Call Goes Out to Families of Victims as Homicide Memorial Opening Nears

by Rabhya Mehrotra, New Haven Independent, Nov 11, 2020

Marlene Miller-Pratt (at podium in photo) is asking New Haveners for help in finding the families of victims of fatal gun violence.

Rabhya Mehrotra photo

Standing in the shadow of West Rock on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, Miller-Pratt spoke at a press conference with Mayor Justin Elicker, announcing the near completion of the New Haven Botanical Garden of Healing she created and led to construction.

“Our goal is to get out the word to moms,” she said.

Along with a core group of fellow mothers of homicide victims, Miller-Pratt led the creation of the garden in West Hills. The garden honors homicide victims and provides a peaceful place for their loved ones to remember them…

Now construction is almost done: Urban Resources Initiative (URI) director Colleen Murphy-Dunning estimates that it will hopefully end before the start of 2021, although COVID may cause further delays.
Before the garden opens to the public, Miller-Pratt wants to extend an invitation for families affected by gun violence to come for a private viewing. They’ll be scheduled in advance for COVID safety, and last for 30 minutes. She’s especially focused on finding the families of victims whose names are on the Magnitude Walkway, which has a brick for each homicide victim from 1976-2000.

Over the last two weeks, Miller-Pratt has been going around the city with a poster, filled with the names of the victims. She has focused on Newhallville, while Celeste Robinson-Fulcher [whose daughter Ericka was killed in a nightclub shooting], and Pamela Jaynez (another member of the core group) have been going around Fair Haven.

When she stopped at corners, “I was ignored sometimes,” she said. But people spoke up “after they saw what that poster represented and saw how many names were on them.” One person, she said, turned straight around. He came back with four parents whose children were on that list. Another person saw the list and then lifted his arm to show his tattoo, which had his murdered cousin’s name. Yet others looked at the list and saw old friends.

Miller-Pratt gave out her phone number: (910) 975-2054. Any and every person who would like to schedule an early visit can contact her.

[Read the whole article at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/visit_homicide_memorial_soon]

People’s World Amistad Awards on Saturday, Dec. 12

by Joelle Fishman, Connecticut People’s World

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards will take place on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020 at 4 p.m. as a virtual concert program, with printed greeting book mailed out to participants. The theme is United for the World We Want: Celebrating Resilience, Solidarity and Vision.

This year’s awardees are:

  • Barbara Vereen, staff director Unite Here Local 34 and Unite Here Black Leadership Group;
  • Rob Baril, president SEIU District 1199 New England;
  • Jan Hochadel, president AFT Connecticut; and
  • Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez, Working Families Party, Hartford.

We pay tribute in the fight for the rights of essential workers and all workers irregardless of immigration status during the COVID pandemic, the rise of the movement for Black lives, and the fight of our lives in the 2020 elections.

For information about logging on to the virtual concert or tickets, please email ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

War Resisters League Commends Kings Bay Plowshares

by War Resisters League

WRL thanks and honors the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, three of whom (Carmen Trotta, Martha Hennessy, and Clare Grady) were sentenced last week for their bold Trident disarmament action at the Kings Bay nuclear submarine base in south Georgia. Several of the Kings Bay Plowshares are WRL members and have participated in WRL organized nonviolent actions. All are war tax resisters.

50 years to the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on April 4, 2018, over two and a half years ago, the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 cut a lock and entered the base where nuclear-armed US submarines are home-ported, in a plowshares action which included pouring blood, posting an indictment which charged the US government for crimes against peace, posting crime scene tape and hanging banners, one of which said, “The Ultimate Logic of Trident is Omnicide,” and damaging Trident D5 monuments. Plowshares actions seek to enact the prophecy in the Biblical book of Isaiah that nations will beat swords into plowshares and study war no more. [see their website at https://kingsbayplowshares7.org]

[This entire article can be read at www.warresisters.org. In October, all were convicted on three felonies and one misdemeanor. Six have been sentenced. Mark Colville of the Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18. More information is at the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 website at https://kingsbayplowshares7.org]

Another Case of “Good Rebels vs. Bad President”

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

In a live webinar from Damascus, Syria, Nov. 20, journalist Vanessa Beeley unravels the corporate and State Department narrative regarding the war on that country.

