Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) Stands with Afghan Families

Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) is currently welcoming evacuated Afghan families and are ready on 24-hour notice to receive as many as needed.

Please help us:

Donate to defray costs of essentials upon arrival emergent costs.  Irisct.org/donate.

Join a local community group in towns around the state and work with IRIS to welcome families in your community. irisct.org/communitycosponsorship.

Collect backpacks, school supplies, winter coats and waterproof winter boots. Our storage is limited at this moment. Please email info@irisct.org.

Help the Progressive Community. Become an Active Part of the PAR Newsletter Team!

To Our Readers:

The Progressive Action Roundtable is looking for someone who knows how to write clearly and has a good command of spelling and grammar. This person must also be interested in talking to local organizers about their groups and plans, and writing a couple of short articles (of approximately 300 words) for the monthly PAR newsletter. A small stipend will be available.

In addition, we would like more of our readers to become involved in working on the newsletter. We want to expand our Planning Committee and Production Team. Enhancement of our Facebook presence is also needed. Would you like to gather articles about local activities? Can you help with graphics? Are you a good proofreader?

If you’re interested in helping the PAR newsletter provide news about New Haven-area activism, please send an e-mail to parnewhaven@hotmail.org and let us know what you’re able to do to keep PAR promoting the work of the many wonderful progressive organizations in the New Haven area.

Thank you!

Mutual Aid in 2020

by Andy Piascek, peacenews.org, posted Dec. 18, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in mutual aid activity and organizations. In Bridgeport, Connecticut where I live, a dozen or so people came together in March of 2020 to form Bridgeport Mutual Aid (BMA). A large percentage of Bridgeport’s residents are poor and many others who are not categorized as such were nonetheless struggling even before the pandemic. Their situations became more precarious when the state ordered many businesses to close, jobs were lost and people were advised not to socialize even with relatives living nearby. The elderly who are most vulnerable found themselves cut off from their usual social network of sons and daughters and grandchildren. When Bridgeport officials also suspended the city’s bus service, those without cars found it much more difficult to shop for groceries and other essentials.

BMA decided to provide food and other items like toilet paper, diapers and sanitary napkins to as many of those in need as possible. Most members had contacts of all kinds throughout the city, especially in poor and working-class neighborhoods, and drew on those contacts to spread the word about the project. Because of social distancing requirements and restrictions on travel, a decision was made to deliver the food since it was too dangerous to set up a central gathering place for people to come and pick up whatever they needed.

Anyone who requests aid gets it. New people have joined the effort and stores and retailers contribute food and other goods. Supporters contribute money that is used to buy any items that aren’t contributed and BMA also secured a small grant. People work whenever they can, whether it’s four times a week every week or once every four weeks. BMA members belong to the Bridgeport chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and other organizations and participate in the work those and other groups in the area are doing.

One prime example of organizational overlap occurred in June when activists working to end police brutality established an encampment in front of police headquarters for ten days and nights. BMA folks have also been involved in the organizing against police brutality so it was only natural that BMA participated in both the encampment and in making sure the 50 or so people who were camping out every night had sufficient food. BMA members also helped to ensure that the encampment included portable bathrooms, a first aid tent, a library and entry points where face masks were given to anyone not wearing one.

The above is an excerpt. Read the entire article at http://peacenews.org/2020/12/18/mutualaidin2020andypiascik

Kensington Playground: The Fight Is Not Over! Donations Needed to Support Legal Fight to Keep Playground from Being Sold

by Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Friends of Kensington Playground is seeking donations to support our legal fight against the construction of housing and a parking lot on our largest public parkland.

The group is fighting the sale of Dwight’s Kensington Playground to The Community Builders for $1, which was approved by the New Haven Board of Alders in October so that 15 units of affordable rental housing and a surface parking lot can be built on the parkland.

The Friends group filed a complaint against the City of New Haven in Connecticut State Court. The complaint was based on the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act and Conn. Gen. Stat. §7-131n, known as the Park Replacement Statute, which requires that when a municipality takes park or open space land for other purposes, it must be replaced with parkland of equal size and value. §7-131n also requires a dedicated public hearing on the subject.

In addition, The Friends are also pursuing historic preservation and environmental issues under federal law because the playground is in the heart of the Dwight Street National Historic District and federal monies are being used by The Community Builders in the construction of the apartment building. The Friends asked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to review the proposed sale. The Hartford HUD Office has directed the City of New Haven Office of Management and Budget to consider the matter.

While the Friends understand that there is a need for affordable housing, we believe there is no reason to take our parkland for it. Loss of the mature trees in the Playground will hurt our air quality. Adults as well as children enjoy this outdoor space. The non-profit developer receiving the gift of this land has had a poor track record for decades.

The group is appealing to the community for donations to our GoFundMe Campaign to Save Kensington Playground to help with legal costs, and if they win, with a playscape. GoFundMe campaign link is: https://gf.me/u/y89852 or search for “Save Kensington Playground” on GoFundMe.com.

See www.KensingtonPlayground.org for additional details, and to sign our petition.

