Thursday, December 3, 2015

Peace vigil/potluck dinner/documentary on gentrification in Baltimore/"New Haven Couple Has Spent Decades Advocating For The Least Powerful"

There is usually a silent peace vigil on Fridays, from 5 to 6 PM, sponsored by Homewood Friends and Stony Run Meetings, outside the Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St.  The next scheduled vigil is on Dec. 4. Black Lives Matter. Since this is the First Friday, there will be a potluck dinner after the vigil, followed by a DVD screening of a film.

The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration Committee, Baltimore Quaker Peace and Justice Committee of Homewood and Stony Run Meetings and Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility are continuing the FILM & SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS DVD SERIES.  The DVDs will be shown at Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218, usually on the First Friday. At 7:15 PM, from September through December, a DVD will be shown with a discussion to follow.  There is no charge, and refreshments will be available. The series theme is CAN WE HAVE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE?

On Fri., Dec. 4 see GENTRIFICATION K[NOT] (USA, 2013, 47 min.), a documentary by Baltimore filmmaker Jude Lombardi.  She is an activist, social worker, sociologist, and former professor who will attend the screening.  The film explores the meaning of the term gentrification and how it functions as an element of a system that displaces people from their communities during the revitalization of an urban neighborhood. It all started in August 2012 at Station North Arts Cafe (SNAC), when owner Kevin Brown and the filmmaker had a conversation about the meaning of gentrification provoked by the closing down of the Load of Fun building. The movie focuses on a particular neighborhood in Baltimore. Artists, academics, ministers, politicians and everyday people present their views about neighborhoods in flux and possibilities for change. Call 410-366-1637 or email mobuszewski [at] for further information.    

"New Haven Couple Has Spent Decades Advocating For The Least Powerful"

By line for attached photo: Mark Colville and his wife, Luz Catarineau of the Amistad Catholic Worker , run the Amistad Catholic Worker House of Hospitality in heart of the Hill section of New Haven

It's the season of giving for nearly all of us but there are some in New Haven for whom sharing, caring and giving is a year-round commitment, even an avocation.

Celebrating Victories

Mark and Luz Colville have been running the Amistad Catholic Worker house of hospitality in New Haven's Hill neighborhood for 20 years.
They and other volunteers cook two meals a day, they give out lots of free, healthy food and they take in some individuals in need to live in the house with them.

They also follow the radical Christian tradition of Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day (lauded by Pope Francis in his recent U.S.
visit) of advocating for the least powerful among us, whether it's challenging the city to do more for the homeless, participating in Black Lives Matter protests, or opposing war and spending for war.
Mark has been arrested more times than he can count.

So when Mark got a $15,000 settlement as part of a class-action lawsuit against the New York Police Department for its treatment of protesters at the 2004 Republican convention, they decided to throw a party.

"Even though we have a roof that's starting to leak and needs to be replaced, we felt that for various reasons it was important to seize this moment to celebrate — to celebrate victories, celebrate the movement, celebrate the struggle that all of us are involved in. So we decided to use a good chunk of this money to throw a party for the 20th anniversary of the Amistad Catholic Worker," says Mark, who was raised in Madison.

Celebrating and advocating for their community — that's what the Colvilles do.

One of their most memorable actions came more than 10 years ago, when their youngest child was a newborn, asleep in an upstairs bedroom, and a bullet came through the window. There was a lot of drug activity on their street, including right next door. Luz picks up the story.

"It was ECCO, Elm City Congregations Organized, and it was all their members and lay organizations got their people out there, and we had a candlelight vigil in our neighborhood calling out the drug dealers and saying we would not stand for this violence in our neighborhood. The drug dealers were out there, present, and they were all laughing at the beginning because there was only a trickle of candles. Then all of a sudden you see this flood of candles coming through, hundreds of candles coming around the corner. It was just amazing. And Mark called the drug dealers out by name, saying this will not happen in this neighborhood. We have kids that we're raising, other neighbors are raising their kids. People need to feel safe, and it's time for it to stop."

And it did.

So, on a beautiful summer day a few months ago, they invited all their friends to a barbecue at Lighthouse Point Park. Around dinnertime, another whole group of people arrived, in time to witness the Colvilles renewing their vows after 25 years of marriage, to enjoy a catered dinner and dancing to live bands in the Carousel building.

All told, hundreds of people came who have been touched by their work and their witness, from city officials to fellow protesters to some of the homeless from their neighborhood, who got a free ride from the Amistad house. One of the party-goers commented that she couldn't think of anyone else who could bring such a diverse crowd together in common cause.

Copyright © 2015, Hartford Courant

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

No comments: