Friday, February 2, 2018

VICTORY for the Severance Food Worker

  CT People’s World – Tom Connolly
The Severance Foods workers, located in Hartford CT, won a union vote yesterday.  They are now members of Local 371, Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
The day before the vote a boisterous group of union supporters and their allies gathered in in front of Severance Foods to support the workers. 
Tom Wilkison, President of Local 371, Food and Commercial Workers International Union said the 60 workers in the shop fought for the union because the company pays poverty wages; there are very dangerous working conditions and zero respect from management.  He noted that in spite of the bosses efforts at using all the union busting tactics that including hiring anti union consultants, trying to intimidate works with 1 on 1 meetings, threating to close the plant if there is a yes vote for the union and daily videos the workers won!
Congratulations to the workers of Severance Foods and welcome to the labor movement!

2017: Year of Resistance

Take inspiration and prepare for what's next:
Connecticut CPUSA 2017 Year of Resistance

Thursday, February 1, 2018

African American History Month 2018 Arts and Writing Competition for Students Grades 8 to 12

Sponsored annually by the Connecticut People's World Committee to remember the
lives and work of Dalzenia Henry and Virginia Henry who devoted themselves to the
young people of New Haven and to making a better future.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated 50 years ago on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee while supporting sanitation workers on strike for fair wages, safe working conditions, dignity and respect.

Speaking at the Mason Temple the night before, he said, "Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation."

He had come to the conclusion that racism, poverty and war were triple evils that were destroying our society. He called for unity and action to create a revolution of values.

Express in artwork, poetry, essay or song:

What lessons can we learn from Dr. King's courageous life? What kind of collective action is needed in 2018 to carry his legacy forward?

Requirements + Art work – Two dimentional (Drawings, paintings, collage, prints, photographs, etc.) Paper size not larger than 18” x 24”
+ Essay, poem, rap or song – Not longer than 2 pages

Deadline Entries must be received by 5 pm on Thursday, February 15, 2018
Name, address, phone, e-mail, age, school, teacher's name (where applicable) must be included

Submission Electronic:
Mail: CT People's World, 37 Howe Street, New Haven. CT 06511

Prizes Gift certificates ($100 first place, $50 second place, $25 third place) and books

Presentation Prizes and recognition for all entries will be presented on Sunday, February 25,
2018 at 4:00 pm during the 44th Annual African American History Month Celebration
sponsored by the Connecticut People's World Committee.

Information e-mail to:

Monday, January 22, 2018

2017 CT Peoples World Amistad Awards Highlights

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


People's World Amistad Awards 2017
December 9, 2017
First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, New Haven Connecticut

Photos and video posted on Facebook at "People's World Amistad Awards 2017"

Below are the remarks by the Awardees:
Camila and Carolina Bortollets
Rep. Robyn Porter
Peggy Buchanan

Camila and Carolina Bortolleto, Co-founders, CT Students For A Dream

Thank you so much to the organizing committee for recognizing my sister and me with this award. You have been a great supporter of CT Students for a Dream and for immigrant rights in Connecticut, and so we are particularly honored to get this award.

This year's theme of RESISTING Together So We Can Move FORWARD is particularly fitting for the time our immigrant community finds ourselves in. The immigrant community is under attack. We have always been under attack, but especially so under this administration whose policies are overtly racist and xenophobic, With the ending of DACA, the increasing deportations of our community, with TPS being on the chopping block and the Muslim ban, it seems like every day there is a new attack on the immigrant community

As you all may know, this issue is something that affects me and my family personally. I’m undocumented. I came here when I was 9 years old from Brazil with my family, we came like many families, undocumented. I always knew we were undocumented, fear of police and the constant threat of deportation was common conversation. But I didn’t understand what my status would mean for my future until I was in high school starting to think about my future, applying for college. That’s when I realized the barriers that stood in my way because of my immigration status.

Despite the barriers, I worked hard to achieve my dreams. I was luckier than most, I was able to attend and graduate from college. I went to WCSU in Danbury and graduated in 2010. But I recognize that most students in my situation are not that lucky . I acknowledge the privilege I had that allowed me to be able to finish my education and get a college degree. I had parents and a community who supported me.

College graduation felt like I had hit brick wall. A college degree meant nothing, it would not erase my undocumented status. I could still be deported any time to a country I barely knew, I couldn’t work and use my degree.

As I walked across that graduation stage, I was still undocumented, I didn’t know what my future would hold, but I knew that I wasn't going to give up. I knew that I was going to fight for my right to be here.

