Let’s learn history, not political bias

Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh’s Oct. 16 CT Viewpoints piece on Columbus Day is a caricature of an argument. Her essay is full of errors — from petty math to fundamental facts about American history. Evidently unfamiliar with the First Amendment’s scope, she describes Christianity as “intrinsic” to “our uniquely American liberties.” She says Columbus — who sailed for the king and queen behind the Spanish Inquisition — “is the reason why we are a nation founded by Christians and blessed with the only Constitution in the world where the individual citizen derives their liberties from God, not the government.”

The Constitution is 230 years old

As countries go, the United States is one of the relative youngsters, nevertheless, our constitution is the longest lasting constitution in human history. So, Happy Birthday to the most important document in the life of every American citizen, a document which represents and embodies the freedoms that we have been enjoying for the last 230 years.

Why words still matter — Part II

Last January, the YWCA Greenwich hosted Why Words Still Matter, a program that explored the rise in hate speech and hate crimes, as well as how a community can monitor and respond to this behavior. A standing-room only crowd of concerned citizens, including high school students attended and engaged in this critically important discussion. Given the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, we want to share with you again the lessons learned at the YWCA Greenwich January forum.

In praise of mongrels

Before the wedding, my mother’ parents, who were high (albeit lax) Episcopalians, came a calling on my father’s parents, who were staunch Irish Catholics.  As a safety precaution, my paternal grandmother hid all the sharp knives.

Which will it be: Unequivocal support for Israel or our First Amendment rights?

An alarming paradox has taken shape in legislation before Congress:  Our representatives would violate Americans’ First Amendment rights in order to protect the State of Israel. This draconian legislation is H.R. 1697/S. 720, the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act,” is a proposed law that could harshly penalize the free speech of Americans who support the international Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

Proposed budget cuts will affect services to intellectually disabled

Imminent state budget cuts means that the hours of staffing that will be lost, the transportation funding that will disappear, the recreation dollars that will not be available, will remove choice and opportunity from the people we serve. These cuts will set our profession back decades in terms of equality, civil rights and equal access for people with intellectual disabilities.

Get disability out of the abortion debate

In the 1990’s, I was part of a group of women who wanted to reconcile reproductive choice with disability rights in the then new era of prenatal screening. Some in our group had disabilities such as spina bifida or muscular dystrophy that arose in utero. Others like me had conditions like cerebral palsy that occurred at or after birth but were concerned about ripple effect. Would we all become a new class of illegitimates?

The National Popular Vote is not an end run of the Constitution

Last Thursday, the Connecticut House of Representatives debated a bill, HB 5434, which would include Connecticut in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. When this bill passes in enough states, the NPV Interstate Compact will change the way the American people elect the President of the United States. During the Connecticut House debate, an argument was made that the NPV Compact is an “end run around the Constitution.” This assertion is not true.

Give her and other Connecticut adoptees back their identities

My birth certificate is a legal lie.

What’s true on it is that I was born at 4:44 a.m. Oct. 27, 1967. It’s also true I was born in Norwalk Hospital. And I’m guessing that Eric G. Norrington, MD, who’s listed as the attending physician, really was there.

What’s not true are the names typed in all caps under “Full Name of the Child’s Mother and Father.”

Lessons of the abolitionists are important today

The organizing efforts of black and white abolitionists in the 1800s can provide us with powerful inspiration as we face the dangers of Trump and the Republican majority. That’s one reason on May 18 I will be joining the upcoming celebration of Frederick Douglass’s first visit to the capital city at the Center Church (First Church of Christ in Hartford).