Domestic Violence Laws NEEDED To Protect Women Before Death

A CALL TO MEN–along with others — are working to create a world where all men and boys are loving and respectful and all women and girls are valued and safe.

National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

Greater New Haven and Statewide DVS Hotline 888-774-2900 – 24 hr/7 days – Hotline

Domestic Violence is about more than physical violence; many women and girls suffer psychological, emotional, financial/socioeconomic violence daily. Most often men are the perpetuators of the violence and they are not being held accountable. In fact, many women accept these forms of abuse as being “just the way things are’ for women; it is what they have experienced or witnessed all of their lives. However, men and boys are also victims of domestic violence; we need to be aware of wherever such violence is happening and do whatever is possible to help those involved.

In Part 1 of OneWorld’s “Preventing Violence Against Women” Tony Porter, Josiah Brown, Katurah Bryant and Waldemar Garcia added to our knowledge and awareness of the ways in which domestic violence manifests. Tony pointed out that the silence of so-called ‘good men’ functions as a form of collusion with those who batter, and that these ‘good men’ need to step-up to prevent violence against women. Let’s teach our boys and girls that violence against each other diminishes everyone. In our first program we also heard from two young men – Michael Howard and Gracia, Jr; the video is linked towards the end of this blog. 

“A CALL TO MEN is a leading national violence prevention organization providing training and education for men, boys and communities. We believe that preventing domestic violence and sexual assault is ultimately the responsibility of men. Although historically it has been almost entirely women who have been at the forefront addressing this issue, we think it is essential that men play a primary role in the solution.

 A CALL TO MEN partners with schools, universities, corporations, government, social service agencies and communities to end all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls. The aim is to shift social norms that negatively impact our culture and promote a more loving, healthy and respectful manhood that values women and girls, thereby creating a better world for our daughters, our sons, our sisters, our mothers and ultimately ourselves.” (From A Call-to-Men document.)

“The Affordable Care Act identifies domestic violence screening as a national health priority, alongside smoking cessation, exercise, nutrition, substance abuse reduction and the provision of mental health services.” Everyone has a role in addressing this issue. Forbes Magazine Dec. 5, 2013.  This is not yet happening. Not enough health care providers understand the insidious nature of demestic violence.  Primary Care providers need to be better taught; the same is true for police departments.

Women suffering from domestic violence will often not tell police unless they feel that the police will be willing to help them to be safe.  So often the protection plans and the court orders are too late in coming, and too late in place. This was the case for Lori Jackson Gellatly. We hope that the loop-hole Senator Blumenthal is proposing to close will save the lives of many other women in CT.  Here is an excerpt from July 31, 2014 New Haven Independent:

“Also on Tuesday (7/29/2014), U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy introduced a bill they said would give states incentives to keep guns out of the hands of those who perpetrate domestic violence.

The move comes a month after Blumenthal introduced the “Lori Jackson Domestic Violence Survivor Protection Act.”

The proposal seeks to remove what Blumenthal calls a loophole that allows those accused of domestic violence to possess firearms even after a judge has granted a temporary restraining order. Lori Gellatly had obtained such a temporary order against her husband.”  http://valley.newhavenindependent.org/archives/entry/As_Oxford_Murder_Case_Proceeds_Advocates_Call_For_Change/

We need a comprehensive review of the laws as they exist and a thoughtful and sensible retooling of our laws that will put better protections in place and take away the rights and privileges (such as gun ownership, and enforce electronic monitoring) of those who have been violent against women and children as well as those who threaten violence against loved ones. A full month after Gellatly battered his wife he still had his guns! He used them to gun her down while a restraining order wind it way through our timely the legal system.

