After The Protests: Here’s How To Help

Sunday’s “United Against Racism” protest on Jesup Green was powerful and important.

But many of the several hundred attendees left feeling helpless. What can we actually do, besides march and speak? they wondered.

Darcy Hicks heard them. the co-organizer of the event — and a longtime social justice advocate — says, “I’m a big believer in protests and rallies. But not if they just stop there.”

On Monday, she went to work. She compiled a list of ways to help.

Downtown Bridgeport — there’s a lot going on.(Photo/Gary Pivot)

She focused on Bridgeport because she and her husband — attorney Josh Koskoff — both work there.

“We love the people,” Darcy says. “It’s a vibrant city with amazing history – yet 40% of children live below poverty level.

“Having a foot in both Westport and Bridgeport makes me realize that if all of us had that experience, we would think about their needs more. It’s hard to remember people in need of you don’t know them, or even see them.”

So, Darcy says, in addition to rallies and protests — or instead of, if you are concerned about COVID-19 — here is what you can do:


1. Drive to Bridgeport. It’s not far. It’s part of our extended neighborhood — and it’s important to interact in any way we can.

If you’ve been braving Starbucks, go to Bean N Batter instead one day. Treat yourself to waffles — available for curbside pickup. BONUS: It’s owned by Staples grad Will Hamer.

Instead of going to Dunkin’, surprise your family with a box of the real thing from Daybreak Doughnuts. Tired of the usual takeout? Wait until you feast on Brazilian churrascaria from Pantanal

2. Online shoppers: Here’s a better way to support your habit! https://www.fastcompany.com/…/7-black-owned-businesses-to-s…

3. Give. I know, some people say it’s inappropriate to ask for money these days. But for those of us fortunate enough to fill our carts with 700 rolls of toilet paper, we can spare something. The ACLU is always a good place to donate. So are https://bailproject.org and www.campaignzero.org.

Here’s a list of state and local organizations I’ve compiled, with the help of BPT Generation Now! (an amazing group of people, who are making great changes in Bridgeport):

Black Lives Matter
CTCore
Citywide Youth Coalition
Hearing Youth Voices
Students 4 Educational Justice
Connecticut Students 4 a Dream
Make the Road CT
Adam J. Lewis Academy
Neighborhood Studios

Some very happy Adam J. Lewis preschoolers.

4. Join these Facebook groups:
https://www.facebook.com/…/Justice-for-Jayson-155481706457…/
https://www.facebook.com/noahcalebfreedom/
https://www.facebook.com/nhvcrb/

5. When the quarantine is lifted and you find yourself filling your day back up with exercise classes, pick a day to volunteer for the Bridgeport Public Schools. They need visiting readers! https://www.bridgeportedu.net/SVAB.

Or volunteer to teach English to women at Mercy Learning Center. Or help kids with their homework at The Caroline House.

There’s so much more that can be done. If you know of more ways to close the socioeconomic gap that exacerbates racism and inequality in this area, please click “Comments” below.

27 responses to “After The Protests: Here’s How To Help

  1. Such a great post. Thank you.

    • Thank you, Darcy and Dan, for highlighting the importance of connecting with our Bridgeport neighbors…and for providing concrete ways Westporters can do so! Now, more than ever our support is needed. Thanks again.

  2. Also- read the minutes of our local govt board T.E.A.M- a group already working here to implement many initiatives to educate our students and parents outside the home.

  3. Barbara Durham

    Please add the Burroughs Community Center to the list for support.

  4. Amazing!! This is exactly what Obama was talking about last night: make a plan and then ACT. Thanks to Darcy Hicks and team for their ongoing leadership and commitment.

  5. This made me happy Wooger. Sending love right back at ya ❤️

  6. Christine Freeman

    And thank you Darcy and Josh for supporting Bridgeport and creating change!

  7. India van Voorhees

    I would also strongly recommend reading two books in this order:
    “White Fragility”
    “The New Jim Crow”

    • India van Voorhees

      I should add that “White Fragility” requires the white reader to be able to shed one’s protective armor and see the systemic nature of white privilege and supremacy for what it is. It’s difficult to swallow, but truth often is. You have to be courageous, and be prepared to do the work. Once it’s internalized, however, it’s freeing. And the bottom line is: once finished, the white reader will be more self-aware, and less likely to unwittingly contribute to racism and harm people of color.

  8. Excellent post! Thank you Darcy & Dan. Mary Condon

  9. I just forwarded this post to the CEO of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council – Dan Onofrio. He is the “go to” person at BRBC.org.

