Libraries Expand In-Person Services

by Gina Bingham, NHFPL

The New Haven Free Public Library has expanded its in-person services with limited hours for technology use and short browsing visits at the Ives Main Library, Fair Haven Branch, Mitchell Branch and Wilson Branch. The Stetson Branch will continue to offer curbside services until further notice.

The following services will be available:

  • Picking up holds and requests
  • Opening or renewing a library card
  • Browsing and checking out new materials for all ages (limit to one 30-minute session per day)
  • Using a library computer by appointment (limit to one 90-minute session per day)
  • Photocopying/printing and faxing (self-service)
  • Check out of Wi-Fi hotspots and Chromebooks to New Haven residents with adult cards
  • Research assistance

In addition to offering materials on-site and through curbside pick-up, the Library provides access to virtual programming, e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming video, information resources, and research assistance by phone and chat via the Library website nhfpl.org.
The Library has implemented a number of visitation and safety guidelines:

All patrons over the age of two are required to wear a mask and maintain a six-foot distance from others at all times. Due to a limited occupancy rate, it is recommended that visitors make an appointment ahead of time by calling the location they wish to visit.

No food or drink will be allowed in the Library to ensure that masks are worn at all times for the safety of customers and Library staff.

Access to computers is available with a 90-minute time limit. Library staff may not be able to provide extensive assistance. Should visitors have any special needs, please call ahead to alert staff for possible options.

New Haven residents can get library cards over the phone or in person at our locations. Please call any branch for assistance. NHFPL no longer charges late fees for materials returned.  Material replacement fees for lost materials can be paid via debit/credit cards online or inside a branch with cash, check or card.

Ives Main Library, 133 Elm St., (203) 946-8130. Call for information about all the branches, or visit nhfpl.org.

NHFPL Launches Laptop Lending Program

by Gina Bingham, NHFPL

The New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) announces the expansion of its mobile Wi-Fi hotspot lending program to include a laptop lending program, expanding free internet and computer access to patrons beyond the five public service locations.  Wi-Fi hotspots and Chromebook laptops are available for 3-week loan periods to adult (18+) NHFPL cardholders who are residents of New Haven and have accounts in good standing.  Devices not returned to the library within the 3-week loan period will be deactivated and a replacement fee will be charged to the borrower.

“The New Haven Free Public Library is committed to removing barriers to digital access and ensuring free internet access is accessible to all our patrons,” said John Jessen, City Librarian. “We are proud to further our work towards equitable access to technology to help bridge the digital divide within our city. While we realize that this is not a magic bullet, we support Mayor Justin Elicker’s efforts to bring connectivity to the entire City and want to deeply thank our partners at the State Library of Connecticut and at Verizon and T-Mobile for their contributions in ensuring all citizens of New Haven can more easily participate in the digital and civic life of the city.”

The Library’s Chromebooks were provided through funding made available by the State of Connecticut as part of the CARES Act.  Customers may call any New Haven Free Public Library location to reserve a Chromebook, a hotspot, or both with instructions available in English and Spanish.  Presentation of a valid photo ID and library card is required.

[To check out a laptop from the downtown Ives library, please call (203) 946-8130, ext. 114. For a laptop from a branch library, please call that branch directly.]

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.

What’s Your Story? People Get Ready!

https://www.peoplegetreadybooks.com

March 19, 2021

Like many small businesses across the country, a socially-conscious bookstore in New Haven has employed some creative strategies to stay afloat after the pandemic forced its doors to close, National Public Radio reported.

Delores Williams and Lauren Anderson are the co-founders of People Get Ready (PGR), which focuses on works by authors from underrepresented groups, including people of color and authors who are LGBTQ+, multilingual and/or Indigenous.

When the pandemic hit last March, Williams and Anderson found new ways to serve their community. Among other strategies, they’ve offered virtual read-alouds, upgraded their online store, and even have delivered books locally for free. The two say that books have provided their customers with comfort, growth and connection in a time that has forced us to be apart.

