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.

Sing Seeger Songs to Benefit IRIS May 17

by Kim Stoner, NH Society of Friends

A singalong concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of folk singer and activist Pete Seeger will be held at Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike in Hamden on Friday, May 17th. We will sing to celebrate Seeger’s music and his life-long efforts on behalf of peace, justice, and the earth. The concert is a benefit for Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS).

Seeger passionately believed that singing together not only built community but could help heal our planet. Towards the end of his life, he said that if there’s still a world a hundred years from now it would be in large part because of people singing with each other.

Audiences in this singalong tribute concert will sing together using our new songbook containing fifty classic songs Pete Seeger led throughout his life, specially designed for Seeger centennial event. This event will feature Emma’s Revolution, Charlie King, Annie Patterson and Peter Blood-all of whom worked closely with Pete Seeger during his life.

Emma’s Revolution is the award-winning activist duo of Pat Humphries & Sandy O, whose songs have been praised by Pete Seeger and covered by Holly Near. They convey the energy and strength of their convictions, in an uprising of truth and hope for these tumultuous times.

Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist. Pete Seeger hailed him as “one of the finest singers and songwriters of our time.” They worked together to help build the People’s Music Network.

Annie Patterson & Peter Blood are the co-creators of the best-selling songbook Rise Up Singing. They have led sing-along concerts across North America and abroad building “hope & change through song.” www.groupsinging.org.

Concert details: Pete’s 100th Singalong Concert Friday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike in Hamden. Info: Paul Hammer (475) 201-3810, pauldhammer@yahoo.com.

Tickets & information: www.riseupandsing.org/events. Adults: $20, students and low income $10. For more information: www.riseupandsing.org/seeger-100th.

Is Your PAR Subscription About to Run Out?

by PAR Planning Committee

The Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter publishes from September through June. Subscriptions from many of our readers will expire with the June issue.

We hope you enjoy your subscription and value the PAR newsletter as a community resource. To see if your subscription is due for renewal, please look at your address label. If “201906” is printed on the label to the right of your name, your subscription ends next month. Please send in $13 for 10 issues (Sept. 2019-June 2020) so that you can continue to read about what local organizations are doing and you can submit articles about your own organization.

The Progressive Action Roundtable was started in January 1993. After several months, this community Newsletter became the main activity of PAR, giving New Haven area organizations an opportunity for networking and for advertising their activities.

We hope to hear from you.

New Haven Free Public Library Tapped as Finalist for National Award

by Ashley Sklar, NHFPL Public Services Administrator

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced that the New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) is among the 30 finalists for the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities. For 25 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

“The 30 National Medal finalists showcase the tremendous ability of libraries and museums to serve as vital community resources,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “The Institute of Museum and Library Services is honored to recognize these leading institutions.”

Open to all, the NHFPL is a community pillar of learning, exploration and inspiration. Through community engagement, inclusive growth, and equity of access to resources and opportunities, the NHFPL builds connections as one city with one future.

“We are honored that the New Haven Free Public Library is a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, and appreciate the inaugural nomination by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut,” said City Librarian Martha Brogan. “We proudly share this nomination as recognition of our home, the community and the City of New Haven.”

“Share Your Story” about NHFPL on social media. IMLS is encouraging community members who have visited the NHFPL to share their story on social media. Please visit www.facebook.com/USIMLS or www.twitter.com/us_imls and use #IMLSmedals and #myNHFPLstory.

National Medal winners will be announced later this spring. Representatives from winning institutions will be honored for their extraordinary contributions at the National Medal Ceremony on June 12 in Washington, D.C.

To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit the IMLS website www.imls.gov.

Ashley Sklar, nhfpl.org, asklar@nhfpl.org, (203) 946-8835.

Gasping Whiteness: A Play & Community Workshop

Bregamos Community Theater (BCT), 491 Blatchley Ave., presents Gasping Whiteness at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 2, which explores the impact of white supremacy on parenting in progressive, middle class communities. The play tells the stories of two families (one white and one African-American) as they encounter divides of race and struggle to respond, as well as the story of a masked figure who is buried at the play’s end — a funeral which also serves as a call to action.