The tragic case of Tracey Thurman comes to mind.  She was attacked by her husband with a knife as the Torrington police watched and did nothing to stop it. It wasn’t until after Tracey was loaded in an ambulance that police finally apprehended her husband. That was shocking.  Things have changed somewhat, but not enough. Each time it is only after a tragedy that our laws are tweeked.  Ms. Thurman won a $2.3 million verdict against the police, but she is scared for life.  More needs to be done; domestic violence laws need to be revamped so that women and children are protected before they are injured. Read more about Ms. Thurman’s case here:  Thurman v. City of Torrington – Wikipedia, the free  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurman_v._City_of_Torrington  

OneWorld is proud to say that Tony Porter joined OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc and some local residents a few years ago to record two powerfully informative programs about Stopping Domestic Violence Against Women. You can see those programs linked below:

 A CALL TO MEN, Co-founder – Tony Porter presents at TED Women in Washington DC.

He shares a powerful message about manhood and the role of men (as a collective) in preventing domestic and sexual violence.  At TEDWomen, Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don’t “act like a man.” Tony tells viewers how to recognize and avoid the “MAN BOX”

Please watch and listen for 11 mins as Tony shares a powerful experience in the “Man Box.”

Please share this TED Talk with your teens. Don’t be a well-meaning good man by keeping silent about Domestic Violence.  See URL:

http://www.ted.com/talks.tony_porter_a_call_to_men.html Break free of the “Man Box.” 

 10 Effective Strategies to END Domestic Violence – Part 1 http://youtu.be/_1QjqODOkcY with Tony Porter, Katurah Bryant, Waldemar Gracia and Josiah Brown.

“Domestic Violence Accounts for 1 in 3 Murders of Women.” Part 2 of OneWorld’s – Men Against Domestic Violence Education Program

http://youtu.be/ZnHUsGGIqoI- Tony Porter, Josiah Brown, Sandra Koorejian and Waldemar Gracia share information and perspectives about Domestic Violence. This program includes Public Service Announcements (PSAs) with Katurah Bryant, Michael Howard, Waldemar Gracia, Jr., N’Zinga Shani, Tony Porter, Josiah Brown and Waldemar Gracia, Sr.

http://youtu.be/AhpjpJKvlY0 In Part 2  (seg 3) of the OneWorld series is: “Domestic Violence Is About Male Domination.” 

Visit OneWorld on YouTube to see some of our other informative programs: http://www.youtube.com/user/oneworldpi/videos – OneWorld’s YouTube

According to a Dec. 5, 2013 article in Forbes Magazine Domestic Violence: The Secret Killer That Costs $8.3 Billion Annually.”

A woman comes to the doctor with depression, fatigue and insomnia. A co-worker stays late in the office even when there is not much to do. A sales associate appears tired and distracted.

For each of these individuals, domestic violence – physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or psychological abuse against an intimate partner – could be the underlying cause of distress. Most of us say – it is none of my business. However, the statistics are staggering; “according to police records, almost 1 in 3 female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner.” Addressing domestic violence starts with raising awareness.  Read much more in the Forbes Magazine article linked below.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertpearl/2013/12/05/domestic-violence-the-secret-killer-that-costs-8-3-billion-annually/

Some National Domestic Violence Statistics: (These stats might have been obtained at different times to those in Forbes Magazine, but they are close.)

  • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.

  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.

  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.

  • Right here in Connecticut Domestic Violence accounts for the death of 14 women annually Here is another: As Oxford Murder Case Proceeds, Advocates Call For Change – by Ethan Fry | Jul 30, 2014. “Lori Gellatly walked into the Oxford Resident State Trooper’s Office April 2, 2014 to report that her husband had assaulted her the day before. She told the police she would be safe at her parents’ home. Instead of being safe Lori and her mother were murdered by her estranged husband in that very home less than a month later. Her 18 month-old twins now have neither a mother nor grandmother and her murderuos husband pleads not guilty. http://valley.newhavenindependent.org/archives/entry/As_Oxford_Murder_Case_Proceeds_Advocates_Call_For_Change/

  • Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.

  • Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.

       http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/

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Medical Homes: Important Economic and Well-being Issue In CT

“Medical Homes” In Connecticut Improve Quality, Lower Costs, But Challenges Remain
July 16, 2014 – By Ct Health I Team

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc commends Magaly Olivero and the CT Health I Team for this very informative article. We understand that the hectic pace we live it is difficult to pay attention to information that does not immediately or directly affect our individual lives. However, when it comes to health care we are ALL inter-connected at some point. The concept of “Medical Homes” is an important economic and well-being issue for all. Some insurance companies are already trying to remove some of the benefits of the ACA by asking for unreasonable rate increases. We need “Medical Homes” to reduce the negative power of the insurance companies. We the people need to be informed and empowered about our health.
We encourage you to read the entire article linked below. Information CAN BE Powerful!

“Medical homes refer to a way of delivering primary care that helps people stay healthy by managing chronic conditions and keeping up with preventive care. In a medical home, a team of healthcare providers works closely with patients to coordinate every aspect of care.”
“The use of nationally certified medical homes to coordinate the care of Connecticut’s Medicaid patients has led to improved quality, a 2 percent cut in per person costs, and a 32 percent increase in the number of participating providers during an 18-month period.

The news comes as the state moves forward with plans to jumpstart the medical home movement in Connecticut with an expanded “Glide Path” program that would assist all practices – not just those that accept Medicaid patients – working to become medical homes. The program, still under development, would require practices to meet national standards.

“The state initiative has shed light on the challenges facing Connecticut’s medical homes, including the costs of implementing an electronic medical record and care coordination strategies. Experts say medical homes can improve quality, cut costs and reduce health inequities among all patients, not only those in the state’s Medicaid program.”

Medical homes refer to a way of delivering primary care that helps people stay healthy by managing chronic conditions and keeping up with preventive care. In a medical home, a team of healthcare providers works closely with patients to coordinate every aspect of care. Providers use electronic tools to remind patients about screenings and track patient outcomes. Some insurers offer certified medical homes financial incentives for meeting quality and other criteria.

A total of 833 clinicians in 222 practices in Connecticut have been certified as patient-centered medical homes by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), the nation’s largest credentialing organization. A total of 131 Connecticut practices have purchased the NCQA survey tool in 2014 so far, twice as many as in all of 2013. “That’s a strong indication that many practices are getting ready to apply for recognition,” said Apoorva Stull, a NCQA spokeswoman.

Connecticut was the first in the nation to adopt the medical home model for Medicaid, the state’s health coverage program for the poor.

OneWorld Progressive Institute’s Main Goals Are to:

1. Promote overall good health and reduce disparities in health care outcomes by promoting health literacy, working to improve access, and encouraging proactive behaviors. We do these through our “21st Century Conversations” television programs and community health forums. We maintain our own YouTube channel where visitors can find full-length television programs and essential program clips.  Here are two examples:

a. Many more boys than girls are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Learn more about ASD services available in Greater New Haven: http://youtu.be/LOGKJYr6Ty0 (clip)

b. Gynecologic Cancers with Yale Physicians and community residents asking questions: http://youtu.be/TCJ-gcGY0L4  (full program)

2. Improve education at every level. We use our Education Agenda TV programs, middle school oratory competitions and teen forums. Examples:

a. Teen’s social media plea wins speech contest. Oratory Winner 2014 

b. Are we living in a Post-Racial America – A Critical-Thinking Teen Forum: http://youtu.be/iw0LVaS8c-c

3. Strengthen Families and Communities by focusing on the positive ways we can all work to make a positive difference. We produce Civic Engagement programs that inform, engage and empower community members to make positive impact in their communities. Visit our web at www.oneworldpi.org

4. We accomplish our goals through a variety of community-based activities including: the production of informative public access television programs and community forums. We publish informative blogs and present a broad cross-section of information from reliable and informed sources.

