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Hundreds Weigh The Meaning Of “Don’t Shoot”

by Melissa Bailey | Dec 8, 2011 12:20 am

(50) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Legal Writes, Media, Schools

Thomas MacMillan Photo “You’re not going to stop a murder” with the city’s newest anti-violence plan, said Barbara Fair.

“Yes, you are. That’s a fact,” replied the man who came up with the idea.
The exchange came at a multimedia pow-wow on how to stop New Haven’s killings—with more voices joining in from home. The exchange reflected one of several outcomes of the evening: That people want to hear more—and in some cases remain to be convinced—about the idea.

The forum, called “Fighting Back: Violence In Our Cities,” drew 200 people Wednesday night to the theater of Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School. It was co-sponsored by the New Haven Independent, WTNH and the New Haven Register.

The evening brought cops, ex-gang members, police critics and others together to hash out the question of how to rebuild trust between police in the community, and how to turn back a tide of shootings that have so far left 32 New Haveners dead this year.

Community activist Barbara Fair was one of five panelists who talked on stage with David Kennedy, author of a new book (Don’t Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America) about a strategy he helped pioneer that has led to dramatic homicide reductions in other cities. He’ll be bringing that strategy to New Haven. (Read about that here.) Kennedy met earlier in the day with Mayor John DeStefano and Police Chief Dean Esserman to start planning the new program.

While Fair and Kennedy’s panel spoke on the Co-op stage Wednesday night, another conversation took place in an online forum led by reporters, Mayor John DeStefano and Edgewood activist Eli Greer. People watching the event from the audience and from a live-stream at home joined in the conversation. Scroll down in this file to read that live-blog discussion by clicking on the “Cover-It-Live” box. Then you can keep the discussion going by posting new comments in the regular comments section at the bottom of the article. WTNH live-streamed video of the event; you should be able to click on a permanent version of that video at some point on Thursday.

Kennedy opened the forum with a synopsis of the strategy he’s spread across the country. It’s based on a simple concept, he said: No one likes it when young people die, not even those doing the violence.

Based on that premise, he came up with a plan: Identify the small number of people in organized groups who are doing most of the shooting. Bring them in a room with cops, prosecutors, federal agents, probation and parole officers, grieving mothers and community leaders from their neighborhoods. Promise them you’re about to crack down hard on any shootings involving anyone in their groups, arresting all group members possible if any of them continues to use their guns. Also promise them help if they go straight: job-training, drug treatment, school. Then keep all the promises.

As he pitched the idea on stage Wednesday, Kennedy met quick resistance.

“We’re going to bring them in and help,” Kennedy pledged.

“What would the help look like?” said a skeptical William “Juneboy” Outlaw, a city street outreach worker and former gang member. “That’s what I want to know.”

“That’s what I’m leery about,” added Fair. She said “targeting” certain people makes her nervous, too.

Kennedy later said that in “city after city after city,” the strategy has worked, yet in each new place there’s always initial resistance.

Darrell “D-Russ” Allick, a former drug dealer whose brother was among this year’s homicide victims, was another skeptical panelist.

Kennedy turned to him and popped a question.

“Would you rather it be noisy or be quiet” on the streets? Kennedy asked him.

“Quiet,“Allick replied.

“Quiet at what expense?” asked Fair.  By “filling up the prisons” with young black men? “Is that how it worked?” Fair said she has reservations that the Don’t Shoot methodology would equate to racial profiling.

“Fair seems to disagree with Kennedy’s approach,” noted blogger and CT Mirror reporter Uma Ramiah. “She’s shaking her head while he’s talking.”

“Funny Uma,” replied Mayor John DeStefano on the blog. “I think they’re saying the same thing.”

Fair and Kennedy were asked if they were using different definitions of profiling. In the 1980s, New Haven police profiling included tactics like those used by the police department’s “Beat-Down Posse.” Cops in that squad in the 1980s targeted all black young men in some neighborhoods, roughed them up, told them to get off the streets. That was one definition of profiling. Kennedy’s approach, he argues in his book, has led to fewer people going to jail. His kind of profiling targets the very small number of kids in gangs who are taking part in gun violence, and offering them options to go straight while also enforcing the law against them in a targeted way if they don’t..

Kennedy said in every city he’s studied, a very small number of people is responsible for the gun violence and homicides. Cops know who the killers are, even if they can’t always prosecute a case against them.

A Hillhouse Debate

Some of the most interesting debates took place indirectly, between those on the stage and the 10 students from Hillhouse High School, who sat in the audience, blogging from laptops. The students are part of Jack Paulishen’s AP Government and Politics class.

