Victory! ICE will Stop Immigration Raids at US Workplaces

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción, Oct. 18, 2021

Big news!  Thanks to our efforts, the Biden administration took action on one of our top priorities: ensuring that employers stop using immigrant status to silence workers.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it will no longer carry out mass immigration raids at U.S. workplaces.  Instead, DHS says they will crackdown on employers who exploit workers, rather than locking up workers who are victims of exploitation.

We demand that DHS include immigrant workers in every step of the new workplace enforcement program.

That’s why ULA’s worker leader Hermelinda Gutierrez has joined together with other workers from Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and more to form a Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) that will issue recommendations to the Biden administration.  The BRC are people who have experienced workplace abuse firsthand, and their voices must be heard.

We are close to winning good jobs and immigrant protections in Congress. But we need to keep the pressure on Senators to make sure that they include full funding for homecare services AND a path to citizenship in the Build Back Better act.

That’s why we’re calling our Senators. To add your voice, just dial: 1 (855) 637-5982. You’ll hear a recording – with options in English or Spanish – with instructions and talking points, and then you’ll be connected to your Senator’s office to leave your message. Once you hang up you’ll receive a text message asking you to dial again to be connected to your other Senator’s office. Please make both calls!

Unidad Latina en Acción, 37 Howe Street, New Haven, CT 06511. Building the power of immigrants to defend labor, civil, and human rights since 2002.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day Shifts To Story

by Lucy Gellman, Arts Paper, Oct. 11, 2021

The drum coasted over the New Haven Green, a steady heartbeat as voices began to swell above it. Huddled around a microphone, members of Red Territory led each other in a round, the song catching on something as it wove upwards. Four dozen pairs of eyes turned toward the sound and listened. The smell of sage hung low in the air.

Monday afternoon, Native artists, activists, and storytellers gathered at a now-annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration on the New Haven Green. Organized by Norm Clement and Ricky Looking Crow, the event sought to create a space for Indigenous people to gather, celebrate, and share the stories of where they come from and who they are.

Lucy Gellman photo

Clement is a member of the Penobscot Nation of Northern New England and a confederate member of the local Quinnipiac tribe. Looking Crow is a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Northern New England, primarily Maine.

“I got a few things on my mind today,” Clement said early in the ceremony. “It’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day here in New Haven. People are still fighting to be recognized in this state, around this country, we’re still fighting to get rid of the colonizer’s day.”

“I think today is all about unity, about praying together. It’s about awareness of the day,” said Looking Crow as he and Clement laid out sage, sweet-grass, turkey feathers for smudging, and a large bag of tobacco for prayers. He motioned to the grass beneath him, where yellowjackets buzzed through patches of overgrowth. “This is our church.”

This year’s celebration came almost 15 months after the city’s Board of Education, which recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, voted to change the name of Christopher Columbus Family Academy on Blatchley Avenue. The City of New Haven does not yet recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day; alders voted on “Italian Heritage Day” instead last September.

For over two hours, attendees approached a communal mic with the same message: We’re still here. We always have been. And we’re going to keep resisting.

[This article can be read in its entirety at www.newhavenarts.org/arts-paper/articles/indigenous-peoples-day-shifts-to-story]

Community Protest on New Haven Green Celebrates Indigenous People

Community Members Gathered on Tuesday to Celebrate Indigenous Culture and Call on Congress to Welcome Migrants.

by Brian Zhang and William Porayouw, Yale Daily News, Oct 13

On Tuesday, community voices rang out across the Green as New Haveners led a ceremony celebrating Indigenous culture and calling on Congress to welcome migrants.

The event — which was hosted by Black and Brown United in Action alongside Unidad Latina en Acción, or ULA — featured speaker presentations and dance performances. It culminated in a march to Representative Rosa DeLauro’s (D-CT) office — with demonstrators holding signs in opposition to anti-immigration sentiment — as well as the unveiling of a sculpture honoring Nepaupuck, a Quinnipiac warrior who was executed by colonists in 1639 on the same site as Tuesday’s protest.

“We’re more than dishwashers. We’re more than cleaners. We’re more than administrative staff,” said Catherine John, one of the event’s organizers and a leader of Black and Brown United in Action.
John Jairo Lugo, one of the event’s lead organizers, spoke to the lack of Indigenous curriculum in Elm City’s current education system — which he said capitalized on a colonizer perspective and left out Native history.

