Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

For updates on Stowe Center programs and events, sign up for our enews at http://harrietbeecherstowe.org/email.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Planning for 2012 Salons

We are looking for suggestions on topics and featured guests for the 2012 Salon series, scheduled to begin February 9. What issues do you want to talk about? Post your ideas here today!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why is Infant Mortality Still a U.S. Problem?

The United States infant mortality rate ranks with developing nations. 

Our October 13th Salon posed the questions:  How can health care and social support improve the infant mortality rate in the United States? What can be done to ensure healthy starts for everyone? 

As we learned in our Salon, there is a lot of work to be done, research to be completed, and some organizations are providing support. Action is still needed.

Stay informed! Check out this article from CNN.com about problems that the United States still faces regarding infant mortality. "Why is Infant Mortality Still a U.S. Problem?"

Monday, November 7, 2011

Corporations Working for Social Good

What responsibility do corporations have for the social good? What are they doing and how is it effecting you? 

Join the conversation Thursday, November 10 from 5pm-7pm at the Stowe Center!

Featured guests for the evening discussion are: Kate Emery (Walker Systems Support and reSet) and Thea Montanez (Hartford Financial Services Group). 

Featured Guest Bios: 
Kate Emery: Kate is the Founder and CEO of Walker Systems Support, an IT and Web Services firm located in Farmington, CT. Walker has been nominated twice to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing small businesses in America. Kate restructured Walker as a Social Enterprise and began talking more publicly about Walkers' business model in hope of promoting Social Enterprise in Connecticut. Social Enterprise Trust or reSet, was founded by Kate to promote, protect and preserve Social Enterprise in Connecticut. Through reSet and the CT Social Enterprise Network, it is hoped that CT will become the hub of Social Enterprise.

Thea Montanez: Thea is Manager of Philanthropy for the Hartford Financial Services Group, where she oversees the Hartford's grantmaking and sponsorships in CT and other communities nationwide. Prior to joining the Hartford, Thea was Director of Operations for the CT Convention Center. Thea is President of the Board of Directors for Hartford Public Library and serves on the board of Aurora Women and Girls Foundation, Grace Academy and the Advisory Council of the Shelter for Women. She is a recipient of the Hartford Business Journal's "40 under 40"Award and the YMCA Minority Achievers Award.

This is a FREE event!
Reception from 5pm-5:30pm Conversation begins at 5:30pm and ends by 7pm. 

RSVPs are encouraged, but not required: 860-522-9258 ext. 317 or info@stowecenter.org
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.77 Forest Street.Hartford, CT 06105

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Event Recap: Equal Opportunity for Small Businesses

How do we expand opportunities for small, minority-owned businesses? Why is it important? Does race play a role in business funding?

Featured Guest Opening Remarks:

Sam Hamilton:
  • Is race involved? Racism in one form or another impacts whether or not a small business can thrive and perform?
  • 2010 Census: The city of Hartford-38% are African American, 43% Hispanic, and 
  • Hartford businesses: African Americans own 19.4%  14.4% owned by Hispanics, and  24.3% owned by women.
  • When you look back at opportunities for early childhood development and understanding of wealth creation, and it is not there. Banks want to know what you have to put on the table in order to run a business. 
  • You will find that a new form of control prevents equal opportunity to wealth, land, entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • There has been progress, but when you look at communities and access, the educational experience, home experiences, and support for those who can do business has not improved. 
  • There are a number of programs in place, but you have to admit that race does play a part. 
  • You don't have the market to start a business if graduation rates are low and prison rates are high. 
  • There is a difference between Farmington Ave West and Farmington Ave East. There is a difference between downtown Hartford and Blue Back Square. 
  • Entrepreneurship needs to be valued.
  • Not having a background on how business works impacts the value of business and entrepreneurship
  • HEDCO becomes an alternative lender to minority small businesses who cannot get funding elsewhere. We look for the quality that these businesses will provide
  • We need to look at what is being taught at school. 
  • Not everyone is going to go to college. What happened to vocational training. Two family incomes built this city and they provide wealth. 
  • We need to teach children the need for their education and an understanding for their vocation and future will be. 
  • Race and gender have played a part in this process. 
  • HEDCO helps individuals understand how to make business happen. We provide an understanding of business that might not have been provided when individuals were in school.
  • The Jobs Bill that was passed yesterday will help fund small businesses.
  • Small businesses are where youth have their first jobs. You begin to understand the responsibilities that come with business. You are more aware of what you have to do. 
  • Women have a problem valuing their work. The story of the $100 dollar. A woman decides to sell her doll for $30. She told them how much it cost for materials and labor. It took $100 to make the doll and she was going to sell it for $30. She didn't want to charge for something she enjoyed doing. 
  • Very often people like to deal with people that look like them. Stereotypes exist. My grandfather would put on his suit to go see the banker. It goes back to a time when you needed to carry your papers around to show that you were free.
  • Why are there so many barbershops and beauty salons in African American communities? It is a part of culture. I don't know what I would do if my barber died. Businesses have success in certain niches. Cultural competence is critical. Sometimes an intermediary is necessary, like HEDCO. 
  • In the construction industry there are mandated programs that require certain things be done. We need to make sure that they are followed. 
  • We need to be there when things are being considered at City Council and Legislature
  • Are people meeting their affirmative action requirements?
  • How many city of Hartford residents are getting jobs in construction? 
  • Environmental racism: why did they put a water system in place that had water and sewage going through the same pipes and why was the retention of that sewage on Albany Avenue. The pipes would back up and sewage went on Albany Avenue. People need to act before this happens.
  • Food access is a major issue that impacts cities and certain communities. We need to act on this before the "train leaves the station" we need to know when it's coming and where it's going. You need to be involved early. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
  • Why don't we have a greater number of women, African Americans, and Hispanics owning businesses. 
  • We need to develop an action plan.
Chris Haylett:
  •  The are effects on businesses because of the economy today. The community helps to keep us going. 
  • HEDCO was helpful to help start Fire-N-Spice. 
  • Things have changed very much since I started my business. Even having a conversation about getting loans is difficult. 
  • We have equity in the building and we need to make ends meet. 
  • We are optimistic that things will turn around, but it is difficult to see how things with turn around for me. 
  • It is better to own a building rather than paying rent. We bought a restaurant and it took some time to get the building to the place we wanted it. 
  • I want to educate people to make healthier choices about their food and their livelihood. So we went completely vegan at Fire-N-Spice. I want to contribute my part and provide knowledge to others through eating and cooking classes. 
  • This restaurant resonates with people. 

Group Discussion:  
Last year an editorial said that because Obama was elected there was no need for affirmative action. Racism is so engrained.  Some people are not going to hire you, but it is on a subconscious level. 

People have good credit, but they are still not getting business loans. Jesse Jackson Jr. said that this needs to be addressed. Anyone can have bad credit.  For a minority applying for a small business loan, how do you deal with credit issues? 
  • Credit is what it is
  • In traditional lending market, if it is not at a certain level, it is cut off. Nothing else is considered. The number is the number
  • A non-traditional lender tries to get past that. Why was your credit impacted? What is the person's character. How can we overcome some of these credit glitches? 
  • A business might still be able to operate well. 
  • Banking communities look at electronic scoring.
  • Non-traditional lenders do not want to hold everyone hostage because of a number. Many years back you used to sit down with the banker and talk about issues you had, we provide that now. 
  • There are ways to get past the glitch to get you in business and develop a track record.  
You need folks with a good idea and in these tough economic times even good ideas do not fare well. Are you seeing good ideas? Are you seeing ideas that are doing well but facing difficulties getting off the ground? 
  • In the reorganization of the city those who would check on small businesses have been eliminated. 
  • With the passage of the new jobs bill there will be more resources
  • People have been holding on a long time. We are in a new normal and we need to learn how to operate in the new normal. We need to learn how to manage money differently. 
  • If the business is too far gone, we need to make tough decisions since the resources are limited. 
  • If you are involved in the community organizations we need to find a way to have a coordinator who provides support and direction for small businesses. 
  • You see a lot of people who could qualify years ago, but do not qualify any longer in the traditional market. Now there is a larger pool that need assistance from non-traditional lenders.
  • We have the legislators who are coming together to make sure the Legislature recognizes the need for assistance for small businesses.
  • There is an election coming up, we need to hold people accountable and make smart decisions in elections. 
  • Business owners can only yell so loud, you can be labelled a "troublemaker" if you yell too loud. 
  • Community support and advocacy are needed. It is a tough time and it is a matter of the strong will survive.
There is a mystery in running a business. It seems like you run a business if you know someone who runs a business. How do we teach people how to run a business?  
  • We need to look at who is getting certain things, like who is getting the product. 
  • The world is running on access to corn. 85% of what you eat involves corn and this impacts how restaurants and food suppliers operate. After corn comes who is going to control the water?
  • There are some things that are beyond our control, but it needs to be supplemented. 
  • Thre are signs of what is to come. You need to read read read read read everything you can
  • We are global. It is not just the neighborhood. 
  • Children need to learn how to live in the world that they grow up in.
 How do we get people to make the right choices and go to businesses that offer smart choices?
  • Education is key. 
  • Fire-N-Spice offers cooking classes and advise for alternatives in food choices. 
  • Keeping up with what is going on in your community and the world is crucial.
  • Everyone suffers from sickness. It is not just the air we breathe or the water we drink, it is also the food we eat. Food can save your life, but it can also take it. 
  • Culture impacts us. 
  • Money effects how we eat. If you go into a supermarket, you get all of the conventional stuff. People who sell you these foods do not care they sell you the food for the money. These businesses are trying to make money. The government is not listening to people about the bad foods that these businesses are selling. The education to make better choices is not provided.  
  • You need to consider not just buying what is in front of you. You have choices to go elsewhere. There are smaller businesses that are providing options. 
  • Maybe we need to ask smaller businesses to provide us with more options. We need to build more community and tell the businesses what we want. 
  • Former warehouse spaces are being used to provide better food choices and green jobs. There are movements to buy local. Looking at farmers' markets and local businesses help you control the products that you buy. 
  • Human behavior is so complex. People's stress over their lack of money will make them turn to poor choices.
Inspiration to Action
  •  Understand the community you are operating in as a small business owner
  • Ensure supplier diversity programs are working the way they are supposed to. 
  • Learn to operate in the "new norm"
  • Bring back community coordinators that can provide support and direction
  • Need to work to support more businesses through grants
  • Eat at Fire-N-Spice
  • Education yourself and others
  • Tell small businesses what you are looking for
  • Take advantage of the services small businesses can provide for you.
  • You can use SNAP and food stamp programs at Farmers' Markets
  • Support affirmative action
  • Advocate!! Evil prospers when good people remain silent!


