New Haven Climate Movement’s Electric Future Campaign

by Alex Murphy, NH Climate Movement

Multiple new and successful building projects—including the Hotel Marcel (named for Marcel Breuer’s brutalist architecture) and The Elm—have recently been completed in New Haven and point to the coming transition from fossil fuel to electric-based energy. These projects represent the idea of an “electric future,” and we as a community need to be implementing the same electric technology for everyday life—in our homes and cars—as well.

The New Haven Electric Future campaign is encouraging the transition away from fossil fuels to a community solely reliant on electricity—from electric cars to electric buildings—to reduce emissions, air pollution and noise, and to increase efficient energy use. Doing so is necessary for the health of the planet and our own.

A multitude of modern equipment continues to run on inefficient and unhealthy natural gas. Gas-powered technology—such as gas stoves and gas-powered cars—is everywhere, and many are unaware of the risks such devices pose. In order to reduce emissions, we need to switch as many systems as possible away from gas and onto the Connecticut grid, which continues to include more renewable energy sources. Zero-carbon and nuclear resources now make up nearly 65% of the electricity consumed, and that percentage is expected to increase to 91% by 2025. Electrification just makes sense.

Electrification is possible in any community that is committed to change, and early strides towards an electric future can serve as a framework for other locations. The recent passing of an electrification resolution by the Board of Alders in March of 2021 demonstrates an existent commitment to an electric future in New Haven, and it is the hope of the New Haven Climate Movement that prompt action in our community will serve as a guide.

What can I do? Share what you know with your family, friends, co-workers, landlords, and the like. Those in charge of energy allotment also need to know that electrical energy is the future, so share your concern with local elected officials and CT government members. The wide benefit that an electric future can bring to New Haven within the next few years is truly something to get excited about.

For more information, email us at newhavenclimatemovement@gmail.com. Our website is www.newhavenclimatemovement.org.

Connecticut Activists Rally in Solidarity with Ukrainian Victims of the Russian Invasion

by Erwin Freed, Socialist Resurgence, March 8, 2022

[Below is an excerpt from the article, which can be read in its entirety at socialistresurgence.org/2022/03/08/connecticut-activists-rally-in-solidarity-with-ukrainian-victims-of-the-russian-invasion].

Responding to an international call initiated by major antiwar groups, activists in Connecticut organized an emergency protest at the Federal Court Building in New Haven in solidarity with Ukrainian victims of the ongoing Russian invasion on March 6. The main slogans of the international call, initiated by Code Pink and two British antiwar coalitions, were “Stop the War in Ukraine! Russian Troops Out! No to NATO expansion!” The international call also opposed U.S./EU sanctions against Russia, which are a way of waging war by economic means, and demanding opening borders to refugees.

Endorsers of the Sunday action included Unidad Latina en Acción, New Era Young Lords, Promoting Enduring Peace, Mending Minyon, 350CT, International Marxist Tendency (Socialist Revolution), Socialist Resurgence, and a number of individual members of local clergy, labor, and other social movement groups. The protest was quickly organized on an emergency basis in a collaborative manner with much collective discussion on slogans, speakers, and building activities by activists from endorsing groups. Despite the limited time to build the action and bad weather conditions, over 100 people showed up to listen to a broad range of speakers, to stand in solidarity with Ukrainians struggling against Russian occupation and against U.S./NATO intervention.

Speakers at the demonstration connected the war on Ukraine and mounting inter-imperialist militarism with a diverse range of different local and international issues. Stanley Heller of Promoting Enduring Peace kicked off the rally by denouncing the Russian invasion and calling for international solidarity for the Ukrainian people and Russian antiwar activists, as well as victims of imperialist violence in Syria and Yemen.

Melinda Tuhus, speaking on behalf of 350 Connecticut, spoke about the devastating human and environmental cost of militarism. Melinda pointed out how “the war in Ukraine highlights dirty energy’s role in destabilizing our geopolitics,” giving specific examples of how the war and responses by various countries and companies have horrific implications for the environment. This includes a planned increase in liquified natural gas by the United States, a type of fuel whose production releases methane emissions, which are 100 times worse for the climate than CO2. She pointed out that “militaries around the world, with the U.S. far in the lead, consume massive amounts of oil and gas” and that the U.S. military’s almost $800 billion budget should be converted to human needs.
Nika Zarazvand, a local Iranian activist involved with many struggles for justice, spoke about the devastating effects of sanctions for working and oppressed people. She mentioned her own experience: “As an immigrant from Iran, I am used to people not knowing anything about my country other than the talking points of sanctions and nuclear weapons.” She continued that her family members in Iran were unable to access COVID vaccines, PPE, and health care due to the crippling unilateral sanctions on Iran. In the U.S., Nika’s family members “are interrogated for over two hours at their own bank … because they send money to Iranian medical students in Ukraine.”

