Archive for March, 2014

TRAYVON MARTIN ACT ACTION ALERT!!!

March 31, 2014

The 2014 legislative session ends May 6 but the Community Party’s campaign to pass our Trayvon Martin & Safe Work Environment Acts continues! Sources at the State Capitol have informed us that legislators and members of the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project, which includes Redding police chief Douglas Fuchs, oppose a modified version of the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act traffic stop receipt provision. This amendment would allow motorists to obtain a copy of the traffic stop report (in person, via mail or online) patrol officers must fill out. This report includes the date, time and reason for the stop, how the stop was resolved, the officer’s identifying information and most importantly, a record of the race of the driver. The Department of Justice investigation of the East Haven police revealed that EHPD officers Dennis Spaulding and David Cari falsified their reports, entering Latino drivers as white. Last October Spaulding and Cari were both convicted on federal charges of harassing and brutalizing Latinos. http://www.justice.gov/usao/ct/Press2012/20120124.html  CP member Mary Sanders issued the following statement on the opposition to the amendment.

“Addressing racial profiling, the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act, and last year the revised Alvin W. Penn Act which had been on the books over a decade but shamefully unenforced, CT lawmakers who want to encourage unbiased policing have 2 options for at least one of the recommendations submitted … An immediate copy of the mandatory traffic stop report to the motorist, which they say is too much work / costly / whatever but would be best for the public or they could opt to add clear instructions on how to freely get the report copy as part of the CHRO pamphlet which is supposedly given to every stopped motorist. If neither of these is acceptable to law enforcement reps, what are they afraid the public will find out about these reports??? Maybe they fear the officers are filing falsified reports? Maybe they fear there are many less actual reports than occurring stops? Why wouldn’t they want a member of the public to have access to a report written about them? These are the questions to be raised …”
In my opinion another reason for the opposition to this minor proposed change to the current law is that it’s based on CP’s bill language. There is a structured effort at the Capitol to marginalize our grassroots, politically independent group. We are looking into reports that some patrol officers have not been giving the pamphlets to motorists, which makes the traffic stop report provision even more important. Motorists must have access to the report in order to find out if their race was misrepresented. CP will launch an education campaign in the coming months to inform community residents about the changes to the state racial profiling law. Rep. Matt Ritter is working with CP to restore our traffic stop receipt provision. http://www.housedems.ct.gov/RitterM/ Stay tuned for updates. You can read our bill language here. https://www.facebook.com/notes/stop-racial-profiling-obey-the-law/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/617004948349355

Senator Gary Holder-Winfield will introduce our Safe Work Environment Act in 2015. http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Holder-Winfield.php Our legislation would remove the legal requirement for an employee to prove malice and intent by an employer, which is basically impossible. We have also incorporated a bill which has been introduced in Nevada by State Sen. Richard Segerblom. (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/workplace-bullying-report-2/)  We want to expand the scope of our bill to cover municipal employees. City teachers have reported rampant workplace bullying at Capital Preparatory Magnet School.   https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/jonathan-pelto-talks-about-rep-matt-ritters-workplace-bullying-town-hall-january-27/

Stop Workplace Bullying in CT! ( NEWS UPDATE)

March 28, 2014
Last week a group of activists and state employees delivered a letter to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy about abusive workplace conduct at state agencies… Teacher Michael Fryar has filed a Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities complaint against Principal Steve Perry and Capital Preparatory Magnet School…  https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/capital-prep-teacher-files-chro-complaint-against-steve-perry-capital-prep/  A group of Black employees at the State Department of Correction have filed three racial discrimination lawsuits… http://articles.courant.com/2014-03-16/news/hc-discrimination-lawsuits-20140316_1_white-employees-third-lawsuit-complaints The AFSCME Local 318 Safe Workplace Committee has contacted Labor and Public Employees Committee co-chairs Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield and Rep. Peter Tercyak, requesting a meeting to discuss the issue of abusive workplace conduct… Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey will host a workplace bullying convention on Friday, April 4. Speakers will include NJ State Senator Linda Greenstein, sponsor of the Healthy Workplace Act.  http://www.workplacebullyingcoalition.org/#!nj-convention-program/c1uyy
 
       
Contact the Labor and Public Employees Committee and tell them to support CP’s Safe Work Environment Act. Our bill would remove the legal requirement for an employee to prove malice and intent by an employer, which is basically impossible. Workers should not have to prove psychological or physical harm. We also want lawmakers to create a workplace bullying advisory board, which would solicit and implement input from public employees when they recommend future legislation. CP supports an amendment which has been introduced in Nevada by State Senator Richard Segerblom. (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/workplace-bullying-report-2/).  Municipal employees should tell committee members to expand the scope of any legislation to include city employees, in addition to state workers. City teachers have reported rampant workplace bullying at Capital Preparatory Magnet School. Call and email labor committee co-chairs Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield and Rep. Peter Tercyak and legislators representing your district. The contact info for committee members can be viewed here.  http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/MemberList.asp?code=LAB Tell the lawmakers representing your district to support the Safe Work Environment Act. You can identify your State Senator and State Representative by entering your information here.  http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/CGAFindLeg.asp 
 
 
 
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin Act and Safe Work Environment Act, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Visit our Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/CommunityPartyAction   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for public service announcements on CP’s racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com.
 

Political Roundup: Bedford Street Fire Update / DCF Plantation Report

March 28, 2014
This column appears in the March 27 – April 3 edition of the Hartford News,,, The City of Hartford continues to run from the Community Party’s inquiries about the fire hazard in low income housing units which have security bars on the windows. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/the-bedford-street-fire-tragedy-an-interview-with-hfd-captain-james-mcloughlin/  An investigation by CP has revealed that buildings such as those in the Bowles Park and Westbrook Village housing projects have security bars on all first floor windows. The Philadelphia Fire Department report on security bars finds that people could become trapped in their homes and that firefighters could be delayed entering homes because of the bars. The report recommends that at least one emergency escape window and a bedroom window should be equipped with bars that have a quick release device which can be opened from the inside. http://www.phila.gov/fire/pdfs/Security_Bars_and_Lo.pdf  CP wants an ordinance to be introduced which would make the quick release devices mandatory.
 
