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!

Children need CHIP

From Jahmal Henderson:
CHIP, a program that has existed for two decades, is a godsend for the children who depend on it and their families. The program offers low-cost health coverage to families that don't have the income to afford other health care but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, and provides children with everything from checkups to prescriptions to emergency services and, in some states, covers expectant mothers. Around 2 million of the children enrolled in CHIP have asthma, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mood disorders, diabetes, epilepsy or developmental disorders. Yet, despite this program being a lifeline for many children, it ran out of funding on September 30 because the Republican-controlled Congress failed to act. And now we are at the point where states, which individually administer the program, have begun informing parents that their children's health care is in jeopardy. Just this past week, Virginia officials sent letters to over a thousand pregnant women and parents to alert them that their coverage "could lapse."

Even more alarming is that 16 states will run out of funds by the end of January, potentially depriving hundreds of thousands -- perhaps even millions -- of children and pregnant mothers of the health care under CHIP. Just imagine what it would be like if you were facing the painful reality that in a few weeks you might not be able to afford to help your sick child get health care?. The GOP tax bill would repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will cause 13 million fewer Americans to be covered by 2027 because they will opt not to get insurance. Additionally, Americans could expect a 10% spike in premiums in most years over the next decade. So not only are Congressional Republicans not helping children who depend on CHIP, they are repealing the individual mandate, and in doing so, saving over $300 billion to help pay for their massive tax cuts.

Trump and the GOP's failure to act to help these children isn't happenstance. Trump's budget proposal released earlier this year called for significant cuts to CHIP. And just a few weeks ago while debating funding CHIP, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, commented: "But the reason CHIP's having trouble is because we don't have money anymore, and to just add more and more spending and more and more spending."

People's World Amistad Awards Inspired Unity and Action

Despite a snow storm, a crowd from near and far filled First and Summerfield Church for the People's World Amistad Awards, "RESISTING Together So We Can Move FORWARD."

Nelson Pinos, who has taken sanctuary in the church, refusing to be deported and torn apart from his wife and children, and Marco Reyes, who was in sanctuary in the church for 105 days before receiving a reprieve from deportation the day before Thanksgiving, received a standing ovation along with Unidad Latina en Accion for their courage.

Solidarity was expressed to Local 33 Unite Here graduate teachers and their long battle with Yale administration to win a first contract.

The theme of solidarity flowed into the presentation of this year's Amistad Award to Camila and Carolina Bortolleto, founders of Connecticut Students for a Dream (C4D). They said the Dream Act was critical for them to attend college and demanded a clean Dream Act be passed by Congress this month to protect immigrant youth from deportation.

Senator Ed Gomes, an Awardee in 2013, presented this year's Award to State Rep. Robyn Porter, paying tribute to her role as his co-chair of the labor committee stopping100 anti-union, anti-worker bills. Decrying the "spirit of hate and fear" nationally and in Connecticut, Porter said to applause, "We have to come together to support each other." She called for women's leadership and a grassroots movement in 2018.

The final Award was presented to Peggy Buchanan, campaign manager of the CT AFL-CIO who drew lessons from decades of union struggles. "When we fight together we win together," she said to applause, calling for bold action. "Let's go all in for a clean Dream Act, TPS and a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented," she said, "and go all in on the 2018 elections and a working families agenda."

The Awards are presented by the People's World on the occasion of the 98th anniversary of the Communist Party. Chair Joelle Fishman and three young members invited others to join them to bring people together and win a better world.

The grand finale by the Patrick Osedebe Highlife Band with Mikata had people dancing in the aisles. The audience also enjoyed a performance by Ice the Beef youth.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

SAT DEC 9: People's World Amistad Awards

"RESISTING Together So We Can Move FORWARD. 

2017 Awardees: PEGGY BUCHANAN, CT AFT-CIO campaign manager. REP. ROBYN PORTER, 94th District. CAMILA and CAROLINA BORTOLLETO, co-founders CT Students For a Dream. 