That narrative asserts the government of Syria under Bashir al Assad hates the Syrian people and kills them with little regard while the various rebel groups, supported by the United States and its allies, have been trying to liberate Syria for about 10 years. Evidence for such hatred comes from alleged indiscriminate bombing of and chemical weapons attacks on civilians.

In describing the disintegration of this narrative, Beeley points to accumulating evidence that the OPCW, the UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, censored its own technical experts who had challenged an alleged chemical attack, in order to draw conclusions and make a report that retroactively justified open U.S. and NATO bombing of Syria in 2018. That bombing led liberal U.S. media finally to call Donald Trump “presidential.”

In addition, recent leaks from the UK Foreign Office, detailed by Ben Norton https://tinyurl.com/NortonSyriaLeaks demonstrate since at least 2011, UK and U.S intelligence agencies have been feeding false news to all western major media organizations, which have dutifully rehashed it. The UK Foreign Office verified the documents.

Vanessa reported that she had teamed up with another journalist, Rafiq Lutf, to produce a documentary, “The Veto,” which reveals numerous CNN manipulations and falsifications of the aggressions against Syria.

Beeley has deeply researched a key element of the hybrid war on Syria, the White Helmets. This outfit operates only where terrorist groups rule. Unlike the real secular, diverse Syrian Civil Defense, members of any group of White Helmets belong to the same al Qaeda affiliate. The White Helmets was created by UK spy agencies and pipelined into the corporate media by an NGO based in Dubai.

Beeley further describes how the Turkey and Qatar-funded Muslim Brotherhood, once on the State Department’s terrorist list, has hugely influenced the public perception of the war in this country.

Watch the webinar on youtube: https://tinyurl.com/BeeleyWeb20.

Kensington Playground: The Fight Is Not Over! Donations Needed to Support Legal Fight to Keep Playground from Being Sold

by Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Friends of Kensington Playground is seeking donations to support our legal fight against the construction of housing and a parking lot on our largest public parkland.

The group is fighting the sale of Dwight’s Kensington Playground to The Community Builders for $1, which was approved by the New Haven Board of Alders in October so that 15 units of affordable rental housing and a surface parking lot can be built on the parkland.

The Friends group filed a complaint against the City of New Haven in Connecticut State Court. The complaint was based on the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act and Conn. Gen. Stat. §7-131n, known as the Park Replacement Statute, which requires that when a municipality takes park or open space land for other purposes, it must be replaced with parkland of equal size and value. §7-131n also requires a dedicated public hearing on the subject.

In addition, The Friends are also pursuing historic preservation and environmental issues under federal law because the playground is in the heart of the Dwight Street National Historic District and federal monies are being used by The Community Builders in the construction of the apartment building. The Friends asked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to review the proposed sale. The Hartford HUD Office has directed the City of New Haven Office of Management and Budget to consider the matter.

While the Friends understand that there is a need for affordable housing, we believe there is no reason to take our parkland for it. Loss of the mature trees in the Playground will hurt our air quality. Adults as well as children enjoy this outdoor space. The non-profit developer receiving the gift of this land has had a poor track record for decades.

The group is appealing to the community for donations to our GoFundMe Campaign to Save Kensington Playground to help with legal costs, and if they win, with a playscape. GoFundMe campaign link is: https://gf.me/u/y89852 or search for “Save Kensington Playground” on GoFundMe.com.

See www.KensingtonPlayground.org for additional details, and to sign our petition.

Grants Available for Environmental Projects

by Lynne Bonnett, President, Greater New Haven Green Fund

The Greater New Haven Green Fund requests proposals for grants up to $10,000 for 2021. Community groups are encouraged to apply whether or not they have a non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service. Please check our website www.gnhgreenfund.org for the step-by-step guide to our online application followed by information you will need to complete it. It is due Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 by 5 p.m.

If you have any questions or concerns after reviewing the information please contact us at info@gnhgreenfund.org.

Excerpts from Sen. Chris Murphy’s COVID-19 Weekly Update, Nov. 20, 2020

PURA has extended the enrollment period for programs to prevent heat source shut-offs for both residential and non-residential customers through at least Feb. 9, 2021. Further, the Winter Protection Program, which protects eligible households during the winter months, is also in effect from Nov. 1, 2020 through May 1, 2021. If you are experiencing difficulty paying your utility bill, you can contact your utility company and ask if you are eligible to be “coded hardship” and enrolled in the Winter Protection Program. If you are ineligible for hardship status or a non-residential customer, ask to enroll in a COVID-19 Payment Plan.

