Politicos Celebrate An Interconnected City

At the city’s biggest political bash of the year, New Haven celebrated the ways its citizens are striving to build a better city: From the elected officials in the statehouse who fight for more education funding to the high school leaders who train the next generation to the nonprofit programs that fill in the gaps.

Like the intertwined boughs of some great big elm tree, everyone seemed to be holding each other up.

The event was Thursday night’s annual Board of Alders Black and Hispanic Caucus fall fundraising gala. Board President Pro Tempore Jeanette Morrison and the Board of Education Student Representative Nico Rivera, who co-hosted the event, sent the interconnected-city message home with reminders of the ways they’d been affected by other celebrants in the room.

Over 500 people turned out in their finery to walk down the red carpet into the sold-out dining room at Anthony’s Ocean View in Morris Cove, including Newhallville Alder Delphine Clyburn and Kwadwo Adae, the paint-dappled artist who recently completed a mural in her ward.

Throughout the night, three courses arrived on tiered platters. Attendees sat at sponsored tables that included big showings from Southern Connecticut State University, the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center, and the Connecticut Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

Now in its seventh year, the gala has grown into a major event, just as the caucus itself continues to grow, now including 22 members out of a 30-member board.

The ticket sales have benefited nearly three dozen local nonprofits for youth and elderly, including scholarships for graduating high schoolers and funds for senior centers around the city. Since its inception, the event has raised nearly $300,000, Morrison said. She called it “party with a purpose.”

“Not only are we giving back to our community, but we’re bringing out all types of people from different backgrounds altogether on one accord,” said Tyisha Walker-Myers, the president of the Board of Alders. “I think that’s really important at a time like this when our country is being divided by hatred. We can’t allow that to happen. Every chance we get, we need to learn how to put our differences aside to stick together.”

With so much on the line in the coming elections, this year’s gala packed a particular urgency. Amid the celebration, party-goers shared their anxieties about who might take the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the governor’s mansion in Hartford after Nov. 6’s elections. Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Susan Bysiewicz and state treasurer candidate Shawn Wooden both urged everyone to get out the vote.

New Haven State Reps. Juan Candelaria and Alphonse Paolillo, Jr. (pictured with his dad, former Alder Al Paolillo, Sr.), were both recognized for fighting for New Haven’s interests each legislative cycle.

During his speech, Candelaria pointed out that his daughter went to New Haven Academy and volunteered for New Haven Reads, the night’s two other honorees. “Look at the connections here. Look how great New Haven is. We’ve got great programs and great schools, and that’s what New Haven is about,” he said. “This award’s not for me. It needs to be shared with all of you, because you make this community great.”

Paolillo, a former alder, thanked the caucus for welcoming him as an “honorary member,” and he committed to continuing to fight for immigrants who, like his own grandfather, arrive in America “with little in their pockets and so much in their hearts.”

New Haven Academy’s Gregory Baldwin and Meredith Leigh Gavrin both thanked New Haven for going along with their vision nearly two decades ago. They said they felt honored to be training the next generation of leaders, the ones who might be filling up the seats at Anthony’s Ocean View in the years to come.

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posted by: Noteworthy on October 26, 2018  12:52pm

It just has to be said - these alders handed us an 11%, $30 million tax hike. The city is broke, the state is broke, the pensions are losing massive amounts of money and are grossly underfunded - and schools are being shuttered, teachers fired ... with more to come…the mountains of debt are climbing in order to bail out city deficits…

But they party and celebrate how much they’re accomplishing, how much they’re contributing to our city and state.

posted by: westvilledad on October 26, 2018  2:04pm

does anyone know how many tables were sponsored by organizations and companies that do business with the city or ask for city funding?

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on October 26, 2018  3:27pm

Just curious, with a minority majority on the Board of Alders, (22 out of 30), is there really a need anymore for a minority caucus? I might be wrong, but it sure feels exclusionary.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on October 26, 2018  4:48pm

Now in its seventh year, the gala has grown into a major event, just as the caucus itself continues to grow, now including 22 members out of a 30-member board.

Give me a break.These Sell out Treasonous Black and Latino Judas Goat Leaders do not serve the interests of their poor and working class constituents.All they do is Lead the Black and Latino masses in directions that benefit only themselves and pacify the Black and Latino community with worthless things to keep the community distracted from whats really going on.

Mark 8:36 KJV: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
No shame hast the Judas Goat!!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on October 26, 2018  7:11pm

Paolillo, a former alder, thanked the caucus for welcoming him as an honorary member.

Honorary member? Give me a break.This reminds me of the symbol of colonial power.Most conquered people look up to their conquerers for some strange reason.

If an African lion is born in a zoo in Canada does that make it a canadian lion?” No it does not.
Malcom X

My bad Does he know the Black mans Handshake?

posted by: JCFremont on October 27, 2018  5:14pm

Good Point ATP