Nuclear Weapons and Democracy — Do they co-exist?

by Marge Van Cleef, former New Haven resident and member of CT Peace Coalition. In Philadelphia, she organizes a monthly Death Walk Against Drones, participates in the Brandywine Peace Community and WILPF. This article first appeared in the monthly Catholic Peace Fellowship newsletter.

We continue to call ourselves a democracy, “rule by the people.” A monarchy means “rule by one,” a state or nation in which the supreme power is actually or nominally lodged in a monarch. Monarchy has existed since the earliest history of humankind and was often established during periods of external threat or internal crisis because it provided a more efficient focus of power than a democracy, which tended to diffuse power. Apparently, the U.S. considers its possession of nuclear weapons justification for one-person rule, that of the President.

Elaine Scarry, Harvard Univ., has written a book entitled “Thermonuclear Monarchy” (2014) based on her extensive research into U.S. nuclear weapons and who decides when and how they are used. The facts are alarming. She has undertaken a serious study of the U.S. Constitution and what it says about who can declare war. She provides many examples of the situations in which U.S. Presidents, since WW 2, have been the sole decision-makers regarding going to war and possibly using nuclear weapons.

In August 1945 Pres. Truman himself made the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first time nuclear bombs were dropped on a population, without any warning. This first use of nuclear weapons caused the death and permanent radiation illnesses for hundreds of thousands of civilians. That decision changed our country and the world. It was mass extermination, and there’s been no apology from any U.S. President in office since 1945.

On July 25, after receiving Stalin’s pledge to join the U.S. in the war against Japan in the Pacific, Truman casually informed the Soviet leader that the United States had a new weapon of unusual destructive force. Although Stalin did not appear to be impressed by the news, Truman hoped the information would increase the pressure on Stalin to concede to the Allies’ demands regarding the post-war agreements. But Stalin asked Truman to turn the bomb over to the UN and put it under international control. Truman refused to surrender US control so Stalin went and got his own bomb. And the arms race was on.

But there is useful background information to this story –

The United States had successfully tested the world’s first atomic weapon near Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. Truman received the news while in Potsdam, Germany, conferring with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin on post-World War II policy in Europe. On July 17, Truman told Churchill of the test’s success and the two agreed to put off telling Stalin about what Truman called the dynamite news until later–Truman first wanted to get Stalin to agree to enter the Pacific war on the Allies’ side with no strings on it. To that end, the Soviet Union maintained an active espionage program to follow the military activity of the country’s rivals. Through these channels, Stalin became aware of the Manhattan Project’s existence before future President Harry Truman. The first Soviet bomb was completed in 1949.

While U.S. Presidents have clearly pondered their decisions to declare war, including the use of nuclear weapons, some of their personal statements are alarming and indicative of their cynicism and distance from the outcomes, even if nuclear weapons were used. Pres. George H. Bush, “I’m the commander—see, I don’t need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being president.” (Bob Woodward 2002)

This is not how the Constitution was intended to be interpreted, but how it has been ignored or “misinterpreted” in the case of declaration of war. In fact, every war since WW2 has been declared by a U.S. President acting alone. Yet the Constitution states that Congress alone has that right.

Scarry includes remarkable facts on the weapons and carriers in the U.S. arsenal, and frightening quotes by former Presidents Eisenhower, Bush, Kennedy, Nixon, et al regarding their power to make decisions to go to war, even deploying nuclear weapons.

In 2019-20, Pres. Trump could make the decision to use nuclear weapons without consulting Congress. Yes, in 2019 with Pres. Trump’s personality defects, his politics, and lack of interest in who might die, who he personally wants to kill, or what happens to the climate, we are facing a very dangerous period for any one person or President, to possibly make the decision to use nuclear weapons.

