Remembering Lula White

by Joan Cavanagh, former Archivist/Director, Greater New Haven Labor History Association (2001-2017)

Lula White poses with the Thurgood Marshall Award she received in 2016 (file photo)

Lula White poses with the Thurgood Marshall Award she received in 2016 (file)

I was with Lula White at many gatherings in 35 or so years: peace actions to oppose the endless U.S. wars; Sunday night potluck discussions; Labor History Association meetings and events; union protests at Yale; even the occasional holiday party. With Mary Johnson, she often spoke of teaching, organizing and being jailed during the teachers’ strikes in the 1970s. Her story as a youthful freedom rider in the South unfolded more slowly.

When we decided to document the history of workers at New Haven’s Winchester Repeating Arms Company, Lula and her sister, Dorothy White Johnson, both long time members of the Labor History Association Executive Board, contacted former Winchester employees, conducted interviews and borrowed artifacts for the exhibit, “Our Community at Winchester: An Elm City Story.”

After the plant closed in 2006, we transferred the files, artifacts and photographs of the workers’ union, IAM Local 609, to the office I shared with the late Nicholas Aiello, then LHA president. The plan was to inventory and preserve them. As Nick witnessed 65 boxes slowly taking over our space, he became, not unreasonably, upset. We had a heated exchange. Lula arrived just as I left to take a breath. When I returned, Lula was smiling—and so was Nick, who congratulated us for having secured custody of these important historical records. Whatever she said or did, she had, typically, transformed the situation.

At Fairfield University, where the exhibit was displayed in 2017, I introduced Lula after a short history of the project, and began asking questions. The audience, mostly students, soon took over. Lula spoke quietly and without drama about her life as the daughter of a Winchester worker, growing up in the Newhallville section of New Haven, then becoming a teacher of history and union activist. She also shared the terrifying, brave experience of being jailed in Mississippi as a young Black woman, one of hundreds of freedom riders trying to integrate the buses in 1961. In an evaluation of the session, a student wrote that she was “cool.” She had shared her hope for a future based on engaged citizenship at a moment when it was desperately needed, just following the 2017 presidential inauguration.

During my only visit to the Intensive Care Unit where Lula was confined in June, not expected to survive, I whispered to her to “Keep fighting.” It wasn’t necessary. Fight she did. Over the summer, she slowly got better. She almost made it.

Despite Lula White’s inner calm, peace and strength, it cannot have been easy being fully “woke.” May she find the joy and rest she has earned.

Excerpt from the obituary notice of the New Haven Register, Sept. 16, 2019

Ms. White was frequently jailed as a freedom rider trying to desegregate public transportation. In addition, she was arrested for striking to raise salaries for teachers, and jeered for marching to protest injustice. She was recognized by the Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2016, was awarded the Thurgood Marshall Award for her activism and commu-nity service, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Albertus Magnus College in 2010. Lula fought the good fight.

18 Years of Endless War: Please Join Us to Remember and Protest, 10/7

“There must have been a time, somewhere near the beginning, when we could have said no.” ~ Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

October 7, 2019, will mark 18 years of the endless war that continues to be waged by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice will mark the cost of the ongoing violence by placing the September stone on the Memorial Cairn at the intersection of Broadway, Elm and Park streets in New Haven, Monday evening, Oct. 7, at 6 p.m.

The stone will be inscribed with the September death toll of US military personnel and the approximate documented numbers of civilians killed during that same period of time.

Top of the Rock Climate Picnic

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven Climate Movement

Join the New Haven Climate Movement from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6 for a picnic at the English Shelter Pavilion located at the top of East Rock Park overlooking the City of New Haven.

This is an opportunity to celebrate New Haven’s passage of a Climate Emergency Resolution, strategize next steps, and most importantly welcome new members. We encourage those who are concerned about the climate disaster and/or want to ensure a safe climate to join our picnic. All are welcome!

Food and beverages will be provided, but feel free to bring anything you want to share. If you do bring something to share, please consider others’ dietary choices and bring either a vegetarian or vegan dish.
If you have any questions about the event, please email newhavenclimatemovement@gmail.com.

