May Day, International Workers’ Day Events

Saturday, May 1, New Haven, noon – 4 p.m. rally and march
May 1 is a critical time to take to the streets in a broad coalition for migrant justice and worker justice. Unidad Latina en Acción is convening a “Day Without Immigrants” massive rally on the New Haven Green, and a march at 4 p.m. For information go to ULA’s Facebook page or call (475) 323-9413.

March & Rally to Demand a Long Term Caregivers Bill of Rights at 12 p.m. Event at the Governor’s Mansion, by SEIU District 1199 New England, 15 Trinity St, Hartford. They call us heroes, but on the job – Home Care, Group Home, and Nursing Home workers – we are treated like we’re expendable. May 1st is International Workers’ Day – and we’re calling on Governor Lamont to CARE FOR CAREGIVERS by ending the cycle of structural racism that devalues the work of predominantly Black, Brown, and working class white women who work in long term care.

We are gathering in the northwest corner of Elizabeth Park in West Hartford and marching the half-mile up Asylum Ave. and turning onto Prospect St. to rally in front of the Governor’s mansion.

Free parking and socially distanced shuttle bus beginning at 11:15 from the 1199 office at 77 Huyshope Ave, Hartford. More info: www.facebook.com/events/466564707915332

Workers of the World Unite for an Equitable RECOVERY FOR ALL Sunday, May 2, at 4 p.m. EDT (US & Canada) via Zoom. Host Contact Info: ct-pww@pobox.com.

May Day 2021, International Workers’ Day, comes one year into the COVID-19 crisis, as workers resist racial and economic inequalities and demand fundamental change and a Recovery for All. Come together in unity & solidarity for a special rally hosted by CT People’s World.
Spanish language interpretation will be provided.

Rally Program:

  • Special Guest: RECOVERY FOR ALL Coalition Members;
  • Panel discussion with 1199 workers, Husky For Immigrants, Yale Union workers, also public workers from AFT on the front lines of the fight for essential workers and all workers;
  • Slide show of resistance and victories by workers on all continents, including in CT during COVID-19, challenging giant corporate profits from the impoverishment of working people;
  • Solidarity actions and demands.

Register now using the link below. After registering, you will get a confirmation email with information about joining the rally.

PeoplesWorld.org has extensive coverage of the COVID-19 crisis and struggles for racial, economic and climate justice on the side of the multi-racial working class. Contributions are welcomed to help People’s World get over economic problems due to the pandemic, and continue to contribute to the labor and people’s movements and thrive. Please mail donations to CT People’s World Committee, 37 Howe St., New Haven, CT 06511.

For more visit https://tinyurl.com/FB654654may-day-2021

Car Caravan and Rally for Respect at Yale May 5

Join us Wednesday, May 5 at 5 p.m. for a Car Caravan and Rally for Respect, an event with Local 34 UNITE HERE, Local 217 UNITE HERE, Local 33 UNITE HERE, Students Unite Now and New Haven Rising, starting at 1 Prospect St., New Haven.

For the last year, many Yale workers have been essential workers on the frontlines of higher education. We have worked to provide health care, to keep the Yale community safe, to facilitate online learning, and to ensure successful University operations.

It’s been over five years since Yale committed to hiring 1,000 New Haven residents into good jobs at the university—and we are still waiting.

Meanwhile, Yale’s wealth continues to grow every day. And on May 5 at 5 p.m, we’re going to show Yale that it’s time — time for Yale to step up and pay its fair share. Now is the time for Yale to commit to protecting our union standard and our job security. Now is the time for Yale to honor its commitments to New Haven and help ensure the city recovers from this crisis.

Come out to join other Yale workers, New Haven Rising, and our allies on 5/5 at 5 p.m. on the corner of Prospect and Grove to demand respect for our union and the New Haven community. All are welcome to join by car, bike, or by foot. Social distancing, masks, and all other necessary safety precautions will be followed. When we fight together, we win! https://www.facebook.com/events/209241147274412

A Virtual Conversation with Emily Bazelon at Fellowship Place May 13

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Fellowship Place presents a virtual conversation with Emily Bazelon, Thursday, May 13, 6-8 p.m. She will discuss the critical need for criminal justice reform and how people of color and people living with mental illness have been failed by the courts and the prison system, Social check-in begins at 6 p.m. The program begins promptly at 6:15 p.m., free and open to the public.

