Press Charges Against Officer Who Shot Mubarak Soulemane!

by Mike Merli, PAR reader

December 3, 2020. The night was brisk but full of righteous anger and collective grief as a chorus of voices cried for justice.

Mubarak Soulemane

We were gathered outside of City Hall in Middletown, to call on State’s Attorney Michael A. Gailor to do the right thing and bring charges against State Trooper Brian North for the Jan. 15, 2020 murder of Mubarak Soulemane.

Mubarak, at 19 years old, was suffering a schizophrenic mental health episode when State Police crashed him off Exit 43 in West Haven and boxed the car in. With no possible way to exit the vehicle, escape, or flee in any way, Connecticut State Trooper Brian North (a resident of Milford) made the decision to fire upon Mubarak execution-style. An act so evil that the word “murder” doesn’t even come close to capturing the horror of what was done to Mubarak that night.

And the horror his family and friends have been living with ever since.

The Justice for Mubarak movement has been going strong all across Connecticut since January 15, 2020, demanding justice for Mubi. The protests and events have been organized by Kira Ortoleva (who was best friends with Mubarak) and Mubarak’s family.

The fight was taken to Middletown strategically to apply pressure on State’s Attorney Gailor to hold North accountable.

To be clear, up to this point, Connecticut has had an essentially non-existent record of holding police accountable for the murders they commit: the officers who, in 2017, murdered Jayson Negron, Vincent “Kuda” Fowlkes, and Zoe Dowdell were not charged by the State’s Attorneys overseeing the investigations.

Today, as I write these words, the front page of the New Haven Register announces the news that the Ansonia Police officers who murdered Michael Gregory earlier this year will not face charges.

These compounding injustices won’t stop Mubarak’s friends, family, and community, that much is clear.
And two weeks ago in Middletown, there were powerful speeches from Kira Ortoleva, best friend to Mubarak and lead organizer with Justice for Mubarak; Mubarak’s sister Mariyanne and mother Omo; Jayson Negron’s sister Jazmarie Melendez, who continues to fight for justice for her brother Jayson in Bridgeport; Alyssa Hughes, poet/organizer from Waterbury; Amina Seyal from Abolition Ummah, a Muslim Women Of Color-led organization and the only abolitionist organization in Connecticut led by Muslims; and organizers with Black Lives Matter Greater New York, including Hawk Newsome.

The next #JusticeForMubarak action will be held at 4 p.m. on Jan. 15, the one-year anniversary of Mubarak’s murder. It will take place at the site where Mubarak was killed: Campbell Avenue in West Haven, off Exit 43.

For more information on the groups present on Dec. 3:

https://www.facebook.com/justiceformubarak

http://www.instagram.com/justiceformubarak

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/Justice-for-Jayson-1554817064576339

www.instagram.com/justice4jayson

www.instagram.com/abolitionummah

https://www.facebook.com/blmgreaterny

www.instagram.com/blmgreaterny

www.twitter.com/blmgreaterny

‘Tired of Burying My Friends’: Young People Rally Against Violence in New Haven

Ben Lambert, New Haven Register, Dec. 23, 2020

Members of Ice the Beef, a youth organization working against gun violence, and community members came together for a rally on Stevens Street Wednesday Dec. 23, 2020, days after a 14-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl were wounded while walking there.

The youths decried the commonality of gun violence involving young people, noting that children younger than them had grown up in a world where children being shot was a common cultural touchstone, and called on the city, as a whole, to come together to address it.

“I stand here today with a heavy heart, but a mindset on change,” said Manuel Camacho, 15, youth president of Ice the Beef. “It should never be normal to see a young member of our community fall victim to a firearm.”

Read the entire article at https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/Tired-of-burying-my-friends-Young-people-15825776.php

US Money for Human Needs Conference Sat., Jan. 9

Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

We who believe in peace have no choice. We must urgently act to press the new administration to change the current equation that the only road to good jobs is through mass murder.

