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Best Most Awesome Superlatives 2016

Winner of the Weirdest Award

Winner of the Weirdest Award

This has been, in countless ways, a crap year.

In terms of Hartford-specific issues, it hasn’t been so bad, but that has gotten drowned out by the presidential election, all of our crushes from the 80’s dying, and a billion other things like plane crashes, environmental racism, Muhammad AliAleppo, Orlando, and Princess Leia.

Still, our ridiculous awards must go on. If it helps, imagine us shoving a fiery dumpster down the red carpet. Because there is nothing more appropriate to round out this year. (more…)

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.