Post-Charlottesville “Unity” Event Casts Wide Net

Paul Bass Photo On Monday afternoon in New Haven, even Jewish lives mattered.

Jewish lives mattered. Muslim lives mattered. Black lives, Christian lives ... all lives necessary in building a just society and confronting deadly bigotry were on display and identified at a community “unity” event (rally? press conference? something in between?) organized by the Harp administration and the police department on the second floor of City Hall.

They organized the event in response to the deadly violence at a pro-Confederate monument rally staged by neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klanners on Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the subsequent excuse-making and even support for the right-wing racial ralliers expressed by President Donald Trump.

Along with elected officials and officials from the Chamber of Commerce and Yale, they invited an imam to speak, Saif Hasaan of Masjid al Islam on George Street. They invited Rev. Bonnie Scott of the United Church on the Green to speak. And they invited Judy Alperin, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven to speak.

This official event came a week after another post-Charlottesville protest in New Haven organized by grassroots social justice groups. Some Jewish activists at the event said they were devastated not to hear more of a direct acknowledgement of the presence or relevance of Jews to the discussion — even though the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville chanted, “Jews will not replace us” and “Blood and soil,” a reference to a Nazi slogan.

Monday afternoon’s City Hall event, on the other hand, cast a wide ethnic and religious net.

“We will not ever allow outside forces to come into our city and incite antagonism and fear,” declared Police Chief Anthony Campbell, himself an ordained minister.

“This is what our city looks like,” Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker said of the diverse crowd. “If anybody thinks you can come to our city and spew hate, we will not tolerate it.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is Jewish, spoke about how his father came to the U.S. in 1935 to escape Nazi persecution.

If his father had seen the videos of the Charlottesville march, “it would have ashamed and embarrassed” him, Blumenthal said. “How repulsed he would have been ... It was a frightening moment in American history.” By praising many of the ralliers who joined the neo-Nazi march and supporting their stated demands about preserving Confederate monuments in public squares, President Trump revealed that “he doesn’t speak for America,” Blumenthal argued. He called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute not just the man who drove into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring many more, but also fellow “co-conspirators” in the movement, under Section 241 of the Civil Rights Act.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro cited an interview Trump aide Steve Bannon gave to the American Prospect magazine last week before he was fired, in which he spoke of how Republicans can “crush” Democrats with an “economic nationalism” message if Democrats continue speaking about race. President Trump followed that script in his remarks after the Charlottesville rally, she argued.

“It is contemptible that the White House would incite a race war as a political strategy,” DeLauro declared. “We reject that cynical strategy.” She called it a “false choice” to pit the pursuit of racial justice against the pursuit of well-paying jobs for Americans.

“We stand with you as the Muslim community to unify our community, to fight hatred and bigotry,” Imam Hasaan (who hosts WNHH FM’s “The Saif Zone” program) told the crowd. “We have to work together as one people.”

The Jewish Federation’s Alperin came to the lectern accompanied by two local rabbis, Rona Shapiro and Michael Farbman. “We say no to hate,” Alperin declared. “No to xenophobia. No to anti-Semitism. No to anything that will tear us down.”

After the event, Marcus Paca who’s challenging Harp in a Sept. 12 Democratic mayoral primary, issued a statement criticizing her for her administration’s response to a gathering on the New Haven Green last month of a right-wing violence-prone group called the “Proud Boys,” which ended in brief minor violence and four arrests (of counterdemonstrators). Paca repeated a criticism he aired a day earlier at a mayoral debate, when he argued that Harp should have known about that gathering in advance and shown up to it. “Leadership starts at home. The mayor did not rally against hate and bigotry last month when a white supremacist group came to our city green. Yesterday she refused even to condemn the Proud Boys.”

Harp also addressed the Charlottesville fall-out on the latest episode of WNHH radio’s “Mayor Monday” program. She sided with people nationally who defend the ACLU’s decision to protect the free speech rights of white supremacists and with advocates of non-violent protests against them (as opposed to violent confrontation).

