Regional Gun Safety Coalition

Four States Create Regional Gun Safety Coalition

by Christine Stuart | ctnewsjunkie.com

HARTFORD, CT — Absent federal action on guns, the governors of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island said they’re going to improve their data sharing in order to limit the number of firearms getting into the wrong hands.

“We can’t wait for the federal government to act,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Thursday during a conference call with reporters.

The governors whose states are connected by Interstate 95 said the guns make their way up from the Southern states along what’s been dubbed the “Iron Pipeline.” They are purchased in southern states with weaker gun laws and brought back to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The new agreement the four states signed would increase the amount of data they share.

Read the entire article here.

Working Cities Challenge

Hartford among Five Connecticut Cities Winning Grants in ‘Working Cities Challenge’

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Hartford is among five cities in Connecticut to win a competition for grants of $450,000 that will fund programs focused on increasing opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents.

In addition to Hartford, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston will announce Tuesday that Danbury, East Hartford, Middletown and Waterbury were selected as winners of the “Working Cities Challenge.”

“This is just the start of a lot of hard work on behalf of these cities’ residents,” Eric Rosengren, the president of the Boston Fed, said. “I’m looking forward to working with these communities and following their progress over the coming years.”

African Americans in Times of War

Image result for tuskegee airmen   Black History Month 2018  honors
“African Americans in Times of War” like the
legendary Tuskegee Airmen, who were highly
decorated for their service in World War II.

The theme for Black History Month in 2018 was “African Americans in Times of War” honoring those brave men and women who served their countries in the armed forces, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending the American ideals of freedom and democracy.

During World War II, for example, more than 2.5 million black men registered for the draft and one million served as draftees or volunteers in every branch of the armed forces.

A decade before the first glimmers of the Amercan civil rights movement, most black men were assigned to segregated combat groups.

Even so, more than 12,000 black men who served in the segregated 92nd Division received citations or were decorated for “extraordinary heroism” on the battlefield. Perhaps more famously, the Tuskegee Airmen also became legendary for their heroic feats, and in total received a Distinguished Unit Citation, several silver stars, 150 distinguished flying crosses, fourteen bronze stars, and 744 air medals.

At war’s end, recognition of the African-American contribution to the war effort would eventually lay the groundwork for the civil rights protests of the 1950s and 1960s. Read more here.

How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope

How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope

Before its subversion in the Jim Crow era, the fruit symbolized black self-sufficiency.

Courtesy Brown University Library

“But the stereotype that African Americans are excessively fond of watermelon emerged for a specific historical reason and served a specific political purpose. The trope came into full force when slaves won their emancipation during the Civil War. Free black people grew, ate, and sold watermelons, and in doing so made the fruit a symbol of their freedom. Southern whites, threatened by blacks’ newfound freedom, responded by making the fruit a symbol of black people’s perceived uncleanliness, laziness, childishness, and unwanted public presence. This racist trope then exploded in American popular culture, becoming so pervasive that its historical origin became obscure. Few Americans in 1900 would’ve guessed the stereotype was less than half a century old. ”  Read the entire article here.

History – Bessie Blount Griffin

Meet Bessie Blount Griffin, a physical therapist, inventor, and forensic scientist who invented an electronic feeding device in 1951 to help amputees feed themselves. She also invented the cardboard disposable emesis basis.

A physical therapist working with wounded soldiers during World War II, Griffin realized that soldiers struggled with feeding themselves. She programmed a tube to deliver one bite of a meal at a time to a disabled patient. Whenever he or she was prepared for the next bite, the patient would bite down on the tube. She later simplified her invention so that it could be fit in a brace around a person’s neck, and accomplish the same function.  Skeptical, the American Veterans Administration did not accept Griffin’s invention. She sold the patent and rights to the French government, who supported the large-scale production of her invention so that it could reach those in need. Read the entire article here.

History/Current Events – Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai founded the Green Belt movement in Kenya in 1977, which has planted more than 10 million trees to prevent soil erosion and provide firewood for cooking fires. A 1989 United Nations report noted that only 9 trees were being replanted in Africa for every 100 that were cut down, causing serious problems with deforestation: soil runoff, water pollution, difficulty finding firewood, lack of animal nutrition, etc.

The program has been carried out primarily by women in the villages of Kenya, who through protecting their environment and through the paid employment for planting the trees are able to better care for their children and their children’s future.