5. Our programs air statewide on AT&T Uverse (channel 99 drop-down menu) listed by towns, and on Charter Community Visions Channel 21, and on Cox Channel 15 and Comcast Channels 10, 15, 18, and 26.  You may also ask your local public access station to carry OneWorld programs on your education or regular access channel.

OneWorld sponsor’s a middle school oratory competition and we host critical-thinking forums with high school students. We welcome tax-deductible donations and technical assistance.

6. We invite you to visit our YouTube channel at:  https://www.youtube.com/user/oneworldpi

a. Like our page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/OneWorld-Progressive-Institute-Inc/

b. Follow us on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/oneworldpi

c.  Please read our blogs and check our Facebook page for daily postings.

This is the link to the complete article about “Medical Homes.” http://ctwatchdog.com/health/medical-homes-in-connecticut-improve-quality-lower-costs-but-challenges-remain?

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There are Scientific Benefits to Meditation and Prayer

This blog about the scientific benefits of Prayer and Meditation has nothing to do with religion; it is all about physiology, about Health and Well-being. Many people mistakenly believe that prayer and meditation are associated with religious activities. Of course, they can be and sometimes are; however, meditation and prayer are not the exclusive provinces of religion.   Many people who have no religious affiliation are devoted to meditation and prayer on a daily basis. There are several reputable scientific studies that provide solid information about the physical and psychological health benefits of meditation and prayer. In this blog are some of what the scientific experts have to say on the topic. Since OneWorld focuses on health and well-being, we think it is beneficial to provide you (our readers) with this information.

 “When you meditate or pray, the activity of your brain moves from the right frontal cortex (where stress lives) to the calm left frontal cortex. The resultant feeling of relaxation slows down your breathing. When you breathe 6 breaths a minute, your breath becomes aligned with rhythms in the heart, and this is good for cardiovascular health.

Some mental benefits include greater creativity, decreased anxiety and depression, improved learning and memory, and increased happiness and emotional stability.” http://www.seniorlifestyle.com/surprising-benefits-meditation-prayer/

The article below lists several studies conducted by various health and scientific organizations that highlight the many benefits of meditation and prayer that have nothing to do with religious practices.   We invite you to read an article published in the Huffington Post titled: “Why People Who Pray Are Healthier Than Those Who Don’t” – Richard Schiffman

If you want to achieve maximum health, here are a few things that you should do: exercise regularly, eat nutritious and minimally processed foods, drop those extra pounds — and pray. That’s right, regular prayer and meditation has been shown in numerous scientific studies to be an important factor in living longer and staying healthy.

Prayer is the most widespread alternative therapy in America today. Over 85 percent of people confronting a major illness pray, according to a University of Rochester study. That is far higher than taking herbs or pursuing other nontraditional healing modalities. And increasingly the evidence is that prayer works.

“It doesn’t matter if you pray for yourself or for others, pray to heal an illness or for peace in the world, or simply sit in silence and quiet the mind — the effects appear to be the same. A wide variety of spiritual practices have been shown to help alleviate the stress levels, which are one of the major risk factors for disease. They also are powerful ways to maintain a positive outlook and successfully weather the trials which come to all of us in life.”

The relationship between prayer and health has been the subject of scores of double-blind studies over the past four decades. Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiovascular specialist at Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in the field of mind/ body medicine discovered what he calls “the relaxation response,” which occurs during periods of prayer and meditation. At such times, the body’s metabolism decreases, the heart rate slows, blood pressure goes down, and our breath becomes calmer and more regular.

This physiological state is correlated with slower brain waves, and feelings of control, tranquil alertness and peace of mind. This is significant because Benson estimates that over half of all doctor visits in the U.S. today are prompted by illnesses, like depression, high blood pressure, ulcers and migraine headaches that are caused at least in part by elevated levels of stress and anxiety.

“Dr. Andrew Newberg, director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study of Tibetan Buddhists in meditation and Franciscan nuns in prayer which showed comparable decreased activity in the parts of the brain that are associated with sense of self and spatial orientation in both groups. He also found that prayer and meditation increase levels of dopamine, which is associated with states of well being and joy.”

