Part-Time Position Advancing Health Care with POCCT

Protect Our Care CT is adding a part-time staff person to work on outreach and organizing for the next 4 months.

We are seeking an Organizer/Coordinator to work 20 hours a week from March 1 through June 30. Organizer/Coordinator would be responsible for working with POCCT partner organizations to advance state and federal health care initiatives and with the POCCT Steering Committee and other staff to build the organization. We are interested in sharing a staff person with another organization but could also work with an individual. Job description here.

If you or your organization are interested, send a resume or questions to Jane McNichol, jmcnichol@universalhealthct.org.

Source: Part-Time Position Advancing Health Care with POCCT — Protect Our Care CT

Yale Rebellious Lawyers Conference 2020 announcement and link to more info

Keynotes Fri at 5:30 and Sat at 10.

Workshops with Robyn Porter, CT rep for 93rd district and Barbara Fair, former member of PIA and ACLU, now working to stop solitary confinement in CT.

https://reblaw.yale.edu/sites/default/files/reblaw_program.pdf

Pirzada Ahmad (he/him/his) tries to approach the practice of law from a critical race perspective and has a deep appreciation for the movement lawyering framework. When Pirzada is not busy with his clinics, he is probably playing with his cat, Mo.

Rhea Christmas (she/her) is a second-year law student from New Jersey. She believes in the power of community organizing to effectuate change. A list of Rhea’s favorite things in no particular order include: smoothies, bad Netflix shows, CrossFit, trivia and hanging out with two of the most adorable bunnies in New Haven.

Brooke Dekolf (she/her) is a second-year law student from New Jersey. She believes the law should be responsive to the needs of the communities it impacts; and she is passionate about climate politics and reproductive justice. In between responding to emails, Brooke spends her time baking bread and hanging out with her two bunnies.

Eli Feasley (they/he) loves collective liberation and mutual aid and hates prisons and policing. Eli has a long and storied past as an anti-fascist, a builder of adorable educational software, a subject of brutal arrests and a felony charge, and being a sweet transsexual. Eli is in too many clinics and teaches high school students Constitutional Law.

Olympia Karageorgiou (she/her) is a second-year law student from Dallas, Texas. Olympia is now part of the Reentry Clinic, where she works on school discipline and special education cases in the K-12 space. Olympia is a proud member of the Black Law Students Association, Women of Color Collective, Clinical Student Board, and a first-generation college student.

46th Annual People’s World African American History Month Event Sunday, February 23

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

Voting Rights Are Worth the Fight! Join us Sunday, Feb. 23, for a Dump Trump Unity March & Motorcade at 2:30 p.m., starting at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St. and ending at 4 p.m. at the Troup Middle School, Edgewood Ave. Starting at 4:30 p.m. the event “Voting Rights Are Worth the Fight!” includes a panel discussion, performances and a presentation of prizes in the Arts and Writing Competition Grades 8 to 12, “Harriet Tubman and the Right to Vote.” A tribute to Lula White, Freedom Rider and a past judge of the competition will be included.

The 2020 elections are crucial for the future of the African American freedom struggle and the freedom struggle of all peoples, our country and our planet. This 46th annual march and event will serve as a call to action to organize against heightened racism, militarism and exploitation toward a future of solidarity, justice, peace and sustainability where all persons can reach their full potential.

Throughout the decades of struggle for civil rights, peace and economic justice, People’s World has reported and stood on the side of freedom fighters.

For information about the arts and writing competition, deadline Feb. 13, e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com or leave a message at (203) 624-8664.

Hundreds Rally To Oppose War With Iran

by Paul Bass, New Haven Independent, Jan 5, 2020

“Trump says more war! We say no war!”

That chant filled the air on the southeastern corner of the New Haven Green Sunday afternoon as hundreds rallied to criticize President Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate top Iranian General Qassim Suleimani through a drone strike in Baghdad.

