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!

Coalition For People Annual Meeting, April 17

The annual meeting of the Greater New Haven Coalition For People will be on Wednesday, April 17, from 4:45-7:30 p.m. in the Program Room, lower level of the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St., New Haven.

Coalition For People through the years

Coalition For People led the successful campaign to have the downtown bus stops restored around the New Haven Green; demanded the hospitals adhere to the Hill-Burton Act and provide free health care to people who could not afford it; promoted universal, comprehensive single-payer health care; organized in neighborhoods to curb drug dealing and violence; won guarantees of jobs for New Haven residents at projects and businesses receiving city assistance; and worked with many other organizations in the New Haven area on issues of justice, racism, welfare rights, peace and the environment.

This past year we have taken on such issues as New Haven’s lack of affordable housing, the rights of the homeless, “hospital-dumping” of patients to the street who have no where to go after they are discharged from the hospital, lack of disability access to public places, and development of a program to provide resources for people with behavioral issues who would otherwise be put through the court system for creating a disturbance or other minor infractions or misdemeanors.

We are honored that our guest speaker will be Rev. Bonita Grubbs, Executive Director of Christian Community Action. Music will be performed by Flint Ladder. Our meeting and light dinner are free.
We invite you to become a member of Coalition For People and join our board. Annual dues are $5. Only members are eligible to vote during the business portion of the meeting.

RSVP is necessary. Please call (203) 468-2541, or e-mail coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com.

Reminder: Coalition for People Is Looking for Board Members

The Coalition for People annual meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at the main New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St. We need people on our board to help prioritize the many issues facing people (housing, healthcare, discrimination, various injustices) in our area so we can mobilize and act effectively. Please mark our meeting on your calendar. We hope PAR members will consider joining the board, which meets once a month.

All are invited to attend the annual meeting. Membership dues are $5 annually (due at the annual meeting). Pizza will be served. RSVP if you will attend and if you want to be elected to the board. For more information, email coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com or call (203) 468-2541.

Coalition for People Needs You on Its Board

This year the Coalition for People has taken on the issues of New Haven’s lack of affordable housing, the “hospital-dumping” of homeless who are discharged to the street, instances of injustice and other concerns.

We will hold our annual meeting on Wednesday, April 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the main New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St. We need people on our board to help prioritize the many issues in our area so we can mobilize and act effectively. Please mark our meeting on your calendar. We hope PAR members will consider joining the board, which meets once a month.

All are invited to attend the annual meeting. Membership dues are $5 annually (due at the annual meeting). Pizza will be served. In March send us your RSVP if you will attend and if you want to be elected to the board.

Our next board meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2-4 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. in the community room, lower level. All are welcome to attend. For more information, email coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com.

Coalition for People Updates

The Coalition for People is a grassroots organizing group committed to organizing people who are normally kept out of the decision-making processes because of poverty, racism, sexism or lack of education. We declare our commitment to creative and constructive action designed to empower people now under-represented in the institutions that affect all our lives.

Our organization is in the process of renewal as some board members, including our founder, Mary Johnson, passed on. We need to hear from members and potential members what are the issues of concern for you, and how would you like to be involved in making changes.

The Coalition for People is planning its annual meeting in April 2019. The past few months our work has focused on affordable housing and issues around homelessness. We are considering the main topic of our annual meeting will be a presentation on housing issues.

Business at the annual meeting includes a presentation of our revised by-laws to be voted on, nominations for board members and election of officers. We hope PAR readers will consider being involved with the Coalition for People and joining our board. Board meetings are once a month, and they are open to all our members to attend.

Our next meeting is Wednesday, Oct. 17, from 2-4 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. in the community room in the lower level. We meet there the third Wednesday of each month. Please e-mail us if you need a different meeting time and tell us when you can meet. We are flexible and want to make meetings convenient for everyone who wants to join us. Contact coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com.

April Coalition For People Meeting Focused on Homelessness

by Jeffry Larson, Coalition For People

At its April meeting, Coalition For People members were joined by members and representatives of Mothers & Others for Justice/ Christian Community Action and New Haven Legal Asssistance Association.

