Yale Arrests 48 Students Demanding Climate Justice for Puerto Rico

by Nora Heaphy, Fossil Free Yale

On the last day of Yale’s 2018 Fall semester [Dec. 7], 48 students, professors, and New Haven community members were arrested after a 5-hour occupation of the Yale Investments Office.

We were sitting in to demand that Yale direct its fund managers to cancel their holdings in Puerto Rico’s debt and divest from the fossil fuel industry. After 6 years of trying to engage with the Yale administration, the few channels available had failed us, and our only alternative was direct action.

As Puerto Rico struggles to recover from a climate change-fueled hurricane and a massive debt crisis, Yale’s fifth largest fund manager Baupost is suing to have its debt repaid before the island can rebuild, and renowned Yale Chief Investment Officer David Swensen sits on the board of Baupost. Our university’s investments in injustice don’t surprise us. We also know that Yale invests at least $678 million in fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil and Antero. These corporations intend to extract and burn as much coal, oil, and natural gas as possible, regardless of the consequences to islands like Puerto Rico. And they’ve spent billions funding climate denial and paying off politicians to lobby against climate policies like a Green New Deal.

In the Investments Office lobby, members of our coalition presented on Puerto Rico’s debt and the roots of Yale’s endowment in slavery, held trainings, sang songs, and read statements of support from around the world. Meanwhile, 450 students marched to the Investments Office and rallied in support, as those inside were arrested. The Yale administration—who had recently published a statement blaming climate change on everyday consumers rather than fossil fuel corporations—chose to arrest its students rather than have a conversation with us. A few days later, at the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility’s public meeting, we again confronted the administration’s failure to act in the face of climate injustice. Our calls for moral leadership from Yale have been met with stalling, inaction, and a willful naiveté that amounts to gross negligence. But students, New Haven, and Puerto Rico are powerful, and we will hold this university accountable.

Email fossilfreeyale@gmail.com to get involved.

Bridgeport Power Plants Are an International Problem

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

People are not getting the message. The U.N. climate scientists say we must cut carbon emissions in half within a dozen years or we’re going to really screw up the climate. People read the words and go off to something else. The authorities will take care of it. But they’re not.

In Bridgeport, we have the Bridgeport Harbor Station — the last coal-burning plant in New England. It gives out all kinds of dangerous chemicals. After years of protest, it is slated to be replaced. That’s good news, BUT it will be replaced by a methane-burning power plant. The methane burning plant will actually throw off 6 times the carbon dioxide as does the current coal plant!

It will spew an estimated 1.6 million tons a year compared to a quarter of a million the coal plant emitted in 2017. It also will have to be fed with methane which currently comes from a U.S. production and piping system that leaks methane like crazy. And methane in the short run (and all we have is the short run) is 100 times worse as a global warming gas than carbon dioxide.

The coal-burning plant should be shut down immediately. The building of the methane plant should be stopped. Yes, yes, think of the expense. But think of the climate hell we’re creating. The U.S. has mothballed nuclear power plants at even more expense. It’s an emergency. Treat it like that and come up with a solution.

U.S Census Job Fairs Hiring in New Haven County

Learn about job openings with the U.S. Census Bureau. Register for an information session at any library branch. Flexible hours, office jobs or work from home, earn $17-23 per hour. Experience with technology, computers, smart phones needed. Bilingual candidates in all languages needed. Paid training, no previous experience required.

