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NEWS & EVENTS - 2016

News Story Courtesy Of the New Haven Register. Please Click On The Logo To Read The Story! 

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By Joe Amarante, New Haven Register

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Community organizations young and old are a part of the parade. Peter Casolino - New Haven Register file

 

NEW HAVEN >> The Freddie Fixer Parade — with its message of neighborhood cleanup and revival — steps off this year on Mother’s Day. Some have questioned that timing to parade president Maurice Smith, but he has a message for those wary of celebrating both observances on one day: 

This made the most sense financially, and pricey public traditions aren’t easy to fund. Smith said the St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers have been more effective at fund-raising than Freddie Fixer’s. 

He said he’s had to explain to some that “those folks who are criticizing the decision (to have it on Mother’s Day), they’re not really donating any money.” Smith said the idea first came up about 15 years ago to have the parade on Mother’s Day, and now it’s getting a try. He said festivities are over by 4:30 or so, giving participants time to do  something with their mothers. 

 

“We’ve gotten more positive response than negative,” Smith said. “We’ll try it out this year and see what happens.” 

Smith said the police overtime bill is “the biggest expense that we have. And donations are not coming in as we anticipate from the New Haven community.” 

Smith, no relation to the late Dr. Fred Smith, founder of the Freddie Fixer civic activities, said normally the date would coincide with Yale commencement, causing a conflict with Yale employees or graduates who might want to attend. And marching groups from out of town would have more trouble securing hotel rooms because of the Yale event. (One had to stay in Hartford last year, he said.) 

Police overtime is more problematic on commencement weekend, he said, along with also-desirable Memorial Day weekend. The parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of Dixwell Avenue, Morse and Arch streets at the Hamden line and will move down Dixwell to Lake Place near Broadway. Tens of thousands of people typically turn out to see it. 

And attendees rightfully think of the springtime march down Dixwell Avenue, but there’s more to the Freddie Fixer weekend — much of it fund-raising, but also for fun. There’s a 10 p.m. to midnight Friday kickoff party at 30 Plus Bar & Restaurant, 50 Fitch St. ($10 in advance, $20 at door). In the case of the jazz breakfast (8 a.m. to noon at 30 Plus, $10), it’s “pretty much symbolic; it’s always been a tradition of the parade weekend.” 

“The drill competition is one of the main, key components of the parade because ... it encourages groups to come in from out of town to compete in the last couple of years,” Smith said. “A lot of people aren’t aware of that; we’ve actually got people from five different states that attend the parade every year.” 

The Saturday competition is a top fund-raiser, with youth competing in several different categories. “It keeps them busy; it keeps them occupied. And most importantly, it keeps them out of trouble,” Smith said of the young participants. The competing drill units also march in the parade on Sunday, of course. 

New to the weekend this year will be a Car & Bike (motorcycles) Show at 30 Plus from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The grand marshals for the 53rd annual parade are Al Lucas, director of legislative services for the New Haven Board Of Alders, and honorary grand marshal Barbara Watley, a longtime Dixwell-Newhallville resident. 

Smith’s hard work on an urban parade is worth it, he said, because of the half-century of positive memories involving Freddie Fixer. “For the most part, it’s to keep the tradition alive. All the things we talk about, the (rare) violence and the crime and all that stuff, when the parade was in its heyday, we didn’t have these issues because everyone was involved: the churches, the community members.” 

For more information or to donate, go to www.FreddieFixerParade.org or call 203-558-0066.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joe has been the TV editor, features writer, columnist, general assignment reporter and copy editor for some 35 years in New Haven, first with the Journal-Courier and then the New Haven Register. Follow Joe on Twitter:@joeammo.

Letter to the Editor:

 

Freddie Fixer Parade’s Success A Confirmation Of New Haven Community- Posted May 28, 2014.

 

 

On May 18, a revival of one of the most controversial events took place in New Haven: The 52nd annual Freddie Fixer Parade. Prior to this event stepping off, numerous rumors and negative comments were made by the masses in opposition to the parade going forward, and there were many city residents reluctant to believe that this event could happen without any incidents.