Join the Connecticut Peace and Solidarity Coalition on Saturday, Jan. 9, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., in a free webinar featuring a variety of impressive viewpoints:

  • Professor Richard Wolff offers the new Secretary of Labor: “How … to initiate conversion of a war economy to a peace-and-environmentally-responsible economy.”
  • Danny Sjursen, moderator, provides us the urgent peace perspective of an Army officer and Iraqi war veteran, member of Veterans for Peace and AboutFace.
  • Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim addresses how the desperate needs of our cities can be met by transferring funds from the war budget.
  • First-year college student and organizer of the New Haven Climate movement Adrian Huq describes why climate activists and youth must create a peacetime economy.
  • Joe Jamison, labor and peace activist, explains how the nationwide Move the Money to Human Needs Campaign, which he coordinates, can move Congress to act.

Connecticut’s cities and towns are gasping for breath. Families don’t have food, are losing housing, lack health care. COVID-19 has made things worse. Water and sewage systems, streets and sidewalks, parks cannot be maintained. Are the only solutions to tax more, borrow, lay off, suspend pension payments?

  • Not building one F-35 nuclear bomber would provide food for over 21,000 3-person families for one year.
  • Not building one modern nuclear-missile sub would provide housing for over 29,000 families for one year.
  • Not funding the new Space Force for 2021 would provide 2.2 million families with medical care for one year.
  • Cutting Connecticut‘s annual IRS War Tax by half would provide 35 thousand infrastructure jobs for four years.

Speakers:

  • Prof. Richard Wolff, Economist
  • Danny Sjursen, Veterans For Peace leader, Moderator
  • Ben Florsheim, Mayor Middletown, CT
  • Adrian Huq New Haven Climate Movement Youth Activist
  • Joe Jamison, Coordinator, Move the Money To Human Needs

Sponsored by

  • the Connecticut Peace & Solidarity Coalition
  • Veterans For Peace 42 CT
  • Greater New Haven Peace Council.

    To register for this free webinar,
    contact: Steve Krevisky at skrevisky@mxcc.commnet.edu

Nuclear Weapons Will Be Illegal by International Law

New Haven Sunday Vigil (every Sunday 12-1 p.m. at Broadway, Park and Elm streets, NH)

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons [TPNW] opened for signature at United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 20, 2017. On Oct. 24, 2020, the treaty reached its 50th ratification, meaning that on Jan. 22, 2021, it will enter into force.

Nuclear weapons are the most destructive, inhumane, and indiscriminate weapons ever created. Both in the scale of the devastation they cause and in their uniquely persistent, spreading, genetically damaging radioactive fallout, they are unlike any other weapons. A single nuclear bomb detonated over a large city could kill millions of people. The use of tens or hundreds of nuclear bombs would disrupt the global climate, causing widespread famine.

This is a historic milestone for this landmark treaty. Prior to the TPNW’s adoption, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not banned under international law, despite their catastrophic humanitarian consequences. Now, with the treaty’s entry into force, we can call nuclear weapons what they are: prohibited weapons of mass destruction, just like chemical weapons and biological weapons.

— International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, https://www.icanw.org/. (ICAN is the international campaign to stigmatize, prohibit & eliminate nuclear weapons, a coalition of non-governmental organizations promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapons ban treaty.)

AND YET…

In the middle of a global pandemic, with all the desperate human needs it has created, General Dynamics’ Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton began construction in October of the first of two initial Columbia class ballistic missile submarines. Like its Ohio class predecessors, the fleet is designed to carry nuclear weapons. Several sections of these deadly weapons conveyors will be produced at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. The Pentagon is spending 9.5 billion dollars from our taxes to produce these first two in a planned fleet of twelve. All of Connecticut’s Senators and Representatives have repeatedly lobbied for these contracts for many, many years. They never broach the issue of Connecticut’s economic dependency on an industry that produces weapons of mass destruction.

45 Groups Join to Hail Gandhi Peace Honorees

Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

With a mixture of art, music and film, Mayson Almsiri, a Syrian White Helmets leader, and Dr. Zaher Sahloul, president of MedGlobal, were honored with the 2020 Gandhi Peace Award.  Forty-five groups joined with Promoting Enduring Peace in publicizing the award.  They ranged from Syrian groups, to Muslim organizations, to Left activist groups to bodies supporting human rights for Rohingya to Uighurs.

The renowned artist and journalist Molly Crabapple contributed many of her Syria drawings as did Akram Swedaan, an internal refugee in Syria.  The latter artist takes exploded ordinance and paints on them.  “Art on Death” as he calls them.  Both their works were accompanied by music from Palestinian performer Tamer Sahouri of Beit Sahour.

