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CONECT welcome 3 additional new members at June 26th Candidate Assembly!

At our June 26th Candidate Assembly, CONECT welcomed another three new members:

  • Grace Baptist Church (Norwalk)
  • Calvary Baptist Church (Norwalk)
  • Friends of CONECT Action Caucus

We are excited to welcome these congregations and their key leaders into the mix of CONECT.  Grace Baptist is pastored by Rev. Dr. Lindsay Curtis, current chair of the CT state Baptist Convention.  Calvary Baptist is pastored by Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Ingraham.  And the Friends of CONECT Action Caucus is co-chaired by Jeanine Oburchay and Barbara Schellenberg.  Welcome all!

CONECT welcomes 3 new members in early 2018!

In early 2018, CONECT welcomed three new member congregations:

  • The Unitarian Society of New Haven (Hamden)
  • Congregation Beth El (Norwalk)
  • Greenfield Hill Congregational Church (Fairfield)

We are excited to welcome these institutions to CONECT and look forward to doing good and important work together in the coming year.

CONECT welcomes new members!

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Trumbull voted to join CONECT over the summer.  Pastor Kathleen Mills and the church’s Mutual Ministry met several times with CONECT organizer Ilana Ofgang, some leaders attended CONECT assemblies, and the church council voted unanimously to join in July.  Welcome Holy Trinity!

Earlier in 2017, CONECT welcomed two others new members which broadened our already diverse organization:

  • The Bridgeport Islamic Community Center, under the leadership of their president, Dr. Ahmed Ebrahim, and
  • The Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Foundation, a Sikh Gurdwara (or faith community) in Norwalk.

We are excited to welcome these congregations to CONECT!

CONECT’s 2017 Impact to date!

Take look at our new two-page summary of our work thus far in 2017 and share it with others.  We’ve been busy and making an important impact locally, regionally, and nationally.  Click here to go to the two-pager.

Our Impact on Gun Violence in 2015-16
– Get our New 2-page Summary Here

CONECT has played an important role within the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign, which we crafted and launched with our sister organizations in Metro IAF more than 3 years ago.  View a two-page timeline and summary here.




In the News:

CONECT Fall Candidate Assembly set for Oct 22nd, four candidates now confirmed

CONECT’s Fall Candidate Assembly has now been set for Monday evening, October 22nd at 7:00pm at Congregation B’nai Israel (2710 Park Ave., Bridgeport, CT).  Candidates for Governor, Attorney General, and Treasurer have all been invited.  Ned Lamont (D for Gov), Oz Griebel (independent for Gov), Sue Hatfield (R for AG), William Tong (D for AG) and Shawn Wooden (D for Treasurer) are all confirmed to attend.  An updated flyer in English & Spanish is available here:

CONECT Oct 22nd Candidates Assembly Flyer E & S

CONECT Leaders Gather, Celebrate AOBC Resolution Passing

CONECT leaders and shareholders gathered in Bridgeport and Hamden at midday Tuesday to log-on and listen in to the American Outdoor Brands Corp (AOBC or Smith & Wesson) annual shareholder meeting.  Pending on the agenda of the meeting was a shareholder resolution requiring the company to report to its shareholders in 2019 on the repetitional and liability risks to the company due to its products being used in gun violence and on its efforts to develop safer products.  Similar gatherings took place in greater Chicago and in Cleveland.  The resolution, developed by our allies at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, passed despite the vehement opposition of the company’s management and board.  CONECT, Metro IAF, and the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign had supported an identical shareholder resolution for Sturm Ruger, Inc. which passed at its shareholder meeting in May.  See press coverage below:


CONECT publishes non-partisan Candidate Report

Based on CONECT leaders meeting in small teams and our June 26th Candidate Assembly, CONECT has published a non-partisan Candidate Report to add to the independent, non-partisan information voters have as the August 14th Primary Election approaches.  You can find the report here.