“Nonviolent protest is hard. These people make you angry,” she said. But she credited non-violent protest with heping to usher in racial justice during the Civil Rights Movement. “I don’t believe I would be where I am today without non-violent protest,” she said.

She said the Charlottesville demonstrated highlighted the need for common cause between African-Americans and Jews, as well as all other ethnic and racial groups. “We are one community,” she said. “When you go after one specific group, you’re ultimately going after all of us.”

Click on or download the above audio file to hear the full episode of “Mayor Monday” on WNHH radio, which also covered the mayor’s view of the Working Families Party (she said she’d like to see it get more established in New Haven), ballot petitioning, city finances, soccer, micro-apartments, Project Longevity, and the Thimble Islands. Click here to watch a Facebook Live video of the program.

This episode of “Mayor Monday” was made possible with the support of Gateway Community College and Berchem Moses P.C.

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posted by: FacChec on August 21, 2017  5:19pm

“Harp also addressed the Charlottesville fall-out on the latest episode of WNHH radio’s “Mayor Monday” program. She sided with people nationally who defend the ACLU’s decision to protect the free speech rights of white supremacists and with advocates of non-violent protests against them (as opposed to violent confrontation).

Ok ... so what’s this get together all about? I see no strategy here awaiting implementation, Harp contradicts the chief of police Campbell who said ” “We will not ever allow outside forces to come into our city and incite antagonism and fear,” declared Police Chief Anthony Campbell, himself an ordained minister.”


Not a true statement, Campbell will approve a March permit if properly applied for. He cannot reject a permit if he only feels that fear and antagonism might occur, Harp sided with the ACLU on the right to a permit.

We already know all lives matter, so what new is this city hall rally about? What adding Jews to the list of lives matter, really.??

posted by: Timothy G. ORourke Jr. on August 21, 2017  5:58pm

I think our mayor is very good with reaching people in a civilized way. And she is absolutely right about the beneficial effects of non-violence in correctly forming the Public Square but some groups do not deserve a forum from which to spout hate.  Maybe if we coupled allowing free speech and totally ignoring these idiots they could be disarmed as irrelevant, which they are.  On another point, being Catholic, I would have liked to have seen the article mention the professed hate these groups specifically have for us. Also, maybe the organizers could have reached out to the Catholic community, as well.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 21, 2017  7:22pm

Give me a break.Wake up people.This is enslavement of the black community by their hand picked own Leaders. The black people who help maintain these institutions are the modern day gate keepers.These so call Black Leaders are just pimping their People for Political and Financial Gain. To the so call white liberals , I need a white accomplice, freedom fighter, revolutionary on our sides. The march I want to see go down: white folks marching on every damn police station in this country and shutting it down, filling up the jails, stopping the flow of traffic and disrupting commerce. It’s not like we won’t be out there, we always are, but can you all really step up in ways you have never imagined.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is Jewish, spoke about how his father came to the U.S. in 1935 to escape Nazi persecution

And my ancestors came by the Transatlantic Slave Trade.They Built America.Yet I have yet to see you push for Reparations fro Black People.


The white liberal differs from the white conservative only in one way. The liberal is more deceitful than the conservative. The liberal is more hypocritical than the conservative. Both want power, but the white liberal is the one who has perfected the art of posing as the Negro’s friend and benefactor, and by winning the friendship and support of the Negro, the white liberal is able to use the Negro as a pawn or tool in this political football game. Politically the American Negro is nothing but a football, and the white liberals control this mentally dead ball. Through tricks of tokenism and false promises, and they have the willing cooperation of Negro leaders. These leaders sell out our people for just a few crumbs of token recognition and token gains——-MALCOLM X ( from his speech called, God’s Judgment of White America)

posted by: new haven can do better on August 21, 2017  8:00pm

Chief Anthony Campbell says, “We will not ever allow outside forces to come into our city and incite antagonism and fear,” declared Police Chief Anthony Campbell, himself an ordained minister.

