This morning Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01) and Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra were joined by a number of community leaders and their respective organizations in announcing a new "Social Justice Initiative."
During a press conference at City Hall leaders from organizations such as the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the Urban Alliance, the Hartford Economic Development Company (HEDCO), the Connecticut General Assembly's Black and Hispanic Caucus, Connecticut Health Foundation, the Voices of Women of Color and faith leaders discuss how the new initiative would be aimed at addressing the achievement gap and inequalities in healthcare and economics that exist in the city.
"After what began almost a year ago with the visit of the Congressional Black Caucus to Hartford, I am very pleased to be able to join so many of our community leaders today in announcing the next steps in addressing the problems of inequality that have plagued our city for so long," Congressman Larson said. "The commitment shown by so many here today is inspiring and gives me confidence that with Mayor Segarra's leadership, Hartford is certainly on a path towards closing these gaps."
"Despite the great progress that the Country, the State of Connecticut and Hartford -- Connecticut's Capital City -- have made in the last 50 years to promote equality and expand opportunity, there is still more work to do," Said Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. "Hartford is a majority minority community, we have extraordinary health disparities, a low median income and low educational attainment, and all in a city that was once the wealthiest and most innovative communities in the world. The only way that we will completely close the achievement gap between inner-city youth and their suburban counterparts, erase all economic inequalities and close the health disparities gap, is through collaboration, pulling together towards a common end -- an end that removes barriers, provides equal opportunity and ensures fairness for all."
Last June Congressman Larson invited members of the Congressional Black Caucus to Hartford to participate in the 200th birthday celebration of Harriet Beecher Stowe. During the course of their visit, the members participated in a "Call to Action: A Conversation on Race & Social Justice." The conversation brought local, state and national stakeholders together to identify key steps necessary to eliminate racial disparities. The steps were recorded and today the group discussed how the city will use them to build towards a stronger community.
Citizens are invited to participate by visiting the "Call to Action" web site.
"The Stowe Center is proud to work with our community partners - including Congressman John B. Larson and Mayor Pedro E. Segarra - as Hartford moves forward to address these critical issues. We think Harriet Beecher Stowe would be proud," said Katherine D. Kane, Executive Director of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.
Additionally, the leaders also announced the new "Name It, Claim It" program that invites Hartford students to participate in a contest to rename the "Social Justice Initiative." Students can enter by going to the "Call to Action" web site and submitting their ideas for a chance to win a variety of prizes.