Sat Dec 9 at 4 pm, First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, 425 College St New Haven. The event will pay tribute to Marco Reyes, all those in sanctuary and ULA; and to Unite Here Local 33. 

Performance by Mikata and Ice the Beef Youth. 

Doors open 3:30. Reception to follow.  Donations of school supplies and backpacks for Puerto Rico accepted.

Presented by CT People's World Committee on the 98th anniversary of the CPUSA.. 

For ticket information: or leave a message at 203-624-8664.

Sign up to attend on Facebook at:

March Demands A Clean Dream Act This Year

Students, union members, immigrant rights activists and residents from across Connecticut rallied and marched in New Haven last week demanding a "clean dream act and protection of all immigrants."

The rally was part of a national day of action for the protection and dignity of all immigrant communities, two months after the Trump administration canceled the DACA program,  a temporary program that gave some undocumented immigrant youth a work permit and safety from deportation. The administration is now trying to add anti-immigrant policies including a border wall to legislation before Congress that would restore DACA.

Initiated by Connecticut Students for a Dream, the rally brought people together to demand that Congress enact a clean dream act that does not criminalize or hurt immigrant communities.

The rally began at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church where Marco Reyes has been in sanctuary since July, and stood in solidarity with Reyes and Sujitno Sajuti currently in sanctuary in Meriden at the Unitarian Universalist Church.

"Today, immigrant youth and allies are reclaiming our dignity. This is our home and we are HereToStay!" was the message of the day.

Passing cars honked in support as the rally turned into a march, stopping at the courthouse and then marching to City Hall where more speeches were given to emphasize that the immigrant community is not alone and that New Haven will not be moved or bullied from being a sanctuary city.

Social media was used to tell the leaders of the House and Senate that a clean dream act must be passed before the end of this year.

Camila and Carolina Bortolleto, founders of Connecticut Students for a Dream, will receive a People's World Amistad Award for their leadership on Saturday, December 9 at 4 pm at the same church, 425 College Street, Resisting Together so we can Move Forward. Recognition will be given to the Reyes family and also to Local 33 Unite Here graduate teachers at Yale.

Also receiving Amistad Awards will be State Rep. Robyn Porter and labor leader Peggy Buchanan, campaign manager for CT AFL CIO. Tickets are $10. For information e-mail or visit the event site on Facebook.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Union members commit to "Move Forward Together"

by Joelle Fishman

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Solidarity and organizing were at the top of the agenda at the Connecticut AFL-CIO convention last week. Turning anger into an action plan, the delegates geared up to "move forward together," and reverse the assault on public sector unions and all workers.

"Like a diamond we are indomitable and enduring," said President Lori Pelletier of the union federation which was founded 60 years ago. Bucking the national trend, "union density in Connecticut increased from 15% to 17.5 in the past two years," she said calling for the 200,000 union members in the state to "go house to house on the issues, and use our union power in the next legislative session."

Connecticut has been a prime target for the Koch brothers and right-wing groups like the Yankee Institute who are pushing forcefully in the state legislature to limit the bargaining rights of state workers. As well, unions have been preparing for the possibility of a Supreme Court ruling that would prohibit automatic dues collection from members and create a "right-to-work" (for less) nation.

Delegates listened intently as MaryBe McMillan, president of the North Carolina AFL CIO told of the difficult conditions for unions in her "right-to-work" state. but also of the struggles being waged and victories being won by workers at Smithfield Packing and Duke University.

"Right to work can never mean right to surrender," she said. "Our movement fundamentally cries of hope." Calling for solidarity with southern organizing, she exclaimed, "If we want to get working people ahead anywhere, we have to organize the South."

Welcoming the growing solidarity she sees between Black, brown and white workers in North Carolina McMillian said "we have to rise up and show working people it's the union movement that's on their side."