Connecticut has become the first state to require that public schools offer ethnic studies curriculum — which include topics such as the diversity of Latino cultures, the suppression of Indigenous languages in the Americas and the legacy of U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico.

Catherine John expressed similar sentiments, questioning how immigration could be “illegal” when the land was stolen in the first place. John said that Indigenous groups had inhabited the city for centuries and the term implied discrimination against migrants. Throughout the event, pamphlets and brochures titled “You’re Standing on Stolen Land” were passed out to public attendees.

According to organizers, the protest was also meant to capture the struggles of other marginalized groups. Lugo compared the deportation of undocumented immigrants to racial profiling of African Americans.

“It’s always the squashing of a culture that is not convenient to recognize,” said Ku’ Bibiri Sari, who is Taíno, explaining that racism persists across different times.

[This article can be read in its entirety at https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2021/10/13/community-protest-on-new-haven-green-celebrates-indigenous-people]

Afghanistan War Ends in New Haven

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Oct 8, 2021

Twenty years to the day after the United States first bombed the Taliban, New Haveners officially put an end to one home front of the Afghanistan War — by laying a final stone commemorating last month’s military and civilian deaths from “forever wars” in the Middle East.

A dozen anti-war activists turned up Thursday night for that somber, cathartic ritual at the Broadway Triangle bounded by Broadway, Elm Street, and Park Street.

Some form of this group has been laying a stone every month at this site since December 2007. For the last time, Thursday night they placed atop a roughly 200-piece cairn a round, smooth stone inscribed in white with the number of U.S. military, Iraqi civilian, and Afghan civilian deaths from the month prior.

“Our last stone: September 2021,” Ioanna Gutas read as her peace compatriots stood in a circle around the diamond-shaped, makeshift memorial.

“No U.S. military killed. Civilians in Iraq: 40. In Afghanistan: 200.”

As the sun set, lights flickered on from Broadway’s shops and restaurants. The shadow cast by the nearby 20-foot-tall Civil War memorial grew longer. All eyes remained fixed on the pile of stones that had just received its final tribute.

“I learned a long time ago that there are things that are futile, but necessary. They have to be done,” said Stephen Kobasa, who helped found the memorial 14 years ago and who has attended nearly every stone-laying ceremony at the site on the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m. ever since.

“The witness has to be given. And the fact that we have done something to remember the dead is no small thing. It’s not everything. It hasn’t changed the outcome. But it has testified to another way of seeing the world, and I think we can lift that up and celebrate that.”

[The article can be read in its entirety at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/peace_cairn/]

CT Green Energy News from the Oct. 15 issue

News and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action at the state and local levels, focusing on CT. Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) and Eastern CT Green Action (ECGA). To subscribe, email pace4ct@gmail.com.

CT promoted a natural gas expansion plan in 2014 that was supposed to save taxpayers money. Natural gas prices are now soaring, promising a costly winter.

Hartford Courant. “Critics of the Malloy administration’s energy policies say consumers who spent thousands of dollars to convert to natural gas have little to show for their investment now that gas prices are spiking. As prices fluc-tuate, with gas and oil taking turns as the more expensive heating fuel, family-owned oil dealerships say that was always their point: Markets, not government, dictate com-modity prices…The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority said in December that ratepayers are on the hook for about $64 million in higher gas costs for the expansion program. Risks of the program are “demonstrably greater” for ratepayers than the utilities’ shareholders, regulators said.”

CT, Rhode Island Teeter on Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) Despite Democratic Majorities
CT News Junkie. “‘We do a really good job here in Connec-ticut of setting lofty ambitions,’ Haskell remarked on the state’s so-far unsuccessful efforts to reduce its carbon emis-sions below an agreed upon threshold. ‘Where we’re not so good is giving policymakers the tools to actualize those goals.'” Plus: Now is the best time to protect the climate. Pass the TCI.