One debate emerged after Fair recounted a story. She said her daughter, who has no criminal record, had just been arrested for driving an unregistered car. She said police are wasting energy on the wrong priorities.

A student who went by the handle “ಠ⌣ಠ ಠ_ಠ ಠ_ರೃ ಥ⌣ಥ” offered little sympathy: “so because her daughter is not part of the murder problem, she should be exempt from punishment of the lesser laws? Nope.”

“Just because you haven’t committed a crime doesn’t mean that you should be ignored,” added Aloysia Jean, a Hillhouse senior. “Driving an unregistered car is still against the law. She was rightfully stopped.”

“If an unregistered car is a violation, then why should they get away with it? Yes, we are trying to minimize the violence, but saying that we should focus more on that and less on trivial things is not necessarily a strong argument,” added Dewey Browder IV.

The panelists were later asked about the theory behind that discussion—the “broken windows” theory that small problems, such as shattered window panes, invite larger and larger crimes. Professor George Kelling’s “broken windows theory” became the basis of community-policing experiments that began in the 1980s, although it was interpreted in different ways. In all cases it meant addressing small problems before that got bigger. In New York City, that meant arresting “squeegee man” and other people involved in petty crimes. In New Haven it meant working with neighbors to identify little problems—abandoned property, problem landlords, vandalism—and kids in trouble and finding ways to address them without arrests. In the Hill, for instance, a neighborhood office once bought a trampoline for kids who, having nothing to do all day, were bothering street alcoholics.

In his reply, Kennedy echoed what Fair and others had been saying: “Everyone deserves to be able to walk down the street unmolested by police” if they’re simply walking on the street.

The broken windows theory became distorted in practice, Kennedy replied. “Carrying an open container became the same as taking out a gun and shooting somebody.”

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Comments

posted by: Adrian Green CEO of TeamSuperKick'z on December 5, 2011  4:44pm

This Sounds Like A Very positive event somthing that needs to Happen because New Haven needs to change and Now is the time, as me and my Dance Group TeamSuperKick’z some being residents of The New Haven commuinty agree to this positive act

posted by: Threefifths on December 5, 2011  4:48pm

I hope this works.Check this out.

The 14-Year-Old Hit Man.


http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/28/magazine/the-14-year-old-hit-man.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm&ref=magazine

posted by: sajokir on December 5, 2011  10:14pm

When is this event happening?

posted by: Nathalie on December 6, 2011  8:57am

Will be there!

posted by: Nicolet Stewart on December 7, 2011  8:13pm

the space is starting to get more dense

posted by: eve's favorite cousin on December 7, 2011  9:41pm

it’s great that there’s a white guy breaking down why black men are killing each other.  perhaps the white mayor, the white chief or a buttload of white yale professors can solve this problem.
i see that instead of paving grand avenue potholes, we’ve decided to pave the road to hell instead with our good intentions.  this wont stop until this insidious trend hits st. ronan st., alden ave and morris cove.  but let’s keep feeling good about trying to help our “less fortunate” brothers.

posted by: Noteworthy on December 7, 2011  10:03pm

Less talk more action. Smart, strategic, with accountability and defined goals with published results. The time for talk is over. It gives rise to platitudes, fake concern, and shallow programs that cost a lot of money.

One note about the street outreach workers - This program is completely without accountability and even less results. It costs a boatload of money and yet, we still have rising gangs, violence, drug dealing and gun running. We don’t need more of these people, we don’t need any of them. If we’re going to fund them, then let’s get some results and have them target specific kids and families and get the results or fire them all.

And one special note to Juneboy Outlaw - change your freaking name to whatever it really is. It shows a lack of respect all around. If you are dealing with these bangers, they know already you have street cred - show them you have society cred. If these at risk kids don’t figure out how to fit in, get an education and a job, we’ll be paying for their care in prison regardless of how much money we spend.

[Editor’s Note: William Juneboy Outlaw is his given name from birth, I’m pretty sure.]

posted by: Threefifths on December 8, 2011  12:38am

The gangs remind me of The Rwandan Genocide.Tutsi and Hutu.

posted by: bjfair on December 8, 2011  1:05am

I thought the event was useful. My point regarding my daughter’s arrest was that police time spent on traffic enforcement is not the best use of time when the city has 32 murders and most unsolved and to hercar, give her a ticket,handcuff, fingerprint complete with mugshot for a traffic violation is a little overkill. At least I think most reasonable people would think so. Most people have unregistered cars not because they are criminals but because they can’t afford to pay all the fees associated with having a car yet they need it to get to and from their low paying job. Students whose parents are paying everything for them wouldn’t understand that.

posted by: anon on December 8, 2011  4:28am

Clearly, politicians and police chiefs have failed and will continue to fail without any citizen accountability.  Instead, we need very strong, grassroots leadership from outside City Hall. 