Towards a New Paradigm of Creative Revolution — Part One

by Owen Charles, environmental, peace and community activist

We are in a time of great innovation, some say, mostly speaking of computer technology, “AI,” microparticle physics, genetic science, and other man-made detritus.

We are in a time of great crisis, meanwhile, as we soak in a toxic environment and begin to experience looming climate destruction borne of man-made garbage–hydrocarbons, plastics, pesticides, and other technologies.

It is time to recognize that we are in a downward spiral. As a species, we are clearly incapable. That is why it is up to SOME of us to recognize we are in a downward spiral… and do something about it.

No, not come up with some technological solution or grand design that will “save the world” but independent, creative, revolutionary ways of disconnecting from and unplugging from the destructive dystopia around us, so that we may build a new future. Tapping into our own creative revolutions, inviting and engaging, and welcoming those around us.

Is this a revolutionary idea? – YES and NO. YES, in that it is the answer towards upending the Existing Order (Capitalism, carnism, consumerism, etc.) that will likely implode as destructive forces it has unleashed grows in Tsunami fashion and drowns (most of) us all.

NO, in that it is already late to be getting to the party. Revolutionary work has started all around. Not cults of 150-year-old revolutionists or other political goings-on…. But, in the almost anonymous goings-on of growing autonomous movements — Bioregionalism groups, independent local movements of people living off the grid, tiny houses, living in vans & other vehicles, autonomous agricultural innovations, “gig economy” pursuits, bartering and new economies, and in the rise of cooperatives, collectives, and back-to-earth communalism–it is no longer enough to say “No”! In fact, it is counter-productive to spend much time doing this–opposing the facets and faults that in aggregate comprise the Existing Order.

While Bob Marley was right that “Total destruction is the only solution (no one can stop them now),” there will not be a turning point among humans to turn around the destruction of the planet (and each other) through our out-of-control hydrocarbonism, consumerism, and Capitalism… not until after climate destruction has so disrupted our lives that the great majority live in constant struggle to survive amidst the new environment of the planet. We ARE beyond… beyond the point of no return. Thus, we don’t say NO… We don’t say INCREMENTALISM. Thus, we say YES!

The clear answer for a monumental transition lies before us… lies in our embracing this, and saying “YES”.

Yes, to new paradigm.

Yes, to new ideas, ways of living, ways of helping each other, ways of creating anew.

Yes, to positive action.

Yes, to communes- bounding together to create new economies, new healthcare and educational possibilities, new ways of moving forward from where we are now.

And in this “new” paradigm there certainly may be echoes of the past… indigenous and ancient ways of basic, communitarian existence in a more balanced harmony with each other and with nature…

You can look at it as saying NO to the toxic culture and capitalism, and war, and… BUT it is important not to look at it this way and to instead approach it as SAYING YES.

Yes, first off to each other.

We need to unleash ourselves from the paradigm of individualism and that it is a dog-eat-dog world… and instead embrace that we are all IN THIS TOGETHER. This is one of the first rules used to sublimate us, is the rule of “divide and conquer”.

Thus fighting each other is abandoned as a mode of revolution, and in fact is Counter-revolutionary. Let’s continue to look around and find and support those who represent a new paradigm hidden in plain sight all around us!

We say YES to each other in the mode of improvisational group creation… “YES, And” … Your idea AND mine… “BOTH AND” (not Either / Or)… this way we do not tear ourselves apart and tear each other down, but we BUILD TOGETHER new ways, new organizations, new creative revolutions.

YES to cooperatives, YES to collectives, YES to unplugging and working, YES to more DOING and less TALKING, YES to CREATING, YES TO BIOREGIONALISM, YES to MUNICIPALISM, YES to YES to YES to YES to YES.

YES to down-sizing, YES to living more ruggedly with less, YES to helping others to do so (not shaming them), YES to creating ways to communicate independently YES to BEING the CHANGE we want to see. YES to worrying less about fear, division, disagreement, and looming destruction, and YES to focusing more on creative revolution to create the new ways of living that sustain us, save us, inspire us, give us some hope, some unity, and rebuild our interior and human goodness from the first step of the first individual, in a chain that has the potential to be unending, and free us from the chains of our dystopia.

