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Equality March Demands Bridges, Not Walls


We can “not allow the negative rhetoric of the Trump campaign to dictate how we live our lives,” Tiffany Walker told a few hundred people shivering outside of the Connecticut Old State House. Walker organized and led Sunday’s Equality March from the landmark to the Connecticut State Capitol, with activists chanting “bridges not walls” and “Black lives matter” along the way. (more…)

Get Active this Weekend

See on a classroom building on University of Hartford campus

Last week Hartford had a scream circle, various other healing events, and a monthly Showing Up for Racial Justice meeting that saw a surge in attendance.

More is yet to come.

A “Peaceful Pro-Love March” is planned for today, November 18, on the University of Hartford campus. Participants will be wearing black for the event that begins at 3 p.m. at Gengras Student Union. They say: “We want to convey a message that UHart stands up for inequalities across all spectrums. Whether it be concerning minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, women’s rights, Muslims, etc., we want to ensure that everybody at this school feels that they have the right to be loved and accepted.” Participants are asked to use only hand-held signs (no sticks) and to refrain from including profanity on the signs. (more…)

2016 Holiday Giving Guide

Photo from November 2014

Right after the 9/11 attacks, the then President, George W. Bush, urged Americans to go shopping. These things do not come without a price. The reckless, mindless spending empties wallets and creates a fine distraction for us. While we work harder to have more money to spend on more things, policies are enacted with little resistance.

Distraction and complacency go a long way toward complicity.

When we have covered local protests of any kind, regular folks — not simply those being directly challenged — typically critique those carrying signs or blocking traffic. The protestors are seen as making too much fuss, seen as an other for daring to speak up. It’s never quiet enough, respectful enough, pretty enough. There’s too much inconvenience created. The strategies are always questioned, not only when the tactics are questionable, such as when people from out-of-town join in a march through a poor neighborhood chanting “WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!“. Basically, if the opposition takes the form of anything more wild than wearing a rose or a designated color on the same day, it’s looked down on. The people are told to sit down, shut up, smile nicely, and go with the flow.

We did not just wake up to President-Elect Trump, as if his rise to power occurred magically. (more…)

study

Jade Hoyer's

Jade Hoyer’s “A Collective Apology”

 

In a time when a self-proclaimed equity warrior abandons her post only halfway through her four-year contract and few bat an eye because those in front of the classroom are rotating out just as fast, Jade Hoyer‘s work ‘study’ manages to comment on public education simply and with few buzzwords. (more…)

Election Season: Debate in the South

left-to-right: Luke Bronin, Joel Cruz, Jr., John Gale, Giselle Jacobs, Robert Killian, Mayor Segarra, Lew Brown

Cognitive dissonance: when a candidate goes to a debate for south neighborhoods — set in one of them — and proceeds to claim that this part of the city gets advantages that the north end does not. (more…)

Limits on School Choice

School Search Tool indicates zones. Click on image to go to interactive tool.

While families in Hartford are waiting to hear about where the lottery system will place their school-age children, research on the public choice system reveals what Mira Debs, a doctoral candidate at Yale, calls a “marketing disconnect.” While choice is pitched as “freedom” and about enabling the best “personal fit,” the reality for families, she says, is quite different. With the division of the city into zones, choice is limited. One Hartford mother she spoke with took issue with how she had to pick a school for her son: “I really liked [the arts school].  I actually thought [my son] had more of a performing arts bent.  Not in my zone.  Not in my neighborhood…So, you can have a sciency child in zone 3 or you can have an artsy child in zone 4.”

Debs is not alone in questioning how school choice is being implemented. She was joined by Robert Cotto, Jr., Jack Dougherty, and Stephen Spirou on a panel at Trinity College earlier this week. (more…)

Scarborough Family Fires Back

Photo by Christopher Brown

With attempts to remove eleven residents from a 9-bedroom home on Scarborough Street underway, the family gathered today in City Hall to strike back.

The 68 Scarborough attorney, Peter Gosselin, said that his clients  instructed him to file a lawsuit in federal district court, alleging that their constitutional rights have been violated. This was filed this morning.

Photo by Christopher Brown

Additionally, they will be filing an injunction to prevent accruing fines until a court ruling is made. If this is not granted, they can be fined $100-250 per day or face ten days of imprisonment.

As became clear yesterday, attempts to amicably resolve the issue have gone nowhere.

Family Faces Eviction from West End Home, Despite Paying Mortgage on Time

Interracial marriage was not permitted in many states during the early 1960’s. In fact, anti-miscegenation laws existed in the majority of the United States through the middle of the last century, allowing for racism to dictate the nature of marital and intimate relationships. The Supreme Court struck down those laws in 1967.

A few years later, the push for same-sex marriage began. Again, hateful legislation defined marriage in a way that includes some, while excluding others. It took a few decades for this movement to take hold, and there has been much backlash along the way, as one can witness through the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and the incessant verbal diarrhea from pundits. In 2010, one state began to fight against the federal government’s restrictive definition of marriage. Many others followed. Same-sex couples can not be legally married in the entirety of the United States yet, but there is no doubt that opinion has shifted toward that happening eventually.

Sometimes the law is wrong. When it is wrong, we are obligated to recognize that and change it. These are, after all, civil laws, not God’s laws.

Hartford

The West End is currently looking at what appears to be an outmoded law:

The purpose of the R-8 district in the city is to provide for and protect single-family residences sited on a lot having a minimum area of twelve thousand (12,000) square feet. The R-8 district provisions encourage the future development of these very low density residential areas for primarily residential purposes by prohibiting conversions, roomers, most institutional uses and all business uses.

On the surface, this might look sensible. Who wants factories or prisons in her backyard? Zoning can be useful in that way.

All of Scarborough Street is zoned for R-8 use (see above). The language is seemingly vague. What does “primarily residential purposes” mean? On this street, in the same zone, a property is owned by the University of Connecticut. In an article the Courant ran on this, there was no mention of neighborhood opposition to what is used as a place for donor events. The Wadsworth Atheneum owns a property on the street. So does Jumoke Academy. Two properties are owned by trustees, another is a land trust. There are two churches operating on Scarborough Street. This leaves 21 other properties, one of which has been on the market for several years.

The issue at hand is 68 Scarborough Street. (more…)