Presented as a staged reading, the play runs one hour and is followed by a one hour facilitated dialogue, exploring how the themes of the play speak to our lives and our stories.

Gasping Whiteness’ cross-racial, cross-generational ensemble includes playwright Will MacAdams and social justice educator/theatre maker Trenda Loftin (who co-direct and also perform in the piece); two Western Massachusetts child actors, ages ten and 11; and Atlanta-based visual artist Angela Davis Johnson, who developed its visual landscape.

Sliding scale ticket prices. 100% of the proceeds benefit local organizers for racial justice: CTCORE-Organize Now! (www.ctcore-organizenow.org) and Students for Educational Justice (www.students4edjustice.org).

For tickets and more information, go to: gaspingwhitenessnewhaven.brownpapertickets.com. Seating is LIMITED. Get your tickets early!

New Haven Free Public Library Augments Outreach to Residents in Need of Basic Services

by Ashley Sklar, NHFPL

A Community Engagement Award from the National Network of Library of Medicine (NNLM) will allow the New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) to expand its successful partnership with Liberty Community Services (LCS) beyond Ives Library to the Fair Haven and Wilson Branch Libraries starting this winter. The All of Us grant effectively doubles the hours of LCS counselors on-site at NHFPL locations and also provides funds to augment the library’s print collections on health and wellness in English and Spanish.

The goal of the NNLM grant is to strengthen health literacy and increase access to high-quality free health resources in partnership with public libraries. Integral to the NNLM grant, LCS staff members inform their library clients about MedlinePlus.gov, a freely available federal government website that aims to provide “information on health conditions, wellness issues and more in easy-to-read language.” The NNLM promotes public libraries’ vital role as trusted sources of health and wellness information in the community. Building towards that trust, NHFPL continues to foster its successful partnership with LCS, now in its sixth year. LCS offers one-on-one consultations at Ives Main Library for those with basic needs (jobs, food, shelter, and health and wellness issues), conducting 976 appointments and serving 563 individuals in 2018.

City Librarian Martha Brogan praised the collaboration, asserting that “NHFPL and LCS will continue to seek stable funding sources to sustain their productive partnership and to extend services to all five locations.”

Liberty Community Services Hours at NHFPL:

Ives Main Library, 133 Elm St.
* Mondays to Fridays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (last appointment at 2:30 p.m.)
* Saturdays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (last appointment at 12:30 p.m.)

Fair Haven Branch Library, 182 Grand Ave.
* Thursdays, 5-7 p.m.
* Alternating Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (March: 9, 23; April: 6)

Wilson Branch Library, 303 Washington Ave.
* Tuesdays, 5-7 p.m., Alternating Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (March: 2, 16, 30; April: 13, 27)

Ashley Sklar, Public Services Administrator, NHFPL, www.nhfpl.org, asklar@nhfpl.org, office: (203) 946-8835.

Politics in Plain English at the Institute Library

by Bennett Graff, Institute Library

The Institute Library, 847 Chapel Street, is proud to announce the launch of a new monthly program Politics in Plain English. Following in the tradition of the Library’s one-time role during the Civil War — when it served as a lyceum where such luminaries as Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Henry Ward Beecher, and Theodore Parker spoke — the Institute Library once more seeks to become New Haven’s center for a conversation about civics in the America at a time when such a conversation has never been more needed.

The discussions are hosted by John Stoehr, editor and publisher of The Editorial Board, contributing writer to Washington Monthly, and columnist at the New Haven Register. $10 suggested admission—free light refreshments served.

Politics is simpler and more complex than most realize. Fortunately, there are good people able to see through the haze and talk about issues plainly and honestly. Hosted by the Institute Library and sponsored by The Editorial Board, Politics in Plain English brings a panel of writers and thinkers to New Haven to debate current events and bring you into the conversation.

