We Are in a Climate Emergency

Melinda Tuhus, CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M)

In light of the release of the latest – and grimmest – report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, two dozen New Haveners gathered on the Green on Friday, Aug. 13, to raise the alarm locally.

The report says humans have definitively caused the warming of the planet, that it is accelerating, but that there is still a small window of opportunity to avoid the worst impacts, like global drowning from sea level rise. One banner pointed to the rise in sea level, which could be as much as 30 feet by 2100 without drastic action, putting New Haven and the entire Connecticut shoreline underwater.

Joe Foran came with his eldest son, Joseph, who is 7. Foran said that after listening to dire climate news on the radio every morning, “My two sons were upset and asked me to not play the radio before school.” Later he added, “We are not just avoiding the news altogether. We are struggling as a family with how we tell them the truth in a way that is not overly burdensome to their young minds and young souls. I think the real thing that makes a difference for the kids are actions like today, where they gain their agency and they aren’t just passive victims of the climate madness.”

The other focus of the rally was to point out that Chase Bank is the biggest funder, by far, of the fossil fuel industry and to call on Chase to specifically stop funding Enbridge’s construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline across Anishinaabe treaty territory in northern Minnesota.

As an organizer with CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) I went to Minnesota and was one of 700 people – and counting – to be arrested along the pipeline route.

Eluned Li, a member of Sunrise New Haven, went to Minnesota in June, where she observed peaceful water protectors being abused by the police departments that are paid by Enbridge.

Members of ULA (Unidad Latina en Acción) came, holding a banner featuring Berta Cáceres, an indigenous land defender in Honduras who was murdered for her courageous opposition to a dam project. The climate crisis and the migration crisis are linked, with many ULA members fleeing their homes in Central America due to the ravages of stronger hurricanes and devastating drought.

After the rally, participants carried banners down the block to stand in front of Chase Bank, chanting, “Hey, JP Morgan Chase: bad investment, big disgrace!” and, “If you want it drier, hotter, fund Line 3: wipe out more water!” The company is taking five billion gallons of water for construction in the middle of a drought. Participants passed out flyers asking New Haveners to contact CEO Jamie Dimon.

To get involved, contact Melinda Tuhus at melinda.tuhus@gmail.com or go to the website www.CTClimateCrisisMobilization.org or Facebook page CTClimateCrisis Mobilization.

[A version of this article with the above (donated) photo was published in the New Haven Independent Aug. 15. https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/climate_rally]

News from the Green Party of Connecticut

Ronna Stuller, secretary, Green Party of CT

As a unity of local chapters throughout the state, the Green Party of Connecticut is committed to the Four Pillars of all Green Parties worldwide: grassroots democracy, social justice, non-violence and ecological wisdom. In order to empower the political voice of the people – not corporate interests or their lobbyists – Green Party candidates accept contributions only from individuals, not from PACs. This year’s election we are running over a dozen candidates in municipal elections all across Connecticut.

Justin Paglino MD, Ph.D., of Guilford, was our 2020 nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the third Congressional District. He has continued, on the local and national front, to advocate for a nonprofit healthcare system that serves everyone, as well as reforms that would strengthen our democracy, repair our environment, and invest in a peaceful future.

We invite readers to learn more about our organization at www.ctgreenparty.org or www.facebook.com/GreenPartyofConnecticut.  We also invite readers to consider changing their voter registration to Green Party, and/or to consider visiting your local Green Party of Connecticut chapter to learn more and get involved. You will be most welcome.

Statement by Justin Paglino

I am running again for the U.S. House of Representatives, for the seat currently held by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and I anticipate that my name will be on the ballot in November 2022. I intend to once again seek the nomination of the Green Party of Connecticut.

The factors that spurred my initial decision to run for this office are unchanged. Our national healthcare system still makes healthcare unaffordable for vast swaths of Americans. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support single-payer Medicare for All, the reform that would save $500 billion dollars and 70,000 lives each year. Recently New Haven passed a resolution declaring its support for Medicare for All, yet our representative in Congress is still not a cosponsor.

