Gandhi Peace Award presented to two via Zoom

Dr. Zaher Sahloul, co-winner of the Gandhi Peace Award with White Helmet Mayson Almisri, holding his medallion made from “peace bronze,” metal recycled from nuclear weapons facilities. The award was given Nov. 21, 2020 via a Zoom program and was recorded. A link to the event is at the Promoting Enduring Peace website pepeace.org.

From Sahloul’s Twitter page:

I will be dedicating the #Gandhi peace award to the doctors and nurses who were killed in #Syria while on duty including Dr. Hasan Alaaraj, Dr. Majed Bari Dr. Wasim Moaz and 930 other healthcare workers @PEPeace #Gandhiaward @P4HR @hrw @MedGlobalOrg @UNOCHA

Stanley Heller talks about the Gandhi Peace Award ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 21 which this year was given jointly to Syrian-American Dr. Zaher Sahloul of Chicago and Mayson Almisri of the Syria Civil Defense, honoring the brave work of Syrian medical and rescue workers. The public worldwide could view the ceremony on Zoom without charge. The link to register is at the website PEPeace.org.

Source: 2020 Gandhi Peace Award Honors Syrian Humanitarian Aid Workers – BTL

Is There Any Hope for the USA?

by Mazin Qumsiyeh, former New Haven human rights activist, currently teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities

When I lived in the US, I occasionally was shocked listening to right-wing talk shows like those of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity or the vulgar non-sense of Howard Stern & Jerry Springer. Hollywood movies glorified violence and vilified Arabs and Muslims. Owners of the corporations that ran these media had two agendas: making money and helping Zionism. Now Fox News owned by Zionist Murdoch is even outflanked on the right by Newsmax and One America News (essentially fascist in orientation)! It is very sad. Palestinian and other Arab Americans who were/are visible or tried to do something were targeted. I was one of those. If you want to read a little about this, see http://qumsiyeh.org/thecaseisclosed/ and the below [see popular-resistance.blogspot.com 7/30/03] from fellow academic Thomas Nagy who decided to leave the (perhaps hopeless) USA to live abroad in 2003. I left the US in 2008 not because of pressure but because I thought I could serve humanity better in Zionist-occupied Palestine than in Zionist-occupied USA. In retrospect, that was the best decision of my life. But I still care about the US where I have family and thousands of friends and followers.

The mass movements like Black Lives Matter remind us of the movements in the 1960s that did change the US (after much turmoil). But the establishment gurus learned from these things and are certainly far more entrenched today than say at the time of Nixon and Kissinger. Obama’s first appointment as president-elect was for Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, a bigoted Zionist who put Israeli interests ahead of US interests. That is why in eight years, the Obama administration bombed many countries in the Arab world…

What is needed in the US is a system change so that politics respects the will of the people. The 350 million US citizens should not be forced by a rigged system to chose “the lesser of two evils”! The majority of citizens would not want the US to remain the “biggest purveyor of violence in the world” (words of Martin Luther King Jr.). They do not want billions of their tax money going to Israel.

[See popular-resistance.blogspot.com on Nov. 19, 2020 for the entire post reprinted here with permission from the author.]

Indigenous Day Shifts from Columbus

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Oct 12, 2020

Richard Cowes lifted a wooden bear claw filled with smoldering white sage up to one side of Gary Tinney’s face and, whispering a prayer for peace, wafted the fragrant plume of smoke with a hawk feather.

Cowes and Tinney were celebrating Indigenous People’s Day along with 50 people late Monday afternoon on the New Haven Green.

Both Cowes and Tinney live in West Haven. Both are members of the Golden Hill Paugussetts. And both braved the blustery cold not just to celebrate Native American history and culture with a community of peers, but also to reflect on an extraordinary year of symbolic shifts.

In New Haven as elsewhere around the country this year, many of those changes have centered around a reappraisal of the legacy of the 15th-century explorer Christopher Columbus, with an eye towards the role he played in a white, European settler-led genocide of Native people.

Those local changes have included the Board of Education’s vote to rename Christopher Columbus Academy on Grand Avenue; the tumultuous removal of the Christopher Columbus statue from Wooster Square; the ed board’s renaming of Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day; the Board of Alders’ renaming of the second Monday of October as Italian Heritage Day; and the alders’ formal recognition of racism as a public health crisis.

“This struggle has been a long one,” said Norm Clement, a member of the local Quinnipiac tribe. “It’s been 528 years since colonization in this country.

