Resettled Afghan Frets For Trapped Family

Paul Bass, NH Independent

[Excerpts from article at newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/munir_ahmed_afghanistan_family]

The latest news about desperate Afghans seeking to flee the Taliban isn’t an abstract story about strangers for Munir Ahmed. It’s about his parents and brothers. Ahmed, a civil engineer, resettled in New Haven in 2017 after escaping death threats in his native Khost, where he helped maintain a U.S. military airfield. He has rebuilt a successful life here.

Now that the U.S. military has fled Afghanistan and the Taliban has taken control of the country, he’s praying that his remaining family members, too, can get out. They were in the process of obtaining the same special immigration visa Ahmed had received when the Afghan government collapsed immediately upon the U.S. withdrawal.

Imagine “your country is collapsing in front of your eyes. People are shocked. People are despaired,” Ahmed said.

The local community is about to grow more once Afghan families do make it out of the country. Many of the new arrivals belong to an informal network. Like many, he has helped New Haven’s Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) to find jobs and housing for new arrivals.

Ten Afghan families have arrived in New Haven since mid-July, reported IRIS spokesperson Ann O’Brien. “We have been put on 24-hour notice to receive families.“

O’Brien was asked what help IRIS needs now from the community. Her answer: First and foremost, financial donations to help with that 24-hour response process for new arrivals. IRIS also anticipates increased food assistance needs while new arrivals wait for work permits.

[To donate to IRIS, go to https://irisct.org/donate. For questions, call (203) 562-2095 or email info@irisct.org]

News from the Green Party of Connecticut

Ronna Stuller, secretary, Green Party of CT

As a unity of local chapters throughout the state, the Green Party of Connecticut is committed to the Four Pillars of all Green Parties worldwide: grassroots democracy, social justice, non-violence and ecological wisdom. In order to empower the political voice of the people – not corporate interests or their lobbyists – Green Party candidates accept contributions only from individuals, not from PACs. This year’s election we are running over a dozen candidates in municipal elections all across Connecticut.

Justin Paglino MD, Ph.D., of Guilford, was our 2020 nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the third Congressional District. He has continued, on the local and national front, to advocate for a nonprofit healthcare system that serves everyone, as well as reforms that would strengthen our democracy, repair our environment, and invest in a peaceful future.

We invite readers to learn more about our organization at www.ctgreenparty.org or www.facebook.com/GreenPartyofConnecticut.  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

I am running again for the U.S. House of Representatives, for the seat currently held by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and I anticipate that my name will be on the ballot in November 2022. I intend to once again seek the nomination of the Green Party of Connecticut.

The factors that spurred my initial decision to run for this office are unchanged. Our national healthcare system still makes healthcare unaffordable for vast swaths of Americans. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support single-payer Medicare for All, the reform that would save $500 billion dollars and 70,000 lives each year. Recently New Haven passed a resolution declaring its support for Medicare for All, yet our representative in Congress is still not a cosponsor.

Our national energy policy is still completely inadequate to address the severe threat of climate change. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support the carbon tax and dividend policy we need to finally put a real limiting force on our untamed carbon emissions, while making the transition to sustainable energy affordable for all. Our nation still grotesquely over-spends on the military budget, and the City of New Haven recently passed a resolution declaring this to be the case. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, who voted against a 10% cut to the Pentagon budget, I support a 50% budget cut, with just transition programs in place to keep defense industry employees employed. We are in more need of windmill blades at this time than helicopter blades, but the skill sets to make these do overlap significantly.

Our nation’s runaway economic inequality continues to hurt. Although I give credit to Rep. DeLauro for fighting for the child tax credit, I would go further and call for a Federal Jobs guarantee and Universal Basic Income, as more progressive members of Congress have already done and Rep. DeLauro has not.

Our nation’s politics are deeply corrupted by corporate interests. Unlike Rep. DeLauro I accept no special interest money, only funding from individuals. Our two-party system discourages voters from voting their values, but I encourage voters to do exactly that, because if you don’t vote for something, you’ll never get it. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support Ranked Choice Voting, a reform that eliminates the spoiler effect and thus will allow multiparty democracy to flourish.

Please visit my website at justin4all.org to sign up for my newsletter, or to contribute to this campaign for healthcare, climate, peace, economic justice, and uncorrupted multi-party democracy.

Thank you.

Prescription for Whose Peace Of Mind?

