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.

I ❤ My Home: Energy Efficiency Counseling Pilot Program

by Tebben Lopez, NHS New Haven

From Feb. 3rd to the end of March, Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven (NHS) will be reaching out for help to fund an exciting new pilot program called “I ❤ My Home.” The purpose of this program is to increase accessibility to education and support for people seeking to make energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. These upgrades will lead to improvements in their comfort, health and fiscal well-being, while at the same time helping to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions that harm the environment.

Funds will allow a contract Energy Consultant to join the organization and offer one-on-one counseling services to guide individuals through the process of understanding their individual needs, what resources are available to them and what steps to take to complete the upgrades(s) to make their homes more energy-efficient.

NHS was approved to participate in Sustainable CT’s Community Match Fund to raise $25,000 that will then be matched 1:1 by Sustainable CT for a total of $50,000 to jump-start the home energy efficiency counseling pilot program. Over the one-year pilot program, the goal will be to serve at least 40 customers, with the long-term goal of generating the capacity to ramp up to 400 or more energy efficiency customers annually.

Neighborhood Housing Services, (203) 562-0598, 333 Sherman Ave. New Haven, CT www.nhsofnewhaven.org.

Free Workshop: Make Music to Make Change

Are you passionate about a cause, but not sure where to start? Are you an activist seeking support? Activist Song-book—an ongoing performance project that began with interviews of Asian American, immigrant, and refugee organizers—offers a toolkit for combining civil rights organizing and music to inspire change.

Join the program’s founders and leaders, composer Byron Au Yong and writer Aaron Jafferis, for inclusive, interactive Activist Songbook workshops. Participants will be invited (but not required) to perform the final pieces they create together during the 2020 Arts & Ideas Festival. The workshops are open to anyone interested in activism; no experience is necessary. Come to the workshop Saturday, Feb. 15, 3-5 p.m. Additional dates will be announced.

No experience necessary, all ages welcome; 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult. To register for this free workshop: www.artidea.org/tickets/34401 or (203) 498-3714. Program room, NHFP Library, 133 Elm St. Info: Aleta Staton at astaton@artidea.org or (203) 498-3725.

In Memoriam, Anne Hall Higgins, 1921-2019

by Lesley Higgins-Biddle

Anne Higgins died on October 21, 2019, at her home in North Haven, Connecticut. Known for her commitment to social justice and racial equity, Anne was active in greater New Haven as a founding leader of People Against Injustice (PAI), with a special concern for prison reform and changes to Connecticut’s drug policy. She was active in New Haven/León Sister City Project after traveling to Nicaragua in her 60s and in the United Church of Christ state conference Peace and Social Concerns committee, which led her to be arrested for protests against nuclear weapons in Groton at the submarine base and in Washington, D.C. As an ordained minister, Anne believed unequivocally in “talking the talk and walking the walk.”

Anne was born in Bridgeport where her grandfather had been a progressive minister at Park Street Congregational Church on the city’s East Side. She attended a new, John Dewey-based elementary school that encouraged young girls to play sports, explore their intellectual gifts, and challenge social norms. She graduated from Smith College (1943) with a major in art and then became one of the first women to graduate from Yale Divinity School with a Master of Divinity, subsequently becoming an ordained Congregational minister. At Yale Anne met the love of her life, Arthur Higgins, with whom she co-pastored small rural churches in upstate New York, Colorado and Maine, at a time when the profession was almost entirely dominated by men.

Anne and Arthur moved back to Connecticut to serve parishes in Chester and Wilton, and raise their four children. While in Wilton they became very active in civil rights, with Arthur attending the March on Washington and Anne becoming active in SNCC and CORE chapters in nearby Norwalk. Anne’s critique of the American power structure was a major inspiration for her art and she created many paintings that expressed both oppression and hope, often at the same time.

Throughout her life, Anne remained indomitably committed, both aesthetically and ethically, to a life well lived and that ‘spoke truth to power.’ From her friend Paula Diehl: “Her last years of ministry took the form of programming for elders in affordable housing. She always tried to increase residents’ world-view and help them to better tolerate and understand those who were not like them.”

Anne is sorely missed by her sons, Bart and Gerry, and her daughters, Lesley and Ethel, who are pictured here with her at an exhibition of her paintings at the New Haven Friends Meeting in 2018. Anne’s friends from PAI, the Nicaraguan Prayer Group, and the Friends Meeting, are grateful for having known her. The sparkle in her eyes will be missed by everyone who knew her.