 

 

As of 5:17 p.m., after the parade was considered officially over, organizers could proudly boast that this was year 14 that no incidents whatsoever had occurred that would give all of the naysayers reason to criticize the Freddie Fixer Parade, regardless of how they may have anticipated negative incidents happening on that day. To those folks, we would like to extend our hand and ask that they come on board and help us continue in our efforts to remind the New Haven community about the real reason why the parade was established: To promote neighborhood beautification and encourage pride in your neighborhood regardless of what street you live on in New Haven.

 

 

If you look at the current status of our city, the majority of people who do not support or believe in the values of the Freddie Fixer Parade that encourage people to contribute to a city free of gun violence and graft, do not live here in the city; as the current leader of this phenomenal organization, I believe that that has to change. Over 80 percent of city employees, from all departments, do not reside in the city and it has been confirmed that the lack of support for the Freddie Fixer Parade resonates from these same departments.

 

 

In any event, I would like to thank all of the people responsible for their hard work and dedication and for giving me the opportunity to prove once again that we can have festive African-American family events here in our city without the fear of violence. Those people who have contributed to the success of the Freddie Fixer Parade are from multiple racial backgrounds and are dedicated city residents. I proudly boast my thanks to the following:

 

 

New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp, for over twenty years of support for the Freddie Fixer Parade; to our current Chief of Police Dean Esserman, who has a longstanding history of support for the Freddie Fixer Parade when he marched as a New York City police officer in the mid-seventies. To Our New Fire Chief Allyn Wright for his return to the city with his leadership and guidance to ensure that the rank and file of the new Haven Fire Department reach out to the the youth and remind them about the true meaning of the purpose of the parade and to require that all members of the New Haven Fire Department reach out to our youth and reassure them that they too can become productive members of society.

 

To our Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Jennifer Pugh, who fought diligently with helping the parade committee implement a strategy to reduce the amount of police overtime expenses and keep that strategy within the confines of the parade’s original mission; to Lt. Julie Johnson from the NHPD patrol division, who ensured the parade started on time every year without fail.

 

 

Also, to the New Haven Register and Register Community Engagement Editor Shahid Abdul-Karim, for their powerful and positive promotion of the Freddie Fixer Parade for the six months leading up to this year’s event, and for your participation in the parade with the city’s youth.

 

 

And to Sgt. Sam Brown from District 6 (the parade route district), for his assertiveness and knowledge of his community to make the proper adjustments that ensured that every single participant at this year’s parade was safe and sound; to the entire New Haven community who have made it clear that they are tired of being afraid to come out with their children, family members and loved ones to cherish one day out of the year to embrace each other, see old family and friends, fellowship with the churchgoers and say to each other, “It’s so good to see you! How have you been?”

 

 

And to those who gave what little monies they could to help with the expenses in putting together this awesome event, and also to those who didn’t give any donations, but we look forward to your support for next year’s event; to the NHPD officers who were just as entertained as the spectators while making sure that anything unusual stayed in check; to the Yale University, Hamden and even North Haven police departments for providing the experienced and skilled police officers trained to recognize any safety hazard on the spot with the protection of all of our citizens in mind.

 

 

In closing, thanks to the Freddie Fixer Parade 2014 Committee, who keeps me in check with realistic ideas and the best advice any leader could hope for: Stephanie Boyd, Nina Silva, Howard Boyd, Mr. & Mrs Malcolm and Cheryl Holloway-Lytell, Kadena Robinson-Chemere, George Mention (Street Confinement Magazine), Diane Brown, and the Stetson Branch Library for allowing us to hold our monthly meetings.

 

The list goes on and on, and I extend my apologies in advance if I forgot to mention anyone responsible for the success of the 52nd annual Freddie Fixer Parade. You know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 

The success of this year’s parade is confirmation of what can happen when all of the entities of any local city government can come together for the safety and well being of our residents, all in the name of a good cause.

