Change a Charter, Change a Community, Change a Nation = Changing the World

by Frank C. Rohrig, The Egalitarian Quest

Dear Fellow Citizens,

I’m writing this letter as a matter of societal urgency to implore your participation in a movement/cause absolutely critical to the very salvation of our democracy, as well as the world’s future stability and security….

In spite of all the advances women have made through decades of fighting for fairness and equality, the most important and significant area of disparity that affects all of their lives every single day is the political arena. The ratio of male to female representation in all areas of governance is roughly 75% to 25%. “Having a seat at the table” or “being in the game” has never been so desperately important as it has become entering the twenty-first-century “global world.” This disparity is a detriment to the majority of the citizenry….

Gender parity in governance is the first step in countering the greed and corruption that have decimated this nation’s economy and a further step towards the Constitution’s promised aspirations of an Egalitarian Society. We as a nation can no longer wait for promises made and broken. We can and must begin the movement together (men and women) for GENDER PARITY (50%-50%) throughout our entire nation and world. Every house, as well as every nation, needs a strong foundation; so we must attain parity in the smallest of communities, in statehouses, and throughout the federal government, until every taxpayer-supported entity is governed with a shared purpose in betterment for all its citizens. Nothing short of 50/50 male/female representation shall suffice in a nation/world that is so presently divided and ineffective.

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide Launches New Website

by Joan Cavanagh, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

Thanks to co-hosting and considerable technical assistance from the Patients Rights Action Fund (PRAF), Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide (PAMAS) now has its own website, It’s an ongoing endeavor (and the three of us managing it have a steep technical learning curve) but we’re on our way! We will be adding updates, news, and information as things develop.

As PAR readers know, PAMAS formed in 2021 to open a path for leftist and progressive opposition to legislation enabling physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminate their patients’ lives. We believe that those who are committed, as we are, to universal, comprehensive, fully accessible, unrestricted, high-quality health and palliative care must stand equally strongly against MAS, which will contribute further to the already existing deadly discrimination against the most vulnerable among us.

PAMAS members disagree with those who favor these laws but we agree on many other issues. We support and advocate for reproductive rights, disability justice, labor rights, the rights of LGBTQIA people, and for prison and police reform. Many of us are lifelong war resisters and several of us worked to help repeal the death penalty in our state. We see MAS as a serious threat to the lives of the most vulnerable among us and to our vision of a just society. The website provides links to testimonies, as well as articles by others and several links to outside sources. More will follow. We hope that you’ll visit.

With allies in the disability justice movement, we helped to defeat the most recent MAS bills proposed in Connecticut. Each year, the well-funded proponents bring up more legislation, and we are sure they’ll be ready to go in 2024. We plan to be ready, too.

One further appeal: we need a progressive, experienced videographer who agrees with us on this issue to help us produce a video as soon as possible. We’ll try to raise some funds, although this would need to be a labor of love as well. If you’re interested, please contact me at [email protected] or the group at [email protected].

Chief Moves to Fire 4 Cox Case Cops

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, March 21, 2023

Police Chief Karl Jacobson has recommended that four city police officers be fired for their roles in the mishandling of Richard ​“Randy” Cox, roughly nine months after the 36-year-old New Havener suffered paralyzing injuries while in police custody.

Jacobson announced that decision in a Tuesday afternoon press conference held on the third floor of police headquarters at 1 Union Ave. With Asst. Police Chiefs Bertram Ettienne and David Zannelli and newly promoted Lt.-to-Asst. Chief Manmeet Colon at his side, Jacobson said that he has submitted recommendations to the Board of Police Commissioners that Sgt. Betsy Segui and Officers Oscar Diaz, Jocelyn Lavandier, and Luis Rivera be terminated from their employment with the New Haven Police Department (NHPD). He has issued that recommendation after the department’s Internal Affairs (IA) division wrapped up its months-long investigation of the roles that those officers and now-retired Officer Ronald Pressley played in the June 19, 2022, arrest and handling of Cox. Jacobson said that the IA investigation found that all five police officers violated a number of department general orders, including rules of conduct that require city cops to be law-abiding and work with integrity, trustworthiness, courtesy, and respect.

The IA investigation also found Diaz violated department general orders related to his driving of the police van and being on his cellphone, and it found that Segui violated additional orders related to her supervision of the police detention center. …

After Elicker’s City Hall press conference, Cox’s mother, Doreen Coleman, and one of his local attorneys, R.J. Webber, expressed a small sense of relief that — as they have been calling for months — the chief has now recommended that these officers be fired.

“It was something that we were waiting for,” Coleman said.