Born in 1940 in Nyeri, Wangari Maathai was able to pursue higher education, a rarity for girls in rural areas of Kenya. Studying in the United States, she earned her biology degree from Mount St. Scholastica College in Kansas and a master’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh.  Read her entire story here.

History – Charlotte Forten

Charlotte Forten GrimkéCharlotte Forten was born into a prominent African American family in Philadelphia.  Her father, Robert, was the son of James Forten (1766-1842), was a businessman and antislavery activist who was a leader in Philadelphia’s free black community, and his wife, also named Charlotte, identified in census records as “mulatto.”  The elder Charlotte, along with her three daughters Margaretta, Harriet and Sarah, were founding members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society along with Sarah Mapps Douglass and 13 other women; Lucretia Mott and Angelina Grimké were later members of the biracial organization as was Mary Wood Forten, Robert Forten’s wife and mother of the younger Charlotte Forten.   August 17, 1837 (or 1838) – July 23, 1914   Read the entire article here.

 

A Return to Debtors’ Prisons

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A return to debtors’ prisons: Jeff Sessions’ war on the poor

One day after President Donald Trump invited Republican lawmakers to the White House to celebrate the historic tax cuts they passed for corporations and wealthy business leaders, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, quietly reinstated a draconian policy that effectively serves as a regressive tax on America’s poorest people.  The Supreme Court has affirmed the unconstitutionality of jailing those too poor to pay debts on three different occasions in the last century, finding that the 14th Amendment prohibits incarceration for non-payment of exorbitant court-imposed fines or fees without an assessment of a person’s ability to pay and alternatives for those who cannot. “Punishing a person for his poverty” is illegal, the Court said. Yet in recent years the modern-day equivalent of debtors’ prisons have returned, as cities have grown to rely on a punishing regime of fines and fees imposed on their own residents as a major stream of revenue.  Read more here and here and here.

28 Days, 28 Films

28 Days, 28 Films for Black History Month

IT HAS BEEN ALMOST A YEAR since Barry Jenkins’s “Moonlight” won the Oscar for best picture. This awards season, Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and Dee Rees’s “Mudbound” have received multiple nominations and accolades, optimistic signs that black filmmakers are receiving more opportunities in the movie industry. Soon these titles will be joined by two of the most anticipated releases of the year: Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther,” the first Marvel superhero movie from a black director, and Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” the first movie with a $100 million budget directed by a black woman.

The critical and box-office success of “Get Out” and the very existence of big-studio productions like “Black Panther” are good reasons to revisit the remarkable, complex story of black filmmaking in America. For Black History Month, we have selected 28 essential films from the 20th century pertaining to African-American experiences. These aren’t the 28 essential black-themed films, but a calendar of suggested viewing. We imposed a chronological cutoff in an effort to look back at where we were and how we got to here.

BTW: Passing Marvel stablemate Guardians Of The Galaxy on Thursday globally, Black Panther has lifted its worldwide cumulative audience to $780.3M. The breakdown through March 1 is $435.4M domestic and $344.9M at the international box office.

Flu Information

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Have you had your flu shot this year? The best time to get a flu shot is NOW, because flu season runs from mostly October through May, and it takes a couple of weeks after getting the shot for it to become effective.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE GET VACCINATED AGAINST THE FLU?

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. The CDC estimates that flu-related hospitalizations since 2010 ranged from 140,000 to 710,000, while flu-related deaths are estimated to have ranged from 12,000 to 56,000. During flu season, flu viruses circulate at higher levels in the U.S. population. (“Flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.) An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with seasonal flu and spreading it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.

Go HERE to see if you should (or shouldn’t) get a flu shot. Read more here.

How to Dodge the Flu Without a Shot

There are available alternatives to standing in lines  such as good hygiene or antiviral medications.

  • Wash your hands for 15 seconds in warm water with soap
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough
  • Avoid crowded public places
  • Stay at home and keep your germs to yourself

If that’s not enough for you, consider an antiviral medicine. Most people are unaware of three antiviral medicines peramivir (Rapivab), oseltamivir(Tamiflu), and zanamivir (Relenza) available from your doctor, which can cut the severity of flu and shorten the duration of symptoms. But these only work if you start them within two days of contracting the flu virus.  There is a “needle-less” option for people 18-64 years old:  the jet injector vaccine with Afluria, which uses a tool with high pressure to deliver the vaccine.

Does My Child Have the Flu?

The flu comes on quickly in children. It might look like a stomach virus. Look for these symptoms:

  • A high-grade fever up to 104 degrees F
  • Chills and shakes with the fever
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Headache and body aches
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting and belly pain