Representative Jane Garibay on Connecticut Witch Trial Exoneration Legislation – Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast
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Connecticut State Representative Jane Garibay of the 60th district, Windsor and Windsor Locks talks about the process for proposing an exoneration bill. We talk about the reasons and relevance behind House Joint Resolution #34: Resolution Concerning Certain Witchcraft Convictions in Colonial Connecticut. Hear how this state exoneration of witch trial victims would open the door to creating memorial monuments and educational activities for the community and descendants.
Connecticut State Representative Jane Garibay
Resolution Concerning Certain Witchcraft Convictions in Colonial Connecticut
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[00:00:00] Josh Hutchinson: Welcome to another outstanding episode of Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. I'm Josh Hutchinson. Sarah Jack: And I'm Sarah Jack. Josh Hutchinson: Today's guest has recently appeared in the New York Times, Associated Press, and basically all the things. We'll be talking to Representative Jane Garibay of Connecticut's 60th district, representing Windsor and Windsor Locks in the Connecticut General Assembly. We'll be discussing a resolution to exonerate those accused of witchcraft in Connecticut, House Joint Resolution [00:01:00] Number 34, Resolution Concerning Certain Witchcraft Convictions in Colonial Connecticut. Sarah Jack: We've really enjoyed working with Representative Jane Garibay, and we're really anticipating making this episode, and it was great. Josh Hutchinson: We had a wonderful chat with her, including how she became involved in exoneration legislation, where she learned about the need for exoneration, and what she's learned about the Connecticut Witch Trials. Sarah Jack: She is a major part of how the Connecticut Witch Trial Exoneration Project came together, and this personal and engaging conversation tells a story of how she got involved in the exoneration, why she supports it. We talk about what's next for the resolution, and you can [00:02:00] learn about how you can help. Josh Hutchinson: And we also talk about what comes after the exoneration, some plans for memorializing the victims of the Connecticut Witch Trials. Sarah Jack: It's my pleasure to introduce state representative Jane Garibay, who was recently reelected to the 60th district, representing Windsor and Windsor Locks. She's a lifelong resident of Windsor, serving as the executive director of the Windsor Chamber of Commerce from 1999 to 2018, she worked for the Town of Windsor in the recreation department and is now executive director of the First Town Downtown in Windsor. Jane has been an active volunteer for most of her life. She has an educational background, having taught English as a second language in Mexico and Spanish at St. Gabriel School in Windsor. She's the president and founder of the Windsor Education Foundation and served as the president of the Windsor School Board. Be sure to visit her biography page on her website to see all the important ways she has served the community and been [00:03:00] recognized. This web link will be in the show description. Jane Garibay: I represent the 60th district, which is Windsor and Windsor Locks. We have Alice Young, who was a Windsor resident when she was accused, convicted, and executed for witchcraft. She was the first. So we do have that long history in Windsor. Sarah Jack: And how did you get involved in witch trial exoneration legislation? Jane Garibay: We did do the exoneration here in Windsor for our two that were convicted, and there was a resolution, and I know Beth very well and her connection, and I've read parts of her book. But it was mostly just more, probably started about a year ago, people reaching out to me and me becoming more aware and understanding the generations down and what this meant to their family members and learning more about what really happened way back then. And I think at the time [00:04:00] it was actually Windsor was called Dorchester at the beginning, and it was like 20-something towns were part of this Dorchester, part of Windsor. And then things have changed. And I think that's why there's a lot of mix there. Josh Hutchinson: Why do you support exoneration? Jane Garibay: It hit me one day that there is a parallel to what happened in the 1600s with the witchcraft to what is being challenged today in women's rights. I think it's just being aware, I started thinking about what if you are a little bit different? What if you don't dress the norm? What if you're a strong woman, and you're determined and know what you want? Or just different things? And I saw that parallel, and as I learned about how their families have suffered through the generations, it just became very important. To me, it's a small thing to do that can make a lot of people feel better and happier. So [00:05:00] it seems simple. Sarah Jack: Simple but so powerful. And I know so many of us are appreciative and excited and those reasons that you mentioned, the parallels are, it's so great, because it'll keep some of those conversations going in a positive direction. Are there any other modern issues that relate to it for you? Jane Garibay: So I think we're always in flux in the way that people are treated. We gain ground in some areas and then, some years later then we're backtracking again with others. And it's really about, the United States has all always been about it, supposedly is live and let live. Respect, if I'm not hurting anyone, I should be able to live the way that I wanna live, whichever way that may be. And I believe each of us either has a religion, there's many different religions. In my own mind, it's always the same God. It's just different ways of getting there in [00:06:00] some way, shape, or form. And we have to respect each other and not impose what my personal experience is, that we have to respect each other. So I think bringing the past and trying to make it, we can't change what happened, but we can make it right in the books. That goes a big way about saying today, if you're a single woman, you choose not to get married. Or maybe you like to wear a flannel shirt and jeans, whatever that is to someone else. That we have to respect