      Wednesday, October 26, 2011

      Equal Opportunity for Small Businesses: Featured Guest Bios

      Salons at Stowe turns to a discussion of the issues small businesses face, seeking equal opportunity to business capital and funding. 

      How do we expand opportunities for small, minority-owned businesses? Why is it important? Does race play a role in business funding? 

      Join the conversation Thursday, October 27 from 5PM-7PM at the Stowe Center!

      Featured guests for the evening discussion are: Sam Hamilton (Hartford Economic Development Corporation) and Chris Haylett (Fire-N-Spice Vegan Restaurant) 

      Featured Guest Bios:
      Samuel C. Hamilton: Sam Hamilton is the Executive Director and CEO of HEDCO, Inc. The economic development firm provides technical assistance, loan packaging, dept and/or equity funding for businesses in Connecticut. He has also served in many other civic/volunteer capacities including but not limited to: Director, Village for Children and Families, Inc.; Founder, Transitional Living Center for Teens; Mayor's Task Force for Economic Development; and many more. 

      Chris Haylett: Chris Haylett is the owner of Fire-N-Spice Vegan Restaurant in Hartford, CT. Fire-N-Spice offers vegan cuisine made from organic products. He has 16 years of experience in the business and opened Fire-N-Spice over a year ago in Hartford to provide vegetarian food that does not force you to compromise your values. Fire-N-Spice offers dine-in, take out, catering, and cooking classes. 

      This is a FREE event
      Reception from 5PM-5:30PM. Conversation begins at 5:30PM and ends by 7:00PM

      RSVPs are encouraged: 860-522-9258 ext 317 or info@stowecenter.org
      Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. 77 Forest Street. Hartford, CT 06105

      Thursday, October 13, 2011

      Event Recap: Healthy Starts for Everyone

      The United States infant mortality rate ranks with developing nations. How can health care and social support improve this? What can be done to ensure healthy starts for everyone? 

      Featured Guest Opening Remarks:

      Pat Baker: 
      • There are many layers to this topic.
      • The CT Health Foundation's mission is to improve health outcomes 
      • Where can we make a difference? 
        • Oral health for children and pregnant women
        • Children's mental health
        • Culturally competent car
      • The issue for this state is disparities in health outcomes.  Why are there differences in health outcomes based on race? 
      • There are major gaps in studies for Asian populations and Native American populations.
      • If we can't ensure a healthy start, there is something fundamental in our culture that we need to look at.
      • The US spends more money per capita than other countries in the world, yet we have the worst outcomes.
      • So what are we going to do about it? 
      • What are the drivers of health? 
      • Where you live, play, learn, go to work (social determinants). 60% of your health has to do with this. You can even see differences in zip codes in Hartford. 
      • Access. You need access to care. 20%of your health has to do with this.
      • Quality. Are you getting the best practices? This is the final 20%
      • We all have to take good care of ourselves, but does everyone have to opportunity to take good care of themselves?
      • We rank 37th in infant mortality. CT can be seen as a very healthy state as opposed to other areas of the country. You need to break down the population to look at it differently. 
      • Infant mortality in CT: (per 1,000 live births)
        • 5.8: White
        • 6.5: Hispanic
        • 12.1: African American
      • When you control income, education, insurance: there are health quality disparities being experienced by people of color. It is an important consideration. It can affect the trust of the system.
      • What is the cause of infant mortality: 
        • Pre-term births
      • Right now there are significant increases in pre-term births. 
      • The US was making progress in health disparities in the 1960s up to the 1980s, but then there were program cuts in the 1980s and an increase in health disparities occurs.
      • African American disparities: 
      • Given these outcomes, we ask, what is the cause of this? 
      • The longer an African immigrant lives in the United States, the worse her health outcomes will be.
      • Even if African American women have achieved higher education, wealth, and live in a nice neighborhood, they still have worse birth outcomes. 
      • Stress due to racism is a major factor. When we live under stress all the time there will be an impact. How does the body recover? 
      • Racism is a significant health risk. 
      • We need to look at cultural humility and cultural competence. 
      • What we need to look at now to make change
        • How do we foster good behavior, how do we practice good nutrition.
        • How do we build healthy community
        • How do we create a health arena that practices cultural competency
        • What are the system changes needed to make change.
      • Health is in every policy. 
      • The more education the better the health outcomes.

        Grace Damio:
        • Puerto Rican experiences in America are similar to that of African Americans. There is a commonality. 
        • You can even break apart the Hispanic population and see differences.  
        • In the 1980s there was recognition that infant mortality was high. Suggestions were that people were not getting prenatal care. Now in Hartford there is prenatal home care provided that came out of this issue. 
        • What else can be happening?
        • Fetal and infant mortality review: find out why each infant mortality was happening. 
        • What are the risk factors that need to be solved before conception? How can we impact families lives to help prematurity, which is a major factor in infant mortality.
        • What causes prematurity?
          • Genetics
          • Substance abuse
          • Smoking
          • Domestic violence
          • Under nutrition
          • Obesity
        • Women may get health care when they are pregnant, but they do not always have insurance pre-conception. 
        • Economics, access, quality, education, stresses are the big picture factors.
        • The Hispanic Health Council was founded because of an infant mortality. A mother could not understand the instructions given to her from hospitals and doctors when she had a sick infant. The child eventually died of dehydration. In the United States, with all of the resources we have, should not have a situation where this is the reason why a child dies. 
        • There are gaps in services because they are not there or they are not reaching the population accurately. 
        • There has been very little research on the stresses on Latinas. When the Hispanic Health Council asked women their concerns, the major issues were: not enough food, education of children, safety in their neighborhoods. Required community members to commit to working on these issues. They have really followed up on food security. 
        • HHC: Talked to community members to brainstorms that would help their communities. There are structural issues (like corn subsidies) that are bigger issues, but what can be done on a community level? Mobile farm stand was something to try in connection to the Regional Market (to bring prices down). 
        • If you are on SNAP or WIC you can buy produce. But they are not fully available. These can now be used at the mobile farm stand created by the HHC. 
        • Measured by sales, feedback, and sustainability. 
        • People talk about barriers in health care institutions. Cross-cultural curriculum has been created by the HHC. Care providers have learned how to fill gaps. 
        • Stereotypes are a major issue. 
        • Having the courage to stand up around stereotyping, look at the discrimination that exists, and look at universal health care as an option. We need community based solutions.
        • We need to raise the investment we make in health care. 
        • We need to be allies around equity.