“The most important lesson we have learned is that we can’t go wrong if we stick to our founding mission, listen to what our neighbors tell us they need from us, and extend grace to one another as we figure out what it means to nurture an emerging business in these times,” Williams and Anderson write.

For more info, contact PGR at
119 Whalley Ave., New Haven, CT  06511
(203) 954-6678
https://www.peoplegetreadybooks.com

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!

Paid Internships for High School Students Interested in Journalism

Do you know any local high school students who might want to learn about journalism? Then please share this information about the Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s Youth Arts Journalism Initiative.

Students admitted to our program have a chance to participate in a virtual, after-school activity where they’ll get to learn about journalism and get paid $75 for every story they write for the Arts Council’s digital publication, The Arts Paper. They’ll also get a stipend of $250 for their participation in our roughly 9-week program.

Please share our application with all the high school students you know. Applications are due March 6. https://www.newhavenarts.org/yaji

Book Review: The United States of War

by Jeffry Larson, PAR reader

Highly commendable is a dense and well-researched history of “the American way of war”: The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State. By David Vine, published by the University of California Press: 2020, in the California Series in Public Anthropology. Available in local libraries.

This admirable history could serve as a fitting documentation of the historical discussion at the beginning of the article from the New Haven Sunday vigilers on the recent attempted coup d’état at the U.S. Capitol that appeared in the February issue of the PAR Newsletter.  This comprehensive reference guide to the “American way of war” describes the aggressive, imperialistic wars that our country has waged since its foundation.

In his preface, Vine makes what may be a minor correction to the vigilers’ dating the U.S.’s regime-changing violence as starting in the 20th Century when he writes: “Some tend to think that this [present] period of forever war is exceptional. Some assume, as I did, that it’s unusual that most new U.S. recruits and new U.S. college students have no memory of a time when their country wasn’t at war. To the contrary, this state of war is the norm in U.S. history.  According to the …Congressional Research Service ,..  the U.S. military has waged war, engaged in combat, or otherwise engaged its forces aggressively in foreign lands in all but eleven years of its existence.” (p. xiv)

The “American way of war” was set forth in General George Washington’s orders to Maj. Gen. John Sullivan about what to do with indigenous tribes who sided with the British in the War of Independence: “Lay waste all the settlements around, that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed… (Chapter 3: Why Are So Many Places Named Fort? p. 50). Little wonder that this soon-to-be first U.S. president was dubbed “Destroyer of villages” by the indigenous inhabitants.

Vine traces the development of U.S.’s aggressive imperialist policy through the lens of forts constructed largely in foreign lands; he supplies informative maps, tables, and charts.  A companion book by Vine is his Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, also available in local libraries through the state’s collective online library catalog; this book serves as a catalog of the 800 foreign bases run by what Americans call their “Department of Defense,” Vine reaches out to families of US soldiers lost in our “forever wars;” he is admirable in his generous treatment of these indirect casualties of U.S. aggression.

“Unapologetically Radical”

The New Haven Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs, the International Festival of Arts & Ideas and Music Haven presented the virtual event “Unapologetically Radical” on Feb. 20 to promote anti-racism through arts and culture.

From the press release: “Unapologetically Radical is a one-day virtual event created to address, amplify, and activate anti-racism in arts and culture. This is a safe space for truth-telling and ground-breaking conversations around dismantling systems of racial injustice and applying immediate and direct change.

“….two unique tracks will explore themes around hip-hop & culture as a tool for activism and social change, preservation of black and brown culture, truth and reconciliation and busting the myths around what allyship looks like, just to name a few. This day is designed for Black, indigenous and people of color, community activists, community artists, and arts and cultural organizations doing anti-racism work.”

At this time, we do not know if any of the virtual event will be available on YouTube or Facebook. The website is https://unapologeticallyradical.splashthat.com. For more information, e-mail info@unapologeticallyradical.com to find out about availability of viewing this event “after the fact.”

