Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide Confronts MAS Advocates at the State Capitol

by Joan Cavanagh, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

Seven members of the core group of Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide (PAMAS) attended a press conference sponsored by Sen. Saud Anwar, Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee, and Compassion and Choices, the well-funded advocacy group for legalization of MAS, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Legislative Office Building. They held signs identifying the group, passed out leaflets, spoke to news reporters, and had several conversations with legislators and family members who also support MAS. They were joined by a few members of Second Thoughts Connecticut, a non-partisan disability justice organization.

Before the press conference, PAMAS sent emails to all members of the Public Health Committee, with the following text:

Dear Members of the Public Health Committee, We extend our sincere condolences on the shocking and tragic death of Rep. Quentin Williams of Middletown. …

We also offer best wishes for a productive legislative session in which the Public Health Committee will address important healthcare needs and hopefully put forward policies that truly make universal, comprehensive, unrestricted healthcare available to all. We are members of Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide. We strongly support health care for all, disability justice, reproductive rights, and the rights of LGBTQIA people. We equally strongly oppose Medical Assisted Suicide, called by its proponents “physician aid in dying.”

From our own experiences and those of others, we know that there are no “safeguards” that can be put in place to mitigate the danger that the legalization of this practice poses to the disabled, the elderly, the poor or anyone vulnerable in our current medical system.

As citizens of Connecticut and thus as your constituents, we request that you spend this session on legislation to expand quality healthcare access for all, including healthcare support at home for those who require it.

Please do not advance any legislation that would empower the medical system to terminate patients’ lives or prescribe drugs to do so.

Sincerely yours,

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

 

[email protected]

There are now two MAS bills pending before the Public Health Committee. Please write your representatives and senators and tell them to vote NO.

Joan Cavanagh, member of Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide, Second Thoughts Connecticut, and the New Haven Sunday Vigil for Peace and Justice.

Immigrant Workers Respond to New DHS Immigrant Whistleblower Policy

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción

As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new immigrant workers rights policy, representatives of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Immigrant Work hosted a national press call on Jan. 13 to respond to the new DHS policy, explain how it came about, and what it means for undocumented immigrant workers in the United States.

“This policy came about because of the workers in Connecticut, Mississippi, Georgia, and beyond, who organized and fought against wage theft, sexual harassment, deadly conditions, and workplace ICE raids,” said John Jairo Lugo, Director of Unidad Latina en Acción CT, in a rally with Mayor Justin Elicker in New Haven City Hall Jan. 12. “The real work begins today. This policy will only become a reality if our local and national leaders say it loud and clear: We will stand up for you when you report exploitation, instead of detaining and deporting you.”

“The threat of deportation is like a gun in the boss’s hand, pointed at workers and their rights,” said Yale Law School professor James Bhandary-Alexander, Jan. 12 in New Haven City Hall, calling on President Biden to announce the policy publicly. “Today President Biden could grab that gun right from the boss’s hand.”

People taking part in the national press call included workers, attorneys and organizations advancing first pilot cases of immigrant whistleblower protections from Las Vegas, Nevada; Jackson, Mississippi; and Gainesville, Georgia.

For more about the campaign, go to

Background about the DALE Campaign

To interview CT workers: Megan Fountain, 203-479-2959, [email protected]

For national: Erik Villalobos, 202-643-7348, [email protected]

Exciting Updates for the CT Environmental Rights Amendment

by Kimberly Stoner, CT Climate Crisis Mobilization

Under the Connecticut and U.S. constitutions, you do not have a legal right to a safe and healthy environment. Our legal system protects some rights, but not the right to clean air, water, and soil; a stable climate; and healthy environments. Because environmental rights are not recognized, government decision-makers can disregard them in favor of other political or economic priorities.

All communities suffer when there is pollution, environmental degradation, and an unstable climate. Communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities carry a disproportionate burden.

Representative Mary Mushinsky introduced the CT Environmental Rights Amendment in the state legislature this year. The CT Environmental Rights Amendment will require government officials to put environmental protection FIRST at the start of planning, decision-making, legislating, regulating industry, and the transition to renewable energy. The CT Environmental Rights Amendment will require them to avoid/prevent environmental harm, not simply manage it after the fact.

