Call for articles and calendar items for PAR-NewHaven

Dear PAR Contributors,

Been to any rallies lately? Please send us reports about activism you’re involved with, and what your organization’s upcoming plans are for our next issue of the Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter.

Thank you for your continued readership and support of the Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter. 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?

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Indigenous Day Shifts from Columbus

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Oct 12, 2020

Richard Cowes lifted a wooden bear claw filled with smoldering white sage up to one side of Gary Tinney’s face and, whispering a prayer for peace, wafted the fragrant plume of smoke with a hawk feather.

Cowes and Tinney were celebrating Indigenous People’s Day along with 50 people late Monday afternoon on the New Haven Green.

Both Cowes and Tinney live in West Haven. Both are members of the Golden Hill Paugussetts. And both braved the blustery cold not just to celebrate Native American history and culture with a community of peers, but also to reflect on an extraordinary year of symbolic shifts.

In New Haven as elsewhere around the country this year, many of those changes have centered around a reappraisal of the legacy of the 15th-century explorer Christopher Columbus, with an eye towards the role he played in a white, European settler-led genocide of Native people.

Those local changes have included the Board of Education’s vote to rename Christopher Columbus Academy on Grand Avenue; the tumultuous removal of the Christopher Columbus statue from Wooster Square; the ed board’s renaming of Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day; the Board of Alders’ renaming of the second Monday of October as Italian Heritage Day; and the alders’ formal recognition of racism as a public health crisis.

“This struggle has been a long one,” said Norm Clement, a member of the local Quinnipiac tribe. “It’s been 528 years since colonization in this country.

“But we’re starting to win back who we are. We’re starting to be recognized. Some of the mascots are disappearing. The statues are disappearing. That is all part of the decolonization of this nation. We have to continue to celebrate who we are and what we represent and to do that in a good way.”

Read the full article here: www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/indigenous_peoples_day1.

State Launches $9 Million Arts Relief Fund

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Oct. 19, 2020

Arts nonprofits that have been pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic have a new $9 million state relief fund to turn to for support in helping pay staff, cover student scholarships, and generally stay afloat during the ongoing economic downturn.

State Director of Arts, Preservation and Museums Liz Shapiro announced the imminent launch of the new financial aid effort Monday morning during a press conference held on the front steps of Neighborhood Music School on Audubon Street.

Flanked by Gov. Ned Lamont, Mayor Justin Elicker, and a host of state legislators and New Haven arts leaders, Shapiro said the COVID Relief Fund for the Arts will provide a baseline grant of $5,000 each for eligible recipients.

The fund will also provide a matching grant worth up to $750,000 each, as calculated at 50 percent of total private donations raised by an eligible organization between the start of the pandemic in early March and Nov. 1.

“Is this going to fix all things for all people?” asked Shapiro. “I don’t think we’re in a situation where we can fix all things for all nonprofits, all arts agencies, or all businesses. Is this going to help? Yes. Absolutely.”

The fund—which is made up of federal CARES Act money allocated by the state and which will be open to applications starting Friday and ending Nov. 3—is reserved for three specific types of arts nonprofit organizations: performing arts centers, performing groups, and schools of the arts.

Eligible organizations must show a documented loss of earned income of at least 20 percent year-to-date as of Sept. 30 in comparison to the same period last year. They have been established by Oct. 1, 2019. And they must have at least one full-time paid staff member, either salaried or contractual.

The complete article can be read online at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/state_arts_grant.

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, tickets or placing an ad in our greeting booklet, please email ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

City Unveils Statue of William Lanson, Black Engineer and Activist

Simisola Fagbemi, Yale Daily News, Sept. 28, 2020, Contributing Reporter

On [Sept. 26] the Elm City dedicated a new statue on Farmington Canal to William Lanson –– a prominent 19th-century Black engineer, entrepreneur and civil rights activist in New Haven.

On Saturday morning, city leaders and community members gathered at the Farmington Canal Trail to unveil a 7-foot bronze statue commemorating the life and legacy of Lanson. Oakland-based sculptor Dana King created the statue as part of an effort —coordinated by the New Haven City Plan Department and the Amistad Committee, a Connecticut based non-profit that educates the public about African American history —to celebrate oft-overlooked accomplishments by the city’s Black residents. […]

The Amistad Committee has been envisioning such a project for ten years. In 2010, the committee received a grant to expand the Connecticut Freedom Trail, which is a group of historic sites that offer a glimpse into the African-American experience in the state. […]

According to Connecticut History’s website, William Lanson was a formerly enslaved man who moved to New Haven with his family at the start of the 19th century and quickly became one of the city’s leading innovators. In 1810, he led a successful effort to expand the city’s Long Wharf by 1,350 feet –– a move that made it possible for larger ships to dock in New Haven and stimulated the city’s economy.

