Women’s Studies Conference Scheduled for Mid-April

Alisha Martindale, Women’s Studies Program SCSU

Save the date: The 22nd Women’s Studies Conference “#FeministIn(ter)ventions: Women, Community, Technology” will be held at Southern Connecticut State University Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16, 2016. Conference sessions will juxtapose global, comparative, inter-sectional, interdisciplinary and inter-generational perspectives for the collective re-thinking on women, community, and technology. Expect serious fun through meals and performance, with women, girls and their allies speaking of their struggles and power. Registration is required for attendance. Please email the Women’s Studies Program at WomenStudies@Southernct.edu or call (203) 392-6133 for more information on registering for this event.

Be sure to visit the Women and Girls’ Fair while attending the conference. The fair will feature a number of local female-centric, female-owned businesses and organizations aimed to introduce you to local and regional handmade goods, gifts, crafts, and more. For more information on how to register as a vendor for the fair, please contact the Women’s Studies Program at (203) 392-6133 or email at WomenStudies@Southernct.edu.

Labor History Legislation Becomes Law in CT!

by Steve Kass, Vice President, GNH Labor History Association

After a 5-year organizing effort to get labor history taught in the Connecticut public schools, the “labor history bill” was ceremonially signed into law on July 29, 2015, by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The legislation directs the state department of education to make a curriculum available in “labor history and law, including organized labor, the collective bargaining process, and existing legal protections in the workplace.”

Thus, Connecticut became only the third state in the nation to have a bill that teaches labor history in the public schools.

Senate Majority Leader President Martin Looney spear-headed the effort with strong grassroots support from the AFL-CIO, labor activists, 15 statewide unions, and individual members of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association.

Looney expressed the value of exposing students to labor history. “Without the contribution of organized labor and the sacrifice and courage of union activists, the average worker, even the average non-union worker, would have many fewer rights and benefits in employment,” Looney said. “We owe it to the children of Connecticut to teach them about these extraordinary contributions so that they might have an understanding of this critical component in American history.”

Advocates for this bill recognized a lack of awareness of the role labor played in history in helping to create the middle class. Young people today don’t know that it was through the effort of workers and unions that helped give American society the weekend, minimum wages, health care benefits, social security, Medicare, 40-hour work week and unemployment insurance.

Most people don’t remember or know how important the labor movement was in pushing Depression-era politicians to pass legislation that systematizes the basic features of American work wages earners now take for granted. In 1935, President Roosevelt called the labor legislation “the most far-reaching, far-sighted program for the benefit of workers ever adopted.”

With growing income inequality and a declining union movement, this legislation is needed now more than ever to get the untold story of labor’s contributions included in American history. Follow us at http://laborhistory.com.

Arts Build Community: Call for Proposals

by Nichole René, Communications Manager, GNH Arts Council

The Arts Council is pleased to announce the third round of support for creative community engagement projects: Arts Build Community. Artists and arts organizations are invited to submit proposals for projects that actively engage community members in the creative process. We believe that participatory art making experiences can have a profound impact on our community. They can enrich the quality of community life, enhance the lives of individuals, and build connections between people. Small project stipends of $1,000 to $2,000 will be given to selected projects.

Deadline for proposals is January 15, 2016. Successful proposals will suggest project activities and events that reflect an understanding of the community or relationship with target audience. To review the complete RFP requirements and submit your application, please visit the Arts Council website at http://www.newhavenarts.org/seeking-community-engagement-through-art-proposals or email info@newhavenarts.org or call (203) 772-2788.

Previous recipients include: Adam Christoferson’s Inspired Songs of New Haven, a song-writing project with youth, adults with mental illness, and veterans dealing with PTSD; an inter-generational drawing project led by the Free Artists of New Haven to create murals of Latino leaders in Fair Haven; a  project inviting the public to create Symbolic Healing Objects for children at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital; and a series of workshops at neighborhood libraries with the artist Krikko, where community members created portraits of their neighborhoods that will be displayed together as a neighborhood mosaic.
Visit the Arts Council online at http://newhavenarts.org, call (203) 772-2788, like us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/artscouncilofgreaternewhaven, follow us on Twitter @newhavenarts, or Instagram @newhavenarts. #ArtEverywhereNHV.

City of New Haven Board & Commission Membership

by Aaron Good, New Haven Votes Coalition

The City of New Haven has 45 different Boards and Commissions which are filled by over 300 New Haven citizens from all neighborhoods and all walks of life who volunteer to serve the city. These posts range from such highly visible assignments as the Board of Education, the Housing Authority of New Haven and the Police Board to many less visible, but equally vital posts such as the Commission on Disabilities, the Historic District Commission, and the New Haven Democracy Fund. The City is always looking for people to serve in these important volunteer posts. While there is generally no pay, the opportunity for civic engagement can be tremendously rewarding.

Please take time to learn more about the various Boards and Commissions. If you find one that interests you, contact the chairperson and attend one of its meetings.

If you decide that you are interested in serving, you can fill out the application (contact City Hall or www.newhavenvotes.org) and mail it to City Hall (Mayor’s Office, 165 Church St., New Haven CT 06510). You can either express your interest in one or more specific appointments, or the Mayor’s Office can identify an appropriate choice for you based on the information provided in your application. CURRENT LIST OF BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS See: http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Government/pdfs/Commissions.pdf.

New Haven Energy Task Force News

by Paula Panzarella, ETF

The push for affordable solar energy in the New Haven area has gotten the attention from various companies and organizations. PosiGen, Grid Alternatives and SolarizeCT all offer programs that will help people get solar panels and greatly lower their electric bills.

PosiGen, a solar installation company that specifically includes low- to medium-income homeowners in their target group, will be running a campaign in New Haven starting mid-January. PosiGen’s service includes a free energy audit. PosiGen recently started a campaign in Bridgeport, and has signed up close to 170 homes there, 50 percent of them low- to medium-income. The press conference announcing the beginning of its campaign in New Haven is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 12 at Neighborhood Housing Services in Building #3 of 333 Sherman Ave., New Haven. Please call Kathy Fay for details at (475) 227-0540.

Grid Alternatives has met with the New Haven Energy Task Force and plans to come here in the spring. The City of New Haven is currently reviewing the Solarize New Haven proposal and, once approved, its campaign will also take off in our city.

The New Haven Energy Task Force supports these campaigns and will help with their outreach efforts. These are exciting opportunities to bring solar power to New Haven residents, particularly those who may think that solar is out of their reach due to financial constraints.

We do not specifically endorse any one company’s services compared to the services of any other installer. Interested residents should get quotes from alternative installers to compare service and prices. Before you sign any contract make sure the company answers your questions and explains the process so you know what to expect. Members of the Energy Task Force are available to answer questions about solar that residents may have. Please call me at (203) 562-2798 if you are interested in the process we went through when our solar panels were installed.

Other news: The City of New Haven has officially re-instituted the Environmental Advisory Council. Its first meeting will be in January, the date has yet to be announced. Stay tuned on our Facebook page for more information or sign up for free email updates on this page.

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