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Hundreds Attend Tri-Town Black Lives Matter Rally in Woodbridge

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Jun 152020
 

Organizer Micaela Cardozo

With all the unrest across the country and more and more disturbing examples of prejudice and brutality against black citizens coming to light every day, peaceful Black Lives Matter rallies have become a popular way for many to express their feelings.

Just a week ago, Amity grad Micaela Cardozo decided that it was time the Amity community join in the movement and begin to truly understand the plight of their black brothers and sisters. 

She spoke with the first selectman, Police Chief Frank Cappiello, Youth Services Coordinator, and others and arranged for the streets to be closed for everyone’s safety during the march. She reached out to Orange Democrats Jodi Dietch and Mary Welander who set up a table with poster board and markers so protesters could make signs.

Several Woodbridge police officers, including the chief, were present, but not “in your face.” Cappiello stood in the back and took a photo of the gathering with his cell phone at the beginning and said of Cardozo, “She did a good job.” He also was pleased that every single person wore a mask, helping keep the risk of spreading COVID-19 to a minimum.

Of all the local rallies, this is the first one we’ve seen that was fully orchestrated by young adults. 

Micaela recruited other Amity High alums, Ryan Rattley, Zoie Reed, and Tobe Nwangwu to speak at the gathering along with Woodbridge First Selectman Beth Heller. Only Rattley, who is in college in Pittsburgh, could not attend. He asked his mother, Carol Galloway, to read his thoughts for him. 

Micaela, a tall, pretty, blonde, introduced herself and stated, “You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I am bi-racial, and I’ve never experienced racial discrimination. But my friends have and black lives matter.”

She introduced First Selectman Beth Heller, who first thanked all of the speakers and everyone there who came together in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, demonstrating their commitment to social justice. 

“We will march because Black Lives Matter. We march for justice, for equal justice under the law, for economic justice, for environmental justice, and for equal opportunity,” Heller said. “We march because this is who we are.”

Heller added this important piece of information. Some of you may be aware that the Merriam-Webster dictionary will now include systemic racism in its latest definition of racism.  Kennedy Mitchum, a young Black woman from Missouri and recent graduate of Drake University wrote to the Merriam-Webster editors, to request that the dictionary provide a more detailed definition of racism, a definition that recognizes that racism extends beyond one-to-one interactions or expressions of prejudice to include systemic racism where larger systems and institutions in society in education, policing, health care, or the economy work over time to reinforce differential treatment according to race.  To her surprise, the editors agreed.  In its new definition, Merriam-Webster will attempt to indicate that racism isn’t limited to discrimination or prejudice from one person to another but racism is also about longstanding institutions, laws, and regulations that promote notions of supremacy and inferiority between the races. This is systemic racism.

“We watch in anguish in response to systemic racism, particularly the pattern of needless and senseless acts of violence that have taken the lives of our black brothers and sisters, and recently, the tragic murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.  But this time, I think we have reason to hope that things will change,” she said. “There is a new burst of energy, a protest movement across this country and beyond our shores, in cities and towns in all 50 states, a movement that crosses racial, ethnic, political and generational differences, a movement that binds us together by our common humanity, a movement poised to inspire new policies and new legislation. 

Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” 

“I think Dr. King believed that the arc doesn’t bend toward justice on its own,” Heller said. “That’s our responsibility, and that’s why we are here today.”

Next Nwangwu gave an impassioned speech, sharing the stories of several of the more recent black lives lost to police brutality, prejudice, and hatred, just because of the color of their skin.

Each heartwrenching account was shared with sadness, anger, and pain, as only a black person could tell it. You could hear a pin drop in the field of grass upon which the sea of white people sat along with their black neighbors, classmates, and friends.

Carol Galloway shared her son, Ryan’s statement just as he would have, with purpose, honesty, and sadness.

Ryan was a little black kid who went through the Amity school system, and the first time he heard a derogatory word about his race was on the bus coming home from Middle School. Woodbridge children were not the only ones to make him feel uncomfortable or out of place. He recalled riding his bicycle one day and being followed all the way to his home by a woman who didn’t let it end there. She sat outside his home for a while to make sure he wasn’t up to something criminal.

Ryan was on the Amity Lacrosse team and he was in four of five Amity Plays — even earning a nomination for a High School Musical Award for his performance in “In The Heights.”

He reflected on how everyone loves you then, congratulating you when you make a goal or give a great performance, but you can’t ride your bike through a Woodbridge neighborhood because you’re black.

Zoie Reed told the crowd that she was going to be brutally honest so, if they didn’t like what she was saying they were free to leave.