CT native Dylan Connor performed his “If Only You’d Listen” which has received viral attention on Facebook. Syrian Wasfi Massarani contributed two powerful songs, one dedicated to the White Helmets.

Mayson Almisri was introduced by Orlando von Einsiedel, the Academy Award-winning director of “The White Helmets” and PEP President James van Pelt added his reflections. Almisri talked about working  for Syrian Arab News Agency [SANA], giving out government propaganda which she combined with attending protests of the tyrant.  After her brother was shot dead by a government sniper she said she fell apart until she heard about the White Helmets and joined in their work.  She herself was not a rescuer but helped with first aid and civic education.

The famous Palestinian-Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour introduced Dr. Sahloul.  Sarsour is best known for her leadership of the 2017 mammoth Women’s March in DC.  She complimented PEP on giving the Gandhi Peace Award some years ago to Palestinian Omar Barghouti for his BDS work and lauded Dr. Sahloul not just for his work for Syrians, but for his treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and victims of warfare around the world.

In his address, Sahloul warmly embraced the Palestinian cause before talking about the terrible toll barrel bombs and other indiscriminate weapons were taking on the Syrian population and Syrian doctors. Dr. Sahloul dedicated his award to physicians he knew who were killed in attacks on hospitals and ambulances.

We in PEP were gratified that Palestinians and Syrians were standing together at the event despite efforts by the dictator’s agents to divide them.  To see the whole ceremony and hear how Syrians themselves describe the carnage go to PEPeace.org.

Help the Progressive Community. Become an Active Part of the PAR Newsletter Team!

To Our Readers:

The Progressive Action Roundtable is looking for someone who knows how to write clearly and has a good command of spelling and grammar. This person must also be interested in talking to local organizers about their groups and plans, and writing a couple of short articles (of approximately 300 words) for the monthly PAR newsletter. A small stipend will be available.

In addition, we would like more of our readers to become involved in working on the newsletter. We want to expand our Planning Committee and Production Team. Enhancement of our Facebook presence is also needed. Would you like to gather articles about local activities? Can you help with graphics? Are you a good proofreader?

If you’re interested in helping the PAR newsletter provide news about New Haven-area activism, please send an e-mail to parnewhaven@hotmail.org and let us know what you’re able to do to keep PAR promoting the work of the many wonderful progressive organizations in the New Haven area.

Thank you!

Employment Opportunity: New Haven Community Organizer — Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids & Others

Connecticut’s state director for the flavored-tobacco-product ban campaign (aka flavor-ban campaign) is interviewing (remotely) candidates for the role of campaign community manager for New Haven.  The consortium is a collaboration between the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Action Network, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association. If you or someone you know has an interest and/or questions, please contact ASAP:

Peter D. Spain, MPH (YSPH CDE)
2020-2021 State Director for the Flavored-Tobacco-Products Ban
in collaboration with Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association
Bridgeport, CT
(203) 212-6238
peterdspain@gmail.com

Project timeline:

Now through June 2021. 20 to 30 hours a week. $30 to $45 an hour, depending on what the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids determines about the person’s experience and relationships in the community and at the local and state level.

The ideal candidate for this position will:

1.     Have a passion for public health, science-based preventive health policies, and addressing the persistent inequality in our systems and the need for more just and equitable policies — at the community, state, and national level.
2.     Be well-respected by community leaders and policymakers in New Haven and also by one or more members of the New Haven state delegation.

This would need a real community-rooted education and advocacy movement, in short order, to encourage the city leaders, including the Health Director, and State Reps and Senators to back such a comprehensive ban for your city and the state.

CitySeed Employment Openings: Details and Applications at cityseed.org

Food Entrepreneurship Program Manager: seeking a dynamic and driven Food Entrepreneurship Program Manager with food business experience to coordinate CitySeed Incubates, our food business incubation programming and services. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Sanctuary Kitchen Dishwasher/Kitchen Support: seeking dedicated, organized dishwasher/kitchen support person to join a team in a fast-paced culinary environment.

Sanctuary Kitchen Catering Intern: Sanctuary Kitchen has several internship positions available for Fall, Spring, and Summer Semesters!

