Hundreds March For Accountability

MOLLY MONTGOMERY PHOTOUnder a sign that read “Fighting For Our Future,” three local boys belted out “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” before a crowd of about 400 people who marched for accountability in downtown New Haven Wednesday evening — accountability on jobs from the city’s largest employer, and Election Day accountability from their neighbors. While Avion Downes and Shawn Sufra, fellow members of the anti-violence youth group Ice the Beef, backed him up, Javion Hines sang:

The road is long
with many a winding turn
that leads to who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong ...

The crowd in front of them, composed of students, retirees, activists, and union and community members, marched from Yale’s Cross Campus to New Haven Works at 205 Whitney Ave. with a double message: Yale should make good on a 2015 promise to hire 1,000 New Haven residents by April 1, 2019. And fellow citizens should make good with their votes on Nov. 6. Yale UNITE HERE Locals 34 & 35 organized the rally along with their affiliated political activism group, New Haven Rising.

“Jobs bring hope,” said Ernest Pagan (second from the left in photo), as he stood with the fellow members of Local 326, the carpenters’ union, on Yale’s Cross Campus. “Ned Lamont should get elected, and hopefully he’ll do the right thing by the working people.”

To support the local workers as they called on Yale to fulfill its agreement, Yale students gathered, too.

“I’m here because I think it’s important that Yale students show up to support this jobs campaign,” said Yale undergraduate Gabriel Groz, at right in photo, beside Yale undergraduate Mojique Tyler. “There’s a jobs crisis in New Haven, and Yale has the resources to hire from New Haven and continues to waver on its commitments. This is about the community holding Yale accountable to its promise.” Yale is facing an April deadline to complete a signed 2015 promise to hire 1,000 city residents, 500 of them from low-income neighborhoods.

Around 5:45 the crowd followed a line of local and state politicians, including New Haven State Rep. Toni Walker, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont, Democratic attorney general candidate William Tong, and Reverend Scott Marks, holding each other’s arms.

The hundreds marched down College Street, chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets! Whose jobs? Our jobs!” to the drums of the Elite Drill Squad and Drum Corps. Along the way to Whitney, they paused to hear Azaria McClure, a member of Local 34’s executive board, speak.

“As a Local 34 member and a New Haven resident, I know that our contract and the jobs agreement are just words on paper,” McClure said. “But I also know that we have the power to hold Yale’s feet to the fire.”

A few steps later, Teanu Reid, a Yale graduate-student teacher and member of Local 33 spoke: “As a member of the Equal Rights and Access Committee (of Local 33), we’ve been looking into the numbers on gender and race here at Yale, and what we’ve found is disturbing,” she said. “Of the 2900 students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, I am one of 54 black women here, a little less than 2 percent of the population. In addition to the failing to address issues of diversity here on campus, Yale has also failed to provide the jobs it promised to the New Haven community. We are not here today asking Yale for anything unreasonable or unexpected.”

Listeners cheered and shouted, “What do we want? More jobs! When do we want them? Now!”

When they arrived at New Haven Works, the job-placement organization Yale’s unions helped create jobs with the city and the business community, the crowd heard about voting from U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who is running for reelection. A big turnout in New Haven helped him win his first term six years ago.

“This election in two weeks, first and foremost, is a moral reckoning for America – that we are better together, the strength in our diversity, that we are neighbors, that we are brothers and sisters. And we’ve got some work to do. We’ve got some work to do,” Murphy said.

“The ticket price of being an American is understanding when your country, when your democracy, is under siege. Don’t assume that this democratic experiment, that’s been around for 240 years, is around for another two hundred and forty. Don’t assume that if we don’t stand up right now, that our way of life will be there for your kids and your grandkids. This next two weeks is a decision moment for the nation. And your ticket price as an American is recognizing that that moment is here, and doing everything within your power to make sure that we are still in this together for the next 240 years.”

Then, the song.

Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on October 25, 2018  8:08am

This election in two weeks, first and foremost, is a moral reckoning for America – that we are better together, the strength in our diversity, that we are neighbors, that we are brothers and sisters. And we’ve got some work to do. We’ve got some work to do,” Murphy said.

Malcolm X - The Ballot or the Bullet - April 4, 1964

posted by: wendy1 on October 25, 2018  8:43am

For years “NEW HAVEN WORKS” (socalled job pipeline) has not worked.  Years ago their boss quit (probably in disgust) and their PR pamphlet which I read was sad (after 3 years only 300 jobs and at least half temp jobs).  I was an early volunteer at Whitney Ave. when they were just setting up and I was dismayed openly.  Mary Reynolds, the boss, left a year or so after I did.

Yale is greedy and Yale lies.  The handful of one percenters who run the schools/hospital, etc. do NOT give a damn and that is why I call out the very weak unions there to STRIKE for days.  Hurt Yale where it counts, their pocketbook.  The city gov., another weak bunch, should withold services of all kinds concurrently.  Lamont and other dem pols could also demand taxes from Yale and punish Yale in various ways.  Remember 1 billion is 1000 millions and they cling to 30 Billion and brag about it.

Yale must raise wages, hire more help, offer pensions, stop requiring slave labor from scholarship students, and do much more like tackle local health and homeless issues FOR REAL.  Even their doctors and nurses and professors are underpaid let alone their cops.  Their “diversity” program is a sham and an insult to black employees.  Instead of their fancy ads and publications, they could actually do something with their dough like I did with mine, HELP PEOPLE….

Since they dont seem to mind occupying the middle of a poor black city with a multitude of homeless and a lousy school system,  it will take something big like a city strike to move them in the right direction.  They cant move and even if they buy streets, put up fences and cameras, and hire more poorly paid “security”, we can win a change and maybe save the city financially.  I also recommend a new mayor ASAP who wont kiss their a**.

posted by: robn on October 25, 2018  11:16am

UNITE has been raping NHV for the past 6 years. Throw them out.

posted by: 1644 on October 25, 2018  12:50pm

If the unions really cared about this issue they could negotiate a residency requirement into their contracts.  Frankly, Yale would benefit a lot if more of its workers lived in New Haven.  I believe that’s one reason Yale has its homeownership program.  Having its workforce in New Haven means more stable neighborhoods near the campus, and workers more easily able to make it to work in poor weather. (The same, of course, applies to non-union faculty and staff.)

posted by: Howudoin on October 27, 2018  2:00pm

I wonder why all of these so called pro-worker politicians are nowhere to be found when in the very city they are marching in, has a police department with no contract for 2 1/2 years now!!!
I’m not sure what the actual agenda is here. Is it for the worker? If it is i think these cops need a voice.
The 4th most dangerous city in America, 100 cops short, no contract. Hmmmm , and yet services continue. Seems to me that Murphy, Harp, Lamont and all of these other people aren’t really here to support, but to only adhere to their own agenda.
That is why i have switched to RED this election. You give me no other choice.
Imagine CT with a Rep Governor. It might actually happen. And it’s all thNks to these politicians who can’t get out of their own way. SMH