Reminder: People’s World Amistad Awards, Saturday, Dec. 11

As reported in PAR last month, this year’s People’s World Amistad Awards will be held virtually Saturday, Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. The theme is MAKING GOOD TROUBLE Together We Rise for a Hopeful Future.

This year’s awardees are in the forefront of fighting for the rights of essential workers and all workers regardless of immigration status during the COVID pandemic, and organizing for spending priorities that address racial equity, climate change, voting rights and the common good. They represent the kind of unity, solidarity and vision needed to build the movement that can transform our country to put people, peace and planet before profits.

Awardees are:

State Sen. Julie Kushner, Senate Chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee; Pastor Rodney Wade, Senior Pastor of Long Hill Bible Church in Waterbury; and Azucena Santiago, a courageous leader with 32BJ SEIU in the fight for union rights and health protections for service plaza workers.

The Awards are hosted by CT People’s World on the occasion of the 102nd anniversary of the Communist Party USA. As part of this celebration, there will be a special tribute to Art Perlo for his dedication and work in the struggle for equality, peace and justice.

There will also be a special “IN SOLIDARITY” recognition of the contract fight of unions at Yale, and the AFT/community struggle to keep maternity services at Windham Hospital. Spanish language interpretation will be available.

Register here.  Or, please call (203) 624-4254 or email CT-PWW@pobox.com.

Kensington Playground Halloween Party and Update

by Susan Klein, Friends of Kensington Playground

On Sunday afternoon, October 31, Friends of Kensington Playground (FOKP) hosted a hugely successful Halloween Party. For three hours, while the park was filled with happy children and families playing games, decorating pumpkins, eating and talking and laughing, the playground’s potential became a reality. This is what that space can always mean to the neighborhood, and it’s wonderful that people came out to make it so.

We thank Chapel West, Greater Dwight Development Corporation, Brick Oven Pizza, El Coqui, MaMa Mary’s, Stop & Shop, Triple AAA Pizza, and individuals for their co-sponsorship.  Thanks also to the Parks Department, Health Department, and Youth Services Department of the City for their help with permits and advice on COVID safety.

Games were set up on the grassy area along the fence; costumed kids of all sizes tossed rings over pumpkins, threw bean bags at orange balloons, spun hula hoops, and decorated 50 pumpkins. It was heartwarming to see the playground used as intended. Kids ran around in the sunshine while parents snapped photos or sat on park benches and chairs in the shade of KP’s 25 tall trees. The neighborhood was alive and connected and having a great time outdoors, the same as in other parks the city maintains and improves. The vibe was similar to that at Goffe Street Park’s new splashpad ribbon-cutting two weeks before, just as joyful and well-attended.

Besides holding bicycle, clothing and school supplies giveaways in KP, FOKP has obtained written approval from eight Community Management Teams for a resolution to present to city officials, mandating at least one playground per neighborhood with playscape, splashpad, and tall trees.

Our ongoing lawsuit over lack of due process in the decision to develop KP has led to a change in the developer’s plans, enabling renovation of their existing properties to proceed independently. We remain hopeful that our efforts will result in the city reclaiming/saving this valuable and irreplaceable neighborhood greenspace. Please visit our website at www.kensingtonplayground.org to get involved, sign our petition, and donate toward our lawsuit to save Kensington Playground.

Afghanistan War Ends in New Haven

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Oct 8, 2021

Twenty years to the day after the United States first bombed the Taliban, New Haveners officially put an end to one home front of the Afghanistan War — by laying a final stone commemorating last month’s military and civilian deaths from “forever wars” in the Middle East.

A dozen anti-war activists turned up Thursday night for that somber, cathartic ritual at the Broadway Triangle bounded by Broadway, Elm Street, and Park Street.

Some form of this group has been laying a stone every month at this site since December 2007. For the last time, Thursday night they placed atop a roughly 200-piece cairn a round, smooth stone inscribed in white with the number of U.S. military, Iraqi civilian, and Afghan civilian deaths from the month prior.