CONECT packs St. James school with 440 leaders for Candidate Assembly

On Tuesday, June 26th, 440 CONECT leaders squeezed into St. James School for our first 2018 Candidate Assembly.  Governor hopefuls David Stemerman (R), Ned Lamont (D), Tim Herbst (R), and Joe Ganim (D) all attended, responded to leaders’ stories on a mix of issues — gun violence, immigration, mental health, criminal justice reform, and CT’s lagging economy.  All four pledged to return on Oct 18th if they win their party’s August primary.  CONECT’s members pledged to return with 812 people to the Oct 18th Assembly.  Mark your calendars!  You can watch CT-N’s full coverage of the June 26th Candidate Assembly at this link.

CONECT Co-Chair, Rev. Anthony Bennett, featured in NYT

CONECT Co-Chair, Rev. Anthony L. Bennett of Mount Aery Baptist Church, was featured in the New York Times along with Rabbi Joel Mosbacher of New York for his work in leading CONECT and Metro IAF’s Do Not Stand Idly By campaign on gun violence.  Check out the story here.

NSSF Attacks CONECT & Do Not Stand Idly By —  We Respond!

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (lobby group for the gun industry) attacked CONECT and our Do Not Stand Idly By campaign on gun violence with our sister Metro IAF organizations in an op-ed piece in the Feb 20th CT Post — less than one week after the tragic shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.  Our rebuttal was published one week later on Feb 27th.  Read their attack here and our rebuttal here.

CONECT, Metro IAF lead busy day of action in DC on gun violence

CONECT Clergy Leaders joined about 90 colleagues from sister Metro IAF organizations from the Midwest, Southeast and East Coast to take action on gun violence through our Do Not Stand Idly By campaign in DC on Thursday, Jan 25th, during the US Conference of Mayors meeting.

Small teams spent the morning in a series of actions — presenting to the US Conference of Mayors, confronting a suburban gun shop owner on huge numbers of crime guns emanating from his store, visiting Capitol Hill and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and consulting with military and veterans experts — before gathering together at Metropolitan AME Church with New Haven Mayor Harp for a report back and press conference.  See coverage here:

Packed “We’ll Rise” Assembly presses Chief Perez on Body Cameras & Training

203 leaders packed the basement hall of the Bridgeport Islamic Community Center Thursday night, Nov 30th, for CONECT’s “We’ll Rise” Delegates Assembly.  After hearing reports, updates, and initiatives on a series of issues, CONECT leaders pressed Bridgeport Police Chief Perez for action on police reform and accountability, including body cameras and improved training for new and veteran officers.  See press coverage here:

Productive Local Action in Norwalk on Bias-base Bullying, Gun Violence, and Immigration

On Nov. 6th, 188 local Norwalk residents turned out for CONECT’s first local action assembly in Norwalk and leaders got commitments from the Police Chief, Deputy Superintendent of Schools, and two mayoral candidates including Mayor Rilling.  To see the Norwalk Hour’s story on the assembly, click here.

500+ Letters help get Courville Immigration Case Re-Openned!

After CONECT and St. Jerome leaders collaborated on a Aug 7th Prayer Vigil and gathered more than 500 letters to the Philadelphia Immigration Court and ICE officials in Hartford, the judge in the case agreed to re-open Jung Courville’s original case and stay her order of deportation while the case is re-heard.  See coverage in the Norwalk Hour here.

300+ from St. Jerome & CONECT turnout for Prayer Service in Support of Jung Courville & Her Family

With just three or four days notice, more than 300 St. Jerome and CONECT leaders turnout on Monday, August 7th for a Prayer Vigil in support of Jung Courville and her family after her recent order of deportation.  Courville has been the in US for 18 years, married to a US Citizen for 14 years, and is the mother of two with no criminal record.  Attendees signed 426 letters of support for Courville to ICE Officials in Hartford and the Immigration Court in Philadelphia.  See press coverage of the event below:

Westport First Selectman Marpe Signs Onto Do Not Stand Idly By Campaign

After Temple Israel leaders met with Westport Police Chief Foti Kosinkas recently regarding the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign that CONECT has helped to lead with our Metro IAF sister organizations, First Selectman Jim Marpe agreed to sign on in support.  See the Westport Patch story here.

CONECT Leaders Press Chief Perez for Overdue Meeting

After Bridgeport Police Chief Perez told the press he would meet with CONECT leaders “any time, any place” back on June 2, not until CONECT leaders made plans to “call him out publicly” in early July did a meeting date materialize.  See the CT Post’s coverage here.

