Hands On Hartford

With an Aching Heart and a Renewed Commitment

June 4, 2020

I simply can’t let another day go by without acknowledging the pain around the horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, another senseless loss of life in a too long list of lives cut short. I know I’m not alone at Hands On Hartford in feeling the profound heartache and anger over racism and ongoing injustices for Black people and other people of color, who are also being terribly and disproportionately affected by homelessness and the coronavirus during these challenging times.

Hands On Hartford’s proud history, from the very beginning over 50 years ago, is full of examples of acknowledging our pain and outrage over injustices in our communities related to poverty, unfair and unjust housing practices, racially connected health disparities, homelessness, and hatred of our LGBTQ neighbors, as well as stigma and discrimination related to HIV. We have taken action and demonstrated commitment to all people in this beloved community. For over five decades we have joined with our sisters and brothers, friends, colleagues and partners to better address community needs and support social action to further justice. We won’t stop now.

Despite these commitments and actions, we have much work to do.  We commit to listen more deeply to community members and leaders working for justice and equity.  We will find ways to increase our effort to love, serve, build connections and support justice. We will be sure to help folks exercise their full rights, access equitable healthcare and housing, fight discrimination. We will explore new ways to be more inclusive in all we do.  We will find ways to join in solidarity with our hurting community.

These are not easy days, for there are not always easy answers or actions to create a just and equitable world.  And yet, it is in these days and times that HOH continues to listen, learn, and more compassionately and justly serve our community.

During times like these, challenging in so many ways, I’m grateful to be a part of our extended HOH family and this Hartford community – your commitment and solidarity are so important.

If you have thoughts you would like to share or ideas for better listening, learning or acting at Hands On Hartford, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can reach me at bshaw@handsonhartford.org.

With hope for love and justice,



This post was written by Barbara A. Shaw, LCSW, Executive Director at Hands On Hartford. You may contact the author at bshaw@handsonhartford.org.