Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide Confronts MAS Advocates at the State Capitol

by Joan Cavanagh, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

Seven members of the core group of Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide (PAMAS) attended a press conference sponsored by Sen. Saud Anwar, Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee, and Compassion and Choices, the well-funded advocacy group for legalization of MAS, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Legislative Office Building. They held signs identifying the group, passed out leaflets, spoke to news reporters, and had several conversations with legislators and family members who also support MAS. They were joined by a few members of Second Thoughts Connecticut, a non-partisan disability justice organization.

Before the press conference, PAMAS sent emails to all members of the Public Health Committee, with the following text:

Dear Members of the Public Health Committee, We extend our sincere condolences on the shocking and tragic death of Rep. Quentin Williams of Middletown. …

We also offer best wishes for a productive legislative session in which the Public Health Committee will address important healthcare needs and hopefully put forward policies that truly make universal, comprehensive, unrestricted healthcare available to all. We are members of Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide. We strongly support health care for all, disability justice, reproductive rights, and the rights of LGBTQIA people. We equally strongly oppose Medical Assisted Suicide, called by its proponents “physician aid in dying.”

From our own experiences and those of others, we know that there are no “safeguards” that can be put in place to mitigate the danger that the legalization of this practice poses to the disabled, the elderly, the poor or anyone vulnerable in our current medical system.

As citizens of Connecticut and thus as your constituents, we request that you spend this session on legislation to expand quality healthcare access for all, including healthcare support at home for those who require it.

Please do not advance any legislation that would empower the medical system to terminate patients’ lives or prescribe drugs to do so.

Sincerely yours,

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

 

[email protected]

There are now two MAS bills pending before the Public Health Committee. Please write your representatives and senators and tell them to vote NO.

Joan Cavanagh, member of Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide, Second Thoughts Connecticut, and the New Haven Sunday Vigil for Peace and Justice.

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]

Indigenous Peoples’ Day Gathers Community

by Danielle Campbell, The Arts Paper, Oct. 14, 2022

Rachel Massaro stepped forward, her purple hair and clothing vibrant in the afternoon light. She took in the circle of people around her, the ground firm beneath her feet. The smell of sage hung low in the air, sweetgrass and turkey feathers laid out nearby. Sentence by sentence, she wove through a history of residential schools, missing and murdered Indigenous women, of children fleeing with their parents. A history that had yet to be taught—and learned from—in Connecticut and across the country.

Rachel Massaro (in purple) with her children and Clement during ritual smudging. — Danielle Campbell Photo

A member of the Northern Cheyenne and Saponi tribes, Massaro was one of roughly 30 people to attend an observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day Wednesday afternoon, held on the New Haven Green now annually. As in previous years, it was organized by Norman Momowetu Clement, a New Haven member of the Penobscot nation and a confederate member of the Quinnipiac tribe.

He said he’d chosen Wednesday—rather than Monday—because many still observe Oct. 12 as Columbus Day. It marks the day in 1492 when Columbus landed in what is now recognized as the Caribbean, beginning the mass rape and murder of Indigenous Taíno people.

“We’re trying to do away with Columbus,” he said. “So, unless you’re fighting to get that change to have Indigenous Peoples’ Day, then you shouldn’t be celebrating that day. One has to cancel out the other. We’re not going to be canceled out. We fought too hard to be canceled.”

For Clement, that fight is personal. Decades ago, his own father was adopted by a white family ostensibly trying to “better” Indigenous children, he said. In his father’s case, that meant hiding his culture and history from him. Growing up in that environment, Clement did not know he was Indigenous until he was 35 years old. His father never spoke of it because he was taught not to. He didn’t know what tribe his father was from until he started searching for answers.

[Entire article can be read at www.newhavenarts.org/arts-paper/articles/indigenous-peoples-day-gathers-community]

 

Roe Reversal Protest Slams Supreme Court 

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, June 24, 2022

Hundreds of abortion rights protesters filled the federal courthouse steps downtown to decry the U.S. Supreme Court’s “outrageous” and ​“unacceptable” overturning of Roe v. Wade.

That rally took place Friday afternoon [June 24] on the steps and sidewalk outside of 141 Church St. Organized by a coalition of social justice activists and faith leaders called the New Haven Reproductive Justice Mobilization, the protest slammed the top court’s 6 – 3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the 50-year-old precedent set in Roe that established a constitutional right to abortion.

