Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Better Choices for CT - What Rell's Veto Means

Governor M. Jodi Rell Monday announced she has vetoed House Bill 7101, An Act Concerning the Estate and Gift Tax, and Senate Bill 2101, An Act Concerning a Deficit Mitigation Plan for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2010, calling both bills "...further examples of the Democrat-controlled Legislature’s refusal to confront the reality of the state’s financial crisis by cutting spending. Because the majority party in the Legislature is unable to make the needed cuts, Governor Rell said she is submitting legislation expanding the authority of Governors to make rescissions."

The Governor has also submitted proposed legislation to increase her rescission authority essentially signifying that if the Democrats will not resolve the deficit through cuts to bring the budget into balance, then she is willing to do so if given the authority. Under existing law, a Governor can make rescissions when a budget deficit exists that is greater than 1 percent of the General Fund. Current rescission authority is limited to up to 3 percent of the total appropriation from any fund or 5 percent of any appropriation.

Governor Rell is proposing that a Governor’s rescission authority be increased incrementally:

* Up to 6 percent of the total appropriation from any fund or 10 percent of any appropriation when a deficit of 3 percent or more exists
* Up to 10 percent of the total appropriation from any fund or 15 percent of any appropriation when a deficit of 5 percent or more exists

Unless the Democrats are able to successfully override the Governor's veto, all cuts in the Deficit Mitigation Plan previously submitted by the Governor, are back on the table.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Health Care for America Now: Finish Reform Right

Dec 23, 2009

This is it.

One month ago, the House of Representatives passed an historic health care bill - one that would make great strides towards the guarantee of quality, affordable health care for everyone in America. It would tightly regulate insurance companies and give us the choice of a public health insurance option.1

The Senate has taken the first step towards passing its health care bill. While the Senate bill includes significant reforms, it looks small in comparison with the House.2 As Richard Kirsch, our National Campaign Director, said, progressives are "very, very angry and disappointed" with the Senate bill.3

The Senate bill cannot be the final bill sent to President Obama's desk for his signature. We have one last chance to fix it.

The Senate bill will shortly head into "conference" with the House bill, where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama will come up with a final bill by merging the two. Conference is an opportunity to fix what's wrong with the Senate bill and stand up for what's right in the House bill. It is our last chance - we must stand up for what we believe in and demand that our leaders finish health reform right.

Click here to send a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and President Obama, demanding they finish reform right.

The final bill coming out of conference must be passed by the Senate and House, but no changes are allowed, so conference is the last chance we have to make things better.

This last chance demands unprecedented effort, so we're pulling out all the stops. Today is just the start of an aggressive campaign to put a good bill on the President's desk.

We're asking organizations involved in health care reform, political and policy experts, and grassroots supporters to sign onto the same letter to Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and President Obama. We must all speak with one voice and demand quality, affordable health care for all if we're going to win.

It's time to stand up - it's our last chance. Click here to read and sign the letter.

What are we asking for in conference? Two things:

Make good health care affordable:

Low and middle income families must be able to afford health insurance if they do not get it through work, and employers must be asked to provide good health coverage for their employees so health care is affordable at work. Health reform should not be paid for by taxing our health care benefits.

Hold insurance companies accountable:

If the insurance companies win, we lose. Insurance companies must be held accountable with strong regulations and consumer protections, and we must be given the choice of a national public health insurance option available on day one.

Raise your voice right now: Click here to sign and send this letter to Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid and President Obama.

We're nearing the end of this fight. Your efforts, in coordination with thousands around the country, will make this bill the historic health care reform we believe in.

We must finish reform right.

Happy holidays,

Levana Layendecker
Health Care for America Now

Send a letter

1. BREAKING: House passes health reform bill! - HCAN NOW! blog
2. The House Bill and the Senate Bill - HCAN NOW! blog
3. Labor Leaders Mull Strategies on Health Bill - New York Times

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

White House National Conference Call on Health Care

From the Alliance for Retired Americans comes an invitation to

join a national conference call Thursday, November 5 at 5:30 pm.

Listen in at the Peoples Center, 37 Howe Street. Refreshments at 5 pm.

Health and Human Serivces Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and senior White House staffer Tina Tchen will be on the phone to brief you as we prepare for a final vote in the House. Representatives from the White House Office on Health Reform and the White House Office of Public Engagement will also be on hand for the discussion.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Celebrating National Hip Hop Month

YO! This is also our anniversary. Thank you all!!!

Anyways, we will be holding FREE 2 SPIT, Sponsored by In The Cut Magazine; on the first Saturday for the month of November. Come help us celebrate National Hip Hop Month. We have MCs who really know Hip Hop and how to spit it well.... they will be in the house. The names will come as we confirm. We will have a dope DJ in the house. Breakers and Poppers are welcome to come through. For those that know... how many elements are there in Hip Hop, and can yah guess what the plus 1 is... yesssir; eye will definitely be doing a set.