“Our last stone: September 2021,” Ioanna Gutas read as her peace compatriots stood in a circle around the diamond-shaped, makeshift memorial.

“No U.S. military killed. Civilians in Iraq: 40. In Afghanistan: 200.”

As the sun set, lights flickered on from Broadway’s shops and restaurants. The shadow cast by the nearby 20-foot-tall Civil War memorial grew longer. All eyes remained fixed on the pile of stones that had just received its final tribute.

“I learned a long time ago that there are things that are futile, but necessary. They have to be done,” said Stephen Kobasa, who helped found the memorial 14 years ago and who has attended nearly every stone-laying ceremony at the site on the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m. ever since.

“The witness has to be given. And the fact that we have done something to remember the dead is no small thing. It’s not everything. It hasn’t changed the outcome. But it has testified to another way of seeing the world, and I think we can lift that up and celebrate that.”

[The article can be read in its entirety at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/peace_cairn/]

New Haven Sunday Vigil continues, Oct. 19, 2021

Twenty years have passed since the U.S. kicked off its Global War on Terror.

An entire generation has grown up in an America where an endless war is being waged against an ill-defined enemy, and the whole world has become our military playground.

The House of Representatives only recently voted to end the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), first passed in 2001, by which the Congress abdicated its duty to evaluate evidence that might constitute a cause for war as well as its responsibility and accountability for making the momentous decision to kill, maim and destroy in foreign lands. The AUMF delegated war-making power to the President alone, and war has become a mere political talking point. Waging war is now a casual bureaucratic exercise instead of a painful decision. Formerly reviled practices such as “preventive” war, indefinite detention, and torture are accepted as normal. Our leaders have felt free to tell us lies to trick citizens into supporting wars, and when those lies were discovered, most people were OK with that.

The US left Afghanistan because it LOST THE WAR. Its national reputation has suffered because of its reckless disregard for others and because it abandoned its allies – notably women and girls, minority groups, and the social progressives – to their enemies. It abandoned the Afghans who relied upon the US and believed it had their backs. Notably, the US also lightly abandoned the Kurds not long ago, just as it abandoned the South Vietnamese almost half a century ago.

After a half-baked military misadventure in Lebanon during the Reagan administration and with the country still struggling with memories of the Vietnam War, then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger formulated the following doctrine:

  • The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.
  • US troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.
  • US combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.
  • The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.
  • US troops should not be committed to battle without a reasonable assurance of the support of US public opinion and Congress.
  • The commitment of US troops should be considered only as a last resort.

The Weinberger Doctrine is not perfect, but if it had been applied to our decision-making over the past 20 years, it would have gone a long way toward preventing our latest iteration of endless war.
America needs to change. We have to make the care and development of our own country a priority. We need to ensure every person’s rights are respected. We need to end racism. We need to be better educated. We need to continue to develop new, clean technology. We need to set national financial priorities to support the general welfare instead of coddling the ultra-rich. We need to rein in our desire to use our military to roam the world punishing others for being “bad guys.”
We need to support the Afghan refugees.

We need to support the members of our military who were so misused over the last 20 years. Since 9/11, military suicides are four times higher than deaths in war operations.

Finally, we need to end this country’s addiction to war.

The New Haven Sunday Vigil is every Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. at the intersection of Broadway, Park, and Elm since 1999.  newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com

What is Yale For?

Ian Skoggard, New Haven Rising

On Oct. 2, Yale University is publicly launching a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $6 billion. An email to alumni announcing the campaign asks, “What are you for?” and says, “Together we can have a positive impact on the world!” The Yale Fair Share Coalition is asking the question, “What is Yale for?”

While Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital received a $157 million tax break from our city this past year, Yale University, one year past its deadline, still has not honored its hiring commitment to our city’s low-income neighborhoods.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, the New Haven community will gather at Grove and Prospect streets to call on Yale to do more and increase its voluntary payment to the city and honor its commitments. Please join us! It is time for Yale to understand that its mission to improve the world must begin in its own backyard!

News from Friends of Kensington Playground

Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Our fight to save Dwight’s only public playground continues. We have two updates to share:

  1. Failure to inform the Dwight community of a project change: The Community Builders (TCB) has asked City for permission to separate the Kensington Square Phase II project into two separate projects, so that TCB can proceed with renovating existing units while the lawsuit holds up the new construction on Kensington Playground. We, and others, have been asked to submit comments on the proposed project split. Once again, the City has not created a public process so citizens can understand the implications and express an opinion. If the project is split, will TCB have to start over to get all approvals for the new construction? It is hard to finance a low-income housing project of just 15 units. Will the city require proof of financing before it commits to giving Kensington Playground to TCB? FOKP has asked the City to provide answers to these and other questions in a public manner, so that all residents have a chance to weigh in on this proposed change that affects our lives and community. You can read the City’s letter, as well as our response, on our website. We support affordable housing–just not on our park.
  2. Fall/Halloween Event in KP: We will be hosting a Fall/ Halloween festival in Kensington Playground on Saturday, October 30, 1-4 p.m. Details are still being planned, but it is sure to be fun–and ghoulish. Please check out the events section of our website for more information.

‘Thank you’ to those of you who have donated to our campaign. The lawyers continue to file procedural motions. Our lawsuit continues. The next court date has not been set. As the legal activity continues, so do our legal bills. We would be grateful for contributions in any amount. To get involved, donate, and sign our petition, please visit our website: KensingtonPlayground.org

Don’t let the City take this playground for $1 with an illegal process. Require our city, state and federal governments to follow the law.

Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) Stands with Afghan Families

Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) is currently welcoming evacuated Afghan families and are ready on 24-hour notice to receive as many as needed.

Please help us:

Donate to defray costs of essentials upon arrival emergent costs.  Irisct.org/donate.

Join a local community group in towns around the state and work with IRIS to welcome families in your community. irisct.org/communitycosponsorship.

Collect backpacks, school supplies, winter coats and waterproof winter boots. Our storage is limited at this moment. Please email info@irisct.org.

The Pathway Towards Peace and Providence and the Demand for Parity (50%M/50%FM) in Governance

Frank Rohrig, PAR subscriber

Join with the mutually departed spirits of two feisty, caring and compassionate women, Caroline Bridgman-Rees and Elaine M. Rohrig, who spent their lives caring for the well-being and betterment of others. It shall be with the collaborative caring spirit of both aforementioned “patriots” and today’s like-minded men and women, that we can move to expedite that Egalitarian Society we (the people) were promised in the attainment of world peace, and our very salvation via the essential DEMAND for PARITY in the decision-making process of governing our citizenry.

Seeing as how we’ve recognized the realities of life’s “evolutional changes” via modernization’s awareness of reasoning, truth, facts inclusive scientific substantiation, the very threat to our Secular Republic Democracy on Jan. 6, 2021, with the seditious insurrection requires a reaffirmation of historical facts in lieu of the propaganda and lies that have been initiated, instigated and propagated bringing us to the potential state of pernicious outcomes. It appears that the prerequisite in today’s (2021) political realm seems to be continually facilitated by our ever-growing body of lying, gutless, propagandizing hypocrites that moneyed interests have bought to continue their pillaging of our nation, shall not be abated until a revolutionary movement that negates the multitude of injustices that divide us are first exposed as was done during our 1700s/1800s Era of Enlightenment, and then defied and negated permanently.