Green Amendments in Pennsylvania and Montana similar to the CT Environmental Rights Amendment have been used to overturn state laws expanding fracking and to stop a destructive gold mine at the headwaters of a major river. A new Environmental Rights Amendment in New York passed in a referendum with 70% of the vote!

The bill is now on the CT General Assembly website. The bill number is PHJ 13. Now it is easier to contact state legislators and ask them to co-sponsor and actively support PHJ 13. You can view the bill at www.cga.ct.gov/2023/TOB/H/PDF/2023HJ-00013-R00-HB.PDF.

The Connecticut Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M), the Green Party of CT, and CT NOFA (The Northeast Organic Farming Association of CT) lead the effort to pass the CT Environmental Rights Amendment. We are contacting other organizations to sign on — it will take a deep and broad coalition to get this passed. Our CT Environmental Rights Amendment Organizing Group meets every Friday from 5-6 p.m. during the legislative session by Zoom.

For more information and join us, contact Kim Stoner at 203-584-5936 or [email protected].

Electricity and Heating Bills Assistance Available

Residents, advocacy groups, environmental organizations, and even some politicians are outraged over the massive increase of the prices of electricity, gas and oil.

Here are links for programs that can help lower the bills for a large number of greater New Haven-area residents:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ok4oU80L6KyhUKyq1v-u2hFgsabrSN5h/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eKfhdNH9LJjw3m70akTri7yZP6L8ZIG7/view (Spanish)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EUkiJ6YNtytnXZW8tEG9AKZImP75kCpZ/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PB8vrmbnGEqy0cQhCmvCbip-g8jyjn8L/view

News from Volume 2 – Neverending Books Collective

The Volume 2 Crew here at Neverending Books is proud to announce: We are now officially a 501(c)(3) nonprofit! It has taken a village to keep this place running smoothly and everyone’s combined skills and support have made this happen. Now we can raise tax-free donations and apply for grants. This shift will allow us to remain FREE FREE FREE for all. It will also make donations to us tax-deductible all the way back to Dec. 2021! We are so happy and we have you to thank. Thank you for sticking with us, coming out to gigs, and inviting your friends to the kookiest bookstore around. Check website for schedule of events: neverendingbooks.net. Info: [email protected]. 810 State Street.

Nonprofit Organization Needs Help to Continue

Are you interested in helping rebuild the board of a New Haven-based 501(c)(3) that has an activist history of working with and helping a variety of local progressive groups? Five or more people are needed who are willing to commit to monthly meetings, take on organizational and administrative tasks (i.e., prepare agendas, chair meetings, plan activities, etc.), review bylaws and prepare for membership meetings to elect board members. Individuals and organizational representatives welcome – one representative per organization. Interested? Reply by Wednesday, March 1. For more information, call Paula at 203-562-2798.

Ban Russian Uranium, But Work with Russia against Nuclear War

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

Every year hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by U.S. companies to buy raw and enriched uranium from Russia. Profits from these sales are helping fund Russia’s war against Ukraine. It’s hypocritical for the U.S. government to demand European countries stop importing Russian natural gas while we import uranium from the very same country.

The U.S. has allowed itself to depend on major uranium imports from Russia and Russian-allied Kazakhstan, but we are not simply calling for increases in domestic uranium production. Uranium mining usually comes at a steep price in pollution of Native American land. There’s also the fact that the uranium is being used chiefly by the nuclear power industry.

Besides the usual worries about the safety of nuclear power plants and lack of a long-term plan for disposal of nuclear waste, this year we’ve learned of a grave new concern, that parties at war will not automatically give a wide berth to nuclear power plants. Russia shelled and took over the Zaporizhya nuclear power complex and its attacks on Ukraine’s electric power grid in November have cut normal and vital electric power to all four Ukraine’s nuclear power complexes.
The U.S. should stop importing Russian uranium and start a crash program to transition away from costly and environmentally damaging uranium and fossil fuel dependence.

The above is the text of a petition we are sponsoring along with the Ukrainian Socialist Solidarity Campaign. It’s a one-two punch, one punch against Russian aggression and another against the costly and dangerous nuclear power industry. We hope you’ll consider signing. We link it at our site: PEPeace.org.

