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.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Remembering Maya Angelou

On Wednesday, May 28th, world-renowned poet, political activist, professor, and humanitarian Maya Angelou passed away at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  She was 86.  Angelou leaves behind iconic pieces of literary works such as “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” a testament to the brutality of life in the Jim Crow south.  Her words traveled all across the world, transcending time, place, and generation.  In 2010 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian.  We remember Angelou for the profound impact she made on the world through her poetry, activism, and unwillingness to compromise on her ideals.  Her grace coupled with humility, honesty, and power has made the world that much better.    

Angelou’s ‘StillI Rise’

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise

I rise.

Friday, May 30, 2014

"Juvenile Life Without Parole" by 2014 Student Stowe Prize winner Madeline Sachs

Madeline Sachs of University of Chicago Laboratory High School (Chicago, IL) will be awarded the 2014 Student Stowe Prize high school award for her speech, “Juvenile Life Without Parole” presented at Beth Emet Synagogue (Evanston, IL). Read her award-winning entry below to learn about her advocacy on juvenile life without parole and her call to action.

The community and student activists are invited to join the Stowe Center for Inspiring Action: Real Stories of Social Change, a free public program at Immanuel Congregational Church preceding the Big Tent Jubilee. The program will include an Inspiration to Action Fair with Hartford-area activists and organizations from 3:00-4:00pm, and a panel discussion from 4:00-5:30pm. The panel will feature a dialogue with Student Stowe Prize winners Madeline Sachs and Donya Nasser, JoAnn H.Price of Fairview Capital, and Patricia Russo of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. The conversation will be moderated by WNPR's John Dankosky. RSVPs are strongly encouraged and can be made by emailing Info@StoweCenter.org or calling 860-522-9258, ext. 317.

Good Evening.

As you may or may not know, this week recognizes a week of faith and healing for juvenile justice across the nation. The Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation in Chicago initiated this special week, which is a call to all religious leaders and congregations to take time to recognize juvenile justice issues affecting us today. Juvenile Justice is a topic that is very important to me, and when I asked Rabbi London to speak tonight, I wanted to tell you about a problem you may not know too much about – one that often does not hit the front page of the daily news. The more we understand about the issues kids face in our community, in Chicago and across the country, the better we will be able to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

I originally became interested in juvenile justice over two years ago, in 8th grade, when my class studied the constitution at school. At the time, the death penalty was of particular interest to me, which I’ll admit was sort of strange at my age, but over the last couple of years, I have explored constitutional and criminal justice issues more, and I have become more interested in another related topic: Juvenile Life Without Parole. This past September, my mom was invited to a panel where two lawyers from Northwestern’s Bluhm Legal Clinic spoke on the issue, and she took me. Despite being the only one there under the age of 30 and having the lawyers consistently refer to kids as impulsive and immature, their speeches truly inspired me, and that is part of what I hope to do here tonight.

Juvenile Life Without Parole is an issue that affects kids under the age of eighteen across the United States and especially in the Chicagoland area. Basically, children and teens under the age of 18 can be sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. This ignores the fact that an adolescent mind is underdeveloped and more susceptible to influences such as peer pressure, gang violence, and unstable homes or neighborhoods, to name a few. Kids may be able to act on whim, but are not able to make good judgments about their actions and the consequences that will follow. Teens cannot vote, drink, buy cigarettes, and many cannot even drive, but they can be sentenced as young as the age of 13 to die in prison. That’s pretty surprising when you think about it. My sister, who just had her Bat Mitzvah, could be sentenced to life without parole. I firmly believe this is wrong -­‐ and not just in the case of my sister. It seems like a clear violation of the eighth amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. In fact, no other modern country in the world sentences kids to this harsh of a punishment, and yet, as Americans, we consider ourselves at the forefront of human rights. Nationally, there are around 2400-­‐2500 people serving a Juvenile Life Without Parole sentence, 100 of which are in Illinois alone. Adolescents are sentenced to Juvenile Life Without Parole for anything from homicide to simply driving the car away with the armed robber. Think about it. If you even bought the gun for your friend, knowing what he or she was about to do, and the police find out, at age 13 you could be sentenced to die in prison, with no chance of parole regardless of rehabilitation or behavioral changes. I personally look back on things I did months and even weeks ago and think, why? Granted the mistakes I make are not as serious, it still goes to show that kids make mistakes and deserve a second chance.

Since I felt so strongly about this issue after hearing the lawyers speak, I decided that I wanted to get involved. I’ve been working with the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern’s Bluhm Legal Clinic where the two lawyers work that I mentioned, and I have been working with the Outreach Coordinator there to raise awareness at my school. At the clinic, there are lawyers who are working to get Juvenile Life Without Parole sentences overturned and raise awareness for this little-­‐known flaw in the criminal justice system. One of the cases they are working on is that of Jacqueline Montanez, the only woman in Illinois serving this sentence. At age 15, in 1993, she was convicted along with two others, of murdering rival gang members. She is now 36, and still sentenced to die in prison. She was tried in adult court because of the seriousness of the crime, not juvenile court where many factors such as her age, susceptibility to outside influences, and responsiveness to rehabilitation may have been taken into account. She grew up in a home of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, with only her stepfather, who was a feared gang member himself. She started with drugs and alcohol as early as age nine, and also joined a street gang. However, now an adult who has spent almost 2/3rds of her life in prison, she is a different person. She has completed almost all educational and vocational programs in the prison, and has acquired the equivalent of a high school diploma. She is now a certified service dog trainer, and continues to tutor and mentor the younger inmates. Amnesty International quotes her as saying, “I did what they said I did, [but] I’m not who they say I am.” She is a changed person, and so are many of the 99 other inmates serving in Illinois. However, they are all going to die in prison – unless something is changed.

I recently had the unique opportunity to talk to a mother whose son was sentenced to Juvenile Life Without Parole. He also got involved in the Chicago gangs and was convicted of homicide. His mother is now working to spread awareness about the issue and works with the other inmates as well as her own son to overturn their sentences. There are countless stories, many untold, involving troubled children who end up in prison without hope for freedom.