If yah got some real hip hop pics, videos, feel free to post them... anything lil besides mamma will mysteriously get deleted. Anything that exploits women, will be purposely deleted... if yah know Hip Hop, yah hear me.

-- Baub Bidon

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Call Congress for Health Care

The Crisis Information Action Center at the New Haven Peoples Center is hosting a phone call event on Sat Oct 17 from 10 am to noon.

Bring cell phones and call neighbors and friends asking them to call Congress in favor of strong health care reform.

The House and Senate are now blending their committee bills. The insurance companies do not want a public option and are spending millions of dollars on tv ads and robo calls with lies that Medicare coverage will be cut and that rates will go up. Help set the record straight. Talk with your neighbors and friends to call Congress for a strong health care reform now.

This event is in coordination with a phone call campaign by Organizing for America

Saturday, Oct 17
10 am to noon
37 Howe Street, New Haven
Refreshments will be served

RSVP to 203- 624-8664

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Identity of the Americas

"Do You Know the Difference Between Conquering and Defending?"

A Second Festival for the Identity of the Americas

Friday October 16 at 6 pm
New Haven Peoples Center
37 Howe Street, New Haven
Free admission

Book discussion with author Robert Whitaker, "The Mapmakers Wife"
Documentary "History of American Violence"
Round Table discussion with special guests
Live Music
Latino DJs and party

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


October 7th is National Call-in Day for Health Care Reform

Call toll-free at
Join Alliance for Retired Americans members across the country and call your member of Congress now on health care reform!

During the coming weeks, the full United States Senate and House of Representatives will debate and vote on health care reform. We must tell them we are counting on them to make Medicare, prescription drugs, and health reform work for us.

Congress needs to hear from us in loud, strong voices. We’ve seen how the big drug and insurance companies are already trying to stop health care reform.

Call today and ask your members of Congress to enact health reform that:

· Has a public plan option. It will make coverage more affordable, make private plans more competitive and drive quality improvements in the health care system.
· Does not tax health benefits. Taxing benefits could actually cause a reduction in coverage, and it would penalize retirees, active workers and employers who have coverage.
· Allows 55-64 year old retirees to buy into Medicare at affordable premiums. Five million Americans need this coverage now.
· Closes the Medicare doughnut hole. Seniors need drug coverage all year long.
· Includes the CLASS Act (S. 697 and H.R. 1721). It is an important first step in addressing long term care needs.
· Eliminates Medicare Advantage overpayments.

For more information on participation, please call: 1-888-373-6497, option #1, or email ARAorganizing@retiredamericans.org.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Enough is Enough!

It’s a crime that insurance companies rack up profits by denying patients treatment even when doctors
recommend it, by discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, and by keeping premiums and
out of pocket costs high so that care is unaffordable even for those who have insurance.
Enough is enough!
Join Health Care for America Now at these October events:

Declare UnitedHealthcare a crime scene
Thursday, Oct 8 at 4:30 pm
450 Columbus Boulevard
Hartford CT 06103

Join us to thank Anthem CEO Larry Glasscock
Friday, Oct 16 – National Boss Day
time and location to be determined
Expose the truth about CIGNA

Thursday, Oct 22
time and location to be determined
for more info contact: 860-995-3389 or info@ccag.net

Trick or Treat at health insurance executives’ homes
Thursday, Oct 29 – Halloween event
time and locations to be determined

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Health Care Townhall

On September 2, a carpool from the New Haven Peoples Center joined over 600 health care supporters at a town hall meeting in West Hartford, CT conducted by Rep. John Larson. Larson is Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and a supporter of health care.

Health care supporters far outnumbered about 150 opponents, who carried signs attacking Obama, expressed opposition to “government run” programs while ironically demanding “hands off Medicare,” the most popular government run program, and in some cases shouted racist insults at health care supporters.

While Larson answered questions from the 500-capacity audience inside the Town Hall, the overflow crowd gathered on the front steps.

Facts and myths about health care reform and how it will affect you can be found at:
Crisis Information / Action Center
at the New Haven Peoples Center

37 Howe Street, New Haven CT 06511
(203) 624-8664 e-mail: peoplescenter@pobox.com
website: peoplescenter.blogspot.com/

The Crisis Information / Action Center is officially open to assist with your problems and urgent needs. With the country in such difficult situations the Crisis Information / Action Center has decided to reach out to different neighborhoods to offer assistance and bring people together for change.

Call for an appointment 203-624-8664
Call if you would like to get involved

The Crisis Information / Action Center is a place for workers facing unemployment, foreclosure, eviction, utility shut-off, lack of health care and other urgent needs

*Help finding resources
*Educational forums
*Legislative issues

(Copies of this flier are available for your organization or neighborhood)

Labor Songs for Today

“New Hard Times”
By Bill Collins and The Rabble Rousers


Labor music inevitably reflects broader social trends. The ongoing interplay with church hymns and military marching songs are clear. But labor’s musical traditions grow and change as they interact with other genres as well.