Thomas Breen Photo

“The court has stripped away the freedom and agency of millions, especially Black, brown and indigenous women, girls, LGBT, and gender-nonconforming people,” said local immigrant rights activist Kica Matos, who emceed Friday’s protest. “The court has so brazenly chosen to set the clock back in this, the 21st Century … This ruling is about power. It is about control. And it is about taking away our freedoms. To this ruling, I say: ​‘Hell, no! We will not go back!’ ”

Read the entire article at newhavenindependent.org/article/roe_reversal_protest

The 18 minute video of the June 24 Reproductive Rights Rally is at https://youtu.be/bZ-OiIUa2BU

 

 

100 Rally for Abortion Rights

by Maya McFadden, New Haven Independent, May 4, 2022

In the wake of a reported pending U.S. Supreme Court decision to outlaw Roe v. Wade, New Haven activists are demanding that the nation follow in the footsteps of countries like Colombia, Argentina, and Mexico where abortion is a protected human right.

Those cries from protesters echoed over the New Haven Green Tuesday during a city rally calling for “Safe and Legal Abortion “and “Bans Off Our Bodies” organized by Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), Workers’ Voice CT, and Socialist Revolution.

More than 100 demonstrators stood on the steps of the federal courthouse on 141 Church St. to protest the recent draft of a majority opinion written by conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito suggesting that the nation strike down Roe, which established a federal constitutional right to an abortion. If the court issues that decision in final form, abortion will become largely illegal or access greatly restricted in states throughout the nation.

Leading the speaking program were ULA organizers Rosalba Montoya, Megan Fountain, and Nayeli Garcia.

The rally leaders reminded the crowd of the mass protests in Poland, Ireland, Colombia, Argentina, and Mexico in recent years that resulted in laws allowing safe access to abortions for all.

Together the crowd chanted: “Abortion is a human right,” “Health care is a human right,” “Mi cuerpo, mi decisión” (“My body, my choice”), “What do we want? Free abortion. When do we want it? Now!”

Speakers included a “pro-choice gynecologist,” nursing students, and others, some of whom told stories about being assaulted and needing to get an abortion as a result. Dozens took the microphone one by one in support of free, safe, and legal abortion for their friends and families.

Party for Socialism and Liberation member Kirill Staklo took the mic to add that “we need a new system that defends people’s human rights.”

“And in the state of Connecticut, where we might feel safe, this [decision], if it happens the way that it is threatening to be happening, sets a very dangerous precedent for anybody who cares about privacy and anybody who cares about bodily autonomy,” Staklo added. “No Supreme Court is supreme enough to be supreme over the law of the people.”

[To read the whole article, go to newhavenindependent.org/article/abortion_rights_rally]

May Day! Sunday, May 1, 12-6 p.m. New Haven Green

by Unidad Latina en Acción

United we are powerful! This May Day we are inviting all struggles to join us on the New Haven Green. It’s time to work together so that another world is possible:

  • Immigration reform now
  • Recovery for all
  • More money for education
  • Abolish solitary confinement
  • No to war
  • No to wage theft

Participate, so we can have a great May Day!!!

SUNDAY, MAY 1, 12 – 4 p.m. – Music, food, speakers, kids’ activities, and more!
4–6 p.m. — March for our rights!

Contact 203-606-3484, https://ulanewhaven.org, facebook.com/ULANewHaven.

Thank You, Senator Mae Flexer

by Joan Cavanagh, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

Senate Bill 88, An Act Concerning Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients, was defeated on April 11 by a 5-4 vote of Senators on the Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut State Legislature. Sen. Mae Flexer, a progressive Democrat from the 29th District, cast the tie-breaking fifth “No” vote. Flexer has consistently fought against cuts to much-needed social programs and has a stellar record as a champion of reproductive and women’s rights, the rights of immigrants, and the right to comprehensive health care coverage.

In a long conversation after the fact, the Senator explained that she sees her opposition as consistent with her commitment to protecting the vulnerable, heightened by her experience as the mother of a one-year-old daughter and the child of a disabled Vietnam veteran concerned about her father’s ongoing health care. She understands the threat that this legislation would be to those among us who are already marginalized by the medical system’s prejudices and cost-cutting mandates.

