Meet SalamTalk App: Independent, Conversation-Driven News

by Shoshana Lovett-Graff

Over the past few months, the world has been skyrocketed into pandemic: misinformation about coronavirus has spread quickly, and people across the world are anxiously trying to decipher social media posts, government warnings, and mainstream media in order to access real people’s experiences in crisis zones. The spread of fake news and biased reporting during the coronavirus crisis is indicative of the mistrust in news generally – a 2016 Gallup poll shows that only 31% of Americans trust the national news. In conflict zones, there is an added complication: each side gets caught up in its own narrative and is unable to see past its own media scope. It’s clear that a new type of journalism is needed: one that acknowledges truth as multifaceted and complex, and seeks to eliminate a middleman motivated by politics or profit. SalamTalk, a new media platform for citizen journalism, wants to fill this gap.

SalamTalk focuses on facilitating dialogue and citizen journalism across Israel and Palestine, allowing anyone to be a journalist through virtual conversations and reports transcending borders. The peer-to-peer network used by SalamTalk allows for direct conversation, which keeps conversations secure and encrypted. Users can filter their conversations by nationality, location, and languages spoken, and decide to have a free-form conversation about any topic they choose, or use guidelines provided by experts. After the conversation, people rate their conversational partner on openness, reliability, aggression and inconsideration. The citizen journalism platform operates through an incentivized peer-review system.

The platform works at the intersection between personal and political, asking questions like:
what happens when nameless statistics become real faces? What happens when political information is directly addressed in conflict zones, instead of skirted around? SalamTalk acknowledges that we can only make the best judgment of the truth when we have access to multifaceted, personal experiences.
SalamTalk is run by an all-volunteer network spanning the US, Germany, The Netherlands, Israel, Palestine, and more.

For more information, please visit the SalamTalk website. Sign up to the newsletter or social media for latest updates, and contribute to the crowdfunding campaign to get the platform off the ground.

Rally Demands End to ICE Agent Arrests of Undocumented Immigrants in Connecticut Courthouses

Excerpt from interview with Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri, co-director of the Connecticut Bail Fund, recorded and produced

by Melinda Tuhus for Between The Lines/BTLonline.org.

Immigrant rights advocates protested outside the Connecticut Judicial Branch in Hartford on March 9, demanding that ICE – the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers – stop arresting undocumented immigrants inside the state’s courthouses. Activists point out that neighboring states of Massachusetts and New York have prohibited ICE arrests in their courts.

Maintaining that the state’s courts are serving as stalking ground for ICE agents, protesters made several demands on the office of state court administration. The Immigrant Bail Fund reports that bonding out immigrants who have been arrested in court is the most common avenue by which they learn about arrests. And the Immigrant Defense Project reports that in New York City, arrests within courthouses has soared 1100 percent since Donald Trump became president, up from much smaller numbers under President Obama.

ANA MARIA RIVERA-FORESTIERI: We have several demands. One of them is that the judicial branch has the full authority to enact a policy that prevents them from coming in, and there are several states that have done that, including our neighbors in New York and Massachusetts. So they could institute a policy today saying Immigration is not allowed to come in and arrest people unless they have a warrant, which is what they require of any other law enforcement agency. So we’re saying, “No special treatment for ICE.”

In addition to that we’re saying reparations for families that have been impacted by this issue. And we’re also very worried because of the Trust Act now, the Department of Homeland Security has subpoenaed several states for information about people they didn’t release because of Trust Act policies, and so the state of Connecticut is considering whether or not they’re going to respond to these subpoenas, which run contrary to the spirit of the Trust Act and why we did it in the first place. I mean, if they honor these subpoenas, then what is the point of the law, which we worked so hard to pass?

For more information on the Connecticut Immigration Rights Alliance on Facebook, visit
Facebook.com/CTImmigrantRightsAlliance.

Why Does the DNC Want Trump to Win?

by Lindsay Mathews, New Haven Peace Activist

Why are the DNC elites, MSDNC and CNN again propping up another right-wing buffoon, Joe Biden, to be the Democratic nominee for President when the other candidate, Bernie Sanders, has the strongest ground game to get out the largest vote in U.S. history to take back the White House?

Take back the White House. Good news for the DNC. One would think.

And, yet, we saw the full force of the Democratic establishment and their corporate media take control just before Super Tuesday to install their puppet, Joe Biden, a dum-dum and liar who can barely string a group of words together to form a sentence.

Why?

We know from the 2016 election that the DNC does not want Bernie, but why Biden? Is he just being used as their vehicle to power?