Bill Collins, a veteran rocker with international roots, demonstrates these shifts in “New Hard Times.” Bill turned to labor issues in 2005 and began recording this CD two years ago. (He acknowledges the influence of his union organizer wife!) As lead singer and guitarist for The Rabble Rousers, Collins rocks labor music into a whole new format.

The 17 tunes on the CD fall into two categories. Fourteen, mostly written by Bill and including two versions of “Dirty Tricks,” are new. They address contemporary issues and situations.

For example: The title song, along with “Card Count,” are literally from today’s headlines. “Too Poor to Retire” speaks to an eternal problem of low-income workers – in the first decade of a new century. And music such as “Union Town” and “Out on Strike” -- well, the words say it all.

The remaining three cuts are totally unique; they are classics updated with a rock beat. For example, in “Union Maid” the group goes back to the original 1940 Woody Guthrie wording – which identifies the American Legion as a threat to labor!

Finally, some of the new tunes represent updates of past issues. “God Told Me To” is Collins’ contemporary commentary on religious exploitation of the working class, first explored a century ago by Joe Hill in “Preacher and the Slave.”

Friday, July 17, 2009

Alliance for Retired Americans - Get Involved


The Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA), which is part of the AFL-CIO labor federation, is organizing in Connecticut. The New Haven Peoples Center is now a chapter of ARA.

The Alliance for Retired Americans is very active to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare, achieve health care for all, and many other issues that affect retired workers such as veterans rights, voting rights and the right to organize a union.

The Connecticut ARA is holding a meeting of its outreach committee:

DATE: Monday, July 27

TIME: 1:00 pm

PLACE: New Haven Peoples Center
37 Howe St, New Haven CT 06511
(203) 624-8664

It would be great to have retired New Haven workers from different unions like IAM 609, Locals 34 and 35 at Yale, AFSCME at SCSU, Teacher Retirees, etc. Seniors who are not union members are equally welcome.

Please come, find out more, and give your ideas on building a strong and united movement that can strengthen labor's role, involve seniors, and help bring change.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Retired Teacher and Activist George Fishman Dies at 92

New Haven Independent

by Staff | July 7, 2009 11:02 AM | Permalink |

George M. Fishman passed away peacefully at his Wooster Street home on Tuesday, June 30, 2009. During the 13 years that he and wife Edie lived in New Haven, he became well known for his scholarship and his activism on behalf of democratic rights, human rights and peace.

Fishman, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 6, 1917 to immigrant parents, was a high school social science and history teacher. He held a PhD in history from Temple University.

Since 1938 he was actively involved in African American and labor studies, as researcher, writer and teacher. A member of many professional organizations, his articles were published in academic and popular journals. A selection of his work, “For a Better World. A Miscellany: Writings 1952-2002 on the African American People’s Freedom/Equality Struggles in New Jersey History” was completed in 2002. He was a member of AFT Retirees Chapter 933R in New Haven.

From 1938 to 1941 Fishman was a staff member of a Works Projects Administration (WPA) teaching unit. It pioneered in staff development in African American life, history and culture and in conducting classes in labor unions and community organizations.

During the fight against fascism in World War II he was a radio man aboard a Landing Ship Medium (#361) in the Pacific. His service included teaching English. He was awarded four medals: American Theater, Asian-Pacific, Philippine Liberation and Victory.

Following the war, he taught social studies, history and mathematics mainly in the public secondary schools of Philadelphia but also in New Jersey until his retirement in August, 1984.

In 1952 during the McCarthy period he was forced to leave his teaching position as part of the general purge of progressives including Communists, labor activists and civil rights advocates from public life.
He went to work at Campbell’s Soup in Camden, New Jersey where he lived with his family. He was a union shop steward and leader of Local 80A United Packinghouse Workers of America, CIO for eight years.

He returned to teach in Philadelphia in 1968 until retirement when the school system repudiated past discriminatory practices and all teachers were invited back.

In 1985, while living in Highland Park, New Jersey, he was a candidate for Governor of New Jersey on the Communist Party ticket. His campaign highlighted the needs of public education, especially of multiracial urban schools.

In 1994 George and Edie Fishman received the Ida B. Wells Community Service Award from the NAACP.

Fishman, who said he lived “a life with a purpose,” participated in community, civil rights, labor and world affairs throughout his life. He took part in the great struggles for unemployment compensation and social security in the 1930’s, the civil rights movement in the 1960’s and the broad social movements for progressive change of today.

He was well-respected and loved for his forward thinking vision, dedication to building unity, commitment and courage, and his active concern for the needs and well-being of family, friends and the broader community.

