Just Wrong

An edited version of this letter will be going to the Newtown Bee.

The Newtown Democratic Town Committee is deeply disturbed by the hurtful letter from Legislative Council member Cathy Reiss. At best, she did not seriously think through the implications and errors of what she was writing, failing to comprehend the offensive and racist nature of such writing. She should apologize.

Author of How to Be an Antiracist, National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi says, “The heartbeat, historically, of racism has been denial…” Ms. Reiss’ words indicate her denial.

“Systemic (or structural) racism” is defined by NAACP President Derrick Johnson as “the systems and structures that have procedures or processes that disadvantage African Americans.”  

Ms. Reiss claims there can be no systemic racism because “Americans voted for a black man to be president-twice (his name is Barack Obama) and Oprah Winfrey is a billionaire. In 1960, there were several wealthy African Americans in Alabama.” According to Reiss’ logic, there would be no systemic racism in the Jim Crow South. We still see evidence of systems and structures that have disadvantaged Blacks in today’s America. Consider:

  • In 2016, at $171,000, the net worth of a typical white family was nearly ten times greater than that of a Black family ($17,150). (McIntosh, et. al, Examining the Black-White Wealth Gap, Brookings Institute, 2/27/2020).
  • The student loan gap between whites and African Americans has continued to grow: Black college graduates have nearly $25,000 more student loan debt: an average of $52,726 in student debt, compared to $28,006 for the typical White bachelor’s graduate.  (White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans)
  • There is also significant racial disparity seen in higher education. There are serious inequities even among students who do graduate from college. Using federal data on the type of credentials students earn and the majors they study, this analysis finds that, compared with white students, black and Hispanic graduates are far more likely to have attended for-profit colleges and less likely to have attended four-year public or nonprofit institutions. Black and Hispanic graduates also generally have attended institutions that have less money to spend on offering a quality education. And they are significantly underrepresented in important fields such as engineering and education, mathematics and statistics, and the physical sciences. (Libassi, CJ.  The Neglected College Race Gap: Racial Disparities Among College Completers, Center for American Progress, 5/18/2018).
  • In 2019, 9.8% of non-Hispanic whites were uninsured, while 14.8% of Blacks were uninsured. (Rudden, Jennifer,  Percentage of Americans Without Health Insurance by Ethnicity 2010-219, Statista.com).
  • The unemployment and underemployment rates between whites and African Americans remain significant even in prosperous times. From January 1972 to December 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reflected the Black unemployment rate to be twice or more than that of whites.

Painfully, Ms. Reiss excuses the scourge of American slavery with the same traitorous Confederate argument that it was “a world practice since at least 6800 BC.” She proceeds to claim the worldwide Black Lives Matter movement is “more a Marxist movement than a civil rights movement.” Despite loose Marxist roots amongst a few organizers, BLM is a worldwide civil rights movement with the obvious objectives of democratic and constitutional systemic changes for racial equality.

The rest of the quote from Ibram X. Kendi is “…the heartbeat of antiracism is confession, is admission, is acknowledgment, is the willingness to be vulnerable, is the willingness to identify the times in which we are being racist, is to be willing to diagnose ourselves and our policies and our countries. . .to be antiracist is to admit when we are being racist.”

We hope Ms. Reiss and like-minded Newtowners consider these words. Newtown deserves better.

Also please read the following letters from DTC members and friends.

Its Never Too Late by Connie Cooper

Confederate Statues by Richard Eigen

Find Hope and Courage in Activism by Jordana Bloom

A Long Way to Go by Betsy Litt

What Matters by Lea Embree

Lets Move Forward by Jessica Plouffe

Elected Officials Must Set the Bar High by Cara Reilly

Get Activized! Film Screening Event with Eric Stange and Vikiana Petit-Homme

Join us for a free screening of ACTIVIZED (36 min.), followed by a live Q&A with the director/producer, Eric Stange, and March for Our Lives New England regional director, Vikiana Petit-Homme.
 
ACTIVIZED is a short documentary film following eight ordinary Americans who — for the first time in their lives — have left their comfort zones and become involved in gun violence prevention, voting rights and immigrants’ rights. Interweaving their personal stories against the backdrop of the causes they fight for, we experience their motivations, successes and failures, their sacrifices, and victories. Above all, we celebrate these inspiring, courageous citizens for embracing one of the most basic of American traditions – dissent.
 
 
 
Register in advance for this webinar:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mzjmBpwwSbOO7YRQXMIc_A
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
 
More about the film at: https://www.activizedfilm.org

Zooooooooming Meetings

Don’t forget that our meetings are all online and we are using Zoom for the meetings.  Information is on the calendar for the meeting.

We will also be having a special meeting on May 21st at 7:30 to nominate a candidate for the 106th State Representative District, the Democratic Registrar of Voters and Justices of the Peace.   Please contact us for info.  NewtownCTDems@gmail.com

Upcoming events – changes!

Hi friends,

Our meeting this Thursday is going virtual through Zoom.  Please email us at newtownctdems@gmail.com for info if you would like to participate.

