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Stephenson connection dampens effort to make Norwalk ‘ground zero’ for Ferguson in Connecticut

NORWALK, Conn. – America is still grappling with its apartheid past, according to an international lawyer who found a sparse audience in South Norwalk Saturday, even though his talk was connected to a hot-button national issue – the death of a Ferguson, Mo., teenager due to police gunfire.

Mustafa Ansari, who is described as a dedicated human rights defender, said he came to Norwalk to talk about “true education” and a new movement in human rights understanding. He was joined in the Nathaniel Ely School auditorium by Derk Brown, the formerly anonymous man behind the popular Facebook page “Justice for Mike Brown,” and a panel that included young people from the neighboring Roodner Court. About 30 people listened to the morning talk. About half of them participated in the prayer march that preceded the speeches.

Three people involved in organizing the Ferguson in Connecticut event said its connection to former Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON) interim CEO and President Chiquita Stephenson inhibited turnout. One, an out-of-towner, said she had gotten “interesting phone calls” and had taken Stephenson’s name off the flier on Friday to try to salvage the situation. A Ferguson in Connecticut event was hastily arranged for Saturday evening in New Haven, she said, hoping that people who had been turned off would attend the rally there.

Norwalk Ferguson CT  041-2014-09-27
A Ferguson in Connecticut event begins Saturday morning in Nathaniel Ely School.

Information from Ferguson couldn’t be fresher at the Saturday morning event. “Friday the chief, he came out there to march with us,” Derk Brown said. “The police, they started up the riot again. (Saturday night, a police officer was shot in the arm in Ferguson, but the incident was not thought to be related to ongoing protests.)

Brown said he knew the late Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer in the head, reportedly as he ran away from a police cruiser with his hands up after an altercation with the officer.

“We fighting for what’s right,” Brown said. “… We want an indictment. If that doesn’t happen it’s going to make it worse for them.”

Brown told the crowd that he had been tear gassed and rubber bullets had been shot at him. Police made him take a circuitous route home one evening, making a 10-minute walk take 45 minutes, he said.

“Ferguson is a microcosm of what’s going on all over the country,” Ansari said. “This is just an epicenter in Ferguson, but the same thing that is happening in Ferguson; what is happening in Ferguson is the oppression by the government …  by the schools, by the misinformation, lack of motivation, the lack of real education, that is occurring all over the country. It blew up in Ferguson because they were really up under the gun with the government being so disproportionate to who the citizens were.”

He spoke of militarism.

“All around the U.S. it’s us vs. them,” Ansari said. “Now you want to kill people rather than arrest people and leave it up to the jury. If the Justice Department doesn’t do the right thing or the state doesn’t do the right thing, we have an option. That’s the international court.”

Brown said the people of Ferguson need to elect a mayor who represents them. Ansari agreed.

“We want to change the political situation there because we think that is really the reason for the conflict and for the murder,” Ansari said.

His talk about education would be “true education in which we learn about ourselves first and then we learn about the community and communities and the world as we go along. That’s how really education is supposed to be taught. … That’s a big thing because the most important essence of a human being is who they are. Once you understand who you are then you understand your place in society.”

Gwen Samuel of the Connecticut Parents Union focused on education in her speech, recalling her struggle to get “The Parent’s Trigger” passed as a state law in 2010. Norwalk is not in compliance with the law, she said, because eight schools here are “failing” in teaching children math and English and there have been no school governance councils organizes for them.

The law states that if 51 percent of a school’s parents sign a petition, a school governance council will be formed in an advisory capacity.

Active Norwalk community members in the audience included Deidra Davis, who helped organize the event, as well as John Mosby, Larry Johnson, and the Rev. Ray Dancey.

Samuel spoke of the light turnout.

“(We) had a handful of people that walked today. Doesn’t mean people don’t care about the issue. People said they couldn’t make it. We said we’ll be there for you and what it is, you’re leading by example. So as long as we lead by example I believe we’ll be able to come together as a people,” Samuel said.

Former Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON) interim CEO and President Chiquita Stephenson speaks at Ferguson in Connecticut.
Former Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON) interim CEO and President Chiquita Stephenson speaks at Ferguson in Connecticut.

Stephenson, whose tenure at NEON ended when the paychecks that she issued bounced, said she wasn’t disappointed by the light turnout.

