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Jericho Brown in 2019
Brian Cornelius

At the start of this year, Jericho Brown addressed the graduates of the Bennington Writing Seminars Class of January 2020. 

He said, “If you can't imagine these last few days without trees, I know you can't imagine life without poetry. Literature fills needs we did not know we had. Poems and stories plant seeds for things we did not know we needed."

Jericho Brown is this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry for his book, The Tradition, a collection of poetry questioning why and how we’ve become accustomed to violence and trauma.

This hour, Jericho Brown joins us to discuss his work, and advice for new poets.

Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

Eric Garner died during an arrest in New York City six years ago -- in a police chokehold, saying the words “I can’t breathe.” In the years since, the Black Lives Matter movement has become a national force, and Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, has become an activist, speaking out across the country against police brutality. 

Cloe Poisson / CT Mirror

This article was produced in partnership with the Propublica Local Reporting Network.

On a recent Sunday, protesters marched through the center of Weston, a small, wealthy town in southwest Connecticut. They chanted “no justice, no peace” and raised handwritten signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Silence is Violence.” 

Somewhere in the crowd, Brian Murray hoisted his own message.

“Fact check: Weston, CT. No Black teachers. No Black police officers. No Black board members. No Black town of Weston government office members.”

Members of Students for a Democratic Society stage demonstrations New Haven Green near area where huge rally was being held by Black Panthers and supporters, May 1, 1970. Panthers were protesting the jailing of eight of their group in New Haven.
AP

On May 1st, 1970, the eyes of the nation were on the Elm City. Students and others from around the country had gathered to protest the murder trial of Black Panther Party leaders Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins.

This hour, we take a look back at May Day in New Haven, 50 years ago this year. We talk with Huggins and hear from a former Baltimore mayor who was one of the Yale students who helped keep protests peaceful.

Do you remember May Day and New Haven’s Black Panther Trials?

Ali Warshavsky / Connecticut Public Radio

Amid what amounts to a new civil rights movement, Black-owned businesses in Fairfield County say they are feeling the support of the community in ways they never have. And that boost comes in the wake of the devastating pandemic shutdowns that hit minority businesses harder than most. 

David McBee / Pexels

Protests against police brutality have put systemic racism in the spotlight. But how do the written and unwritten rules in communities perpetuate racial inequality?

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

In the heart of Wooster Square, New Haven’s historically Italian American neighborhood, the statue of Christopher Columbus has come down after more than 125 years -- to the cheers of a crowd of mostly younger New Haven residents and laments of some older Italian Americans.

Rhode Island Public Radio

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Monday that the words “Providence Plantations” will be removed from state websites, pay stubs and gubernatorial communications as part of a broader effort to establish a more equitable state.

Grace Murray Stephenson / Austin History Center

This year is the 155th annual Juneteenth Celebration, symbolically marking the freedom of Black people from slavery in this nation. But despite the long history of the day, many white Americans are hearing about it for the first time in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. Connecticut has recognized Juneteenth since 2003, but it is not yet an official state holiday. 

Video: Juneteenth Around Connecticut

Jun 20, 2020
Juneteenth 2020
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

This year marks the 155th anniversary of the holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. A day that celebrates liberation, in 2020 calls for justice against systemic inequities Black communities face. Marches were organized in Middletown, Bridgeport and Hartford as well as many cities and towns. See photos and hear Connecticut voices from Juneteenth events across the state on Friday.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Events across Connecticut Friday marked the commemoration of Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when news of the end of the Civil War reached Texas, marking the true end of chattel slavery in the U.S. -- two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Senate Dems Want Broad Social Justice Agenda For July Session, Others Say There Isn't Time

Jun 19, 2020
Senator Doug McCrory, D-Hartford, (at podium) discusses broad agenda to combat systemic racism during Friday’s press conference. Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, is on left.
CTMirror.org

Majority Senate Democrats unveiled a comprehensive platform Friday to reverse systemic racial inequalities in law enforcement, health care, housing, education and economic opportunity.

Jacquiline Rabe Thomas / Connecticut Mirror

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

Facebook

For the last several months, nine African American men -- fathers -- have been workshopping their own personal stories of fatherhood. “The Fatherhood Manologues” is a Moth-style storytelling project that has its virtual debut on Father’s Day.

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.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

A protest encampment outside the Bridgeport Police Department completed its fourth day Tuesday.

