leader, declared that the library’s bathrooms were consistently in atrocious condition and “could we please meet elsewhere?”

Our following meetings were at Mary’s house, and we let the library know why its space was no longer suitable for our meetings. We learned the maintenance of the bathrooms was subcontracted out to a private company. This was the case in other City buildings as well, which angered us as these are jobs that should be done by City union employees.

That was the beginning of the changes to come… Upon further investigation, two members of the CFP team discovered no handicap accessible bathroom on the lower floor, while the potentially mobile metal sign standing in the front of the alcove of the handicap accessible bathroom on the main floor was perennially poised to deter entrance. The sign read “OUT OF ORDER.”

We knew the building was an older building and probably out of date, but we never realized the other “forces” at work. When we asked for an explanation of the sign, we were told that it was put there to avoid “hanky panky” in the bath-room. Upon further investigation, our “Supersleuth” found evidence of a prior handicap accessible bathroom in the women’s bathroom on the second floor that had actually been converted into an “inaccessible” stall.

When City Hall and the library were unresponsive to our pleas for accessibility, we finally made an ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] complaint which has been handled regionally through the Boston office. Currently, it has been placed in the hands of a lawyer who actually lives in Connecticut. Since the library and the City were given 180 days to “clean up its act,” their time was up on March 12, 2018.
We are saying all of this because of the stated excitement of the possibility of new renovations. We are sincerely hoping that everyone will benefit from those renovations, including the most underserved populations. (“I could have built a house by the time it took to fix the bathrooms” … so said one librarian, “and a garage.”)

But signage continues…one way or another. Now a big sign in the vestibule of the front entrance is posted and its reading “disallows” people coming in with more belongings than will fit under their seat. Is this a thinly veiled way of saying the homeless are unwelcome? Maybe instead, the library could (especially with new renovations) actually provide adequate accommodations for belongings.
Further, if the library is intent on making up new signs, maybe it could remind people that they are being surveilled inside the library by inconspicuous surveillance cameras. Even though it may be legally permissible to do so, some of us might feel intruded upon. So, folks…keep your eyes open when you use the New Haven Public Library and watch for the signs….

DAPL Protester Vic Lancia Arrested and Fined A Year After Wells Fargo Lock-Down

by Dan Fischer, Dragonfly Climate Collective

This an update and thank-you message for those who have supported our friend Vic Lancia. Almost one year after Vic shut down a Wells Fargo branch in Middletown in April 2017, Vic was arrested in February 2018 and fined in March 2018.

On April 7 of last year, Vic, then about to turn 77 years old, locked himself to concrete barrels blocking the entrance to a Wells Fargo branch in Middletown during a protest against the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline and other fossil fuel infrastructure. Vic’s lockdown shut down the branch for nearly two hours. Meanwhile, nine Wesleyan University students blocked the drive-through ATM. Police were unable to extract Vic from the barrels and made no arrests.

At the time, Vic offered the following statement: “Wells Fargo is a major funder of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s full speed ahead for fossil fuels even as the destructive consequences of their use become more and more evident by the day. Their ONLY concern is profit! This is corporate tyranny! We, the people, will not continue to ignore this to the peril of the young, our planet, and its inhabitants. And that’s why I am here today disrupting business as usual at Wells Fargo. I am here to say no to profiting from climate destruction. We are part of a worldwide movement TAKING A STAND against greedy and parasitic people. We need to get in their way and tell them: ‘NO!'”

The demonstration was organized by Wesleyan Coalition for Divestment and Transparency, Students Against the Fossil Fuel Industry, and Dragonfly Climate Collective.