“But we’re starting to win back who we are. We’re starting to be recognized. Some of the mascots are disappearing. The statues are disappearing. That is all part of the decolonization of this nation. We have to continue to celebrate who we are and what we represent and to do that in a good way.”

Read the full article here: www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/indigenous_peoples_day1.

City Unveils Statue of William Lanson, Black Engineer and Activist

Simisola Fagbemi, Yale Daily News, Sept. 28, 2020, Contributing Reporter

On [Sept. 26] the Elm City dedicated a new statue on Farmington Canal to William Lanson –– a prominent 19th-century Black engineer, entrepreneur and civil rights activist in New Haven.

On Saturday morning, city leaders and community members gathered at the Farmington Canal Trail to unveil a 7-foot bronze statue commemorating the life and legacy of Lanson. Oakland-based sculptor Dana King created the statue as part of an effort —coordinated by the New Haven City Plan Department and the Amistad Committee, a Connecticut based non-profit that educates the public about African American history —to celebrate oft-overlooked accomplishments by the city’s Black residents. […]

The Amistad Committee has been envisioning such a project for ten years. In 2010, the committee received a grant to expand the Connecticut Freedom Trail, which is a group of historic sites that offer a glimpse into the African-American experience in the state. […]

According to Connecticut History’s website, William Lanson was a formerly enslaved man who moved to New Haven with his family at the start of the 19th century and quickly became one of the city’s leading innovators. In 1810, he led a successful effort to expand the city’s Long Wharf by 1,350 feet –– a move that made it possible for larger ships to dock in New Haven and stimulated the city’s economy.

[Read the whole article at https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2020/09/28/city-unveils-statue-of-william-lanson-black-engineer-and-activist]

Unions Are Beginning to Talk About Staving Off a Possible Coup

by Barbara Madeloni, Labor Notes, Oct. 15, 2020

“Therefore, be it finally resolved that the Rochester Labor Council, AFL-CIO calls on the National AFL-CIO, all of its affiliate unions, and all other labor organizations in the United States of America to prepare for and enact a general strike of all working people, if necessary, to ensure a Constitutionally mandated peaceful transition of power as a result of the 2020 Presidential Elections.”

These words conclude a resolution passed October 8 by the Rochester Central Labor Council. In calling for all of labor to prepare to strike for democracy, the Rochester CLC may be the first out of the gate to call for direct action over concerns many share: will there be a peaceful transfer of power after the November election? Will votes be fairly counted, and will the outcome be determined by the voters—not the courts?

A few nights later the representative assembly of the Seattle Educators Association (SEA) passed a resolution stating that its board will call an emergency meeting within seven days of the election and, if it determines there has been election interference, call a meeting of the representative and general assemblies as soon as possible to vote on a work action.

And on October 20, the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee will host a discussion among labor leaders including Flight Attendants President Sara Nelson: “What Can Workers Do to Stop Trump from Stealing the Election?” EWOC is a pandemic-era collaboration between the Electrical Workers (UE) and the Democratic Socialists of America.

Ready on a Minute’s Notice?

In Rochester, the discussion began with concerns about whether or not Trump would step down if he lost the election. Then it moved to talk of the appointment of Louis DeJoy as Postmaster General, the subsequent mail delays, and Trump’s efforts to undermine faith in mail-in ballots.

The resolution was passed unanimously by the executive board and the full delegate body.

What if Trump refuses to accept a loss? “If he doesn’t, we need a plan already in place, ready to implement on a minute’s notice, to remove him from office,” wrote Rochester CLC President Dan Maloney in an email. “A national general strike, if joined by all democracy-loving Americans, can be the impetus the Congress and judiciary need to fulfill their role as co-equal branches of government.”

[Read the entire article here: labornotes.org/2020/10/unions-are-beginning-talk-about-staving-possible-coup

Statement from Green Party of Connecticut Candidate Justin Paglino

by Ronna Stuller, Secretary, Green Party of CT

A unity of local Green Party chapters, the Green Party of Connecticut is committed to grassroots democracy, social justice, non-violence and ecological wisdom. These are the Four Pillars of all Green parties worldwide.

Green Party candidates accept no PAC contributions, only donations from individuals. In this year’s election we are running over a dozen candidates in municipal, state, and federal elections all across Connecticut.