We heard reports from Robin Latta on standards of discharge from health centers in the wake of the death of a homeless man, just released from the hospital, on the New Haven Green, and from Merryl Eaton on Mothers & Others for Justice’s plans for action on affordable housing crisis in New Haven. The need for affordable housing was highlighted by New Haven alder Dolores Colon in an article in the New Haven Independent, April 17: Colon Slams Slumlords, Praises Hill Model. We agreed to keep in touch about our related projects.

Early Wednesday afternoons seemed most convenient for our group and we will meet again on Wednesday, May 16, at 2 p.m, in the Community Room of the Fair Haven Public Library, 182 Grand Ave. Please join us to share your ideas and enthusiasm.

The Coalition for People Wants to Know What Issues Are Important to You

Dorothy Johnson and Paula Panzarella, Coalition for People

The Greater New Haven Coalition for People is an organization with over thirty years of grassroots organizing among low- and middle-income residents. Many PAR readers have supported its work and attended its annual meetings, as well as joined in its struggle for keeping the bus stops around the New Haven Green (which was successful!), and for universal comprehensive single-payer healthcare.
Coalition for People is looking for more active members to continue its work and needs to know:

  • What issues are important to you?
  • Are you able to come to meetings (once a month)?
  • Do you have other suggestions?

CFP members will be called in the beginning of January for their answers to the above “questionnaire.”

We invite PAR members to offer their suggestions and participate in enlarging the organization as well.

Contact Coalition for People, P.O. Box 8868, New Haven, CT 06532.

Mary Johnson, March 29, 1922-Aug. 13, 2017

It is with great sadness that the Progressive Action Roundtable Planning Committee informs our readers that Mary Johnson, a founding member of PAR and leader, strategist and active participant in most of PAR’s committees, has passed on.

We dedicate this issue of our newsletter to Mary. Without her guidance, ideas for informing the public and each other of rallies and events, optimism in the struggle for justice and her persistence in fighting for people’s rights throughout the years, there may not have even been a Progressive Action Roundtable. We all owe so much to her.

Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

Mary was directly active in many of the organizations that are PAR-affiliated. She was also active in most of New Haven’s progressive organizations. She most likely was a founding member of many.
She was a great political and personal influence on many. PAR encourages our readers to send in their reminiscences of her. In the words of Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

A memorial is being planned for her with details upcoming.

A Tribute to Mary Johnson

Pat Florio, Coalition for People

We mourn the loss of our dear friend, Mary Johnson, who passed away on August 13, 2017. She was the founding member of the Coalition for People and President for many years. She was a New Haven labor, peace, civil rights and social justice activist. A teacher in New Haven public schools and active member of the American Federation of Teachers, she devoted her personal time to many causes, such as the Coalition for People, Progressive Action Roundtable, People Against Injustice, Middle East Crisis Committee, efforts to organize Yale union locals 34 and 35, the anti-Vietnam and anti-Iraq War movements, efforts by the Coalition for People to restore downtown New Haven bus stops (which was accomplished in 2007), Greater New Haven Central Labor Council, and the Greater New Haven Labor History Association. Survivors include her sister, Jane Toles, and her daughters, Mary Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson and Martha Johnson. Her ex-husband, Carl Johnson, passed away in 2001. Mary will be greatly missed. She was a true friend and had the natural ability to convey to you that your friendship with her was important and special. She tried to make this world a better place and she succeeded in many, many ways.

A Tribute to Margery Mills

Pat Florio, Coalition for People

We mourn the loss of our dear friend, Margery Mills, who passed away on May 11, 2017. She was an active member of the Coalition for People and served briefly as Secretary. She participated in the Coalition for People’s long struggle to have New Haven’s downtown bus stops returned to the New Haven Green (which was accomplished in 2007) and participated in organizing efforts to have a National Single Payer Healthcare system. She will be sadly missed by her son, Franklin D. Mills; daughter, Elizabeth S. Amendolagine (James); and many caring friends and neighbors. She was predeceased by husband, John H. Mills; son, Allen R. Mills; brothers, Donald R. Ball, Norman C. Ball Jr., and Erle T. Ball; and sister, Gertrude M. Ball. She also worked at The APT Foundation and The Mother’s Project from 1993-2004. Margery contributed articles to the New Haven Register and Inner-City News spanning the years 1988-2012. She held various positions with numerous CT organizations which included: the Greater New Haven African American Historical Society, National Council of Negro Women, Inc., African American Women’s Summit, Dixwell-Newhallville Senior Center, Stetson Book Club, the New Haven NAACP, East Haven Historical Society, Read to Grow, Coalition for People, and the New Haven Elderly Services. Margery will be greatly missed as she was a vibrant, smart, loyal friend and colleague.