George Fishman is survived by wife Edie, daughter Joelle and son-in-law Arthur Perlo in New Haven and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial celebration will be held on Sunday, September 6. Messages and memorial contributions can be sent to: New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe Street, New Haven CT 06511 or via e-mail to peoplescenter@pobox.com.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Overcoming Foreclosures

On June 13, the Crisis Information / Action Center at the Peoples Center sponsored a workshop on Overcoming Foreclosures. Dorothy Johnson, Organizer of the Crisis Center, introduced the workshop presenters: Eva Heintzelman of the ROOF Project, a collaboration between the City of New Haven, Yale Law Clinic and community organizations in response to the growing foreclosure crisis in New Haven; Michael Haynes from Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven; and Ann Parent from Connecticut Fair Housing Center.

The workshop discussed the multitude of options and programs available to homeowners facing difficulty with their mortgage payments. The bottom line is that dealing with threatened foreclosures is a difficult and complicated process, the majority of homeowners can save their houses if they seek help and take action. We also learned that various initiatives from the Obama administration, combined with recent improvements in CT state law, provide tools that are really useful in preventing foreclosures.

People attending the workshop heard about it through a notice in the New Haven Register, through the labor movement, and through direct neighborhood outreach by the Peoples Center. Participants included homeowners and tenants with concerns about their situations, as well as Peoples Center volunteers. In addition to the information in the formal presentations, participants were able to speak with the counselors and lawyer individually.

If you anticipate problems with your mortgage, or if you are a tenant facing eviction because your landlord has been foreclosed, the sooner you take action the better the chances of success. Call Dorothy Johnson at the crisis center (624-8664) or call Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven (777-6925).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Connecticut Center for a New Economy

"A Grassroots Community Agenda"

We, the people of New Haven, will change the course of our neighborhoods!
Wednesday June 17th
Time: 5:30 pm
First and Summerfield United Methodist Church
425 College St. New Haven, CT 06511. (Downtown)
Parking in Temple St. Lot, between Wall St. & Elm St.
(Directly across from Center Church Parish House).

We've started down the road towards a future of prosperity for all!!!

We will speak truth to power

For more info please contact Ricardo Henriquez at 203 785 9494 ext . 264

Friday, May 15, 2009

Workshop on Foreclosures and Evictions

Community Workshop
Presentation by the ROOF Project
"Overcoming Foreclosures"
Saturday, June 13th 2009
10 am to noon
37 Howe Street, New Haven

Information for Tenants and homeowners
-- How can I prevent my home from being foreclosed
-- What are my rights as a tenant

ROOF is a collaboration between the City of New Haven,
Yale Law Clinic and community organizations in response
to the growing foreclosure crisis in New Haven

Presented by the Crisis Information / Action Center
at the New Haven Peoples Center in collaboration with
the New Haven Labor Council

To register call: 203-624-8664

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Celebrate El Salvador Friday

On March 15, 2009, FMLN candidate Mauricio Funes won the elections in El Salvador. Seventeen years after the end of the civil war, this victory brings new hope for the people of El Salvador. ARENA ­ the right wing party of El Salvador responsible for the killing of thousands of people including the murder of Bishop Romero ­ is no longer in power and we need to celebrate.
This Friday May 15 we are getting together at the People's Center, 37 Howe st, New Haven,at 8 pm.
Blair Bertaccini and Daniel Navas will do a short presentation about their experience as a observers of this historical elections.
Food and drinks will be available. Mojitos will be serve for a small donations to support the work of Unidad Latina en Accion.
For more information, please call 203-606-3484 or write: ulaccion@yahoo.com
Event sponsored by Unidad Latina and the People's Center.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Wed. May 13 '09
Place: L.O.B. at the Capitol
(Capitol Ave/Broad Street, Hartford)
11:00 a.m.
TAX the RICH!!

For a ride from New Haven call: 203-624-8664


Wednesday, May 13thSustiNet Day at the Capitol

The healthcare4every1 Campaign is having a day of action at the Capitol to support health care this session! From 2:00 – 6:30pm
New Haven bus leaves 3 PM from the Labor Council, 267 Chapel St

Add your name to the statement to the Legislature:


WE PLEDGE to stand together and reach out with our unions and community organizations to co-workers, friends, family and neighbors.
WE CALL UPON THE CT STATE LEGISLATURE: The top priority in this economic crisis is to meet the needs of the people! Layoffs of public workers and cuts in basic services will make the crisis even worse, and are unacceptable. Stand firm for a truly progressive tax system. Act to eliminate the state spending cap so the people of Connecticut can receive maximum federal funding.
WE COMMIT to keep the grass roots momentum going to close the income gap and secure good jobs with union rights; health care; affordable housing; equal, quality public education, and a clean, safe and peaceful environment for everyone living in our state.
AFSCME CT Council 4
CT AFL-CIO, John W. Olsen President
New Growth Praise Center, Pastor Betty Marks
Vecinos Unidos
New Haven Peoples Center
and 118 individual signers
TO ADD YOUR NAME: e-mail to: peoplescenter@pobox.com

Monday, April 27, 2009

March with the Peoples Center on May Day

On Friday, May 1st on the New Haven Green at the completion of a day
of information tabling and cultural activities, a state-wide unity march for
immigrant rights and the rights of all workers will be held.