The last time Congress made the decision to declare war was against Japan on Dec. 8, 1941. Since then, the United States has only issued five other war declarations: against Germany and Italy (on December 11, 1941) and against Bulgaria, Hungary and Rumania (on June 4, 1942). Countries that have nuclear weapons include, China, India, Pakistan, UK, France, No. Korea, U.S., Russia, Israel (not declared). Whether they are called democracies or something else, it is likely that their leaders will make solo decisions on the use of nuclear weapons.

U.S. military drones are used at the will of the President in consultation with the CIA so that they are not included in a state of undeclared war. The people targeted by a drone commander receive no warning and thousands of civilians have been killed by U.S. drones. Those in the U.S. military who control the drones and decide on targets, sit at computers thousands of miles away. They suffer the psychological damage of being the deciders. Ralph Nader recently said, “… you [can’t] keep allowing presidents to run away with illegal presidential power, decide they can send drones, armed drones, special forces anywhere, killing anybody in the world, becoming in the White House their own prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner… ”(2019).

And yet the U.S. will continue to build new and more powerful weapons, i.e. 12 new Ohio-class Trident submarines, each armed with 16 nuclear-armed D5 missiles with the explosive power equivalent to 1,825 Hiroshimas. The total cost of building 12 new Tridents will be $100.2 billion dollars. Who decides to build them? The defense industry and the Pentagon. Again, not a specific decision of Congress, though they approve the defense budget, and they will not decide when and where Trident missiles will be fired. THE TRIDENT STORY today…..

In Brunswick, GA on October 24th, the King’s Bay Plowshares 7 were found guilty on four counts in a jury trial. They committed acts of civil disobedience in attempting to symbolically dismantle a Trident submarine, of which there are six stationed at Kings Bay Naval Station in GA. They could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. They sacrificed their freedom to bring to our attention the destructive power of a nuclear-armed Trident submarine, the most powerful weapon on the planet, and in the U.S. arsenal. The nuclear missiles from one Trident submarine could obliterate any nation on earth. Each missile can travel 1370 miles in 15 minutes.

What would a democratic decision look like for the U.S., militarily the most heavily armed country on the planet? What would a vote to say that for our survival, we must resist starting more wars, and not settle for “never-ending” wars. Whether or not we call our system a “monarchy” it functions like one, to our peril, particularly in regards to warmaking and the control of nuclear weapons.

The UN will be holding meetings in 2020 to reconsider the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which entails a major decision for nations holding weapons and those who might be targeted by them. Pres. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the Treaty. Presently, there is no official Supreme Court ruling on whether the President has the power to break a treaty without the approval of Congress. The courts declined to interfere when President George W. Bush unilaterally withdrew the United States from the ABM Treaty in 2002.

In summation, we must pay attention to decisions to go to war made by U.S. Presidents without the officially required approval of Congress, as stated in the Constitution. Otherwise we are living in a “monarchy”, one-person rule.

At the risk of being naive, I recall this song and I think of “the people” deciding on war including, nuclear attacks… “Last night I had the strangest dream….I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war……And the people in the streets below were dancing round & round while swords and guns and uniforms were scattered on the ground.” ~ Ed McCurdy, 1950

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Let a Thousand Actions Bloom | Melinda Tuhus

By Melinda Tuhus

I’ve been arrested several times in DC doing non-violent direct actions (NVDA), protesting FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) as a rubber-stamp agency that is contributing mightily to the cooking of the climate and destruction of local communities and landscapes, but Nov. 5 was my first arrest in the Capitol. It was at a Senate hearing of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee to consider the nomination of James Danly to be the third Republican member of the five-member FERC.

The hearing room is small, so we had to get in line two hours early to guarantee our spots. (We took a break in the women’s bathroom to video record our statements, which is why it sounds sotto voce.) We took our seats and observed some of the senators greeting the nominee, at least one – ranking member Joe Manchin (supposedly D-WV) declaring his support even before the hearing began.

