Happy May Day! Continue the Struggle for Justice!

by the PAR Planning Committee

Since the nationwide strike for the 8-hour workday in 1886, the first of May has become a historic day for the struggles of working people, and for over a hundred years May 1 has been celebrated as International Workers’ Day. Locally, in 1970, the May Day protests on the New Haven Green demanded freedom for Bobby Seale, justice for the Black Panthers, and the end of the Vietnam War. Starting in 1987 and continuing for thirty years on the Green, the annual May Day celebration each year brought together dozens of organizations to promote their work for labor rights, peace, human rights, and economic rights to the broader New Haven community. And since 2006, city-wide marches for immigrants’ rights are held on May 1. Peace, racism, police brutality, union struggles, fair wages, anti-war, immigration, a safe environment, criminal justice issues, labor history, welfare rights organizing, the right to healthcare — these are some of the struggles and issues in the celebration of international solidarity.

April was a month full of upsurge. From April 11-21, Stop & Shop workers from Connecticut, Rhode Island and

Massachusetts (31,000 workers) were on strike. The union considers the new contract a victory, preserving healthcare and retirement benefits and providing wage increases. The next strike in Connecticut will be unionized workers in nursing homes. They are scheduled to strike on May 1.

For days there have been massive protests and marches in New Haven and Hamden condemning the thoroughly unjustified Hamden and Yale police shooting in New Haven of two African-Americans in their early twenties on April 16. Thankfully, Stephanie Washington is recovering from her bullet wounds, and Paul Witherspoon was not hit. Video from the police body cameras has not yet been released. As of this writing, people will gather at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 6 at the Hamden Town Hall for the Legislative Council Meeting. We urge our readers to join in the many rallies for justice around these and other issues and be inspired by the many people at the forefront of these struggles for their lives and their livelihoods.

May Day/International Workers’ Day and Immigrants’ Rights Rally and March

Dozens of area organizations endorsed the day-long May Day and immigrants’ rights rally on the New Haven Green where many hundreds enjoyed entertainment, speakers and exhibits. The day ended with a march from downtown through Grand Avenue, a great example of networking and building a local coalition of resistance. In addition to the sponsors listed on the flyers, there were many more that helped build this day of action, such as Progressive Action Roundtable, People Against Injustice, May Day Celebration Committee, Food Not Bombs, the Shoreline Green Party and GNH Labor History Association.

The support and solidarity for this year’s May Day was broad. Among the speakers prior to the march was Mayor Toni Harp, who declared that New Haven will remain a city welcoming to immigrants.
RESIST Foundation, which awarded a generous grant for the event, wants more people to know about their work so potential applicants and donors will be aware of Radical Philanthropy. Contact them at 259 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. Telephone: (617) 623-5110.

Website: resist.org.
Local TV station WTNH posted a video on its website with its news story: wtnh.com/2017/05/01/ new-haven-may-day-protests-take-on-new-urgency-under-trump/

Celebrate May Day May 1 with International Workers’ Day Rally and General Strike

Call for General Strike on May 1!

For full video coverage of the May Day festivities, visit http://www.thestruggle.org/Mayday%202017%20in%20New%20Haven.htm.

The rally begins with speakers and performers on the New Haven Green from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 1, and will be followed by a Solidarity March starting at 5 p.m.

New Haven joins a call for a nationwide strike to demonstrate our economic power by not going to work, not going to school and stopping business as usual. We aim to highlight the economic power of workers: immigrants, women, Muslims, LGBTQ folks, Native Americans and African Americans and every other marginalized group that is currently under attack by the Trump administration.

We are asking you to join us and show solidarity: close your business on May 1; don’t go to work; don’t go to school.

Join the rally on the New Haven Green from 12 to 5 p.m. Speakers, live music, children’s activities, and a May pole! Join local justice, peace, equality, and labor groups as well as social service organizations, educators, students, healthcare workers, artists and ALL people on the Green.

Join the international workers’ march from the Green through Fair Haven at 5 p.m.

Funded in part by a grant from RESIST, Somerville, MA; web: http://resist.org; phone: (617) 623-5110.

Plans for May Day 2016 Have Started! Help Bring this World-Wide Holiday to the New Haven Green

by Jeff Spalter, May Day Celebration Committee

It’s time to start planning May Day again. This will be our 30th May Day.

I hope everyone had a wonderful year and in the midst of melting snow you are ready to bring on Spring by focusing on our important event. The peace and social justice struggles at home and around the world bring hope and comfort and make life meaningful. It’s time again to wake up the Green with our demands, our solidarity and a magnificent multi-cultural festival.

maypole-smallThe 2016 May Day celebration will be on Sunday, May 1, from 12-5 p.m. on the New Haven Green. Please come to our meetings or contact me directly about what you would like to see at May Day or what you can do to help. This is a free space for expression where the people will be heard!

By the time you receive this newsletter, we will have had our second meeting. Please call or e-mail me about our next meetings and join us. If you are unable to attend meetings there are still lots of ways to participate. We need help fundraising, ideas for performers, help contacting area activists and groups, help to publicize May Day and lots of volunteers on the day to set up, staff tables and clean up.
Thank you!

Jeff Spalter (203) 843-3069 jeffreyspalter@netzero.net, http://www.maydaynewhaven.org

May Day’s mission statement is to organize a multi-cultural festival that honors and celebrates our labor history and the labor, peace, social service and social justice groups that today continue the struggle for peace and human rights.

May Day 2015 Celebration Saturday, May 2

by Jeff Spalter, May Day Celebration Committee

poster-jpg-small

Our first meeting was well-attended and lively. We decided May Day will be Saturday May 2 from 12-5 p.m. on the New Haven Green with a rain date for the following day. We decided that the best part of last year’s event was the emphasis on kid-friendly entertainment. We also talked about how May Day was different because anyone is welcome to talk from the stage or set up any art project.

Download the registration form here (pdf) or,

download it here in Word format, fill it out on your computer and email it to jeffreyspalter@netzero.net.

Download the poster here to put up where people might see it and become interested in this event.

Please tell all your creative friends to contact me and participate in our festival. Please write me with ideas for entertainment and organizations or businesses that might help us out financially. We talked about how May Day this year will proclaim that while labor is under attack across this country we know that labor unions are a worker’s only friend and best hope.

Our next meeting to plan May Day 2015 will be Saturday, March 28 at noon at Books and Co., 1235 Whitney Ave, Hamden.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, please email or call me because there are lots of ways to participate without attending meetings. We need help fundraising, ideas for performers, help contacting area activists and groups, help to publicize May Day and volunteers on the day to set up, run and clean up.

Thank you.

Jeff Spalter (203) 843-3069 www.maydaynewhaven.org.

May Day mission statement: to organize a multi-cultural festival that honors and celebrates our labor history and the labor, peace, social service and social justice groups that today continue the struggle for peace and human rights.