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Institute for Community Research

The patchwork of Connecticut is one of incredible intricacy and texture, stitched together by the stories of the people that have come to call our small state home. The Hudson family of Bristol has one such story.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

When Laura and Joe Hudson moved to Bristol, Connecticut, they brought with them some of their Southern traditions. 

For Laura, that tradition was quilt-making. For Joe, it was singing gospel music. 

Can Social Networks Help Us Understand Our Communities?

Nov 18, 2014
Creative Commons

What if you had the ability to read the emotions, the thoughts, the concerns of your city in real time, at any time? What if you could then use that information to help your community -- to build stronger policies, and foster better relationships with those around you? 

Election 2014: The Voice of America's Latino Voters

Oct 31, 2014
santiagostudio.com

Latino voters are overwhelmingly more likely to support Democratic candidates than Republicans, but that has been changing in recent years. The national GOP has talked a lot about being more “inclusive”, even as voter ID laws in places like Texas seem aimed squarely at reducing the number of Latinos able to vote.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Whether or not Hartford's city council decides to move ahead with a $350 million development project just north of its downtown is about a lot of things.  It's about entertainment and amenities and opportunity and jobs. It's also about the future, and everybody sees the future differently.

Svigals + Partners Architects

The New Haven based  Svigals + Partners Architects have the challenging job of rebuilding Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 children and educators were murdered in December 2012. 

(Editor's Note: NPR's Michel Martin was invited by St. Louis Public Radio to moderate a community conversation on Thursday around race, police tactics and leadership following the shooting death of Michael Brown. The following story is based on what happened at the event.)

The protests that followed the shooting death this month of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., have rekindled long-standing complaints about racist policing, especially in the St Louis area.

Many male African-American residents there say police scrutinize them unfairly. "Every time you see a cop, it's like, 'OK, am I going to get messed with?' " says Anthony Ross. "You feel that every single time you get behind your car. Every time."

Now, police officers in and around St. Louis are becoming more vocal about defending themselves against the charges of bias.

Mocha Hookah is a little Middle Eastern restaurant and cafe on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn where you can pick up a shawarma gyro sandwich and a falafel platter and still get change back from your $20 bill. Walk inside and there's Arabic music, soccer games on flat screen televisions, and a hookah, or water pipe, set up at every table.

It was 80 degrees before 8 a.m. in St. Louis, but hundreds of people still lined up early to attend Michael Brown's funeral service Monday.

The 18-year-old was laid to rest at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, more than two weeks after his shooting death by a white police officer in the suburb of Ferguson, Mo. Brown's death touched off days of protests and violence in Ferguson.

His face was everywhere at the service, on T-shirts and silk-screened on the black ties worn by his male relatives.

Amid Unrest, Boston Leaders Visit Ferguson

Aug 25, 2014

Religious and community leaders from Boston are among the thousands of people in Ferguson, Missouri, for Michael Brown’s funeral. The unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by a police officer on Aug. 9.

Boston residents who have been monitoring the resulting tension between residents of the St. Louis suburb and police there are divided about whether the same sort of tensions could ever erupt in Boston.

‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’

The nation's top law enforcement officer traveled to Ferguson, Mo., on Wednesday to wrap his arms around a community in pain.

Attorney General Eric Holder hugged community leaders, a highway patrol captain and the mother of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old killed by a police officer earlier this month.

From the moment he walked into a soul food restaurant in Ferguson, the attorney general found friends and began getting reports on the community's mood after days of protests and sporadic violence.

Tear gas and Molotov cocktails were absent from the streets of Ferguson, Mo., last night, as protesters and police avoided the clashes that have marred demonstrations over the death of an an unarmed black teenager at the hands of a white police officer last weekend in the St. Louis suburb.

Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is in charge of security in Ferguson, announced that 47 arrests had been made and that three loaded handguns were confiscated.

New Haven Police Officer Responds to Ferguson Shooting

Aug 19, 2014
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown last week has led to a series of angry protests in Ferguson, Missouri. As some protests turned violent and police have implemented military tactics there, the issue of race and violence has once again come into the nation’s focus. 

Ferguson, Missouri: A Case Study in Urban Policing

Aug 18, 2014
Loavesofbread / Creative Commons

The fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown sent hundreds of angry protesters into the streets of Ferguson, Missouri last week. There, chaos erupted as police and demonstrators clashed amid smoke bombs and stun grenades. 

New Orleans is still reeling from another spate of violence last weekend, when five people were killed by gunfire and 11 wounded, including two toddlers. The city has launched high-profile campaigns to address gun violence, but a big part of the problem is an acute shortage of police.

