M AT T E R S
CT&C Special Issue
egarding efforts to make real progress on racial equity, Bloomfield Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown recently said that change really happens at the local level. All across the country over the past year, the challenge of finally achieving racial equity has gained renewed attention and more broad-based support for action. Much of that attention has been directed toward policies and practices at the national and state levels, and rightly so. But as Mayor DeBeatham-Brown reminds us, meaningful change is within reach at the local level. Think about it. Your local government and school district typically impact your daily life in multiple ways: police and fire protection, schools, parks and playgrounds and recreation, zoning and housing code enforcement, trash pick-up, street maintenance, economic development and more. Connecticut’s towns and cities have a key role to play in the renewed commitment across the nation toward racial equity. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities serves as the state’s league of municipalities and is led by local chief elected officials from across the political spectrum, representing our towns and cities, from the smallest to the largest. CCM’s core work on behalf of municipalities involves advocating for the policy priorities of Connecticut’s municipalities and their citizens, and supporting towns and cities as they serve their residents by providing training and technical assistance, research and best practice sharing, and pooling their buying power to negotiate more cost-effective services. In this work, CCM is dedicated to carrying out our motto: “collaborating for the common good.” CCM is uniquely positioned to advance racial equity at the local level by virtue of our long-standing and supportive working relationship with the leaders of Connecticut’s municipalities. In recent months, CCM’s board of directors demonstrated its support for progress on racial equity, when it created an Inclusion Committee charged with “fostering a culture and atmosphere of mutual respect and inclusion in communities throughout the State, and at CCM… inclusive policies and practices will help us better represent the communities we serve, more fully engage all parts of our community in the work of strengthening our municipalities, and promote innovative work that reflects the diversity of thought in our communities.” In response to this charge, CCM has been working hard in recent months to advance racial equity in towns and cities across Connecticut. In October, CCM sponsored four regional CARES forums (Communities Advancing Racial Equity) featuring local and community leaders across the state talking about what is needed to move toward fairer, more equitable communities. Then in 2 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | SPECIAL ISSUE 2021
December, CCM’s annual convention culminated with a discussion among nationally recognized leaders about local opportunities to achieve racial equity. Hundreds of people in communities all over Connecticut attended the five events (virtually) and thousands watched the online videos of these events. You can view more information on the CARES forums here: https://ccmct.org/cares. In January, CCM released a Municipal Equity Toolkit, complete with a Municipal Checklist with nineteen concrete action steps to advance racial equity in municipalities and links to many resources to inform this work, including best practices here in Connecticut and across the country. The Toolkit can be found at this link: https://ccm-ct.org/race-equity-resources CCM will be conducting training sessions and roundtable discussions along with providing technical assistance and resource lists to support municipal leaders who are committed to racial equity. And we will recognize the municipalities that achieve significant racial equity milestones. Another focus of CCM’s work is to increase the number of people representing communities of color who work or serve in municipal government. Toward that end, CCM worked with the Yale Campaign School to provide two days of training called: Representation Matters; Are You Ready to Run for Local Office? Together, more than 150 people attended the Yale session on day one and the CCM session on day two in February. This CCM Town and City special publication on Racial Equity is provided to help sustain public attention on racial equity and to suggest what we can do in our towns and cities to move toward more racial equity. It includes a series of articles, OPED’s, and podcast summaries on the racial equity work that CCM and municipalities have done over the past year. And it includes more detail on some of the events/convenings we have sponsored in recent months. Finally, this publication shares, once again, CCM’s Racial Equity Toolkit and the Municipal Checklist with its practical recommendations to achieve a more inclusive, more representative, more equitable local government.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OFFICERS President Luke A. Bronin, Mayor of Hartford 1st Vice President Jayme J. Stevenson, First Selectman of Darien 2nd Vice President Thomas Dunn, Mayor of Wolcott DIRECTORS Elinor Carbone, Mayor of Torrington Justin Elicker, Mayor of New Haven John A. Elsesser, Town Manager of Coventry
Inside this issue...
Carl P. Fortuna, Jr., First Selectman of Old Saybrook
CCM CARES 4
Laura Francis, First Selectman of Durham
Equity v. Equality 6
Joseph P. Ganim, Mayor of Bridgeport Barbara M. Henry, First Selectman of Roxbury Matthew Hoey, First Selectman of Guilford
NLC REAL 7
John L. Salomone, City Manager, Norwich
CCM Race Equity Toolkit
Laura Hoydick, Mayor of Stratford
CCM Board Committee on Inclusion
Recognizing the Problem
Why Representation Matters To Me
Meet Our Innaugural Graduates
New CCM Training: Representation Matters
Representation Matters: Day 1
Representation Matters: Day 2
Why This Work Is Important
The Responses Are IN
Catherine Iino, First Selectwoman of Killingworth Matthew S. Knickerbocker, First Selectman of Bethel Marcia A. Leclerc, Mayor of East Hartford Curt Leng, Mayor of Hamden Rudolph P. Marconi, First Selectman of Ridgefield W. Kurt Miller, Chief Fiscal Officer, Ansonia Edmond V. Mone, First Selectman of Thomaston Michael Passero, Mayor of New London Brandon Robertson, Town Manager of Avon Scott Shanley, General Manager of Manchester Erin E. Stewart, Mayor of New Britain Mark B. Walter, Town Administrator of Columbia PAST PRESIDENTS Susan S. Bransfield, First Selectwoman of Portland Mark D. Boughton, Mayor of Danbury Michael Freda, First Selectman of North Haven
The Greater Good 22 The Work Must Go On
Neil O’Leary, Mayor of Waterbury Herbert Rosenthal, Former First Selectman of Newtown CCM STAFF Executive Director, Joe DeLong Deputy Director, Ron Thomas Managing Editor, Kevin Maloney Layout & Design, Matthew Ford Writer, Christopher Gilson
Connecticut Town & City © 2021 Connecticut Conference of Municipalities
Special Advisor, Bishop Theodore L. Brooks Sr.
Bishop Brooks’ service does not stop at the church. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for many organizations in New Haven, including Yale-New Haven Hospitals Trustee Board and Medical Committee. He was formerly a member of the City of New Haven’s Board of Police Commissioners, Police & Fire Pension Board. He is also a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and International Association of Christian Clinical Counselors.
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How Many Roads, How Many Years?
