The Two Connecticuts:

Conversations about Race and Place

A four-part series presented by:

George Orwell reminded us that it is a constant struggle to see what is right in front of our noses. In Connecticut that is racial and economic segregation.

This multi-faceted, multi-generational history of discrimination has ensured that lower-income households, predominantly families of color, remain segregated in urban centers, while white families enjoy suburban amenities and top public schools. The pandemic has only amplified this disparity.

This special series will examine how segregation hurts people of color — depriving them of personal dignity, economic opportunity, and access to healthcare and safety — yet also disadvantages the state as a whole. Over four sessions, panels of informed experts will examine the racism that surrounds us, in housing, schools, and the structure of our government.

Join us to learn more about the disparities that exist in our state, and what you can do about them. We will talk about initiatives enacted in other states and proposed here in Connecticut, so that all participants have the opportunity to join the effort to reduce these disparities where they live.

Sessions

A House Divided
Wednesday, September 22
7:00-8:15p.m.

Panelists:
William Tong, Attorney General for the State of Connecticut.
Jay Williams, President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Guest Presentation by:
Dana Peterson, Executive Vice President and Chief Economist, Conference Board; Co-author of a 2020 Citibank study, “Closing the Racial Inequality Gaps: The Economic Cost of Black Inequality in the U.S.”

Moderator:
Lucy Nalpathanchil, Executive Producer and Host, WNPR’s Where We Live talk show. Moderator.

This session defines and examines racism – how it alienates, isolates, and otherwise keeps people of color from reaching their potential and being welcomed into the other Connecticut. It also will take a close look at how racism negatively affects our economy.


Housing
Wednesday, October 20
7:00-8:15p.m.

In Connecticut, exclusionary zoning is a major element of systemic racism. Many suburban towns perpetuate the Two Connecticuts by zoning out affordable housing. This year has seen a major pushback against exclusionary zoning in the General Assembly and the courts. This session looks at the battle for affordable housing in the suburbs and for improved housing in cities.


Education
Wednesday, November 10
7:00-8:15p.m.

Once points of pride, the public schools in Connecticut’s largest cities deteriorated in the latter part of the 20th century, as middle-class people, mostly whites, fled to the suburbs. Yet schools in the state’s population centers must provide equitable education and prepare workers for our 21st century economy. This session looks at efforts to improve funding, teaching, and parental involvement, and at models that are working.


Regionalism
Wednesday, December 8
7:00-8:15p.m.

Connecticut’s urban poor are circumscribed by city lines drawn hundreds of years ago, boundaries that confer extraordinary privilege on the state’s more affluent residents. Critics say it is unfair and inefficient, and perpetuates the underlying racism of the Two Connecticuts. Do we have the courage and imagination to consider regional policy-making, tax-sharing, or even regional governance? If we did, what would it look like?

Series Information

Free registration (must register to attend. Limited spots available)

Location: Wilde Auditorium, University of Hartford

This event will also be live streamed for those who wish to watch at home.

Resource Tables: 6:30 p.m.

Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.

Dates:
Wednesday, September 22
Wednesday, October 20
Wednesday, November 10
Wednesday, December 8

Third Age Initiative™
Email for more information 

More about the series

The Two Connecticuts can be measured statistically. Nearly 70 percent of Black residents live in just 12 municipalities.

Also, people of color suffered disproportionally higher rates of Covid-19 illness and death over the past 15 months, Black-owned businesses took a much harder hit than white-owned businesses, Black and Latinx children suffered more severe educational setbacks, and Blacks had to endure police violence in many cities across the country, incidents that gave emphasis to the Black Lives Matter movement.

And yet, Black and Latinx communities provided countless front-line workers in health care, retail, shipping, and other fields essential to getting everyone through the pandemic. Are front-line workers not owed more than a sign on the lawn?

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