For information on federal coronavirus relief, including help for small businesses, direct cash payments and more, visit murphy.senate.gov/coronavirus. This page provides answers to frequently asked questions and gives a summary of available programs and funding.

For the latest information about keeping you or your family safe go to cdc.gov/coronavirus. For resources and information about Connecticut’s response visit ct.gov/coronavirus.

Alert: Pandemic Protocol at Yale New Haven Health Restricts Life-Saving Efforts for Some Patients

The PAR newsletter has received a copy of the “Yale New Haven Health Resuscitation Protocol for the COVID-19 Pandemic,” updated and issued to all medical staff on November 12. It was accompanied by the following comments.

Couched in vague language open to wide interpretation, this memorandum’s overall point is clear: even if critical care patients and/or their representatives desire intervention such as resuscitation or intubation, or have not yet made their wishes known, they may nevertheless be assigned “Do Not Resuscitate/Do Not Intubate” status by agreement of “two or more physicians.” While patient wishes, or those of their advocates, are to be “considered” if they can be “obtained,” the system is not bound to honor them, and is unlikely to do so if they contradict practitioners’ assessments.

It is stated that one reason to limit (or prohibit) cardiopulmonary resuscitation of “critically ill patients with COVID-19” is to avoid “exposing health care workers to high risk of infectious transmission,” a laudable goal on the face of it. Health care workers have been truly heroic in doing their jobs during this pandemic under terrible conditions. But they know that theirs is not a no- or even low-risk job. And PPE including face shields and masks are more available now than they were in the earliest days. Meanwhile, people go to the emergency room and to the hospital seeking critical care, believing in good faith that they will receive it. Are they to be denied that care because providing it has become too risky? And are people now required to merely accept the judgment of doctors they may never even have met, knowing the health care system is under serious economic pressure to have fewer, less critically ill patients?

The memo states that, in addition to this “system-wide notice,” “ the YNHHS Chief Clinical Officer, in collaboration with the YNHHS Chief Executive Officer and YNHHS Senior Vice President and General Counsel…shall determine an appropriate manner of notifying the public, patients and other stakeholders.” (Emphasis added.)

Since this is an update of a memo originally circulated in April which, to our knowledge, was never made available for public comment or scrutiny, PAR decided its readers should learn about this in a timely manner. Feel free to email us for a copy of the full memo at parnewhaven@hotmail.com.

Day Of The Dead Honors Murdered Women

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Nov 2, 2020

Dressed in floral crowns, face paint, and brightly patterned woven shawls, two dozen immigrant rights activists marched through the streets of Fair Haven to remember Lizzbeth Alemán-Popoca and other local missing and murdered women. (Thomas Breen, NHI)

That parade-turned-protest took place Monday night in celebration of the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.

The event was organized by the Semilla Collective, and saw marchers bundled up in the late fall cold walk from Quinnipiac River Park on Front Street to Chapel Street, Ferry Street, Grand Avenue, and Blatchley Avenue, before winding their way in the dark back over to the parade’s riverfront starting spot.
The parade’s participants walked in the middle of the street—often taking up both lanes of traffic—behind a flat-bed pickup truck decorated with a sunflower-strewn altar to Alemán-Popoca.

A 27-year-old Mexican immigrant, young mother, and East Haven resident, Alemán-Popoca was found dead in mid-July by a dumpster outside of a Branford restaurant. A medical examiner subsequently determined that she died as a result of “‘homicidal asphyxia.”

Yaneth Alemán, 24, who lives in New Haven and who immigrated to the United States with her older sister Lizzbeth over a decade ago, said that she turned out to Monday’s parade to keep the public’s eye focused on Alemán-Popoca’s still-unsolved murder.

“After four months, she still hasn’t received justice,” Alemán said. “To have someone so close .. it’s not easy to deal with.”

She said that the Day of the Dead is traditionally a time to remember, mourn, and celebrate the lives of those who have recently passed away. Though only three years her junior, Alemán said that she looked up to her older sister as if she was her mother.

“She took care of me,” she said.

Ben Haldeman, who joined Alemán in carrying a cloth banner decorated with sunflowers and a picture of Alemán-Popoca, said he showed up to Monday’s parade because “people do not treat violence against women with the gravity it deserves, particularly when those affected are not white.”
Semilla Collective organizer Vanesa Suarez, who led the march, said that that theme—of taking seriously the lives and deaths of women who have been disappeared, murdered, and then forgotten—was the driving force behind the Day of the Dead event.

