Category Archives: Middletown

In Depth: Wesleyan Refugee Project (Part 2)

Members of the Wesleyan Refugee Project

Libby Salzman-Fiske ’19, Caroline Kravitz ’19, and Sahar Shaikh ’17

Note: The information found in this feature was recorded in early to mid-February. Immigration and refugee policies in the United States are still in flux under the Trump administration, and the exact details regarding immigration laws and their enforcement may have changed since these interviews were conducted.

Since the Wesleyan Refugee Project (WRP) was founded in the Fall 2015, the volunteer organization has been hard at work in their contributions to resettlement programs, legal aid, tutoring services, and fundraising events. We spoke to one of the group’s founders, Casey Smith ’17, last September. Since then, it’s become even more difficult for refugees to enter the United States under Trump’s new immigration policies, and the future for refugee resettlement in the US is uncertain.

This semester, I spoke to several different members of the WRP, all in different leadership positions. I asked each of them how they got involved with WRP, what the group is focusing on this semester, and how other students can volunteer and participate. Read their stories after the jump:

Middletown is Now a Sanctuary City

“This president is wildly overstepping his bounds. This is a pathetic, amateurish move on his part and I’m not going to violate somebody’s constitutional right and put the people of Middletown in jeopardy to follow an illegal order by an illegitimate president.” – Mayor Dan Drew

Aerial of Wesleyan Universitiy campus and Connecticut River at Middletown, CTOn January 25, Donald Trump signed an executive order that targets cities popularly referred to as “sanctuary cities.” This executive order grants the power to designate “sanctuary jurisdictions” to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and states that any city or state with this designation will not be eligible for future federal grant money. Sanctuary cities often have a set of codes and ordinances that commit to non-enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Yesterday, The Middletown Press published an article responding to the new executive order in which Mayor Dan Drew declared Middletown a sanctuary city. This comes after Wesleyan’s declaration of its status as a sanctuary campus last fall. Read more for some choice quotes from Dan Drew about Cheeto-in-Chief:

Yep, Starbucks is opening in Middletown. And it has a drive-thru.

“I’m not basic,” whispered I, a white girl, as I trudged through the snow to take iPhone photos of a Starbucks.

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This banner was almost falling off when we got there, but we fixed it. You’re welcome, Middletown.

As you might have heard from the Argus or the Middletown Press or both, a Starbucks is opening on Washington Street next month. Specifically, it’s opening in the hilariously-named Price Chopper Plaza (edit by kitab 2/2/17: the Plaza is actually the Home Depot/Price Chopper Plaza, inexplicably sometimes just called the Home Depot Plaza, so they definitely make the name up at random), meaning it’s opening in a rectangular block located in the Price Chopper/Home Depot parking lot. Whether you think of the coffee empire as Pumpkin Spice Heaven or “Um, May I Speak To Your Manager?” Hell, this is decidedly a game-changer. No longer will the Dunkin Donuts on Wash be the sole purveyor of mediocre chain coffee in this town. Choose your side.

I decided to check out the new location, because I had no class today and it’s only Week 1 and I had internship apps piling up nothing better to do. (Shoutout to Kat Kaplan ’18 for giving me a ride over). This led to the eerie experience of driving through an empty, snow-covered Starbucks drive-thru and parking next to a sad, sinking banner announcing the location’s opening. See photos after the jump:

How to get to New Haven for $9.75 Using M-Link and Amtrak

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Did you pay $40 for an Uber (ew, Uber) from New Haven to get back to Wes from break? If you did and found yourself wishing for a cheaper alternative, read past the jump for a full guide on how to get from Wes to New Haven for just $9.75. Here’s the tl;dr:

  1. Go to Meriden using M-Link Bus from Wesleyan Campus (William and High) 30 minutes and $1.75.
  2. Take Amtrak from Meriden Station to New Haven 30 minutes and $8. NOTE: Buy tickets beforehand, construction disrupting train schedule until May 2017.
  3. Starting January 2018 new commuter line will connect Meriden and New Haven with high speed trains making this an even better travel hack for Wesleyan students :)

Write-In: This Semester, How Do You Plan To Resist?

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The world is a scary place right now, but one thing is for certain: we’re going to need a lot of organizing these next four years, and especially these next few months, while there’s still so much momentum for grassroots movements. National groups such as Planned Parenthood and Democratic Socialists of America have already made their intentions to resist against Trump’s proposed policies clear. And however you may feel towards the Women’s March on Washington and its sister marches, they did encourage millions to take the first step in any sort of activism: showing up.

Here at Wesleying, we’d like to ask: how do you plan to resist, get involved, protest, sit-in, or show up this semester? Your plans can be as menial as making a few calls to representatives, or as grandiose as organizing a large-scale rally. They can be a cohesive schedule or just a rambling brainstorm of causes you’d like to get involved with. We’re especially looking for ways to help right here in Middletown with local groups, but whatever your cause may be, we want to hear from you!

