Archive | March, 2011

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CRT Aims to Sink Domestic Violence

HARTFORD — Two of the state’s most recognizable advocates for domestic violence prevention invite you to tee off with them against the issue that affects the lives of one in every four women, according to advocates.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Connecticut Child Advocate Jeannie Milstein are honorary co-chairs of “Tee Off With Women,” the second annual women’s golf tournament sponsored by Community Renewal Team, Inc. and Interval House to raise money for domestic violence programs.

Proceeds from the event, set for June 22 at Blue Fox Run in Avon, will benefit Interval House and CRT Programs. Interval House serves victims of domestic violence – primarily women and children – throughout Central Connecticut with locations in Hartford, Manchester and Simsbury. CRT runs supported apartments for those who are transitioning out of the Interval House shelter.

Many spots for female golfers are available. Cost is $150 per player and includes golf with a complementary cart, lunch and dinner and a welcome from the tournament committee, including the co-chairs. Players may sign up as individuals or in foursomes.

Sponsors include Hartford Municipal Employee Federal Credit Union, Webster Bank and Anthem. Many more sponsorship opportunities also are available. For information on playing or sponsorships, contact Nancy Shapiro at (860) 560-5471 or visit

The event is part of CRT’s ongoing Campaign to End Domestic Violence, which can be read about

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Hartford, Other Segregated Cities Likely to Stay That Way

New America Media Commentary, Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The recent report that America’s most segregated cities are just as — if not more — segregated than they were a couple of decades ago is hardly a revelation. The report focused on the top 10 most segregated cities. But this could easily be expanded to find vast and unbroken pockets of racial segregation in many of the nation’s smaller and mid-size cities as well.

A casual drive through any of the major urban neighborhoods in America, a walk through the neighborhood schools, hospitals, and clinics reveal the stark pattern of the two Americas. In fact, even three or four urban Americas: an America that is poor, black and Latino; an America that is black and middle class; an America that is white, working class and middle class; and one that’s white and wealthy.

But whichever urban America one travels through, the line dividing the neighborhoods is as deep as the Grand Canyon. There are the usual suspects to blame for the rigid segregation. Poverty, crime, lender redlining, a decaying industrial and manufacturing inner city, white and middle-class black and Hispanic flight, crumbling inner-city schools, the refusal of major business and financial institutions to locate in minority neighborhoods, and cash-strapped city governments that have thrown in the towel on providing street repairs and basic services.

This tells a big part of the story of the chronic segregation, but it’s only part of the story. The painful truth three years after the election of America’s first black president is that there are far too many policy makers, political leaders, and many whites that still think that segregation is too much a longstanding, even immutable, way of life in America to ever change. The entire history of Northern urban segregation is damning proof of that.

In the decades before the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the great migration of blacks from the South before and after both World Wars, and the flight of whites from urban neighborhoods to the suburbs locked in place the economic, social, and political mindset that racial segregation was a fact of life in the North and would stay that way. Redlining, zoning laws, and the federal government’s deliberate policy of bolstering residential segregation insured that. Even as the Jim Crow barriers tumbled in the South and blacks and whites mingled in schools, public facilities, and more and more neighborhoods, residential segregation in the North remained America’s idée fixe.

Every census report in the post-Civil Rights era and the countless Urban League’s State of Black America reports showed that the inner cities continued to get blacker and browner and poorer, while the suburbs got whiter and more well to do. That trend isn’t likely to change.

With President Obama and Congressional leaders trying to figure out where to cut every penny they can from education, health care and employment programs, there is absolutely no chance of any new spending or initiatives to be put on the legislative table to deal with the continuing decay of urban neighborhoods. Some experts have pointed to the increasing gentrification by young whites and non-blacks of some urban neighborhoods as a hopeful sign that residential segregation could in time pass away. That’s not likely. In fact, studies have shown that gentrification has not altered the neighborhood racial segregation patterns as much as is popularly presented. Many of the old homes that have been renovated as chic, pricey, apartments and townhouses, have been gobbled up, not by whites and non-blacks, but by upwardly-mobile black professionals. They are upscale, but they are still black, and so are the freshly gentrified neighborhoods they live in.