Our national energy policy is still completely inadequate to address the severe threat of climate change. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support the carbon tax and dividend policy we need to finally put a real limiting force on our untamed carbon emissions, while making the transition to sustainable energy affordable for all. Our nation still grotesquely over-spends on the military budget, and the City of New Haven recently passed a resolution declaring this to be the case. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, who voted against a 10% cut to the Pentagon budget, I support a 50% budget cut, with just transition programs in place to keep defense industry employees employed. We are in more need of windmill blades at this time than helicopter blades, but the skill sets to make these do overlap significantly.

Our nation’s runaway economic inequality continues to hurt. Although I give credit to Rep. DeLauro for fighting for the child tax credit, I would go further and call for a Federal Jobs guarantee and Universal Basic Income, as more progressive members of Congress have already done and Rep. DeLauro has not.

Our nation’s politics are deeply corrupted by corporate interests. Unlike Rep. DeLauro I accept no special interest money, only funding from individuals. Our two-party system discourages voters from voting their values, but I encourage voters to do exactly that, because if you don’t vote for something, you’ll never get it. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support Ranked Choice Voting, a reform that eliminates the spoiler effect and thus will allow multiparty democracy to flourish.

Please visit my website at justin4all.org to sign up for my newsletter, or to contribute to this campaign for healthcare, climate, peace, economic justice, and uncorrupted multi-party democracy.

Thank you.

Prescription for Whose Peace Of Mind?

Joan Cavanagh, Member, Second Thoughts Connecticut

Seven activists identifying as “Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide” presented an alternative viewpoint at a screening of Prescription for Peace of Mind: An Option for the Terminally Ill at the New Haven Free Public Library on Wednesday, August 11.

With signs reading “Suicide is Not a Medical Treatment” and “Medical Assisted Suicide threatens the elderly, the poor, the disabled, you,” they passed out leaflets with nine reasons to oppose legislation allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients they deem “terminally ill.” Five went inside to raise their objections directly to the two filmmakers. The screening was sparsely attended.

Presented as part of the New Haven Documentary Film Series, the film makes no pretense of objectivity. In addition to the three individuals whose very sad stories are told, family members who have spoken in support of Medical Assisted Suicide (MAS) are also interviewed at length. In a statement perhaps unintended to be so revealing, one family member, a nurse who also attended the screening, said that her reason for supporting the legislation is that the hospice care for her dying father was so inadequate and unhelpful.

The film also features Compassion and Choices Connecticut Field Director Tim Appleton and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D., Fairfield), long-time prime movers of MAS legislation in Connecticut. The voices of disability justice and other activists who testify before our state legislature annually and work continually to educate about the dangers of MAS are nowhere to be heard.

The five challenged this glaring and deliberate omission and discussed the dangers of MAS in detail, recounting painful personal stories of unyielding institutional pressure by the medical system to end life-sustaining treatment for their own loved ones. They cited cost-cutting imperatives by hospitals and insurance companies combined with prejudice against the disabled, the elderly, and the poor as twin threats that can only be further enabled by this legislation.

The most recent Assisted Suicide bill in Connecticut was voted out of the Public Health Committee for the first time in 2021, moving to the Judiciary Committee which chose not to bring it to a vote. Opponents fear another bill will be introduced next year.

SAVE THE DATE for an upcoming event Saturday, Oct. 2. “NOT DEAD YET” community sing-along and speak-out with Anita Cameron, Director of Minority Out-reach at Not Dead Yet (notdeadyet.org) and other invited speakers to be announced. NHFPL Community Program Room, 2-4 p.m., 133 Elm St. Fully accessible; masks required. Details  joan.cavanagh@gmail.com.

Groups Ask Rep. DeLauro to Withdraw Aid for Police Brutality in Colombia

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción 

On May 10, the Colombian community and organizations Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), Colombian Action CT, and Black and Brown United in Action visited the offices of Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro to deliver a letter asking her to stop military aid in the wake of 39 killings of civilians by Colombian forces.