We as a nation are more divided now (2021) and more subject to the detrimental outcomes of our present status than after the insidious seditious insurrection, our comparative era prior to our nation’s Civil War via “Sectional Strife” for roughly a decade of hateful racist violence that occurred during our mid-1850s to 1866. The distinction and difference is, of course, that historic period of blight on our humanity and civilization itself was fought with the weaponry of antiquated origins such as “muskets, swords, and cannons.” Henceforth a century and a half of man’s/male’s more aggressive character traits imbued at birth has been his impetus in the creation of enough powerful weaponry of assorted capacities to exact human annihilation throughout the world.

This is the present state of our nation/world (2021) and we are inundated on a daily basis via a variety of communicative sources of the awareness and substantiation that our nation/world has become more violent than at any other time throughout history; and its provocation more easily and ignorantly justified by those amongst us who seek to bring some form of harm to our Democracy and our humanity for all “fellow beings.” Jan. 6, 2021, must be our nation’s clarion call for our nation to unify in a collaborative way to deal with our societal injustices that have been with us since our founding as a Secular-Republic-Democracy; and pursue that promise of the Egalitarian Society “we the people” were promised in order to negate this claim of superiority and supplant our dominant male governance with the right and righteous equally “weighted voices and votes” of PARITY (50% Males/50% Females) throughout our entire nation within a 4-year time frame. Doing so shall be our pathway towards providence, and societal betterment for all. 

The Egalitarian Quest

Frank Rohrig, 541 Naugatuck Avenue, Milford, CT 06460, (203) 877-2492

Oct. 5, 7 and 10: National Nurses United: National Medicare for All Postcard Parties
RSVP: act.medicare4all.org/signup/mfa-postcards

Friday/Saturday, Oct. 22/23 – 2021 Annual Meeting of Physicians for a National Health Program, now fully virtual. RSVP: pnhp.org/2021-annual-meeting

Saturday, Oct. 30, 4 p.m.: National Nurses United: priority districts Medicare for All phone bank. RSVP: zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEuceCgpj0tGdWgH_Q4Awb5kd9OAXuGuPa8

Monday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m.: National Nurses United: priority districts Medicare for All phone bank. RSVP: zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAqdeuoqT8pHdZsk1PM04WAP0JS7I1erYy2

The next Medicare for All CT virtual monthly meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, October 12, at 7 p.m. Onwards, to guaranteed healthcare for all!

Medicare for All CT: info@medicare4allct.org.

“No country has suffered the way the United States has. Americans make up less than 5% of the global population, but account for nearly one in five of the world’s 2.3 million deaths. […] If the nation is serious about learning the lessons from this pandemic, it should reconsider implementing a universal health care plan like Medicare for All.”

— from the Medicare for All CT Facebook page

Advocates Celebrate as New Haven Board of Alders Passes Resolution in Favor of Medicare for All

Sivan Amar, Medicare for All Board & New Haven Resident

On the evening of Monday, Aug. 2, the New Haven Board of Alders unanimously approved a resolution in support of Medicare for All that had received overwhelming community support. The resolution was sponsored by organizations such as Medicare For All CT, New Haven Rising, and the CT Working Families Party, and received over 500 letters of support from New Haven residents. Several community members, organized by Medicare for All CT, were in attendance and celebrated as the resolution passed.

“New Haven residents have been reaching out to us non-stop since this resolution was introduced,” said Alder Darryl Brackeen, Jr. “We kept their voices and letters in mind when passing the resolution unanimously through the Health and Human Services Committee at our last meeting, and the entire Board of Alders definitely kept it in mind tonight.”

The resolution includes a clause that, when enacted, must be delivered to members of CT’s congressional delegation: U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy.

“After spending the past few months talking to New Haven residents about their medical care, I’m even more convinced that free, accessible healthcare is a human right that our current health insurance system doesn’t facilitate for the majority of people,” said Dana Asby, a member of the Medicare For All CT advisory panel and a New Haven resident. “Many of the people I’ve spoken with were shocked to find that Rosa DeLauro does not support the federal Medicare for All bill, HR 1976. New Haven residents support this resolution because they want Rosa DeLauro to represent their interests and co-sponsor this bill in the House.”

