Happy May Day! Continue the Struggle for Justice!

by the PAR Planning Committee

Since the nationwide strike for the 8-hour workday in 1886, the first of May has become a historic day for the struggles of working people, and for over a hundred years May 1 has been celebrated as International Workers’ Day. Locally, in 1970, the May Day protests on the New Haven Green demanded freedom for Bobby Seale, justice for the Black Panthers, and the end of the Vietnam War. Starting in 1987 and continuing for thirty years on the Green, the annual May Day celebration each year brought together dozens of organizations to promote their work for labor rights, peace, human rights, and economic rights to the broader New Haven community. And since 2006, city-wide marches for immigrants’ rights are held on May 1. Peace, racism, police brutality, union struggles, fair wages, anti-war, immigration, a safe environment, criminal justice issues, labor history, welfare rights organizing, the right to healthcare — these are some of the struggles and issues in the celebration of international solidarity.

April was a month full of upsurge. From April 11-21, Stop & Shop workers from Connecticut, Rhode Island and

Massachusetts (31,000 workers) were on strike. The union considers the new contract a victory, preserving healthcare and retirement benefits and providing wage increases. The next strike in Connecticut will be unionized workers in nursing homes. They are scheduled to strike on May 1.

For days there have been massive protests and marches in New Haven and Hamden condemning the thoroughly unjustified Hamden and Yale police shooting in New Haven of two African-Americans in their early twenties on April 16. Thankfully, Stephanie Washington is recovering from her bullet wounds, and Paul Witherspoon was not hit. Video from the police body cameras has not yet been released. As of this writing, people will gather at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 6 at the Hamden Town Hall for the Legislative Council Meeting. We urge our readers to join in the many rallies for justice around these and other issues and be inspired by the many people at the forefront of these struggles for their lives and their livelihoods.

May Day 2019 — 100 Years of Struggle for Workers’ Rights

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

The annual Connecticut People’s World rally for International Workers’ Day will highlight union organizing today and in history. Themed “May Day 2019: 100 Years of Struggle for Workers’ Rights,” the rally will be held on Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St. The event, held during the 100th anniversary year of the Communist Party USA, will include a brief history of labor organizing by the Communist Party since its founding in 1919 and continuing today.

The experience of organizing food service workers who won a union last year at United Airlines will be shared by Jaime Myers-McPhail who lived in Colorado for several months working on the campaign, and his colleague Charlie Delgado who participated for a shorter time. Myers-McPhail is an organizer in New Haven with New Haven Rising and Unite Here.

“May Day Around the World” slide show will show workers’ protests and actions from every continent including many demands for equality for immigrant workers. The afternoon will be capped off with labor songs led by some of those who participated in the newly formed labor chorus at the Women’s March in Hartford this year.

On May 1, 1886, thousands of workers marched in Chicago to demand relief from brutal 12- and 14-hour workdays. A few days later, a suspicious bomb killed several Chicago police and protesters in Haymarket Square. Four of the march leaders were framed and executed. In their memory, May Day was proclaimed a day of international workers’ struggle and solidarity. In the United States, May Day took on new life when immigrant workers from Latin America held mega-marches for their rights in 2006. May Day 2019 is part of the resistance against the anti-people Trump/ Republican white supremacy agenda, and the rising movements to put peace, planet and people before profits

Donation is $5 or what you can afford. A fund appeal for the People’s World will be made. For information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

Yale Shot Stephanie Washington

by Joshua Caytetano, Yale Daily News, April 18, 2019

[Article below is excerpted from yaledailynews.com/blog/2019/04/18/cayetano-yale-shot-stephanie-washington]
The shooting of Stephanie Washington, a young black New Haven resident, by an officer of the Hamden Police Department and Yale University Police should produce grave concern and protest within the Yale student community.

Click to read more on the GoFundMe page

GoFundMe (click to read more)

Facts are still emerging, narratives are still changing, but one incontestable truth persists: Hamden and Yale University police shot an innocent, unarmed black woman. The University has the opportunity to take the steps toward racial reconciliation in front of a local and national audience. Yale can move from silence and complicity to solidarity with our hurting neighbors. One way is to commit to pressure local law enforcement to ensure a transparent investigation and a just outcome.

Other steps toward solidarity can include: 1) The issue of a public apology, 2) A commitment to terminate the employment of any responsible party, 3) A review and revision of YPD’s relationship to the broader New Haven community, and 4) A renewed, material commitment to these communities of need. But until the University proves itself to be a reliable partner for justice, this movement must begin with the students.