It was then that I found my way to the immigrant rights movement. I was tired of sitting by and doing nothing, of letting others speak for me and fight for me. I wanted to fight for myself. So In 2010 my sister and I got together with other undocumented youth who also wanted to fight for change, fight for justice for our communities and families. We came together around a coffee shop table, and decided to start fighting, back then, for the DREAM Act, and we started CT Students for a Dream.

CT Students for a Dream, we are a statewide network of youth that fights for the rights of immigrant youth and our families. Over the last seven years, we have grown and built across the state. Our goals are to educate, advocate, and empower.

This past year has been a difficult time for our immigrant community as we have been under attack. The rhetoric and policies of the current administration have left many in the immigrant community fearful for their futures and safety. Not just immigrants, but people of color have been under attack by the racist administration that openly embraces white supremacist ideals and people.

Three months ago, Trump lived up to his campaign promise and ended the DACA program, putting 800,000 mostly young people of color in danger of deportation and in danger of losing their work permits and their livelihoods.

I myself qualify for DACA and was able to get that in 2013. When the immigrant movement won the victory of DACA in 2012, my life changed. I was already in my mid-20s and had lived most of my 20’s undocumented, But with DACA I was able to get a work permit, a driver's license, DACA allowed me to work, more importantly, it allowed me to plan and dream for my future once again and in many ways begin my life. Now all that is in danger once again

The time for political games is over - the very real lives of 800,000 DACA recipients, including myself, and of our families, friends, and loved ones are at stake. That’s why we at CT Students for a Dream are fighting for a clean Dream Act.

A clean Dream Act means a pathway to permanent protection for immigrant youth that does not hurt or criminalize our immigrant communities in any way. This means no increasing ICE, not border patrol, no big beautiful wall, not more deportations in exchange for the Dream Act. Let’s be honest, congress doesn’t actually want the Dream Act, they see this as their change to add and pass more anti-immigrant policies that hurt and criminalize our community.

We at CT Students for a Dream will not stand for enforcement measures that criminalize our families and communities. I will not trade my safety for the safety of my parents and my community. That is non-negotiable. We demand a clean Dream Act and we will fight for the dignity of all 11 million undocumented people in this country. We must do away with the notion that protecting some immigrants requires inflicting more pain and punishment on others. That notion is wrong and we will oppose it.

TPS, another program that has helped some of our immigrant community live and work in the US has also been under attack. The administration is systematically ending TPS status for countries, putting hundreds of thousands of people who have been in the US for decades in danger. They have already ended TPS for Haiti, Sudan, and Nicaragua, and more countries are on the chopping block in the next few months.

We have also seen increasing deportations and arrests in our community over these past year. Every day it seems there is another family, another immigrant arrested and detained and being in danger of deportation.

Despite all of these attacks, we are fighting back. We have seen over the past year the immigrant community, along with our allies, organize together and fight to protect individuals and families facing deportation.

A few months ago right here in New Haven Nury Chavarria from Norwalk was the first immigrant in Connecticut to courageously challenge this unjust system and take sanctuary in a church to protect herself and her family. Due to the efforts and work of her and our powerful immigrant community, she won for now, she was able to leave sanctuary and be reunited with her family.

Right here at First and Summerfeld, Marco Reyes form Meriden also took the courageous decision to seek sanctuary. He took sanctuary here for over 3 months while fighting his deportation. Again thanks to the hard work of Marco and the many organizers, the immigrant community, and allies, of organizations like ULA, CIRA and more, he was finally able to leave and be reunited with his family the day before Thanksgiving.

Trump might have thought that by attacking DACA, by attacking our families and communities, that we would be quiet, be afraid and shrink back. But no, the opposite is happening, we are fighting back, we are organizing, and we are resisting, we are here to say loud and clear that this is our home and we are here to stay. We will not be pushed back into the shadows.

Regardless of what happens these next two weeks, one thing I have learned this past few years, is that our successes and our worth as a community have never been based on legislation, the potential of our community will continue to reside within each of us, the youth, the workers, the parents, and allies, who put themselves on the line every day fighting for justice and to provide for their families and communities.

This award is really to honor our powerful immigrant community, our immigrant youth, their families, and all the ways that we are fighting back and resisting this year.

More than anything I have been proud to work with and fight alongside amazing immigrant youth and leaders in Connecticut as part of CT Students for a Dream, and others like Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA), Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA), and many courageous families who have decided to fight against deportation orders.

You all are proud testaments to the strength and resilience of our ancestors, and inspiration for future generations who will follow in your footsteps. While many just talk about “equity”, “fairness” and “justice”, you all live these values everyday as you fight for our rights even when there are no cameras or reporters present. We have questioned people in positions of power and authority, even within our schools and organizations, in order to push for justice.