Please reach out to us by joining our Facebook group @shorelinegreenparty or contacting me! Owen Charles at owencharles2003@yahoo.com

Coalition for People Update

We continue to work on healthcare for all, affordable housing, the environment, concerns of unfair energy prices, care for the homeless and residents of sober houses. Our next board meeting is on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2-4 p.m. on the lower level of the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. All are welcome to attend.

Annual membership dues for Coalition for People is $5. We would like more people to become members, as well as to consider joining our board. For more information, please call (203) 468-2541 or e-mail coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com.

In the last issue of PAR we notified readers of the passing of our board member Geraldine Poole. At the time of printing we were not able to include a photo. For all who remember Geraldine, we thought you would like to see her once more.

Readers want to know: What is the purpose of your organization?

How are you building your group? What campaigns are you organizing? What events are you planning?

We want to publicize the work groups have done and what they’re planning to do. We want to spread the word to others who will be inspired to join you, support your activism and build the struggles. Send us articles (even a paragraph or two) about what your group wants to do and any ideas for organizing!

Please send articles about your group’s recent and current activities and upcoming actions and events to parnewhaven@hotmail.com.

If you don’t yet get our monthly updates via email, you can easily sign up on par-newhaven.org. Just fill in your email in the box and watch for the confirmation email from FeedBurner.

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

The deadline for the October Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter is Thursday, September 19.

GUIDELINES FOR ARTICLES

We ask everyone to limit articles to 350 words.

Please include an enticing headline/title for your article so our readers will focus on your work right away.

Be sure to indicate your name and organization as they should appear in your byline.

If you haven’t written recent articles for PAR, please include information about your group’s purpose.

Do not use different fonts or sizes in your article.

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

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

ABOUT CALENDAR ITEMS

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

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

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

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

The PAR newsletter will come out approximately Saturday, September 28. Please consider this when submitting calendar items.

Here are other suggestions about submitting copy to the PAR Newsletter:

1. If you ask or encourage new groups to submit articles or calendar items to PAR, please give them a copy of these tips.

2. Submit copy by e-mail, either as regular text or as an MS Word or attachment (.doc or .docx).

3. If you are a first-time author for the PAR Newsletter, thank you! We hope you will subscribe and encourage others in your organization to do so.

4. If you know of someone who wants to write an article but does not use e-mail, send an e-mail to us with that person’s name and phone number.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT INSERTS

We prefer to carry articles and calendar listings rather than inserts. But if you have an insert to include in the Newsletter, we ask you to send the information contained in the flyer to this e-mail address as well so that it can be easily added to the PAR calendar.

Your organization must make and pay for the inserts. We will be able to handle only those inserts that are a full sheet (8.5 x 11) or half-sheet (8.5 x 5.5) of paper. We cannot accept postcards or cardstock flyers. There is a fee of $7 for inserts.

Please email for more information on inserts.

***

E-mail us if you’d to join our monthly planning meetings or help with the mailings. We always welcome more helpers and new ideas.

We’re looking forward to your articles! Thank you for your help in creating this community newsletter.

– PAR Planning Committee

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Sept. 20 Strike for the Climate

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

We are in a desperate situation, with awful climate news coming nearly every week and with just a decade or so to drastically cut exhausts of carbon in the air. At the same time, climate science deniers are at the helm in the U.S. and other major governments. City and state governments are trying, but it’s not nearly enough.

In May, millions of students took part in a school strike for the climate. Friday, Sept. 20 will hopefully be a renewal of that kind of action along with strikes and other kinds of action from other sectors in the global society.

We are learning from Puerto Rico and Hong Kong that mass mobilizations are the way to get things done. In Connecticut, the Connecticut Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) is organizing a week of actions starting Sept 20. There will be a demonstration in Hartford 12-3 p.m. at the Capitol Building, 210 Capitol Ave. More info at actionnetwork.org/events/ct-climate-strike. The best way to reach C3M is by email: C3Mobilization@gmail.com. Also see the site www.350ct.org.