What leader is going to step up and demand the level of accountability and results-driven planning that has been so badly needed here for the past 20 years?

The only group I can see doing this, in terms of necessary funding and political power, is the Union/CCNE.  But their leadership lives entirely in the suburbs, so despite their rhetoric about stopping violence, they are actually much less interested in funding proven violence prevention strategies than they are interested in giving raises to their own members making $80K+/year (at the direct expense of low-income families of color who pay property tax/rent within New Haven).

posted by: Chris Rubino on December 8, 2011  8:28am

Another side of this that has not even been mentioned is the state of the Police Department.  It is in a shambles.  There is NO leadership, NO direction, NO morale, NO vision, NO accountability, NO recognition, NO discipline, and NO training.  But the GOOD OLE BOY network is super strong and cronyism abounds.  Fix the internal PD and you will have police much better and more effective police officers.  I am not saying that this is the only issue, but until you fix the internal workings of the PD, the rest will not work.  This is a twenty year veteran of the PD, speaking from experience.  GET RID OF THE MAYOR AND HIS HORRIBLE CHOICES FOR CHIEF.  Present Chief included.  Other than Chief Lewis, all of the past 6 Chiefs have been deplorable.  Everyone from Pastore on. (except for Lewis).  In line with the whole Broken Windows Theory.  Fix the small problems (internal workings of the PD) and it will help fix the larger one (relationship between the PD and the community.)

posted by: noteworthy on December 8, 2011  8:52am

My apologies to Mr. Outlaw if that is your given name. In the context of this story, I made an assumption that I should not have.

posted by: bjfair on December 8, 2011  10:05am

The moderator asked the question “Does the community respect the police”. I wish he had followed up with “Does the police respect the community?”. Respect is a two way street. The response would not have been surprising to most in the audience. Maybe it’s why it wasn’t asked

posted by: jt75 on December 8, 2011  10:29am

I think the notion that the city should be spending all their time on solving murder cases while ignoring other offenses (like driving an unregistered car) is ridiculous. Quality of life in this City would be far worse if that happened.

Let’s look at the facts: roughly 30 of the 32 murder victims were black. That’s not racial profiling, that’s reality. With murder rates this high, I think you have to be willing to try just about anything to find a solution to this problem.

I didn’t see any real solutions proposed by Fair in this article even though she seemed to oppose just about everything suggested. I’m absolutely more inclined to go with Kennedy’s proven success rather than criticize his approach with no real statistics or research to back up the counterarguments.

posted by: "The Hill is my home" on December 8, 2011  10:48am

Yes the “White Lady” as she called herself from the hill was talking about birth control what did that have to do with anything that was talked about that night?????????? and from the hill where does she live I’m sure it’s cith point where nothing goes on come around congress ave, west street ect then talk about the white lady from the hill until then sit down and stop reading into things until you know for sure and I ‘m glad you went and apologized to Darrell after the meetingwas over because you were Dead Wrong!!!!!!!!!

posted by: William Kurtz on December 8, 2011  10:51am

Anon,

Is there any problem that’s not somehow the fault of union members who may not live within New Haven’s relatively small municipal boundaries?

posted by: A mom on December 8, 2011  10:51am

I think that if Kennedy’s approach has been successful in other cities then it is worth giving it a try in New Haven.  It seems as if Barbara Fair is being too PC when lives are being lost.  If I was a parent of one of these “in trouble” kids, I would much rather have the police pull them in before they harmed themselves or others than get a call saying they are dead in the street. 

Although,  Kennedy’s approach could be a major component in reducing violence there maybe other components that could help with kids that are not already in gangs.  For example, I have noticed the play infrastructure in our part of the city is sorely lacking.  The kids have been locked out of a baseball field at a local school and the basketball courts and chain nets at this school are in terrible condition.  In fact, people regularly park on these courts even during after school hours, and I think it would be great if they could be refurbished so kids could get some outdoor activity after school. 

