Indigenous Peoples’ Day’s Solidarity on the Green

Lucy Gellman, Arts Paper

The sound of drums coasted over the New Haven Green, mingling with the scent of sage still in the air. …Monday [Oct. 9], [Jennifer] Rawlings and her son, Dyami Pimentel, joined close to 50 people observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the Green, which sits on unceded Quinnipiac land across from New Haven’s City Hall. Organized by longtime activist Norm Clement, this year’s gathering made space for Indigenous storytelling, culture, and ceremony across cultural and geographic borders, addressing colonialism as both an ongoing problem and source of deep generational trauma….

“I hope we’re bringing some love and community here today,” said Clement, who is a water protector, confederate member of the Quinnipiac tribe, and a member of the Penobscot nation. “We are still here. They’ve tried for [over] 500 years to get us, but we’re still here.”…

Monday, that sense of solidarity was everywhere, from attendees who came straight from the [Palestine] rally to those who shared stories of growing up Indigenous in New Haven, in Connecticut, and across the country. As Clement filled a polished abalone shell with sage, fanning it with a turkey feather, Rawlings stepped in close, listening to details about the ceremony to come. …[Clement] called for a moment of silence to remember Sadé Heart of the Hawk, who for decades dedicated her life to suicide prevention, trauma reduction, and education and advocacy for Two-Spirit people.…“She is now one of our ancestors,” Clement said, his voice strained and reverent as Ricky Looking Crow lifted a drum and began to play….

Before the observance concluded, Clement and Looking Crow held up a banner that they planned to place at the Knights of Columbus Museum on State Street, a final act of resistance and solidarity. … A number of red handprints crowded the top register, a reminder of the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women in this country and well beyond it. 500 Years of Genocide/And/We Are Still Here, it read. And Clement had added two green, white, and red Palestinian flags.

[Read the article in its entirety at

Tens of Thousands attend New York City Climate March Sept. 17, 2023

From “Democracy Now!” Sept. 18, 2023

Tens of thousands of people filled the streets of midtown Manhattan Sunday to send a clear message to the world and leaders coming to the city for the U.N. General Assembly this week: End fossil fuels.

Climate March in NYC, Sept. 17, 2023. Photos Paula Panzarella

As part of more than 200 actions around the world leading up to the first-ever United Nations Climate Ambition Summit this Wednesday, more than 700 grassroots groups together called on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency, stop all federal approvals for new fossil fuel projects, phase out production of fossil fuels on federal public lands, and build a new clean energy future.

Climate March in NYC, Sept. 17, 2023. Photos Paula Panzarella

Speakers at the massive march’s rally included New York Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman, environmental justice activist Sharon Lavigne, former Irish President Mary Robinson, actor Susan Sarandon and climate scientist Peter Kalmus. “Every little bit of fossil fuel we burn makes the planet a little hotter,” warned Kalmus, while Bowman and Robinson condemned fossil fuel investment as “subsidizing” the planet’s “own self-destruction.” Added Kalmus, “This is a task of cosmic importance. …

We are on the brink of losing absolutely everything.”

Ocean Rescinds Eviction Notices after Union Pushback

Nora Grace-Flood, NH Independent Sept. 8, 2023

A megalandlord has walked back on threats to evict 16 tenants and agreed to negotiate on lease security, rent stability and living conditions — after members of the city’s first legally recognized tenants union used public and legal pressure to hang on to their homes.

Ocean Management, one of New Haven’s largest property management-landlord-real estate investment outfits, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Blake St. Tenants Union that rescinds those 16 notices to quit in exchange for the withdrawal of a lawsuit and fair rent complaint filed against the business by union members.

That all comes after the union fired back against the landlord’s attempt to kick out a quarter of residents at the Elizabeth Apartments complex at 311 Blake St. in late August, claiming that the lapse-of-time eviction notices — which stated that tenants had to move out because their leases had expired and the landlord did not want to renew — were actually an act of retaliation against tenants for organizing to push back against a potential rent hike.

Since Ocean first began distributing those notices to quit in residents’ doorways on Aug. 19, the tenants union delivered a petition opposing the eviction filings to their landlord, held a press conference, filed for injunctive relief, filed a lawsuit, and organized a protest with over 300 tenants rights activists and local labor organizers. On Sept. 1, Ocean drafted and signed a memorandum of understanding withdrawing those notices and promising not to pursue any more lapse-of-time evictions for at least three months.

Many Blake St. tenants were kept on month-to-month leases after Ocean purchased the property two years ago, meaning that every 30 days their landlord could choose to let that lease expire … [CT Tenants Union VP Luke] Melonakos-Harrison said he hopes the union’s win will also mean ​“more and more people will come to understand how unfair these types of evictions are and why we need universal no-cause eviction protections in Connecticut.”