“We’re going to honor our sisters because while the rest of the world is very quick to forget them and erase them, we will not.”

[Read the whole article at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/semilla_day_of_the_dead/]

Energy Efficiency Program for Branford Residents

In collaboration with People’s Action for Clean Energy, Branford’s Clean Energy Committee is offering a home improvement package with the goals of saving money for homeowners and improving the environment. The first step is a Home Energy Solutions (HES) audit to evaluate energy efficiency and recommend improvements to save energy. The audit is free until the end of 2020. Branford’s preferred HES providers are CMC [(203) 294-9677, CMCenergy.com] and NECS [(877) 389-7077, neconserves.com].

Job Openings at Save the Sound

For information about these jobs, visit the website savethesound.org, go to the “About Us” tab, and click on “Jobs & RFPs.”

Clean Water Advocate (full-time, NY)
Ecological Communications Specialist (part-time, CT)
Lands Communications Specialist (part-time, CT)

We’re also currently reviewing applications received for the Climate Advocate, NY Ecological Restoration Program Manager, and Peter B. Cooper Legal Fellow. If you’ve been planning to apply for one of those openings, please get your materials in soon!

Gandhi Peace Award presented to two via Zoom

Dr. Zaher Sahloul, co-winner of the Gandhi Peace Award with White Helmet Mayson Almisri, holding his medallion made from “peace bronze,” metal recycled from nuclear weapons facilities. The award was given Nov. 21, 2020 via a Zoom program and was recorded. A link to the event is at the Promoting Enduring Peace website pepeace.org.

From Sahloul’s Twitter page:

I will be dedicating the #Gandhi peace award to the doctors and nurses who were killed in #Syria while on duty including Dr. Hasan Alaaraj, Dr. Majed Bari Dr. Wasim Moaz and 930 other healthcare workers @PEPeace #Gandhiaward @P4HR @hrw @MedGlobalOrg @UNOCHA

Stanley Heller talks about the Gandhi Peace Award ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 21 which this year was given jointly to Syrian-American Dr. Zaher Sahloul of Chicago and Mayson Almisri of the Syria Civil Defense, honoring the brave work of Syrian medical and rescue workers. The public worldwide could view the ceremony on Zoom without charge. The link to register is at the website PEPeace.org.

Source: 2020 Gandhi Peace Award Honors Syrian Humanitarian Aid Workers – BTL

Is There Any Hope for the USA?

by Mazin Qumsiyeh, former New Haven human rights activist, currently teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities

When I lived in the US, I occasionally was shocked listening to right-wing talk shows like those of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity or the vulgar non-sense of Howard Stern & Jerry Springer. Hollywood movies glorified violence and vilified Arabs and Muslims. Owners of the corporations that ran these media had two agendas: making money and helping Zionism. Now Fox News owned by Zionist Murdoch is even outflanked on the right by Newsmax and One America News (essentially fascist in orientation)! It is very sad. Palestinian and other Arab Americans who were/are visible or tried to do something were targeted. I was one of those. If you want to read a little about this, see http://qumsiyeh.org/thecaseisclosed/ and the below [see popular-resistance.blogspot.com 7/30/03] from fellow academic Thomas Nagy who decided to leave the (perhaps hopeless) USA to live abroad in 2003. I left the US in 2008 not because of pressure but because I thought I could serve humanity better in Zionist-occupied Palestine than in Zionist-occupied USA. In retrospect, that was the best decision of my life. But I still care about the US where I have family and thousands of friends and followers.

The mass movements like Black Lives Matter remind us of the movements in the 1960s that did change the US (after much turmoil). But the establishment gurus learned from these things and are certainly far more entrenched today than say at the time of Nixon and Kissinger. Obama’s first appointment as president-elect was for Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, a bigoted Zionist who put Israeli interests ahead of US interests. That is why in eight years, the Obama administration bombed many countries in the Arab world…

What is needed in the US is a system change so that politics respects the will of the people. The 350 million US citizens should not be forced by a rigged system to chose “the lesser of two evils”! The majority of citizens would not want the US to remain the “biggest purveyor of violence in the world” (words of Martin Luther King Jr.). They do not want billions of their tax money going to Israel.

[See popular-resistance.blogspot.com on Nov. 19, 2020 for the entire post reprinted here with permission from the author.]

1 2