African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at more than five times the rate of whites. More than one-third of inmates in state and federal prisons suffer from a mental illness. Emily Bazelon will lead a conversation about the disparities in the criminal justice system and the reforms that are urgently needed; she will be joined by a panel of formerly incarcerated individuals served by Fellowship Place.

Ms. Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine, the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School, and a co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest. She is the author of two national best-sellers: Charged, about the power of prosecutors, and Sticks and Stones, about how to prevent bullying. Charged won the 2020 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the current interest category and the Silver Gavel Book Award from the American Bar Association. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.

Fellowship Place’s mission is to serve adults living with mental illness by offering a full range of therapeutic support and rehabilitation services that promote independence, wellness, and meaningful life. Open 365 days a year, our campus community serves over 800 people annually who are living with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. Services include day programming, permanent supportive housing, vocational services, homeless engagement services, and support for individuals transitioning out of incarceration. Fellowship’s programs complement and enhance traditional psychiatric care provided in hospital and clinic settings.

If you have any questions about the event or sponsorship opportunities, please contact mholroyd@fellowshipplace.org.

The Truth About Medical Assisted Suicide

by Joan Cavanagh, member, Second Thoughts CT

Cartoon created by Amy Hasbrouck of Not Dead Yet Canada

“Countries that have enabled euthanasia or assisted suicide have claimed that it has to be totally voluntary, cannot be due to financial or family pressures, cannot be due to untreated or unrecognized depression and cannot be due to untreated, poorly managed pain. They state that, and yet there is no evidence that those are not the major factors driving this.

“What it takes to adhere to those guidelines is incredibly expensive and time-consuming and doesn’t happen. That’s the situation in the Netherlands and Belgium and Canada. All the heartfelt adherence to restrictions that are announced when you first get the public to vote in favor of this go up in smoke once the practice is validated. And it’s always with the talking points that it’s about relief of suffering, that the person, even though he cannot say this, would agree that he would be better off dead.

“Ethically, do I think people should have the right to control the timing of their death? I do. [But] I think it’s dangerous public policy. It’s a dangerous path to go down with the claim that it is all about respect for autonomy, when the real drivers are getting rid of a painful and expensive burden on society…

“There was a recent case in Canada: a guy with neuro-degenerative disorder who was cognitively intact. In order to go home from the hospital, he needed 24-hour care, and the government would not pay for 24-hour care. He recorded hospital staff offering him medical aid in dying as an alternative. You think that doesn’t create pressure on people who already feel like burdens? They need to be met with a resounding commitment to continued relationship. Not: ‘You’re right. I agree you’d be better off dead. Here’s a prescription.’ That pushes someone who is struggling right over the cliff.”

–Excerpt from an interview with Dr. Diane Meier, Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York Times Magazine, March 24, 2021.

Please contact your State Representatives and Senators and tell them to vote “NO” on H.B. 6425, “An Act Concerning Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill People.”

Libraries Expand In-Person Services

by Gina Bingham, NHFPL

The New Haven Free Public Library has expanded its in-person services with limited hours for technology use and short browsing visits at the Ives Main Library, Fair Haven Branch, Mitchell Branch and Wilson Branch. The Stetson Branch will continue to offer curbside services until further notice.

The following services will be available:

  • Picking up holds and requests
  • Opening or renewing a library card
  • Browsing and checking out new materials for all ages (limit to one 30-minute session per day)
  • Using a library computer by appointment (limit to one 90-minute session per day)
  • Photocopying/printing and faxing (self-service)
  • Check out of Wi-Fi hotspots and Chromebooks to New Haven residents with adult cards
  • Research assistance

In addition to offering materials on-site and through curbside pick-up, the Library provides access to virtual programming, e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming video, information resources, and research assistance by phone and chat via the Library website nhfpl.org.
The Library has implemented a number of visitation and safety guidelines:

All patrons over the age of two are required to wear a mask and maintain a six-foot distance from others at all times. Due to a limited occupancy rate, it is recommended that visitors make an appointment ahead of time by calling the location they wish to visit.