        Group Discussion

        Why does where you live impact 60% of your health? 
        • Is it safe? 
        • What is the air quality?
        • Is it a neighborhood where you have access to good food? 
        • Do you have the capacity
        • Can you exercise in your neighborhood? A group of women in New Haven applied for a grant to walk and improve their health, but they could not fulfill what they intended because it was not safe enough to walk in their neighborhood.
        Do you have statistics available on your websites?
        • We try not to duplicate. Kaiser has an incredible website that provides great information about health. 
        • There is a challenge in getting good data
        • There is a great publication that the Dept. of Public Health
        • Profile of Latino Health in CT (publication by the HHC)
        Are there disparities in health in other countries?
        • In Canada, a new report came out that shows no disparities. They have one of the most promising systems
        • The VA has taken on an aggressive effort and they have done tremendous work around addressing this issue. 
        • The outcomes are not some high based on race
          Does insurance have an impact?
          • Studies have showed that if African Americans and white patientes who ask for certain treatment there is not difference in outcomes, the issue comes when African Americans are not even being offered the option for this treatment.
          • There are still quality issues in intervention and outcome, even with insurance. 
          • We need to think about policy. Health reform conversation is really important. We could increase coverage to over half of the uninsured in our state. 
          • There are a number of conversations about structure, access, measurement and accountability.
          • There is opportunity for change.
          • Extreme change is needed. 
          What could we do? 
          • Have the courage to stand up to change health care.
          • What should a minimum or living wage be? A minimum wage is not a living wage. The people who are at the bottom cannot live on what they earn.
          • The election of 2012 is going to make a difference. More young adults are now insured today because of health reform. We need to continue to make changes. Who is elected in 2012 is going to determine where health care goes. The Supreme Court will also impact health.
          • People are being kicked off of health care in CT. 
          • We need to tie health and education in a much more profound way. Success in school and graduation will give kids a better shot. 
          • How do we identify health issues earlier in children? Children of color are not getting mental health services until they enter juvenile justice system. This is not when they need to receive the care, it is way earlier. We need to provide better access. We need to help eliminate risky behavior.
          Is there any data on whether or not African Americans are being sent home from emergency rooms earlier than they should be? 
          • There is data that shows disparities in care for African Americans and Latinos in emergency rooms. Withholding pain medication is one issue here. 
          • Re-hospitalization rates show that there must be an issue there. 
          This is very disturbing. Has anyone taken legal action?
          • A question that has come up is, how would you pursue action for discrimination in health care?
          • There is a means of filing a complaint, but what happens is that most people don't know how to. 
          • It's also hard to tell whether or not the doctor withheld. You often don't see the unequal treatment when it is happening. 
          • People are also used to it or even grateful just to receive any care. 
          • The statistics are not enough right now. 
          • There has not been class action
          • Is this a civil rights issue, what are the opportunities. 
          What changes need to occur to make WIC more of a solution for infant health issues?
          • There are certain issues that prevent certain places from accepting WIC.
          • WIC is trying to give a better package of food to women who breastfeed. 
          • WIC saves about $3 for every $1 spent. It does a lot of good.
          • Bodegas have a major challenge, because you cannot be certified unless you carry all of the WIC options. 
          • The monitoring becomes a major issue at the national level. 
          • We need better supermarkets and stores in inner cities. 
          • WIC is trying to broaden its package and it is making it more difficult
          • We need better nutrition education
          Are there any opportunities for working with public schools to impact this issue? 
          • Nutrition education, healthy lifestyles, parenting, multiple languages. 
          • HHC sends information home with parents, goes into schools to hold programs.
          • Give someone a fish, feed them for a day; teach someone to fish, feed them for a lifetime...but we need to ensure that the river is clean, we have the right equipment, etc. 
          • School lunches need to change. We could shift the barriers that exist. Many of the children are getting their major meals at school. 
          • We also need to bring the adult population to a point where they can advocate for themselves, so there is adult education still needed. 

            Wednesday, October 12, 2011

            Healthy Starts for Everyone: Featured Guest Bios

            The United States infant mortality rate ranks with developing nations. How can health care and social support improve this? What can be done to ensure a healthy start for all children? 

            Join the conversation, Thursday, October 13 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at the Stowe Center!

            Featured guests for the evening's discussion include: Patricia Baker and Grace Damio

            Featured Guest Bios: 

            Patricia Baker: Patricia Baker is the founding President and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health), the state's largest health philanthropy dedicated to improving lives by changing health systems. Before establishing the foundation in 1999, the Wayne State University and University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna served as national program director for the March of Dimes Foundation and director of state government programs at Oxford Health Plans. The long time women's health advocate also served as Executive Director of Planned Parenthood of Connecticut, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, and The Women's Center, a domestic violence service provider in southeastern Wisconsin. 

            Grace Damio: Grace Damio is the Hispanic Health Council's (HHC) Director of Research and Service Initiatives and a member of the Council's Executive Management Team. At the Council, her work has focused on the development, implementation and evaluation of numerous research, service, and advocacy initiatives intended to address health inequities experienced by diverse communities. Ms. Damio has worked in a variety of health areas related to health inequities, including: maternal and child health, women's health, nutrition, breastfeeding, food security, health care access, cancer, diabetes, cultural competence training of healthcare and human service providers. Her work has included mentorship and numerous community based student internships and thesis projects and development of many culturally tailored health education materials, curricula and social marketing campaigns. 

            This is a FREE event.
            Reception from 5pm until 5:30pm. The conversation begins at 5:30pm and ends by 7:00pm. 
            Bring your ideas and questions to help develop an action plan for change. 

            RSVP's are encouraged. 860-522-9258 ext. 317 or info@stowecenter.org

            Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.77 Forest Street.Hartford, CT 06105

            Thursday, September 22, 2011

            Event Recap: Is Your Race Bad for Your Health?

            How do racism and poverty impact health? Can inequality make you sick? What disadvantages come from these inequities?

            Featured Guest Opening Remarks:

            Dr. Lisa Werkmeisters Rozas: Associate Professor at the University of CT School of Social Work
            • When we think about health disparities we often think about race
            • Race is one of the variables that is connected to disparities in health
            • Race is a social construct, not a biological truth. Pigment of skin is the only difference in the biological make-up. 
            • Racism does exist and we have to think about this when we think about inequities.
            • Social determinants of health determine why people are healthy than others: clean air, quality food, access to quality and affordable housing, access to quality education, access to safe employment, access to clean water.
            • Economics and health have a strong correlation, but even those who are in the same economic situation, but are different races have different health outcomes. 
            • Social identities that are targeted for discrimination have poorer health outcomes. 
            • Privilege (better access), power (who you know, networking ability), racism (health and mental health) are all big factors in health disparities. 
            • Pre-term labor and infant mortality rates are higher for black women. 
            • Racism is stressful and those who face this deal with more stress in their life and this has a huge impact on people. 
            • We have to begin to think and have a loud and clear discourse that health is a human right. It doesn't matter where you were born, who you are, what language you speak. 
            • It is everyone's obligation to make sure that everyone has access and equality in health care.
            Dr. Raja Staggers-Hakim: Executive Director at the CT Commission on Health Equity
            • The Commission on Health Equity is a legislative commission that works in committees. We want to engage people who normally wouldn't participate in conversations about health equity. We support and work with community based initiatives. We have a public voice committee to work with communities and host public health forums to bring the voice of the people back to the General Assembly. 
            • Teach race, ethnicity, and gender at Eastern CT State University
            • When we look at a white male and a black male, black men are not going to live as long as white men and this is true among all economic groups. 
            • A lot of research points to discrimination and the experiences people of color face on a daily basis. The stress associated with the everyday painful experiences people face.
            • Everyday oppression due to race, class and gender impacts your health.
            • CT residents have the highest health outcomes in the nation when we compare to other states nationally, but we have such great disparities in our state
            • People in Bridgeport are still taxed the way the rest of Fairfield county is, so we can see that disparities occur here. 
            • Commission is concerned with 6 health areas: low birth weight (consistent in all women of color), HIV/AIDS, obesity, asthma, cardio-vascular disease,  and cancer. 

            Group Discussion:

            What are you seeing at the childhood level in terms of health?
            • Broad issue in childhood obesity, asthma, and dental issues. These are issues keeping kids out of school
            In your work with state agencies, how are agencies working to provide equal access in communication? This is one of the most difficult ways to get state agencies to apply.
            • Commission is working on language access and cultural competency. 
            • Legislatively we proposed a bill to ensure that people can receive cultural and linguistically appropriate care. 
            • People don't show up for treatment because of a history of poor care and limited access to common language at their provider. 
            • We need to have a discussion about limited resources. We need to share resources among organizations/hospitals, etc. 
            • Beyond health care, because social determinants impact health, we have to develop health equity plans for all state agencies. There is a lot of education needed. We plan to work closely to engage these discussions. 
            Nothing could be more productive than a single payer health system. Could this eliminate discrimination? 
            • Health care is one aspect. People need health care. 
            • We need to consider more than health care, we have to consider access to food, education, etc. 
            • Changing health care is not the only factor
            • We have signed many international treaties with clear agendas about equal access and we as a country have said we would do this, but we have not done so yet. 
            • There are more obligations that we have not fulfilled yet. We said we would do it, but we haven't. 
            • No one is pushing for monitoring our obligations. 
            Disparities serve to divide people. What can we do to lift everyone up to a clearly defined standard?
            • This is the basic premise of human rights.
            • You are always going to have people that have more or less, but we can have a society that prioritizes, but we need a full change of culture. It is difficult to shape our founding ideology. 
            • Do we divide us from the start and then everyone fights for their piece of the pie? This wouldn't work. How do we agree on what the highest standard of health?
            We have to look at cultural competence. There are middle and upper class African Americans that don't want to the deal with a racist health system. How do you address health care providers so that they are providing culturally competent health care or any other care? 
            • The Commission on Health Equity is trying to address these cultural competence issues. 
            • People need to feel respected
            • There is not just one type of cultural competence. 
            • People need to understand why things are important to others
            • We are a part of a racist system
            • We need to discuss this because we will not understand each other the way it is. 
            How do we organize? 
            • Organization has been a weakness. 
            • A lot of professionals who know about the issue come to the public forums, the community is not represented enough. 
            • There is a trust issue. When community members see people in suits, they turn away.
            • We need to get into communities and connect with community members who are trusted within their community.
            • The CT Commission on Health Equity is creating a community committee so that members who would not naturally show up at a public forum are represented.
            • People have concerns that there won't be real change 
            If we are seeking to provide not just adequate supplies of health care butr a target health standards, we have to consider that we don't all start at the same place, such as environmental health. How are we addressing this?
            • Hartford has a very high percentage of childhood asthma.
            • There is a different world. Modern society is unequal environmentally. Environmental justice is a huge issue. 
            • The CT Commission hasn't targeted environmental justice, but we are looking at social determinants that include asthma. We look at transportation, park locations and highways, and other factors. We haven't used the environmental justice "label".
            • Environmental justice is something the Commission could be educated on more. 
            Publicity and exposure is so critical. Students could provide data and a comparative study of hospitals and other community health services. We have to educate for social change. What can publicity do?
            • Community organizing is critical
            • We need to rejuvinate the entire population, but it is most important for the younger population. 
            • It is very difficult to mobilize the younger generation. It isn't the majority that has been moblilized. 
            • There are opportunities to mobilize in social media, but they need inspiration first.
            There are not only intervention points, but there are systemic issues. There are these predestined issues. How do we address systemic intervention issues and general health? 
            • The intervention comes too late. 
            • This is an issue of prevention as opposed to care. 
            • Research needs to be done to see what cures diseases, but we need to look at the entire system that isn't providing for everyone
            • Changing a system is overwhelming, we don't have the capacity at this point. 
            • People need to be invested and people who hold power and privilege are not willing to change it yet.
            • We need to educate policy makers
            • We need to reach beyond health care issues. ALL policies are health policies. 
            • This doesn't only concern health professionals
            How do we work with all cultures? 
            • Cultural competency takes years and years
            • Being culturally sensitive is the first step.
            • At the root of it there is respect. It reaches deeper. 
            • We need to go beyond the training and experience different cultures. We need to understand why things bother different cultures. 