This is an invitation to march with the New Haven Peoples Center banner,
a 10-foot long yellow banner headlined "labor and community united in struggle"

All organizations and individuals that hold or attend meetings, events and
cultural activities at the New Haven Peoples Center are invited to bring your
own flags and banners as well.

Please e-mail peoplescenter@pobox.com if you would like to march with the New Haven
Peoples Center on Friday May 1st at 7 pm on the New Haven Green or
call 203-624-8664

....and after the march is over, come by the Peoples Center First Friday Cafe
Free 2 Spit poetry venue hosted by Baub Bidon and J-Sun at 37 Howe Street.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Better Choices for Connecticut Lobby Day – You Can Still Take Action!

The Better Choices for Connecticut Lobby Day was a great event! House Majority Leader Denise Merrill spoke about the importance that revenues play in preserving critical services, such as social services, health care, education, transportation, and public safety in the final budget solution. Today’s participants wore Better Choices for Connecticut stickers and met with their legislators or, if they were not available, wrote messages and left them with the legislators’ aide.

If you did not attend the Better Choices for Connecticut Lobby Day, you can still take action! Contact your legislators now and let them know how important it is for them to stand firm on revenues and a good budget! They need to hear from you!

Call your legislators and ask them to support revenues so that Connecticut can preserve critical services to our residents

Email or call the Governor!

To locate your House member, go to: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/hlist.asp

To locate your Senate member, go to: http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/slist.asp

To contact the Governor: (860) 566-4840 or (800) 406-1527, or Governor.Rell@ct.gov

If you have questions, please call Better Choices for Connecticut co-chairs Maggie Adair, (860) 878-8936 and Bill Myerson, (860) 251-6052.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Immigration Forum Fosters Workers' Unity

As white supremacist anti-immigrant hate groups increase their targeting of New Haven and adjacent East Haven, a dialogue was held this week addressing the need for unity of workers of all racial and national backgrounds.

The historical background presented by Dr. Kenneth Brown, diversity training consultant from Maryland, led to a lively and productive exchange with the audience.

The meeting, organized by the Center for New Community, was held in the historic African American Dixwell neighborhood at Beulah Heights First Pentecostal Church and was welcomed by Bishop Theodore Brooks.

Brown expanded on the history of racism in our nation, built on slavery and on the exploitation of immigrants, and gave examples of how unity against racism has led to social progress. Recalling how the Irish and then the Italians were victims of super exploitation and were pitted against one another and against African Americans when they first came to the United States, he said they soon discovered that they had to get together in order to improve their conditions.

Brown gave the example of the early years of the auto workers union in Detroit when Henry Ford hired African American workers from the South as strike breakers. But when African American and white workers united in the UAW, “Ford lost his juice,” said Brown.

Today, exploited Mexican immigrants are picking apples in Michigan, said Brown, pointing out that while they must pay into Social Security, they can never collect. Referring to US trade policy, he asked the audience to consider why Latin America is in poverty conditions which are driving people to this country to survive.

“Why are we talking about hard working immigrants ‘taking our jobs?’” he asked the audience.

Alan Felder, a member of the service and maintenance union at Yale University, Local 35, and an independent plumber, said immigrants have most of the jobs in construction. When asked if Black workers had those jobs before, the answer was no.

New Haven needs to talk about how to get contractors to not exploit anyone, said Brown, adding that until the entire community gets together to fight exploitation, the contractor will just enjoy himself out on his yacht. The issue, said Brown, is that there should be jobs for everyone in New Haven.

Felder has made a name for himself as an African American who joined with the anti-immigrant Community Watch Dog Project to protest the municipal ID card issued in New Haven to allow everyone who lives in the city, regardless of status, a photo ID for business and public services. While saying he learned a lot at the meeting, he continued to maintain an “enforcement first” approach to undocumented workers.

A number of Felder's co-workers from Local 35, also at the meeting, expressed appreciation for the methodical and common sense approach presented by Brown. Local 35 has been a strong voice for immigrant rights and for workers unity in New Haven.

At the end of the meeting Brown walked to a group of Latino immigrants and asked each one to tell their story. “Wouldn't you want to know such hard working fine people?” he said to everyone in the church.

