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Pulitzer Prize Board Will Review Junot Díaz Sexual-Misconduct Claims

By Anne Branigin, The Root

Author Junot Díaz is stepping down from his role as chairman of the Pulitzer Prize board following allegations of sexual misconduct. The board says that it will investigate allegations of harassment against Díaz, who remains on the board.

As The Guardian reports, the 49-year-old writer, himself a Pulitzer Prize winner, was elected Pulitzer Prize board chairman in April, the same month the New Yorker published an essay in which Díaz revealed that he was raped as a child.

In that essay, Díaz also disclosed—to varying degrees—the harm he caused women as a result of his rape, which happened at the hands of a “grownup [he] truly trusted.”

Last week, on a Sidney Writers’ Festival panel, writer Zinzi Clemmons publicly confronted the revered Dominican-American writer over the harm he caused her when he forcibly kissed her six years ago while she was a graduate student at Columbia University.

Clemmons, who was 26 at the time, had invited Díaz to speak at a campus workshop on representation in literature when, she says, he cornered her and kissed her without her consent. After the May 4 panel, Clemmons repeated the allegations on Twitter, where they were quickly shared and discussed.

“I’m far from the only one he’s done this to, I refuse to be silent anymore,” Clemmons wrote. Sure enough, more women spoke up with stories about Díaz, saying that the writer had made misogynistic comments and acted aggressively or inappropriately toward them.

In a statement made to the New York Times, Díaz said that he “took responsibility for [his] past,” adding that it was the reason he “made the decision to tell the truth of my rape and its damaging aftermath.”

“This conversation is important and must continue,” read the statement. “I am listening to and learning from women’s stories in this essential and overdue cultural movement. We must continue to teach all men about consent and boundaries.”

The Pulitzer’s board said that Díaz welcomes the review and will cooperate fully with its investigation, according to The Guardian.

MIT, where Díaz works as a professor, says it’s also looking into the recent allegations.

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ActUp Theater Company to Present Hip Hop Remix, The Wiz

HARTFORD — The ActUp Theater Company will present The Wiz, a remixed hip-hop, reggae, jazz version of the legendary movie, The Wizard of Oz.

The event will be at Annie Fisher Magnet School, 280 Plainfield St. in Hartford on June 7 at 7 p.m., June 8 at 7 p.m. and June 9 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are from $15 to $25 and can be ordered online at the wizofoz@Eventbrite.ct

The Wiz was first presented on Broadway in 1974 and later made into a movie in 1978. It starred Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

Act Up will showcase a multicultural cast or more than 50 inner city youth and community members.

The show includes famous songs such as “Ease on Down the Road”, “Be a Lion” and “Don’t Go Bring Me No Bad News”.  Choreography is by JusMove Studio.

For more information about ActUp Theater Inc, visit, or call Preistley Johnson at 860-918-8405, or email

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Festival of Gospel and Folk Music Comes to Woolsey

NEW HAVEN — The GMChorale and Alchemy will perform in “Singing Together for Peace,” an inter-generational festival of gospel and folk music on May 12.

The event will begin at 12:30 p.m. at Woolsey Hall in New Haven.

“Singing Together for Peace” is presented by the Saecula Choir Foundation (SCF) in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Elm City & United Girls’ Choirs. The event is a fundraiser for the SCF’s Sisters in Song Scholarship Fund, which provides financial support for girls and young women who would otherwise be unable to afford high-quality musical training. In addition to the public concert, the singers will participate in a masterclass on gospel and folk music led by renowned singer-songwriter Michael Brown.

With 80 singers from 34 Connecticut towns, the GMChorale is known for its compelling performances of choral masterworks and the commissioning of new music from emerging and established composers.

“The ‘Singing Together for Peace’ festival is an excellent opportunity for the singers of the GMChorale to share their extensive choral experience with younger singers from other ensembles. And in turn, they will learn from others who also bring a wealth of experience, and they will be enriched by singing alongside fellow musicians from other communities and other music traditions,” said the GMChorale’s Artistic Director, Joseph D’Eugenio.

The Festival concert on May 12 is open to the public; tickets are available on a “pay what you can” basis. For more information on the Festival, visit


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Hooker Day Parade and Festival to End in Bushnell Park

HARTFORD — The Hooker Day Festival will culminate on May 12 in the Bushnell Park.

