About seventy people attended the NAACP New Britain Branch rally for racial justice in city employment in Central Park. After an investigation by the NAACP branch into accusations of discrimination in the city Fire Department, the NAACP decided to call the rally to press for change in city policies.
NAACP New Britain Branch President Ronald P. Davis led the rally.
Firefighter Daylon Hudson and NAACP President Ronald Davis speaking at the rally.
Davis said Mayor Erin Stewart did the right thing in bringing in an outside attorney to investigate the immediate matter. That matter involved actions reportedly taken against a city fire fighter alleging that he removed photos of former city Fire Chiefs from their display in a firehouse as protest to former Chief Mark Carr’s photo being singled out in not being displayed. Chief Carr was the city’s first, and only, African-American Fire Chief.
But Davis said that greater action is needed. He cited several changes that are needed in city policies to address larger issues, leading to to city hall employment reflecting the demographics of the New Britain community.
Included in the changes being called for would be:
- Diversity and sensitivity training for city administrators once a year and other city staff quarterly.
- Regular consultations with the NAACP and other groups on issues of equality.
- A thorough review of the city’s Affirmative Action Plan.
In December, the Republican Mayor and the Republican-dominated City Council made changes to the city’s Affirmative Action plan, removing many provisions. Among the provisions removed were provisions directing the city to recruit persons of color, women and others for city employment. The changes removed a provision requiring the Mayor to tie city managers’ compliance with the city Affirmative Action Plan to managers’ pay increases and a provision requiring that the statistics on Affirmative Action compliance be made a part of departmental management. The Affirmative Action revisions also changed text so that the city Affirmative Action Officer is removed from roles in investigating discrimination and taking enforcement action.
Stewart was invited by the NAACP to the rally but decided not to attend.