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Connecticut Groups Meet To Confront Discrimination In The Military

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The Connecticut Veterans Legal Center is concerned about previous discriminatory military practices that have targeted and excluded veterans because of their race.

Richard Brookshire is the co-founder and executive director of the Black Veterans Project. He told the center this week that he wants the military to become a more inclusive space for future soldiers.

“I had service members that I was working with every day that bring 'Mein Kampf' to work and read it, and there was certainly space made for, essentially, the training ground, or just an indoctrination to potentially take place,” Brookshire said.

The center tapped Brookshire and others to join discussions throughout the year to create recommendations for how to reduce discrimination in the military and veterans services.

Brookshire said even though the military was the first American institution to integrate, they weren’t immune to the systemic racial issues the country continues to face.

Conley Monk is from the National Veterans Council for Legal Redress. He fought in Vietnam and says he received a less than honorable discharge because he is Black.

“The military, I thought, was a fair institution. It was supposed to be just. But it was unjust,” Monk said.

Monk and his group works with the veterans center to upgrade former service members who have been less than honorably discharged because of their appearance, sexual orientation or gender.

Veterans with honorable discharge statuses are eligible to participate in federally funded educational, housing and health care programs.