people, because we can fall back into some old patterns. Josh Hutchinson: The exoneration is about making a statement. What does it take to get a bill passed? Jane Garibay: A lot. It really does, because that's why you build relationships in the House. To me, most politicians, legislators, senators are very hard workers and well-meaning, and you have to build those [00:07:00] relationships, because you need it to pass in the house. You need to pass in the senate, and then you need the governor to sign it. So all three branches have to be working together. I had a bill last year that made it through the house that died in the senate. It's hard, and you have to be on top of it. As you know, for nine months we've been doing a lot of work. And putting, getting the bill, working on people, and we've gotten tons of support, like with Senator Anwar coming on board and feeling passionate about this topic, too. So it takes a lot of connecting. It takes talking to people, it takes emailing. So our first step it will be is to have judiciary have a hearing. That's our biggest hope. Get the hearing. Once we have the hearing, it's having people testify or show up in a larger group, even if everyone doesn't speak, to show we support this. It takes everyone reaching out to their legislators within the state and saying, "I want you to pass this bill. This is important to me." [00:08:00] So as we've been working on that for nine months now, and I think we're in a good place right now, I am hoping judiciary will give us a hearing, which will be a major step, because over 5,000 bills are proposed, 5,000, and maybe 2 to 500 will be passed. And a lot of them are good bills. There's some, depending on your opinion, you might not think are so important. Just some might not think this one's important, but it's important to someone and just takes fighting for your bill. It's great, because now you have someone both in the house and the Senate that feel passionate about it, so it gives us strength. Sometimes things happen for a reason. Sarah Jack: Absolutely. And when we were all having that conversation this week, you could really see that, how it was bringing this new spark and there was more ideas and just strengthening the collaboration. So that was exciting. Jane Garibay: It is exciting. Josh Hutchinson: I'm also very excited that he's on board, [00:09:00] and you've got a road into the senate. Seems more likely that they'll get on board. We saw that they posted on their social medias about this last week, and that was a great step forward. Jane Garibay: Absolutely. The House is a little bit easier, I feel, because we're 151. There's 98 on my Dems team. So you can lose a few and still have the majority vote. In the Senate if even though the Dems have the majority or like that. Although, and something like this, I think it's bipartisan. I don't think it's gonna be a partisan vote, but there, you can't lose as many votes, cause there's fewer people. Sarah Jack: Which is all the more reason for people to be contacting their representatives and senators. Jane Garibay: And to write, it can be only three lines. It's better not to do a template. Some issues come before that every email, it's exactly the same. And I still answer 'em, [00:10:00] but it's not the same when someone sends me a heartfelt three or four lines about why this is important to them. It engages me more as a legislator, right? In the past two months, I've gotten three very long letters about why this is important to them. One was from Granby, Connecticut. The other two were different parts of the country. And I'll never look at Halloween the same, by the way. The event in Windsor, I started it like 20 years ago. It's called Nightmare on Broad Street. And the event will, I just won't see it the same. I don't like, like now I think of all the like Hocus Pocus and the witch movies and whatever. Even though these people weren't really witches, just the idea of it, it's just different now for me. Josh Hutchinson: The associating one with the other is not accurate and demeaning to the people who were not witches. Jane Garibay: It's about being accused of something they didn't do ,really. Do you know what? But it's, yeah, it is to [00:11:00] separate the two. Josh Hutchinson: And you've raised a good point that this should not be a partisan issue. This should be just a simple, an injustice was done, justice should be done to fix that kind of a thing. Jane Garibay: Yes, absolutely. And it doesn't cost money. Usually that's where our divide comes down a lot, more conservative financially, a little bit freer or whatever. This doesn't cost money. It doesn't do anything. It doesn't hurt anyone. It just gives peace to the family. And I know what the Judiciary Committee is looking for, because how do they process this? Because it was the commonwealth at the time. It wasn't the state of Connecticut, so it's finding the way, the tool to do it, and it's basically just saying, "we're sorry this happened." It's recognizing it and it's saying, "these people were innocent." Even if there weren't a way to pardon them, this isn't a pardon because they didn't do anything. They weren't, [00:12:00] they didn't do anything. This is saying, "this never should have happened." And every day I learn new things. Like I didn't realize, while Governor Winthrop was in England, I understand that James Mason was in charge. And we've had a lot of controversy about that in Windsor, because we have the James Mason statue that we got from Mystic. And we've had an outcry, and they're trying to find it a home, maybe in a museum, but not out on our Palisado Green. And now that I know he was in charge when all this was happening, and just by default, it's his fault, in a way, because he was the leader at the time. He could've stopped it. Josh Hutchinson: Conflicts with the whole heritage of Alice Young and Lydia Gilbert being Windsorites. Jane Garibay: And I've come to admire, I still don't know a ton, but Governor Winthrop was a hero in this, [00:13:00] being an alchemist. I understand that once he arrived back from England, no one else was executed. There were people that were convicted, but he was able to stay, and we could have lost a lot more lives. It could have really have kept going. Sarah Jack: On the judiciary committee, how do they process those proposed bills? Jane