 

May you rest in peace, Dr. Fred Smith, knowing that your philosophy is still alive and well!

 

 

— Maurice W. Smith President, Freddie Fixer Parade New Haven

Click On Photo Below To See The 2014 Freddie Fixer Parade Photos! Courtesy Of Peter Casolino Of The New Haven Register!

FORUM: New Haven Register Article - May 12, 2014, By Maurice W. Smith

With less than one week before the 52nd annual Freddie Fixer Parade, I thought it would be a great idea to inform readers about both the progress and the impediments that are still prevalent within the African-American community, as they relate to this historic event.

Five years ago this week, I accepted the challenge and responsibility of restoring the image and the original mission of the Freddie Fixer Parade. As a volunteer who remained behind the scenes for more than 13 years before having the privilege of taking on that task, I must admit, I have learned multiple lessons about leadership and the lack thereof within the New Haven community that will truly remain with me forever.

Those lessons are limited only to the imagination of anyone who has been a lifelong resident of the city of New Haven, just as I have. Rumors of violence and the fear of  violence at the Freddie Fixer Parade had paralyzed the city for so long that I was called crazy for trying to resuscitate this event. Yet, I saw something all along that not everyone else has been willing to admit to seeing for years, and that is of those who have created and have allowed this dreadful fear to linger, the New Haven community itself.

But they are not alone. Let's talk Truth.

Seventeen years ago, I was fortunate to become a homeowner as a young black man and I chose to live in a neighborhood that no other prospective homeowner would have ever considered at that time, Blake Street.

Just like most members of the city's government, I had lived in a suburban section of the city of New Haven prior to moving to the Blake Street area and I could have remained there if I had chosen to. However, I saw the potential of that residential area and had always believed that it wasn't the area itself that was bad, but the circumstances suffered by the people who were living in that area, and that the area was in trouble and sinking fast.

Just as the founding members of the Freddie Fixer Parade saw that the Dixwell-Newhallville area of the city was in just as much trouble and decided to act in order to change it.

I immediately attempted to restart a block watch in that area, just as the late Dr. Fred Smith attempted to create affordable housing and drug and alcoholic clinics, to treat those who were in fact products of their own environment.

I, too, was motivated by attempting to create all of the entities that would surely eradicate the causes of poverty and violence involved with the behavior that has cut short too many lives, devastated families, and have them suffer from unbearable pain to date.

However, with this effort, never did I imagine that I would receive as much resistance and criticism from the residents in that area who did not want an overseer to combat the underlying graft that was holding their neighborhood hostage.

The same goes with my efforts to revive the Freddie Fixer Parade and the lack of support from the so-called leaders within the black community. Whatever their reason may be for not supporting the parade, there are several things that remain clear.

First, violence is still prevalent in the black community and most of it that is related to guns is preventable. As for the thousands of negative statements that I have heard each time I attempt to hand out a flier to promote the parade, I'm reminded again how blinded we are to the fact that we must work harder to remove the negative stigma and elements associated with the parade that we ourselves have indeed created.

Register Community Engagement Editor Shahid Abdul-Karim has been a wonderful and powerful advocate for the New Haven community and has helped the Freddie Fixer Parade tremendously with all of the positive exposure and reminders of how and why the parade was established, so that people can be made aware of its true history and purpose.

There are hundreds of brochures circulating in Greater New Haven that contain facts about the parade contrary to the belief and knowledge of many residents who reluctantly admit that they had no clue.

The parade's theme this year is "Moving Forward," as we cannot allow anyone to continue to hold on to past incidents or experiences that have occurred at the Freddie Fixer Parade no more than we should hold on to why a past relationship may have failed. Do we linger on and continue to grasp this dead weight or do we allow the community to continue to use the Freddie Fixer Parade as the ultimate scapegoat for all of the violence that has taken place within the city of New Haven? You, the reader, already know the answer.