As Yale students, we must ask ourselves, “Is my safety ensured at the expense of someone else’s?” In light of this shooting, the answer should be an unequivocal yes.

Within the University’s protective bubble, we can easily ignore the uncomfortable truths that implicate our institution in injustice. We must correct our vision to include the many overlooked and under-considered people who challenge our presumption of moral superiority.

How can we be national advocates for justice if we allow the injustices in our backyard to pass unnoticed? How can we study centuries of racial oppression in our classrooms, yet not speak up when we witness it first-hand? Stephanie Washington might not have died from the bullet, but this fact in no way lightens the burden of responsibility. We must continue to #SayHerName, along with other black and brown people who have been brutalized by the police.

[editor’s note: there is a gofundme page set up for helping Stephanie get back on her feet. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-for-stephanie-washington

Joshua Cayetano is a first year at the Yale Divinity School. Contact him at joshua.cayetano@yale.edu.

Where Your Tax Money Goes…

information from a leaflet from New Haven Sunday Vigil

April 15 was the deadline for filing federal and state taxes for 2018. The oft-quoted or misquoted phrase linking “death and taxes” is apropos in a way its originator(s) did not intend. A huge percentage of our tax dollars goes to fund death-dealing in the form of endless war throughout the world, and to subsidize big corporations and 1% of the wealthiest individuals. A much, much smaller percentage goes to fund the things we all care about and desperately need — healthcare, education, housing, infrastructure, a clean environment, good jobs and good wages for everyone.

Imagine if the percentages were reversed

Imagine, in fact, a tax code where we each paid our fair share according to our income, with the wealthiest paying the most. Imagine that these taxes funded a system which produced and improved upon the things we all require to sustain our lives, instead of one which exports endless war and rewards corporate greed. Imagine what we could do for ourselves, each other, and our planet. Imagine. Act.

Resist this Endless War! Join the conversation every Sunday at the intersection of Broadway, Park and Elm streets from noon till 1 p.m. The website for more information is newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com.

Sing Seeger Songs to Benefit IRIS May 17

by Kim Stoner, NH Society of Friends

A singalong concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of folk singer and activist Pete Seeger will be held at Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike in Hamden on Friday, May 17th. We will sing to celebrate Seeger’s music and his life-long efforts on behalf of peace, justice, and the earth. The concert is a benefit for Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS).

Seeger passionately believed that singing together not only built community but could help heal our planet. Towards the end of his life, he said that if there’s still a world a hundred years from now it would be in large part because of people singing with each other.

Audiences in this singalong tribute concert will sing together using our new songbook containing fifty classic songs Pete Seeger led throughout his life, specially designed for Seeger centennial event. This event will feature Emma’s Revolution, Charlie King, Annie Patterson and Peter Blood-all of whom worked closely with Pete Seeger during his life.

Emma’s Revolution is the award-winning activist duo of Pat Humphries & Sandy O, whose songs have been praised by Pete Seeger and covered by Holly Near. They convey the energy and strength of their convictions, in an uprising of truth and hope for these tumultuous times.

Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist. Pete Seeger hailed him as “one of the finest singers and songwriters of our time.” They worked together to help build the People’s Music Network.

Annie Patterson & Peter Blood are the co-creators of the best-selling songbook Rise Up Singing. They have led sing-along concerts across North America and abroad building “hope & change through song.” www.groupsinging.org.

Concert details: Pete’s 100th Singalong Concert Friday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike in Hamden. Info: Paul Hammer (475) 201-3810, pauldhammer@yahoo.com.

Tickets & information: www.riseupandsing.org/events. Adults: $20, students and low income $10. For more information: www.riseupandsing.org/seeger-100th.

Is Your PAR Subscription About to Run Out?

by PAR Planning Committee

The Progressive Action Roundtable newsletter publishes from September through June. Subscriptions from many of our readers will expire with the June issue.

We hope you enjoy your subscription and value the PAR newsletter as a community resource. To see if your subscription is due for renewal, please look at your address label. If “201906” is printed on the label to the right of your name, your subscription ends next month. Please send in $13 for 10 issues (Sept. 2019-June 2020) so that you can continue to read about what local organizations are doing and you can submit articles about your own organization.

The Progressive Action Roundtable was started in January 1993. After several months, this community Newsletter became the main activity of PAR, giving New Haven area organizations an opportunity for networking and for advertising their activities.

We hope to hear from you.