“While this has taken some time, the important thing is to get it right,” Webber said.
He and Coleman said that Cox remains paralyzed from the shoulders down and away from home at a rehabilitation facility. Coleman said she visits her son just about every day, most recently bringing him his lunch yesterday.

“He’s doing pretty good,” she said. ​“He’s holding on.” She said her son is still ​“processing” the chief’s recommended firings of these officers. ​“He’s in good spirits.”

[Article can be read in its entirety at]

Workers Protest Pizza House for Homophobia and Violence Against Former Employee

by Nayeli García , Unidad Latina en Acción

On Tuesday, March 21, community groups protested at Pizza House restaurant (89 Howe St., New Haven) with Javier Lavado, a former employee who suffered homophobia, intimidation, and physical violence at the hands of the manager, Luis Nagera.

On Feb. 25, 2023, Lavado was verbally and physically assaulted by the manager Nagera. This incident was reported to the police and NHPD Officer Blanco inexplicably decided not to make an arrest.

Lavado reported to police that on Feb. 25, Nagera had been intoxicated and was very aggressive when Lavado disagreed with him about the correct way to put cheese on a pizza. Nagera physically assaulted Lavado and used hate language, telling him that he was a “poor faggot.”

On March 9, a commission from ULA went to the pizzeria with a letter addressed to the owner, Peter Papadopoulos, requesting a friendly meeting between the parties to avoid legal action. Papadopoulos refused to receive the letter and accused Lavado of trespassing, even though he knew that Lavado was on the sidewalk the whole time.

Given the refusal of dialogue by the owner of Pizza House and the history of violence that exists there, ULA has decided to start public and legal actions against the establishment. ULA has received complaints from other former employees about the intimidating actions that the manager continually uses when he is allegedly drunk.

ULA demands that Pizza House fire Nagera immediately for his disrespect for his co-workers, his homophobia, and violence. ULA demands monetary compensation for Javier Lavado for the abuse suffered there. ULA also calls on the New Haven Police Department to arrest Nagera for the hate speech and physical attack perpetrated on Lavado on Feb. 25, 2023. ULA also calls on the New Haven community to boycott Pizza House until our demands are resolved.

For information, contact Briam Timko, 201-370-7998. Unidad Latina en Acción is a grassroots organization defending human rights of immigrants and workers in Connecticut since 2002. Visit our website at

Finally, Some Good News: CT Governor Signs Legislation Extending State’s Free School Lunch Program

by Lesley Cosme Torres, Connecticut Public Radio, Feb. 14, 2023

Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation Tuesday extending the state’s free school lunch program for all students through the end of the academic year.

The state will shift funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act into the Free Meals for Students program.

Lamont, a Democrat, said the move will ensure that all students in Connecticut have equal access to free lunch, regardless of socioeconomic status.

The funding for the school lunch program was set to expire between last November and February of this year. State Rep. Gary Turco, a Democrat who represents Newington and New Britain, said he’s proud of Connecticut for stepping up and providing $60 million for all Connecticut school districts.

Turco said that when students are hungry, they can’t learn as well. “When you have a universal program and you make sure every child eats, it actually helps the lower-income students to ensure they were eating too,” Turco said.

He also said participation for lower-income students went up because the program eliminated the stigma some children felt about receiving a free meal.

Don’t Believe Everything Your Landlord Tells You

by a New Haven PAR reader who wishes to remain anonymous

A corporation bought the apartment building I was living in and told me as soon as my lease was up the rent for my apartment would be raised from $1500 a month to $2300 a month. I couldn’t afford that and gave two months’ notice that I’m moving. I was told I had to pay a penalty and the remaining balance of the lease.

I contacted Wildaliz Bermudez, Executive Director of the City of New Haven’s Fair Rent Commission. She said even when all parties sign a lease agreement, the CT General Statute 47a-11a puts limits on how much a landlord can sue the tenant if the tenant leaves early. There are very specific conditions about being penalized for breaking a rental lease.

The law states whatever the landlord receives from the new tenant must be applied to reduce what the old tenant would have owed for the rest of the lease. This will often result in a zero tenant liability or at least a liability of no more than the security deposit. If the landlord does not make reasonable efforts to re-rent, the tenant’s liability is zero, even if many months still remain on the lease.

Since the new landlord was going to immediately re-rent the apartment for $800 more per month than what I was paying, I didn’t owe any additional money for leaving before the lease was up. Because I knew this and confronted the landlord, I saved many thousands of dollars.

There’s another law that allows seniors to break a lease without penalty. C.G.S. 8-116d, which was adopted in 2008 as P.A. 08-93, allows a senior to break a lease with one month’s notice to move to state or federally subsidized housing.

