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To the Editor,
A year ago, I knew Adrienne Billings-Smith solely by reputation – her meteoric rise in our local public consciousness punctuated by a series of initiatives focused on equity and diversity: her founding of Concerned Parents of Color of West Hartford to advocate for change in education, legislation, and representation; her efforts to have our town green renamed so that it would no longer memorialize a slaveholder; and the countless hours she spent organizing and promoting West Hartford’s Juneteenth celebration.
In an early exchange of emails with Adrienne, I recall asking when and how she first realized that she had a voice and a stake in the decisions made by our leaders. She said that it was impressed upon her very early in life, raised by a mother who deeply valued education and a grandfather whose service to our country during wartime, sadly, did not spare him the indignities of discrimination. “Politics and civic duty,” she told me, “were always part of our conversations.”
We finally met face-to-face over breakfast. A pair of Connecticut transplants, we talked about the paths that brought us to settle in West Hartford and swapped stories about work, family, and parenthood. A much fuller picture emerged of this passionate civic leader whom Mayor Shari Cantor has accurately described as “a force of nature.”
If elected to Town Council, Adrienne will speak and listen with intent, use her voice to advocate for the most vulnerable among us, and do the work necessary to keep West Hartford moving forward.
She will have my vote on November 2.