Building the Power of Immigrants to Defend Labor, Civil, and Human Rights Since 2002

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción

When we fight… we win!  2019 highlights:

  • 20+ immigrants met with 26 New Haven alders… and we won a new sanctuary city executive order.
  • 9 immigrants produced 81 radio shows… and we activated hundreds of listeners to defend their rights.
  • 50+ immigrants produced an art exhibit and an original theater performance.
  • 100+ allies were trained by ULA in nonviolent direct action… and ULA mobilized 100s to keep ICE out of our neighborhoods and courts.
  • 60+ community meetings united 80+ families fighting deportations and workers’ rights cases.

ULA, 37 Howe Street, New Haven, CT 06511. (203) 606-3484, admin@ulanewhaven.org.

Visit our website at ulanewhaven.org for information on making a tax-deductible donation for our work.

Football Versus Survival

by Melinda Tuhus, environmental activist

On Nov. 23 about 130 students from Yale and Harvard ran onto the field after the half-time show at the annual playing of a rivalry so iconic it’s simply called The Game. They unfurled banners calling on the two prestigious, almost unbelievably wealthy universities to divest their holdings in fossil fuel companies and Puerto Rican debt. I was one of a handful of baby boomers who joined them.

Divestment would help de-legitimize the fossil fuel industry, which is doing everything in its power to obstruct the transition to renewable energy that is so desperately needed to prevent climate disaster. Puerto Rico, still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, urgently needs debt relief. Thus, the overall theme was “climate justice.”

To me this action was right in line with my involvement over the past five years with Beyond Extreme Energy, which has been fighting to stop the expansion of fossil fuels, especially fracked “natural” gas, which the Federal Energy Commission (FERC) routinely approves, and to call for FERC’s conversion to FREC – the Federal Renewable Energy Commission. Gas leaks methane at every stage of production and use, which makes it not a “bridge fuel” to a clean energy future as industry and politicians have touted for years, but actually a dirty fuel than can be worse for the climate than coal.

Since becoming active in the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s, I have participated in an untold number of protests, but this was perhaps one of the most impactful. Time will tell if the global media coverage will help move Harvard and Yale to divest these holdings from their endowments ($39 billion for Harvard, $29 billion for Yale). But the action has already had an impact on me.

After we sat down in mid-field and prevented the second half of the game from starting, hundreds more students (and some others) flooded onto the field to join us. It was a beautiful sight. We chanted ’til we were hoarse: “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now! If we don’t get it, shut it down!” The game announcer pleaded, “Out of courtesy to the players and the fans, please leave the field. The game must go on.” The absurdity of prioritizing a football game over the survival of life on earth as we know it was not lost on us. I wonder how many people in the stands noticed.

Climate scientists say we have until 2030 to reduce the emission of global warming gases enough to prevent irreversible climate chaos. The students know they are facing a changed, diminished and very scary world. Despite the exuberance and joy we all felt in accomplishing our goal of reaching the field and unfurling our banners, the overall feeling is one of trepidation. But also a fierce resolve.

I love these young people with all my heart. I love their commitment, their love for each other, their welcoming elders like me into their bold, creative actions. I love that one of the organizers said we might have to run onto the field and asked me if I could run. You betcha I could.

After 45 minutes, police threatened to arrest those who didn’t leave the field, and most did. Fifty of us stayed and were detained, charged with disorderly conduct. Our court appearance was the morning of Dec. 6 – the same day as another round of powerful and well-attended youth-led climate strikes. How fitting.

Why We’re Still Standing Out Here in 2019 (and Will Be Again in 2020)

Sunday Vigil flyer, Dec. 22, 2019

This vigil for peace and justice has been observed every Sunday from noon 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.
The weapons of this war are many. Here are just some examples: continued development and production of an ever more deadly nuclear arsenal; drone attacks against human beings many thousands of miles away (targets whose bodies the bombardiers, operating their weapons by remote control, will never have to see); mass incarcerations and deportations of immigrants and refugees (condemning them, in many cases, to a future of torture or death); the systematic dismantling of infrastructure and social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that most of us not only depend upon but have funded with our hard-earned tax dollars all our lives; the destruction of our environment; and the undermining of workers’ rights and the refusal to pass a national minimum wage that is a living wage.

In 2016, we had a presidential election in which the issues of war, peace and economic justice were never seriously addressed. The state of endless war was accepted as the norm. Now we are dealing with an administration that, during its nearly three years in power, has exponentially escalated on all fronts this war that we have been describing and resisting for two decades and more. The 2018 “mid-term” elections largely ignored these issues.