[Read the whole article at https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2020/09/28/city-unveils-statue-of-william-lanson-black-engineer-and-activist]

We Will Miss Mike DeRosa

by David Bedell, Green Party of Connecticut

Mike DeRosa died October 16 at Hartford Hospital after battling an extended illness. Mike was a founding member of the CT Green Party, working on the Nader for President campaigns back in 1996 and 2000. Even before that, he had a history of activism; he volunteered for the Eugene McCarthy campaign of 1976 and for Barry Commoner’s Citizens Party campaign of 1980.

Together with his wife Barbara Barry, Mike organized the Hartford chapter of the CT Green Party, and he served as co-chair of the state party from 2003 to 2020. As co-chair, he drew criticism for continually running for re-election and for holding the party to a strict set of ethical principles, but he was dedicated to the survival of the party, organizing meetings month after month for years, tape recording the proceedings to ensure transparency, and speaking forcefully against proposals that he felt would be harmful to the party’s integrity. He served on several national party committees, notably the Ballot Access Committee and the Peace Committee.

From 2000 to 2018, Mike ran ten times for public office, winning as much as 11% of the vote: four times for State Senate, twice for Congress, and four times for Secretary of State. In 2009-2010, he partnered with the ACLU to spearhead a legal challenge to CT’s Citizens Election Program, which discriminates against minor party candidates.

Mike produced a weekly public affairs radio program, “New Focus Radio,” for many years at WHUS, WWUH, and WESU, interviewing political activists and analysts both locally and nationally known.

Mike’s persistence, loyalty, and commitment to democracy will be missed in Connecticut’s political circles.

Unions Are Beginning to Talk About Staving Off a Possible Coup

by Barbara Madeloni, Labor Notes, Oct. 15, 2020

“Therefore, be it finally resolved that the Rochester Labor Council, AFL-CIO calls on the National AFL-CIO, all of its affiliate unions, and all other labor organizations in the United States of America to prepare for and enact a general strike of all working people, if necessary, to ensure a Constitutionally mandated peaceful transition of power as a result of the 2020 Presidential Elections.”

These words conclude a resolution passed October 8 by the Rochester Central Labor Council. In calling for all of labor to prepare to strike for democracy, the Rochester CLC may be the first out of the gate to call for direct action over concerns many share: will there be a peaceful transfer of power after the November election? Will votes be fairly counted, and will the outcome be determined by the voters—not the courts?

A few nights later the representative assembly of the Seattle Educators Association (SEA) passed a resolution stating that its board will call an emergency meeting within seven days of the election and, if it determines there has been election interference, call a meeting of the representative and general assemblies as soon as possible to vote on a work action.

And on October 20, the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee will host a discussion among labor leaders including Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson: “What Can Workers Do to Stop Trump from Stealing the Election?” EWOC is a pandemic-era collaboration between the Electrical Workers (UE) and the Democratic Socialists of America.

Ready on a Minute’s Notice?

In Rochester, the discussion began with concerns about whether or not Trump would step down if he lost the election. Then it moved to talk of the appointment of Louis DeJoy as Postmaster General, the subsequent mail delays, and Trump’s efforts to undermine faith in mail-in ballots.

The resolution was passed unanimously by the executive board and the full delegate body.

What if Trump refuses to accept a loss? “If he doesn’t, we need a plan already in place, ready to implement on a minute’s notice, to remove him from office,” wrote Rochester CLC President Dan Maloney in an email. “A national general strike, if joined by all democracy-loving Americans, can be the impetus the Congress and judiciary need to fulfill their role as co-equal branches of government.”

[Read the entire article here: labornotes.org/2020/10/unions-are-beginning-talk-about-staving-possible-coup

Opinion: Vote “Yes” to Move Military Money to New Haven

Kim Stoner, NH Independent, Oct. 20, 2020

I mailed my absentee ballot today, and I almost missed it. I was so focused on the people I wanted to vote for—and certain people I wanted to vote against—that I almost missed the block of text on the right-hand side of the ballot:

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

Fortunately, I noticed it as I was folding my ballot to stuff it inside the inner envelope, stopped, and energetically marked the oval for “Yes!” I testified to the Board of Alders last June, asking them to put this on the ballot, and they unanimously agreed. I am a scientist, so I like facts. My testimony to the alders was a compilation of facts:

  • Direct military spending in the fiscal year ending in September 2020 will amount to $746 billion — more than $2 billion per day, more than $1 million per minute.
  • The U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world. Since the beginning of the “War on Terror” in 2001, the U.S. military has emitted 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases. This is more than double the annual greenhouse gas emissions of all the automobiles in the U.S.
  • Green manufacturing—the kind of work that would employ the technical skills used in defense manufacturing in Connecticut—creates 28 percent more jobs per dollar spent than defense spending.
  • Retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency —work we desperately need to do in New Haven, with our older and less energy efficient buildings—would create twice as many jobs per dollar spent as defense spending, and would immediately benefit the people of New Haven in reducing our energy bills and improving our health and comfort.
  • Our endless wars all over the world since 2001 have killed over 800,000 people and have not added to the peace or security of our country.