Last week CP contacted city council member Kyle Anderson, who heads the council board’s public safety committee. Anderson did not respond. In my opinion, classism and racism are the reasons why the city refuses to address this issue. Yes, Mayor Segarra is Latino and Anderson is Black, but they are members of the Democratic Party, who like the Republicans are controlled by the white ruling class. The wage and wealth gap between people of color and whites is enormous. Blacks and Latinos earn about 60 cents for every dollar whites make and possess about ten cents of net wealth for every dollar whites have. Low income people of color have no political power because they do not have the money to lobby elected officials, like the wealthy and corporations do. Stay tuned for updates.
 
Safe Work Environment Act Update: Last week a group of state employees and activists delivered a letter about abusive workplace conduct at state agencies to Gov. Dannel Malloy. More info in coming weeks. This week we’ll share posts from Cornell Lewis’ DCF Plantation blog. http://dcfplantation.blogspot.com/
 
 
                                                                                                                                   *****
 

                                                                                   GOING AFTER RAY MONTEIRO THROUGH HIS SON

 
 
 

The DCF Plantation blog was contacted by several Youth Services Officers at Connecticut Juvenile Training School about insidious activity by CJTS management. Sources indicate that “Brother Ray” [as Monteiro is called] has worked at CJTS as an YSO for over a dozen years and is thought of as a dependable and reliable worker. He started a project for incarcerated residents called Icy Dreams. The idea is to teach entrepreneurial skills to residents by allowing them to sell slush cones or ice cream. All profits are used for the residents and to build up business: for some reason Ray’s idea did not resonate with management, they tried closing it down. Let me state Ray is also an employee of color; dangerous appellation for male employees at CJTS. For years white management and their supervisory black lackeys hounded Ray, but failed in their goal to fire him. However in America we know that whites in power have more than one way to skin a brother.

Ray’s son is employed at CJTS and is currently under investigation about something shrouded in mystery. According to sources within CJTS, Ray’s son was sitting in an area waiting for confirmation whether he had to work another shift at CJTS. DCF Plantation has been informed a telephone call to management was made that perhaps Ray’s son was not attentive while sitting down. In other words management decided to investigate Ray’s son, and in this manner they could strike a blow at the father. If you think these tactics are foul consider that white management has allowed a white female YSO to get away with calling black and brown residents “porch monkeys.” She is being treated with a soft investigation while Ray’s son is looking forward to a kangaroo type investigation where the outcome is already decided [guilty of course].

At this juncture the shameful event is continuing to unfold and this innocent worker is being held hostage due to people in management seeking to get to Ray.

 
 
 

THE REAL PROBLEM ACCORDING TO FRONT LINE STAFF

 
The DCF Plantation blog has been contacted by several Youth Service Officers at Connecticut Juvenile Training School about the memo below. I will not mention the names of the YSOs, but will mention their particular Unit and comments.
Female YSO Unit 6B said- ” how come DCF always places blame on front line staff ?”

Male   YSO  Unit 4D said- ” for years management allowed the things in this memo to occur & ignored it.”

Male YSO    Unit 4B said- “seems to me Katz is cracking down now when management did not
                                           discipline people they favored. One YSO hit a kid in 2009 and got 10 days off.”

Female YSO Unit 6C said.- “now that the DCF plantation blog is exposing management as inept memos like
                                            this appear. This is a joke.”

Female YSO Unit 5B  said- ” DCF is targeting certain YSOs in this memo but not management.”

Male    YSO Unit 5C  said- ” hell, only when things were unraveling did such a memo come out.”

Male    YSO Unit 5D   said- ” no one mentioned the things Operations Staff got away i.e. computer use etc.
                                                Now people want to correct things that were part of past practice.”                    
                           

DEPARTMENT of CHILDREN and FAMILIES
Making a Difference for Children, Families and Communities
Joette Katz
Commissioner
Dannel P. Malloy
Governor
MEMORANDUM
TO: Connecticut Juvenile Training School Staff
FROM: Joette Katz, Commissioner
RE: Expectations
DATE: December 31, 2013
The mission of the Connecticut Juvenile Training School is to provide a safe, secure and therapeutic environment for male youth as well as to furnish opportunities for growth and success. National best practices interventions and standards are integrated into facility operations with the goal of reducing risk of re-offending, preparing youth for community re-entry and developing positive youth outcomes. This mission is achieved by our many dedicated staff who believe in this mission and who work extraordinarily hard each day for the young men in our care and custody. The success that many of our young men have achieved is a direct reflection of our work and the connection to the changes that have occurred in the regions and within DCF.
In the past year, there have been some actions by certain staff that are damaging to this mission and serve to erode the progress occurring within CJTS. There have been allegations of abuse and neglect; lack of supervision that has resulted in youth being injured; language grievances regarding how staff speak to youth; lack of immediately reporting or accurately reporting incidents and overall a sense that some staff are not here at CJTS for the benefit of the youth we serve. These behaviors will not be tolerated.
It is the responsibility of each employee to become familiar with and adhere to department and work site policies and procedures that explicitly inform staff of expectations as state employees and behaviors that are not permitted. Incorporated among them is the mandate that employees are not to neglect their duties. Neglect of duty includes being inattentive to job functions and responsibilities; leaving a duty station or assigned responsibility without permission; failing to follow prescribed department or work site policy relevant to job duties and responsibilities; or any other activity deemed by the department administrator to endanger the health, safety, or wellbeing of clients or staff. If an employee is found to be in neglect of his/her duties, disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, may be taken. It would seem obvious that watching television or using a computer for personal enjoyment while on assignment constitutes a neglect of duty, but apparently, the recent rash of such behavior by staff who were supposed to be monitoring youth at CJTS has necessitated a reminder and this message. Additionally, any employee who engages in workplace violence will also be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Moreover, managers and supervisors who learn of such deviations must immediately evaluate, investigate, report and take appropriate action in response thereto. Again, these are obvious employment conditions that have been set forth in our employee handbook as well as our HR policies, but recent allegations of abuse and the failure to immediately report same require this reminder.
Because of these recent deviations from policy, there will be adjustments made to the way we monitor and supervise. I anticipate that these modifications will cause some consternation but am confident that they will ultimately set a better tone and make all of us more accountable. We each are here at DCF to act in the best interest of children and must behave in ways that fundamentally advance the therapeutic work occurring within CJTS. You are part of a facility that has achieved many significant changes and have helped to elevate the expectations about how youth are to be treated within secure care. I am confident that I speak to the majority of you at CJTS when I express my gratitude for the difficult work you do and for the majority of you at CJTS when I remind us all that there can be no excuse or room for behaviors that jeopardize our mission.