There is talk about a central community center but I have some questions about what types of activities would be available to kids at a community center.  I am just saying I don’t think after spending the whole day in school that kids want to sit inside.  I would hope that such a center would have places where kids could get some physical activity preferably outdoors.  Maybe the center could do such things, as, for example, sponsor a cycling team to get kids out and moving.  Hopefully such an activity would give them a sense of accomplishment and make them tired reducing the allure of gang activity.

posted by: davec on December 8, 2011  10:52am

I personally find Mr. Greer’s posts during the event to be repulsively cynical, self-serving, and unproductive.  I urge everyone to go through the transcript and check out his sad commentary.  Its like he wasn’t even paying attention to the conversation.  Merely spewing vitriol and cutting/pasting the same comments over and over. 
Why was he an ‘invited’ commenter?  Since I don’t personally know anyone in the room last night, I must be missing something here.

posted by: jt75 on December 8, 2011  11:26am

@davec read Greer’s comments, and I’d have to agree. It’s disappointing that this forum provided a platform for people that just want to be critics of every solution that’s put out there.

I highly doubt there’s widespread support or enthusiasm from anyone for starting armed patrols in Edgewood again: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/rabbi_calls_for_action/

Is that really the solution?

posted by: anon on December 8, 2011  11:37am

Barbara Fair: Crashes injure a lot more people in New Haven than shootings do. Perhaps if your friend or family were killed or injured in a car crash, you wouldn’t be advocating for reduced traffic enforcement. In fact we need to dramatically step up the traffic enforcement and have tickets being given out at every light and stop sign. Though I agree somewhat that the emphasis should be on speeding and light running, not necessarily on expired registrations.

Bill, violence is not directly CCNE’s fault, but they contribute to it by arguing for ever increasing rents on low income, non union families with little hope (so that suburbanites can get more $$$) rather than arguing for, say, 10% across the board cuts for mid-top earners with the $5-10 million per year saved from that directed to youth jobs, entry level and after school activities.

posted by: bjfair on December 8, 2011  11:58am

jt75. I have never ending critics and that’s okay. whatever floats your boat. You didn’t hear me say just go after murderers and allow the minor crimes to go unaddressed. what I said was I feel handcuffing,arresting,fingerprinting and mug shots was a little overkill in a city where you have at least 20 unsolved murders and countless shootings, robberies. Also, you didn’t see my solutions in the article yet they were suggested. my solutions were less about occupying the city and more about supporting families. I’m sure that would not go over well with those who are not invested in our city or ou families.

posted by: cityhall on December 8, 2011  12:28pm

jt75-
Greer said nothing about Edgewood Patrols starting he actually presented the facts about crime and an excellent idea about a “Hybrid Patrol”, actually reading is useful!
PS He has brought safety to the forefront in this City and helped bring in then Chief Lewis.
It’s ok folks who care read the truth!!!

posted by: lifelongnewhavener on December 8, 2011  12:31pm

Dos anyone else realize that New Haven’s 32nd homicide mirrors the death of Dallas’ father a few blocks away in March of 1989?  Darryl Boomer was shot to death near Hillhouse while driving his 5 year old stepson to school.  To the best of my knowledge this murder remains unsolved.  Are any killers ever going to get caught?  Seems to me nothing has changed since the murders began in the 80’s.

posted by: anon on December 8, 2011  1:06pm

LifeLong: Prior to the 1980s, most if not all of the top patrol cops lived within New Haven. The old timers in our neighborhoods like Dixwell and Dwight can go on for hours about how good this was. Nowadays, fewer than 10% do. 

Neighborhoods are only as safe as the number of public safety officers who live in them, not the number who patrol them.

Until this basic fact changes (something that the current Union leadership will never agree to since they are also almost entirely based in the suburbs, or if not, in sections of New Haven that are as safe as the suburbs), our inner city violence rate is just going to go up.

posted by: Noteworthy on December 8, 2011  1:23pm

JT75 -

The Edgewood Patrol was very successful and dramatically reduced crime. It also got the attention of City Hall and the police which actually started paying attention and doing something there. Given the level of violence in this city, and the mayor’s reluctance to own it and do something about it, I don’t mind his comments.

A Mom and Others -

A premise of this forum is that the city knows who the gang bangers are and those who are the serial bad actors. It proposes among other things to intervene with this people in a showdown of sorts.

This is actually an old story and a retread idea. Several years ago, DeStefano said there was a list of 300 at risk kids who were known trouble makers. Yale, he said helped compile the list. The city was going to intervene with those kids. Here we are some years later - what happened? Big headline at the time. Small if any result. With blood running in the streets, it gets dusted off again.

Remember the famous trip to HighPoint, NC? Smuts, et al went down there to find out how that city dealt with its crime problem. They did the same thing that’s being discussed again here. That was a couple years ago now. Big headline..even blogged from down there. And the result is…32 murders soon to be 34 by year’s end.