Since April 28, Colombians have been on strike after the government announced tax reform that would raise the cost of living of the middle class and poorest sectors who were already devastated by the COVID crisis. Four days into the protests, the government withdrew the reform. However, the protests continued since the demands were much more: mass vaccination, economic aid to the poorest, demilitarization of the country, and dismantling of riot police forces.

In ten days of protest, human rights organizations have documented 49 protesters killed, 37 of them by state forces; 548 disappeared; 963 people arbitrarily detained; 12 victims of sexual violence by state forces; and 278 wounded, including 28 shot in the eyes, by Colombian forces.

The weapons, tanks, and training come from the United States, paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Colombia is one of the top 10 recipients of U.S. military aid, following countries including Afghanistan, Israel, and Iraq.

Connecticut residents asked Rosa DeLauro to raise her voice and join with her colleague, James P. McGovern (MA-02), who said, “I am deeply disturbed by the brutal Colombian National Police (PNC) response to peaceful protests over the weekend. This is part of a disturbing pattern of excessive use of force, killings and human rights violations against protestors in Nov. 2019, Sept. 2020 and April-May 2021… Peaceful protest and freedom of expression must be respected everywhere. U.S. aid to the PNC needs strong human rights protections and conditions. We should apply Leahy Law. No U.S. aid to Colombian riot control police that engage in gross human rights violations.”

“We hope that our congresswoman will use her influence and help us recruit more colleagues here in the state of Connecticut,” said John Lugo of ULA Connecticut. “We also asked her for an urgent meeting with the recently formed Committee of Solidarity with the Strike in Colombia, so that she can hear directly from the Colombian community and understand the gravity of the moment. In the past we applauded her when she voted against military aid in the 2000s.”

Unidad Latina en Acción, 37 Howe St, New Haven, CT 06511, (203) 606-3484 or (203) 479-2959
https://ulanewhaven.org.

Notes to PAR Readers

We urge you to check the internet for the many demonstrations protesting the bombing of Gaza. As of this printing, there were rallies and marches in Hartford, New London, New Haven, and Manchester, as well as in cities throughout the US and around the world. The New Haven rally and march on May 22 was in solidarity with the people of Palestine and Colombia, fighting for their right to life and self-determination. Video footage is available at thestruggle.org.

A reminder that PAR does not publish in the summer. The next issue you receive will be the September issue. If your subscription has expired with this issue, you will have a renewal form inserted in this issue. Please look for it and renew your subscription. We ask for $13, or whatever you can afford.

Please let us know if you find out that regularly-occurring meetings or events have resumed so we can list them in our calendar pages. E-mail us at parnewhaven@hotmail.com. Many of the previously regularly scheduled programs have changed frequency, gone on hiatus, or switched to Zoom. We want to keep our readers in the know so they have options for activism.

Are you computer-proficient? We’d like help on the Production Team. We currently use a combination of Word and Open Office for this newsletter, and are open to suggestions for other programs for layout. E-mail parnewhaven@hotmail.com and put “computer-proficient help” in the subject line. A stipend may be available.

Fair Haven Community Rises Up Against COVID

by Charla Nich, Vaccinate Fair Haven!

COVID struck people of color differently, devastating entire families and communities. COVID hospitalizations and deaths in Connecticut have disproportionately affected people of color – and the vaccination rollout is the same.

During the worst months of the pandemic, hospitalization rates were 3 times as high for people of color and death rates were 2 times as high compared to whites.  Currently. while 45% of white residents in Connecticut have been fully vaccinated, only 24% of Black and Latino residents have.

The state’s response to the crisis in communities of color has been horribly inadequate, highlighting the structural inequities that continue to exist. Since the outset of the pandemic, the state’s response to the hardest-hit communities of color has been neglectful and woefully inadequate. People of color continue to face structural barriers that the state has largely ignored – lack of access to vaccines, language barriers (a state website that continues to be largely in English), access to wifi, access to computers, and transportation challenges. This has led to the existing disparities that currently exist and that the state has failed to address.