 
 
 
 

HELP WITH LEGAL FUND

 
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has a unlimited checkbook funded by taxpayers money. DCF monies are used to support bias policies and silence employees that speak against discrimination. That is why I am asking people to donate to this defense fund, in order to pay for legal services to combat what DCF is doing to people like me. All funds will go directly to legal costs.
 
                                                                    www.gofundme.com/Cornel-Defense-Fund
 
 
                                                                                                     *****
 
 
 We need folks to call and email legislators in their districts and urge them to support the Trayvon Martin Act. Identify your legislators by providing your info on this page. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/CGAFindLeg.asp   You can read our Trayvon Act bill language here. https://www.facebook.com/notes/stop-racial-profiling-obey-the-law/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/617004948349355     

Contact the Labor and Public Employees Committee and tell them to support CP’s Safe Work Environment Act. Our bill would remove the legal requirement for an employee to prove malice and intent by an employer, which is basically impossible. Workers should not have to prove psychological or physical harm. We also want lawmakers to create a workplace bullying advisory board, which would solicit and implement input from public employees when they recommend future legislation. Our legislation would incorporate a bill which has been introduced in Nevada by State Senator Richard Segerblom. (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/workplace-bullying-report-2/).  Municipal employees should tell committee members to expand the scope of any legislation to include city employees, in addition to state workers. City teachers have reported rampant workplace bullying at Capital Preparatory Magnet School; a former Capital Prep teacher has filed a Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities complaint against Principal Steve Perry and the school.   https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/jonathan-pelto-talks-about-rep-matt-ritters-workplace-bullying-town-hall-january-27/ Call and email labor committee co-chairs Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield and Rep. Peter Tercyak and legislators representing your district.The contact info for committee members can be viewed here.  http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/MemberList.asp?code=LAB
 
 
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin Act and Safe Work Environment Act, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Visit our Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/CommunityPartyAction   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for public service announcements on CP’s racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com.
 
 
 
 
Resources
 
Open Secrets website; tracks the influence of money in politics:
 
 http://www.opensecrets.org/            
 
Between the Lines report on former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ call for a constitutional amendment focused on campaign finance reform:
 
 
Report on corporatism / fascism:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                
 
 
 
 
 
 

Political Roundup: Bedford Street Fire Update / Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield Talks About the CT Drug Free School Zone Law / R.I.P. Chokwe Lumumba

March 20, 2014

          

This column appears in the March 20 – 27 edition of the Hartford News… Community Update:  I would like to thank WPKN 89.5 FM Between the Lines host Scott Harris for having me on his show to discuss the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act and our other legislative initiatives, including the Safe Work Environment Act, A Public Bank for Connecticut, and our Action Poverty Conference concept. The podcast of the interview is available in the Counterpoint archive section. http://counterpointradio.org/2014/140310-cp.html Follow Between the Lines on Twitter. https://twitter.com/BTLRadioNews Tomorrow activists will present a letter to Gov. Dannel Malloy regarding abusive workplace conduct at state agencies. More info soon… A teacher has filed a Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities complaint against Principal Steve Perry and Capital Preparatory Magnet School. Check out CP’s No Sellout blog for the press release.  https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/capital-prep-teacher-files-chro-complaint-against-steve-perry-capital-prep/  Stay tuned… Last week in this space we shared an interview with Hartford Fire Department Captain James McLoughlin about the January Bedford Street fire that killed 4-year-old Shantay Drake and her mother, Susan Therrien. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/the-bedford-street-fire-tragedy-an-interview-with-hfd-captain-james-mcloughlin/  McLoughlin refused to respond to my final question, which was whether or not he would support an ordinance that would require security bars on Hartford residences be equipped with a quick release device that can be opened from the inside. The Philadelphia Fire Department issued a report which recommends that security bars in all residences include this device. http://www.phila.gov/fire/pdfs/Security_Bars_and_Lo.pdf   McLoughlin’s decision to duck this question confirms my belief that addressing the concerns that were raised in the PFD report is not a priority for the HFD or the City of Hartford. Maribel La Luz, Mayor Pedro Segarra’s communications director, was copied on the email exchange between myself and McLoughlin. Stay tuned for updates on this important fire safety issue.
 
Last week the Connecticut General Assembly Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on Raised S.B. 259. This bill would reduce the distance of Drug Free School Zones from 1500 to 200 feet. Senator Gary Holder-Winfield wrote an editorial on the bill which we’ll share in this space.
 
                                                                                                                     *****
 
As legislators we are from time to time confronted with information that renders something we believe and perhaps something we have advocated for moot. When we are confronted with information of this sort we have a choice, which is to stick to the thing we have always said or to go to our constituency and explain why we must change our position. My proposal to reduce the size of Drug Free School Zones presents legislators with such a choice.
 
Several years back in an effort (and I believe a sincere one) to ensure that our children are safe from predator drug dealers at school, lawmakers instituted Drug Free School Zones. The zones would come to be 1500 foot zones around schools, daycare centers and public housing that provided for an enhanced penalty for the sale or possession of drugs. The thinking was that if we enhance the penalty in these areas where children are likely to be, drug dealers would be likely to stay away from them there.
In action we have seen that for the larger more dense cities like New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport, this does not work. Those cities are so dense that when mapped the whole city becomes a drug free zone and thus there is no differentiation in punishment. The difference which disappears is necessary for the law to be effective. So, some of my colleagues and I have been working to reduce the zones to the point where they protect our children where we want them to be protected.
 
It seems counterintuitive, but a reduction in the size of drug zones will actually make our children safer (if we believe that drug dealers are targeting schoolchildren). Some may not believe that and so I offer this to think about. Even without these zones there are laws that enhance the penalty and offer mandatory minimums for dealing to a minor or subverting the law by using a minor to deal drugs for you. This in effect makes every child no matter where they are a drug free zone. Legislators may have entered the discussion with an ideology; they are now armed with facts and those facts mean they have a responsibility and that is to educate their constituency about what they now know, and to vote to reduce the size of Drug Free School Zones.
 