“When you are starting off with getting this people this entrenched in change and in their ability to have choices, when it’s something that’s new to them, sometimes it’s somewhat difficult,” Stephenson said. “That’s why this won’t be the first and it won’t be the last. They’ll be serious and it’s going from state to state, city to city. The more people here about it the more that they’re aware, the more they’ll get engaged.”

Asked about the comments attributing the low turnout to her name being on the flier, she said it hadn’t been.

Her email address, which includes her name, was on the flier.

“Whomever made the statement, let them follow up with the answer to it,” Stephenson said. “Because I’m working closely and will be looking forward to doing the works that we’re doing with Dr. Mustafa. So when people want to correlate why something doesn’t happen – wrong person, I’m still standing. I’m still standing and it’s about getting out a message and whether it’s in Connecticut whether it’s in D.C. I’m still standing, it’s not about me it’s about what we do as a collective.”

She, too, had accusations about education.

“Our children are kept into the school system up to Oct. 1 because if the attendance is not what it needs to be, at 90 percent, then during the time of Oct. 1st then the feds have a reason to say what’s going on?” Stephenson said. “You’ll see a lot of minority students who in fact find themselves suspended or placed in alternative education but guess what, the school district doesn’t give back the money. Or they find themselves incarcerated but the school district doesn’t give back the money.

“So we are looking at how many funnels of dollars within our communities are going for our children but not properly educating our children, whether it be in special education, whether it be in regular education, and if our child is moved from that school system what happened to those dollars?”

Future efforts will involve boycotts, she said.

“This is much larger than having a small march and then having this type of event right here,” Stephenson said. “This is really setting a standard that you’re going to see happening on a national perspective. It’s not about people getting together just to talk. … People need to know who to elect.”

Judy Meikle, who worked under Stephenson at NEON, greeted her with a hug.

“It’s hard to motivate people,” Meikle said to Nancy On Norwalk. “I applaud the organizers for putting it together and want them not to be discouraged because there aren’t more people here.” Even if the numbers are small people talk and things can grow exponentially, she said, explaining, “That’s what organizing is all about, one on one, keep it building.”

Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons offered a rebuttal of the education comments in an early Sunday morning email:

“As usual when commenting on a school system Ms. Samuel doesn’t know anything about (as an upstater), she is wrong.

“First, Brookside (in particular) DOES have an SGC – its next meeting date (Oct. 7) is stated on Brookside’s web home page (see http://portal.norwalkps.org/schools/brookside/default.aspx).  Next, we HAVE created SGCs at all schools where required by law (you can find them at the various school web pages, e.g., http://portal.norwalkps.org/schools/bmhs/Pages/[email protected], and http://portal.norwalkps.org/schools/nhs/Pages/SchoolGovernanceCouncil.aspx).

“Second, Dr. Rivera is implementing a plan this year to create SGCs at ALL Norwalk schools, even where NOT required by law; by the end of this school year we will not have 8 SGCs; we will have 19.

“As for Ms. Stephenson’s comment, it is about as coherent as her management (into bankruptcy) of NEON was.  I can say this – our suspension rates are down dramatically since implementing PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) a few years back (see http://m.thehour.com/mobile/article_28a6ead8-0555-5c0d-9b6c-aac51f924fd5.html).

“If she’s implying that we keep kids in school until Oct. 1 to get Federal finding and then suspend them, there is a simple description of that statement – it is a lie.

“Do these folks ever tell the truth?”

Comments

34 responses to “Stephenson connection dampens effort to make Norwalk ‘ground zero’ for Ferguson in Connecticut”

  1. Lifelong Teacher

    I’ve been a Norwalk educator for a quarter century, in many different positions, Stephenson’s comments about minority enrollment here and the October 1 enrollment date are a bold faced lie. She should take her lies and all the NEON money and go back home. To Wilton.

  2. Chiquita Stephenson (No Need To Hide Behind A Screen Name)

    Knowledge Is Power! I was elected to to the Stamford Board of Education at the age of 28 years old. I served my community in this capacity for 6 years and I am grateful to continue you to serve. People usually attack or blame individuals as a way to distract individuals from remaining focused on the truth. Residents and Mark Lyons you have access to the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), CT Board of Education as well as (IDEA) US Department of Education special ed funding and much, much more. I encourage you to educate yourself. The comment regarding NEON I leave to my Attorneys and encourage people to know the truth before speaking. For if one is not careful of the slander one speaks it may cost you.