Garibay: So they work with O L M, Office of Legislative Management. Some of the members, the chair, Steve Stafstrom, is a lawyer, and he is really good at what he does. So they have a, it's not like me going in and having no clue how I would write this or do this, and it seems so easy. I wanna just go out and say, "hey, this is wrong." But there has to be statutory language, and so they all work. It takes quite a bit for all our bills to be written up. The legislators, we come up with the idea and a basic thought or concept, but then we work with staff to put that into legal means so that, [00:14:00] afterwards, someone can't say that wasn't really done, or, blah, blah, blah. It's put through in legal verbiage that can stick. Sarah Jack: Thanks for explaining that. Jane Garibay: Hey, it's been a learning curve for all. It really is. So much goes into a bill, from first you do a screening, so the bills will go in front that's been put in. It'll go to screening in judiciary, which is made up of senate and house members. And the screening committee is usually the chairs and it might have the ranking members, depending. And so they screen all the bills, and they decide whether something goes forward. If you move it out, then language starts. We start having the proposed language, what is it gonna look like, et cetera. Then again, it's up to the chairs if there's a hearing. So then there's a hearing, and that's your next step. And then whether it hits the floor or not, everybody's lobbying and working, even after the hearing to try [00:15:00] to get their bills heard, and the chairs have a lot to say, but not the total say. It depends, again, if this isn't controversial, and it's controversial, there's a lot of, it's a whole different story in the way they negotiate what bills they do. This is pretty bipartisan, I feel, and I don't think it'll have that same difficulty. Josh Hutchinson: And then if it goes to the floor, then it's open for debate before a vote? Jane Garibay: It's open to debate for floor. I believe it will come out of the House. I think it'll be Representative Stafstrom, who does have a woman that was executed in Stamford, his town, and he's pretty passionate, and we sent him Beth's books and different things. So he's really been reading up on it and everything, and he is a great person to take it to the floor. So then if we have, which I expect, a positive [00:16:00] vote, then it gets sent over to the Senate. Then they go through the same thing over there, gets passed there, and then they will send it on the governor to sign. Sarah Jack: At what point would they be considered exonerated? Would it be once it's passed both sides, or is it when the governor signs? Jane Garibay: The governor, we would choose, usually you choose, like when we did the PFAS bill in Windsor, we had the PFAS bill from the airport and was the center of bringing the attention to that chemical. And the governor came to Windsor by the Farmington River and signed the bill there. They'll choose a place for a bill signing, whether it's the State House, where people were executed, or maybe it's in Stamford. There's a monument there. Josh Hutchinson: So with it being a resolution, is it effective basically once the governor signs? Jane Garibay: Once the governor signs it, I believe, I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I believe that's[00:17:00] most bills will say when it takes place, because if it's a new law that is gonna cost money or give revenues, they usually say as of July 1st or something. But I don't think this bill is that, so I think it would be immediate upon his signature. Josh Hutchinson: That would be a very significant moment then. Jane Garibay: So we still have a ways to go, right? We still, we have a road, but the road looks plowed, right? It looks a clean road. Sarah Jack: That's a great analogy. This nine months has been so informative and exciting and a nail biter, too, cuz you just, there's all these little steps in the learning along the way, but it's been such a pleasant experience. And I think that the story getting talked about, the history being discussed and more known, that's already a win there. Jane Garibay: It's hard, because you've waited all these years, after one failed attempt, and the thoughts, and all the [00:18:00] work you guys have put in over these years. But I guess it's what they say, the patience has paid off. Josh Hutchinson: Tony's really the long hauler. He's been doing this since 2005, so he's been at it for about 18 years now, and he's really been very patient and stuck with it. Sarah Jack: And it's been really fun to see his enthusiasm about what's happening right now. He feels like the story's being heard and this excellent effort has been made. It's been so satisfying. Jane Garibay: And if I understood correctly with Senator Anwar, his constituent that reached out to him is from one of the families that was part of the accusation and how that he felt that pain of what his ancestors have done, which I found really interesting to know, to sit here and discover that your great grandfather was part of this [00:19:00] and to feel that pain. So I thought that was interesting. So not only does the exoneration help those of those that were executed, I know if it were me, I would feel like awful that my family was involved in something. So it'll find peace for everyone. Josh Hutchinson: That's a very good, important side of the story to be told, how it affects the descendants on the other side. I have ancestors on both sides of Salem Witch Trials, ancestors who were accusers and ancestors who were victims and jury members and everybody else, related to quite a few people involved and in very different ways. So I try to get some perspective on what each of them was thinking at the time and what they were feeling, and the fear of witchcraft was so real to them at the time. It was [00:20:00] the way that we feel about potential for violence. It was very real, but it's challenging to deal with as a descendant, to think about yeah, my ancestor, I have one that accused another ancestor of mine, and it's, I'm related to both of them. I know that what was done was wrong, and I do feel bad about that, but, at the same time that, that was generations ago. So I don't think that anybody living today should feel the blame or shame for