Tuesday, March 12, 7:30-9 p.m. What’s Up with Liberalism and the Left? Josh Holland, contributing writer for The Nation, and Batya Ungar-Sargon, opinion editor for The Forward, takes on the revived embrace of the once-maligned term “liberal” by the left and explore the pushes and pulls of the collection—or is it a coalition?—of interests and political leanings that now make it up.

Tuesday, April 9, 7:30-9 p.m. Peeking Under the Hood: The “Invisible Primary” of 2020. Our guests, Jacob Hacker of Yale and Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg News, will look not only at the role primaries play in the rough and tumble of selecting candidates, but also at the early jockeying of the “invisible primary,” as candidates coyly deflect press inquiries, leak intel on primary opponents, and position themselves before the starting gate opens.

For more information, please contact John Stoehr at johnastoehr@gmail.com or (912) 247-0515 or Bennett Graff at bennett_lovett_graff@hotmail.com or (203) 640-3573.

The Great Migration: Then and Now — 45th People’s World African American History Events Feb. 24

Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“The Great Migration: Then and Now — Fleeing Terror, Searching for Jobs and Equality,” is the theme of the 45th People’s World African American History Month celebration on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. at the Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave., New Haven. The day includes a march at 2:30 p.m., arts and writing competition, guest speaker, drumming and dance.

Some stories will be told of the many African American families in New Haven who trace their roots in the city to the great migration from the South in the 1930s and 40s when companies like Winchester recruited workers to come up from North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. They were fleeing Ku Klux Klan terror and looking for a better life.

Stories will also be told of the migrants from Central American countries coming to New Haven and the United States today, fleeing terror and economic devastation in their countries and hoping to find new opportunities for their families.

The “Jobs for Youth — Jobs for All” march will call on Yale to meet its signed commitment to hire from neighborhoods with high unemployment such as Dwight, Dixwell, Newhall, Fair Haven and the Hill. The march leaves the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St., at 2:30 p.m. and will wind through the Dwight neighborhood to Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave., for the 4 p.m. program.

Guest speaker Chauncey K. Robinson, journalist and social media editor of peoplesworld.org from Los Angeles, California, believes that writing and media, in any capacity, should help to reflect the world around us, and be tools to help bring about progressive change. She says she seeks to make sure topics that affect working-class people, peoples of color, and women are constantly in the spotlight.

The program will include drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and African dance with Ice the Beef. Ice the Beef Youth supports each other through education, dreams, goals, and talent by meeting, sharing stories, laughing, joking, and expressing feelings. They are on Facebook.

Prizes and acknowledgments of entries to the Arts and Writing Competition grades 8 to 12 will be presented. Students are asked to reflect in artwork, essay, poetry, rap or song about grandparents or great-grandparents who came up from the South in the past, or about someone who came up from Latin America or elsewhere recently. “What did they find? How can we continue the struggle for good jobs and equal rights to fulfill the dreams of those who came and made New Haven home?  What are your dreams for a better life?” Entry deadline is Feb. 14. For information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com.

During the Great Migration (1916 to 1970), six million African Americans left the South. They moved to cities like New Haven in the North and the West. They were fleeing discrimination, lynchings, denied rights and a lack of jobs. They were searching for a better life for themselves and their children.

As they settled they found that segregation and racism were not just in the South. The migration gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement and before that to the art, literature and music of the Harlem Renaissance that stirred the country and the world.

Artist Jacob Lawrence created a series of paintings about the Great Migration in 1940. He said, “And the migrants kept coming…their struggles and triumphs ring true today. People all over the world are still on the move, trying to build better lives for themselves and for their families.”

In 2018 famed activist and scholar Angela Davis said, “I believe that the major civil rights issue of the 21st Century is the issue of immigrant rights.”

Learn about New Haven Scholarship Fund Feb. 2: FREE Money for College!