The dialogue was organized by Brown's son, Ken Brown Jr., who moved to New Haven several months ago to work on building unity—among African Americans, immigrants and all segments of the community—against anti-immigrant hate. He thanked his father profusely and left the meeting with the challenge to continue the process of coming together.

-- Joelle Fishman

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Coalition Urges a Better Choice - Quality Services and Fair Taxation

More than 1,000 union and community activists with Better Choices for Connecticut gathered at the State Capitol on March 25 to urge the Governor and Legislature to stop budget cuts, enact fair taxes and help Connecticut overcome the economic crisis.

Rally emcee, Shawn Lang of the CT AIDS Resource Coalition said “if these cuts go through, more and more Connecticut residents will fall through a safety net already rife with holes.”

Lindsey Matthews, whose son George lives at a group home for people with developmental disabilities, thanked his 1199 union care-givers. “The people who help feed, bathe and clothe him every day do it because I can’t be there. I can’t imagine what life would be like for our family without this critical service and we’re just one family out of thousands.”

The Better Choices plan includes raising income taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents making over $200,000 per year, as well as closing corporate tax loopholes. Governor Jodi Rell has proposed a budget based almost entirely on cuts to services and layoffs of state workers. Nobel Prize economists say that reducing public spending in an economic crisis, when services are needed the most, would send the economy into a further downward spiral. Some estimate that Rell’s budget could cost the state from 30,000 to 50,000 jobs.

Peoples Center signs read: No Cuts - No Layoffs - TAX the RICH

More information at: www.betterchoicesforCT.org.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Coming Together to End Racial Profiling

Community meetings and solidarity actions are being organized in support of Latino residents and immigrant owned businesses in East Haven who have become the victim of racial profiling by police and targets of an extremist anti-immigrant hate group.

A week ago Father James Manship of St. Rose Church in New Haven was arrested while photographing police harassing the owners of My Country Store on Main Street in East Haven, where some members of his predominantly Latino parish live. When the story hit the press, Latino business owners on Main Street were visited by a hate group called North East White Pride, from Haverhill, Massachusetts, which delivered fliers headlined "Immigration or Invasion?"

The immigrant rights group Unidad Latina en Accion immediately began organizing support for the Latino community and reaching out to others for solidarity.

After hearing of the situation, Edie and Joelle Fishman and Dorothy Johnson representing the New Haven Peoples Center paid a visit to four Latino owned businesses to see firsthand what they are facing. Their account follows:

Our first stop was at Guti'z Bakery to show support and solidarity and naturally to taste their delicious breads. We were welcomed and thanked very much for coming. Information about the Peoples Center was left with phone numbers to call. We promised to encourage others to come and support the bakery.

The next visit to Los Amigos Grocery was very emotional. The owner and his wife and little child were in the store. A reporter who also happened to be there did translation. When we said how sorry we were that this incident is taking place it brought him to tears. No one had ever come to his store to show support. He said he is losing business because people are afraid to come in since the police started parking in the front and back of his store. This was the first day that he made a sale in some time. He couldn't believe that people would do this horrible thing to him, he said he just wants to survive.

Dorothy Johnson related the story of what African Americans went through in the segregation days in the South. "People had hatred in their hearts and in their minds. They were not born that way, but as time went on that hatred was drilled into their heads. But it is not right when hatred groups prey on immigrants who want to start a business. this really is going backwards," said Dorothy. "When you think about what happened to African Americans in the 60s down south, how difficult it was for them to survive, what did people do? They formed support groups, community groups, they educated and mobilized people to come together and victory was won. This is a very good opportunity for people who can't understand the immigrant situation to be educated because we should be joining forces to fight these big corporations, not fighting one another. This country has been divided so long, now we have a good opportunity to make the chane that should have happened decades ago."

Across the street we left information for the owners of La Bamba restaurant to contact us since they were not there. Then we went to My Country Store. We were greeted by a friendly young woman. We explained why we were there and she was very thankful. The same performance that the police did at Los Amigos Grocery, posting cars in front and back, they did here too and now their business is also slow. We said we are here for you. Dorothy related her story and said what happened in the 60's must happen now. We must regenerate this solidarity. The owner said the only word to use to describe how the Latino community feels is "terrified....all Latinos are being profiled not just immigrants," she said. "We live in constant fear."

She showed us the fliers that the extremist anti-immigrant group brought to their store, dressed in army fatigues. The propaganda that some of the anti-immigrant groups are putting out is that the immigrants "come for welfare, or to take our jobs and ring with them drugs, crime and disease." The fliers attempt to whip up hysteria by claiming "they send their children to school without immunization and expose your children to this."

There is a need for more education on immigration. Some people do not understand and think the immigrants have come to take their jobs. In many cases they have come for a livelihood because of the difficult economic conditions in their own countries caused by corporate trade agreements.

