UUSE is committed to social justice in all its forms.
Update on GHIAA (Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance) from the Social Justice /Anti-Oppression Committee
In 2023, GHIAA took on five legislative priorities, selected on the basis of more than 1000
stories shared by leaders in GHIAA’s member institutions, including UUSE. Members of the 50
congregations that make up GHIAA attended press conferences, wrote and presented
testimony, and contacted their legislators.
GHIAA and its partner organizations achieved considerable success on our legislative priorities.
In Connecticut, victims of gun violence are disproportionately people of color. In 2023,
GHIAA called on our leaders to follow the recommendation of the Commission on
Community Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention to fund community-based
organizations doing life-saving work on the ground in our major urban centers. Initially
the governor’s budget included just $2.5 million for this work. The bipartisan budget
passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor included $22 million over
the biennium for gun violence prevention.
GHIAA joined with partners in the HUSKY for Immigrants Coalition to seek to expand
HUSKY eligibility for income qualified people regardless of immigration status to age 26
(It had been limited to age 11). The approved budget included funding to extend HUSKY
to age 15. While this falls short of the goal of covering all children and young adults, it
nevertheless represents progress as thousands more young people who have been
excluded will now have access to physical and mental health care.
In the 1980, state leaders designed the Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula to address
glaring disparities in the opportunities our children receive. Over 30 years later this
formula has never yet been fully funded. The final budget included $150 million toward
fully funding the ECS formula. Furthermore, ECS implementation was accelerated and
will be fully funded as of FY 2026.
GHIAA called on our leaders to pass HB 6633 and implement Fair Share Planning and
Zoning, a new approach to land use in Connecticut that asks each town to plan and zone
for an equitable portion of its regional need for affordable housing. A stripped down
version of Fair Share was included in the omnibus housing bill. While this falls short of
meaningful zoning reform, it does represent important (though incremental) progress.
In July 2022, the MIRA incinerator plant in the South End of Hartford ceased operation.
Hartford has borne the brunt of this regional service for decades, at the cost of high
asthma rates and low life expectancies for the residents of neighboring communities,
who are mostly lower income Black and Brown folks. GHIAA called for the creation of a
new oversight body to manage the remediation and redevelopment of the South End
site. GHIAA also called for meaningful representation from the City of Hartford in the
leadership of the new waste authority. HB 6664 dissolved MIRA; and the Hartford City
Council will appoint five members to the new waste management authority.
For a more detailed legislative wrap-up go to the Center for Leadership and Justice website:
Do you want to get involved with GHIAA? Contact the SJ/AO committee co-chairs: Maureen
Flanagan and Monica van Beusekom