Marks was born in North Carolina to a Pastor mother and Deacon father. Lured by the promise of good jobs, his family relocated to New Haven where Scott completed his education. After finding religion in 1985, Scott went on to preach gospel; he continues to pastor at New Growth Outreach ministries. Long compelled to use his strong voice for those who feel they don’t have one, Pastor Marks stepped up to represent his community in city hall as Alderman of Ward 21.
As a co-founder of CCCC, Connecticut Center for a New Economy , and CORD, Scott Marks organized and trained people from all walks of life, races, genders and religions to fight to protect their homes, jobs and communities. He organized marches and rallies, made alliances with local and national leaders, and continuously advocated on behalf of communities ravaged by poverty, violence, and inequality -and for working people everywhere.
Recognizing Rev Marks’ solid leadership, UNITE HERE recruited him to serve as President of Local 226-2. The union sent him to organize in some of the country’s most difficult areas. In Las Vegas, Chicago, Washington, DC and Memphis he fought for working people to have a voice and be treated with respect . Pastor Marks rejoined the CCNE staff in 2011. He lives in New Haven with his wife Jill and their six children.
2021 Amistad Awards Host Committee
The Connecticut People's World Committee presented its annual Amistad Awards on Saturday December 12 2021 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.
The Former Awardees Host Committee was Rob Baril, Jan Hochadel, Wildaliz Bermudez, Rochelle Palache, John Humphries, Ken Suzuki, Shellye Davis, Louise Simmons, Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, Peggy Buchanan, Robyn Porter, Camila Bortolleto, Carolina Bortolleto, Jeanette Morrison, Dan Livingston, Juan Brito Ciro Gutierrez, Cindy Harrity, Jill Marks, Alberto Bernardez, Dan Durant, Meg Riccio, Laurie Kennington, Edwin Vargas, Jr., Fatima Rojas, Toni Harp, Kurt Westby, Delphine Clyburn, Renae Reese, John Olsen, Carmen Boudier, Anna Montalvo, Gwen Mills, Alfred L. Marder, Juan Hernandez, Kathleen Cooper, Jorge Perez, Rev Scott Marks, John Harrity, Dolores Colon, Migdalia Castro, Blair Bertaccini, Teresa Younger, Pearl Granat.
Words of praise
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
Barbara Vereen, Unite Here staff director of Local 34 and the Black Leadership Group, told of her journey from witnessing a strike at the Winchester plant as a child growing up in the projects, to her first sit-down action at a nursing home with 1199, to community organizing to stop gentrification of her neighborhood, to getting a good union job at Yale and becoming a union leader while raising her three sons.
Vereen stressed her work in training new leaders. “I am part of the Unite Here Black Leadership Group,” said Vereen. “Not only are people who look like me in the room, but we are bringing more Black people in our union into leadership because our lives matter. We want to move people forward, we want equity in this country.”
Vereen received the award from two former awardees, Ken Suzuki and, by video, Rev. Scott Marks, speaking from the front lines in Georgia where he is leading a large team of Unite Here members. They are informing voters of their rights in the runoff election that will determine control of the U.S. Senate.
“My car is already packed,” Vereen said in conclusion. “From here I am driving down to Georgia to campaign for the two U.S. Senate seats and finish the victory of defeating Trump.” She called upon participants to make calls to Georgia as she knocks on doors.
"The People Have the Power"
Join us Sunday, Oct. 25, for a People's World event:
The People Have the Power: A Voter Town Hall
We’re now in the home stretch, the last big push before the election, but we can’t let up for a minute. Issues like COVID-19, the Heroes Act, aid for the unemployed climate change, the fight for jobs, and many others will be addressed by a panel of experienced leaders and organizers. The event will be streamed on Zoom.
Details: Sunday, October 25, at 8:00 PM Eastern, 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, 5:00 Pacific.
- Fred Redmond, Vice President United Steelworkers
- Rev. Scott Marks, Chair, UNITE/HERE Black Leadership Committee
- Sandi Luckey, Executive Director, Montana Democratic Party
- Chuck Rocha, President, Solidarity Strategies
With Trump threatening to not abide by election results and peacefully transfer power, voting, securing the ballot, and then defending are all vital. Concerned citizens cannot simply vote and go home. It’s going to take an energized and committed electorate engaging daily from now until the Inauguration in January to ensure the outcome.