Is it because they KNOW that Biden will lose the election when the Bernie campaign sits this one out? Or are they using him as a vehicle to maintain their power?

It’s about policy. The Democratic and Republic parties need to keep the rich, rich and to hell with the rest of us. Trump is their guy. For the next nine years we will suffer with their “Tax the Poor” tax break policy for the rich.

Why are they enabling the fascistic, ecocidal Trump to win the election? Trump knows they are doing this as he gleefully commences to chew up Biden only to spit him out for huge win for the 1% in 2020. BINGO!

As Bernie says, “Our campaign is the only campaign that has the excitement and the strongest grassroots movement needed to defeat the most dangerous President in the recent history of the United States.”

Is this why the Democratic Party wants Trump back in the White House?

March 16, 2020

Take the Stress Off, Love Your Home

Fundraising for the Exciting New Energy Consultation Initiative Concludes May 31st

by Tebben Lopez, NHS of New Haven

A typical household wastes 30% more energy than an efficient one does. Energy efficiency helps customers cut consumption and bills through services like energy assessments, but where do you begin? Enter NHS New Haven’s pilot program, I ♥ My Home and energy consultant, Michael Uhl.
Mike moved to New Haven six years ago from Baltimore, where he learned about the systematic challenges facing families. “The experience compelled me to do more. I want to make homes where families are not gentrified away from communities and the air is clean.”

Soon after, he found NHS. “NHS staff were building and envisioning an equitable future, with the years of experience to know New Haven residents’ needs.” With his own experience in high performance building services, they stayed connected on topics that serve residents.

“I ♥ My Home makes improving a residence simpler,” Mike explains, “We are centered on the participant. The program solves frustrations of homeowners and renters, while attaining greater financial freedom and environmental improvements.” By guiding participants to financially-viable, energy-saving upgrades for their needs, the program systematically leads a resident through steps to make living more affordable and responsible. “The program is timely, strategic and effective,” Mike said. The average monthly residential electricity bill in Connecticut is $127, 19% higher than the national average. Residential energy accounts for 12% of greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, low-income households face an energy burden three times higher than other households, forcing tough budget choices because home energy costs demand a larger portion of income.

“NHS and its partners are agnostic to technologies, financing and contractors, allowing the team to focus on customer needs,” Mike explains. By facilitating the experience, enlisting technical consultants to provide deep energy, financing or processing management expertise, “NHS can quickly build and easily manage program sustainability.”

They’re seeking support from the community and asking residents, local businesses and other organizations to donate and help this fundraising campaign finish strong. As a recipient of the Sustainable CT Community Match Fund, all donations raised from the community are matched dollar-for-dollar, doubling local investment. To learn more and make a contribution, visit https://ioby.org/project/i-heart-my-home.

Shut Down The Cricket Valley Fracked Gas Power Plant

Resist CVE via ActionNetwork.org <info@email.actionnetwork.org>

Dear friends,

At Resist CVE, we are reeling from the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic and offer our love and solidarity to those who are feeling the deepest effects of this crisis. We have had to quickly reflect on how to shift our organizing strategy with respect to the new and important need for social distancing. We came to the conclusion; we can’t stop because the fossil fuel companies aren’t stopping. We will keep organizing, safely and creatively, to shut down the Cricket Valley fracked gas power plant.
While this massive health emergency unfolds, fossil fuel executives capitalize on the crisis, positioning themselves for bailouts. Meanwhile, the rest of us are busy helping our communities. Coronavirus containment proves we can make needed changes to protect public health. We need a similar sense of real urgency applied to the extremely lethal and large-scale climate emergency, and to the deadly air and water pollution which is business as usual for the fossil fuel industry.

So, today we are asking you to join the online rally!

We are conducting a virtual protest that everyone can join from home. Help us get the word to Cuomo that we are not stopping until he stops Cricket Valley!

ACTION STEPS:
1. Call Governor Cuomo @ (877) 235-6537 and tell him to stop Cricket Valley!
2. Sign the Petition and share the web address: Bit.ly/protectourhealthstopcve
3. Sign the Pledge to take action
4. View our new video & share on social media
5. Forward this message to at least 10 of your friends
stopcricketvalley.org

Due Date for April Articles for Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter: Thursday, March 19

Readers want to know: What is the purpose of your organization? How are you building your group? What campaigns are you organizing? What events are you planning?

We want to publicize the workgroups have done and what they’re planning to do. We want to spread the word to others who will be inspired to join you, support your activism and build the struggles. Send us articles (even a paragraph or two) about what your group wants to do and any ideas for organizing! 350-word limit, please!