    As for the event organizers you all achieved your goal of engaging community. I salute you and congrats. We have much to do to ensure that our children, families and communities move forward. We are fully charged and focused so no matter what is said all that counts is what is being done. Its something to have Knowledge and Power that educated, elevates and empower a people to move forward in spite of the attacks from a oppressive people that fear the born given intelligence of a Human being. Be encouraged all and be sure to lead by example.

  3. Good Morning. This comment is in response to Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons – the Norwalk Chairman that allows “racist and derogatory” comments and behavior to thrive on the local board of education – btw racism is NOT good behavior for any ELECTED OFFICIAL http://www.thehour.com/news/norwalk/chiaramonte-mosby-is-the-girl-who-cried-black/article_b344e817-aadb-5468-806d-b4dd7e4fd0ea.html

    1. 8.4.14 CT Parents Union was invited to Norwalk because of YOUR local school boards racist behavior towards some of your members of color (all women) and parents from different cities in CT attended Norwalk’s BOE meeting because we had concerns that your racist behavior would impact Norwalks CHILDREN of color because if you treat adults like that then we should assume you treat children of color WORSE because they are more vulnerable as a marginalized population.

    Let me offer clarity to the School Governance Council Information you are trying to “gloss over” because IN FACT you are failing to equitable educate Norwalk children in EIGHT schools identified by the “State Department of Education” NOT Gwen Samuel BUT SDE(page 8) these schools are majority of color(correct me if i’m wrong) http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/deps/sgc/listofsgcschools.pdf

    1. I never said your failing schools did not have School Governance Councils (SGC) but I DID SAY your SGC’s are OUT OF COMPLIANCE with state law because you do NOT tell the parents, students, and community that they have RECONSTITUTION POWER after a school has been failing for THREE years consecutively – Those EIGHT SCHOOLS have LEGAL power to VOTE to improve their schools which TAXPAYERS/Parents pay for ( PARENTS sent this reconstitution question to SDE legal and got OUR answer that I now pass on to you – I suggest your local BOE get clarity on the law and STOP misleading parents/students community on their rights to help their children & all children get a GREAT education

    FYI—your school district is NOT the only school district misleading parents on this SGC law. I know its hard for you to realize that many parents of color are literate and we READ DATA also – Welcome to the 2014 “PARENT”

    Furthermore let me clarify about the Parent Trigger- California has the 51% petition process not CT. We have School Governance Councils composed of 14 members 7 parents, 5 teachers, 2 community leaders, 1 non voting Principal and 2 students if a High School

    In closing, Mr Lyons leaders like you should NOT BE in public office because of the fact you do not respect or embrace the value of diversity. Guess what, marginalized communities are fighting back and VOTING more at the polls – WELCOME TO THE NEW NORMAL in the Minority and poor community.

    Sincerely,
    Gwen Samuel
    (Upstart) – your word not mine;)

  4. Neoscam

    The whole concept of “Ferguson in CT” kickoff in Norwalk is offensive. There may be racists in this city like the ones who coordinated this whole event, but Norwalk is not a racist city. It doesn’t matter how much money gets redistributed to these race hustlers, they will always have a permanent chip on their shoulders.

  5. EveT

    Talk about rabble rousing: “oppression by the government … by the schools, by the misinformation, lack of motivation, the lack of real education,” — sure, let’s all despise the government. The same government that has laws about equal opportunity and a safety net for the least fortunate.

  6. Concerned

    Too bad about the low turnout – the larger community had no idea this was taking place. However, Stephenson’s connection with any event designed to serve the public is a horrible idea. Her tenure at NEON was proof that self-interest and self-promotion are her top priorities, with public-service at the very bottom. Just ask those SoNo and NEON residents and employees who lost services and jobs because of her chicanery at NEON. As for her comments at this event, unintelligible as usual – she’s an incoherent babbler simply in love with the sound of her own voice. Can’t believe she had the audacity to come back to Norwalk – but then she’s such a narcissist that at this point her grasp of how other perceive her – REALITY – is positively NIL. …
    This coment was edited to comply with our policy.