Over this past summer, you may have heard about the Supreme Court decision, Miller vs. Alabama, which overturned mandatory Juvenile Life Without Parole. However, discretionary Juvenile Life Without Parole is still possible, and many say that this decision is not retroactive, meaning that it does not affect those with current sentences. This is a big part of what lawyers at the Bluhm Legal Clinic are trying to fix. If the sentence is unconstitutional now, you would think that some of the prior sentences could be overturned, but the Justice System is not as cooperative as we might hope. It is important to note that nobody is suggesting that these juveniles should not spend some time in prison, but I would argue that life in prison is excessive. So while progress has been made, there is still a long way to go.

Very few people realize how much this affects our community and the country. It is extremely important that we do what we can to make others aware of our unique way of approaching juvenile crime. Awareness is a big part of what will help to start to make a difference. Now, no one in this room can write the issue off by saying “I didn’t know.” As a community, and a society, we need to take ownership of the fact that we are the only country with this sentence, and this should mean something to us all. We now have the opportunity to take a position, and even play a role in such a major issue playing out in front of our eyes. The economic costs of putting somebody in prison for 50, 60, 70 years or more is millions of taxpayer dollars, making this an issue to reconsider, even if you don’t buy the rehabilitation argument. There has to be a better way.

I am 16. I have no law degree, and no skills that can put me directly involved in helping with these cases. However, I have taken the crucial step of telling these peoples’ stories and raising awareness for their cause. I want to give them a voice. I encourage all of you to do the same. It just takes one sentence to start a conversation. If you would like to find out additional information or are a lawyer and this topic interests you, the Legal Clinic needs all the help they can get, and I would be happy to put you in touch with them. I am also more than happy to answer any questions you might have about the issue or ways to get involved.

Thank you!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Imagine a World Without Hate"

Check out "Imagine a World Without Hate," a video produced by the Anti-Defamation League. How does the video impact you? How could a world without a hate have changed the course of history?

Visit www.adl.org/imagine to take the pledge to create a world without hate.

Join ADL as we Imagine a World Without Hate™, one where the hate crimes against Martin Luther King, Anne Frank, Matthew Shepard and others did not take place. Support us in the fight against bigotry and extremism by sharing this inspirational video.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Kidnapped Nigerian girls and the "Hashtag Activism" of #BringBackOurGirls

On April 15th, several hundred girls were kidnapped in northern Nigeria after extremist Muslim group Boko Haram carried out a raid and attack at the girls’ school.  The girls are reported to be sold into forced marriages with militant members of the group.  In the days and weeks following the tragedy, the Nigerian government and international organizations were slow to respond.  This inaction changed when the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls erupted over social media.  Ibrahim M. Abdullahi , a Nigerian lawyer, started the hashtag which quickly gained traction as notable individuals began to take part- including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama.  The hashtag garnered thousands of tweets over just a few hours and worked to bring the issue, the kidnapped Nigerian girls, into public purview.  The U.S. is now in the process of sending military help to aid in the investigation and search for the missing girls- an action that perhaps is a result of the massive internet attention. 

This case exemplifies the extensions of “Hashtag Activism,” a type of political involvement characterized by electronic, not public action.  Despite the seemingly successful use of the hashtag for raising consciousness, scores of criticism have been levied against “Bring Back Our Girls” and other similar types of activism.  Namely, “Hashtag Activism” has the tendency to de-politicize and de-contextualize complex, interconnected issues of which many in the western world remain uneducated. 

What do you think?  Are there benefits of “Hashtag Activism”?  Or does it reinforce notions of the “white-savior complex” where individuals in the western world attempt to co-opt and appropriate movements and struggles without understanding root causes and cultures?  In what ways can we use technology to bring awareness and then use that awareness to act and create justice? 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Women in Leadership for Today and Tomorrow" by 2014 Student Stowe Prize winner @donyanasser

Donya Nasser, a junior at St. John’s University, from Orlando, Florida will be awarded the 2014 Student Stowe Prize college award for her essay "Women in Leadership for Today and Tomorrow" published on the American Association of University Women of New York website. Read her award-winning entry below to learn about her advocacy on women in leadership and her call to action. 

The community and student activists are invited to join the Stowe Center for Inspiring Action: Real Stories of Social Change, a free public program at Immanuel Congregational Church preceding the Big Tent Jubilee. The program will include an Inspiration to Action Fair with Hartford-area activists and organizations from 3:00-4:00pm, and a panel discussion from 4:00-5:30pm. The panel will feature a dialogue with Student Stowe Prize winners Madeline Sachs and Donya Nasser, JoAnn H.Price of Fairview Capital, and Patricia Russo of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. The conversation will be moderated by WNPR's John Dankosky. RSVPs are strongly encouraged and can be made by emailing Info@StoweCenter.org or calling 860-522-9258, ext. 317.

Women in the United States, and generally around the world, face the stereotype that has been built up against them over decades and centuries of sexism. It is this fa├žade of feminine weakness and the inability to achieve the strength of men that woman must not only endure, but attempt to crumble and invalidate. Young women are born into this generalization of their gender, and even prior to their entrance into this world they are considered unequal to men, whether it is blatantly expressed or implied. We must fight against this male generated theory that women are weak and unable to think past their own “little universe” comprising of concerns pertaining only to their sex. As Ambassador Melanne Verveer gracefully put it, “women’s health translates into everyone’s health,” and of course First Lady Clinton’s revolutionary statement “women’s rights are human rights.”  I have had many experiences with this stereotype, one specifically while working on President Obama’s re-election campaign. While canvassing one day in a Conservative area, I was confronted by a man who responded to my question, “Are you planning to support the President in the upcoming election?” with a brute and swift “No, and the only reason you will is because you are a crazy, lesbian feminist that wants to steal my tax money and use it for your birth control.” I can only imagine what he would have said if I asked him as a candidate campaigning for my own election. 

It is important, no, imperative, to have more women in leadership in order to shatter this disfigured conception that has molded and proliferated over time. Women offer a perspective to the table that is unprecedented and insightful because of the experiences they gather as females, their natural intuition and nature, and their ability to endure and adapt. These qualities allow all positions to thrive and expand the boundaries of success and prosperity.