Health Care Is a Right, Not a Privilege!

by Coalition For People

The Coalition for People is organizing for universal, comprehensive, single-payer health care. The following is from a flyer they created for this campaign.

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman.
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What Is Single Payer Healthcare?

The United States is the only country in the developed world that does not guarantee access to basic health care for residents. Countries that guarantee health care as a human right do so through a “single-payer” system, which replaces the thousands of for-profit health insurance companies with a public, universal plan.

Does that sound impossible to win in the United States? It already exists – for seniors! Medicare is a public, universal plan that provides basic health coverage to those age 65 and older. Medicare costs less than private health insurance, provides better financial security, and is preferred by patients.

Under the single-payer legislation in Congress (H.R. 676):

  • Everyone would receive comprehensive healthcare coverage under single-payer;
  • Care would be based on need, not on ability to pay;
  • Employers would no longer be responsible for health care costs and coverage decisions;
  • Single-payer would reduce costs by 24%, saving $829 billion in the first year by cutting administrative waste and allowing negotiation of prescription drugs;
  • Single-payer would create savings for 95% of the population. Only the top 5% might pay slightly more.

For more information, call Robin Latta (203) 481-0894.

Call your Legislators NOW! Single-payer NOW!

Fight for Single-Payer Healthcare! National Day of Action, Saturday, April 8

The Coalition for People is currently working on a flyer to be handed out in New Haven on April 8, the National Day of Action for Improved Medicare for All. We are organizing for single-payer healthcare and would like to work with individuals and groups that want to help bring a decent healthcare plan for ALL into being. Please e-mail coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com or call Robin at (203) 481-0894

[The following article was written by the Healthcare-Now! organization before last week’s vote. It’s a great victory that the GOP plan did not pass. Now we need to push all the harder for single-payer, real health care reform, without the entanglements and profit motives of the pharmaceutical and medical industries and health insurance companies controlling our healthcare. Please go to www.healthcare-now.org/ for more information.]

The Campaign for Guaranteed Healthcare is calling for a National Day of Action for Improved Medicare for All on Saturday, April 8th.

The Campaign is asking local activists and organizations to organize rallies or speak-outs at medical institutions, to draw attention to the local impacts that the GOP’s American Health Care Act will have, and to call for single-payer as the only moral and sustainable “replacement” plan.

April 8 will come at a crucial moment as it’s also the first day of a two-week “April recess” when Members of Congress return to their districts and will have to face constituents at town halls, on conference calls, office visits, etc. and should provide a great hook for the press.

An example of an action: here in Boston, a coalition of single-payer groups (Mass-Care, PNHP) and others are planning an event outside of a hospital that serves as a safety net institution in the state (treating a high percentage of Medicaid and uninsured patients). We’ll have both providers and patients speak out about the impact the AHCA would have at that hospital and others and talk about how single-payer would allow us to control costs while caring for all patients.

Learning Democracy

by Mary Johnson, Coalition for People

On Monday, Sept. 21, Coalition for People is hoping PAR readers and all others who are alarmed by the increasing loss of democracy in this nation and who want to reverse it will join us in that effort. We meet in the lower level of New Haven’s main library at the corner of Temple and Elm Streets at 5:45 p.m. You will find us in the northwest (rear left) corner.

Even though we think we should focus on New Haven and its schools (Pre-K to 12) as a start, some of you may want to start in other towns. The possibilities are great and we believe that sharing ideas, plans and energy can be achieved. We all realize that this project will take a long time. (The simple return of the bus stops in New Haven took 12 years.)

Back in the 1930s, 7th graders in New Haven not only learned about the infrastructure of the government on all levels and how they were supposed to work, but they began to understand the concept of democracy by exposure to the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. We can go beyond that.

If you welcome this challenge or are just curious, let us know if you and/or friends can come on Monday, Sept. 21 at 5:45 p.m. We can be reached at (203) 387-7858 or at coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com.

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