  • Monday, Feb. 4 & 11 from 2-4 p.m. Mitchell Library, 37 Harrison St. (203) 946-8117
  • Monday, Feb. 11 & 25 from 10 a.m.-12 noon. Ives Main Library, 133 Elm St. (203) 946-7431
  • Tuesday, Feb. 5 & 26 from 10 a.m.-12 noon. Stetson Library, 200 Dixwell Ave. (203)  946-8119
  • Wednesday, Feb. 6 & 13 from 10 a.m.-12 noon. Wilson Library 303 Washington Ave. (203) 946-2228
  • Thursday, Feb. 7 & 14 from 6-8 p.m. Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. (203) 946-8115

    Info: New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St. (203) 946-8130.

    www.nhfpl.org

Help Bring Solar Power to Columbus House

by Matthew Moroney, New Haven Community Solar

New Haven Community Solar is a new kind of company. Our mission is to give community members an opportunity to invest directly in locally created environmental and social works projects. We present an alternative economic model using crowdfunding to form energy cooperatives that benefit nonprofits and build wealth in communities. Lack of corporate and political accountability led us to create a new form of active corporate ownership from the community. This empowers local leaders with alternative pathways to reduce inequality. We expand economic opportunities for vulnerable groups and accelerate a just clean energy transition by not waiting for corporations to act.

Our first project supplies clean, affordable energy to the formerly homeless with our community non-profit partner, Columbus House. Connecticut has the third-highest energy costs in the country (average of 17.3 cents per kilowatt hour). Installing solar panels for Columbus House steadies their electricity costs and frees up money to support their mission of providing services for homeless and at-risk individuals and families.

(The average residential electricity rate of 17.34¢/kWh in CT is 45.96% greater than the national average residential rate of 11.88¢/kWh. The approximate range of residential electricity rates in the U.S. is 8.37¢/kWh to 37.34¢/kWh. https://www.electricitylocal.com/states/connecticut.)

By investing instead of donating to renewable energy projects, funders have the potential to make a return from the sale of energy back to the grid. This return can be kept, donated to Columbus House, or invested back into building more community solar in New Haven. The investment period is almost over, so we invite the greater New Haven community to review our investment materials today to consider supporting the project at www.startengine.com/new-haven-community-solar.

Our initiative is ultimately a test to determine if crowd-sourced cooperatives can thrive as an alternative to current systems. We envision a future where community finance enables us to own our own futures. If the project succeeds, we will also be providing copies of our project and program documents to help guide other local leaders in creating their own crowdfunded community-owned projects.

For questions, contact Matthew Moroney at greenisagoodcolor@gmail.com.

Climate Change and the Urgency to Act

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven Climate Movement

New Haven Climate Movement has launched a campaign to have the City of New Haven pass The Emergency Resolution to Restore a Safe Climate. The Resolution states, “New Haven declares that we face an existential climate emergency that threatens our city, region, state, nation, civilization, the natural world, and humanity.” The Resolution also states that: “New Haven officially commits to leading an emergency mobilization effort that, with appropriate financial and regulatory assistance from state and federal authorities, ends community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by or before Dec. 31, 2030, and immediately initiates an effort to safely draw down carbon from the atmosphere.” Please sign the petition at newhavenclimatemovement.org.

This Resolution is part of a growing national movement declaring that we are in a climate emergency and commit-ting cities to addressing it in time to avoid the worst outcomes. Local governments have become leaders of the climate emergency movement and are inspiring others to do the same. Los Angeles, Berkeley, Richmond, CA, and Hoboken, NJ, have passed emergency resolutions organized by the national organization The Climate Mobilization.  New Haven passed a Climate Framework in 2018 so it has a guide to follow. Beyond this, there are significant jobs and public health benefits of taking action now.

From The Climate Mobilization A Call for Safe Climate: To protect humanity, we need a massive transformation of our economy and society in a matter of years, not decades. We must rapidly direct our resources toward a singular national purpose: restoring a safe climate for our world.

From the Connecticut Governor’s Council on Climate Change: “With over 600 miles of coastline and 2.2 million people living in shoreline communities in Connecticut, the state’s residents and communities are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of weather and climate events. Connecticut residents are already beginning to experience such effects as climate change ramps up. For instance, in Connecticut alone, Hurricane Irene (2011) caused power outages affecting 754,000 customers and over $1 billion in damage, and Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused power outages affecting more than 600,000 customers and inflicted almost $2 billion in statewide damages. The latter forced thousands of Connecticut residents to evacuate, saw thousands apply for FEMA assistance, damaged roads and infrastructure, and took nine days for utilities to restore power. Many of Connecticut’s coastal communities and assets face an escalating risk of storm events exacerbated by climate change.”