With its bloated military budget, its blatantly racist and xenophobic rhetoric and policies, its utter disregard for the U.S. Constitution and international law, its attempt to roll back even the modest attempts at addressing the climate crisis that are embraced by the Paris Agreement, its utter disregard for human rights at the borders, and its unapologetic war against poor, working-class and non-white people on behalf of the billionaire class it represents, the Trump ad-ministration has made transparent the existential threat of the 1% to all our lives and to the future of our planet.

RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR

As this year draws to a close and a new one begins, and as we enter another election cycle, 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, and we didn’t get here merely as the result of one terrible election. 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, noon to 1 p.m. http://newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com.

Hear about the Plight of the Rohingya Dec. 7

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

The Rohingya people are Muslims who lived in the Rakhine section of Myanmar. For decades they’ve faced persecution, displacement and violent repression. Since 2017 over 700,000 have fled Myanmar by sea or on foot. Myanmar (which was once called Burma) is mainly Buddhist. Some Buddhist religious leaders incite the people against the Rohingya on religious grounds. The Myanmar government claims the Rohinghya are “illegal immigrants.” According to Doctors without Borders, over 6,000 Rohingya have been killed in mob violence. Nearly 300 villages have been burned to the ground. The United Nations has described the military offense in Rakhine, which provoked the exodus, as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Hear about their dire situation on Saturday, Dec. 7 in New Haven from a member of this persecuted people. The speaker will be Ossamah Siddique, a Rohingya activist and a member of Rohingya Welfare Association, Save Rohingya Children (Canada), and Rohingya Welfare Act School (Bangladesh).

His talk takes place at Linsly-Chittendon Hall, Room 101, 63 High Street, New Haven, Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to all. The sponsors are the Dwight Hall Peace Initiative and Promoting Enduring Peace.

There may also be a speaker about the treatment of the Uighurs, a Muslim people in China. Some one million of them are in “re-education” camps.

In the 1930s Jews were being persecuted all over Europe. In this decade Muslims are facing mistreatment in Myanmar, China, Kashmir and in many countries of the West.

There may also be a speaker about the treatment of the Uighurs, a Muslim people in China. Some 1 million of them are in “re-education” camps.

In the 1930s Jews were being persecuted all over Europe. In this decade Muslims are facing mistreatment in Myanmar, China, Kashmir and in many countries of the West.

Ossamah Siddique is the son of Rohingya genocide survivors from Rakhine and is an engineer. He is an active member of Rohingya Welfare Association and other advocacy and refugee support groups

Adem Carroll , a New York based Irish Muslim and a human rights activist. He directly provided emergency legal and financial help to over 825 Muslim detainees and their families in the years after 9/11. He is part of the Burma Taskforce and Adili Yilihamu, a Uighur activist who will talk about the imprisonment of a million Uighur by the Chinese government. He was part of this New York Times video presentation about what is happening.

https://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000006649712/uighurs-children-china.html

7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7

Yale University, Linsly-Chittenden Hall, Room 101
63 High St., New Haven

Free *** Open to All

Climate Demonstration Took Place New Haven Nov. 12

by Alison Huntley, Sunrise New Haven

Climate activists from around New Haven gathered outside City Hall on Nov. 12 for a rally organized by Sunrise New Haven and New Haven Climate Movement to urge Mayor-elect Justin Elicker to act on climate justice.

New Haven Mayor-elect Justin Elicker addresses climate activists.

The Board of Alders recently passed a Climate Emergency Resolution, and Elicker made campaign promises about climate action. The rally was the continuation of a campaign to make sure Elicker and the city follow through on these promises. The rally highlighted multiple issues that encompass climate justice, such as jobs, immigration, and land use.

The rally’s demands included:

  1. The new Mayor should sign the resolution, which would create a Climate Emergency Task Force.
  2. The Task Force should act with urgency to aggressively reduce emissions, protect New Haven residents from current and future impacts of climate change, create green jobs, and prioritize just, equitable outcomes, particularly for poor and marginalized communities.
  3. The Board of Alders should commit at least 0.1% of the budget to these critical climate actions.
  4. Elicker should do more to pressure Yale to invest in climate action and the New Haven community far more than it currently is.

Mayor-elect Elicker, who attended the rally, said this was the first time he had been a target of a demonstration and that he would take our concerns into account when he starts his term in January.

To learn more about future climate action in the New Haven area, including the upcoming school strike on Dec. 6, follow @sunrisenewhaven or @newhavenclimatemovement on Instagram or go to bit.ly/SunriseNewHaven.

