A Conversation & Community Dialogue With Corey Menafee

by Patricia Kane, Chair, New Haven Green Party

Corey Menafee

Corey Menafee

In June, 2016, Corey Menafee, a worker in the Hospitality Section of Yale University, assigned to Calhoun College, now renamed Grace Murray Hopper College, took a broom handle and smashed a stained glass window portraying an enslaved man and woman with a basket of cotton. He was arrested, charged with a felony, and forced to resign his job. Many people know about the incident, but few know much about either the man, a college graduate who majored in journalism, who did this act of protest, or the various community groups that joined to support him.

Please join us at Gateway CC on Thursday, March 28, to hear about Corey’s growing up in New Haven, how he grew in his college years and what the situation in New Haven was when he returned home to start a career.

A Community Dialogue will follow Corey’s interview. Learn which organizations are ready to use your energy and commitment to be part of the changes we want and need. Refreshments provided.

RSVP to the New Haven Green Party page on Facebook to ensure seating. Cosponsored by Gateway.

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.”

Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children

Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven

Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) and Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOLEF) are reaching out to organizations to endorse our resolution in support of the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. If you are affiliated with an organization, please see the resolution at www.tolef.org/pal-children, and get your organization to sign on. This can be done online.

JVPNH and TOLEF have been leading an effort to get our five CT congresspeople to co-sponsor the bill, which was introduced in the previous congressional session as bill HR.4391 by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN). It has 30 co-sponsors, including six from New England. We had in-person meetings with each of our congresspeople. Each expressed interest, but none signed on as co-sponsors.
Rep. McCollum is very likely to re-introduce the bill in the new Congress, and we are renewing our effort to get our CT delegation to sign on. At this point, we are reaching out to organizations to show support by endorsing the resolution, which calls on our CT delegation to sign on to the bill.

Please see the resolution at http://www.tolef.org/pal-children, and get your organization to join with the many others which have already signed on.

Why Run for Mayor? by Wendy Hamilton

Wendy Hamilton, NH homeless advocate and mayoral candidate

PAR readers may remember the article Wendy wrote in the Feb. 2018 issue of PAR about homelessness and Mark Cochran. Mark died shortly after Yale New Haven Hospital discharged him in winter with no place to go. Wendy has filed the paperwork to run for mayor and has asked if we would share her concerns with our readers.

One day I just felt fed up with the chaos, the lies, the crazy spending, the near bankruptcy, the greed, the lack of compassion, the apathy…

Justin [Elicker] and Liam [Brennan] were sitting on the fence. I decided to commit to the research and the signature-collecting because I want to be heard at the Democratic primary debates coming this fall.

After making a list of city problems, I saw they fit into four categories–Housing, Budget, Safety, and Transportation.

Housing is no longer affordable for the masses without job security and bank loans for the working poor. The cost of living increases during years of flatline wages and a widening wealth gap. Developers and slumlords are getting all the breaks. Homelessness exists in every town and city and is growing despite what mass media says. Foreclosures and evictions are everyday occurrences.

The Budget is a runaway train growing by $100 million plus with our current mayor in office. We are in debt and near bankruptcy. The biggest contribution comes from our property taxes. Biggest expenditures are police, fire, and school systems, all of which need revamping with fair and intelligent contracts and pensions. We also have a huge yearly debt payoff. Yale, on 50% of the town land, only pays about 1/33 of the yearly take. The state offers a little better money but not enough.

Safety, which includes physical elements like crime, fire, pollution of air and water and climate change, is also a desirable feeling for the public to have and many don’t feel safe here for many reasons. Our police and firefighters require contracts to make them feel safe and appreciated. City residents require a civilian review board that can address their problems by affecting real change. We need to stop treating the homeless, the addicted, and sex workers (mostly homeless women) like criminals. We need year-round hazardous waste collection and cleaner parks that operate for the public benefit, not just the lucky few. We need to get housing quickly for those living on the street.  We all need affordable medical care.

Transportation is a city theme. We have trains, buses, major highways, bike and pedestrian trails, and a harbor. We are part of East Coast Metro which includes several huge cities.  The age of automobiles is over, but city hall hasn’t figured it out yet. 25% of us have asthma. Our air is just plain dirty. Bike travel is on the rise fortunately (I am 70 and own 2). Bus routes and schedules need to be examined and improved here. Many here can’t afford a bike or a car or a cab. Cab service is pricey and undependable here. A $40 million boathouse that took years to build on its own pier lies empty and unavailable to us even though our taxes paid for it — a colossal waste.

I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) Gathering Momentum in Connecticut

by Owen Charles, Chair Shoreline Green Party

December 18 and Jan. 22 at the New Haven Public Library were the first organizing meetings of a movement to institute Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) in Connecticut. Over 60 people turned out to show their support and get involved, including a number of state representatives, political party leaders, and other organizations. Watch out for the next meetings (likely to be 3rd Tuesdays, 6 p.m., at the NH Public Library) and for progress in the state legislature.

Instituted last year in Maine, Ranked Choice Voting is becoming a real possibility given recent progressive wins in the legislature, and the popular recognition that we need to re-democratize our electoral system.

RCV works by allowing voters to rank their top candidates for an office, and if their top choice does not have enough votes in the first round of counted votes, their next choice is activated… until a winner with greater than 50% is determined. It is a way of ensuring all votes count, greater participation in elections, avoiding the ‘spoiler effect,’ and ensuring that winners are capable of obtaining a majority.

Active in beginning this process and presenting at the meetings have been Adam Friedman and Liz Popolo from Voter Choice MA, Steven Winter (National Popular Vote) of New Haven, Jefferey Hart of New London, and Caleb Kleppner (Fairvote) of New Haven.

State Rep. Josh Elliott pointed out that although he introduced but was not able to proceed with an RCV bill in the last legislative session, the huge number of people and groups supporting it this time is “a very good sign.”

Many dedicated individuals appeared at the meetings and are rolling up their sleeves to get involved. The movement has formed committees for outreach, communication, policy and fundraising and will continue to grow, develop and plan an organized approach to getting RCV in place in Connecticut. Check back for updates–more to come!

Sign up for more information from the CT groups: bit.ly/rcv-ct-signup.

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