Women, particularly feminists, are not interested in surpassing men or sustaining an “anti-man” mentality; no, they instead would like to encourage a pro-women disposition so that we may attain equality between the genders. We need women in leadership for today and thus tomorrow, so that we can move toward this objective and provide our own with the achievements necessary to see their goals realized. For those girls that aspire to run for office and transform the country as elected officials, we need more female Representatives, Senators, Governors, and Presidents. For those young women who dream to climb up the rungs of the business world’s ladder, we need more female Board members and CEO’s. For those that hope to accomplish eminence in the world of academia, we need more women as authority figures in Universities, especially fulfilling the Presidency role. According to AAUW’S Director of Research, Catherine Hill, currently we comprise 18% of the U.S. House of Representatives, 20% of the Senate, about 3% of Fortune 500 CEO positions and 15% of Board seats, 23% of college presidencies, and almost twice as many male professors as female (64%) have tenure. In a world with nearly half of the population being women (the U.S. an exception with a higher percentage of women than men) it is ridiculous to consider that they do not hold nearly half of the leadership roles. Ignoring the skills and traits that they could contribute, women should hold more of these positions if considering the population alone. 

My mother has empowered me since a small child competing with a boy for the safety guard duty in elementary school. I have been encouraged to do the same for the women that I encounter in my community, and have done so through inspiring and remaining active. I was recently appointed to the YTH Youth Board in order to defend women’s sexual health, selected as the Youth Representative to the United Nations for AAUW, and elected Vice President of the College Democrats of New York. However, I have tried to point to the importance of women in leadership roles by taking initiative through NOW-NYS and my position as Chair of the Young Feminist Task Force. I have made it my priority to visit schools with the President and explain what feminism truly is to students, despite the negative connotations with the word that surrounds them. I have also founded Watch. Her. Lead, a project dedicated to encouraging young women of color to think about a career in public service and running for office. St. John’s University is a Catholic institution, and not the best example of women soaring to new heights and testing their limits. Strengthening the Women’s and Gender Studies Department has been paramount to influencing the common outlooks on campus and shifting that state to one of equality and progress for our sex. It has raised awareness of the current situation to all of those that were not conscious of the gender gaps that exist. It has encouraged students to change their footprint in history, and take action for the feminist cause. Mostly, it has been a place for young women to discuss their issues, share ideas, and harvest solutions that will provide success they can directly see.

This is the type of leadership I try to encourage other women in my community to take part in: taking reign of our passions and see them through with initiative and activism. My mother’s dream has resonated with me her entire life. She helped me realize women run this world, and deserve to come out of the shadows and warm in the recognition that is due to them. She can only hope that I will one day fulfill that dream for her by running for office and serving all women, especially those of color. For all of these reasons and many more, we need more women in the leadership of today and tomorrow. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Saluting those who have served and serve our country

On this Memorial Day, the Stowe Center salutes those who have served and continue to serve our country. Stowe's own son, Frederick, fought in the army during the Civil War, sustaining injuries at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863; though injured, he re-enlisted and fought through 1864. We give our thanks to the brave men and women who have protected our freedoms here in the United States and across the world.

The Stowe Center is a proud to be a Blue Star Museum which offers free admission for active military and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  Blue Star Museums is a collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense.

" Stolen Lives: An Interprofessional Response to Human Trafficking" conference at Qunnipiac University on May 29 and 30

For those who may attend the Stolen Lives: An Interprofessional Response to Human Trafficking conference at Qunnipiac University this Thursday and Friday, this article from the Huffington Post provides great insight into the realities of human trafficking in America...and in our own backyard of Hartford, CT

Friday, May 23, 2014

Segregation in schools: how far have we come?

Last Saturday, May 17, marked the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1954 ruling that racially segregated public schools are not equal. Prior to the Court's ruling, there were also other families speaking up and fighting for integrated schools.

So we ask: In the last 60+ years, how far have we come? 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What would YOU ask Harriet Beecher Stowe?

As the Stowe Center prepares for the reinterpretation of the Stowe House, a re-imagining of the visitor experience in Stowe's Hartford home, we have been doing lots of audience research. We recently posted the question "What would you ask Stowe?" on the chalkboard in the discussion room in the Stowe House and have been encouraging visitors to leave their questions. Earlier this week, a visitor left a note that they would ask "How was it to contribute to feminism?"

If Stowe were alive today and you could ask her one question, would would it be? Share your question for her in the comments section below, or better yet...come down to the Stowe Center for a tour and leave your question on the chalkboard! Your questions will help inform us as we re-imagine the future of the Harriet Beecher Stowe House. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

'This Week': College Campuses on High Alert for Sexual Assault

The topic of rape and assault on college campuses has been making headlines in the last few years and increasingly in the last several months. In March, we hosted the Salon "Campuses in Crisis: Speaking Out to End the Violence," and the May 26, 2014 issue of TIME Magazine features "RAPE" sprawling across the cover with the subtitle of "The Crisis in Higher Education."

For a look at the issue of rape on campus, tune in to ABC News' This Week segment "College Campuses on High Alert for Sexual Assault" from this past Sunday (below). After a brief report on the issue, George Stephanopoulos interviews TIME's Eliza Gray and University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto to learn about prevention programs.

ABC US News | International News

Is campus violence and rape prevalent in your community? What might be happening that is not being reported? How might you bring this issue to the attention of your local college/university? Share your comments below. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Where are they now?: Hannah Morgan, 2012 Student Stowe Prize College Winner

In today's post, Hannah Morgan, recipient of the 2012 Student Stowe Prize college award, reflects on winning the Student Stowe Prize and how it has inspired her to continue her passion for journalism, writing, and working with the homeless. You can read Hannah's 2012 winning entry HERE.

Hannah MorganThe Student Stowe Prize was the first recognition I received for writing about homelessness and social justice issues. Growing up in Baltimore, I went to school with children on both ends of the income bracket- I learned from a young age how difficult life could be if you were born into a family who struggled with health problems and financial problems. 

I lived in College Park, Maryland, and studied journalism at the University of Maryland. One of my first internships was writing for Street Sense, a weekly newspaper in Washington, D.C. that focused on social justice and issues facing the city's homeless population. I worked out in the streets, talked to homeless veterans and mothers, spent days inside shelters watching women my age wait in line to obtain winter coats and a hot meal. This experience transformed the way I looked at the nation's capitol, and I learned I could use my passion for writing to tell the stories of people who slept under bridges and on benches, just blocks from the White House. 

I was awarded the Stowe Prize in 2012 after my semester at Street Sense. The honor gave me the motivation to continue writing and sharing the stories of people who struggle in our society. 
I graduated from Maryland in December 2012 and spent the summer interning at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I enjoyed learning about a new city, and was offered a reporting job at the end of the summer at a small paper just north of the city.  