Another and even bigger nuclear issue is the possibility that the war over Ukraine could become a nuclear war. Putin has made several scarcely veiled threats to that effect. As Daniel Ellsberg has said, Putin is acting like the U.S. has done on many occasions. What can be done? While we want nuclear weapons to be abolished entirely, we see that we have to do things in the short run to dampen down the possibility that wars go nuclear. The Defuse Nuclear War campaign has many good ideas: 1) Abolish the ICBMs, the land-based nuclear-armed missiles; 2) make a no-first-use pledge and structure nuclear weapons policy around it; 3) Take nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert; 4) rejoin nuclear treaties that Trump renounced.

Read more about this at our site: PEPeace.org.

Coming up in late February:

Promoting Enduring Peace and Workers Voice US will support a fund-raiser for the independent miners union in Ukraine, NGPU (Independent Mineworkers Union of Ukraine). The union faces enormous challenges, first from an invader who frequently cuts electricity even while miners are below the earth and second from a government that pushes anti-labor measures in its Rada (parliament). For an interview with a miner leader see the Ukraine/Russia links in the Resources section of PEPeace.org.

A Community Unity Dialogue Page 

by Frank Panzarella, PAR Planning Committee

The PAR Newsletter sees its mission as the bringing together of activists by sharing reports of the events and ongoing work of groups to build a progressive community.

We recognize that within activist circles and the broader population, there are many complex issues that can sometimes divide us and that require ongoing dialogue.

In this spirit, we would like to present a new feature in the PAR newsletter that will act as a place to express differing views on controversial issues. We would like this to be a page where groups and individuals focus specifically on their own positions on these issues, points of possible unity with others, and not as a place to criticize other groups or individuals with whom they disagree.

Some examples of differences within the progressive community include the nature of the Ukraine war, defunding the police, medical assisted suicide, and political violence in Syria. How are our readers analyzing these issues and various current events? Articles should be between 200 and 350 words and sent to [email protected]. Discussion of such issues may help people find common ground and programmatic unity to further the causes dear to our hearts or at least clarify differences.

We hope our readers will take us up this offer and present their analyses in our newsletter. The PAR Planning Committee looks forward to providing a forum for all to sort out controversial issues and build a stronger progressive family.

African American History Month Event Includes Art and Writing Competition for Students 8 to 12

CT People’s World Committee

The 49th annual People’s World African American History Month event will be held this year on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 4 p.m. at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe Street, and also live streamed. The theme is The Power of Youth – The Power of Collective Action:  Equity Requires Revenue. The program will include prizes and recognitions for the high school arts and writing competition, as well as a panel discussion and performances.

When we reflect on the activism of youth over the past 50 years, we see the efforts, the impact, and the legacy of young people and the power of collective action. From the Children’s Crusade and the East LA Walkouts in the 1960s to the Black Lives Matter and March for Our Lives Movements of our current moment, young leaders inspire us to be bold, to demand radical change, and to remember that another world is possible.

In 1963 thousands of African American children in Birmingham organized to walk out of their classrooms to protest segregation and demand civil rights. In 1968 thousands of Mexican American students in East Los Angeles organized walkouts to protest discrimination and demand improved learning conditions in their schools.

The Black Lives Matter and March for Our Lives Movements continue to engage young people in the organizing and activism we need to demand a better world.

Express in artwork, essay, poetry, rap or song

What lessons can we learn from the youth movements of the past and present? What strategies, tactics, and actions can we use in New Haven or other towns? What role can young people play in the fight to ensure our schools and communities have the resources we deserve? How can young people in New Haven or other towns continue the legacy of youth activism to build a better world?

Requirements: Digital art work, drawings, paintings, collage, prints, photographs, etc. Essay, poem, rap or song – Not longer than 2 pages.

Entries must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023 and include entry title, name, address, phone, e-mail, age, school, teacher’s name (where applicable). Email all entries to: [email protected] Prizes: gift cards ($200 first place, $100 second place, $50 third place) and books.

The art and writing competition is sponsored annually by Connecticut People’s World Committee to remember the lives and dedication of Dalzenia Henry and Virginia Henry to the youth of New Haven and to make a better future.

For more information, email [email protected] or leave a message at 203-624-8664.

CT Green Energy News, Jan. 20, 2023

E-newsletter about clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action, focusing on Connecticut. To subscribe, send an email to [email protected]. To find out more about People’s Action for Clean Energy, go to www.pacecleanenergy.org.