Sales & Outreach Intern, Marketing Intern, and Culinary Operations Intern
Sanctuary Kitchen is happy to work with college or course instructors to fulfill credits or requirements.
CitySeed Farmers Market Intern: Seeking applicants who are enthusiastic about sustainable agriculture and food justice in New Haven, and want to learn while working at Farmers Markets. The position includes set up and break down of tables and tents, selling bread and tokens, handling money and credit/debit/SNAP cards and promoting market programs. For more information or to apply, please email erin.carey@cityseed.org with your resume attached.

Volunteers are also always welcome and needed. Go to the volunteer section at cityseed.org fill out an application.

Students Rally For Green Jobs, Climate Justice

Courtney Luciana, NH Independent, Dec. 16, 2020

High school climate-change activists called on the city Wednesday afternoon to create a $1 million New Haven Climate Justice and Green Jobs Fund.

Courtney Luciana Photo
Climate Health Education Project (CHEP) high school interns.

The activists, interns with the Climate Health Education Project (CHEP), made that call in a press event held on the steps of the Elm Street courthouse.

The fund would hire staffers for clean-energy jobs, energy-efficiency education campaigns, “support neighborhood resiliency and greening programs,” and “fund increased climate justice education.”

“Connecticut is already being affected by climate change. The sea level in Connecticut is rising and the storms are becoming more severe,” Hopkins School sophomore Natalie Card (at right in above photo) said at the rally. “Extremely heavy storms have increased sea level by 70 percent since 1958 and will continue to keep rising.”

Students at the rally read aloud both personal and online posts from all around the world about climate change.

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

No Auction for Plum Island! Now for the Next Steps!

Save the Sound

Monday, Dec. 21, Congress passed a federal budget package that repeals the auction of the island. Now the path is finally open for permanent protection of this unique place and its critical habitats, endangered wildlife, and cultural history.

This wouldn’t have happened without the leadership of our partners in Congress. The entire New York and Connecticut delegations have worked tirelessly, and on this latest effort, we especially owe gratitude to Senators Schumer, Murphy, and Blumenthal, and Congressmen and -women Zeldin, DeLauro, Lowey, and Courtney.

And it also couldn’t have happened without the immense support and consistent action from all of you. If you ever emailed your senator or representative, signed a petition, supported Save the Sound’s advocates with your membership dollars, or joined a Plunge or Paddle for Plum Island, you helped make today’s victory happen.

Now the next steps—finding the right long-term owner for this special place and implementing the Envision Plum Island plan—can begin. We can’t wait to work with you to ensure Plum Island stays in the public’s hands forever.

For questions about Plum Island, contact Louise Harrison (in NY) – lharrison@savethesound.org, and Chris Cryder (in CT) – ccryder@savethesound.org.

The Friends of Kensington Playground – Update

Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Our efforts to save Dwight’s Kensington Playground from development continue.  Through our lawyer, we have provided the City of New Haven with several nearby alternative building sites. HUD and the CT Housing Finance Authority have acknowledged the complaints that we submitted under federal historic preservation and environmental protection law, and have asked the State Historic Preservation Office and the City of New Haven to review them. Thanks to those who donated. We are up against a national corporation.  Please donate. To learn more and donate, visit: https://www.kensingtonplayground.org.

Grants Available for Environmental Projects

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, January 22, by 5 p.m.

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

‘Occupy Yale’ Caravan Demands Yale Pay Its Fair Share of Taxes to the City of New Haven

Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción

More than 100 cars and 50 marchers on foot took the streets on Dec. 10 for a rally and car caravan to “Occupy Yale.” This action was sponsored by Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), Black and Brown United in Action (BBUA), Hamden Action Now. Cars and marchers took over downtown New Haven and Yale campus to call on the university to pay its debt to the people of New Haven.  With the City facing a deficit of $13 million, Yale is closing the fiscal year with a surplus of $203 million and an endowment of $31.2 billion.

“Our people are going hungry and dying, jobs are scarce, some people are living in tents in the woods, and others are about to lose their homes” said John Lugo of Unidad Latina en Acción. “Will the City of New Haven cut jobs and slash essential services to subsidize Yale’s tax breaks?  Will renters and homeowners continue paying for the taxes that Yale doesn’t pay?”

Contact: Megan Fountain, megan@ulanewhaven.org, (203) 479-2959.

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