It isn’t often that we find someone in politics who is willing to vote their conscience and to face censure and criticism for doing so. Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide urges readers to write to thank Sen. Flexer for this courageous vote. You can do so on the message page of her website, http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Flexer-contact, and/or at her government email address [email protected], or by a phone call to the office of her legislative aide, Isabella Langlois, 860-240-8634.

Legislative Battle in Misguided Bill for Aid in Dying

by Paula Panzarella, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

The Public Health Committee of the State Legislature is considering S.B. No. 88, An Act Concerning Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients. I urge PAR readers to contact their state legislators. If this bill is to pass, it would be disastrous for individuals and society.

Below is a shortened version of my article in the CT Mirror:
https://ctmirror.org/2022/02/22/considerations-against-medical-aid-in-dying/

Considerations Against Medical Aid in Dying

We need more medical care and research, not less. It’s horrible that our medical system cannot adequately manage people’s pain, and that far too many diseases have no cures or treatments.

Long before the COVID pandemic, we had an overburdened, understaffed and inefficient medical system where all too often the cost-effectiveness of one treatment over another determined the patient’s care. Sometimes an insurance company takes the cheap route, sometimes the doctor or hospital, sometimes the patient who can’t afford the most effective treatment.

Doctors are not always right in their diagnoses and prognoses. I’ve seen patients’ wishes for care being ignored. I’ve seen attempts to pressure family members to agree to palliative care or hospice care instead of treatment for their loved ones’ conditions.

The elderly, people of color, disabled, and the impoverished already fight not to be marginalized in the medical system. We all need to fight together for increased research in pain management, treatments, and quality of life issues for as long as a person is alive.

This is a larger matter than individual rights. If S.B. 88 passes, others are threatened to have care denied. Like upholding as “freedom of choice” an individual’s right to not wear a mask during a pandemic, so too “freedom to choose death” puts others at risk.

A doctor takes an oath to heal, comfort and care for a patient. Assisted suicide casts suspicion not only on the doctors involved, but on the entire medical profession as they relinquish their responsibility to try to restore the patient to health.

The medical aid in dying bill is part of healthcare deform, not healthcare reform.

Justice for Omar As’ad

by LouAnn Villani, Middle East Crisis Committee

On February 3, 2022 in a cold rain we protested in front of the office of Congresswoman Jahana Hayes in Waterbury. We were there trying to get her attention about the Israeli killing of Palestinian-American Omar As’ad.

Soldiers had taken the 78-year-old man from his car within a Palestinian village, handcuffed him, blindfolded him and gagged him. The Israeli soldiers held him for a while and put him on the near-freezing ground and drove away. An autopsy showed he had died of a heart attack from stress caused by assault. We had told Hayes about this killing fully, but she’s never said a word, and continues to be silent about this.

Over 500 people have signed a petition calling for justice for Omar As’ad. It’s up on Change.org. We link at thestrugglevideo.org/the-struggle. Or contact us at [email protected] and we’ll send you the direct link to it.

What we’ve said about Hayes can be said about Congress-woman DeLauro. She has said nothing about the death of Mr. As’ad who was a grocer in the U.S. for some 40 years. She should be protested too. In fact she’s worse. She had her Appropriations Committee sponsor a bill to give Israel an extra $1 billion for missile defense on top of the half-billion they get for missile defense each year which is on top of the $3.3 billion they get for “defense.”

Neither Hayes or DeLauro have signed on Betty McCollum’s bill which would take money away from Israel’s annual gift to the extent that they use that money to mistreat children. At our protest we also held signs calling her out for this. You can learn more about this bill and other ways you can help the Palestinian cause at our website thestrugglevideo.org.

Passport Services to Become Available at the New Haven Free Public Library

by Gina Bingham, New Haven Free Public Library

The New Haven Free Public Library is pleased to announce passport services will be available at the Ives Main Library. The NHFPL Passport Office is open to public appointments at the Main Ives Library located at 133 Elm Street. Services include processing new U.S. passports or passport cards and photographs for both U.S. and international passports.

Services are available in both English and Spanish.

The Ives Main Library Passport Office will be open by appointment Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m.; Thursdays, 3-7 p.m.; Saturdays, 11-3:30 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 203-946-2280 or online at https://nhfpl.org/passports. Application forms can be downloaded from the Department of State website travel.state.gov, can be picked up at the library, or can be requested when making an appointment.

