It was the mid 2000’s. I was on a bus on my way home from a temp job when it hit me. “This headache hadn’t let up in three straight days.” I tried not to panic at the sudden realization of my suffering but couldn’t help wondering, what is going on? Am I seriously ill? Do I have a brain tumor? As the questions kept coming I found myself doing what any grown woman in crisis would do. I called my mother.
“Get to the hospital immediately,” she said in a tone no one but a Black mother could deliver. I did what I was told. But little did I know that when I walked into the emergency room that day, it would mark the beginning of a year long journey. One that would not only test my faith but required that I step up into my life like never before, confidently taking charge of my body if I wanted to heal.
Like me all those years ago, Bridgeport is currently in crisis. Our city’s progress has been crippled by corruption, incompetence and patronage. Truth be told we don’t even have a democracy anymore. It has been hijacked and replaced by an authoritarian regime, led by Democratic Town Chairman, Mario Testa. A master manipulator, he has tricked well meaning Black and Brown people into handing over our communities political power to him in exchange for jobs for themselves and/or family members. Proudly, political operatives rig our local elections by abusing the absentee ballot process defrauding Bridgeporters of true government representation.
In 2020 former Police Chief, Armando Perez and former Personnel Director, David Dunn pled guilty to cheating during the 2018 police chief search and lying to the FBI. Mayor Joe Ganim and his chief of staff, Dan Shamas are still under the cloud of an FBI investigation that has cost the taxpayers over six hundred thousand dollars. Our school Superintendent lacks both the education and qualifications for the position but somehow got the job over 3 qualified Black candidates. We do not have a public facilities director or health director. And, somehow the city administration thinks it’s acceptable to place a woman with no background in public health – who runs an after-school program – in charge of the Covid vaccine roll-out.
With all this mayhem there’s no wonder that folks feel confused, and in the dark about what is really going on, only knowing for sure that something is terribly wrong.
Bridgeport Generation Now Votes, the 501c4 affiliate of Bridgeport Generation Now is focusing on fighting corruption, rebuilding our democracy and protecting voting rights through litigation, legislation and grassroots organizing. As residents who really love our city, we are sending Bridgeport to the hospital, just as my mother sent me, and enlisting our allies to help fix what ails us. As the voice of that movement, Also in Bridgeport will unapologetically explain power and politics and provide anti-corruption, anti-racist, pro-democracy context to Bridgeport’s most pressing issues.
We are not here to exploit our city’s issues to gossip about what only happens in Bridgeport. So if you’re looking for salacious content that elevates made up political drama for likes, comments and the almighty dollar, this space is not for you. But, if you know something is wrong and are curious about what it is and how you can help fix it, then this space is for you. If you believe the time is now to stop talking about it and are ready to be about it, this space is for you. If you believe that – we the people – can rebuild our democracy and move our beloved community out of crisis, be healed and made whole, this space is definitely for you.
It’s been more than 15 years since I set foot in that hospital. As it turns out, I couldn’t pop a few aspirin to relieve my suffering. My crisis went much deeper than that. It took months of doctor visits, tests, two hospital stays and advocacy to get the proper diagnosis and therefore a realistic plan for my healing. I had a musculoskeletal issue. Three small herniated disks in my neck meant I had to commit to long term physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that support my neck. There were no quick fixes for my structural problems as there are none for Bridgeport.
Let’s get to work,
Gemeem, President Bridgeport Generation Now Votes