In Memory of Caroline Bridgman-Rees and Lula White

The PAR Planning Committee mourns the passing of Caroline Bridgman-Rees (Dec. 31, 1922-Aug. 28, 2019) and Lula White (died at the age of 80 on Sept. 10, 2019), two women with deep ties to the greater New Haven peace community and the world who dedicated their lives for peace, equality and justice for all humanity.

Caroline was an NGO representative of the United Nations and member of a multitude of peace organizations — international, national and local. She was involved with the Progressive Action Roundtable right from its beginning in 1993.

Caroline’s memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 11:30 a.m., at the Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike, Hamden.

Excerpt from Lula’s obituary notice in the New Haven Register, Sept. 16, 2019

Most people knew Lula White as a retired New Haven school teacher, board member of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association and member of the PAR mailing committee. For many of us in New Haven, we didn’t realize the scope of her bravery and profound sense of justice until she told us her history of being a freedom rider.

Family members have set Lula’s memorial service for Saturday, Dec. 14. Inquiries should be directed to Lulamwhitememorialservice@gmail.com.

We cherish the friendship, wisdom and inspiration Caroline and Lula shared with us. Our condolences to the families of these two remarkable, brave women who gave so much of themselves for a better world.

We are Each A Precious Entity: The Activist Life of Caroline Bridgman-Rees

The following is an edited version from the tribute written by PJ Deak for the Unitarian Society of New Haven.

Caroline Bridgman-Rees

Caroline was born on New Year’s Eve, 1922 and grew up on Staten Island. Her father, a Yale graduate, was a history professor at NYU for 29 years. A decorated war veteran, he came home from WWI in 1918 traumatized by the horrors of war, its barbarism, death, and destruction.

As a result of her father’s experiences, Caroline became very aware of the toll and folly of war – and of the importance of working for peace. In 1945, Caroline, 22, a Phi Beta Kappa and recent graduate of Smith College, joined the Red Cross. She sailed on a ship to the Philippines where she worked with the Red Cross until 1946 when she went to Korea. Why did she do it? To see the world and “to see life with the soldiers.”

She remembered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with horror and condemnation – a bombing that in her words “was totally against moral and international law and which began a frightful new era that threatened all life on earth.”

In the 1960s, Caroline began her teaching career at Bradford College in Massachusetts – teaching Asian History and Philosophy. Caroline became increasingly concerned about the conflict between the US and both the Vietnamese liberation forces and all of Indochina.

Caroline Bridgman-Rees, Nancy Eberg and Jim Pandaru (l-r)

She joined a number of prominent peace organizations: The American Friends Service Committee; Sane/Freeze – later known as Peace Action; The Women’s International League for Peace And Freedom; The War Resisters League; Mobilization for Survival; and because of her service in the Red Cross, Veterans Against The War.

“I felt then, as I do now, that non-violent direct action is a citizen’s responsibility when the government is committing major war crimes against humanity!”

In 1972 Caroline was one of 171 American peace leaders chosen to attend the Paris Peace Talks. Also in 1972, she was part of a team of women who traveled to India and conducted interviews with Indian women about the role of women in the world – Caroline even had the privilege to interview Ms. Ghandi. In 1973, Caroline, her husband and 10-year-old son traveled through India, Burma, Thailand, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Caroline became involved with the United Nations as an NGO representative, and also was active with the Greater New Haven Peace Council. In 1991-1992 she spent a year in England giving 45 separate lectures on Nuclear Disarmament and attended an international peace conference in the Netherlands.

When the first Iraq War began, Caroline was active as the anti-war movement surged anew – seeking avenues for mediation and diplomacy rather than violence.

Caroline attended meetings to discuss and take action on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, spoke out about the size of the US military budget, the number of US military bases around the world (over 1,000) and the pollution they are allowed to create. She wrote letters to the editor that were published in the New Haven Register and participated in the New Haven Peace Council and the Unitarian Society of New Haven Peace Task Force.

“We need community, not guns. We must create a world with love, and caring and cooperation.”

Read Caroline Bridgman-Rees’ obituary on Legacy.com.

Remembering Lula White

by Joan Cavanagh, former Archivist/Director, Greater New Haven Labor History Association (2001-2017)

Lula White poses with the Thurgood Marshall Award she received in 2016 (file photo)

Lula White poses with the Thurgood Marshall Award she received in 2016 (file)

I was with Lula White at many gatherings in 35 or so years: peace actions to oppose the endless U.S. wars; Sunday night potluck discussions; Labor History Association meetings and events; union protests at Yale; even the occasional holiday party. With Mary Johnson, she often spoke of teaching, organizing and being jailed during the teachers’ strikes in the 1970s. Her story as a youthful freedom rider in the South unfolded more slowly.