‘Incredible’: Harvard and Yale Students Storm Football Field Demanding Divestment From Fossil Fuels Nov. 23

(Twitter screenshot)

On Nov. 23 at Yale Bowl, over 200 students and alumni from both universities stormed the field at the annual Harvard-Yale football game to demand that Yale and Harvard divest their endowments from fossil fuel corporations and instruct their fund managers to cancel holdings in Puerto Rico’s debt. Many were arrested. The students held banners including, “Nobody Wins: Harvard and Yale Are Complicit” and “Yale and Harvard Students United for Climate Justice.” Reprinted from Common Dreams, Nov. 23.

Call for Proposals for SCSU Women’s & Gender Studies Conference Due Dec. 16

PAR readers are invited to send in proposals for panels, workshops or lectures for the Southern Connecticut State University 2020 Women’s & Gender Studies Conference. The theme is “Gender, Race, Community, & Conflict: Pursuing Peace and Justice.” The conference will take place ​Friday and Saturday,​ ​April 24 ​and 25​, 2020. Submission deadline is Dec. 16​, 2019.

The world is right now witnessing the unprecedented destruction of communities—mostly Indigenous—and their habitats, including the ongoing fires raging across the Amazon rainforest, the Dakota Pipeline construction, and the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. Major conflicts have been exacerbated among genders, races and cultural groups, resulting in unspeakable suffering and violence in communities, from the desecration of Indigenous lands and sacred spaces to climate strikes and the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit people, and trans women of color.

How do feminists and their communities, Indigenous and settler-colonial, address these problems and heal the breaches that have divided and torn communities apart? How have feminists and activists creatively used the existing power structures to reverse the fragmentation of peoples and break down hierarchies? In the pursuit of peace and justice, what are feminist activists doing within their families and communities to stop the divisions and violence and counter the hatred and demonization against “the other”? How are peace and justice achieved through the intersectional and transnational coalitions across gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, nationality?

Please submit proposals and supporting materials to womensstudies@southernct.edu, with attention to “Conference Committee.” If you have any questions, please call the Women’s & Gender Studies Office at (203) 392-6133. Include name, affiliation, e-mail, and phone number. Proposals should be no longer than one page (250-400 words). Panel proposals are encouraged.

The Women’s & Gender Studies Conference at SCSU is self-supporting; all presenters can pre-register at the dis-counted presenters’ rate. The registration includes all costs for supporting materials and all meals and beverage breaks. For more information, visit the SCSU Women’s & Gender Studies page, or contact Women’s & Gender Studies Program: womensstudies@southernct.edu or (203) 392-6133.

Nov. 2 Book Launch, Zionist Betrayal of Jews, New Haven

News release

On Saturday, Nov. 2, Stanley Heller will talk about his new book “Zionist Betrayal of Jews: From Herzl to Netanyahu.” It’s a history of the many, many times Zionist groups and Israel put their state-building project ahead of the vital interests of Jews. The event will take place in the Community Room in the lower level of the New Haven Public Library, 133 Elm St., at 2 p.m. Free and open to the public, there will be light refreshments. Sponsored by the Middle East Crisis Committee and co-sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace (New Haven), part of the meeting will be about their projects.

Most people know something about the disastrous effects of the Zionist movement on Palestinians and other Middle Eastern peoples, but the story of the cost of Zionism to Jews is less well known. The account ranges from Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, making a deal with the notorious anti-Semitic Imperial Russian minister von Plehve to Israel’s current Prime Minister Netanyahu declaring friendship with authoritarians who use dog whistles of anti-Semitism to appeal to their bases. The book describes the Zionist destruction of the powerful anti-Nazi boycott of the ’30s, Israel’s friendly relations to Argentina under the rule of Jew-hating generals and Israel’s sale of weapons to modern Ukraine whose army includes a neo-Nazi Azov Brigade.

One of the reasons for writing the book was to expose the Zionists who constantly accuse critics of Israel for being anti-Semitic. Again and again a sentence is taken out of context or a political cartoon is taken to task for resembling something anti-Semitic from the ’30s. Heller’s book exposes the hypocrisy of the Zionist movement which made deals with anti-Semites and in some cases killers of Jews, deals that put Jews in peril.

This is Heller’s second book. His first was titled “The Uprising We Need” (2017), which was a collection of his articles that appeared in newspapers and media. The book is available for a donation of $10 or more to the Middle East Crisis Committee.  See ordering information about both books at stanleyheller.com.