Connecticut Must Oppose Israeli Apartheid

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace, New Haven

This is an excerpt from a viewpoint published in the CT Mirror on March 2, 2022. The entire article can be read at ctmirror.org/2022/03/02/connecticut-must-oppose-israeli-apartheid-shelly.

In 1982, Connecticut took the lead among states to be on the right side of history by passing legislation requiring divestiture from South Africa for its practice of apartheid.

In February, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and University of Connecticut President Radenka Maric led a delegation to Israel, seeking to strike deals with Israeli businesses to locate in Connecticut. Lamont says “Israel is a perfect fit because they are the leading innovators in life sciences, biotech and the defense industry — all the groups that we’re bringing over.” The Israeli defense industry has for years used Gaza and the West Bank as testing grounds for weapon and surveillance technology.

On Feb. 1, Amnesty International released a report based on four years of field research, concluding that Israel maintains a “system of oppression and domination over Palestinians” which “amounts to apartheid.” The crime against humanity of apartheid under international law is committed when serious human rights violations are perpetrated in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another, with the intention to maintain that system.

Some Israeli and American politicians and organizations have been quick to label the Amnesty International report as “false” and “antisemitic.” Middle East scholar Jennifer Lowenstein reports on the frequent charge of antisemitism against any criticism of Israel, noting “it is easier to shout at, label, condemn, and discredit the bearers of the message than to rebut the facts.”

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy questions the critics. Levy asks “What, precisely, is incorrect in the apartheid report?… Does Israel not maintain a regime of oppression and control of Palestinians in Israel and in the occupied territories for the benefit of Israeli Jews? Is the nation-state law not apartheid? Is there a single sphere, in Israel or the territories, in which there is true, absolute equality, except in name?”

In ignoring Israel’s well-documented practice of apartheid, Governor Lamont, UConn President Maric and their delegations are on the wrong side of history. It’s a disservice to the students of UConn to promote work/study opportunities in an apartheid state. It’s a stain on Connecticut’s name to seek out this partnership.

Park Case Question: Might Trees Remain Standing?

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, March 10, 2022

Maybe the developer will build around the trees?

A city-hired attorney offered that defense in state court during the latest hearing about whether or not New Haven violated a state environmental law by agreeing to sell a Dwight public greenspace.

That’s the latest in the ongoing case Friends of Kensington Playground v. City of New Haven.

Parks group attorney Keith Ainsworth and city-hired attorney Nancy Valentino duked it out, legally speaking, before state Superior Court Judge James Abrams during a live-streamed virtual hearing on the city’s motion to strike a key part of the underlying lawsuit.

Abrams did not issue a ruling during Wednesday’s hearing itself; he is expected to submit a written order on the matter soon.

The state court case dates back to November 2020, when a group of Dwight open-space advocates filed a lawsuit looking to stop the city from selling a 0.67-acre park on Kensington Street for $1 to The Community Builders (TCB).
The Boston-based developer plans to build 15 new affordable apartments atop the public greenspace as part of TCB’s $30 million Phase 2 redevelopment of the adjacent Kensington Square apartment complex. The city in turn has agreed to set aside new public parkland in Newhallville, while TCB must invest $80,000 in improvements at the nearby city-owned Day Street Park.

In June 2021, a state judge threw out half of the park advocates lawsuit after agreeing with the city that Dwight resident Patricia Wallace and the park friends group do not have legal standing to sue the city under a state law that limits how municipalities may “take” open space.

That left only one legal allegation remaining in the parks group’s bid to stop the city from handing over the park to the housing builder.

That allegation — that the city’s park-transfer approval violates the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), or Connecticut General Statutes § 22a-16 — was at the center of Wednesday’s hearing.

Valentino kicked off the hearing by making the case for the city’s motion to strike from October 2021.

CEPA allows someone to sue the state or a municipality “for the protection of the public trust in the air, water and other natural resources of the state from unreasonable pollution, impairment or destruction,” she said, quoting the law itself.