The local chapter of the ANSWER Coalition organized the rally, one of many around the country this weekend (over 80 on Saturday alone) and around the world calling for peace as the fears of war mount in the wake of the assassination.

Local activist Norm Clement called the assassination “an act of war and a war crime.” He said it follows in a line of four centuries of land theft and occupation and death forged by the U.S. “This country is the biggest thief ever in the history of mankind,” Clement told the crowd. “They steal everything.”

“Nobody wants war. Nobody wants to be slaughtered,” Fahd Syed of The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of CT said in another speech at the rally.

Read the complete article at: www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/rally_to_opposes_war_with_iran.

Rally Held in New Haven for Teen Shot by Connecticut Police

by Davis Dunavin, WSHU.org, Jan. 23, 2020

Hundreds of people demonstrated outside New Haven City Hall on Tuesday and chanted “Justice for Mubarak!”

The rally, meant to honor 19-year-old Mubarak Soulemane, became a larger rally for justice in police shootings. News broke the day before that a third man had been shot by law enforcement in Connecticut in less than a month.

Kira Ortoleva, a close friend of Soulemane’s, organized the event. She says the timing of his death could not be more heartbreaking.

“He told everyone that 2020 was going to be the year where he made big moves in his life, where he focused on school, where he focused on his work and he helped his family,” Ortoleva says. “And he didn’t even get to make it to February.”

Connecticut State Trooper Brian North shot Soulemane on Wednesday, January 15, after a car chase on Interstate 95 near West Haven. State police released footage from North’s body camera that shows North fired seven times through a car window as Soulemane sat in the driver’s seat. Police said he was armed with a knife.

Read the entire article at www.tinyurl.com/v7zjawp.

Puerto Rico Devastated! Again!

Excerpts from flyer of GNH Peace Council, Jan. 24, 2020

Twenty-eight months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the federal government continues in its failure to adequately take care of the island’s needs. The latest indignity to residents who have yet to fully recover from damages caused by the hurricanes and now the earthquakes is the government’s continued pathetic responses and a sudden cut to food stamp benefits. Congressional neglect and animus from the administration are responsible for hardships that would never be tolerated if the American citizens being harmed lived on the mainland and not in a U.S. territory that lacks voting representation in Washington.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined calls on Jan. 9, 2020, for the Trump administration to release $18 billion in disaster aid to the island more than two years after the money was appropriated.

The funds were meant to go to the U.S. territory after Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused nearly $150 billion in damages to Puerto Rico. Maria killed nearly 3,000 people and left 1.5 million Puerto Ricans without power, including hundreds whose electricity wasn’t restored for nearly a year. On Jan. 7, 2020, about two-thirds of the island once again had no power and hundreds of thousands of people were without running water following back-to-back earthquakes and aftershocks.

“We call upon the White House to stop its unlawful withholding of funds from Puerto Rico,” Pelosi said at a press conference on Jan. 9, “There are needs that need to be met, there has been a disaster designated, but the ongoing withholding of funds appropriated by Congress to Puerto Rico is illegal.”

“Puerto Rico has been through too much already. We should forgive their debt, make them a state and rebuild in earnest,” presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted in one of the bolder responses from the candidates.

Meanwhile, thousands of Puerto Rican families remain in makeshift dwellings following these recent quakes. grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com.

The Liberation of Auschwitz and the Liberation of Syria

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Fifty world leaders joined Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem for the World Holocaust Forum, or perhaps it should be called the World Hypocrisy Forum as many of these heads of state are engaging in massive human rights violations and killings. It was held to celebrate the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Certainly the liberation of the camp by the First Ukrainian Front of the Soviet Army is indeed something that should be celebrated, but not by Netanyahu, Putin and Pence in the capital of apartheid.