The parade, founded in 1991 by former mayor Mike Peters, will have a new format. It will include a weeklong festival that ends with a parade in the Bushnell Park on Saturday.

The one-day event was expanded to five events from May 5 to May 12 and includes an art exhibit, literary reading, food market, a parade and park festival.

Notable participants include award-winning dancer Arien Wilkerson, hip-hop group Uzoo and Hartford Proud Drill, Drum and Dance Team. Hartford recording artist Tang Sauce will be the master of ceremonies.

After the parade on Saturday, there will be performances on Trinity Street.

The event is free and open to the public.

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CONCORA’s Summer Festival Seeks Choral Singers

HARTFORD — Experienced choral singers are invited to apply to participate in CONCORA’s Summer Festival, “Wonderful Town! A Bernstein Centenary.”

The festival runs from July 29 through Aug. 4; all events take place at Bethany Covenant Church, 785 Mill St. in Berlin. The deadline to apply is May 20.

Up to 150 singers will be accepted for the 2018 Festival Choir. The 2018 Summer Festival will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Festival and the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Leonard Bernstein.

Now in its 20th season, CONCORA’s Summer Festival offers amateur singers an opportunity to rehearse, learn, and perform with CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists), the region’s oldest and best-known professional choir, and Artistic Director Chris Shepard.

The Festival offers a week of exceptional music-making, uplifting repertoire, and high artistic standards in a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of opportunities for socializing, renewing friendships, and making new friends. In evening and weekend sessions, participants rehearse with Artistic Director Chris Shepard and an ensemble of CONCORA’s professional singers, enjoying informal social events along the way. The Festival culminates in a public concert on Aug. 4 at 4:00 p.m.

As 2018 marks the 20th edition of the Summer Festival and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein, Shepard has chosen a celebratory all-Bernstein program.

“Choral organizations all over the world are marking the Bernstein centenary with performances of the composer’s popular Chichester Psalms,” said Shepard. “Because the Summer Festival Choir performed that music fairly recently, we are taking advantage of the centenary to explore and perform some of Bernstein’s other wonderful choral music, with choral selections from West Side Story, Mass, Peter Pan, Candide, and Wonderful Town. It’s going to be great fun for the singers and a treat for our audience.”

Qualified high school and college-age students may apply to attend the Festival on full scholarship as choral scholars.

Information about the Festival, including details on schedule, registration, application and scholarship forms, and more, may be found at the “Summer Festival” page at CONCORA’s website:

Tickets for the Aug. 4 summer festival concert will go on sale in June at

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East Hartford Public Library to Host Poetry Reading

EAST HARTFORD — The East Hartford Public Library will host poet John L. Stanizzi on April 17.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and is free at the Library at 840 Main St.

Stanizzi is the author of six collections – Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, and High Tide – Ebb Tide. Besides the CRR, his poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, The Cortland Review, The Paterson Literary Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, and many others. He’s been translated into Italian and appeared in El Ghibli, the Journal of Italian Translations Bonafinni, Poetarium Silva, and L’Ombra delle Parole. His new collection, Chants, will be out in 2018 with Cervena Barva Press.

Stanizzi has read at venues all over New England, including the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival and Mystic Arts Café, and he is a teaching artist with Poetry Out Loud, as well as the coordinator of Hill-Stead Museum’s Fresh Voice Poetry Competition

A former New England Poet of the Year, Stanizzi grew up on Collimore Road in East Hartford. After graduating from St. Mary’s School he went on to East Hartford High School, where he first began to work seriously on his poems, with the help of his English teacher and dear friend, Teresa Vincenzo. John also worked in his father’s upholstery business, “Office Seating Service,” on John Street in East Hartford before heading off to Wesleyan University. These days, he teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT and he lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry.

Stanizzi’s reading is co-sponsored by the East Hartford Public Library and the East Hartford Commission on Culture and Fine Arts. For more information and to register, visit or call the library at 860-290-4332.

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East Hartford Public Library to Host World War I Digitization Day

EAST HARTFORD — Do you have your grandfather’s World War I photo album tucked away in a closet? A stack of letters your great-grandmother kept in a box in the attic? A story your neighbor told you about the local homecoming parade, in the back of your mind?

