City-Wide Committee Begins Raising Funds For Alton Brooks Scholarship….DTC Recognition Reception June 4th at Cafe Beauregard…..

Committee Forms To Establish Scholarship In Honor of Alton Brooks

Announcement, Celebration Picnic Set For June 28th at First Church

A diverse committee of community leaders has been formed to raise funds to establish an annual scholarship in honor of Alton Brooks, the former director of the city’s community action agency and a lifelong labor and voting rights activist.

“Mr. Brooks”, a member of the Democratic Town Committee, revered basketball coach and civic leader,  came to New Britain in the 1940s from his native Arkansas.  He has been active in union and community affairs ever since.

Alton Brooks at a Democratic State Convention

Alton Brooks at a Democratic State Convention

The Alton Brooks Scholarship will benefit a graduating high school senior from the New Britain area who embodies  “the qualities of service to humankind, academic achievement and the highest integrity — qualities by which Mr. Brooks has lived.”

“Everyone in the greater New Britain area knows Alton Brooks’ passion for justice. It has made him legendary in civil rights, community action, political and labor circles,” the Alton Brooks Scholarship Committee states in an appeal letter from former State Senator Joseph H. Harper, Jr. “Perhaps unique to Mr. Brooks is his ability to couple his commitment to the greater good with a gentle manner and genuine concern for the people around him.”

The goal of the committee is to raise an initial $5,000 to establish the fund at the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain (CFGNB) and to eventually reach $25,000 for an endowment that will make the scholarship fund self-perpetuating.

An announcement of the Scholarship Fund and celebration of Alton Brooks’ service will be held Saturday, June 28th at First Church of Christ, 830 Corbin Avenue. The event is planned as an old-fashioned picnic in honor of Mr Brooks sponsored by the scholarship committee and the OIC.  Cost of the picnic is $10 payable to the OIC. RSVP to Spottswood AME Zion Church at 860-223-8554 by June 24th.

 Scholarship contributions are requested payable to  The Alton Brooks Scholarship Fund and sent to the  Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, 74 a Vine Street, New Britain, CT 06052. Telephone: 860-229-6018  Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

In addition to former Senator Harper, committee members include City Alderwomen Shirley Black and Tonilynn Collins, Paulette Fox, Rev. John Morris, Rev. Thomas Mills, Mayor Erin Stewart, Timothy Stewart, Jim McNair, John McNamara, Michael Gorzoch, Ronald Davis, Jason Gibson, Dr. Evelyn Newman Phillips and Donald DeFronzo.

Democratic Town Committee To Honor Shirley Black, Frank Gerratana at Donor Recognition Reception on Wednesday, June 4th.

A Democratic Town Committee Recognition Reception will be held Wednesday, June 4th, from 5-7 pm to recognize individuals for their service to New Britain Democrats and the community. The event will be held at the Cafe Beauregard, 2 Main Street.

Recognized with Distinguished Service Awards will be Ward 3 Ald. Shirley Black, president of the Black Democratic Club and DTC Vice Chair and Dr. Frank Gerratana, District 1 DTC member long active in Democratic campaigns and service on city boards and commissions.

Join New Britain Democrats as we honor two party stalwarts and kick off the 2014 campaign. Meet the candidates and enjoy the cuisine from the Cafe Beauregard, 2 Main Street — across from the courthouse and President Obama’s lunch stop in his March 5th visit to New Britain. DTC Distinguished Service award began in 1994 and have recognized elected officials and rank-and-file Democrats for their service to party and community.

The NBDTC event donation is $25 pp; $100 for sponsors. Proceeds support GOTV and party organizing activities. Reservations 860-505-8901 (leave a message) or email Contribution forms are available at

 End Quote: “they didn’t give their lives…their lives were taken from them…”

On the occasion of the Memorial Day weekend and New Britain’s parade to be held on the real Memorial Day, Friday, May 30th,  few remembrances can match that of the late CBS Commentator Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes (May 29, 2005)  as he recalled the loss of his classmates in World War II and the reality of wars…..

“Tomorrow is Memorial Day, the day we have set aside to honor by remembering all the Americans who have died fighting for the thing we like the most about our America: the freedom we have to live as we please.

No official day to remember is adequate for something like that. It’s too formal. It gets to be just another day on the calendar. No one would know from Memorial Day that Richie M., who was shot through the forehead coming onto Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, wore different color socks on each foot because he thought it brought him good luck.

No one would remember on Memorial Day that Eddie G. had promised to marry Julie W. the day after he got home from the war, but didn’t marry Julie because he never came home from the war. Eddie was shot dead on an un-American desert island, Iwo Jima.

For too many Americans, Memorial Day has become just another day off. There’s only so much time any of us can spend remembering those we loved who have died, but the men, boys really, who died in our wars deserve at least a few moments of reflection during which we consider what they did for us.

They died.

We use the phrase “gave their lives,” but they didn’t give their lives. Their lives were taken from them.

There is more bravery at war than in peace, and it seems wrong that we have so often saved this virtue to use for our least noble activity – war. The goal of war is to cause death to other people.

Because I was in the Army during World War II, I have more to remember on Memorial Day than most of you. I had good friends who were killed.

Charley Wood wrote poetry in high school. He was killed when his Piper Cub was shot down while he was flying as a spotter for the artillery.

Bob O’Connor went down in flames in his B-17.

Obie Slingerland and I were best friends and co-captains of our high school football team. Obie was killed on the deck of the Saratoga when a bomb that hadn’t dropped exploded as he landed.

I won’t think of them anymore tomorrow, Memorial Day, than I think of them any other day of my life.

Remembering doesn’t do the remembered any good, of course. It’s for ourselves, the living. I wish we could dedicate Memorial Day, not to the memory of those who have died at war, but to the idea of saving the lives of the young people who are going to die in the future if we don’t find some new way – some new religion maybe – that takes war out of our lives.

That would be a Memorial Day worth celebrating.

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Labor donated. Any costs associated with this message paid for by New Britain Democratic Town Committee, Post Office Box 2112, New Britain CT 06050   John Valengavich, Treasurer. Approved by John McNamara




About nbpoliticus

NB Politicus is a weblog featuring news and commentary on politics, government and community life in New Britain, CT. John McNamara - Editor and Writer
This entry was posted in Fundraiser, Meeting/Event, Weekend Update. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to City-Wide Committee Begins Raising Funds For Alton Brooks Scholarship….DTC Recognition Reception June 4th at Cafe Beauregard…..

  1. Len Prygoda says:

    Wonderful quote from Andy Rooney. Just wonderful, to make us all think and remember that freedom is not free. ! Len Prygoda AFT

    Sent from my iPhone


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