In addition to the Fair Rent Commission, other tenant resources include tenants’ unions (in New Haven and Hamden) and New Haven Legal Assistance.

Renters: If you move before your lease is up, investigate before paying fees for leaving early. Our state law is clear about these exceptions. People should not have to pay for what they’re not liable for.

Immigrant Workers Respond to New DHS Immigrant Whistleblower Policy

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción

As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new immigrant workers rights policy, representatives of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Immigrant Work hosted a national press call on Jan. 13 to respond to the new DHS policy, explain how it came about, and what it means for undocumented immigrant workers in the United States.

“This policy came about because of the workers in Connecticut, Mississippi, Georgia, and beyond, who organized and fought against wage theft, sexual harassment, deadly conditions, and workplace ICE raids,” said John Jairo Lugo, Director of Unidad Latina en Acción CT, in a rally with Mayor Justin Elicker in New Haven City Hall Jan. 12. “The real work begins today. This policy will only become a reality if our local and national leaders say it loud and clear: We will stand up for you when you report exploitation, instead of detaining and deporting you.”

“The threat of deportation is like a gun in the boss’s hand, pointed at workers and their rights,” said Yale Law School professor James Bhandary-Alexander, Jan. 12 in New Haven City Hall, calling on President Biden to announce the policy publicly. “Today President Biden could grab that gun right from the boss’s hand.”

People taking part in the national press call included workers, attorneys and organizations advancing first pilot cases of immigrant whistleblower protections from Las Vegas, Nevada; Jackson, Mississippi; and Gainesville, Georgia.

For more about the campaign, go to

Background about the DALE Campaign

To interview CT workers: Megan Fountain, 203-479-2959, [email protected]

For national: Erik Villalobos, 202-643-7348, [email protected]

African American History Month Event Includes Art and Writing Competition for Students 8 to 12

CT People’s World Committee

The 49th annual People’s World African American History Month event will be held this year on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 4 p.m. at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe Street, and also live streamed. The theme is The Power of Youth – The Power of Collective Action:  Equity Requires Revenue. The program will include prizes and recognitions for the high school arts and writing competition, as well as a panel discussion and performances.

When we reflect on the activism of youth over the past 50 years, we see the efforts, the impact, and the legacy of young people and the power of collective action. From the Children’s Crusade and the East LA Walkouts in the 1960s to the Black Lives Matter and March for Our Lives Movements of our current moment, young leaders inspire us to be bold, to demand radical change, and to remember that another world is possible.

In 1963 thousands of African American children in Birmingham organized to walk out of their classrooms to protest segregation and demand civil rights. In 1968 thousands of Mexican American students in East Los Angeles organized walkouts to protest discrimination and demand improved learning conditions in their schools.

The Black Lives Matter and March for Our Lives Movements continue to engage young people in the organizing and activism we need to demand a better world.

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s Anti-War Legacy

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

In January we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King with a national holiday focused on King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. Why that speech? In the five remaining years of his life, King began to understand more deeply the forces governing the direction of our country. Perhaps his later speeches are not celebrated because they counter what we are told daily by officials and the press. King grew to realize that not only did the Black and Brown communities deserve civil rights, but they had to be released from extreme poverty.

King’s lens expanded beyond civil rights and inequality. By 1967 he also recognized that the U.S. war on Vietnam was disastrous for the country. Young Black men were pushing against the nonviolent resistance to segregation and discrimination that King led. He told “the desperate, rejected, and angry young men… that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems… that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked, and rightly so, ‘What about Vietnam?’ [W]asn’t [the U.S.] using massive doses of violence to solve its problems…?”

Humbled, a wiser King responded on April 4, 1967 at New York’s Riverside Church. In his speech, “Beyond Vietnam,” he analyzed and eloquently specified the “three evils” of inequality, poverty and militarism. To bring about a humane society these three evils had to be jointly defeated.

“Beyond Vietnam” is even more trenchant today than 55 years ago. The President and Congress, including the full CT delegation, just promoted a record 2023 war budget of $858 billion, more than half of federal discretionary spending. This is greater than the military spending of the next 10 countries combined, most of whom are U.S. allies.

This budget produces violence not only overseas but in the schools, supermarkets, and streets of our country. It starves spending on human needs like transportation, housing, education, clean air and water among others. Meanwhile our government finds tens of billions to prolong the insufferable war in Ukraine. The only thing this budget defends is the massive profits of death merchants: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, etc.

