In Middletown, there is a push by the new Common Council to fight for diversity and inclusivity in government, business and the people who make up the town.
2020 is the first time in history that Middletown's Common Council is made up of different races, backgrounds, and genders and they're hoping to reach new heights for the town's future.
Edward Ford, Darnell Ford, Jeanette White, and Grady Faulkner Jr. all made Middletown history. This was the first time in the town's history to have four African American council members.
"It really speaks to the volumes of how far we have come as a community and how far we have come as African Americans," said Ed Ford. "For so long, people of color have had to fight for the right to vote and now exercising that vote and gaining the trust of the people in this city to place us in these positions, is a remarkable thing."
Photos: Middletown’s Common Council makes history and announces a plan for the future
The new members have a few goals for the future.
Ed Ford wants to focus on supporting universal Pre-K, provide equity in our schools, and more opportunities for students. He also wants to work on developing the city's riverfront and revitalizing it, which he said would grow the grand list and boost the city's economy. Finally, he wants to focus on creating a city budget that invests in education and funds in the city.
Jeanette White Blackwell:
Blackwell wants to invest in education. She said it's important to have good schools because quality education can change the trajectory of a child's life. She also wants to build up a diverse presence, because she feels it's important to have a seat at the table and be a voice for the four marginalized groups. Finally, she wants to look at economic development, focusing on creating a community that thrives and is good for everyone.
"It was important for me to serve in this city because I felt there were so many people who look like me who didn't have a voice and who aren't at the table," said Councilwoman Blackwell.
Darnell Ford has plans that target healthcare, education, creating jobs for working families, economic development, and more work on racial and economic justice.
Faulkner plans to work on youth, civic engagement and affirmative action.
Nashwa Khalid lives in Middletown and loves the diversity on the council but would love to see a few new things inside the town.
"I would like for more people to come here and live," said Khalid. "I would love to have more nightlife here as opposed to going to West Hartford."
Council members are looking forward to creating new policies and understand the responsibility of blazing a trail for the next generation.
"We still have hurdles to overcome and proving to people that we can govern and we can govern correctly for what's best for this community," said Councilman Ford.