Ben McManus

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Ben McManus

Template:TOCnestleft Ben McManus is a Connecticut activist. He is an Academic HR Support Specialist at Yale University. Former Independent Well-being Consultant/Advocate at doTERRA Essential Oils USA

Education

  • Studied Sociology at Yale University.
  • Went to The Lawrenceville School.

2021 Amistad Awards

Senator Richard Blumenthal gives special recognition to honorees at the Connecticut Communist Party’s annual awards ceremony. Connecticut People’s World Committee presented its annual Amistad Awards on Saturday December 12 to mark the 102nd anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party USA, with awards being presented to Sen. Julie Kushner, D-Danbury, Pastor Rodney Wade of Waterbury and SEIU activist Azucena Santiago.


“We invite you to join the Communist Party in this epic time as we make good trouble to uproot systemic racism, retool the war economy, tax the rich, address climate change, secure voting rights and create a new socialist system that puts people, peace and planet before profits,” event emcee Ben McManus said.[1]

2020 Amistad awards

December 2020, from the moment the dramatic African drumming and slide show of the marches, rallies, car caravans, strikes, and election campaigns began, it was certain this would be an extraordinary and uplifting People's World Amistad Awards program.

Transformed from a large in-person statewide annual event into a virtual concert and awards, the program, “United for the World We Want—Celebrating Resilience, Solidarity, and Vision,” was held “in tribute to essential workers and all workers regardless of immigration status during the pandemic, the rise of the movement for Black lives, and the voter upsurge for democratic rights.”

The four awardees, each reflecting consistent and powerful organizing for worker rights, equality, and social justice, inspired participants with their live remarks as they received the large framed Amistad poster. The famed BODOMA Garifuna Culture Band, meanwhile, kept the spirit going with musical entertainment.

A highlight of the afternoon was messages from four Communist Party members saluting the organization’s 101st anniversary, the occasion on which the Amistad Awards are held. “I learned so much from the elders who are now gone and we are the elders,” said Patricia Highsmith, advising the young folks to get involved and learn.

Georgina Fuentes recalled how her mother had joined the Communist Party when they responded to police abuse of her brother. “I love the equality,” she said, “and now my kid is the third generation!” introducing Genesis, who shared excitement at attending their first rally to defend the vote in the presidential election.

“This is our moment,” said Jaime Myers-McPhail. “We must bring forward more leaders and more solidarity and fight to take back what belongs to us, the working and oppressed people. The Communist Party helps make it possible for us to do just that.”

YCL member Manuel Camacho presented a poem in English and Spanish written for the occasion, “Unity for All.”

“These are revolutionary times. They are not times to give in and give up. They are good trouble times. So we refuse to go back to the way things were,” said Joelle Fishman, chair of the Connecticut Communist Party in the call to action.

“Be active in your union. Organize a union if you don’t have one. Be active in community organizations. Be one of many who are joining the Communist Party as those who will not rest until freedom is won,” she said, concluding that “the People’s World Amistad Awards salutes all freedom fighters as we recommit to fight together for the world we want.”

Emcees Lisa Bergmann and Ben McManus kept the program moving flawlessly and with enthusiasm. Comments in the chat on Zoom also helped create a sense of community.

BODOMA Garifuna Culture Band opened the program with one drum and dance selection and closed with a 20-minute segment from their spectacular performance at the Awards in 2014. The band is from Bronx, N.Y., and has their roots in the Garifuna community of Honduras.

The proceeds from the 86-page program book will benefit the award-winning People’s World online newspaper. “Thank you, People’s World, for posting over 800 stories to help win this election and dump Trump!” said Bergmann.[2]

100th Anniversary

There was electricity in the air at New Haven City Hall on Dec. 14 2019 as seats throughout the long Atrium filled up for the People’s World Amistad Awards hosted on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party USA. African drums and dancers led a procession with the awardees in a rousing open to the rally program.

Standing ovations, applause, and singing punctuated speakers and performers as they addressed the theme “Rise Up—Unite 2020.: People and Planet Before Profits.”

“To effectively repel this multi-faceted affront on the ideals that unite us, we must, simply, rise up and unite,” said Mayor Toni Harp who set the tone in welcoming everyone to City Hall.

“We must restore people to their proper place before profits, we must prioritize our common good ahead of personal gain, and we must convince others to join us in this collective effort for the good of the planet—and for the good of all that depends upon it.”

The historic location, beautifully decorated, was the site where the Amistad captives of 1839 were held before their trial, and where the Amistad statue is now placed, symbolizing solidarity and courage in the ongoing freedom struggle.

Emcees Lisa Bergmann and Ben McManus recognized those who are in the midst of the big struggles of today, including climate justice protesters and students at Wilbur Cross High School who are rallying behind their classmate, Mario Aguilar, who is being held by ICE. Cosobi Mendoza, age 13, wowed the audience with several guitar selections, leading into the presentation of the awards.

Craig Gauthier day

When New Haven Mayor Toni Harp declared Feb. 23, 2014 as "Craig Gauthier day in the City of New Haven," the overflow crowd at the Peoples Center burst into cheers.

This 40th annual African American History Month event, also held in Hartford the night before, made history.

After leading a youth march to end violence and for jobs with Gauthier, the Mayor read her proclamation to this "courageous union and community leader in our State," noting his journey from Louisiana to New Haven, leading his union and in "the Communist Party USA, where he has campaigned for peace, to end police brutality, meet the needs of youth, to create living wag jobs in the community and for union rights."

Before presenting his life story, Gauthier received additional citations from Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, elected two days later to fill the state senate seat vacated by Harp; Ald. Dolores Colon, chair of the Black and Hispanic Caucus of the Board of Alders, John Harrity, president of District 26, State Council of Machinists, Jarvis Tyner, executive vice chair of the Communist Party USA, and a poem by Baub Bidon.[3]

Ben McManus, chair of the People's World committee that planned the event, thankedd Gauthier and recalled his own first introduction to the Communist Party newspaper as a child in Newark, New Jersey. Before enjoying a home made meal, those present reached into their wallets to make a contribution to the fund drive.[4]

CPUSA discussion

Ben McManus submitted "Convention Discussion: Racism is still our #1 fight" to the CPUSA 30th National Convention, Convention Discussion.

References

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  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. http://peoplesworld.org/youth-march-and-celebration-inspires-struggle-for-equality/ Youth march and celebration inspires struggle for equality, by: JOELLE FISHMAN]
  4. http://peoplesworld.org/youth-march-and-celebration-inspires-struggle-for-equality/ Youth march and celebration inspires struggle for equality, by: JOELLE FISHMAN]