Connecticut homeowner associations can no longer block solar installations

Energy News Network. The provision was added to the 35-page Connecticut Clean Air Act before it was approved by lawmakers last session,” session. Associations may still adopt rules on the size and placement of solar installations.​..​ “This is one of the best-kept secrets from the past legislative session,” said Mark Scully, president of People’s Action for Clean Energy, or PACE.​..​ Condominiums are exempt from the rooftop solar provision.​..​ As written, the law only impacts a small subset of households, probably under 1,000, according to Kim McClain, executive director of the state Community Associations Institute.

Future CT electric rate increases would be left to legislature under new proposal

CT Insider. ​Representative Christine Conley introduced House Bill 5013 last week. The proposed legislation, if it became law, would give both chambers of the state’s General Assembly the opportunity to vote on any electric or natural gas rate increases approved by Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority… Claire Coleman is Connecticut’s Consumer Counsel and she said Friday she “would caution against adding yet another hurdle in the rate-setting process such as a legislative stamp of approval… I appreciate that the legislature is eager to find solutions for the high price of energy, and I stand eager to work with members on both sides of the aisle,” Coleman said. “Given the stringent process required by the Constitution for setting rates, and the detailed factual and technical record needed in order to meet those standards, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority is best suited to set rates for electric and natural gas companies.”

Branford, East Haven Collaborating to Offer Residents Energy Efficiency Programs

Zip 06. In 2023 Branford and East Haven will work together on HeatSmart. They are applying for Energize Connecticut Community Partnership Initiative funding. HeatSmart will reach out to all Branford and East Haven residents, with special emphasis on Income Eligible residents who struggle with utility bills and often live in energy-inefficient dwellings.

Republicans Outline Proposals to Reduce Energy Costs

CT News Junkie. ​House and Senate Republicans called Tuesday for state government to pick up the tab for more than a dozen energy charges and fees normally paid by rate-payers as part of a package of proposals aimed at reducing the cost of electricity in Connecticut…An element of their plan involved sparing ratepayers an estimated $362 million per year by shifting cost of expenses like supply and delivery fees onto the state budget. Based on 2020 energy costs, the change would save the average Connecticut household around $210 per year, they said. “The reality is that government is deeply entrenched in energy and is a partner in energy. There are many costs embedded into our bills that are policies that lawmakers have passed. Some of them are laudable but they are all paid for by the rate payers.”

Graduate and Professional Student Workers Vote to Unionize in Landslide Election

by Megan Vaz, Yale Daily News, Jan. 9, 2023

In a landslide victory, Yale’s graduate and professional student workers have voted to unionize, marking a historic first after decades of organizing on campus. According to the National Labor Relations Board’s final tally, 1,860 of 2,039 voters favored forming a collective bargaining unit under Local 33 – UNITE HERE, the graduate student union that has fought for University recognition since 1990.

Daily Union Elections, which tracks NLRB records, listed Local 33’s election filing as the second largest in the nation in 2022, with 4,000 graduate and professional workers eligible for union representation. Including challenged ballots that went uncounted due to wide vote margin, about two-thirds of those eligible to vote showed up to the polls or mailed in ballots.

“I’ve been looking forward to this day for years,” Local 33 co-President Ridge Liu GRD ’24 said in a Monday press release. “Generations of grad workers have organized before us, and I’m really excited to finally win.”

Yale has officially recognized the results of the election and confirmed that it will begin contract negotiations with Local 33. University President Peter Salovey sent an email to the Yale community shortly after the NLRB’s announcement, stating that the University remained committed to the emphasis on “free expression and mutual respect” that preceded the election. “With today’s result, the university will now turn to bargaining in good faith with Local 33 to reach a contract,” Salovey wrote. “As we work with the graduate student union, we will continue to be guided by our commitment to Yale’s educational and research mission and to the success of all our students.”

On Monday night, Local 33’s members and supporters streamed into the Old Heidelberg bar at the Graduate New Haven hotel for a victory party. The Graduate’s staff secured their first labor contract under Local 217 in the summer of 2022, three months after announcing they were filing to unionize at a Local 33 rally.

“One of two union bars in New Haven,” organizer Abigail Fields GRD ’24 observed. “It’s a historic day in New Haven and there have been graduate workers organizing at Yale for decades. And the win today is really the culmination, in a lot of ways, of generations of organizing, and that feels really incredible, and really powerful and moving to be a part of.”