Share your ideas here, or below. Responses may be recorded anonymously, if you so choose, and there’s also a box to check if you’re okay with your responses being published on Wesleying. Depending on how many responses we get, we’re hoping to post a bunch of them throughout the semester, in the hopes of generating discussion of how others can get involved.

Len Suzio: A return to good ‘ol social conservatism

“Suzio’s views on reproductive rights can best be described as condescending with a side of archaic.”

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Last night, the Connecticut state senator for district 13 (which includes Middletown), Len Suzio, hosted a town hall meeting at Russell Library. The unexpectedly large crowd contained over 100 Wesleyan students, expressing deep concern about a “parental notification bill” introduced by Suzio, HB 5566 which would inform the parents of a minor if said minor wished to obtain an abortion. Many concerned Middletown residents were also in attendance, and the meeting had to be moved to a larger space in order to accommodate the audience. Read past the jump for more on what transpired at the town hall and a video of an exchange with the senator.

Help Save Macdonough Elementary School

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On Monday, a change.org petition was created by Waterbury resident, Precious Price, in order to prevent the closure of Macdonough Elementary School. Macdonough Elementary School is a vital part of the Middletown community, and provides education for 240 students in kindergarten to fifth grade. The closure was proposed by the Ad Hoc School Closure Committee in order to resolve budget issues. However, members of the community have expressed their fears that the loss of Macdonough will have a negative impact on local children and families who rely on the close proximity of the school to their homes.

WesUp Presents: ‘Our Night’

wesup-thingJust in time for ~bar night~ is this thing:

WesUp‘s first event “Our Night” will be outside on Wednesday night in Mezzo Grill’s backyard, right off of Washington Street. Expect a beautiful night, accompanied by a tiki bar and a grand stage for performers! There will be plenty of elbow room ;)

The talented and entertaining band The Racquets, who won “The Battle of The Bands” last year are headlining the event with an opening act by DJ Mavrx. This is a 21+ event with a $5 cover charge and there will be a series of Wesleyan inspired drinks including the “Foss Chill” and the “How I Met Your Father”. Of course we remembered the late night food options. Jalapeño Poppers are just a preview!

DJ Mavrx will begin performing at 10pm and The Racquets will start their set at 1145pm.

The Ride has a route that brings you in three minute walking distance to Mezzo. Also, I heard that some people may be unerring there! Otherwise, Mezzo is a ten minute walk from the center of campus. No big deal :)

Follow us on Facebook to check out the Menu for the Weekend and to stay on the pulse of events in the future.

Date: Wednesday, October 19
Time: 10 PM – 1 AM
Place: Mezzo Grille
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Anarchist Histories and Activism

From the American Studies Department:

Come hear Wesleyan students publicly present their research from the American Studies course, Anarchy in America: From Haymarket to Occupy Wall Street, taught by Professor of American Studies J. Kehaulani Kauanui. The course focused on anarchism as a political philosophy and practice—a little known aspect of American culture and society. Students examined select aspects of anarchist political thought and praxis in the United States and the ways that anarchism has been represented positively, vilified, or dismissed. The class included histories, philosophies and theories, and activism; it explored a range of diverse political traditions including individualist anarchism, socialist anarchism, anarcha-feminism, black anarchism, queer anarchism, indigenous influences and critiques, and other schools of thought. Professor Kauanui will moderate the following two panels.

10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Historical Genealogies & Radical Analysis

“Free Love, Motherhood, and Spiritism: Reading Anarchy Through the Writings of Luisa Capetillo,” Iryelis López ’17
“Love as Prefigurative Politics: A Critical Examination of the Revolutionary Potentials of Non-Monogamy,” Sarah Lurie ’17
“Black Feminist Resonances: The Overlaps and Intersections With Anarchist Principles,” Kaiyana Cervera ’19

Noon to 1:30 p.m. Community Resistance and Diverse Forms of Direct Action

“Encrypted But Not Cryptic: An Intro to Crypto Anarchy and Practical Resistance of the Modern Surveillance State,” Kate Pappas ’18
“Threads of Anarchism: A Look at Flint Community Action Amidst a State Crime,” Aura Ochoa ’17
“Power to the People! Energy Democracy and the Socialization of our Energy Infrastructure,” Joshua Nodiff ’19

Date: Saturday, October 1
Time: 10AM-1PM
Place: Russell Library (NOT Russell House!), 123 Broad Street, Middletown, CT 06457

Wes Students Join Area Residents in Action Against Dakota Access Pipeline

“Our politicians are turning a blind eye to the protesters and to the native peoples as a new tyranny of oil is taking over our government” – Josh Nodiff ’19

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On Friday, September 9, Dragonfly Climate Collective, a local anti-capitalist environmental justice group, organized an action outside of TD Bank on Washington Street to protest the bank’s investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Over 125 people from Wesleyan, Middletown, and greater Connecticut area turned out in response to a call for solidarity actions from the Camp of the Sacred Stones and the Red Warrior Camp, the two camps that have been leading the resistance against the DAPL. The Dragonfly Climate Collective report on the action can be found here.