With leadership comes criticism and I've had more than my fair share in the five years as the lead organizer of the Freddie Fixer Parade. My goal was simple: To remind the residents of the city of New Haven about an invaluable asset that was created right here by hundreds of dedicated and concerned citizens to prevent many of the issues we complain about today.

The past is something no man or woman can ever change regardless of the level of tragedy. I only ask that before anyone criticizes the efforts of any entity that aims to improve the quality of life for its neighbors that you take a drop of that same energy used to criticize, and put it toward joining with those who are trying to make a difference.

The Freddie Fixer Parade is the perfect opportunity for an entire community to come together in peace and without fear of anyone disrupting the true mission and purpose of this historic event. Let's place our faith over fear, because our children's lives deserve better!

Maurice W. Smith is president of the Freddie Fixer Parade, which steps off at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, beginning at Dixwell Avenue and Morse Street in Hamden.

  

*New Haven's Walter 'Pop' Smith Little League To March Again In The Freddie Fixer Parade After A 13 Year Absence!

Lynair Walker Flanked By The Walter Pop Smith Little League Family

NEW HAVEN >> The Freddie Fixer Parade will have some familiar faces rejoining the ranks of those marching for the 2014 parade.

The Walter "Pop" Smith Little League teams will be marching in the parade once again May 18.

"It is a great opportunity to show the little leaguers and display their respective sponsors' names," said Lynair Walker, president of the Walter "Pop" Smith Little League. "The parade is another opportunity to display the talent in the city, from the marching bands to the drill teams to the floats."

The Little League, which boasts 17 different teams comprised of boys and girls ranging in age from 4 to 12, is a chance for the city's youth to come together.

"The league was started to teach the kids good sportsmanship, honesty, loyalty, courage and respect for authority," Walker said.

The league began in 1952 and has been in the parade before now.

Walker said he invited one  of the organizers, Maurice Smith, to speak with the parents at the Little League's first meeting at the start of April. It was a unanimous vote to allow the children to participate once again this year.

Earnestne Kirkland, whose 7-year-old grandson Carlos Kirkland plays for Forsa Team Sports in the league, said she is excited the league gets a chance to show what they do.

"My grandson is very excited to be in the parade," Kirkland said.

Carlos said he is very excited to walk in the parade and catch candy. He has been a part of two other Freddie Fixer parades before and wants to see more cartoon characters, as he did last time.

Makhi Brown, 6, who plays for the Cast Iron Soul team in the league, has never been to a parade before, so this will be his first time marching and going to a parade.

"I heard you get to see cartoon characters," Makhi said.

Quashon Williams, one of the coaches for Forsa Team Sports, said he thinks it is great the teams are going to march in the parade.

"It shows the kids are dedicated," Williams said. "It keeps them out of trouble, brings them up correctly, and it is fun for them to come to practice."

http://m.nhregister.com/nhregister/article/fRzJgEm1

*New Haven's Freddie Fixer Parade More Than A One-Day Event

Posted: 04/20/14, 7:11 PM EDT|Updated: 16 hrs ago

 

NEW HAVEN >> For Johanna Davis, the Freddie Fixer Parade is not about the one-day extravaganza.

 

Davis, 31, an organizer, said the parade is celebrating community service and the unity it brings from those efforts, even before the day of the festivities.

 

“The community should rally around this effort, this is a great opportunity to support and encourage our young people, because it’s really all about them,” said Davis, who’s also vice president of Ice the Beef.

 

“We can’t hold on to the past if we expect to move forward; sometimes we have to see the bigger picture,” she said.

 

“The parade is not about one person, it’s about healing and celebrating the positive accomplishments of the entire community.”

 

Davis noted if more black organizations became attached to the parade’s mission, it would make a compelling statement to young people that the community is supportive of them.

 

The parade originated in 1962 with a cleanup campaign in the Dixwell Avenue/Newhallville communities after founders and community activists Dr. Frederick Smith, Ed Grant, James Mitchell, Charles Twyman and Edna Carnegie Baker decided to bring children and families together to revive the condition of their community.

