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.

The racial malware running our culture

It isn’t the theatrical of white supremacy that worries me. It’s the practical. While we are outraged about the blatant racism in Charlottesville, we can and should ask ourselves, where is both racism and sexism subtly embedded in and enacted by our laws? Here are just a few easy-to-find examples if we look:

Talk about Connecticut’s educational inequity, but no action

“Equity is great to talk about until someone has to give up something.” Quesnel’s quote, in particular, struck me because it perfectly encapsulates the situation here in Connecticut. For all the talk of consensus after Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher’s scathing 90-page ruling, neither state Republicans or Democrats included meaningful reform of the Education Cost Sharing Grant, the main grant the state uses to distribute school funding, in their proposed budget plans this year.

Fair housing rule needs to be used everywhere, not weakened

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and fair housing policy are lifelines to low income families and people of color who have been crowded into low opportunity neighborhoods in cities like Hartford. AFFH is under attack from both the Trump administration and Congress. Dr. Ben Carson, the current Secretary of HUD, has gone on the record against AFFH, stating that it relies on a “tortured reading of the Fair Housing laws” to effect change. AFFH. We need HUD and the federal government to use these rules, not repeal them.

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).

Connecticut shouldn’t restrict access to eye care

In Connecticut, health disparities are a well-known problem among ethnic minorities such as African-Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos. House Bill 6012, An Act Concerning Consumer Protection in Eye Care, is currently pending before the legislature and raises major concerns in terms of health disparities… I’m afraid it will only serve to exacerbate this divide…

Southwestern CT represents the state’s best chance for a third casino

A thriving new commercial gaming facility in southwestern Connecticut, with full access to the powerful New York market. Thousands of new well-paying jobs. Hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenues for the state. This is a genuine possibility now for Connecticut, thanks to newly proposed legislation that, at last, gets it right. And which finally would give the state a chance to do right by my tribe, Schaghticoke Tribal Nation.

Housing opportunity is educational opportunity

I have always believed that my success and opportunities in this country were attributable to my access to a solid education, and this fundamental belief has driven my passion to eliminate the achievement gap. Research resoundingly confirms the importance of good teachers, a solid curriculum, an appropriate cultural environment in school as well as other factors that are connected to the school setting. However, it is only more recently that I have begun to understand how segregated housing is a significant “missing” piece of the achievement gap. If we want better educational outcomes, then housing segregation – racial, ethnic, and economic – must be addressed.

In Fairfield, time to face the glaring racial imbalance in CT schools

When Brown v. Board of Education was passed and public schools across the country slowly trod toward desegregation, many pro-segregation parents enrolled their children in private schools rather than allow them to share a classroom with black students. We can hear echoes of this sentiment in Connecticut School Board Chair Allan Taylor’s opposition to redistricting students in Fairfield.