State Launches $9 Million Arts Relief Fund

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Oct. 19, 2020

Arts nonprofits that have been pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic have a new $9 million state relief fund to turn to for support in helping pay staff, cover student scholarships, and generally stay afloat during the ongoing economic downturn.

State Director of Arts, Preservation and Museums Liz Shapiro announced the imminent launch of the new financial aid effort Monday morning during a press conference held on the front steps of Neighborhood Music School on Audubon Street.

Flanked by Gov. Ned Lamont, Mayor Justin Elicker, and a host of state legislators and New Haven arts leaders, Shapiro said the COVID Relief Fund for the Arts will provide a baseline grant of $5,000 each for eligible recipients.

The fund will also provide a matching grant worth up to $750,000 each, as calculated at 50 percent of total private donations raised by an eligible organization between the start of the pandemic in early March and Nov. 1.

“Is this going to fix all things for all people?” asked Shapiro. “I don’t think we’re in a situation where we can fix all things for all nonprofits, all arts agencies, or all businesses. Is this going to help? Yes. Absolutely.”

The fund—which is made up of federal CARES Act money allocated by the state and which will be open to applications starting Friday and ending Nov. 3—is reserved for three specific types of arts nonprofit organizations: performing arts centers, performing groups, and schools of the arts.

Eligible organizations must show a documented loss of earned income of at least 20 percent year-to-date as of Sept. 30 in comparison to the same period last year. They have been established by Oct. 1, 2019. And they must have at least one full-time paid staff member, either salaried or contractual.

The complete article can be read online at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/state_arts_grant.

Update from Nicaragua as the Pandemic Arrives

by Susan Bramhall, New Haven/ León Sister City Project

In March and April, as the world began to face the historic public health crisis caused by COVID-19, the Nicaraguan government flagrantly ignored recommendations of health and human rights organizations by encouraging mass gatherings and requiring school attendance. During the April holidays, people were encouraged to celebrate semana santa as usual with trips to the beach and large gatherings. As of this writing, there are still no recommended social distancing measures and professional sports events continue to draw fans.

In the last few weeks, reports of the coronavirus illness have begun to emerge in the larger cities and there is now an outbreak in Chinandega – not far from our Sister City, León. There is still no acknowledgment that the pandemic is the cause but hospitals are reporting many cases of atypical pneumonia and a rise in sudden deaths from heart attack and stroke. Nicaraguans are reporting that when patients die, the bodies are buried immediately, often before families are notified. Testing, treatment and results are kept secret leading to more fear and suspicion.

The staff of the New Haven/León Sister City Project are currently healthy and trying to work from home but it is difficult to do social distancing or self-isolation. It is common for homes to contain large extended families and multiple generations and often a small store open to the public. During March and April, our staff was able to continue visiting the rural communities bringing some protective gear (masks) and, most important, information about the facts of the situation. As the community has begun to hear of the cases in nearby areas they are becoming more fearful of people from the city and our staff are now doing as much as they can from their homes.
Our León Director, Erendira Vanegas, reminds us that this is a new crisis within the existing crisis created by the 2018 crackdown against protest and the devastating effect that was already having on the Nicaraguan economy. The crisis created by the pandemic on top of the economic challenges already in play have been overwhelming and has created increased food insecurity. Our Nicaraguan team advises that an urgent need is enhanced access to food for the rural population. The Sister City Project has long been supplementing the meal that children get at school – a meal they may miss if they are not in school. We are currently researching organizations we can partner with to ensure food security for Goyena and Troilo.

If you would like to make a special donation to bolster our programs please visit our website at newhavenleon.org/get-involved/give.

As always, muchisimas gracias to all our supporters in the area.

Reach Out New Haven: Call if You Need Help

In these anxious, isolating and uncertain times, many people don’t know where to turn for resources and someone to talk with. The Clifford Beers Center has launched a warmline to help connect you with various programs for your needs. Also, if you want someone to talk with, have questions on how to get information about COVID-19, or need help, we are here with compassionate listeners who are trained in providing mental health guidance. Please call us for help! The number is (203) 287-2460.

Visit our website for more information and a listing of links for useful information at www.cliffordbeers.org/covid-19-resources.

Food Assistance Resources During the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coordinated Food Assistance Network has put together this online guide (English and Spanish).  It is updated very frequently: https://bit.ly/nhvfoodcovid.

CFAN has also developed a pantry delivery system for low-income folks who can’t get out during this crisis. It’s called Pantry to Pantry. If you know anyone in need, they can call the hotline: 888-910-2960.

The Dwight substation food pantry (142-158 Edgewood Avenue) will be open on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays 9-11 a.m. Other New Haven food resources can be found here: https://covid-19-1-newhavenct.hub.arcgis.com/pages/food.

