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 MakeMusicCT.org. 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: http://ctcenterforthebook.org/submission-guidelines/.

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.

 

WRCH, WYBC, WEBE, WCTY Are Top-Rated Stations in CT's Local Radio Markets

The top-ranked radio stations in the Hartford-New Britain market area in November were WRCH-FM, WTIC-FM, and WHCN-FM (River 105.9), according to the latest Nielson Audiosurvey information. Grouped in a flat-footed tie for fourth are three stations:  WKSS-FM, WWYZ-FM and WZMX-FM. Public radio station WNPR-FM is next in the ratings, followed by WTIC-AM, the only AM station to break into the top ten.  The Hartford area is the 52nd largest radio market in the U.S., with a population of 1,081,300.  It is the largest radio market in Connecticut.

Twenty years ago, in 1997, the ratings were also led by WRCH (Lite 100.5), but the runner-up that year was WTIC-AM.  The two stations jockeyed for the ratings lead for the next few years, with WTIC-AM taking a short-lived lead in 2001.  By 2015, WTIC-AM had fallen to eighth, as the dominance of FM stations grew. 

In the New Haven market, the top ranked station in the most recent ratings is WYBC-FM, Yale University’s Urban Adult Contemporary station, followed by WPLR-FM, WKCI-FM, and WEZN-FM.  WYBC has led the ratings race in the nation’s #121 ranked radio market for the past two years.  The population of the New Haven market is 430,300, according to the most recent ratings.

Greater Bridgeport is the #124 ranked market, with a population of 421,100, and its top-rated station is WEBE-FM, playing an adult contemporary format.  Next in the rations are WEZN-FM, WPLR-FM and WICC-AM.

In the Stamford-Norwalk radio market, the dominance of New York based stations is apparent, after Bridgeport’s WEBE-FM, which tops the local ratings.  The two top runners-up are WCBS-AM, New York City’s all-news station, and WHTZ-FM (Z100), with a contemporary hits format.  WEZN-FM, New York sports station WFAN and Urban Adult Contemporary WBLS-FM rank next.  Stamford-Norwalk is the 148th ranked market in the Nielsen Audio reports, with a population of 323,400.

The New London market ratings are led by country station WCTY-FM, followed by WQGN-FM (Q105), WNLC-FM and WKNL-FM.  The market, ranked #178, has a population of 238,300.

According to the second-quarter 2017 Nielsen Total Audience Report, Americans spend 87 percent of their AM/FM radio listening tuning into their three favorite stations (based on the amount of time spent with each). Perhaps even more interesting is that 58 percent of all listening goes to just one station, the listener's favorite station.

Nationally, more than two-thirds of listening happens away from the home. According to the report, at least 65 percent of American adults listen to the radio away from the home between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. during weekdays. And consumption peaks at 75 percent outside of the home during the afternoon drive time, between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. during the week. 

Done Deal: Upstate New York Will be Home to Northeast’s First Legoland

The bricks have fallen into place, and Legoland will be coming to upstate New York in 2020.  Despite local opposition groups, a change in the preferred host community, and two years of uncertainty, United Kingdom-based Merlin Entertainment has announced that the third Legoland in the United States and the first in the Northeast will be built in Goshen, New York.  The site is just an hour or two from most parts of Connecticut and 60 miles north of Manhattan. There are no indications that Connecticut was ever seriously considered for the theme amusement park.  Currently, there are two operating Legoland locations in the U.S., in California and Florida. 

The $500-million amusement park and hotel are scheduled to be built on 500 acres right off Route 17 near exit 125 in Orange County, New York.  Legoland anticipates generating $283-million in taxes for Orange County over 30 years, more than 1,000 jobs at the park and 800 for construction.

In 2015, Merlin Entertainment had tried to build in a nearby community, but the plan fell through.  They next turned to Goshen, a small community with a population of just over 5,000. New York will support the project by investing $18 million, according to published reports, improving the current road infrastructure, upgrading traffic signals and building a bridge over Route 17. The project will also receive $7.1 million in grants through the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative and $8 million through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

The timing of the announcement followed a planning board vote in October, approving an umbrella resolution for its site plan, and permits to clear and grade the land. The review process took 17 months. The proposed Legoland theme park in Goshen had cleared a major hurdle in September when the Town Board amended Goshen’s comprehensive plan to allow commercial entertainment. A year ago, the plan was in doubt due to a variety of concerns raised locally, from traffic to environment to history.

