New Haven Deserves A Strong, Effective All Civilian Review Board

The community led effort to win an All Civilian Review Board is not new. After more than 20 years of struggle, community members have organized support for the M.A.L.I.K All Civilian Review Board Proposal. Meanwhile, the City is trying to pass a watered down, toothless proposal in an effort to block the hard won community victory. If you can't prevent the creation of a Civilian Review Board, make sure it is as powerless as possible.

NHPD block’s Mayor Toni Harp’s office.

NHPD block’s Mayor Toni Harp’s office.

The M.A.L.I.K. proposal on the other hand was written by Ms. Emma Jones in honor of her son Malik (who was murdered by East Haven Police).  This proposal has been developed and vetted for years in a collaborative, community based process dedicated to creating the system that New Haven Community members want and deserve.  This proposal is informed by research, experience, and community.  It has been through the very process that the city has desperately been trying to avoid and includes the voices the city has ignored thus far.  This is the proposal we want.  This is the proposal New Haven deserves.

It is telling that the city's proposal begins by emphasizing the importance of police and how difficult and demanding their job is.  Many of us have difficult and demanding jobs.  None of us would be permitted to use this as justification for violence. 

The proposal goes on to offer an abbreviated history of policing starting in 1861 when the city abolished the "Old Watch" system and created its first police force.  Anyone with knowledge of historical dates can tell you what else happened in 1861 and anyone with knowledge of the history of police in this country can tell you that most police forces in this country were established during this time.  The history of policing in the United States cannot be separated from this nations' history with chattel slavery or from the abolishment, adaptation, and evolution of that system into our current mass incarceration reality.

Somehow, the city plan goes through 157 years of history without the mention of the many flash points of police violence in New Haven that have happened even just in recent years.  To read this, one is left to believe that we are having this conversation because the city has benevolently taken it upon itself to make the department more accountable.  For no particular reason whatsoever.  Not only is this plan lacking the power to hold the department accountable in any meaningful way, it is also attempting to rewrite history into law.  This is an insult to everyone who has taken a role in this fight.  It is an insult to the memory of all of those we have lost and to everyone who has been harmed by violent policing in this city.

We have come this far.  Together this community changed the city charter.  We can win the Civilian Review Board our city deserves.  We call on the City of New Haven, Mayor Harp, and the Board of Aldermen to delay a vote and to adopt the M.A.L.I.K All Civilian Review Board Proposal.  We will not be silent and we will not be ignored.  Our fight will continue until we win.

If we don't get it?

Shut it down.

Community members conduct impromptu sit after being blocked from entering city hall and Mayor Toni Harp’s office by New Haven Police.

Community members conduct impromptu sit after being blocked from entering city hall and Mayor Toni Harp’s office by New Haven Police.

Even this important work is just one piece of a larger struggle to reimagine community safety. The question of how we keep ourselves and each other safe is too important to file under "That's just how we've always done it." It's time to ask deep questions, to take measures like these that reduce harm while envisioning a transformed future where the "security" of one group isn't upheld by the oppression of another. 

We have come this far together. Together we can build the future we deserve.

CTCORE Stands with Arvia Walker

CTCORE Board member, Arvia Walker, is fierce advocate and leader for racial justice in the state of Connecticut. As a Public Policy and Strategic Engagement Specialist for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Arvia has been championing Fair Treatment for Incarcerated Women. This includes:

  • Fighting for a requirement “that at least one licensed departmental or contracted health care provider who is employed at the York Correctional Institution (1) has been trained in prenatal and postpartum medical care, and (2) has knowledge of and the ability to educate any inmate who is pregnant concerning prenatal nutrition, high-risk pregnancy, and addiction and substance abuse during pregnancy and childbirth.”
  • And limiting the “use any leg or waist restraint on any inmate of the institution who has been determined to be pregnant or in the postpartum period by a licensed health care provider.”

Connecticut is arguably the most racially inequitable state in the nation. We have some of the highest, if not the highest, systemic racial disparities in the country – including wealth gap, education opportunity gap, and disproportionate rates of incarceration.

“Connecticut has the highest racial and ethnic disparities in the country for committed youth.”

In May of 2015, Governor Malloy called a policy that disproportionately incarcerates Black and Latinx residents in the cities, and for longer sentences (for the same behavior), than their White, suburban counterparts “…if not racist in intent…racist in its outcome.”.