  7. John Levin

    Yikes. I wish there could be an effective forum for the different communities in Norwalk to come together and discuss problems, share differences, and perhaps even find solutions.

  8. Chiquita Stephenson (No Need To Hide Behind A Screen Name)

    Concern

    Everyone is aware of the truth as it pertains to NEON especially the community and past employees! I have Attorneys for this so here is the mute button. Be carefully with slander. For it may cost you.

    Now the focus here is a Quality Education for our children and, this is why actions are being taken and progress made. I will allow you to continue your babble unless, you have an ear to hear all who have questions and/or concerns and you decide that you have a I willingness to help. If not we will continue to use your comments in our framework of oppression (intentiinal or unintentional) and please note, we do not require your permission. True fact!

    What is actually sad is your ignorance and inability to understand that your opinion of me is a non factor. However, your views and comments do continually prove the importance of the actions being taken by so many that care and are focused on solutions and are near and far. You should learn how to take your negative energy and transition it to powerful positive energy. I believe that you will then be able to see and make a difference in the lives of all people. I know the Truth hurts and it is a true reality check that you may not be ready to face. But such is life. We are and will forever be focused on tangible outcomes that bring forth wholistic prosperous and progressive change for all that desire a quality education.

    The Mind is a terrible thing to waste. Stop wasting time!

    God is in Control. You be blessed

  9. Chiquita Stephenson (No Need To Hide Behind A Screen Name)

    John Levin

    You are on point and the youth and young adults spoke to your point. They want peoples past grudges, mistakes and political alliances of adults to be uncovered and removed because they (the young people) as are future leaders are not in a strong position academically to compete accross the nation. They expressed their desire for this progressive think tank approach which is well underway. There are solutions and collectively a difference can be made. Your comments would have been celebrated on yesterday and they are appreciated today.

  10. anon

    The article says ‘upstate’ not ‘upstart’.

  11. Chiquita Stephenson (No Need To Hide Behind A Screen Name)

    EveT

    The issue of desegregation of CT schools became a legal one in 1975. Maybe you might want to review Sheff v. O’Neil. O’Neil refers to a 1989 lawsuit and the subsequent 1996 Connecticut Supreme Court. I will allow you to research the rest.

    Some Connecticut States for example put in place their own desegregation plan oppose to having a plan be enforced by the feds. (Do you know who wrote the plans and why?) I Respectfully ask because my parents taught me to never assume.

    There is a focus EveT so i suggest that you refrain from babbling and passing judgement and maybe just maybe you may consider spending some time attentively listening i believe you might learn something you did not know before. I am a true believer that every encounter is an oppotunity to learn something new from someone or something new or old for that matter.

    The government has been broken for sometime now. Its a new day and maybe if you think about. This is why some people are personally and verbally attacked too much knowledge. Others are celebrated because they will not educate they just go with the flow of the program.

    Its about the hand up not the hand out. Food for thought!

  12. Chiquita Stephenson (No Need To Hide Behind A Screen Name)

    Neoscam

    Your screen name speaks loud and clear. Although, I disagree with your statement. I respect your opinion.

    If people could allow themselves the ability to agree and disagree that would a start. Second everyone has a different experience. Such is life.

