Major Institutions and Community Stakeholders Commit to Participating in
the Hamden Equity & Inclusivity Task Force
Hamden is a diverse, inclusive community. It’s a strength of our hometown and has been for many years. It is a core reason that so many residents choose Hamden to live and raise their families, and I hear this consistently across our community. This, unfortunately, does not shield or exempt Hamden from experiencing hurtful incidents, making serious mistakes, or dealing with the consequences.
It also does not mean that Hamden is mystically shielded from the institutional and implicit bias that is a very real issue which exists across our State and across our Country.
I have deep compassion for any resident that experiences any occurrence that is hurtful of harmful in any way. I am even more deeply concerned when any such issue involves our children.
When hurtful incidents occur, communities and residents have choices. Among them, some choose to turn a blind eye and wish it goes away. Others choose to make their voices heard, and create a dialogue with elected leaders about their concerns and experiences. Some, still, will choose to seize these moments to pursue an agenda, regardless of the consequences to our communities and Town. The best amongst us will choose dialogue and action, to make horrific incidents into teachable moments, and to work to the best of our abilities to stop such things from happening in the future. This will not be last time Hamden experiences a racial or equity related incident, although it is our intention to address each and every incident with vigor and focus.
Hamden will choose this latter approach, the bold approach.
We will work, not just talk, to address issues of bias, racism, inequity, inclusivity and related challenges. We will develop a roadmap that can deliver real community dialogue, research, professional input and review; in an effort to implement programs, efforts and systemic changes that will improve our community. This will not be last time Hamden experiences a racial or equity related incident, although it is our intention to address each and every incident with vigor and focus.
The Hamden Board of Education, for numerous years, has been actively working on such efforts to improve the opportunity gap, to correct racial balance issues within many of our schools, to further diversify our educators, and more - with real results. The Town of Hamden and Board of Education have been active participants in welcoming Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED) Committee, which now has an active committee in Hamden. (the first CT Town to have one). These are just some examples of the efforts that have been taken, and efforts that are being taken. There is an unquestionably strong commitment to equality from leaders throughout our government and community.
Now, we know there is much more that needs to be done. I am fully committed to this effort and know with confidence that elected and appointed leaders throughout our government share this strong position. I am particularly proud that our leaders from the Board of Education and Legislative Council are not shying away from any of these difficult issues, but are fully committed to working to improve upon them. Frankly, this is not the case in every Town.
We are going to continue to address these difficult issues with the help of experienced professionals, major community institutions and stakeholders; all committed to the goals we are striving to achieve. I am honored that the following institutions, organizations, commissions, non-profits and more have committed to being community stakeholders and partners, working to address the issues we’ve discussed and others that arise from the discussions to come.
- Quinnipiac University
- Anti-Defamation League
- Albertus Magnus College
- Greater New Haven NAACP
- Hamden Human Rights & Relations Commission
- Mothers Demand Action Against Gun Violence
- Action Together Connecticut
- Racial & Ethnic Disparities Committee (RED)
- CONECT (Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut)
- Hamden Mayor’s Office, and representatives from the Legislative Council & Board of Education
….and most importantly, our Hamden community resident stakeholders.
This task force is charged with fully examining the issues discussed above (as well as those related and intersecting), listening to the community on ideas and issues that have affected them, and then working to develop a roadmap for how Hamden can best move forward to address issues of equity, justice and inclusivity, including how these recommendations will ultimately be implemented.
I am asking the strongest, most professional and deeply experienced group of individuals and organizations that Hamden has ever been able to assemble together, to develop a true equity roadmap, one that we know can deliver real change and not just another plan that will collect dust on a shelf.
I trust that this effort is one that we can proudly work on together, knowing that bold, difficult, meaningful, and essential work we accomplish will build an even more inclusive and just Hamden, CT. These efforts began this today with a meeting held late this afternoon with our community partners from Quinnipiac University, and will continue actively in the coming weeks with meetings and efforts to be announced by the Town, the BOE, and the Human Rights and Relations Commission, in conjunction with our partners.
The first such public session will be a Community Input Conversation to be held on Thursday, February 13th at 6pm at the Hamden Middle School. I sincerely hope that the members of our communities join in attendance at this event. All residents are welcome.