CCM CARES gets comfortable with uncomfortable conversations
onversations on racial equity are not easy undertakings – acknowledging the systemic differences experienced by minorities in America can be uncomfortable, especially for those who are the beneficiaries of those inequities. But over the spring and summer, it became clear that many were ready for those uncomfortable conversations. Over the course of four evenings in October, CCM held the CARES panel discussions with state, local, and community leaders throughout the state. CARES stands for Communities Advancing Racial Equity Series, because of the understanding that change starts at home. Each discussion lasted 90 minutes covering topics such as policing, local public education, public health, and affordable housings. The panelists included not only municipal leaders, but faith leaders and community organizers as well to bring the fullest understanding of how racial inequities affect Connecticut residents. “Over the spring and summer and into fall, America was confronted once again by the ugly truth that systemic racism persists throughout our society,” said Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director and CEO. “The effects of systemic racism have consequences in housing, education, health, public safety, wealth, and nearly every other part of daily life – in fact, race is still the number one predictor of success and well-being in our country.” Each event was kicked off with a video clip of preeminent American writer James Baldwin, who asked “how long must I wait for your progress?” This set up each panel to think not only about discussing the inequities that are there today, but how we can erase them tomorrow. The series was broadcast via Zoom and Facebook Live in order to reach as many people as possible. Over 400 people responded joined the discussions live on Zoom, while nearly 7000 individuals watched on social media. In stark contrast to
many events that are held via social media, the chats and comments were overwhelmingly positive and polite throughout, with zero interruptions. And as each panel concluded, DeLong asked the panel to think about a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”: “First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom.” In line with Baldwin’s quote that kicked off the panels, King’s letter asks how do we keep stalling on progress. The discussions held during the CARES forums were necessary to identify where stumbling blocks are, but they are not the solutions in and of themselves. A conversation is only just a beginning. “This is work,” DeLong said in the fourth and final panel in October.
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“This is people in the community being a willing to come together and engage in this very important work collectively across the state to make Connecticut what we all want it to be and believe that it should be.” On December 3, as part of the CCM Convention, that work will continue. CCM will host another panel under the CARES banner with Clarence Anthony, Executive Director of the National League of Cities, Betsy Hodges, a former Mayor of Minneapolis, and the writers Wes Moore and Tim Wise. This national panel is not the end of the work for CCM either. We have created the CCM Board of Directors Committee on Diversity and Inclusion in order to continue to have these conversations internally. And as COVID restrictions begin to lift, we intend to bring these conversations to the people. People whose voices might not get heard on a daily basis, or didn’t even know how powerful their voices can be. No one person can speak for all of Connecticut. That is why we must come together as a community, to discuss and work, to make that progress that James Baldwin and Dr. King dreamed of long ago. To make Connecticut a better place for every individual. All of the CCM CARES discussions are on Facebook if you missed them, so be sure to check out our website, CCMCARES.com for more information.
On Systemic Racism: Historically people don’t realize there was coordinated efforts from law enforcement history medicine all which created the norm of white life as the center of universe and Black and Brown life as somehow diminished from that and so fighting that meaning means that we’re fighting the normative of white culture and the assumption that white culture ought to be the normative in the center of the conversation -Pastor Bennett, Mt. Aery Baptist Church
On Public Education: I am for public education that’s going to benefit everyone - When black and Brown students see teachers that look like them, when black and Brown students see instructors that look like them, when black and Brown students see counselors that look like them. When black and Brown students understand that we care about your success that means if it’s food that you need we’re going to provide that, that means that this housing that you need we’re going to provide that, that means if it’s counting that you need we’re going to provide that. When they understand that we are concerned about their success, not being able to take a test, but truly being educated so that you can be successful so that you can change the generation, I believe that that’s where true change will start. - Mayor DeBeatham-Brown, Bloomfield
On Healthcare Access: I think even though there is a lot of quote unquote access in the community there isn’t access because a lot of providers come into the community and they say but we don’t take this insurance, we don’t take that insurance, we only want you to pay out of pocket or we only take certain commercial insurance. There will be plenty of providers in the area in our community but they can’t they won’t see anyone from the area because they don’t take the insurance so there is still a lack of access even though there are medical and dental offices within walking distance in our communities in New Haven
- Dr. Darnell Young, Pediatric Dentist
On Funding Problems: because it’s taken decades but they’ve pushed us all into one little 5 square mile an area that they’ve walled us off and we’re being starved for opportunity and resources and what we do the saddest part is then every year in the annual appropriation process we fight amongst ourselves like it’s our problem we’re fighting amongst ourselves; do we pay for our children? do we pay for our public safety? do we pay for our roads? what do we pay for? You know and for the leader of the community, the City Council, it’s agonizing because we have the scraps and we just add it all up and it’s not enough money to pay for it all so everything gets cheated including our children. - Mayor Passero, New London SPECIAL ISSUE 2021 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 5
Equity v. Equality In Local Policy Racial equity is about good governance
Some of these polices that Andrews cited include redlining and housing policy are part of a larger institutional racism.
Leon Andrews, the director of the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Race, Equity, and Leadership (REAL) initiative has been working in this area since Ferguson, Missouri asked for help in the aftermath of the murder of Michael Brown. He joined the Municipal Voice, a co-production between the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and WNHH FM, to speak to what power local leaders have in providing the space for communities to have these conversations as a first step.
One of the ways to change this is through targeted universalism, whereby focusing in efforts on one area benefits everyone. Demonstrating this principle in the American Disabilities Act, there was the Curb Cut Effect. The design was made to be wheelchair accessible, but people with strollers or suitcases benefited as well.
he United States this summer has seen some of the largest mass protests in American history in response to the race-fueled murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. In Connecticut, residents hit the streets in small towns and large cities looking to their leaders to have these conversations and make long-needed changes in our society.
One of the most important things is to define the meanings important to the conversation. “I think the equity, equality piece is one that is so important to understand at the foundational level because people tend to use those words interchangeably,” Andrews said. “At the very high level, equality means giving everyone the same; equity means giving people what they need.” Andrews argues that not everyone needs the same thing. Drawing up the famous depiction of three people behind a fence watching a game, each with a disproportionate disadvantage, he says you have to “think differently about what they need to watch the game.” So for local leaders, when they begin to process racism, they can’t process it in the individual sense, there are “policies, practices, and procedures tha have actually benefited white people over people of color, sometimes intentionally or inadvertently.”
