First Responders

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Firefighters, Police Officers and Paramedics are frequently the first on the scene during our times of crisis. Oftentimes, running towards danger and uncertainty. However, in the course of protecting the lives of fellow citizens and providing much needed services, these professionals routinely encounter a range of difficulties while in the line of duty. One such difficulty has been safeguarding communities from harm while at the same time maintaining strong and positive community relations. In this regard, are we heading in the right direction? First Responders of greater Hartford are invited to join a discussion group organized by the Hartford Public Library and the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute. Each monthly meeting will allow Firefighters, Police Officers and Paramedics to read and discuss historical documents, articles, memoirs and stories that speak to the daily lives and experiences of public safety personnel as well as to the people they serve. The goal is to explore the role and resilience of our public servants, our all too human tendency to make mistakes, and our collective responsibilities as members of Hartford's diverse population.

Readings include: Sir Robert Peel 's Principles of Law Enforcement 1829; an Excerpt from Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World (2003) by Tracy Kidder; Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr.; excerpts from The Tulsa Race Riot and Three of Its Victims by B.C. Franklin; and Bulletproof Spirit: The First Responder's Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart by Dan Willis.

America’s Legacy

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How well do we know the text or the US Constitution? The Bill of Rights? This reading group will meet bi-monthly to focus on discussions around some of the foundational documents of the American Republic and of American civic identity. Guided by historians and scholars of American culture and politics, the group will explore important texts like the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and notable speeches and laws, in order to learn more about them and to discuss the effects these documents continue to have on our everyday lives. The first meeting will focus on the Constitution.