“A recent survey reported in the Journal of Gerontology of 4,000 senior citizens in Durham, NC, found that people who prayed or meditated coped better with illness and lived longer than those who did not.

But the question remains: By what physiological mechanisms does prayer impact our health? Herbert Benson’s most recent research suggests that long term daily spiritual practices help to deactivate genes that trigger inflammation and prompt cell death. That the mind can effect the expression of our genes is exciting evidence for how prayer may influence the functioning of the body at the most fundamental level.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-schiffman/why-people-who-pray-are-heathier_b_1197313.html

We offer the following links to get more information on this topic and invite you to share this blog with others. OneWorld, Inc also invites you to visit our YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/oneworldpi/videos to see video clips as well as full length videos that represent our three areas of focus: health literacy, education (at-every-level) and civic engagement.

Also, feel free to follow us on Twitter and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/OneWorld-Progressive-Institute-Inc/151551484879941 We appreciate getting facebook “likes.” Our web is at: www.oneworldpi.org/index.html

1. Prayer | Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing  – www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/prayer

2  How does prayer & meditation benefit health? – Impact Of Meditation …  www.sharecare.com/…meditation…/prayer-and-meditation-benefit-health

3. 7 Health Benefits of Meditation – Food Matters - foodmatters.tv/articles-1/7-health-benefits-of-meditation

‎4. Distinctions Between Prayer, Meditation, and Contemplation – by Sri Gary Olsen – http://www.masterpath.org/pdf/DistinctionsBetweenPrayer,Meditation,andContemplation.pdf

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OneWorld Honors Dolores Huerta – 50 Years An Activist Leader

Dolores Huerta Is A Civil Rights Activist And Labor Leader. She has been a giant in the fight against economic inequality, racism and patriarchy for more than 50 years.  She turned 84 years old in 2014, and she is still fighting for justice for women and for civil rights.

Ms Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta was born in 1930 in New Mexico. Throughout her adult life she has fought for equality for women, against discrimination and exploitation of farm workers, and for equity for Latinos/Latinas across America. Her record of struggle is legendary.

“Dolores encountered much racism growing up. In school she remembers a teacher accusing her of stealing another student’s work because of her ethnicity and giving her an unfair grade. On the way to a party celebrating the end of World War II she found her brother badly beaten because of the zoot-suit he was wearing, which was a popular fashion for Latinos at the time.”
Sadly, in 2014, Latinos, Blacks and many Native Americans still encounter discrimination based on racism and negative stereotypical attitudes. While much has changed in America, much remains the same and is extremely detrimental to people of color, particularly to black and brown children. Many African American and Hispanic students are still accused of cheating (especially at the college level) in 2014. Since the election of  Barack Obama as president things seem to have gotten worse; the racists have been raising their bigoted heads.

It is difficult to evaluate the full long-term, psychological impact of this type of discrimination; it takes a toll on everyone, including on those who are the perpetrator of the venomous acts.

Along with Cesar Chavez, in 1962, Ms. Huerta was the co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA). This was the predecessor to the United Farm Workers Union (UWF), formed in 1965. Dolores Huerta served as Vice President of the UWF until 1999. Interestingly, most of us have heard of Cesar Chavez but much less about Ms. Huerta, although she was equally effective in that struggle; today she continues to fight for the rights of farm workers, women and for civil rights and economic justice for people of color. The term used by President Obama – “Yes We Can” is translated “Si Se Puede”. This phrase was coined by Dolores Huerta decades ago; the President acknowledges that he had her permission to use it.

“Dolores’s fearless lobbying over the years has been instrumental in countless gains for immigrants and farm workers.

  • In 1961 she succeeded in obtaining the citizenship requirements removed from pension and public assistance programs.

