Tag Archive | "Scot X. Esdaile"

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Ned Lamont Pledges More Diversity and Inclusion

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Gov. elect Ned Lamont on Saturday reaffirmed his commitment to bring change to the state with diversity and inclusion, saying to a group of African Americans that he will “make sure everybody gets the same opportunity.”

Lamont spoke at the Connecticut State Conference of NAACP Branches’ meeting at the Hartford Hilton Hotel to more than 200 people, including black elected officials, students, clergies, fraternities and sororities.

African Americans voted overwhelmingly for Lamont in the 2018 election. Election results showed that 94 percent of African Americans supported the Greenwich businessman, who pledged to promote diversity in state jobs and to usher in more access to state contracts.

During his campaign, Lamont telegraphed his commitment to diversity and inclusion and followed through with the selection of two African Americans for high level positions in his administration. He recently hired Paul Mounds as his chief operation officer. Mounds, 33, will oversee commissioners and report to Lamont’s chief of staff, Ryan Drajewicz. Lamont also hired Melissa McCaw, 39, as his secretary for the Office of Policy and Management. She is the first African American to hold that job.

Moreover, he appointed State Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Bridgeport and State Rep. Toni Walker, D-New Haven to his transition team. Both women are African Americans.

“I think that’s a good move. He’s showing that he’s trying to be diverse and inclusive,” said Greater Hartford NAACP President Abdul-Shahid Muhammed Ansari. “It really was the Democrats’ vote from the inner cities that got him over the hump.”

After Emancipation in 1865, African Americans voted for Republicans. But ever since the 1928 election, they have mostly voted for Democrats. Their allegiance to the Democratic Party was cemented in 1936.

NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile said he wants more return on that investment, calling for more inclusion in all branches of government.

“We want to make sure our people are included at all levels, the commissions, boards and throughout,” Esdaile said.

The meeting was titled “The 94% Black Leadership Summit” because election results showed 94 percent of black voters supported Lamont and the Democratic Party.

Lamont was joined by his running mate, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who invited attendees to send resumes and ideas.

“Send us your best. Go to our website,” Bysiewicz said. “We’re taking all good ideas because it’s for the benefit of our state.”

Lamont and Bysiewicz were coming from another meeting earlier in the day with the General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, where they talked about ways to increase the number of black and Hispanic teachers.

He also talked about steering opportunities to the cities, training people for technology jobs, opening up contract bidding to ensure that more minorities have access to those jobs.

“I’m going to make sure everybody gets the same opportunity,” he said. ”Too many of those business opportunities, too many of those contracts seem to go to the same old gang, –and that’s not right.”

Lamont, who defeated Republican Candidate Bob Stefanowski after vote tallies came in from the urban centers the day after the election, said he believes in Connecticut’s cities. He vowed to also direct resources to cities.

“I’m a believer in our cities,’ he said. “Our state will never be great unless our cities are great and I’m going to commit every day to that.”

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Why This Story, Not Real Civil Rights Issues?

To The Editor:

I cannot believe that the story about East Hampton Police is newsworthy , while the NAACP is on life support. The state of Connecticut NAACP has been losing membership and branches for the past several years and support for the organization continues to dwindle in large part because its focus is not on real civil rights issues.

The East Hampton issue of sending e – mails shows that the focus of the organization is not where it should be. Sure there maybe a need for sensitivity training and maybe there needs to be reprimand; however,there are no civil rights violations or actionable consequences. This stuff has been covered in civil rights 101.

Everyone has a right to free speech. Instead of focusing on the inequities in our political, legal and economic systems the NAACP is making appearances to make it seem relevant.

There was a time when we had over 20 active branches. Now we are down to 16 or is it 14 and does that really reflect active branches. As we speak, the Hartford branch, just like the Waterbury branch, is in a state of flux.

Branches throughout the country have been render dysfunctional because of incompetency. Our neighborhoods, which we serve, are losing hope due to budget crisis, tax increases, gasoline prices and high unemployment in disproportionate and disparging numbers. And we are dealing with memos and accusations of alleged racism without complete evidence, or necessary legal standing.

What are we doing? Let’s tackle real civil rights issue and stop the photo opportunities. We must move pass civil rights 101.

Russell Williams

Russell Williams works at the Washington-based Center for Economic Justice. He is challenging the current president of the state NAACP, Scot Esdaile.


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