As I sat in that ornate room, each side of the aisle alternating in their questions and comments to the nominee, I felt viscerally that the plodding pace of the Senate is all out of whack with the scope and immediacy of the crisis. When I couldn’t stand it any longer, I stood up and declared, “We’re in a climate emergency, and FERC is fanning the flames of the crisis. We need to convert FERC into FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission.” I was taken out of the room, but let my demand echo down the hall, and I know they could hear me inside.

After being handcuffed, I was escorted down the stairs very gently by two officers who said they didn’t want me to trip. I don’t know if that’s because I have gray hair, or I’m white, or a female, or if they would have treated any other arrestee the same. (Somehow I doubt it.) I asked the young arresting officer what he thought of the climate crisis, and of course he didn’t answer, but he smiled seemingly sympathetically.

I loved that I wasn’t taken to a freezing cold holding cell! I was held for maybe an hour to 90 minutes before being released after paying a $50 fine.

There are many ways to raise the alarm, and disrupting a staid Congressional hearing is just one of them. We often don’t know what impact our actions will have until more time has passed. I’m hoping some of the senators, their young staffers, or some audience members – including the mom and three-year-old girl who were relatives of another nominee – will consider my plea for climate justice.

Update: Manchin was the only “Democrat” to join all the Republicans in approving Danly’s nomination and moving it on to the full Senate. Even though there is an opening for a Democratic appointee, and the Dems have what looks like a good candidate, Trump has so far declined to make that nomination. Minority Senate Leader Chuck Schumer had earlier pledged to hold up all legislation coming out of this committee unless they gave the Dem FERC nominee a fair hearing. Stay tuned.

Then two weeks later I attended an amazing NVDA action 90 minutes across the New York state line in Duchess County, in a last-ditch effort to stop the biggest fracked gas power plant in the Northeast from coming on-line, which would spew 279 tons of nitrogen oxides, 570 tons of carbon monoxide, and more than 60 tons of sulfuric acid pollution, plus a shocking 6 million tons of greenhouse gases annually. People locked down to a tractor, above, signifying support from some local farmers. And four people scaled a 275-foot smokestack that’s part of the plant, and stayed there for almost 12 hours. They got on the property before dawn, and the company called out the few workers on the overnight shift, shutting down the plant for the day. The photo below of the smokestack doesn’t convey its height, except for a tree branch very low for comparison.

One of the protesters explained, “The longer they’re not doing construction the better. But the long-term goal is to hopefully awaken Cuomo’s conscience and get [the plant] shut down.”

The action was enlivened by the beautiful harmonies of the choir of the Church of Stop Shopping, as well as a big brass band.

I read one article saying this plant could replace half the power of the Indian Point nuclear plant nearby, which Cuomo plans to shutter in late 2021, but renewable forms of energy are available and cost-competitive with dirty gas. The plant is due to open in early 2020. Opening gas plants is not the way for Gov. Cuomo to meet his own stated goal of making New York’s grid carbon-neutral by 2040.

Twenty-nine people were arrested, charged with trespass or, for the climbers, criminal trespass. Let’s hope they touched Cuomo’s conscience.

 


 

Melinda Tuhus reported for decades for a variety of national and local radio and print outlets, including Free Speech Radio News, WINGS, the New Haven Independent, In These Times and The New York Times. She is moving toward retirement and spending more time volunteering in the climate justice movement.

Hear about the Plight of the Rohingya Dec. 7

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

The Rohingya people are Muslims who lived in the Rakhine section of Myanmar. For decades they’ve faced persecution, displacement and violent repression. Since 2017 over 700,000 have fled Myanmar by sea or on foot. Myanmar (which was once called Burma) is mainly Buddhist. Some Buddhist religious leaders incite the people against the Rohingya on religious grounds. The Myanmar government claims the Rohinghya are “illegal immigrants.” According to Doctors without Borders, over 6,000 Rohingya have been killed in mob violence. Nearly 300 villages have been burned to the ground. The United Nations has described the military offense in Rakhine, which provoked the exodus, as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Hear about their dire situation on Saturday, Dec. 7 in New Haven from a member of this persecuted people. The speaker will be Ossamah Siddique, a Rohingya activist and a member of Rohingya Welfare Association, Save Rohingya Children (Canada), and Rohingya Welfare Act School (Bangladesh).