Fair Haven fought back! Vaccinate Fair Haven! is a community-led effort and a response to the state’s neglect. It targeted a low-income zip code – a New Haven section rich with culture and largely populated by Latines and African Americans. This is the only such canvassing project in the country with the objective of knocking on every door in an entire zip code to bring trained bilingual health promoters to talk with residents about the importance of vaccination and schedule eligible residents on the spot – offering free transportation to those who needed it and in-home shots to the homebound.

Over 400 volunteers and 16 community groups tackled the disparity together. Volunteers were trained, “turfs” were assigned, and people walked and knocked on doors. From the March 13th launch and many days since, volunteers walked, knocked, called, and staffed the vaccination site. They left informational flyers behind at every single house. On May 5, VFH accomplished its mission – knocking on every single one of the 5,648 doors in Fair Haven.

Did Vaccinate Fair Haven! impact the COVID vaccination rates? Early results are promising. In January, 30% of the vaccinations the Fair Haven Community Health Center provided were for people of color, and in April 79% of those vaccinated were people of color. Across the state, 17% of first-time vaccinations were administered to people of color. In Fair Haven, 52% of first dose vaccinations were administered to people of color.

The Vaccinate Fair Haven! efforts to address the racial/ ethnic disparities by reducing the systemic barriers – language, transportation, information access, internet access – have resulted in greatly improved vaccination rates for our neighbors.

The Truth About Medical Assisted Suicide

by Joan Cavanagh, member, Second Thoughts CT

Cartoon created by Amy Hasbrouck of Not Dead Yet Canada

“Countries that have enabled euthanasia or assisted suicide have claimed that it has to be totally voluntary, cannot be due to financial or family pressures, cannot be due to untreated or unrecognized depression and cannot be due to untreated, poorly managed pain. They state that, and yet there is no evidence that those are not the major factors driving this.

“What it takes to adhere to those guidelines is incredibly expensive and time-consuming and doesn’t happen. That’s the situation in the Netherlands and Belgium and Canada. All the heartfelt adherence to restrictions that are announced when you first get the public to vote in favor of this go up in smoke once the practice is validated. And it’s always with the talking points that it’s about relief of suffering, that the person, even though he cannot say this, would agree that he would be better off dead.

“Ethically, do I think people should have the right to control the timing of their death? I do. [But] I think it’s dangerous public policy. It’s a dangerous path to go down with the claim that it is all about respect for autonomy, when the real drivers are getting rid of a painful and expensive burden on society…

“There was a recent case in Canada: a guy with neuro-degenerative disorder who was cognitively intact. In order to go home from the hospital, he needed 24-hour care, and the government would not pay for 24-hour care. He recorded hospital staff offering him medical aid in dying as an alternative. You think that doesn’t create pressure on people who already feel like burdens? They need to be met with a resounding commitment to continued relationship. Not: ‘You’re right. I agree you’d be better off dead. Here’s a prescription.’ That pushes someone who is struggling right over the cliff.”

–Excerpt from an interview with Dr. Diane Meier, Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York Times Magazine, March 24, 2021.

Please contact your State Representatives and Senators and tell them to vote “NO” on H.B. 6425, “An Act Concerning Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill People.”

Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program: UniteCT Information

by Tebben Lopez, Neighborhood Housing Services

As the COVID-19 pandemic systematically shut down businesses and caused many people to lose their jobs, the consequence of mass eviction loomed larger each month.

“With the severity of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP), administered by the Department of Housing (DOH), was a critically needed tool to address a catastrophic need,” Managing Director of the HomeOwnership Center, Bridgette Russell, explained, “Renters facing job loss and furloughs were suddenly unable to pay their rent, and TRHAP, along with the Governor’s mandated eviction moratorium, provided a short-term solution to quell an impending eviction tsunami.”

With the assistance of selected administrators and NHS of New Haven’s HomeOwnership Center, the state got to work distributing the funds. The Governor first set aside $10 million that grew in short order to $40 million by the end of the temporary assistance program in December.

The HOC began to work with individuals assigned to their department to bring them up to $4,000 in order to help them with back rent and forward-facing rent. In total, NHS assisted 448 families with over $1,415,000 in assistance. “After COVID-19 shut down my work, I was in a panic,” Monika C. shared. The program came at the perfect time, helping with her rent, and she was grateful to be accepted. “A huge thank you to NHS of New Haven and the Department of Housing for helping me through the process!”