It’s time to quit talking and start doing. When Greer originally announced the armed patrols in Edgewood, I remember a famous quote from the management team meeting - somebody wanted to have a “dialogue project.”

We don’t need a dialogue, we need will power and a spinal transfusion at home and at City Hall. If people at home want a job, create one for yourself, or get skills somebody is willing to pay for. If you have children at home, talk to them about personal responsibility. If they’ve got more money than you, if they have any money, you need to know where it comes from. We all need to take control of our families. In doing so, we will create a better future for all of us.

The question is “What’s it going to take? And how do we make that happen?”

posted by: anon on December 8, 2011  1:49pm

“The Edgewood Patrol was very successful and dramatically reduced crime.”

We need more of that.  But the suburban-based Police Union will never allow things that actually reduce crime in a sustainable way - because it would threaten their job security.

Another example is security patrols like the hundreds paid for by Yale through Yale security and Downtown ambassadors (which in both cases are privatized companies).  These reduce crime by 40-80% in areas where they operate, and would work very well in crime hotspots like Dixwell, Shelton, Whalley, Grand, Ferry, and upper Chapel.  The Police Union has been adamantly opposed to the expansion of Ambassadors/private security/patrols/etc because it would immediately translate into an enormous drop, if not disappearance, of crime and therefore less need to pay such a disproportionately huge police force.

posted by: About Barbara Fair on December 8, 2011  1:56pm

I have to admit, I groaned when I read Barbara Fair’s story about her daughter. ... I believe it costs $80 to register a passenger vehicle for two years. I am a single parent, pay all of my own bills on a salary that is not reflective of the cost of living, INCLUDING registering my car, etc. I would love to know what the statistic is for unregistered vehicles being used for criminal activity as opposed to registered vehicles. It would make more sense to use a car that is, essentially, untraceable back to the owner if you intend to commit a crime. So, stopping an unregistered car might, in fact, be a crime prevention measure. Follow the law, then, you can talk. It’s like voting:  you can’t complain about jack regarding politics if you don’t vote.

posted by: Sbbig on December 8, 2011  3:21pm

@“The Hill is my Home”, the “white woman” that you’re talking about has a great point.  It may not of been the best time to make that point, but she’s right on target with it.  Most of these teenagers out here running the streets are basically from a one parent home, “the mama”,no father, and most of these “mama’s” are about 14 to 15 years older then their kids.  Point being,, these young girls having babies, have no idea how to raise them.  So by the time they’re kids become teens, the mama’s are too busy partying to care about what they’re kids are doing, until that kid gets in trouble, or gets killed.  Then their story is that he was a good boy, getting his life back on track, that is crap.  Don’t get me wrong, yes there are a couple parents out here that work hard and try to keep their kids on the right track, and once in awhile that kid will mess up., well years ago you got a belt and beat their butts, but do it now, and DCF is all up in your business. These kids know they can get away with a lot of stuff.
The kids aren’t getting what they want from home, the super nice outfits, designer this and that, so they take the chance to sell the drugs, and a lot of them are handing money to their mama’s, so she ain’t complaining.

I work at a job where I see all of this.  The mama isn’t working, but she’s dressed better then people that do work.  They only complain when their kid gets caught and put in jail, or someone kills them. Because then, that money stops being put in their hands. 

You tell me how you can have 2, 3, 4 kids, with no job, yet you get your nails done twice a month, and get your hair done all the time, and your dressing finer then my boss. Lets open our eyes.

posted by: roger huzendubel on December 8, 2011  3:24pm

Eli Greer is the only realistic one in the bunch. I have seen so many stop the violence rallies in the past few years but our crime rate is throught the roof. Having forums so Barbara Fair can tell everyone how bad the police are will not get us anywhere. As for Kennedy, maybe he deserves a shot, we have nothing better.

posted by: juli on December 8, 2011  3:41pm

i am optimistic that community involvement will help stop the killing, but can understand the fear that profiling will be the result. our police dept. hasn’t exactly been a pillar of credibility now has it?