Urban racial segregation, then, may not be the permanent lot of American society, but if past decades and current policies are any sign, America’s most segregated cities will stay that way for more census counts to come.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts a national Capitol Hill broadcast radio talk show on KTYM Radio Los Angeles and WFAX Radio Washington, D.C. streamed on The Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on and and Internet TV broadcast on
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter:



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Jean Grae Headlines Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival

HARTFORD — Jean Grae will headline the sixth annual Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival, the first and largest international hip-hop festival in the United States, on April 1 and 2.

Grae, a leading female hip-hop artist, will perform as part of a weekend-long educational and cultural experience on the Trinity College campus.  The student-created festival was headlined by KRS-One of New York in 2010 and K’Naan of Somalia in 2009.  The event is free and open to the public.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Grae is the daughter of South African jazz musicians, Sathima Bea Benjamin and Abdullah Ibrahim.  She studied Vocal Performance at the LaGuardia School of Music & Art before majoring in Music Business at New York University.  Signed under Talib Kweli’s Blacksmith Records in 2005, Grae has recorded tracks with notable hip-hop artists, such as Kweli, The Roots, Mos Def, Ne-Yo, and others.  The weekend event, hosted by the ReMinders, will also feature performances by Omar Offendum (Syria/USA), Amkoullel (Mali), Emicida (Brazil), and Eekwol (Canada).
In addition to a b-boy and b-girl battle and an urban art and photography exhibition, the festival will feature several workshops and classes, including an African Studies and French in-class workshop led by Amkoullel and Marie- Agnes “mab” Beau.  Amkoullel, a performing artist at the event, is the grandson of Amadou Hampate Ba, a prominent African historian, and Beau is a pioneer in promoting global urban cultures worldwide as a psychologist and social activist with 27 years of experience in the international music industry.  A Women’s Studies lecture and Q&A session will be held by Anna Oravcova (Czech) and Cat ‘B-girl Kit- Cat’ Young (Scotland).  In addition, Omar Offendum will present a lecture on Middle East Studies.

Hip Hoppers Revel in the Music at the 2010 Hip Hop Festival

On Friday, a delegates dinner will include a keynote speech by T. Tomas Alvarez, entitled: “Beats, Rhymes & Life: Hip Hop as a Catalyst for Change and Development.”  Alvarez founded Beat, Rhymes & Life and believes in promoting change from the ground up, with the theory that using the process of creating hip-hop music in a group setting can be an effective model for teaching youth.

Other workshops include graffiti painting with Mejah Mbuya (Tanzania) and a music video shoot with Magee McIlvaine (Trinity ’06), one of the original founders of the festival. There will also be a panel discussion on “The Healing Power of Hip Hop” with Gaston “Cenzi” Gabarro, Minister Server, Carol O’Connor, and one of the featuring artists of the hip-hop festival, Eekwol – a member of Muskoday First Nation and Mils Productions.

Twenty MCs will have an artist showcase with DJ Nio from Italy, and a film screening of Bouncing Cats and Hiplife in Ghanawill be shown followed by a question & answer session with director Eli Jacobs Fantauzzi. Red Bull’s Bouncing Cats is a film about one man’s mission to give hope to Children in Uganda through breakdancing.  Fantauzzi has traveled extensively in the Caribbean and Africa and has produced and directed several short films and music videos.
Another panel discussion on “Hip Hop and a New Global Horizon” will feature Vijay Prashad, George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian Studies and Professor of International Studies at Trinity; Rosa Clemente, a community organizer and journalist; Jlove Calderon, an author, educator, and activist; and Omar Offendum, a Syrian-American MC and Producer.

The main performance is on Sat., April 2 at 9 p.m., and runs until 2 a.m.  Doors will open at 8 p.m. No registration is necessary, but admittance is on a first come, first serve basis.

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Hartford To Celebrate Fair Housing Month

By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — April will be Fair Housing Month in the Hartford.

And Mayor Pedro E. Segarra is expected to proclaim this next month city’s opening of the 2011 Hartford Fair Housing Month Seminar on April 8 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St.