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“Whether we’re talking about housing, whether we’re talking about health, […] education, criminal justice, unemployment, rates, deaths from coronavirus; race is still the number one predictor [of success in this country],” Andrews said.
As local leaders recognize the need to have these conversations and begin having them, they must look to areas where they can “operationalize” what they’ve learned. Local leaders can analyze data, ask and understand who is benefiting from local policies, and being intentional about ending racial inequities where they see them. What that means is dependent on the town or city, because each is so different. Andrews argues that there’s no one city or town or village has figured this out, but “Ultimately, the measure if we know we’ve succeeded is how we close the gaps, where race is no longer predicting one’s success.” Andrews says that he has hope for the future, but he understands those that aren’t there. On any given day there can be challenges or rising tensions. “But what I like about this work that we do with city leaders it’s not just about talking about morally this is a good thing to do, racial equity is about good governance.”
Intent to Impact
NLC REAL, CCM & municipal leagues collaborate to promote racial equity
CM and the Northeastern municipal leagues (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) have entered into an arrangement with the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Race & Equity And Leadership (REAL) initiative to provide customized technical assistance to leagues, trainings for boards of directors and staff, which will in turn, help boards decide on what specific state approaches would be most appropriate to create platforms and trainings for discussion and movement on racial equity. NLC’s REAL initiative “serves to strengthen local leaders’ knowledge and capacity to eliminate racial disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities.” Through training and online resources, REAL helps build safe places where everyone can thrive socially, economically, academically and physically. This CCM/NLC REAL partnership is a part of what will be CCM’s sustained engagement on inclusion, which will consist of, among other things, periodic free trainings for municipal officials, including at CCM’s annual conventions; CCM staff development trainings, and access to consultants for community trainings/conversations.
NLC REAL Initiative America’s foundational document, The Declaration of Independence, tell us that we are born with certain unalienable rights, like those of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In the 250 years since Thomas Jefferson wrote those words, Americans have periodically asked why it seemed those words were only true for some. These questions have led to the abolishment of slavery, the right of women to vote, and same-sex marriages. But while this country has made tremendous leaps, questions remain whether or not we are all equal participants in the American Dream. The National League of Cities created the Race, Equity, and Leadership (REAL) initiative to ask how local leaders can be part of the solution. REAL was created after the moment of mass protests sparked by the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. It was a time when Americans once again asked why race was the strongest predictor of outcomes in life – and more importantly, why Black Americans were more likely to see negative outcomes in everything from infant mortality to life expectancy. Leon Andrews, Director of REAL, raised these issues in a webinar on the topic of race equity, saying that “the work we’re doing is not about preventing further conflict, but really understanding the work that needs to be done to really address some of the inequities.” In the six years since REAL was first started, this initiative has provided training and technical assistance to over 700 city leaders and their teams. They offer programs ranging from how to have those conversations
on race and equity to implementing racial equity plans. Andrews notes that these conversations are not easy to have, so normalizing a conversation on racial equity is often a critical starting point. He asks, “How do we create spaces to normalize a conversation on racial equity, what does that look like, realizing that people have different starting point on how they understand these issues, and, particularly the town/city leaders, how do you see your role in this space?” A fruitful exercise would be to operationalize goals in a town or city. For REAL, acknowledging the problem is not the solution, and is only the first step towards being accountable. Andrews says that the crucial move is from “intent to impact.” That impact is to close the gaps in outcomes based on race. This is what is meant by equity; race no longer predicts one’s success in this country. Using Denver as an example, Andrews said that the economy would have been $40 billion larger if there were no gaps of income between Black and White Americans. That figure is for just one city, and Connecticut is not only one of the most segregated states but also has the highest per capita personal income. The data bears out the truth: while only 15% of white families in Connecticut have inadequate income, 47% of Latinx and 39% of Black families are struggling to make ends meet. Local leaders can and should ask themselves how can we close those gaps; how do we incentivize equity? Andrews says that there is no one perfect example, but organizing principles learned when you have those conversations about equity combined with operations that aim to close the gaps is key. In Connecticut, one aspect might be to learn why there are persistent gaps and combine that with policies that will begin to realize equity. “Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed,” Langston Hughes wrote in his 1935 poem, “Let America Be America Again.” Nearly 100 years ago, Hughes recognized the problems that Jefferson didn’t when he wrote that “all men are created equal.” What the National League of Cities is offering in REAL is an opportunity to look at lifetime outcomes and ask, “why is race the number one predictor of outcomes in life” and “how can I lead the way in changing those outcomes?” This is a moment that calls for change, where Americans are once again asking these hard questions and having these hard conversations. It is CCM’s hope that through working with NLC REAL, establishing a staff Inclusion Committee and developing a robust and sustained trainings for municipal officials, as well as consultants to facilitate community conversations, Connecticut towns and cities can begin to have the needed dialogue to develop policies to ensure fairness and equal opportunity for all residents. SPECIAL ISSUE 2021 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | 7
The Right Tools For The Right Job CCMs race equity toolkit provides how-to on crucial goals
he work of racial equity is urgent, but we realize that for many individuals this past year has been a time of increased learning and deeper understanding. Facts are being upheld, myths are being disproven, and words are chosen carefully – terms like equity and equality are not interchangeable, but they are both essential. To help those who have just begun their journey, those who want to help but just don’t know how, or even those who have been working towards these goals for a long time, CCM has created the Racial Equity Toolkit. This groundbreaking document is a crucial step towards getting all parties working towards the same goals for the betterment of tomorrow. We want to help municipalities and municipal leaders gather data and practical “how-to” information that will help them identify areas for change and improvement, including specific actions and targets that will lead to improved outcomes for communities of color. Municipalities around the state have already begun these conversations – look at the many towns and cities that have already declared racism a public health crisis – but we need to spur more dialogues that lead to a greater understanding. When we talk about these issues, we believe we will become more dedicated and committed to the cause of equity. As we move from discussion to action, we can share information and
ideas, and build a shared accountability for progress. We built our toolkit on a strong foundation by looking to the National League of Cities’ Race Equity and Leadership (REAL) initiative, which has found a track record of success by implementing a seven-point plan. You build trust, get the facts, listen, lead, change, provide training, and prioritize accountability. The CCM Racial Equity Toolkit provides municipalities with a checklist to see exactly what your town or city is already doing, and what it can be doing that will enhance that work. These are concrete actions that municipalities can take to address racial disparities and advance racial equity in your communities. Included are examples of actions from around the country as well as from your peers in Connecticut. While we continue our work with our CCM Communities Advancing Racial Equity Series (CARES), we recognize that not just our towns and cities, but our state and our country has a long way to go towards realizing these goals. It’s about making the everyday life of every citizen in Connecticut better, especially for those like our communities of color who have been left out of those conversations for too long. It is work, but it is good work. The CCM Racial Equity Toolkit is an essential document for municipalities and their leaders who are ready to roll up their sleeves.