that. Jane Garibay: But doesn't it make you feel better that you've been part of making this happen? And there's parallels, too. Look how fearful we are of certain nationalities, ethnic backgrounds or how fearful we are of someone who's different. And that's why we have to continue to be [00:21:00] inclusive and understanding and respectful of each other, and that we're all very different, right? We all have different backgrounds. And again unless someone is hurting someone else, I have to respect their religion, the way they dress, if it's lgbtq, whatever that is, to respect and not judge. Because you can execute with words, too. It's not the same as taking a life, but you can execute. You can hurt someone with the words you've talked to them, the deed you do to them. We saw that the other day, with the Tennessee. There is a huge parallel, and I truly believe it's important to understand our history to know how we move forward. If we don't look back at how we got to where we are today and some of the strides and builds on those strides, I don't mean to be so philosophical, but, you know, it's really important to understand others and respect them. Sarah Jack: And understanding as much of the full history that we can is key to that, not just these [00:22:00] selections. And if somebody who feels bad about what their ancestors have done is willing to bring something to light, to correct a wrong, it's a signal to the rest of us, that we can make brave steps like that to get a good look at the stories. And one of the things that I think about sometimes, these panics came out of, here you had neighbors and community members suffering for different reasons and they weren't able to come together to rise through them without blaming each other, and I think our fears today can cause the same thing if, you know, if you were afraid of our neighbor who is different, or our coworker who is different, that could stop something really important from happening. So we need to get to know people and learn about them and diffuse those fears. Jane Garibay: And one of the hardest [00:23:00] thing I think is for all of us, even for myself, is standing up for something you believe in or against something that you think is wrong. It's not an easy thing to do it. You know, we all wanna be part of the group. We all want, you know, we're human, and we build community. And even today, you can see it in just everyday life sometimes, you know, the bully on the playground or adults. And it's standing up to that type of behavior. And again, I believe in a kind way, right? Because if you take the other way, then you're being just as bad. And then there is the generational trauma, which a lot of people laugh at when I use that word. I'm lucky because I have a daughter who works in that type of psychology and instances with students, et cetera. But it reminds me my great grandfather was a harness maker. And he was at the table with his six kids, and he was drunk at dinnertime, and he was playing [00:24:00] Russian roulette with his pistol. He ended up shooting himself and dying in front of his children. And it's just weird. We didn't talk about a lot, but my grandfather never drank. You never saw him with a drink. My mother never drank. We didn't talk about it. We didn't know why. And I rarely do, I have like on the holiday or whatever. So that had followed my family without talking about it. I'm not saying it's in the genes or not in the genes, but just knowing that history and that example of behavior. So that has gone down through the generations with those that are descendants of those that were executed, right? And whether it's through lore or the storytelling through the family, cause storytelling is history, right? It's what happened. And to live just with that awfulness about. People need to stop and think. Especially the couple. It was a husband and wife. And if there were children, they were given to neighboring farms. If it was just the woman, [00:25:00] he was left without the person to take care of the kids. Just a woman who had material things, they wanted it. So a lot of times, they were accused of witchcraft so that she didn't have those things. So they were stripped of everything. They were stripped of their property, their dignity. The whole family just suffered, there goes the husband of so-and-so and the children. It left a mark forever. Josh Hutchinson: Alice Young's daughter, Alice Young Beamon, was accused of witchcraft. She moved away to Springfield, Massachusetts, and it followed her. Somebody slandered her son, saying that he and his mother were witches, and they had to file a suit against that for defamation, because it just followed for three generations, and Sarah has an ancestor, Winifred Benham Sr., who was accused along with her daughter, and her [00:26:00] mother, Mary Hale, had been accused before her, so that was another case of three generations that followed. Jane Garibay: Yeah. It's crazy, isn't it? It's just like unthinkable. You think how their lives, and at the same time, the people that were accusing really believed what they were thinking. I think some was planned out, some took advantage of using it to get what they wanted. But a lot of them, they really, truly believe that they caused the plague, and it was easy to get them riled up. And I see that in today's world, that sometimes you have a someone that gets people riled up, and they believe something that they want them to believe, and it's not really true, and I'm not talking about the large politics, just around town or whatever, those things happen. Josh Hutchinson: On the topic of generational trauma, there's also the experience that descendants have when they learn of their ancestors' stories. And all of, you know, the [00:27:00] feelings you have to sort through because just knowing that your innocent ancestor suffered that way. Jane Garibay: I know. I try not to think about it, because it keeps you up at night. If you think about how, just the whole thing, it was awful. And for their family members to be watching that. It's incomprehensible. I did watch in Scotland, the prime minister that gave the great speech, and they exonerated 2,000, over 2,000. I was like shocked. But I guess Europe was a lot worse before it made it here, and here it just somehow, it got stopped before it turned into the same