About 20 people lined the intersection of Center and Main Streets in Manchester Friday afternoon, holding protest signs declaiming discrimination and yelling slogans such as "educate! Don't discriminate!"
Their intended target?
An editorial published in the Monday, Feb. 18 edition of the Journal Inquirer newspaper written by Managing Editor Chris Powell that they said unfairly promotes discrimination against the mentally ill.
"At this time in history in this state when there's so much scrutiny being paid to mental health services and persons who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses and the rights that we have and should have, it's doubly offensive that a respected newspaper in Connecticut should be promoting those kind of ideas," said Ronna Keil, a Bloomfield resident and one of the organizers of the protest.
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In his editorial, Powell states "so is a landlord necessarily irrational and hateful in his reluctance to rent to someone who may behave badly but claim not to be responsible for himself on account of illness, who may bother his neighbors, and who may have trouble holding a job and paying rent and still prove impossible to evict against a claim of wrongful discrimination? And is an employer necessarily irrational and hateful in his reluctance to hire someone whose mental illness incapacitates him at certain times and may scare co-workers but who may prove impossible to dismiss against a clime of wrong discrimination?"
Powell also mentions the Newtown shootings in his editorial and notes the shooter, Adam Lanza, is believed to have suffered from some form of mental illness, although Powell does not mention Lanza by name in the editorial.
Keil said protestors were seeking a public retraction and apology from the Journal Inquirer and Powell for the editorial, and planned another protest on Saturday, March 2 at the State Capitol in Hartford.
Powell could not be immediately reached for comment about the protest Friday afternoon.