Advocates Applaud AG Tong’s Action to Halt Courthouse Immigration Arrests

by Unidad Latina en Acción

Advocates applauded William Tong after he filed an amicus brief with 14 other state attorneys general supporting the Washington State lawsuit against ICE enforcement in and around the state courthouses.
“In recent months, ICE has interrupted justice in our Connecticut courts, jeopardizing public safety and the rule of law in the entire state,” said Catherine John, a member of Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA). “The state of Connecticut must continue to fight to halt ICE arrests in and around our courthouses.”
An estimated 120,000 undocumented immigrants live in Connecticut. Many of them have been unable to appear at court appointments for fear of hostile encounters with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). When called to courthouses for housing, family, civil, or criminal court, plain-clothes ICE agents have arrested and detained immigrants for civil immigration violation.

One recent example is that of Mario Aguilar, an 18-year-old Wilbur Cross junior who was arrested last September while entering the Milford courthouse to answer to misdemeanor charges stemming from a car accident in August. He spent over 100 days in ICE detention in Bristol, MA, before getting a positive ruling on his asylum case and coming home to New Haven on New Year’s Eve. In October, Domar Shearer went to Derby Superior Court to face charges and was alerted by the Public Defender’s Office that plain-clothes ICE officers were looking for him. After a 7-hour stand-off, in which Shearer stayed in the Public Defender’s Office, while ICE agents and immigrant rights’ advocates waited in the court hallways, ICE left the building and Shearer was able to return to his community.

National immigrant rights advocate Kica Matos added, “Our courthouses are meant to be places where due process and justice are delivered to our community. Using our judicial buildings to hunt down undocumented residents is shocking to the conscience and a gross miscarriage of justice. Our communities are less safe when immigrants who witness crimes are afraid to speak out for fear of going into a state building. No one is served when courthouses become places where people are terrorized and prevented from accessing justice. We are pleased that AG Tong has joined in this amicus brief to prevent ICE from using our courthouses to hunt down immigrants.”

Contact: Catherine John, (203) 887-3788 or John Lugo, (203) 606-3484.

Net Zero Energy Schools in CT: Major Retrofits and New Construction

by CT Energy Network & People’s Action for Clean Energy

We are excited to invite you to a special gathering of the Connecticut Energy Network (CTEN). This event is on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Rockfall Foundation, 27 Washington St. in Middletown. The program will focus on what we can all do in our towns to transition our schools to zero energy.

Topics include:
How holistic energy efficiencies – the first consideration!
– strengthen the benefits of solar and other renewables/
local clean energy generation;
How demand reduction and building science relate to
state energy goals and to school districts’ bottom lines;
What financial and planning resources exist today in CT
to help school districts minimize energy costs while
improving student performance and well-being.
All-electric HVAC technologies for schools.
Our keynote speaker is John Balfe, Buildings and Community Solutions Expert at Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP). Lunch is provided. Seating is limited and registration is required. Please attend with a school representative. To register and for more information, contact Patrice Gillespie at patricegillespie@mac.com.

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.

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

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

GUIDELINES FOR ARTICLES Read more

24th Annual Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy of Environmental and Social Justice

Sunday, January 19, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday, January 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free admission. Note new locations.

The Yale Peabody Museum will sponsor this festival for the 24th year in honor of Dr. King and his efforts to ensure environmental and social justice among all people. The weekend’s activities will include world-class performances, a community open mic and poetry slam, and educational activities for visitors of all ages. Special Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. programming also includes the 11th Annual Youth Gathering, Professional Poetry Slam and Storytelling at the New Haven Museum.

On Sunday, Jan. 19 and Monday, Jan. 20, performances on the World Stage will be held at the Marsh Lecture Hall located in the Yale Science Building conveniently located next door to the Peabody Museum (170 Whitney Ave).

All teens are invited to the 11th Annual Teen Summit located in Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect St., on the 3rd floor, on Sunday, Jan. 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Zannette Lewis Environmental and Social Justice Professional Poetry Slam and Community Open Mic also has a new location. Both of these popular events will take place at Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect St., on the 3rd floor, on Monday, Jan. 20. The Community Open Mic will take place from 11 a.m. to noon. The Professional Poetry Slam will start at 12:30 p.m.