Karen Rogers lives in the lower 9th Ward, where a recent drive-by shooting left two people dead and several more wounded. Police say it was drug-related.

"This is not the first time [I've heard gunshots]," says Rogers. "This is the first time to actually see people murdered and shot."

Update at 3:30 p.m. ET

The Justice Department has ordered a second autopsy of Michael Brown, the black teen who was fatally shot by police last week in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, sparking off a week of angry and frequently violent protests.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story contains graphic descriptions and offensive language.

Alex Landau, who is African-American, was adopted by a white couple as a child and grew up in largely white, middle-class suburbs of Denver.

Still, "we never talked about race growing up," Landau tells his mother, Patsy Hathaway, on a visit to StoryCorps. "I just don't think that was ever a conversation."

"I thought that love would conquer all and skin color really didn't matter," Hathaway says. "I had to learn the really hard way when they almost killed you."

Ferguson, Mo., saw more protests last night — but instead of meeting demonstrators with tear gas and armored vehicles, police walked with them, and posed for photos. The shift came after days of clashes sparked by the police killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

From St. Louis Public Radio, Rachel Lippmann reports:

Ronald Hampton worked in law enforcement in Washington, D.C., for 23 years, first on the street, and then as a community relations officer. He was also heavily involved in program development, education and crime prevention. He retired from the police force in 1994, but continued his work as the executive director of the National Black Police Association. Today he teaches criminal justice at the University of the District of Columbia.

Citing safety concerns, police in Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb where an officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager Saturday, say they won't release the name of the officer who fired the shots. The department reportedly received threats against the officer.

"If we come out and say, 'it was this officer,' then he immediately becomes a target," Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said, according to the AP. "We're taking the threats seriously."

Darren Tompkins attended his first comic convention (or comic con) in Roanoke, Va., back in the mid-1980s. At the time, these gatherings were only for die-hard comic fans — people who might invest in a Batman or Joker costume to wear once a year.

"Really, it was just a small ballroom filled with cardboard boxes," Tompkins says. "I mean, there weren't any actors or famous people or panels or anything. It was just a place for comic book dealers to get together and sell their wares."

Transgender Rights: "The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time"?

Jul 15, 2014
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Those who identify as transgender Americans continue to face social stigmas, discrimination, and legal issues not often faced by other members of the LGBT community.

This hour, we talk with some transgender rights experts and advocates about what Vice President Joe Biden has called "the civil rights issue of our time."

We also check in with WNPR reporter Lucy Nalpathanchil, who gives us the latest on the case of transgender teen Jane Doe.

Teens Savor Hartford Comic Con, "a Divine Experience"

Jun 27, 2014
Joshua Gaestel / CPBN Learning Lab

Students from the Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School Satellite Campus at the CPBN Learning Lab in Hartford had a chance to visit Comic Con in the capital city recently. One described it as a "divine experience."

Tammy Strobel / Wikimedia Commons

Tab Hunter and Joyce DeWitt, Elizabeth Taylor and James Earl Jones, Sigourney Weaver and Jeff Daniels, Samantha Bee and Jason Jones from "The Daily Show," Timothy Hutton and Elizabeth McGovern: I could go on and on. These are all couples who have acted together in A.R. Gurney's play, "Love Letters."

The play is amazingly elastic. Do you want to see Larry Hagman and Linda Gray together one more time post-Dallas? Well, they did "Love Letters." 

Caring for Those on the Autism Spectrum

Jun 9, 2014
Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new report from the CDC suggests that Autism Spectrum Disorder may be even more prevalent than we thought. The report estimates that roughly one in 68 children born in the U.S. has autism -- a 30 percent increase since 2012.

The Central African Republic is an impoverished, troubled country. Yet many people have cell phones that are used to spread information, rumors — and to organize protests.

Authorities have now instructed cell phone providers to suspend all text message services, a ban prompted after a group attempted to organize a civil disobedience campaign through SMS messages.

Text messaging has not worked since Monday, Reuters reports.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Following the recent mass killing in California, faith leaders in Connecticut gathered on Monday to call on gun manufacturers to take steps aimed at reducing gun violence. 

Cambridge Police Department

Earlier this month, Somerville Police Officers Alan Monaco and Timothy Sullivan responded to a call about a fight between two young men. They found one of them, Mike, in an agitated state.

Will You Stay Or Will You Go?

May 16, 2014
Magdalena Roeseler / Creative Commons

A recent Gallup poll brought a lot of attention to whether residents in Connecticut are happy where they live. About half said they would move to a different state if given the chance, ranking Connecticut second only to Illinois among states with people feeling a bit disenchanted. 

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