Joan Cavanagh, Member, Second Thoughts Connecticut

Seven activists identifying as “Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide” presented an alternative viewpoint at a screening of Prescription for Peace of Mind: An Option for the Terminally Ill at the New Haven Free Public Library on Wednesday, August 11.

With signs reading “Suicide is Not a Medical Treatment” and “Medical Assisted Suicide threatens the elderly, the poor, the disabled, you,” they passed out leaflets with nine reasons to oppose legislation allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients they deem “terminally ill.” Five went inside to raise their objections directly to the two filmmakers. The screening was sparsely attended.

Presented as part of the New Haven Documentary Film Series, the film makes no pretense of objectivity. In addition to the three individuals whose very sad stories are told, family members who have spoken in support of Medical Assisted Suicide (MAS) are also interviewed at length. In a statement perhaps unintended to be so revealing, one family member, a nurse who also attended the screening, said that her reason for supporting the legislation is that the hospice care for her dying father was so inadequate and unhelpful.

The film also features Compassion and Choices Connecticut Field Director Tim Appleton and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D., Fairfield), long-time prime movers of MAS legislation in Connecticut. The voices of disability justice and other activists who testify before our state legislature annually and work continually to educate about the dangers of MAS are nowhere to be heard.

The five challenged this glaring and deliberate omission and discussed the dangers of MAS in detail, recounting painful personal stories of unyielding institutional pressure by the medical system to end life-sustaining treatment for their own loved ones. They cited cost-cutting imperatives by hospitals and insurance companies combined with prejudice against the disabled, the elderly, and the poor as twin threats that can only be further enabled by this legislation.

The most recent Assisted Suicide bill in Connecticut was voted out of the Public Health Committee for the first time in 2021, moving to the Judiciary Committee which chose not to bring it to a vote. Opponents fear another bill will be introduced next year.

SAVE THE DATE for an upcoming event Saturday, Oct. 2. “NOT DEAD YET” community sing-along and speak-out with Anita Cameron, Director of Minority Out-reach at Not Dead Yet (notdeadyet.org) and other invited speakers to be announced. NHFPL Community Program Room, 2-4 p.m., 133 Elm St. Fully accessible; masks required. Details  joan.cavanagh@gmail.com.

1,331 Days Later, Nelson Pinos Celebrates His Stay Of Deportation

Alma Mendoza, Arts Paper, August 4

Nelson Pinos survived nearly four years in sanctuary at a church in downtown New Haven. Multiple Christmases, birthdays, sanctuary concerts, legal battles and grassroots actions later, he is fighting to stay in this country from his own home, surrounded by members of his family.

On Saturday afternoon [July 31, 2021], city officials, organizers, legal advocates, members of Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), Connecticut Shoreline Invisible, First & Summer-field United Methodist Church and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal gathered outside the church to celebrate Pinos’ one-year stay of deportation. Pinos, an Ecuadorian immigrant and father of three who had planned to speak in person, attended via phone after learning he had been exposed to Covid-19 on Friday.

Nelson Pinos, with his wife Elsa in Sept. 2018. Lucy Gellman Photo

“I wanted to thank everybody that was there since day one,” he said on speakerphone. “It was a hard time but it was also a joy to meet all of you, to have [you] with me through these almost four years.”
Pinos first took refuge in First & Summerfield in November 2017 after Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials issued deportation orders. At the time, he had been living in the United States since 1992 and working in a factory for 15 years. Restricted to the church, he slept each night in the same small bedroom on the building’s second floor. In 2019, he began spending time between home and the church, fearing that he would never get a stay. His children, particularly his daughters, have been vocal about the trauma that they and their younger brother have experienced during that time.

Pinos’ attorney, Glenn Formica, described the battle to keep Pinos in the U.S. as “a relay race,” in which he picked up a legal baton that grassroots organizers and lawyers Tina Colón Williams and Yazmin Rodriguez carried bravely for years. He reminded attendees that Pinos’ case is not over—the year-long stay is part of a longer battle for permanent residency. He pointed to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which passed under President Bill Clinton. The law, which he lambasted as antiquated and overdue for change, states that undocumented immigrants must return to their home countries for 10 years if they want to be considered for citizenship. “That’s a decade,” Formica said. “Nelson would return to New Haven, to his family, when he was 57 years old. That’s why Nelson found his way to this church. He didn’t have a decade to give away.”