His talk takes place at Linsly-Chittendon Hall, Room 101, 63 High Street, New Haven, Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to all. The sponsors are the Dwight Hall Peace Initiative and Promoting Enduring Peace.

There may also be a speaker about the treatment of the Uighurs, a Muslim people in China. Some one million of them are in “re-education” camps.

In the 1930s Jews were being persecuted all over Europe. In this decade Muslims are facing mistreatment in Myanmar, China, Kashmir and in many countries of the West.

There may also be a speaker about the treatment of the Uighurs, a Muslim people in China. Some 1 million of them are in “re-education” camps.

In the 1930s Jews were being persecuted all over Europe. In this decade Muslims are facing mistreatment in Myanmar, China, Kashmir and in many countries of the West.

Ossamah Siddique is the son of Rohingya genocide survivors from Rakhine and is an engineer. He is an active member of Rohingya Welfare Association and other advocacy and refugee support groups

Adem Carroll , a New York based Irish Muslim and a human rights activist. He directly provided emergency legal and financial help to over 825 Muslim detainees and their families in the years after 9/11. He is part of the Burma Taskforce and Adili Yilihamu, a Uighur activist who will talk about the imprisonment of a million Uighur by the Chinese government. He was part of this New York Times video presentation about what is happening.

https://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000006649712/uighurs-children-china.html

7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7

Yale University, Linsly-Chittenden Hall, Room 101
63 High St., New Haven

Free *** Open to All

Climate Demonstration Took Place New Haven Nov. 12

by Alison Huntley, Sunrise New Haven

Climate activists from around New Haven gathered outside City Hall on Nov. 12 for a rally organized by Sunrise New Haven and New Haven Climate Movement to urge Mayor-elect Justin Elicker to act on climate justice.

New Haven Mayor-elect Justin Elicker addresses climate activists.

The Board of Alders recently passed a Climate Emergency Resolution, and Elicker made campaign promises about climate action. The rally was the continuation of a campaign to make sure Elicker and the city follow through on these promises. The rally highlighted multiple issues that encompass climate justice, such as jobs, immigration, and land use.

The rally’s demands included:

  1. The new Mayor should sign the resolution, which would create a Climate Emergency Task Force.
  2. The Task Force should act with urgency to aggressively reduce emissions, protect New Haven residents from current and future impacts of climate change, create green jobs, and prioritize just, equitable outcomes, particularly for poor and marginalized communities.
  3. The Board of Alders should commit at least 0.1% of the budget to these critical climate actions.
  4. Elicker should do more to pressure Yale to invest in climate action and the New Haven community far more than it currently is.

Mayor-elect Elicker, who attended the rally, said this was the first time he had been a target of a demonstration and that he would take our concerns into account when he starts his term in January.

To learn more about future climate action in the New Haven area, including the upcoming school strike on Dec. 6, follow @sunrisenewhaven or @newhavenclimatemovement on Instagram or go to bit.ly/SunriseNewHaven.

‘Incredible’: Harvard and Yale Students Storm Football Field Demanding Divestment From Fossil Fuels Nov. 23

(Twitter screenshot)

On Nov. 23 at Yale Bowl, over 200 students and alumni from both universities stormed the field at the annual Harvard-Yale football game to demand that Yale and Harvard divest their endowments from fossil fuel corporations and instruct their fund managers to cancel holdings in Puerto Rico’s debt. Many were arrested. The students held banners including, “Nobody Wins: Harvard and Yale Are Complicit” and “Yale and Harvard Students United for Climate Justice.” Reprinted from Common Dreams, Nov. 23.

Latin American Short Stories Discussion Group, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10

The Latin American Short Stories Discussion Group will take place at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St., on Tuesday, Dec. 3 and Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 6-7 p.m. This is part of a series of open discussions centering on selected stories by Latin American authors.

