Gabrielle Lord, Contributing Photographer

The Board of Alders’ Committee of the Whole will meet on Zoom on May 1 to deliberate a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The ceasefire resolution was proposed to the board on Nov. 28 by a coalition of advocates. After months of pro-Palestine protests, including a 25-minute interruption to Mayor Justin Elicker’s State of the City Address and a nearly three-hour-long “public hearing” on the steps of City Hall on Monday, Board President Tyisha Walker-Myers moved the resolution to the Committee of the Whole.  The committee is led by Alder Jeanette Morrison, and all 30 alders serve on it. On Wednesday night, the Board’s Legislative Director Al Lucas announced that the Committee of the Whole will meet remotely to discuss the resolution in May.

Morrison, who helped set the meeting date, said that the meeting is scheduled so late in the year to accommodate Ramadan, Easter and Passover — the last of which ends on April 30 this year.

“For this particular topic, we wanted to make sure that we were respectful of all religious beliefs,” she said.

New Haven residents have engaged in pro-Palestine protests since October, several of which have focused on encouraging the Board of Alders to consider legislation opposing Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, through which Israel has reportedly killed over 30,000 people, though experts believe thousands more to be dead under the rubble. Israel undertook the offensive in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, in which Hamas killed 1,200 people and took 250 people as hostages.

The current ceasefire resolution emphasizes the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and a rise in Islamophobia, antisemitism and anti-Palestinian sentiments and violence. It calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, the release of all hostages, the unrestricted entry of humanitarian assistance into Gaza, an end to the siege and blockade of Gaza and respect for international law by all parties.

Similar resolutions have been proposed to local governments in Connecticut towns such as Hartford, Bridgeport, Windsor and Hamden, where the Town Council heard four hours of public testimony urging the council to either support or oppose the legislation. Only Bridgeport and Windsor have voted to pass a ceasefire resolution.

Francesca Maria, an organizer with the New Haven Ceasefire Coalition who asked the News to refer to her using her middle name, said that the coalition will be spreading the word about the committee hearing and helping people prepare and sign up to give public testimony at the committee meeting.

“Everything we’ve done in Hamden and Hartford and Bridgeport and all the other cities where ceasefire resolutions are being considered,” Maria explained.

At the Hamden Town Council hearing, several residents affiliated with the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, the Yale Forum for Jewish Faculty and Friends and other religious and community groups testified in opposition to the ceasefire resolution.

According to an email obtained by the News, Gayle Slossberg, the chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation, reached out to the federation’s email list on Thursday morning informing people of how to submit testimony opposing the resolution.

“While we all mourn the loss of life and want peace in the region, these ceasefire resolutions are not about promoting peace. They only seek to delegitimize the State of Israel,” Slossberg wrote.

She wrote that the Federation will organize meetings and provide more information about testifying in the lead-up to the hearing.

Ina Silverman ’80 SPH ’83, a former alder and current co-chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation, said that she plans to testify at the hearing, but expressed doubt at its effect on an actual ceasefire, calling the hearing a “waste of alders’ time.”

“It is ironic this ceasefire resolution comes before the Board of Alders at the same time Israel has agreed to very difficult ceasefire conditions, while Hamas rejects a ceasefire and continues causing tremendous suffering to its own people and the 134 hostages it still refuses to release,” Silverman wrote to the News. “Maybe Hamas is waiting to hear what New Haven thinks first.”

Ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas broke down earlier this week, with both sides blaming the other for the failure to reach a deal.

The Jewish Federation and the Yale Forum for Jewish Faculty and Friends did not respond to further requests for comment.

Morrison, who is a social worker, explained that she decided to hold the meeting remotely in order to keep everyone safe, which she determined was necessary given the heightened emotions surrounding the ceasefire resolution that she has seen. Silverman expressed support for the virtual format, also citing safety concerns.

“I think it increases inaccessibility for people who are not comfortable with that technology,” Maria said. “At the same time, there have been public hearings on Zoom before.”

Nigel Harris, a Democratic Socialists for America member who is also active in the ceasefire coalition, believes that the Zoom format “disenfranchises” people who don’t have access to the technology needed to attend the meeting.

Morrison explained that she is working on creating a structure for the meeting that is “very specific in regard to the way in which this meeting will be conducted.” She is not yet sure of how many people will be permitted to give public testimony, but each testimony will be brief.

In Lucas’ email announcing the hearing, he instructed people signing up to give public testimony to clearly indicate whether they would be speaking for or against the resolution. Morrison explained that an even number of people will be permitted to speak in support and opposition.

“We have to make sure that that list is very, very clear and fair,” she said.

People interested in signing up to deliver public testimony or submit written testimony are instructed to email

On Thursday night, after President Joe Biden voiced his support for an immediate six-week ceasefire in his State of the Union address, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who represents New Haven, put out a statement clarifying her position.

“We must work to get more humanitarian aid into Gaza, free all the hostages held by Hamas, and enact a six-week ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict that allows for the protection and survival of innocent Palestinian civilians caught in the middle of war,” DeLauro wrote. “I am glad that President Biden is using every lever to ensure that desperately needed aid gets to innocent Palestinian civilians, including the recently announced seaport that will be established in Gaza to distribute aid.”

DeLauro’s support for a six-week ceasefire differs from the ceasefire resolution’s demand for a permanent ceasefire.

DeLauro’s statement urged long-term regional stability between Israel and the Palestinian people, which she believes will include strong U.S. leadership to bring security and peace to the Middle East and a two-state solution.

The Board of Alders’ Committee of the Whole last met in June 2023 to discuss the charter revision proposal.

Ethan Wolin contributed reporting.

Ariela Lopez covers City Hall and City Politics. Originally from New York City, she is a first-year in Branford College.