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                               Senator Gary Holder-Winfield
                                                                                                                               10th Senate District
                                                                                                                                New Haven, West Haven 
 
                                                                                                                              *****
 
Mayor Segarra’s March 10 State of the City Address did not mention the word poverty once, even though Hartford annually has one of the highest poverty rates in the United States. Segarra also did not mention the serious problem of Black and Latino employment. Segarra talked a lot about improving public safety, but the lack of economic opportunity in low income communities of color is obviously a root cause of gun violence in this city. If Black and Brown people can’t find jobs they will turn to the street economy (drug trade), where violence is an occupational hazard. Reading the text of Segarra’s address made me feel the loss of Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Lumumba even more. Lumumba died suddenly last month at the age of 66, eight months into his first term. Lumumba, a Democrat who was a disciple of Fannie Lou Hamer and Malcolm X, was truly this country’s most revolutionary mayor. Lumumba talked about participatory democracy and economic human rights, words that you will not hear come out of Segarra’s mouth. Lumumba was a proponent of using employee owned cooperatives to boost economic development. This model has been successful in Massachusetts, California, Ohio and Oregon, among other states. http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2014/feb/03/jackson-rising-emphasizes-cooperatives/  Despite Lumumba’s death, plans are going forward for Jackson to host the Jackson Rising New Economies Conference May 2nd – 4th. http://www.nesri.org/events/2014/jackson-rising-new-economics-conference  Lumumba’s son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, will be a candidate in the April 8th mayoral special election; his plan is to continue the movement that was led by his father. I’ll talk more about the Jackson Rising economic development model in future columns.
 
This week we’ll share a 2013 Democracy Now! interview with Lumumba following his victory in the Jackson mayoral election.
 
                                                                                                         *****
 
Just days before the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, the city’s voters have elected longtime black nationalist organizer and attorney Chokwe Lumumba to become mayor. Describing himself  as a “Fannie Lou Hamer Democrat,” Lumumba surprised many political observers by winning the Democratic primary, despite being outspent five to one. He went on to easily win this week’s general election.
Over the past four decades, Lumumba has been deeply involved in numerous political and legal campaigns. As an attorney, his clients have included former Black Panther Assata Shakur and the late hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur. As a political organizer, Lumumba served for years as vice president of the Republic of New Afrika, an organization which advocated for “an independent predominantly black government” in the southeastern United States and reparations for slavery. He also helped found the National Black Human Rights Coalition and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. “People should take a note of Jackson, because we have suffered some of the worst kinds of abuses in history,” Lumumba says. “But we’re about to make some advances and some strides in the development of human rights and the protection of human rights that I think have not been seen in other parts of the country.”
        