We will continue to fight for the rights of our families and communities.

Now, more than ever, it is crucial for Connecticut to uphold the values of equality for all its residents.

Our immigrant community has been fighting back fiercely against the attacks on our immigrants, we need our legislators and institutions to follow the leadership of our immigrant community.

These next two weeks will be critical for immigrant youth. Already every week 122 immigrant youth are losing their DACA protections. We can no longer wait. We have just two weeks to pass a Dream Act, the best change is for it to be attached to a year end spending bill.

Any vote on the year end spending bill that does not include the Dream Act is a vote to deport hundreds of immigrant youth.

This is clear - we need Senators Murphy and Blumenthal to come out publicly and say they will not vote for a year end spending bill without the Dream Act. Sign the petition - come see us after

State Representative Robyn Porter, 94th District

Hello everyone, and thank you so much.

First of all, I want to give thanks to God, I tell you, because it is truly because of him I stand before you here today. That has always been my story, and I'm sticking to it. Many are called but few are chosen. I was chosen, and I am humbled by that, and when I say that, I walk in the spirit of humility.

I don't even know where to begin with this one over here to my right, Senator Gary Winfield. My God. That ain't supposed to make me cry. I look up to him in a way that I can't even describe. I call him my L.B.B., which stands for Little Big Brother, because he's actually younger, but he's been a big brother in many, many ways, showing me the route and really supporting me at a time when I didn't believe in myself. But others believed in me, and that has truly been the wind beneath my wings.

I want to give credit to my family who is here. My mother, Marilyn Porter. Please stand. My daughter, Amina Marshall, please stand. My sister, my Irish twin I call her, Tracey Porter, hailing all the way from Brooklyn, New York in this bad weather. I love you so much. Thank you.

And I want to thank the Committee for actually choosing me. I am so honored. So very honored. I never expected this. Pretty much like the twins, I don't quite feel like I deserve it, but I accept it in humility. I really do. There's been so much work to be done, and we started out 2017 real rough. We've had a lot to deal with over this last year, and not just on a national level but also on a local and a state level. We've done a lot to try to get things done. It's been very hard, and I think because of the spirit of hate and fear that is spewing throughout not just the State but nationally, it's a heavy lift.

So the one thing that I really want to say today while I have everyone's ear, is that we represent many good causes. When I think about these twins, Camila and Carolina, God bless them, I remember when they would come to the Capitol and I'd be, like, "Who are these girls?" And, I mean, they would be up there advocating and educating us on the issues and what it was they needed us to do and how they needed us to stand with them in order to move them forward.

And I'm just glad to say, "Teamwork makes the dream work," and we've been able to do so much together, and I look forward to doing a lot more with you all, and to be in the light for someone like Peggy. My goodness. When I saw that, I said, "I know I'm special." AFL-CIO and all the great things that the labor movement is doing, and there's certainly an attack against the labor movement. We are up against the alt-right, white nationalists, white supremacists, whatever you want to call them. I sum it up with one word: Hate. And we have to combat that.

So what I would like to see is us actually come together and not be sidelined on our issues and the things that drive us, the passion that drives us for people. We've got to bring all these issues under one umbrella, because we are up against some big money. And, yes, money is power in politics. But what I tell people is, "we have people power," and we have more people than they have money. Okay? We have more people than they have money. They're the 1 percent and we're the 99 percent.

So what we have to do is come together and support each other in ways that we've never done before and not allow ourselves to be distracted by what's going on. Because it's all a distraction. There's no need to be shocked about the tone of what's happening and what's being spewed down. This stuff has been going on for 400 or 500 years. This country was built on this kind of hate. But what we have to do is stick together and say "Enough is enough." And we're going to fight together to get this done.

And I have to be really frank and open when I speak now because not only do I speak as someone that fights for all the issues that Senator Winfield brought up, but I stand before you as a Black woman in America, and that alone is a battle every single day when I get up and leave my house. There are things that I deal with that many other folks don't deal with that don't look like me. So I need to know that as I support the issues that are important to us all, you all support the issues that are important to me, and a lot of that is around criminal justice reform, police brutality, and the things that are going on.

We were able to do some good things this year despite the push-back and the pull. We got some good things done, but there's a lot of things we didn't get done that we should have gotten done. And I'm going to put my labor hat on here now because I'm talking about the Fight for 15, the minimum wage, family medical leave. I mean, the things that we should have been able to get done in this state because we have over 70 percent of this state supporting this stuff. But we weren't able to get it done because we didn't quite come together the way we needed to.