Elaborating on the theme of solidarity, Fred Redmond, a national leader of United Steel Workers and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, addressed the question "where do we go from here?"

"The economic goals of labor are intertwined with our social goals. Our struggles are won by solidarity, a united front, marching hand in hand," he reiterated, quoting Pope Francis that "there is no just society without unions" which lift up the unemployed and hungry.

Redmond traveled the country as chair of the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice, which held six meetings from July, 2015 to March 2016. The Commission, on which Pelletier also served, was formed after Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson. "A union brother (on the police force) killed the son of a union mother," said Redmond.

"We can't let race be used to divide and defeat us," he said quoting Martin Luther King Jr that "where there is a labor baiter, there is a race hater." He called on the delegates to support policing reform and the other recommendations in the Commission report, concluding, "United we rise. Divided we fail."

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, continued the theme of confronting racism to achieve unity. As he approached the podium the convention welcomed him with a prolonged standing ovation, in recognition of the courage of the players who have been under attack from Trump.

Having just visited 32 teams in ten weeks, Smith concluded that "the best conversations about race class, inequality and injustice are taking place in locker rooms. In their decision not to shut up the players are exercising their right, and operating because of duty." He recounted that on Sunday the players had joined arms before the National Anthem was ever announced, and yet they were booed. "This shows it's not about the Anthem," he said.

Applauding the players' courage in taking a stand, Smith asked, "If you can use players to sell shoes why can't you use players to inspire kids for liberty and justice for all?" As a union, he said, "our job is to teach and inspire. Our duty is to preach that we are all in this together."

Delegates adopted 17 resolutions, including one to "Combat White Supremacist Terrorism," which resolved to "partner with and support other groups, elected officials and individuals standing against hate groups and white supremacy."

Two resolutions addressing the immigration crisis were adopted, one in support of the Dreamers and DACA, and another in opposition to deportations and in support of comprehensive immigration reform.

The second resolution decries the "culture of fear that emboldens employers to exploit workers, regardless of status, and retaliate against any form of collective action at the worksite," and resolves to "educate our members about the damaging impact of these deportations on the workplace."

Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, who was scheduled to address the convention in person, had been called to Puerto Rico as part of the emergency relief efforts including many teamsters, nurses and other professional union members. She spoke via video with a message to continue to organize, outreach and win a good budget in Connecticut.

Delegates and their affiliates participated in a convention collection for relief and rebuilding Puerto Rico.

A resolution to work to address climate change resolved to continue "taking a central role in local efforts to address climate change so that we make the planet a healthy place to live and create good paying jobs."

Speaking on behalf of the Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, John Harrity, president of the State Council of Machinists, said "this is the most crucial issue facing all of us for the rest of our lives. Labor needs to be in the forefront."

Other resolutions addressed pension security, upheld the right to organize, and rejected attacks on the Affordable Care Act while recommitting "to educate and mobilize in order to achieve health care for all through the creation of a universal, comprehensive single-payer system."

During the three day convention held at Pequot Towers, delegates attended lunch time workshops, and a breakfast celebrating organizing victories. A fundraiser for the United Labor Agency highlighted their programs to assist workers in need, provide backpacks to school children, and offer apprenticeship programs for women in the trades.

Tim Wheeler, former editor of People's World, came to the convention as part of his book tour and signed copies of "News from Rain Shadow Country."