City Librarian and New Haven Free Public Library Director John Jessen said, “Increased accessibility was central to our decision-making as convenient access to passport services is becoming more important than ever. It made sense to add a passport office to our list of services because of our centralized location, and we can offer hours outside those provided by other passport offices. As many residents already use the library as a source of information when researching travel or asking questions about government services, this makes a passport office an ideal addition to the robust services of the New Haven Free Public Library.”

For questions regarding the Library’s passport services, passport fees, and information on how to apply, visit our website at nhfpl.org/passports or call 203-946-2280.

COVID-19 and Global Injustice

by Andy Piascik, freelance writer and PAR reader

After two years, COVID-19 continues to ravage planet Earth. Over 5.5 million people have died, millions more have suffered major health consequences and millions beyond that have experienced severe economic hardship. In the United States, the official tally is 850,000 and the real toll is probably over one million.

Much media attention has focused on large segments of the population who refuse to get vaccinated and/or wear masks in public. In both cases, millions of people are downplaying the seriousness of COVID-19 and asserting individual rights in a thoroughly irresponsible manner, egged on by reactionary politicians and media figures. According to all data, the roughly 95% of current cases are the unvaccinated.

The pandemic has highlighted the destructive ramifications of a grossly unjust economic system. Domestically, a health care system based on profits led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Millions of workers in the United States lost their jobs and, when normal unemployment benefits proved inadequate, the federal government was forced by popular outrage to provide a short-term supplement. When the pandemic ebbed somewhat, working-class parents faced the terrible dilemma of fearing to send their children back to school while not being able to keep them home because of having to return to work.

Internationally, hundreds of millions in the global South are unvaccinated because elites in control of the vaccines have primarily only made them available on a for-profit basis. Millions of doses remain warehoused in the US because of those who refuse to get vaccinated and as many as 100 million doses will soon expire. The richest of the rich, meanwhile, have prospered so much that 2020 saw the introduction of a new word to the English language: centi-billionaire.

While we will hopefully get a handle on COVID-19, we nonetheless confront a planet more unstable and dangerous. As in every other instance of human progress, organized collective action is key. All individuals, organizations and movements have a role to play. No one in power is going to do it for us.

Help Counter the Upcoming Effort to Pass Medical Assisted Suicide Legislation

by Joan Cavanagh, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

In the middle of a pandemic that has killed close to a million people in this country, in the face of a medical system that repeatedly shows itself unable and unwilling to try to save the lives of the most vulnerable, members of the CT State Legislature are gearing up once again to try to legalize Medical Assisted Suicide. The session begins in February, and “Compassion and Choices” has already hired at least one extra lobbyist to help push it through. You may remember that they got it out of the Public Health Committee for the first time last year.

Incredibly, some of the same leaders who say they are planning an all-out effort to reform Connecticut’s mental health system by increasing funding and staffing (see https://ctmirror.org/2022/01/11/ct-legislative-leaders-mental-health-system-in-deep-crisis-is-priority-in-2022-session/) will also be pushing for this legislation.

Constituent pressure is the only thing that will cause the liberal Democrats in favor of this to change their minds. New or seldom heard voices are especially important to weigh in on this!

PLEASE: 1. If you have a personal connection to any of the Democratic legislators (not limited to those members of the Public Health Committee, where this legislation is likely to be introduced), start talking to them now to let them know of your objections. And prepare to keep talking to them as the bill with its specific language takes shape.

2. If you’re part of a political organization or religious group whose membership identifies as largely liberal or progressive, introduce this as a topic on their agenda. Speak up about it yourself and invite members of Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide (which formed in New Haven in August) to address them in person or via Zoom. We are interested in meeting with these folks as soon as we can.

Joan Cavanagh is also a member Second Thoughts CT and the New Haven Sunday Vigil for Peace and Justice.

Victory! ICE will Stop Immigration Raids at US Workplaces

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción, Oct. 18, 2021

Big news!  Thanks to our efforts, the Biden administration took action on one of our top priorities: ensuring that employers stop using immigrant status to silence workers.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it will no longer carry out mass immigration raids at U.S. workplaces.  Instead, DHS says they will crackdown on employers who exploit workers, rather than locking up workers who are victims of exploitation.

We demand that DHS include immigrant workers in every step of the new workplace enforcement program.

