Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tax Abatement Committee Hearing

The turnout for the Peoples Center at the Tax Abatement Committee hearing was awsome, and the testimonies were so moving and inspiring. Pushes us forward to do even better. At the end the committee voted unanimously to recommend to the full Board of Aldermen that our tax bill be forgiven (erased). Will keep you up to date for the next steps of this journey. Thanks and congrats to all.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Celebrate the 75th Birthday of Social Security

Presentation by CT Alliance for Retired Americans

-- What are the threats to Social Security's future?
-- How can we save, improve and expand Social Security?

Special Guest Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro

Birthday cake and ice cream

Date: Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Time: 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Place: New Haven Peoples Center
37 Howe Street, New Haven, CT
(203) 624-8664
e-mail: peoplescenter@pobox.com

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Join the Solidarity Caravan!

Support District 1199 Nursing Home workers, on strike since April 15.

Now in the fourth month of their strike, almost 400 nursing, dietary and housekeeping workers are standing strong against Spectrum Healthcare, a local company that is trying to bust their union. The workers demand a fair contract (like 40 other homes have agreed to), safe workplaces and quality care for residents. You can help them win their fight. Join the Caravan on July 24 and sign up for other activities!

Saturday, July 24 from 9 am to 1 pm
Leave from the Peoples Center, 37 Howe Street

Go to Ansonia (Hilltop Health Center and
Derby (Birmingham Care Center)

How to help:
Ride with us! Sign up at mailbox@seiu1199.org
Donate material aid: Bring non-perishable food items
Contribute: to 1199 Strike and Defense Fund
77 Huyshope Ave, Hartford 06106

Public Hearing - Save Our Peoples Center - No Taxes

The Tax Assessor of the City of New Haven has changed previous policy and is charging property taxes to the Peoples Center. The Peoples Center is an all-volunteer, non-profit building whose mission is to provide social, cultural and educational opportunities to the community. It is owned by Progressive Education and Research Associates, Inc. The Assessor says taxes are being charged because other groups are located in the building. Housing grassroots and community groups is what the Peoples Center is for. This ruling jeopardizes the Peoples Center's future. The Peoples Center is a unique place that makes a big contribution to our city. Everyone should be concerned.

Come and show support at the Board of Aldermen hearing
Monday, July 26 at City Hall
Come early at 6:00 pm and bring friends
"No taxes on the Peoples Center"

Have you enjoyed activities at the Peoples Center?
-- Research Library
-- First Friday Cafe / Free 2 Spit poetry
-- Immigrant workers' center
-- Crisis Information / Action Center
-- Union solidarity
-- Meetings of peace, youth, tenants and many others
-- Family and social gatherings
-- Film showings and concerts
-- Celebrations of African American History Month
-- Census information
-- Student activities
-- Art and historical exhibits

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

A site on the CT African American Freedom Trail

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ruth Emerson, Civil Rights Leader

Judges and lawyers, professors and educators, family and friends all spoke fondly of Ruth Calvin Emerson at the celebration of her life held at the New Haven Peoples Center on June 26. Ruth's enthusiastic and principled ways came through in many stories and remembrances from her youth to her last days at Hamden Health Care and Hospice where she passed away on April 25, 2010.

Together with husband Thomas Emerson, a Yale Law School professor and Constitutional scholar, Ruth devoted her life to the defense of civil liberties and support of the movement for civil rights and workers' rights. She served on the board of the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation (now Defending Dissent) and many civil rights organizations.

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut on March 8, 1921 Ruth was one of five Girl Scouts to represent the United States in an international meeting in Switzerland in 1938. She graduated from Oberlin College, and served in the Women's Army Corps, Signal Corps from 1944-1946, stationed in Fort Myer, Virginia and Fort Dix, New Jersey. She then attended Yale Law School, one of only six women in her class of 160 to graduate in 1950.

Ruth began work as an attorney at the National Labor Relations Board in 1950. During the McCarthy period purges of progressives, she resisted pressure to resign pending completion of a Loyalty Board investigation. The Loyalty Board exonerated her in 1953 and Ruth resigned shortly thereafter.

Ruth returned to Connecticut where she practiced law briefly and then became a teacher. She was an early practitioner of Words in Color, an innovative method of teaching reading developed by Dr. Caleb Gattegno. She taught in New York City, at the High School in the Community in New Haven and as a tutor. Ruth believed in subordinating teaching to learning and the active involvement and awareness of the student. She was a strong advocate for children and for working families.

Al Marder, president of the Peoples Center, recalled Ruth's famous whistle on many picket lines and emphasized the significance of Ruth's memorial being held at the center. Acknowledging those present from the Law School, he said, "Yale would surely have opened its doors, but it is most appropriate that Ruth, who was committed to the working class, should be celebrated here in a working class center."

Ruth was married to Thomas Emerson for 31 years until his death in 1991. He was a preeminent First Amendment scholar who combined scholarship with Supreme Court litigation in defense of civil rights, and participated in the defense of Communists during the 1950's. Marder spoke of Tom Emerson's involvement in the first court ruling declaring the Smith Act unconstitutional. "With his involvement, we in Connecticut were the first in the country to be exonerated," he said to applause, recalling the arrests of hundreds of working class and civil rights activists for their leadership in the Communist Party in the 1950s.

Speaking in appreciation of Ruth, a professor emeritus said that he made sure that Tom Emerson's portrait was hung in the most important classroom at the Yale Law School to give a message to the students.

Ruth was well known for her brief and powerful letters to the editor of the New Haven Register and was an ardent supporter of the People's World. In 2006 she co-founded, with Sherman Malone and others, the Connecticut non-profit, Haiti Marycare to support two pre-schools and a rural health care clinic in Haiti.

-- Joelle Fishman