Celebrating immigrant heritage reflects Connecticut’s strength

The contrast could not be more stark. As the pace of preparation accelerates for the annual induction ceremony for the Immigrant Heritage Hall of Fame in Connecticut, the daily headlines trumpet a more hesitant, even hostile, view of immigrants and their continuing contributions to our state and nation. Immersed in the histories of immigrants thriving in our state, historically and currently, the invective aimed lately at the next generation of immigrants is concerning, as they, like others before them, seek to contribute to this nation while providing their families with the safety and opportunity that America has long exemplified.

Children of color are drowning — in pools … and in schools

Our children are drowning. The rate of drowning, in a literal sense, for children of color is three times that of white children in this country per Jeff Wiltse, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America. The rate of academic drowning is much the same.  Now New Haven has lost three more of its schools due to racial isolation standards. However, I can’t help but ask if districts that are predominantly white would also be forced to close due to their lack of minority student enrollment.

Diversity — Middletown’s greatest weapon to close the opportunity gap

I was born and raised in Connecticut by my mother, a woman who was a strong advocate for my education. Looking back, I have no idea how she was able to be such a fierce and tireless champion of my education, while working incredibly hard as a single parent to provide for her only child. Meeting with my teachers on a daily basis and demanding more rigorous coursework to ensure I was prepared for college. Forcing school administrators to see past their own lowered expectations because of my race. Molding me into an avid (now, lifelong) reader. As a kid, my mother’s advocacy was something I took for granted until many years later in my academic and professional career.

It’s time to seize the day for equal pay

Today is Equal Pay Day, which signifies how far into 2018 the average woman must work to earn as much as a man earned in 2017. Every year, Black and Latina women must work even longer to earn as much as their male counterparts. Black Women’s Equal Pay Day won’t arrive until August. Latina women must wait until November to achieve men’s earnings from the previous year. Equal Pay Day exists because women in our country – and our state – do not receive pay equal to their male counterparts.

We can reverse the decline of race relations

The 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death is a perfect time to discuss the state of race relations and how to improve it. Race relations has been on the decline for the last ten years or so. It didn’t start with Trump, but he has only escalated the problem. It is time to reverse course, and yes, it can be done.

Education justice is in the hands of the General Assembly

Connecticut’s shame is to continue to tolerate some of the most economically and racially segregated school districts in the nation.

Connecticut’s shame is to continue to tolerate one of the largest student  achievement gaps in the nation.

An Education Adequacy Cost Study would ensure that the resource needs of all school districts – successful, struggling, and those in between – as well as the resources needed by regular and at-risk students are identified and quantified. It would then be up to policymakers and stakeholders to put these resource needs in fiscal context, determine a state and local share, and rationally develop an education funding formula and system that is based on actual student needs.

Connecticut must open pathways of opportunity for all

Last week the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth released a much-anticipated report that provides a business perspective on the causes and suggested responses necessary to cure our state’s economic woes. Overall, we support the report’s clear call for state investment to spur economic growth with a focus on education, workforce development, transportation, regional development, and core city revitalization. However, we fear the compressed time frame within which the Commission worked resulted in inconsistent — and in some cases unsound — recommendations, many of which are grounded in four fundamental errors. First, the vision and goals articulated at the outset of the report upon which the Commission bases its recommendations for “short-term, medium-term and long-term actions that will enable improved competitiveness and higher growth” omit any mention of the toxic impact of existing racial disparities and income and wealth inequity in the state.

Our failure to achieve educational equality is an embarrassment

The provision of an adequate education for all young people living in Connecticut is a requirement, and access to quality education should not be dependent on a child’s family income or zip code.  As reported by Jacqueline Rabe Thomas in her June 2, 2017, piece for the CT Mirror, in the 20 years since the landmark Sheff vs. O’Neill case ordering an end to the racial isolation of Hartford’s public school students, the state has enlisted 42 themed regional magnet schools in an attempt to integrate white suburban youth into minority Hartford student classrooms.

The Asian Registry is an American issue

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt of a day when Americans would “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Remembering his wise words on the day dedicated to his memory inspired me to address a current issue that most have never heard about: The Asian Registry.

Hope not enough to save communities of color from the HCV epidemic

In 2007, Hepatitis C (HCV) surpassed HIV in causing the more deaths in the United States. That same year, our first black president was in the making, and his chariots of hope were set loose. Unfortunately, many other people of color were languishing in our correctional facilities, with multiple co-occurring health conditions —king among them HCV. The fate of their health is yet a reminder of their disenfranchisement. For incarcerated people of color living with HCV any brush with the Department of Corrections is tantamount to a death sentence.