“We’ve become complacent” about AIDS, a community member said during Tuesday’s World AIDS Dayforum in the Hartford Public Library.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, she said, society talked about AIDS. Now, not so much. She called for the need to have conversations in places like barbershops. grocery stores, and in Spanish; then, she passed her microphone to another audience member, who delivered comments in Spanish.
This sentiment was echoed by panelists. One of them, Yvette Highsmith-Francis, the Director of Community Health Center, Inc., said we should be having these dialogues at Thanksgiving dinner and when having pedicures.
Wadsworth Atheneum gift shop has books. Lots of them.
There are a few ways to alleviate the stress associated with holiday shopping.
The first is to disentangle oneself from feeling any duty to shop. Once the reputation for being eccentric has been created, you free yourself up to make more meaningful choices.
It’s not about setting the bar low so much as it is a exploding expectations altogether. Thoughtfulness, spontaneity, and authenticity have vanished from the equation when “generosity” and “good will” are mandated.
Another way to reduce pressure is to be more selective about where one’s money goes. Stepping foot in a major shopping center or strip mall does not need to happen during November, December, or any other time of year, and while Hartford does have a few national chains, those have the least interesting offerings.
Not unusual: people coming into Hartford with big ideas about what residents need and what will “save” us.
The Public Allies — an AmeriCorps program — promise that is not their mission. They insist that they are “not here to re-market Hartford.”
Young adults in the program work with a non-profit four days every week; each Public Allies “community” — Connecticut has ones in Hartford, Bridgeport, and New Haven — undertakes a service project each year.
This year, the group’s goal is to “strengthen community through figuring out assets and problems,” Al Riccio, one of the Allies on the “Greater Hartford Team”, told participants at the Hartford Public Library Monday evening during the Hartford Unity Community Conversation. In chatting with residents, the Public Allies identified that many residents feel “proud to be from the city,” but believe that there are negative perceptions of it due to the news media. He added that a lack of jobs, housing, and access to resources were other issues identified.
During the first of what Public Allies say will be several community conversations, residents were told that the Allies — several of whom are long-time Hartford residents — would be facilitating discussion, but not participating. Heads nodded as residents commented that these conversations need to be in the neighborhoods, not just Downtown. The library was named a “hub,” a natural place for civic discourse to take place, and there are library branches throughout the city.