For the last seven months, I worked as an education reporter for the Marietta Daily Journal, and often found myself covering other stories and breaking news as was necessary at the paper. Many of the issues I had seen people struggle with up north were present in Georgia, and I used my experience to write about many of these problems. I spent Thanksgiving at a homeless shelter, speaking with dozens of homeless veterans who claimed they weren't being given necessary medical benefits. On Christmas, I sat with a mother desperate to find shelter for her two daughters for the night. When the temperatures dropped unusually low this winter, I worked with homeless shelters across the county to compile a list of resources for families in need of shelter and warm clothing.

If it wasn't for the Stowe Prize I would have never gained the confidence to pursue these stories. 

I left the Marietta Daily Journal in March 2014 and am now preparing to move to Togo, west Africa, for 27 months to work with the Peace Corps. I have always wanted to work with the Peace Corps and am honored to have been invited to work with some of the world's poorest people in west Africa. I will be posting my experiences on a blog once I move to Togo, and am eager to continue working and telling the stories of people across the world. 

Thank you, Stowe Center, for your investment in me. I hope to continue learning and writing about the world and sharing my work with you all!
- Hannah Morgan

Monday, May 19, 2014

How do you engage students to use their voices?

Check out Adam Fletcher's list of "50 Ways Adults Can Engage Student Voice." Fletcher is the founder of The Free Child Project and Sound Out, and works to inspire young people to use their voices, get involved, take action, and change the world.

Choose one of Fletcher's 50 tips and share with us how you will use it to inspire a young person. Post your thoughts and action in the comments section below!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Event Recap: "Invisible No More: Youth Homelessness in Connecticut" (5.15.14 Salon)

Keep the conversation going! After reading the conversation transcript and Inspiration to Action list, we encourage you to share your ideas, reactions, and plans for action in the "Comments" section below. 

Salons at Stowe
Invisible No More: Youth Homelessness in Connecticut
May 15, 2014

The number of homeless students in the U.S. exceeded 1 million for the first time during the 2010-2011 school year, which included runaway, “thrown away” (children and youth kicked out of their homes) and children and youth living alone on the streets. That children and youth who experience homelessness suffer long lasting impacts including poverty, crime, addiction, inadequate education, consistent unemployment or underemployment, and chronic health issues. The Salon focused on creating positive change including improved coordination among state agencies, strategies for prevention and intervention, and ways individuals can make a difference for Connecticut’s youth.

Alicia Woodsby, Interim Executive Director, Partnership for Strong Communities, Hartford, CT 
Alicia Woods by joined the Partnership for Strong Communities as the Deputy Executive Director in November of 2011. The Partnership is a statewide nonprofit policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ending homelessness, expanding the creation of affordable housing, and building strong communities in Connecticut.  Alicia takes a lead role in advocacy, communications, policy development and large scale planning initiatives .She manages and oversees the Reaching Home Campaign and implementation of Opening Doors-CT (OD-CT), the statewide framework for preventing and ending homelessness aligned with the federal Opening Doors plan.  

As the former Public Policy Director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in CT, Alicia took a lead role on issues related to Medicaid and medication access, mental health parity, housing, decriminalization, and community mental health systems, among others. She conducted presentations on mental health policy at the state level and nationally.

Alicia worked closely with the NAMI-CT Board of Directors, its Public Policy Committee, and statewide membership to advocate for people with psychiatric disabilities and their families. She publicly represented the policy initiatives of NAMI-CT, and served as the primary liaison for public policy issues on state coalitions and with the national branch of NAMI.

Alicia co-chaired and managed the Keep the Promise Coalition and played a lead role in the development of the Keep the Promise children’s initiative. She served on the NAMI National State Policy Advisory Group, the Reaching Home Campaign Steering Committee, and multiple Medicaid and healthcare coalitions. Alicia sits on the state’s Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council, and co-chairs the subcommittee for Adult Quality, Access and Policy issues. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the North Central Regional Mental Health Board.

Alicia holds a Masters of Social Work in Policy Practice, and a focused area of study in Mental Health and Substance Abuse. Alicia graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in Psychology.

Stacey Violante Cote, JD, MSW, Director, Teen Legal Advocacy Project, Center for Children's Advocacy, Hartford, CT 
sviolant@kidscounsel.org - www.kidscounsel.org 
Stacey has been with the Center since 2001 and Director of the Center’s Teen Legal Advocacy Project since 2003, working with teens in the Greater Hartford area including Hartford public school students, youth in the care of the Department of Children and Families, and homeless youth.

Hartford has one of the highest drop-out rates in Connecticut. The Teen Legal Advocacy Project provides legal advocacy to remove barriers that prevent youth from completing high school, addressing civil legal issues such as the educational rights of homeless students, improper denials of state and federal benefits, educational advocacy, the rights of victims of teen dating violence, the rights of teens in the care of the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the legal rights of pregnant/parenting students, the rights of youth who have been abused or neglected, and the legal rights of immigrant and refugee youth.

Stacey also supervises Project attorneys who run the Teen Legal Advocacy Clinic at Bridgeport’s Harding High School and those who work with youth in shelters and group homes throughout the state.
Stacey graduated from University of Connecticut School of Law in 2001 and University of Connecticut School of Social Work in 2000. She was awarded the New Leaders of the Law recognition by the Connecticut Law Tribune in 2002, was named one of University of Connecticut’s 2008 “40 Under 40 Outstanding Graduates,” and Connecticut Magazine’s 2012 “40 Under 40 Upcoming Leaders.”

Susan Campbell, Communications and Development Director, Partnership for Strong Communities 
susan@pschousing.orgwww.pschousing.org - @campbellsl
Susan Campbell joined the Partnership for Strong Communities as the new Communications and Development Director in March 2013. She works on communicating the Partnership's message and expanding the organization's financial base.

For more than a quarter-century, Susan was a columnist at the Hartford Courant, where her work was recognized by the National Women's Political Caucus, New England Associated Press News Executives, the Society for Professional Journalists, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the Sunday Magazine Editors Association.
Her column about the shootings at lottery headquarters in March 1998 was part of The Courant's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage. She is the current Robert C. Vance Endowed Chair in Journalism and Mass Communication at Central Connecticut State University.