Please send articles about your group’s recent and current activities and upcoming actions and events to parnewhaven@hotmail.com.

Read more

Nine Reasons to Oppose Assisted Suicide: What Progressives Need to Know

by Joan Cavanagh, Second Thoughts CT member

In the February 2019 PAR newsletter, Lisa Blumberg, of Second Thoughts Connecticut, wrote: “Trump wants the Affordable Care Act to implode. Republicans seem willing to swell the ranks of the uninsured and to cut Medicaid funding. There are corporate imperatives to reduce health-care costs even if quality is diminished. Many people are unable to access basic care and minorities, the old and people with disabilities are often subject to medical prejudices or ‘quality of life’ misconceptions. Legalizing doctor-assisted suicide in these times would be akin to taking coals to Newcastle.”

A year later, nothing has changed, only gotten worse. Yet the Public Health Committee of the Connecticut State Legislature is once again poised to consider an “Aid in Dying” (“Assisted Suicide”) bill. The dangers of such legislation should become more and more obvious every day.

Assisted suicide is fraught with peril for the most vulnerable among us–the elderly, disabled and poor, who are already viewed by the medical system and the insurance companies as too costly to treat and thus expendable. There are no imaginable “safeguards” that can change that fact. This legislation would only codify what we have experienced and had to fight in our daily lives—and which has already cost the lives of far too many.

Below are Nine Reasons to Oppose Assisted Suicide.

  1. In our cost-cutting health care system, it encourages the rationing of health care for the most “expensive” patients: the elderly, disabled, seriously ill and poor.
    2. It subjects the vulnerable to potential overt or covert abuse that can never be adequately monitored.
    3. It encourages a rush to judgment as to how “terminal illness” is defined.
    4. It promotes the idea of extreme individualism and self-sufficiency, the notion that being vulnerable and needing care is somehow “undignified,” the idea that we live in a vacuum with no responsibility for or to each other.
    5. It erodes patient confidence in our health care providers, causing justified fear that they will advocate for the suicide option in difficult cases.
    6. It requires doctors to lie about the facts of a patient’s death, citing the illness as the cause, not the ingestion of the lethal medication.
    7. It does not necessarily guarantee a “peaceful” or immediate end of life.
    8. It promotes suicide as an option in a time where suicide among the young is increasing and suicide prevention is public policy.
    9. It opens the door to involuntary euthanasia of those deemed “defective,” such as people with advanced dementia or severe disability that renders them unable to communicate.

For more explanation of these and other reasons to oppose assisted suicide, please go to www.notdeadyet.org and dredf.org/public-policy/assisted suicide.

Progressives and disability rights advocates have a compelling case to make here. We need to voice our opposition loudly and clearly, and to help educate others about the full implications of this legislation so that they will indeed have “second thoughts.”

There is a list of Public Health Committee members at cga.ct.gov. Please write to ask them to withdraw this bill. (It did not yet have a number as this newsletter went to press.)

Joan Cavanagh, a long-time peace and justice activist, is a member of Second Thoughts Connecticut, a bi-partisan organization composed of citizens with disabilities and advocates who oppose the legalization of assisted suicide.

Part-Time Position Advancing Health Care with POCCT

Protect Our Care CT is adding a part-time staff person to work on outreach and organizing for the next 4 months.

We are seeking an Organizer/Coordinator to work 20 hours a week from March 1 through June 30. Organizer/Coordinator would be responsible for working with POCCT partner organizations to advance state and federal health care initiatives and with the POCCT Steering Committee and other staff to build the organization. We are interested in sharing a staff person with another organization but could also work with an individual. Job description here.

If you or your organization are interested, send a resume or questions to Jane McNichol, jmcnichol@universalhealthct.org.

Source: Part-Time Position Advancing Health Care with POCCT — Protect Our Care CT

The Liberation of Auschwitz and the Liberation of Syria

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Fifty world leaders joined Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem for the World Holocaust Forum, or perhaps it should be called the World Hypocrisy Forum as many of these heads of state are engaging in massive human rights violations and killings. It was held to celebrate the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Certainly the liberation of the camp by the First Ukrainian Front of the Soviet Army is indeed something that should be celebrated, but not by Netanyahu, Putin and Pence in the capital of apartheid.

Now about the death camp itself, there’s something that only Fox News and PBS brought up, the question of why Auschwitz wasn’t bombed by the Allies. As early as May 1944 Allied bombers were in range of the camp. As former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg wrote, the allies were “indifferent” to the plight of the Jews. And Jewish leaders in the U.S. hardly made an issue of it. Top leaders like Rabbi Stephen Wise rejected any efforts to save European Jews that weren’t tied to bringing them to Palestine. As dissenter Peter Bergson wrote at the time, it was as if people were in a burning house screaming for help and rescue would only be attempted if it was agreed that the fire victims would be taken right away to the Waldorf-Astoria.