              Monday, September 19, 2011

              Is Your Race Bad For Your Health?: Featured Guest Bios

              How do racism and poverty impact health? Can inequality make you sick? What disadvantages come from these inequities?

              Join the conversation Thursday, September 22 from 5:00pm - 7:00pm at the Stowe Center!

              Featured Guests for the evening discussion include: Dr. Raja Staggers-Hakim and Dr. Lisa Werkmeisters Rozas.

              Featured Guest Bios:  

              Dr. Raja Staggers-Hakim is the Executive Director of the CT Commission on Health Equity. Dr. Staggers-Hakim works to assure the goals and objectives of the Commission through community-level information sessions, training for health professionals, and the handling of policies around health concerns based on race-ethnicity, linguistic ability, gender, and income. The mission of the CT Commission on Health Equity is to eliminate disparities in health status based on race, ethnicity, gender and linguistic ability, to thereby improve the quality of health for all of the state's residents.

              Dr. Lisa Werkmeisters Rozas is an Associate Professor in the University of Connecticut's Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies program. She is the Director of the Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies project and chair of the Human Oppression curriculum. She specializes in cultural competence, pedagogy and diversity, and health disparities, specifically issues of health as a human right and the influence discrimination, power and privilege have on health status.

              This is a FREE event. 
              Reception from 5pm until 5:30pm. The conversation begins at 5:30pm and ends by 7pm.
              Bring you ideas and questions to help develop an action plan for change.

              RSVP: 860-522-9258 Ext317 or info@stowecenter.org

              Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.77 Forest Street.Hartford CT 06105

              Thursday, September 8, 2011

              Event Recap- "Great Expectations: Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap"

              What do expectations have to do with student success? How do we define those expectations and ensure they are met? How are students involved in these decisions and empowered to achieve their potential?

              Featured Guest Opening Remarks:

              Dr. Steve Perry: Founder and Principal, Capital Prep Magnet School
              •  One of the most powerful things we can offer someone is an idea.
              • College for the disadvantage, for many seems like a fantasy.
              • Started Capital Prep saying that college could be an expectation
              • Even in good schools children who were black and Latino were not given the same education
              • There is an achievement gap and an expectation gap
              • Poverty does not have an impact on child's performance. If you put a poor child in a good school, you will not change her parent's or her background, you will only change her expectations.
              • Even the best kid going to a failed school will only be able to do so much. When your windpipe is constricted there is only so much air that can go through. We are not letting education go through.
              • Teachers, principals, and janitorial unions focus on jobs, not the children. 
              • America's public education system has failed all around. 
              • We are at the bottom of the industrialized world in education because we focus on the adults', not the childrens' needs.
              • Schools are taking away from the children so that at the end of the day the adults continue to get paid and the children have a constricted academic windpipe.
              • I believe in an education revolution, not education reform. I believe in full choice. If the school is good and you want to send your kid there you should be able to take your tax money and send your child there. 
              • When we finally get serious about education, children will look at us differently. 
              • Our children deserve a better opportunity. 
              • Expectation gap is where the achievement gap starts.

              Chanda Robinson: Director of Pathways to Success, Our Piece of the Pie
              • Does not believe that the educational system can do it alone
              • Setting high expectations is key
              • Adults can generalize and stereotype young people without knowing what is at the core of those young people.
              • By giving them opportunities we can uncover diamonds
              • Work with urban youth, helping them become successful adults
              • Focus on 14-24 year old population for 11 years
              • Match young adults with mentors and the mentor helps them realize their dreams (in written form)
              • Young adults create goals and Youth Development Specialists help them break down the barriers that stand in their way of achieving those goals
              • Unemployment is very high for urban youth.
              • All types of techniques are used. If OPP does not have the resources, they help find it for them elsewhere.

              Jordan Carter: Senior at Capital Prep, Member of Congressman John Larson's Youth Cabinet
              • The achievement gap does not always effect kids, it also effects the parents.
              • Some of his friends are not as motivated, but this could be because of the lack of a support system. 
              • If kids without drive see someone inspirational in the community they can strive for something
              • My mother teaches me that I have a future everyday. 
              • Tell my friends everyday, do you want to graduate? what are your future plans? 
              • There are other kids working harder, why not push yourself
              • I know there are things I need to work on. I stay focused on my books and athletics
              • My friends look to me for advice. I go through the same thing they do everyday. 
              • I have to put my emotions to the side, graduation is coming up.

              Group Discussion:

              How do we make it full-on choice?
              • We need to go to the legislators to make the change
              • We have 1,370 children on our waiting list. If we have full on choice they would come with the money and we would open enough schools to provide for the children on our waiting list. 
              • There is too small a choice. There are not enough opportunities to open schools
              • We need to make sure we have enough quality schools. We get caught up in the symptoms of the problem and ask why the neighborhoods are not quality schools.
              A good school has a culture of high expectations in large part because of the leader. We don't have the high quality of leaders and in some cases high quality teachers.

              169 Superintendents in CT are saying that education cannot be reformed, it needs to be transformed. Their report comes out in October. Many groups are coming together to make this change.

              Concentration of children in schools who are below grade level. How are they going to catch up? 
              • School staff is paid to bring quality into a family's life. 
              • We need to add value. It is your right to have a quality education.
              • The promise of America is that if you give them to us we will make a change for them and the method is a public education. 
              Do race and social factors matter?
              • Some believe race, gender, sexuality, and social factors do matter.
              • Others believe they do not matter
              What are the other options?
              • There are many resources, but they are not properly coordinated.
              • Mentoring programs 
              • There is not enough collaboration between organizations. We need to talk more amongst organizations that we may consider our "competitors" 
              • Agencies are competing for funding so they do not talk, but we need to put the needs of the young people first. 
              • The schools are not shutting down any time soon so we need to do something. 
              • There has to be collaboration among grassroots, the larger non-profits might not be the ones who have the best answers. Some may not have the grantwriters that others do so we need to help each other. Larger non-profits need to collaborate with the smaller non-profits that they may not see as sophisticated.
              There are many schools that do not have changemakers. Teachers who are looking have to "really" look for a quality school to be a part of. Why should teachers work in Hartford?

              How do we train the leaders that we desire?
              • We should have an internal program that will develop the leaders we are looking to have. 
              • If you are not a certified teacher and haven't worked in the schools for 5 years, you cannot be considered for the role of a leader.

              Do teachers need to be certified teachers to teach? 
              • 20% of people are naturally good teachers
              • 80% of people need to be conditioned.
              • Certification is not the only answer. 
              • Good teachers do not mean that they are certified teachers.
              • The certification programs are important to the pedagogy of teaching
              • Mentoring in other schools can bring positive leaders to other schools
              • Successful schools are all designed the same. High expectations. 
              • There has to be an entry point, so there should be certification. 
              • Just because you are highly educated does not mean that you are able to teach. 
              • There are hardworking teachers in all towns that care about their students and the bureaucracy is getting them down. 
              We hear about the bad all the time. Good news is going to be important for moving education forward. What good is going on?
              • History and science projects
              • Social justice senior projects at Capital Prep. Look at a problem in the community and look at positive ways to change the problem. If we implement these projects in schools it will enrich them
              Some parents do not opt for school choice because if the parent is sick they cannot necessarily get their kids to school. There is a downside, so we need strong neighborhood schools. How do we do that?
              • If a parent does not send their child to a school out of choice, they make that choice. 
              • There are parents who will do all that they can to get their children to the school of their choice.
              • More parents want out of their community schools
              • We need to stay student focused. 
              • Reconstitution does not work. It is the same core school, it just has a different theme.  

                Inspiration to Action:  
                • Go to your legislators and ask for a change
                • Ensure that all schools are quality schools
                • Read the superintendents report coming out October '11
                • Work to make schools more kids focused and less teacher focused. 
                • Coordinate availabel resources and work to inform people of their existance
                • Develop internal leadership programs that foster strong leaders.
                • Publicize good news and ask media for positive sutdent stories
                • Change the testing cycle. 

                Wednesday, September 7, 2011

                Great Expectations: Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap: Featured Guest Bios

                What do expectations have to do with student success? How do we define those expectation and ensure they are met? How are students involved in these decisions and empowered to achieve their potential?

                September is the start of another school year...and a good time to consider how to overcome the achievement gap in schools and what YOU can do to be a part of the solution. 