Other featured seminar speakers include  are Attorney Jeffrey Sussman, U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity; Stan Kosloski, Executive Director – CT Disability Advocacy Collaborative; Human Rights Attorney Michelle Dumas Keuler, State of Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and Karin Nigol, Assistant Director, Housing Education Resource Center.

Speakers will focus on Fair Housing Act and Civil Rights related to HUD Requirements; Fair Housing Rights and Reasonable Accommodations; Overview of the Protected Classes in Connecticut; Foreclosure Prevention and more.

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Malloy Chooses Victim Advocate To Head Parole Board

HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Monday announced he has named Erika M. Tindill of New Haven to serve as Chair of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Currently, Tindill is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a position she’s held since 2009.

“Erika has shown extraordinary leadership skills in her roles as an accomplished attorney, prosecutor, executive director and victim advocate,”  Malloy said.  “She is highly respected within the criminal justice community for her ability to advocate on behalf of victims and their rights, for her sharp knowledge and understanding of the criminal justice system, and for her dedication to improving the services that protect the public and their safety.”


As the Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Tindill leads a coalition that develops training for and conducts public awareness and public advocacy campaigns in support of member agencies that provide direct services to victims.  She previously served as a prosecutor in the State of Florida and as Deputy Director of the New Haven Legal Assistance Association.

“The Board is an integral part of the state’s criminal justice system,” Tindill said.  “Parole is a privilege, not an entitlement.  Offenders must earn the right to be considered and the Board must put public safety first. I share the Governor’s commitment to lowering rates of recidivism in a cost effective manner, and I look forward to working with him in this new position.”

Tindill has served on the Boards of Directors for the Domestic Violence Services of Greater New Haven and for the Rape Crisis Center of Milford.  She mentored and volunteered at Conte West Hills Magnet School in New Haven, was co-chair of the New Haven County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee, and is a member of the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity.

The Board of Pardons and Paroles, an autonomous state agency with administrative support provided by the Department of Correction, is responsible for making individualized offender re-entry decisions using state-of-the-art risk assessment tools.  Under state law, the Board must involve victims in its decision making process and must recommend the appropriate level of post-release supervision.  In recent years, the Board has adopted reforms to ensure that all necessary information is available prior to release decisions being made.


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Hartford City Councilman Erupts In Chamber

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — The Hartford City Council opened its Monday meeting like most: calmly and with a prayer. Moments later in chamber, one council member erupted.

The outburst came from Working Family Party Councilman Larry Deutsch shortly after Majority Leader James Boucher began checking off agenda items like rapid-fire. Boucher also referred to committee the last item on the agenda, a resolution to “immediately” fund the Salvation Army Marshall House Family Center at 225 South Marshall Street. The shelter, which offers temporary housing and “help families earn skills to move to permanent housing,” is scheduled to close April 15.

Then “all hell broke lose,” in the City Hall Chamber as one observer noted:

Known for his many acts of civil disobedience, Deutsch bolted up from his seat and an unusual dialogue occurred, he said, because Agenda Item # 31 regarding the homeless shelter was “not recognized.”

“The items should be considered if it’s urgent,” he announced to his colleagues as he held up a mint green 8 x 11 inch-paper that read: “Hartford City Council: Don’t allow the Women and Family overflow shelter to close.”

A conversation followed.

Councilman Larry Deutsch: This item was not recognized.

Council President rjo Winch: …It was referred to committee.

Deutsch: …at least the council should consider if it is urgent.

Corporation Counsel: There is no such exception to Robert Rules of Order.

Deutsch: Well, I take exception to the Robert Rules…

Winch: …Abide by the rules. …We’re on to the next item.

Deutsch: I’m afraid not.

Winch: Councilman Deutsch you are out of order.

The council recessed for about three minutes. And for the rest of the one-hour meeting, Deutsch stood in silence with his protest sign in hand.

Hartford City Councilman Larry Deutsch stands with a sign in chamber as his colleagues try to continue Monday’s meeting.

