Absentee Voting in Connecticut

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ned Lamont has signed an executive order allowing all registered voters in Connecticut to vote absentee in the Aug. 11 primary elections. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has announced that she intends to mail every registered voter in the state an application that they will need to fill out and return in order to obtain an absentee ballot. That application, which will be sent via U.S. Postal Service, will include a postage-paid return envelope.

Dear PAR Subscribers,

After two months of being available only on-line, we’re glad to provide you with the printed PAR newsletter. We still encourage all our subscribers to sign on to get PAR notices on-line so you can be kept informed of events that weren’t known in time to be included in the printed version. You can subscribe at par-newhaven.org.

PAR does not print in July or August. The next newsletter will be the September issue. Because there are still so many restrictions on gatherings, we are unsure of when, or which, of our regularly-scheduled events will take place. Many meetings, conferences and rallies are taking place via the internet. We urge you to contact the organizations you are interested in to find out how you can participate in their work.

Enclosed in this issue is the War Resisters League’s famous “pie chart” flyer, Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes. It analyzes the Federal Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, published in February 2020. FY2021 is 1 Oct. 2020 – 30 Sept. 2021. We recently contacted the War Resisters League to see if these figures are still accurate, due to the emergency spending necessary for the pandemic, massive unemployment and economic crisis. We were told the current Pie Charts are based on figures for the FY2021 Federal Budget, not the current budget, so those figures are not affected by expenditures connected to the pandemic.

Wishing you a healthy, safe and peaceful summer.

PAR Planning Committee

C3M Calls for Car Caravan Rally Against Planned Fracked Gas Plant June 5

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Friday, June 5, will see sign-covered autos traveling to Hartford to circle the block upon which the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) building sits. It has been approving the permits needed by the NTE company to build another fracked “natural gas” plant in Killingly, in eastern CT. The CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) is sponsoring the car caravan.

Now when there is a glut of fossil fuels, when oil wells are being capped because there’s nowhere to store the unneeded petroleum pumped by oil producers, the idea that another natural gas (methane) burning plant will be built is ludicrous. Even before the pandemic Gov. Ned Lamont admit-ted CT didn’t need the energy from another gas burner. Supposedly it was needed by the New England region. So the project appears to be rolling on.

Of course, need is a flexible term. What the region desperately needs to do is to cut back on carbon emissions. Global warming gases can destroy civilization. Civilization will survive if there’s less electricity to power gadgets and air conditioners.

One permit that needs to be won by NTs to be won by NTE would allow it to discharge 90,000 gallons of toxic wastewater daily. The goop would include lead, ammonia, petroleum, phosphorous, copper and other metals. The town of Killingly would have to treat the polluted water to make it usable. A very fine article about this by UCONN law student Tennyson Benedict was published in the Courant. Search online for the article headlined: “Killingly gas plant wastewater discharges are another reason for worry.”

The time of the car caravan on June 5 is 3-4 p.m. To find out more information see @ctclimate on Twitter and the C3M website www.ctclimatecrisismobilization.org.

June 2 Hearing: City of NH Peace Commission Ballot Referendum

A public hearing (by Zoom) will be held on Tuesday, June 2 at 6:30 p.m. before the Health and Human Services Committee of the New Haven Board of Alders. The hearing seeks support to place the following non-binding referendum question on the November 3 ballot in New Haven.

“Shall Congress prepare for health and climate crises by transferring funds from military budget to cities for human needs, jobs and an environmentally sustainable economy?”

“Deberia el Congreso prepararse para una crisis de salud y clima mediante la transferencia de fondos del presupuesto militar a las ciudades para las necesidades humanas, los empleos y una economia ambientalmente sostenible?”

A 2/3 vote by the New Haven Board of Alders is required to put the question on the ballot. Please join the hearing and testify as to why you think the question should be on the Nov. 3, 2020, ballot in New Haven.

Cuts are being figured into our City budget that is already less than bare-bones thanks to more than a decade of under-funding from Yale and from state and federal sources. The bloated US war economy comes at the high cost of under-funding human needs and implementation of just climate change solutions.

Please confirm your participation by leaving a message at (203) 624-4254 or sending an e-mail to Peace Commission acting chair: joellefishman@pobox.com.

Update from Nicaragua as the Pandemic Arrives

by Susan Bramhall, New Haven/ León Sister City Project

In March and April, as the world began to face the historic public health crisis caused by COVID-19, the Nicaraguan government flagrantly ignored recommendations of health and human rights organizations by encouraging mass gatherings and requiring school attendance. During the April holidays, people were encouraged to celebrate semana santa as usual with trips to the beach and large gatherings. As of this writing, there are still no recommended social distancing measures and professional sports events continue to draw fans.

