global issues

2017 Hartford Art Sled Derby

Started in 2013, Saturday’s event marked five years of people coming to Elizabeth Park to slide their creations down the hill, knowing often that their hard work would unravel mid-slope. Competitors of all ages strapped on helmets (sometimes) and tried their luck (more…)

Americans Give Messages of Welcome at BDL

Protests sprang up at airports around the country on Saturday, including Bradley International in Windsor Locks.

At the BDL arrivals gate, a few dozen people — a number of Hartford residents among them — welcomed travelers with signs supporting immigrants, refugees, and Muslims.

The airport protests popped up when Trump’s executive order signed on Friday afternoon (Holocaust Remembrance Day) created chaos for green-card holders from the predominately Muslim countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as travel by nationals from those countries has been blocked
for 90 days. A green card signifies that the individual has been granted permanent resident status after being vetted by immigration or consular services to ensure that the person does not pose health, criminal, or security concerns for the United States. Trump’s order has suspended for 120 days entry into the U.S. by refugees from all countries; Syrian refugees have been singled out and blocked indefinitely.

According to PBS, the “the executive order does not restrict immigration from any of the top ten countries listed by the House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee in 2015 as suppliers of militants fighting for ISIS, nor does it restrict travel from countries that have been primary sources for al Qaeda operatives, like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers.”

With the ink barely dry, travelers with visas were detained at airports. Among them, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who the New York Times says worked for the United States Army and government for ten years in Iraq.

On Saturday, a federal judge blocked part of Trump’s order. It does not restore conditions, but will prevent deportations of those 100-200 people who have already been detained at airports in the United States.

With the stay in place, protestors continued to arrive at Bradley late into the evening. A few opposing perspectives were aired over several hours — including a “God Bless Trump,” a cryptic message about the Orlando shooting, and a suggestion posed at 10:45 on Saturday evening that protestors get jobs — but the sweeping majority of travelers responded with applause and other signs of support, or moved on their way without engaging. One traveler thanked her greeters profusely before breaking into tears.

While yesterday’s protest was spontaneous, CAIR Connecticut is organizing people to return to Bradley on Sunday afternoon.

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10,000 Strong

This child is just one of the estimated 10,000 individuals who peacefully rallied outside of the Connecticut State Capitol on Saturday in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. That’s double the crowd organizers had expected. The signs alone communicate the rally’s message. (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…)

November 2016 Events

November 1

  • Clean Safe Water in Connecticut: Challenges and Realities in a Complex World –this free event at Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth St.) from 12:30-2 p.m. They say: “Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy will share his insight into the challenges and opportunities Connecticut faces in maintaining access to clean, safe water for all of its citizens.” Reserve your seat: rsvp@chs.org or (860) 236-5621 x238.
  • This is one of those rare times that we include something from the suburbs, but it’s a good cause. The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence is forming a Men’s Advisory Council for a statewide sexual violence prevention campaign. They say: “Our goal is to continue to engage men as allies in our work to prevent sexual violence and to cultivate prevention leaders in our state.” This will be facilitated by Andrew Stewart. This meeting takes place from 5:30-7 p.m. at The Alliance (96 Pitkin Street, East Hartford). RSVP requested.
  • God, Faith, and Politics: Election Year Community Forums — the conversation begins at 7 p.m. at Wood-n-Tap (Capitol and Sisson Ave.)  but show up early to order dinner. Tonight’s conversation focuses on freedom of religion. They say: “Revs. Don Hamer from Trinity Episcopal Church, Rick Kremer of Grace Lutheran Church, Matt Laney of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Kari Nicewander of Immanuel Congregational Church, Imam Sami Aziz of the Bloomfield Islamic Center and Rabbi Michael Pincus of Congregation Beth Israel  will lead a discussion of religious issues as they have been raised in this year’s election.” Free to attend.

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July 2016 Events in Hartford

July 1

  • An event? You tell me. There will be a DUI Enforcement Checkpoint in the vicinity of 90 Brainard Road starting at 5 p.m. today. It is funded through a grant from the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation DUI Enforcement Program, so don’t waste your time blaming Obama or Bronin. Also, if you lived here, you could just walk home and never need to concern yourself with DUIs.
  • Albanian Festival: dance, music, and food at the Albanian Community Center, 161 Franklin Avenue. 6-11 p.m.

Boom Box Parade, Willimantic

July 2

  • Free Yoga in Pope Park at 11 a.m. Bring your own mat and water; dress for exercise. Instruction will be in Spanish and English. Meet by the pond.
  • Albanian Festival: dance, music, and food at the Albanian Community Center, 161 Franklin Avenue. 4-11 p.m.
  • There will be a dual video release party for Tang Sauce and Zulynette Morales at the Studio at Billings Forge (539 Broad Street), 5-9 p.m. The evening will also include live music, poetry, and visual art. $10 at the door.

July 3

  • Free yoga in Colt Park at 11 a.m. Bring your own mat and water; wear comfortable clothing. Meet on the lawn near the Wethersfield Avenue entrance.
  • There will be free walking tours of Coltsville National Historical Park at 2 p.m. Meet by the Colt monument near the Wethersfield Avenue entrance to Colt Park.

July 4

  • If you’d like to celebrate Independence Day in a true community fashion, where the entertainment showcases local creativity, leave Hartford for the day and go to Willimantic’s W.I.L.I. Boom Box Parade. Bring your own boom box and lawn chairs. Parade starts at Jillson Square at 11 a.m. and heads down Main Street. It’s free, wacky, spirited, and not being paid for by Hartford residents’ tax dollars.

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