Frida Berrigan to Deliver the Mark Shafer Lecture

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

Promoting Enduring Peace’s big event for March will be the Mark Shafer lecture this year given by Frida Berrigan. Berrigan is a long-time anti-nuclear activist. Frida writes the Little Insurrections blog for Waging Nonviolence and is the author of “It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing into Rebellious Motherhood,” a memoir of her childhood as their daughter and her adult life as an activist and a mother. She lives in New London with her husband Patrick Sheehan-Gaumer and their three children.

The event will take place on Tuesday, March 26 in the Great Hall of the Parish House of United Church on the Green at 323 Temple St. (by the corner of Wall Street). The event will begin at 7 p.m. It’s free. More details at PEPeace.net.

Berrigan comes from a distinguished family of activists. Her mother, Elizabeth McAllister, is in Glynn County Jail. McAllister took part in the Kings Bay Plowshare action in Georgia in 2018. Seven activists entered the nuclear sub base, with hammers and their own blood which they used to try to “convert swords into plowshares.” Incidentally, New Haven’s Mark Colville also took part in the action and is in the same lockup. The trial of the Plowshare activists will begin in March or April.

Frida Berrigan spoke for Promoting Enduring Peace last year at the Gandhi Peace Award event honoring Jackson Browne and got a spontaneous standing ovation. The Mark Shafer Lecture was started in 2013 in honor of peace activist Mark Shafer.

Earlier in the month PEP will have its Annual Meeting, looking at the past year and talking about world developments in peace and environment. It will take place on Thursday, March 7 starting at 6 p.m. in the Marrett Room of the New Haven Free Public Library on 133 Elm St. It’s open to all, but only active members can vote on internal issues.

Another March event of note is the “United Against Fascism and Racism” event in New York City. It’s part of an international effort. It’s happening at noon Saturday, March 16 in Foley Square.

Finally, we’re looking for volunteers to help plan an April conference about the climate crisis. Tentative title, “A Green New Deal and Other Ideas on Averting Climate Catastrophe.” Reach us at office.pepeace@gmail.com.

A Call for National Mobilization to Oppose NATO, War, and Racism

Nancy Eberg, Greater New Haven Peace Council

A broad coalition of international peace groups is organizing a mobilization, calling for an end to NATO, war, and racism. There will be a rally on Saturday, March 30 at 1 p.m. in Washington, D.C. at Lafayette Park (across from the White House), followed by a march past the World Bank and IMF (tools used to control poor countries). A rally with noted anti-war activists will follow. This year marks the 70th anniversary of NATO, an arm of US global military aggression.

Ironically, NATO chose April 4 to commemorate this occasion—the same date as Martin Luther King’s assassination. He believed that there was a deep-rooted relationship between militarism and the social, racial, economic, and environmental injustices that plague our society.

The crisis in Venezuela will be a focus of this action. Colombia, a NATO member, is working with the US to destabilize the Venezuelan government, purporting to move “humanitarian aid” into the country. Actually, they are attempting to create a coup against the leadership, hoping to put in a leader more conducive to their aims. If the US really wanted to aid the populace, it could remove its economic sanctions.

At present, there are no plans for group transportation from Connecticut to DC, but check for updates on the website No2NATO2019.org. The local sponsor for this event is the Greater New Haven Peace Council.

Any questions, call Jim at (203) 933-4043.

The Great Migration: Then and Now — 45th People’s World African American History Events Feb. 24

Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“The Great Migration: Then and Now — Fleeing Terror, Searching for Jobs and Equality,” is the theme of the 45th People’s World African American History Month celebration on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. at the Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave., New Haven. The day includes a march at 2:30 p.m., arts and writing competition, guest speaker, drumming and dance.

Some stories will be told of the many African American families in New Haven who trace their roots in the city to the great migration from the South in the 1930s and 40s when companies like Winchester recruited workers to come up from North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. They were fleeing Ku Klux Klan terror and looking for a better life.

Stories will also be told of the migrants from Central American countries coming to New Haven and the United States today, fleeing terror and economic devastation in their countries and hoping to find new opportunities for their families.

The “Jobs for Youth — Jobs for All” march will call on Yale to meet its signed commitment to hire from neighborhoods with high unemployment such as Dwight, Dixwell, Newhall, Fair Haven and the Hill. The march leaves the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St., at 2:30 p.m. and will wind through the Dwight neighborhood to Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave., for the 4 p.m. program.