                Featured Guest Bios:

                Dr. Steve Perry:
                Dr. Perry believes that success in life is determined by where you end, not where you start. It's this philosophy that inspired him, early on, to transform the lives of poor and minority children by providing them with access to a college education, and more recently, has inspired him to bring his ideas and passion to children everywhere, no matter what their socioeconomic and academic background. He is the founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, CT, a CNN Education Contributor, columnist for Essence magazine, and the author of several books on education, including the forthcoming Push Has Come to Shove.

                Chanda Robinson:
                Chanda is the Director of the Pathways to Success program at Our Piece of the Pie in Hartford, CT.  She has oversight of the Youth Development Services; Youth Employment Services; Youth Business, Vocation, and Education Services. Chanda is soundly committed to improving systems and identifying viable solutions that will drive social change for disenfranchised and vulnerable youth; whom she believes are full of promise and potential given the right mix of support and opportunities!

                Jordan Carter:
                Jordan is the son of Reverend Wayne Anthony Carter and Kim Newland. He is currently a senior at Capital Preparatory Magnet School . Jordan has always been ambitious in whatever challenges he takes on, whether it be in the river as part of the crew team or in the classroom. This past summer Jordan was selected to be part of the National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C. along with 364 young leaders from around the country. In addition, Jordan founded the male mentoring group entitled, 'Each one...Reach one'. Jordan plans to attend Howard University to pursue a degree in political science.

                This event is FREE and open to the public.
                Come to the Stowe Center at 5pm for refreshments and a book signing of Dr. Steve Perry's new book When Push Comes to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve (even if it means picking a fight).

                Conversation begins at 5:30pm and finishes by 7pm. Bring your ideas and questions and help develop an action plan for change!

                RSVP to 860-522-9258 ext 317 or info@stowecenter.org

                Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. 77 Forest Street. Hartford, CT 06105

                Friday, July 29, 2011

                Call to Action: A Conversation on Race and Social Justice

                Harriet Beecher Stowe Center
                Call to Action: A Conversation on Race and Social Justice
                Bushnell Belding Theater 6.10.11
                A series of three panel discussions on interrelated social justice issues

                The program was webcast as it occurred and taped by CT-N.

                Welcome and Introductions:
                Katherine Kane, Executive Director, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

                This is a program for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 200th birthday. Stowe’s best-known book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was the biggest fiction bestseller of the 19th century. It is the story of Tom, a young strong man with young children, held as property in that 19th century economic system where people were property. A man so valuable that his sale south saved the rest of the people on the plantation. His story goes south ending finally with the infamous Simon Legree. And it is also the story of George and Eliza Harris who with their little son Harry go north, to freedom.

                Stowe’s anger at the political situation in the US in the mid 19th century, around the “peculiar institution” of people as property went into her book. And at the Stowe Center we use all that history and the complicated tale of Uncle Tom to inspire social justice and positive change – which is why we are so deeply involved in this Call to Action today. We think the promise of America has not been fulfilled.

                Particular thanks to Congressman Larson and his amazing staff and to Sanford Cloud. Without them this assemblage today would not have happened.

                Today’s conversation is to build a new call to action around the inequities that remain with us today. We think the promise of America has not been fulfilled and it is time to talk about the problems in American and their solutions. The core question is: What are you going to do?

                The ideas from three panels are captured as we go and projected on the screen for all to see. The document’s preamble was written by Congressman John Larson.

                We want to build a document that we can all participate in with key action steps that we as Americans can take. Then the document can be distributed and deployed around the country.

                Questions from the public can be turned in from the audience, or sent by Twitter, email or Facebook. These will be fed into the document.


                Presenting Sponsors
                Connecticut Health Foundation
                Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

                Gold Sponsor


                Silver Sponsors
                Northeast Utilities
                Novartis Pharmaceuticals

                Bronze Sponsors
                Arrow Prescription Center
                Francisco Borges
                Cloud and Robinson Development
                LAZ Parking
                Mass Mutual Financial Group
                PCC Technology

                Media Sponsors

                Fox CT/ CT One Media
                The Hartford Advocate
                WNPR Connecticut Public Broadcasting

                Congressman John Larson
                Read letter from President Barack Obama and introduced members of Congressional Black Caucus who travelled from all across the country to be here today: Emmanuel Cleaver, president of the caucus. Senior member Donald Payne, NJ; Jesse Jackson Jr, IL; William Lacy Clay, MO; Hank Johnson and wife Marita, GA; Laura Richardson, CA. We expect GK Butterfield, NC; Gregory Meeks, NYC; Yvette Clark, NYC; and Corinne Brown, FL.

                Document Preamble:
                America, through its crafting of law, civil war, discourse and the passionate protestations of courageous men and women, has been on a long and continuous journey to realize true equality for every citizen. 

                Americans share the common, invisible bond of citizenry-no matter our gender, race, religion or ethnicity.

                Our Nation’s creators, in order to form a “more perfect union” established the foundation of our country, our democracy, on the fact that all men and women are created equal.

                It is our most precious principle, one that Americans have been willing to lose their very lives to protect.

                But when some are ignorant of this principle, either by choice or neglect, that ignorance begets prejudice. And the by-product of prejudice are the disparities which currently prevent so many of our fellow citizens from realizing educational & economic success and healthy, long lives; each of which represent the truest of American dreams.  

                Our nation was founded on dreams. Today, OUR voices are joined to the courageous women and men of history, like Harriet Beecher Stowe, who used their voices, their words, to inspire the public will to mobilize, and awaken to their role in answering a call to action.

                Today, our goals are tied to America’s Congressional Black Caucus, who’s Members for 40 years, have tirelessly labored to eliminate disparities in all areas of life for all citizens. Their work calls out to us to follow their example. 

                Today, beginning in Hartford, America answers their call. 

                Invocation: Archbishop Leroy Bailey, Jr., Senior Pastor, The First Cathedral, Bloomfield

                Welcome to the City of Hartford:  Mayor Pedro Segarra

                Welcome to Connecticut: Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman

                Moderator: John Dankosky, host of WNPR “Where We Live"

                Panel 1: The Achievement Gap

                Introduction to the topic by John Dankosky, WNPR:
                There are many ways to measure the achievement gap. In Connecticut, no matter how you measure it, minority student compared to white students, urban compared to suburban, rich compared to poor, we have one of the worst gaps in the country.

                The role of schools is to enroll, engage, and educate youth to be active in society. The graduation rate is one way to measure the achievement gap. This issue can be seen by statistics that show that less than half of black males receive diplomas and the numbers are worse in underserved areas. Student performance is another measure and here the reading gap for minority students is three grade levels.

                Dr. Christina Kishimoto
                Incoming Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools
                •    The National Assessment of Educational Progress has shown that Connecticut student in grades 5-8 have  the largest gap. The same statistics are given for students in 12th grade.
                •    We need to change the structures, policies and supports currently in place.
                •    We cannot take a punitive approach to solving this issue.
                •    We need a set of reform policies. Reforms began in Hartford five years ago.
                •    Hartford has received more support nationally than within our own state; Connecticut needs to be more involved.
                •    Urban districts are left to work on reforms by themselves.
                •    Every district needs to be held accountable for the achievement gap within the whole state.

                Linda Spears
                Vice President, Policy and Public Affairs, Child Welfare League of America

                •    We need to ask questions like: What does a child’s healthy growth and development look like? What do they need that we can provide?
                •    Child welfare services handle the children that are at the greatest risk of educational failure. The children that are the most vulnerable, children living in unstable homes, as well as children in foster and adoptive care.
                •    In order to overcome the systematic barriers that are present groups like schools, child welfare, community agencies, and the juvenile justice system need to work together.
                •    We need a holistic approach with emotional and social supports created around the needs of children.
                •    The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008, is legislation that was passed by Child Welfare, which included requirements for improving education. It has been poorly implemented and needs collaboration now to make it work.

                Brandon McGee Jr.
                Network Development Manger, Urban Alliance, Inc.

                •    We need to increase the achievement levels of minority and low income students.
                •    This can be done through high standards, challenging curriculum, effective leadership, improving community and family relationships, and good teachers
                •    There needs to be a reorganization of leadership in Pre-K through 12th grade.
                •    We need to hold legislators accountable to ensure changes needed in legislation.
                •    We need to set high expectations for all students and provide high quality curriculum
                •    We need to expand high quality preschool and all-day kindergarten to ensure school readiness.
                •    Broaden the pool of school and district leaders. This can be done by creating an alternative route to certification for administrators
                •    Improve minority teacher preparation programs
                •    Invest intelligently and provide an effective and transparent way to fund public education.
                •    There needs to be coordination between families and communities.

                Reverend Michael Williams
                Hartford Area Service Director, Department of Children and Families

                •    The achievement gap needs to be viewed in a racial context, not economic or geographic. Even in suburban towns you still see a racial achievement gap.
                •    The timing for a solution is urgent. As we have seen in the past, too much time will only broaden the gap.
                •    Interactions between teachers and students are all that is usually considered. The community needs to be brought into the conversation.
                •    There needs to be a focus on 0-6. All kids need to be ready for school.
                •    Elevate the value of education. Today it is questionable to many where education stands.
                •    We need institutional leadership and collaboration

                State Representative Jason Rojas
                Member of Education Committee

                •    There is an opportunity gap that minority children are born into which includes an opportunity gap for quality housing, quality jobs, and quality health care. This leads to a preparation gap in education.
                •    We need a solid system of early childhood education
                •    We have tremendous resources that we need to put to use.
                •    There needs to be an increase in participation in the programs that already exist. Many lack access to information about these programs, so we need to make people aware of them.
                •    We need to increase family literacy and oral language development
                •    We need to decrease the number of special education placements. Too many young African American males are unnecessarily placed in special education and will not be able to get out.
                •    There needs to be a focus on reading. Children should develop a love for reading by the time they reach kindergarten.
                •    Teachers need to know how to teach reading properly.
                •    School governance councils are a way to involve parents in the education process. Parents need to do more than bake for the bake sale, they need to be offered a seat at the table.
                •    We cannot set parents and teachers against each other. They are the two groups who care most about the future of our children.