The New Haven Climate Network is organizing an event later in the day, 3 p.m. on the New Haven Green, 250 Temple St. Look for them on Facebook (New Haven Climate Movement).

Trade unions worldwide are taking action in support of Sept. 20. See pepeace.org/climate-and-nature-work for details and the website of Connecticut Roundtable on Cli-mate and Jobs at ctclimateandjobs.org. If your union is planning anything bring it up with union officers or at a union meeting.

Visit the tables of Promoting Enduring Peace (PEP) and the Sierra Club at the CT Folk Festival/Green Expo, noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Edgerton Park in New Haven. Entrance to the festival is free.

PEP will be talking about its bold new calls for:
1) worker/community takeovers of fossil fuel industries, and
2) planning the economy for a smokestack-free future.

Read about it at www.PEPeace.org.

People’s Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet

by Nancy Eberg, Greater New Haven Peace Council

Because the UN officially opens Sept. 23 with many world leaders attending, a variety of peace events will be held in NYC. This coincides with the International Day of Peace (Sept. 21). On Sept. 22, a march and rally will begin in Herald Square at 2 p.m. (more details will be forthcoming).

On Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m., a forum will be held at the New York Community Church, 40 East 35th Street: The Path to International Peace Realizing the Vision of the UN Charter. Representatives from countries impacted by US sanctions and efforts to force regime change will speak. Sponsors include Code Pink, UNAC, Veterans for Peace, many local Green parties, ANSWER, and the US Peace Council.

As they develop, more details will be communicated. Questions: email the grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com/.

We Have a Climate Emergency!

by Wendy Hamilton, New Haven Mayoral Candidate

This is part of a letter I sent in reply to a form letter from the New Haven Climate Movement.

We have already gone over that cliff called climate change.  It has changed, and many will die from it.

Oil, gas, coal, timber, and cattle corporations currently run the world their own way and humans continue to breed in overwhelming numbers despite climate change, bad politics, dire poverty, and growing pollution.  Try telling your fellow humans to stop reproducing or to just cut back.  I wouldn’t try either.

Essentially, we are doomed as a species to suffer massive losses and very soon. Disease, coastal flooding, mass extinction, loss of diversity, dangerous weather threaten us. I have read many books about these global problems. Also, this country, the most violent and the most weaponized, continues to arm psychopaths and sociopaths of which there is a multitude. As poverty grows, so will crime.

But you ask what I will do as mayor in the here and now —

  • I will fight the utility companies and promote solar power.
  • I will support Planned Parenthood and parenting education.
  • I will encourage mass transit and bicycles.
  • I will work with the state to improve bus routes and schedules.
  • I will demand more jobs and service from YNHH.
  • I will publicize our disastrous air pollution.
  • I will create more parks and gardens.
  • I will take over blighted lots and buildings for the city.
  • I will increase home inspections by LCI.
  • I will increase hazardous waste removal and recycling service and improve the city dump.
  • I will demand more $$ from Yale Corp. as well as more academic participation in trying to save NH
  • I will improve city schools as education is key.

Sanctuary Order Issued; New Law Sought

A month after immigration activists heckled her at a rally, Mayor Toni Harp surprised them Wednesday night by announcing a new sanctuary-style executive order to protect the legal rights of the undocumented.

Activists praised the move — and called on the Board of Alders to take the next step by passing a law to make official New Haven’s status as a “sanctuary city.”

Harp announced the executive order on City Hall’s steps Wednesday evening, in front of nearly 150 sign-carrying protestors who’d turned out for a rally organized by Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) and New Haven Rising to call on the Board of Alders to pass the proposal to formally define New Haven as a “sanctuary city.”

Under the proposed legislation that alders are expected to take up soon, New Haven’s approach would be “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Arrest.”

Policies already require cops and teachers to follow most of those rules. Harp’s new executive order extends them to the rest of city government.

(Click here to download a copy of Harp’s executive order.)