When we decided to document the history of workers at New Haven’s Winchester Repeating Arms Company, Lula and her sister, Dorothy White Johnson, both long time members of the Labor History Association Executive Board, contacted former Winchester employees, conducted interviews and borrowed artifacts for the exhibit, “Our Community at Winchester: An Elm City Story.”

After the plant closed in 2006, we transferred the files, artifacts and photographs of the workers’ union, IAM Local 609, to the office I shared with the late Nicholas Aiello, then LHA president. The plan was to inventory and preserve them. As Nick witnessed 65 boxes slowly taking over our space, he became, not unreasonably, upset. We had a heated exchange. Lula arrived just as I left to take a breath. When I returned, Lula was smiling—and so was Nick, who congratulated us for having secured custody of these important historical records. Whatever she said or did, she had, typically, transformed the situation.

At Fairfield University, where the exhibit was displayed in 2017, I introduced Lula after a short history of the project, and began asking questions. The audience, mostly students, soon took over. Lula spoke quietly and without drama about her life as the daughter of a Winchester worker, growing up in the Newhallville section of New Haven, then becoming a teacher of history and union activist. She also shared the terrifying, brave experience of being jailed in Mississippi as a young Black woman, one of hundreds of freedom riders trying to integrate the buses in 1961. In an evaluation of the session, a student wrote that she was “cool.” She had shared her hope for a future based on engaged citizenship at a moment when it was desperately needed, just following the 2017 presidential inauguration.

During my only visit to the Intensive Care Unit where Lula was confined in June, not expected to survive, I whispered to her to “Keep fighting.” It wasn’t necessary. Fight she did. Over the summer, she slowly got better. She almost made it.

Despite Lula White’s inner calm, peace and strength, it cannot have been easy being fully “woke.” May she find the joy and rest she has earned.

Excerpt from the obituary notice of the New Haven Register, Sept. 16, 2019

Ms. White was frequently jailed as a freedom rider trying to desegregate public transportation. In addition, she was arrested for striking to raise salaries for teachers, and jeered for marching to protest injustice. She was recognized by the Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2016, was awarded the Thurgood Marshall Award for her activism and commu-nity service, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Albertus Magnus College in 2010. Lula fought the good fight.

18 Years of Endless War: Please Join Us to Remember and Protest, 10/7

“There must have been a time, somewhere near the beginning, when we could have said no.” ~ Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

October 7, 2019, will mark 18 years of the endless war that continues to be waged by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice will mark the cost of the ongoing violence by placing the September stone on the Memorial Cairn at the intersection of Broadway, Elm and Park streets in New Haven, Monday evening, Oct. 7, at 6 p.m.

The stone will be inscribed with the September death toll of US military personnel and the approximate documented numbers of civilians killed during that same period of time.

Towards a New Paradigm of Creative Revolution — Part One

by Owen Charles, environmental, peace and community activist

We are in a time of great innovation, some say, mostly speaking of computer technology, “AI,” microparticle physics, genetic science, and other man-made detritus.

We are in a time of great crisis, meanwhile, as we soak in a toxic environment and begin to experience looming climate destruction borne of man-made garbage–hydrocarbons, plastics, pesticides, and other technologies.

It is time to recognize that we are in a downward spiral. As a species, we are clearly incapable. That is why it is up to SOME of us to recognize we are in a downward spiral… and do something about it.

No, not come up with some technological solution or grand design that will “save the world” but independent, creative, revolutionary ways of disconnecting from and unplugging from the destructive dystopia around us, so that we may build a new future. Tapping into our own creative revolutions, inviting and engaging, and welcoming those around us.

Is this a revolutionary idea? – YES and NO. YES, in that it is the answer towards upending the Existing Order (Capitalism, carnism, consumerism, etc.) that will likely implode as destructive forces it has unleashed grows in Tsunami fashion and drowns (most of) us all.

NO, in that it is already late to be getting to the party. Revolutionary work has started all around. Not cults of 150-year-old revolutionists or other political goings-on…. But, in the almost anonymous goings-on of growing autonomous movements — Bioregionalism groups, independent local movements of people living off the grid, tiny houses, living in vans & other vehicles, autonomous agricultural innovations, “gig economy” pursuits, bartering and new economies, and in the rise of cooperatives, collectives, and back-to-earth communalism–it is no longer enough to say “No”! In fact, it is counter-productive to spend much time doing this–opposing the facets and faults that in aggregate comprise the Existing Order.