Isaias Morales Cabezas, a documentarian and art historian from Colombia, will moderate the discussions. The dialogue will be accessible at all levels of familiarity with literary fiction and the readings will be available at the Information Desk at Ives Main Library. Upon request, a link to digitalized copies of the stories will be available.

Stories for Tuesday, Dec. 3 are Unworthy by Jorge Luis Borges and The Crime of the Mathematics Professor by Clarice Lispector. Stories for Tuesday, Dec. 10 are The Southern Thruway by Julio Cortázar and The Trail of Your Blood in the Snow by Gabriel García Márquez.
For more information: isaias@newschool.edu, (203) 946-8138.

Bolivia in Crisis! Another Military Coup in Latin America

by Henry Lowendorf, GNH Peace Council

US-supported rightwing fanatics just orchestrated a military coup against the constitutional government of Bolivia headed by Evo Morales. We must view this coup as one in a long train of US-engineered coups in Bolivia, throughout Latin America and the world.

Bolivian voters on Oct. 20 gave President Evo Morales a substantial plurality, 47.1% of the vote, enough to forestall a runoff, but the opposition refused to accept the results. Rightwing opposition gangs torched the homes of Morales and other government leaders, destroyed government buildings, assaulted a socialist female mayor. Then military generals demanded Morales step down. He and some other leaders fled to Mexico, others took refuge in the Mexican embassy.

“Bolivian coup leader Luis Fernando Camacho [can be described] as a far-right multi-millionaire who arose from fascist movements in the [largely white, affluent fossil-fuel rich] Santa Cruz region, where the US has encouraged separatism.”

“Bolivia’s self-proclaimed president Jeanine Áñez Chavez is on records as having said, ‘I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rites. The city is not for Indians; let them go back to the highlands or the Chaco.’ Apart from everything, this was a racist coup.” President Trump immediately recognized Chavez.

WHY DID THIS COUP OCCUR NOW?

Bolivia has been one of the poorest countries in South America. The election in 2006 of Evo Morales began to change that. His government is of course not above criticism. But the military deposed him without a doubt at the instigation of the US 1%, not because of his failures but because of his successes.

Morales is the first indigenous leader of Bolivia – indeed any American state – a country whose majority is indigenous. Since Morales’ first victory in 2006

  • “…Poverty plummeted from a boggling 60% to 35% by 2018, with those in extreme poverty declining from nearly 38% to 15% in the same period.”
  • “Bolivia has seen per capita income increase threefold and has rapidly transitioned from a low-income country to a lower-middle-income country in the eyes of the World Bank. Inflation and the exchange rate have remained exceptionally stable. And all the while, Bolivian levels of inequality went from well above the Latin American average to well below it.”
  • “Redistributed [land] to landless peasants. He placed the natural gas, oil, telecommunications and electricity industries under state control. And he continually raised the minimum wage, which has tripled since he entered office.”
  • “Dramatically increased social spending. He poured money into building roads, schools, and hospitals, an expansion of infrastructure that was particularly transformative in the countryside.”
  • Bolivia contains the world’s largest reserves of the mineral lithium that is used in electronics and batteries. Morales nationalized Bolivia’s incredibly valuable lithium deposits. The rich despise the idea that the vast expected income from sales of lithium would under Morales be fairly distributed to benefit all Bolivians.
  • The corporate media have, as always, described this coup according to the perspective of the billionaires.
  • President Donald Trump has threatened Venezuela and Nicaragua with similar coups.

RESISTANCE:

“Huge demonstrations in el Alto, La Paz [the capital], Cochabamba and other places, thousands and thousands of indigenous people in the streets proudly displaying the Wiphala [checkered rainbow flag]. Some police and military appear to have disobeyed their officers and joined the pro-Evo demonstrations.

The self-proclaimed President Jeanine Áñez Chavez has legalized free-fire zones and military forces have been shooting demonstrators from bridges and helicopters.