People's World Amistad Awards 2017 RESISTING Together So We Can Move FORWARD

This year's People's World Amistad Awards are dedicated to "Resisting Together So We Can Move Forward". The event will take place on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church, 425 College St, New Haven.
We are excited to announce this year's awardees Peggy Buchanan, Rep. Robyn Porter, and Camila and Carolina Bortolleto. All are on the front lines of resisting the policies of white supremacy, hate, division and fear that threaten democracy and our future. All are fierce warriors in the forefront of demanding priorities for workers' rights, peace and equality that put people and planet before profits.
The Awards will take place on Saturday, December 9 at 4 pm at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church at 425 College Street, New Haven. Marco Reyes took sanctuary there in July to resist deportation and separation from his family. The event will pay tribute to the Reyes family and Unidad Latina en Accion. The Unions at Yale have their offices at the church. The event will pay tribute to the ongoing struggle of Unite Here Local 33 for union recognition and a contract.
We invite you to place an ad in the greeting book and take a bloc of tickets to honor the awardees and the occasion. The ad deadline is November 17, 2017. Greeting book and ticket information is on the back of this letter.
Peggy Buchanan is Connecticut AFL CIO campaign manager and former president, Greater Hartford Labor Council who has dedicated her life to solidarity and organizing workers on the job, in the community and to run for public office.
Rep. Robyn Porter represents the 94th District and co-chairs the Labor Committee in the Connecticut General Assembly where she leads for social justice, equality and workers' rights as an elected official and at the grass roots
Camila and Carolina Bortolleto are courageous twins who co-founded CT Students For a Dream which has become a statewide voice and organization of youth "undocumented and unafraid" and organizes for the rights of all immigrants.
The annual Awards are presented to allies by the Connecticut People's World Committee on the occasion of the 98th anniversary of the Communist Party USA. We come together in hope and unity as increased economic and racial inequalities, climate change and war give rise to new organizing by youth, low-wage workers and the 99% toward a society that puts people and planet before corporate profits.
In Solidarity,

People's World Amistad Awards Committee

People's World Amistad Awards Committee 203-624-4254
37 Howe Street, New Haven Connecticut 06511

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Standing in Solidarity with Puerto Rico

Connecticut Communist Party USA
October 1, 2017

On September 5, 2017 Hurricane Irma struck the island of Puerto Rico, killing three people. Less than two weeks later, Puerto Rico was once again ravaged by Hurricane Maria on September 20.

Hurricane Maria has been classified as the tenth most intense Atlantic hurricane, leaving 16 people dead, 95% of the people without electricity, 11% of cell phone towers operating, schools badly damaged and unable to open, 8,800 people in 139 shelters, 51 of 69 hospitals open, and only 11 regional staging areas open for food and water distribution.

Puerto Rican families need our help IMMEDIATELY to RELIEVE and REUILD their beautiful island. While millions suffer needlessly from lack of urgency on the behalf of the Trump Administration, Donald J. Trump wastes valuable time arguing over athletes and their form of peaceful protest. When hurricanes of lesser magnitudes struck the United States’ mainland, there was an immediate and adequate response.

Despite the sentiments of the Trump Administration, the residents of Puerto Rico are working hard to do what they can to restore their homes and island and need the IMMEDIATE assistance of the federal government.

Join us to DEMAND that federal authorities give Puerto Rico what it needs. The devastating damage that Hurricane Maria brought to Puerto Rico has come on top of the storm caused by the public debt crisis and the recession that has made Puerto Rican families suffer for decades. It’s immoral to insist that before Puerto Rican families can rebuild their homes, schools, roads, and hospitals, they must pay back the banks. It’s time to eliminate Puerto Rico’s public debt altogether.

Join us, the Communist Party of Connecticut to DEMAND that the federal government send much needed assistance to the United States’ territory of Puerto Rico. We stand in solidarity with our fellow citizens of Puerto Rico in making these demands.

Join us on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 from 12:00 P.M. to 1:00 P.M. at 115 Asylum Street in Hartford and on Friday, October 6, 2017 from 5:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. at the Greek Olive at 402 Sargent Drive in New Haven as we stand with our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. Bring monetary donations as well as supplies such as batteries and toiletries. You can also donate online through:

Friday, September 29, 2017

Newhallville Marches for Jobs and Peace

Over 150 people gathered in New Haven's Newhallville on September 23 to march for Jobs for Youth/Jobs for All - End the Violence. After marching, passionate speeches outside the former CT Department of Social Services (DSS) building at 194 Basset St, vacant since June 2013, called for it to be opened for youth and job services.

