Accountability Transparency Trust

HDTC Addresses Racism

June 4, 2020

Our country has a long history of institutional and overt racism, manifested in every aspect of our society. White supremacy impacts black lives in housing, healthcare, education, policing, employment, generational wealth, food access, and nearly every other aspect of life. Racism continues to exist because white people benefit from the discrimination and systematic oppression of others.  It is the responsibility of the white citizens of Hamden to recognize this privilege and work collaboratively under the leadership of members of the respective communities of color.  As opposed to past endeavors where white citizens have dictated the terms of “equality and diversity” to others, white citizens must learn to relinquish control to black stakeholders in order to change the systems that are inflicting trauma and preventing black people from living equally in our society.

We are all responsible for every black and brown person mistreated or killed by the police, every person locked up in cages at our borders, every child mistreated in our schools here in Hamden. We have built a broken system that grinds people in its gears. We ARE that system, and we have a responsibility to help change that system.

A year ago Officer Devon Eaton crossed over into New Haven and fired 13 bullets at Stephanie Washington and Paul Witherspoon. Devon Eaton is still employed by the Hamden Police Department and has been placed on unpaid administrative leave. Community demands must be met. Fire the officer, establish a civilian review board with subpoena powers, change police union contracts to allow for independent investigations, end the triple occupation of New Haven whereby New Haven, Hamden, and Yale Police follow a memorandum of agreement to police Newhallville, end the over-policing of neighborhoods of color, and follow the recommendations of President Obama’s task force on Community Policing.

Many members of the DTC have made the conscious decision to get involved at the local level to focus on dismantling systemic racism in our community. We will also commit to supporting candidates who make racial justice an explicit and central part of their policy platforms. All Democratic candidates for office should have a plan for working to dismantle the systems of racial injustice under their control. We will not endorse anyone who isn’t able to articulate such a plan.

Many DTC members and Hamden Democrats participated in the demonstrations around the state. We will circulate information for future demonstrations. There are many ways to contribute to protesting efforts.

We, as an organization, thoroughly reject racism and abuses of power, that predominantly target people of color, in any meaningful way possible. We must be in solidarity as we combat injustices and lend support to those who work towards these ends.