That’s why ULA’s worker leader Hermelinda Gutierrez has joined together with other workers from Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and more to form a Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) that will issue recommendations to the Biden administration.  The BRC are people who have experienced workplace abuse firsthand, and their voices must be heard.

We are close to winning good jobs and immigrant protections in Congress. But we need to keep the pressure on Senators to make sure that they include full funding for homecare services AND a path to citizenship in the Build Back Better act.

That’s why we’re calling our Senators. To add your voice, just dial: 1 (855) 637-5982. You’ll hear a recording – with options in English or Spanish – with instructions and talking points, and then you’ll be connected to your Senator’s office to leave your message. Once you hang up you’ll receive a text message asking you to dial again to be connected to your other Senator’s office. Please make both calls!

Unidad Latina en Acción, 37 Howe Street, New Haven, CT 06511. Building the power of immigrants to defend labor, civil, and human rights since 2002.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day Shifts To Story

by Lucy Gellman, Arts Paper, Oct. 11, 2021

The drum coasted over the New Haven Green, a steady heartbeat as voices began to swell above it. Huddled around a microphone, members of Red Territory led each other in a round, the song catching on something as it wove upwards. Four dozen pairs of eyes turned toward the sound and listened. The smell of sage hung low in the air.

Monday afternoon, Native artists, activists, and storytellers gathered at a now-annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration on the New Haven Green. Organized by Norm Clement and Ricky Looking Crow, the event sought to create a space for Indigenous people to gather, celebrate, and share the stories of where they come from and who they are.

Lucy Gellman photo

Clement is a member of the Penobscot Nation of Northern New England and a confederate member of the local Quinnipiac tribe. Looking Crow is a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Northern New England, primarily Maine.

“I got a few things on my mind today,” Clement said early in the ceremony. “It’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day here in New Haven. People are still fighting to be recognized in this state, around this country, we’re still fighting to get rid of the colonizer’s day.”

“I think today is all about unity, about praying together. It’s about awareness of the day,” said Looking Crow as he and Clement laid out sage, sweet-grass, turkey feathers for smudging, and a large bag of tobacco for prayers. He motioned to the grass beneath him, where yellowjackets buzzed through patches of overgrowth. “This is our church.”

This year’s celebration came almost 15 months after the city’s Board of Education, which recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, voted to change the name of Christopher Columbus Family Academy on Blatchley Avenue. The City of New Haven does not yet recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day; alders voted on “Italian Heritage Day” instead last September.

For over two hours, attendees approached a communal mic with the same message: We’re still here. We always have been. And we’re going to keep resisting.

[This article can be read in its entirety at www.newhavenarts.org/arts-paper/articles/indigenous-peoples-day-shifts-to-story]

Community Protest on New Haven Green Celebrates Indigenous People

Community Members Gathered on Tuesday to Celebrate Indigenous Culture and Call on Congress to Welcome Migrants.

by Brian Zhang and William Porayouw, Yale Daily News, Oct 13

On Tuesday, community voices rang out across the Green as New Haveners led a ceremony celebrating Indigenous culture and calling on Congress to welcome migrants.

The event — which was hosted by Black and Brown United in Action alongside Unidad Latina en Acción, or ULA — featured speaker presentations and dance performances. It culminated in a march to Representative Rosa DeLauro’s (D-CT) office — with demonstrators holding signs in opposition to anti-immigration sentiment — as well as the unveiling of a sculpture honoring Nepaupuck, a Quinnipiac warrior who was executed by colonists in 1639 on the same site as Tuesday’s protest.

“We’re more than dishwashers. We’re more than cleaners. We’re more than administrative staff,” said Catherine John, one of the event’s organizers and a leader of Black and Brown United in Action.
John Jairo Lugo, one of the event’s lead organizers, spoke to the lack of Indigenous curriculum in Elm City’s current education system — which he said capitalized on a colonizer perspective and left out Native history.

Connecticut has become the first state to require that public schools offer ethnic studies curriculum — which include topics such as the diversity of Latino cultures, the suppression of Indigenous languages in the Americas and the legacy of U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico.

Catherine John expressed similar sentiments, questioning how immigration could be “illegal” when the land was stolen in the first place. John said that Indigenous groups had inhabited the city for centuries and the term implied discrimination against migrants. Throughout the event, pamphlets and brochures titled “You’re Standing on Stolen Land” were passed out to public attendees.

