Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Girl Friends Inc. of New Haven to host book fair 'in pursuit of excellence'

The Girl Friends Inc. Books and Art Fair will return for a second year to Wexler Grant School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday under the theme "In Pursuit of Excellence."

In addition to book exhibits, vendor displays and a children's reading room two thought-provoking panels will take on the topics of overcoming racial stereotypes and building a movement for academic excellence in the black community.

Admission is free to the public. The school is at 55 Foote St.

"We're highlighting reading as the key to success for black children," said Enola Aird, vice president of the New Haven Chapter of Girl Friends, Inc. "For black children, we need to be helping them understand they are as capable as any other children in the world."

Aird said the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida exemplifies the potential for stereotypes to kill.
"We must set high standards for our children and help them to reach them. The key to that is reading," she said.

Among the confirmed panelists are Gwen Samuels of the Connecticut Parent Union, Jean Jamal of the Saving the Black Family initiative of the National Council of Negro Women, Tracie Addy, professor of mathematics at Quinnipiac University and Stephen L. Carter, a novelist and Yale Law School professor.

President Diane Turner said the program also includes a read-in at Wexler Grant's library, where community leaders will sit in a circle with children and read stories to them. "If the children have any questions, it gives them an opportunity to ask about their professions. There's always a message about doing well in school," Turner said.

Lisa Harrison, Books and Art Fair Committee co-chairwoman, said Girl Friends Inc. is partnering with distributor Books Are Fun to provide hundreds of books for families at the event.

The chapter also will collect gently used children's and adult books Saturday that will be donated to New Haven Reads. Last year, the organization donated more than 1,000 books to New Haven Reads and Ronald McDonald House, Harrison said.

"Each year we pick a different theme to focus on," Harrison said. "We want to foster literacy in the New Haven community."

Teachers and educators are encouraged to attend as well, she said.

The New Haven chapter is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and will have a special event on Sept. 30, Turner said.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Citizens' Agenda: How do you rank taxation in Election 2012?

As a central part of our Citizens' Agenda project, we are conducting an issues poll of voters who will decide the winner of the 5th Congressional District contest.

To date, taxation holds at second place among the top five issues that have emerged so far.

This word cloud captures some of the colorful comments on taxes so far by citizens, political organizers and candidates alike.

Is taxation your No. 1 issue in Election 2012? Many Eyes We continue to seek your feedback. Please follow the link above to the poll and chime in. Your priorities will help determine the topics assigned to reporters and the questions candidates must answer.

Post your thoughts here on the Your Open Newsroom blog, on the Register Citizen Facebook page or email Community Engagement Editors Angi Carter and Ed Stannard at voices@nhregister.com.

Thank you!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Our Citizens Agenda website features YOUR agenda

By Ed Stannard, Community Engagement Editor
estannard@nhregister.com / Twitter: @edstannardnhr, @nhrvoices 

 The political season is starting to sizzle, especially in the presidential race, and the Digital First Media publications are doing our part to involve the voters and the issues you consider important.

That’s why we’ve set up our Citizens Agenda website for the 5th Congressional District, and another for the U.S. Senate race. Check out these features:

Our issues poll, in which we ask you what you think we should be focusing on in this year’s campaign: Jobs? Health care? Taxes? Let us know.

Fact Checker, in which Topics Editor Mary E. O’Leary takes on the campaigns’ claims, such as whether the cost of health care reform has doubled (according to Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley).

The Horse Race, political reporter Jordan Fenster’s reporting on the day-to-day drama of the campaigns. (We know we can’t totally ignore the press releases and the polls!)

Profiles of each candidate in the race.

And finally, but maybe most importantly, Voter Resources.

This project by the New Haven Register, Middletown Press and Register Citizen is part of a larger partnership with The Guardian and NYU’s Studio 20 journalism graduate school program. They are focusing on the presidential race. And they have a question for you:

"What is the most important question you'd want the winner of this year's presidential election to answer before entering office?" Just click on one of the two ideas to get started.

Or you may email Angi Carter and me at voices@nhregister.com. We’ll tally the answers and follow up as the race heats up even more between now and November.

Stick with us as we navigate a course through this political season.