“Helping tenants and landlords submit applications for the Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program was deeply meaningful and often very moving work,” HOC Coordinator, Robin Ladouceur, reflected. “The range of applicants with whom I worked was broad – from the older man who lost his job and could not find a new one in a job market that privileges youth; to the single mom of two who received a cancer diagnosis in the midst of the pandemic; to a young new mother faced with raising her daughter alone; to all the countless families touched by COVID-19.”

The prolonged nature of the pandemic means that the scale of need for rental assistance was and continues to be staggering. “At least 3-5 times per week I receive inquiries from individuals who passed through the TRHAP program asking if there are other ways to receive assistance, Robin said. “I am grateful to be able to say that a new State of Connecticut Department of Housing Rental Assistance Program will be commencing in March and everyone who went through TRHAP may be eligible to apply. More help is on the way!”

Tebben Lopez, Communications Specialist
(203) 562-0598 x224, 333 Sherman Ave. New Haven
www.nhsofnewhaven.org
@NHSofNewHaven

Virtual Women’s & Gender Studies Conference at SCSU, Friday and Saturday, April 23 and 24, 2021

This conference offers a creative, critical space for a two-day virtual inquiry across differences and communities into the intersections of gender, race, community, and conflict.  For three decades now, the feminist collective at SCSU has continuously hosted a national conference that reaches across communities and brings together minds and hearts for peace and justice. Keynote Speakers: Margo Okazawa-Rey, Professor Emerita, San Francisco SU, April 23, 7:30-8:30 p.m.; Loretta Ross, Associate Professor, Smith College, April 24, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

On April 24, from 3:45-5 p.m., Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) will present the session Women Rising: Stories of Six Courageous Palestinian and Israeli Women. The six women will speak about how their lives have been deeply affected by the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Palestine. JVPNH’s goal is to highlight the spectrum of responses that the women have had to the challenges brought on by the occupation, and to encourage discussion of those responses.

For more information, please contact wgs@southernct.edu  or visit https://inside.southernct.edu/womens-gender-studies/conferences/2021.

January, 2021: The War Comes to the Capitol

by New Haven Sunday Vigil, Jan. 10, 2021

As terrifying as it was, the attempted coup d’etat that occurred in our Capitol on Jan. 6 (possibly a dress rehearsal for a more organized repeat performance) shouldn’t have surprised us. Led by the recently unelected President of the United States himself, members of the current administration and many of its Congressional allies have been fomenting this for months, if not the past four years. They (and those who follow them) will continue to organize for an alt-right, white supremacist-based government takeover unless and until they are removed from office and, hopefully, tried and convicted as traitors.

But how likely is such an outcome? What we have seen since 2016, writ large last Wednesday, are dramatic representations of evils that have been entangled in our nation’s history from its inception: racism, militarism, empire-building, and permanent conditions of economic injustice and war-making.

A Formidable History (AND Present) That Must Be Overcome

In the process of forming this nation, non-white people already living here were displaced, murdered, and, finally, driven into concentration camps in the name of “manifest destiny.” Another group of non-white people was kidnapped, enslaved, and stripped of all human rights to serve as unpaid laborers. After slavery ended, laws were enacted that kept them separate, disenfranchised, and impoverished. They also faced lynch mobs of their fellow citizens that reinforced this system.

Meanwhile, deliberately unequal distribution of resources — land, education, jobs, and income — gave an ever-shrinking number of the population wildly disproportionate access to power and money, a status quo they have maintained and increased over the centuries by pitting the rest of us against each other based on skin color and other characteristics. Simply put, racism and white supremacy have continued to serve the interests of empire-building and wealth consolidation so efficiently that, last Wednesday, an angry white mob was once again led to act on the belief that they have more in common with a corrupt billionaire than with their fellow citizens.