situation, right? With so many. Josh Hutchinson: We were fortunate that we had strong ties with England, where things were a little calmer. Scotland was, I think by population, per capita, they had one of the highest rates of [00:28:00] executions of witches, and it was grizzly. Jane Garibay: Now did this happen to all countries through Europe? Do you think, did it happen in Spain, for example? Josh Hutchinson: Yes, it definitely happened in Spain. Last year, Catalonia actually pardoned something around 700 individuals who were persecuted there. And that's just one Spanish state. It happened in most of their states, and France was big. Italy had some. Germany, it was terrible. Germany was like Scotland. They had about 25,000 executions in the Holy Roman Empire. Half of all of the executions happened in Germany. Jane Garibay: I wish common sense had set in, though, to understand if they really had been, there had been something in witchcraft or whatever, they would've probably been able to zap 'em or do [00:29:00] something to save themselves. They wouldn't have gotten that far. My husband's family's from Spain, Spain and Mexico, and I know on our next trip we're gonna look into the subject of the witchcraft and what happened there. And his family was from the north, San Sebastian. And now they're in Madrid. And he has family in Mexico, too. Josh Hutchinson: Yeah, I've a lot of family from Germany and Scotland, and it got pretty bad in Scandinavia, too, and I have Scandinavian ancestors. I might find more ancestors that were involved, as I do my research. Sarah Jack: What kind of education needs to happen around the witch trials? Jane Garibay: So we touched on it a little bit the other night, when we all met. I just want things to be tastefully done, but it has to be tastefully. In my mind, I can see in Connecticut, a trail, but it's to honor and visit, not to capitalize on, not to make money on. It's to [00:30:00] bring awareness and education. And like Stamford already has a beautiful monument, so doing something like that, and each town and being part of tourism to educate, not tourism to make money, if that makes sense. Sensationalized, I don't wanna sensationalize it. Josh Hutchinson: I know there's a fear of becoming another Witch City, and we don't want to see that happen. Jane Garibay: No, I agree. I just remember going to Salem and the little plays and the different things, and part of it was educational, but part of it was a little bit more sensationalism. Like you didn't know how much was theater and how much was real facts. So I would think that whatever Connecticut did or your group, which would probably be a big part of it, I'll compare it to a wine trail. You go to each one, you learn about the wine, you taste it, and you do, but you don't get into [00:31:00] sensationalism. Do you know what I mean? So this would be going to each site and learning and doing that. Sarah Jack: It would be so purposeful, meaningful, and it'd be the opposite of that generational trauma ripple. It would be a ripple of understanding that would start spreading through the community and to those who are coming to look. So I love the idea. One of the things that I thought about as a descendant, not in the area, way back nine months ago or even further back, what would I want? And I really wanted to see how are the local neighborhoods and the communities able to talk about their victim who suffered there? And it's already happening in several of the little communities. So I'm really excited to see that develop more across Connecticut, and then to connect them into a trail would really be meaningful. Jane Garibay: [00:32:00] I know we have in our town hall, and when I was growing up, I didn't know who she was, but we have an Alice Young conference room. It has her name outside it, and it's a small meeting room. But I would say that 99% of the people in our town probably don't know who Alice Young was. And we don't hear of the other one that was from Windsor, also. So I think that's a big part of the education of physical place that people, because these are different from Salem, I understand, cause we don't have the records Salem has. It's hard to piece the history together, and a lot of work has been done to dig and find that. But we do know about their lives a lot. So to talk about Alice Young, who was she and have a monument, a physical place that you can go to. I think also there should be one main one at the State House, where they were executed. That could be the start point almost, if you wanted to get the major and then have the trail to the other one, and we can move it into the bike trail realm, too, seriously. Josh Hutchinson: [00:33:00] That would be so amazing to see. Just ride from town to town and learn and pay your respects. Jane Garibay: So in Spain, I went on the Camino de Santiago, which is from actually Paris over the French Alps, but there's the Camino from Portugal, the Spanish way, and the French Way. We only did 150 miles on bike. But that's what I think, because you have some pathways, but then you come out into little towns, and you're on the roads. Everyone's very respectful, cause they're used to it. And they're marked, and you follow that way, and then you get into the woods, and then you're back onto a town or a city. And so to match it with something like that, I think would be incredible. I would love to do it that way myself. Josh Hutchinson: I'd like to do that. I like to ride a bike and hike, and that would be so fun but so educational, and it's a way that you can honor them and pay your [00:34:00] respects, because we don't know where any of them are buried. So there's no place right now that descendants can go other than Goody Knapp has that plaque. And Alice Young, and I think Mary Sanford have bricks in plazas. Jane Garibay: We need something more, because that's what memorials are. That's what cemeteries are. I know I go to visit. I know they're not there in our veteran cemetery, my mom and my dad, but there are days that I have to go and just sit there. And it's a place that you can just feel closer to them, I think, and talk. So it would be the same for this. And if you believe in a spiritual world, wouldn't it be nice that Alice Young could see that people were honoring her? Sarah Jack: That's beautiful. Jane Garibay: That somehow they would