Seventy-five young people and their adult supporters marched through downtown rush-hour traffic to demand jobs and safer streets—then brought their parade to the porch of a 16-month-old boy named Tramire who almost died from a random bullet.
The event began at 5 p.m. Monday with hot chocolate and graham crackers and some speeches inside the People’s Center on Howe Street. The New Elm City Dream, a youth group affiliated with the labor-backed majority that took of control of the Board of Aldermen and local Democratic Party last year, organized the march to keep pressure on New Haven decision-makers to follow through on a promised jobs pipeline, renewed community policing, and neighborhood rec centers.
The group also released a survey of 570 New Haveners between 10 and 25; “well over half” of those surveyed “have been exposed to violence,” the group reported.
Aniyah Rivers (pictured), 3, asked to come along with her family to Monday’s march, which called for “Love, Jobs & Peace.”
Nate Bobby, 10, held aloft a sign reading “YCL,” referring to the Young Communist League. Montell Wright (pictured next to him), 17, told the gathering that “YCL is Elm City Dream.”
The group then grabbed placards and gathered once more in the warmth before venturing out onto frigid Howe Street.
Joining them on the march were Yale Alderwoman Sarah Eidelson (at left), who chairs the legislative committee responsibility for crafting a new citywide youth program; and East Rock Alderman Justin Elicker (at right), who’s running for mayor.
Cops in five cruisers escorted the marchers up Howe as they chanted “This is what democracy looks like!”
They demonstrators marched into the midst of stopped Whalley traffic, where, at 5:45 p.m., they passed Popeye’s ...
... and shifted onto the sidewalk in front of D’s Barber Shop. D stood outside watching the procession pass. He said he was glad someone’s marching for jobs; thanks to unemployment, he said, his customers are waiting longer between haircuts.
The marchers coursed through stopped traffic once again to turn left onto Orchard, left onto Elm, then right onto Kensington ...
Then her father, the Rev. Scott Marks, took the megaphone. He spoke about the mass murder of schoolchildren that occurred in Newtown two months ago. And he spoke about the violence that takes place daily in cities like New Haven.
“The stars, the athletes came out of the woodwork to support Newtown. We support them too. We also want support for people who fight for their communities every day. There has to be justice” there, as well, Marks declared.
To create jobs and reduce violence, we need to begin by getting the powers that be (the Unions and the City) to put neighborhoods first, all other considerations second. So far, neither Marks, nor the Board of Aldermen (CCNE), nor City Hall have done this.
We can begin by asking, for example, what percentage of City/Yale Union jobs are held by suburban residents? When residents of areas like Newhallville do get those good City/Yale Union jobs (if they even get them at all), how long do they continue to live there?
If people move out as soon as they get a decent job, that doesn’t help our neighborhoods much, and may just make violence worse.
As it is now, we are levying ever-higher taxes (rents) on a mostly non-unionized City population that has declining incomes. About half these families are now Latino.
We are doing this in order to pay for the (relatively) enormous salaries, pensions and benefits of Union/CCNE members who live in places like Westbrook and Hamden. We are giving the Police and Fire Unions a raise, even as the typical incomes have fallen by 20% or more.
If our focus were on City neighborhoods first and Unions second, crime would be rare and good jobs in the inner city would be plentiful. Politicians like DeStefano and Perez have miserably failed to do this. Under their watch, neighborhoods like Tramire’s have seen more and more gunshots and fewer and fewer jobs each year, as we funnel our local money out of town in ever-increasing proportions.
posted by: nokoolaid on February 19, 2013 8:05am
Read this article you will see what is really happening in New Haven
SOME people need good jobs. Families, single-parents, etc. They need good jobs. Let’s stop pretending that good jobs for ALL is a panacea. I’m a young person with no dependents. I left a really good job (Local 34), because I did’t need it. I didn’t need that kind of money. I didn’t need the benefits. I imagined how my parents and grandparents lived. I’m young, I’m healthy, and I’m creative. Now, there’s a lot more time I can contribute to my community, since I’m not working 40hrs/week for the city’s largest “non-profit” academic institution. Why would I want to encourage a young person to accept a good job, and settle in for the long ride (like so many of my former co-workers waiting for retirement) when they could contribute so much more by organizing themselves and following their own dreams, not to mention have a much more fulfilling life.
Let’s be clear, Yale and other large companies actually want you to have a good job too. They know that good employees help them to be successful. They’re not opposing this march. But, if one were suddenly to say that we don’t need Yale or other large companies, that we could create a thriving economy with our own people, that we could grow our own food, make our own sundry items, teach our own children, where a good job means working ~15 hours/week, mostly for yourself… if you said that then you might actually be opposed by your bosses (Yale).
But right now, no one is really paying attention, because at the end of the day a “good job” probably still means you’re working for someone else, most likely doing something that’s not contributing very much to the place where you live. To me, a good job should mean that you go home at the end of the workday and know that you did something good for the place where you live. Its not really about what kind of benefits or assurances your employer makes. If that’s all it takes, then these Yale employees wouldn’t be so full of angst. They want something more than good jobs, they want a thriving community of happy families and a robust local economy full of resident small business owners and independent craftsmen. My point is that, relying on large companies for support will make these goals impossible to achieve.ranoutofspace
posted by: win win on February 19, 2013 12:52pm
Proud to live in a city where youth are willing to stand up for a better future for themselves and their communities! I’m reminded of the children’s march during the civil rights movement. Well that movement isn’t over yet. It’s not history. We’re still fighting for equality. Look at CT. Some of the worst inequality in the country…nay, the world. We can’t be passive and sit back. We can’t accept the violence it wreaks on our inner city communities. Thank you to these youth for leading the way!
@HewHaven - your privilege is showing. Spoken like someone who hasn’t had to worry about getting a job or supporting their family on two or three low-wage jobs.
And actually we DO have to fight Yale and other large companies to get good jobs with benefits (or even to get HIRED into those jobs in the first place if you’re brown). It was your former union, in fact, that turned Yale jobs into good jobs. Too bad you didn’t get involved in Local 34 long enough to learn that history and to continue fighting to make Yale jobs accessible to New Haven residents.
posted by: HewNaven on February 19, 2013 1:39pm
I’m not a daughter of privilege, I assure you. Regardless, even a stalwart like yourself could understand why this is confusing for an average citizen:
Are these Yale Union leaders standing up for locals and fighting big companies, or are they relying on big companies like Yale for their subsistence and the well-being of their families? Those two scenarios seem dichotomous, and yet that is what you’re telling me. Why is it so hard to see that there are an infinite number of alternatives to arrange ourselves? Why is it good jobs or bust? Aren’t there other ways to organize our community that might lead to prosperity, without having to give away our labor and creativity to a large companies whose missions are largely focused outward, well beyond the borders of New Haven?