Source: Sanctuary Order Issued; New Law Sought | New Haven Independent

Join the statewide Rapid Response Network in Connecticut

With the government threatening deportation raids, Unidad Latina en Acción is operating a 24-hour hotline and coordinating with groups across Connecticut to mobilize in the event of raids and deportations. Please indicate your town or city so that we can connect you to the Rapid Response Network in your region. Rapid Response means that you are ready to rally immediately during and after immigration raids and possibly take on volunteer roles. We also seek volunteers now to accompany immigrants during their court hearings. For accompaniment, you must be available some weekdays between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Training will be provided. Go to www.ulanewhaven.org/volunteer.

“Sober” Houses Need to Be Regulated and Held Accountable

Holly Hackett, Community Advocate, Member of Coalition for People

My life has been impacted immensely by substance use disorder. Has yours? The statistics say yes, that 1 in 3 people know someone with substance use disorder, a chronic and debilitating brain condition. There are approximately 2.1 million people (and growing) in the U.S. suffering from this condition but only 1 in 9 seek treatment, usually due to the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction. These untreated traumas or mental health issues that lead to the person self-medicating can also lead to other health issues, criminal activity and unfortunately, deaths of despair. Every 11 minutes someone dies from an overdose and half are in private homes. In doing my research, I’ve concluded that a lot of these deaths at private homes have occurred in so-called “sober” houses.

My love Tom passed away just 20 days shy of his 39th birthday of liver failure after being in a “sober” house for about 3-4 months. I’m trying to bring awareness to these illegitimate, unsafe, fly-by-night houses that anyone can start, where MANY people across the country struggling with substance use disorder have died.

The cost to live in these houses can range from $700 to $10,000 a month and may not include food, cable TV or linens. In Connecticut there is Public Act No 18-171, but by using simple verbiage these houses are absolved and no one seems to want to enforce said act.

I’m also discouraged that these managers and/or owners of these “sober” houses aren’t held criminally liable if someone dies of an overdose at the house or perhaps drinks and drives and gets into an accident. I’d like to gather everyone together who has been affected by this disorder to stand together, work together, and find a way to let our local, state and federal legislators know these houses are UNACCEPTABLE and MORE needs to be done. We need to protect the vulnerable communities of people with mental health and substance use disorders. The process of Tom dying was long, and at times extremely physically and emotionally painful for him, but his parents suffered through emotional turmoil that cannot even be put into words!

I am hoping PAR readers will want to join me in working on this. Please contact me via email at hollyh1133@gmail.com.

Coalition for People Updates and Plans for a Medicare for All Workshop

Many PAR readers who were at Coalition for People events through the years have come to know Geraldine Poole. She always greeted everyone and made them feel at home within the group. Geraldine was on the Board of Directors of Coalition for People for many years and passed away on June 19. We miss her smile, encouragement, and enthusiasm for working with as many people as possible for a world of justice and peace. CFP made two donations in Geraldine’s memory: one to the building fund of the new Stetson Library on Dixwell Avenue and the other to the African-American Historical and Cultural Society of the Ethnic Heritage Center. She was a gentle, loving, determined woman who was a true inspiration to all who knew her and worked with her.

At our August board meeting, we discussed having workshops on universal, single-payer, comprehensive healthcare followed by a conference. We recently learned of the group Medicare for All CT and some CFP members attended its conference the previous week. We are looking forward to continuing our networking with them to organize for an effective healthcare policy for everybody: universal, single-payer, comprehensive healthcare. Our next board meeting is on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 3-5 p.m. on the lower level of the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. All are welcome to attend.

Annual membership dues for Coalition for People are $5. We not only would like more people to become members but would like members to consider joining our board. For more information, please call (203) 468-2541 or e-mail coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com.

PAR News

PAR PARty Was Great! On July 27, PAR held a party for our subscribers and readers and we had a wonderful time! It is all too rare that activists and organizers have the luxury to socialize with each other and hang out without an agenda and list of demands! Many thanks to all who brought delicious food and to our musicians Francis Braunlich, Frank Panzarella and Chris Zurcher. We are grateful to our readers and article-writers, and hope to have more gatherings

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