A group of Hartford residents gathered Monday on the steps of John Clark School to celebrate Martin Luther King Day and announce their efforts to keep his dream alive by developing a “Community Bill of Rights.”
The social compact will seek to address the city’s 13.1 percent unemployment rate, income inequality, and lack of a quality public education for all of its students.
Rev. AJ Johnson, of Urban Hope Refuge Church, which has been hosting the gatherings where the “Community Bill of Rights” is being developed, said Monday’s group believes in equality and in jobs. They also believe that when people get out of prison they should have some place to go and something to do.
“Hartford Rising, is a coalition, that believes in serving the needs of the community. We believe it’s one thing to be elected, but it’s another thing to do the work,” Johnson said.
He said the group wants to push elected officials and community leaders into serving the “basic needs and necessities of our community.”
Almost 50 years after King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and President Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of a “War on Poverty,” a lot of what’s been discussed has not been realized, Kennard Ray, political director for the Working Families Party, said.
“This community wants to come together to make sure those rights are outlined and enforced,” Ray said.
Monday was the first time the “Community Bill of Rights” working group was announced, so it was hard to say exactly what will be included, but Ray said that after it’s completed it will be submitted to the Hartford City Council for approval.
Ray invited all Hartford residents to participate in the process of developing the “Community Bill of Rights.”
More information about how to connect to the group will be available through hartfordrising.org in the near future.