May Day 2020: International Worker Solidarity: COVID-19 and Beyond, Sunday, May 3, 3 p.m.

This year May Day, International Workers Day, comes in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Come together in solidarity and unity for a special one-hour May Day 2020 Rally hosted by CT People’s World:

INTERNATIONAL WORKER SOLIDARITY: COVID-19 AND BEYOND

Sunday, May 3 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. via Zoom and phone.

Register here: us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_uEEDPXkeS4ybRusFhWFR9g

See on Facebook at May Day 2020: International Worker Solidarity: COVID and Beyond
Rally Program:
* Special Guest: Steve Noffke, UAW Local 600, Dearborn, Michigan
* Panel of Connecticut workers on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 and for workers rights
* Special slide show presentation of working-class struggles around the world
* Solidarity actions and demands
* Staying physically distant, but socially organized to put

People and Planet before Profits!
Register in advance:
us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_uEEDPXkeS4ybRusFhWFR9g
After registering, you will get a confirmation email with information about joining the rally.

Earth Day Rally Connects Coronavirus To Climate Change

Emily Hays, New Haven Independent, Apr 23, 2020

Pollution can lead to respiratory illness, which leads to a higher chance of dying from COVID-19. Earth Day turned 50 in New Haven on Wednesday with that connection in mind.

Sunrise New Haven held an Earth Day rally as a livestream to comply with local and state orders to avoid spreading COVID-19. The crisis was on the organizers’ minds; each of the dozen speakers described the parallels between the virus shutting down workplaces throughout the region and the discriminatory effects of climate change.

“I would like to recognize that we are currently living through two crises,” said emcee Adrian Huq.
Huq is a senior at Metropolitan Business Academy and a leader in youth-led New Haven Climate Movement.

Yale graduate union member and East Rock Alder Charles Decker walked the roughly 150 attendees through a series of similar maps of New Haven. The first was a redlining map of neighborhoods where banks restricted homeownership opportunities. He then cycled through neighborhood rates of unemployment and asthma. The last image was of the neighborhoods COVID-19 has hit hardest.

“What you’re seeing is that these maps time and time again look the same,” Decker said.
“The map of areas devastated by climate change is going to look exactly the same unless we act now,” said Hill Alder and New Haven Rising organizer Ron Hurt.

For more on this story visit: https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/COVID_earth_day_rally

Contact Sunrise New Haven, sunrisenewhavenct@gmail.com

Grants Available for Not-for-Profit Organizations

The Yale Community for New Haven Fund will support the delivery of healthcare, assistance to local businesses, community educational needs, and area not-for-profits focused on such pressing issues as the well-being of children and families, homelessness, and food insecurity.  The fund will focus initially on agencies providing healthcare and basic-needs services to those most affected by COVID-19.

onha.yale.edu/yale-community-new-haven-fund

Reach Out New Haven: Call if You Need Help

In these anxious, isolating and uncertain times, many people don’t know where to turn for resources and someone to talk with. The Clifford Beers Center has launched a warmline to help connect you with various programs for your needs. Also, if you want someone to talk with, have questions on how to get information about COVID-19, or need help, we are here with compassionate listeners who are trained in providing mental health guidance. Please call us for help! The number is (203) 287-2460.
Visit our website for more information and a listing of links for useful information at www.cliffordbeers.org/COVID-19-resources.

The Library Is Dedicated to the New Haven Community

by Sharon Lovett-Graff, New Haven Free Public Library

Although the New Haven Free Public Library is closed during the pandemic, here are some ways we are serving the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The library has long served as a “second responder,” stepping up for the community during times of need. It has operated as a warming center when freezing weather struck and as a cooling center during heat waves. From weather events to school closings, the library has provided shelter, computer access, and social services as well as arts entertainment and cultural activities for adults and children in these times of need.

Librarians as “Maker Movement” leaders have quickly responded to the COVID-19 crisis. Our Tinker Lab staff have been putting the library’s 3-D printers and sewing machines to use manufacturing masks for the Yale New Haven Health Centers and the Public Works Departments of the City of New Haven, as well as for staff and volunteers serving meals to the homeless at the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen and St Thomas Moore Chapel. Although closed to staff and public, the library had some of our 3-D printers and sewing machines moved temporarily to the homes of staff in order to print shields and masks. The library is donating its labor and the materials to this effort, including making sure makers and what they are making comply with specifications for the production of shields and masks.

Although library branches are currently closed, library staff are working hard to be a resource and continue to support the needs of the community. Staff have regular contact with patrons via phone and email, making sure that everyone is stocked up with things to read, watch, listen to, learn, and do. Below is a quick “top ten list” of all the services the library is providing at this time, just to give you a sample.