Storytelling will take place at The New Haven Museum, 114 Whitney Avenue. Join local storytellers for family-friendly stories and other hands-on activities for children and families!

Check the website for the complete schedule. peabody.yale.edu/events/dr-martin-luther-king-jrs-legacy-environmental-and-social-justice.

Celebrating 50th Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Love March

On Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 10:45 a.m., the 50th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Love March will begin at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 100 Lawrence St. There will be a program at the church following the march. The theme of the march this year is “Stepping Out of the Past, Into the Future.”
From the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church press notice:

We will march on this day rain or shine to commemorate the dreams and aspirations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Love March, which was started by Shiloh’s late Founder and Pastor, Rev George W. Hampton Sr., has been a positive force in the community of New Haven for 50 years. The Love March was created to preserve the notion of nonviolence. This is a historical celebration of 50 years. It is the longest-running event in the city of New Haven and all are invited to join us on this commemorable day. Scheduled to attend will be some of our political leaders from New Haven and the State of CT.

For further information, please contact the Shiloh Missionary Baptist by phone at (203) 776-8262, by email at mlklove100@gmail.com, or by web at www.smbcnh.org.

Building the Power of Immigrants to Defend Labor, Civil, and Human Rights Since 2002

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción

When we fight… we win!  2019 highlights:

  • 20+ immigrants met with 26 New Haven alders… and we won a new sanctuary city executive order.
  • 9 immigrants produced 81 radio shows… and we activated hundreds of listeners to defend their rights.
  • 50+ immigrants produced an art exhibit and an original theater performance.
  • 100+ allies were trained by ULA in nonviolent direct action… and ULA mobilized 100s to keep ICE out of our neighborhoods and courts.
  • 60+ community meetings united 80+ families fighting deportations and workers’ rights cases.

ULA, 37 Howe Street, New Haven, CT 06511. (203) 606-3484, admin@ulanewhaven.org.

Visit our website at ulanewhaven.org for information on making a tax-deductible donation for our work.

Fundraiser for Venezuela Embassy Protectors Jan. 28, New Haven

by Henry Lowendorf, GNH Peace Council

On (new date, place and time) Monday Jan. 27, 2020, the people of Connecticut will welcome the “Embassy Protectors.” We will be able to hear their story and will be raising funds for their defense.

UPDATE: Friends, Embassy Protectors Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers have to appear in court in DC on Wednesday morning the 29th. They would have had to face an overnight 7 hour trip back to DC if they spoke on the 28th.

Thus, we had to move the date for their fundraiser. Sorry for the abrupt change.

The fundraiser will be held and Zeese and Flowers will speak at the Performing Arts space in the New Haven Free Public Library on Monday, Jan. 27, 5:30 to 7:30 (the library closes at 8).

The forum is free and open to the public, although we will be fundraising. The host, the US Peace Council, is building a list of co-sponsors. For more information, please contact Henry Lowendorf, uspeacecouncil@gmail.com, (203) 389-9547.

On May 16, 2019, four US citizens were arrested in the Washington, D.C., Embassy of Venezuela after having occupied that Embassy with as many as 100 other activists over the course of 37 days.

Those final four “Embassy Protectors,” Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, David Paul and Adrienne Pine, and the scores of others had been asked by the legitimate government of Venezuela to protect its embassy against being stolen by President Donald Trump in an intensification of the US political and economic war on Venezuela, started decades earlier.

“The Four are now facing misdemeanor charges of ‘Interfering with certain protective functions’ of the Federal government that carries a maximum of one-year imprisonment and $100,000 fine for each of them. The United States Government is intent on making examples of these citizens and is using its unlimited resources to make sure that they are penalized and incarcerated.”

Trump, in full regime-change mode, last winter decided who should govern Venezuela. He picked a rightwing parliamentarian, Juan Guaidó, relatively unknown to Venezuelans, to be president trying to force out the elected president Nicolás Maduro. Disagreeing with Trump, the people of Venezuela and their military stood behind the man they elected. In decimating the human rights of Venezuelans, Trump took the whole population hostage by illegally imposing deadly sanctions, threatening a military invasion and backing right-wing violence in the streets. By denying Venezuelans the ability to buy food and medicines the sanctions are intended to coerce that country’s citizenry to submit to the demands of the US.

