GILLIAN REINHARD ’20
On Mar. 5, Hartford City Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez ’04 addressed the Trinity community to address a wide range of political issues, particularly to discuss Hartford as a sanctuary city and the possibility of Trinity becoming a sanctuary campus. The widely attended event, organized by Kennt Schi ’20, opened up an in-depth discussion of issues on campus and in the world.
Councilwoman Bermudez spoke extensively about her experiences as a person of color at Trinity and her college experiences. A former member on the executive board of La Voz Latina, Bermudez was actively involved in political issues during her time on campus. She explained that her interest in political action emerged when confronting a chemical plant’s pollution in Puerto Rico. Since then, Bermudez has been actively involved in her native city of Hartford. She served as a plaintiff in the 1996 Connecticut Supreme Court case Sheff v. O’Neill which ultimately improved education conditions for students in Hartford. Additionally, Bermudez founded the green action team to improve environmental practices in City Hall. After her time at Trinity, Councilwoman Bermudez pursued a career in Constituent Services and was finally inspired to run for elected office in her native city. The City of Hartford’s decision to spend large amounts of the budget on Dunkin’ Donuts stadium rather than the improvement of the city’s school system encouraged Bermudez to become an elected legislator to change things for the sake of Hartford residents.
The main topic of the event was a discussion of Hartford as a sanctuary city, meaning that city officials and police generally will not enforce federal immigration laws as imposed by the Trump administration. Councilwoman Bermudez, a vocal defender of immigrants’ rights, spoke of her support for the movement. In addition, those present discussed the possibility of Trinity becoming a sanctuary campus, which was not accepted by the administration, despite demonstrating support for students who may be affected by federal immigration law. The event was attended by several members of the Trinity community, including the Action Coalition of Trinity (ACT) and Connecticut Public Interest Research Group (ConnPIRG). The discussion was of particular interest to ACT, which has placed the rights of immigrant students at the top of its goals for the community.
Although Hartford as a sanctuary city took precedent during the discussion, Councilwoman Bermudez addressed other political issues, particularly environmental concerns at Trinity. Working towards a greener campus was of major concern to many of the students present, especially for students involved with ConnPIRG. Bermudez, herself extremely passionate about environmental issues and a major supporter of sustainability in Hartford, enthusiastically spoke about environmentally-friendly policy. ConnPIRG members presented Bermudez with their Sustainability Petition. The petition, which was signed by Bermudez and over a quarter of the student body, proposes several initiatives to make Trinity a greener campus over a long-term scale.
The event was a successful way to discuss various political issues in on campus and in Hartford. Councilwoman Bermudez voiced her support for Trinity students as they work to make political change, particularly through ACT and ConnPIRG. In a statement of solidarity with Trinity students, Bermudez commented: “As a staunch supporter of environmental protection and immigrants’ rights, I will continue to support the amazing efforts of the renewable energy campaign and the fight for 13 demands on Trinity campus and be of service to students as requested.”
GILLIAN REINHARD ’20