[Read the whole article at www.newhavenindependent.org/article/kensington_park_lawsuit]

Proposed Dirty Power Plant in Killingly Defeated!

by Samantha Dynowski, State Director, Sierra Club Connecticut

Now it’s time for a clean electricity future for all. Climate activists around Connecticut have news to celebrate. After six years of opposition – protests, press conferences, public hearings, legal battles and more – the proposal for a 650-megawatt dirty power plant in Killingly appears to have finally been defeated.
Connecticut has become a hub for dirty energy; having built more than 40 fossil fuel power plants since 1998, our state now hosts 54 fossil fuel power plants. Connecticut only uses about 73% of the energy produced. Environmental justice communities bear the disproportionate burden of air pollution from these large fossil power plants. So we did not want or need another dirty power plant.
Over the years, dozens of local and state organizations and thousands of residents organized against the proposed power plant in Killingly which would have emitted up to 2.2 million tons of carbon a year and further degraded local air quality in northeastern Connecticut. The climate, environmental justice, and local health concerns of this power plant have been a rallying cry.

On Jan. 4, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the request of grid operator ISO-New England to terminate its contract for power from the plant. The developer appealed this decision, but in February, in the midst of that appeal, the regional grid operator, ISO-NE, communicated that the developer of the Killingly power plant had failed to meet its financial obligations to participate in New England’s energy grid auction.

Thank you to everyone who spoke up in opposition! Your advocacy made a difference.

Now that the threat of this power plant is behind our state, it is time to reflect on what we learned and advocate for changes to ensure Connecticut can really and truly and equitably move to a clean energy future. Connecticut now needs to put policies in place to protect environmental justice communities from disproportionate exposure to air pollution, to require our state agency decisions to align with the state’s mandatory greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and to equitably ramp up energy efficiency, and clean and renewable power.
Onward!

Find Sierra Club Connecticut online at connecticut.sierraclub.org.

Planning for May Day Has Begun!

by Rosalba Montoya Gaviria and John Lugo, ULA

Unidad Latina en Acción is preparing for May 1st (International Workers Day) and we want to count on each one of you. Current plans include a march starting from the New Haven Green at noon and a 4 p.m. rally at Yale. This is a statewide event. There is a connection between immigration reform and the climate emergency, which creates refugees and draws people to the U.S. because they are displaced due to their activism in their own countries. Change comes only when the people force politicians to do the right thing.

For anyone wishing to be part of May Day planning, email melinda.tuhus@gmail.com and put “MAY DAY” in the subject line. Please join our meetings Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m. at New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St. and on Zoom: us02web.zoom.us/j/78915076091

Thanks again for all your help, United We Are Stronger!

Rosalba Montoya Gaviria
203-981-4023

A Community Unity Dialogue Page

by Frank Panzarella, PAR Committee

The PAR Newsletter has always had, as its mission, the bringing together of activists by sharing reports of the events and ongoing work of groups to build a progressive community.

Sometimes we have received articles that are more like critiques of controversial issues that are important to particular groups but tended to emphasize differences within the progressive and broader community.

As we tend to focus on community unity and building a broad progressive constituency, we have rejected such articles and asked groups to send reports that show what groups are doing.

We recognize that within activist circles and the broader population there are many complex issues that can sometimes divide us and that require ongoing dialogue.

In this spirit, we would like to present a dialogue page in the PAR newsletter that will act as a place for groups to express differing views on controversial issues.

We would like this to be a page where groups focus specifically on their own positions on these issues, points of possible unity with others, and not as a place to criticize other groups or individuals with whom they disagree.

As an example, some activists see police violence as a reason to defund the police departments and to completely change the nature of “policing.” Others in our community feel the police are still necessary and look to other reforms. Discussions of such issues may help people find common ground and programmatic unity to further the causes dear to our hearts or at least to clarify differences.

Other examples, for instance, are the strong differing views on the war in Ukraine or the differing views on political violence in Syria.

We hope organizations will take up this offer and contact us with issues they would like to see on the dialogue page. The PAR committee looks forward to providing a forum for all to sort out controversial issues and build a stronger progressive family.

The PAR Mission: To inform the greater New Haven community about the activities of many progressive groups, so that people may learn about them and become involved in discussions and actions on issues for the common good, such as peace, health, racial equity, justice, clean energy and the environment.