know that and give them peace, too, right, their spirit. Josh Hutchinson: That would be so [00:35:00] touching and beautiful, and they're great places you can stop and contemplate what actions our other ancestors took against them, really learn what motivated them, what motivates us today, and spend some time thinking about what we need to be doing today to prevent these things from happening. Jane Garibay: Right. And hopefully people look at that. I know I would look at that and say, "oh my God, that really happened. I am gonna do whatever is in my power to not let that be in my life and to be like that." The more people that learn that, so that we don't have a reoccurrence of any way, shape, or form of what was happening then here, right? We know there's pockets around the world, hate and not accepting people who are different. I also learn every day. My niece, Jenny, lives with us. She's 43 and she has Down [00:36:00] syndrome, and her parents both died of cancer. So she came to live with us. And at first my husband didn't believe me, but when you go places, people stare. And if you know anyone with Down syndrome, they're the sweetest, nicest, not a mean bone in their body. So what we do now, if we find someone staring, I'll just say to Jenny, "see that woman over there. She thinks you're gorgeous." So what does Jenny do? She starts posing. But we have to teach tolerance every one of us in our lives, the little ways that we can do with it and to ourselves to accept others that are different than ourselves. Sarah Jack: I feel like your trail idea in involving the museums and the libraries, so if they see the camaraderie in that the state or the communities are standing together, and we're all saying, "hey, we're going to elevate this history in a non sensational way," maybe their hesitancy to have a bulkier program [00:37:00] or to talk about it more openly, maybe that'll diminish a little bit. And then if we are talking about it, it then helps fight against the othering mentality. It all does work together. Jane Garibay: And I believe it will, and I think, what's that type of, and I'll call it leadership, the way that's moved forward, I think people look to be kind, they look for a gentler world. And I think having a venue to be able to be that way, to say, "come on, all of us, let's do this." I think the goodness spreads, right? This will be one way that goodness spreads. It'll be something that came out of a horrific situation, and we can move forward in a kinder, gentler nation, right? Sarah Jack: That would be so good for all of us. Jane Garibay: At one of my elementary schools on Friday, she won the Greater Hartford Essay Contest about Martin Luther King, [00:38:00] and she was a third grader. And so I went to it, and she read what she wrote, and what she did was, she talked about what her dreams were moving forward. And I get the chills, and where no child is made fun of, but what her dreams were, and it just meant so much. So I think by doing all the work that all of you have done is going to benefit all of us in a tremendous way. I really do. It's a very positive energy thing. And even when I hear from a constituent, something awful that happened to 'em, I didn't cause it, but I can look at them and say, "I hear you, and I feel bad that you had to go through that. No one should have to go through that." Right? So I think as people, that's what we have to do. Some people say, "well, I wasn't involved in that. I didn't cause it." No, but you can still have empathy for people and be sorry that it happened to them and say it was wrong. Josh Hutchinson: Sarah and I were talking the other day, and it dawned on [00:39:00] me that The Crucible just turned 70. It's been out for 70 years as this allegory for how we treat others, and I was wondering how have we grown? Have we grown since The Crucible or are we still having these severe problems with us labeling the Other? Jane Garibay: I ask myself the question sometime, if I were confronted, and I saw something that was wrong, would I be able to stand up to it? I mean, that is a question we should all ask ourselves so that we're aware. It's kind of the nature of humanity to have the two sides, and it's a constant struggle. I see it in the work I do with chair of aging and nursing homes and how elderly are treated, things that if you had asked me 10 years ago, I was not aware of either about that, cause I wasn't involved in it. But people that have had an [00:40:00] elderly person and some of the choices and what we're trying to do. And Connecticut is a pretty progressive state, so when I see things happen here, I think that there worse somewhere else, right. So I think in some ways we've gotten better. Kindness, goodness can never let its guard down, doing the right thing, all those things that I try to live by, and I think about. You can never let your guard down, because it's human nature, unfortunately, that some people don't believe that same way and can be more hurtful. I don't know if it's genetic. I don't know if they had bad experiences, whatever it was, and sometimes I find when you show kindness to someone like that that has more difficulty, sometimes they respond, right? So I think we have to constantly be fighting for that goodness and kindness. We can't just take it for granted. Sarah Jack: This has been wonderful, Jane, you've really hit on a lot of things we wanted to chat with you about, and your meaningful [00:41:00] conversation is valued. Thank you. Jane Garibay: Just being true. You know, I usually talk from the heart. Josh Hutchinson: It feels that way, very much. And you've made a lot of powerful remarks. Jane Garibay: It can bring me to tears when I think about all this, you know? I'm sure as you, you know it, and that you have to keep your faith and your kindness and goodness and constantly fight not to be brought down. Josh Hutchinson: Sarah and I were talking the other day, we were thinking how the overall trend has been positive, and we've made progress in so many areas, but then there's a setback and you've gotta just keep pushing forward and wait for that rebound and the further progress, and I think we'll continue that way. Jane Garibay: I'm very hopeful that this will do well. I think the atmosphere is different from, what was it, [00:42:00] 2008? When I talked with the senator, put