Thursday, April 25, 2024

Courageous Conversations


Stratford Discusses Issues of Housing Disparities & Redlining

by Sally Head

What is redlining? When did it start? How did the government segregate America? Stratford C.A.R.E (Citizens Addressing Racial Equality), discussed this on a recent Thursday evening via Zoom chat. During this meeting, over 95 participants listened, watched, with or without their videos on, and even joined in on the discussion. This meeting is part of the Stratford CARES monthly meeting called Courageous Conversations. They meet up on the first Thursday every month from 7:30-8:45 pm to discuss topics related to racial equality. Meet ups happen via zoom and are open to anyone.

Conversations are led by trained facilitators from organizations such as Raising the Bar, a program of the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport. Each month you are asked to think and learn from thought-provoking topics such as this month’s “Redlining” and the issues of racial segregation.”

Many people were unfamiliar with the term Redlining. According to Wikipedia, ‘Redlining is the systematic denial of various services by federal government agencies, local governments, or the private sector either directly or through the selective raising of prices.” Most noticeably this is how America was shaped and developed post World War I.

After the initial welcome messages and greetings from the facilitators, the issue of Redlining was presented. Participants can watch and listen as the facilitators give a basic background of Redlining and how it still impacts our modern society today. The lead facilitator, Rev. Cass Shaw, referred to the NPR Podcast, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, A Forgotten History of How the US Government Segregated America” as background of the topic. If you get a chance to listen to this podcast, I highly recommend it.

In her interview, Gross talks to Richard Rothstein, the author of “The Color Of Law” He states, “The segregation of our metropolitan areas today leads to the kinds of police- youth confrontations that lead to deaths of young men, to riots in those neighborhoods. It leads to stagnant inequality because families are much less able to be upwardly mobile, when they’re living in segregated neighborhoods where opportunity is absent, than they otherwise would.”

After we discussed some issues related to Redlining and how this affects our modern society, we broke out into smaller groups of 8 people or less. No technology experience required. They, the facilitators, use Zoom to invite you into small groups. Once in your small group you then go over some important questions such as ‘how has our community changed in the past several years? Or What changes to see you happening to our community that could either invite or discourage residents to live in our town?”

You can either observe or participate in the discussions. These discussions are open to encourage the community to unite and heal the divides among us and to start to make a difference.

After 45 minutes in the small groups, we were then invited back to the large group where we closed the discussion and talked about the next conversation which will be on health disparities.

Next Courageous Conversation will be on Thursday January at 7:30 pm, titled, “Access and Outcomes; Health Disparities”. All are welcome to attend.

For more information or to register for next month’s topic please visit



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