She got her feelings of anger and frustration across to everyone when she said, “Don’t say you understand, because you don’t.”

And she is right. As much as I or the next white person can be infuriated by the actions of a racist cop shooting a black person, or kneeling on his neck until he dies in the street, we will NEVER know how it affects the black person standing next to us. How can we? We are not black. We can walk into a store, or ride our bike down a street without being followed because we’re not black.

We all have a lot to learn. We need to have a conversation and really listen, and make a change in the culture across this nation.

Cardozo was choked up after Zoie’s speech and took a moment before introducing the pastor from a local church to lead the 8 minutes 46 second moment of silence in memory of George Floyd — the exact amount of time he lay in the street with a knee pressed against his neck as he pleaded, “I can’t breathe,” and called for his “Mama.”

Able-bodied participants walked to the corner of Meetinghouse and Newton, while others lined their cars up behind a police cruiser for a long walk around town displaying signs and chanting, “No Justice, No Peace,” “Black Lives Matter,” “I Can’t Breathe.” etc.

I’d like to congratulate Micaela for organizing this peaceful, poignant event for the Bethany-Orange and Woodbridge communities. And Thank You to the young speakers for putting their hearts and souls into their presentations.

I hope that we all now have a better understanding, although we won’t ever fully understand, and begin to make a difference because it really does matter. This is where it starts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girls Volleyball: We Love Our Lady Spartans

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Nov 142015
 

IMG_8719The Amity Lady Spartans Volleyball team, under the leadership of their amazing second year coach Seth Davis gave fans an incredible season.

They won the SCC Girls Volleyball Championship Title and produced the Coach of the Year – Davis, Player of the Year – Micaela Cardozo and two SCC All Conference Athletes – Cardozo and Katie Helfenbein.

Watching them play was always an adventure and seeing Katie Helfenbein’s smile during every game was a pleasure.

The girls went up against another powerhouse team tonight, but Greenwich simply outplayed our wonderful Lady Spartans in the quarter final of the CIAC State Competition.

Greenwich won the first and second matches, Amity the third, then Greenwich earned the 3-1 victory in the fourth match.

Sad to say that tonight was the end of the line for the 2015 team, but win or lose we love our Lady Spartans, and we are so proud of everything they’ve accomplished this year.

Thank You for a great season!

 

PHOTOS: Amity Wins SCC Volleyball Championship!

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Nov 072015
 

As we continue to celebrate the amazing end to the Amity Girls Volleyball season, we thought it would be nice to offer some photos of the girls in action and a couple of videos commemorating this milestone event.

Sheila McCreven took this wonderful VIDEO of the SCC Championship Events.

HERE is a video of the Awards presentation.

And Now, for the photos… We are so proud of you girls, and Coach Davis. Thank you for a memorable year!

 

Amazing! SCC Recognizes Two Amity Senior Volleyball Players (PLUS One Other)

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Nov 022015
 

Katie Helfenbein, Micaela Cardozo and Seth Davis.

Katie Helfenbein, Micaela Cardozo and Seth Davis.

The Southern Connecticut Conference (SCC) had some exciting news for the Amity Girls Volleyball program that was shared with fans after the big game in Woodbridge Monday night.

Seniors Micaela Cardozo (20) and Katie Helfenbein (29) made All Conference.

Micaela has been named SCC Conference Player of the Year.

During the post game announcements, the ever-smiling Helfenbein did her best Carol Merrill for her teammate. [If you don’t get the reference, you’re not old enough]

Coach Seth Davis has worked with the girls for two seasons since former coach Paul Theis retired.

“It has been such a great pleasure coaching two girls that continually work as hard as they do to improve everyday,” Davis said. “They both do great things to help this team succeed and play well.”

While his entire team was applauding their teammates’ accomplishments, Debbie Davis included that Seth (yes, he is her son) has been named SCC Coach of the Year.

It was a great night for the lady spartans and their coach. Congratulations to all of you. You all certainly deserve our applause.

Girls Volleyball: What’s A Superman Dig? East Haven Knows

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Oct 262015
 

IMG_5987Amity Hosted East Haven in Woodbridge Monday, Oct. 26, and continued its winning streak, blanking their opponents 3-0.

Following are their scores: 25-12, 25-18 and 25-22.

Highlights:

East Haven: 
Megan Roberts: 1 superman dig (What IS that?)

