Tag Archives: social justice

Roundup: Environment And Social Justice, Pop-Up Art, Pop-Up Menorah, More

At first glance, environmentalism and social justice might seem to be different issues.

But they intersect powerfully. One example: petrochemical facilities — with all their toxic byproducts — are often located in predominantly minority, economically disadvantaged communities.

Wanjiku Gatheru wrote a provocative piece for Glamour: “Want to be an Environmentalist? Start With Antiracism.”

The 21-year old is the first Black person in history to receive the Rhodes, Truman and Udall scholarships. A recent graduate of the University of Connecticut, she’s now studying in Oxford, England.

That’s where she’ll join the Westport Library on Wednesday, December 16 (7 p.m.), for a virtual event. She’ll discuss the intersection of those 2 movements. The event is co-sponsored by TEAM Westport, Sustainable Westport and Earthplace. Click here to register.

Wanjiku Gatheru (Photo/Sean Glynn, UConn)

The Greens Farms Elementary School PTA has organized a fundraiser.

They not only want everyone to help — they want to help other PTAs and organizations too.

When you buy a gift card from a participating local retailer or locally owned online brand — click here! — the store donates a portion of proceeds to the GFS PTA.

But GFS wants to spread the wealth. If your PTA wants to be considered — as part of a dropdown menu at checkout — email contact@payitforward.co.

Participants include ASF Sports & Outdoors, BD Provisions, Club Pilates, Dojo Westport, Posh Nail Salon, Shelala, Skin by Kataryna, Olive & Linen, Organic Krush, Posh Nail Salon, Romanacci Pizza Bar, Splatz by OneFun, Stew Leonard’s, Westport Masks and 3Dux.

New brands are being added all the time. If your business would like to join, email contact@payitfwrd.co.

Westport artist Michael Chait will sponsor another of his popular pop-up photo shows on the Saugatuck River this Sunday (December 13, 12:30 to 3 p.m., 11 Riverside Avenue).

It’s all outdoors. Smooth jazz/R&B music starts at 1:30 p.m., with the Dave Kardas Band. Pop by for the pop-up!

Michael Chait’s flag over the Saugatuck River.

Anthropologie’s Christmas decorations bring a bit of light to downtown Westport.

Now they’re joined by a menorah.

Happy holidays to all!

(Photo/Arlene Yolles)

As of yesterday, Westport had 786 cases of COVID-19 since March (722 confirmed, 64 probable). That’s up 87 total cases since last Thursday.

There have been 25 deaths, up 1 from last week. Click here for full statistics.

And finally … happy 89th birthday to Rita Moreno. In 1961 she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as Anita, in the film version of “West Side Story.”

Nobody knows in America
Puerto Rico’s in America!

50 Years Later, Staples Grads Still Show Concern

In the early 1960s, America was slowly rousing itself from the vanilla Eisenhower years.

Many teenagers’ lives revolved around sports and parties. The political activism that characterized the rest of the decade was still on the horizon.

An ad for Bigelow Tea, featuring typical Staples girls. Note the book covers at the bottom of the photo.

An ad for Bigelow Tea, featuring typical Staples girls. Note the book covers at the bottom of the photo.

But a small group of youngsters saw it coming. Alienated from the popular culture of Bedford and Long Lots Junior Highs, and Staples High School, they found themselves — and their place — in Burt and Honey Knopp’s house.

Politically active — Honey started the World Affairs Center, a downtown meeting place — and warmly open to young people, the Knopps and their daughter Sari formed a loose group that, for a couple of years, met every 3 weeks or so.

Calling themselves “Concern,” they talked about important issues of the day. They brought in speakers. They picketed the Norwalk Woolworth’s, in solidarity with civil rights protesters at North Carolina lunch counters.

The Woolworth's sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Woolworth’s sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina.

They demonstrated at Westport’s Nike missile site, advocating for nuclear disarmament.

And — though they didn’t know it at the time — the small group of teenagers made a commitment to social justice that has influenced the rest of their lives.

The group included Richard Hill, Martha Honey, Barbara Kelman and Bob Rubinstein.  Another member — Doug Biklen — later became Sari Knopp’s husband.

Half a century later, the participants have different memories of Concern, Sari says. But earlier this month — during the Staples Class of 1963’s 50th reunion — they got together once again.

They wanted to look back on the group, examine its importance to them — and find out what they’d done with their lives ever since.

They realized that over the span of just a couple of years, Concern helped set them on their life paths. Some spent their careers working for the environment. Others dedicated themselves to urban youth, or international crises. Sari is now a professor at Syracuse University, studying race and gender.

Honey Knopp

Honey Knopp

The early 1960s were a vastly different time than today. The young people in Concern did not talk about women’s or gay issues, because virtually no one else did either.

But they were concerned then about the world, and their place in it.

They still are.

And — when most of their peers were cheering at football games and thinking about the next party — Burt and Honey Knopp gave them a place, and a space, to lay the foundation for the rest of their lives.