“Reality is the police become necessary in human society only at that junction in human society where it is split between those who have and those who ain’t got.” - Dead Prez

posted by: davec on December 8, 2011  3:41pm

Mr. Greer maybe the most realistic one in the bunch and I do not doubt his sincerity when it comes to public safety and policing, but, my point is that, as someone who doesn’t know him personally, he comes off being very immature in his blog posts. ....

posted by: realist on December 8, 2011  3:57pm

@ eve. Someone needs to step up to the plate. I don’t see many black males doing it. ... Y Think outside the box.  Maybe something positive will come out of this

posted by: Resident Officer on December 8, 2011  4:35pm

Ms. Fair , as someone who interacts with the police as much as you do because you have to sometime,I value your opinions. Whether I think there right or wrong is entirely my own opinion…As a Police Officer in this city for many years (not named Chris Rubino) I can tell you this..We do not racially profile in this Department and if I knew someone who was doing that I would certainly address it and put an end to it.I can honestly tell you that the men and women of this Department have a lot of integrity in how they do their job, and we don’t need to profile to solve problems.I believe we as a Department are on the right path to bring this city back to a respectable place to live without all this violence.BTW I hope your daughter did not get cuffed,arrested and had her mugshot taken for (just) a unregistered MV. Its just a ticket and Tow.

posted by: Adrian Green CEO TeamSuperKick'z Youth Leaders on December 8, 2011  4:47pm

Hello to every one or to anyone who’s reading this comment or so called Post. I Myself and my Dance Crew “TeamSuperKick’z” are community Changers we have Helped so many People in the City of New Haven ,we feel we dont don’t the recorecognition we deserve. we also wear in The New Haven Indepented for Having a Thanksgiving Benefit concert to Help families in need this year. how come that was a Big Issue? how come we didnt get props for that event? we put that event together are selfs. we need the city of New Haven Behind us 100% because as yous say you want change? you got 9 kids who is willing to Help make that change. stop being selfish and think about the Futuer. Thank you

If you would like to contact me you can e-mail me @ .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

posted by: gc on December 8, 2011  4:51pm

@b.fair.  yes traffic enforcement is an important part of police work.  It keeps people safe from reckless and uninsured motorist.  ...

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on December 8, 2011  6:08pm

Juli,
That quote is from Omali Yeshitela. Dead Prez does quote him with great effect throughout their album though.

posted by: Leslie Blatteau on December 8, 2011  6:11pm

If I lived in City Point, I would have said I lived in City Point.  I live in the Hill because I believe that integrated working class neighborhoods positively affect our city’s residents.  If you want to know more about my beliefs and corresponding actions, check out this Independent article:

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/pop_up_bike_clinic_revives_gr

I am proud to be a New Haven Public School teacher who lives in New Haven.  My salary comes from the tax base that I contribute to, my students know me because they see me in the neighborhood, I connect with kids on my block on a daily basis because that’s what a healthy city block needs—a community of people talking to children, respecting children and making sure that children have what they need to thrive.

I raised the point about birth control because it’s a conversation that teenagers are desperate to have.  I teach history but I use every opportunity imaginable to bring up the subject of safer sex.  I model that it’s normal to talk about these topics and it’s normal to have questions.  My students value the honest, accurate information that I share with them.  And while promoting access to reproductive healthcare will not solve our city’s violence crime problem over night, I do believe that all people’s quality of life improves when they can control their own reproductive destiny.  And when quality of life improves for people, members of the community, children and parents, benefit. 

Before I became a teacher, I was an outreach worker with New Haven teen parents for six years.  I watched many young women navigate the challenges of high school, parenting, and family relationships.  I was consistently impressed with their dedication, courage and perseverance.  By no means am I trying to judge anyone or imply that unplanned pregnancies always result in negative outcomes.  The student-parents raised and continue to raise amazing, healthy and loved children.  But that didn’t stop us from honestly discussing their birth control options with them because that was what was in the best interest of the mothers and the children. 

What I am trying to do right now is promote more conversation about what children need.  Children need parents who are ready to be parents.  Children need parents who have the necessary resources to provide for their families.  Children need parents who are involved.  When parents are consistently stressed due to financial problems, health problems, and lack of support from the community, the entire community suffers.  I believe my work as an advocate for high-quality education and reproductive justice for ALL people supports these statements.  It is with respect for the city and the city’s residents that I do what I do and say what I say. 

Let’s keep fighting for peace and justice in the Elm City.

posted by: Edward_H on December 9, 2011  5:04am

@Leslie Blatteau

“I teach history but I use every opportunity imaginable to bring up the subject of safer sex.”

I would like to know if all of your students are excelling in the subject of History, the subject you are ... paid to teach. If every teacher in the NH school system is following your example and using “every opportunity imaginable” to engage their students on whatever crusade they personally think is important I can see why these schools are failing left and right.