  13. Mike Lyons

    Well. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so much misinformation compiled into a few posts in NON’s history. Let’s walk through some of them.
    .
    From Chiquita Stephenson: “Residents and Mark (sic) Lyons you have access to the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), CT Board of Education as well as (IDEA) US Department of Education special ed funding and much, much more.” True – and your point is? What is more relevant is that I have access to my own school system’s budget, as well as its data on suspensions. And your implication that Norwalk keeps kids in school until October 1 and then suspends them as some kind of a budget scam is false. If you want to talk about ‘educating oneself’ to avoid liability for slander, take your own advice on that false accusation.
    .
    From Gwen Samuel: “Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons – the Norwalk Chairman that allows “racist and derogatory” comments and behavior to thrive on the local board of education.” No such comments have been made at any Board of Education meeting I have run. All of our meetings are videotaped. Point to one example, at any BoE meeting, where I have allowed “racist” comments to be made. Ms. Samuel keeps pointing to ONE comment made by ONE Board member to the news media separate from a Board meeting and condemns the whole Board for it. Ms. Samuel, I suggest you read the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. If you can find a provision in it that gives a local board of education chairman the right to cancel a person’s right to free speech (offensive or not) outside of a board meeting, please point it out.
    .
    “Parents Union was invited to Norwalk because of YOUR local school boards racist behavior towards some of your members of color (all women).” As has been widely covered, these false charges of racism have fallen flat because there is no evidence to support them. Those who made the allegations have had over three months to produce a single example of racist behavior on my part; they have produced nothing. Simply repeating false allegations over and over again, Ms. Samuels, doesn’t make them true.
    .
    “[W]e should assume you treat children of color WORSE because they are more vulnerable as a marginalized population.” An out-of-towner operating in almost total ignorance of the facts in Norwalk (like you, Ms. Samuel) shouldn’t “assume” anything about our schools. Ms. Samuel may be left to ‘assuming’ how we treat our children, but fortunately there are hard facts that show exactly how they are treated. And our children, both minority students and overall, outperform the students in all of the other large cities in the state. See https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2013/08/test-scores-norwalk-tops-among-cities-but-lags-behind-state and https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2013/09/rivera-norwalks-test-scores-show-improvement-across-ethnic-groups. Of critical importance is the fact that our African American and Hispanic students generally perform better than those of most districts in our DRG, and better than State averages. If we were treating our children of color worse than other cities do, why would they be achieving better educational results here than in any other city in the state?
    .
    “In closing, Mr Lyons leaders like you should NOT BE in public office because of the fact you do not respect or embrace the value of diversity.” The people of Norwalk decide who serves in public office here, Ms. Samuel, not out-of-towners like you. And they elected me to serve on the Board of Education, as a bipartisan Board majority elected me to serve as Chair. Your statement that I “do not respect or embrace the value of diversity” is another assertion devoid of fact. During my time on the Board, we appointed the first minority school superintendent in Norwalk’s history (Manuel Rivera), an African-American principal of Norwalk High School, an African-American principal of Nathan Hale Middle School, and an African-American woman to lead the highest-visibility project going on in the Norwalk schools today (the P-Tech Academy at NHS in conjunction with Norwalk Community College and IBM, about 80% of whose student participants are minorities). Three of our four middle school principals and two of our three high school principals are African-American (in a school system whose student body is 1/3 African-American). We have adopted a Strategic Plan whose highest stated priority is closing the minority achievement gap by 2020 – something no other urban school system in this state has achieved. For a fuller summary of current progress being made by the Board, see https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/06/opinion-a-status-report-from-the-board-of-education.
    .
    I hope the “new normal” isn’t an endless stream of false allegations from non-Norwalkers about our schools. Rather, the new normal should be a concentration on making our schools even better for all our students, minority and otherwise, which is exactly what the Norwalk Board of Education is doing.

  14. Lifelong Teacher

    Well said, Mr. Lyons.

    Outside, rabble rousing, race hustlers who know nothing about our city, its hard working taxpayers, or the education we provide for our students, who can’t string coherent sentences together to make a statement, just go home.

    There are wonderful things being done in NPS for minority students. But none of you would know that.

  15. Chiquita Stephenson (No Need To Hide Behind A Screen Name)

    Mike Lyons,

    Teachable moment. Respectfully, READ, Converse, Dicuss but most importantly, listen!

    As a school board member review your districts data but, be sure to know your state and national data stats around the districts reported suspension rate. Don’t be surprised if your data is incorrect or, it has not been properly reported. Build a relationship with the families you serve not a select few. Engage all of your Parents,all of your students, all of your teachers and administrators. Have an open dialog with them without them fearing retaliation. Needless to say, you will be amazed. Visit all of your schools.

    Do you follow me so far?

    Teachers, administrators, parents and students are a great resource because they are in the trenches daily. If your decisions are based soley on what you receive in your weekly board packet, sidebar and limited committee meetings this is a direct indication asto how and why all of our children are failing.

    The board can be given reports on many occasions but, if the board members neglect to do their dugligence and research. Houston we have a problem. You as a sole board member have no power. It is only when you operate with all of your board members as a whole that you have power to set policy and procedures and oversee the superintendent.

    My recommendation to you and the other board of education members is to vote to hold community engagement board of education meetings across the city and at your local community centers etc… and spend time listening to your parents, students, teacgers and administrators this action by the board can be considered as collective research in order to help you all make better decisions.