New Haven Scholarship Fund has awarded over $8.5 million in scholarships to more than 8,500 New Haven public high school graduates. The funds can be used at any college or trade school, in or out of state. You do not need a specific GPA.

Awards are based on financial need. Please call to register (203) 946-8117. Breakfast will be served. Parents are highly encouraged to attend with their students.

Saturday, February 2, 10:30 a.m. at the Mitchell Library, 37 Harrison St.

Institute Library Administration Restructures

The Board of Directors of the Institute Library has decided to restructure the administration of the library to operate with greater fiscal prudence and ensure the organization’s long-term sustainability. The executive director position has been eliminated, effective Jan. 11, 2019, and a new position of operations manager has been created.

The decision to restructure came after many months of analyzing the library’s financial and fundraising challenges. Finally, it became clear that repairing the physical structure of the building, including a leaking roof, needed urgent and costly attention. The library will continue to remain open and serve its membership while it works through these challenges.

The Board is pleased to announce that Eva Geertz, a New Haven resident, former board member, and longtime local bookseller, has accepted the operations manager position, effective Jan. 14, 2019. Eva has spent most of her career working with books, primarily as a bookseller specializing in out-of-print and rare books. A loyal library member since 2002, who has volunteered countless hours on the library’s behalf since 2008, she is pleased to be able to assist the library in this transitional phase.
“We look forward to a smooth transition as Eva takes on this newly created position next week,” stated Maryann Ott, chair-elect of the Board of Directors. “Members, volunteers, donors, and the Greater New Haven community are the life-blood of the library, and we will continue to depend on the support of all who value our beloved institution.”

The Institute Library, founded in 1826, is New Haven’s oldest independent lending library, one of 20 historic circulating libraries in the U.S. The library, located in its own 140-year old building on Chapel Street in downtown New Haven, has an extensive book collection, including many rare and first editions. The library hosts a number of programs, including Listen Here, a literary theater program co-presented with the New Haven Review; the Poetry Institute, a collective who present monthly open mic poetry sessions; Story Sharing, a program co-facilitated with the CT Storytelling Center; and more. The library also has a contemporary art gallery with rotating exhibits focused on words, language, collections and archives.

For more information about the Institute Library, please visit www.institutelibrary.org. Its address is 847 Chapel Street. The phone is (203) 562-4045.

United in Struggle for a Better World — People’s World Amistad Awards

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards will take place on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 4 p.m. at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, 425 College St, New Haven. We come together “United in Struggle for a Better World – Unidos en La Lucha por un Mundo Mejor.”

We are excited to announce this year’s awardees, Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, Shellye Davis and Louise Simmons. Three women on the front lines resisting the policies of white supremacy, hate, division and fear that threaten democracy and our future. Three fierce warriors in the forefront demanding workers’ and immigrant rights, social justice, peace and equality for a better and sustainable world.

A solidarity tribute will be made to Nelson Pinos and his family in sanctuary at the church since last November. Special recognition will be given to Chaz Carmon, director of Ice the Beef Youth, for his extraordinary talent and dedication to provide opportunities for young people in the performing arts. A reception will follow.

Eva Bermudez Zimmerman made history as the first Puerto Rican candidate for Lt. Governor in Connecticut. An SEIU union organizer representing childcare workers, her passion for justice began as a child and touches communities everywhere.

Shellye Davis is president of the Hartford Labor Coalition and co-president of the Hartford Federation of Paraeducators affiliated with AFT Connecticut. She is a leader for the rights of public sector union members and the people they serve.

Louise Simmons is an acclaimed educator and labor-community activist. She was a City Councilperson in Hartford (People for Change Party), has led many racial and economic justice organizations and has chaired CT Center for a New Economy board.

The annual Awards are presented to allies by the Connecticut People’s World Committee on the occasion of the 99th anniversary of the Communist Party USA. We come together in hope and unity as increased economic and racial inequalities, climate change and war give rise to new organizing by youth, low-wage workers and the 99% toward a society that puts people and planet before corporate profits.

 

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