According to Vic’s attorney, Wells Fargo appears to have requested police action, and this explains why almost a year later on Feb. 20, 2018, a police officer approached Vic on the street, pulled out a badge, and arrested him. The arrest warrant found probable cause for four violations of Connecticut General Statutes: Breach of Peace in the Second Degree, Disorderly Conduct: Obstructing Free Passage, Trespass in the Second Degree, and Interfering with a Police Officer. [youtu.be/UckxZO1ZEr4]

Ultimately, the state attorney chose to charge Vic with the first three of these violations. As a result, Vic faced a maxi-mum penalty of nine months in jail and $2000 in fines. At Vic’s first court appearance on March 1, 2018, the state attorneys said they would get get in touch with the so-called “victim,” Wells Fargo.

At Vic’s second court appearance on March 26, the State offered Vic two non-criminal infractions as a plea deal, which he accepted: A non-criminal trespass (fee: $90) and a non-criminal Creating a Public Disturbance (fee: $90) with costs and fees imposed (amounting to a total of slightly over $2,000). Vic has raised just enough to be able to cover his fines. Anyone who was looking to contribute might instead donate to a number of ongoing sites of resistance against fossil fuel infrastructure. For example, at this link you can donate to the L’eau Est La Vie (Water is Life) Camp resisting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline: bit.ly/nobbp. capitalismvsclimate.org/2018/04/dapl-protester-vic-lancia-arrested-and-fined-1-year-after-wells-fargo-lock-down.

June 21, New Haven’s First Make Music Day

by Jennifer Gelband, Arts Council of Greater New Haven

The first annual Make Music New Haven, a wild and wonderful mix of hundreds of free outdoor musical events, will make its debut on Thursday, June 21, with performances 10 a.m.-10 p.m. throughout Greater New Haven in community centers, restaurants, backyards, front stoops, libraries, local businesses, parks, patios and auditoriums. The Arts Council of Greater New Haven is spearheading Make Music New Haven, a part of Make Music Day, a global music celebration that takes place on the summer solstice each year and brings people of all ages and skill levels together to make music.
This year, New Haven is among 52 U.S. cities across the country, and the entire states of Vermont and Rhode Island, to host thousands of Make Music performances as part of the world’s largest annual music event.

“New Haven is a rich, creative cultural hub with so many talented artists,” said Daniel Fitzmaurice, Executive Director of the GNH Arts Council. “This program is a fitting addition to our community, and we look forward to celebrating our local artists in every neighborhood. Make Music New Haven will give all of our residents and visitors a chance to experience the city’s diverse music in their own backyards – or explore the sights and sounds of other neighborhoods.”

Make Music Day began in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique, and has spread to over 750 cities across 120 coun-tries. Completely different from a typical musical festival, Make Music concerts are performed by anyone who wants to take part and enjoyed by everyone who wants to attend. From classical to folk, hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock, live music of all kinds resounds on streets, side-walks, porches, plazas, parks, gardens, store fronts, and other public spaces on the longest day of the year.

Make Music New Haven is currently seeking participants, venues, community groups, and arts organizations who want to be a part of this historic inaugural event. For more info, please contact newhaven@makemusicday.org. To get involved and to view the full schedule of events, visit makemusicnewhaven.org.

Rain Barrel Workshops to Harvest the Rain

by Lynne Bonnett, NH Bioregional Group

The New Haven Bioregional Group is hosting rain barrel workshops periodically throughout the summer and fall months, usually once a month on a Saturday late morning in the Edgewood neighborhood of New Haven. Bring a picture of the area where you want to install your rain barrel. We will give you a donated rain barrel with parts and show you how to install it at your home. The rain barrels with kits are provided by a volunteer from the GNH Water Pollution Control Authority. You can harvest rain water to use out-side in your garden and help keep our rivers and harbor clean from storm water runoff from your property — a win-win for everyone.

Email: rainbarrelsnewhaven@yahoo.com or call (203) 865-6507 for more information about the next workshop.

Listen Here! Classic Short Stories Read Live

Listen to short stories selected by the editors of New Haven Review and read by actors from New Haven Theater Company at the Institute Library, 847 Chapel St., New Haven. Talk back with New Haven Review moderator.