    I believe you will have a greater appreciation for all of the people you serve because as I understand it to be you were elected to represent the entire school district.

    Tring to put people in their place as if you have the right is a direct reflection and concern that is happening nationwide and this distinct behavior whether it be intentional or unintentional can no longer be permitted and it ends now.

    Mike Lyons I have never addressed you in any negative way, but, you seem to continually address me in a disrespectful manner. Trust me my attorneys have viewd every key stroke you have ever typed.

    Wrong one! But, believe me when I say you will soon learn how to respect the children and families that you were selected to serve. The Nation is watching. Get to know the people who you serve.

    God is in Control!

  16. Escape Goat

    Ms. Stephenson,
    .
    May I respectfully suggest that you saddle me up and leave town, pronto.

  17. Bill

    How can Stephenson afford a house in Wilton? I know she was making $125k with only a high school degree, but she has been unemployed for months now. Chiquita, please rid us of you by moving down south with so many other people that have taken Norwalk to the cleaners. Norwalk has changed and isn’t what it was in the 80’s or 90’s, Thank God, that’s why so few people showed up to this meaningless event.

  18. Scott

    Ms. Stephenson you sound like you’re preaching. So much so that you say a whole lot of words but say nothing at all forcing the listener ( whom you keep emploring to listen in numerous posts) to try to find the hidden meaning in what you are trying to say. It is exhausting. I know little to nothing of your NEON controversy but I haven’t heard anyone say anything about your race. Do you wish it to be about the color of your skin or who you really are? The threats repeatedly warning against slander are very disturbing and show a predetermined mind set in my honest opinion. As for Norwalk being Connecticut Ferguson ground zero, why? We are a very diverse community of which I have spent my entire life. The only time I have ever “seen color” os when people like yourself throw it in my face.

  19. Amanda

    Also, it’s “due diligence”…not dugligence.

  20. Concerned

    Nineteen comments and six of them mindless, semi-literate rants by Ms. Stephenson. Actions have consequences. Stephenson’s total lack of credibility in the community is no one’s fault but her own. Move on Ms. Stephenson – better yet, move far, far away.

  21. Lifelong Teacher

    Chickie spends a lot of time telling Mr. Lyons what he should do. She’s never been to my school: the highest percentage of minority enrollment, and one of the biggest in the city. Student achievement our minority students is through the roof. Not interested?

    Perhaps that doesn’t make good press for her, or fit into what are well described above as her semi literate rants. She should do her homework, and spend less time threatening her attorney’s retaliation.

    The empty room says it all: we’re not interested, and Norwalk isn’t Ferguson. Stay home.

  22. Student2014

    I would like to say thank you to Nancy on Norwalk for the information on this event because it spark something in me to attend. Also to the people that organized the event thank you. It was very informational on different topics from education, police, college, single parenting and more. I was there and got a lot out of it. I have some questions…… Where was people from our local leaders, anyone that was from the board of education and when is the next one. Instead of pointing fingers come together to help us out. My parents always say it takes a village to raise a child and I am seeing that was just back in the day. And we need to get that back.

  23. Escape Goat

    Ms. Stephenson,
    .
    This looks baaa-aaa-aaaad. Very baa-aaa-aaa-aaad.

  24. John Levin

    Okay, folks, I am seeing a teachable moment. First: I really hope that Norwalk’s middle schools and high schools are doing a good job of teaching kids how to write. Writing is a fundamental life skill, and is a critical skill for most forms of communication between adults. Are writing skills for high school students tested and measured? I know that a third section of the SAT was added a few years ago to include expository writing, but are there other basic standardized tests for writing all high school students must take? Second: some of us are past our school days, but could benefit greatly from a good writing course. NCC’s English Department offers writing courses, but I am uncertain if they are available to the public at large. They should be. Third: yes–as I tell my (teenage) kids–spelling counts, especially if you are trying to make a good impression. Finally: if there’s a “mute” button, then we also should have an “edit” button and a “spell check” button. All good buttons.