She is also the author of “Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl,” and the upcoming biography: “Tempest Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker.” The mother of two adult sons, and the grandmother of seven, she has a bachelor's degree from University of Maryland, and a master's degree from Hartford Seminary.

Stacey Violante Cote
The issue of homelessness is everywhere and in all communities, no matter how affluent they are. She provides legal advocacy for low-income teenagers. Issue of youth who are homeless or have housing instability came from meeting kids in the situation. In her role, she searches for systemic remedies to the problem of youth homelessness. She and Alicia have “married their interests” in a way that has not been done in the State to find solutions.

She recently worked with a girl named Kayleigh from New Haven, whose family was living together and was then evicted from their apartment – the mother and one sibling went to live with family, and the father went to live with someone else; Kayleigh had to go live with friends because no family could take her in. She was an honors student until she had to move from house to house, worry about food (finding food or eating too much when staying as a guest). Another young person she worked with was Angela, a 19 year-old who grew up in the Department of Children and Families system. Angela was sexually abused as a child and removed from parents’ cares when she was very young. She was moved between ten DCF care facilities and foster homes. When she was a teenager, she no longer wanted to be part of DCF’s program because she was traumatized from her experiences with the department and decided to go out on her own. She stayed with friends and in the stairwells of apartment buildings, and finally with a boyfriend with whom she broke up after she became pregnant. She is currently living with a different boyfriend, his family, and her two children in one apartment, and is always at risk of returning to the streets.

When people think about homelessness they think about adults and sometimes families, but not often youth. Whether a youth who has run away from home, or separated from homeless family, they are not known to many; LGBTQ youth make up large percentage of homeless. For people who do not know where they are going to sleep, they trade sex for a place to stay or for money which leads to prostitution and sex trafficking. The State has always said that there not enough shelter beds so the homeless need to be diverted from the shelters to find family or others to stay with – the problem with youth is that they are already diverting to friends or prostitution. We have to remember that the youth population has its own characteristics as it relates to housing stability. She does not talk about “homelessness” with youth, rather asks where they have “been staying” to take away sting of “homelessness.”

Alicia Woodsby 
The Partnership for Strong Communities joined forces with the Center for Children's Advocacy to expand affordable housing and end homelessness through advocacy. One of the major problems is that there is no central crisis response system, or safe place and supportive services, for runaway and homeless children in CT. Economic hardship is a major driver for families, and when families become homeless teenagers are often separated from their parents. There is a severe lack of affordable housing and homelessness has increased by 10% since 2010. There is a 90,000 unit shortage of affordable housing for the lowest income level. There are currently 100,000 in CT earning the lowest pay levels and they are spending 50%+ of their earnings on their homes; thought they have homes, they are one or two pay checks away from becoming homeless. Connecticut has the second highest wealth gap in the nation after NY. As Stacey said, kids often become homeless because of their families and are frequently separated from their families. They are faced with lodging with friends or turning t more dangerous options. 15,000 kids and 800 families are on the waitlist for affordable housing in CT.

Are about 14,000 people who are homeless in CT on an annual basis. There are 4 runaway youth crisis providers in the state with a total of 13 beds available. There is also a “point in time count” of people in shelters and affordable housing units. Many kids are not using the shelter system because they feel they are victimized in the system. Alicia and Stacey partnered with Yale a few years ago to embark on a study of youth homelessness, now known as the "Invisible No More Report." They knew homelessness was happening, but policy changes could not happen until they could prove that it existed. With Yale, they trained service providers that worked with youth to create a survey. 98 youth in central and south/southwestern CT were surveyed. A similar study was done in Waterbury where they found 40 homeless youth. The survey determined who the kids were, what their needs were, and how they were found. Some of the study findings included:
- 55% female, 42% male, 3% transgender
- 49% African American
- Average age was 14-24 years old
- 27% received special education, 32% had dropped out of school, 12% were told they could no longer attend school
- 53% had contact with DCF, and of those 69% had been removed from the home
- Average number of moves was more than 6 times
- 58% had been kicked out of home by family at least once
- 23% identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or unsure
- 25% had considered suicide in the last year
- several reported that they had traded sex for money
- 89% were sexually active with an average of 5.6 sexual partners
- 23% first experienced sexual intercourse at the age of 12 or younger
- 48% arrested at least once
- 39% had been imprisoned
- 57% were on food stamps

Study recommendations (after interviews with homeless youth, key stakeholders, and focus groups)
- Increasing housing resources
- Creating comprehensive crisis services to address immediate crisis needs
- Creating services to increase educational outcomes for the kids

Audience question: Any numbers for how many had children while homeless?

  • Stacey and Alicia: Number is available, but not on hand. 
  • Audience comment: It is difficult to get food stamps without a permanent address
  • Stacey: is a process for homeless to register with food stamps

Susan: Is it fair to say that everyone has walked by a homeless youth without knowing?

  • Stacey: Yes
  • Audience comment: She and her husband are surrogates for children in DCF. She has seen them leave the system at age 18 because they think they will have a better life living on the street. Even when you work so hard to get them an education, they just sometimes even without resources. 
  • Audience comments: It’d be helpful for agencies like Department of Social Services (DSS) to have an expedited process to access crisis resources. 

Stacey: There are 4 runaway youth crisis providers in the state: Meriden, Bridgeport, New Haven, and now West Hartford, with combinations of street outreach and crisis beds. The crisis providers can have phone relationships with kids for months because they do not feel comfortable coming in to the center, and so the case for more than 13 beds in the state is hard to make when they are not full. The advocacy becomes tricky, especially when the centers and beds are so far away from many of the homeless youth.

Audience comment: As a historian, immediately thinks about what Stowe would have thought. She’d likely think that these kids deserve families, and in earlier centuries families were more likely to accept other children. Famously in Puritan-era Connecticut, single people could not live alone and had to live with a family – if you lived by yourself, you were thought of as a savage. There will always be youth with this problem and need to be taken in – are there other states or countries where more accessible resources are available? Are there model practices that reduce the rates of youth homelessness?

