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.”

Film Screenings with Stand Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Freedom Summer (2014), Saturday, Jan. 19, 2 p.m. at
the Wilson Library, 303 Washington Ave., chronicling the 1964 voter registration efforts in Mississippi. World Cinema Film Screening Tsotsi (Rated R) South Africa, 2005. English subtitles. Sat., January 26, 1 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave.

A young Johannesburg hoodlum lives by a code of violence after he steals a dead woman’s car, although he finds an infant in the back seat. Find out what happens next. Awarded the best Foreign Language Film 2006. Free popcorn!

Life on Parole — Film and Talk-Back at Milford Public Library, 57 New Haven Ave., Jan. 23

Life on Parole — Film and Talk-Back at Milford Public Library, 57 New Haven Ave., Jan. 23

Milford Library and Milford Speaks Out are pleased to co-host a screening and discussion Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m., of Life on Parole, a documentary produced by FRONTLINE and The New York Times. Life on Parole goes inside the parole system in Connecticut to examine ongoing efforts to rethink parole: A condition that offers freedom, but comes with strict prohibitions like with whom one can live with, where one can go, what time one has to be home, and more.

“Most people who are in prison in America will one day be released on parole,” says Matthew O’Neill, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning director of Life on Parole. “And as Connecticut brings its prison population down and attempts to give parolees more chances to succeed, we wanted to see if the experience of the parolees reflected these changes.”

With unique access inside Connecticut’s corrections system, as well as camera-phone footage filmed by the parolees themselves, the film follows four former prisoners as they navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole — from finding work, to staying sober, to parenting — and doing it all while under intense supervision from the state. A discussion will follow the screening. Admission is free.

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Forms Community Leadership Teams

The mission of New Haven LEAD is to implement a LEAD model that reduces incarceration and criminal justice involvement for persons living with substance use disorders.  The overall goal is harm reduction for the participant, their families, and the community.

The next meeting of the Community Leadership Team is on Thursday, Jan. 3, 6 p.m., at Christian Community Action at 168 Davenport Ave. More people can be involved with this to help establish policy. Residents of Hill North, Hill South and Downtown are especially welcome, as these are the neighborhoods where LEAD is presently focused. Site Contact: Shaunette Marquis, Family Coach, Christian Community Action. RSVP to Cynthia at CWatson@newhavenct.gov.

LEAD only works if there is meaningful community input. Establishing mechanisms to ensure such input can serve to keep the program actors accountable and keep the processes connected to community needs and interests. A Community Leadership Team needs to have interested community members, neighborhood leaders, people with relevant lived experience, etc. who are not already represented by groups linked to the LEAD Policy and Operational Workgroups. Such a team can prove incredibly useful both operationally and for program sustainability.  (Taken from: LEAD National Support Bureau, www.leadbureau.org)

New Haven LEAD’s website is veoci.com/veoci/p/dashboard/h2567kvepg. For more information, contact Cynthia Watson, Project Manager for LEAD. Office: (203) 946-4905, cell: (203) 668-0154, cwatson@newhavenct.gov.

1 2