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Students Shine During MLK Oratorical Contest

HARTFORD — The BSL Educational Foundation, Inc. of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. recently held its 10th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Young People’s Oratorical Contest at Faith Congregational Church.

The Jan. 25 event, which challenged students from various schools across the Greater Hartford area competition, was divided into two divisions: middle school and high school where five received savings bonds to be used toward college expenses.

This year’s theme was: Gun Violence in America: How will this shape the classroom. The topic was chosen because of an alarming rise in gun violence committed on school grounds. The foundation thought it was relevant after the senseless act of violence in Sandy Hook where 20 students between the ages 5-10 and six adult staff members were shot and killed.  This event stands as the second deadliest mass shooting by a single person in American History, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

Officials said the students were mentored for weeks by brothers of the fraternity and passionately took to the stage to voice their ideas, plans and solutions to combat gun violence in American Schools.

Dr. King’s voice, through his powerful oratory capabilities galvanized people of the world.  In a society where oratory skills exhibited by Dr. King are becoming a lost art, this year’s theme challenged the contestants to find their voices and express what important measures should be taken to ensure their safety on school grounds.

By the close of the evening two champions were crowned; Maitreyi Subedi, a Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy student, won the middle school division and Latrell Powell, a John F. Kennedy High School student, won the high school division.  Both students were awarded an $1,800 savings bond for winning their respective divisions.

More information about the chapter and its programs can be found on our website: www.hartfordalphas.com. A few initiatives of the foundation are: Project Alpha, a program held in the fall and spring targeted for males ages 12-18; an oratorical contest; an Eastern Regional Leadership Development Institute for rising high school juniors and seniors; scholarship opportunities for graduating seniors and college students.

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The Hartford Guardian Enters its 10th Year

HARTFORD, CT. January 10, 2014 – The Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, Inc. on Friday, January 10, 2014 entered into its 10th year of building communities through civic journalism with its flagship program: The Hartford Guardian.

Founded by Dr. Ann-Marie Adams and other Hartford residents who participated in the first meeting at the Hartford Public Library on a cold January night 10 years ago, CABC has navigated the last decade, emerged from the Great Recession, and is ready for another milestone.

CABC volunteers and supporters will celebrate the organization’s successes at its anniversary luncheon in October 15, 2014, a decade after it first published The Guardian, a quarterly news magazine that morphed into a daily news site at www.thehartfordguardian.com. The Guardian, which began as a hyper-local news magazine, has become an award-winning regional news publication.

“I’m excited about reaching this milestone,” said Dr. Adams. “This moment is soul-satisfying and the journey was worth the sweat equity our team put into making this publication a reality and a success.”

Dr. Adams said the goal this year is to expand CABC’s operation and staff. She looks forward to new leadership that will take The Guardian further into the 21st century.

Dr. David Williams

Dr. David Williams

Outgoing CABC Board Chairman Dr. David Williams expressed gratitude for having served.

“Anything you do is a major challenge without corporate support,” said Williams who is the former long-term Director of the University of Connecticut’s Greater Hartford campus. “I’m glad I was able to support Dr. Adams and the work she has been doing in the community for the last 10 years. The Board had confidence in the leadership. She’s a true professional. And she worked hard to stay focused.”

To support CABC and the work it does in the community with The Guardian, or to be a sponsor,email us at theguardian@thehartfordguardian.com.

For information on how you can help CABC Inc. stay focused for the next 10 years, email us as cabc@ct-abc.org or call us at 860-993-1094.

About Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities

Founded in 2004, the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, d/b/a The Hartford Guardian, is a nonprofit organization that promotes civic engagement through quality journalism. CABC Inc. increases civic engagement by educating youth and families about various social services and how best to access those services, educate residents about how government and media work and how to effect positive change, offer opportunities to explore and engage directly with civic journalism through our three main programs: The Hartford Guardian, Summer Journalism Institute and Community Conversations. For more information, visit www.thehartfordguardian.com.


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Murphy and Other Senators Urge Ukraine to Join EU, Stress Sanctions if Violence Continues

Updated: December 17, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy on Monday said that if Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych decides to align with Russia instead of the European Union, the U.S. would likely impose sanctions on the economically fragile nation, which reportedly is in bankruptcy.

“We made it clear that sanctions are an option—should there be more violence on the square,” said Murphy who chairs the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs. He stressed the U.S.’s stance on trade talks between Ukraine and the EU during a call to reporters on Monday.

The tug-of-war situation in Europe has prompted concerns for Connecticut’s substantial Ukrainian population, which has an institutional base in Hartford. Murphy plans to meet with this community on Sunday morning in the capital city.