Eversource asks regulators to approve settlement over Isaias response

CT Mirror.  “The Public Utilities Regulatory Agency heard Tuesday from Eversource and state officials about a pro-posed $103 million settlement tied to the utility’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias. State leaders and Eversource said the deal will get the average ratepayer a total credit of about $35 spread out across their December and January bills.” Plus: ‘An unethical choice’: Eversource withholds millions of dollars in taxes from 87 Massachusetts communities.

Leaf Blower Ban Debated  New Haven Independent. “Are gas-powered leaf blowers an environmental hazard, or an economic necessity?​ ​And do the noise and air pollution dangers they present outweigh their benefits for working-class landscapers?​ ​Local land-use commissioners wrestled with those questions during the latest regular monthly meeting of the City Plan Commission. …More than 200 cities and towns across the country have already enacted legislation restricting or eliminating the use of these devices…”

New solar system installed at East Windsor apartments Hartford Business Journal. “The Connecticut Green Bank, which facilitated the setup, said the East Windsor Housing Authority has agreed to buy the electricity generated by the 39.6-kilowatt photovoltaic system under the terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement. That arrangement will save the agency about $130,000 in avoided energy costs over the next two decades, according to Green Bank officials.”

For a listing of clean energy events, visit the PACE online Calendar at https://pacecleanenergy.org/calendar.

Have Your Say About Community Crisis Response!

by Annie Harper, PhD, Program for Recovery and Community Health,
Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine

The city is preparing to create a community crisis response team to respond to emergency calls for which police, ambulance or fire aren’t appropriate, including when people are in distress due to mental health and substance use problems. Let the city know what the new team should look like. Who should be on it? What support should they provide? How can we be sure it remains accountable to the community? Text/leave a message at (475) 212-2510, email ccrt@newhavenct.gov, or drop off your ideas on paper at all local library branches. Visit bit.ly/nhccrt to learn more!
Thank you!

DESK to provide free Thanksgiving dinners Wednesday, Nov. 24

The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen will provide free Thanksgiving dinners on Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 311 Temple St. For information on how to pick one up, or to volunteer or donate (time, money or food), please call (203) 624-6426 ext. 6137, or email info@deskct.org.

Know someone who is homebound this Thanksgiving and could use a meal or two? Contact Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers at (203) 230-8994 for more information on how to sign someone up for Thanksgiving for All.

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide Holds Speak-out

by Joan Cavanagh, Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide held a speak-out at the New Haven Free Public Library on October 2nd about legislation allowing doctors to legally prescribe lethal drugs for patients deemed terminally ill. Featured speakers were Anita Cameron, Director for Minority Out-reach at Not Dead Yet, a national, grassroots disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia as deadly forms of discrimination, and Dr. Andre N. Sofair, Professor of Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and a practitioner of Internal Medicine.

“The people that are wanting this are largely upper-middle-class professional folks and largely white,” said Ms. Cameron. “If you are poor, it’s easier [less expensive] to kill you than give you health care.” Her comprehensive presentation included her mother’s story. She “graduated” from hospice in 2009 and lived actively for 12 more years. In her state (Washington), medical assisted suicide is legal: “All she would have had to do was ask and she’d have been given the medication because she was deemed terminal.”

Dr. Sofair agreed with Cameron that “we doctors are not always as accurate in terms of [terminal] prognosis as we think we are.” Sympathetic to those who fear pain when seriously ill, he said that “this calls for improvements in medical care, palliative care and hospice care when needed,” not assisted suicide. “Purported safeguards” in states where the practice is legal “do not always work” and often do not help people “get the appropriate medical care that they need.”

“For many of us, [these issues] are profoundly personal and, in terms of political and social realities, absolutely terrifying,” said New Haven activist Elaine Kolb, who concluded the program with a spirited full rendition of her acclaimed song, “Not Dead Yet.”

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide was formed by peace, justice, and disability rights activists; advocates for comprehensive, universal health care; and supporters of women’s reproductive rights. They believe that it is time for progressives to understand that state-sanctioned medical assisted suicide is an existential threat to the most vulnerable members of our population.

The program, videotaped by Stanley Heller, can be seen at:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=q44Lyo4utyM (Part 1) and
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FVy5U77ilw (Part 2).

Remembering Tim Craine

Although Tim lived in Windsor, he was known to many New Haven-area activists as he often participated for decades in state-wide and local rallies and programs for peace and justice. He was enthusiastically optimistic in the struggle for a better world and will be greatly missed. Below is the obituary printed Oct. 3 in the New Haven Register.