it this way, no one's laughed at me in front of me, where he got a lot of pushback. And so I think it's a different type of climate now. And I've had a lot of legislators say once the bill is out there, once it's done and out there, that they will support it, they will go on and co-sponsor and fate as it is. If we had anyone, Senator Anwar is a very gentle soul, and he's a very kind, good person, you know, a doctor, but he is special. He is specially kind and good in how fate, whatever you wanna call it, has brought him in to be with us. Josh Hutchinson: Right. Sarah Jack: There are situations in life where it can be too late to make something right for somebody specific. We can't make this right for Alice. We can't change how it unfolded for her. But especially when you have people [00:43:00] saying, "hey, I want this made right," and there is an avenue to find a way to make things right, that we should all answer, "yes, let's do it." Because then that goodness and the kindness and the diminishing the fear of others can be worked on. Jane Garibay: And I feel that in my town a lot. We were the first town to declare racism a health emergency, lots of different things. People thinking of all people. Um, A core group that is very thoughtful. And part of it is we're such a diverse community here, and I'm talking older, young, you know, by age, by sex, by nationality, race, a lot of times that brings out a lot of good. Josh Hutchinson: When people do push back on the bill, what are some of the reasons they're giving? Jane Garibay: I think people's initial reaction, some people, but it's been few. It really [00:44:00] has not been like it was in 2008. They kind of see it as frivolous. I have another bill that, kind of my rescue dog and in talking to our animal caucus that I put through a bill to name the rescue animal, the state animal, and people were just like, "are you kidding?" They couldn't see the bigger picture of talking about rescue animals. We had 28 Guinea pigs dropped off at our dog pound in the middle of winter in a cage, so it just brings awareness to it. So I think most people are like, "what's important to me may not be important to you, but I can support what you wanna do, even though it doesn't really affect me, and you can support my." We each come from a different place. And I think that's the response I've had from Representative Stafstrom, from leadership, and from most. People are, "oh, I wanna sign on to that." Especially when you [00:45:00] make the comparison today with women's rights. And understanding it. And I could go into another whole couple hours about that, but we won't tonight, another day, another conversation. Josh Hutchinson: That brings up another question. How significant is it that this resolution was brought forth by a woman? Jane Garibay: I don't know, I don't think I thought about that. I mean, I didn't think of me as a woman being the one to do it. I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do. I had the connection with Beth and Mary, I think she's the one that reached out and she reached out to a lot of people, but I was the one that answered the call. I think she reached out to quite a few, and from what I understand, I was the only one that answered her. And, but I immediately thought from what I read her letter and talking to Beth and knowing what Beth had gone through in Windsor, I thought, this is the time. It's now. Like, Sometimes you just feel that it's the time that something's right? Now's the time. [00:46:00] 20 years from now, it might not be, and maybe it wasn't ready 20 years ago, you know, people weren't ready for it. But I believe now is the time, and I've had a lot of support from fellow legislators, and we'll see that when they sign on, once the bill is out and registered, co-sponsor it. Sarah Jack: That's exciting. Jane Garibay: It is exciting. Sarah Jack: I think there's significance that you, yourself, a woman could do something like this for a historical wrong against many women, but it's also significant that it can be anybody working together for them now, cuz in the 17th century it couldn't have just been women stopping it, and certainly there wouldn't have been men and women working together to stop it. Jane Garibay: Well, even 30, 40 years ago, I know one of my predecessors that held my seat years ago said there were a few women in the legislature at that time. And I know that leadership[00:47:00] works hard, and it's excited to have a diverse population in the House, because we women bring on different perspectives, you we have a lot of younger that are probably 30, 35 years old. I'm not gonna say where, how many moons I've been through, but, you know, a little bit older. But we all work together and bring different perspectives. And whether we're of color, we're white, all different, and we come from all different backgrounds. That's what enriches the law making, cuz we all talk together, et cetera. And that's why you campaign for your bills, because that way you get to explain it and talk about it and build that excitement. Josh Hutchinson: It's significant that we've come at least that far in diversifying and getting over our othering of each other so that people can work together in legislature. Jane Garibay: And believe it or not, we do work together most of the time. I think they calculated that most bills are [00:48:00] bipartisan, 75 to 80%. And you only hear about those big, the few stances on a couple. But on most things we can work together. I'm excited to be chair of aging, because we work together. It is very bipartisan. You're working to keep our elderly safe and cared for, so since my time, anyways, it was last year and year so far I feel bipartisan support for moving our laws and policies forward, and I believe the same will be with the exoneration bill. Josh Hutchinson: Okay. Jane Garibay: And just looking for a few things like I was talking that we need to name the people. It can't just be a general exoneration. We need to name them. So we're keeping our thumb on some of those facts, and we'll see what they come out with finally. And even then, when a bill is heard, an amendment can be made. You know, I don't know what it's gonna look like, but we can all, it can always, if something is missing, you can make an amendment to the bill. And there are bills that sometimes pass