Show Up At Court to Support Two New Haveners Charged with Interfering with Police at a White Supremacy Event on the Green

Show up, as a show of solidarity, for Barbara and DraMese Fair’s court date tomorrow, 10-11 am, New Haven Superior Court, 121 Elm St (at Church St), New Haven, CT.  They were arrested during the July 8 rally against white supremacists on the New Haven Green, for disorderly conduct and for allegedly interfering with police. See the New Haven Register article on what occurred. Also check out the Facebook page for the event, which gives specific instructions for those attending.

Barbara Fair is a prominent community activist and grassroots organizing leader. DraMese is her nephew.

 

Investing in Local Affordable Housing and Energy Efficiency Upgrades

We tend to think that there are three ways we can make a difference in our communities:  volunteer, engage in activism, and make charitable contributions. There is a fourth way:  social impact investment. Community organizations through which one makes investments in underserved markets are known as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). And the principal CDFI in Connecticut, a recent coming together of CDFIs in New Haven, Bridgeport, and Hartford, is called Capital for Change.

Capital for Change lends money to Connecticut businesses for affordable housing and for the introduction of energy efficiency upgrades to multi-family dwellings.  With horrific incidents occurring all around the world, such as in London and Honolulu, it is evident that many older buildings that house lower-income families not only lack energy efficiency features, but do not even meet current safety codes. Those who invest through Capital for Change help address these problems.

Social impact investments do good while providing an income stream to the investor. An investor with Captial for Change can, however, choose to receive no interest or a rate lower than the maximum for the length of the investment. Choosing a lower rate is effectively a contribution to the organization.

Capital for Change is seeking investments of as little as $1,000 from individuals and from foundations, faith-based organizations, and other entities. It pays interest annually for these investments, with longer-term investments receiving more favorable interest rates. They are as follows:

1 to 2 year investments: 0 to 2.5%

3 to 7 year investments: 0 to 3.0%

7 to 10 year investments: 0 to 3.5%

10 plus years: 0 to 4%

Two Weekend Events Focusing on Compassion and Justice

This weekend, in Hamden and New Haven respectively, there will be two events focusing on compassion and justice.

On Saturday, July 22 is the Third Annual Compassionfest from 10-5 at Whitneyville Commons, 1253 Whitney Avenue in Hamden. The mission of this festival is “to unite like-minded people that believe in the values of being just, kindness, equality and compassion. We’ll gather for delicious vegan food and cruelty-free product providers, local artisans, inspiring performers, musical acts & healing workshops for all ages.” Admission is free. The rain date is Saturday, July 29.

On Sunday, July 23, from 12 to 4:30, is the MLK Sit-In in the grassy area on MLK Boulevard, across from the Sherman/Tyler Parking lot, near Ella T. Grasso Blvd. in New Haven. This is part of a nationwide event observed on streets named after Martin Luther King, Jr. to honor him and continue the fight against local, national, and international violence, hatred, and oppression against vulnerable communities.

There will be a large canvas where attendees can write and/or draw their vision of racial and social justice. Participants will be given the opportunity to make posters and peacefully display them in the area. There will also be racial and social justice organizations tabling, face-painting and artistic activities for children.

The schedule is:
• 12-2pm: Poster-making, art activities, tabling
• 2-4pm: Speakers, performers
• 4pm: Community Reading of excerpt from “I Have a Dream” speech
• 4:15pm: Wrap-up and Call for Action

Food Summit in Hartford on July 22

The Connecticut Food System Alliance (CFSA) is holding a Food Summit and Network Launch at 224 EcoSpace, 224 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm (registration begins at 9:30). This free event features speakers on a variety of food-related topics, including food access, farm viability, school curriculums, and food-related community organizing. The CFSA calls itself “a network of individuals, organizations, and institutions working towards a more just and equitable food system.”

Space is limited, so if you’re interested, register here. Questions may be directed to Meg at 860-296-9325 or CFSACoordinator@HartfordFood.org.

Discussion about “The Problem with Bail” This Thursday in New Haven

Too Many People in Prison

Bail is a serious problem. Those who cannot make bail end up spending time in prison, whether guilty or not. Some even plead guilty to get out of prison, keep their jobs, and be with their families. To help these individuals, Community Bonds has two programs:  the CT Bail Fund and the Immigrant Bail Fund.””

This Thursday, July 13, from 7:00-8:30 pm, Action Together CT’s Minority Rights Subgroup is going to discuss “The Problem with Bail.” The local is mActivity, 285 Nicoll St, New Haven.

CT League of Conservation Voters Has Different Sorts of Volunteer Needs

The CT League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) is the sole environmental organization in CT that has a state PAC, endorses candidates, and gets involved in state elections, as well as lobbying at the state and local levels. It has three entities:  a 501(c)(3) environmental education fund, a 501(c)(4) political organization, and a PAC.

One of its political roles is to send Action Alerts to those who sign up. These alerts ask state citizens to contact their state reps and senators about legislative issues such as the one that was sent out yesterday to save the Council on Environmental Quality and the Community Investment Act from being eliminated in the state budget. Those who know little or nothing about this council and this act can read the LCV’s briefing papers about them (don’t worry; they’re brief). There are also alerts about protests and other events, about submitting testimony (you can read CTLCV’s testimony, and write your own; any state citizen can do this via e-mail). Both calls and e-mails, and testimony, mean a lot to our reps, who will see that their constituents care and are knowledgeable about environmental issues, even those that don’t receive much media exposure.

CTLCV also holds Citizen Lobby days in Hartford, a great learning experience for how the state legislature works and how environmental issues fare at the state level.

Another way people can help is with the Education Fund’s programs. The most exciting one is called CHISPA (“spark” in Spanish). It involves educating young people of color about environmental issues. Volunteers are needed to help with CHISPA field trips, to give talks and line up speakers, to help the students survey people, etc.

The Fund also has a new program to get clean buses in our cities. Volunteers are needed to educate and build up demand for clean buses in city neighborhoods, and to make calls to school board members to see who might be receptive to requiring clean buses the next time school bus contracts are bid out.

If you are interested in volunteering in either of these programs, contact Abi Rodriguez at abirod.ctlcv@gmail.com.

New Haven’s Project Youth Court Volunteer Opportunities

Project Youth Court is an exciting new community-based, restorative justice program in New Haven, founded by college students and with high school volunteers serving as attorneys, clerks, and jurors. The program deals with first- and second-time misdemeanor offenses by young people.

In this program, youth offenders learn civic responsibility. They directly repair the harm that they caused to their victim(s), while becoming more connected to the community, more remorseful, and more empathetic. They are also held directly accountable to their victim instead of to an abstract concept like “the State.” After their case is over, they also have the opportunity to serve on juries in future Youth Court hearings, allowing them to see the justice system from another perspective.

By removing criminal records, youth courts also offer youth offenders a second chance to realize their potential. This program removes a stigma that may otherwise limit future opportunities and drive them toward further, more serious crimes.

The Youth Court’s partners include New Haven Family Alliance, Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Educational Opportunities Juvenile Justice Law Clinic at the Yale Law School, Slifka Center at Yale, St. Thomas More, and Yale Club of the Suncoast.

Adults do play a role in the program, and adult volunteers, lawyers as well as others, are needed. In fact, it’s a busy summer. The Youth Court’s needs include:

  • Lawyers from the community to preside on cases
  • Grant writing
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing
  • Tuesday night supervision at a courthouse in New Haven
  • Recruiting new youth volunteers at local high schools
  • Training youth volunteers on restorative justice and the law

If you’d like to volunteer or learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact the executive director, Jane Michaud, at jmichaud@projectyouthcourt.org.