Now about the death camp itself, there’s something that only Fox News and PBS brought up, the question of why Auschwitz wasn’t bombed by the Allies. As early as May 1944 Allied bombers were in range of the camp. As former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg wrote, the allies were “indifferent” to the plight of the Jews. And Jewish leaders in the U.S. hardly made an issue of it. Top leaders like Rabbi Stephen Wise rejected any efforts to save European Jews that weren’t tied to bringing them to Palestine. As dissenter Peter Bergson wrote at the time, it was as if people were in a burning house screaming for help and rescue would only be attempted if it was agreed that the fire victims would be taken right away to the Waldorf-Astoria.

Bergson in 1943 rented out Madison Square Garden and filled it to display the pageant “We Will Never Die.” That year he organized 450 rabbis to march to the White House. Roosevelt didn’t meet with any of them, but in the next year, he approved a War Refugee Board which by some estimates saved 100,000 lives. Bergson’s efforts should be a model for those concerned with Syria.

March 15 marks the 9th anniversary of the start of mass demonstrations in Syria. Their bloody suppression led to the uprising against the Assad tyranny. RPM, Revive the Peace Movement (network) is calling for people to mark the date in some way, by demonstrating, films, webinar, etc. and to call attention to the 3 million people being slowly overcome by Assad-Iranian ground forces and Assad-Putin bombing. More at www.rpm.world.

I ❤ My Home: Energy Efficiency Counseling Pilot Program

by Tebben Lopez, NHS New Haven

From Feb. 3rd to the end of March, Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven (NHS) will be reaching out for help to fund an exciting new pilot program called “I ❤ My Home.” The purpose of this program is to increase accessibility to education and support for people seeking to make energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. These upgrades will lead to improvements in their comfort, health and fiscal well-being, while at the same time helping to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions that harm the environment.

Funds will allow a contract Energy Consultant to join the organization and offer one-on-one counseling services to guide individuals through the process of understanding their individual needs, what resources are available to them and what steps to take to complete the upgrades(s) to make their homes more energy-efficient.

NHS was approved to participate in Sustainable CT’s Community Match Fund to raise $25,000 that will then be matched 1:1 by Sustainable CT for a total of $50,000 to jump-start the home energy efficiency counseling pilot program. Over the one-year pilot program, the goal will be to serve at least 40 customers, with the long-term goal of generating the capacity to ramp up to 400 or more energy efficiency customers annually.

Neighborhood Housing Services, (203) 562-0598, 333 Sherman Ave. New Haven, CT www.nhsofnewhaven.org.

Free Workshop: Make Music to Make Change

Are you passionate about a cause, but not sure where to start? Are you an activist seeking support? Activist Song-book—an ongoing performance project that began with interviews of Asian American, immigrant, and refugee organizers—offers a toolkit for combining civil rights organizing and music to inspire change.

Join the program’s founders and leaders, composer Byron Au Yong and writer Aaron Jafferis, for inclusive, interactive Activist Songbook workshops. Participants will be invited (but not required) to perform the final pieces they create together during the 2020 Arts & Ideas Festival. The workshops are open to anyone interested in activism; no experience is necessary. Come to the workshop Saturday, Feb. 15, 3-5 p.m. Additional dates will be announced.

No experience necessary, all ages welcome; 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. To register for this free workshop: www.artidea.org/tickets/34401 or (203) 498-3714. Program room, NHFP Library, 133 Elm St. Info: Aleta Staton at astaton@artidea.org or (203) 498-3725.

In Memoriam, Anne Hall Higgins, 1921-2019

by Lesley Higgins-Biddle

Anne Higgins died on October 21, 2019, at her home in North Haven, Connecticut. Known for her commitment to social justice and racial equity, Anne was active in greater New Haven as a founding leader of People Against Injustice (PAI), with a special concern for prison reform and changes to Connecticut’s drug policy. She was active in New Haven/León Sister City Project after traveling to Nicaragua in her 60s and in the United Church of Christ state conference Peace and Social Concerns committee, which led her to be arrested for protests against nuclear weapons in Groton at the submarine base and in Washington, D.C. As an ordained minister, Anne believed unequivocally in “talking the talk and walking the walk.”