Even after Trump is defeated, we’re going to have to continue to fight to make sure a people’s agenda is implemented.
Praising Joelle Fishman
CPUSA 85th anniversary
About 100 labor and progressive activists packed the New Haven People's Center Dec. 5, 2004, to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Communist Party USA at a reception hosted by the Connecticut Bureau of the People’s Weekly World.
Several state leaders in the movement for social change were honored, including Sharon Palmer, president of the American Federation of Teachers in Connecticut, Americo Santiago, program and policy director of DemocracyWorks, and the Rev. Scott Marks, New Haven director of the Connecticut Center for a New Economy.
Palmer, who coordinated labor’s activity in the 2nd Congressional district, spoke of being depressed at first after election results came in, then becoming angry and finally determined to continue the fight against the anti-labor, anti-people policies of the right-wing. Santiago, who initiated a successful campaign to restore voting rights to ex-felons, said grassroots activism has never been more vital than it is today. Rev. Marks delivered a powerful call to continue organizing door-to-door and developing new leaders to bring about change.
Communist Party religious conference
“The word of God and communism are hand in hand,” said Diana Sowry, a school bus driver from Ashtabula County, Ohio. She was one of a group of clergy and lay people participating in a conference on religion sponsored by the Communist Party USA in Des Moines Iowa April 15-16, 2005.
The Rev. Scott Marks, from New Haven, Conn., said “people in the pews” cannot simply stick to “feel-good issues,” but must “be willing to go to the wall on the real issues.” Noting that attendance at soup kitchens is “piling up,” he said, “People full well know, no matter what happens in heaven, this morning I woke up hungry.”
Marks, son of a North Carolina sharecropper, is a Pentecostal minister who leads the Connecticut Center for a New Economy. For him this is doing “the real work” of Jesus. “It’s not pie in the sky when we die,” Marks told the World. “It’s how are we going to change things in the here and now.”
Conference sessions dealt with the history of religion and Marxism, the religious right, coalition building, and work in local churches and denominational and ecumenical groups. 
Alfred L. Marder 90th Birthday Celebration
Hon. Rosa DeLauro, Sen. Toni Harp, Sen. Martin Looney, Rep. Juan Candelaria, Rep. Patricia Dillon, Rep. Toni Edmonds Walker, Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, Rep. Roland Lemar, Ald. Jorge Perez, President, New Haven Board of Aldermen, Ambassador Sylvester Rowe, Mohammed Barrie, Vinie Burrows, Mary Compton, Joelle Fishman, Craig Gauthier, Emanuel Gomez, Hilda Kilpatrick, Henry Lowendorf, Kenneth Marder, Rev. Scott Marks,William Morico, John Olsen, Quentin Snediker, Jarvis Tyner, Andrea van den Heever, Susan Yolen
A statement issued on the committee's behalf read;
- Dear Friends and Family of Al Marder,
- We are excited to invite you to celebrate the 90th birthday of Al Marder and to recognize his many contributions, international and local, toward world peace, justice and equality.
- Please join us in this joyous occasion on Sunday, March 18, at 3:00 pm at the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06511.
Youth, the unemployed, elected officials, educators, union leaders, and the business community were all represented at a public hearing, April 2012, of the committee mandated by the New Haven Board of Aldermen to establish a jobs pipeline in the city.
Prompted by the deaths of 34 youths to violence in New Haven last year, the new Board of Aldermen, mostly elected as part of a grass roots labor/community coalition, made the jobs pipeline its first priority along with meeting the needs of youth and public safety.
Several representatives of the Connecticut Center for a New Economy reported on research projects regarding possible new, green jobs, and comparisons with other cities also attempting to create opportunities for youth and unemployed to enter into the construction trades.
