Search: "Occupy hartford"

Improving Parks, One Carriage Ride at a Time

By , July 12, 2013 12:38 am

“More events in Goodwin, Colt, and Keney Park”


“Ice skating in more parks”

“Enough with the iQuilt already!”

“The old Taste of Hartford…when all the restaurants had booths on Constitution Plaza”

A full house of residents did not hesitate to say and write down what they thought Hartford’s parks could use. The Capital City Parks Master Plan‘s timeline involves several public forums, stakeholder meetings, and an online survey in the near future. Thursday night’s public meeting at the library was the first; two more meetings are planned for August and September. There will be intermittent stakeholder meetings.

With a steering committee, consultants, and engineers on hand, the first meeting was what Tom Deller, City of Hartford’s Director of Development Services, called an attempt to “understand what we have, what we need . . . and how to improve it.”

“It’s important that we hear your concerns,” he said. Continue reading 'Improving Parks, One Carriage Ride at a Time'»

Still Revolutionary, Real Hartford-Style

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By , May 24, 2012 10:04 am

Connecticut is not boring. It is revolutionary. Still.

But tourism websites and ad agencies never capture this for a multitude of reasons, giving the masses yet another branding campaign to mock.

One reason these don’t work: they are too slick. We know someone is trying to sell us on a trip here or there. The realness is removed through photography and videography that is just too polished. There’s no human voice there.

Contrast that with two homegrown sites that exist primarily for the authors’ own amusement. Connecticut Museum Quest, authored by Stephen Wood, comes with its own mission statement: “destroying the myth that there is nothing to do here.”  Wood, often with his family in tow, travels around the state exploring museums, trails, food, and specializing in the quirky. This is how I learned there is something called “peak-bagging,” which is not what it sounds like. If all you know about Connecticut is Mystic Seaport, Mark Twain, and Mohegan Sun, this is the site to visit. He’ll show you everything on and off the beaten path, make you laugh while doing it, and tell the truth about which places have employees with nasty attitudes or venues with inconsistent hours. Even if you have lived in Connecticut your entire life, this site will introduce you to at least one thing you did not know existed.

The Size of Connecticut is a blog about the author’s “attempt to discover (and live in and travel around and photograph) these 4,845 sq. miles.” Johnna Kaplan was raised in Westport, where she understandably developed a skewed sense of what the rest of Connecticut was like; now, in New London, she travels the state learning about life outside of Fairfield County. This is where to find out about synagogues randomly in the middle of nowhere, replica schoolhouses, and what might attract young(ish) people (back) to Connecticut. Yes, she writes about Nathan Hale, but her portrayal has flavor.

There is nothing touristy about these sites, yet they are compelling in ways that the well-funded official sites are not.

The Connecticut Office of Tourism’s website is not without merit. There is information. It does make Connecticut appear attractive. But there are gaps. Look at the “Creative in Connecticut” list, for example. Someone unfamiliar with our state may glance at it and believe that we lack in creativity; we simply lack in people willing to put together comprehensive lists about creative offerings. To be fair, the “This Weekend” lists are better than the “Getaways.”

The other major failing of the “Still Revolutionary” official propaganda is that it wholly ignores activism in Connecticut today. Governor Malloy should get credit for acknowledging Connecticut’s role in the sexual revolution, but he speaks of it in the wrong verb tense. Continue reading 'Still Revolutionary, Real Hartford-Style'»

Celebrating Five Years!

By , March 11, 2012 11:33 pm

This Friday marks five years of Real Hartford‘s existence, so leading up to that, there will be some extra attention on the site itself.

In addition to whatever else happens over the next few days, there will be fun and games from March 12-16, 2012, beginning with a special edition of Place this Place. There will be other such challenges on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. What happens on Friday is a surprise.

Also on Friday, but not a secret: Real Hartford Happy Hour at La Paloma Sabanera from 3-6pm. This is where and when winners of this week’s contests can pick up their prizes. If you want to stop by and chat, grab yourself the drink special (Irish Cream Mocha) and pull up a chair. Continue reading 'Celebrating Five Years!'»

Occupy Hartford: Post Mortem

By , December 6, 2011 10:38 am

The tents are still up at Turning Point Park, but Occupy Hartford has shown few signs of life in recent weeks. After a strong showing at their kickoff march in early October, active participation has waned. There has been high turnover of activists, both those living in the tents, and those dropping by or showing support from afar.

The declaration of its impending death comes from those who have worked closely with the group, saying that those still involved in the encampment “don’t even know they are on a sinking ship.” In recent weeks, there have been hints that Occupy Hartford was on the verge of imploding.

The inexcusable mishandling of the sexual assault on site may have been the final straw for many who had previously offered their support for the local incarnation of the Occupy movement.

The move away from Occupy Hartford appears to be taking two forms Continue reading 'Occupy Hartford: Post Mortem'»

Occupy Hartford: Not Happy Campers

By , December 5, 2011 9:05 am

Most violent crime happens between individuals who know each other. Despite statistics showing this, an unreasonable fear about urban violence exists among those who are not involved in circumstances that would most likely lead to violence. Women, especially, have been fed the fear of being ambushed and raped by the stranger in the parking garage or looming in the bushes. And in almost every case, these fears of assault-by-stranger are unfounded. Women are most likely to experience an attempted assault, assault, or worse, at the hands of someone with whom they have had an intimate relationship.

The exception to this is women who are homeless.