“The Bolivian congress, in which Evo’s MAS party has a two-thirds majority, is refusing to recognize the coup government. [It has] chosen one of [its] own to head the Congress.”

Trade union leaders internationally, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, have denounced the coup and the military’s role. They urge an end to political repression and violence. Political leaders Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar, Alexandra Ocasio Cortez in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK have denounced the coup. Too many others, including our own Congressional representatives, are silent.

ACTION:

  • Hands Off Bolivia; Hands Off Venezuela; Hands Off Nicaragua; Hands Off Cuba; No Sanctions, No Wars.
  • Letters to the Editor or Op-eds.
  • Utilize social media to call for the coup to be reversed and Morales safely reinstalled.
  • Call Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro: Condemn the coup, begin an investigation into the US role: (202) 224-3121.

References: The Nation; The Grayzone; The Tricontinental; The People’s World; Fair.org. For exact issues and websites, please contact the author at gnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com.

In Memoriam, Joan Whitney, 1929-2019

(May Day 1995 photo)

(May Day 1995 photo)

It is with great sadness that we inform our readers that New Haven activist Joan Whitney passed away on Saturday, Nov. 9, at age 90.

Joan was a member of many activist organizations as well as neighborhood and cultural associations. Among the groups she worked with, gave leadership to, and supported are: Progressive Action Roundtable, Greater New Haven Labor History Association, Greater New Haven Cat Project, Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, Parkfriends, Twenty-Twenty Vision, May Day Celebration Committee, Cherry Blossom Festival, New Haven Coalition Against War in the Gulf, Peace and Justice News and Views, Connecticut Peace Coalition/New Haven, Pledge of Resistance, Amistad Catholic Worker, New Haven/León Sister City Project, Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven Green Party, Long Wharf Theater and Yale Repertory Theater.

In addition to being part of many peace groups, for about 20 years, from 1990 on, she handed out flyers against war on a weekly basis on New Haven street corners.

Joan was born in Springfield Mass., and grew up as an “army brat.” She lived in many places as the family moved to wherever her father was stationed, including Geneva, NY, where her dad took command of the Seneca Ordnance. Several decades later, after her father passed, Joan was arrested for Civil Disobedience at the Seneca Ordnance as she climbed the fence with a No Nukes sign.

Joan was a 1950 graduate of Wellesley College and received a Master’s in Social Work at UConn in W. Hartford. She was a founder of Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC) and worked at its community outpatient program in Bridgeport and New Haven.

She was a contributor to many charities. After her cat Phoebe passed in 1999, she created the Phoebe Foundation and generously funded it for the welfare of people and cats.

Joan generously offered her home as meeting space for many of her groups to plan their actions. She was a gracious hostess and livened up the meetings with her wry sense of humor and sharp perceptions.

For about 30 years she hosted an open house on New Year’s Day, featuring many varieties of soup and other appetizers. This gentle, loving way to welcome in a new year became a much-loved tradition for her friends.

Her daughter Dana predeceased her this past March as did her sister Jane in 2010. Our deepest sympathy to her son Christopher and daughter Rosemary.

We are grateful to have known Joan, worked with her, learned from her and laughed with her.

Funding Requests for Environmental Projects Wanted

The Greater New Haven Green Fund’s Request for Applications (RFA) is now available to be downloaded from their website at: www.gnhgreenfund.org/small-and-large-grants.html.

Our mission is to promote environmental quality, public health and equity in our community by providing grants and other incentives to support initiatives that contribute to a more environmentally sustainable future and reduce air, water and land pollution.

The Fund seeks innovative proposals from committed organizations and individuals for activities that advance our mission.

On Jan. 11, 2020 we will have an informational out-reach session where some members of our Board of Directors will help answer questions about our application process and also talk about possible measurement tools that you can incorporate into your project proposal. Most likely it will be held in the late morning or early afternoon on the campus at Southern CT State University. We will announce it as soon as we have the exact time and location. You can email info@gnhgreenfund.org to ask about the time/location as we get closer to January 2020.