By all accounts Chief Campbell appears to be a good person, hard-working, intelligent and a good family man. We need him to root out the hate and few bad apples that exist within the NHPD. He should not be promoting people like Detective Daniel Conklin who has a long record of violating the rights of many New Haven residents. The handful of bad actors in the NHPD should not be allowed to spoil the reputation of the entire NHPD. We need Chief Campbell and the NHPD to be the ones who set an example for the rest of the City.

posted by: Noteworthy on August 22, 2017  5:45am

It is unclear what it means to not allow people to come into our city and spew hate. How exactly are you going to stop it - by ending their freedom to speak? By attacking them, blocking them, refusing to issue them a permit so they can’t freely assemble? I see lots of politicians making big statements - and again spewing their rhetoric about POTUS - it’s what they do every day, every week, every month. They never have any solutions, never any specific fixes or plans - just anti-Trump, anti-GOP. And of course, Mayor Harp acting equally tough. This isn’t about unity - it’s about politics and stunting.

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on August 22, 2017  7:32am

I find it rather embarrassing that this hyper-partisan, re-election campaign gathering was billed as a “Unity” event. I’m no fan of Pres. Trump, but the Charlottesville videos I watched showed marching white supremacists armed with clubs—and counter-demonstrators waving at them with clubs. Was I mistakenly viewing a different event?
White supremacists are not the only people who are alarmed by the removal of Confederate monuments. I know of people here in CT who simply are Civil War history enthusiasts, some of whom enthusiastically join in historically-accurate battle re-enactments, who also are alarmed by this. So to lump all monument supporters as racists is itself a form of stereotyping and bigotry.
Having been to Richmond, VA a few times and seen Memorial Blvd with its massive Confederate-hero monuments, erected during the heyday of the KKK, seems a bit bizarre to me and I certainly can understand that in the 21st century such a prominent display seems anachronistic, at best. However, in a civilized society solutions to such matters should not be left to anarchists or to careerists politicians, who deliberately distort the intended meaning of the President’s words.
The growing attempt to stamp out freedom of speech, no matter how repugnant, reminds me of the flag-burnings during the Vietnam War. Conservatives were so incensed, that Congress passed the Flag Protection Act—which the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional, because it violated Freedom of Speech protected in the First Amendment. In response, conservatives then promoted a Flag Desecration Amendment. Saner voices among conservatives opposed this amendment as violating the principles of the Bill of Rights and the move to pass such an amendment faded away.
So how to deal with hateful speech? In this article’s poll, I checked “Ignore them”.

posted by: Patricia Kane on August 22, 2017  2:03pm

Words speak louder than action.
I challenge Mayor Harp and Chief Campbell to dismiss the charges against Nathaniel Blair, Holly Tucker, Barbara Fair and DraMese Fair, not one of whom has committed a crime, but all of whom were arrested nonetheless by the NHPD.
Until the leadership in New Haven corrects its actions, I (and maybe 200 others) will view this “unity” event as just a politically timed photo op.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 22, 2017  2:17pm

“This is what our city looks like,” Board of Alders President Tyisha Walker said of the diverse crowd. “If anybody thinks you can come to our city and spew hate, we will not tolerate it.”

How about the guy standing be hide you?

Cop’s Discrimination Complaint Upheld

Cruz complained to the CHRO that the department removed him as East Shore district manager on Sept. 11, 2016 because of his ethnicity.

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/discrimination_complaint_upheld/

posted by: RealML on August 23, 2017  2:35pm

Obviously this was a group of people hand picked by the mayor to speak inside of the building with out any real public access due to its limited capacity. Mayor Harp only called this “vigil of unity” because she was not allowed to speak at the real community vigil which happened on the Green with hundreds of people because we didn’t want it to turn into another election photo op. Therefore the mayor attacked us for her lack of connection to the actual community. Fascist and white supremacist should not have any platform to recruit and further their agenda. You Mayor Harp and you police Chief Campbell allowed them to come into our city. To be able to spew their hate in the name of “free speech” and then arrested one of our community leaders for not doing anything at all. You need to drop the charges on Barbara Fair and Dramese Fair and stop trying to play both sides of the fence. No there are no good people involved in fascist hate. There are Fascist and there are people who are against fascism. End of story