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

Help Make Thanksgiving Special This Year

Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen

For almost 30 years, the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen has participated in a community-wide effort to deliver meals to people in need on Thanksgiving morning. Although the COVID-19 pandemic is limiting the scale of this annual program, we’re determined to get at least 500 meals out to those most in need on Thanksgiving Day, focusing on people experiencing homelessness and staying in warming centers, hotels, and shelters. In addition, we will once again be providing plenty of Thanksgiving foods at our weekly pantry on the Wednesday before the holiday.

Here’s how YOU can help:

Donate Food!

Help us make Thanksgiving special for those in need in your community by donating food from our Thanksgiving Shopping List.

  • Frozen turkeys (Nov. 15 drop-off only)
  • Stuffing (boxed)
  • Green beans (canned)
  • Cranberry sauce (canned)
  • Yams (canned)
  • Corn (canned)
  • Broth (turkey, chicken, or vegetable)
  • Butter (1-lb. boxes)
  • Reusable shopping bags

Please drop off frozen turkeys on Sunday, Nov. 15, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. All other items can be dropped off during DESK’s regular receiving hours (Sun. – Thu., 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.) through Sunday, Nov. 22. Drop-off Location: 311 Temple Street.

Questions? Call us at (203) 624-6426, ext. 6137, or email info@deskct.org.

Donate Money!

Your financial support will ensure that DESK can serve those in need on Thanksgiving and all year-round! Show your support and we’ll be able to purchase supplies to keep everyone safe and protected during these difficult times. Contact us with any questions at (203) 624-6426, ext. 8557.

Donate Your Time! Volunteer!

While we won’t need all 250+ volunteers who typically take part in Thanksgiving for All, we still need some folks to make this happen! If you’re interested in helping out onsite or delivering meals, email us at volunteer@deskct.org, and we’ll be in touch in the weeks leading up to let you know how you can help.

Thanksgiving for All is a community partnership of Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers, Yale Hospitality, and Chabaso Bakery.

Tell us, tell New Haven, about the progressive work your organization is doing

Dear PAR Contributors,

The world has changed quite a bit since our June newsletter. The brutal murder of George Floyd exposed the ugliness of power in the hands of the police and the entrenched racism against people of color. As Black Lives Matter rallies against police brutality were joined with demands for removal of racist and oppressive historic symbols, the Columbus statue in Wooster Square was removed, and the City formed a committee to rename Columbus Academy. Black Lives Matter marches of over a thousand people blocked highways and rallied at police stations. A thousand people marched in West Haven to demand justice for Mubarak Soulemane, who was killed by a state trooper. Many hundreds demanded Yale pay millions of dollars more to New Haven to make up for so much property being tax-exempt because of Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital. Two “elder rallies” in support of Black Lives Matter were held on the Green for people wanting to make their voices heard while wearing masks and maintaining appropriate distance from others because of coronavirus. Mayor Elicker reiterated that New Haven is a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. City and town councils of New Haven, Hamden, Hartford, Windsor, West Hartford and Bloomfield declared racism a public health crisis. In addition, our work for peace and justice around the world has not stopped. Plus we are still in the midst of the pandemic! Quite a busy time!

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 September Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter is Wednesday, August 19.

 

Please keep in mind that as layout space permits, we will include photos.

IMPORTANT: Don’t neglect to add your organization’s contact information such as phone number, e-mail address or website, so our readers can get more information about what your group is doing.

ABOUT CALENDAR ITEMS

If you mention an event in an article, please also send a SEPARATE calendar announcement.

Please give street addresses for any events or meetings, even for “well-known” public buildings.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please indicate whether your event location is wheelchair accessible.

You can also send us SAVE THE DATE items about future events, even if you do not yet have all the details in place.

The PAR newsletter will come out approximately Saturday, August 29. Please consider this when submitting calendar items.

Progressive Action Roundtable is on Facebook

For automatic PAR updates, sign up on our website:  par-newhaven.org

If your group has a website, please add our link to your webpage.

 

To renew your own subscription or to buy a subscription for a friend, the rate is $13 for 10 issues. Please make the check out to PAR and mail it to

PAR, P.O. Box 995, New Haven, CT  06504

Where to Turn for Help

There are a number of agencies and websites to turn to for information about the coronavirus and places to go for help. Here are some of them:

Call 211 for resources, information on food pantries, medical assistance, and various hotlines.

