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Greater Hartford Groups to Hold Teach-In


HARTFORD —  The Charter Oak Cultural Center and the Jewish community will hold a “community teach-in” on July 23 in wake of the Trump administration policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. border.

The event entitled “Community Teach-In: Responding to the Trauma of Children at Our Borders” will begin at 6:30 p.m. at B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom, 180 Still Road in Bloomfield.

The program will feature mental health experts, educations, students and child survivors.

Participants will gather “to learn more and to consider what we can do to curtail these heartless policies,” said Rabbi Debra Cantor, an organizer of the free event.

Participants will also learn about the impact and long-term ramifications of such abuse.

The event is sponsored by many community organizations, including: B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom/Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning; Charter Oak Cultural Center; Farmington Valley League of Light; Hartford Family Institute; Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford; Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford; Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford; University of Connecticut Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Life; CT Immigrant and Refugee Coalition; Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at UCONN; Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, University of Hartford; Beth El Temple; Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, Trinity College; Christian Activities Council, Hartford; American Muslim Peace Initiative; Anti-Defamation League, CT; University of CT, Hartford.

For more information, contact Rabbi Donna Berman at (860) 573-7007 or donna.berman@charteroakcenter.org  Rabbi Debra Cantor at (860)463-0986 or cantordebra@gmail.com

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Hartford Receives $1.5 Million Grant for Colt Park


HARTFORD — Hartford’s Colt Park just moved to becoming a National Historic Park. Thanks to a $1.5 million grant package from government grants.

The package include the $750,000 grant from the National Park Services,  a $50,000 from the state and $300,000 from the city of Hartford.

With this package Hartford will be able to “renovate and innovate” Colt Park facilities.

Plans include two new softball fields and basketball courts, improving on existing facilities such as walkway access to fields and completing the loop road of the park.

Creating of the park won Congressional approval in 2014.

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Meet the Candidates Forum Set for July 18


HARTFORD — The Hartford Votes Coalition will present a candidate forum featuring Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor on July 18 at the Hartford Public Library.

The public is invited to this free event to meet, hear from and ask questions of the candidates.  All candidates who will be on the Aug. 14 primary ballot have confirmed their attendance:  Candidates for Governor include Ned Lamont and Joe Ganim. Candidates for Lt. Governor include Susan Bysiewicz and Eva Bermudez Zimmerman.

The moderator will be Emmy Award Winning Journalist Diane Smith.

The event will be at Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St. Meet and greet will be at 5 p.m. and the forum will begin at 5:30 p.m.

For Spanish-English translation, child care, bus passes, or other accommodation, please call by July 16 at 860-201-6510.

The Hartford Votes ~ Hartford Vota Coalition is a non-partisan coalition of the organizations listed below working to increase voter engagement in Hartford. Hartford 2000 – Blue Hills Civic Association – CT Community Nonprofit Alliance – MetroHartford Alliance Hartford Public Library – League of Women Voters of Greater Hartford – Achieve Hartford! CT Center for a New Economy – Common Cause in
Connecticut – City of Hartford Registrars of Voters, A Better Way Foundation, Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work Office of the Secretary of the State – Hartford Listens/Community Capacity Builders.

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East Hartford Police to Hire New Officers


EAST HARTFORD — The East Hartford Police Department is hiring.

The Department is accepting applications for the position of entry-level police officer.

East Hartford is a demographically diverse community with a population of about 50,000 in an urban/suburban environment. The East Hartford Police Department is one of the largest municipal police departments east of the Connecticut River with 122 sworn officers, specialized units and great promotional opportunities and career advancement.

To qualify you must be a U.S. citizen, at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or its equivalent, and be a non-smoker.  Experience or education in some phase of law enforcement or criminal justice will be very helpful.  Motivation, enthusiasm, and commitment to the community are mandatory.

East Hartford is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.  Applications from women and members of minority groups are encouraged.

If you have any further questions regarding the job, please email them to Skyeremateng@easthartfordct.gov. For more information, requirements and application process please click Police App.

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Stowe Center Presents “Quakers and Civil Rights”


HARTFORD — The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center’s Salons at Stowe will present “Quakers, Anti Slavery and Civil Rights: The Past and Present of Faith-Based Activism” on July 21 at the Stowe Center.

The free event will be from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 77 Forrest Street in Hartford.