  We taxpayers now know at least one History teacher is using “every opportunity imaginable” to talk about Safe Sex & Birth Control. Are Math Teachers preaching to kids about the power of prayer? Are Science teachers using “every opportunity imaginable” to talk about gay rights? If your colleagues are following your example I wonder how much of a student’s day is actually spent on the subjects they are actualy supposed to be learning.

  When these students fail to be properly prepared to begin college course work the inevitable cry from the teachers union will be that they need more money.

  I would love to see what percentage of NHPS teachers with school age children actually send their own kids to a NHPS.

posted by: Angel on December 9, 2011  6:22am

To Chris Rubino:

When you say NO Leadership, I can only assume you are including yourself in that sentence, being that you are probably one of the worst Sgts. we have on the department.

I will agree that there have been several bad choices of Chiefs, but I will have to give the current one a chance, regardless of personal feelings.  Esserman has only been here a month or so.

posted by: Lynda Faye Wilson on December 9, 2011  9:06am

EARLY ON IN CORRESPONDING W/BLOGGERS, OUR NEWLY RE-ELECTED STATED LOUD AND CLEAR THAT AS ALONG AS THE DISTRUST BETWEEN HIS POLICE OFFICERS AND THE RESIDENTS OF THE NEW HAVEN COMMUNITY.

PEOPLE, YOU BETTER DO WHAT ARETHA FRANKLIN WARNED A LONG TIME AGO. “YOU BETTER THINK, ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO DO TO ME.” I SAY, STOP POINTING FINGERS, ESPECIALLY AT THE POLICE CHIEF, WHEN WE ALL SHOULD KNOW THAT THE CHIEF OF CHIEF IS OUR MAYOR.

THE MAYORS’ REMARKED TO SOMEONE ON-LINE “OK I’M HERE,” BUT “T H I N K A B O U T I T ”  HE MADE NOT ONE ATTEMPT TO GO ON STAGE AND FACE THE PEOPLE (LIVE) AND OFFER OPENLY HIS THOUGHT OR DREAMS FOR THIS CITY. “THINK” NOT AT THE FORUM HELD AT HILLHOUSE NOR THE ONE AT CO-OP. BEHIND CLOSE DOORS, IT IS SAID THAT HE MET AND DISCUSSED “OUR” ISSUE AT HAND WITH THE CHIEF OF POLICE AND THE AUTHOR OF “DON’T SHOOT”. ON SATURDAY AT HILLHOUSE, THE TWO TOP ADMINISTRATORS OF THIS CITY (JOHN DESTEFANO AND REGINALD MAYO) SAT IN THE THIRD ROW IN THE REAR OF THE AUDITORIUM FOR QITE A WHILE BEFORE LEAVING. AGAIN, TOTAL SILENCE FROM THE TWO OF THEM. YET, IN THE FOYER, APPROACHED BY MR. CAROLINA ON HIS OBSERVATIONS AND POSSIBLE DETERANTS IF NOT SOLUTIONS THERE WAS MUCH TALK.
NOT ONLY TALK, BUT A TASK ASKED OF MR. CAROLINA (WHO IS MORE THAN GLAD TO DO SO), IS CLEARLY A TASK OF THE SUPERINTENDANT OF “S C H O O L.”

HOWEVER, “THE PLAN” I BELIEVE IS NEEDED TO BE IMPLEMTED THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SCHOOL SYSTEM. STARTING AT A MUCH EARLIER GRADE LEVEL THAN WHAT IS BEING TALKED ABOUT A PRESENT. “B U T” IT’S A START. AND IT IS A “S M A R T S T A R T”

posted by: GIFT HORSE on December 9, 2011  9:26am

To Eve’s Cousin 74,
You shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. These people, whether they are white or black are trying to help and come up with positive ideas to stop the killing of our black kids. How much good did the rallies do that were organized by like 4 people? They did nothing. So, I am glad these people are coming together, white, black, brown, don’t matter.

posted by: The Real Problem on December 9, 2011  9:30am

The real problem isn’t police or the kids in New Haven. Lets look at kids in the suburbs. They don’t even see or know cops in their towns. They don’t kill each other. The problem is NH is the parents who don’t teach their kids values, ethics, morals, and have to many kids to feed without money from their EBT cards. All of this breeds low self esteem and low self worth. It breeds anger and envy.

We need to help ourselves by raising our kids and being responsible enough to know when we can’t afford to have 2,3,4, or 5 kids.

Get it together parents!

posted by: Lynda Faye Wilson on December 9, 2011  10:50am

As I have fore-stated “T H I N K”, I also say
B E W A R E,  B E A W A R E,  B E B L E S S.