In this PAR article we feature a statement by Justin Paglino MD, PhD, of Guilford, who is our nominee for US House of Representatives in the Third Congressional District, the seat currently held by Rep. Rosa DeLauro. We invite readers to visit our website https://www.ctgreenparty.org to learn more about our positions and our candidates. 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 M.D. Ph.D., Green Party of CT candidate for US House of Representatives, CT-3:

This year I decided to run for US House of Representatives so that voters in my congressional district would have the option of voting for a representative who supports Medicare for All, Ranked Choice Voting, Reduced Military Spending, a bold Green New Deal with Carbon Pricing, Fracking Ban and Federal Jobs Guarantee, and other policies that my opponents in this race do not support. Many voters do, however, support these policies, and these issues need at least one candidate on the ballot who supports them, so that voters can show where they stand on these issues.

Unlike my opponents, but like most Americans, I support Medicare for All.   Single-payer healthcare will not only provide comprehensive healthcare without charge to all Americans, but will also save up to $500 billion a year thanks to efficiencies of scale and removing the profit motive from healthcare insurance.

Unlike my opponents, I am a strong advocate for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), an electoral reform that ends two-party dominance by eliminating the spoiler effect.  RCV accomplishes this by allowing voters to rank their candidates in order of preference on the ballot. This reform exists now in Maine, where Lisa Savage is running as a Green Party candidate for US Senate; because of RCV, she will not act as a spoiler.

Unlike my opponents, I seek to rein in overblown Pentagon spending and redirect these funds towards the needs of Americans, including a Federal Jobs Guarantee. Rep. DeLauro, in contrast, this year voted YES for the $740 billion dollar Pentagon budget, and voted AGAINST a modest 10% cut (the Pocan amendment).

Unlike my opponents, I am willing to support bills that would enact the bold greenhouse gas-reducing policies that science calls for, such as HR763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (Carbon Tax and Dividend), or such as HR5857, the Ban Fracking Act. Neither bill is supported by our current representative.

I encourage PAR readers: always vote for what you want, not only against what you fear. If you want something, you have to vote for it, or you’ll never get it. There is a way out of the two-party system – it’s Ranked Choice Voting – but first you have to show you are willing to vote for it.

Please visit me at justin4all.org, e-mail me at justin@justin4all.org. Follow me on facebook/justin4all, twitter/justin4all2, insta/justinpaglino, youtube/justin4all.

And thank you to all you progressive activists!

– Justin Paglino M.D. Ph.D.

New Haven residents paint Black Lives Matter mural on Bassett Street | New Haven Register

Residents came together to emblazon the words on the street Saturday, painting them brightly and boldly so the world could see: Black Lives Matter.

The community mural, the first planned in New Haven, was welcomed by the city of New Haven Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs, in conjunction with Black Lives Matter New Haven, community organizers, and local artist Kwadwo Adae, according to a release from city spokesman Gage Frank.

Ala Ochumare and Sun Queen, co-founders of Black Lives Matter New Haven, said they wanted to help organize the project to help residents be in community with one another, share art and affirm the idea that the lives of Black people are valuable, with an equal claim to dignity and respect.

Read the article at The New Haven Register: New Haven residents paint Black Lives Matter mural on Bassett Street – New Haven Register

Oct. 7, 2020, marks the 19th year since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East began

Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice will return to remembering the cost of the continuing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East by placing the September stone on the Memorial Cairn at the intersection of Broadway, Elm and Park streets in New Haven on Wednesday evening, October 7, at 6 p.m. That date will mark the 19th year since these wars began. We will practice social distancing and expect all participants to wear masks.

Don’t Move to South Dakota!

by Joseph A. Luciano Sr., Rapid City SD

[Joe Luciano, currently of Rapid City, lived in Seymour and was a fierce advocate for disability access and disability rights. He would often contribute articles to PAR. We are glad he sent us his musings about disability access (and non-access) in his new home town.]

Last year I moved west from downtown Seymour after realizing it would never become a Livable Community in my lifetime. (By “livable community” I mean ADA compliant, ready to support independent living and Aging in Place.)

The New Haven Register’s senior editor, James Walker, did a story about me going westward: “A senior with disabilities heads west.” (www.nhregister.com/news/article/James-Walker-Bound-A-senior-with-disabilities-13772366.php)

While the town demolished pot-holed downtown streets and broken sidewalks and replaced them with crosswalks and curb ramps, the work was botched. Some crosswalks led to sidewalks not provided with ADA-required curb ramps; some curb ramps did not lead to ADA-required level landings. In winters, law enforcement continued its policy of not enforcing the snow-removal ordinance. Because of that, disabled residents using wheelchairs (myself included) encountered barriers of snow, denying us accessible routes to groceries, pharmacy, banking, and other common needs. Most appalling, the police department held a “Coffee with Cops” good-will event . . . at an inaccessible downtown restaurant. They just didn’t get it.