Anne was born in Bridgeport where her grandfather had been a progressive minister at Park Street Congregational Church on the city’s East Side. She attended a new, John Dewey-based elementary school that encouraged young girls to play sports, explore their intellectual gifts, and challenge social norms. She graduated from Smith College (1943) with a major in art and then became one of the first women to graduate from Yale Divinity School with a Master of Divinity, subsequently becoming an ordained Congregational minister. At Yale Anne met the love of her life, Arthur Higgins, with whom she co-pastored small rural churches in upstate New York, Colorado and Maine, at a time when the profession was almost entirely dominated by men.

Anne and Arthur moved back to Connecticut to serve parishes in Chester and Wilton, and raise their four children. While in Wilton they became very active in civil rights, with Arthur attending the March on Washington and Anne becoming active in SNCC and CORE chapters in nearby Norwalk. Anne’s critique of the American power structure was a major inspiration for her art and she created many paintings that expressed both oppression and hope, often at the same time.

Throughout her life, Anne remained indomitably committed, both aesthetically and ethically, to a life well lived and that ‘spoke truth to power.’ From her friend Paula Diehl: “Her last years of ministry took the form of programming for elders in affordable housing. She always tried to increase residents’ world-view and help them to better tolerate and understand those who were not like them.”

Anne is sorely missed by her sons, Bart and Gerry, and her daughters, Lesley and Ethel, who are pictured here with her at an exhibition of her paintings at the New Haven Friends Meeting in 2018. Anne’s friends from PAI, the Nicaraguan Prayer Group, and the Friends Meeting, are grateful for having known her. The sparkle in her eyes will be missed by everyone who knew her.

Advocates Applaud AG Tong’s Action to Halt Courthouse Immigration Arrests

by Unidad Latina en Acción

Advocates applauded William Tong after he filed an amicus brief with 14 other state attorneys general supporting the Washington State lawsuit against ICE enforcement in and around the state courthouses.
“In recent months, ICE has interrupted justice in our Connecticut courts, jeopardizing public safety and the rule of law in the entire state,” said Catherine John, a member of Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA). “The state of Connecticut must continue to fight to halt ICE arrests in and around our courthouses.”
An estimated 120,000 undocumented immigrants live in Connecticut. Many of them have been unable to appear at court appointments for fear of hostile encounters with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). When called to courthouses for housing, family, civil, or criminal court, plain-clothes ICE agents have arrested and detained immigrants for civil immigration violation.

One recent example is that of Mario Aguilar, an 18-year-old Wilbur Cross junior who was arrested last September while entering the Milford courthouse to answer to misdemeanor charges stemming from a car accident in August. He spent over 100 days in ICE detention in Bristol, MA, before getting a positive ruling on his asylum case and coming home to New Haven on New Year’s Eve. In October, Domar Shearer went to Derby Superior Court to face charges and was alerted by the Public Defender’s Office that plain-clothes ICE officers were looking for him. After a 7-hour stand-off, in which Shearer stayed in the Public Defender’s Office, while ICE agents and immigrant rights’ advocates waited in the court hallways, ICE left the building and Shearer was able to return to his community.

National immigrant rights advocate Kica Matos added, “Our courthouses are meant to be places where due process and justice are delivered to our community. Using our judicial buildings to hunt down undocumented residents is shocking to the conscience and a gross miscarriage of justice. Our communities are less safe when immigrants who witness crimes are afraid to speak out for fear of going into a state building. No one is served when courthouses become places where people are terrorized and prevented from accessing justice. We are pleased that AG Tong has joined in this amicus brief to prevent ICE from using our courthouses to hunt down immigrants.”

Contact: Catherine John, (203) 887-3788 or John Lugo, (203) 606-3484.

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