Food-Related Ads Targeting Black and Hispanic Youth Almost Exclusively Promote Unhealthy Food and Drinks

Food-Related Ads Targeting Black and Hispanic Youth Almost Exclusively Promote Unhealthy Food and Drinks

Restaurant, food, and beverage companies (food companies) target Hispanic and Black children and teens with ads almost exclusively for fast food, candy, sugary drinks, and unhealthy snacks, according to a report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut

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The Green Book Has Hartford Debut - Documentary Tells Real Story of Guide to Freedom Through Segregated America

Little known by most people - regardless of race - until recently, the Green Book has recently exploded into the public consciousness. Described as "the essential travel guide for a segregated America," within just the past two days a popular movie by that name won the Academy Award for best picture, and a documentary relating the story of  real people and places that inspired the popular motion picture debuted on the Smithsonian Channel.

The documentary, "The Green Book: Guide to Freedom," was shown at a special preview at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, in a showing coordinated by the Amistad Center for Art and Culture, Comcast, and the Smithsonian Channel.  It marked the third year that Comcast has joined with the Amistad Center and Smithsonian Channel to bring a special presentation to Hartford during Black History month.

Nearly 100 people were on hand for the local premiere of the documentary, which was followed by a panel discussion including Kelli Herod, Vice President of Post Production at Smithsonian Channel, and Stacey Close, Associate Vice President for Equity and Diversity at Eastern Connecticut State University, moderated by Kara Sundlun of WFSB.  Amistad Center Executive Director & Curator at Large Wm. Frank Mitchell, Brad Palazzo, Comcast Director of Community Impact and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin also spoke briefly, with Bronin saluting the "resiliance, ingenuity and determination" of those who traveled through dangerous times.

The documentary was produced by award-winning filmmaker Yoruba Richen.  It premieres this week on Smithsonian Channel, telling the story of the Green Book, launched in the 1930's by Victor Green, a black postal carrier from Harlem who created a volume that was "part travel guide and part survival guide."  It helped African-Americans navigate safe passage across a dangerously segregated nation, identifying towns, hotels, restaurants and businesses that would be hospitable to African-Americans, sometimes few and far between.

The challenges were not only in the South.  In fact, a page in the 1948 Green Book, lists locations in Connecticut - and the list does not fill the page.  The locations were in Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, New London, Stamford, Waterbury and West Haven.  Included are restaurants, hotels, tourist homes, beauty parlors, barber shops, and night clubs.  The 1967 edition also includes five Hartford locations, including one - the former Bond Hotel - that is still standing to this day.

"We are proud to tell the true story behind this remarkable guide and to shine new light on this disturbing yet important period in Amerian history," said David Royle, Smithsonian Channel's Chief Programming officer.

The documentary tells the story of the rise of the African American middle class in Detroit, and the iconic A.G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham, Alabama - a pivotal location in the civil rights movement. It also recalls that during its 1950s heyday, the Idlewild Resort in Michigan was a magnet for black culture and entertainment, with a booming nightlife featuring famous performers like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington.  In the Q&A in Hartford following the advance showing, one audience member recalled her family owning property at the Idlewild - a local connection that the panel did not expect, but was clearly pleased to learn.

"At Comcast NBC Universal diversity and inclusion is a fundamental part of our company culture and are crucial components to all of our efforts to create and deliver the best and boldest technology and entertainment for our customers," noted Palazzo. "The Green Book: Guide to Freedom screening is another way for us to bring diverse entertainment and story-telling locally to Hartford-area residents."  Comcast, with Connecticut offices in Berlin, has partnered with the Amistad on a number of initiatives over the years and "are proud to play a small role in helping them to tell their cultural story."

The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, located in the Wadsworth Atheneum, celebrates art and culture influenced by people of African descent through education, scholarship  and social experiences.

Victor Green looked forward to the day people wouldn't need the Green Book. In the 1949 edition he wrote,

There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment. But until that time comes we shall continue to publish this information for your convenience each year.

The year the Civil Rights Act passed, in 1964, was the Green Book’s last.  As the panelists in Hartford noted, more than 50 years later, the struggle for equality continues.






Record-Setting Travelers Championship Nets $2 Million for Charity

The 2018 Travelers Championship generated $2 million for more than 150 local charities throughout the region, the largest amount for charity generated in the history of Connecticut’s premier sporting event.  The record-setting total includes a $200,000 contribution from three-time Travelers Championship winner and 2018 champion Bubba Watson. Charity representatives joined officials from Travelers and the tournament in Hartford this week for the annual Travelers Championship Charity Celebration, where funds were distributed to each organization.

“This is always a special day because it signifies the hard work everyone puts into the tournament,” said Travelers Championship Tournament Director Nathan Grube. “Through the support we receive from volunteers, fans, players and businesses, we’re able to help charitable groups across the region make the community a better place.”

This year’s effort brings the total amount generated for charity by the tournament to more than $16.7 million since Travelers became title sponsor in 2007. The tournament donates 100 percent of its net proceeds to charity.