Timothy V. Craine, 77, died peacefully at home in Windsor on Sept. 25 after a several-month battle with leukemia. He was born Oct. 6, 1943, to Asho Craine, nee Ingersoll, and Lyle Craine.

Tim graduated from Oberlin College in 1965. He spent two years in the Peace Corps teaching math in Ghana. He taught in public high schools in New Haven and Detroit. He earned a Ph.D. in math education from Wayne State University in 1984. That year he also received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching. He joined the math department at Central Connecticut State University in 1993 and chaired the department from 2000 until his retirement in 2009. He was highly regarded as a teacher of high school and elementary math teachers, and continued teaching part-time through 2020. He co-authored several textbooks and numerous academic articles.

Tim was active as a member and later supporter of the Socialist Workers Party for five decades and was the party’s candidate for governor of Michigan in 1982. He was a leader of the Greater Hartford Coalition on Cuba, organizing to oppose Washington’s economic war against Cuba. He was active in the defense of framed-up Puerto Rican independence fighters and in 2000 participated in a delegation to Vieques, Puerto Rico, demanding the closure of the US bombing range there.

Tim is survived by his wife Leslie; two daughters Naomi Craine (Dean Hazlewood) and Rachel Craine (Liz Craine); brother Steve Craine (Rachel Skvirsky) and sister Ellen Craine; grandchildren Chelsea, Emily, Niko, and Maeve; dear friend Tony Proto; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Donations in his honor can be made to the math department at CCSU, the Simsbury Community Band, or the Socialist Workers Party. A celebration of his life will be organized in the spring. To leave an online message of condolence for his family, please visit www.carmonfuneralhome.com.

MAKING GOOD TROUBLE: Together We Rise for a Hopeful Future

by People’s World Amistad Awards Committee

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards will be held Saturday, Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. as a virtual program, with printed greeting book mailed to participants. The theme is MAKING GOOD TROUBLE: Together We Rise for a Hopeful Future.

Register here.

This year’s awardees are in the forefront of fighting for the rights of essential workers and all workers regardless of immigration status during the COVID pandemic, and organizing for spending priorities that address racial equity, climate change, voting rights and the common good. They represent the kind of unity, solidarity and vision needed to build the movement that can transform our country to put people, peace and planet before profits.

State Sen. Julie Kushner, Senate Chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee, is a lifelong organizer and coalition-builder for worker rights, the first woman director of UAW Region 9-A, and an outstanding legislative champion winning paid family and medical leave, raising the minimum wage, climate and jobs legislation, COVID recall rights, and racial and gender equity.

Pastor Rodney Wade, Senior Pastor of Long Hill Bible Church in Waterbury, is a tireless and fearless leader for equity and justice, a faith leader of the state-wide Recovery for All coalition of labor, community and faith-based organizations united to eliminate systemic inequalities, and with Naugatuck Valley Project and other groups, providing hope and inspiration to the community.

Azucena Santiago is a courageous leader with 32BJ SEIU in the fight for union rights and health protections for service plaza workers. When McDonald’s reduced her hours after she began organizing her co-workers, Azucena filed a complaint with the NLRB and won back pay. She has testified before the State Legislature, led marches and rallies, and is the mother of two.

Plus we will feature a special “IN SOLIDARITY” with the contract fight of unions at Yale, and the AFT/community struggle to keep maternity services at Windham Hospital. The Awards are hosted by CT People’s World on the occasion of the 102nd anniversary of the Communist Party USA. Spanish language interpretation will be available.

For greeting book and ticket information, please call (203) 624-4254 or email CT-PWW@pobox.com. The deadline for ad book submissions is Nov. 20.

Register here.

In Solidarity,
People’s World Amistad Awards Committee

October 30–End Environmental Racism: A Climate Emergency Rally & March

by C3M Steering Committee

On Saturday, October 30 at 2 p.m. on the north steps of the State Capitol in Hartford, climate justice advocates will gather for a rally and march to send a clear message to state leaders to stop the fossil fuel expansion and end environmental racism immediately. The gathering will include speakers, guerrilla theater, mural art-making, and more. Ajali, an Afro-Caribbean and West African drumming group, will lead our march around the Capitol.

