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Hamden Officials No-Show Public Input Session for Inclusivity Task Force

"It was a little disturbing because the big people who were supposed to be here are not here," said Kimberly Washington of Mother's Demand Action.
Credit: WTIC

Another heated meeting in Hamden left residents highly disappointed. The public forum was about inclusivity and transparency. Unfortunately, the highly anticipated task force meeting was missing some important city officials. Leaving the meeting a dud.

"It was a little disturbing because the big people who were supposed to be here are not here," said Kimberly Washington of Mother's Demand Action. 

The cafeteria at the Hamden Middle School was filled with concerned residents but heads of the town's newly established task force were missing.

"We have 40 plus people waiting on you for a town that is already looking for leadership. There’s a time to stop what you’re doing and come show up," said Dr. Carmen Parker. 

Dr. Parker was hoping to voice her opinion to the Hamden Equity and Inclusivity Task Force. She says her daughter was recently cast in a play at West Woods Elementary school as a slave. She says things have improved for her daughter at the school since then but the shortage of representation from the town at the meeting showed continued lack of accountability.

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"Just because we’re quieter doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention," said Dr. Parker.

The task force made up of major social groups in town is meant to discuss and implement solutions to the issues of bias, racism, inequity, inclusivity and related challenges that have come to light in recent events.

The April Officer-involved shooting that saw 13 rounds fired at Paul Witherspoon and Stephanie Washington, as well as the West Woods school play, were still top of mind for people in attendance.

"It wasn’t an isolated incident," said Lauri Sweet. "There are many families that are afraid to come forward and speak out about the things that happened to them."

The no-show was disappointing to those hoping the task force would have some teeth. 

"I actually have a complaint that I want to file but I feel like it’s a waste of my time because no one is going to do anything about it," said Marine Hebron. 

Residents waited over an hour before Hamden Mayor Curt Leng texted some of the people in attendance to send his apologies. He said that scheduling conflicts led to a rescheduling of the meeting.

He continued to say in a statement, "the rescheduling was not released publicly, only internally, and that was my fault and I’m terribly sorry for the inconvenience… I apologize for the mistake, take ownership of it."

"It was a miscommunication," said Washington. "Hopefully our mayor Curt Leng will fully address this. Hopefully, he’ll be here next week.

The public input session for the task force has been rescheduled to next Tuesday at 7 p.m.