Pinos also thanked organizers, congregants, and faith leaders for continuing to fight for him. When First & Summer-field first heard about his case three and a half years ago, members voted to take him in. One year became two, which became over three… He said the time in the church has been a nightmare for himself and his family.

Now with a year of freedom, he said he feels a sense of calm by going back home to his family. Over the phone, he expressed his love and appreciation towards all those who attended and activists who organized and fought so hard for his freedom. Though he was successfully granted a year, he added, the battle isn’t over yet.

Notes to PAR Readers

We urge you to check the internet for the many demonstrations protesting the bombing of Gaza. As of this printing, there were rallies and marches in Hartford, New London, New Haven, and Manchester, as well as in cities throughout the US and around the world. The New Haven rally and march on May 22 was in solidarity with the people of Palestine and Colombia, fighting for their right to life and self-determination. Video footage is available at thestruggle.org.

A reminder that PAR does not publish in the summer. The next issue you receive will be the September issue. If your subscription has expired with this issue, you will have a renewal form inserted in this issue. Please look for it and renew your subscription. We ask for $13, or whatever you can afford.

Please let us know if you find out that regularly-occurring meetings or events have resumed so we can list them in our calendar pages. E-mail us at parnewhaven@hotmail.com. Many of the previously regularly scheduled programs have changed frequency, gone on hiatus, or switched to Zoom. We want to keep our readers in the know so they have options for activism.

Are you computer-proficient? We’d like help on the Production Team. We currently use a combination of Word and Open Office for this newsletter, and are open to suggestions for other programs for layout. E-mail parnewhaven@hotmail.com and put “computer-proficient help” in the subject line. A stipend may be available.

May Day, International Workers’ Day Events

Saturday, May 1, New Haven, noon – 4 p.m. rally and march
May 1 is a critical time to take to the streets in a broad coalition for migrant justice and worker justice. Unidad Latina en Acción is convening a “Day Without Immigrants” massive rally on the New Haven Green, and a march at 4 p.m. For information go to ULA’s Facebook page or call (475) 323-9413.

March & Rally to Demand a Long Term Caregivers Bill of Rights at 12 p.m. Event at the Governor’s Mansion, by SEIU District 1199 New England, 15 Trinity St, Hartford. They call us heroes, but on the job – Home Care, Group Home, and Nursing Home workers – we are treated like we’re expendable. May 1st is International Workers’ Day – and we’re calling on Governor Lamont to CARE FOR CAREGIVERS by ending the cycle of structural racism that devalues the work of predominantly Black, Brown, and working class white women who work in long term care.

We are gathering in the northwest corner of Elizabeth Park in West Hartford and marching the half-mile up Asylum Ave. and turning onto Prospect St. to rally in front of the Governor’s mansion.

Free parking and socially distanced shuttle bus beginning at 11:15 from the 1199 office at 77 Huyshope Ave, Hartford. More info: www.facebook.com/events/466564707915332

Workers of the World Unite for an Equitable RECOVERY FOR ALL Sunday, May 2, at 4 p.m. EDT (US & Canada) via Zoom. Host Contact Info: ct-pww@pobox.com.

May Day 2021, International Workers’ Day, comes one year into the COVID-19 crisis, as workers resist racial and economic inequalities and demand fundamental change and a Recovery for All. Come together in unity & solidarity for a special rally hosted by CT People’s World.
Spanish language interpretation will be provided.

Rally Program:

  • Special Guest: RECOVERY FOR ALL Coalition Members;
  • Panel discussion with 1199 workers, Husky For Immigrants, Yale Union workers, also public workers from AFT on the front lines of the fight for essential workers and all workers;
  • Slide show of resistance and victories by workers on all continents, including in CT during COVID-19, challenging giant corporate profits from the impoverishment of working people;
  • Solidarity actions and demands.

Register now using the link below. After registering, you will get a confirmation email with information about joining the rally.

PeoplesWorld.org has extensive coverage of the COVID-19 crisis and struggles for racial, economic and climate justice on the side of the multi-racial working class. Contributions are welcomed to help People’s World get over economic problems due to the pandemic, and continue to contribute to the labor and people’s movements and thrive. Please mail donations to CT People’s World Committee, 37 Howe St., New Haven, CT 06511.