GNH Green Fund, Care of CFGNH, 70 Audubon St., New Haven, CT  06510

Call for Proposals for SCSU Women’s & Gender Studies Conference Due Dec. 16

PAR readers are invited to send in proposals for panels, workshops or lectures for the Southern Connecticut State University 2020 Women’s & Gender Studies Conference. The theme is “Gender, Race, Community, & Conflict: Pursuing Peace and Justice.” The conference will take place ​Friday and Saturday,​ ​April 24 ​and 25​, 2020. Submission deadline is Dec. 16​, 2019.

The world is right now witnessing the unprecedented destruction of communities—mostly Indigenous—and their habitats, including the ongoing fires raging across the Amazon rainforest, the Dakota Pipeline construction, and the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. Major conflicts have been exacerbated among genders, races and cultural groups, resulting in unspeakable suffering and violence in communities, from the desecration of Indigenous lands and sacred spaces to climate strikes and the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit people, and trans women of color.

How do feminists and their communities, Indigenous and settler-colonial, address these problems and heal the breaches that have divided and torn communities apart? How have feminists and activists creatively used the existing power structures to reverse the fragmentation of peoples and break down hierarchies? In the pursuit of peace and justice, what are feminist activists doing within their families and communities to stop the divisions and violence and counter the hatred and demonization against “the other”? How are peace and justice achieved through the intersectional and transnational coalitions across gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, nationality?

Please submit proposals and supporting materials to womensstudies@southernct.edu, with attention to “Conference Committee.” If you have any questions, please call the Women’s & Gender Studies Office at (203) 392-6133. Include name, affiliation, e-mail, and phone number. Proposals should be no longer than one page (250-400 words). Panel proposals are encouraged.

The Women’s & Gender Studies Conference at SCSU is self-supporting; all presenters can pre-register at the dis-counted presenters’ rate. The registration includes all costs for supporting materials and all meals and beverage breaks. For more information, visit the SCSU Women’s & Gender Studies page, or contact Women’s & Gender Studies Program: womensstudies@southernct.edu or (203) 392-6133.

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.

Winter Gardening Workshops at Neighborhood Housing Services

Advanced Certified Master Gardener Rachel Ziesk will teach classes that will help you prepare your garden for the upcoming season. The perfect gift for any gardener (or wanna-be gardener) in your life! 6 sessions for just $100! Scholarships available! Find out more at: NHSWinterWorkshops2020.EventBrite.com.

All classes take place on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon at Neighborhood Housing Services, 333 Sherman Ave., Building #3.

Jan. 25: Soils and Composting – The most important component for a successful garden is soil health. Learn how to make your own compost and everything else you need to keep your soil healthy for the most productive garden.

February 8: Garden Planning & Season Extenders – Ensure a long and productive growing year with row covers, organic mulch, cold frames and more! Get the most out of even a small garden space.

February 22: Cool Weather Crops – Start your garden as soon as the soil thaws, even in mid-March! This class covers how and when to plant cool weather crops and manage their pests and diseases.

February 29: Warm Weather Crops – Learn how to make the best of our growing season including which warm-weather crops are best started indoors, which can be direct-seeded, what conditions and fertilizers each crop prefers and how to fight their pests and diseases organically.

March 14: Seed Starting – Start your own seedlings! Learn about when to start indoor seedlings, watering, using lights, and dealing with common problems. Everyone will get to plant a six-pack of seedlings to take home. We will also review which crops can be planted directly outdoors and when.

March 28: Weeds: the Good, the Bad, and the Tasty – Some weeds are actually native wildflowers benefitting your vegetable garden’s pollinators. Some are invasive horrors with plans to take over your garden. And some are edible, delicious little morsels that can be harvested and enjoyed.

Scholarships available. Please contact Kathy at (203) 562-0598, Ext. 225, or at kfay@nhsofnewhaven.org for details.

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