 

This year the parade will celebrate 52 years and is the oldest of its kind in the Northeast for African-Americans, according to parade organizers.

 

Mayor Toni Harp will serve as the parade’s grand marshal, with the procession slated for 1:30 p.m. May 18, beginning at Dixwell Avenue and Morse Street in Hamden.

 

After last month’s slayings of 16-year-old Torrence Gamble and 17-year-old Taijohn Washington, Freddie Fixer Parade President Maurice Smith believes festivities will also serve as healing and mercy for the entire New Haven community.

 

“We can’t move forward unless there are no homicides in our city. That’s the goal of the Freddie Fixer Parade: to clean up all potentials for homicides including those who choose to cover them up,” said Smith, who has been president since 2009.

 

“More emphasis needs to be placed on our children being overexposed to all of the things leading to this cycle of violence and poverty, while simultaneously being under-educated,” he said.

 

May 10 is the date of the Mayor’s Beautification Project and the Freddie Fixer Parade annual citywide cleanup.

 

The cleanup is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning on Dixwell Avenue and Broadway.

 

According to parade organizers, the effort involved all members of the community gathering brooms, rakes, shovels, trash bags, paint and paint brushes and other tools needed to clean up the streets.

 

Along with cleanup, each year the committee selects a theme; this year’s is “Moving Forward.”

 

Marion Samuel Jr., 45, also a parade organizer, said the focus is the future.

 

“What was worked on last year has us moving forward this year with bigger and better things for the community,” said Samuel.

 

“There are individuals who don’t want to see the Freddie Fixer move forward; they’re considered behind us,” he said.

 

“They’re still living in the past and can’t move forward.”

 

Samuel stressed the importance of more black organizations joining the cleaning as a way to beautify the community.

 

“When family, friends or other business-related people visit the community, you or your organization can say it was a part of the beautification effort to keep the Elm City clean,” he said.

 

Freddie Fixer committee members Malcolm and Cheryl Lytell said the organization will be expanding its promotional efforts to other towns within the state for additional support.

 

Invitations were sent to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, U.S. Rep. Rosa L. Delauro, D-3, and U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both D-Conn., to join the parade, according to Smith.

 

For more information about the parade or to make a donation, visit www.freddiefixerparade.org/.

 

Call Community Engagement Editor Shahid Abdul-Karim at 203-789-5614. Have questions, feedback or ideas about our news coverage? Connect directly with the editors of the New Haven Register at AskTheRegister.com.

 

New Haven, Connecticut Mayor Toni N. Harp
Freddie Fixer Parade Cleanup Participant

In Honor Of The Late Charles Twyman - Freddie Fixer Parade Founding Member. Pictured Below.

Freddie Fixer Parade Founding Members From Left To Right: Edward "ED" Grant, Edna Baker Carnegie, Charles Twyman And Fred Smith Jr.

TWYMAN, DR. CHARLES R. Dr. Charles R. Twyman of New Haven, born in New Haven, June 28, 1922 to the late Charles L. and Louise (Allen) Twyman, passed away, April 25, 2013. Dr. Twyman was a veteran of WWII, spent 34 years as a professional educator, served on many boards, including The Community Foundation and The Dixwell Community Council. He was a member of The Ashanti Club of Connecticut. He leaves to cherish his memory; his loving wife, Dr. Freda Kay Twyman of New Haven; sister, Alyce T. Rawlins of Hamden and a host of relatives and friends.

Freddie Fixer Parade 2014 - Flier
http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20140420/new-havens-freddie-fixer-parade-more-than-just-one-day-event

The Freddie Fixer Parade Celebrates The Traditions Of Building Self-Pride And Community Responsibility, And Also Serves As A Staple In The Black Community's Revitalization Achievements.

Story And Image Courtesy Of The New Haven Register 2013

Please Click On The Photo Above To Read The Entire Story.

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