For more information on the Resolution, or to get involved, contact Chris at nh@newhavenleon.org or call (203) 562-1607.

Khashoggi Family Still Not Getting Justice

by Stanley Heller, Exec. Director, Middle East Crisis Committee

On the one hand it’s staggering. The U.S. Senate unani-mously voted to declare the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia the person responsible for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Just this spring the Crown Prince was on a victory tour of the U.S. being wined and dined from every-body from Bloomberg to Oprah to “The Rock.” On the other hand, we don’t know if anyone involved in the murder has been punished. The Saudi Arabian prosecutor claims to have arrested 20 people, but he has not released the names, nor has the prosecutor said a word about what happened to Khashoggi’s remains. You would think with 20 people in custody, with some supposedly pleading guilty, the Saudi police would know where the remains are located. But the prosecutor has said nothing. It may be part of Khashoggi’s punishment! Over 30 Saudi families who have lost a son to an execution or police killing have been told the body is being withheld. MECC has a petition on our site thestruggle.org calling for the bodies of all the executed to be returned to their families.

The Middle East Crisis Committee and Promoting Enduring Peace are also trying to get the West Haven City Council to speak out and call for the University of New Haven (housed in West Haven) to break its ties to the Saudi police/military college. As far as we can tell it’s the only college that directly helps the Saudi “security.” We’ve sent a model resolution to the Council and are working to get them to pass it. To help out with this contact mail@thestruggle.org or call (203) 934-2761.

We’re also working on the crisis in Al Rukban. It’s a remote part of Syria near Jordan and Iraq where tens of thousands of refugees are living in a desert. They’ve run from Assad and ISIS. Neither Jordan nor Iraq will let them in. So Al Rukban is under siege and the people are really in a bad way. The pathetic thing is they’re just a couple of miles away from a U.S. base in Syria and the U.S. won’t help them.  #US-Help2Rukban, contact office@pepeace.org to spread the word.

Plowshare Activist, Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville Returns to Jail

On the night of April 4, 2018, New Haven resident and Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville was arrested with 6 others at a non-violent Plowshares action at Kings Bay Naval Base, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. The naval base has six ballistic missile submarines and two guided missile submarines.

“Nuclear weapons kill every day through our mining, production, testing, storage and dumping, primarily on Indigenous Native land. This weapons system is a cocked gun being held to the head of the planet” (from the statement of the seven arrested Plowshares activists).

Mark Colville was granted bail for skin cancer treatment that was successfully treated.

The following excerpts are from Mark before he and his wife Luz returned to Georgia, where, on Dec. 11, he self-surrendered to Georgia authorities.

Greetings in the peace that the world cannot give…

 

From the beginning, my participation in the Kings Bay Plowshares action was first of all an act of contrition for complicity in the sins of nuclearism and empire, and I’ve regarded any incarceration as penance for those sins.  But the jail has also been for me a place of ministry, personal faith-development and formation of conscience. …

With this in mind, there are no misgivings or mixed feelings about going back to Glynn County Detention Center, but rather a sense of rejoicing that, as Dan Berrigan liked to say, one has the freedom to go to jail.

A week ago, judge Cheesbro accepted a motion to return the bail money that was posted on my behalf and put me back in the jail on December 11.

This Tuesday, Luz and I will show up at the Glynn County Detention Center and part ways again, for another undetermined length of time. We will do this mindfully, reaching hands of solidarity toward our extended global family members who are now at this country’s border facing atrocities and uncertainties far beyond whatever hardships we might be obliged to bear.