The protesters, who’ve maintained a 24/7 presence in colorful tents, have issued a list of 11 demands, including calling on the city council to defund the police department and reinvest the money into community initiatives.

Connecticut Protesters Spotlight Police Shooting Of Latino Parolee

Jun 16, 2020
Pat Eaton Robb / Associated Press

Scattered among the banners reading “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace” at Connecticut rallies against police brutality have been signs calling for “Justice for Jay.”

Carmen Baskauf / Connecticut Public Radio

New Haven has become the latest municipality in Connecticut to announce it will remove a statue of Christopher Columbus. The statue, in Wooster Square, is in the center of the city’s traditionally Italian American neighborhood.

Black Protesters Recount Growing Up In A Mostly White Town

Jun 14, 2020
Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CT Mirror

When Naomi Jones graduated from Waterford High School three years ago, there were just three dozen black students in her school of 846 students. There was just one black teacher.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Legislators and other public figures have had many different responses to the protests that have followed the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy added his thoughts via Twitter, and he had a very particular take on what the nation, and our state, should do to address issues of racial injustice.

Connecticut Treasurer Shawn Wooden
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut Treasurer Shawn Wooden recently penned a passionate editorial in the Hartford Courant, imploring corporations to use their influence to lead the way in making society more equitable for people of color. Last fall his office spearheaded an effort known as the Northeast Investors’ Diversity Initiative to try to force big companies to diversify their boards. He spoke with Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered host, John Henry Smith.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

The leagues are working in earnest toward starting back up. The NBA has a plan. Major League Baseball can't seem to work one out. Major League Soccer might beat them both back onto the field.

How is this all going to work? What are sports going to look like when they start playing games again? Should they start playing games again?

Updated 7:28 p.m. ET

George Floyd, whose killing by police inspired worldwide protests calling for an end to systemic racism and police brutality, was taken to a cemetery for burial Tuesday in his hometown of Houston.

The black man died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. A video captured by a bystander showed Floyd pleading for air and calling out for his mother.

Floyd, 46, was to be buried next to his mother.

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London failed to thoroughly investigate racial harassment allegations — including the use of racial slurs — and failed to discipline cadets who were found guilty of that behavior, says a Department of Homeland Security inspector general.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

New Haveners of all ages showed up to march against police brutality on Friday afternoon, but the protest, which drew thousands, was organized by and about the city’s young people. 

With chants of “money for schools, not the police,” young Black and Latinx organizers from the Citywide Youth Coalition made clear that they see reinvesting money from the city’s police budget into education, housing, and job opportunities for young people of color as being essential to ending police violence.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The worldwide demonstrations of the last two weeks have been in protest of police brutality. And yet, they have delivered images from across the U.S. of police acting brutally against unarmed people in the midst of the protests. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Residents across Connecticut continue to protest and speak out in response to the police killing of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer.

This hour, as residents demand police accountability, how should they also work towards dismantling systemic racism in our state?

We talk with State Representative Robyn Porter, who has worked on police accountability legislation. We find out what more needs to be done to reform police departments and how it ties into addressing the underlying structural inequalities in Connecticut.

The Death Of George Floyd: A Moment, Or A Movement?

Jun 3, 2020
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Six pallbearers, all black men wearing white gloves and cloth masks, met the hearse. One, a pastor in black and gold clerical robes, raised a clenched right fist as he helped carry the steel-gray casket Wednesday to a bier outside the Connecticut Capitol in Hartford.

The casket was empty. George Floyd — the man they had come to mourn, whose death they had come to protest — lay dead in Minneapolis, some 1,300 miles away. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

There’s long been good evidence for the premise that racism is bad for your health. And that truth stands whether you’re the victim or the perpetrator. In light of both the racial disparities of the coronavirus pandemic and the momentous events in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered host, John Henry Smith, spoke with Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, a professor of orthopedic surgery at UConn. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Something different is happening in America at this moment. Do you feel it? We want to hear from you. Call us during our live show Tuesday, from 1 to 2 p.m., at 888-720-9677 or 888-720-WNPR.

People across America are protesting the same police brutality against black Americans that never seems to stop.

America has suffered more deaths from COVID-19 than any other nation, and we still don't have a federal plan to deal with it, despite the efforts of health care workers and scientists.

President Trump had threatened to deploy the military if the state officials he first felt the need to denigrate couldn't control the looting in their locales. He proceeded to order the police to use tear gas and flash grenades to disperse peaceful protesters so that he could pose in front of a burned church with a Bible in his hand.

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