Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers Opens Mae’s Closet

from IVCG Summer 2019 Newsletter

The culmination of several years of hard work and planning occurred on June 1 when Mae’s Closet, the durable medical equipment lending bank, officially opened its doors. The closet is located at the U-Haul facility at 1685 Dixwell Avenue in Hamden. Contact them by calling (475) 414-8333 from 9 a.m. to noon during the week or by emailing maescloset@gmail.com. You can request equipment at our website, www.carenewhaven.org. All lending and donation is by appointment.

Mae’s Closet acknowledges the generous contributions of the Hamden Rotary Club and the Town of Hamden in help-ing get the “seed money” needed for the closet to open. Mae’s Closet accepts donations and lends out “hard” durable medical equipment including mobility devices such as walkers, canes and wheelchairs, bathroom equipment such as shower chairs, and miscellaneous assistive or safety devices like grabbers and bed rails. At this time, we are neither accepting nor lending “soft” equipment such as pads, shoes, braces or diapers. (Please call Charlie’s Closet in Guilford at (203) 453-8359 if you want to acquire or donate these items.) We are asking for a donation of $1 per item or more, if you wish.

While U-Haul has worked with us to help us obtain the maximum space at the minimum price, we are actively seeking a community space that might be willing to permit us to run the closet for no charge. We have insurance and would be a good neighbor! Call us at the above number if you have any ideas or leads, and thanks so much!

Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers of Greater New Haven (IVCG) matches volunteers with elders in their towns, to help them age at home with dignity, support, and friends. www.carenewhaven.org.

Anti-Nuclear Vigils Commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki

A few days ago President Trumpy abrogated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement with Russia. The amount of time European and Russian nuclear forces have to make a decision about launch on warning drops dramatically to a handful of minutes. The nuclear weapons industry is licking its lips at the expected contracts and profits to be made on rebuilding the US nuclear arsenal at a cost of nearly $2 trillion, all approved by Congress. Grave danger.

A year ago Trumpy shredded the multinational nuclear deal with Iran and has since turned the economic screws on that country in order to get it to surrender its sovereignty to the billionaires and oil giants, or suffer another US-initiated war of aggression in the Middle East. Grave danger.

In 2002, George W. Bush killed the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty with Russia. The US has since installed first-strike nuclear missiles in Poland and Rumania and moved US/NATO forces up to the Russian border. Grave danger.

These treaties the US has so readily scrapped were designed to help safeguard us from nuclear war, nuclear annihilation.

If climate scorching is slowly suffocating us, a nuclear exchange will vaporize billions of us in an instant. Any survivors will likely either die of radiation poisoning or starve during a prolonged nuclear winter.

Our commemoration of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this year is also a call for the US to stop the nuclear madness. The US is leading the world into catastrophe and those of us who understand this have to lead in the other direction.

Tuesday, 8:00 AM (church bells @ 8:15). New Haven Green.
Friday, 10:45 AM (church bells @ 11:00). Amistad Statue adjacent to New Haven City Hall, 165 Church St.

74th Commemoration Hiroshima Nagasaki 2019 flyer.

Building a coalition around a climate action 1-3 p.m. Sunday June 30

At a recent day of discussion for 350 CT, we decided to make an effort to build a wide-ranging coalition around a climate action on Sept. 20 in support of the global climate strike led by the millions of school strikers around the world.

There will be a meeting on June 30 from 1-3 pm at the Unitarian Society of Hartford (50 Bloomfield Avenue) to make a plan. I hope that some PAR subscribers can attend. Thank you!

Anger Over Coast Guard Academy’s Choice of John Bolton as Featured Speaker

Many CT organizations condemned the choice of John R. Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, as the featured Coast Guard Academy, commencement speaker on May 22. Bolton is notorious for demanding military solutions to international disputes.  He ruined the Korea talks by advising the president to take an all-or-noth-ing approach.  He stoked interference in Venezuelan affairs and helped incite the attempted coup. In 2015 he wrote the infamous New York Times op-ed entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”  His militarism would plunge this coun-try into useless and unjust wars and would endanger the lives of millions of people in the world including U.S. soldiers and Coast Guard officers.

Among the groups that spoke out against Bolton’s appearance are the Greater New Haven Peace Council, Central CT Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Promoting Enduring Peace, Middle East Crisis Committee, Tree of Life Education Fund (CT), We Refuse to Be Enemies (CT), ANSWER Coalition (CT), Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), CT Peace and Solidarity Coalition and the War Resisters League.