MUNIC IPAL ACTIO N GUIDE
Advancing Racial Equity in Your City
RACIAL EQUITY TOOLKIT Racial Equity Toolkit
An Opportunity to Operationalize
RACIALE QUITYAL LIANCE.O RG
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We’re In This Together
CCM Committees build on essential work towards equity in CT
hen the website FiveThirtyEight.com sought to find the most representative metro area in America, based on age, educational attainment, and race and ethnicity, they were surprised to find that New Haven topped that list and Hartford placed third. This did not come as a surprise to CCM whose members comprised of “municipal officials representing a diverse group of individuals, including those from different races, ethnicities, nationalities, socioeconomic statuses, political and religious backgrounds, genders, gender identities and expressions, and sexual orientations and people with disabilities.” That quote is taken from the first line of the CCM Board Committee on Inclusion’s mission statement. Founded in 2020 as part of a long-standing plan to invest in racial equity initiatives, the committee expands on the work that was already being done and cements its place as a pillar of CCM’s goal to improve the everyday life of every citizen of Connecticut. Anchored by its founding members; Susan Bransfield, First Selectman of Portland as Chair, and Laura Hoydick, Mayor of Stratford; Scott Shanley, Town Manager of Manchester; Kevin Alvarez, Director of Legislative Affairs, New Haven; and Walter Morton, Director of Legislative Affairs, Hamden; the committee drafted and approved their mission statement in concert with work already being done by the executive branch with the aid of Richard Porth, the Special Projects Coordinator. From that mission statement, they declare that they will work “to foster a culture and atmosphere of mutual respect and inclusion in communities throughout the State, and at CCM,” add that “inclusive policies and practices will help us better represent the communities we serve, more fully engage all parts of our community in the work of strengthening our municipalities, and promote innovative work that reflects the diversity of thought in our communities.” This work has already begun with CCM CARES and Representation Matters, both of which served to spark those discussions that had begun in our towns and cities this summer during the Black Lives Matters demonstrations that took place after the murders of individuals like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Conversations are crucial first steps on the road to racial equity, and the Committee’s mission statement includes the work that will take place based on what we learned in those discussions. Documents like the Racial Equity Toolkit and Checklist will provide towns and cities how to operationalize those best practices. CCM’s focus isn’t a one-way road, and a large part of this committee’s work is to provide guidance to CCM’s staff regarding racial equity and inclusion trainings for CCM members, but also to work with the CCM Staff Inclusion Committee. The committee is itself working on a mission statement, aiming to make sure that the organization is functioning in unison with the efforts of the Board Committee, and to make sure that CCM itself is an equitable workplace. The most crucial aspect of this work is that it is not seen as a one-time reaction to the moment, and efforts are in place to make sure that this work is continued throughout this year and beyond. Plans are in place to undertake a survey on equity and diversity in our towns and cities to learn where are needs are most crucial and find areas where we are already succeeding. Consistent messaging, updated toolkits, key partnerships, and more are planned to provide our members with all the tools and resources they need to enrich their equity actions and achieve goals. And because of the overwhelming positive responses to both CCM CARES and Representation Matters, the board and staff are exploring how to hold these events in a post-COVID future that will allow for in-person events. While the New Haven and Hartford metro areas might be some of the most representative counties in America, Connecticut as a whole is still the most diverse state in New England and one of the most diverse states in the country. The Board Inclusion Committee and the Staff Inclusion Committee, the ongoing work and the work that’s already been done is the culmination of an understanding that we are all in this together. That when CCM fights to improve the everyday life of every citizen in Connecticut that it truly means every citizen in Connecticut.
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Recognizing The Problem
Windsor is first of many to call racism a public health crisis
n the most recent Innovative Ideas books, CT&C laid out the Connecticut General Statute under Section 19a-207a which highlights the essential services provided by our local health departments. They include diagnosing and investigating health problems and informing people about health issues. Windsor Town Council took the tremendous step of adopting a measure to declare racism a public health crisis.
called “race restrictive deeds” effectively segregated areas of the state. Cases are still being discovered today as relics of a not-too-distant past, such as described in a recent article from the Middletown Press.
In their isis in that racism and segregation over time has created disparate outcomes in health as well as in many other areas such as housing, education, employment, and criminal injustice.”
Towns and cities across the state are doing the work to address these problems. Since this article was published, nearly 20 municipalities had joined Windsor in adopting similar policies, while State Senator Saud Anwar has pushed Governor Lamont to declare racism a public health crisis at the state level.
The Town passed the resolution unanimously. As the resolution notes, while race is a social construct with no biological basis, it has been systematically applied to worsen the health outcomes based entirely on the color of a person’s skin. The resolution identifies over 100 studies that have come to this conclusion. These health problems arising from racism and segregation in Connecticut have “exacerbated a health divide resulting in people of color … bearing a disproportionate burden of illness and mortality including COVID-19 infection and death, heart disease, diabetes, and infant mortality.” While Connecticut was certainly on the right side of the Civil War, redlining, the process of segregation through zoning, was common in Connecticut. So 10 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | SPECIAL ISSUE 2021
In that article, Sara Bronin, a UConn law professor, said that language can be taken out of the deed, but would ultimately “wipe out a telltale record of a state that promotes itself as progressive and inclusive.”
While NBC Connecticut reports that the Governor said he would look into it, it is municipalities that are going to be leading the way. In response to the nationwide outcry over the deaths of Black Americans such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Connecticut towns have listened to the people and made changes where possible. But the first step is always education. As laid out in Section 19a-207a, it’s up to our towns and cities to diagnose and investigate health problems and inform the public. Windsor took that first step by declaring racism a public health crisis.
Why Representation Matters To Me
Connecticut politics has been exclusionary, that needs to change
espite their political differences, if you were to look at the list of Governors for the State of Connecticut going back to Jonathan Trumbull in 1769, there would be one unifying quality that all of them shared – they were all white. And with the exception of Ella Grasso and Jodi Rell, they were all male. This tells only a very narrow story of who lived and lives in Connecticut.
that will help change that equation and foster a more equitable future.