Bergson in 1943 rented out Madison Square Garden and filled it to display the pageant “We Will Never Die.” That year he organized 450 rabbis to march to the White House. Roosevelt didn’t meet with any of them, but in the next year, he approved a War Refugee Board which by some estimates saved 100,000 lives. Bergson’s efforts should be a model for those concerned with Syria.

March 15 marks the 9th anniversary of the start of mass demonstrations in Syria. Their bloody suppression led to the uprising against the Assad tyranny. RPM, Revive the Peace Movement (network) is calling for people to mark the date in some way, by demonstrating, films, webinar, etc. and to call attention to the 3 million people being slowly overcome by Assad-Iranian ground forces and Assad-Putin bombing. More at www.rpm.world.

Tell Us About Yourselves

Readers want to know: What is the purpose of your organization? How are you building your group? What campaigns are you organizing? What events are you planning?

We want to publicize the work groups have done and what they’re planning to do. We want to spread the word to others who will be inspired to join you, support your activism and build the struggles. Send us articles (even a paragraph or two) about what your group wants to do and any ideas for organizing! 350 word limit, please!

Please send articles about your group’s recent and current activities and upcoming actions and events to parnewhaven@hotmail.com.

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The deadline for the February Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter is Monday, January 20.

GUIDELINES FOR ARTICLES Read more

Youth Arts Journalism Book Launch Party

Join us in celebrating the students of YAJI Wednesday, Jan. 15, 4-6 p.m. at the Orchid Café at NH Free Public Library, 133 Elm St.

Please join the Arts Paper and the Arts Council for a party, reading and book launch of work from our second cohort of students in the Youth Arts Journalism Initiative. As we roll into 2020 with the application for our third cohort, learn more about the program and hear from some of the students who published work last semester. For more information and to RSVP, contact Lucy Gellman at lucy@newhavenarts.org.

The mission of the Youth Arts Journalism Initiative (YAJI)  is to use the Arts Paper to train 9th-12th grade students from New Haven Public Schools to independently research, report, draft, and publish articles about hyper-local visual, performing, and culinary arts.

Our readers want to know about you!

Dear PAR Contributors,

Readers want to know: What is the purpose of your organization? How are you building your group? What campaigns are you organizing? What events are you planning?

We want to publicize the work groups have done and what they’re planning to do. We want to spread the word to others who will be inspired to join you, support your activism and build the struggles. Send us articles (even a paragraph or two) about what your group wants to do and any ideas for organizing! 350 word limit, please!

Please send articles about your group’s recent and current activities and upcoming actions and events to parnewhaven@hotmail.com.

***Help inspire others through your commitment! ***

The deadline for the January Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter is Wednesday, December 18.

GUIDELINES FOR ARTICLES

Please include an enticing headline/title for your article so our readers will focus on your work right away.

Be sure to indicate your name and organization as they should appear in your byline.

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Baby Library Cards to Newborns: New Partnership Feathers the Nest–NHF Public Library and YNH Hospital

by Lauren Bisio, NHFPL

The New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL) and Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) are pleased to announce a new partnership distributing baby library cards to all newborns residing in New Haven—with an estimated reach of 1,500 newborns annually.

“The New Haven Free Public Library is excited to provide library cards to new babies in our City in partnership with Yale New Haven Hospital,” said Martha Brogan, City Librarian. “We know that reading aloud is enjoyable and has significant benefits even to our youngest infants.  We are thrilled to promote the practice of whole family reading and look forward to sharing our collections and regular storytime hours with our newest residents.”

“We are very excited to partner with the New Haven Public Library to help bring the world of reading and learning to our families here at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital,” said Cynthia Sparer, senior vice president, Operations at Yale New Haven Hospital and executive director, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital and VP for women’s and children’s services. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the families we serve and we are grateful to the New Haven Public Library for providing us with these valuable resources and educational materials.”

The library cards will be distributed, along with other welcoming materials, to new parents who give birth at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.

Each library card is valid for at least one year and offers access to online resources at NHFPL, including e-books, music and videos. Each postcard includes the five NHFPL locations and contact information, along with encouragement for parents to visit their favorite library branch and upgrade their cards to full-service library cards.

For more information, please contact Lauren Bisio, (203) 947-7454, lbisio@nhfpl.org.

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