[Article can be read in its entirety at https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2023/01/09/graduate-and-professional-student-workers-vote-to-unionize-in-landslide-election]

27th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy of Social & Environmental Justice

Join the Yale Peabody Museum and CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) for the 27th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy of Social and Environmental Justice with two days of free, hybrid events open to all. Come Sunday, Jan. 15, 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. to 114 Whitney Ave. and Monday, Jan. 16, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. to 260 Whitney Ave. Space is limited. Virtual and in-person registration is strongly recommended. Free parking is available in Yale Lot 22 at 260 Whitney Avenue.

On Sunday, Jan. 15, 12:30-3:30 p.m. there is Family Story-telling and Dance at the New Haven Museum, 114 Whitney Avenue. The New Haven Museum and the Peabody are teaming up for an afternoon of inspiring family programs celebrating Dr. King’s life and legacy. Storytellers Joy Donaldson, Waltrina Kirkland and Clifton Graves will share stirring fables, anecdotes, and stories that honor King’s work and testify to his impact on the justice movement.

Ms. Hanan’s Dance and Beyond will present an interactive performance of cultural dance and drumming from the African diaspora and you’ll discover kid-friendly activities throughout the Museum offered by our program partners, including the CT DEEP, the Black Caucus American Library Association, and the Amistad Committee. Peabody scientists will introduce attendees to fascinating specimens from our Paleobotany collection.

Masks are required in the New Haven Museum and space is limited. To register, please go to peabody.yale.edu/events/mlk-celebration.

Monday, Jan. 16, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. features the Z Experience Poetry Slam at the Yale Science Building, O.C. Marsh Lecture Hall, 260 Whitney Ave. Join influential poet performers Croilot and Ngoma, in-person for the first time since 2020, as they emcee an electrifying spoken word experience, honoring Poetry Slam founder Zannette Lewis, in one of the largest auditoriums on Yale’s campus. Spend the day with us or tune in live and online as our hosts kick things off with a high-energy group performance and a curated open mic. Those talented storytellers will be followed by a slate of renowned featured poets competing in the poetry slam.

Visit tables hosted by the National Council of Negro Women and New Haven African American Historical Society to hear from their members about the work they are doing in the community. And museum staff will be on hand to offer the latest information on the Peabody renovation.

This event is appropriate for adults and young adults with the discretion of a parent or guardian. For current Yale University vaccination and mask requirements and to register, please go to peabody.yale.edu/events/mlk-celebration.

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Fair Haven’s PhotoVoice Project

Xóchitl García, Save the Sound Community Leader

This past summer, Xóchitl García led a photovoice project in Fair Haven. She recruited 13 neighborhood residents to document environmental assets and hazards through photography.

Residents took over 100 photos throughout the season, but only 50 were showcased in the final exhibit. Xóchitl identified five socio-environmental themes: Green and Blue Spaces, Abandoned Buildings, Trash Travels, A Safe Place, and The Homeless. To gather more perspectives and ideas on solutions to address these issues, Xóchitl, Melissa Pappas from Save the Sound, and New Haven Neighborhood Housing Services hosted two community charrettes at the Fair Haven Public Library. They then presented community-derived solutions from these charrettes in conjunction with the results of the PhotoVoice project to leaders, policy-makers, and city representatives at the final presentation hosted at Junta for Progressive Action at the end of September 2022.

Xóchitl and project participants plan to hold organizations and local authorities accountable for implementing these solutions through creative campaigning and a mini-series of workshops to further develop the ideas into proposal-ready projects. Ideally, an organization or a partner will commit to addressing these solutions in their capacity. At the same time, Fair Haven residents continue to be the source of inspiration and can hold organizations and decision-makers accountable for those commitments. Realistically, there will be one concrete solution as a first communal step toward environmental justice in Fair Haven.

Now, Xóchitl is establishing a strategic plan for community outreach and creating a winter workshop series next year. She wants to improve resident attendance in the spaces where people will make decisions. She believes representation is more important than ever in environmental justice. BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and People of Color] cultures and non-English languages need the voice, the space, and the flexibility to communicate their matters that have been systemically disregarded.

To see the virtual exhibit of the Fair Haven PhotoVoice project, please visit: https://www.savethesound.org/urban-waters-initiative.

[On Thursday, Jan. 19, 5:30-6:30 p.m., see the PhotoVoice presentation in the Program Room of the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave.]

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