“We have spent a lot of time building relationships in the community, listening and responding to concerns, and we are looking forward to building a theme park that will enhance the community and be a tremendous neighbor,” said Merlin Entertainments Chief Executive Officer Nick Varney. “I am honored to announce Legoland New York is officially moving forward.”

Merlin Entertainments, the developer of Legoland in New York, is one of the largest entertainment company operating in Europe, operating 123 attractions in 24 countries across four continents. About 2 million visitors annually are projected for Legoland New York, with the facility to be open each year from April 1 through Halloween.

The design of the New York location will build upon parks operating in California, Florida, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malaysia, Denmark, Dubai and Japan, where the most recent Legoland debuted.

With Varied Stories to Tell, State Authors Win 2017 Connecticut Book Awards

The Connecticut Book Awards returned from a five-year hiatus with a rousing ceremony and the selection of winners from among finalists in four categories:  Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Young Readers.  The competition was coordinated by Connecticut Humanities and the Connecticut Center for the Book, and the awards ceremony was held Sunday at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford. West Hartford author Okey Ndibe was awarded the 2017 Connecticut Book Award for Non-Fiction for Never Look an American in the Eye, published by Soho Press.  The Fiction winner was Robert H. Patton of Darien for Cajun Waltz, published by Thomas Dunne Books.  In the Young Readers, The Weight of Zero, written by Karen Fortunati and published by Delacorte Press, was selected. The Poetry winner was Fugitives by Danielle Pieratti, published by Lost Horse Press.

One hundred nine titles were submitted as candidates for the Book Awards between January 1 and April 19, 2017 and after review against the guidelines, one hundred titles were admitted into the judging process. Books published in 2016 were eligible for the awards.

Each category had five judges with expertise in the literary arts. They reviewed the titles over three months using criteria appropriate to the category.  Seventeen titles made it to the finalist list. Nominated authors must currently reside in Connecticut and must have lived in the state at least three successive years or have been born in the state, or the book must be substantially set in Connecticut.

In accepting the award, Ndibe, a journalist and educator, said that “literature is central to what binds us together as a community.”  Ndibe’s funny, charming, and penetrating memoir tells of his move from Nigeria to America, examines the differences between Nigerian and American etiquette and politics; recalls an incident of racial profiling just thirteen days after he arrived in the US, in which he was mistaken for a bank robber; considers American stereotypes about Africa (and vice-versa); and juxtaposes African folk tales with Wall Street.

Fortunati, who described her debut novel as a “story of hope and resilience” in accepting the award, recently completed Trinity College’s master’s program in American Studies.  She recalled that as part of her studies, she visited the Mark Twain House & Museum, which made the ceremony location especially fitting.

The book’s subject is mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, and “it explores the shame, stigma and anxiety that often complicate the management of this chronic condition,” Fortunati explains on her website.  “The issue is personal to me having witnessed the impact of depression and bipolar disorder in relatives and friends.  My goal was to write a story of hope for teens who struggle with mental illness.”

Pieratti, who teaches English at South Windsor High School, relocated to Connecticut from upstate New York five years ago.  She said “I have been nurtured by this state since I moved here,” and expressed appreciation to her colleagues in South Windsor.  She has taught at the college and high school level, and was recipient of the Idaho prize for Poetry in 2015.  Her poetry “explores the mundane moments and materials that make up ordinary days and finds there the ambiguities of mystery, shadow, and song,” the CT Center for the Book indicated.

Cajun Waltz, the Fiction winner by Robert H. Patton, is set in southwest Louisiana, a "tale of family, music, love, and picturesque mayhem" that explores “three generations of the volatile clan” as they “grapple with the region’s economic struggles and racial tensions.”

In addition to the award recipients, Gray Jacobik, University Professor Emerita at Eastern Connecticut State University, received Lifetime Achievement recognition in Poetry.

The awards were presented annually between 2002 and 2011, and were re-established by CT Humanities this year.  The nominated books for the 2017 Connecticut Book Awards, by category:

Fiction

  • Back Lash by Chris Knopf
  • I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb
  • Shadows of Paris by Eric D. Lehman
  • Cajun Waltz by Robert H. Patton
  • Beneath a Shooting Star by Susan Harrison Rashid

Non-Fiction

  • Rare Light by Anne Dawson
  • Never Look an American in the Eye by Okey Ndibe
  • The Lost White Tribe by Michael Robinson

Poetry

  • The Banquet by Gray Jacobik
  • Barrel Children by Rayon Lennon
  • The Meeting House by Marilyn Nelson
  • Fugitives by Danielle Pieratti

