Winter is coming!
Josh and Tiana have been working hard this fall for the people of Hartford. From fighting for safe & sanitary housing to addressing food insecurity, they have a lot to share about their work as well as some of the ongoings of our city.
“The biggest event in city politics that you never heard of”: Why Josh Voted no on Revisions to the Hartford Charter on Election Day.
“On Nov. 8 Hartford voters will be asked whether to approve revisions to the city’s charter. I voted no when the matter was before City Council, and I will vote no when it’s on the ballot” Josh said in an op-ed for the Hartford Courant.
Josh explained that the Charter Revision Commission, made up of nominees from every member of the city council, rejected the advice of nationally recognized experts on a variety of important topics; such as city election reform that would hand residents in city neighborhoods more say; creating an election for police commissioner which would give citizens more accountability over the police department; and allowing citizens to elect a majority of members on the Board of Education.
Additionally, the commission’s leadership called votes and debates on many issues when some members were not available. This led to all of the commission’s Black members, and two others, to boycott the rest of the commissions meetings.
All of this, according to Josh, results in a charter that “is an uninspired reinforcement of the status quo that will stifle the people’s voices for years to come, and teach another generation of voters that its destiny is to be governed by a handful of insiders who set policy goals with as little public input as possible.”
Field Trip: “The December 6th Project”
“I had an amazing time on the trip, I enjoyed going to Georgetown college and visiting the national monuments. I also loved being able to hanging out with everyone who went. Overall, I had a 10:10 experience!” – Paeyton H.
With support from the BSL Educational Foundation & Congressman John Larson’s office, our team sought to support creativity among city youth and “exercise their original creative process on the subject of the 13th Amendment abolition of slavery and its effect on their community” through a written & visual arts contest.
Youths interested had to write a one page essay, poster, painting, photo, video, or poem elaborating on the question “What does the passage of the 13th Amendment on December Sixth (the abolition of slavery) mean to you?”
Winners of the essay contest received a fully paid trip to Washington D.C. to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“The trip was great. I loved being with the rest of the contest winners. Everything was planned perfectly, and it was a great weekend. My favorite parts were the college tours to American University and Georgetown University. It was a wonderful way to spend the long weekend!” – Bryana W.
Josh and Tiana Celebrate a New Community Mural With Hartford Residents!
In October, Josh and Tiana celebrated the completion of a community mural located at the corner of Zion and Summit street.
Both the mural and the party were sponsored by our offices, Mutual Housing, Trinity College, and the Hartford “Love Your Block” Program.
Attendees of the event were treated to free music and food as they helped mural artist Taris “Poptart” Clemons paint the mural.
The mural was inspired by the phrase “after the clouds comes the sun,” a city motto.
Community Events & More
For those operating a small business and are looking to increase business activity, retain jobs, and make ones neighborhood more attractive for future investments; make sure to apply to the Small Business Façade program run by the Department of Developmental Services Small Business Division.
If you are interested, fill out the Façade Program Participation Questionnaire here.
City of Hartford Job Opportunities
In the news
Promoting Healthy, Affordable Food in Hartford: Josh and Tiana proposed a resolution to study the feasibility of a publicly-funded grocery store in Hartford’s North End, which is classified as a food desert.
“The average life expectancy in the north end, depending on what zip code you pick is 15 or 20 years less than West Hartford, a few miles away.” Josh told Ayah Galal of WFSB news. “ There’s a lot of research that says [the problem is] access to good affordable nutrition.” Josh said. Read more: Hartford residents urge city to bring more options for fresh food
At a City Council meeting on Tuesday November 7, Josh and Tiana spoke in favor of their resolution calling for a grocery store feasibility study in the North End, further adding that the city must not be focused merely on making a profit. but on making real and impactful change in the North End.
Pam McLoughlin of the Hartford Courant writes that despite the hesitancy of Department of Developmental Services Director I. Charles Mathews to go forward with Josh and Tiana’s resolution, the Council voted to postpone a final vote on the resolution pending further deliberations. Read more: Hartford officials continue to haggle over ways to solve the food desert in city’s North End. What’s the solution?
Improving Hartford Housing Conditions: Hartford renters expressed frustration at the unsanitary and unsafe conditions at several apartment buildings across the city. This frustration was exacerbated due to the overwhelmed Hartford City Housing inspection corp, which only had seven housing inspectors in total.
“When Councilor Hercules and I initially proposed a budget amendment that would have provided 20 inspectors overall, we didn’t pick that number at random. We looked at comparable cities with similar housing stock and we looked at the housing crisis, in terms of rent and quality in the city and we felt there had to be action,” said Josh. Read more: Hartford increased its number of housing inspectors to tackle complaints of unsanitary and unsafe conditions. Some say it’s not enough.
Josh and Tiana Push for a Hartford Affordable Housing Plan: The Hartford city council met on Nov. 7 to discuss a new affordable housing plan.
As reported by CT Insiders’ Jonah Dylan, Tiana argues that the plan presented to the council is simply a new spin on old ideas.
“I was waiting with bated breath to hear these cutting-edge strategies that director Mathews mentioned at the beginning, and we just did not get it… and so, unless I’m missing something, it’s just more of the same. And I think that is disappointing.” Tiana said to Dylan. Read more: Why Hartford officials compare releasing affordable housing plan to game of poker
Enjoy the holidays, and don’t forget to connect with us online!
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