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Clockwise from top left: Wes Moore, Betsy Hodges, Tim Wise, and Bree Newsome Bass (contributed photos)

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities will close out its annual convention Thursday with a panel of high-profile experts discussing race relations and racial equity.

The panel, entitled “Achieving Racial Equity: National Experts Discuss Local Opportunities,” will take place Thursday, Dec. 3, 2-4 p.m. via Zoom and Facebook Live.

The panel will be composed of best-selling author Wes Moore; Betsy Hodges, humanitarian and former Mayor of Minneapolis; author/activist Tim Wise; and activist Bree Newsome Bass, with Clarence Anthony, Executive Director of the National League of Cities, serving as moderator.

The talk is the culmination of this year’s series of talks called CCM CARES that started in mid-October with four regional discussions across Connecticut on the “critical and long-simmering issue of race equity.”

Over 30 community and municipal leaders from four regions of the state gathered online to discuss race-equity issues to related to the presidential and General Assembly elections.

“With 2021 on the horizon, America continues to be confronted by the ugly truth that systemic racism persists throughout our society,” said Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director and CEO. “The effects of systemic racism have consequences in housing, education, health, public safety, wealth, and nearly every other part of daily life – in fact, race is still the number one predictor of success and well-being in our country. We look forward to continuing to work with every stakeholder and the public on race equity in Connecticut.”

“These forums mark the beginning – not the end – of CCM’s efforts in this critical arena,” noted DeLong.

Thursday’s event is co-sponsored by the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA).

Thursday’s panelists are:

Wes Moore, a decorated US Army Veteran, is the New York Times bestselling author of “The Other Wes Moore,” a Rhodes Scholar, and a fellow to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. He is now the CEO of Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty organizations in the nation. Moore is also a contributor to various publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, and many others. He has also made appearances on Face the Nation, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher.

Betsy Hodges, in addition to being the former mayor of Minneapolis, was a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics and Atlantic fellow on Race Equity. She also wrote a widely read op-ed, “As Mayor of Minneapolis, I Saw How White Liberals Block Change,” for The New York Times this summer. Hodges met with Pope Francis in 2015 to discuss climate change and human trafficking. She was one of eight mayors and leaders from cities from around the world to be invited for the discussion.

Tim Wise is one of America’s best known anti-racist speakers and authors. He was named one of Utne Reader’s magazines “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.” One of his nine books is “White Like Me,” which tackles his experiences with white privilege and was made into a feature-length documentary. He has trained teachers, corporate employees, non-profit organizations, and law enforcement officers in methods for addressing and dismantling racism in their institutions.

Bree Newsome Bass, is an American activist who drew national attention when she removed the confederate flag from the South Carolina Capitol building after the 9 Black parishioners were killed at the AME Zion Church. In recognition of her Civil Rights work she was named to the Root 100 and the Ebony 100, and also won the NAACP Image Award – Chairman’s Award given to individuals who demonstrate exemplary public service and use their platforms as agents of change.

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Moderator Clarence Anthony (contributed photo)

• Moderator Clarence Anthony is CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities (NLC). Under his leadership, NLC has advanced policies that expand local control and provide direct funding for local programs related to public safety, infrastructure, transportation, and sustainability.