                Jay Bhagat
                Member of Congressman John Larson’s Congressional Youth Cabinet

                •    It is important to get communities involved in education. Teachers and families need to come together.
                •    Education does not stop when the bell rings. There needs to be involvement after classes are done.
                •    Parents need to work with children on school work.
                •    Putting technology in the classroom is not going to solve the problem; teachers need to be able to utilize all that they have available.
                •    Teachers need to prepare lessons for the 21st century which includes using social media in the classroom.
                •    More afterschool mentoring programs are needed for students who do not have the help they need at home. These should also be mentors that students can relate to.
                •    The opinion of students is important. Keep interviewing kids to see what is really going on in schools.

                Jordan Carter
                Member of Congressman John Larson’s Congressional Youth Cabinet

                •    We need to ask: What message do families provide their children about the importance of education? Many kids do not have the drive to succeed, so we need to question the parents.
                •    There needs to be a commitment by teachers to reach, teach, and motivate a diverse population of students. What does a Caucasian teacher do to motivate the entire population?
                •    You hear that Hartford may not have as many resources as other districts, but besides resources we have to look at the drive students and teachers have.

                Questions from the audience:

                Q:  How can we do better in preschool programs to eliminate the learning gap and prepare students for 1st grade?
                A:  Dr. Christina Kishimoto-Students need to be reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade in order to participate in content based reading that takes place in grade 4. We need to be measuring Pre-K through 3rd grade as one grouping.

                Q:  How can child welfare systems work better together to improve the achievement gap?
                A:  Linda Spears-By making plans. There are barriers such as children who move around from placement to placement which can result in loss of records. System barriers like this need to be addressed, then family development can follow.

                Q:  We’ve been hearing the same thing for thirty years; that parents need to get involved, how do we help parents with homework?
                A:  Brandon McGee-We need to start by looking at what we have available to us, churches for example. There can also be parent tutoring programs and peer parent courses. Some parents work all day so there needs to be an understanding of individual situations.

                Q:  How is the achievement gap a race, not economic issue?
                A:  Rev. Michael Williams-If you look at the Connecticut Mastery Test data in the suburbs you will see the same gap along racial lines. Health care, economics, child welfare, prisons, the gap is based on color. The racial population in this state faces structural racism. This is not intentional racism, but it is making an impact. 

                Panel 2: Economics of Race

                Introduction to the topic by John Dankosky, WNPR:
                The overall unemployment rate in the United States is between 9-10% since the onset of the recession. It is 15-16% for African Americans. We need to enhance job creation and competitiveness and economic growth. How do we provide particular focus to minority communities?

                By 2020, half of Connecticut’s working population will be minority groups. Minority businesses often have difficulty accessing capital. Educational advancement is key and that is not always there.

                State Representative Gary Holder-Winfield
                Chair of the CT Black and Puerto Rican Caucus

                •    It has been too long since we addressed the minority Set-Aside issue.
                •    We talk about race, but we don’t really talk about it. We need to talk about race to move policy.
                •    We need to have a conversation about jobs from the perspective of the non-majority population.
                •    Education bills need to get to the heart of the problem, not just the bills about building improvements.
                •    We need to hold legislators accountable, but we also need to support those legislators.
                •    We need to begin the process of organizing.
                •    We need to assess risks; how do we take away the risks legislators face so they can talk about issues in a real way.

                Adrienne Cochrane, J.D.:
                President, Greater Hartford Urban League

                •    There needs to be civic engagement.
                •    We need to offer programs, but we also need to focus on the needs of the community.
                •    The State of Black America is an annual publication by the National Urban League. This publication can provide us all with more information on this important issue.
                •    We need to target solutions to put urban America back to work
                •    Youth and adults, in terms of work, always deserve a second chance.

                State Senator Eric D. Coleman:
                Senate Chair of the Judiciary Committee

                •    The essence of economics is the creation and provision of jobs and job opportunities.
                •    Unemployment in minority communities is not accident, look back through history.
                •    At the State Capitol legislators are trying to provide support for entrepreneurship, access to capital, and technology assistance.
                •    Small businesses are the largest employers.
                •    Affirmative action needs to be amended, not ended.
                •    We need to return to government programs like Comprehensive Employment and Training opportunities. This should provide training and opportunities not only in the private sector, but also in the public sector.
                •    Due to concerns with infrastructure in this state in particular, it makes sense to set up a program like the Civil Conservation Corps.
                •    Bonding remains an issue for minority businesses. We need to create programs that provide minority contractors to bonding.
                •    Entrepreneurship training programs for young people will create businesses and employ others.

                Frank Alvarado:

                Director, New Haven Spanish American Merchants Association

                •    Strong minority businesses are important for providing job, but they also know the clients and cater to their needs as well.
                •    Need for access to working capital. Capital from traditional lending has dried up. Minority businesses relay on non-traditional lenders to provide loans.
                •    Small contractors need access to large contractors.
                •    Bonding issue needs to be resolved.

                Teresa Younger:
                Executive Director, Permanent Commission on the Status of Women

                •    We need to bring gender into the conversation.
                •    We need to address pay inequities. When a white man earns $1.00, a black man earns .72, and a Hispanic man earns .57. A white woman earns .74, a black woman earns .64, and a Hispanic woman earns .52.
                •    Encourage federal passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Better salaries for all will be the result.
                •    Jobs need to provide a livable wage to allow workers to save for retirement and send children to college.
                •    We need to stop talking about minimums and start talking about maximums.
                •    We need to hear the voice of young people. Minimum wage will not get them anywhere.
                •    Children care expenses take up 30-40% of household incomes. There need to be childcare subsidies not only for the very poor, but also for the working middle class.

                Samuel Hamilton:
                Executive Director, Hartford Economic Development Corporation

                •    This is a call to action for the reawakening of hope.
                •    When opportunities exist, students and families have something to aspire to.
                •    We should look at areas where immediate change can happen. Once these changes happen, people will see that change is possible.
                •    In the South, you see minorities working on highways, taking advantage of opportunities in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Connecticut is in need of infrastructure repairs. Why can’t we replicate what we can see in the South?
                •    The opportunity to do something is now. It will not be there forever.

                Leon Chandler:
                Member of Congressman John Larson’s Congressional Youth Cabinet

                •    A lot comes along with growing up poor, with a single mom; such as where we live or going without.
                •    Expectations people have for people like me in my neighborhood are low. No one thinks about minority kids going to college or having careers.
                •    Drop out is the expectation and it is hard to escape this.
                •    Involvement in programs like the Youth Services Bureau and working with positive role models kept me on track.
                •    We focus a lot on the problems and we are blind to what we can be proud of.
                •    Over 40% of 16-18 year old black males and females looking for jobs and they haven’t been hired.
                •    Being the first one to do anything is a challenge.
                •    It’s hard to climb the ladder of success when you start underneath it.
                •    It is important to change expectations and provide students with the resources, support, and job opportunities we need.
                •    I need to invest in my success now or pay for my mistakes later.

                Calvin Brown:
                Member of Congressman John Larson’s Congressional Youth Cabinet

                •    The key to economic success is academic opportunity.
                •    Youth need to be engaged in internship programs
                •    Are schools preparing students for the competitive workforce?
                •    Students need opportunities to find their strengths

                Questions from the audience:

                Q:  Most white Americans are not concerned with the economics of race. They are too involved with maintaining their own quality of life. How can the black community establish their own businesses and institutions and force whites to take notice?
                A:  Representative Gary Holder-Winfield-There are opportunities we didn’t have before. With the expanding population of minorities, it becomes in the interest of the majority to deal with issues of that community. Half of the workforce in Connecticut is not white, so we need to do something. Years ago we were talking about Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, but if you can’t read then you can’t do any of those. All the people we need to be talking about this with are aware of it. It is the government officials and members of this audience who need to make it an issue.

                Q:  How do we create entrepreneurship?
                A:  Frank Alvarado-Provide training courses or training and mentoring with other small businesses.

                Samuel Hamilton-Provide young people with information on entrepreneurship.    Too often we focus on one thing, but the sky is the limit and we need to demonstrate to them that that opportunity exists.

                Teresa Younger-Teach young people to think critically and ask questions. Out of questions come solutions.

                Senator Eric D. Coleman
                -The collective power of community. Retail left Hartford and we now support suburban malls, we are not supporting downtown business.

                Adrienne Cochrane-A major problem is that youth cannot get into establishments to have internships. If you don’t let them in the door how can we get the entrepreneurship?

                Panel 3: Health Disparities

                Introduction to the topic by John Dankosky, WNPR:
                The health care reform debate raises issues of coverage, accessibility, cost, and quality. Health care is important to the overall welfare of communities. Largely all minorities have long suffered poor health and premature mortality due to disproportionate rates of uninsurance, HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and social determinants of health.

