The coalition, called Desegregate Connecticut, has brought together over 60 groups over the past year and is seeking to rewrite state zoning frameworks. They appear to be close to a remarkable breakthrough that will greatly advance their vision of zoning codes that foster integration, rather than segregation.
The history of zoning racism in Connecticut is stark. According to a recent study conducted by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Open Communities Alliance, the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, and the Sillerman Center at Brandeis University, the state’s BIPOC population, comprising about a fifth of all residents, is highly concentrated residentially, with more than two-thirds of people of color concentrated in 15 of the state’s 169 cities and towns.
In that study, author Susan Eaton acknowledges there has been some decrease in residential segregation in recent years, but change has come slowly. As Eaton puts it, “It is true that several municipalities near Hartford have become more racially and ethnically diverse in relatively recent years. But even with these striking demographic changes, measures of segregation, overall, remain high.”