Note To the Environmental Community | Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate

[Reprinted from CounterPunch, May 6, 2019: www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/06/note-to-the-environmental-community]

In 2003, political strategist Frank Luntz wrote a confidential Republican Party memo on what he called “the environmental communications battle.” In that memo, Luntz advised Republicans to change the words they used to meet their ends. “The scientific debate is closing but not yet closed,” he wrote. “There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science,” Luntz proposed using the phrase “climate change” instead of “global warming.” His reasoning: “[W]hile global warming has catastrophic communications attached to it, climate change sounds a more controllable and less emotional challenge.”

Like it or not, Frank Luntz had a point. When I was growing up in New England, “climate change” meant the changing of the seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Today, in the midst of increasingly alarming scientific studies and giant storms, the necessary response has been diminished by this widely-accepted softening of the words we use to describe the dangerous reality that stands before us. Language matters!

I recently reached out to two leading and widely respected ecologists, Paul Hawken and Bill McKibben, to get their input on the mainstream usage of the benign phrase “climate change.” McKibben now uses the far more potent phrase “climate chaos.” Hawken believes the proper term is “climate volatility.”

One thing is abundantly clear―it’s time to change the words to meet the peril! As Confucius said: “If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”

Would you join us in replacing the use of the all-together benign phrase “climate change” with variations of more grave language? Consider the following alternatives: climate crisis, climate catastrophe, climate disruption, climate upheaval, or even global warming. Whatever choice of words, we should stop using “climate change.”

Sincerely, Ralph Nader

New Book Documents How Ordinary American Communities Challenge the ‘One Percent’ and Win

Good Trouble: A Shoeleather History of Nonviolent Direct Action is a riveting chronicle of stories that prove time and again the actions of thoughtful, committed people can change their country and the world. It is a brisk, inspiring primer for veteran activists and newcomers alike.

Civil Rights struggles. Labor strikes. Immigrant organizing. Tenant occupations. LGBT campaigns. Each of the 40-plus examples in Good Trouble focuses on the power of organizing and mobilizing, relevant in any context, and serves as an “emergency tool kit” for nonviolent direct action.

“Good Trouble comes to us at a time when faith in our democracy is fading,” writes Rev. Damaris Whittaker, senior minister of Fort Washington Collegiate Church, New York.

“Change is the result of action, but those without hope do not act. Good Trouble is a tale of overcoming despair to beat the system,” says Jackie Allen-Doucot, lifelong member of the Catholic Worker Movement.

The book takes its title from a quote by John Lewis, member of Congress and legendary civil rights hero, who led a 2016 sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives: “Dr. King and Rosa Parks inspired me to get into trouble, good trouble,” Lewis said at the time.

Good Trouble author Steve Thornton is a retired union organizer who has spent forty-five years in Hartford CT on the front lines of student, labor, community, environmental, and anti-racist struggles. This is his third book, the first with Hard Ball Press, publisher of a wide range of working-class writings (hardballpress.org).

The Shoeleather History Project: Stories from Hartford’s grassroots: www.ShoeleatherHistoryProject.com.

Report on Coalition for People Annual Meeting

On April 17, the Coalition for People held its first annual meeting since 2014. Among the 24 attendees, there were many past members and some newcomers to the group.

The gathering started off with music by Flint Ladder. A slideshow featuring CFP founder Mary Johnson played during the performance.

Elected board members are Dorothy Johnson, Elizabeth Neuse, Holly Hackett and JoAnn Moran. If anyone wants to still join the board, they can be considered during the monthly business meetings. Please call (203) 468-2541 if you are interested in joining the board.

The keynote speaker was Rev. Bonita Grubbs, Director of Christian Community Action. She spoke about the long history of Coalition for People, the legacy of Mary Johnson, what it means to be organizing and inspiring people, and always pushing for what is right, even though it may not always be immediately evident. She gave the example that that week scientists were able to photograph a black hole, proving Albert Einstein’s theory about the existence of black holes, 64 years after Einstein’s death. Many ridiculed Einstein when he first presented that theory, just as many people call activists crazy for trying to change things. But just because we as activists don’t get immediate results doesn’t mean we’re crazy or wrong. Rev. Grubbs talked about the individual lights of each person, their intelligence, skills, how people have their own understanding, that everyone can bring their lights together, discuss reality and solutions from her or his own perspective, and shine the light to push things forward.