  • Stacey: Her and Alicia’s day-to-day work is looking for model systems that can be adapted in CT. CT is not a state where this issue has been discussed. When she has approached legislators in CT about homeless youth, they always asked “Where? How many?” They could never get past the questions to talk about the need, hence why the statistics in the report are so important to the future of policy adovocacy. Also in CT, DCF has been the only agency that has been used to solve this problem – DCF agrees that they cannot combat the entire problem of youth crisis. We will always have a group of kids that do not want to be in the DCF system. She talks about “the third leg of the stool”: child welfare system, juvenile justice system, and an agency addressing prevention needs and immediate crisis needs. The providers also do family mediation to help youth and give them a safe place to stay while family issues are mediated.  
  • Alicia: We finally have some federal tools and guidance to help the issue in the state. In the adult system, we are moving away from shelters and transitional housing and towards permanent housing, which makes advocating for more transitional housing for kids challenging. There are many populations in the 14-24 group with many intervention needs. At the federal level is an initiative called Opening Doors for ending homelessness – it took 2 years for the initiative to include runaway and homeless youth. The plan now has a preliminary intervention framework, and is informing plans and efforts in CT. How do we design a system that has multiple options of crisis services and remedies? 
  • Stacey: New Jersey and Minneapolis, MN have done a good job of getting both a funding system for supports and services, and statutory language for how the services will work together. Counties tend to do more than states

Susan: Some people say “regionalism” is a bad word, but if we didn’t have 169 separate towns in CT would we have a better situation?

  • Alicia: It might, as it would bring more communities together within a county. 169 towns also means 169 school systems and it becomes difficult to implement a plan that all agree to and buy into. 
  • Audience comment: In lower Fairfield County, Continuum of Care (COC ) programs are joining together to create a stronger impact. 

Susan: How expensive is it to have a youth on the streets vs. in a crisis center plugged into services?

  • Alicia: Youth do not all utilize the systems, but some do touch on DCF, DSS and juvenile justice systems. Over time, they become extraordinarily costly to the state. 
  • Stacey: Many of the youth drop out of school which becomes extremely expensive to the state. There is a federal law that kids who are homeless should have education as their stability. In the "Invisible No More Report," findings showed that of the 98 kids, 12% were told by their schools that they could no longer attend school. Many school administrations are not aware of the federal protections for kids, and so based on residency, they feel they need to move their kids into systems where they are then living (if they move between shelters, they do not know they can leave their kids in the same school system).
  • Audience comment: Were 4 kids in a shelter in Norwalk that were being transported to Bridgeport for schools, which lead to high transportation costs. 
  • Stacey: It is understandable that because the districts do not receive extra funds for transportation homeless youth  they do not want to offer the services. 

Audience comment: Family mediation is a really important service. Many families push their LGBTQ children onto the streets because it is easier than dealing with the situation when they have other children and problems. There need to be special supports for families.

  • Audience comment: The schools often cannot offer the necessary services to help their students. 
  • Stacey: Students who were surveyed and were in school said they did receive a lot from the school. Mental health counseling, financial support from teachers and staff, and more. This makes the 12% of dropouts even more significant. 

Audience question: How are you getting the word out to schools?

  • Alicia: Are approaching the issue knowing that a lot of research and work has happened, and that there are different models for different populations. They have hired Youth Catalytics, a company that has worked on issues of youth homelessness for years. They are working with stakeholders around the state, and soon homeless youth, to determine a blueprint for creating services in the state. The “blueprint” will hopefully be developed by September. The report was released at the Legislative Office Building publicly, which lead to meetings with legislators and agencies. Has lead to officials expressing interest in offering services. 
  • Stacey: Are working to get letters to school systems about current laws and protections. The law allows for educational surrogates for kids who are on their own, but no one knows the services are available. 
    • Audience comment: As educational surrogates, they work specifically with special needs students to advocate on their behalf for kids in DCF. 
  • Stacey: Are trying to encourage schools to recommend kids with special needs, who may be homeless, to be recommended for surrogates. 
    • Audience comment: Federal law requires that schools take any kid who shows up at their door, however many do not know that and require birth certificates, immunizations, transcripts, etc. (even if they are not available) before enrolling a student, which makes the role of surrogates difficult. 
  • Alicia: This year, asked legislature to reinstate funding for crisis services. It was approved at the end of this session. The next step is making sure that the funds are used appropriately. 

Stacey: Last year, providers were saying that if kids under 18 did not have birth certificates, they could not obtain one because parents/grandparents are needed in order for them to be issued. After two tries in the legislative session, last year were successful in getting unaccompanied homeless youth to be able to access their birth certificates. Department of Public Health was worried that kids would learn difficult information about parentage from birth certificates, but compromised with advocates to implement a process for youth to obtain records.

  • Audience comment: How do the youth not lose their birth certificates when moving couch to couch? There should be a repository for their birth certificates so they don’t lose them. 
  • Stacey: They do often lose them. Is a homeless liaison in each school district, and some have been advocates of placing kids in job programs. 

Audience question: What about undocumented youth?

  • Stacey: “Undocumented” refers to kids without legal status. If a state court determines a homeless youth to be undocumented, they can go to immigration, ask for permission to stay in the United States, and receive permission to stay. She represented such a girl from Jamaica who was abandoned before she was a year old. Her father died, she was moved from place to place in Jamaica, and was finally taken in by her 5th grade teacher. She was moved to the US to live with her teacher’s niece. She was ready to graduate high school but could not get funding for school as an illegal student, but they were able to show in the courts that she had been abandoned and recently she received a green card. She can now get federal funding and attend college in the US. 
  • Audience comment: There are many things working against undocumented youth who are homeless. 
  • Stacey: Low percentage of the youth surveyed were undocumented, or at least reported that they were undocumented. 

Audience comment: Sounds like an important thing to do is support families so homelessness doesn’t happen. Starting at the base of the family would help avoid youth becoming homeless from the start.

  • Alicia: When Opening Doors launched, which said that all aspects of homelessness – healthcare, employment, crisis response, housing, etc. – had to be considered together (not in silos), it showed how multiple systems and agencies can be married with advocacy and partnerships. It now feels like momentum can be gained more quickly. 

Susan: Do you really believe that you can end homelessness among youth in CT?

  • Alicia: Yes. Although some may fall back into homelessness, by targeting the chronically homeless and using the resources and tools available, can work towards ending the problem.   
  • Audience question: In a state with many resources and families with extra rooms, how do you draw on those resources and help people understand the situation?
  • Audience comment: Is a lot of work to take in families and not enough people willing to make the commitment. 
  • Alicia: As we get a better handle on who the populations are, there are models of host homes where families are screened and trained so that they can host children. People don’t see policy and advocacy work as things that pull on their heart strings but are what is going to make the change; people want to do something directly and see the change. Agencies like Partnership for Strong Communities face challenges in building support, but that is what is going to move the support system forward. 