When the first census was held in 1790, non-white individuals (comprised of both free and enslaved persons) made up eight percent of the population. By 2019, nearly 35% of the state’s population was nonwhite. For a country that was founded on the ideal of a government of the people, for the people and by the people, communities of color and native people have been largely shut out of positions of power.
From my personal experience, I know how important it is to represent my community. That is why I ran. And that is why I’m participating in this training.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), the leading state-local think tank, and the Campaign School (TCS) at Yale University are holding a groundbreaking, two-day training program co-sponsored by the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity, and Opportunity and the Parent Leadership Training Institute
Called “Representation Matters: Are You Ready To Run For Local Office?” this educational program, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on February 13 and 27, aims to give Connecticut’s communities of color the tools and know-how to run for political office or to serve on a local board or commission.
But for so many, there are incredible barriers – glass ceilings – to making that leap. Running for office requires knowledge on how to set up a campaign, fundraising, developing a message, and building a communications plan, let alone the difficult decision to put yourself out there in the first place. Hearing from other elected officials; State Treasurer Shawn Wooden, former Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson, and the only two elected minority town leaders, Bloomfield Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown and Killingworth First Selectwoman
Cathy Iino, among others will be an important bridge for those who have not yet made that leap. By investing in our communities of color and giving them these tools, CCM and TCS are saying that these voices matter and should be represented in our politics. Without representation, it is difficult to believe you are part of your government. Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence a list of repeated injuries that included the King not deriving his powers from the consent of the governed. We believed then that representation matters, and we should believe that now. In Connecticut, the governed is a multicultural melting pot, we are Native, Black, white, Hispanic, Latino, Asian. We welcome immigrants and refugees from around the world. We go to work together, and we go to school together. We must govern together. That is why representation matters to me. - Aidee Nieves, Bridgeport City Council
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Inaugural Graduates of CCM & TCS’s Two Day Training
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We couldn’t be more proud of all 200 of our Inaugural Graduates, we invited them to share pictures for this virtual class photo. Meet some of Connecticut’s local leaders of tomorrow! See pages 14-19 for in-depth coverage of the event.
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New CCM training invests in leaders of tomorrow
hen CCM launched the Communities Advancing Racial Equity Series (CARES) last year, it was with a deep commitment to promoting the values of fairness, equity, and representation. One of the founding principles of our nation is the idea of representation in our governing bodies – a goal that America is still striving for. Communities of color are still vastly underrepresented in politics – local and federal – which is why CCM partnered with The Campaign School at Yale University to hold a two-day training under the banner of “Representation Matters.” Co-sponsored by the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency, the Parent Leadership Training Institute and the CT Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity, this two-day educational series was created to foster that more equitable future. Participants learned the fundamentals of campaigning for and holding elected office, volunteering on boards and commissions, and engaging with experts in nearly every area of local government. The first day of training attended by over 160 individuals, held on February 13, was led by Patti Russo, the Executive Director of the Campaign School at Yale, which has been training women for over 20 years to hold leadership positions, to set up campaigns, fundraise, and more. Graduates of the program included Representative Gabrielle Giffords and Presidential-candidate Kirsten Gillibrand. On the second day of training (February 27th), participants heard from State Treasurer Shawn Wooden on
how to be a change agent in your community, Mark Overmyer Velazquez, the UCONN Hartford Campus Director, on how to serve on local boards and commissions, Scott Jackson, Chief Administrative Officer of New Haven on Municipal Governance and Finance, and Kari Olson of Murtha Cullina on Ethics, Public Meetings, Roberts Rules, Freedom of Information and more. A panel of experts from local government convened to discuss lessons learned and best practices including Suzette DeBeatham-Brown, Mayor of Bloomfield, Roberta Gill-Brooks, Tax Collector in Branford, Ed Ford, Councilmember in Middletown, Cathy Iino, First Selectwoman of Killingworth, Francisco Santiago, New Britain City Council Minority Leader, Gerard Smith, First Selectman of Beacon Falls, and Aidee Nieves, President of the Bridgeport City Council. This work is extremely important, perhaps now more than ever. In Hometown Inequality, a recent book from scholars at Tufts University and The University of Massachusetts Amherst, they say “Of great importance to studies of inequality in American democracy, we find that racial biases in representation in local politics are much larger and more pervasive than are economic biases.” As President Lincoln declared in the Gettysburg Address, one of the great documents of unity and equality, the ideal nation is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people; in the 21st century, we only need the willpower to make that a reality. Over this two-day training, the tools and know-how to get into local politics and serving your community were given to all who attended.
Day 2 Panelists: Melvette Hill (Moderator), State Director of the Parent Leadership Training Institute; Suzette DeBeatham-Brown, Mayor, Bloomfield; Cathy Iino, First Selectwoman, Killingworth; Ed Ford, Jr., Councilmember, Middletown City Council; Aidee Nieves, President, Bridgeport City Council; Gerard Smith, First Selectman, Beacon Falls; Roberta Gill-Brooks, Tax Collector, Branford; Francisco Santiago, Minority Leader, New Britain City Council
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“Government is a team enterprise. No one does it on their own. Building a team is one of the greatest skills you can have.” - Scott Jackson, Finance Director for the Town of Hamden
“People reminded me that you are representing Latinos and People of Color whether you like it or not, so that was important to me. Being in that space, it was powerful and a little scary too.” - Mark Overmeyer-Velazquez, UConn Hartford Campus Director
“I’m the only African American elected treasurer in the Country. I saw the ways that systemic racism affects us. My story is the exception not the rule. We need to change representation at all levels. It’s essential to creating a bigger table with more chairs to confront our challenges.“ - Shawn Wooden, Connecticut State Treasurer
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You’re The Right Person To Run
CCM & TCS answer the question: who should run for office?