While Bob Marley was right that “Total destruction is the only solution (no one can stop them now),” there will not be a turning point among humans to turn around the destruction of the planet (and each other) through our out-of-control hydrocarbonism, consumerism, and Capitalism… not until after climate destruction has so disrupted our lives that the great majority live in constant struggle to survive amidst the new environment of the planet. We ARE beyond… beyond the point of no return. Thus, we don’t say NO… We don’t say INCREMENTALISM. Thus, we say YES!

The clear answer for a monumental transition lies before us… lies in our embracing this, and saying “YES”.

Yes, to new paradigm.

Yes, to new ideas, ways of living, ways of helping each other, ways of creating anew.

Yes, to positive action.

Yes, to communes- bounding together to create new economies, new healthcare and educational possibilities, new ways of moving forward from where we are now.

And in this “new” paradigm there certainly may be echoes of the past… indigenous and ancient ways of basic, communitarian existence in a more balanced harmony with each other and with nature…

You can look at it as saying NO to the toxic culture and capitalism, and war, and… BUT it is important not to look at it this way and to instead approach it as SAYING YES.

Yes, first off to each other.

We need to unleash ourselves from the paradigm of individualism and that it is a dog-eat-dog world… and instead embrace that we are all IN THIS TOGETHER. This is one of the first rules used to sublimate us, is the rule of “divide and conquer”.

Thus fighting each other is abandoned as a mode of revolution, and in fact is Counter-revolutionary. Let’s continue to look around and find and support those who represent a new paradigm hidden in plain sight all around us!

We say YES to each other in the mode of improvisational group creation… “YES, And” … Your idea AND mine… “BOTH AND” (not Either / Or)… this way we do not tear ourselves apart and tear each other down, but we BUILD TOGETHER new ways, new organizations, new creative revolutions.

YES to cooperatives, YES to collectives, YES to unplugging and working, YES to more DOING and less TALKING, YES to CREATING, YES TO BIOREGIONALISM, YES to MUNICIPALISM, YES to YES to YES to YES to YES.

YES to down-sizing, YES to living more ruggedly with less, YES to helping others to do so (not shaming them), YES to creating ways to communicate independently YES to BEING the CHANGE we want to see. YES to worrying less about fear, division, disagreement, and looming destruction, and YES to focusing more on creative revolution to create the new ways of living that sustain us, save us, inspire us, give us some hope, some unity, and rebuild our interior and human goodness from the first step of the first individual, in a chain that has the potential to be unending, and free us from the chains of our dystopia.

Please reach out to us by joining our Facebook group @shorelinegreenparty or contacting me! Owen Charles at owencharles2003@yahoo.com

People’s Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet

by Nancy Eberg, Greater New Haven Peace Council

Because the UN officially opens Sept. 23 with many world leaders attending, a variety of peace events will be held in NYC. This coincides with the International Day of Peace (Sept. 21). On Sept. 22, a march and rally will begin in Herald Square at 2 p.m. (more details will be forthcoming).

On Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m., a forum will be held at the New York Community Church, 40 East 35th Street: The Path to International Peace Realizing the Vision of the UN Charter. Representatives from countries impacted by US sanctions and efforts to force regime change will speak. Sponsors include Code Pink, UNAC, Veterans for Peace, many local Green parties, ANSWER, and the US Peace Council.

As they develop, more details will be communicated. Questions: email the grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com/.

Interfaith Peace Waged in New Haven

Volunteers from multiple interfaith organizations painted a new billboard Thursday that will tower over I-95 right northbound before Exit 45 .

The 50-foot billboard was one of numerous projects completed by over 100 volunteers from across the world who gathered for New Haven Interfaith Service Day.

The effort was led by Rev. Nicholas Porter from Jerusalem Peacebuilders and Bruce Barrett from IWagePeace.org with local clergy members Rabbi Brian Immerman (Congregation Mishkan Israel), Imam Omer Bajwa (Yale Chaplin), Father Stephen Holton (Christ Episcopal Church), and Rev. Bonita Grubbs (Christian Community Action).

Source: Interfaith Peace Waged | New Haven Independent

Anti-Nuclear Vigils Commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki

A few days ago President Trumpy abrogated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement with Russia. The amount of time European and Russian nuclear forces have to make a decision about launch on warning drops dramatically to a handful of minutes. The nuclear weapons industry is licking its lips at the expected contracts and profits to be made on rebuilding the US nuclear arsenal at a cost of nearly $2 trillion, all approved by Congress. Grave danger.