In parallel to the oppressive measures taken by Washington toward Venezuela, Trump blockaded food, water, medicine and electricity from being delivered to the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective, to force them out.

 

Book Review-Transitioning to a Vegan Diet by B.W. Leete

by Owen Charles, environmental, peace, and community activist

There is a new book out from local author Brad Leete, an animal rights and vegan activist who hails from Guilford. Transitioning to a Vegan Diet is his first published book, available at Amazon. It offers practical information and advice to new vegans and those thinking of transitioning to a plant-based diet. As he states in cover notes, “Anything you can eat, I can eat vegan!”

After 35 years of being a vegetarian, I made the transition to veganism about 4 years ago, and have read a number of vegan books and seen all the great videos and documentaries, so my initial reaction was “Been there, done that.” But in addition to a lot of helpful guidance on the hows and whats of making the change to veganism, surprisingly Leete brings forth numerous examples of challenges that may confront even the most well-seasoned vegans… such as little-known non-vegan ingredients to watch out for on labels, common household products tested on animals (and alter-native brands), and issues with certain beers and wines. So, while I purchased several books to give to friends and family, I made damn sure to read it through myself and take some notes!

The book will especially hold appeal for young people, those on a budget, and the health-conscious, because while he offers a variety of information about ingredients, foods, commercial products and experiences in making the transition to veganism, he keeps a constant focus on how to make your new vegan diet affordable and healthy while not losing any of the fun. While largely practical, the book also has some humorous touches… and I may just take him up on his challenge to come up with a “vegan Ratburger.”

As the author notes, “I’m in a lot of beginner vegan groups and see the same basic questions asked over and over. I decided to write a book to help ANYONE transition to a vegan diet/lifestyle while making it fun, easy and affordable.” Old or new vegan, this is a worthwhile read!

And for his next book, Leete has just published this month his second book–The Newbie Vegan Survival Guide: Answers to 151 Common Questions.

Other vegan news:

The CT Shoreline Vegans hold monthly potlucks every first Sunday of the month, 5 p.m., at Shoreline UU Society, 297 Boston Post Rd., Madison. In summer the potlucks are held at the Surf Club in Madison.

Saturday, Jan. 4, 6 p.m. is the 1st Annual Vegan Mac & Cheese Cook-Off, sponsored by Compassionfest. UU Society, 608 Whitney Ave. https://www.facebook.com/events/2498756383726550.

Let It Grow! Let It Grow! Let It Grow! Winter Garden Workshop

by Tebben Lopez, NHS

The snow doesn’t have to keep you down. You’d be surprised with how soon in the year you can get started in your garden!

By January, most gardeners start to get an itch to throw their gardening gloves back on. But what they may not know is they can start much sooner than they think!

Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven organizes an opportunity for everyone – gardener and hopeful alike – to get a jump-start on the growing season. NHS helps to increase access to fresh, healthy food by offering the classes for a low-cost and free rate to community gardeners.

Advanced Certified Master Gardener Rachel Ziesk teaches six classes that are as accessible as they are informative. A seasoned teacher, who has worked with the UConn master gardening program & Yale University among others, Rachel specializes in organic vegetable gardening.

More information and tickets are available at NHSWinterWorkshops2020.EventBrite.com. NHS wants everyone to have access to these classes and encourages those with means to consider taking them at a help-a-neighbor rate.

The first workshop on soil and composting will be held Saturday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m.-noon at NHS, Building 3, 333 Sherman Ave. (203) 562-0598, Ext. 226.

Update on Green Fund Grants

by Lynne Bonnett, GNHGF

Are you interested in applying for a small grant?  The Greater New Haven Green Fund seeks innovative proposals from committed organizations and individuals for activities that advance our mission 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.

We will have an informational outreach session about the grant application process on Jan. 11 at 10 a.m.  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. It will be held at the Whitneyville Cultural Commons, 1253 Whitney Ave., Hamden.  The session will end by noon.

Please RSVP or contact us if you have any questions at  info@gnhgreenfund.org.

We strongly recommend that you complete the paper version of your application prior to coming to the outreach session if you plan to apply for a grant in 2020.  If you are just curious for future reference, you are also welcome to come and please RSVP.

Applications are due by Jan. 24 at 5 p.m.

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.

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