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New England News Collaborative

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Despite New England's progressive reputation, residential segregation still exists in communities throughout the region. 

In this second episode of a special radio series on "Racism In New England," we look at how housing laws and discrimination influence where we live — from the predominantly white states of northern New England to cities and suburbs in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Here’s the story that New England tells itself: Racism is a Southern problem.

But our region’s abolitionist past hides a darker history of racism, slavery and segregation. It’s a legacy that lives with us today. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public/NENC

From suburban Connecticut to rural Maine, demonstrators occupied highways and town greens over the summer with banners and calls for racial justice. 

Don Treeger / The Republican/Masslive.com/Photos

Springfield, Massachusetts-based MassMutual is selling its retirement business, which represents about a quarter of the company's U.S. workforce.

According to MassMutual, 2,000 employees currently work in the retirement area, with a majority of them based at the company's office in Enfield, Connecticut.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

It’s been three weeks since Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. Like other sports, teams have played in isolation and without fans. But they’ve taken steps to make the season feel normal, from canned crowd noise (like at this Red Sox game against the Mets) to cardboard cutouts of fans in the stadium.

Ben James / New England Public Media

When a peer says something you think is racist, ignorant or wrong, what do you do? Most people agree that staying silent is not a good idea. But do you talk to them privately or take them to task publicly? Known as call-out culture, some think public shaming is a way to further social justice and change. But not everyone agrees with that approach.

Courtesy Huma Farid

Since the killing of George Floyd, some Americans have been examining their role in perpetuating racism and are committing to no longer being silent and inactive.

When the meatpacking industry in the U.S. started seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, local officials in New Bedford, Mass., worried that their city was next. But the city took action, issuing emergency orders that safety experts say should be a model for workplaces across the U.S., if those orders can be properly enforced.

Jon Mitchell, the city's mayor, issued two COVID-19 orders on May 6 in a city where nearly 15% of the population works in manufacturing and 20% is Latino.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas has spent most of her life observing the natural world and writing about it. She’s written 14 books over her half-century career, including the New York Times-bestselling book “The Hidden Life of Dogs.” Her new book, “Growing Old: Notes On Aging With Something Like Grace,” came out this year. Thomas, 88, joined NEXT and talked about enjoying the slower pace of aging.

Robin Lubbock / WBUR

The pandemic has forced many people in New England into a dire economic situation. But there is at least one potential silver lining: the opportunity for climate action. It’s likely the federal government will approve stimulus money again to try to boost the economy, and many environmentalists propose we intentionally direct some of those funds toward “green” recovery. 

Wilson Ring / AP Photo

For more than a decade, Vermont tattoo artist Alex Lawrence has been offering to remove racist tattoos — such as swastikas or the white supremacist slogan “white power” — for free. Recently, as protests over police violence continue and his work has gotten more exposure, Lawrence has seen an uptick in clients taking him up on the offer.

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Like the country at large, New England states are taking a patchwork approach to reopening during the pandemic. Rhode Island just entered phase three on Tuesday, while most of the other states are still in phase two — meaning we can now go inside a restaurant to eat, more stores can open, and in many states, people can go to the gym. But don’t be fooled, experts say: Reopening does not mean the pandemic is over.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

Did you know that before the clock was invented, we used to sleep in two installments? Or that the standardization of cameras and film led to racial bias in the production of photographs?

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Protests over police violence and racism continue across the country. And some state and local government leaders in New England are starting to announce changes. Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh declared racism a public health crisis, joining several other cities and towns in the region.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Since the pandemic hit, carbon emissions have dropped globally. A study in “Nature Climate Change” found a 17 percent decrease in emissions by early April. In New England, data show that air pollution and energy consumption are down.

Jacquiline Rabe Thomas / Connecticut Mirror

Racial segregation is a modern-day problem that is perpetuated in New England through local zoning laws.

Courtesy: Shardé M. Davis

Shardé M. Davis, a communications professor at the University of Connecticut, is the co-founder of the Twitter hashtag #BlackintheIvory. Along with Joy Melody Woods, a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin, Davis sparked a public conversation about racism in academia when she tweeted out some of her own experiences as a Black scholar.

For nearly 200 years, the term “female husband” was used to describe an individual assigned female at birth who chose to live fully as a man.

Historian Jen Manion, a professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts, said from the 1700s to early 1900s, the British and American press wrote about "female husbands" in a mostly salacious and sensationalized way. And when their assigned gender was revealed, they were usually detained by police and run out of town.

After the death of George Floyd, demonstrators rallied outside police departments, on highways and through downtowns across New England calling for police reforms and racial justice.

Amid these protests, Alicia Thomas, a special education teacher in Springfield, Mass., posted on Facebook about the role of teachers in dismantling racism — and how school administrators could do more to support teachers of color.

John Billingsley / Vermont Public Radio

COVID-19 has driven New England’s higher education sector into financial "survival mode." Now colleges and universities must adapt or risk major — if not catastrophic — loss from the crisis.

Join us for an America Amplified special from the New England News Collaborative. We'll bring together voices from across the region, and we want to hear yours.

locals only sticker
HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN / VPR

Across New England, tensions already existed between year-round residents and "part-timers."

Now, as coronavirus pushes more people from crowded cities to rural second homes, it's raised the question: "Whose town is this anyway?"

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

From small business to big employers — from family farms to fishermen — New England’s economy is taking a hit from the coronavirus. 

Join us for an America Amplified special from the New England News Collaborative. We'll bring together voices from across the region, and we want to hear yours.

Bernie Sanders
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the running for the Democratic presidential nomination, but his decision Wednesday to remain on the ballot could force Connecticut to nevertheless hold a primary under the threat of COVID-19.

clinical staff medical workers
Joe Amon/Connecticut Public/NENC

Health care workers in New England are facing incredible challenges on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, from long hours and dangerous conditions to shifting public policies.

Joe Amon/Connecticut Public/NENC

The coronavirus pandemic has closed schools across the U.S., affecting nearly 2 million public school students in New England alone. What are the educational and social impacts of this sudden shift to remote learning? What about students with special learning needs? And how might the COVID-19 crisis widen the inequities in our K-12 educational system?

us surgeon general
Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises in the United States amid a global outbreak of a novel coronavirus, both federal and state health officials urge communities to prepare for the spread of disease.

U.S. Surgeon General Vice Adm. Jerome M. Adams met with state leaders and health officials Monday at the Connecticut Department of Public Health Laboratory in Rocky Hill. 

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

The Metropolitan District Commission approved a controversial water discount for high-volume users Monday night. Right now, the measure stands to benefit only one customer: Niagara Bottling, a bottled water company.

The first positive test results for the coronavirus disease COVID-19 have been identified in New Hampshire, according to state health officials Monday morning.

The patient is an employee of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and recently returned from Italy. They presented mild symptoms and are currently on home isolation.

Joe Tasca / The Public's Radio

A 40-year old Rhode Island man who became the first resident to test “presumptively positive” for the coronavirus following a school trip to Europe in mid-February remains hospitalized in stable condition, state health officials said Monday morning.

Interstate Railfan / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut paid thousands of dollars to upgrade the old train cars it leased from Massachusetts to revive the Hartford Rail Line. Now Massachusetts wants them back.

The rail service between New Haven and Springfield almost did not launch on time in 2018. Connecticut lacked the cash to buy new rail cars, so the state leased 30-year-old cars from Massachusetts instead.

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