                Dr. Jewel Mullen:
                Commissioner, Department of Public Health

                •    This is a national discussion that requires national solutions.
                •    Connecticut has the highest per capita income, the highest per capita debt, the widest achievement gap, and the largest degree of income inequality.
                •    Jumpstarting the conversation in Connecticut will hopefully inform the country about these national solutions.
                •    Disparities are routed in social determinants.
                •    The Affordable Care Act is a solution and a call to action. Many solutions are within it, like: community transformation grants, teen pregnancy prevention, workforce development, cooperative agreements for chronic disease prevention.
                •    Solutions to the country’s budget crisis are cuts to public health.
                •    Agencies need to work hand in hand to address these issues.
                •    We get lists of problems and what the actions steps should be, Congress needs to help embed accountability for them.

                Patricia Baker:
                President and CEO, Connecticut Health Foundation

                •    In CT 49% of Latino 3rd graders have significant oral health decay.
                •    75% of young children of color get their first mental health treatment when they enter the juvenile justice system.
                •    Infant mortality for African American women is three times that of whites.
                •    We need to look at this as policies, systems, and structures that provide change.
                •    Two factors other than social determinates include: access and quality.
                •    Medicare has been the center of debate, but Medicaid is equally important. Medicaid is at risk in the budget cuts.
                •    We have to think creatively about how we integrate our health delivery system and promote the patient-centered medical home
                •    The Congressional Black Caucus was instrumental in calling on the Institute of Medicine to study health disparities and created the publication “Unequal Treatment”.
                •    Again, we need to call on the Institute of Medicine to speak to where we are and articulate solutions and successes.
                •    Ten years from now we should be all about success.

                Leticia Marulanda:
                Deputy Director, Department of Health and Human Services

                •    It is not just social determinates.
                •    We need to eliminate poverty, promote economic development
                •    We need food security, shelter, education.
                •    There needs to be a workforce that reflects to community
                •    We need to address access to quality health care for all.
                •    Such progress as passing the minimum drinking age, seatbelt laws, and bans on flammable sleepwear all are ways we have addresses health disparities in the past.

                Curtis Robinson:
                Founder, Curtis D. Robinson Men’s Health Institute, St. Francis Hospital

                •    In Hartford emergency rooms, there are a disproportionate number of men dying of prostate cancer. The reason was because in most of the cases this is the first time these men are receiving any kind of treatment and by this point the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes and it is too late.
                •    Most of the men do not have insurance and they are only seen once they go to the E.R.
                •    Along with St. Francis Hospital I have set up an institute to reach out to churches and do testing. This started six months ago and in the last 11 months we have tested over 1,100 men, caught over 30 cancers and operated on them with no charge.
                •    There is no reason for people to die because they can’t afford health care.
                •    A truck driver in Florida heard about the institute on BBC radio. He was dying of prostate cancer. He got on a buss, came to Connecticut, he was examined and he had stage 6 prostate cancer. He is currently being operated on.
                •    No one else is doing biopsies and taking out the cancer at no cost.
                •    We have to ask whether or not we would allow the person next to us to die if we knew that we could save them. What would you do? Would you let them die?
                •    The emergency room will save your life, but they will only stabilize you until you see your physician. If you don’t have a physician you go home and you die.
                •    St. Francis and the Tuskegee Institute are partnering to do tests to determine why African American men are dying of prostate cancer.

                Alfreda Turner
                President and CEO, Charter Oak Health Center
                •    Community health centers serve 20 million Americans.
                •    Support and students by the Institute of Medicine, Center for Studying Health System Change, and George Washington University shows that community health centers reduce health disparities.
                •    We could save $18 billion a year if avoidable emergency room care was referred to community health centers.
                •    Mobile health care provides access to care in rural and difficult to reach communities.
                •    We need to begin seeing health care as a right not a privilege.
                •    We need to use more technology in order to improve quality, safety, and cost outcomes.
                •    Electronic medical records in all health offices will allow patients to become more informed consumers of care.
                •    There is not enough data on those who face health disparities.
                •    Telemedicine provides access to specialists for those who would not have this option.
                •    Predictive modeling software allows us to target limited resources and tailor the design of programs.
                •    We need a culturally competent workforce
                •    Funding is needed for the National Health Service Corps.
                •    Communities need to be involved in designing their own success
                •    We need to foster collaboration among community providers so that scarce resources are not duplicated and we can sustain at risk agencies.

                Kyera Sterling
                Member of Congressman John Larson’s Congressional Youth Cabinet

                •    Teenagers are not just texting and on Facebook, but are a paramount force in the progression of this nation.
                •    Minority health disparities are a domino effect from other issues; an example being the inability to attain work with adequate benefits.
                •    We need to be concerned not only with physical health, but also mental health.
                •    We are doing a grave disservice to our future professional by not concerning ourselves with their mental and physical health.

                Victoria Olokojo:
                Member of Congressman John Larson’s Congressional Youth Cabinet

                •    We need to provide adequate health awareness for minorities and youth for the prevention and treatment of illnesses.
                •    Half and credit or one semester of health education is not enough.
                •    Health education for teens should consist of more than just teen pregnancy, drugs, and alcohol.
                •    Health education needs to discuss the benefits of health care, various diseases, questions to ask our doctors, and the importance of visiting the doctor.
                •    Economic empowerment is needed. If people cannot pay for health care then to them there is not health care.

                Questions from the audience:

                Q:  How can I ensure that I am receiving equal health care to that of whites?
                A:  Dr. Jewel Mullen-You receive health care from someone. We believe the system is going to do something for us. You need to find a place of trust to personalize your care. It’s about whether you are getting what you deserve. You have to talk about what happens outside the examination room.
                Patricia Baker-You need to ask your doctor: Have you told me all of my choices? Is there anything else I should know or consider?

                Q: What should I ask my State and Federal legislators to do to eliminate racial inequities?
                A: Patricia Baker-They need to set specific goals and targets, followed up by dollars, then performance.

                Panel 4: Congressional Black Caucus

                Congressman John Larson:
                U.S. Representative, Connecticut’s 1st Congressional District

                •    These members have come from every corner of the nation, from Florida, Illinois, and Southern California.
                •    The Congressional Black Caucus is the conscience of America.
                •    They have lived the experience of all three of the issues discussed and we are now asking them for their action.

                Congressman Donald Payne:

                U.S. Representative, New Jersey’s 10th Congressional District

                •    People don’t want to talk about race, but until we have a true conversation about race we will have stumbling blocks. We can use these stumbling blocks of the past as stepping stones, but an open conversation needs to take place now.
                •    We need to be honest as a nation. Otherwise, we will fall back.

                Congresswoman Corrine Brown:
                U.S. Representative, Florida’s 3rd Congressional District

                •    I was elected in 1992. I was the first African American elected in Florida in 129 years.
                •    As redistricting is happening, we need to include communities of interest because we need to include African Americans not only in Congressional positions, but state legislature too.
                •    Transportation and infrastructure drives this country. For every billion dollars we spend it generates 4,000 permanent jobs.
                •    You may see minorities working construction jobs in the South, but they do not own those companies.
                •    Bonding and use of capital are minority issues.
                •    The youth need to look at what is the right fit for them in the future. When choosing colleges you need to make sure that they are accredited.
                •    We need to look at how we can reprogram stimulus dollars.
                •    We need to take care of our veterans.

                Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.

                U.S. Representative, Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District

                •    We need to give homage to Harriet Beecher Stowe. President Abraham Lincoln called her “the little lady who started this great war.” If Lincoln was alive to see the end of the war, he may have said she was, “the little lady who started this great war that led to the 13th amendment, the 14th amendment, and the 15th amendment of our Constitution.”
                •    Harriet Beecher Stowe must have known that slavery was a state right and state rights are not human rights.
                •    The panels discussed today were discussed in one state, but all 50 states need to have this conversation.
                •    All states spend money on education differently and if the politics are right you might get a good education and if they are not right you might not. Our children face a “state” system.
                •    As long as education is in the purview of the states or health care is in the purview of the states it will always be a state issue, when it needs to be part of a Union of states.
                •    Every American deserves the right to a public education of equal high quality.
                •    Every American deserves the right to equal high quality health care.
                •    If one public high school can build a state-of-the-art facility and be public, this should be what is offered in all 95,000 public schools in the United States.

                Congressman William Lacy Clay
                U.S Representative, Missouri’s 1st Congressional District

                •    By visiting dialysis clinics you can see the disproportionate number of minorities receiving treatment.
                •    Advocate the establishment of a National donor registration that does not discriminate and is based on need.
                •    The Federal Government and Medicare treat transplants and dialysis differently. You are only reimbursed for dialysis, but it is more expensive to do dialysis. Dialysis is just cleansing the blood; it is not as effective as transplants.
                •    Thank you to Curtis Robinson and Saint Francis Hospital for setting an example.
                •    What we are doing in public education is not working. Disparities show that we have failed.
                •    We are not giving parents and students the necessary options. More options should be offered, like target specialty schools and trade schools.
                •    We need to give students the skills so they can get a job with a livable wage.
                •    Job corps centers are an option since not everyone is cut out for college.