Why do we have such a huge military—bigger than those of the next 10 countries combined? The events of the last six months have shown that our status as a military superpower cannot keep us in New Haven safe from disease, from economic collapse, from gun violence, and from our divisions along racial and economic lines. Neither can it protect our country from the wildfires, floods, and hurricanes that seem never to end—and that are only a foretaste of the climate disasters to come.

We can’t solve our most pressing problems here in the city of New Haven, in the state, in the country, or in the world through military domination. COVID-19 is a global problem. The solution will ultimately be a global solution. We need to do everything we can locally to prevent the spread, to support the vulnerable and to prepare for fair and rapid mobilization when vaccines and treatments become available. In the meantime, the solutions lie in cooperation, not domination.

Climate change is also a global problem. We are way behind in grappling with the complexities and the will to implement global solutions, so just as with COVID-19, we need to do everything we can locally to make sure that those most vulnerable have the resources they need to adapt to the heat, the flooding, the increases in disease and the massive economic shifts that we know are coming. We also need to radically change our city in cooperation with the state and the rest of the world to stop putting the gases into the air that will make climate change worse.

Shifting money from the military would provide enormous practical benefits—making money available for human health, jobs, and environmental sustainability in our city. It would also represent a paradigm change in the federal government by raising the focus on human needs, not just in response to a crisis, but in supporting the community to reduce and prevent the crises of the future. And maybe—just maybe—it could lead to more cooperation and less domination in our relationships with the rest of the world.

Music and Art to Honor Gandhi Peace Award Honorees Nov. 21

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

Promoting Enduring Peace will have notable Syrian and American artists and musicians on the program on Saturday, Nov. 21 as it honors Dr. Zaher Sahloul and Mayson Almisr with the Gandhi Peace Award. The event will take place online at 1 p.m.

Examples of the work of artists Akram Swedaan, Molly Crabapple, Marc Nelson, Adeebah Alnemar and New Haven’s own Mohamed Hafez will be shown with narration. Songs will be sung in English and Arabic by Marc Nelson and Wafsi Massarani.

You can see Marc Nelson’s twenty variations on the work of Goya on the PEP website, PEPeace.org. Like Goya, he entitled them Disasters of War.

Famed Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour will introduce Dr. Sahloul. She’s known for her work with the Women’s March and for immigrant rights.

PEP chose its 2020 honorees to recognize the amazing work done by Syrian medical workers and rescue workers. Unfortunately, after nine years their work is still vital. A bomb in Al-Bab in October killed a score of people and injured several hundred.

The award comes with a $5,000 prize (shared by both honorees) and a medal made of “peace bronze.” The peace bronze is made from metal melted down from decommissioned nuclear facilities.

To get admission to the event go to PEPeace.org and register through Zoom. Zoom will then send you the link for the event. We’re hoping those who are able can make a donation to help us stage the event. $10 is recommended, but it’s completely optional.

City unveils statue of William Lanson, Black engineer and activist

This weekend, the Elm City dedicated a new statue on Farmington Canal to William Lanson –– a prominent 19th-century Black engineer, entrepreneur and civil rights activist from New Haven.

On Saturday morning, city leaders and community members gathered at the Farmington Canal Trail to unveil a 7-foot bronze statue commemorating the life and legacy of Lanson. Oakland-based sculptor Dana King created the statue as part of an effort — coordinated by the New Haven City Plan Department and Amistad Committee, a Connecticut based non-profit that educates the public about African American history — to celebrate oft-overlooked accomplishments by the city’s Black residents.

Source: City unveils statue of William Lanson, Black engineer and activist

New Haven residents protest for environmental justice | Yale Daily News

Over 100 protestors gathered at the corner of Church and Chapel Streets Friday afternoon to demand greater city cooperation on environmental justice issues and a Connecticut Green New Deal.

The demonstrators circled New Haven Green along College and Elm Streets before stopping on the steps of City Hall for speeches from local organizers. The march was led by the New Haven Climate Movement (NHCM), in collaboration with the Yale Endowment Justice Coalition (EJC), Sunrise New Haven and the Connecticut Youth Climate Collective. NHCM organizer Adrian Huq kicked off the event by highlighting that the ongoing climate crisis needed to be met with a greater response from city officials.

Source: New Haven residents protest for environmental justice

Vote “YES” This Fall

by New Haven Peace Commission

The following non-binding referendum question will be on the November 3 ballot in New Haven:

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

To learn more about this resolution or to get involved, email the New Haven Peace Commission at nhpeacecommission@gmail.com.