In the last few weeks, reports of the coronavirus illness have begun to emerge in the larger cities and there is now an outbreak in Chinandega – not far from our Sister City, León. There is still no acknowledgment that the pandemic is the cause but hospitals are reporting many cases of atypical pneumonia and a rise in sudden deaths from heart attack and stroke. Nicaraguans are reporting that when patients die, the bodies are buried immediately, often before families are notified. Testing, treatment and results are kept secret leading to more fear and suspicion.

The staff of the New Haven/León Sister City Project are currently healthy and trying to work from home but it is difficult to do social distancing or self-isolation. It is common for homes to contain large extended families and multiple generations and often a small store open to the public. During March and April, our staff was able to continue visiting the rural communities bringing some protective gear (masks) and, most important, information about the facts of the situation. As the community has begun to hear of the cases in nearby areas they are becoming more fearful of people from the city and our staff are now doing as much as they can from their homes.
Our León Director, Erendira Vanegas, reminds us that this is a new crisis within the existing crisis created by the 2018 crackdown against protest and the devastating effect that was already having on the Nicaraguan economy. The crisis created by the pandemic on top of the economic challenges already in play have been overwhelming and has created increased food insecurity. Our Nicaraguan team advises that an urgent need is enhanced access to food for the rural population. The Sister City Project has long been supplementing the meal that children get at school – a meal they may miss if they are not in school. We are currently researching organizations we can partner with to ensure food security for Goyena and Troilo.

If you would like to make a special donation to bolster our programs please visit our website at newhavenleon.org/get-involved/give.

As always, muchisimas gracias to all our supporters in the area.

Activism and Twitter

by LouAnn Villani, Middle East Crisis Committee

With social distancing making in-person rallies impossible, people are looking for ways to get their message across. Virtual rallies via Zoom now take place in addition to ‘Twitter Storms.’ Participants are asked to go on their Twitter Feed and message their representatives all at the same time.

Since Trump took it up and won such a following all politicians and media people have taken to it. It’s easy to use and it’s easy to see which of your messages are popular (being retweeted).

Supposedly politicians and the media think the remarks they see on Twitter and the volumes of approval and disapproval there really reflect what the U.S. public thinks. It’s probably not true (only 1 in 5 Americans use Twitter regularly), but if it influences political discourse, activists should use it.

Twitter is free and it takes just minutes to make an account at twitter.com. It will want a first and last name, an email and date of birth. You’ll have to verify the email by responding to its email. Twitter gives you a user-name based on the name you gave it. So if you enter John Smith you may get @jsmith493. You’ll need to create a password and to “follow” the Twitter Feeds of a couple of people and then you’re in.

Twitter messages are no more than 280 characters (about the size of the second paragraph of this article. You can also attach photos and memes (they don’t count as characters). Usually you include in your tweet user-names of people or media that you are trying to influence. Example: @nytimes @GovNedLamont Politicians and the media search for their twitter handles to see what people are saying to them. The media @NickKristof will sometimes respond to people who are trying to contact them.

The easiest thing to do is to follow certain people or media sources and retweet the things you like. To “retweet” means to click on the double-curved arrow button below the tweet. This puts the message into your Twitter Feed with a tiny message that you retweeted it. Your follower gets to see it and the creator of the original tweet gets a bit of support. More at pepeace.org/twitter-techniques.

Where to Turn for Help

There are a number of agencies and websites to turn to for information about the coronavirus and places to go for help. Here are some of them:

Call 211 for resources, information on food pantries, medical assistance, and various hotlines.

Yale New Haven Health has set up a call center to respond to questions about COVID-19, give assessments to patients by phone or video, and determine whether someone needs to be tested. The number to call is (833) ASK-YNHH. That’s (833) 275-9644.

https://medicine.yale.edu/intmed/news-article/23180/

https://covid19.newhavenct.gov/

Regional Groups and Support Networks:

New Haven Area Mutual Aid

https://www.facebook.com/groups/639466263512268

Mutual Aid/Support Waterbury, Bridgeport, New Haven and Surrounding Areas https://www.facebook.com/ groups/501197987165893/?fref=nf

Document for sharing resources that helps you connect with others around physical, emotional, educational and social needs. http://bit.ly/2Wg2pvc

