A reception and fundraiser highlighting the history of the New Haven Peoples Center will recognize the leadership of it’s president, Alfred L. Marder over a span of 80 years for peace, equality and justice. The event will take place at Coogan Pavilion in Edgewood Park near Whalley Ave and West Rock Ave. from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, also marking Hiroshima Day.
Al Marder poses with New Haven peace activist and Peace Council member Mary Compton at the Peace Day celebration at the Amistad Memorial statue outside New Haven City Hall Sept. 21, 2015. The statue was built thanks to his guidance and supervision. Marder is chairman of the Amistad Committee.
As founder of the Amistad Committee who served as chair of the City of New Haven Peace Commission for many years as well as the United Nations International Association of Peace Messenger Cities and the U.S. Peace Council, Marder has been called a “hero for peace.”
A resident of Westville, Marder has been active in New Haven since the age of 14 when he was a student at James Hillhouse High School. He expanded his vision through participation in events at the New Haven Peoples Center. The Peoples Center was founded in 1937 to provides social, cultural and educational opportunities for the community. With Al Marder’s participation, it was the site of the first inter-racial theater group in the city called Unity Players. This was one of many efforts that broke down racial segregation at that time.
Today the Peoples Center hosts the youth group New Elm City Dream, and is home to the immigrant rights group Unidad Latina en Accion as well as the SEIU 32 BJ janitors union and Greater New Haven Peace Council. The space is utilized by many social justice organizations.
The event will include an exhibition of Peoples Center memorabilia, remarks by Marder and refreshments. Donations will be accepted toward the restoration fund for the building which was erected in 1851. The Peoples Center, a site on the Connecticut Freedom Trail, is currently raising $10,000 as part of a grant to restore the windows, roof and entry door.
In his early years, Marder served as Executive Director of the Connecticut CIO Youth and Sports Organization and was President of the New Haven Youth Conference. During World War II and the fight against fascism, Al served in the U.S. Infantry from 1942-1946 in the European Theatre and received a Bronze Star. During the McCarthy period, as one who was persecuted for his ideas, he stood firm for civil liberties. He has supported every civil rights and workers rights struggle of his times.
Marder is known for bringing to light the story of the Amistad captives and its lessons of Black-white unity to achieve freedom. Through all the decades, Marder continues organizing, educating and creating positive change. His depth of knowledge, commitment to equality, powers of persuasion and indomitable spirit inspire generations in New Haven and throughout the world.
Requested donation at the door is $25 or what you can afford, no one will be turned away. Tax deductible contributions to the restoration fund can be sent to PERA / New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St., New Haven CT o6511.