In a resolution last week, the junior senator also joined other senators in calling for a peaceful end to the crisis that unfolded after Yanukovych seemingly reneged on plans to integrate with the EU.

Other co-sponsors urging Yanukovych to reconsider his tactic are  U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Ranking Member on the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs, Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to announce the passage of a resolution that “made it clear” to Ukraine that the US would support the country if it continued talks with and joined the European Union.

The resolution, officials said, calls for the U.S. Senate to consider sanctions against those responsible for any further acts of violence against peaceful demonstrators.

“It’s unacceptable that these peaceful demonstrations are being met with aggressive resistance and even violence by the Yanukovych government,” the senators said. “This resolution makes clear that further violence by the government will have consequences for our bilateral relationship. Hopefully, President Yanukovych will realize that his government will ultimately need to move in the direction its people want to succeed in the future.”

Responding to inquiries about whether the U.S. government was meddling in European affairs– bringing democracy around the world instead of taking an isolationist stance and focus only on domestic affairs, Murphy said:

“It’s in the interest of the U.S. for Ukraine to join the EU. Ukraine is of great strategic importance to the US, straddling Europe and Asia.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) join other senators to speak out against violence against protesters in the Ukraine.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) join other senators to speak out against violence against protesters in the Ukraine.

The geopolitics underlying Ukraine’s strategy for concessions is evident to many observers. The Ukraine, with about 45 million people, is strategically important to Europeans, but it is especially crucial to Russia beyond economic and trade ties, namely for military reasons.  Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is in the Ukraine, which is on borderland between Russia and Europe.

The EU is a non-governmental body, which consists of 28 European countries that turned over part of their sovereignty to the Union to help build prosperity in Europe and raise living standards. Several years ago, the EU launched a single European currency (the euro), and is now building a single Europe-wide free market for goods, services, people, and capital, according to euinusa.org.

Although Ukrainians are scattered throughout Connecticut, mostly in the Northeast corner of the state, the capital city is home to Ukrainian National Home of Hartford, Inc. And the Ukrainian community has been following talks with the EU since Nov. 1, said President of the Ukrainian-American Youth Association in Hartford, Myron Kolinsky.

“We’re supportive of Ukraine’s democracy,” Kolinsky said. “We will continue to support freedom of assembly, and we will stand with the peaceful protesters.”

The news of Ukraine’s suspended talks with EU and plans to begin talks about rival trade and economic deals with Russia came as a surprise to Kolinsky and others.

According to reports, plans for a secured EU agreement began to unravel just before the Nov. 28th meeting, in which Yanukovych refused to sign the agreement. That’s after he had pledged to integrate into the EU after the country’s three-year agreement to integrate into the EU.

On Nov. 30 at 4:30 a.m. riot police attacked peaceful protesters in Euromaidan, at Independence Square in the city of  Kiev. On Dec. 1, about 300,000 Ukrainians poured into the square, attracting worldwide attention. And on Dec. 10, riot police attacked peaceful protesters again.

In Hartford, people responded to the mass protest and disruptions on Dec. 11 with a candlelight vigil in front of the  Ukrainian headquarters.

Also last week, state and city leaders ordered Ukraine’s blue and yellow flag to fly at the state capitol and at city hall “in support of Ukraine’s freedom and democracy.”

Hartford also had its own peaceful protest last week.  In fact, several Ukrainians and their European allies created their own Euromaidan in the city’s South End, in solidarity with Ukrainians abroad and in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and other US cities.

On Saturday, Murphy joined Sen. John McCain and other diplomats in Kiev to meet with Yanukovych.

The two-hour meeting produced mixed results, Murphy said.  After the meeting, Yanukovych on Sunday posted a statement saying he had “stressed the immutability of European integration by Ukraine.” But he also suspended top-ranking officials, including Kiev’s Mayor Olexander Popov.

The Ukrainian community is scheduled to meet  on Dec. 22  between noon. and 2 p.m. at Ukraine-American National Headquarters on 961 Wethersfield Ave.

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CABC Board and Staff Wish You Happy New Year

Happy New Year From Us!

Board of Directors

President – Ann Marie Adams, Ph.D.