  • In 1962, she was instrumental in the passage of legislation allowing voters the right to vote in Spanish, and the right of individuals to take the drivers license examination in their native language;

  • In 1963, she helped secure Aid for Dependent Families (“AFDC”) for the unemployed and underemployed, disability insurance for farm workers in the State of California, and unemployment benefits for farm workers.

  • Under her direction, the 1973 east coast boycott of grapes, lettuce and Gallo wines resulted in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, the first law of its kind in the U.S., which granted farm workers the right to collectively organize and bargain for better wages and working conditions.

  • In the late 70’s Dolores spearheaded legislation granting amnesty for farm workers that had lived, worked and paid taxes in the U.S. for many years but were unable to enjoy the privileges of citizenship. These efforts ultimately resulted in the Immigration Act of 1985 which allowed most illegal aliens who have resided in the U.S. continuously since at least January 1, 1982, to apply for legal status.”

How can someone who has made such significant contributions be so hidden from today’s generations? Hidden from America’s activist history? Patriarchy is one answer; the other is that the mainstream media decides who is honored and who is maligned or ignored. Those of us who use alternative media can be more vigilant in showcasing people such as Ms. Huerta. She marched with Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and Robert Kennedy. She is still fighting for economic equality. Dolores Huerta is still contributing and making a POSITIVE difference to our world. Please visit the various links below to learn much more about this incredible American citizen, Latina and fighter for justice. Please tell your children (particularly your daughters) about this dynamic, smart, strong and committed public servant; tell them what she has accomplished; tell them about her sacrifices to make the lives of others better.  Tell them that in 2014 she continues to be a dynamic, smart, strong and committed public servant who is MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the lives of millions in America. She marched with Chavez, King and Kennedy. SHE CONTINUES TO MARCH AND SHE CONTINUES TO FIGHT.

Ms. Huerta is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom among many other awards.

See a short video about Ms. Huerta here: http://www.makers.com/dolores-huerta
Get more details here: http://www1.cuny.edu/portal_ur/content/womens_leadership/dolores_huerta.html

Read her biography here: http://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/dolores-fernandez-huerta/
Change-Maker in Women’s History: Dolores Huerta – https://www.dosomething.org/blog/chatterbox/change-maker-womens-history-dolores-huerta#

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Mayor Harp’s Residence Should Be Off Limit to Protesters

That Is the Purpose of City Hall- Protest There!

A comprehensive story about this same shelter was published in 2009; there were 11 comments and NO ONE Showed up at Mayor DeStefano’s House. Why is Mayor Harp Being treated differently? What are legitimate concerns versus political theater? What is the “real agenda” here? What have those who are concerned about the conditions of the shelters done since June 2009 (five years) when the story below was published? Why didn’t Shelter advocates hold Mayor DeStefano to his promises for the five years between 2009 and 2013 before he left office? This article was written in 2009 “Shelter Struggles To Weather The Storm.

This blog is NOT saying that Mayor Harp should not be held accountable  for issues in the City.  The City of New Haven has some specific responsibilities to its citizens. Every Mayor should be held accountable for fulfilling those responsibilities. There also needs to be a realistic understanding of what it takes to fulfill those responsibilities. Every citizen has civic responsibilities; those who are beneficiaries of the City’s largesse also have responsibilities and they need to fulfill them. What is the “real agenda” here? How can people of good conscience take sides when there is clearly a political rather than a humane agenda? Humane living conditions should be a concern for all caring human beings, but are “humane concerns being used here as a smoke screen for those with ulterior motives or a sinister political agenda?

Is it easier for caring citizens to be effective advocates if they can be confident that they are not being used by those behind the scenes.  Honest, civically engaged people do not want to be used a puppets.

Why is Mayor Harp being treated so differently than her predecessor? What is behind the smoke screen? Please read the NHI article linked below that was published in 2009, almost five years to the date.

Shelter Struggles To Weather The Storm   – By Paul Bass | Jun 26, 2009 1:35 pm – (11) Comments

“The 75-bed shelter has been struggling to respond to twin pressures from the recession: more homeless people needing shelter, and less government money to serve them.

