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.

Yale Shot Stephanie Washington

by Joshua Caytetano, Yale Daily News, April 18, 2019

[Article below is excerpted from yaledailynews.com/blog/2019/04/18/cayetano-yale-shot-stephanie-washington]
The shooting of Stephanie Washington, a young black New Haven resident, by an officer of the Hamden Police Department and Yale University Police should produce grave concern and protest within the Yale student community.

Click to read more on the GoFundMe page

GoFundMe (click to read more)

Facts are still emerging, narratives are still changing, but one incontestable truth persists: Hamden and Yale University police shot an innocent, unarmed black woman. The University has the opportunity to take the steps toward racial reconciliation in front of a local and national audience. Yale can move from silence and complicity to solidarity with our hurting neighbors. One way is to commit to pressure local law enforcement to ensure a transparent investigation and a just outcome.

Other steps toward solidarity can include: 1) The issue of a public apology, 2) A commitment to terminate the employment of any responsible party, 3) A review and revision of YPD’s relationship to the broader New Haven community, and 4) A renewed, material commitment to these communities of need. But until the University proves itself to be a reliable partner for justice, this movement must begin with the students.

As Yale students, we must ask ourselves, “Is my safety ensured at the expense of someone else’s?” In light of this shooting, the answer should be an unequivocal yes.

Within the University’s protective bubble, we can easily ignore the uncomfortable truths that implicate our institution in injustice. We must correct our vision to include the many overlooked and under-considered people who challenge our presumption of moral superiority.

How can we be national advocates for justice if we allow the injustices in our backyard to pass unnoticed? How can we study centuries of racial oppression in our classrooms, yet not speak up when we witness it first-hand? Stephanie Washington might not have died from the bullet, but this fact in no way lightens the burden of responsibility. We must continue to #SayHerName, along with other black and brown people who have been brutalized by the police.

[editor’s note: there is a gofundme page set up for helping Stephanie get back on her feet. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-for-stephanie-washington

Joshua Cayetano is a first year at the Yale Divinity School. Contact him at joshua.cayetano@yale.edu.

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.

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.

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