The march, organized by New Elm City Dream/YCL, New Haven Rising and Ice the Beef Youth came out of a summer neighborhood youth survey. When 14-year old Tyriek B. Keyes a leader of Ice the Beef Youth was killed, the survey was dedicated to him.

Organizer Jahmal Henderson said, "Saturday’s rally was a direct response to that young man’s death, and to what we had been hearing all summer from youth in the neighborhood"

At the 10 am. kickoff behind Lincoln-Bassett School, New Haveners young and old took their posts carrying banners with slogans for equality, justice, hope, jobs, and peace.

Ice The Beef's own"Heartbreakers" quartet sang a beautiful rendition of "Its So Hard To Say Goodbye", followed by remarks from Alderwoman Delphine Clyburn. Several Alders came to show support. State Rep Robyn Porter and State Sen. Gary Winfield spoke at the ending rally.

A diverse coalition of Newhallville residents, labor organizers, student activists, and local politicians marched through the streets, chanting and cheering in support of jobs and safety for the neighborhood’s youth.

The march paused at Newhall and Bassett Sts. for a prayer in memory of Tyriek, led by The Rev. Charles Brewer and Elder Ron Hurt. Keye’s mother, Demethra Telford, assured the crowd that she would fight not just for the memory of her son, but for the protection of all Newhallville children.

“Even when I get justice for my child,” she said. “I’m going to continue to push for stopping the violence. My son’s legacy does live on."

The Newhall/Winchester Communist Party updated the 2011 New Elm City Dream/ YCL Youth Survey which had been launched when there were a record number of homicides in New Haven. Recognizing that lack of jobs and economic security leads to violence, they organized for "Jobs For Youth, Jobs For All". The Board Of Alders adopted good jobs, safe communities, and youth needs as their priorities.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Washington and California state AFL-CIOs call for end of Cuba Blockade

by Emile Schepers   

At its July 18-20 Convention, the Washington State Labor Council of the AFl-CIO passed a strongly worded resolution calling for an end to the U.S. economic blockade and travel restrictions on Cuba.
Here is the full text of the resolution, one of many such progressive resolutions passed at this important convention. 

WHEREAS, the U.S. blockade of Cuba has had devastating impacts on Cuba’s workers, union members, and citizens, restricts U.S. citizens’ freedom to travel to Cuba, and, if lifted, would create jobs for U.S. workers; and
WHEREAS, a number of labor and community leaders from Washington State have traveled to Cuba on study tours and have learned valuable lessons regarding universal health care and providing for those most in need; and
WHEREAS, following the Obama administration’s partial moves to normalize U.S.-Cuban relations, now the Trump administration has expressed its intention to reverse this trend and tighten the blockade of Cuba once again; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO goes on record supporting an end to the travel restrictions and the trade and financial embargo against Cuba, and oppose efforts by the Trump administration to tighten the blockade; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO shall send this resolution to its affiliates, area Labor Councils, and to the AFL-CIO, urging the AFL-CIO to pass a similar resolution at their 2017 convention.
This is remarkable news in many ways.
First if all, it appears to have been the second instance of a state AFL-CIO passing a resolution calling for an end to the blockade and travel restrictions. Last year, the California state AFL-CIO passed a similarly strong resolution on the subject, also with the instruction that the issue be taken up at the level of the national AFL-CIO. Individual labor union leaders and smaller labor bodies have done so before, as have a large number of unions and union federations in other countries, but these two actions are a breakthrough at this level of labor organization in the United States.
Secondly, the wording is very straightforward and uncompromising—no weasel words here!
The resolution uses the world “blockade” instead of embargo. The Cubans use the word “blockade” because for the past half century and then some, the U.S. government has not only prohibited its own corporations and citizens from trading with Cuba, but has also tried to block other countries to do so, even resorting to threats and sanctions against close U.S. allies and trading partners in the process. It also calls out Trump for threatening to reverse the modest advances in U.S. Cuba relations achieved during the Obama administration. Most importantly of all, it calls on other state labor councils and the national AFL-CIO to get on board the effort to end the U.S. blockade and travel restrictions, specifically mentioning the upcoming AFL-CIO convention to be held in St. Louis, Missouri, October 22 to 25.
Our sisters and brothers in California and Washington State have staked out a courageous position on Cuba; it now behooves all to do whatever we can to bring all of U.S. labor, including the national AFL-CIO on board!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Veto the Anti-Worker Republican Budget!