There is TRUTH in the phrase “Birds Of A Feather
Flock Together.” 

“T H I N K A B O U T I T,”  The Mayor is working on his second decade of service and oversight, the Chief Of Police has RETURN and he has experienced working with Mr. Kennedy (Author of “DON’T SHOOT.”)in Rhode Island.

posted by: Lifer on December 9, 2011  2:38pm

I’d like to know how Ms. Fair would feel if she or a family member was injured by an uninsured motorist.  That’s what the situation would be had her daughter driving that unregistered car hurt someone in an accident.  Not to mention the financial repercussions for Ms. Fair’s daughter if she were liable for the injured person’s auto repairs and medical bills.

posted by: bjfair on December 9, 2011  8:27pm

@Resident officer: Believe me I know there are many wonderful,genuine caring officers, committed to ending the violence in our city officers who would never racially profile and come to work everyday committed to protect and serve the New Haven community likely taking flack from their cohorts. I wholeheartedly admire and respect the work they do. At the same time it would be irresponsible for me to not recognize, acknowledge and bring attention to the officers who have no investment in our community and will profile, disrespect and fight any efforts to bring the community and police together. As you stated profiling is not necessary to stop the violence. As a matter of fact it is counterproductive to improving relations. I want the bloodshed to stop yet not at the cost of my civil rights being violated. As you also said driving an unregistered car is a ticket and tow not an incident which requires handcuffing, arrest, placed in a dark van, transported to Union Av, fingerprinted along with mugshot. My daughter can take responsibility for driving an unregistered car. Should be treated like a hardened criminal for doing so? Those who refuse to see my point do so because they are so filled with disdain for me and like I said that’s fine. I also know they’ll be first to come to me for support when injustice knocks on their door and I’ll be there for them because I know an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere. Gandhi said it best: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you,Then they fight you, then you win”.So haters, keep fighting me. It makes the win so much more exhilarating!!!

posted by: To Barbara Fair on December 10, 2011  11:08pm

Bfair, your daughter was not only operating a motor vehicle unregistered, but also without insurance (a misdemeanor and arrestable offense,) so the arrest on your daughter was justified and necessary. At least we can be thankful she was not involved in an accident where she was placed at fault, causing the other driver or herself to be forced to fend for his own medical bills. Justifying the operation of an unregistered or uninsured vehicle is outlandish and irresponsible. Vehicles kill people.

posted by: bjfair on December 11, 2011  9:59am

Thank u for that clarification and thank u for taking the time to check out her arrest. Hopefully you can move on and get back to the topic of the article….

posted by: Ricky L on December 11, 2011  6:35pm

The problem here is that people like bjfair are too quick to point fingers instead of wanting the ones who do the crimes to take responsibility for their wrong choices. The police are not the ones causing murders, robberies, burglaries, rapes, assaults or driving unregistered vehicles. And when the bad guy gets caught, people like bjfair treat them like victims instead of wanting them to face the punishment they deserve for their crime committed.  You’ll never reduce crime with that mentality. Any criminal, whether its your daughter or fellow gang banger, needs to face their punishment.

posted by: Lynda Faye Wilson on December 12, 2011  12:37pm

I am dying DAILY to see what punishment is viewed for the murder of my grand-daughter. Ricky L. maybe you can enlighten me, WHAT IS DESERVED IN THIS MATTER. WHAT I AND SO MANY OTHERS SEE AS RIGHTFUL PUNISHMENT, I’M SURE DOES NOT COINCIDE WITH “OUR” MAKER. BUT, IT IS VERY INTERESTING HOW YOU STATE “WHAT ONE DESERVES” i GUARANTEE YOU, WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, IT WILL NOT BE A LIFE FOR THE LIFE RIPPED AWAY FROM MY CHILD AND US AND THAT IS NOT TEMPORARILY. THE LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT THE LEAST I FEEL I “NEED” TO SAY TO MR. RICK L., UNLESS YOU KNOW PERSONALLY BARBARA FAIRS’ DAUGHTER FOR A FACT AS BEING A GANG BANGER, SHOULD NOT REFER TO HER AS ONE. WHEN YOU MAKE STATEMENTS LIKE “FELLOW GANG BANGERS” IS SAYING LOUD AND CLEAR SHE IS ONE OF NEW HAVEN’S GANG BANGERS. I KNOW THE CHILD, BUT DO NOT KNOW HER AS REMOTELY BELONGING TO A BANGING GANG.

posted by: bjfair on December 12, 2011  5:58pm

@Lynda, Ricky L’s post does not even deserve a response.

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