Integration Matters: A Conversation on Connecticut’s Cities, Towns, and Schools
Erin Boggs, Executive Director, Open Communities Alliance
Erin Boggs has worked on issues of equity, particularly in the context of housing, for almost 20 years. After dedicating six years to a range of fair housing issues, such as the foreclosure crisis, the housing challenges faced by people with disabilities, and housing discrimination based on a range of characteristics such as the presence of children, the use of government housing subsidies, and race and ethnicity, Ms. Boggs recognized the need for an organization specifically focused on the intersection of inequality and geography.
Elizabeth Horton Sheff, Co-Chair, Sheff Movement Coalition
Elizabeth Horton Sheff is a justice seeker. Throughout her many years of community activism, she has advocated on many civil rights fronts, including championing the rights of persons who reside in public housing; those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS; families marginalized by economic challenges and grandparents raising grandchildren. Horton Sheff is also known for her role as named plaintiff of Sheff vs. O’Neill, the successful landmark civil rights lawsuit, with mandate to provide equal access to quality, integrated public education in Connecticut.
Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program
Dennis Parker is director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program, leading its efforts in combating discrimination and addressing other issues with a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Prior to joining the ACLU, Parker was the chief of the Civil Rights Bureau in the Office of New York State Attorney General under Eliot Spitzer. He previously spent 14 years at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Parker has also worked with the New York Legal Aid Society. He teaches Race, Poverty and Constitutional Law at New York Law School. He graduated from Harvard Law School and Middlebury College.
Robert Cotto, Jr., Director of Urban Educational Initiatives, Trinity College
Before his work at Trinity, Robert Cotto, Jr. was a Senior Policy Fellow in K-12 Education for CT Voices for Children where he published reports on Connecticut’s testing system, public school choice, and K-12 education data and policy. He taught for seven years as a social studies teacher at the Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies (MLC), an interdistrict magnet school intended to provide a high-quality education and promote racial, ethnic, and economic integration. Born and raised in Connecticut, Mr. Cotto was the first in his family to go to college and he earned his B.A. degree in sociology at Dartmouth College and his Ed.M. at Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Frantzy Luzincourt, IntegrateNYC
Frantzy Luzincourt is a Junior studying Political Science and Legal Studies as a Macaulay Honors student at The City College of New York. He currently serves as a the Vice President of Student Affairs of the Undergraduate Student Government, is a CUNY Futures Initiatives Undergraduate Leadership Fellow, and a Stanford University University Innovation Fellow. Ever since high school he has dedicated his life to uplifting youth voices, fighting against injustice and advocating for an equitable public school system in New York City. He carries these values with him as the Chief of Staff of an education non-profit called IntegrateNYC and serves on the Department of Education’s New York City School Diversity Advisory Group.
Zaps is the Executive Director and Coach at IntegrateNYC. She has founded, designed, and delivered multiple youth elevation and development programs. In 2011, she founded Taxi to Tomorrow, a mutual mentorship program that paired recently immigrated high school students with college students studying their languages and cultures. Starting in 2014, she served as a Dream Director with The Future Project where she trained in facilitating project-based learning and student coaching. She has been working with INYC since 2015 and is thrilled to bring her experience in youth development to an organization committed to systemically transforming how schools serve students and our democracy.