For more visit https://tinyurl.com/FB654654may-day-2021

Vigil Honors Lives Lost to COVID in New Haven

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Accíon

In a vigil to commemorate one year of the COVID crisis, on March 22 the immigrant organization Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), along with Black & Brown United in Action, and Hamden Action Now remembered 186 lives lost in New Haven, including two of their loved ones, Nora Garcia and Ignacia Teniza.

photo: Frank Panzarella

To the crowd of sixty people, ULA announced a Rental Relief Fund and called for an economic recovery for immigrants. ULA released a report documenting the needs of their community and the urgent demand for an economic recovery to include immigrants. Since the pandemic began, ULA has mobilized nearly a dozen car caravans to the state capitol and governor’s mansion calling for COVID relief for “essential” undocumented workers, who have been excluded from unemployment insurance and federal stimulus payments.

While US Congress has failed to provide any relief to undocumented workers, the state of Connecticut last week launched UniteCT, a $235 million rental assistance program that is open to all residents regardless of immigrant status. At the same time, the state legislature is considering Senate Bill 956, which would open Husky health insurance to immigrants. The rental assistance fund comes after ULA and partner organizations negotiated for nearly one year with the Connecticut Department of Housing and distributed $2.5 million in a pilot program.

“Today as we remember Nora and Ignacia and the 186 lives lost in our city, we will call for a new day in Connecticut, when healthcare and economic security will be a right for all of us, not just for a few of us,” said John Jairo Lugo, Community Organizing Director of ULA.  “As we mourn the dead, we must denounce the deadly racial and economic inequities in this state, and we must fight for the living by creating a recovery for all that includes undocumented workers and families.”

For more information: Megan Fountain, (203) 479-2959, megan@ulanewhaven.org.

Letter to Judge Requesting Leniency in Sentencing of Mark Colville

by Promoting Enduring Peace

Mark Colville is scheduled to be sentenced April 9 for his participation in the Kings Bay Plowshares anti-nuclear action. The following letter was sent to the judge who will sentence him. For information: kingsbayplowshares7.org.

February 12, 2021

The Honorable Lisa Godbey Wood
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia
801 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520

Dear Justice Wood:

I write to you on behalf of the members of Promoting Enduring Peace, an organization founded in Connecticut in 1952. Our mission is to bring together the movements for international peace, planetary harmony, and social justice. We are best known for the American equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize, known as the Gandhi Peace Award, bestowed first on Eleanor Roosevelt in 1960, and since then presented annually to leaders of peace and progress such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Daniel Ellsberg, César Chávez, and Ralph Nader.

Since 1952 we have supported nonviolent ways to highlight the need to put aside weapons of mass destruction that threaten civilization. We are especially moved by peace advocates willing to pay a price to carry out their religious commitment to peace via nonviolent action.

In that regard, we implore you to show leniency in the sentencing of Mark Colville, regarded in our community as a great moral leader. We ask specifically that his sentence be time served.

We ask you to consider the nature of the time when Mark Colville and the other members of the Kings Bay Plowshares entered the Naval facility. They were responding in a noble and completely nonviolent way to the announcement of a $10 trillion “modernization” campaign of U.S. nuclear weapons, and when the President renounced virtually all U.S. weapons control treaties and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. These few explained that they were desperate to warn the world that we were on a path towards nuclear war. We believe that all of us should follow their example in taking a stand against these supremely destructive weapons systems. But at the time of the Plow-shares action, no one else was listening.

Many of us in Promoting Enduring Peace personally know Mark Colville and can attest to his outstanding and merciful work for the homeless. His family home has been a soup kitchen for years. He has also made great efforts to stop torture everywhere. He has now served 15 months in prison.
Please understand the sacrifices he has made to help make us all safer. Please let him return to his family and his admirable work.

For peace and progress,

James C. van Pelt, President
Stanley Heller, Administrator

Virtual Women’s & Gender Studies Conference at SCSU, Friday and Saturday, April 23 and 24, 2021

This conference offers a creative, critical space for a two-day virtual inquiry across differences and communities into the intersections of gender, race, community, and conflict.  For three decades now, the feminist collective at SCSU has continuously hosted a national conference that reaches across communities and brings together minds and hearts for peace and justice. Keynote Speakers: Margo Okazawa-Rey, Professor Emerita, San Francisco SU, April 23, 7:30-8:30 p.m.; Loretta Ross, Associate Professor, Smith College, April 24, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

On April 24, from 3:45-5 p.m., Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) will present the session Women Rising: Stories of Six Courageous Palestinian and Israeli Women. The six women will speak about how their lives have been deeply affected by the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Palestine. JVPNH’s goal is to highlight the spectrum of responses that the women have had to the challenges brought on by the occupation, and to encourage discussion of those responses.