In the late night hours of Friday September 15, Senate and House Republicans were joined by nine Democrats to pass a cruel and corrupt budget for Connecticut that hurts everyone except millionaires and corporations.

As soon as word got out, unions, community groups, clergy, disability groups, educators and many others began mobilizing to tell Governor Malloy to veto this devastating Republican budget.

A "Stop the Madness" rally on Thursday afternoon at the Capitol included many hospital workers, building cleaners and construction workers who told their stories. A rally on Friday was to feature clergy and others exposing the budget as immoral.

The budget makes devastating cuts to the needs of working families and also creates structural changes that end or weaken collective bargaining rights for public sector workers.

The budget decimates higher education, eliminates public financing of elections, eradicates tax credits for the poor, slashes Medicaid for 60,000 Connecticut residents, and imposes a high tax on teacher pensions.

In addition, the proposed budget ends collective bargaining for state employee pensions, imposes changes in their pensions after 2027 (when the current labor agreement expires), and starts counting those savings in the proposed biennial budget.

Referring to $75 million in cuts to the earned income tax credit for the working poor, Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier said, "Instead of helping workers, this budget actually forces them to pay more in taxes."

At the same time, the budget lowers the estate and gift taxes that benefit the wealthy.

“The insistence of Senate Republicans and a handful of Democrats on protecting corporations and the ultra-wealthy is an insult to public workers who have sacrificed billions in wages and benefits to help Connecticut dig out of a hole created by austerity budgeting," said Sal Luciano Director of AFSCME Council 4.

"The Republican budget is a gift to the rich and a body blow to the working class. It must be rejected out of hand,” he concluded.

The Democrats who turned their backs on working people to pass this budget are: Senators Paul Doyle, Joan Hartley and Gayle Slossberg; and Representatives Pat Boyd, John Hampton, Cristin McCarthy-Vahey, Lonnie Reed, Kim Rose and Daniel Rovero.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Congress: Pass the Dream Act Now

"I am staying in this church with a heavy heart," said Marco Reyes, in sanctuary for five weeks in order to be with his family as his lawyers argue his case. "My family is being torn apart. Millions of others face a similar situation. I am asking you for support," he concluded to a standing ovation.
Reyes spoke at an emergency field hearing on immigration called by Sen. Richard Blumenthal days after Trump did away with DACA, the temporary protection for immigrant children enacted by President Obama.

Blumenthal said he is holding the field hearings because there is no opportunity to do so in Washington DC. The testimonies will be transcribed and entered into the Congressional Record.
Carolina Bortoletto, co-founder of Connecticut Students for a Dream, came from Brazil 19 years ago at age 9. "Being undocumented you can dream, but you can't plan for the future...With DACA my life changed," she said. "I got a job, a drivers' license, a car. Now that is at risk because of the decision to take away DACA."

Her organization is holding clinics across the state and raising funds to inform and assist those in DACA of their rights if Congress does not act by March.

Speaking for the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance, Jesus Morales Sanchez said "the undocumented live in constant fear... not only those with DACA, but other youth and their families." Rejecting attempts to link a Dream Act to the border wall and more enforcement he said "We need real change that won't be used against our families."

Joelle Fishman of the Peoples Center paid tribute to those resisting the terror of deportation and called for "a Senate investigation into the connection between anti-immigrant and white supremacist hate groups and their influence inside government."