Top 10 Ways to Use NHFPL from Home

• Social distancing? Your electronic library card is your key to a world of online learning and entertainment for free! Questions? Need an e-library card? Call us and leave a message at (203) 946-8130 or email refdesk@nhfpl.org. For Young Minds and Family Learning call (203) 946-8129 or email youngminds@nhfpl.org.

• Get absorbed in a great story. We’re all in need of some escapist fiction these days! Ebooks, audio books, and graphic novels for adults, children and teens are all available on OverDrive, RBdigital, Freading, Hoopla, TumbleBooks, and TeenBookCloud.

• Enjoy a family-friendly movie night. Tons of films are available for free download with your library card using Kanopy and Hoopla. All you need is the popcorn!

• Start a daily art practice with Creativebug. Learn to sketch, draft a pattern for a new dress, embroider, knit, scrapbook, and so much more.

• Seek help with job hunting. JobNow provides many valuable resources including job coaching, resume preparation and live interview practice.

• New Haven time travel by perusing historic images of our city in the Local History digital collections.

• Research an alternate career path or gain new skills. Take a free course on Lynda.com and learn to be an Excel expert, digital marketer, bookkeeper, graphic designer, screenwriter or comic illustrator. The offerings are endless!

• Exercise! Hoopla contains workout videos, including yoga and aerobics, and dance lessons. Learn to fox trot, salsa or rumba!

• Meet (virtually) with a local entrepreneur! Our Entrepreneur-in-Residence Sammi Williams and Collab partners are offering one-on-one virtual appointments to support your small business or non-profit start-up.

• Need more family fun activities? Plenty of virtual engagement to explore with Young Minds and Family Learning! View Story Times with stories, songs and fingerplays, take a tour of the San Diego Zoo or Boston Children’s Museum, and get reading recommendations and homework help for all ages!

21-year New Haven Sunday Vigil Paused Until Further Notice Due to Covid-19

Ponder this: in a crisis of this magnitude, there aren’t close to enough ventilators and
other medical supplies including personal protective equipment to go around. The federal
government and the hospitals are talking about rationing health care. As always, the
elderly, poor, disabled and otherwise vulnerable are the ones whose lives will be
sacrificed first.

Yet the military manufacturers remain open, grinding away at the production of weapons
of mass destruction.

If this disturbs you, do something about it. Among other things, let your senators and
representatives know that they will not be re-elected unless they act now to ensure
production and distribution of all necessary equipment to save everyone’s life that
can be saved.

The government must act immediately:

  1. USE THE DEFENSE PRODUCTION ACT TO MOBILIZE AMERICAN
    MANUFACTURERS TO SWITCH TO MAKING MEDICAL EQUIPMENT.
    2. USE THE DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY TO HELP COORDINATE
    EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF THESE SUPPLIES AND A MASS ROLL-OUT
    OF COVID-19 TESTING.

PLEASE, SPEAK OUT NOW. Call: U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy: (860) 549-8463;
Sen. Richard Blumenthal: (800) 334-5341; U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro: (203) 562-3718
TWO WAYS TO CONTACT THE PRESIDENT Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
White House Switchboard: (202) 456-1414; For email: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
Always leave your name, address and phone number.
ALL OUR LIVES DEPEND ON THIS.
CONTINUE TO PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING. THINK AND ACT FOR
THE COMMUNITY.
Stay strong. We hope to see you soon.
RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR
The New Haven Sunday Vigilers
March 2020
https://newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com

Take Action Against Killing Sanctions

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

The coronavirus is wreaking havoc with the health and lives of people around the world. The US and other nations are taking drastic actions to halt its spread and tend to people who have contracted the associated disease, COVID-19.

Yet the US is simultaneously preventing the people of several countries from obtaining needed medicines and medical equipment to defeat this pandemic. US economic warfare – euphemistically called sanctions – is aimed at Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela, among other countries. These sanctions are cruel, inhumane and criminal. They endanger the whole world by keeping the virus alive.

In the short article below, economists explain the connection between sanctions and worsening of the pandemic. A letter from the President of the World Peace Council Socorro Gomez is below that and attached is a general analysis of US sanctions.

Call your Senators and House members to demand economic sanctions be immediately lifted for humane reasons: (202) 224-2131.

For more info: Henry Lowendorf grnhpeacecouncil2@gmail.com

https://www.rawstory.com/2020/03/economists-demand-trump-immediately-lift-iran-cuba-and-venezuela-sanctions-that-are-feeding-the-coronavirus-epidemic/