A Loving Community Conversation
Thank you to all who attended our first-ever Loving Community Conversation on April 21st in Hartford. More than 50 community members joined us for the discussion. We hope to see you at future events so that we can continue the conversation! Check out the photos on our Facebook page.
2016 Loving Community Conversation:
Housing Integration in the Years Since Yonkers
April 21, 2016 – Hartford, CT
It was not by chance that communities in Connecticut and across the country became segregated by race and class. It was by design: decades of discriminatory policies and practices, both private and public, built the divided, unequal cities and towns we see today.
Because where we live determines so much about our access to employment, education, healthcare, and other opportunities, we must take intentional action to undo the injustices of the past and ensure equal access to opportunity for all people in Connecticut, wherever they choose to live.
Lisa Belkin’s book, Show Me a Hero, and its 2015 HBO miniseries adaptation, detailed both the political and personal struggles behind a landmark public housing desegregation case in Yonkers, NY in the 1980s and ’90s. Similar battles played out across the country, and continue even today. The story could not be more relevant to Connecticut, one of the most racially and economically segregated states in the country.
Join the conversation as Ms. Belkin and our other distinguished panelists discuss the history of housing segregation in Connecticut and across America, assess past efforts to promote more integrated cities and towns – incorporating lessons from the Yonkers case – and explore ways to build communities that provide all residents with access to opportunity.
Lisa Belkin – 2016 Mildred & Richard Loving Civil Rights Award recipient
Lisa Belkin is the Senior National Correspondent for Yahoo! News. She spent six years researching and writing her book, Show Me a Hero, which detailed a landmark housing desegregation case in Yonkers, NY; more recently, she served as a consultant on the book’s award-winning HBO miniseries adaptation. During her 30 years as a reporter with the New York Times, her editors once described her as “the social conscience of our times.” While with the Times, she created the Life’s Work column and the Motherlode blog. She was previously a Senior Correspondent at The Huffington Post, the host of “Life’s Work with Lisa Belkin” on XM Radio, and has also been a contributor to NPR and the Today Show. A graduate of Princeton University, she has returned there as a visiting professor, teaching narrative non-fiction as an instrument of social change.
Wildaliz Bermudez is a longtime Hartford resident, newly elected Hartford City Councilwoman, and community activist. She currently works as the Communications Director for the CT League of Conservation Voters and has previously worked as a Policy Analyst for the City of Hartford, an organizer with the CT Center for a New Economy, a Navigator Coordinator during the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, and a Community Outreach Advocate for the Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut. As an original Sheff v. O’Neill plaintiff, she has spent her life fighting to improve equity in public schools, advocating for universal health care and environmental causes, and fighting for the rights of working people. Ms. Bermudez has served on non-profit boards like the Center for Latino Progress, Connecticut Alliance for Basic Human Needs, and the Connecticut Landmarks Society. She has co-hosted the Cafe Con Luis segment on the Analeh Show on Univision. Wildaliz is a Trinity College graduate and also holds a Master’s Degree from La Universidad Metropolitana in Puerto Rico. She lives in Hartford’s Asylum Hill neighborhood with her husband, Ken.
Jack Dougherty, Professor of educational studies, and students from the Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project at Trinity College, use digital history and data visualization to explore inequality and activism in metropolitan Hartford. Recent publications with many collaborators include Writing History in the Digital Age (2013), Web Writing: Why and How for Liberal Arts Teaching and Learning (2015) and articles on integrated education and public school choice. His current book-in-progress is On The Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and its Suburbs, freely available at OnTheLine.trincoll.edu.
Panel Moderator: Robert Cotto
We want to thank Robert for stepping in to moderate the Loving Community Conversation when our scheduled moderator was forced to cancel due to a conflict.
Robert Cotto graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in sociology and has Master’s degrees in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and from Trinity College in American Studies. He is currently a Lecturer at Trinity College in Hartford, where he is also the Director of Urban Education Indicatives. He is an elected member of the Hartford Board of Education. Mr. Cotto’s academic work focuses on K-12 education policy and educational reform movements in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that offer educational improvement, yet often reinforce inequality or are subverted by existing social policy. In particular, he studies the history and current impact of educational testing, school choice, and teacher-led innovation, and management policies, particularly with respect to marginalized and racialized groups. He was recently featured on WNPR, Connecticut’s public radio station, in a story by Susan Campbell commenting on the practice redlining and its effects on Connecticut’s urban neighborhoods today.