"Racial targeting is unconstitutional," she said. "If the constitutional rights of those in DACA can be denied then the constitutional rights of every group and all of us is in danger."

Blumenthal recognized the courage of those who told their stories and said "we're going to win on this issue just as we did on healthcare because the people of America are on our side and we are on the right side of history."

Solve the Budget Crisis - Tax the Rich!

As the state budget fight continues, 60 union, community, clergy and disability organizations representing thousands of Connecticut residents signed a letter to members of the General Assembly calling for an increase in taxes on the wealthiest residents in order to stop cuts to vital services. 

Several wealthy Connecticut residents have also issued a call for increased taxes on themselves.
The letter, delivered by All Hands on Deck, DUE Justice Coalition and the Cross Disability Life Span Coalition emphasized, "Connecticut's wealthy individuals have more favorable taxation here than in neighboring states. Many well-off Connecticut residents now recognize that a fair budget, which preserves essential services, means taxing them a little more." 
The letter concludes, "We urge you to take these recommendations to heart, and ensure that vital human services and  Connecticut's vibrant educational and social services infrastructure are sustained." 

Following is a letter to the editor by Tom Connolly as published in the Hartford Courant:

"The Connecticut Republican party is trying to lay the entire blame for our serious budget crisis at the feet of the Democrats. Whatever they do, their major mantra is “protect the rich.” If it happens to be at the expense of the middle class and the poor, so be it.

"Republicans now hold a tie in the Senate — 18 Republicans and 18 Democrats — and share the responsibility for coming up with a fair budget. Keep a close eye on what they do when revenue options are proposed, especially those taxing the rich or large corporations.
"The options to resolve the budget are clear, if you do not want to hurt the middle class and the poor. Here are several:

"Increase the income tax rate on the portion of incomes over $250,000 per year.

"Review and end outdated corporate subsidies and tax exemptions.

"Enact a low-wage employers fee, so that big companies like Walmart that pay less than $15 and hour would reimburse the state for the cost of providing services to their workers.

"Let’s make Connecticut great again and tax the few who can afford it to benefit the many who cannot."

Friday, September 8, 2017

Solidarity Movie Nights

Solidarity Movie Nights Three Fridays: Sept 8 Salt of the Earth; Sept 15 PRIDE; Sept 22 10,000 Black Men Named George.  All at 6 pm at 37 Howe Street, New Haven.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Labor Day Inspires Fightback for Union Rights

"Connecticut Needs Unions" was the slogan of the day on Labor Day in Hartford as a large march of union and community members walked in solidarity with low wage workers and the Fight for $15 and a union.

The march began on Albany Ave. at a McDonald's where fast food workers joined a national strike action taking place at hundreds of locations across the country. When the march reached Community Health Services, members of AFT Connecticut who won their union election asked for support in the fight to win $15 an hour in their contract.

As the march crossed the bridge into downtown, the devastating impact of wealth inequality was stark. As Pastor A J Johnson said at the closing rally, in the impoverished African American community the march passed many fast food restaurants owned by billionaire CEOs who pay low wages that don't cover the rent, while the downtown is filled with huge profitable corporate headquarters. Everyone deserves a living wage he and other speakers declared.

In Hamden, the Connecticut AFL-CIO annual labor day breakfast was addressed by Sen. Chris Murphy, Congresswoman Elisabeth Esty and State Rep. Robyn Porter among others. They urged the union members to stay engaged and stop dangerous attempts to destroy unions and democratic rights. Afterward, the first graduating class of women in the building trades received certificates in an inspiring ceremony.

On Labor Day in New Haven a community dinner was held in solidarity with Marco Reyes and his family at the First and Summerfield United Church. Reyes has been in sanctuary for a month as lawyers challenge his deportation order which would separate him from his wife and children.