The Peoples Center encourages our friends and family members to please go down to the Latino owned stores, support them and embrace them. They are really afraid. It is time to spread the word. Go to these stores. Help our friends out. Spread the word now. When the time comes for a community meeting we must pack the hall with supporters and create the conditions so that bigotry cannot prevail.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Underground

Host: Sharmont (Influence) Little

Every Third Sunday
at the New Haven Peoples Center
37 Howe Street, New Haven

Sunday, March 15 from 7 to 10 pm
featuring Tantra from New York
and open mic

$5 cover at the door
Information: 203-606-3232
e-mail: sharmontlittle@yahoo.com

Monday, March 9, 2009

Better Choices Statewide Rally March 25

Mark Your Calendar

Better Choices for Connecticut – Rally at the State Capitol

March 25, 4:30 p.m.

Join with neighbors, friends, community groups, public service providers and consumers to support these Better Choices for our State Budget. Stop the cuts, enact fair taxes, and help Connecticut overcome this economic crisis.

Ø Increase income tax rates for those who can best afford it

Ø Close corporate tax loopholes

Ø Stop cuts in vital services when they are needed the most

Better Choices for Connecticut is a community coalition working to help Connecticut make smarter choices on ways to improve the state’s imbalanced revenue system so that it: Advances opportunity for shared prosperity for all Connecticut residents - Preserves services for children, families and the elderly - Creates and sustains good jobs - Reinvests in the middle class and our communities.

For more information contact Maggie Adair – madair@cahs.org or Bill Meyerson - bmeyerson@seiu1199ne.org

Saturday, March 7, 2009

First Friday Cafe Fri April 3

Feature Poet to be announced
Free 2 Spit hosted by Baub Bidon and J Sun
Friday, April 3 at 7 p.m.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

First Friday Cafe Presents: "Free 2 Spit" Poetry

First Friday Cafe Presents
Free 2 Spit
Hosted by Baub and J-Sun
Music DJ Flip
Friday, March 6, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
Mira & Mind Evolution
at the New Haven Peoples Center
37 Howe Street, New Haven
Donation: $5 (no one is turned away)

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Haven Peoples Center 2008 Annual Report

71 Years of Activism - A Site on the Connecticut African American Freedom Trail
2008 was a busy and exciting year. New Growth Praise Center found a permanent home on Dixwell Avenue in January. Unite-Here Joint Board successfully organized New England Linen and has moved out of their third floor office. The First Friday Café was revived with films about issues being discussed in the elections, and then the Free2Spit poetry venue of Baub Bidon. The second and third floors house 1199 Training and upgrading Fund; Peoples Weekly World; Marsalka Library, and a community meeting room. Regular activities in the first floor common room included music shows, Home Movie Day, cultural programs from Latin America and regular meetings of the Greater New Haven Peace Council (2nd and 4th Tues) and Unidad Latina en Accion (Tues, 4th Sats).

1 Open House
3 English Class
3 African American History planning meeting
4 Music Show
4 Unidad Latina en Accion special meeting
10 English Class
11 Unidad Latina en Accion gather for rally
12 Marxism class
13 Music Show
16 Bible Study
17 MoveOn Media Workshop
18 Benefit concert
20 Peace Council potluck with Buddist Monks
31 African American History planning meeting

4 Potluck supper and music show
6 ULA meet for trip to Danbury
8 Intro to Marxism
9 ULA event
14 Unite-Here banner making
16 Birthday party
16 ULA event
17 Music Show
24 African American History Month Celebration

8 Music show
9 Birthday party
15 Music show
16 Rachel Corey memorial
16 Music show
18 Trade Union Plaza tenants meeting
20 YCL workshop
29 Birthday party

4 Unite-Here
4 Music show
6 Music show
10 Unite-Here meeting
10 1199 membership meeting
12 Unite-Here organizing meeting
13 Music show
14 Unite-Here organizing meeting
15 Unite-Here organizing meeting
18 Unite-Here organizing meeting
19 Memorial service
20 Unite-Here organizing meeting
24 Unite-Here organizing meeting
25 Unite-Here election and victory
26 Music show
27 Music show

3 Birthday party
4 PWW May Day Celebration
9 Peace Council anniversary
9 Unidad Latnia en Accion
16 Music show
25 Music show
30 Music show
31 Jazz show

1 75th birthday party
6 First Friday Café film “Sicko”
11 YCL meeting
14 Unite-Here negotiation session
16 Music show
19 Music show
21 Tag Sale, PWW
22 Music Show
24 YCL
25 Music show
27 Music show
29 Music show

3 First Friday Café film “Finding Our Voices”
10 Music show
11 Music show
13 Music Show
15 YCL meeting
19 Music show
21 Music show
22 Peace Council event
24 Music show
26 Music show
29 YCL meeting
31 Music show