The Rochdale Co-op Is Accepting Applications for Membership (Elm Street)

The Rochdale Co-op has been providing affordable housing in downtown New Haven since 1947. We are a democratically-run and diverse community that relies on the active participation of our members. We strive to be a supportive, fun, and ecologically-responsible place to live. We appreciate your interest in becoming a member of the Rochdale Co-op. The Rochdale Co-op has an average of 12-13 members, and provides a cooperative living environment (private bedrooms, shared kitchen, bathrooms, common areas, house meetings and duties).

We are a diverse community and value our diversity. The Rochdale Co-op does not discriminate against applicants on the basis of race, color, family status, ethnicity, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious background or religious affiliation.

Application and more information can be found on Craig’s List New Haven  — search for Rochdale.

https://newhaven.craigslist.org/roo/d/the-rochdale-coop-is-accepting/7449021841.html

How COVID Has Affected Personal Lives of Low-Income New Haveners

by Alana Rosenberg, Justice, Housing and Health Study

The Justice, Housing and Health Study team conducted a survey to capture the experience of life during the COVID pandemic. This community report is based on responses to the COVID survey taken between December 2020 and June 2021. 259 participants completed the survey. For many communities, COVID has exacerbated economic and housing instability. Throughout the pandemic, federal and state governments have dedicated massive amounts of resources, for extended periods of time, to U.S. citizens.

Policies were also passed to protect people from the virus and the economic repercussions of the pandemic. The JustHouHS COVID survey asked questions about participants’ experiences with COVID and the policies meant to help people better cope with its impacts.

This Winter 2022 report begins by describing how COVID affected the personal lives and social networks of participants. It then documents what criminal justice involvement looked like for participants during the pandemic. It also explores the economic burdens the pandemic placed on participants and their access to financial and other resources. Lastly, the report describes how JustHouHS participants’ housing situations changed with COVID.

As the pandemic continues, we hope this report helps policymakers and community stakeholders understand the vulnerability of low-income residents who continue to endure, inequitably, the negative consequences of the virus on health and wellbeing.

Website: https://www.american.edu/cas/social-justice-lab/justhouhs.cfm
Winter 2022 report: www.american.edu/cas/social-justice-lab/upload/covid-community-report-winter-2022.pdf.

Heiwa Salovitz in His Own Words

Why Oral History Matters, an Interview

by Erica Suprenant and Shannon Elizondo, ADAPT of Texas

“What brings me to oral history? Well as a person with a disability — I’ve had my disability all my life — people with disabilities tend to be seen as the invisible people. We tend not to document their stories; we tend not to listen to them; we tend not to think their lives are interesting. So that’s what brings me to oral history, ’cause I want people to learn about my story. I want to learn about theirs, and so we can see the commonality in the struggle, because we all have struggled. We all have things we can learn from each other, things we can contribute to society, and hopefully change society for the better. And it’s just interesting to hear different people’s perspectives on their life and their world experiences.” ~ Heiwa Salovitz, October 11, 2011, a member of ADAPT of Texas, https://eschucha6.rssing.com/chan-44504162/article4.html?zx=814

Speaking Out Against Voting Restrictions 

Heiwa’s testimony at the Texas Legislature against SB 1 (which unfortunately passed, imposing severe and racist voting restrictions) www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmNPmAlK5u8

Rembrances of Heiwa Salovitz

From email sent by Elaine Kolb, Jan. 11, 2022

First met Heiwa Salovitz when he was in his late teens and I was almost 40. Back then, my partner, Patti Deak, was President of the Greater New Haven Disability Rights Activists (GNHDRA). Heiwa occasionally attended some of our events, sometimes held at SCSU. Patti & I agreed that Heiwa had great leadership potential.

Sometime after Patti died in 1999, Heiwa and I bonded more directly, both involved with social justice struggles. Over these years, our connection & trust deepened profoundly. Just visited him for a week in September. His personal care assistant (PCA) found him dead, sitting in his power wheelchair on January 3, 2022.

Heiwa, Japanese word meaning “peace”or “harmony.” The only “Heiwa” I’ve ever known was surely one of a kind. Yes, that’s partly why we became so close. Takes one to know one…

~ From email sent by Joan Cavanagh on Jan. 4, 2022

Heiwa Salovitz, Presente!