Councilman Kenneth Kennedy, who chairs the budget committee, said Deutsch made a power play after he refused half the requested amount, $26, 000. Kennedy said Deutsch has been requesting money for the shelter every six months for the last six years.

Power play or not, the shelter impending closing was set for April 15. One woman, Elizabeth, had the largest sign in the audience, a show of solidarity with Deutsch and the other women who held up signs in the audience (see featured photo). She said she has been in the shelter for two weeks and has no place to go if they do close.

Another woman chimed in as she walked out of city hall chambers.

“They care more about a tree than women and children,” said Carla Williams, 50, president of Women of Voices of Color.

In other matters, the city council voted  7-2 to repeal an ordinance that will allow city council members to receive an 80 percent raise in January 2012. Voters will decide in November 2011 whether council salary should increase from $15,000 to $26,650.


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Hartford Mayor Forms Alliance Against Capitol West Building

By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — The city’s patience with the owners of  the Capitol West Building on Myrtle Street has run out.

So said Mayor Pedro E. Segarra in a recent statement to the press announcing the city’s decision to take the blighted property by eminent domain.

Today at 11:30 a.m. in parking lot 5 of the insurance company, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Segarra is expected to join business and community leaders, who his office said, support tearing down the Capitol West Building. The lot is at 36 Garden Street in the city’s Asylum Hill neighborhood.

Later tonight, the City Council is expected to act on the mayor’s resolution regarding the acquisition of the Capitol West property at 1-7 Myrtle Street through eminent domain.

Earlier this month, the Hartford Redevelopment Authority voted 4-1 in favor of this action.

The mayor applauded the  agency’s decision.

Mayor Pedro Segarra poses with Hartford CEO Liam McGee in front of the Capitol West Building

“I’ve always based my decisions on what is in the best interest of the City.  While some would have you believe that this project is too costly, the price of doing nothing would be far greater and far more devastating to the City in the long run,” says Mayor Segarra.

The Mayor, in a press release, also thanked The Hartford “for its patience and desire to be a partner with the City on this project that he feels will improve the quality of life of the Asylum Hill community and ultimately benefit the thousands of people who drive along I-84 and witness this eyesore.”

Last November The Hartford  announced a five-year $7 million investment in the Asylum Hill neighborhood, thier home for more than 90 years. According to reports, the investment includes a $2 million contribution to help the city purchase the Capitol West building, take it down, and improve the property.

The Hartford’s Chairman, President and CEO Liam E. McGee and Segarra announced the company’s plans during an event held at the West Middle School in Hartford.



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Hartford Mayor Segarra Skeds Town Hall Meeting

HARTFORD — In another push to engage the city in the 2011-12 budget process, Mayor Pedro Segarra will hold a town hall meeting on Tuesday at the Hartford Public Library.

Segarra is scheduled to unveil his budget plans before he submits it to the City Council on April 18.

Organizers of the town hall meeting said this gathering is an opportunity for the mayor to hear city residents’ ” ideas and suggestions about how to both balance the budget and make City Government more efficient, more effective and more transparent.”

They said residents are encouraged to ask questions and share thoughts on how best to achieve a a balanced budget that ” will improve the quality of life for all our residents in our diverse neighborhoods.”

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Census: Latino, Asian Population Soars 43 Percent Across U.S.

The Hartford Guardian’s Focus on Census 2010

NAM News Report, Nina Martin

AMERICA NOW— One in six Americans—more than 50 million people—are Latino, according to new Census data released Thursday, highlighting a dramatic shift in the U.S. population over the past decade that is changing the face of the nation far more quickly than many experts had predicted.

The Latino population soared by 43 percent from 2000 to 2010, accounting for more than half of the overall U.S. population gain, the Census Bureau reported. The increase was most striking in Southern states that have not traditionally had large Latino communities, such as Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, North Carolina and Louisiana. But heavily Latino states such as Nevada, Arizona, Texas and California saw sharp increases as well.

The growth rate for Asians matched that of Latinos, though they make up a much smaller segment of the overall U.S. population. The percentage of blacks across the U.S. held steady, while the proportion of white Americans declined.