1814 (when British troops set fire to the Capitol building) was the last time such large-scale violence has been visited upon the halls of the U.S. Congress. But throughout the 20th century and during the first two decades of the 21st, our government has organized similar insurrections (some successful, some not) in nations throughout the world whose leaders, for whatever motives, refuse to dance to America’s tune. To quote U.S. Labor Against Racism and War: “With bipartisan Congressional backing, the U.S. has supported violent coup attempts in Bolivia, Venezuela, China, Ukraine, Libya, Nicaragua, Brazil, Syria, and other countries where U.S. oil companies and weapons contractors salivate for profits and regime change.” (https://www.laboragainstracismandwar.org/post/attack-on-congress-shows-we-need-a-strong-labor-movement?)

In the service of these same interests, our nation has been in a permanent state of war since the middle of the 20th century, with “Congressional Authorizations for the Use of Military Force” from Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. Along with U.S. serial bombings and military occupations throughout the world, these undeclared but very real wars continue with no end in sight.

War fuels the U.S. economy and helps make the billionaire class ever wealthier and more powerful. In 2020, while the pandemic killed over 360,000 people in the United States alone, weapons contractors took in record profits. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 provided for a military budget of $740 billion and was unchallenged by either party. Meanwhile, we are dealing with massive unemployment, evictions, and an overwhelmed medical system threatening to withhold treatment for the most vulnerable among us.

All of this is what we mean by “endless war” — singular not plural — the war that came to the U.S. Capitol last week.

Reclaiming Our Power As Historical Actors

This war that we face on all fronts transcends partisan politics, and the work to resist it continues with more urgency than ever. We must reclaim our power. For all the injustices woven into its founding, our nation was also constructed around the principle of deeply engaged citizens, able and willing to think and act rationally for the common good. Recently, we have seen the examples of Black Lives Matter, the Climate Change Movement, and the successful effort to unseat two wealthy incumbent Senators in Georgia. We have witnessed labor, human rights and anti-war movements bring about change throughout our history. It is time for us to reclaim that legacy of positive action to finally build a just and equitable society.

RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR (Vigil every Sunday, 12-1 p.m., Broadway, Park and Elm streets, New Haven, CT) http://newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com

Assisted Suicide? It Depends Where You Stand

by Lisa Blumberg, Second Thoughts Connecticut

It’s déjà vu as the legislature again considers an assisted suicide bill.  How you feel about assisted suicide seems to depend on whether you have always had full access to quality health care or are part of a group that has been subject to health care disparities and devaluation.

Let’s be clear. This is not a patients’ rights bill. People al-ready have the right to refuse any treatment they don’t want.

It does not expand access to palliative care. It does not assure that everyone has the same opportunities for life-saving treatment or in-home care. It certainly does NOT eliminate medical prejudices.

This is a bill that gives doctors immunity for prescribing lethal drugs to certain patients who ask for them, if minimal criteria are met.

The supposed safeguards only apply to the prescribing of drugs rather than their use. We don’t know if a patient is competent when he takes them. We don’t know if he is having “a bad day.” We don’t know anything. We cannot afford to just have faith.

We are living in grim times. The difficulties created by the pandemic have caused domestic abuse to skyrocket. (1) There are bound to be at least some cases where a person is steered or coerced into taking the pills by someone whose life might be emotionally, practically, or financially easier if he died sooner rather than later.

A Boston University study has found that COVID-19 related stressors have caused one out of three adults to be depressed. The lead author wrote. “We would hope that these findings promote creating a society where a robust safety net exists.” (2)

Legalizing assisted suicide would increase the shredding of the social fabric. Now is not the time for the state to enact this type of law.

Lisa Blumberg is a lawyer, writer and disability rights activist. She is a member of Second Thoughts Connecticut.

Footnotes
1. https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200818/radiology-study-suggests-horrifying-rise-in-domestic-violence-during-pandemic#1
2. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/09/ depression-triples-us-adults-amid-covid-19-stressors

Here is a link to an Op-Ed piece by Ms. Blumberg, published in the CT Mirror on Jan. 19, 2021.
https://ctmirror.org/category/ct-viewpoints/separating-myth-and-reality-in-aid-in-dying.

1 2 3 14