Tuesday, May 15, 7 p.m. Theme: Lovelorns: “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck and “Janus” by Anne Beattie.
Tuesday, June 19, 7 p.m. Theme: Moving in Strange Circles: “Zanzibar” by Beena Kamlani and “The White Umbrella” by Gish Jen. RSVP

What’s to eat? Freshly baked treats each night. What’s to drink? Tea, chai, hot chocolate… Please note the Institute Library is one flight up and not wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit us at www.institutelibrary.org.

Call for May Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter Articles and Events

PAR 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?

We want to publicize the work groups have done and what they’re planning to do. We want to spread the word to others who will be inspired to join you, support your activism and build the struggles. Send us articles (even a paragraph or two) about what your group wants to do and any ideas for organizing!

Please send articles about your group’s recent and current activities and upcoming actions and events to parnewhaven@hotmail.com.

We are very interested in your reports on demonstrations, such as the March for Our Lives demonstrations across the country on March 24 to protest gun violence. Help inspire others through your commitment! ***

The deadline for the May Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter is Wednesday, April 18.

GUIDELINES FOR ARTICLES

350 words. One font.

Please include an enticing headline/title for your article so our readers will focus on your work right away.

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.

As layout space permits, we will include photos.

Include your organization’s contact information such as phone number, e-mail address or website, so our readers can get more information about what your group is doing.

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..

VERY IMPORTANT: Please indicate whether your event location is wheelchair accessible.

You can also send us information about future events, even if you do not yet have all the details in place.

The PAR newsletter will come out approximately Friday, April 27. 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 text or as an MS Word or attachment (.doc or .docx).
3. If you are a first-time author for the PAR Newsletter, thank you! We hope you will subscribe and encourage others in your organization to do so.
4. If you know of someone who wants to write an article but does not use e-mail, send an e-mail to us with that person’s name and phone number.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT INSERTS

We prefer to carry articles and 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 inserts. We will be able to handle only those inserts that are a full sheet (8.5 x 11) or half-sheet (8.5 x 5.5) of paper. We cannot accept postcards or cardstock flyers. There is a fee of $7 for inserts.

E-mail us if you’d to join our monthly planning meetings or help with the mailings. We always welcome more helpers and new ideas.

We’re looking forward to your articles! Thank you for your help in creating this community newsletter.

— PAR Planning Committee

How To Resist War Taxes | War Resisters League

Resisting war taxes is really very simple — don’t pay all the tax due on your annual Federal income tax form, or don’t pay the Federal excise tax on telephone bills, or both.

Summarized below are a few war tax resistance methods. Detailed descriptions can be found in WRL’s War Tax Resistance: A Guide to Withholding Your Support from the Military and through war tax counselors. Contact the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) for counselors in your area. The probability of collection or prosecution varies among the methods; all — except #4 — are illegal. Serious consideration must be given before embarking on these types of resistance.

1) File and refuse to pay your taxes. This involves filling out an IRS income tax return (e.g., Form 1040) and refusing to pay either a token amount of your taxes (e.g., $1, $9.11, $100), some “military” portion (approximately 1% for nuclear warheads, 4% for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 30% for current military spending, 50% for current and past military spending combined — see WRL’s pie chart for the latest percentages), (or click on the image below to download the pie chart) or the total amount (since a portion of whatever is paid goes largely to the military). Include a letter of explanation with the return.
2) File a blank IRS 1040 income tax return with a note of explanation.
3) Don’t file any Federal income tax returns.
4) Earn less than the taxable income.
5) Resist telephone taxes.

Read more about refusing to support the war effort by not paying taxes here: How To Resist War Taxes | War Resisters League

Hu Woodard, Veteran for Peace, June 24, 1924-Feb. 26, 2018

It is with great sadness that we inform our readers that Hu Woodard, well-known, dedicated and compassionate peace activist, has passed on. Many of you worked with Hu and his wife Edith throughout the years on a multitude of issues for peace and justice.