The discussion will be on the history of Quaker involvement in the antislavery and civil rights movements as well as faith-based activism embodied by Quakers today.

From Levi and Catherine Coffin to Bayard Rustin, Quakers or the Religious Society of Friends have a long-standing history of social activism. From abolitionists to civil rights leaders, Friends have participated in causes furthering social equality for centuries

Speakers will include George J. Willauer, Professor Emeritus of English and Charles J. MacCurdy Professor Emeritus of American Studies at Connecticut College and John Humphries, Governor’s Council on Climate Change.

For more information, call 860-522-9258 x 317.

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CREC to Offer Free Summer Meals


HARTFORD — Capitol Region Education Council will help provide free meals to children 18 and under this summer.

Breakfast and lunch will be offered at CREC locations in Hartford, East Hartford and West Hartford.

Breakfast will be served from 8:40 a.m. to 9 a.m. and lunch will be served 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at Greater Hartford Academy of Arts High School at 160 Huyshope Ave.
Meals will be served daily through Aug. 4 except for July 4.

Those interested in receiving more information should contact CREC at 111 Charter Oak Ave. Hartford or call 860-509-3774.

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Monday Night Jazz to Begin July 9


HARTFORD — The 51st annual Paul Brown Monday Night Jazz series will begin its 2018 season on July 9.

The event will feature Michael Palin and the other Orchestra plus the Jason Palmer Quartet featuring Donny McCaslin from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Bushnell Park in downtown Hartford.

The series is presented by the Hartford Jazz Society and will continue every Monday night through Aug. 13. All concerts are free and open to the public.

Other performances include Eli Williams Blues Jazz Project and the Dr. Lonnie Smith trio; Don DePalma Trio with vocalist Linda Ransom and the Laszlo Gordony Sextet; West End Blend and the Theo Croker Quintet.

All concerts will be broadcast on WWUH 91.3 FM and on line at www.wwuh.org. The rain venue for Monday Night Jazz is Asylum Hill Congregational Church at 814 Asylum Ave., Hartford.

For more information about featured artists, visit www.hartfordjazzsociety.com

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NAACP Sues CT Over Inmate Count Practice for Legislative Districts


By Clarice Silber, ctmirror

The NAACP sued Connecticut on Thursday over its method of counting inmates where they are incarcerated when creating legislative districts, arguing the practice dilutes the voting power of urban communities.

The civil rights organization said the lawsuit is the first salvo in what could be a national effort to challenge the practice.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in New Haven alleges the state’s legislative redistricting plan scheduled for use in the 2018 and 2020 elections equates to “prison gerrymandering,” a practice that counts those incarcerated as residing in the areas they are imprisoned rather than where they originally came from.

The NAACP said the practice is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and its “one person, one vote” principle.

The suit states “many (African-American and Latino) individuals are incarcerated in correctional facilities that the State has located primarily in rural, lightly populated, predominantly white parts of Connecticut.” Most inmates cannot vote under state law and don’t have contact with local representatives in the areas they are incarcerated, it adds.

The state attorney general’s office will “review the complaint and respond at the appropriate time in court,” spokeswoman Jaclyn Severance said.

The counting method falls under a larger issue of voter suppression and weakens legislative representation of minority communities, NAACP General Counsel Brad Berry said. The NAACP would have preferred for Connecticut to fix the problem legislatively, but several previous stalled attempts left the organization no choice but to go to the courts, Berry said.

“It’s really a fiction that the prisoners are residents of where they are incarcerated. The representatives aren’t popping in asking what can be done to make their lives better,” Berry said. “There’s no way to say with a straight face inmates in these prisons, particularly the ones in northern Connecticut, these largely African American and Latino prisoners, are residents of those communities.”

Four other states—New York, Maryland, Delaware, and California—have enacted laws that require counting prisoners at their home addresses rather than their prison locations, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Aleks Kajstura, the legal director for the non-partisan Prison Policy Initiative, said states started engaging in prison gerrymandering in the 1990s and that’s largely caused by their dependence on figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. Those numbers count inmates by where they are incarcerated.

“It shifts legislative priorities in a way that goes against criminal justice reform and communities that are burdened by high incarceration,” Kajstura said. “If they are successful it could mean an end to prison gerrymandering in the U.S.”

 

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Latino Fest Has New Location


HARTFORD — Latino Fest has a new location this year.