Republican lawmakers were more outraged by the use of the r-word than by the unnecessary loss of years to incarceration and the challenges of putting one’s life back together afterwards – a reality for so many CT residents of color.

They made it about themselves. They shut down the General Assembly in protest.

The message that the majority of CT legislators send to residents of color is that they either don’t understand their role, as lawmakers, in creating and maintaining inequity in this state or they just don’t care. So, it wasn’t surprising, to some, when State Senator John Fonfara (D-Hartford) looked at Arvia’s “Stand With Black Women” pin, dismissed the movement for equity the pin stands for as “propaganda”.

He made it about himselfHe tried to equate the struggle for racial and gender equity with the plight of White men (who, as a group, suffer almost no negative systemic disparities in this state).

This was not surprising, but it is unacceptable! When Ernie Hewett, a Black, former state representative insulted a White student, he was almost immediately stripped of his deputy speakership.

Sen. Fonfara should face the same consequence - immediate stripping of his seat as co-chair of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee.


CTCORE is heading to the Capitol this Thursday.

Stand with us.

CTCORE-Organize Now! 2018 Advocacy Day

CT State Capitol (210 Capitol Ave, Hartford, CT)

Thursday, April 19th

9:30a-3p in the Old Judiciary Room



CTCORE Racial Justice Platform Values Statement is a statement on dismantling and eliminating White Supremacy

Racial Justice Platform
Values Statement

"We affirm and we have a right to affirm our humanity and the necessity of our liberation. We have a right to environments that likewise affirm our humanity and our liberation. We have a right to define both.

Racism, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness are polluting our environments. These pollutants have been weaponized to oppress and exploit Black people and people of color in the U.S. for centuries, to decimate our communities, and to stymie any real opportunities for full equity and equality. This weaponization began when the first slave ships stole Africans from the Gold Coast and when the first European colonizers stole land from and attempted genocide against the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Through these actions, our ancestors’ freedoms were stolen and, simultaneously, their struggle for liberation began.

Despite the efforts of our ancestors, racism, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness continue to oppress, evolve, and embed themselves within the fabric of American society. We can see the legacy of these forces in mass incarceration and police brutality, the school-to-prison pipeline and lack of resources for schools, generational poverty and discriminatory housing policies, and the high mortality rate that results from preventable diseases and insufficient healthcare, among other places. By challenging racism’s hold, we seek to realize our ancestors’ dream of liberation and to reclaim their freedom as well as our own.

In order to attain freedom, we must heal our communities and prevent further harm. Our aim in organizing is to repair ourselves and our communities and to secure future generations from racist violence of all kinds. We have a right to define what our liberation looks like and to fight for it until we deem that it has been realized. We assert that reparations are necessary compensation for the physical and psychological exploitation that Black people and people of color have faced, as well as compensation for being shut out of opportunities for prosperity that are predicated on that exploitation. These reparations must be paid in order for our future liberation and the liberation of this nation to be possible.

CTCORE--Organize Now! is committed to eliminating all systemic racial inequities in Connecticut. We use four racial justice categories--criminal justice reform, education equity, economic justice, and environmental/health equity--as a framework for identifying policy reforms for addressing racial disparities. We demand that all public officials adopt our platform and invite all justice-minded Connecticut residents to join us in realizing this vision."

Dr. Joy DeGruy on Cognitive Dissonance and White Supremacy

"Dr. Joy DeGruy (Leary) is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher, educator, author, and presenter. Dr. Joy, as most know her, is an ambassador for healing and a voice for those who've struggled in search of the past, and continue to struggle through the present. 

Dr. DeGruy holds a bachelor of science degree in communications, a master's degree in social work, a master's degree in psychology, and a Ph.D. in social work research. She is an assistant professor at Portland State University. She has written many articles and books, including Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome, which is the basis for her speech today. Her work suggests that centuries of slavery followed by systemic racism and oppression have resulted in multigenerational adaptive behaviors, some of which have been positive and reflective of resilience, and others that are detrimental and destructive. "Healing must occur on multiple levels, because the injury occurred on multiple levels. 

The Building Bridges Conference, is a student-initiated, student-led diversity conference dedicated to addressing today's pressing global and social issues. The conference series aims to increase awareness and action through inspirational speakers supplemented by interactive workshops and action steps. This year's conference, I'm Not For Sale: Slavery Past and Present, will provide a rewarding opportunity to engage in important dialogue regarding slavery—from the historical slave trade to today's modern society."

Read More