Quality of life in downtown Seymour became so intolerable I decided to move. I chose the “Fifth-Best Place in America to Successfully Age in Place.” Rapid City, South Dakota.

Actually there were other reasons that were the deciding factor: both my sons lived there—also my grandchildren. And my home church was there too. And a world-class cancer care institute. I needed all of those.

To anyone thinking of following in my wheel tracks: Don’t! South Dakota has the worst reputation in social and human services. (Teacher salaries are the lowest in South Dakota.) Elders with disabilities who chose to live independently (like me) are struggling to make ends meet. That’s because the bar to qualify for support services, personal care aides, companion/homemaker aides, and South Dakota’s version of Medicaid is set so high it’s beyond reach of most who need it. And if you need healthcare you will drown in co-pays. What’s more, accessible housing costs are unreasonably high; I’m paying more for less space. As for the para-transit system (Dial-A-Ride), it’s the worst. (I suffered in-juries on my very first ride; I tipped over backwards be-cause drivers do not practice safe standards for boarding wheelchair passengers like in Connecticut. As for pizza, no place here in “prairie land” makes pizza like Pepe’s Pizza or Modern Apizza. (But I get equal or better pizza; my sons built a backyard brick, wood-fired pizza oven.)

Nevertheless, I’m staying here. The reason is simple: I’m living near family. My sons are just a few minutes away by car. They are my rides to church and Sunday dining out, some medical treatments, road trips, and family gatherings at their homes. Views of the Black Hills from my apartment are spectacular.

Stay where you are!

Breonna Taylor March Shuts Down Whalley Ave | Thomas Breen New Haven Independent

Thomas Breen photos Protest dance party breaks out at Whalley and Sherman.

Read the whole story and see all the photos here:

https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/breonna_taylor_march/

Two dozen young, Black women jumped and danced and sang in the middle of the intersection of Whalley Avenue and Sherman Avenue as several hundred fellow protesters sat in the street and blocked traffic on all sides.

“Black women matter!” the group cheered, a portrait of Breonna Taylor held aloft nearby. “Black women matter!”

That spontaneous, cathartic 10-minute dance party came more than two hours into a Thursday evening rally organized by Black Lives Matter New Haven in honor of Taylor.

Taking place well after the sun had set, with cars honking—some in frustration, some in support—all around the island of protesters, the moment represented the emotional climax of four-hour action filled with grief, outrage, joy, indignation, and an intensely political thirst for justice.

The catalyst for Thursday’s march was a Kentucky grand jury’s decision the day before to not charge the officers who shot and killed Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, in her Louisville home in March during a botched drug raid. The only indictment the grand jury did hand down was a charge of wanton endangerment against a now-former detective who shot into Taylor’s neighboring apartments. The grand jury decision has sparked demonstrations throughout the country.

Thursday’s demonstration in New Haven brought together roughly 300 people to the Green—and then into the streets, for three-and-a-half hours of marching and mourning and chanting and blocking of traffic.

Read the full article at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/breonna_taylor_march/

Anti-Police Violence March Shuts Down Grand Avenue | New Haven Independent

New Haven anti-police-brutality activists marched in support of survivors of police violence — they heard a call for action from Emma Jones at the Fair Haven spot where an East Haven police officer shot and killed her son 23 years ago.

“You must continue this struggle,” she implored the crowd, including newer activists in a cause she has championed for decades.

Roughly 70 demonstrators gathered on the Green at 2 p.m. Saturday and shut down Grand Avenue as they marched to the spot where Malik Jones was killed in 1997 after a high-speed cross-border chase.

Police accountability activist Jewu Richardson organized Saturday’s unity walk in collaboration with Building It Together, CT Bail Fund, The Malik Organization, People Against Police Brutality and Black Lives Matter New Haven.

On the Green, Richardson (pictured), who was shot by New Haven police in 2010, said police violence isn’t only the brutality that people see on TV, but is deeper and more systemic: “People are in jail decades because of false charges. A lot of people don’t see that trauma that people are going through and the stuff behind those walls, but it’s real.”

He stated that police and prosecutors work together with “legal tactics” to convict innocent people in Connecticut and nationwide. “When the system we’re supposed to trust and believe ends up abusing and murdering us, we’re left with communities that are suffering from decades of trauma,” Richardson said.