Young Readers

  • All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
  • The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati
  • Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood
  • The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
  • Good Night, Bat! Good Morning, Squirrel! by Paul Meisel

 

Images above (L to R): Okey Ndibe, Karen Fortunati, Danielle Pieratti, Robert H. Patton

Unhealthy Food Marketing Targets Hispanic Youth, UConn Researchers Find

Hispanic children and youth, particularly youth in Spanish-speaking households, visited food/beverage websites at higher rates than their non-Hispanic counterparts, despite fewer visits to the Internet overall, according to a research study published by University of Connecticut faculty members. “The frequency with which youth in Spanish-speaking households visited popular food and beverage websites compared with primarily English-speaking Hispanic youth raises further concerns due to the potential for these sites to reinforce preferences for an ‘‘American’’ diet among less acculturated youth, which could contribute to Hispanic youth’s worsening diet with greater acculturation,” Maia Hyary and Jennifer Harris point out in the inaugural issue of the journal Health Equity, published in September.

They stress that “Further research is needed to understand why Hispanic youth disproportionately visit food/beverage websites to help inform potential actions to reduce their exposure to unhealthy food marketing.”

The researchers warn that “given higher rates of obesity and diet-related diseases among Hispanic youth, food and beverage companies should not target marketing of unhealthy products to Hispanic youth online.”

Dr. Jennifer L. Harris is Director of Marketing Initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and Associate Professor in Allied Health Sciences at University of Connecticut. She leads a multidisciplinary team of researchers who study food marketing to children, adolescents, and parents, and how it impacts their diets and health. Maia Hyary is a PhD student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a former Rudd Center Research Associate.

Food and beverage companies often target marketing for nutrient-poor products such as candy, sugary drinks, snack foods, and fast-food restaurants to Hispanic audiences, including youth, the researchers state.  They cite previous research that has documented disproportionate exposure to unhealthy food marketing by Hispanic youth in their communities and on TV, but theirs is the first examination of the phenomenon on the internet.

Sites that were relatively more popular with Hispanic youth than with non-Hispanic youth included ChuckeCheese.com, HappyMeal.com, the Lunchables website, FrostedFlakes.com, and two Spanish language websites (ComidaKraft.com and McDonald’sMeEncanta.com). Among Hispanic children (under 12 years), ChuckECheese.com, FrootLoops.com, HappyMeal.com, TacoBell.com, LuckyCharms.com, and SubwayKids.com were relatively more popular.

Health Equity is a new peer-reviewed open access journal that “meets the urgent need for authoritative information about health disparities and health equity among vulnerable populations,” according to the publication’s website, “with the goal of providing optimal outcomes and ultimately health equity for all.” The journal intends to provide coverage ranging from translational research to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of disease and illness, in order to serve as a primary resource for organizations and individuals who serve these populations at the community, state, regional, tribal, and national levels.

 

PHOTO:  Dr. Jennifer L. Harris, Maia Hyary

“Museum Day Live” Event to Include 18 Connecticut Museums

Eighteen Connecticut museums in twelve communities will be participating in Museum Day Live! On September 23, offering free admission in a national initiative led by Smithsonian magazine and supported by Microsoft, to increase awareness of the assets that museums have to offer residents throughout the country. Museum Day Live! is described as “an annual celebration of boundless curiosity.” Participating museums and cultural institutions across the country provide entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket. Individuals can get tickets on-line to any of the participating museums, simply by indicating the museum they intend to visit.  A ticket specific to that museum is then downloaded, and recipients can either print the ticket or show it on their smart phones in many of the museums.

To get free admission, guests must present an official Museum Day Live! Ticket, which provides general admission for the ticketholder plus one guest.  It is not valid for special exhibits, parking, IMAX film screening or any other offer.

Across the country, there are nearly 1200 participating museums, including 457 museums in the Northeast, 188 across the South, 402 in the Mid-West and 136 in the Western U.S.

Participating museums in Connecticut include:

BRISTOL

DANBURY

Danbury Museum and Historical Society Authority

FAIRFIELD

Fairfield University Art Museum 

GREENWICH

Bruce Museum

HARTFORD

MASHANTUCKET

Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center 

NEW HAVEN

NEW LONDONCustom House Maritime Museum

RIDGEFIELD

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

TOLLAND

WEST HARTFORD

Art Museum, University of Saint Joseph 

WOODBURY

Glebe House Museum & Gertrude Jekyll Garden