Amity:
Katie Helfenbein: 12 kills, 2 blocks, 5 digs

Micaela Cardozo: 8 kills, 1 block, 4 digs

Elise Graham: 2 aces, 3 kills

Records: Amity 17-1, East Haven 14-6

Girls Volleyball: The Curse Is Over — Amity Defeats Cheshire

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Oct 122015
 

IMG_9316The Lady Spartans Volleyball team was on the road this Columbus Day holiday, going up against arch rival Cheshire on its home court.

The last time the two teams met up was in September and Amity lost 3-1, the Spartans haven’t defeated Cheshire in 3 years. But the curse was broken today with a 3-2 victory over the Rams.

Amity        25    25     14     14     15  —   3

Cheshire   19     21     25    25     10  —  2

 

Highlights:

Amity:

Micaela Cardozo had 4 kills, 7 assists, 7 digs; Kathleen Walsh had 10 digs and 3 kills; Jaiden Williams had 34 assists; Katie Helfenbein had 4 kills, 7 assists and 2 blocks.

 

 

This was Amity’s ninth consecutive win. The Lady Spartans improved their record 11-1.

Cheshire fell to 10-2.

 

Girls Volleyball: Amity VS North Haven in Woodbridge – Did The Spartans Pull It Off?

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Oct 062015
 

IMG_8791The Lady Spartans Volleyball team hosted the North Haven Indians on Monday, Oct. 6.

North Haven won the first match 25-22, followed by three consecutive wins by the Lady Spartans – 25-9, 25-13 and 25-23.

 

Highlights

North Haven:
Marissa Mocarski:  9 kills 2 blocks
Tone Barbiero: 8 assists 3 aces

Amity:
Micaela Cardozo:  11 kills 1 ace
Katie Helfenbein:  8 kills 1 block
Jaiden Williams: 25 assists 1 dig 1 ace

Records: Amity 8-1, North Haven 3-8

Girls Volleyball: Clash of Two Great Teams — Amity vs Sheehan

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Oct 212014
 

IMG_3109 2Amity (15-2) traveled to Wallingford for a battle with another challenging team — Sheehan (12-4) on Monday night.

The Titans got a leg up on the Lady Spartans with a 25-20 win in the first game, but Amity got it done in the remaining three games: 27-25, 25-16, and 25-13, to walk away with a 3-1 victory, improving their record to 16-2. Sheehan dropped to 12-5 for the season.

Amity’s noteable players:

Micaela Cardoza had 14 kills and 3 aces, Katie Helfenbein had 8 kills and Haley Pierson had 35 assists and 9 aces.

Sheehan’s noteworthy players:

Makayla Ricci had 9 kills, 3 blocks and 3 aces, Nicki Petit had 13 digs and 9 kills and Sara Pisanelli added 15 digs.

 

 

 

 

Girls Volleyball: Was Amity Able To Continue Its Winning Streak?

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Oct 022014
 

IMG_2856After enjoying an 8 game winning streak, the Lady Spartans knew they were in for a real battle when they went up against the undefeated Cheshire Rams Wednesday night in Woodbridge.

The first game was tough, with a lot of close scores throughout. But with the help of the Amity Army in full force “Hoo-Rah!” Amity came out on top, winning 25-18.

Both teams are undeniably skilled and were determined to win, but Cheshire reigned supreme for the remainder of the evening, winning three in a row, 25-15; 25-20; and finally 25-17 and retained their undefeated status. They simply outplayed Amity.

Records: Cheshire 9-0; Amity 8-2

Amity Players:

Nina Luciani, 14 kills
Micaela Cardozo, 9 kills; 2 digs; 1 block
Haley Pierson, 36 assists; 1 dig

Cheshire Players:

Jillian Haberli, 14 kills; 2 blocks; 10 digs; 4 aces
Marli Green, 15 kills; 7 blocks
Sarah Rodgers, 26 assists; 6 digs; 2 aces

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Girls Volleyball: Amity Defeats Shelton 3-1, Micaela Cardozo Has A Big Day

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Sep 202014
 

file photo

file photo

The Lady Spartans Volleyball Team was on the road Friday and took on the Gaelettes at Shelton.

Amity won three of the four games: 25-11, 23-25, 25-10, 25-22. (Shelton pulled ahead by two points in the second game)

Here are the highlights:


Amity

Micaela Cardozo 12 kills 5 blocks 1 dig 3 aces

Caroline DelVecchio 8 kills

Haley Pierson 1 kill 2 aces 33 assists



Shelton

Sammy Stevens 2 kills 3 blocks

Nika Marczak 5 kills 3 blocks

Mackenzie Bures 4 aces 8 digs

 

Records: Amity  4-1;  Shelton 3-2