Training Program To Boost People Of Color In Civic Engagement

News release from CCM:

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), in conjunction with The Campaign School at Yale University, will again conduct a groundbreaking virtual two-day training program in late February and early March designed to assist more people of color–Black, Latino, and Asian Americans, and others–with the skills needed to run for local government elected office, serve in appointed office and better understand the value of civic participation.

While Blacks, Latinos and Asians comprise more than 30 percent of Connecticut’s population, they represent a relatively small proportion of elected local and state public officials and state board and commission members.

Representation Matters: Running for Local Office and Civic Engagement is a free two-day training effort to teach people of color across Connecticut the fundamentals to run for local public office or seek appointed office. The program will take place via zoom on Saturday, February 25 and Saturday, March 4  from 10 am to 3 pm.

The two-day program is also sponsored by the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity, the Parent Leadership Training Institute in Stamford, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and Connecticut Public Broadcasting.

“One of the founding principles of this nation is the ideal of a representative government, and it is a goal America is still striving for,” said Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director and CEO. “Increasing racial diversity and input in local elected and appointed public office will broaden perspectives and ensure greater appreciation for civic appreciation. This effort will help foster a more equitable future.”

Day One on Saturday, February 25 will be led by the renowned Campaign School at Yale University, which counts Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Presidential-candidate Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and former New Haven mayor, Toni Harp, as alumnae.

The February 25 program will kick off at 10 a.m. with presentations on making the decision to run and putting the fun in fundraising, both presented by Patricia Russo, Executive Director of the Yale Campaign School. She will be followed at noon by Gilds Bonanno, a veteran presentation skills coach, who will discuss finding your voice and making it matter.

A panel discussion will start at 1 p.m. with panelists talking about how the Campaign School at Yale helped them become leaders in their community. The panelists are: YT Bell, city councilmember in Clarkston, GA; Penny Rashin, a member of the New Canaan Board of Education; Katherine Gilmore Richardson, councilwoman at large in Philadelphia; and Cynthia Wallace, Co-Founder & Executive Director of the New Rural Project in Charlotte, NC.

The program will conclude  from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. with a talk on effective networking techniques and the next steps in becoming a community leader, presented by Patti Russo.

“As President Lincoln declared in the Gettysburg Address, the ideal nation is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” noted DeLong. “In the 21st century, we only need the willpower to make that a reality. Over this two-day training, the tools and know-how to get involved and to get into local politics will be given to all who attend.”

And here is the complete line-up for day two of the training on Saturday, March 4, led by CCM, with presentations by key local and state leaders with varying government and community backgrounds.

10:00 – 10:30 am: Welcome
· Wes Moore, Governor of Maryland (Former CCM CARES contributor)  INVITED
· Clarence Anthony, CEO, National League of Cities
· Thomas Dunn, President, CCM Board of Directors
· Patrice McCarthy, Executive Director, CT Association of Boards of Education
· Steven Hernandez, Executive Director, CT Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity
· Joe DeLong, CEO of CCM

10:30 – 10:50 am: Civic Engagement: Why you and why now
· Stephanie Thomas, CT Secretary of the State

10:50 – 11:10 am: Become a Leader in your Community and State and Work for Change
· Erick Russell, State Treasurer

11:10 – 12:00 pm: Getting Involved and Working Toward Elective Office
· Roberto Alves, Danbury Democratic Town Committee Chair
· Brendan Saunders, Clinton Republican Town Committee Chair

12:15 – 12:30 pm: How CT Interlocal Risk Management Agency helps municipal leaders respond to emergencies and manage risks.

12:30 pm –1:40 pm; Panel of Seasoned Experts—Lessons Learned/ Best Practices for Leadership

· Moderator: Melvette Hill, CT Parent Teacher Leadership Institute

· Panelists:
o Aidee Nieves, City Council President, Bridgeport
o Don Harris, Chair, Bloomfield Board of Education
o Leonard Lockhart, Windsor Board of Education
o Juan Melendez, Mayor, Town of Groton
o Danielle Wong, Mayor, Town of Bloomfield
o Eric Coleman, Former, State Senator and Council Member, Hartford INVITED

1:40 – 2:20 pm: Municipal Government and Finance 101
— Scott Jackson, Finance Director, West Haven, former Mayor of Hamden, former Commissioner of CT Department of Revenue Services and Department Labor
— Thea Montanez, Chief Operating Officer, City of Hartford

2:20 – 3:20 pm: Ethics, Public Meetings, Roberts Rules, Freedom of Information
— Kari Olson of Murtha Cullina

3:20 – 3:30pm: Closing Remarks
— Joe DeLong, CEO of CCM



  1. Bridgeport doesn’t need this kind of program .
    The white mayor has three Black challengers.
    Furthermore, here’s where Mayor Ganim looks like a political mentor / superstar to rising Bridgeport politicians:
    Mayor Ganim has played an active, instrumental and intentional role in supporting and advancing the civic careers of Herron Gaston, Fred Gee, John Gomes and Ernie Newton. He has a track record of success. Everything The CCM will teach, Ganim’s students already know!

  2. John is my favorite, I owe you at least a response.

    John Marshall Lee says:
    February 7, 2023 at 1:45 pm
    Where are you doing your research on “critical race theory”? With Christopher Rufo since 2020?
    What source causes you to think that I am somehow in favor of limiting in any way the study of history as advocated by those who see a subject everywhere they look in local education, but cannot or will not identify that which they object to, other than the feelings of certain school children?
    Foolish advocacy relative to culture learning?
    What did President 45 learn about honesty from elementary history lessons? What does he remember from Honest George Washington and a certain cherry tree? Take a moment if you need to. Time will tell.