…I’ll look forward to your postcards, and delight in all news of your ongoing efforts to bring about the nonviolent collapse of the U.S. empire, in defense of all creation…

Love and Prayers, Mark

[For the regulations on how to send letters to Mark, please see www.kingsbayplowshares7.org/jail-addresses]

Film Screenings with Stand Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Freedom Summer (2014), Saturday, Jan. 19, 2 p.m. at
the Wilson Library, 303 Washington Ave., chronicling the 1964 voter registration efforts in Mississippi. World Cinema Film Screening Tsotsi (Rated R) South Africa, 2005. English subtitles. Sat., January 26, 1 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave.

A young Johannesburg hoodlum lives by a code of violence after he steals a dead woman’s car, although he finds an infant in the back seat. Find out what happens next. Awarded the best Foreign Language Film 2006. Free popcorn!

Life on Parole — Film and Talk-Back at Milford Public Library, 57 New Haven Ave., Jan. 23

Life on Parole — Film and Talk-Back at Milford Public Library, 57 New Haven Ave., Jan. 23

Milford Library and Milford Speaks Out are pleased to co-host a screening and discussion Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m., of Life on Parole, a documentary produced by FRONTLINE and The New York Times. Life on Parole goes inside the parole system in Connecticut to examine ongoing efforts to rethink parole: A condition that offers freedom, but comes with strict prohibitions like with whom one can live with, where one can go, what time one has to be home, and more.

“Most people who are in prison in America will one day be released on parole,” says Matthew O’Neill, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning director of Life on Parole. “And as Connecticut brings its prison population down and attempts to give parolees more chances to succeed, we wanted to see if the experience of the parolees reflected these changes.”

With unique access inside Connecticut’s corrections system, as well as camera-phone footage filmed by the parolees themselves, the film follows four former prisoners as they navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole — from finding work, to staying sober, to parenting — and doing it all while under intense supervision from the state. A discussion will follow the screening. Admission is free.

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Forms Community Leadership Teams

The mission of New Haven LEAD is to implement a LEAD model that reduces incarceration and criminal justice involvement for persons living with substance use disorders.  The overall goal is harm reduction for the participant, their families, and the community.

The next meeting of the Community Leadership Team is on Thursday, Jan. 3, 6 p.m., at Christian Community Action at 168 Davenport Ave. More people can be involved with this to help establish policy. Residents of Hill North, Hill South and Downtown are especially welcome, as these are the neighborhoods where LEAD is presently focused. Site Contact: Shaunette Marquis, Family Coach, Christian Community Action. RSVP to Cynthia at CWatson@newhavenct.gov.

LEAD only works if there is meaningful community input. Establishing mechanisms to ensure such input can serve to keep the program actors accountable and keep the processes connected to community needs and interests. A Community Leadership Team needs to have interested community members, neighborhood leaders, people with relevant lived experience, etc. who are not already represented by groups linked to the LEAD Policy and Operational Workgroups. Such a team can prove incredibly useful both operationally and for program sustainability.  (Taken from: LEAD National Support Bureau, www.leadbureau.org)

New Haven LEAD’s website is veoci.com/veoci/p/dashboard/h2567kvepg. For more information, contact Cynthia Watson, Project Manager for LEAD. Office: (203) 946-4905, cell: (203) 668-0154, cwatson@newhavenct.gov.

Creative Reuse: Learn to Crochet with Plastic Bags

Come to the Mitchell Library for a hands-on workshop on Monday, Jan. 14 at 6 p.m.

Join artist Marsha Borden and learn how to transform ordinary plastic shopping bags into mini-works of art.  Through a process of creating yarn from plastic, participants will craft simple objects using chain stitch. Participants are encouraged to gather and bring their own plastic bags to the workshop, as well as a size N crochet hook if they have one. Beginning crochet skills are helpful but not necessary.

Marsha Borden is a textile artist who uses plastic bags in her work. Recent projects have included crocheting a coral reef representing marine animals threatened by plastic pollution.  She is currently exploring how manmade and natural materials intersect in a series of new works titled. More about her work is at www.marshaborden.com. Mitchell Library, 37 Harrison St. (203) 946-8117.

1 2 3