It is available in Arabic: المساعدة المتبادلة في ووتربيري، بريدجبورت، نيو هافن

And Spanish: ESPAÑOL — Ayuda Mutua Hartford, Waterbury, Bridgeport, New Haven

Awarding Syrians the Gandhi Peace Award

Stanley Heller, PEP Administrator

Promoting Enduring Peace (PEP) will give its 2020 Gandhi Peace Award to two people born in Syria. One is Dr. Zaher Sahloul, a Syrian-American, the other is Mayson Almisri, a refugee living in Canada. The award has been given out since 1960 by PEP, a peace and environmental organization. It comes with a medal made of peace bronze forged from the metal of retired nuclear weapons and with a $5,000 cash prize that will be shared by the two honorees.

The Board of PEP decided that our best contribution this year would be to give the prize in hopes it would help reorient the peace movement and the Left on an issue where many progressives have gone astray. It’s said that most generals prepare for their last war. Most of the peace movement has done the same with Syria, making simple-minded comparisons with the U.S. war against Iraq. Most have ignored the agency of Syrians and their efforts for a democratic uprising. Our award this year is to the medical workers and rescuers of Syria.

Dr. Zaher Sahloul is past president of the Syrian-American Medical Society which has built and rebuilt hospitals in Syria, in recent years underground or in caves. He’s now president of Medglobal which helps not just in Syria, but in 14 countries. He’s a pulmonary specialist in Chicago where he’s currently helping treat patients with the COVID-19 virus. He caught the virus himself, but after weeks of isolation is back at work.

Mayson Almisri is from Deraa, where the mass demonstra-tions began in Syria in 2011. She is a leader in the Syrian Civil Defense, known in the West as the White Helmets. They are the heroes who dig out survivors and bodies from under the rubble of Assad’s or Russian bombs. They have enraged the Assad regime by making videos of their work, showing devastation caused by the barrel bombs. During the recent ceasefire, they work at disinfecting, hoping to ward off the virus inside the remnant of Idlib province.

We always present the award in a big public ceremony, but because of the coronavirus we cannot make plans for the date or location of the ceremony.

Reach Out New Haven: Call if You Need Help

In these anxious, isolating and uncertain times, many people don’t know where to turn for resources and someone to talk with. The Clifford Beers Center has launched a warmline to help connect you with various programs for your needs. Also, if you want someone to talk with, have questions on how to get information about COVID-19, or need help, we are here with compassionate listeners who are trained in providing mental health guidance. Please call us for help! The number is (203) 287-2460.

Visit our website for more information and a listing of links for useful information at www.cliffordbeers.org/covid-19-resources.

Food Assistance Resources During the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coordinated Food Assistance Network has put together this online guide (English and Spanish).  It is updated very frequently: https://bit.ly/nhvfoodcovid.

CFAN has also developed a pantry delivery system for low-income folks who can’t get out during this crisis. It’s called Pantry to Pantry. If you know anyone in need, they can call the hotline: 888-910-2960.

The Dwight substation food pantry (142-158 Edgewood Avenue) will be open on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays 9-11 a.m. Other New Haven food resources can be found here: https://covid-19-1-newhavenct.hub.arcgis.com/pages/food.

Urban Resource Initiative Honors Graduates with a Tree

by Anna Ruth Pickett, URI

Greetings!

URI is excited to help honor New Haven graduates by planting trees in front of their homes thanks to a partnership with the City of New Haven. Will you help us find graduates to celebrate? We will plant trees in front of their home, or the home of a family member or friend, school or a local business (as long as it is in New Haven and there is someone willing to water the tree). Adopt your Graduation Tree today!

Graduation Trees were the idea of Metropolitan Business Academy student Adrian Huq. Adrian says, “As a current high school senior, I understand the letdown the Class of 2020 feels in not being able to spend their last months with their teachers and classmates, enjoy senior activities, and of course, have a graduation. Graduating marks a new chapter and our transition into adulthood and further independence. What better way to honor this accomplishment and mark this new beginning than to plant a tree? No matter how far from home you go after high school, this tree will remain grounded, waiting upon your return. It will grow and thrive for years to come – just like you! – and stand as a reminder to this important milestone.”

Help us announce this opportunity by forwarding this email or sharing our posts on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) using the hashtag #GraduationTree and providing the link: yalef.es/treerequest.

Take care and be well, Anna

Call to adopt a tree: (203) 432-6189 Email: uri@yale.edu Or sign up online: yalef.es/treerequest

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