In the heart of Hartford, a growing crisis has been silently plaguing our community, particularly in the North End. Families, individuals, and children are struggling to find affordable and stable housing, and one street that embodies this crisis is Edgewood Street. As Riverfront Family Church, we believe it is our moral duty to address this issue and advocate for justice, guided by biblical principles that call us to care for those without a voice.
In the Bible, the call to seek justice for the marginalized is resounding. Proverbs 31:8-9 tells us to "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." Similarly, Isaiah 1:17 encourages us to "Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."
Edgewood Street in the North End of Hartford has become a microcosm of the housing crisis that plagues our city. Families here are faced with skyrocketing rent prices, substandard living conditions, and the constant threat of eviction. The lack of affordable housing options leaves many trapped in a cycle of poverty, unable to escape their circumstances
The Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance (GHIAA) has been at the forefront of addressing this crisis. They have been working tirelessly to bring attention to the housing issues faced by our community, advocating for policy changes, and pushing for affordable housing initiatives. GHIAA's commitment to justice aligns perfectly with our mission to make a positive impact on our city.
Action Steps for the City of Hartford:
Affordable Housing Initiatives: The city must prioritize and invest in affordable housing projects that cater to the needs of the North End community.
Tenant Protections: Implement stronger tenant protection laws to prevent unjust evictions and ensure safe living conditions.
Community Engagement: Foster meaningful community engagement to gather input from residents when developing housing policies.
Create Opportunities for Home Ownership: Home ownership creates economic stability, healthier neighborhoods, and the opportunity to create generational wealth. Creating opportunities that encourages and resources home ownership in our neighborhoods is critical to the future of our city.
Action Steps for Individuals:
Education: Educate yourself and others about the housing crisis in Hartford. Understand its root causes and implications.
Advocacy: Join organizations like GHIAA in advocating for housing justice. Attend community meetings, rallies, and town halls to voice your concerns.
Support: Donate to or volunteer with local organizations working towards affordable housing solutions.
Allyship: Be an ally to those affected by the crisis. Listen to their stories, offer support, and amplify their voices.
As followers of Christ, we are called to seek justice for the oppressed, including those struggling with housing instability. The crisis on Edgewood Street is a stark reminder that our work is far from over. By following the guidance of scripture and working hand in hand with organizations like GHIAA, we can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in the North End and bring about much-needed change in our city. Let us unite in prayer, advocacy, and action to address the housing crisis in Hartford and work towards a more just and equitable future for all.
June 29, 2023
Below is the statement by GHIAA on the Eid al-Adha Attack on Rep. Maryam Khan. Riverfront Family Church is a member of GHIAA and affirms this statement.
The Center for Leadership and Justice and the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance are appalled at the recent attack on Rep. Maryam Khan after Eid al-Adha observances in Hartford on June 28, 2023.
Islamophobia, racism, and violence against women are scourges that continue to plague our communities. When violence is inflicted against a worshiper gathered for public celebration of an important and joyful holiday of her faith tradition, entire communities are traumatized. When violence is inflicted against a woman of color wearing the garments that express her religious identity, it sends a message of fear to all women who dare to take up space in public, to all persons of color who dare to be present on city streets, and to all adherents who dare to attire themselves in accordance with their values. Specifically, when violence is perpetrated against a Muslim woman of South Asian heritage who chooses to wear a hijab and attends a public religious observance, all Muslims, all immigrants, all persons of color, and all women are left feeling deeply vulnerable, unprotected, and unwelcome. This is unacceptable.
As the first Muslim woman elected to the Connecticut state legislature, and as a powerful advocate for equity at the Capitol, and as an educator in the special ed department at Weaver High School, Rep. Khan is a barrier-breaking leader in our community. But one should not have to be an elected official, or a teacher, or anything other than a human being to receive the full protection and dignity they deserve as a resident of our state. It is a fact that GHIAA and CLJ respect and admire Rep. Khan as a leader in our legislature. And, this attack would be equally repugnant and deserving of response if it had occurred against any other participant in Eid observances this week.
As an intentionally interreligious and multiracial organization, we believe that we are all harmed whenever any member of our community is attacked on the basis of their identity. Be it Islamophobia, antisemitism, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, or any other form of bigotry, CLJ and GHIAA are united in declaring that hate and violence have no place in our society. Such acts are unconscionable and are incompatible with the teachings of every one of our venerable religious traditions.
GHIAA and CLJ stand with Rep. Khan, with the Muslim community, with women, with immigrants, with the South Asian community, and with all who experience fear as a result of this violent act. We are committed to continuing our work for concrete change toward equity, safety, and flourishing for all who are targeted and marginalized by systemic injustice. The many and varied prayers of our diverse GHIAA community are united in common petition for healing of these emotional, physical, and spiritual wounds. May the God we know by many names, including the beautiful name Allah, bless Maryam Khan and her family, and all who suffer fear and violence, and all who join in the work of justice.
The Center for Leadership and Justice
Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance
We have the privilege of acknowledging and celebrating an important milestone in American history—Juneteenth. This day, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. At Riverfront Family Church, we embrace the significance of Juneteenth, recognizing it as an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the African American experience and promote unity within our community.
On June 19, 1865, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, and declared the end of slavery, over two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth holds immense historical and cultural importance, symbolizing freedom from bondage and serving as a reminder of the journey towards equality and justice for all Americans.
At Riverfront Family Church, we believe in fostering an inclusive and diverse environment that celebrates the richness of our collective heritage. Embracing Juneteenth allows us to engage in meaningful conversations that deepen our empathy and understanding. By learning about the African American experience and its lasting impact, we can cultivate unity within our congregation and community.
To support your exploration of Juneteenth and facilitate insightful discussions, we recommend the following resources:
1. Reading Materials:
"The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration" by Isabel Wilkerson
"Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America" by Ibram X. Kendi
"Juneteenth: A Novel" by Ralph Ellison
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead
2. Videos and Documentaries:
"13th" (Netflix documentary) directed by Ava DuVernay
"The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross" (PBS series) presented by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
"I Am Not Your Negro" (documentary) directed by Raoul Peck
3. Websites and Articles:
National Museum of African American History & Culture: Juneteenth Resource Guide (https://nmaahc.si.edu/juneteenth)
4. If you're interested in participating in Juneteenth events or celebrations in or near Hartford, Connecticut, we encourage you to consider the following local happenings:
Juneteenth Jubilee at The Amistad Center for Art & Culture
Juneteenth Celebration at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza
Juneteenth Heritage Festival at Bushnell Park
Juneteenth presents an opportunity for Riverfront Family Church to come together, honor our shared history, and work towards a future of unity, understanding, and equal opportunities for all. Let us embrace this occasion by engaging in conversations, reflecting on our past, and actively fostering an environment of respect within our church and wider community.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or additional resources related to Juneteenth that you'd like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments. Together, let's celebrate Juneteenth with reverence, gratitude, and a commitment to building a better tomorrow.