The climate crisis is happening now. Levels of the two most important anthropogenic greenhouse gases continued their unrelenting rise in 2020, NOAA announced in April 2021. Despite pandemic shutdowns, carbon dioxide and me-thane surged in 2020 and carbon dioxide levels are now higher than at any time in the past 3.6 million years. Climate impacts recently caused loss of life in our region; people drowned in their homes in the Eastern United States, and the majority who suffer from climate disruption are people of color and from low-income communities.

Recently, scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change leaked  a preliminary draft of the Sixth Assessment Report, because “there’s no time for continued in-action – the people deserve to know NOW what our corporate-owned politicians have done to them.” These scientists, calling themselves Scientist Rebellion, also stated “We plead with people to go into serious nonviolent resistance, to join us in the streets to apply unbearable pressure on this genocidal system – to take it down before it takes us all down with it.”

Globally and in Connecticut, leaders are failing to take serious action on the climate, although we know that we have precious little time. Greenhouse gas emissions in Connecticut are on the rise from various sectors, and so far, our state has taken no significant action to reduce carbon dioxide or methane. In fact, the actions taken by our state are increasing carbon dioxide and methane emissions now, when we are well overdue to make a real plan to reduce global heating gases. Join us in raising our voices to demand action on climate from Connecticut leadership.

A number of groups are organizing together to build an anti-racist climate movement, that attempts to form alliances with new allies across ethnic, class, gender-conforming, age, and other traditional barriers. Rally organizers include NAACP Windham/Willimantic Branch, CT Women’s March, Sunrise CT, BLM 860, CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M), 350 CT, and Sierra Club Connecticut.

For whose humanity

by Davarian Baldwin, Yale Daily News OpEd, Oct. 11, 2021

Just [a month] ago, Yale launched what’s been called its “most ambitious” fundraising campaign ever. The $7 billion wish list does include requisite line items like faculty and student support, public health and of course racial justice. But the bulk of the price tag orbits around the lucrative research areas of data and computer science, biotechnology and engineering. The campaign is called “For Humanity.”

From a purely educational perspective, the claim of fund-raising for humanity makes total sense. An influx of cash would support classrooms and laboratories that train the next generation of leaders while also producing lifesaving discoveries for the future. But Yale’s “For Humanity” title is not actually indicative of higher education’s goodwill. Instead, it is a branding strategy, one part of an elaborate business model in which schools champion their public good status to shelter millions of corporate dollars and extract public funds from their host cities.

As Yale seeks to add $7 billion dollars to its already bulging coffers, students in New Haven attend classes without enough seats and use bathrooms with no soap. Such disparities are not by coincidence but point to the various ways that higher education prosperity is driven by the impoverishment of its host cities and towns. And therefore, when assessing this latest fundraising effort, we must ask: for whose humanity? […]

Under the cover of “educational purposes,” Yale’s graduate researchers work at stipend rates below their private market peers to churn out for-profit research in tax-exempt campus buildings for millions in royalties that feed the school’s tax-exempt $31 billion endowment. And this wealth regime is covered by a private Yale police department with public jurisdiction over the entire city but directed by the University’s interests. Some people call the area “Yale Haven.”

These financial arrangements bolster Yale and its corporate partners while New Haven schools and other public works remain hungry for property tax dollars. Yale will point out that it provides the city with a  $13 million Payment in Lieu of Taxes, which is the biggest of its kind in the country. But it has testified to another way of seeing the world, and I think we can lift that up and celebrate that.”

[The article can be read in its entirety at www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/peace_cairn]

Good Start, Ben & Jerry’s: Now Finish the Job! — Take Action

Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace NH

UPDATE: The international Work Group of the Central CT Democratic Socialists of America is holding a “Eat an Ice Cream for Palestine” on Sat. Oct 9 at 1 p.m. starting at the Ben and Jerrys store in New Haven. The store is at 159 Temple St., New Haven. It’s near the New Haven Green. We’ll take photos of ourselves eating or holding B&J ice creams followed by a walk to the New Haven Green and an informal discussion about Palestine. – Stanley Heller, DSA Int Work Group member.