Audience comment: The big driver for action in our society is inequality. The mis-distribution of income, and the attitude that causes and breeds it, bring about homelessness and social ills. Earlier generations would not be getting down in the weeds – they’d be talking about making big, systematic change.

  • Alicia: While trying to end homelessness, the Partnership for Strong Communities is also trying to change communities – helping to eliminate poverty and segregation, building support for affordable housing, and more, through the Home Connecticut campaign. The issues are very interrelated and linked. In order to solve the crisis situation fully, have to be able to have kids attend school systems where they can obtain quality education, have people with the ability to afford living in the communities in which they work. The organization is working to fight the inequalities. 
  • Audience comment: All people should be advocating for greater equality. European societies advocate for the disadvantaged much more than in the US. 

Audience comment: Have you looked at the refugee population?

  • Stacey: Yes, some have been her clients. Also has to do with mental health care. Hartford is a refugee resettlement site. Education is important and school districts have to remember to provide equal access to education to English language learners. Some school districts do not treat refugee students as they should, especially when they may have never attended school before and speak little or no English. 

Immediate action

  • Talk about this issue. Raise awareness about the numbers of young people at risk.
  • Campaign for greater equality. 
  • Involve more youth voice in discussions and create safe places for homeless youth to talk openly. 
  • Support families.
  • Become a host home.
  • Support organizations like Partnership for Strong Communities and Center for Children’s Advocacy.
  • Check out www.speakupteens.org, a website for accompanied homeless youth to learn about their legal rights. 
  • Learn more about states like New Jersey and Minnesota that are doing a better job than Connecticut.
Education-related action
  • Raise awareness about the law that allows for education surrogates.
  • Get the word out to schools about federal laws – re: kids right to stay in school even if they don’t have records. 
Long-term action

  • Develop a crisis response system to respond to the needs of these young people.
  • Develop more affordable housing.
  • Create expedited system for youth in crisis so they aren’t left waiting. 
  • More beds/places for homeless youth in CT.
  • Work to create stronger communities with more opportunities and equity. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Modern day slavery and child labor exploitation in US tobacco fields

There are more people enslaved today than at any point in history, and this staggering statistic includes children who are victims of forced labor and exploitation. Take a look at the photo essay below created by Marcus Bleasdale and made available through Human Rights Watch. How does the photo essay move you? How are you moved to action?

MADE IN THE USA: Child Labor & Tobacco

Child labor is common on tobacco farms in the United States, where children are exposed to nicotine, toxic pesticides, and other dangers. Child tobacco workers often get sick with vomiting, nausea, headaches, and dizziness while working, all symptoms consistent with acute nicotine poisoning. Many work 50 to 60 hours a week without overtime pay, often in extreme heat. They may be exposed to pesticides that are known neurotoxins. Many also use dangerous tools and machinery, lift heavy loads, and climb to perilous heights to hang tobacco for drying. The largest tobacco companies in the world purchase tobacco grown in the US to make popular cigarette brands like Marlboro, Newport, Camel, Pall Mall and others. These companies can’t legally sell cigarettes to children, but they are profiting from child labor. US law also fails these children, by allowing them to work at much younger ages, for longer hours, and under more hazardous conditions than children working in all other sectors. Children as young as 12 can work legally on tobacco farms and at even younger ages on small farms.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Announcing the 2014 Student Stowe Prize winners and upcoming public program!

It is with great excitement that we announce Madeline Sachs from Chicago, IL and Donya Nasser from Orlando, FL as the winners of the 2014 Student Stowe Prize! Both young women are using their words and writing to create positive change on important contemporary social issues.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, appalled by the injustice of slavery, wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) as a call to action. Using print media and the familiar literary form of telling a story, she shone a harsh light on the American institution of slavery. The book became an international best seller and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War. The Student Stowe Prize seeks to recognize those young activists who continue Stowe’s efforts to better our world by writing and creating a tangible impact on social justice issues critical to contemporary society.

Madeline Sachs is a junior at University of Chicago Laboratory High School (Chicago, IL) will be awarded the 2014 Student Stowe Prize high school award for her speech, “Juvenile Life Without Parole” presented at Beth Emet synagogue, Evanston, IL.

Donya Nasser, a junior at St. John’s University, from Orlando, Florida will be awarded the 2014 Student Stowe Prize college award for her essay "Women in Leadership for Today and Tomorrow" published on the American Association of University Women of New York website.

The community and student activists are invited to join the Stowe Center for Inspiring Action: Real Stories of Social Change, a free public program at Immanuel Congregational Church preceding the Big Tent Jubilee. The program will include an Inspiration to Action Fair with Hartford-area activists and organizations from 3:00-4:00pm, and a panel discussion from 4:00-5:30pm. The panel will feature a dialogue with Student Stowe Prize winners Madeline Sachs and Donya Nasser, JoAnn H.Price of Fairview Capital, and Patricia Russo of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. The conversation will be moderated by WNPR's John Dankosky. RSVPs are strongly encouraged and can be made by emailing Info@StoweCenter.org or calling 860-522-9258, ext. 317.

Special thanks to our selection committee of judges including Dr. Eugene Leach, Trinity College; Renwick Griswold, University of Hartford; Elizabeth Devine, Hall High School, West Hartford, CT; Wendy Nelson Kauffman, Metropolitan Learning Center, Bloomfield, CT; and Anthony Roy, Connecticut River Academy, East Hartford, CT.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Death of a homeless Marine in Riker's Island jail cell

Susan Campbell, local celebrity and friend of the Stowe Center who will be moderating Invisible No More: Youth Homelessness in Connecticut, shared this news story via Twitter. The article sheds light on many topics the Stowe Center programs around, including homelessness, mental health issues and mass incarceration. It is a great source of information for those attending this Thursday's Salon.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Steven Spielberg's "IWitness" project

Film director Steven Spielberg, in conjunction with the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation-The Institute for Visual History and Education, has launched an interactive project called “IWitness,” aimed at raising consciousness of international genocide.  Spielberg, who founded the Shoah Foundation with funds from his Oscar-winning Holocaust film Schindler’s List (1993), has devoted his recent years to interviewing thousands of genocide survivors from all around the world.  “IWitness” is an educational website which features over 1,300 testimonials from survivors of the Holocaust, Cambodian, Armenian, and Rwandan genocides.  The website includes tools to make your own video project, photographs, and an encyclopedia of historical terms. 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Like Harriet Beecher Stowe who used the media of her time, Spielberg utilizes the media of the 21st century to raise consciousness and promote active, engaged dialogue on issues facing the world.  In what ways can we further use media to increase action and social change?  Unlike Stowe, technology has democratized and globalized media, making it accessible for virtually everyone.  How will you use media tools to promote awareness and leverage this awareness into tangible change?     