Treasurer – Wayne McCook, Comcast

Secretary – Sally Roberts, Esq, Sally Roberts Legal

David Williams, Ph.D., UConn Greater Hartford Campus Director, Emeritus

Andrea White, Trinity College

Errol Mesquita, Comcast

Damico Nicome, QSoft Consulting

Past Board Members

Yvon Alexandre, Vibez Uptown

Thomas Aldridge,  CT Department of Revenue Services

John Biscette, Continental Advisory Service, LLC

Chastity Hamilton, City Scan-Connecticut Policy for Economic Development

Donna Hemans, Dow Jones Newspapers

Kenneth Kennedy, State Attorney General Office

Jerry Long, PCC Technology

Natasha Samuels, Urban Scene Magazine

Past and Present Contributors/Volunteers

Carolyn Austin

Spank Buda

Andrew Campbell

Alex Cleveland

Niecy Coleman

Roger Desmond

Rena Epstein

Radhiya Flanders

Harold Gellis

Ysanne Harper

Keith Henzil

Denis Horgan

Ebony Farmer

Evan Lawrence

Melissa Malone, Esq

Elsie Mata, Esq

Tamika McMayo

Shawn Murray

Pryia Morganstern, Esq

Willie Myette

William Newton

Paula Paige

Sean Parker

Bruce Saxon

John Roderick

Nelly Schwan

Yasmin Shenoy

Paul Siegel

Jonathan Smalls

Doug Stewart

Kara Sundlun

Amy Yarbrough

Lisa Villard

Alana Wenick

Rondale Williams

Fran Wilson

Christopher Wright

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Hollanders Deny Allegations of Racial Discrimination at Hartford Distributors

HARTFORD — The Hollander family is one of the most respected family in Connecticut. Ross Hollander, the patriarch of the family, is known for his “fairness and kindness” because he has been donating regular to nonprofit organizations and reportedly fighting for school equity, the family spokesperson said today.

That’s why news report of racial harrasment in thier Manchester-based company, Hartford Distributors Inc., is painful, said James Battaglio, a spokesman for the Hollander family.

“It’s painful to hear allegations that are unfounded,” Battaglio said at a press conference today at Teamters Local 1035 in East Windsor.

Early Tuesday morning, Hartford Distributor’s truck driver Omar Thornton,34, allegedly began a shooting rampage, killing 8 employees and then turned a gun on himself. Thornton’s family said that in a phone conversation with his mother Nellie Holliday of East Hartford, Thornton called and said he “killed the racist bastards.”

His brother Edward Kinder said yesterday Thornton had been complaining about racism on the job “from the start.”

“They called him porch monkey…nigger…all kinds of names,” Kinder, 38, said.

The Hollanders through their spokesperson said discrimination is not tolerated at Hartford Distributors.

At the press conference other reporters asked about the percentage of minorities working at the beer warehouse.

According to the Hollanders, there are 130 employees. On the loading dock, there are 69 employees. Of the total, there are four African Americans, nine Latinos and one Asian.

One reporter asked, which department did the four African Americans work?

“We are not here for that,” Battaglio said. “It’s only been 48 hours. This is still very fresh and very fragile.”

However, Hollander did give this statement to reporters about Thornton who was asked to resign from the company shortly before the shooting rampage:

“We conducted a fair and thorough investigation which concluded that Omar was stealing beer from the company and selling it to third parties,” he said.

One of the Hollander brothers, Steve Hollander, is vice president of the company. He was one of several who met with Thornton Tuesday morning. He was also shot and is recovering from his injuries.

Hartford Distributors has been closed since the shooting as Manchester police continued its investigation.

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Hartford Explorers Capture Awards

HARTFORD — Twenty youth police officers recently captured top awards from a New England law enforcement competitions.

Captains Michael  Rivera and  Kelvin Ruiz were awarded first place for building searches while Lieutenant Matt Lewis and Explorer Cristal Marie Reyes garnered second place for domestic disputes and Explorer Rickan Williams and Explorer Evelise Morales won first place in reported assaults. 

The winners wer among  the other Hartford Police Explorers who participated in a statewide competition against other Explorers and Cadets from the greater New England area in a Stations Day Competition sponsored by the Northeast Regional Law Enforcement Educational Association, Inc.

 During this event, teams of participants competed in scenarios in which they have been received training.  Some scenarios included mock domestic violence incidents, a physical agility obstacle course, building searches, motor vehicle stops and high stress scenarios. The teams were then graded on their performance and the best 3 best overall teams received an award for their accomplishments. 

The explorer program was developed to provide local youths a hands-on opportunity to learn about the law enforcement profession.  The program also attempts to develop youth between the ages of 14 and 20 by instilling self respect for themselves and others, teaching the importance of team work, developing their senses of responsibility and accountability, developing leadership skills, and promoting citizenship and community service.

For more information about the Hartford Police Department’s Explorer Program please contact Detective Nikki Mordasiewicz at 860-757-4247 or visit the Hartford Police Department’s website at www.hartford.gov/police.

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