Trouble in the Connecticut Suburbs: Revolutionary Road

by Andy Piascik, activist, author

Connecticut’s Fairfield County has cities that, even in their bustling heydays, were places rife with poverty and despair. It is also historically a place where the well-to-do and richest of the rich live. Both have been the subject of much literature, and Richard Yates’s 1961 Revolutionary Road is one of the best novels about the latter.

Set in 1955, the novel is the story of Frank and April Wheeler. Frank commutes from Fairfield County to Manhattan where he is employed at Knox Business Machines. Though well paid, Frank feels diminished by his job and regularly makes fun of it.

Similarly, Frank and April mock their neighbors. They see something hollow at the core of the suburban dream, and it becomes important they believe they are better than their surroundings. Out of their unhappiness comes April’s idea that they move to Paris.

Their neighbors and Frank’s colleagues resent the fact that the Wheelers make clear what they all seem to know: their well-constructed lives in the Connecticut suburbs have not produced happiness. Frank is never as enthusiastic about Paris, however, and the plan soon unravels. Heated arguments and recriminations ensue followed, ultimately, by tragedy.

No Escape From Unhappiness

As is true today, the Fairfield County suburbs are depicted as the ultimate badge of success. Problems are supposed to be absent or at least easily solve-able. While it’s likely no one ever believed that, the toll unhappiness takes is greater because of the promise.

Yates also dissects the emptiness of life in the United States at what is often viewed as its apex. Fairfield County represented all that the country aspired to be in the 1950s, yet the people in Revolutionary Road find it is seriously lacking.

Because not so much has changed, Revolutionary Road is still powerful and relevant. Parts of Fairfield County are wealthier than ever, yet unhappiness, perhaps especially among the young, is an ongoing problem. While those problems are not on the scale of those in Connecticut’s poorest cities, they remain a blight on the American Dream.

What distinguishes Revolutionary Road from contemporary Fairfield County novels with similar themes like Sloan Wilson’s The Man in The Gray Flannel Suit and Laura Hobson’s Gentleman’s Agreement is that it ends in tragedy and defeat. It is perhaps for that reason that neither the novel nor the film adaptation that starred Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, no less, were well-received.

————–

Bridgeport native Andy Piascik is a long-time activist and award-winning author whose most recent book is the novel In Motion.  He can be reached at andypiascik@aol.com.

A version of this article was published at connecticuthistory.org

The Bridge & Tunnel Crowd Newsletter: Monthly Shmata of the Metropolitan Area’s Huddled Masses

by Win Vitkowsky, Publisher, B&TC

The Bridge & Tunnel Crowd Newsletter is seeking to publish (or re-publish) oral histories for “Seditious Aliens: Histories of Class Struggle in the Tri-State.”

Areas of interest include (but are not limited to) anecdotes and stories about:

  • Actions around public transit
  • Public housing and tenant organizing
  • The Workers Circle [aka Workmen’s Circle] on Legion Avenue (or any ethnic and social circles)
  • Town-Gown conflict
  • Interesting sub-cultural happenings from the past
  • Instances of multicultural or cross-ethnic cooperation and collaboration

Any and all pitches are welcomed. Photos, recorded stories, written memoirs, or brief memories all welcomed.

Previously in The Crowd’s “Seditious Aliens” Series:

#1 Anarchistic Italians, Hanged: an interview with Jean P. Moore, the great-niece of two Italian immigrant anarchists from New Britain, CT who were hanged right before the first Red Raids of 1919. [vol.1 no 6]

#2 A timeline of class warfare in the USA 1900-1919, illustrated by Jersey City’s DISTORT with  Jean P. Moore’s research for a family memoir. [vol. 1 no. 7]

#3 The Labor Spy Racket: snapshots of union busting tactics from 1937. [vol.1, no. 9]

#4  The Dynamite Express or how I learned to stop working and love the bomb: poet Dave Morse’s hot relative halted a train full of scabs to break a miner strike.  [vol. 2 no. 2]

Help the Progressive Community. Become an Active Part of the PAR Newsletter Team!

