Al Marder to be Recognized Aug. 6 at New Haven Peoples Center Reception

A reception and fundraiser highlighting the history of the New Haven Peoples Center will recognize the leadership of it’s president, Alfred L. Marder over a span of 80 years for peace, equality and justice. The event will take place at Coogan Pavilion in Edgewood Park near Whalley Ave and West Rock Ave. from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, also marking Hiroshima Day.

Al Marder poses with New Haven peace activist and Peace Council member Mary Compton at the Peace Day celebration at the Amistad Memorial statue outside New Haven City Hall Sept. 21, 2015.  The statue was built thanks to his guidance and supervision. Marder is chairman of the Amistad Committee.  (photo: cjzurcher)

Al Marder poses with New Haven peace activist and Peace Council member Mary Compton at the Peace Day celebration at the Amistad Memorial statue outside New Haven City Hall Sept. 21, 2015. The statue was built thanks to his guidance and supervision. Marder is chairman of the Amistad Committee.
(photo: cjzurcher)

As founder of the Amistad Committee who served as chair of the City of New Haven Peace Commission for many years as well as the United Nations International Association of Peace Messenger Cities and the U.S. Peace Council, Marder has been called a “hero for peace.”

A resident of Westville, Marder has been active in New Haven since the age of 14 when he was a student at James Hillhouse High School. He expanded his vision through participation in events at the New Haven Peoples Center. The Peoples Center was founded in 1937 to provides social, cultural and educational opportunities for the community. With Al Marder’s participation, it was the site of the first inter-racial theater group in the city called Unity Players. This was one of many efforts that broke down racial segregation at that time.

Today the Peoples Center hosts the youth group New Elm City Dream, and is home to the immigrant rights group Unidad Latina en Accion as well as the SEIU 32 BJ janitors union and Greater New Haven Peace Council. The space is utilized by many social justice organizations.

The event will include an exhibition of Peoples Center memorabilia, remarks by Marder and refreshments. Donations will be accepted toward the restoration fund for the building which was erected in 1851. The Peoples Center, a site on the Connecticut Freedom Trail, is currently raising $10,000 as part of a grant to restore the windows, roof and entry door.

In his early years, Marder served as Executive Director of the Connecticut CIO Youth and Sports Organization and was President of the New Haven Youth Conference. During World War II and the fight against fascism, Al served in the U.S. Infantry from 1942-1946 in the European Theatre and received a Bronze Star. During the McCarthy period, as one who was persecuted for his ideas, he stood firm for civil liberties. He has supported every civil rights and workers rights struggle of his times.

Marder is known for bringing to light the story of the Amistad captives and its lessons of Black-white unity to achieve freedom. Through all the decades, Marder continues organizing, educating and creating positive change. His depth of knowledge, commitment to equality, powers of persuasion and indomitable spirit inspire generations in New Haven and throughout the world.

Requested donation at the door is $25 or what you can afford, no one will be turned away. Tax deductible contributions to the restoration fund can be sent to PERA / New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St., New Haven CT o6511.

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Amistad Awards Rally Calls for Justice for All

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

From Ariel Johnson’s beautiful rendition of Change is Gonna Come to the closing performance by Ice the Beef Stop the Violence Start the Peace, the 2015 People’s World Amistad Awards inspired young and old alike with its message of unity and struggle.

Themed “Justice for All – In Solidarity with Black and Latino Youth – Stop the Right-wing Attacks,” the event greeted actions by youth to end racism and achieve a future with hope and dignity.

“The 2016 elections are the battleground for every democratic right we’ve ever won,” declared Joelle Fishman in the Call to Action. “We can stop….candidates who want to bring us back 175 years. We will not go back! We must go forward!”

Awardees included Jill Marks, a leader of New Haven Rising and Alder-elect in Ward 28; Ciro Gutierrez, member-leader of SEIU 32 BJ building cleaners union in Hartford, and Cindy Harrity, Communication Workers of America Local 1298 organizer, retired.

Marks said she was moved to become a grassroots leader after knocking on thousands of doors and hearing the problems of ordinary families. She urged those present to join the fight for good jobs and attend a New Haven Rising rally Dec. 12.

Gutierrez, born in Peru, described how he became involved in the social movement during the right-wing coup in his country. When his family came to U.S. after losing their public sector jobs to privatization, he continued his commitment to workers’ rights through his union.

Harrity, unable to project her voice due to illness, prepared comments read by husband John Harrity. Cindy, well known for her successes as a union organizer, urged those present to “be unreasonable” when confronted with exploitation, unfairness or any injustice.

The awards were held on the 96th anniversary of the Communist Party USA. Edie Fishman, who joined the YCL at 14, now in her 80th year in the working-class movement, received flowers from the youth. She recounted experiences which won social security, unemployment compensation, health and safety on the job, and ending Jim Crow racial segregation. “When we stick together and fight together we can win,” she said.

Performances also included Capoeira by Raca em Moviemento Dance Studio and poetry by Gaylord Slaters and Aaron Jafferis.

Amistad Awards to take place Dec. 6

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

This year’s Amistad Awards will be presented by the People’s World at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 at an anniversary rally in New Haven at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, 177 College Street, on the theme “Justice for All. In Solidarity with Black and Latino Youth. Stop the Right-wing Attacks.”
Jill Marks, Ciro Gutierrez and Cindy Harrity, three grass roots leaders and organizers, will receive the awards.

Special recognition will also be given to Edie Fishman marking her 80th year as a grass roots leader for justice since joining the YCL at age 14.

A cultural program in solidarity with Black and Latino youth struggling for survival, jobs and education will highlight the event.

Amistad Memorial Sculpture by Ed Hamilton

Amistad Memorial by sculptor Ed Hamilton

The annual awards are presented to allies by the People’s World on the occasion of the 96th anniversary of the Communist Party USA.

Jill Marks stepped up this year as an organizer with New Haven Rising. She was elected in the September primaries to represent Ward 28 on the New Haven Board of Alders, as part of the labor-community alliance majority. She is mother of six, choir director of her church and has worked alongside her husband Rev. Scott Marks for many years.

Ciro Gutierrez is a member leader of SEIU 32 BJ in Hartford. He is now on the negotiating committee in a key labor battle covering 2,000 building service workers, part of national contract negotiations. He has fought for justice for immigrant workers and janitors for many years. He immigrated from Peru, became a citizen and raised three children here.

Cindy Harrity organized for Communication Workers of America 1298 for ten years until her recent retirement due to health. She got involved in the fight for workplace fairness over health insurance as a part-time worker. She has since organized around the country and supports husband John Harrity’s work as president of the CT State Council of Machinists.

Tickets are $10. Ticket and adbook information is available at http://ctpeoplebeforeprofits.blogspot.com or call (203) 624-4254 or e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com.