That has resulted in some complaints about physical conditions and services at the Grand Avenue facility. When it rained, it rained right on the people sleeping. Other complaints focused on unsanitary kitchen and mattresses, crimes occurring at or near the facility, and lack of promised help from social workers — complaints that have been made at times about other homeless shelters, too.”  http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/shelter_struggles_to_weather_the_storm/

Homeless Man Knocks On Mayor’s Door -   By Ike Swetlitz | Jun 20, 2014 12:04 pm – (33) Comments

After a city homeless shelter evicted him Thursday night, Flor Rico Jones traveled to Westville to knock on Mayor Toni Harp’s front door. He had company.

The Grand Avenue shelter‘s staff evicted Jones (pictured at left), who is 51 and has been homeless for 10 years, earlier that evening after, he said, he took photos of the facilities. He said staff gave him no reason for the eviction. (A shelter staffer declined comment Thursday night.)

“They told me I can’t come back forever,” Jones said.

In their latest conflict with the city over homeless issues, members of the Amistad Catholic Worker House showed up outside the shelter to rally on Jones’ behalf and to call for improvements; then four of them accompanied Jones on the ride across town to Harp’s house.

 Interestingly, most public toilets –even in outstanding facilities—don’t have covers; there is a practical reason for that.

 “Jones, Williams and Catholic Worker House member Alan Elbaum said the May 22 meeting ended with three promises from Harp.

  • (This “protest” took place 28 days after this meeting)

  • To increase the capacity of the shelter on Grand Avenue to 90 beds.

  • To have the shelter cleaned up.

  • Eliminate the 90 days in/90 days out policy. This policy states that, after 90 days in a homeless shelter, a person must wait 90 days before re-entering.

  • Harp also agreed to try to find room at the shelter for Jones and another homeless man.

  • Harp said she did call the shelter, and the two men were provided beds.

“The activists said that since then the other man was kicked out after one night, and Jones was evicted Thursday. They also said conditions haven’t improved. The Catholic Worker House started asking people to take photographs of the inside of the shelter for evidence of its conditions. Jones agreed.”

A reasonable question seems to be what else had Mr. Jones and the other man been doing in the facility why they were evicted? There are at least two sides to every story.

One person was evicted from a shelter – it does not say he was hurt or injured in any way – but he called the police! For exactly what reasons? Was he violating shelter rules?

Is there a rule against taking pictures in the facility? What else was he doing?

The fact that five police cars with 10 officers showed up to a site where one resident was being evicted is quite interesting. One has to wonder what else was going on in the City, especially in some of our troubled neighborhoods, and how many police cars and officers were available to address “real crimes” in the community at that time?

Please read the entire New Haven Independent article linked here below. The strategy plan arranged by the advocate representatives is particularly interesting:

 “The person who got Rico in [to the shelter] was Toni Harp,” Williams said. “We know where she is. It is legal for a few of us to stop by and knock on her door.”

Rico and Williams, along with Elbaum, Catholic Worker House member Abigail Emerson, and Catholic Worker House founding member Mark Colville, piled into two cars and headed to Westville, the press in tow. 

Williams laid out the game plan. They would walk up to the door and knock. If Toni Harp was there, they would explain the situation and ask her to remedy it. If she refused, Williams said, the group would engage her in dialogue until they got what they wanted or she called the police.”

The Mayor was at work in Dallas for a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting.

“Harp said she has directed her new community services chief, Martha Okafor, “to look at all the policies” as part of current contract negotiations with homeless providers. She also wants to look at whether enough money is going into the shelters “to keep the facilities going,” Harp said. (NHI) http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/grand_avenue_shelter_eviction/

The similarities of what is happening to President Obama in Washington and Mayor Toni Harp in New Haven are most uncanny and truly discouraging to honest, hard-working, civic-minded citizens.

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