hat does a Mayor look like? What does a First Selectman sound like? How much money does a person running for office have to raise? The first day of Representation Matters, which was presented by The Campaign School at Yale tried to answer the questions for those interested, many of which were surprising for participants. The first presentation, led by Patti Russo, the executive director of the Campaign School at Yale (TCS), covered whether or not the decision to run was the right one. At first blush, this seems like an easy question to answer, but according to Russo’s years of experience, is much more complicated than a yes or no question. She set up the entire day’s presentations by letting attendees know the real time and effort that go into running for office – fundraising, finding your voice, networking, with a roundtable discussion of previous graduates. One of the biggest shocks was the amount of funding that was required to finance things like leaflets, surveys, ads, and more in order to actively campaign according to Francesca Capodilupo, Professor at Fordham University. While Connecticut does have some funds available for people running for office, potential candidates need to research how much it’s going to cost to run and then budget for that. She said that you have to ask yourself whether or not you know people who you can call, who will help, and where your support is. For many it might be uncomfortable for them to spend hours on the phone asking people for money, but it is a necessary part of running for office. If the idea of fundraising was presented as scary, Gilda Bonanno, a communication coach based here in Connecticut, is an expert on public speaking – which up to 75% of all people have a fear of. You have to start with the basics – why are you doing this, who do you want to serve, why should people support you – and build your message from there. There are many nuances to political language, and while filler words might not kill your campaign – just ask Barack Obama – you have to be conscious of what you are saying and how you are saying it. Projecting confidence is not easy if you don’t have it, and it might be something that you would have to build along the way. Hearing from those who had that confidence was an important part of the day. Moderated by Russo, Babz Rawls Ivy, a former New Haven Alder was joined by YT Bell, Mayor of Clarkston, Georgia; Renee Johnson, the Senior Government Affairs Manager for Main Street Alliance, and TCS Board Member; and Jamie Scott, Representative in the Arkansas State Legislature to talk about what inspired them on their political journeys. As graduates of the TCS five-day program, they had already gone through the ringer on answering these important questions. Rawls Ivy summed up the entire 16 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | SPECIAL ISSUE 2021
experience of participating in the program and deciding to run for office by saying that “it was the most amazing experience because when you do make the decision to run for office, you are very much unprepared.” But this did not stop her from heeding the call: “The call to run for office is so deep within you that even if you try to ignore it, it comes back at you.” “The call is that internal voice that says you could serve your community, but we all think we are impostors, we all think why am I hearing this call, who am I to take off, why do I want do this […] but you go to the Campaign Schoo, and meet a zillion other women who heard the same call, heard the same message of yes you should go and serve your community, no you’re not dreaming, no, you should do it.” As Patti Russo told the attendees at the beginning of the day, for many, the questions of whether or not to run is not a simple one. Many wonder whether or not they can get up and speak to the public, or if they can successfully fundraise from their supporters, or whether or not they were the right person to run at all. Hearing from the panelists and the rest of the presenters, the answer is clear – you are the right person to run for office if you think you are the right person to run for office. If you think you’re willing to put the miles in your shoes, then you might have what it takes to not only run, but win. Russo ended the day with a brief overview of effective networking techniques, which many took to heart. As the day’s proceedings ended, the chat log blew up with attendees asking each other for contact information – hoping to discuss their plans for their future campaigns, who realized they weren’t quite ready but wanted to support others by working on campaigns, and all around supporting each other in the belief that not only could they run, but that they should run.
Lifting Up Every Voice
Local leaders share their stories about public service
he second day of Representation Matters was dedicated almost entirely to individuals who had won elections in Connecticut to share the wisdom they had learned in their campaigns and through their public service. This offered attendees the chance to hear many personal firsthand stories as they decided whether or not they would undertake a run for office or serve on a board or commission. Opening announcements were given by CCM Executive Director and CEO Joe DeLong; Portland First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield, Chair of the CCM Board Inclusion Committee; Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, CCM President; Paul Mounds, Chief of Staff for the Governor’s Office; and Steven Hernandez, Executive Director of the CT Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity, one of the sponsors. The other sponsors for Representation Maters included the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA) and the Parent Leadership Training Institute. The first topic of the day was “How to Become a Leader in your Community and Work for Change,” which was led by Shawn Wooden, the State Treasurer and former Hartford City Council President. Speaking frankly, he said he thought of his sons when asked about the need for change, and all the hard work his parents did to afford him the opportunity to succeed. He added: “Far too many people I grew up with shared my potential, but weren’t given the resources to reach it.” In giving tips to potential candidates, he summed up the rationale for the two-day training quite succinctly: “Don’t ever think that you don’t fit the profile of a candidate. Your lived experience has immeasurable value.” Next up was Mark Overmyer Velazquez, currently the UConn
Hartford Campus Director and former West Hartford Board of Education member. Through mostly a question and answer session, he responded to participants queries on the topic of “I Want to Get Involved in My Community and Local Government – Where do I Start?” His journey began with his own family – seeing his own parents involved with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and also their example living as an interracial couple before the Loving v. Virginia decision in 1967 which struck down laws against interracial marriages. From there he started down a path in academia that led him to “following the guidance of people like Ella Baker, the often overlooked leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee” noting the “the irony of wanting to be a leader servant, but to give to other and remove obstacles so they can contribute to this thing called democracy.” Each individual’s path to public service must start with positive examples, and as Overmyer Velazquez showed, whether it is through family or through academia each person must find those role models Scott Jackson, who has held positions at the state and municipal level and is currently the Finance Director for the town of Hamden spoke directly to Municipal Governance and Finance. But he also told one of the most affecting tales of why he chose a path of public service over his intended career pursuing a law degree. During the 1989 Tornado that did heavy damage through Hamden, Jackson’s family home was in the possible path. While they did not heed a first call to evacuate, it was Hamden Mayor John Carusone who came and got them to. Saved from the tornado, Carusone came and checked on them every day. He checked on the cat, who was at the shelter.
Kari Olson of Murtha Cullina spoke on “Ethics, Public Meetings, Roberts Rules, Freedom of Information”
Jackson said he came upon a realization that day: “No attorney came to check in on us, no attorney provided us any services, or offered us food or laundry services as necessary. It was people from the government. I made a switch that summer to get involved in government.” Kari Olson, who ended out the day, added to those sentiments saying “I want to thank you for putting yourself out there and taking on the obligation of public service. It is extremely rewarding and I commend you for that.” Through her presentation she gave a brief overview of “Ethics, Public Meetings, Roberts Rules, Freedom and Information and More,” which many municipal officials have taken as part of our CCM Workshops. As attendees began leaving for the afternoon, a chorus of thank yous echoed from the attendees after Executive Director DeLong gave parting words: We have to take care of each other, we have to work together and we have to become vested in each other’s success.