Read more here:

Martin Luther King Mural in Hamden Unveiled

Dorothy Johnson stands next to a portrait of her sister Lula White.

The unveiling of the Martin Luther King mural outside Miller Memorial Library, 2901 Dixwell Avenue, was held on Saturday, June 17, as the opening event of the Juneteenth Celebration.

RiseUP for Arts partnered with the Town of Hamden, local businesses, organizations, and community members in Hamden to create a large-scale public art mural in collaboration with artist Emida Roller on the Dixwell-facing side of Hamden’s Miller Memorial Library that celebrates the diversity and cultures of the community and highlights the messages of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hamden is the 16th town to produce an MLK39 Racial Equity Mural.

Each MLK39 Racial Equity Mural is inspired by the community. Hamden residents participated in a mural design survey that guided the mural design, and many took part in community volunteer paint days.

The mural celebrates the global legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and his dedication to advancing civil rights. For more information about the statewide campaign visit:

Paula Panzarella photos

Others depicted on the mural are Hamden residents or people with deep ties with the town of Hamden who have passed on.

  • Mattie Mims, first African American woman elected to the Hamden Legislative Council
  • Rabbi Robert Goldburg, who invited Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to speak at Hamden’s Congregation Mishkan Israel
  • Samuel Augustus Jones, first African American career firefighter for Hamden
  • Beulah Jacobs, first African American to teach in Hamden Public Schools
  • Fred Parris, founder of the Five Satins and creator of the classic song “In the Still of the Night”
  • Barbara Welfare, first African American master’s credentialed librarian at the Whitneyville branch
  • Samuel William Jones, first African American police officer in Hamden
  • Lula Mae White, Freedom Rider who non-violently fought against the segregation laws in this country. In 1961, she spent two months in Parchman State Penitentiary for sitting in the “whites only” waiting room of the bus terminal.

Lula’s inclusion in the mural is especially heart-warming for many PAR readers who knew her and worked with her for many years. Lula was a New Haven schoolteacher for almost three decades and was arrested and jailed during the teachers’ strike of 1975; she took part in many protests against war and other injustices; she was an active member of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association (at the Sept. 10 GNHLHA annual meeting she was given a post-humous award); and worked with many progressive organizations, including the PAR newsletter (see

Also on the mural are the names of living individuals who are either firsts in their elected or district-appointed office, or have advanced the discussion of racial equity through literature.

You can see the news broadcast of the mural’s unveiling at

‘Anatomy of a Crime’

Melinda Tuhus, Sept. 11, 2023 blog

We four grannies deployed before dawn on a road near the Mountain Valley pipeline right-of-way across the Green-brier River, each with one foot inside a concrete barrel, sitting in our famous rocking chairs, holding a banner that said Rocking Chair Rebellion. Ahead of us was another rocker holding a sign in bold red letters, STOP ELDERS AHEAD, so cars coming our way would have plenty of notice to stop. Another two women locked down to the drill that was preparing to bore under the Greenbrier – a beautiful river I’d walked along last year as part of the Walk for Appalachia’s Future that, at 162 miles, is the longest undammed river in the eastern U.S….

We stopped work for a total of five hours, and were charged with trespassing, obstructing an officer, and violating West Virginia’s Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, which had just gone into effect. All misdemeanors, although the cops said we’d be charged with domestic terrorism felonies if we didn’t leave, and that was a possibility. These new laws in many states around the country are meant to intimidate folks from taking action to protect the real critical infrastructure – the pure, delicious drinking water, clean air and beautiful mountains. The MVP is being built across the steepest terrain in the country, threatening landslides. Thanks to the blog Heated, I learned that a peer-reviewed study in 2021 found that the MVP has the highest landslide risk out of all the long-distance gas pipelines in the U.S. ​
And then there is the karst, which makes the river one of the worst possible places to drill. …This green “moonscape” of collapsed craters is a unique problem for development as … it is impossible to tell how large a cave system is by looking at the surface, and developers often build their structures too close to the open spaces beneath the ground.

There’s also a big problem with the coating on the pipes having deteriorated after they sat in the sun for five or six years. Best practice is to recoat them at the factory, but the company is just burying some of them without recoating at all, increasing the risk of ruptures and explosions.

So, building the pipeline is the real crime, and could only finally go forward when the US Congress, at Sen. Joe Manchin’s bidding (with full backing from Sen. Chuck Schumer and President Biden), took the matter out of the hands of the Fourth Circuit appeals court (which had consistently ruled against the MVP, for its many violations). Then the US Supreme Court approved all the remaining permits…

What is the role of nonviolent direct action (NVDA) in campaigns to stop the fossil infrastructure that’s killing the planet and ruining the lives and livelihoods of local residents? … One local woman told me we have to keep disrupting because we can’t just let it be built without doing everything in our power, nonviolently, to stop it. … Sitting on the wide porch, looking out over the beautiful mountains, the fog and the nighttime stars, I felt very much a part of a wonderful community where people love and support each other. Also, I haven’t laughed so much maybe ever. It gives us the strength to go on.