So my plea to all of you here, because I know you're here, you're with me and we stand together on the same issues, but we've really got to get our stuff together. And when I say that, I mean we've got to put all the B.S. aside, all the little things that separate us, and come together in unity and in love. It is about community. It's about the village, and I talk about that all the time. It's about the village and getting back to the basics and back to the things that make us strong as a people, one people, under one nation, under one God. It's not about the color of your skin but, unfortunately, we know that's a half truth because we do suffer because of the color of our skin.

So my plea today is we get these things done on a whole; that we come together collectively and that we work together on all issues, and that when I go out and I'm marching for criminal justice reform and for police accountability, that I see all of you standing with me because we just need to feel reciprocation going forward. We really do.

And I'll tell you the other thing that I believe. I believe that it's time for women to lead. Nothing against the men. We've got some great men in our presence doing great work at the Capitol, but I do believe that somewhere along the line something gets in the way when it comes to men and leadership. Ego, pride and all those other things that go together. Women have a knack of making things work, multitasking, not being distracted and understanding at the end of the day, we need to just get it done.

So let's make it happen. Please support us going forward because that's really the drive for 2018. We need to see more, not just women, but more progressive women and more women of color. We need to see women representing the communities that they live in, and that representation is very important because, as a woman at the table, I get to bring issues that men don't talk about. And not that they're not important to men. They're not just on the front burner for men.

So that matters, that we have women at the table taking a stake and making a claim for the things that are important, not just to women but to families, because when you talk about women, you talk about
families. We're getting to a point where women are actually the breadwinners now. There's the whole pay-equity issue. That's another bill that I wasn't able to get through.

And I mention these bills to you because going forward in 2018, we're going to be calling on all of you. We're going to need you at the Capitol. We're going to need you at the public hearings. We're going to need you for testimony. We're going to need you talking to legislators across the state, not just
the ones that represent you.

We've got a lot of work to do, but I say the rubber meets the road on the ground. It's a grassroots movement. We have to get back to the basics. We have to do the things that we know work. And that's what works. What works is people coming together and moving forward on one accord.

There's so much more I could say, but I tell you, I'm just so very humbled. I never thought in a million years that this would be my calling. And I'm so humbled. That is my prayer every day. God, keep me humble. Keep me in your will. Keep me connected to you so I can hear what it is you want me to do for the people because my passion is real as my commitment. I'm dedicated for life because this is a life movement, people, and if you ain't in it for the rest of your life, you can leave now because this work will continue to be done when you're long gone. So we need you to be committed for life. Right?

Nothing is going to happen overnight. It hasn't happened in decades. So let's not act like it's going to happen next year. It's going to take time, but through perseverance and commitment and dedication, I believe together not only do we get it done, together we win.

All the folks that believe we're going to win -- let me see some hands. For all the folks that know that despite the way it looks right now -- and I'm here to tell you it's going to probably get worse -- but with our hands to the plow, things will get better. So don't give up hope. You've got to keep hope alive, because hope is what fuels us, and knowing that what we're doing here today is not for naught. The fights that we fight, we may lose the battles, but the war we're going to win in the end. I truly believe that. And that's why I do what I do. And I will continue to fight the good fight until there's no more fight left in me.

So thank you, because you all truly give me the coverage to go on, give me the inspiration to go on. That's a reciprocal thing that happens. I give it and I receive it. And that's what keeps me going.

I traveled all the way from South Carolina to be here, this has been one heck of a week for me, but it was so important for me to be here today in person to accept this award because it means that much to me. It's not just the award, but it's what the award stands for. It's the people. Each and every one of you means something to me, and I truly mean that. The love is real, and I hope that going forward you will be able to continue to see as I exhibit that through what I do, not only at the State Capitol as a legislator but just as an everyday person, a woman, a mother, a sister, an auntie, a friend.

That's who I want to be, and I want to carry that over to what I do politically because I don't like being called a politician. I believe that I am a public servant. I have a servant's heart, and this is what I was born to do evidently.

They say, "Tell God your plans and make him laugh." Well, he told me his. I'm still laughing because I did not believe when I went in my prayer closet and said, "I'm going to pray on this," that he was going to tell me "Yes." I thought, "Oh, that's going to be easy. I'm going to pray on it. He's going to tell me no, and she can get off my back." It didn't happen like that.

So I am in it for the long haul, and I thank you all for being here, especially with this inclement weather for coming out to support us. It means a tremendous amount to me. Thank you so much. God bless you all.

Peggy Buchanan, Campaign Manager CT AFL-CIO

It is an honor to receive this award. Thank you, all of you.