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Everyone Has A Reason
Day 2 panel reminds us why this work is important
he name representation matters works two ways. First, because we govern better when everyone has a place at the table. But representation matters also because when you see someone that looks like you serve for the greater good, you can see yourself in that role. The panel of seasoned experts that was part of Representation Matters’ second day of training was there to share, as moderator Melvette Hill of the Parent Leadership Training Institute put it, the jewels, the wisdom that they had as elected officials. In addition to Hill, who is the State Director of PLTI, attendees were joined by Aidee Nieves, President of the Bridgeport City Council; Suzette DeBeatham-Brown, Mayor of Bloomfield; Catherine Iino, First Selectwoman of Killingworth; Ed Ford Jr., Middletown City Councilmember; Francisco Santiago, New Britain City Councilmember; Roberta Gill-Brooks, Branford Tax Collector; and Gerard Smith, First Selectman of Beacon Falls all shared the personal anecdotes of their experiences as elected officials that made the over hour-long session seem like it was a quick chat amongst friends. The first question set the stage for the entire conversation, asking the attendees what challenges they each faced as a person of color starting out in local government. Mayor DeBeatham-Brown told listeners one of the key moments that led to her becoming mayor after a period in which she thought she didn’t want to run. She was told by an incumbent “That either you’re setting the agenda or you’re on the agenda you have to figure out what you want.”
myself because I was voted to be put here for my leadership capabilities and my responsibility is to continue to build upon those leadership skills and participate and help others be as strong as I am in the voice.” One of the key lessons in running for office is being prepared to take on the task of running alone, and then building that support. For First Selectman Smith, he saw a large campaign dwindle down to a much smaller group of people. “Outside of your family and your own convictions in yourself, understand that you’re in this alone,” he said, “And the ones that do support you, you give them all the recognition and accolades you can.” This is something that Councilmember Santiago echoed who argued that many times people will feel like “their people should be there,” as opposed to having a minority in those positions, or someone representing the homeless or drug-addicted, to maintain a status quo. “Everyone has a reason, everyone has a voice,” he said, “And it should be heard.” Representation has the ability to change the way you view governance, as First Selectwoman Iino said: “One of the things you can do as a public official is see aspects of issues that might not seem like they are fundamentally about race or about status or about homelessness and see the implications of that other people might not pick up on. My daughter’s been
Those words helped her figure out what she wanted: “I wanted to be at the table to help to set the agenda to make sure that when decisions are being made when you’re looking out of your window and not thinking about how your decision will affect me or people that look like me, I have to make sure that I am there to help to set the agenda for people that look like me when they look out of their window.” There are challenges that come with being in these roles. Roberta Gill-Brooks said that she feels the diversity work ends with electing a more diverse representative: “They don’t mind you being there because they can check their diversity box, but they want you to stay in a certain space.” Ultimately, that’s not how representation works, and Gill-Brooks said that you have to bring your own chair to the table so that you can accurately reflect your own views. Despite their current success, many of these leaders expressed external doubts that they had internalized. Aidee Nieves recounted her a-ha moment when she thought about the work she had put in to build leadership skills, saying : “I just said I don’t have to doubt 18 | CONNECTICUT TOWN & CITY | SPECIAL ISSUE 2021
Ed Ford Jr., Middletown City Councilmember
working on homelessness in Rhode Island, and with the covid epidemic all of a sudden she realized there’s no public bathrooms. All the public spaces have been closed down, so there’s no bathrooms for the people to use. She’s been fighting that fight now for months because you might not think about that as a side effect of this pandemic.” And as Councilmember Ed Ford Jr. noted, once you view things from that perspective, you can begin to operationalize change, “putting in reforms to achieve equity.” “We started holding community conversations with people of color, talking to them and just hearing a lot of feedback of what are barriers systemically that you still face in our town,” he said, “Yeah, we’re forward thinking, yeah, we are race conscious, but we still have inequities that exist within the system. “So after getting an entire report of feedback, we came up with there’s a lack of affordable housing, we came up with that we need more minority black teachers and minority teachers, we came up with the fact that our City Hall workforce as long not reflected the community, people of color have had a lot of trouble getting in and then elevating once they actually do get in.
“It’s sad that it takes something like the death of a black man or woman or an event like Charlottesville for people to kind of wake up and recognize that all we have to do something, it’s sad that it takes that but if we can keep our foot on the pedal while the momentum is already here we can actually accomplish something instead of pausing and waiting for the next tragedy to happen.” These words evoke the ultimate responsibility of representation. The idea that this work is important no matter what day or year it is. That it is the continued work of everyone to ask who are we not including when we talk about governance, and how work we do today to foster equity today can prevent tragedies tomorrow. For all the panelists, they came back to one lesson: they were elected not to promote a self-serving agenda, but to represent the people who elected them. Each of them has taken an oath to serve for the greater good of their municipality. Their example as public servants inspired all of the Representation Matters participants who saw firsthand the power of representation from our panelists.
Gerard Smith, First Selectman of Beacon Falls
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The Responses Are IN
Attendees let us know how they feel in survey recap CCM polled attendees how they felt about our Representation Matters training, and we’re glad to say that the response could not have been more positive. Here is a sample of what attendees had to say.
I was glad that this training ca me to me at the right time. The organizers were fantastic and the pres enters. Very en couraging and empowerin g to help you m ove forward to your next st ep of running fo r office. Thank you.
Every involved person did an amazing job. I did ‘t know what to expect. I made the sacrifices and I am so glad that I did. Keep up the great work.
a great I still did learn rospects deal and the p as I aren’t as scary thought.
YOU WERE ALL FANTASTIC!!!
This was great. the Thank you for d information an M advice. The CC . team is fantastic
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Great job Team! God bless you all. Thank you for hosting this series!
main presenta rmative. The fo ity in un ry m ve m as co ar it w lved in endous webin ts to get invo I an em e. w tr at a ho ip as w ic w s rt is on pa Th happy to ity to pers t, ar cl en t ev ea is gr ck th of ba of to give tions were ng to be part ent and how It was a blessi local governm in ntastic, eder Fa government. ad n. le tio a coming representa be t on en t and m lo rn a ve d go learne ective leader e seat of become an eff d unity from th m an m ad co le r to ou to how CCM. ution, teaching ifying contrib ent. Well done m rn ve go in ce en er ff di make a
I would love the opportunity to further advance both my knowledge and experience in the political field. Is there any information that can be provided to me to help me with that? Thank you
Thank you for mak ing the training po ssible. It was well thought out and relevant. A session in the future on how to help mobilize teen s and young adul ts would be great as well. This was a ve ry informative class. And I would be ve ry interested in doin g more classes.