                Congressman G.K. Butterfield:
                U.S. Representative, North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District

                •    As Representative of the 1st District of North Carolina, I represent the fourth poorest district in the Nation.
                •    The Energy and Commerce Committee wrote the Affordable Care Act. It took 2,700 pages, but the question of health care reform had to be discussed.
                •    The cost of health care is driving our debt.
                •    50 million Americans have no insurance. 175 million have insurance, but because of the practices of insurance companies, it is not worth the paper it is written on.
                •    Medicaid is controlled by states. It is principally for families with dependent children, so low income adults do not qualify unless they have a disability.
                •    The Affordable Care Act is law. It will be fully operational in 2014. By 2019 we will see a significant change in the condition of the American people.
                •    Representative Paul Ryan’s plan suggests cutting $4 trillion from the deficit in the next ten years and proposes no new revenue. Of that $4 trillion, $3 trillion is from programs that benefit low income families.
                •    Proposed Medicare reform would leave it up to the states, who will not have enough money to operate the program.

                Congressman Hank Johnson
                U.S. Representative, Georgia’s 4th Congressional District

                •    Life is complex. We need to get back to the basics of being human beings. We are all bodies with minds, hearts, and souls.
                •    When we are all educated we can all contribute to the melting pot of this country and make it better for all. That is why public education is so important.
                •    Human beings are greedy. We need to begin working to better the lives of others. This can benefit us all and make us feel good.
                •    Economics is driven by those with money who do not want to give it up.
                •    Health care is all about money. The current system is profits over people. Insurance companies have taken over the medical profession.
                •    Each one of us has a calling and a sphere of influence. There is always somebody in your life that you can encourage.
                •    We are powerful and human beings. Like Harriet Beecher Stowe, one person can change the history of mankind.

                Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
                U.S. Representative, New York’s 11th Congressional District

                •    We should all reflect on the work of Harriet Beecher Stowe and find out where we fit into her legacy.
                •    What makes people in New York so unique is constant re-examination of who we are.
                •    There was a time when public schools worked. Public schools can still work and they must work.
                •    We have ancestors who learned to read from one page of a Bible by candlelight. If they were caught they were sentenced to death.
                •    If they were able to do it and the product was some of the most prolific African Americans in the history of the United States. Even though they were not wealthy, all they could be came from education.
                •    Parents used to sacrifice to make sure their children were educated. Somewhere there was a disconnect; this is not happening for a variety of reasons. Maybe parents in disadvantaged communities are younger or were victims of decaying schools.
                •    We all have an obligation to find out how children are being educated. We are distracted. We look for entertainment value in everything.
                •    It’s not going to happen because we wish it to happen; it’s going to happen because we make it happen. That is what social action is.
                •    This nation was built by immigrants of all different circumstances. Even today we are denying education to children who are undocumented.
                •    Are we cutting off our nose in spite of our face? Could the young children we are denying an education be the ones who answer there pressing issues?
                •    Would I want to be treated the way these individuals who want nothing more than to be Americans? What does it say about us all as a civil society?

                Congresswoman Laura Richardson
                U.S. Representative, California’s 37th Congressional District

                •    We all want to work together to get something done.
                •    To all of the young people: we are all encouraged by what you said.
                •    We have identified the problems and solutions and we are talking and getting closer, but we need to be in the right position to get it done. .
                •    We have to recognize that there are consequences for elections and wars.
                •    Each of us talks about these issues in Washington D.C. to work to make it happen.
                •    What am I going to do? I’m going to learn from past mistakes; I going to come to places like Hartford to listen, recommit, and be inspired by you to fight another day.
                •    We have to do more. Out lack of fight is costing us.
                •    We have to reach out beyond this room.
                •    We cannot continue to support programs and policies that do not take care of the American people.

                Congressman Emanuel Cleaver
                U.S. Representative, Missouri’s 5th Congressional District
                Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus

                •    Issues like health care are theological. Hospitals are named theologically and the principle of healing is theological.
                •    We need to be in the business of healing. No one should turn away. This is the principal issue of the millennium.

                Chairman Cleaver makes the “Call to Action”
                There is a story about mice that had a hard seven years. There was a cat who was brutal. This caused the mice to call together a convention to deal with the number one problem they faced, the vicious cat. One by one, mice came across the stage to state to the chairman of the mice that this cat was brutal. The chairman wanted to form committees to begin dealing with the problem, but no one came forward with a solution. One day a young up-start mouse came up with a solution. If they could find a way to be warned that the cat was near, they would be clear. The solution to create this warning was to tie a bell around the neck of the cat. An old mouse came down the center aisle wanting the microphone. He believed the young mouse gave a good proposal, but one question remained…who’s going to bell the cat?

                This has been a question in “mousedom” and a question in “humandom”. Now it is a question for Hartford, who’s going to bell the cat?

                Responses to Chairman Cleaver’s Call to Action:

                Reverend Raymond Sailor: The Great Commission Baptist Church
                •    We need to partner with organizations across all three issues. There are qualified people who are members of churches who could assist in ending these social justices.
                •    We hope Congress and members of the Congressional Black Caucus will help Connecticut get the funding needed to help those who are the victims of these injustices
                •    We want to be the recipients of the problem solving, but we also want to be involved.

                Response from Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.
                •    Representatives cannot earmark money to any of the programs that we would like to give money to, that we are talking about today.
                •    Congress is about to vote on whether or not to raise the debt ceiling and it could mean up to $1 trillion in cuts. Everything that we are talking about today is at risk.
                •    When health care reform was passed, 22 states filed law suits against the Federal government saying they could not be forced to provide health care to everyone.
                •    If Harriet Beecher Stowe was alive today she would write a book about health care.
                •    We are about to enter a major war about funding for what people in Connecticut say they need.
                •    If we can spend billions of dollars funding wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, then we ought to be able to put a person in Connecticut on their own two feet.

                Reverend Henrietta Sailor: The Great Commission Baptist Church
                •    The phrase that the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance uses is “Just Peace”.
                •    Urban areas have too much violence and there is a lack of families. There are too many single mothers and children with incarcerated fathers.
                •    How do we get men out of the prison system? We need to educate them and volunteer in prisons. They don’t know how to get out of it. We need to give them hope
                •    Hope will bring about peace.

                Reverend Joshua Mason Pawelek:
                Unitarian Universalist Society
                •    We need to reduce urban violence.
                •    We need to make sure the public option for health care will address race based disparities.
                •    My congregation can work with Manchester Community College to expand community involvement in education.
                •    We need to organize to expand participation.

                Reverend Belinda Plummer
                •    We want to work with individual s and organizations to help them find their destiny and purpose.
                •    Community organizations need to know how to do business. The function of an agency is to care for the people it serves, not focus on sustaining themselves.
                •    Everyone needs to step up to the plate
                •    Churches need to come together and work together to accomplish these changes we need

                Reverend James Lane: North End Church of Christ
                •    We can use churches as sites for youth
                •    We need to help the youth connect to the chain of memory. They are not connected enough with their own history.

                Reverend Steve Camp: Faith Congregational Church
                •    Everyone needs to write a letter to Congress that says you need to stand up, stand out, and make sure voices of the people are heard
                •    You need to fight for people.
                •    It is time, time is running out

                Response by Congresswoman Corrine Brown:
                •    What we also need to do in this situation is educate people to get out there and vote.
                •    We pay consequences for elections. Every vote makes a difference

                Response by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke:
                •    During the health care debate the Tea Party came to Washington D.C. and they came in the thousands.
                •    Come to Washington D.C. so Congress can see and know you exist.
                •    You amplify our voices; democracy is not a spectator sport.

                Imam Kashif Abdul-Kareim:
                Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford
                •    We need to deal with prison reform. The laws are still Jim Crow
                •    We need to deal with equal housing and immigrants rights.
                •    In Connecticut, we’ve dealt with immigrants being denied opportunities like tuition.
                •    There is an issue with credit. Bad credit disproportionately affects Latinos and African Americans, especially when being denied something like a job due to bad credit.

                Andrew Woods: Hartford Communities That Care
                •    We need to collaborate with members of the Congressional Black Caucus
                •    The profile of urban violence needs to be raised.
                •    There needs to be cooperation between states to address the issue of urban violence, which is a repercussion of all three issues we discussed, health care, education, and economics.

                Janice Fleming: Voices of Women of Color
                •    What I will continue to do is create a safe space for women of color to come together and address issues of voting, education, public health, and housing.
                •    The reason I created the Voices of Women of Color was to educate women about voting rights. Voting can remove some of the barriers.
                •    Representatives will be held accountable for addressing these issues.

                Lucy Ungaro: Congressman Larson’s Congressional Youth Cabinet
                •    We need to help each student reach their full potential and let their voices be heard

                Khaliah Kashif Abdul-Karim: Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford
                •    With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 coming up we also need to dispel myths and show that all Muslims are not responsible for what happened.
                •    Government officials need to understand Muslims better.
                •    There needs to be curriculum in the training of police officers and the FBI about Islam
                •    We need an open dialogue
                •    Children need to receive multi-cultural education in schools

                Response by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke:
                •    It is important for the Muslim community to work with the Congressional Black Caucus.
                •    There is a huge level of understanding
                •    There are two practicing Muslims in the CBC

                Response by Congressman Hank Johnson:
                •    Muslims are needed in all levels of government; there is so much they can bring to the table.
                •    I encourage you to be involved

                Katherine Kane, Executive Director, Stowe Center, concludes and introduces:
                Reverend Shelley Best, President/CEO, Connecticut Conference of Churches, to deliver the benediction.

                Stay tuned to the Stowe Center for continuing follow up to this exciting program. 
                Visit www.harrietbeecherstowe.org for more information about upcoming programs!