On July 19, 2021, Ben & Jerry’s (B&J) announced that it is inconsistent with their values to sell their ice cream in the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). They will not renew their license agreement with their Israeli licensee when it expires at the end of 2022.

We at Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven and the New Haven Mending Minyan Havurah join with so many Vermonters in lauding this long-overdue decision by B&J’s, in particular because it was taken as part of B&J’s long-time advocacy for human rights and economic and social justice. But it does not go far enough. The very principles that drove B&J’s decision demand that the company withdraw from selling their products in both the OPT settlements as well as in the state of Israel itself. Furthermore, Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, must commit itself to ending ties with Israel for any action to be meaningful.

Here’s why:

  • Earlier this year, both the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued detailed reports which document Israel’s control over all the territory it administers as an apartheid regime. B’Tselem notes that “one organizing principle lies at the base of a wide array of Israeli policies: advancing and perpetuating the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians.” HRW notes that “deprivations are so severe that they amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.” Both reports document apartheid conditions in both the OPT and in the state of Israel itself.
  • B&J ice cream is manufactured in Israel in Be’er Tuvia (adjacent to the town of Kiryat Malachi). Kiryat Malachi is one of four Israeli localities located on the lands of the former Palestinian village of Qastina, destroyed and emptied by Israeli troops in 1948. Be’er Tuvia is in southern Naqab about 20 miles from the Erez crossing into Gaza. B&J products are transported to the illegal OPT settlements on Jewish-only roads. The factory draws water from the Jordan River system and the Mountain Aquifer in the occupied West Bank, the two highest-quality water sources in the region. At the same time, Israel severely controls and restricts West Bank Palestinian residents’ access to water from those same sources, reducing it to a level which neither meets their domestic and agricultural needs nor constitutes a fair distribution of shared water resources. The apartheid regime practiced by Israel in the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River requires that to be consistent with its social justice values, B&J terminate sales in all of that land. Israel considers its illegal settlements to be part of its state. We celebrate this first step, but it is not enough. Unilever must work to finish the job that the independent board of Ben & Jerry’s started and cut the flow of money to this apartheid state.

News Flash: Our Third District Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, has just introduced a standalone bill whose sole purpose is to gift Israel with yet another $1 billion so that it can continue to “defend” itself while it mercilessly besieges Gaza and conducts one devastating bombing after the next. This is on top of the $3.8 billion per year of our tax dollars that are already going for the same purpose.

This bill is being fast-tracked by the “Democratic” leadership and will almost certainly pass with “bipartisan” support, but we need to let Rosa know how outraged we are at this. Express it as soon as possible at (202) 225-3661.

It’s No Coincidence that Power Plants Are in Poor Neighborhoods

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

A climate rally in Hartford on Sept. 18 blasted the usual practice of putting power plants and waste processing facilities in minority and poor areas, calling it environmental racism. Speakers, almost all of whom were people of color, spoke from the park’s bandshell, in front of signs that read “Fossil fuels make us sick,” and “End environmental racism.”

They called on Gov. Ned Lamont, who talks “green” but makes no objection to pipelines and fossil fuel power plants, to change his tune.  In particular, speakers mentioned Killingly in the poorer eastern part of the state that will be saddled with another methane-burning power plant if industry and Lamont have their way. It will also pump out massive amounts of global warming gases. About 100 watched from grassy areas not in the surprisingly blistering September sun.

A number of groups had tables or booths at the rally. Promoting Enduring Peace had a booth draped with banners about our bold ideas on climate. Rather than appeal to the fossil fuel companies like Exxon and Shell to go “green,” PEP called for the popular takeover of the whole fossil fuel industry and its gradual abolition. We called for carbon capture by preserving mature trees (like the ones in Remington Woods in Bridgeport) and re-wilding land. We also asked for rationing the use of burned fuels (not only fossil fuels, but so-called “bioenergy”) as long as it’s absolutely necessary to use them.

Earlier in September, a Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection report revealed that Connecticut is not even on track to meet targets set by the CT Legislature for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The latest figures were from 2018 and showed that emissions actually rose from 2017 to 2018. The elite may think environmental racism keeps them safe, but we are losing the battle for a livable climate and that will be disastrous for all.

To see the video of the rally go to PEPeace.org.

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