1 First Friday Café “Made in LA”
2 Music show
3 Music show
8 Music show
27 Unidad Latina en Accion
29 Music show

5 First Friday Café “At the River I Stand”
and Rabble Rousers
6 Music show
7 Music show
9 Peace Council
13 Unidad Latina en Accion
15 YCL meeting
17 Music show
20 Knock for Peace
20 Music show
24 Equadorian event
26 Music show
28 Music show
29 Music show

1 Music show
3 First Friday Café “The Great Debaters”
10 Music show
11 Music show
13 YCL meeting
17 Music show
18 Home Video Day
25 Music show
27 YCL meeting

1 Music show
3 YCL meeting
6 Music Show
7 First Friday Café Free2Spit
14 Music show
19 Birthday party
21 Music show
22 Colombian event
23 Music show
29 Painting Common Room
30 Painting Common Room

1 Painting first floor
1 YCL meeting
5 First Friday Café Free2Spit
7 89th Anniversary, CPUSA event
8 Music show
13 Retreat
20 Bolovian event

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Milada and John Marsalka Research Library

The Milada and John Marsalka Research Library is a non-circulating library of books and national and international pamphlets dating back to 1900. The topics include literature, the labor movement, Marxism, civil rights and history. The volumes, pamphlets and some periodicals and archives have been donated from the personal libraries of those who participated in the Peoples Center over the decades. Volunteer assistance is needed for cataloging. For appointment, call 203-624-8664.

Catalog is full page and searchable here.

History of the New Haven Peoples Center

Built in 1851, 37 Howe Street was purchased IN 1937 by a group of mainly Jewish immigrant workers who fervently believed that their new homeland should be a model of peace and social and economic justice. The tradesmen and artisans who had grown up speaking Polish, Yiddish, Russian, Ukranian and Polish, envisioned for their families a center of social and cultural life and reached out into the community in friendship and solidarity.
  • 1930s: housed the Unity Players, the first Black/white integrated drama group in New Haven; and the New Haven Redwings, the first Black/white basketball team in New Haven. Provided space during the Great Depression for the unemployed to organize for jobs; housed the Connecticut CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) and was the initial meeting place for many of today's local unions. First celebration of International Women's Day in New Haven.
  • 1940s: organized rallies against lynching and against segregation; initiated New Haven’s first evening college “to fulfill the need of workers to advance their education” (it became the evening division of the New Haven State Teachers College, now Southern Connecticut State University
  • 1950s and 1960s: participated in civil rights and peace movements; struggled against the impact of McCarthyism on labor and other progressive organizations and activists. Organized a group to protect Paul Robeson at famous Peekskill, New York concert. Meeting place for Jewish and Ukrainian progressives.
  • 1970s-1980s: provided meeting space to working men and women organizing for better wages, for health care, for weekends off, for paid vacations: machinists at Winchester; workers at Yale and Yale-New Haven Hospital; health care providers at the Jewish Home; New Haven teachers; and Harco, and Circuitwise workers. Held weekly potluck suppers which served as a place for socializing and exchange by peace and justice, civil rights and women activists. Local coordination for national marches on Washington DC. Hosted dances and other youth activities. Opened a Crisis Information / Action Center to provide assistance and organize against utility rate hikes and other economic emergencies.

  • 1990s: housed the first in the country homeless run day time drop-in center. Solidarity work with unions on strike and organizing. Participated in labor-community coalitions to protect healthcare and pensions, and stop plant closings. Meeting place for peace organizations. Rehab of the building to upgrade. Home to 1199 Training and Upgrading Fund nursing home students. Research library developed. Designated as a site on the Connecticut African American Freedom Trail by the Connecticut Historical Commission.
  • 2000s: original meeting place of Unidad Latina en Accion. Meeting place of New Haven Peace Council. Became a chapter of Alliance for Retired Americans. Participant in Community Organized for Responsible Development and Connecticut Center for a New Economy. Home to New Growth Praise Center until 2009 when they found a permanent location. Home to Knowing God Ministries. Home to 1199 Training and Upgrading Fund. Home to Unite Here Joint Board during New England Linen organizing drive. First Friday Cafe with music, film and in 2009 the Free 2 Spit poetry venue. Location for poetry, music shows, forums and other cultural and educational activities.
  • 2010s: office for New Haven Workers' Center and ULA. The New Elm Cit Dream youth group was founded, holding weekly meetings, events, marches and activities training youth to organize.  SEIU 32 BJ opened an office here.  In 2012 a large celebration was organized to mark the 75th birthday of the Peoples Center, addressed by elected officials, labor and community leaders who pledged to help win support for the large project of repointing the bricks and other necessary updates.  In 2014 the Black and Hispanic Caucus of the New Haven Board of Alders presented the New Haven Peoples Center with a community service Heritage Award at their annual gala in recognition of the contributions of this all-volunteer institution which has continued to be a welcoming space for labor, community, youth, peace, immigrant and many other groups since it was founded.