NORWALK, Conn. -- In recognition of Black History Month, students at Norwalk High School took part in an Optimum Community event that covered the topic of African-American leadership and public service in America.
Participating in the forum were state Rep. Bruce V. Morris and former state Sen. Bruce L. Morris. Following opening remarks from Cablevision emcee Kerry Donovan and Principal Reginald Roberts, the current and former elected officials addressed the audience and then participated in a Q&A, with questions prepared by 12 students.
The questions touched on topics including affirmative action, difficulties relating to being the first African-American in a leadership role in Connecticut, motivation for working with organizations devoted to young people, environmental safety, career role models and more.
Rep. Morris was recently named a 2015 Children's Champion by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance for his leadership and is actively engaged in policy issues that affect the African-American community, such as the development of programs that address the urban education achievement gap.
Former Sen. Morris is actively involved with organizations devoted to young people, serving as past president and Board of Director member for the Boy Scouts of America, the Quinnipiac Council and Junior Achievement of South Central New Haven.
"I congratulate each of the students involved in today's program on their perceptive questions," said the former. "I truly believe that young people have a thirst for knowledge and welcome an opportunity to discuss current issues, in particular those facing African-Americans, firsthand with an elected official."
"I am always impressed by the energy, motivation and keen interest of young people relating to current affairs," noted the latter. "Thanks to the Optimum Community program, I believe the students here gained greater insight into the African-American experience in politics and also left with a better understanding of the issues they posed."
Cablevision VP of Public Affairs Jennifer Ostrager said, "We are pleased to recognize Black History Month and provide the students at Norwalk High School with an opportunity to participate in a one-on-one dialogue with elected officials relating to their particular accomplishments and struggles on the road to success."
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