AMY GOODMAN: In our last segment today, we end in Mississippi.
MEDGAR EVERS: Don’t shop for anything on Capitol Street. Let’s let the merchants down on Capitol Street feel the economic pinch. Let me say this to you. I had one merchant to call me, and he said, “I want you to know that I talked to my national office today, and they want me to tell you that we don’t need nigger business.” These are stores that helped to support the White Citizens’ Council, the council that is dedicated to keeping you and I second-class citizens. Now, finally, ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be demonstrating here until freedom comes to Negroes here in Jackson, Mississippi.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Those are the words of the civil rights leader Medgar Evers in May 1963. Just a few weeks later, on June 13th, 1963, Evers was shot dead by a Klansman in his driveway in Jackson, Mississippi. Medgar Evers was the state’s first NAACP field secretary. He was killed just hours after President John F. Kennedy delivered a nationally televised speech in which he proposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the time of his death, he was carrying NAACP T-shirts that read “Jim Crow Must Go.” Commemorations are being held this month to the mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers.
Well, Jackson Mississippi, is back in the news this week after veteran black nationalist and civil rights attorney Chokwe Lumumba was elected mayor of the city. He describes himself as a “Fannie Lou Hamer Democrat,” and he surprised many political observers by winning the Democratic primary last month, despite being outspent five to one. Lumumba then easily won the general election on Tuesday. Over the past four decades, Lumumba has been deeply involved in numerous political and legal campaigns. As an attorney, his clients have included former Black Panther Assata Shakur and the late hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur. Two years ago, he helped win the release of the Scott sisters, two young women from Mississippi who received double life sentences for a robbery that netted them $11. They were released after 16 years in prison.
AMY GOODMAN: As a political organizer, Chokwe Lumumba served for years as vice president of the Republic of New Afrika, an organization which advocated for “an independent predominantly black government” in the southeastern United States and reparations for slavery. He also helped found the National Black Human Rights Coalition and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and worked with the Jackson Human Rights Coalition to help pressure the state of Mississippi to retry the person who murdered Medgar Evers. In 2009, Lumumba was elected to the Jackson City Council. Chokwe Lumumba, mayor-elect of Jackson, Mississippi, joins us now from Jackson.
Welcome to Democracy Now! Congratulations on your victory. What do you attribute it to, after all these years? And why did you decide, from going—being involved with grassroots organizing for so many decades, to get involved with electoral politics?
CHOKWE LUMUMBA: Thank you for having me, and a shout out and thank you to your listening audience.
I attribute the victory that we had this last week to the people, the people of Jackson, who were more than ready to have leadership that was forward-looking and ready to raise Jackson to a different level of development, ready to embrace the ideas that all government should do the most to protect the human rights of the people in that jurisdiction. And we were very pleased with the outcoming of people to vote, with their participation, and with their continued support.
We have—I am now running for the mayor—or have, in fact, won the mayor of the city of Jackson, because I think it’s necessary. We are a population here now in the need of a lot of development. Development is one of the tracks or one of the roads to human rights  and to the recognition of human rights, especially our economic human rights. And some of that development is going to take the kind of leadership and the kind of consistency that we had in the struggle for voting rights and other kinds of rights, which has been unique to our history.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Chokwe Lumumba, I’m not sure that many people around the country understand the symbolic—the symbolism of Jackson, Mississippi, as a center of racism and racial oppression over the—really, over centuries. The very name of the city—the city was named after Andrew Jackson by the white settlers when Jackson in 1820 was able, as Indian commissioner, to basically pressure the Choctaw Indians to give up 13 million acres of land and move to Oklahoma in the Treaty of Doak’s Stand. And that’s why the white settlers named the city after Jackson, because of his success at ethnic cleansing. And then, of course, its history throughout the—through slavery and Jim Crow. How did this change occur? How were you able to put this together, this coalition to be elected, given your history as a radical and an activist in the black liberation struggle?
CHOKWE LUMUMBA: I think it’s a tribute to our consistency. It’s a tribute to our refusal to say that we would bow to the oppression that was around us. It’s a tremendous story of our people. You talked about Medgar Evers, but the continuation since Medgar Evers of fighting against oppression, fighting against economic oppression, fighting against the kinds of things which have surfaced in our decades, which are similar to the kinds of things you cite in the distant history of Jackson, we have been persistent. And with that persistence, see, our people now are ready to move to a different level of development.
And I should say that people should take a note of Jackson, because we have suffered some of the worst kinds of abuses in history, but we’re about to make some advances and some strides in the development of human rights and the protection of human rights that I think have not been seen in other parts of the country. And I want to caution folks that we’ve got to be careful now when we talk about any one particular place in the United States. All over, we’ve seen intense oppression. I’m from Detroit, initially, and we’ve seen a lot of oppression there, historically as well as currently. New York has certainly seen its share. Washington, D.C., has seen its share. So, we don’t want to be like people on different plantations arguing about which plantation is worse. What we have to do is to correct the whole problem, and we’re about correcting the problem here in Jackson. And we’re going to be inviting people to come here, and people want to come here, in order to participate in the struggle forward. And this is not a phony struggle. We’re not just putting a false face on—we tell you we’ve had real problems, and we still have some real problems, but we’re solving these problems, and we’re going to try to solve a lot of them through economic development, which is going to involve the masses of the people, not just a few folks.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you tell us about your platform and the Jackson-Kush Plan?
CHOKWE LUMUMBA: Well, the platform is to advance the ideas of development and to advance the ideas of empowerment of the populations which exist in the city of Jackson, specifically. We have a population, the demographic here, 80 percent of the population is black, about 20 percent is white. And we have with us brothers and sisters who are of East Indian origin, as well as some Asian and some Hispanic folks coming in. Our slogan was “One city, one aim, one destiny.” And the idea is to blend these populations into a struggle forward. There are some people historically who have always tried to separate the populations and to have a certain portion of the population oppress the rest of the population. We’re not going to tolerate that. We’re going to move ahead. We’re going to let everyone participate in this movement forward. We’re going to invite everyone to participate in this movement forward.
And we have formed like a people’s assembly, that’s key to what we’ve done here, where we have—every three months, the population can come out and participate in an open forum to say what’s on their mind. They can come out and learn some of the problems that the city is facing and some of the solutions that some of the problem solvers are supposed to be offering. And this will bring about more public education and political education to the population of the city, make our population more prepared to be motivated and organized in order to participate in the changes which must occur in the city of Jackson in order to move it forward. We say the people must decide. “Educate, motivate, organize.” That’s the slogan we use for it.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And in terms of the city council, as well, in Jackson, were there other folks who ran on a platform with you? And do you expect much difficulty in getting measures passed through your local city council?
CHOKWE LUMUMBA: Well, no, no, no. I think we’re going to do quite well. And let me say that there’s only one other person who actually ran from the same bases of organization that I come from, which is the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. She was not successful in winning election, but we have really a pretty good city council—I mean, a very good city council, I think, has come into place. We’ve got three young men on the city council who are in their thirties, bright, forward-thinking, very progressive. We have an older brother who is an old school teacher, and he is a person who I think is going to make a contribution to what we’re doing. We have a person from Ward 7, who is a white Democrat, and she has always been consistent in supporting a forward movement. And we have one Republican on the city council from Ward 1, and he is a person who I think understands the political climate and is going to move forward, too.
AMY GOODMAN: Chokwe Lumumba—
CHOKWE LUMUMBA: So I think we’re going to be all right.
AMY GOODMAN: We just have 30 seconds. I wanted to ask you quickly about the news in this past month that Assata Shakur has been the first woman to be placed on—by the FBI on the terrorists list. You represented her decades ago. Your thoughts? They’ve also increased the bounty for her—she took refuge in Cuba—to $2 million.
CHOKWE LUMUMBA: Well, I’ve always felt that Assata Shakur was wrongfully convicted, so she shouldn’t be on a wanted list at all. She never should have been in prison. She was actually shot herself and wounded and paralyzed at the time that the person who she was convicted of killing was shot. So she obviously couldn’t have shot him. And she also was arrested, which caused the incident for about eight different charges which she later was found not guilty of or were dismissed. So I think it’s unfortunate. Assata Shakur, I believe, will historically be proven to be a hero of our times, just like—
AMY GOODMAN: Chokwe Lumumba, we’re going to have to leave it there.
CHOKWE LUMUMBA: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: Mayor-elect of Jackson, Mississippi. Thanks for joining us.
 
                                                                                                                    ***** 
 
                   Action Alert (UPDATED): Stop Racial Profiling & Racial Profiling in Connecticut! 

 
 
 
      We need folks to call and email legislators in their districts and urge them to support the Trayvon Martin Act. Identify your legislators by providing your info on this page. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/CGAFindLeg.asp   You can read our Trayvon Act bill language here. https://www.facebook.com/notes/stop-racial-profiling-obey-the-law/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/617004948349355     
C    Contact the Labor and Public Employees Committee and tell them to include CP’s Safe Work Environment Act amendments with any workplace bullying legislation introduced in 2014. Our amendments remove the legal requirement for an employee to prove malice and intent by an employer, which is basically impossible. Workers should not have to prove psychological or physical harm. We also want lawmakers to create a workplace bullying advisory board, which would solicit and implement input from public employees when they recommend future legislation. In lieu of a complete workplace bullying bill in 2014 we want an amendment which has been introduced in Nevada by State Sen. Richard Segerblom to be added to the state discrimination law (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/workplace-bullying-report-2/). This would be done with the understanding that a complete Safe Work Environment Act bill including the aforementioned provisions will be introduced in 2015. Municipal employees should tell committee members to expand the scope of any legislation introduced this year to include city employees, in addition to state workers. City teachers have reported rampant workplace bullying at Capital Preparatory Magnet School.   https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/jonathan-pelto-talks-about-rep-matt-ritters-workplace-bullying-town-hall-january-27/ Call and email labor committee co-chairs Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield and Rep. Peter Tercyak and legislators representing your district.The contact info for committee members can be viewed here.  http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/MemberList.asp?code=LAB
 
 
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin Act and Safe Work Environment Act, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Visit our Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/CommunityPartyAction   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for public service announcements on CP’s racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com.
 