The Fourth Annual Latino Fest will be held June 23 on the lawn of Good Shepherd Church 155 Wyllys St at the corner of Charter Oak Avenue. The free event will be from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Latino Fest will kick off at 1 p.m. with performances by several youth dance groups.

The event will also host Mariachi Corazon de Oro and Mariachi Mexico Antiguo at 2 p.m.  This will be followed by famed Hartford guitarist Lorena Garay and the Surcari Band to perform a wide range of traditional and contemporary Latin American music.

Other acts for the day will include Grupo Mambo Tropica with meringue and Bachata music, Joe Diaz y Su Grupo Boriken and King Heric and Tina Torres with Latin Pop songs.

The final act by Edwin Pabon y su Orquestra will pay tribute to Puerto Rico.

For more information, visit hartfordlatinofest.com.

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#MeToo Founder: Do Better


Don’t know what to do in the face of the scrutiny brought to bear by the #MeToo movement? Founder Tarana Burke offered a suggestion: Use some common sense.

The civil rights activist and sexual assault survivor brought straight talk and no-nonsense candor to a packed Yale Law School auditorium Monday evening for the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven’s convening of the annual meeting of the Community Fund For Women & Girls.

The event was sponsored by the Community Foundation and the Yale University Office of Diversity and Inclusion along with the New Haven Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta and the Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sororities.

Burke founded the movement 12 years ago to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly those survivors who are women of color. The movement became a national conversation when the hashtag #metoo went viral on social media.  As celebrities like Alyssa Milano added their voices and star power to the movement to expose the prevalence of sexual violence in the entertainment industry the careers of powerful men like former film producer Harvey Weinstein and former actor/comedian Bill Cosby have been toppled. In the cases of both Weinstein and Cosby, criminal charges have been brought to bear.

Burke sat down Monday for a conversation with Khalilah Brown-Dean, associate professor of political science at Quinnipiac University and vice chair of the Community Foundation board. She told audience members that if they believe that the movement is about these bad actors losing their jobs, their reputations, their power and possibly their freedom then they’d missed the point.

“MeToo” is about survivors, not perpetrators.

“This was not a plot to ruin his career,” Burke said of Weinstein. “In fact, the women that spoke up thought their careers would be ruined. It was about every day regular people around the world … making a declaration and saying, ‘I’m a victim of sexual violence.’

“There’s never been a movement to say, ‘Me too, take him down,’” she added. “That’s not what it’s about.”

She said the movement has always been about helping survivors find space for healing and connecting them with resources for that healing so that they can be advocates who help disrupt and dismantle the systems that perpetuate sexual violence. Burke noted that in the case of Harvey Weinstein the corporate response of the Weinstein Company has been to distance itself from him and his alleged actions. It has yet to acknowledge that people inside the company likely enabled him to commit his alleged crimes, she said.

Brown-Dean asked Burke about a recent exchange that she had with Tony Robbins, a life coach with millions of Twitter followers who dismissed the movement by suggesting that it was about victimhood and that it had created an environment where men didn’t know how to conduct themselves in the workplace. Robbins ultimately apologized after a video of his interaction with a survivor of childhood sexual abuse went viral.

“It makes my blood boil,” Burke said recalling the exchange. “It’s such cowardice. And it’s not just cowardice but callousness. You’re going to watch millions of people saying, ‘My life has been touched by this thing,’ and your response is, ‘Aww man, now what am I supposed to do?’

“This is the kind of thing women are dealing with,” she said. “We can’t have a conversation. I’m speaking English. and you’re speaking Klingon.”

Burke said in moments like these, allyship is important, particularly from men.

“This is not new,” she said. “Women have not just started talking about their treatment in the workplace. They’ve not just started talking about sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s just we usually talk to each other.

“Now people are asking what can we do,” Burke said. “Stop this type of nonsense.”

She said when men hear remarks like Robbins’, or suggestions that women should just be eliminated from a workplace, men must stand up and push back.

“Men can say, ‘That’s bullshit,’” she said. “We have to confront the problem.”

She suggested that workplaces start addressing the problem at the beginning instead of at the end. She suggested that they use a little common sense.

“Common sense tells me if you’re dealing with this issue after you’ve hired people … you’ve already messed up,” she said. “My question to corporate people is what are you doing to vet people? What kind of culture do you have at your job where Bob feels it’s OK to take his penis out and get promoted again and again?”

This story first appeared in the New Haven Independent.

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