Block party makes for great neighborhood outreach

BY:Joelle Fishman| August 27, 2015
Block party makes for great neighborhood outreach

NEW HAVEN: The Winchester Newhall Club of the Communist Party got a great reception during the annual Newhall St. block party. Decorated with a “Jobs Not Jails” banner and copies of Black Lives Matter by Jarvis Tyner, the neighborhood club table featured a petition calling on members of the Connecticut Congressional Delegation to co-sponsor the Employ Young Americans Now Act. The Act would create 1 million summer and year round jobs with priority for low-income youth in Black and Latino communities. Everyone was eager to sign.

Those who approached the table were also invited to sign up for more information about the Winchester Newhall Club of the Communist Party in their neighborhood. Some in attendance were from states across the south who had come up to visit with their families at the time of the party. Altogether a dozen neighborhood residents said they would like to come to a meeting and check it out. After signing up, each person was sent an e-mail on the spot with further information, as an initial follow-up contact.

The modest project was a good success in several ways. A new member took the lead to create the table, speak to people, and send the follow-up messages. The presence of the neighborhood club sparked interest and good conversation. New friends were made and there are new opportunities for the club to help make sure residents have a voice in the community. And most especially, it was a great way to celebrate the birthday of the club chair by building up this organization with its accomplishments.

Started in the 1970s with members who worked at the Winchester factory and lived in the surrounding largely African American Dixwell-Newhallville neighborhood, the club was an asset to IAM 609 in the fight for worker’s rights. After the factory closed, the club turned its attention to re-building in the neighborhood. It is now part of a big coalition effort for jobs and to re-elect a union member from the neighborhood to the Board of Alders (city council).




    Joelle Fishman chairs the Connecticut Communist Party USA. She is a Commissioner on the City of New Haven Peace Commission, serves on the executive board of the Alliance of Retired Americans in Connecticut and is an active member of many economic rights and social justice organizations. She was a candidate for Congress from 1973 to 1982, maintaining minor-party ballot status for the Communist Party in Connecticut's Third Congressional District. As chair of the CPUSA Political Action Commission, she has played an active role in the broad labor and people's alliance that defeated the ultra-right in the 2008 elections and continues to mobilize for health care, worker rights and peace.



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