                                                                                                                      
 
 
Resources
 
Reports on Black and Latino unemployment: 
 
http://wherechangeobama.blogspot.com/2013/05/black-youth-unemployment-rate-jumps-to.html
 
http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/my-product/unemployment-insurance-the-recession-and-race/
 
Connecticut Network video of the 3/12/14 Judiciary Committee public hearing on SB 259, the bill which would reduce Drug Free School Zones from 1500 to 200 feet:
 
http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/webstream.asp?odID=10029&odTitle=Judiciary+Committee+Public+Hearing+on+Drug-Free+School+Zone+%26+Sex+Offender+Bills&caption=true
 
Fannie Lou Hamer’s speech at the 1964 Democratic National Convention:
 
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TchoKJrvFQ
 
Malcolm X – 1964 Oxford Union Debate:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3H2eul-50k
 
David Samuels
Founder
Community Party
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                            
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Capital Prep Teacher Files CHRO Complaint Against Steve Perry & Capital Prep

March 18, 2014

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CHRO Opens Investigation into Allegations of Discrimination and Hostile Work Environment at Capital Preparatory School

March 18, 2014, Hartford, CT

 

In October 2013 allegations of discrimination and hostile work environment were filed with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) by a teacher at Capital Preparatory School with regard to treatment by administration at the school including Principal Steve Perry.  Since that time both sides have filed appropriate paperwork with CHRO.  After a review of the affidavits and additional information, CHRO processed the complaint through the Merit Assessment review and determined that the allegations raised require investigation.

 

The parties are scheduled to meet for the first mandatory mediation in April to present evidence of damages and discuss a possible settlement.

 

Contact

To learn more about this issue, please contact

Attorney Michael Fryar

105 Warrenton Ave.

Hartford, CT  06105

 

###

 

Fryar Legal Services, LLC

FOSTER OPEN COMMUNICATION AND AVOID CONFRONTATION

(o) 860.232.0852     (f)  860.232.0852     (c) 203.214.0125

 

The Bedford Street Fire Tragedy: An Interview with HFD Captain James McLoughlin

March 13, 2014
This column appears in the March 13 – 20 edition of the Hartford News… Community Update: An agreement is close on one of the Community Party’s proposed Travon Martin Act amendments to the current Alvin W. Penn Act racial profiling law. Stay tuned to CP’s Twitter and Facebook pages for updates; the links are available at the end of this column. I would like to thank WPKN 89.5 FM Between the Lines host Scott Harris for having me on his show to discuss the Trayvon Act and our other legislative initiatives, including the Safe Work Environment Act, A Public Bank for Connecticut, and our Action Poverty Conference concept. The podcast of the interview is available in the Counterpoint archive section. http://counterpointradio.org/2014/140310-cp.html Follow WPKN on Twitter. https://twitter.com/WPKNradio Connecticut workplace bullying activists are planning a march targeting state agencies that engage in abusive workplace conduct. Our message to bully bosses at Connecticut Valley Hospital, the Department  of Children and Families and other state facilities is that cowardly retaliation attempts will not stop this international movement. Your pathological behavior may make you feel better, but understand that you’re just emulating the actions of historical losers such as the Ku Klux Klan. Klansmen bombed a church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, killing four little Black girls. The bombing was a response to the victories attained by the Civil Rights Movement. As we all know, the KKK’s scare tactics were no match for the courage of civil rights activists. Your megalomania only serves as more fuel for our movement. We can see that you are lashing out in response to the inevitable change that you fear. We will be at the State Capitol every year in an effort to pass legislation that will hold YOU accountable. 
 
 
 On January 28th a fire at a home on Bedford Street took the lives of 4-year-old Shantay Drake and her mother, Susan Therrien. Multiple media outlets reported that Hartford firefighters were delayed entering the home by security bars on the windows. I contacted Maribel La Luz, Mayor Pedro Segarra’s Communications Director, about these reports. La Luz referred me to Hartford Fire Department Captain James McLoughlin. My questions focused on the city’s low income residents as some live in buildings which are not properly maintained by landlords, consequently building code violations may include fire safety systems.
 
 
 
Samuels:
 
 
 
 I would like to know if the HFD, Mayor Segarra, City Council President Shawn Wooden and the council members intend to examine fire safety in low income housing, since firefighters were delayed entering the Bedford Street apartment by security bars. Obviously, this scenario could happen again. 
 
 
 
Captain McLoughlin:  
 
 
 
    The City of Hartford Fire Department is working on a comprehensive inspection program for ALL city residents.
 
·        This is not accurate. Firefighters were not delayed in entering the Bedford St home, even though there were security bars on the building.
 
·        
 
 
 
S      Samuels:
 
H        A source told me that the HFD was going to prepare a briefing on the Bedford Street fire that would be shared with the public. Is this correct?  
 
      ‘
           Captain McLoughlin:
A          
                A briefing is being prepared, however is not ready for release at this time.
 
 
 
l            Samuels:  
 
               Has there been any discussion about providing fire safety training to low income housing residents?  
 
 
         
             Captain McLoughlin:    
 
T                 The HFD has a Public Education Program that addresses Fire Safety for ALL of Hartford’s residents
 
 
                  Samuels:
 
                I  need some clarification… You said that firefighters were not delayed, but this quote from the Courant appears to contradict that observation,
”             “The girl’s mother was at a side window, he said, but there was a problem: The same bars designed to keep out intruders were blocking her rescue.
               Firefighters had to rip out security bars to get her out, McLoughlin said — a process that he estimates took no more than a few minutes.” 
 
               The Philadelphia Fire Department considers security bars on windows to be a danger to city residents. http://www.phila.gov/fire/pdfs/Security_Bars_and_Lo.pdf The PFD specifically cites security bars as causing delays in fire rescues, ” Security bars and double-keyed dead bolts installed without knowledge of their effects during a fire have too often resulted in occupants being trapped inside a burning home, and have also delayed the rescue efforts of firefighters.”
      PFD lists the following recommendations: Security bars should be equipped with a quick release device that can be opened from the inside. Occupants should know how to operate the quick release device on barred windows. The bars on an emergency escape window and at least one of the bedroom windows should be equipped with a quick release device that opens from the inside. 
    
I      I’m assuming that the bars on the Bedford Street home did not have the quick release device. Don’t you think this is a problem that the HFD should examine?
 
 
       Captain McLoughlin:      

       
 
        The quote from the paper was information that was released at the scene. Since that time, a comprehensive review has been determined that the mother was actually rescued by firefighters out the rear door. No one was rescued through the window as was stated at the scene.
 
