Marilyn Moore


Marilyn Moore



March 16, 2021

Black and Brown United in Action Organization Writes Letter to Governor Lamont to Encourage Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis by Executive Order

Today, State Senator Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport), joined members of the Black and Brown United In Action group in writing a letter to Governor Lamont to encourage him to declare racism as a public health crisis by executive order. Senator Moore is committed to looking at everything through a racial equity lens in order to provide a more fair and equitable future for Black and Brown families in Connecticut.

“I have made the commitment to bring racial equity to all throughout Connecticut and by taking this action, we are one step closer to providing a safer and more just community for all,” said Senator Moore. “Governor Lamont can be part of the solution by declaring racism a public health crisis through executive order. It would help lead to the elimination of racial and ethnic inequities that currently exist while increasing opportunities for everyone.”

The letter sent to Governor Lamont is below:

March 16th, 2021

Re: Declare racism a Public Health Crisis by Executive Order Immediately

Dear Governor Lamont,

We are Black and Brown United In Action, a grassroots organization located in New Haven, Connecticut and we are reaching out to encourage you to lead progressively and aggressively in the State of Connecticut by declaring racism a public health crisis by executive order.

As you are aware, slavery in Connecticut dates as far back as the mid-1600s. Connecticut’s growing agricultural industry fostered slavery’s expansion, and by the time of the American Revolution, Connecticut had the largest number of slaves in New England. Slaves were mentioned in Hartford from 1639 and in New Haven from 1644. As in the rest of New England, they were few until about 1700. Even in the early 1700s, direct slave imports to Connecticut were considered too few to be worth the trouble of taxing. The governor reported only 110 white and black servants in Connecticut in 1709. In 1730, the colony had a black population of 700, out of a total enumeration of 38,000.

Yet on the eve of the Revolution, Connecticut had the largest number of slaves (6,464) in New England. Jackson Turner Main, surveying Connecticut estate inventories, found that in 1700 one in 10 inventories included slaves, rising to one in 4 on the eve of the Revolution. Between 1756 and 1774, the proportion of slave to free in Connecticut increased by 40 percent. All the principal families of Norwich, Hartford, and New Haven were said to have one or two slaves. By 1774, half of all the ministers, lawyers, and public officials owned slaves, and a third of all the doctors. Connecticut’s large slave population apparently was based in the middle class. More people had the opportunity to own slaves than in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, so more did so.

The largest increase came in the period 1749-1774. By the latter year, New London County had become the greatest slaveholding section of New England, with almost twice as many slaves as the most populous slave county in Massachusetts. New London was both an industrial center and the site of large slave-worked farms; with 2,036 slaves, it accounted for almost one-third of all the blacks in Connecticut. New London town itself, with 522 blacks and a white population of 5,366, led the state in the number of slaves and percentage of black inhabitants.

Discrimination against free black people was more severe in Connecticut than in other New England colonies. Their lives were strongly proscribed even before they became numerous. In 1690, the colony forbade Black and Indigenous people to be on the streets after 9 p.m. It also forbade Black “servants” to wander beyond the limits of the towns or places where they belonged without a ticket or pass from their masters or the authorities. A law of 1708, citing frequent fights between slaves and whites, imposed a minimum penalty of 30 lashes on any Black who disturbed the peace or who attempted to strike a white person. Even speech was subject to control. By a 1730 law, any Black, Brown or Indigenous slave who uttered or published, about any white person, words which would be actionable if uttered by a free white was, upon conviction before anyone assistant or justice of the peace, to be whipped with forty lashes. After the war, new ideas about freedom and the rights of men brought about the movement to end slavery in the United States. Unlike neighboring states, Connecticut emancipated its slaves very slowly and cautiously, claiming it wanted to ensure the process respected property rights and did not disrupt civic order.

Systemic, covert and structural racism play a large role in determining the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and affects people’s access to quality housing, education, food, transportation, political power, and other social determinants of health. Racism also has negative mental and physical health consequences such as, depression, anxiety, hypertension, preterm birth, shortened life span and poor quality of life. Understanding and addressing racism from this public health perspective is crucial to eliminating racial and ethnic inequities, and to improving opportunity and well-being across communities.

Racism has been declared a public health crisis in 6 states, 182 municipalities, entities, and organizations, including 20 municipalities in Connecticut. Governor Lamont while legislators and community members work together to create transformative legislation to advance racial justice in our state, we need your leadership. Our state, particularly communities of color need to receive this declaration from your hand.

Governor Lamont, we ask that you declare racism a public health crisis in the state of Connecticut by executive order immediately.


Black and Brown United in Action

Cc: Representative Robyn Porter

Cc: Representative Marilyn Moore

Cc: Representative Toni Walker

Cc: Senator Richard Blumenthal

Cc: Senator Jorge Cabrera

Cc: Senator Martin Looney

Cc: Senator Chris Murphy