Rev. Scott Marks, a founder of CCNE said the pipeline committee "gives me hope," adding that among those killed last year were three family members. He said that a sustainable income in New Haven is $50,000 a year, but most jobs are $25,000 and fifty percent have no jobs. Urging that the racial divide in joblessness be addressed, he said that at the thousands of doors knocked this year the top issue was jobs.
"We need good, sustainable jobs and a commitment from employers to hire locally. Stop the violence. Create the jobs pipeline," concluded Marks to applause.
New Haven Rising
The cafeteria at Career High School was overflowing with neighbors of all ages from all parts of New Haven, Black, Latino, and White greeting each other with excitement for the grassroots power they are building.
The occasion was the launch of New Haven Rising, an organization born out of last summer's door knocking campaign that resulted in a Board of aldermen with a majority of union members and pro-labor activists.
The first act of the new Board of aldermen was to establish a committee to form a jobs pipeline. The idea emerged from the priorities that were clearly voiced in each ward for good jobs, safe streets and opportunities for youth.
By the end of the evening 300 people signed up for the new dues paying organization that will be based on a charter, still under discussion, whose foundation is "diversity, economic, social, and racial justice" to create healthy communities that serve the needs of everyone.
Specific goals will be included in the charter for housing, healthcare, jobs, youth, education, seniors, civil rights, immigrant, and native rights and environmental stewardship.
"Once we have the jobs pipeline, we're not stopping there," said Rev. Scott Marks addressing the goal of transforming New Haven to a city that puts peoples needs first.
The extreme heat that evening did not distract the spirits of the diverse crowd of healthcare, university, public and private sector workers, students, professors, clergy, and elected officials.
Marks, a founder of the Connecticut Center for a New Economy, which organized the door to door discussions that brought everyone together, emphasized the importance of making sure the jobs pipeline is put into place soon to meet the crisis of unemployment especially for youth.
The sense of solidarity at the meeting reflected enthusiasm for an independent grass roots organization in the city that could set issue priorities and expectations and hold elected officials accountable.
Door knocking will continue through the summer, and a formal organizational structure will be adopted in the fall. New Haven Rising is a 501(c)4 organization with the ability to participate in political advocacy as a non-profit.
Critics of the aldermanic campaigns had complained that the effort was driven by the unions at Yale, and charged that the new alders would be accountable to the unions and not to the community.
Voters overwhelmingly rejected that argument. Unionized workers live in communities and are a part of their neighborhoods. The union members who ran for office understood how to organize and listened carefully to their neighbors about changes they were looking for.
The initiative to take that neighborhood organizing to a new level and create a grass roots organization of labor and community is breaking new ground in the city and nationally.
Already the organization is bringing forward new leaders who have been knocking on doors for the first time and involving their neighbors in the process. Over 500 surveys were collected from these conversations in the last two months.
The draft Charter was based on the surveys and on grass roots organizing work over the last decade in the city.
2013 Amistad awards
The 2013 Amistad Awards were presented by the People’s World on Sunday, December 1 at 4 p.m. at a special ”MARCHING ON for Jobs, Freedom & Peace” anniversary rally in New Haven at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, 177 College St.
- We celebrate the contributions and example of Laurie Kennington, Edwin Gomes and Rep. Edwin Vargas, three wonderful leaders and role models who challenge economic inequality and are in the forefront of organizing for jobs, health care, union rights and the needs of youth.
In his closing remarks Rev. Scott Marks brought the crowd to its feet as he called for door-to-door organizing that will "move forward" the fight for jobs and other needs. "I will not go back!" he exclaimed passionately.
Marks and all the awardees praised the vision and work of the Communist Party in their communities. The event was held on the occasion of the CPUSA's 94th anniversary.
People's World annual rally
Hew Haven activists celebrated on Sun May 5th, 2013 at the People's World annual rally with a video of the march, May Day Around the World, and a panel of leaders in immigrant worker organizing, jobs pipeline, organizing for environmentally sustainable peacetime jobs in Connecticut, and labor-community neighborhood organizing.
2014 Connecticut Communist Party State convention
Messages from labor and community leaders, participation by young people, and adoption of a Connecticut Economic Bill of Rights highlighted the lively and powerful convention of the Connecticut district of the Communist Party on May Day weekend, 2014.
"It's time to turn up the heat," said Rev. Scott Marks, recognizing the Young Communist League and New Elm City Dream youth group who have been marching to end violence with the theme "Jobs for Youth - Jobs for All." The demands that the youth have brought forward have been adopted as top priorities by the New Haven Board of Alders on which union members and their allies hold a super majority.
Jennifer Graham and Jackie Marks, high school students representing New Elm City Dream on the mayor's planning committee to rebuild the Q House youth center, got loud applause when they explained, "We wanted to bring the violence down. We marched and campaigned for the Q House." ..
New Haven Rising activists
New Haven Rising June 5, 2015;
2015 Hershel Walker Peace and Justice Awards
On Saturday, May 2, 2015, the Missouri/Kansas Friends of the People's World hosted the 23rd Annual Hershel Walker 'Peace and Justice' Awards breakfast to recognize outstanding leaders and activists, and their work towards creating a more just and equitable society.
A diverse crowd of 120 union, community, peace and faith leaders joined together at 9:30 a.m., at the Communication Workers of America, Local 6300, union hall for a morning filled with conversations and solidarity.
"This is an awards ceremony for activists," said Nicholas James, a Service Employees International Union collective bargaining rep. "This is amazing. Usually, only famous people get awards. That we take the time to recognize the everyday, ordinary people struggling to change our world is what makes this Awards Breakfast so special."
At 10:00 am, Holly Roe, a community activist and CWA Local 6355 shop steward, welcomed everyone. She gave special thanks to Rebecca Bolte for making the breakfast program booklets; Missouri State Reps. Tommie Pierson, Karla May and Sharon Pace; and the granddaughters of Hershel Walker, Ms. Evette Shannon and Ms. Trina Albright, who brought photos, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia related to Hershel Walker's life as a Communist Party, union and community activist.
"I love the spirit in this room," asserted Rev. Scott Marks, founder of the Connecticut Center for a New Economy and New Haven Rising, as he took the stage to deliver the keynote address amid applause.
"I am truly honored and excited to be here today. This is such a great, diverse crowd. We're all here, leaders from community, union and faith organizations. Give yourselves a round of applause." He continued, "This is what America truly looks like."
Speaking on a wide range of topics, from community organizing to the recent tragedy in Baltimore, recounting the civil rights movement of the past, and drawing lessons from history to strengthen the current fight for social justice, Rev. Marks shared years of wisdom and experience with the eager and captivated audience.
"Now this is the type of speech that everyone needs to hear," commented Brittany Scott, a fast food worker and member of the local "Fight for $15 and a Union" campaign.
"We have come too far to stop now," Marks continued, "and when you see young people get out into the streets remember that they do so because they have to. It has been 47 years since we've seen this type of activism. Baltimore and Ferguson - we cannot let these injustices continue."
Rev. Marks closing remarks came as the room rose chanting energized by this radical preacher's spirit and the fights yet to be won.
Marco Antonio Reyes Alvarez took sanctuary at the First and Summerfield United Methodist Church in New Haven August 2017 instead of deporting back to Ecuador where his life would be endangered and where he would be separated from his wife and children for at least ten years.
His case has placed national immigration policy under sharp attack.
To cheers at a press conference and large rally outside the church, Mayor Toni Harp exclaimed, “Just to be clear: New Haven will remain a sanctuary city. New Haven will be a welcoming city no matter where you used to live or where you came from.”
The mayor proclaimed, “Even if leaders in Washington do not do a good job of upholding the values that our nation is founded on, we will make sure that we uphold those values here and in cities across the country. We will assist Marco Reyes any way we can. We are not going to engage in helping deport law-abiding residents. We build bridges, not walls.”
Speaking from inside the gated church steps, Reyes thankedd everyone and explained that he made the difficult decision to seek sanctuary as the last option to prevent permanent separation from his family.
“This morning I was supposed to be in the airport at 7:45. After speaking with my wife and children I made a different decision to seek help and stay here in this holy place,” he said. “I came to this country with a lot of dreams. Here I am. Here is my family. Here is my community. Here are all of us who want to live in a better world.”
The Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA) and Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA), as well as the sanctuary movement of faith leaders, had been working closely with Reyes and his family for several weeks. They were prepared to help.
Standing with Reyes, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D.-Conn, said that Reyes never got the fair hearing he deserves. Blumenthal said his career in law enforcement taught him that “enforcement requires a sense of fairness, justice, and humanity. It requires discretion.”
“Our country is better than the policies pursued these past seven months which will tear apart families and rip apart communities,” said Blumenthal.
The Reyes family has lived in Meriden since 1997 with two children protected by DACA, and one a U.S. citizen.
After accidentally crossing the border into Canada during vacation in 2016, Reyes has reported regularly to ICE as required and has been granted stays of removal. This June, he was suddenly denied and ordered to leave the country by August 8.
When his new lawyer was not able to get a stay of deportation from ICE, Reyes and his family had a big decision to make. First and Summerfield Pastor Juhye Hahn was awakened by a call early that morning.
“When I got a call at 2:30 am saying that sanctuary was needed in four hours, we didn’t ask the legal situation. We didn’t ask where he was from. We simply responded. The Bible teaches us to welcome strangers and provide hospitality to all in need,” said Hahn.
The church is also home to the offices of the UNITE-HERE unions that represent workers at Yale University. Speaking on behalf of UNITE-HERE, Rev. Scott Marks led the crowd in a chant, “United we stand, divided we fall.”
“We stand together with brother Marco Reyes.” said Marks. “One thing the [Trump] administration would like is for us to be divided and separated. UNITE-HERE and New Haven Rising calls on Black people, calls on brown people, calls on all people to stand together. If we stand together we will win.”
Also addressing national immigration policy, Meriden Councilman Miguel Castro warned that “our humanitarian values and democracy are under attack… Marco Reyes and his family are victims of a national policy tearing families apart and threatening the core of our country’s fabric.” He called for everyone to stand together as a coalition in order to change those policies.
“Today, Connecticut has become an example for the country,” said Reyes’ pastor, Omar Herrera. I believe that we have awakened.”
“Marco’s case breaks our heart,” said Jesus Morales Santiago, on behalf of ULA. “Thousands of families in the nation are going through a similar situation. Our community is tired of being strangers in our own land. Many of us are descendants of Native Americans. Our ancestors stepped on these lands. We have the right to live here peacefully toward a better future.”
Representing CIRA, Alok Bhatt told the rally for Reyes that the courage he and his family are demonstrating “challenges us to be better advocates, to build a movement and stand up for everybody and change the policy. Justice is the justice we create.”
Marching with Ned Lamont
- CCNE bio, accessed March 2013
- PW, Weve just begun to fight, by: Dorothy Johnson, December 17 2004
- Communists host meet on religion by: SUSAN WEBB april 29 2005
- New haven People's center blog, Tuesday, March 6, 2012, Alfred L. Marder 90th Birthday Celebration
- PW, Jobs pipeline offers hope, by: Joelle Fishman, April 16 2012
- [http://www.peoplesworld.org/new-haven-rising-is-launched/, PW, New Haven Rising is launchedby: JOELLE FISHMAN july 30 2012]
- Par-Newhaven.org, MARCHING ON for Jobs, Freedom & Peace — The People’s World Amistad Awards 4 p.m. Dec. 1, New Haven- Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World, October 29, 2013
- PW. Amistad Awards inspire unity and struggle, December 6 2013
- HAVEN PEOPLES CENTER blog, SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2013 Immigrants' Rights are Workers Rights! United to Win an Economy for the 99%
- [http://peoplesworld.org/connecticut-communist-party-adopts-economic-bill-of-rights/ PW, Connecticut Communist Party adopts Economic Bill of Rights by: Special to PeoplesWorld.org May 16 2014]
- PW. People's World hosts “ceremony for activists” in Missouri. by: Riley Winters May 4 2015
- PW Connecticut mayor: We won’t help deport law-abiding citizens August 11, 2017 11:25 AM CDT BY JOELLE FISHMAN