    Who knows, maybe

  25. Norewalk Lifer

    The vitriol and intense dislike on the part of Chiquita Stephenson and Mike Lyons are newton forces of equal power; which means nothing moves.
    *
    Work together instead of against each other, after all, we are talking about a legacy that reaches far beyond the sound bites in a news journal, it’s about the kids.
    *
    Wanting better for one’s kids is not a deplorable state of affairs, but the constant defense of both sides is becoming a little tired, in fact it’s becoming laughable.
    *
    It’s very true that many African American parents coach their young sons on how to interact with law enforcement; why is that a surprise?
    *
    While there may be a perception of negativity concerning this event, let’s be clear; no parent, no guardian has given up the right to protect their children, and while there is a modicum of immovable nihilism on both sides concerning the murder of a young man in Ferguson, it’s up to us to approach the subject objectively and rationally so it never happens again.
    *
    And it boils down to this; the intolerance and fear generated by societal environments do not help the victim nor the policeman who shot him.

    Regards
    Norwalk Lifer

  26. Casey Smith

    Norewalk Life –
    .
    Fine words those – “it’s up to us to approach the subject objectively and rationally so it never happens again,” however unrealistic. Do you really think anyone can make decisions or enact laws to prevent something (anything) from ever happening again? Good luck with that one.
    .
    “a legacy that reaches far beyond the sound bites in a news journal, it’s about the kids.”
    .
    Yeah, it is about the children…and let’s have a brief chat about the NEON Head Start program and this past year’s summer day care program that floundered due to NEON’s evaporation. How many kids and families were left “holding the bag” so to speak after that disaster? How many other families with kids were left struggling when paycheck bounced or were weeks late in arriving? Ms. Stevenson’s got a lot of gall to show up and take pot shots at Mr. Lyons, who had NOTHING to do with the families who were collateral damage during NEON’s implosion. The whole spat about people being disrespected and such was about adults, not children — and more importantly, no evidence was ever provided that I heard about.

  27. Dawn

    funny the comment from Chickie:
    “As a school board member review your districts data but, be sure to know your state and national data stats around the districts reported suspension rate. Don’t be surprised if your data is incorrect or, it has not been properly reported.”
    .
    I guess should would know all about misreporting information to the board. The Master of the game i guess.

  28. Nancy: For the record, I would very much appreciate it if you would clarify to your readership that I was simply an attendee in the audience at this event. I was not a participant in the panel discussions. I was there to listen and learn! Unfortunately, the way my name was mentioned in you article might lead someone to believe otherwise.
    Sincerely,
    Rev. Ray Dancy

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Rev. Dancy

      We think you just clarified it, but we turned the sentence around to eliminate any possibility of ambiguity.

  29. Let’s Be Honest!

    Thank you Reverend Dancy for your clarificaion. I knew that you would not be involved with anything like this other than an innocent bystander. You do such great work. Thank you.

  30. Kathleen Montgomery

    It’s a shame that an event that had promise to inform and enlighten was attended by Ms. Stephenson who speaks in unintelligible sound bites and didn’t even seem to recognize that she was not contributing to the event in any positive ways. Sometimes it is better to take the high road, lay low, and reflect on one’s own digressions and learn from them. Scott seems to have given you a good place to begin your self-reflection.

    Student 2014 made some good points and perhaps the next one will be better attended by those of us who do see Norwalk as a village that helps to raise it’s children. But, it will be difficult to come to a place where Ms. Stephenson is exhorting people to “LISTEN” when having a conversation would be vastly more beneficial.

  31. Things that makes u go hmmmm

    Regardless of Mrs. Stephenson there or not who is standing or bringing information to the community. They give our community basketball and thinks that’s fine. I volunteer at community centers in Norwalk and a lot of the kids are not even on their grade level to help them with homework. Education is a real big problem but not only in Norwalk. Not one person that can answer questions about education was there to help. No elected officals, no leaders of Norwalk in any aspects and most of all the Mayor. That’s why all things in Norwalk is divided. Something smell fishy.

  32. John Levin

    Conjugation anyone?

  33. Ms Ruby McPherson

    The event was on target, just a damper, but so many things were happening Sat. Rev. Dancy and team is also work on an event that every middle and high school child and parents should attend. I’ve seen flyers around”CT Stomped Violence Conference Oct 10th,11th. What would help also if more of the Ministers would be seen outside the building and conversation with the youth, How about the Ministers of South Norwalk do a walk !!

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