No food or drink will be allowed in the Library to ensure that masks are worn at all times for the safety of customers and Library staff.

Access to computers is available with a 90-minute time limit. Library staff may not be able to provide extensive assistance. Should visitors have any special needs, please call ahead to alert staff for possible options.

New Haven residents can get library cards over the phone or in person at our locations. Please call any branch for assistance. NHFPL no longer charges late fees for materials returned.  Material replacement fees for lost materials can be paid via debit/credit cards online or inside a branch with cash, check or card.

Ives Main Library, 133 Elm St., (203) 946-8130. Call for information about all the branches, or visit nhfpl.org.

Home Health Care Workers from New Haven Lobby for Insurance, Sick Time, as Hartford Protest Prompts Mass Arrests

by Ben Lambert, New Haven Register, April 9, 2021

Anthony Ligon and Terrell Williams, both New Haven residents, provide comfort and care for others as home health care workers. But they don’t have health insurance of their own. They and fellow members of SEIU District 1199, a chapter of the New England Health Care Employees Union, called for legislators to grant them that level of support and stability Thursday at the state Capitol in Hartford, staging a protest that ended with the arrests of 20 people, according to state police.

Ligon and Williams said Friday they attended the rally in hopes of securing benefits such as health insurance, sick time, vacation time and other benefits. The union has called for the state legislature to pass legislation that raises the minimum wage for such workers to $20 per hour by 2023 and create a pathway to affordable health care.

“We are long-term home care (workers) without long-term benefits,” Ligon said. “We were pretty much there to fight for some basic human rights.”

Read the entire article at https://www.ctinsider.com/news/nhregister/article/Home-health-care-workers-from-New-Haven-lobby-for-16089557.php.

Articles, video and photos are on Facebook page of SEIU 1199 New England

The Friends of Kensington Playground May Update

by Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Taking the Dwight neighborhood’s only public playground for housing, when there are other building sites available, amounts to environmental injustice. Our efforts to save Kensington Playground from development continue.

Friends of Kensington Playground lawsuit in State court: no updates. We are waiting to hear if the City of New Haven’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit (on the grounds of lack of standing) is granted.

The City of New Haven posted a legal notice in the New Haven Register on 4/18/21:

  • Notice of Intent to Request Release of Funds: $250,000 from Housing and Urban Development HOME funds to The Community Builders for both renovation of existing units as well as the new construction on Kensington Playground.
  • Finding of No Significant Impact: Development of Kensington Playground will have no significant impact on surrounding human environment, and an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is not required. We have 15 days to appeal this.

Friends of Kensington Playground hosted two events in April: At the Food Panty and Easter Basket Giveaway, 30 bags of food and 48 Easter baskets were given to local residents. And at our Kid’s Bike Safety Clinic, 13 kids received free bikes, locks, and helmets, and learned how to ride a bicycle safely.

To get involved, donate, and sign our petition, please visit our website: KensingtonPlayground.org.

Protecting Dwight’s only playground from sale and development is costly, even though we have done as much of the work as possible ourselves. Please be as generous as you can. Don’t let the City take this playground for $1 with an illegal process. Take a stand for Democracy. Fight environmental injustice. Require our city, state and federal governments to follow the law.

We Need Your Help – Can You Take 1 Minute to Email Your Legislators?

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Acción

Connecticut leads the nation in racial and economic inequality, with gaps between the wealthiest and poorest residents. These gaps create tremendous disparities in public education funding, access to healthcare, labor conditions, and housing.

Connecticut’s tax code disproportionately burdens low- and middle-income families. They pay almost three times the percentage of their income in taxes than those who earn more than $600,000 per year. It’s not fair. But it can be changed.

The Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee is considering two bills, HB 6187 and SB 821, that would add fairness to the tax code. These bills would also generate the resources that we need, like healthcare for immigrants and DOL protections. Thank you!

Important Information to Prevent Electricity Shut-Offs

[There are programs for people caught in the economic devastation of the COVID pandemic, but they’re not well-publicized. The utility companies have not consistently been informing customers who can’t pay their bills. The following excerpt, from the article, Dear Conn. Electric Customer: Know Your Rights, written by Susan Campbell, was printed in the April 4, 2021, New Haven Register.]

Dear Connecticut electric company customer:

During this difficult time, you are absolutely protected from having your power shut off. You can take advantage of multiple payment programs that can help you pay your bills, should you fall behind.

All Connecticut utility customers whose income is less than 60% of the state median income are eligible for affordable payment plans. Under many of these plans, if you pay your average monthly bill, the back bill can be wiped out. If you get disability, medical or other help from the state, you may be eligible for an affordable $50-per-month plan for a heat bill. Even when we aren’t in the middle of COVID, service cannot be turned off between Nov. 1 and May 1.

In addition, last April PURA announced a COVID-19 payment program for everyone. Even if you make too much money to qualify for a low-income-based program, you can still take advantage of the COVID payment plan, where your back bill is divided into 24 payments. The program was an acknowledgment that no matter a household income, people could be adversely affected with pandemic shut-downs or slowdowns.

You, the customer, are not supposed to have to ask about specific programs when you call a utility company, but customer service representatives have proven notoriously bad at sharing this information, so feel free to mention the COVID and hardship plan by name. If the representative declines to agree with you about a plan, ask to speak to a supervisor. If the supervisor is similarly hesitant, ask for a company review officer. If you still get nowhere, call PURA at (800) 382-4586. They can be extremely helpful.

Eyeing Asthma, Dwight Tracks Pollution

by Emily Hays, New Haven Independent, April 16, 2021

Three small, white domes will soon be able to tell Dwight neighbors exactly how much pollution is floating around their neighborhood as they brace for an influx of up to 1,000 new cars a day.

That’s thanks to an environmental health project that began with concerns about the traffic impact of an $838 million, 505,000 square-foot neuroscience center Yale New Haven Hospital plans to build at George Street and Sherman Avenue.

“We started all this because we wanted to look at pollution in our neighborhood. Some of this is causing asthma in our neighborhood,” Dwight Central Management Team Chair Florita Gillespie told neighbors at a recent meeting.

Read entire article at www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/dwight_measures_air_pollution

New Haven March Protests Police Violence | Jake Dressler, New Haven Independent

April 18, 2021

Civil rights activists marched from City Hall to Yale Police Department headquarters to protest the recent police killings of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo in the Midwest. Dozens of marchers blocked traffic on Ashmun Street as they listened to community organizers speak out against police violence.

Jake Dressler photo

“Screw reform,” shouted Sunrise New Haven member Jaeana Bethea. “We need to put money into affordable health care and jobs. The cops are reactionary. We need to defund and abolish the police! We keep us safe! Mayor Elicker wants to complain about the dirt bikes in the neighborhood when there are much bigger problems!”

The demonstration was organized by the local Democratic Socialists of America chapter and Hamden Council member Justin Farmer in response to two police shootings that occurred earlier [in the] week and that resulted in the deaths of Wright and Toledo.

Wright was killed on April 11 in Brooklyn Center, Minn.–just miles away from where former police officer Derek Chauvin stood trial for the murder of George Floyd last spring. Wright died after police officer Kimberley Potter mistook her handgun for a taser and open fire.

Toledo, a 13-year-old boy, was killed on March 13 in Chicago when officer Eric Stillman allegedly believed Toledo was hiding a gun and shot at him during a foot chase. Video footage of the incident shows that the boy had his hands up at the time he was shot.

“I think it’s important for lawyers to step up and play their part in ending police brutality and civil rights violations,” said defense attorney Alex Taubes. “The protest rally today was not just about George Floyd, Daunte Wright, and Adam Toledo, but also Malik Jones, Jayson Negron, Mubarak Soulemane, and the victims of police brutality in Connecticut whose loved ones still seek justice.”