For more information, please contact wgs@southernct.edu  or visit https://inside.southernct.edu/womens-gender-studies/conferences/2021.

‘Outraged Elders’ Keep RBG’s Spirit Alive

by Melinda Tuhus, New Haven Independent, March 16, 2021

Dori Dumas wanted to celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s birthday on March 15, so she pitched the idea to the other members of the core group of Outraged Elders. They showed up in single-digit windchill temperatures on the Green on Monday, paper lace collars around their necks, signs displayed around “the bench” across from the federal courthouse to signify the wisdom “the notorious RBG” dispensed in her decades on the Supreme Court.

Outraged Elders is the group of Black and white women who planned two COVID-safe Black Lives Matter rallies on the Green last summer to enable older residents who were staying home to avoid catching a deadly disease to safely express their support.

“As a group of women activists, we thought it most appropriate during Women’s History Month to honor the life and legacy of the honorable Ruth Bader Ginsberg, ‘The Notorious R.B.G.’ on her birthday,” said Dumas, who is also president of the Greater New Haven chapter of the NAACP. “The bench is a reminder that we have to keep the pressure on. We have to use our power of the vote and keep pushing for laws that protect and advance equality, women’s rights and more,” she said. “The struggle continues, but the fight continues as well.”

The women used this outing to express support for many struggles, sometimes reading a relevant quote from Ginsberg. The Rev. Allie Perry promoted the efforts of Stop Solitary CT to pass the Protect Act to end solitary confinement in the state’s prisons.

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

Never Ending Books Collective at 810 State St.

neverendingbooks.net

Never Ending Books Collective: We’re friends who value our city and what Never Ending Books has been to us and countless others, and who want to help shepherd it into New Haven’s future. And we want you to be a part of it!

Late last year, news broke that New Haven’s Never Ending Books — for years a sanctuary for artists, bookworms, and performers — was closing. We want to keep it open. And we need your help to make it possible.

The Never Ending Books Collective will create a community-driven, independent art and cultural center dedicated to keeping art at street level by providing an inclusive space for both artists and audiences, a curated print media selection, low-cost events, exhibitions, and more in a multi-use storefront.

That will mean more regular hours; a curated selection of used books for sale; a selection of art, literature, comix, zines, and more from local creators; and eventually, when it’s safe, a space for musicians and performers.

Check out the article from the New Haven Independent: https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/neb_collective.

Sign up for newsletters at neverendingbooks.net. For now our hours are Saturday and Sunday 3-5 p.m. There is also an art exchange those hours: bring in a piece of art and take one from the bookstore. More hours will soon be posted on the website. When you’re in the neighborhood, stop by 810 State Street. If we’re open, please come in!

The Friends of Kensington Playground April Update

by Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Taking the Dwight neighborhood’s only public playground for housing amounts to environmental injustice. Our efforts to save Kensington Playground from development continue.

Friends of Kensington Playground lawsuit in State court:

  • The City of New Haven has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit (on the grounds of lack of standing).  One Friend owns her home and lives across the street, so we expect to win on that.
  • The Community Builders (TCB) has filed a motion to be a party in the lawsuit.  The judge has said no for now.

The Mayor said no to mediation at March’s neighborhood meeting, choosing instead to spend taxpayer funds needless-ly to defend a lawsuit.  There are win-win options. Mediation could be helpful.
We asked the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to get involved. They have asked the City of New Haven to explain how people in the community were involved in consideration of the sale of the site and how a review of the site’s historic significance was done in advance of the decision to sell it.

Friends of Kensington Playground will be hosting several events in the park. Please come and please wear a mask. Food Pantry, Easter Basket Giveaway: Saturday, April 3, 10 a.m.; Park Spring Clean Up: Sat., April 10, 10-11 a.m.; Kids Bike Safety Clinic: Sat., Apr. 17, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.; Clothing/Household Goods Giveaway – May, date pending.

To get involved, learn more, donate, and sign our petition, please visit our website: KensingtonPlayground.org.

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 environ-mental injustice. Require our city, state and federal governments to follow the law.

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