Our party on Saturday for St. Patrick’s is cancelled.  Following our First Selectman and the Governor’s leads on social distancing and crowds.

We do not know of any impacted person at this point, but prevention is key.

Congratulations to All

Well, its a been a week since the frenzy of Election Day.  Thinking back to this campaign, we are very proud of our slate of candidates.  We were able to secure 27/31 seats on the various Newtown boards and maintained majority on the Council and Board of Education while splitting the Board of Finance 3-3.

There were two very close calls.  LC District 3 finished in a tie between Alison and Carol for the fourth seat from that district.  If you are not sure about every vote counting, our Registrar and her team of election officials made sure it did.  After only a few hours of sleep, the recount began at 9:30 AM.  It was an impressive effort on behalf of the Registrar’s team and they were very careful with each and every single ballot.  In the end, a vote for Alison was not counted by the machines and she will be taking the final spot on the Legislative Council.  Steve fell short of a return to the Board of Finance by 16 votes.  Your vote matters!  Don’t let it sit idly by.

We are proud of the way our slate ran this year.  We stayed positive and talked about how we could make Newtown a better place for all of us.  It was very disheartening to read the smears and attacks on social media about our candidates and incumbents.   Thankfully, community matters more than lies and misinformation and the voters saw that our slate of volunteers were the type of representation they wanted.

Thanks to all who came out and voted, answered the door when we knocked, the phone when it rang and replied to our texts.  The work begins anew.

‘Tis the Season

The municipal election is just weeks away. Please get to know the DTC candidates and reach out to them with any questions about their candidacy! We have a great team of folks who are stepping up to volunteer to make things a little nicer here in Newtown.

There are many challenges facing our town in the next couple of years, our candidates are coming together as a community to work on behalf of all of us here in the town. Community Matters!

Announcing our Democratic Slate for the Nov 2019 election!

The Newtown Democrats came together on a steamy July evening to elect our candidates for the fall election.  Since the 2017 election, we have accomplished a lot and are ready to keep moving forward.  Dan and Maureen have done a great job and are looking to keep the good things coming!

1st Selectman – *Dan Rosenthal

Board of Selectmen – *Maureen Crick Owen

Board of Education – *Rebekah Harriman-Stites and *John Vouros

Board of Finance – *Keith Alexander, *Steve Hinden, *Ned Simpson and Chris Gardner

Legislative Council District 1 – *Judit DeStefano, *Paul Lundquist, *Chris Eide

Legislative Council District 2 – *Jordana Bloom, *Daniel Honan, Clinton DePaolo

Legislative Council District 3 – *Chris Smith, Carol Walsh, Alison Plante

Planning and Zoning – *Corinne Cox, *Benjamin Toby

Planning and Zoning Alternates – *David Rosen, Andrew Marone

Zoning Board of Appeals – *Ross Carley,  *Prerna Rao

Zoning Board of Appeals Alternates – *Joe Bojnowski, *Christina Paradis

Police Commission – *Joan Plouffe, *Joel Faxon

ETH Board of Managers – *Herb Rosenthal and  *Lisa Schwartz (2 year term to fill vacancy)

Board of Assessment Appeals – *Alex Villamil, Brynn Cullen

Congrats to all our candidates!  Special thanks for all the work the incumbents (*) have done over the past 18 months!

Campaign Training School Information for April 6th

Here are some of the details for our Campaign Training School on April 6th!

Sign up here!  Don’t be shy!  It’s free!

We will be at Reed Intermediate School in Newtown.  6 Trades Lane.

Sign in at 9:00 AM

Nancy Wyman – morning keynote address at 9:30 AM

Session 1 classes run from 10:00 to 10:40 as follows:

  • Setting up Social Media
  • VAN for Campaign Managers/Candidates
  • The Art of Doorknocking
  • Field Organizing
  • Understanding SEEC

Session 2 classes run from 10:50 – 11:30 as follows:

  • Tips and Tricks for Social Media
  • Understanding SEEC
  • Get out the Vote!
  • Communications and Literature
  • Fundraising!

Attorney General William Tong – Keynote Address at 11:30 with lunch

Session 3 classes run from 12:50 – 1:20 as follows:

  • Tips and Tricks for Social Media
  • VAN for activists and doorknockers
  • Mastering the Art of Political Persuasion (double session)
  • Communications and Literature

Session 4 classes run from 1:30 – 2:10 as follows:

  • Field Organizing
  • Get Out the Vote!
  • Fundraising
  • Mastering the Art of Political Persuasion (starts in session 3)

Local Panel of Experts take your questions!  Featuring Dan Rosenthal, Dave Arconti, Raghib Allie-Brennan, Rebekah Harriman-Stites, Michelle McCabe and Chris Eide.

SPECIAL YOUTH FORUM FOR HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS

  • Runs during session 3 with Raghib Allie-Brennan and Kevin Alvarez
  • Session 4 symposium with Newtown High School Young Dems President Simone Paradis