In “Beyond Vietnam” Martin Luther King enunciated one of his most memorable sentences: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” For spiritual uplift, you are invited to join in reading Martin Luther King’s “Beyond Vietnam” at New Haven City Hall, 2nd Floor, 165 Church Street, Friday, Jan. 13, noon. Contact the Greater New Haven Peace Council: [email protected].

Courthouse Protest Targets Wrongful Convictions 

by Laura Glesby, New Haven Independent, Nov. 16, 2022

During Darcus Henry​’s 13 and a half years in prison, he would spend every possible minute at the law library with a group of nearly 15 other men who all maintained their innocence. Together, they’d meet for the permitted hour every Tuesday and Thursday to read about court precedents, research their own cases, and exchange stories of pressured witnesses and suppressed evidence. 


Photo: Laura Glesby   Darcus Henry: Sentenced, then exonerated Six of those law library regulars — including Henry himself — have since won exonerations and left prison with cleared records. 


On Wednesday, nearly a decade after he walked free, Henry stood in the wind outside the state court-house at 235 Church St. to help lead a protest against wrongful convictions like his.

All the while, he thought of Maurice Blackwell, Cory Turner, and the others still researching in the prison library, hoping to prove their innocence. 

Henry joined a group of other Black men in New Haven who have asserted and in many cases proven that their convictions were unjust outside the downtown courthouse on Wednesday.  

“I’m here to lend my voice,” he said. He also lent his story — of being one of four suspects charged in a December 1996 murder at the Farnam Courts housing complex, of being sentenced to 100 years in prison, and of being freed alongside his three friends in 2013.

Together with family members of people still incarcerated for crimes they say they never committed, Henry and other attendees on Wednesday amassed a group of 20 people.  

The group gathered to call for accountability for the cops and prosecutors who falsified or suppressed evidence, and for state prosecutors to reexamine cases that have not yet been overturned.  

A spokesperson for the state judicial branch declined to comment for this article. A representative from the state’s attorney’s office did not return a request for comment by the publication time of this article. 

The protest was organized by Gaylord Salters, who spent 20 years in prison for a shooting he maintains he never committed. Salters got out of prison this summer due to a shortened sentence after the sole witness against him recanted.  Local civil rights attorney Alex Taubes, who has represented many clients with similar stories, also organized the rally.  

[The article can be read in its entirety at]

What the Ballot Question Means for Connecticut Voters: Early Voting FAQs

by League of Women Voters of CT

The question that will be on Connecticut’s ballot on November 8, 2022, is: Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to provide for early voting?

Did you know that as of July 2022, Connecticut is one of only 4 states without in-person early voting? Sounds absurd, right? The busy citizens of Connecticut deserve more time to vote in person, not just the 14 hours on Election Day.

Our election laws are part of our state constitution, so in order to make Early Voting (EV) a reality, eligible voters would need to vote “yes” on the referendum question.

Why do we need Early Voting?

Early Voting offers all voters another in-person option; more flexibility means more opportunities for eligible voters to cast their ballot without worrying about whether or not they can make it to the polls on Election Day.

I voted by absentee ballot in the Town Clerk’s office. Isn’t that the same thing as Early Voting?

No. Voting by absentee ballot is not the same as Early Voting. In our state, you can only vote by absentee ballot with a valid excuse, per our state constitution. Early Voting would allow any eligible citizen the choice to vote on a day besides Election Day.

Is Early Voting safe and reliable?

Yes, the process is the same as on Election Day, with the same amount of checks and balances.

Will Early Voting cost the taxpayers a lot of money?

Not necessarily. There are ways to keep the cost to a minimum. The overwhelming number of states who have Early Voting have figured out ways to make the change cost neutral. Connecticut can too.

When will Early Voting become law if the referendum passes?

If the Early Voting question is passed, it will be up to the legislature to determine the parameters and therefore, the state will not be able to institute Early Voting until 2024.

The League’s mission has always been to defend democracy and empower voters, and that includes giving voters more ways to cast their ballot. A “yes” vote on the Early Voting question will help give voters who want to cast their ballot in person another option if they can’t make it to the polls during the hours of voting on Election Day.

It’s time for Connecticut to join the ranks of other states and adopt Early Voting. Let’s give Connecticut voters more freedom to choose how to participate in our democracy.

Randy Cox Sues City, Police for $100M

Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Sept. 27, 2022

Richard “Randy” Cox’s lawyers have filed a civil lawsuit in federal court against the city and five New Haven police officers seeking $100 million in damages for the cops’ alleged violations of the paralyzed 36-year-old New Havener’s constitutional rights.

Wallingford-based attorneys R.J. Weber III and Lou Rubano filed that long-expected federal lawsuit Tuesday morning in the U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut.