In 2010, Latinos accounted for 16 percent of the 309 million people in the U.S.. Asians made up 5 percent and African Americans 12 percent. More than 9 million people checked two or more race categories on the 2010 census form, up 32 percent from 2000. Some 3 percent of the U.S. population now identifies as multi-racial.

Latino Estimates Exceeded in 40 States

The growth of the Latino population exceeded estimates in 40 of the 50 states, the Census Bureau said. Seven states would have lost population if it weren’t for Hispanics, whose numbers increased mainly because of high immigration and birth rates.

This past decade was the first since the 1960s when the number of Latino births surpassed the number of immigrants, according to Jeffrey Passel, a demographer with the Pew Hispanic Center. There were almost 5 million more Latino children in 2010 than in 2000, and more than half the under-18 population in California and New Mexico are Latino.

By contrast, the white population is aging and stagnant. The number of non-Hispanic whites edged up just 1 percent over the past 10 years—and decreased as a proportion of the total U.S. population, from 69 percent to 64 percent. Demographers predicted that that within three decades, Latinos would outnumber white Americans.

Minorities now make up a majority of the population in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

Big Political Battles Ahead

The new Census numbers are likely to have major political repercussions in the coming months and years, as states use the population data to redraw legislative and Congressional districts. The changes will have a direct impact on the House of Representatives, where the number of seats allocated to each state is determined by the size of its population.

The process is expected to be especially contentious this year because many of the states in the South and West that are picking up House seats are Republican-leaning, such as Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and Florida. But most of their growth is being driven by Latinos, who tend to vote Democratic.

The data released Thursday—the first set of national-level findings from the 2010 Census on race and migration—also showed how the population has shifted within the U.S. Americans continued their decades-long migration to fast-growing parts of the Sun Belt and West, pushing the nation’s new center of population roughly 30 miles southwest to a spot near the tiny town of Plato, Missouri.

But among many African Americans, the migration was southward. Blacks abandoned big cities such as Oakland, Chicago, New York and Detroit—whose overall population plunged 25 percent— for the suburbs of cities like Atlanta, Dallas and Houston. Both Michigan and Illinois had their first declines in the black population since statehood.

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New Census Numbers Mean New Responsibilities for Latinos

The Hartford Guardian’s Week-long Focus on Census 2010

La Opinión, Editorial

AMERICA NOW — There are 50 million Latinos in the United States—an enormous number that entails responsibilities, especially for immigrants, who represent a significant percentage of the total.

This fast-growing number also sends a powerful signal to the political establishment that the country’s future is connected to this community’s progress. Today, one out of every six Americans is Latino, as well as one out of every three children. By 2050, an overall racial or ethnic majority will no longer exist, and minorities will become the majority, due in large part to the increase in the Latino population.

Within this context, it is worrisome that members of the Latino community are not ready for a future where they play a central role.

Now is the time to become aware of this reality and obtain the government’s commitment at all levels to strengthening education, so tomorrow’s workforce is prepared to be competitive. A solid health care system is also necessary so young adults stay healthy and become productive citizens who achieve their potential.

President Obama is taking the right steps with the health care reform and a renewed emphasis on education.

Improving the areas of health care and education in the Latino community will have positive effects on society as a whole. To accomplish this, people must stop perceiving Latino immigrants as a threat to be eradicated through deportations, and look beyond the stereotype.

At the same time, Latinos must control their own destiny, as being 50 million strong demands. Otherwise, this number may give them a false, frustrating sense of power because the idyllic dream of Latino unity is unachievable.

The way to start is assuming responsibilities to become active participants of society. For example, by learning English and participating in civic and community events. Immigrants must also respect the local laws and regulations of their new country. They should adapt to their new surroundings rather than wait for everyone to adapt to them.

People who are permanent residents should become citizens and vote, expressing their opinions instead of being anonymous members of a silent majority. Everyone can complain as much as they want, but without solid political participation, complaints have no impact.

The number revealed by the census is a compelling argument for an implicit commitment between government leaders, who have the mission of preparing for the future, and Latinos, who should do everything in their power to be ready for the upcoming years. The destiny of the United States is firmly linked to the future of Hispanics. Recognizing this reality will be a good start.

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