“Reaching the $2 million mark is an important milestone, and it will have such a meaningful impact on so many local organizations,” said Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Travelers. “Bubba’s generosity mirrors our charity-first approach, and follows a similar sentiment that runs through the PGA TOUR and many of its players.”

Watson, who became just the second player to win the Travelers Championship more than twice – he also won in 2010 and 2015 – is representing the United States this week at the Ryder Cup in France. He recorded a video message that was played during the Charity Celebration.

“Wish I could be there. I just want to say thank you to Travelers for their hard work and their dedication to the community and all the charity dollars they’ve raised over the years,” Watson said. “Especially this year; $2 million dollars, what an achievement.”

The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp was the primary beneficiary of this year’s tournament, with three campers also serving as honorary co-chairs. Watson directed his $200,000 donation to Camp, which is naming the trading post at the Travelers Mini Golf Course on its campus in Ashford, Connecticut, as “Bubba Watson’s Trading Post,” in recognition of the 12-time PGA TOUR winner. Back in December, the 2017 Travelers Championship was honored by the PGA TOUR winning the prestigious “Tournament of the Year” award, along with recognition as the “Most Fan-Friendly Event,” “Best Sales” and the inaugural “Players Choice.” Award.  With approximately 4,000 volunteers working over 80,000 hours, the 2017 event generated more than $1.7 million for 165 deserving charities – totals that were exceeded this summer at the 2018 tournament. 

An economic impact study last year found that The Travelers Championship has an annual economic impact on the state of Connecticut of $68.2 million.  The study, conducted by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. (CERC), found that the economic impact had more than doubled between 2011 and 2017, due to two primary factors; a much larger total number of spectators, especially the increased number of individuals from outside the state, and increased spending by the tournament in preparing for and administering the increased number of events that occur during the tournament week.

At least 750 charities have benefited over that time. Since the tournament’s debut in 1952, more than $40 million has been distributed to local charities.

Never an effort to reset on its laurels, preparation has already started for the 2019 Travelers Championship, which will be held June 17-23 at TPC River Highlands.


Exhibit at Wadsworth Atheneum Shows Hartford Roots

Life and art come full circle this month at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, with the opening of an historic exhibition with an unmistakable hometown connection.  Frederic Edwin Church was a prominent American landscape painter in the 1800’s, born in Hartford, and a central figure in the Hudson River School of American landscape painters. His family wealth came from Church's father, Joseph Church, a silversmith and watchmaker in Hartford.  Joseph subsequently also became an official and a director of The Aetna Life Insurance Company. Joseph, in turn, was the son of Samuel Church, who founded the first paper mill in Lee, Massachusetts in the Berkshires, which allowed Frederic to pursue his interest in art from a very early age, according to the website that features his work.

At eighteen years of age, Church became the pupil of Thomas Cole in Catskill, New York after Daniel Wadsworth, a family neighbor and founder of the Wadsworth Atheneum, introduced the two. Now, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art will present “Frederic Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage,” bringing together approximately 50 of the celebrated Hudson River School painter’s compositions of sacred terrain in the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

“This is a rare opportunity for our audience to explore a side of Church’s working process and fierce entrepreneurship beyond the usual experience of landscape paintings,” says Robert H. Schutz, Jr., Associate Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture Erin Monroe. “Church’s story started in Hartford, so it is particularly fitting for the Atheneum to feature this exploration of his pilgrimage as a way to reconnect the artist with his personal and professional origins.” The exhibition opens to the public at noon on June 2 and is on view through Aug. 26.

A leading painter of 19th-century America, Frederic Church was the most popular and financially successful painter in the United States during his lifetime. As a young artist Church’s first formal training was facilitated by Atheneum founder Daniel Wadsworth, who arranged for Church’s apprenticeship with painter Thomas Cole, the father of the Hudson River School. While committed to the natural sciences, Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900) was "always concerned with including a spiritual dimension in his works".

Organized by Kenneth J. Myers, curator of American art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, “Frederic Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage” explores the enduring appeal of pilgrimage through a lesser-known body of work resulting from the artist’s journey to powerful sites of spiritual and historical significance in the late 1860s.

As he further established his career, Church traveled to remote places to sketch majestic scenes unfamiliar to his American audience, turning them into dramatic, large-scale paintings. These travels provided Church with ideas and material to produce major paintings for his wealthy patrons, including prominent American industrialists and financiers such as Hartford’s Timothy Mather Allyn, J. Pierpont Morgan and firearms manufacturer Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt.

From 1868–1869, Church, his wife and their young son visited the lands of modern-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and southeastern Turkey, with Church taking expeditions to Athens, Damascus, Petra, Baalbek and Jerusalem. Church made countless small-scale pencil drawings and oil sketches on these trips, noting observations including colors, light, time of day and even weather patterns. Upon returning to his New York studio Church created large-scale compositions.

“These historic views are especially compelling and relevant now,” says Monroe. “It is a chance to foster conversation around the destruction and urgent need for preservation of cultural heritage sites in the 21st century.”

An illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.  Tours of “Frederic Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage” are offered Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. from June 9–Aug. 26. Free lectures include “Sacred Geographies: Frederic Church, the Holy Land, & the Hudson Valley” with Yale University professor Jennifer Raab, June 12 at 6 p.m. “Art After Dark: Rock the Kasbah” on June 7 at 5 p.m. will feature live music, exhibition tours and an outdoor bazaar; tickets are $5-10.

CT Arts Organizations to Participate in Make Music Day on June 21, Joining 800 Communities in 120 Countries

A year ago, over 800 cities around the world threw citywide music celebrations on June 21. Three decades after the concept was born in France, the Make Music celebrations has spread throughout the world and is now marked in more than 120 countries.  Later this spring, it arrives in Connecticut for the first time.

Make Music Connecticut will feature an eclectic mix of over 250 free outdoor musical events, and is part of Make Music Day, a global music celebration that takes place on the summer solstice each year and brings people of all ages and skill levels together to make music.

In addition to Connecticut, more than 70 U.S. cities will collectively host thousands of Make Music performances. The event is not a concert, or series of concerts, organizers point out.  Any musician, amateur or professional, young or old, is invited to take part by signing up at Registration closes on May 21, 2018.

In addition, Connecticut businesses, buildings, schools, churches, and other institutions can visit the website to offer their outdoor spaces as concert locations.  It is the world’s largest annual music event.

The event was held for the first time in North America 11 years ago.  The numbers continue to grow.  On June 21, 2017, 53 North American cities organized 4,138 free concerts at 1,179 locations.

Each Make Music city is independently organized. Often it’s a local community group, media outlet, arts presenter, government agency, or civic leader who champions the musical holiday in their hometown.

Make Music Day Connecticut is being administered in partnership with the Connecticut Office of the Arts and the following organizations: Greater Hartford Arts Council, Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition, The Arts Council of Greater New Haven, Windham Arts, Stamford Downtown, Middletown Commission on the Arts, Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, Fairfield Theatre Company, Waterbury Symphony Orchestra, the City of Waterbury and City Lights Gallery in Bridgeport.

The plan at the  Greater Hartford Arts Council is for “sidewalks, parks, front porches, and public spaces throughout the city” to become “stages for local musicians to perform and for all to enjoy.” Registration has opened, with  matchmaking software in place for musicians to register, create profiles and find a match for their Make Music Hartford performance.  Similar initiatives are being launched by the other participating Connecticut organizations.  Circle June 21 on the calendar!  Wherever you are in Connecticut, music won't be too far away.

Nominations Open for Annual Connecticut Book Awards

Read a good book lately?  Written by a Connecticut author or featuring a local illustrator?  You may want to urge that their work be submitted for a 2018 Connecticut Book Award.  The annual awards returned last year after a multi-year hiatus, to solid reviews.  The Connecticut Center for the Book (CCB) at Connecticut Humanities, which sponsors the awards, is now looking to build on that momentum.

The awards are designed to recognize and honor those authors and illustrators who have created the best books in or about the State of Connecticut, and celebrate the state’s rich history of authors and illustrators.

“There was such a wonderful selection of books submitted last year in each category that it was very hard to choose” said Lisa Comstock, director of the Connecticut Center for the Book. “We are confident that submissions this year will be exceptional as well.”

Eligibility requirements for the 2018 Awards include:

  • Authors and illustrators must currently reside in Connecticut and must have lived in the state at least three consecutive years or have been born in the state. Alternatively, the work may be substantially set in Connecticut.
  • Titles must have been published for the first time between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017, or have a copyright within 2017.
  • All submitted books must have a valid ISBN.
  • Anthologies are acceptable. Author(s) must currently reside in Connecticut and must have lived in the state at least three consecutive years or have been born in the state. Alternatively, the works must be substantially set in Connecticut.
  • Books by deceased authors will be accepted only if the author was still living at the beginning of the eligibility year (January 1, 2017).

The deadline for submission for the 2018 Connecticut Book Awards is April 20, 2018. Finalists will be announced in September and winners announced in October. For more information, visit:

Last year’s winners in each category include: Poetry: Fugitives by Danielle Pieratti; Lifetime Achievement for Literary Excellence to Gray Jacobik represented by The Banquet: New and Selected PoemsYoung ReadersThe Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati; NonfictionNever Look an American in the Eye by Okey Ndibe; and in FictionCajun Waltz by Robert H. Patton.  They followed in the footsteps of literary legends like Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Wallace Stevens – and more recently, Connecticut-connected authors such as Annie Proulx, Suzanne Collins, Elizabeth Gilbert, Maurice Sendak and Luanne Rice.

Connecticut Humanities (CTH) is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and administers the Connecticut Center for the Book.  Established by Congress in 1977 to “stimulate public interest in books and reading,” the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress is a national force for reading and literacy promotion.

Not eligible for the 2018 Connecticut Awards are reprints of books published in another year, eBooks, and books written by staff or families of Connecticut Center for the Book, Connecticut Humanities, or members or families of the CT Book Award review committee and/or its judges.