Read the whole story here: Anti-Police Violence March Shuts Down Grand Avenue | New Haven Independent

Kings Bay Plowshares 7 – Update on Sentencing Dates Sept. 3 and 4

Seven Catholic plowshares activists entered Kings Bay Naval [nuclear] Submarine Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia on April 4, 2018. They went to make real the prophet Isaiah’s command to “beat swords into plowshares.”

The seven chose to act on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who devoted his life to addressing what he called the “triple evils of militarism, racism, and materialism.” Carrying hammers and baby bottles of their own blood, the seven attempted to convert weapons of mass destruction.  They hoped to call attention to the ways in which nuclear weapons kill every day, by their mere existence and maintenance.

Liz McAlister was sentenced by video conferencing with the court on June 8, 2020. She was sentenced to time served, 3 years of supervised probation and a portion of the $33,000 restitution.

On September 3, Carmen Trotta is scheduled for sentencing at 9 a.m., Steve Kelly at 1 p.m., and Clare Grady at 4 p.m. On September 4, Mark Colville at 9 a.m., Patrick O’Neill at 1 p.m. and Martha Hennessy at 4 p.m. These dates may yet again be pushed back depending on the course of the virus. The defendants prefer to be sentenced in person in open court with family and supporters present as is their right. It is not sure when it will be safe for all parties to be present.

For more information on this and other actions against nuclear weapons, visit https://kingsbayplowshares7.org.

New Haven Peace Vigil Continues Every Sunday, Noon-1 p.m.

by Joan Cavanagh, New Haven Sunday Vigil

The New Haven Sunday Vigil, ongoing since 1999, began again on July 5 after a four-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 shutdown. We’ll keep going every Sunday for as long as possible under the current circumstances and invite you to join us. The war continues on every front. So must the resistance! Below are excerpts from our August flyer:
WHY WE’RE STILL STANDING OUT HERE IN 2020– IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC

The amount the [current National Defense Authorization Act] would allocate to the military is more than half the total federal spending budget for FY 2021. $22.3 billion alone is provided for nine new navy ships–the Columbia class submarines to be built at Electric Boat in Groton to replace the current Tridents. (1) At a time when the state of Connecticut faces a $2.3 billion budget deficit and contemplates drastic cuts to social services in 2021, the entire Connecticut congressional delegation voted for this funding.

Overall, a huge proportion of the military budget goes to the “modernization” of the U.S. nuclear arsenal–that is, the replacement of its every component with something “brand new.” This 30-year “upgrade” is projected to cost $1.7 trillion in total.(2)

A terrible legacy: weapons of mass destruction

75 years ago, on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9, 1945, the United States ushered in the nuclear age with its use of the atomic bomb against civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, destroying those cities and killing approximately 120,000 (by a conservative estimate) of their inhabitants, with repercussions from the results of radiation sickness that persist even to this day. The nuclear arms race that followed and threatened all life in the second half of the 20th century has caused ongoing destruction and deprivation and did not end with the end of the Cold War.

The U.S. and Russia today possess an estimated 12,600 nuclear weapons combined, other nuclear nations a much smaller arsenal. U.S. policy embraces first-use of nuclear weapons if the government deems it necessary in order to advance its strategic global interests. Pentagon planners have long pursued the ability to fight a “limited nuclear war,” a contradiction in terms. Our government has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It appears likely that the Trump administration, if re-elected, will not even renew S.T.A.R.T. II (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) signed by the United States and Russia.

Trump has openly threatened the use of nuclear weapons against other countries. In January of this year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set its Doomsday Clock at 100 seconds to midnight–closer than it has been since the height of the Cold War.

In addition to the existential threat posed by their very nature, the continued mining, testing, production and deployment of nuclear weapons over the last 75 years has caused environmental destruction, the desecration of native lands, and the theft of our tax dollars from health care, disease prevention, housing, education, and infrastructure, all the things we need to live in a just, functional society. We cannot accept or tolerate this any longer.

Since 1999, the New Haven Sunday Vigil has been held here every week from 12-1 p.m. at Broadway, Park and Elm Streets in New Haven, CT, to emphatically say NO to the state of permanent, ongoing war against the world being waged by our government and its allies, a war which is terrorizing the planet and destroying lives in order to consolidate enormous power and wealth in the hands of a very few people.

1 and 2 https://atthebrink.org/podcast/modernizing-doomsday-the-true-cost-of-our-nuclear-arsenal/

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