The training was excellent and I know a few people who were in attendance and know that if they choose to run, that I would help out in their campaigns with what I gained and I know there is so much more to learn, but now I know that I have resources (CCM) and more that I can look to for help. Thanks again!
My Thanks to CCM and the many personalities that contributed their knowledge and time to a most successful and worthwhile training program. The information I received will enable me to better campaign for and support the candidates that seek electoral office in the future that I endeavor to get elected.
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The Greater Good
Representation matters to Mayor DeBeatham-Brown
loomfield Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown, one of the speakers participating in our two-day workshop, “Representation Matters,” came on to the Municipal Voice, CCM’s co-production with WNHH 103.5 FM to promote the event and speak about her experiences as one of only a handful of minority municipal leaders in Connecticut. “You’re saying that I don’t represent you, you don’t like the way that I look, you don’t like the way that I sound, you don’t like my hair,” DeBeatham-Brown recounted of her early interactions after deciding to run. “It was fuel for me actually.” The mayor’s journey was not an easy one, even in a town whose demographics are majority-minority, but one that she describes as crucial. Amidst conversations about the murder of Tamir Rice, a young boy of 12 who was murdered by a police officer, DeBeatham-Brown decided that she wanted her community to be represented. “At the time, the council that we had previously was there forever, and I think some of the decisions that they made the town wasn’t too happy with. The town was ready for change. […] It was time for us to have a new people with a renewed vision of what the town could be and could look like.” Not knowing if she was ready to run, she had “that long conversation” with her family, but an even longer one with herself. Despite the voices that were telling her that she didn’t look right or sound right to become a leader, she said they didn’t become louder until she was in a quiet moment: “Is this the right thing to do, and when you have those thoughts, and you remember the reason why you’re actually doing this, it kind of drowns them out, that’s why I said you have to do it scared. Get yourself a group of people that support you, and do it anyway.” She won, becoming Bloomfield’s first Black Female Mayor. And for her, the representation mattered when it comes to governance – when it comes to funding projects or services, she believes that you need to be able to see past what’s happening out your own window, to be a part of a community that puts the greater good first, something that crosses political divisions in Bloomfield. “I served with Republicans and Democrats, but when it comes time to do for our community, we hunker down and we definitely put our community first.” “Representation Matters: Are You Ready To Run For Local Office” aims to give people of color those tools
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Bloomfield Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown promoting participation in last year’s census.
to make the tough decisions like DeBeatham-Brown did to run for office and represent her community. The Mayor said that even though she was asked to speak on the second day, she would still be attending both days to get some of the knowledge presented by the various experts brought in by CCM and the Campaign School at Yale. “Your town committee or the library or the Board of Education, whatever it is, you have to see it as a stepping stone to helping to make your town better,” she said. “I believe that change really happens at the local level.” For more information about “Representation Matters: Are You Ready To Run For Local Office,” a free, virtual two-day educational event held by CCM and the Campaign School at Yale, visit CCMCARES.COM.
The Work Must Go On
Municipal Voice guest ask: “Will you keep fighting?”
acial inequities persist throughout Connecticut despite being one of the more progressive states in the union. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities began to address these inequities with the four CCM CARES regional panels held at the end of October. The panelists filled up nearly four hours of conversation, but questions from legislators, community leaders, and the community would have taken several more hours. On an episode of the Municipal Voice, a co-production between CCM and WNHH FM, we brought on Archbishop Leroy Bailey Jr and Dr. Michael Bailey to continue that conversation and field some of the questions that the CCM CARES regional panels could not get to. One of the questions directly related to progress. After carefully identifying the problems that cause racial inequities in this state, Both the Archbishop Bailey and Dr. Bailey said that it’s about leaders not being proactive in these endeavors. “We ought to be out on the front lines,” Archbishop Bailey said, “We ought to be proactive, not reactive or inactive. Someone shouldn’t have to tell me the right thing to do. You know the right thing, you do the right thing.” Moderates, in response to a famous section of Martin Luther King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” he said stand in the way and become a liability. Dr. Bailey said that these moderates he would embrace with love, “go with empathy,” but say “really don’t sit there and be quiet.” This was a frequent proposition throughout the conversation: one must be proactive in the pursuit of equity. Both Baileys said that through their church community, they had devised a mentorship program because the
teachers do not represent the student body in Hartford, with Dr. Bailey citing the line that it takes a village to raise a child, and part of this plan includes getting teachers from the city to stay into the city. “They need to see people of color if they are of color,” Dr. Bailey said, “It’s easy to become another statistic.” They need someone to “Just listen to their anxieties and their dreams,” the Archbishop added, “What they desire for themselves.” He went so far as to ask that with Kamala Harris set to become Vice President, why hasn’t Connecticut had a Black Governor yet, alluding to limitations within the state leadership roles. “We can do anything, we have the capability, we have the ingenuity,” he said, “Anything is possible, but you have to have the will, the wherewithal to do it, and someone to take the lead.” CCM has been taking the lead in initiating many of these conversations throughout the state, looking to spur words into action. On December 3, as a continuation of these CCM CARES conversations, there will be a national panel of experts discussing local options to begin to solve the racial inequities in this state. When asked whether or not they had hope for the future, both Archbishop Bailey and Dr. Bailey seemed hesitant to answer. Hope might have been the wrong word, and they’ve been down this path and through these struggles before. Dr. Bailey said the questions of importance aren’t whether we hope that things will change. “As history repeats itself,” he asks, “Will you keep fighting?”
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CCM is the state’s largest, nonpartisan organization of municipal leaders, representing towns and cities of all sizes from all corners of the state, with 169 member municipalities. We come together for one common mission — to improve everyday life for every resident of Connecticut. We share best practices and objective research to help our local leaders govern wisely. We advocate at the state level for issues affecting local taxpayers. And we pool our buying power to negotiate more cost-effective services for our communities. CCM is governed by a board of directors that is elected by the member municipalities. Our board represents municipalities of all sizes, leaders of different political parties and towns/cities across the state. Our board members also serve on a variety of committees that participate in the development of CCM policy and programs. Federal representation is provided by CCM in conjunction with the National League of Cities. CCM was founded in 1966.