    I started my research with the name, Critical Race Theory. CRITICAL (expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments) RACE (white) THEORY (a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something)

    Sometimes things are hidden in plain sites. Just like Columbus’s history on the world stage. I can understand blacks/Liberals wanting to use Columbus as a means to highlight the white systematic, inequality, and unjust in America. Though as unjust/racist as I find it, based on the actual history in its totality of Columbus. But when you see Latinos like Council Member Cruz, who railed against white racist Trump for 4 years, well Cruz, outside his personal seeming racism/hatred for white/Trump, being politics in all at least there’s an angle for votes. #BVM

    However, it is beyond my understanding of LOGIC for American Latinos to blame the “white Italian” Christopher Columbus for the shit that was done to the indigenous people of the New World, at the hands of their Latino heritage/ancestry.

    Notwithstanding Christopher Columbus had no historical relevance to white ancestry (England) in America as it pertains to black slavery.

    The last time I check those history books George Washington was of English descent.

    Here’s some local education, in case you misstated it, being the OIB pencil box, is shut. The Port has a black, Supt. BOE chair at the helm, and many other none “white” people on BBOE. Yet, for half of the school year black/brown students at Wilber Cross were deprived of adequate teaching staff/education, without any outrage or pushback. Only to come up with a plan to continue/spread the devaluation of education to black and brown students at Thomas Hooker.

    Well, outrage did finally come in the form of racism against a “white” Council Member Maria for opposing the plan that ultimately would create a hazardous and devaluation of education of her constituent’s kids going to Thomas Hooker.

    Outside of CRT teaching of America, wouldn’t education would the founding foundation for blacks, anybody’s success? How much of BLM in CRT (systematic racism against blacks) outside of the political realm for votes are needed to be a doctor or accountant like yourself? Where does CRT teaching fall in the line of a brute beating of a black man by four black police, all caught on tape? Is CRT at play when there is silence/invisibility in the black lives matter movement?

    However, I would bet on a black systematic racial system. A lack of education would be preferred from the teaching period, or for any kind of subjugation. I can attest to that and the lengths, to say the least, but as time goes by it gets harder to tell. #OIBBESTESLCLASSEVER Think about it, Take a moment if you need, to sleep, take a walk, or take a drive to have a snack.

    I found this American history when researching laws against the reading/education of blacks.

    But let’s be clear, CRT is not history, be it American, White, Latino,(Columbus), or Black history in America. No one can neither say the black journey in America wasn’t without some fuck up shit nor can they say that fuck up shit was solely exclusively perpetrated by white people and America, throughout the course of human history/journey.

    It was plainly visible and beamed out for the world to see during the era of MLK’s civil rights./TV, body cams, it is kinda hard to desensitize.

    I say journey because blacks as well as America are not in the same place as its history. How much of black American history is in CRT? Is CRT going to spend any time teaching about blacks in America like Anthony Johnson, Elizabeth Frazer Skelton, or William Ellison?

    John, one thing is for sure though, when time does till, it will be its own version.

    John, it’s always a pleasure to our discourse, coffee or not. Enjoy John’s peace out.

  3. RT
    The phrase you used “hidden in plain sites” moved your commentary from CRT (Critical Race Theory) to Christopher Columbus history. The phrase more correctly can be rendered as “hidden in plain sight”, and I have used the phrase frequently in recent months to comment on Mayors Fabrizi, Finch, and Ganim TOTALLY ignoring, though they were not ignorant Mayors or men, adequate appointments, which were and are their assigned responsibility year after year, until all such terms on FAIR HOUSING and FAIR RENT were vacated by death, disability, or inability to make a quorum, etc. Time did tell for these two groups and they ceased functioning. No meetings. No agendas. No minutes. No places for the public to bring problems, issues, or concerns. Authorized public bodies DIED “in plain sight” until the City Council members within the past year raised this subject matter and it was no longer “hidden”.
    That the study of history and learning of facts from history may help us who live today seems indisputable. However, theories of history such as critical race theory appear later from some who have studied their own sets of facts or renderings of previous writers and from the writings of the historic participants. CRT has not been frequently in public sight until specified by conservative or “right wing” writers or organizations as an important cultural enemy. They essentially set up their own “bogeyman”, and then have proceeded to hammer away at the subject as if it were Public Enemy #1. White supremacy is the enemy of citizen unity!! CRT is a deflection from studying actual history and taking away our own lessons from our study.

    This article might have some readers put off or insulted by the idea that (in a time when a man of color has held the responsibility of President of the United States with dignity, respectful of Constitution and law, and serving the public along with many women and men in Congress, and State Houses, and our own highest justice in the CT Supreme Court) specific classes need to be offered to “people of color”, however, I do read that the offering is principally organized to benefit those who find the goal of gaining public office and service to our neighbors as “not in plain sight”. Thanks to CCM and other supporting groups for spreading encouragement and substance more widely. Will it make a difference? Time will tell.

    1. I didn’t say I was getting an A + in my OIB ELS class. Thanks for pointing it out though, however, I did pick up on it. As well as other grammatical mishaps.

      Perhaps the conservative or “right-wing” set up their own bogeyman in CRT, but the culture/woke war does exist. The current culture war is trying to figure out what a woman is.

      Did you know the “conservative/right-wing has a lawsuit with the NCAA to have separate locker/shower rooms for transgender athletes because a transgender female was exposing her “penis” genital to the other females who have vagina genitals?

      The bogeyman generates votes, no matter the level. They are generally pendulums in the political realm. That’s the game in American Politics.

      Speaking of Public Enemy


Leave a Reply