Discussion of various topics followed – affordable housing, Yale New Haven Hospital’s plan to move the primary care centers to Long Wharf, healthcare, homelessness, justice. It was a good gathering to share the concerns of Coalition members and supporters, as well as those new to CFP.

The monthly board meetings are open to the membership. For June, July and August, our meetings are on the third Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Avenue (June 19, July 17, and August 21). For more information, email coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com. Thank you!

Why We’re Still Standing Out Here in 2019: Sunday Vigil for Peace Mission Statement – Join With Us Noon-1 p.m.

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

Often people ask us what we mean when we say, “RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR.” What we mean is that the serial wars fought by the U.S. and its allies are one war being waged on many fronts. Men, women and children are being slaughtered, maimed, traumatized, 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: 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); the mass 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; 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 more than two years in power, has exponentially escalated on all fronts this war that we have been describing and resisting for years. And the 2018 “mid-term” elections largely ignored these issues.

With 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 climate change that are embraced in 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 administration has made transparent the existential threat posed by the 1% to all our lives and to the future of our planet.

RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR. Join the conversation any Sunday here at Broadway, Park and Elm Streets, New Haven, 12-1 p.m. newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com

Syrian Revolution to Be Examined June 15

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Save the date Saturday, June 15 for a talk by Yasser Munif, a Syrian professor of Sociology at Emerson College in Boston.  He has been to Syria several time during the last eight years of turmoil. He’ll be speaking about reports of hideous treatment and murder of tens of thousands of regime prisoners. We’ll also be talking about the call from Amnesty International for the U.S. to pay compensation to Syria for its brutal bombing campaign in Raqqa, the Putin/Assad bombing of Idlib province and the struggles between democratic forces and the HTS extremists.

Professional singer Dylan Connor will sing some of the songs he’s written about Syria. Connor is on the Syrian-American Council and traveled to Syria just last year. We should also have some photos of Syrian political art.

Final details about location and time of the event have not been set. Look at the sites pepeace.org and thestruggle.org for details in coming days.

Legal Escalation Against Catholic Activists Facing 25 Years for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Action | Accuracy.Org

Seven Catholic peace activists are facing 25 years in jail for entering the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia last April to protest U.S. nuclear weapons policy.

The activists are knowns as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. They sought to “nonviolently and symbolically disarm the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia” on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Friday, a magistrate moved to hinder their motion that the charges against them be dismissed under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. See the group’s statement: “Anti Nuclear Activists, Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Respond to U.S. Magistrate Cheesbro’s recommendation that our Motions to Dismiss be denied.” They are appealing this decision in the next 30 days.

Source: Legal Escalation Against Catholic Activists Facing 25 Years for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Action | Accuracy.Org

Happy May Day! Continue the Struggle for Justice!

by the PAR Planning Committee

Since the nationwide strike for the 8-hour workday in 1886, the first of May has become a historic day for the struggles of working people, and for over a hundred years May 1 has been celebrated as International Workers’ Day. Locally, in 1970, the May Day protests on the New Haven Green demanded freedom for Bobby Seale, justice for the Black Panthers, and the end of the Vietnam War. Starting in 1987 and continuing for thirty years on the Green, the annual May Day celebration each year brought together dozens of organizations to promote their work for labor rights, peace, human rights, and economic rights to the broader New Haven community. And since 2006, city-wide marches for immigrants’ rights are held on May 1. Peace, racism, police brutality, union struggles, fair wages, anti-war, immigration, a safe environment, criminal justice issues, labor history, welfare rights organizing, the right to healthcare — these are some of the struggles and issues in the celebration of international solidarity.

April was a month full of upsurge. From April 11-21, Stop & Shop workers from Connecticut, Rhode Island and

Massachusetts (31,000 workers) were on strike. The union considers the new contract a victory, preserving healthcare and retirement benefits and providing wage increases. The next strike in Connecticut will be unionized workers in nursing homes. They are scheduled to strike on May 1.

For days there have been massive protests and marches in New Haven and Hamden condemning the thoroughly unjustified Hamden and Yale police shooting in New Haven of two African-Americans in their early twenties on April 16. Thankfully, Stephanie Washington is recovering from her bullet wounds, and Paul Witherspoon was not hit. Video from the police body cameras has not yet been released. As of this writing, people will gather at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 6 at the Hamden Town Hall for the Legislative Council Meeting. We urge our readers to join in the many rallies for justice around these and other issues and be inspired by the many people at the forefront of these struggles for their lives and their livelihoods.

