Firefighters Bond While Awaiting High Court Decision

"As minorities, we have a lot in common"

Firefighters in New Haven are still waiting to hear the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the groundbreaking reverse discrimination case.  In Ricci vs. DeStefano, 20 white firefighters say they were denied promotions after passing an exam that was later thrown out because no minorities would have been promoted.

"This issue is not just a local issue.  This is an issue that revolves around fire departments across this nation.  It's not just here in New Haven; it's not unique.  We have to discuss many issues, not just testing, but other issues as well," said Ron Morales, President of the International Association of Hispanic Firefighters.

Hispanic and African American firefighters in New Haven now say they'll work together on those issues that need to be addressed.  It was the case that helped them put aside their differences. 

"Regardless of what happens in the Ricci vs. DeStefano case, as minorities, as Hispanics and African Americans we have a lot in common, and it's in our best interest to work together," said New Haven Alderman Jorge Perez.

"From this day forth, hopefully we can work together, and just serve the city better.  And both deal with issues that we both minorities deal with at the fire department," said Terry Rountree, a New Haven firefighter.

They say in time, they hope the whole fire department will get involved, and everyone will be treated equally regardless of race.

"We're here because we need to join together as a department, as members of the department and make sure this doesn't happen again," said Rene Cordova, a New Haven firefighter.

A Supreme Court decision is expected within a week.

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