A year ago Trumpy shredded the multinational nuclear deal with Iran and has since turned the economic screws on that country in order to get it to surrender its sovereignty to the billionaires and oil giants, or suffer another US-initiated war of aggression in the Middle East. Grave danger.

In 2002, George W. Bush killed the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty with Russia. The US has since installed first-strike nuclear missiles in Poland and Rumania and moved US/NATO forces up to the Russian border. Grave danger.

These treaties the US has so readily scrapped were designed to help safeguard us from nuclear war, nuclear annihilation.

If climate scorching is slowly suffocating us, a nuclear exchange will vaporize billions of us in an instant. Any survivors will likely either die of radiation poisoning or starve during a prolonged nuclear winter.

Our commemoration of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this year is also a call for the US to stop the nuclear madness. The US is leading the world into catastrophe and those of us who understand this have to lead in the other direction.

Tuesday, 8:00 AM (church bells @ 8:15). New Haven Green.
Friday, 10:45 AM (church bells @ 11:00). Amistad Statue adjacent to New Haven City Hall, 165 Church St.

74th Commemoration Hiroshima Nagasaki 2019 flyer.

Why We’re Still Standing Out Here in 2019: Sunday Vigil for Peace Mission Statement – Join With Us Noon-1 p.m.

This vigil for peace and justice has been observed every Sunday from 12 until 1 p.m. since May of 1999. Twenty years and four U.S. presidential administrations later, we are still here.

Often people ask us what we mean when we say, “RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR.” What we mean is that the serial wars fought by the U.S. and its allies are one war being waged on many fronts. Men, women and children are being slaughtered, maimed, traumatized, driven from their homes all over the world so that immense wealth and power can be concentrated in the hands of a very few people.

The weapons of this war are many. Here are just some examples: drone attacks against human beings many thousands of miles away (targets whose bodies the bombardiers, operating their weapons by remote control, will never have to see); the mass deportations of immigrants and refugees (condemning them, in many cases, to a future of torture or death); the systematic dismantling of infrastructure and social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that most of us not only depend upon but have funded with our hard-earned tax dollars all our lives; the destruction of our environment; the undermining of workers’ rights and the refusal to pass a national minimum wage that is a living wage.

In 2016, we had a presidential election in which the issues of war, peace and economic justice were never seriously addressed. The state of endless war was accepted as the norm. Now we are dealing with an administration that, during its more than two years in power, has exponentially escalated on all fronts this war that we have been describing and resisting for years. And the 2018 “mid-term” elections largely ignored these issues.

With its blatantly racist and xenophobic rhetoric and policies, its utter disregard for the U.S. Constitution and international law, its attempt to roll back even the modest attempts at addressing climate change that are embraced in the Paris Agreement, its utter disregard for human rights at the borders, and its unapologetic war against poor, working-class and non-white people on behalf of the billionaire class it represents, the Trump administration has made transparent the existential threat posed by the 1% to all our lives and to the future of our planet.

RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR. Join the conversation any Sunday here at Broadway, Park and Elm Streets, New Haven, 12-1 p.m. newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com

Syrian Revolution to Be Examined June 15

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Save the date Saturday, June 15 for a talk by Yasser Munif, a Syrian professor of Sociology at Emerson College in Boston.  He has been to Syria several time during the last eight years of turmoil. He’ll be speaking about reports of hideous treatment and murder of tens of thousands of regime prisoners. We’ll also be talking about the call from Amnesty International for the U.S. to pay compensation to Syria for its brutal bombing campaign in Raqqa, the Putin/Assad bombing of Idlib province and the struggles between democratic forces and the HTS extremists.

Professional singer Dylan Connor will sing some of the songs he’s written about Syria. Connor is on the Syrian-American Council and traveled to Syria just last year. We should also have some photos of Syrian political art.

Final details about location and time of the event have not been set. Look at the sites pepeace.org and thestruggle.org for details in coming days.

Legal Escalation Against Catholic Activists Facing 25 Years for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Action | Accuracy.Org

Seven Catholic peace activists are facing 25 years in jail for entering the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia last April to protest U.S. nuclear weapons policy.

The activists are knowns as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. They sought to “nonviolently and symbolically disarm the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia” on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Friday, a magistrate moved to hinder their motion that the charges against them be dismissed under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. See the group’s statement: “Anti Nuclear Activists, Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Respond to U.S. Magistrate Cheesbro’s recommendation that our Motions to Dismiss be denied.” They are appealing this decision in the next 30 days.

Source: Legal Escalation Against Catholic Activists Facing 25 Years for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Action | Accuracy.Org

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