Read the article in its entirety:

Campaign for Environmental Rights Amendment

Rachel Heerema, CT Environmental Rights Amendment Alliance

The CT Environmental Rights Amendment campaign is ramping up! We are working to add individual rights to the CT state constitution for everyone to clean and healthy air, water, soil, and environment; a stable and safe climate; and self-sustaining ecosystems.

Sign our petition here:

Register for a national training on Oct. 4, “Securing Climate Justice Through Green Amendments: the Held v. Montana Victory & What It Means for the Nationwide Movement”: register at

And save the date for the November 1 Connecticut-based training — signing the petition will add you to our email list.
Please visit our Facebook page for more information:

Preserving Kensington Playground: Why it Matters

Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Kensington Playground will continue to be a playground! Thanks to everyone who supported this effort. Our focus now shifts to making it a great space for the children of Dwight. This summer we planted shrubs and perennials in the park with our URI [Urban Resources Initiative] intern. We are surveying community members to set the agenda for major improvements to the playground. We continue to host family-friendly events in the park, such as our upcoming Pumpkin Festival on October 28. We will also continue our campaign to make sure the City has at least one fully equipped public playground in every neighborhood, as more than half of New Haven neighborhoods are missing equipment.

Please join Friends of Kensington Playground on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023, from 6-8 p.m., at St. Paul’s UAME Church’s Fellowship Hall, 150 Dwight Street, for a conversation about “Preserving Kensington Playground: Why It Matters.” Speakers for the event include Attorney Keith Ainsworth, Dr. Robert Dubrow of the Yale School of Public Health, and Walker Holmes of The Trust for Public Land. Look for details of our event in the calendar.

If you can, please help us retire our debt for the cost of the lawsuit. You can learn more about our efforts here:

Picket Line Report: Meriden NBT School Bus Drivers’ Strike

Eric Goodman, Socialist Revolution New Haven 

The picket line was set up before dawn on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, by Teamsters Local 671 workers and their supporters. The atmosphere was tense as cars whizzed along Route 5 outside New Britain Transportation in the chilly air. A few scabs, drivers, and office workers hopped the curb before the picketers knew what was happening, but the line was soon extended to block all access. We marched, chanted, and drank coffee to stay warm while other Teamsters arrived from locals as far away as Boston.

Most of the school bus drivers on the line made less than $20/hour and were given fewer than 40 hours a week despite years of work. One woman described how they were given one unpaid bereavement day a year, and how if they took it they would lose an attendance bonus. Their job requires both a CDL and the patience of a saint, but they had reached their tolerance.

Ten or so police officers arrived on cue as the scab buses pulled up the driveway. Eighty-strong picketers formed a marching whirlpool to block the drivers. Some strikers broke off to variously cajole the scabs to turn off their vehicles and insult their integrity. The near-complete strike involved all but five or six drivers, who, I was informed, hardly ever showed up to work normally. How much was the betrayal of these Judases bought for?

We held them back for a good half an hour. “We’re letting two out!” yelled one of the union officials, and the police started shoving workers out of the way. “Get back! We talked to them!” A Teamster officer in a white fleece and khakis pinched my arm and pulled me back as I took my time getting away from a departing bus.

The wind went out of the strikers’ sails as first one more bus and then the rest of the buses were let through the line after perfunctory delays. Still, the strike had done its job. After one more day of striking, the triumphant drivers won a 6% wage increase and the company lost its district bussing contract. tsoc

CT Green Energy News

Number 340, Sept. 15, 2023

News and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action at the state and local levels, focusing on Connecticut. Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE). For more information, visit

Lawmakers: What’s the hullabaloo on electric rates and what does it mean for you?

Hartford Courant. Many folks have been watching with rapt attention as a Connecticut public utility company and its surrogates tried to undermine the current electric rate case, suggesting it is “punitive,” “an overreach,” or “lacking constitutionality.”…We would argue that for decades utility companies have benefited from opacity caused by the complexity of ratemaking…Throughout the recent conversation, pundits have tried to impugn the credibility or competence of Public Utility Regulatory Authority leadership, with surrogates suggesting, without citation, that PURA is the worst-ranked regulatory authority in the nation. But – worse for whom? Certainly not the ratepayers. …As pundits, surrogates, and talking heads try to suggest that what is happening under PURA in current pending dockets will have negative effects, we’re reading something different between those lines. They are scared. Scared of lost profits. Scared of accountability. And scared of what this ruling’s success will mean not if, but when, it is replicated nationally.”

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