The memorial will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 31 at the Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike, Hamden. Our deepest condolences to his family. He will be greatly missed. The following excerpts are from the website www.iovanne.com/obituary/Hubert-Calvin-Henry-Woodard/Hamden-CT/1784606.

With the support of his church community, he became a conscientious objector in World War II and chose to serve as a noncombatant medic in the U.S. Army. He went behind enemy lines to rescue wounded soldiers and saved many lives, earning two Bronze Stars and ten other medals and citations, including the Combat Medic Badge. His unit liberated several prison camps, and the horror of the human suffering he witnessed there stayed with him; Hu spent the rest of his life working for peace. Most dear to his heart was working on issues of social justice and peace.

Hu was an active participant in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, peacefully protesting racism in its many forms. As a member of SANE-New Haven he was an outspoken opponent of nuclear testing and arsenals.

Hu vigorously opposed the Vietnam War and frequently marched for peace. In 1999 Mayor John DeStefano appointed Hu to the New Haven Peace Commission. Hu always put his voice, pen, and body into action, peacefully. The files containing his letters-to-the-editor and to state and national leaders were inches thick! Hu’s memorial website has photos and excerpts from his files: huwoodard.virtual-memorials.com.

In 1992 Hu helped organize a local Veterans for Peace group, which then formed the Hue-New Haven Sister City program. Their goals included people-to-people reconciliation and humanitarian aid. Hu once commented that his trip to Vietnam in 1997 was one of the most meaningful experiences of his life.
Hu was tired of seeing toys that glorify violence. To raise parents’ awareness in November 1997 he organized a Violence-free Toy Fair, just prior to the holiday buying season. The event was held at the CT Children’s Museum in New Haven, where he was treasurer.

Hu and Edith were longtime members of the Unitarian Society of New Haven. He served as both treasurer and president of the church and was co-founder of the Social Justice Committee, which is still very active today.

Meet Col. Ann Wright in CT on Wed., April 4

by Jewish Voice for Peace-New Haven

CCSU Peace Studies Department, Jewish Voice for Peace-New Haven, Tree of Life Educational Fund, St. Joseph University and We Refuse to Be Enemies present a fund-raiser for The Flotilla to Gaza with Col. Ann Wright on Wednesday, April 4. Dinner at 6:30 p.m. will be catered by Tangiers Market. The talk by Col. Ann Wright will begin at 7:30 p.m..

Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army and retired as a Colonel. She was a U.S. diplomat for 16 years. She resigned from the U.S. government in 2003 to show her opposition to the war on Iraq. She is active in peace and social justice issues with Veterans for Peace and CODEPINK and is the co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience.

The event will be at the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, 1781 Berlin Turnpike, Berlin, CT. Cost is $20.

For information, please contact Liz Aaronsohn, aaronsohn@ccsu.edu, (860) 229-0705.

Coalition for People Takes on Housing Issues

by Paula Panzarella, Coalition for People

Earlier this year, dozens of people who have been supporters of the Coalition for People and attendees of its annual meetings were asked what topics they would like the group to focus on. There was no lack of issues, and within the responses, various housing concerns were mentioned numerous times. Gentrification, rent control, homelessness and lack of affordable housing were the specifics on people’s minds.

At our March 6 meeting, we decided that housing issues would be a key focus of our work at this time. One of the most vivid examples of the lack of affordable housing occurred last December. Mark Cochran, a homeless man who needed detox, was discharged from the hospital to the street after two days. He died soon thereafter.

We want to hear about your concerns and continue the discussion to develop an action plan on

    1. Lack of affordable housing in New Haven;
    2. Homelessness; and
    3. People without a place to live being discharged from the hospital to the street.

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 17, 2 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. For more info and your suggestions please call Paula at (203) 562-2798.

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