Submited by Lorelei O’Hagan, Cos Cob
We need honest discussion and committed actions to combat racism.
Thank you to First Selectman Camillo and Selectwoman Rabin, and many others for joining the YWCA Stand Against Racism 2020 campaign.
Now it is time to denounce Representatives Kimberly Fiorello and Harry Arora and RTC Chair Dan Quigley for their repeated denial of racism, and opposition to legislation that addresses one of the top priorities in the state.
Governor Lamont has Senate Bill 1 on his desk that declares racism a public health crisis. It is a wide-ranging bill that passed on a bipartisan vote of 114 to 33; Greenwich Republicans voted No.
Last summer, District 3 Senator Saud Anwar, a physician, wrote to Governor Lamont urging this effort. “In our current environment, without having a comprehensive strategy for addressing the causes of systematic racism including its relationship with housing, education, economic opportunities, and the criminal justice system, racism has reached a crisis level.”
The bill is supported by the legislative agenda of the YWCA of Greenwich. With their stated mission “Eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all” they have been a pillar of Greenwich society for 100 years. They develop programing for Childhood Education and Adults with age-appropriate instruction in diversity, equity and inclusion concepts, and push for laws that fight all forms of discrimination.
Racism is a Public Health Crisis – COVID-19 has illuminated the devastating consequences of racial health disparities in Connecticut and the nation. These disparities—disproportionately affecting Black, Indigenous, and Latinx populations—span physical and mental health and are complicated by unequal access to healthcare, pay inequity, police violence, lack of affordable housing, and segregated schools. YWCA Greenwich will support legislation, programs, policies, and practices that center on the dismantling of racism and anti-Black racism.– YWCA 2021
The Greenwich Public Library also stands against racism. Last summer they facilitated their vast resources to educate our community on many related topics like bias, protest, criminal justice, and the intersections of anti-blackness, poverty and health outcomes. More than 20 organizations and thousands of residents participated in book club activities and virtual events, and they curated book lists for every age group to inform and encourage dialog and actions for a reimagined future of true equality.
The Greenwich RTC published a letter titled: There is No Place for Racism in Our Society. It included important proclamations and commitments to upend racism. ‘We must do all we can, both collectively and as individuals, to ensure it carries on into the future so that one day we can, with confidence, discard the labels of “black” and “white” and simply call ourselves simply Americans.’
With this local and deep-rooted understanding of racism, repeated public denials are standing out in stark contrast.
Denounce Representative Kimberly Fiorello for her denial of racism
Rep Fiorello voted against the following bills, among others, addressing racial inequities: Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis, the Crown Act, Early and Absentee Voting, Extreme Risk Protection, Changes to zoning laws, Removing religious exemption loopholes for vaccines, Clean Slate, Jennifers’ Law, Free prison-based phone calls, Making Jury Selection less biased/discriminatory, Changes to deceptive ad practices of limited services pregnancy centers, Expansion of Husky to undocumented children.
She regularly denies racism. She has called efforts of legislation to address inequality “very problematic” and not “the proper role of government.”
Denounce Representative Harry Arora for his denial of racism
Rep Arora voted against the following bills, among others, addressing racial inequities: Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis, Changes to zoning laws, Clean Slate, removing religious exemption loopholes for vaccines, Changes to deceptive ad practices of limited services pregnancy centers, Expansion of Husky to undocumented children.
“I denounce New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker’s malicious remarks during this week’s public hearings, calling my town—where my family and I call home – a racist community without any corroboration or proof.”
Denounce RTC Chair Dan Quigley for his denial of racism
“It is disheartening that when our town is falsely accused of being racist or of enacting illegal, racist policies, Democrats remain silent, while tacitly agreeing with that assessment.”
The real work, for Town leaders, of standing against racism is commitment to legislative and policy changes called for by Black communities, and supported by trusted organizations, like the YWCA.