Retooling the Connecticut War Economy Nov. 9

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

We are totally accustomed to Connecticut’s two Senators and five Congressmembers crowing every time the Penta-gon doles billions of dollars to Connecticut’s merchants of death to build new killing machines.

It’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs. At one time CT had a hugely diverse manufacturing base. CT manufacturing now depends on subsidies from the Pentagon.

Similarly, they rationalize huge military spending, now 69% of the annual budget they vote on and the President signs. That leaves 31% to be split among transportation, labor, health, education, housing, environment and so on. CT’s governor and most state legislators regularly applaud every “gun” that is made here.

These electeds argue “national security.” They never admit that “national security” really refers to the security of giant corporate profits. The U.S. corporate media continually cheerlead war-making and weapons spending. They rarely ask what the downsides are in pouring so much of our national treasure into war.

Connecticut’s cities are running on empty. State government is desperate for funds. CT, one of the richest states in the richest country in human history, maintains the greatest wealth gap in the nation.

UMass studies show that every job funded for manufacturing weapons displaces two jobs creating civilian goods and services. Weapons spending is a job destroyer.

The Pentagon is the world’s biggest polluter and contributor to greenhouse gases. The climate-scorching crisis demands that we convert from fossil fuels to sustainable energy. The crisis demands that we move the money to civilian needs. To save ourselves and the planet from these two scourges we must retool the weapons and fossil-fuel industries into a green-peace economy.

Please join the conversation and design actions at the 4th Annual CT Peace Conference: Retooling the CT War Economy: How We Can Build Good, Green Jobs & Infrastructure for Human Needs & Peace.

Keynote: CodePink Co-Founder Medea Benjamin

Panelists: Miriam Pemberton, Dave Ionno, Mitch Linck, Jeremy Brecher, Denise Tillman, Henry Lowendorf, Bahman Azad.
Saturday, November 9, 12 – 4 p.m. Free and open to all, lunch provided. Middlesex Community College, Chapman Hall, 100 Training Hill Rd., Middletown, CT.

Conference Information: skrevisky@mxcc.edu, Steve: (860) 759-3699.

CT Peace & Solidarity Coalition, peacect.org.

People’s World Amistad Awards: Rise Up — Unite 2020, Nov. 8, People’s Center

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards will take place on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m. at New Haven City Hall Atrium, 165 Church Street — site of the Amistad statue symbolizing solidarity and courage in the ongoing freedom struggle. The theme is “Rise Up – Unite 2020. People & Planet before Profits.”

We invite you to place an ad in the greeting book and take a bloc of tickets to honor the awardees and the occasion. The ad deadline is November 20, 2019. For greeting book and ticket information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

This year’s awardees are:

Rochelle Palache, Political Director of 32 BJ SEIU, a fierce warrior for workers’ and immigrant rights and a leader in the fight that won $15 minimum wage and paid family leave in Connecticut.

Ken Suzuki, Secretary-Treasurer of Unite Here Local 34 and a leader in the ongoing fight for job pipelines for Black and Latino neighborhood residents to full-time union jobs at Yale University.

John Humphries, Executive Director of the CT Roundtable for Climate and Jobs, is in the forefront of the movement for a just transition for workers and people of color in the climate crisis.

The Awards event leads into the 2020 elections and is held on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party USA. Special recognition will be given to Joelle Fishman for 50 years of leadership. To mark this special year, all former awardees will be called forward in a tribute to their continued contributions and unity building. The Movement Band and Brian Jarawa Gray and Friends will perform.

Because Federal Government Is Allowed to ‘Weaponize the Law,’ Plowshares 7 Found Guilty for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Protest

Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams News

Seven anti-nuclear activists face up to 20 years in prison after a jury in Georgia on Thursday found the activists guilty of four counts of destruction and depredation of government property in excess of $1,000, trespassing, and conspiracy, charges that could land each member of the group in prison for up to 20 years.

“I really think that the verdict was, frankly, reactionary,” defendant Carmen Trotta said in a statement.

Trotta and Steve Kelly, Mark Colville (from New Haven), Clare Grady, Patrick O’Neill, Elizabeth McAlister, and Martha Hennessy on the night of April 4, 2018 entered the U.S. Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia and took part in a symbolic closure of the facility in protest of its housing of the base’s Trident nuclear program and then “split into three groups and prayed, poured blood, spray-painted messages against nuclear weapons, hammered on parts of a shrine to nuclear missiles, hung banners, and waited to be arrested.”