        I appreciate the reference to the Philadelphia Fire Department, however the Hartford Fire Department has to apply the codes which are enforced here in CT. Please be aware that no bedrooms at the Bedford St location had security bars on them, not even one.
 
        The security bars on the Bedford St home did not have quick release devices, however, the fact that there were security bars on some of the windows, had absolutely NO impact on the firefighters ability to enter the home, rescue occupants, put the fire out and ventilate the building. The HFD is examining this issue within the scope of their inspection program.
 
 
 
       Samuels:       

R     
 
       Regardless of whether or not the rescue of an occupant of this particular home was delayed by security bars, the Bedford Street home is just one building out of many in this city. I must say, I’m deeply disturbed to hear that the PFD report is not enough justification for the HFD to address the fact that security bars without the quick release device are a dangerous fire hazard. My concern is that someone will have to die in the manner that the PFD describes before the HFD and the City of Hartford will follow the PFD report recommendations.  Would you support an ordinance which would make security bars with the quick release device mandatory?
Note: McLoughlin did not respond to my final question.
 
 
 
 
   

                                                               Action Alert (UPDATED): Stop Racial Profiling & Racial Profiling in Connecticut! 

 
 
 
      We need folks to call and email legislators in their districts and urge them to support the Trayvon Martin Act. Identify your legislators by providing your info on this page. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/CGAFindLeg.asp   You can read our Trayvon Act bill language here. https://www.facebook.com/notes/stop-racial-profiling-obey-the-law/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/617004948349355     
C    Contact the Labor and Public Employees Committee and tell them to include CP’s Safe Work Environment Act amendments with any workplace bullying legislation introduced in 2014. Our amendments remove the legal requirement for an employee to prove malice and intent by an employer, which is basically impossible. Workers should not have to prove psychological or physical harm. We also want lawmakers to create a workplace bullying advisory board, which would solicit and implement input from public employees when they recommend future legislation. In lieu of a complete workplace bullying bill in 2014 we want an amendment which has been introduced in Nevada by State Sen. Richard Segerblom to be added to the state discrimination law (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/workplace-bullying-report-2/). This would be done with the understanding that a complete Safe Work Environment Act bill including the aforementioned provisions will be introduced in 2015. Municipal employees should tell committee members to expand the scope of any legislation introduced this year to include city employees, in addition to state workers. City teachers have reported rampant workplace bullying at Capital Preparatory Magnet School.   https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/jonathan-pelto-talks-about-rep-matt-ritters-workplace-bullying-town-hall-january-27/ Call and email labor committee co-chairs Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield and Rep. Peter Tercyak and legislators representing your district.The contact info for committee members can be viewed here.  http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/MemberList.asp?code=LAB
    
F   Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin Act and Safe Work Environment Act, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Visit our Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/CommunityPartyAction   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for public service announcements on CP’s racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com.
 
 
 
 
C
 
 
 
 
n:
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
S
 
s:
 
 
 
                 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Political Roundup: Fight for 15 / Mayor Pedro Segarra, Kennard Ray and a “Higher Standard”

March 7, 2014

This column appears in the March 6 – 13 edition of the Hartford News… I’ll be a guest on the WPKN 89.5 FM (http://www.wpkn.org/) Between the Lines program with host Scott Harris on Monday, March 10th @ 9:30 pm to talk about the Community Party’s Trayvon Martin Act…  Big shout out to Fox CT anchor / token person of color Laurie Perez, who promoted the toothless state racial profiling law on her Real Story public affairs program while denying CP equal time, despite our private conversation where I explained to her how the police and CT lawmakers have been trying to kill our legislation for the past 3 years. I’m not surprised (she does work for Fox News) but I’m always disgusted when a person of color chooses to serve the ruling class instead of the urban community; this problem is also a component of the Kennard Ray story.

 
 
 
Yesterday President Obama spoke at Central Connecticut State University as part of his campaign to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Last Sunday the Fox CT Capitol Report program included a debate on the proposed minimum wage hike, following Gov. Dannel Malloy’s comments to the national media on this issue. Malloy, who two years ago would not support a minimum wage increase in this state even after the bill was gutted, spoke with election year gusto to the national press about the need to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. City Council President Shawn Wooden and Democratic Party strategist Tanya Meck repeated the party line that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 will lift people out of poverty, which is a lie. The poverty line is based on a formula from the 1950’s which used the cost of purchasing food items considered staples at the time to set the poverty threshold. An updated study of poverty by David Cooper, economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, finds that a single mother with one child would need a wage of $48,000 per year to maintain a “modest, secure standard of living.”  http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11510#.UwodJG6AfxE.twitter  This study supports the argument for a $15.00 minimum wage. 
 
 
 
Capitol Report panelist Jodi Latina, a Republican, said that she supports raising the minimum wage to $15.00 in exchange for tax breaks for small businesses. My problem with Latina’s concept is that the current definition of “small business” is bogus. A 2012 report on Bush-era tax cuts by Rebecca Theiss, a federal budget policy analyst for EPI, explains this deception. “The way that small businesses are defined for tax purposes has been put to use in this debate in a manner that is misleading. The default definition of ‘small business’ in the tax debate can often identify many entities that are neither small nor even businesses… Claims that raising the top two marginal tax rates will stifle small business growth are unfounded, largely relying on overly broad and misleading definitions of small businesses. Policies intended to support actual small (and new) businesses should focus on expansionary fiscal policy (for example, through fiscal stimulus) and a stronger social safety net. If anything, reductions in the top tax rate have been associated with an increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution and not necessarily associated with productivity growth.” You can read the full report here. http://www.epi.org/publication/ib349-small-business-top-marginal-rates-filers/ I would support Latina’s compromise after the definition of “small business” is amended to apply to businesses that are truly small. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, a Democrat, is pushing for a $15.00 minimum wage in his city. http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/05/news/seattle-minimum-wage/index.html   If the Democrats were sincere about lifting people out of poverty, they would support the Fight for 15 movement.  https://twitter.com/fightfor15 The party which claims to be a friend of the poor is just using poverty as a political football. Obama and Malloy, who both have avoided talking about poverty since they were elected, are now tossing the word around every day. Don’t believe the hype, voters.
 