To Our Readers:

The Progressive Action Roundtable is looking for someone who knows how to write clearly and has a good command of spelling and grammar. This person must also be interested in talking to local organizers about their groups and plans, and writing a couple of short articles (of approximately 300 words) for the monthly PAR newsletter. A small stipend will be available.

In addition, we would like more of our readers to become involved in working on the newsletter. We want to expand our Planning Committee and Production Team. Enhancement of our Facebook presence is also needed. Would you like to gather articles about local activities? Can you help with graphics? Are you a good proofreader?

If you’re interested in helping the PAR newsletter provide news about New Haven-area activism, please send an e-mail to parnewhaven@hotmail.org and let us know what you’re able to do to keep PAR promoting the work of the many wonderful progressive organizations in the New Haven area.

Thank you!

Call Goes Out to Families of Victims as Homicide Memorial Opening Nears

by Rabhya Mehrotra, New Haven Independent, Nov 11, 2020

Marlene Miller-Pratt (at podium in photo) is asking New Haveners for help in finding the families of victims of fatal gun violence.

Rabhya Mehrotra photo

Standing in the shadow of West Rock on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, Miller-Pratt spoke at a press conference with Mayor Justin Elicker, announcing the near completion of the New Haven Botanical Garden of Healing she created and led to construction.

“Our goal is to get out the word to moms,” she said.

Along with a core group of fellow mothers of homicide victims, Miller-Pratt led the creation of the garden in West Hills. The garden honors homicide victims and provides a peaceful place for their loved ones to remember them…

Now construction is almost done: Urban Resources Initiative (URI) director Colleen Murphy-Dunning estimates that it will hopefully end before the start of 2021, although COVID may cause further delays.
Before the garden opens to the public, Miller-Pratt wants to extend an invitation for families affected by gun violence to come for a private viewing. They’ll be scheduled in advance for COVID safety, and last for 30 minutes. She’s especially focused on finding the families of victims whose names are on the Magnitude Walkway, which has a brick for each homicide victim from 1976-2000.

Over the last two weeks, Miller-Pratt has been going around the city with a poster, filled with the names of the victims. She has focused on Newhallville, while Celeste Robinson-Fulcher [whose daughter Ericka was killed in a nightclub shooting], and Pamela Jaynez (another member of the core group) have been going around Fair Haven.

When she stopped at corners, “I was ignored sometimes,” she said. But people spoke up “after they saw what that poster represented and saw how many names were on them.” One person, she said, turned straight around. He came back with four parents whose children were on that list. Another person saw the list and then lifted his arm to show his tattoo, which had his murdered cousin’s name. Yet others looked at the list and saw old friends.

Miller-Pratt gave out her phone number: (910) 975-2054. Any and every person who would like to schedule an early visit can contact her.

[Read the whole article at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/visit_homicide_memorial_soon]

People’s World Amistad Awards on Saturday, Dec. 12

by Joelle Fishman, Connecticut People’s World

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards will take place on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020 at 4 p.m. as a virtual concert program, with printed greeting book mailed out to participants. The theme is United for the World We Want: Celebrating Resilience, Solidarity and Vision.

This year’s awardees are:

  • Barbara Vereen, staff director Unite Here Local 34 and Unite Here Black Leadership Group;
  • Rob Baril, president SEIU District 1199 New England;
  • Jan Hochadel, president AFT Connecticut; and
  • Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez, Working Families Party, Hartford.

We pay tribute in the fight for the rights of essential workers and all workers irregardless of immigration status during the COVID pandemic, the rise of the movement for Black lives, and the fight of our lives in the 2020 elections.

For information about logging on to the virtual concert or tickets, please email ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

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