CONECT Leaders Call on Mayor Ganim, Chief Perez & State’s Attorney Platt for Action in Wake of Jayson Negron Shooting

CONECT Clergy and Lay leaders gathered at the site of 15-year-old Jayson Negron’s fatal shooting by a Bridgeport Police Officer with several of his family members (his sister, aunt and cousin) on Friday, June 2nd, to call for 1) a timely and transparent investigation, 2) the use of body and dash cameras by the Bridgeport Police Department, and 3) the prioritization of de-escalation and racial / cultural sensitivity training for all Bridgeport police officers.
We called on Mayor Ganim, Chief Perez, and State’s Attorney Platt to meet with us on these issues.  Depending on the progress of the investigation and what it shows, we may call for other changes in the future as well.
See below for press coverage of the action:

CONECT Leaders Gather for Prayer Vigil at Site Where Jayson Negron was Shot and Killed by Bridgeport Police Officer

Thursday evening, May 11th, about two dozen CONECT Clergy and Lay Leaders gathered near Fairfield Ave. and Park Ave. for a prayer vigil after Tuesday evening’s fatal shooting of 15-year-old Jayson Negron by a Bridgport Police officer.  See CONECT’s statement on the incident here.

CONECT Prevails as State Liquor Commission Revokes Slyce Pizza Bar’s Liquor License

After 7 months worth of organizing and effort, CONECT leaders celebrated the news late Friday, April 28th, that the state Liquor Commission agreed with our remonstrance petition and denied Slyce Pizza Bar in Hamden a renewal of its liquor license.

Slyce has been the site of numerous shootings, assaults, sexual assaults, and a drag on the neighborhood with loud noise late at night, littering, and parking problems.  See press coverage of the decision:

CONECT Calls on Gov. Malloy, Liquor Commission to Take Action after Latest Shooting at Slyce Pizza Bar

CONECT leaders first called for the state to reject a liquor license renewal for Slyce Pizza Bar back in Sept 2016, submitting more than 230 signatures on a formal remonstrance petition.  Now after three full days of hearings before the liquor commission, another bar fight has led to a shooting in the Slyce parking lot on the morning of April 9th.  Enough is enough!  CONECT leaders call for the state to take action now.  See coverage here:

501+ gather for CONECT Solidarity Assembly — Principals, Police, Politicians & University President stand with CONECT and speak out in Solidarity

More than 500 CONECT members turned out for a powerful Solidarity Assembly on Tuesday evening, January 24th, at St. Rose of Lima in New Haven.  The multi-racial, multi-faith, urban / suburban crowd pledged to stand in solidarity with each other and defend immigrants, Muslims, African Americans and others who might come under attack during these “anxious times.”  See press coverage here:

For additional press links from 2010 through 2016, go to CONECT in the Media.

Support the 2018 Friends of CONECT Campaign

Please consider supporting the 2018 Friends of CONECT campaign.  $40 million has already been raised and spent in the 2018 elections here in Connecticut and the mid-terms nationally will likely top $4 billion when all is said and done.  For a relative pittance, CONECT enlivens our democracy locally and regionally.  Please consider a gift to support this important work!  You can find a flyer about the Friends of CONECT Campaign here and you can donate with a credit card or via PayPal here:

or send a check to:

c/o Church of the Redeemer
185 Cold Spring Street
New Haven, CT 06511


Introductory Organizing Training offered this Fall

CONECT will be offering two tracks of Introductory Organizing Training in the fall of 2018 — one track over three Tuesday evenings and another on two Sunday afternoons.  This training is intended for new and emerging leaders.  All participants are asked to commit to attend all the sessions the track they select and to register in advance.  You can find a flyer with the details here.

CONECT is a non-partisan, multi-faith organization of 25 diverse congregations throughout Fairfield and New Haven Counties, who have organized as one community, to affect change in the areas of social and economic justice and policies for the common good.  We train leaders in the art of public life to give power to our voices and to create strong congregations and community partnerships.  “The first skill we learn in community organizing is how to listen; how to engage community members in conversations. We have learned that true change, in our own lives, in our families and in our communities, emerges out of the relationships we create with one another.”  We look forward to meeting you!