According tot he Plan to End Homelessness, “Homeless women experience sexual assault approximately 20 times more than women in general.” Continue reading 'Occupy Hartford: Not Happy Campers'»

Beyond Occupy: What is and what could be

By , December 1, 2011 9:10 am

One critique of the Occupy Hartford movement has been that a number of uninformed activists — new to the area or to activism in general — attempted to reinvent the wheel; instead of immediately reaching out to other organizations in the spirit of solidarity, or simply to learn the ins and outs of local community organizing, it took weeks of nagging by residents and several changes in the make up of the core group before Occupy Hartford began to reach beyond the muddy patch at the corner of Broad and Farmington.

Meanwhile, the movement has lit a fire beneath long-term area activists, many of whom have been involved in Occupy Hartford to some capacity, including some who left it in disgust.

Tonight at 6pm there will be a “meeting of Hartford grassroots groups or groups that are doing work in Hartford.” Organizers describe it as an “opportunity to listen and learn from each other and to see how we can all work together. ”

This will be happening in the Hartford Areas Rally Together (HART) office at 385 Washington Street.

But the anti-union sentiment that has popped up in the few months of Occupy Hartford — some are concerned that “the unions and Democrats” have tried to “co-opt” the OWS movement — raises questions about with which types of groups the Occupiers would be willing to build alliances. Continue reading 'Beyond Occupy: What is and what could be'»

“Getting to Zero” Community Forum on HIV/AIDS

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By , November 29, 2011 8:32 pm

“We’ve become complacent” about AIDS, a community member said during Tuesday’s World AIDS Day forum 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.

Even in 2011, misinformation about the transmission of HIV exists. Highsmith-Francis told the audience about an encounter with a woman in her forties who believed she could “catch AIDS” from hugging someone. Continue reading '“Getting to Zero” Community Forum on HIV/AIDS'»

Hartford Unity Community Conversation: “Empower People Already in Hartford”

By , November 22, 2011 10:27 am

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.

Broken into small groups, residents and stakeholders named activities that could “create attention toward positive aspects.” In the brainstorm, two groups named the Walk the Frog tour as an example of an event that has highlighted the positive aspects of a neighborhood Continue reading 'Hartford Unity Community Conversation: “Empower People Already in Hartford”'»

Occupy Hartford: 99 Theses

By , November 16, 2011 10:13 am

Occupy Hartford, like many other Connecticut residents right now, is directing its ire at CL&P. Besides a rally they have planned for this coming Saturday, the group has released a play on Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses.

In its entirety:

Disputation on the (Lack of) Power and (Absence of) Efficacy of (Executive) Indulgences Commonly Known as The 99 Theses.

By Occupy Hartford CT.

Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, we present the following reasons that CL&P must be held responsible for providing the services they promise and for which we pay them. We request that whoever cannot be present personally to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing.

1. Our Governor, Dannel Malloy stood at the podium and called for CL&P to “Repent,” which roughly translates to, “Do the job consumers pay you for”

2. The word “Repent” cannot properly be understood as referring to penance by the consumer in terms of increased rates.

3. Repentance means not only in the Executive’s heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh. We mean increased staffing.

4. As long as hatred of the profit loss abides, the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven, or refuse to pay our bills.

5. Jeffrey Butler and Co. have neither the will nor the power to demand any rate increases beyond those imposed by law.

6. Mr. Butler himself cannot remit guilt, but only declare and confirm that it has been remitted by CL&P. Clear case, the guilt remains untouched. Continue reading 'Occupy Hartford: 99 Theses'»

Occupy Hartford: Marching through el barrio

By , November 6, 2011 10:15 am

Three police on horseback kept themselves at a respectful distance from activists near the Bank of America on Park Street. Saturday morning’s march had been billed as a family-friendly, law-abiding event, yet a speaker from Occupy New Haven threw around phrases that could be interpreted otherwise, at one point telling the throng to “seize the banks,” while the crowd stood opposite one. It is this uncareful rhetoric that escalates tense situations and alienates others who would have joined in. It makes one curious as to who this “99%” actually is if there is a lack of sensitivity toward those with children (this, in effect, primarily excludes mothers from the movement), those who can not risk arrest because they can not afford to be bailed out from jail, and those who can not risk injury because they lack health insurance.

Ignoring the weight words carry only further dilutes the message.

As the anti-Bank of America activists walked down Broad Street and Park Street, residents and shop owners, for the most part, looked puzzled. Sometimes the chants were about banks getting bailed out, but other times, the chanting called for an occupation of Hartford; little thought seems to have gone into what this might sound like in a neighborhood where many residents’ native countries have actually experienced occupation.

And this population along Park Street is not one Occupy Hartford activists should want to alienate. If anyone knows something about poverty, unemployment, rental housing, and medical bills, it’s Hartford locals. According to data from, 42% of Frog Hollow residents live below the poverty line; the median household income for this neighborhood is just above $17,000. Almost all of the housing in this area is rental. The Park Street corridor might not have as much to say about student loans as some of the Occupy Hartford activists, but the residents could offer more insight about what it is like to live paycheck-to-paycheck and worry about whether or not the electricity will not be shut off that month.

Despite the lapse in judgement by a few, Saturday’s march remained peaceful. The police-to-activist ratio was something like 10-to-1, perhaps in part to the public announcement that civil disobedience was being discussed as a possible tactic. While activists stood across from Bank of America, one was inside closing her account, which was, after all, the purpose of Bank Transfer Day. Continue reading 'Occupy Hartford: Marching through el barrio'»

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