The Kings Bay Plowshares Seven hoped to use a necessity defense, claiming the omnicidal potential of the Trident program—that the weapons could end all life on the planet—made their actions a moral imperative. On October 18, Judge Lisa Wood rejected the defense and in her ruling (pdf) barred the defendants from using it or calling on expert witnesses like Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg to address the jury.

Read the whole story here: Because Federal Government Is Allowed to ‘Weaponize the Law,’ Plowshares 7 Found Guilty for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Protest | Common Dreams News

Yale Students Walk Out Of Classes To Join Global Week Of Climate Strikes

by Fossil Free Yale

On Wednesday, Sept. 25, 500 Yale students walked out of their classes at noon as part of the global week of climate strikes, claiming that business as usual cannot continue while Yale remains invested in fossil fuel companies and Puerto Rico’s debt. The students and community members, who marched to President Salovey’s office from Cross Campus, pointed to Yale’s political and economic influence and demanded that Yale divest from the fossil fuel industry and cancel its holdings in Puerto Rico’s debt.

At noon, students stood up in their seminars, lectures, and workplaces, spoke briefly about the urgency of the climate crisis and their reasons for walking out, and then led their classmates to Cross Campus for a rally. Many students walked out of introductory physics and biology lectures, microeconomics, and a class called “Natural Disasters,” all of which had course rosters of over one hundred people. Professors in Yale College, as well as the Law School, the Divinity School, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, canceled classes in solidarity with the protestors.

“We are in a moment of unprecedented youth mobilization for climate justice,” said Elea Hewitt, a member of the Association of Native Americans at Yale, who walked out of her Sex, Markets and Power lecture. “We feel we cannot continue to sit in our classes while Yale invests in companies that contribute to the climate crisis and exploit the people first affected.”

Speakers at the Yale rally included Adriana Colón-Adorno, a member of the Puerto Rican student group Despierta Boricua, who spoke about the effects of intensified storms on the island. A Yale School of Forestry student, Manon Lefevre, spoke about the linkage between the Amazon fires and Yale’s continued investments in fossil fuels. By the end of the rally, over 1000 Yale alumni and current students had signed a pledge not to donate to the university until they met the protestors’ demands.

The walkout of Sept. 25 followed a rally on the New Haven Green on Friday, Sept. 20 that drew 400 people. That event was led by the high schoolers from the New Haven Climate Movement Youth Action Team, and was part of the largest coordinated day of climate action in history, with 4,500 events in 150 countries and an estimated total of 4 million participants.

Press contacts:  Martin Man, martinmi5@hotmail.com, (845) 505-9281; Nora Heaphy, nmarie.heaphy@gmail.com, (203) 584-8017. Organization email: fossilfreeyale@gmail.com.

After Week of Occupation of ICE Building, Activists Announce Next Steps

by Constanza Segovia, CT Immigrant Rights Alliance

For one week, under cold rain and wind, community members have been occupying the front of the ICE Office, demanding the release of a Hartford mother from ICE custody.

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, community members and leaders from across the state ended a week-long continuous occupation of the ICE building on a powerful note at a closing rally. The coalition of immigrant and racial justice groups have occupied space outside of the ICE offices in Hartford in support of Wayzaro “Tazz” Walton, a local Hartford mother, who has been in detention since March despite receiving an unconditional pardon by the State of Connecticut and having her US citizen wife petition for her. Each day, the team has spoken to people walking by about the unfair detainment of Tazz, and about the need for CT residents to learn about and protect the state pardon system. They have mobilized the public to contact their elected officials. They have received widespread support, sharing supplies with neighbors. Although the tents have come down, activists are stepping up their efforts to get Tazz released. On Oct. 22, a coalition of immigrant rights groups, led by Hartford Deportation Defense, announced an effort to ask our CT US Senators and Representatives to step in and take action.

“We will continue our fight to demand that our neighbor and friend is released. Tazz is a Queer Black Woman, a demographic that is not well represented in immigration justice. It is important for me as a Queer Black Woman to stand behind and support Tazz, Tamika and family. We will not stop screaming FREE TAZZ until she is out of detention and can live her life in peace,” said Ashley Blount from Hartford Deportation Defense.

Connecticut has one of the most progressive pardon systems in the country and we cannot let that be threatened by this rogue agency. We fight for Tazz but this is also about Richard Thompson who also has a CT pardon and has been detained for two years in Alabama. This is about every person who might be in this situation in the future. This kind of collective effort and joyful resistance that includes children, elders, folks with varying abilities, makes me feel like another world is possible like we can abolish ICE. We commit to continue to envision and PRACTICE ways to keep up the fight while living in joy and love and in relationship with each other.

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