Medicare for All CT has now contributed to the passing of resolutions in support of Medicare for All in 3 different CT cities, including New Haven, New London, and Windham.

For more information and to get involved, please phone Sivan Amar at (347) 335-5761.

News from Friends of Kensington Playground

Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

We continue our fight to save Kensington Playground, the only public playground in Dwight. Thank you to those of you who have donated to our campaign. Our lawsuit continues. The next court date has not been set. As the legal activity continues, so do our legal bills.

Playground Proposal: On July 21, 2021 Friends of Kensington Playground asked the New Haven Board of Park Com-missioners to adopt a policy to “never give up the only public park in a neighborhood, and to always have at least one playground per neighborhood with a playscape and splash pad or water element.” They tabled the proposal, saying they would talk about it. Westville/West Hills, Fair Haven, Beaver Hills, and Downtown Community Manage-ment Teams have endorsed this position and sent letters to city officials. (Thank you!) Help us get on the agenda for your Management Team this fall.

Friends of Kensington Playground has created a timeline of key decisions made in the sale of Kensington Playground. It shows how there was only one meeting where public comment was allowed, and how the Board of Alders approved the sale despite tremendous opposition to it by residents. We have created posters to share how this undemocratic decision was made, and placed them in the park and on our website. Let us know your ideas about where else this information can be displayed.

Protecting Dwight’s only playground from sale and development is costly, even though we have done as much of the work as possible ourselves. Please be as generous as you can. Don’t let the City take this playground for $1 with an illegal process. Take a stand for democracy. Fight environmental injustice. Require our city, state and federal governments to follow the law. To get involved, donate, and sign our petition, please visit our website: KensingtonPlayground.org.

[Also see: ctmirror.org/ct-viewpoints/Kensington-playground-dwights-irreplaceable-greenspace-jane/#]

Peace Prophet Paul Hammer Dies At 64

Paul Bass, June 30, 2021, New Haven Independent

[Paul Hammer has been an integral part of the New Haven community for decades. He was in peace groups, justice groups, did prison reform organizing, was involved with theater, environmental groups, homeless and mental health advocacy, etc. Many PAR readers have worked with him at one time or another. He died by suicide on June 27. Below are excerpts of the article posted at newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/paul_hammer_dies_at_64]

Paul was 64, and touched the lives of innumerable New Haveners over the last 40-plus years. He was much loved, and his death has sparked an outpouring of tributes.

Paul wanted people to know he struggled with mental illness so that others in similar straits could find support and help. He spoke about a previous suicide attempt off East Rock to the Register’s Randall Beach with that in mind.

Paul also wanted kids to ride bikes safely. He wanted immigrants to find a welcoming new home in New Haven. He wanted community theater to thrive. He wanted to see an end to violence in wars abroad and violence in the street wars at home. He wanted to help people stay out of prison. He dedicated his life to working with others to help make that happen, and found daily joy in doing so.

Paul endeared himself to all of us with his warmth, openness, energy, and enthusiasm; with his love of music, politics, community, all wrapped in a smile.

Over the years Paul has continually approached me — and probably hundreds if not thousands of others around town — with his latest urgent idea for a special project. His advocacy never involved promoting himself. It never involved competing with others for attention or power. It was always about spreading caring and love, sprinkled with humor and melody, envisioning a better world. I can’t remember Paul ever insulting or getting angry at anyone. It was people like Paul, I came to realize, who rather than making headlines, make cities like New Haven warm, lively, caring communities.

This past April he helped the Friends of Kensington Playground with a bicycle event for kids. As usual, he was pitching in with ideas and hustle. He connected organizers with a donor to get all the kids free bikes. Then he conducted bike safety training for the kids at the event.

“He was in his element,” recalled one of the event’s organizers, Paul’s lifelong friend Patricia Wallace. “Nobody had a better time that day.”

