Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Amistad Awards attendees pledge resistance and solidarity

A large, diverse and enthusiastic turnout of labor and community activists from around Connecticut pledged at the People's World Amistad Awards to resist and stand in solidarity against all Trump administration attacks on people's needs and the planet.

During the call to action, nearly every one in the auditorium raised their hand to signify they had participated in at least one of the rallies, marches and protests since election day.

Held at Wexler-Grant Community School in New Haven around the theme "If there is no struggle, there can be no progress," the annual Awards were dedicated to continue the legacy of labor leader Art Perry who had helped develop the Awards and was a recipient in 2009. Art's son Joshua Perry expressed appreciation on behalf of the family.

Awardees included Alder Jeanette Morrison who co-led the successful effort for funding to rebuild the Dixwell Community House youth center located next to Wexler-Grant School; Juan Brito school social worker in Hartford and Chilean author and musician, and labor attorney and activist Dan Livington.

Hosted by Connecticut People's World Committee on the occasion of the 97th anniversary of the Communist Party, the event featured performances by Ice the Beef Youth Choir and the Neighborhood Music School Premiere Jazz Quintet, which performed a special selection in honor of each awardee.

Morrison was visibly moved when youth from New Elm City Dream / YCL thanked her for her leadership and for including them as decisions were made about the new youth center.

Brito, who had opposed the Pinochet dictatorship in his home country of Chile in 1973, spoke of the need to move and educate those who voted for Trump, saying that "liars can't play with the poor".

Livingston offered a direction forward and concluded , "It will not be easy.  But with clarity of vision, with recognition of the peril we face, and with true solidarity, we will come out stronger together."

Attendees filled out postcards calling on Connecticut elected officials to act against the heightened bigotry and bullying since the election, and also to support raising the minimum wage in Connecticut to $15 an hour, a campaign Art Perry had helped lead.

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