Bridgeport community organizers rally against racism; public hearing held on removed Columbus statue
Bridgeport community organizers and religious leaders spoke out against institutional racism in a rally Thursday as the city debates the fate of a controversial monument.
The organizers of the "Rally Against Racism" say they were inspired by the shooting of Jacob Blake by police, as well as ongoing gun violence in the city.
Bridgeport Generation Now co-director Gemeem Davis says it's no accident the rally fell right before a public hearing on the Christopher Columbus statue that was removed from Seaside Park in July.
On Aug. 11, the city parks board ordered City Hall to return the monument to its place within 45 days.
Co-director Callie Heilmann says addressing systemic racism means shifting the balance of power, especially in a city as diverse as Bridgeport.
Organizers say while that's a tall order, the city can start small in Seaside Park.
The City Council says its public hearing Thursday night is meant to let residents make their voices heard. The final decision of what to do with the Columbus statue lies with the parks board.