Hartford Courant reporting – Harold Sparrow withdraws candidacy for Hartford School Board

In a breaking story entitled, Amid Controversy, Sparrow Withdraws Candidacy For Hartford School Board, the Hartford Courant is reporting that Harold Sparrow has asked Mayor Bronin to withdraw his nomination for the Hartford School Board.  The Courant reports,

Mayor Luke Bronin’s embattled nominee for the city school board, YMCA official Harold Sparrow, has withdrawn his candidacy on the eve of Monday’s confirmation hearing, stating that controversy over his past employment had become a distraction that would take awhile to overcome

[…]

Sparrow, 60, president and CEO of the region’s YMCA, was nominated Thursday to fill a vacant seat on the board, with the mayor anticipating the city council’s approval at a special meeting Monday evening.

But then came revelations Friday that Sparrow had once led a black clergymen’s group during a time when the organization was openly against gay marriage.

In 2004, the same year that Massachusetts became the first state in the nation where same-sex couples could marry, the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston put out a public statement calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Sparrow was the group’s CEO and executive director from 2002 to 2007.

Former state legislator and blogger Jonathan Pelto noted the alliance’s stance in an online post late Friday afternoon. Within hours, Sparrow had distanced himself from the 2004 statement, telling The Courant that it did not reflect his personal views, that he was “unequivocally” in support of marriage equality and LGBTQ rights, and that he has pushed for inclusiveness at the YMCA of Greater Hartford since becoming its leader in 2015.

Bronin told The Courant Friday night that he was unaware of the alliance’s anti-gay marriage position when he nominated Sparrow, and was “deeply troubled when I learned of it.” But he had planned to move ahead with Monday’s vote after speaking with Sparrow and being assured that he was committed to a “welcoming and supportive environment” in the city schools for all students, including those who are gay, lesbian, transgender or questioning.

The full Hartford Courant story can be read at: http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-harold-sparrow-hartford-school-board-0130-20170129-story.html