According to organizers, the protest was also meant to capture the struggles of other marginalized groups. Lugo compared the deportation of undocumented immigrants to racial profiling of African Americans.

“It’s always the squashing of a culture that is not convenient to recognize,” said Ku’ Bibiri Sari, who is Taíno, explaining that racism persists across different times.

[This article can be read in its entirety at https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2021/10/13/community-protest-on-new-haven-green-celebrates-indigenous-people]

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide Holds Speak-out

by Joan Cavanagh, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide held a speak-out at the New Haven Free Public Library on October 2nd about legislation allowing doctors to legally prescribe lethal drugs for patients deemed terminally ill. Featured speakers were Anita Cameron, Director for Minority Out-reach at Not Dead Yet, a national, grassroots disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia as deadly forms of discrimination, and Dr. Andre N. Sofair, Professor of Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and a practitioner of Internal Medicine.

“The people that are wanting this are largely upper-middle-class professional folks and largely white,” said Ms. Cameron. “If you are poor, it’s easier [less expensive] to kill you than give you health care.” Her comprehensive presentation included her mother’s story. She “graduated” from hospice in 2009 and lived actively for 12 more years. In her state (Washington), medical assisted suicide is legal: “All she would have had to do was ask and she’d have been given the medication because she was deemed terminal.”

Dr. Sofair agreed with Cameron that “we doctors are not always as accurate in terms of [terminal] prognosis as we think we are.” Sympathetic to those who fear pain when seriously ill, he said that “this calls for improvements in medical care, palliative care and hospice care when needed,” not assisted suicide. “Purported safeguards” in states where the practice is legal “do not always work” and often do not help people “get the appropriate medical care that they need.”

“For many of us, [these issues] are profoundly personal and, in terms of political and social realities, absolutely terrifying,” said New Haven activist Elaine Kolb, who concluded the program with a spirited full rendition of her acclaimed song, “Not Dead Yet.”

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide was formed by peace, justice, and disability rights activists; advocates for comprehensive, universal health care; and supporters of women’s reproductive rights. They believe that it is time for progressives to understand that state-sanctioned medical assisted suicide is an existential threat to the most vulnerable members of our population.

The program, videotaped by Stanley Heller, can be seen at:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=q44Lyo4utyM (Part 1) and
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FVy5U77ilw (Part 2).

For whose humanity

by Davarian Baldwin, Yale Daily News OpEd, Oct. 11, 2021

Just [a month] ago, Yale launched what’s been called its “most ambitious” fundraising campaign ever. The $7 billion wish list does include requisite line items like faculty and student support, public health and of course racial justice. But the bulk of the price tag orbits around the lucrative research areas of data and computer science, biotechnology and engineering. The campaign is called “For Humanity.”

From a purely educational perspective, the claim of fund-raising for humanity makes total sense. An influx of cash would support classrooms and laboratories that train the next generation of leaders while also producing lifesaving discoveries for the future. But Yale’s “For Humanity” title is not actually indicative of higher education’s goodwill. Instead, it is a branding strategy, one part of an elaborate business model in which schools champion their public good status to shelter millions of corporate dollars and extract public funds from their host cities.

As Yale seeks to add $7 billion dollars to its already bulging coffers, students in New Haven attend classes without enough seats and use bathrooms with no soap. Such disparities are not by coincidence but point to the various ways that higher education prosperity is driven by the impoverishment of its host cities and towns. And therefore, when assessing this latest fundraising effort, we must ask: for whose humanity? […]

Under the cover of “educational purposes,” Yale’s graduate researchers work at stipend rates below their private market peers to churn out for-profit research in tax-exempt campus buildings for millions in royalties that feed the school’s tax-exempt $31 billion endowment. And this wealth regime is covered by a private Yale police department with public jurisdiction over the entire city but directed by the University’s interests. Some people call the area “Yale Haven.”

These financial arrangements bolster Yale and its corporate partners while New Haven schools and other public works remain hungry for property tax dollars. Yale will point out that it provides the city with a  $13 million Payment in Lieu of Taxes, which is the biggest of its kind in the country. But it has testified to another way of seeing the world, and I think we can lift that up and celebrate that.”

[The article can be read in its entirety at www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/peace_cairn]

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