Statement from Green Party of Connecticut Candidate Justin Paglino

by Ronna Stuller, Secretary, Green Party of CT

A unity of local Green Party chapters, the Green Party of Connecticut is committed to grassroots democracy, social justice, non-violence and ecological wisdom. These are the Four Pillars of all Green parties worldwide.

Green Party candidates accept no PAC contributions, only donations from individuals. In this year’s election we are running over a dozen candidates in municipal, state, and federal elections all across Connecticut.

In this PAR article we feature a statement by Justin Paglino MD, PhD, of Guilford, who is our nominee for US House of Representatives in the Third Congressional District, the seat currently held by Rep. Rosa DeLauro. We invite readers to visit our website https://www.ctgreenparty.org to learn more about our positions and our candidates. We also invite readers to consider changing their voter registration to Green Party, and/or to consider visiting your local Green Party of Connecticut chapter to learn more and get involved. You will be most welcome.

Statement by Justin Paglino M.D. Ph.D., Green Party of CT candidate for US House of Representatives, CT-3:

This year I decided to run for US House of Representatives so that voters in my congressional district would have the option of voting for a representative who supports Medicare for All, Ranked Choice Voting, Reduced Military Spending, a bold Green New Deal with Carbon Pricing, Fracking Ban and Federal Jobs Guarantee, and other policies that my opponents in this race do not support. Many voters do, however, support these policies, and these issues need at least one candidate on the ballot who supports them, so that voters can show where they stand on these issues.

Unlike my opponents, but like most Americans, I support Medicare for All.   Single-payer healthcare will not only provide comprehensive healthcare without charge to all Americans, but will also save up to $500 billion a year thanks to efficiencies of scale and removing the profit motive from healthcare insurance.

Unlike my opponents, I am a strong advocate for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), an electoral reform that ends two-party dominance by eliminating the spoiler effect.  RCV accomplishes this by allowing voters to rank their candidates in order of preference on the ballot. This reform exists now in Maine, where Lisa Savage is running as a Green Party candidate for US Senate; because of RCV, she will not act as a spoiler.

Unlike my opponents, I seek to rein in overblown Pentagon spending and redirect these funds towards the needs of Americans, including a Federal Jobs Guarantee. Rep. DeLauro, in contrast, this year voted YES for the $740 billion dollar Pentagon budget, and voted AGAINST a modest 10% cut (the Pocan amendment).

Unlike my opponents, I am willing to support bills that would enact the bold greenhouse gas-reducing policies that science calls for, such as HR763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (Carbon Tax and Dividend), or such as HR5857, the Ban Fracking Act. Neither bill is supported by our current representative.

I encourage PAR readers: always vote for what you want, not only against what you fear. If you want something, you have to vote for it, or you’ll never get it. There is a way out of the two-party system – it’s Ranked Choice Voting – but first you have to show you are willing to vote for it.

Please visit me at justin4all.org, e-mail me at justin@justin4all.org. Follow me on facebook/justin4all, twitter/justin4all2, insta/justinpaglino, youtube/justin4all.

And thank you to all you progressive activists!

– Justin Paglino M.D. Ph.D.

From the New Haven Sunday Vigil: Resist this Endless War – Why We’re Still Standing Out Here in the Middle of a Pandemic

This vigil for peace and justice has been observed every Sunday from 12 until 1 p.m. since May of 1999. Twenty years and four U.S. presidential administrations later, we are still here.

Often people ask us what we mean when we say “Resist this Endless War.” What we mean is that the serial wars fought by the U.S. and its allies are one war being waged on many fronts. Men, women, and children are being slaughtered, maimed, traumatized and driven from their homes all over the world so that immense wealth and power can be concentrated in the hands of a very few people.

As we approach this crucial election, we ask you to think about the issues this vigil has been trying to address in a very modest way over the past 20 years. The war we now face on all fronts transcends partisan politics, as we didn’t get here merely as the result of one terrible election in 2016. Vote in 2020 as if you life depends on it – it does! But remember that simply voting, while important, will not resolve this existential crisis or lead us to a just, peaceful and healthy world. Only a truly engaged citizenry, able and willing to think critically and to use every nonviolent tactic we can muster, will be able to make the serious, deep, systemic changes that are so very long overdue, changes upon which our very survival depends.

We invite you to join the conversation any Sunday, here at Broadway, Park and Elm streets in New Haven, 12 to 1 p.m.

http://newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com

Oct. 7, 2020, marks the 19th year since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East began

Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice will return to remembering the cost of the continuing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East by placing the September stone on the Memorial Cairn at the intersection of Broadway, Elm and Park streets in New Haven on Wednesday evening, October 7, at 6 p.m. That date will mark the 19th year since these wars began. We will practice social distancing and expect all participants to wear masks.

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