The labor day theme continues in a series of Solidarity Movie Nights at 6 pm on Fridays at the Peoples Center 37 Howe Street, New Haven. The movies highlight past labor struggles with lessons for today: Salt of the Earth on September 8, PRIDE on September 15, and 10,000 Black Men Named George on September 22. The showings are free. Hosted by the CT People's World Committee, discussion will follow. Find the event pages on Facebook for more information.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Newhall to March for Jobs and to End Violence

A neighborhood march on Saturday, September 23 will highlight the need to end gun violence and create opportunities and jobs for youth in Newhallville.

The march reflects the results of a youth survey this summer led by Jahmal Henderson and the Winchester-Newhall Club in their Newhall neighborhood which has high unemployment and violence.

The youth survey was originally formed by New Elm City Dream/YCL six years ago when there were a record number of homicides in New Haven. Recognizing that lack of jobs and economic security leads to violence, the group launched a campaign for "Jobs For Youth, Jobs For All" and organized several large marches.

The newly elected Board of Alders adopted these priorities: good jobs, safe communities, and youth needs. As a result of pressure from the public and the unions at Yale, the University committed to hire 500 people from New Haven's neighborhoods with highest unemployment.

This summer's youth survey was done realizing that it is necessary to hold Yale accountable for that commitment. Knocking on doors for seven weeks on Saturdays along the year-round People's World route brought a number of young people to fill out surveys and sign up to get involved.

When 14-year old Tyrick B. Keyes a leader of Ice the Beef Youth who performed at People's World events was killed, the survey campaign was dedicated to him.

In August, youth from the neighborhood, New Elm City Dream / YCL and Ice The Beef gathered at a meetup. The forum was held during the annual Newhall/Division St block party. Seventeen people turned out including Tyrick B. Keyes' mother and Sen. Robyn Porter for a passionate discussion on the key subjects of youth violence and the need of more job opportunities in their communities.

Planning began for the September 23 grass roots march/rally through the streets of Newhallville to the now vacant former state welfare building. The rally will support efforts to open the building for youth needs and job placements, working with local and state elected officials, community and clergy representing the neighborhood.

Youth leaders are being identified and future actions will be planned.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Health Care Cuts Threaten Connecticut's Economy

The millions of people who spoke out, rallied and took part in civil disobedience stopped U.S. Senate Republicans from repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The fight for the ACA and for the right to health care continues. Below is testimony of William P. Morico to Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy at New Haven City Hall on June 23, 2017:

I worked for 50 years in health-care related fields. Others will speak about the devastating effects on health care services of attempts to “repeal & replace” the ACA. As I don't believe the majority of Republicans in Congress care about our health care, I will address the financial impact of such cuts.

Federal health care spending from Medicare and Medicaid (2014-15) in CT was over $8 billion, including $4.7 billion from Medicare, and $3.6 billion from Medicaid. The various proposals from Congress cut between 10% -30% from Medicaid, translating to over $1 billion in cuts to the CT economy each year. The elimination of increased Medicare taxes will weaken Medicare and lead to further calls for benefit cuts. This has been their agenda since Medicare was enacted in 1965.

Cuts of this magnitude will directly impact not only the State budget, but all health care provider organizations, especially primary care providers like community health centers, and hospitals, required to care for all regardless of ability to pay.

These amounts do not include proposed federal budget cuts to public health programs, basic medical research, medical education, medical education loan forgiveness, etc.

CT state legislators need to be keenly aware of the effects on the CT economy of the proposed federal tax-cut legislation masquerading as repeal of the ACA. We will hold our Republican state legislators responsible if their federal colleagues pass this anti-people legislation.

We have outlived the health care financing system based on insurance, whether employer-provided, private, or public. Anthem, Aetna and Cigna will re-invent themselves, and take care of their shareholders. We need a Medicare for all Universal Health Care system such as proposed in H.B 676, which would do away with all insurance, and create a single system of health care, governed and administered locally, with care provided by private and public entities, and financed nationally by general taxation.