  10. Thanks for this follow-up post, Dan. For those who prefer to do some of this work more internally, here is a list of resources – books, films, and TV programs – that can help white individuals better understand racism:

    RACE: The Power of an Illusion – https://vimeo.com/ondemand/race
    I Am Not Your Negro – available on Prime Video
    True Justice – https://eji.org/projects/true-justice/
    Mixed-Ish – Available from ABC or Amazon Prime
    Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Citizen, Claudia Rankine
    The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander (even just reading the intro to this book will be highly informative)
    Dr. Joy DeGruy, Post-Traumatic Slave Disorder. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGjSday7f_8&list=PL-dFT07VXm4v14DP-mQ2kK9c4V10YusbR
    Ibram X. Kendi – How to Be an Anti-Racist

    The great news is that, once you do educate yourself, it’s pretty impossible not to see how wrong, unfair and immoral racism truly is, how it is based in non-biological, unscientific propaganda used to rationalize the mistreatment of people of color and benefit white people. A part of the journey is to acknowledge that and begin to consciously unlearn what we unconsciously learned through the media, schools, our families, etc. Thankfully, there are more and more really good resources out there for people of all ages, and I’m happy to suggest more if anyone requests it. One book I personally do NOT recommend is White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo: I know it’s gotten a lot of press and it may be a helpful wake-up call for some, but I find her approach to be very shaming, and I don’t think anyone learns best when we’re shamed.

    These are important times – I am grateful for everyone who agrees and is willing to take part in “being the change we wish to see.”

  11. Thanks Darcy, Dan and others too.

  12. I don’t think the link to Project Zero is correct. Does anybody know?

  13. Thank you Dan for publishing this. Our family has found Caroline House to be a very good organization.

  14. This morning someone asked me what they can do. What I can do is send them to 06880 and give them this list. Good move Darcy and Dan! Time to forward this info – along with these great additional comments and recommendations.

  15. I’d like to share your list with my church ministry here in So CA, please. Perhaps we can formulate a similar reference list for our folks in same situation. Especially our many senior citizens involved in our outreach to homeless and underemployed who may not be able to continue serving in face to face contact in our office.
    Thank you in advance,
    June Vreeland Maier
    Saugatuck ES
    Bedford ES
    Bedford JR HS 1956

  16. Regarding eliminating racism. There are various questions and this may be a simplistic answer but sometimes simple is best and most effective if it is actually done. The problem we have today is that the people who are calling out our failures are the same ineffective people who have been in charge for the prior decade and now they say we need reform. These so called leaders just patronize our communities with the nice politically correct words they want to hear but they avoid the real work necessary to get the job done. We need to start early in a child’s life before prejudice can take hold: 1) On a personal level each of us should be taught early in life, especially in school that racism is not only wrong but it is necessary to call out racism when you see it. Silence is the same as complicity. 2) Focus not only on words but actions to insist on high quality local Education, Education, and Education and local Policing, Policing and Policing in the neighborhoods where people live. It is an appalling concept that people must leave their own neighborhoods to have a better education, more safety and to improve their quality of life. What does this say about our community leaders? 3) Create “sister” communities similar to how international cities are connecting to foster more awareness and tolerance of our differences. For example, Westport and Bridgeport 4) Double down on intercommunity education events and other intercommunity events to foster more community interaction and integration through these sister communities. 5) It is time for “tough love”, expect more and we can have more. Today we have an incredible amount of social acceptance with: interracial marages, politicians, media, etc. So many people are already enlightened as demonstrated by the high level of interracial participation in the protests. It is time to stop the patronizing and to implement and expect real community change.

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  18. Ana Jardim Messenger

    Wonderful post! Thank you for all the information on resources!

  19. I note there were some reading suggestions. I would add an item from the past, 1967, The Kerner Commission Report. If you are not familiar with that Report or if you are, check it out. A bit of progress may have been made, I am not really sure, but the issues and some suggested approaches remain from those years. Whatever the history, whatever the failings, our nation must never give up on the quest for racial harmony.
    Don Bergmann

    • Arline Gertzoff

      Thanks to book donations from Democratic Women Of Westport I was able to arrange approximately 200 hundred gently used children’s books to go to the Black Rock School in Bridgeport earlier this year. We are recognized on their giving tree as friends from Westport

  20. I no longer live in Westport, we downsized at the beginning of 2020 to New Canaan, but for decades I volunteered for SVA (School Volunteers of Bridgeport) and it was one of my most favorite things to do. Once a week I’d go to Blackrock School on the Fairfield/Bridgeport border and read to children in K and 1st grade for 30 mins in each classroom. The kids loved it but
    it enriched by life as much as theirs and I can’t wait for school to start again so I can continue!

  21. Claudine Maidique

    Thank you for these suggestions. We need tot be guided to take our efforts and support to the next and sustainable level. Today’s protest downtown was impacting and fortifying. I want to do more!

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