How You Can Help At-Risk People in Our Community

by Mark Colville, Amistad Catholic Worker

Friends,

I reach out today with an urgent call to come together as advocates, caregivers, organizers, activists and allies, in response to the ongoing unmet needs of some of the most at-risk people in the New Haven community. As the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded, many concerned people in the area have intensified our work with people experiencing homelessness, and from that perspective, we’ve seen the city and some of its institutions take bold and proactive steps. At the same time, there is a growing fear that those efforts are falling short in terms of providing safe spaces for significant numbers of people who still lack the wherewithal to follow the statewide directive to shelter in place.

The latest initiative has been to move all of the people who were using the city’s homeless shelters into hotel rooms, a move that was completed within the past three weeks. Thanks to a concerted raising of voices, we have now seen the city commit to expanding that initiative to include all individuals who identify as experiencing homelessness, regardless of whether or not they typically use the shelter system. This is a very positive development, and many of us have been working hard to get those folks signed up for the rooms as they’re made available.

The problem we face now is that the ”shelter model” of service delivery is simply being transposed onto these hotels. This includes supervision, security measures, invasions of privacy and disciplinary regimens which are in fact the reason why so many people refuse to stay in shelters in the first place. Regardless of how anyone feels about such refusals, this project of moving everyone from the street into hotel rooms will not be sufficient, at least in its current form, to accommodate everyone- particularly, for example, those who are mentally ill and/or active drug users.

In response, the Amistad Catholic Worker is joining an effort already underway to erect a tent city, in an as-yet undetermined open space somewhere relatively close to the city center. This is being organized collectively and with a fair degree of urgency. It will integrate the requirements of social distancing and sheltering in place, but the rules and regulations will be developed and agreed upon by those dwelling in that space. Thus the responsibility for its operation in a safe and sanitary way, maintaining the peace and respecting the privacy of its residents, will also be assumed collectively.

We are now looking for camping supplies, especially tents, sleeping bags, warm blankets and tarps. If you can donate any of these or other items, please contact me: (203) 645-5417 (call or text); markcolville9761@gmail.com. For anyone interested in taking an active role in getting the project off the ground, I’m happy to discuss that as well.

Stay safe everyone. Gratefully,

Mark Colville

Plowshare Activist, Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville Returns to Jail

On the night of April 4, 2018, New Haven resident and Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville was arrested with 6 others at a non-violent Plowshares action at Kings Bay Naval Base, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. The naval base has six ballistic missile submarines and two guided missile submarines.

“Nuclear weapons kill every day through our mining, production, testing, storage and dumping, primarily on Indigenous Native land. This weapons system is a cocked gun being held to the head of the planet” (from the statement of the seven arrested Plowshares activists).

Mark Colville was granted bail for skin cancer treatment that was successfully treated.

The following excerpts are from Mark before he and his wife Luz returned to Georgia, where, on Dec. 11, he self-surrendered to Georgia authorities.

Greetings in the peace that the world cannot give…

 

From the beginning, my participation in the Kings Bay Plowshares action was first of all an act of contrition for complicity in the sins of nuclearism and empire, and I’ve regarded any incarceration as penance for those sins.  But the jail has also been for me a place of ministry, personal faith-development and formation of conscience. …

With this in mind, there are no misgivings or mixed feelings about going back to Glynn County Detention Center, but rather a sense of rejoicing that, as Dan Berrigan liked to say, one has the freedom to go to jail.

A week ago, judge Cheesbro accepted a motion to return the bail money that was posted on my behalf and put me back in the jail on December 11.

This Tuesday, Luz and I will show up at the Glynn County Detention Center and part ways again, for another undetermined length of time. We will do this mindfully, reaching hands of solidarity toward our extended global family members who are now at this country’s border facing atrocities and uncertainties far beyond whatever hardships we might be obliged to bear.

…I’ll look forward to your postcards, and delight in all news of your ongoing efforts to bring about the nonviolent collapse of the U.S. empire, in defense of all creation…

Love and Prayers, Mark

[For the regulations on how to send letters to Mark, please see www.kingsbayplowshares7.org/jail-addresses]