Dear Friends and Fellow Travelers,

This isn’t the sort of New Year’s email I’d choose to write. In sorrow and shock I have to report the passing of a dear friend, Heiwa Salovitz, over the weekend in Austin, Texas. Heiwa was a stalwart and principled fighter for disability justice, peace (the meaning of his name), and human rights whom many of you knew. A member of the Muslim community, he was part of the work of the New Haven Sunday Vigil for Peace and Justice, the Greater New Haven Coalition for People, the New Haven initiatives of Amman Imman (Water is Life) and many other local groups and organizations before moving to Austin to work with Texas ADAPT.

We will have a local memorial gathering at some time in the future.

Heiwa’s life was unique, courageous and important. May his memory be for a blessing.

~ Joan Cavanagh

My Friend Heiwa Salovitz

By Paula Panzarella

Needing a wheelchair didn’t keep Heiwa from being involved with community actions or peace rallies. He was on the May Day Celebration Committee, helping plan the yearly International Workers Day festival on the New Haven Green. He joined Fight the Hike and traveled to Hartford to give public testimony at the State Legislature about the hardships CT’s electric rates caused the disabled community and lower-income residents. Every Sunday he would come to the peace and justice vigils in the rain, snow or freezing weather. He was intent on making a difference in this world.

In all the groups we were in together, he helped broaden our perspective on how we needed to improve our outreach and accessibility to include more people in the various struggles for justice.

Heiwa was courageous, smart, patient, modest, and had a great sense of humor. In 2010, he left New Haven to join the Austin chapter of ADAPT. He was intent on working with others in the disability rights community who, like him, were not afraid of pushing the envelope, risking arrest and fighting for recognition of their human rights and dignity. Unfortunately, New Haven wasn’t radical enough for him.
His mother was Italian and French and raised Catholic, his father was Jewish, and Heiwa was a converted Muslim. His name means “Peace” in Japanese – in all ways he embodied his multi-cultural appreciation of the world.

I’m glad we met, grateful for his friendship, and heartbroken about his passing.

Reminder: March 19 deadline for articles for Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter

We look forward to getting your articles and event notices for our April issue. We thank you for your readership and support of PAR.

Please send us reports about your organization’s activities and upcoming plans. Readers want to know:

  • What is the purpose of your organization?
  • How are you building your group?
  • What campaigns are you organizing?
  • What events are you planning?

We want to publicize the work that groups have done and what they’re planning to do. We want to spread the word to others who will be inspired to join you, support your activism and build the struggles.

Send us articles (or a paragraph or two) up to 350 words about what your group wants to do and any ideas for organizing!

Please send to parnewhaven@hotmail.com.

***Help inspire others through your commitment! ***

The deadline for the April Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter is Saturday, March 19.

Please keep in mind that as layout space permits, we will include photos.

IMPORTANT: Don’t neglect to add your organization’s contact information such as phone number, e-mail address or website, so our readers can get more information about what your group is doing.

The PAR Mission:

To provide a forum for the many progressive groups in the greater New Haven area where actions and ideas may be publicized so that peace, health, justice, energy, environmental and other issues are made known to a broad audience for mutual support and the common good.

ABOUT CALENDAR ITEMS

If you mention an event in an article, please also send a SEPARATE calendar announcement.

Please give street addresses for any events or meetings, even for “well-known” public buildings.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please indicate whether your event location is wheelchair accessible.

You can also send us SAVE THE DATE items about future events, even if you do not yet have all the details in place.

The PAR newsletter will come out approximately Wednesday, March 30.

Please consider this when submitting calendar items.

Progressive Action Roundtable is on Facebook.

For automatic PAR updates, sign up on our website: par-newhaven.org

If your group has a website, please add our link to your webpage.

To renew your own subscription or to buy a subscription for a friend, the rate is $13 for 10 issues. Please make the check out to PAR and mail it to

PAR, P.O. Box 995, New Haven, CT 06504

Celebrating 30 years of Between The Lines on the air! March 24

Join Between The Lines at 8 p.m. March 24, 2022, for an online event celebrating 30 years of Between The Lines on the air!

Register for this online panel discussion at EVENTBRITE.COM
(https://crisisinjournalism.eventbrite.com) with any donation amount.

The event, “The Crisis in U.S. Journalism and the Future of Independent Media and Democracy” features:
• Greg Palast, investigative journalist
• Nina Turner, political activist, Bernie Sanders presidential campaign organizer and former Ohio state senator
• Bill Fletcher Jr., labor and racial justice activist
• Adrian Huq, youth climate activist
• Panel moderator Victor Pickard, professor of media and policy studies at the University of Pennsylvania
• Musician and songwriter David Rovics
• And others

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