(Note: The suicide prevention hotline number is (800) 273-8255.)

[Paul’s Facebook page remains active for friends to post their photos and stories about him. The Arts Paper also wrote about Paul. You can view that article here:
https://www.newhavenarts.org/arts-paper/articles/new-haven-remembers-paul-hammers-legacy-of-joy]

The celebration of Paul Hammer’s life that was scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 19, 3 p.m. has been postponed and will likely take place in April 2022. Details to be announced.

  (See this link for more information https://par-newhaven.org/2021/09/04/paul-hammer-memorial-celebration-postponed-new-spring-date-tbd)

*
On Sept. 19, Elm City Cycling will honor Paul with a bike tour. Meet at the flagpole on the New Haven Green at 1 p.m. The bike ride will finish at the Unitarian Society.
*
On Saturday, Oct. 16, 3 p.m., New Haven Friends Meeting will host a Quaker Memorial Meeting for Paul by Zoom, and held in the manner of Friends – that is, silent waiting worship until each person is moved by Spirit to give a message. Details will be in the next issue of the PAR newsletter.

Sandra ‘Sandy’ Malmquist, 73

New Haven Independent, August 11, 2021

Below are excerpts of the New Haven Independent article. Read the entire article at newhavenindependent.org/index.php/obituaries/entry/sandra_sandy_malmquist_73

Sandra “Sandy” Malmquist, 73, founder and director of the CT Children’s Museum and Creating Kids Child Care Center, died on August 9 in her New Haven home after nearly 50 years of loving work nurturing hundreds of children, their families, and their providers. The cause of death was ovarian cancer.

After an unhappy one semester at UConn, Sandy began a series of temporary clerical jobs in New Haven. In 1969 she was placed at the Legal Aid Bureau in New Haven. A “flower child,” according to one of the lawyers, Sandy was amazed to discover that people could be evicted from their apartments. Sandy, embracing the work, was among the fastest and most precise on the typewriter, including typing briefs for the Black Panther wiretap suit, which ultimately included 2,000 plaintiffs including her future father-in-law (Morris Wessel), who was the pediatrician for some of the Black Panther babies. A number of legal aid lawyers offered to pay to send her to law school, but Sandy was destined for greater things.

With the birth of her son, Max, in 1971, Sandy discovered the world of group child care that was to become her life’s calling. While providing care at a parent cooperative on State Street and later at a center she started at then Quinnipiac College, Sandy immersed herself in the study of child-rearing in cultures across the world. Always with a focus on understanding children and their socialization, Sandy ultimately earned a BA at Goddard College, a Master’s in anthropology at Wesleyan University, and began graduate anthropology work at New York’s The New School.

According to a 2013 Yale Daily News story, Sandy “refused to think of daycare as simply a space where the children of working women went during the day. Sandy wanted to question the traditional ways of caring for children, to re-imagine child care from the child’s perspective. ‘Our goal,’ she wrote in 1979, ‘is to work with kids to help them create themselves.’”

In 1999, the founding director of the CT Children’s Museum at 22 Wall Street in New Haven retired and turned that building and its child care center over to Sandy. The Creating Kids board became the board of non-profit Connecticut Children’s Museum, Creating Kids shifted to that location, and Sandy began working to reopen the then-shuttered museum to the community.

A series of visioning sessions culminated in the reopening of the museum in January of 2001 as a multiple intelligences-inspired, arts and literacy-based, inclusive children’s museum. An Americans with Disabilities Act Coalition reviewer describes it as “the most exceptionally disability-aware [children’s] arts institution this evaluator has ever surveyed. In all areas – structural access, effective communication and general non-discrimination – the Museum excels in making accessibility a routine part of its operation.”

Sandy is survived by her partner, Paul Wessel, their two children, Max and Molly, two grandchildren, Liam and Agi, and her brother, Thomas Heilman.

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