Read the entire article at www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/protest3

 

Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program: UniteCT Information

by Tebben Lopez, Neighborhood Housing Services

As the COVID-19 pandemic systematically shut down businesses and caused many people to lose their jobs, the consequence of mass eviction loomed larger each month.

“With the severity of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program (TRHAP), administered by the Department of Housing (DOH), was a critically needed tool to address a catastrophic need,” Managing Director of the HomeOwnership Center, Bridgette Russell, explained, “Renters facing job loss and furloughs were suddenly unable to pay their rent, and TRHAP, along with the Governor’s mandated eviction moratorium, provided a short-term solution to quell an impending eviction tsunami.”

With the assistance of selected administrators and NHS of New Haven’s HomeOwnership Center, the state got to work distributing the funds. The Governor first set aside $10 million that grew in short order to $40 million by the end of the temporary assistance program in December.

The HOC began to work with individuals assigned to their department to bring them up to $4,000 in order to help them with back rent and forward-facing rent. In total, NHS assisted 448 families with over $1,415,000 in assistance. “After COVID-19 shut down my work, I was in a panic,” Monika C. shared. The program came at the perfect time, helping with her rent, and she was grateful to be accepted. “A huge thank you to NHS of New Haven and the Department of Housing for helping me through the process!”

“Helping tenants and landlords submit applications for the Temporary Rental Housing Assistance Program was deeply meaningful and often very moving work,” HOC Coordinator, Robin Ladouceur, reflected. “The range of applicants with whom I worked was broad – from the older man who lost his job and could not find a new one in a job market that privileges youth; to the single mom of two who received a cancer diagnosis in the midst of the pandemic; to a young new mother faced with raising her daughter alone; to all the countless families touched by COVID-19.”

The prolonged nature of the pandemic means that the scale of need for rental assistance was and continues to be staggering. “At least 3-5 times per week I receive inquiries from individuals who passed through the TRHAP program asking if there are other ways to receive assistance, Robin said. “I am grateful to be able to say that a new State of Connecticut Department of Housing Rental Assistance Program will be commencing in March and everyone who went through TRHAP may be eligible to apply. More help is on the way!”

Tebben Lopez, Communications Specialist
(203) 562-0598 x224, 333 Sherman Ave. New Haven
www.nhsofnewhaven.org
@NHSofNewHaven

Vigil Honors Lives Lost to COVID in New Haven

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Accíon

In a vigil to commemorate one year of the COVID crisis, on March 22 the immigrant organization Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), along with Black & Brown United in Action, and Hamden Action Now remembered 186 lives lost in New Haven, including two of their loved ones, Nora Garcia and Ignacia Teniza.

photo: Frank Panzarella

To the crowd of sixty people, ULA announced a Rental Relief Fund and called for an economic recovery for immigrants. ULA released a report documenting the needs of their community and the urgent demand for an economic recovery to include immigrants. Since the pandemic began, ULA has mobilized nearly a dozen car caravans to the state capitol and governor’s mansion calling for COVID relief for “essential” undocumented workers, who have been excluded from unemployment insurance and federal stimulus payments.

While US Congress has failed to provide any relief to undocumented workers, the state of Connecticut last week launched UniteCT, a $235 million rental assistance program that is open to all residents regardless of immigrant status. At the same time, the state legislature is considering Senate Bill 956, which would open Husky health insurance to immigrants. The rental assistance fund comes after ULA and partner organizations negotiated for nearly one year with the Connecticut Department of Housing and distributed $2.5 million in a pilot program.

“Today as we remember Nora and Ignacia and the 186 lives lost in our city, we will call for a new day in Connecticut, when healthcare and economic security will be a right for all of us, not just for a few of us,” said John Jairo Lugo, Community Organizing Director of ULA.  “As we mourn the dead, we must denounce the deadly racial and economic inequities in this state, and we must fight for the living by creating a recovery for all that includes undocumented workers and families.”

For more information: Megan Fountain, (203) 479-2959, megan@ulanewhaven.org.

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