Yale New Haven Health has set up a call center to respond to questions about COVID-19, give assessments to patients by phone or video, and determine whether someone needs to be tested. The number to call is (833) ASK-YNHH. That’s (833) 275-9644.

https://medicine.yale.edu/intmed/news-article/23180/

https://covid19.newhavenct.gov/

Regional Groups and Support Networks:

New Haven Area Mutual Aid

https://www.facebook.com/groups/639466263512268

Mutual Aid/Support Waterbury, Bridgeport, New Haven and Surrounding Areas https://www.facebook.com/ groups/501197987165893/?fref=nf

Document for sharing resources that helps you connect with others around physical, emotional, educational and social needs. http://bit.ly/2Wg2pvc

It is available in Arabic: المساعدة المتبادلة في ووتربيري، بريدجبورت، نيو هافن

And Spanish: ESPAÑOL — Ayuda Mutua Hartford, Waterbury, Bridgeport, New Haven

Reach Out New Haven: Call if You Need Help

In these anxious, isolating and uncertain times, many people don’t know where to turn for resources and someone to talk with. The Clifford Beers Center has launched a warmline to help connect you with various programs for your needs. Also, if you want someone to talk with, have questions on how to get information about COVID-19, or need help, we are here with compassionate listeners who are trained in providing mental health guidance. Please call us for help! The number is (203) 287-2460.

Visit our website for more information and a listing of links for useful information at www.cliffordbeers.org/covid-19-resources.

Grants Available for Not-for-Profit Organizations

The Yale Community for New Haven Fund will support the delivery of healthcare, assistance to local businesses, community educational needs, and area not-for-profits focused on such pressing issues as the well-being of children and families, homelessness, and food insecurity.  The fund will focus initially on agencies providing healthcare and basic-needs services to those most affected by COVID-19.

onha.yale.edu/yale-community-new-haven-fund

How You Can Help At-Risk People in Our Community

by Mark Colville, Amistad Catholic Worker

Friends,

I reach out today with an urgent call to come together as advocates, caregivers, organizers, activists and allies, in response to the ongoing unmet needs of some of the most at-risk people in the New Haven community. As the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded, many concerned people in the area have intensified our work with people experiencing homelessness, and from that perspective, we’ve seen the city and some of its institutions take bold and proactive steps. At the same time, there is a growing fear that those efforts are falling short in terms of providing safe spaces for significant numbers of people who still lack the wherewithal to follow the statewide directive to shelter in place.

The latest initiative has been to move all of the people who were using the city’s homeless shelters into hotel rooms, a move that was completed within the past three weeks. Thanks to a concerted raising of voices, we have now seen the city commit to expanding that initiative to include all individuals who identify as experiencing homelessness, regardless of whether or not they typically use the shelter system. This is a very positive development, and many of us have been working hard to get those folks signed up for the rooms as they’re made available.

The problem we face now is that the ”shelter model” of service delivery is simply being transposed onto these hotels. This includes supervision, security measures, invasions of privacy and disciplinary regimens which are in fact the reason why so many people refuse to stay in shelters in the first place. Regardless of how anyone feels about such refusals, this project of moving everyone from the street into hotel rooms will not be sufficient, at least in its current form, to accommodate everyone- particularly, for example, those who are mentally ill and/or active drug users.

In response, the Amistad Catholic Worker is joining an effort already underway to erect a tent city, in an as-yet undetermined open space somewhere relatively close to the city center. This is being organized collectively and with a fair degree of urgency. It will integrate the requirements of social distancing and sheltering in place, but the rules and regulations will be developed and agreed upon by those dwelling in that space. Thus the responsibility for its operation in a safe and sanitary way, maintaining the peace and respecting the privacy of its residents, will also be assumed collectively.

We are now looking for camping supplies, especially tents, sleeping bags, warm blankets and tarps. If you can donate any of these or other items, please contact me: (203) 645-5417 (call or text); markcolville9761@gmail.com. For anyone interested in taking an active role in getting the project off the ground, I’m happy to discuss that as well.

Stay safe everyone. Gratefully,

Mark Colville

Puerto Rico Devastated! Again!

Excerpts from flyer of GNH Peace Council, Jan. 24, 2020

Twenty-eight months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the federal government continues in its failure to adequately take care of the island’s needs. The latest indignity to residents who have yet to fully recover from damages caused by the hurricanes and now the earthquakes is the government’s continued pathetic responses and a sudden cut to food stamp benefits. Congressional neglect and animus from the administration are responsible for hardships that would never be tolerated if the American citizens being harmed lived on the mainland and not in a U.S. territory that lacks voting representation in Washington.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined calls on Jan. 9, 2020, for the Trump administration to release $18 billion in disaster aid to the island more than two years after the money was appropriated.

The funds were meant to go to the U.S. territory after Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused nearly $150 billion in damages to Puerto Rico. Maria killed nearly 3,000 people and left 1.5 million Puerto Ricans without power, including hundreds whose electricity wasn’t restored for nearly a year. On Jan. 7, 2020, about two-thirds of the island once again had no power and hundreds of thousands of people were without running water following back-to-back earthquakes and aftershocks.

“We call upon the White House to stop its unlawful withholding of funds from Puerto Rico,” Pelosi said at a press conference on Jan. 9, “There are needs that need to be met, there has been a disaster designated, but the ongoing withholding of funds appropriated by Congress to Puerto Rico is illegal.”

“Puerto Rico has been through too much already. We should forgive their debt, make them a state and rebuild in earnest,” presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted in one of the bolder responses from the candidates.

Meanwhile, thousands of Puerto Rican families remain in makeshift dwellings following these recent quakes. grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com.

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