 
 
The AFSCME Local 318 Workplace Bullying Committee was formed for the purpose of educating members about workplace bullying and its effects. We’ll have more info in the coming weeks on the committee’s political action campaign…. Connecticut Valley Hospital employee and AFSCME union steward John Hollis reports that CVH has stopped responding to our joint Freedom of Information Act requests. What is CVH trying to hide? Stay tuned…
 
 
 
Last November when Mayor Pedro Segarra accepted Kennard Ray’s withdrawal from the Deputy Chief of Staff position, he issued this statement. “Sadly, we must accept Mr. Kennard Ray’s withdrawal for the position of Deputy Chief of Staff after learning information that was not initially disclosed. Mr. Ray is a qualified individual with solid references from former supervisors and community leaders. However public servants, especially those in leadership positions, must be held to a higher standard.” Last Friday the Hartford
Internal Audit Commission released their report on Segarra’s hiring practices. The report found that Segarra had hired several appointees without any kind of screening; no background check, no drug tests, no job application, nothing. Let’s just cut to the chase, as it is pretty obvious how Segarra got himself in this jam.
 
First the Segarra administration announced Ray’s hiring prior to performing a background check. The corporate media then aired sensationalized reports about Ray’s legal history. I contacted Maribel La Luz, Segarra’s Communications Director, after the story broke. La Luz said Segarra acknowledged that his office made a mistake by announcing the hire prior to conducting the background check. Ray had done nothing wrong. The Hartford Ban the Box ordinance stipulates that a city job applicant does not have to discuss their legal history during the interview process. The whole point of BTB is to provide a level playing field for formerly incarcerated individuals and others with legal histories.
 
 
 
When the corporate media confronted Segarra with their findings about Ray, he had two choices. He could have admitted that his office jumped the gun by announcing Ray’s hiring but that Ray came highly recommended from the Connecticut Working Families Party, where he was the organization’s legislative and political director. After checking out Ray’s legal history, Segarra could have cited BTB as the reason why he was going to stick with his decision to hire Ray, who has clearly turned his life around. Segarra could have talked about how BTB was crafted specifically for individuals such as Ray, who should be held up as an example to young men of color in Hartford of what can happen if they strive to overcome their past mistakes. Segarra could have cited the city’s Black / Latino unemployment rate as a reason why BTB is so important to disenfranchised young males in urban neighborhoods.  
 
 
 
Instead, Segarra hit the panic button. He allowed Ray to withdraw from the position. The official story is that Segarra did not ask Ray to give up the job, but Segarra clearly wanted Ray to go away. Ray has not publicly discussed Segarra and was the focal point of a City Hall rally where activists called for his reinstatement. Now Segarra looks like the ultimate hypocrite since the audit report findings have been released. Most elected officials are so obsessed with playing the political game that their actions in situations such as this defy common sense. Segarra threw Ray under the bus for the sake of political expediency. Now it’s Segarra who’s wearing self-inflicted tire marks. He can’t talk his way out of this one; it is what it is. I contacted La Luz via email to get Segarra’s response to the auditor’s report and the obvious contradiction of his explanation for unhiring Ray. I did not get a response. The simple fact is that the “higher standard” Segarra used as an excuse to give Ray the boot obviously does not apply to Segarra’s cronies. Shameful.
 
 
 
The end result is that Segarra has squandered a golden opportunity to show that his support of BTB wasn’t just lip service. He has egg on his face the size of an omelet. None of this is surprising to me. This debacle is an example of why this city, state and country are in the toilet. Politicians are serving their masters in the ruling class and themselves, instead of serving the people. Their primary objective is to look like they’re doing the right thing, instead of actually doing what’s right. I think it’s time for Segarra to hold himself to a “higher standard.”  Let’s see if  “community leaders” such as A Better Way Foundation policy director LaResse Harvey, a Segarra ally, and Democratic Party politicians such as Rep. Brandon McGee who say that they “Stand with Kennard” will ever speak up. There hasn’t been a peep from Harvey or McGee on their social media pages about the audit report and its obvious connection to Ray. McGee is now hiding his tweets from me since I talked about his silence on Twitter. I don’t need to see your tweets, McGee. Your behavior tells me all that I need to know. 
 
 
 
 
 

ACTION ALERT (Updated): Stop Racial Profiling & Workplace Bullying in Connecticut!

 
 
 
We need folks to call and email legislators in their districts and urge them to support the Trayvon Martin Act. Identify your legislators by providing your info on this page. http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/CGAFindLeg.asp   You can read our Trayvon Act bill language here. https://www.facebook.com/notes/stop-racial-profiling-obey-the-law/community-party-trayvon-martin-act-bill-language/617004948349355
Contact the Labor and Public Employees Committee and tell them to include CP’s Safe Work Environment Act amendments with any workplace bullying legislation introduced in 2014. Our amendments remove the legal requirement for an employee to prove malice and intent by an employer, which is basically impossible. Workers should not have to prove psychological or physical harm. We also want lawmakers to create a workplace bullying advisory board, which would solicit and implement input from public employees when they recommend future legislation. In lieu of a complete workplace bullying bill in 2014 we want an amendment which has been introduced in Nevada by State Sen. Richard Segerblom to be added to the state discrimination law (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/workplace-bullying-report-2/). This would be done with the understanding that a complete Safe Work Environment Act bill including the aforementioned provisions will be introduced in 2015. Municipal employees should tell committee members to expand the scope of any legislation introduced this year to include city employees, in addition to state workers. City teachers have reported rampant workplace bullying at Capital Preparatory Magnet School.   https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/jonathan-pelto-talks-about-rep-matt-ritters-workplace-bullying-town-hall-january-27/ Call and email labor committee co-chairs Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield and Rep. Peter Tercyak and legislators representing your district.The contact info for committee members can be viewed here.  http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/MemberList.asp?code=LAB
 
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin Act and Safe Work Environment Act, including action alerts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Visit our Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/CommunityPartyAction   Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for public service announcements on CP’s racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com.
 
Resources
 
Hartford Courant article on the Hartford Internal Audit Commission’s report on Mayor Pedro Segarra’s hiring practices:
 
http://courantblogs.com/cityline/auditor-background-checks-arent-performed-on-most-mayoral-appointees/
 
Freedom of Information Commission website:
 
http://www.ct.gov/foi/site/default.asp
 
Cornell Lewis’ DCF Plantation blog (includes data charts):
 
http://www.dcfplantation.blogspot.com/
 
Cornell Lewis Legal Defense Fund:
 
http://www.dcfplantation.blogspot.com/2013/07/help-with-legal-fund.html
 
David Samuels
Founder
Community Party