I want to say how much I admire the other honorees Camila and Carolina Bortoletto, and Representative Robyn Porter for their courage and amazing leadership.

I would like to congratulate ULA for 15 years fighting for human rights and say to Local 33, you are just an incredible inspiration.

And I stand in solidarity with Nelson Pinos and Marco Reyes, their families and the others and join the chorus saying” Not one more!”

Thank you to my husband, whom I love dearly. I’d like to acknowledge my union family at the Connecticut AFL-CIO, , the Greater Hartford Labor Coalition and the Connecticut Center for a New Economy.

And, importantly, thank you, Joelle, for your leadership, for weaving organizations together, for helping us to see our common goals.I want to pay tribute to the 98th anniversary of the Connecticut CPUSA and the generations who have worked to put people and planet before corporate greed.

In thinking about how we can move forward together, I have been looking over my shoulder at the generations who came before us for inspiration.

I recently spent time combing through archives of documents and decades of old pictures to honor the Connecticut AFL-CIO’s 60th anniversary.

Looking through that full sweep of our history, it’s true what we say that “progress comes from struggle.” Any benefit or right we have now is because someone negotiated, protested, got arrested, campaigned, picketed, starved or even died for it.

Our long history gives us a distinct vantage point. In decade after decade, we won significant victories - even when the odds were stacked against us. When we fight together, we win together. This is our strength and we should never doubt it.

This is not the time to be cautious. At the recent national AFL-CIO convention, Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler implored us to be bold. “Just protecting what we have is far more dangerous than taking risks,” she said. Now is the time to harness the desire for change, “to make unions relevant and indispensable to working people’s lives.” I know this to be true from my decades in the movement.

In the early 1980s, I attended my first meeting of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. We were the new wave of working women, eager to make the house of labor our home, too. We created an ambitious agenda to achieve pay equity and child care. It was bold for its time, but especially so, since Reagan had just fired the Patco strikers. Leading the meeting was a woman I had not yet met, Merrilee Milstein. She would later become a mentor, a friend and her memory is forever in my heart. To say that we left the meeting feeling empowered is too mild, because with Merrilee, we left fired up - as if we can’t take it anymore.

And then Local 34 went out on strike, carrying signs demanding pay equity. It was the militancy of working women that garnered national attention and inspired us all. Community and labor joined the picket lines in solidarity. This was the labor movement I wanted to be a part of! It was a window into what we all could achieve together.

That was over 30 years ago and that sense of possibility has never left me. Today, more than ever, working families need that window into what is possible, to see that the economy is not like the weather, that we can change it. The organizing victory of the Stamford hotel workers is a powerful demonstration of that window wide open.

To build a massive movement of resistance, we need deep genuine bonds of solidarity. It’s the emotional cement that holds us together. To achieve it, we must address the fundamental obstacles that divide working people and build unity. Nearly 50 years ago the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. went to Memphis to join the sanitation workers’ picket line, a powerful expression of how the fight for racial, social and economic justice is intertwined. In that spirit, let’s take bold, deliberate steps towards the Beloved Community.

Let’s be strategic as Merrilee would say in how we “Move the movement forward”.

We’ve got to go all in on giving workers a voice on the workplace including those who cry “Me Too”.

We’ve got to go all in on passage of a clean dream act, extending TPS and a path to citizenship for the 11 million who live and work in the shadows.

We’ve got to go all in pushing a broad working families’ agenda in the legislative session, defending what we have, but – creating excitement and involvement around issues we care about, opening a window on to what is possible.

We’ve got to go all in – all in - on the 2018 elections so we can elect candidates who will stand for our issues and achieve an economy that works for working families, not just for the wealthy few or corporations.

Let’s cherish and grow the progressive movement. Let’s help each other take risks and be bold, let’s defend each other, open doors, listen, and be mentors. Let’s lay the seeds for the next generation as the preceding generations have done for us - so that we can all live in a just and peaceful society, enjoying this beautiful planet.

In closing, I want to share with you a poem inscribed on a plaque given to the Colt 45 when we were arrested at the Colt picket line, the longest strike in our history. It goes like this:
Freedom doesn’t come like a bird on the wing
Doesn’t come down like summer rain
Freedom, Freedom is a hard won thing
You’ve got to work for it
Day and night for it
And every generation’s got to win it again….
But every generation doesn’t have to do it alone. As a movement, we link arms and together we ask that defining question, Which side are you on? From the 1931 Harlan County miners who popularized it, to the Dreamers who embraced it, “Which side are you on, my people, which side are you on? We are all on the freedom side!