Friday, May 9, 2014

World Affairs Council of CT honors student activist speaking out on human trafficking

On May 7th, the World Affairs Council of Connecticut hosted their annual Luminary Award Gala, a night honoring organizations and individuals working to enact positive change in the world.  As part of the Gala, the Council awarded the Student Global Engagement Award to Nicholas Karangekis of Suffield High School, for his advocacy work on human trafficking.  As a student, Karangekis has sought to raise awareness and educate others on the issue of human trafficking while simultaneously fund raising for global anti-trafficking organizations.

Congratulations to Nicholas on receiving the Student Global Engagement Award and for his hard work to speak out on the injustice of modern day slavery!  

NEW Student Global Engagement Award 

Nicholas Karangekis

The Council is excited to announce our first recipient of the Global Student Engagement Award! WACCT's Global Engagement Committee has chosen to award Suffield High School student, Nicholas Karangekis, for his work to raise awareness on human trafficking. 

Nicholas was 
nominated by his former social studies teacher Lynn Katulka in whose class he first began his research into human trafficking and modern day slavery. He created a compelling YouTube video on the topic and has used it to raise awareness in other classes, church groups, and to schools and organizations outside of Suffield. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Invisible No More: Youth Homelessness in Connecticut" Salon next Thursday, May 15

Next Thursday, May 15, we will host our rescheduled "Invisible No More: Youth Homelessness in Connecticut" Salon. Join us for a conversation featuring Alicia Woodsby (Partnership for Strong Communities), Lisa Tepper Bates (Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness) and Stacey Violante Cote (Center for Children's Advocacy), moderated by Susan Campbell (Partnership for Strong Communities). The program will be from 5-7pm, with refreshments at 5 and the discussion starting at 5:30. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made via Info@StoweCenter.org or 860-522-9258, ext. 317.

Looking to learn more about youth homelessness in Connecticut? We again share the following resources and encourage attendees to explore them before the Salon.

"INVISIBLE no more: Creating opportunities for youth who are homeless"
The Consultation Center, Yale University School of Medicine
Derrick M. Gordon, Ph.D. and Bronwyn A. Hunter, Ph.D.

"'There Are A Whole Lot Of Dreams Here In Skid Row': Homeless People Share Their Hopes In Poignant Video"
Huffington Post
by Eleanor Goldberg

Today is National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2014

The prevalence, treatment, and support of mental health issues have been featured topics of conversation at Stowe Center programs, including last May's Mental Health Salon. Today is National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day 2014, a day which encourages communitties and organizations across the country to raise awareness of the impact of mental health issues on children. How will you help brign awareness to this issue today?

One way to take action is to visit the 2014 National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day: Inspiring Resilience, Creating Hope website and read about the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's work (a preview below) and follow the Twitter feed #HeroesofHope. You can tune in to the live Twitter feed below!

Join the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1,100 communities, and 136 national collaborating organizations in celebration of the 2014 National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day: Inspiring Resilience, Creating Hope.

This is an image titled National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, May 8, 2014Whether you connect to Awareness Day with the May 6 national launch event near Washington, DC, or the many local events taking place across the country on May 8, you can be part of this nationwide strategy focused on the importance of caring for every child's mental health from birth.

The national launch event will be a special general session of the National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council) annual conference. Chiara de Blasio, the 19-year-old daughter of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, will serve as the 2014 Honorary Chairperson. Ms. de Blasio will be joined onstage by her parents Mayor de Blasio and Chirlane McCray. Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius will present Ms. de Blasio with a special recognition award for serving as an example of hope for other young adults by speaking out about her experience with depression and substance use.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What leaders from history inspire YOU?

With the mission of "To Educate and Connect a New Generation to Heroes Who Have Paved the Way," the Because of Them, We Can campaign developed as a series of photographs of children dressed as historic leaders who made a difference in the world. In the words of founder Eunique Jones,

It's bigger than just taking pictures of cute kids and making them look like celebrities or making them look like politicians or engineers; it's bigger than that. It's about the message, right? It's about empowering these kids and injecting this new wave of self esteem and self worth by understanding what's already been done, what's being done, and what can be done and how they can play a role in shaping or reshaping the future.

Jones' recent series depicts young girls dressed as famous female leaders (hopefully Stowe will be portrayed in the future!). The entire series serves as a reminder that we can draw inspiration and empowerment from the past and use it to impact the future. See the video on the campaign and a Tweet about the women leaders series below.

What other historic leaders inspire our youth today? How are you inspiring today's youth to take action? 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Stolen Lives: An Interprofessional Response to Human Trafficking

Join the Qunnipiac University School of Nursing and St. Vincent's Medical Center for Stolen Lives: An Interprofessional Response to Human Trafficking. The conference will be May 29-30, 2014 at Qunnipiac University and is open to the public. If you are interested in the injustices of human trafficking and are looking to take action, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the realities of modern day slavery and how you can help create change!

For more information, visit the Human Trafficking Conference website and click HERE for the conference schedule

Stolen Lives: An Interprofessional Response to Human Trafficking

Sponsored by the Quinnipiac University School of Nursing and St. Vincent's Medical Center

May 29- May 30, 2014

Human trafficking, once thought to be limited to Third World countries, has become pervasive in the United States. President Obama has made human trafficking a policy-making priority in his five-year plan. The School of Nursing and St. Vincent's Medical Center are pleased to sponsor this conference that will bring together an interdisciplinary group of professionals with a focus on human trafficking.

The conference is open to community groups, health care and law enforcement professionals, policy makers, students and others with an interest in addressing this egregious human rights issue.
Quinnipiac University
North Haven Campus
370 Bassett Road
North Haven, Conn.


*Registration deadline is May 19, 2014Registration Fee: $150 per person
Student fee: $50 per person