Help us learn more about the men and women who served during World War I by bringing your collection to the East Hartford Public Library on April 7 between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to be scanned or photographed by staff from the Connecticut State Library. The East Hartford Public Library is at 840 Main St.

Library staff will be on hand to work with you to create a profile for the World War I era person you want to remember. They will scan or photograph the pictures, letters, or souvenirs you bring in and return them to you the same day. Then they will add all the images and stories created to an online World War I collection and to the Connecticut Digital Archive, to be preserved for future generations.

The Remembering World War I Digitization Day has been made possible in part by the Connecticut State Library with major grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. East Hartford’s local program is co-sponsored by the East Hartford Public Library and the Historical Society of East Hartford. For more information, visit the project’s website at or call the East Hartford Public Library at (860) 290-4331.

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Charter Oak to Host “Race and Revolution” Exhibit

HARTFORD —  The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center will present the Race and Revolution exhibition at the Charter Oak Cultural Center from April 2 to April 30.

The exhibit, entitled Race and Revolution: Still Separate,  Still Unequal,  is a series that uses a combination of contemporary artworks and historical documents as a platform to examine patterns of systemic racism in the United States. Race and Revolution investigates the prevalence of segregation in the United States public schools system. The event will be at 21 Chater Oak Avenue.

Since the inception of #BlackLivesMatter in 2012, the American population is reflecting on what happened after the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-60s. That word “after” is part of the conundrum that surrounds our present-day conversation around race and racism. What exactly came to an end? The exhibition Still Separate – Still Unequal seeks to examine ongoing racial and economic disparity in the U.S. public school system.

The artists include Dennis Redmoon Darkeem, Damien Davis, Uraline Septembre Hager, L. Kasimu Harris, jc lenochan, Carina Maye, Shervone Neckles, Nicole Soto-Rodríguez, and Marvin Toure.



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Nzinga Center to Host Annual Women’s Concert

NEW BRITAIN – The Queen Ann Nzinga Center will host its 9th annual Connie Wilson Collins Exceptional Women Concert, honoring outstanding women from the Greater Bristol, Plainville and New Britain community on March 24.

The celebration includes live musical performances, poetry, dance and tributes to the honorees. It will be held Trinity-on-Main on 19 Chestnut Street, New Britain at 4 p.m.

Betty Harris and Nzinga’s Daughters and more will perform.

The event was renamed in 2014 in honor of Constance “Connie” Renee Wilson
Collins (1928-2013), an African-American woman who made a tremendous
contribution to the Greater New Britain community. Collins worked to help
people reach their full potential through her work in political, spiritual,
fraternal and nonprofit organizations.

Collins is an exemplary role model for the children and teens who
participate in the Queen Ann Nzinga Center programs, says Executive
Director Dayna Snell, and she continues to inspire youth to reach their
full potential and use their talents for the good of the community.

The 2018 celebration will honor Valeriana DeBrito of Rocky Hill; Pamela Floyd-
Cranford of Manchester: Pamela Kristoff of Plainville; Eileen McNulty of
Bristol; Tracy Nixon Moore of New Britain and Mayor Erin Stewart of New

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors. Tickets are available on our website at at the door at the event, or contacting QANC at 860-229-8389.

All proceeds help fund programming for the Queen Ann Nzinga Center, a nonprofit
which emphasizes artistic expression and teamwork to build program
participants’ skills. The Queen Ann Nzinga Center and Trinity-on-Main are
collaborating on the event.

For more information please email the QANC at

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Ugandan Flutist to Perform at Hartbeat Theater

HARTFORD — Samite Mulondo, a Ugandan musician who performs internationally as Samite, will perform this March at the Hartbeat Ensemble’s Carriage House Theater in Hartford.

Mulondo is an internationally acclaimed flutist who has recorded with Paul Simon and toured with Ladysmith Black Mambazo.  And he has been touring America.

Now he brings his one-man theater and music show — “Resilience” — to Hartford.

There will be three preview performances of “Resilience” March 15 to 17 at Hartbeat Ensemble’s Carriage House Theater in Hartford before the show’s world premiere March 23 at the University of St. Joseph’s Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities in West Hartford.

The show, which involves seven stories, seven songs and projections, is directed by Brian Jennings, a HartBeat Ensemble member, and produced by Steven Raider Ginsburg, who co-founded HartBeat and is also the director of the Autorino Center

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