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: 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.


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…)

Conversations with the Candidates: Impressions

“Why isn’t the mayor here?”

That was the first question asked by an audience member, before the official time for questions began — before anything really began — at the Business for Downtown Hartford’s “Candid Conversations” event. (more…)

Climate Summer 2012

Last July a small group of cyclists rode around New England in an effort to address what they call “society’s addiction to fossil fuels.” One of their stops was Hartford, where they met with residents to learn about local energy issues and organizations.

The RiConn (Rhode Island/Connecticut) Climate Summer team is due to return to Hartford during the week of July 9th and will remain for a few days before traveling on. (more…)

Climate Summer a Success

Just over a month ago, five young women from New England Climate Summer — Team RICONN — biked through Hartford, after starting their trip in Providence. Their goal was to make stops in Rhode Island and Connecticut, before heading straight from New Haven to their final destination: Boston.

They did it.

On Wednesday evening they rolled into Boston.

What does one learn after spending ten weeks away from home?

In a thank you letter sent by Team RICONN, Ellie said, “This summer has restored my faith and confidence in humanity. […] I found myself constantly in awe of the level of hospitality and warmth with which we were met and the short amount of time that it took me to feel at home wherever we went.” (more…)

The Great Food Swamp

This pig lives at Holcomb Farm, a farm that provides produce to Foodshare

It’s not accurate to describe Hartford as being a food desert. This term implies that food is unavailable. The obesity rate says otherwise.

Instead, we should be calling it what it is — a food swamp. Prof. Molly Anderson used this phrase during her presentation at a recent forum held at the Lyceum. Rather than a lack of food being the problem, it’s that there is, in these areas, “far too much of the wrong kind of food,” she argued.

Food security was the topic of discussion at the “IForum” in late June. Anderson, the keynote speaker, delivered her presentation, “A Home’s Not Just a House: Why Food Security Must Be Part of a Strong, Affordable Community”; a response panel comprised of Julia Pon, Margaret Williams, and Martha Page followed. (more…)