Guest speaker Chauncey K. Robinson, journalist and social media editor of peoplesworld.org from Los Angeles, California, believes that writing and media, in any capacity, should help to reflect the world around us, and be tools to help bring about progressive change. She says she seeks to make sure topics that affect working-class people, peoples of color, and women are constantly in the spotlight.

The program will include drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and African dance with Ice the Beef. Ice the Beef Youth supports each other through education, dreams, goals, and talent by meeting, sharing stories, laughing, joking, and expressing feelings. They are on Facebook.

Prizes and acknowledgments of entries to the Arts and Writing Competition grades 8 to 12 will be presented. Students are asked to reflect in artwork, essay, poetry, rap or song about grandparents or great-grandparents who came up from the South in the past, or about someone who came up from Latin America or elsewhere recently. “What did they find? How can we continue the struggle for good jobs and equal rights to fulfill the dreams of those who came and made New Haven home?  What are your dreams for a better life?” Entry deadline is Feb. 14. For information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com.

During the Great Migration (1916 to 1970), six million African Americans left the South. They moved to cities like New Haven in the North and the West. They were fleeing discrimination, lynchings, denied rights and a lack of jobs. They were searching for a better life for themselves and their children.

As they settled they found that segregation and racism were not just in the South. The migration gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement and before that to the art, literature and music of the Harlem Renaissance that stirred the country and the world.

Artist Jacob Lawrence created a series of paintings about the Great Migration in 1940. He said, “And the migrants kept coming…their struggles and triumphs ring true today. People all over the world are still on the move, trying to build better lives for themselves and for their families.”

In 2018 famed activist and scholar Angela Davis said, “I believe that the major civil rights issue of the 21st Century is the issue of immigrant rights.”

Cop Review Panel Passes, With Teeth | New Haven Independent

by Markeshia Ricks

A 22-year quest for justice culminated Monday night as Emma Jones watched New Haven’s Board of Alders vote to create an all-civilian review board (CRB) with power to investigate officers accused of misconduct.

The Board of Alders voted unanimously during its first meeting of the year to create the new version of the CRB.

 Emma Jones, whose son was shot dead by an East Haven police officer, was given a standing ovation after the vote. Markeshia Ricks Photo

Emma Jones, whose son was shot dead by an East Haven police officer, was given a standing ovation after the vote. Markeshia Ricks Photo

That vote came after weeks of public pressure and behind the scenes negotiating among alders and activists. After Monday night’s votes were cast, Jones— who became the most visible proponent of such a board after an East Haven cop chased her son Malik into Fair Haven in 1997 and shot him to death — was given a standing ovation by alders and activists who took the efforts that she started across the goal line.

Read the whole story here: Cop Review Panel Passes, With Teeth | New Haven Independent

Plowshare Activist, Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville Returns to Jail

On the night of April 4, 2018, New Haven resident and Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville was arrested with 6 others at a non-violent Plowshares action at Kings Bay Naval Base, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. The naval base has six ballistic missile submarines and two guided missile submarines.

“Nuclear weapons kill every day through our mining, production, testing, storage and dumping, primarily on Indigenous Native land. This weapons system is a cocked gun being held to the head of the planet” (from the statement of the seven arrested Plowshares activists).

Mark Colville was granted bail for skin cancer treatment that was successfully treated.

The following excerpts are from Mark before he and his wife Luz returned to Georgia, where, on Dec. 11, he self-surrendered to Georgia authorities.

Greetings in the peace that the world cannot give…

 

From the beginning, my participation in the Kings Bay Plowshares action was first of all an act of contrition for complicity in the sins of nuclearism and empire, and I’ve regarded any incarceration as penance for those sins.  But the jail has also been for me a place of ministry, personal faith-development and formation of conscience. …

With this in mind, there are no misgivings or mixed feelings about going back to Glynn County Detention Center, but rather a sense of rejoicing that, as Dan Berrigan liked to say, one has the freedom to go to jail.

A week ago, judge Cheesbro accepted a motion to return the bail money that was posted on my behalf and put me back in the jail on December 11.

This Tuesday, Luz and I will show up at the Glynn County Detention Center and part ways again, for another undetermined length of time. We will do this mindfully, reaching hands of solidarity toward our extended global family members who are now at this country’s border facing atrocities and uncertainties far beyond whatever hardships we might be obliged to bear.

…I’ll look forward to your postcards, and delight in all news of your ongoing efforts to bring about the nonviolent collapse of the U.S. empire, in defense of all creation…

Love and Prayers, Mark

[For the regulations on how to send letters to Mark, please see www.kingsbayplowshares7.org/jail-addresses]

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