At noon, Weber and Rubano joined nationally prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, Cox’s mother Doreen Coleman and sister Latoya Boomer, state NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile and local chapter President Dori Dumas, and a host of other civil rights advocates and supporters for a press conference on the front steps of City Hall to detail the allegations of that complaint.

The 29-page lawsuit…accuses New Haven Police Officers Oscar Diaz, Ronald Pressley, Jocelyn Lavandier and Luis Rivera and Sgt. Betsy Segui of violating Cox’s 4th and 14th Amendment constitutional rights for their roles in an incident that led to Cox suffering severe injuries to his neck and spine while in police custody on June 19.

It also accuses those officers of recklessness, negligence, and excessive force. It claims that the city should be held liable for the officers’ actions, and for not ensuring Cox’s safety after his arrest.

Cox, meanwhile, remains paralyzed from the chest down and is now back in the hospital because of the injuries he sustained during that incident.

“As a direct and proximate result of the aforesaid actions of the defendants, Cox has suffered and continues to suffer great physical and emotional pain, including but not limited to mental anguish, frustration, and anxiety over the fact that he was and remains seriously injured,” one section of the lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit continues: “As a direct result of the aforesaid actions of the defendants, Cox has, and will in the future, incur expenses for hospital, physicians, physical therapy, and other related expenses as a result of his injuries.”

[Read the entire article at]

‘This Time It Must Be Different’: Hundreds March Through New Haven and Yale After Black Man Is Paralyzed in NHPD Custody

Yash Roy, Yale Daily News, Jul 11, 2022

A June 19th arrest resulted in the serious injury and paralysis of Randy Cox, a 36-year-old Newhallville resident. Hundreds marched through downtown New Haven Friday evening [July 8] to demand structural changes to New Haven Police Department policy and criminal charges against police officers after a Black man was paralyzed in their custody.

Randy Cox, a 36-year-old Newhallville resident, was attending a block party on June 19 when he was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm. He was injured while being transported by New Haven police officers after they put him in the back of an NHPD transport vehicle that did not have seatbelts and abruptly stopped the car to avoid an accident. Cox remains paralyzed from the chest down and cannot speak, according to his family.

“I want justice for my son,” Doreen Coleman, Cox’s mother, told the News at the protest. “I want the cops to be held to account, whether that be their dismissal or criminal charges. My baby can’t speak, he has a tube in his mouth and he can’t walk.”

The rally was organized by the state NAACP chapter and Cox’s family, who demanded that officers involved be criminally prosecuted. Ben Crump, who was a lawyer for George Floyd’s family, is the Cox family’s lead attorney.

Cox was paralyzed after NHPD officers put him into the back of a police van without a seatbelt. According to body cam footage released by NHPD and posted online by the New Haven Independent, transport officer Oscar Diaz abruptly stopped the vehicle and Cox was thrown to the front of the holding area in the back of the van.

Cox called out, saying he was hurt and banged on the dividing wall. The officer checked on him almost four minutes later, called an ambulance and then continued driving to central holding, in contravention of NHPD policy, which requires officers to stay put after calling for medical assistance for a detainee.

At holding, after Cox told the officers he could not move, he was forcibly carried to a holding cell. At one point in body cam footage, Cox says he can’t move and is told by another officer that “you weren’t even trying.” One officer suggested that Cox could not move because he “drank too much,” according to body cam footage.

Read the entire article at

In Wake Of Cox Case, Looney Vows To Reintroduce Medical-Aid Bill; March is Planned

by Paul Bass, New Haven Independent

After what happened to Richard ​Randy” Cox, New Haven State Sen. Martin Looney said, he has new evidence to support passage of a state law requiring ​immediate emergency medical services to an individual who experiences a health emergency” while in police custody.

Looney, the State Senate’s president pro tempore, proposed such a law in this year’s legislative session: Senate Bill 445, An Act Concerning the Provision of Emergency Medical Services to an Individual Who Is in the Custody or Control of a Peace Officer.

The Senate passed the bill 34 – 0 on April 26.

But it never made it to the floor of the state House of Representatives. So the bill died. It didn’t become law.

Then, on June 19, Richard Cox’s head slammed against the wall of a police conveyance van when the driver slammed on the brakes. He injured his neck and back; he couldn’t move. Rather than get him immediate attention, the cops brought the 36-year-old New Haven man to the lock-up, ordered him to stand, accused him of lying about his injuries, placed him in a wheelchair, then dragged him on the floor to a cell, before an ambulance crew took him to the hospital.

Read more here: In Wake Of Cox Case, Looney Vows To Reintroduce Medical-Aid Bill 

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