Celebrating Juneteenth

June 17, 2022

Juneteenth Independence Day marks the end of slavery in this country. It is an important holiday that went unrecognized for far too long, but through activism and education, many communities now celebrate Juneteenth and understand its importance in American history.

During the 2022 legislative session, several of my colleagues spoke passionately on the House floor on why Connecticut needed to make Juneteenth a legal state holiday. The bill received bipartisan support and was recently signed into law by Governor Lamont.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger and his troops traveled around Galveston, Texas, and read General Order No. 3, which proclaimed that enslaved individuals were free following the Emancipation Proclamation - two years after President Lincoln issued it.

As we celebrate Juneteenth and acknowledge its significance in moving this country forward, we must not forget the darkness that accompanied that part of our history. Our country has come a long way, but there is more work to do as inequality and racism still exist.
I will continue to use my platform to fight injustice and make our communities more equitable and inclusive.

Our Culture is Beautiful, a Torrington based organization, is holding a Juneteenth celebration on Main Street at 3:30 pm. The celebration will begin at Tequanna’s Soul Food and Sweets  with readings, prayers, African drumming, poetry and speeches. Following the performances and readings, attendees can participate in a walking tour that ends in the parking lot at Trinity Church on Prospect and Water streets.

Click here for more information. 

Click here to find more events throughout our state. 

Grant Opportunity from Northwest CT Arts Council

The Northwest Connecticut Arts Council announced that they will launch two sub granting programs: “Creative Partnerships” and “Access” grants.

The purpose of these programs is to provide organizations in the arts and cultural sector with the funds needed to recover from the pandemic. Applications for both grants open August 1 and close October 31.

For more information, including guidelines and requirements for the applications, visit the NWCT Arts Council website

Head Start on Housing

I am pleased to announce Head Start on Housing, a cross-agency collaboration that will work to expedite housing subsidies for Head Start households.

Housing is the most important foundation for a healthy and stable life, especially for children who are the most vulnerable segment of the population.

Services can often be delivered in the most efficient manner when agencies work together and this effort uses a multi-pronged approach to help provide permanent housing to as many families with children as possible.

Head Start on Housing is a partnership between the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, Connecticut Department of Housing, Connecticut Head Start State Collaboration Office, Connecticut Head Start Association, and the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare.

Combating homelessness is another component and step forward in our overall goal of improving the lives of our young residents to give them the best opportunity for future success.

I look forward to this plan benefiting children in need and to the positive impact it will have on families and neighborhoods across the state.

Time To Own Loan 

State leaders are committed to financial health for our residents and communities. In coordination with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the Time To Own loan is funded with $20 million that was allocated for homebuyer assistance by the State Bond Commission in December. Here are some of the many benefits:

  •  0% Interest rate with no monthly payment required.  
  •  Ten percent (10%) of the principal balance will be forgiven annually, on the anniversary date of the loan closing, until the loan is fully forgiven on the tenth anniversary.   
  •  Financing to cover up to 20% down payment and up to 5% closing costs.
  • Loan amounts up to $50,000 for homes located in High or Very High Opportunity Areas (per State of CT Opportunity Map)
  • Loan amounts up to $25,000 for homes located in areas other than High or Very High Opportunity Areas.

Click here to learn more.