“The Warmth of Connecticut Suns” Sparks Conversation on Racial Inequity

“The response has been wonderful, with great opportunity for important impact. We will continue to provide a place for our community to make the world a better place; together we will make a difference.” – Bruce Stanger, chair of JCRC’s Social Justice Task Force

On Tuesday, the Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council and Jewish Leadership Academy wrapped up an eye-opening series of community conversations on racism and its impact with a panel discussion entitled “The Warmth of Connecticut Suns.” Inspired by “The Warmth of Other Suns” – Isabel Wilkerson’s bestselling history of the Great Migration of Black Americans from the South to the cities of the North and West – the program featured local scholars who study the Great Migration and community members whose families participated. Panelists included Stacey Close, Ph.D., Professor of African American History at Eastern Connecticut State University; attorney and author Constance Belton Green, J.D., Ed.D., the first Black woman to graduate from UConn School of Law; and Benjamin Foster Jr., Ed.D., professor of African American Studies and Religion at Central Connecticut State University. The discussion was moderated by David Brandwein, past chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council and a current member of Federation’s Board of Directors. 

More than 100 community members attended the discussion, many of whom also participated in a “community reads” program this summer reflecting on Wilkerson’s book. Previous programs in the series included “Black-Jewish Relations: Past, Present & Future” and “Racial Segregation in Education and Housing.” In total, 282 community members participated in the Community Conversations series on racism, which was made possible by a generous grant from Liberty Bank.

You can watch the August 3 program here, or click here to view the entire series on our YouTube channel. If you’d like to read Wilkerson’s book, it is available for purchase here; you can download Federation’s reading and reflection guide here.

Stay tuned for another Community Conversations series this fall and winter on combating hate. To join the email list, contact Jody Angell at jody@jlahartford.org.

Above: Constance Belton Green, J.D., Ed.D., discusses her early years in Virginia and her move to Connecticut in 1969 to attend UConn Law School.