May Day 2019 — 100 Years of Struggle for Workers’ Rights

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

The annual Connecticut People’s World rally for International Workers’ Day will highlight union organizing today and in history. Themed “May Day 2019: 100 Years of Struggle for Workers’ Rights,” the rally will be held on Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St. The event, held during the 100th anniversary year of the Communist Party USA, will include a brief history of labor organizing by the Communist Party since its founding in 1919 and continuing today.

The experience of organizing food service workers who won a union last year at United Airlines will be shared by Jaime Myers-McPhail who lived in Colorado for several months working on the campaign, and his colleague Charlie Delgado who participated for a shorter time. Myers-McPhail is an organizer in New Haven with New Haven Rising and Unite Here.

“May Day Around the World” slide show will show workers’ protests and actions from every continent including many demands for equality for immigrant workers. The afternoon will be capped off with labor songs led by some of those who participated in the newly formed labor chorus at the Women’s March in Hartford this year.

On May 1, 1886, thousands of workers marched in Chicago to demand relief from brutal 12- and 14-hour workdays. A few days later, a suspicious bomb killed several Chicago police and protesters in Haymarket Square. Four of the march leaders were framed and executed. In their memory, May Day was proclaimed a day of international workers’ struggle and solidarity. In the United States, May Day took on new life when immigrant workers from Latin America held mega-marches for their rights in 2006. May Day 2019 is part of the resistance against the anti-people Trump/ Republican white supremacy agenda, and the rising movements to put peace, planet and people before profits

Donation is $5 or what you can afford. A fund appeal for the People’s World will be made. For information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

Where Your Tax Money Goes…

information from a leaflet from New Haven Sunday Vigil

April 15 was the deadline for filing federal and state taxes for 2018. The oft-quoted or misquoted phrase linking “death and taxes” is apropos in a way its originator(s) did not intend. A huge percentage of our tax dollars goes to fund death-dealing in the form of endless war throughout the world, and to subsidize big corporations and 1% of the wealthiest individuals. A much, much smaller percentage goes to fund the things we all care about and desperately need — healthcare, education, housing, infrastructure, a clean environment, good jobs and good wages for everyone.

Imagine if the percentages were reversed

Imagine, in fact, a tax code where we each paid our fair share according to our income, with the wealthiest paying the most. Imagine that these taxes funded a system which produced and improved upon the things we all require to sustain our lives, instead of one which exports endless war and rewards corporate greed. Imagine what we could do for ourselves, each other, and our planet. Imagine. Act.

Resist this Endless War! Join the conversation every Sunday at the intersection of Broadway, Park and Elm streets from noon till 1 p.m. The website for more information is newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com.

Help Push New Health Care Choices This Session!

by Protect Our Care Connecticut

From Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut:

The race is on to offer Connecticut small businesses and individuals new quality health insurance coverage they can afford. Will you help us get over the finish line?

Act Now! Call Governor Lamont at 800-406-1527 and let him know that you need him to support small businesses and individuals seeking better health insurance choices. Ask him to support House Bill 7267/SB 134. Make the call now!

BACKGROUND: Groundbreaking legislation to open up new health insurance choices, built upon the health coverage state employees and legislators receive, could pass in the next six weeks. Small businesses are the major source of job growth in our state, employing over 700,000 people. They struggle to afford health coverage for their workers, facing double-digit increases year after year. They deserve better options for their employees, not health plans that only pay for care after people spend thousands of dollars on co-pays and deductibles.

Individuals who buy insurance on their own have fewer and worse insurance choices. The high deductibles they face are a barrier to using their coverage to address worrying symptoms or to help them stay healthy. A new insurance choice built upon the state plan, sometimes called a “public option,” would mean small businesses and individuals could benefit from the negotiating power of the largest health plan in the state.

Save the Date – Wed. May 1 – Health Care Action Day Join us at the state Capitol to tell legislators – It’s Time to Act on Health Care!

10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Ave., Hartford. We will start with an issues briefing (location to be determined) and then meet with legislators. We are working in partnership with the Women’s Health Lobby Day. Issues briefing will also include updates on major women’s health issues.

Protect Our Care CT priority bills/issues:

*Protect Medicaid/HUSKY from cuts
*Establish public health insurance options for small businesses/nonprofits and individuals buying on the private market (HB 7267; SB 134)
*Bring down the price of prescription drugs (HB 7174).

See Resources page of www.protectourcarect.org for information on POCCT bills.

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