with [00:49:00] just a basic bill, and then the next year something's put in to add to it. I'm hoping this bill comes out pretty much what we have envisioned or you have envisioned, because this is your bill, this isn't my bill or Saud Anwar's bill. We're just your vehicle. This is your bill. We're just the tools, vehicle to get it done. Sarah Jack: When the team worked on the writing of the resolution, there was so much research and conversation about it, so that we were hitting the things that were important. Jane Garibay: So we'll wait. They have all that material, the judiciary, so we're hoping, and the good thing is because it didn't matter whether it was me or whether it was Senator Anwar. In the end, both the Senate and the House are part of the Judiciary Committee, and it will come out as a Judiciary bill. It won't be my bill or his bill. It'll come out as a Judiciary bill. [00:50:00] And in the end, for anything like this, at least I believe, you know, I can be proud that I had a part in something, but I want the vehicle that's gonna give it most chance for success of passing. That's what we want. And then I'll love to work with you afterwards on the trail, and that can be very, very exciting. Sarah Jack: That'll be a really fun part. Jane Garibay: You know, and get representatives from each town and yes, that will be very rewarding to be able to put it out and to do, and we'll have to have opening day all on our bikes on the trail. Sarah Jack: Oh, that would be so great. Jane Garibay: I have an electric bike, so I've got it easy. I had never used one until we did the Spain Camino. Josh Hutchinson: That's a good way to take in the sites. Jane Garibay: I just wanna go leisurely. And we stop along the way, and we do weekends, or we'll stop at lunch at a restaurant. It is a lot of fun. So I see that when visiting [00:51:00] these historic monuments and taking the time and maybe staying overnight, because if you're doing that whole going down to Stamford, it's gonna be a long ride. Josh Hutchinson: That could have a positive impact for the communities all along the way, local businesses. Jane Garibay: Absolutely. I know we're working on ours, cause Hartford comes into Windsor, and now they're trying to bring it down towards the center, where there won't be a trail along the river, but you would come out into the town. I don't think we'll have an exact bike trail, but then you get on Palisado Avenue, the historic district, it's pretty wide. So there could be a designated, which is different than a bike trail, cuz we have the room for that. And then you hit Windsor Locks, and there's the canal trail they have that goes all the way up to Suffield. What are the other towns that had people executed? Josh Hutchinson: Farmington, Fairfield, [00:52:00] Wethersfield, Stratford, Stamford, Wallingford, of course, had accused. Jane Garibay: So it's all over the state? Josh Hutchinson: it was all over the place, all up the Connecticut River and then all along the coast. But the education is a really important piece for us. We see that as really being one way exoneration is significant in itself is to educate people that these things have happened, people have these tendencies, what can we learn, and how do we move forward? Jane Garibay: And so when I talk about the bike, it's just making it fun so people wanna go and do it. Sarah Jack: Families look for meaningful activities that can be educational when they're traveling or locally, but so do businesses and corporate teams, great team [00:53:00] building, plus a human rights advocacy component to it. It's pretty great. Jane Garibay: Well, when we traveled with my three kids when they were younger, we would go down to Pennsylvania, different places. We had a camper at one point, but we in the morning would be each go to the museum or a library or to visit something historic, et cetera. And then in the afternoon, it would be at the hotel, in the pool, and the kind, you know, the fun. So they thought it was great fun to do that. and it is one, you know, it's the best way to get people to get out. And our museums that were free this summer in Connecticut for families, I know our museums, they were subsidized by the state to be able to do that. And they had huge showing. Families used it. So it was great, because Connecticut tends to have very expensive fees to get into places. It's not like Europe where, you know, it's a couple bucks, and you're in. Here, it's $25 [00:54:00] for an aquarium, or it's very expensive. Josh Hutchinson: Even if people go out for the recreation and the health parts of it, that's a win. And if they get educated by accident, they're still getting educated by stopping to take a break at the plaque, you know, they see and read about what's happened and they'll learn. Jane Garibay: The one in Spain, which I just love, and I have the sign downstairs. There's, it's a conch shell is the emblem. So that's where you see on coast that directs you with the little, yellow arrow, which way you have to go, et cetera. and there's a passport. So as you're traveling, you get stamps. There's a bar made out of beer bottles. Believe it or not, everything is a beer bottle. And so you go in there, and you check it out and again, you're being educated on certain things, but it's all made fun. Josh Hutchinson: [00:55:00] It's part of a experience. Jane Garibay: Even though the topic isn't execution. But it's fun learning and understanding. At least it's for me. Josh Hutchinson: The Camino's on my list of things to do one day. I hiked a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail one year, and that was the experience of a lifetime doing that, so well, I'm looking for more once in a lifetime experiences. I want them, you know, four or five times instead. Jane Garibay: Right? I wanna do it again, the Camino. We wanna make it two times in a lifetime because, and we've traveled pretty, you know, we've been to China and India and, you know, most European countries, just so many places. But the Camino was a special place. I can't explain it. And I had all my friends from Windsor paint rocks and write "from Windsor." So all [00:56:00] along the Camino, I would leave their rock and take a picture and send it to 'em, and they would say, "from Windsor, Connecticut." So those are the experiences that I really enjoy. Josh Hutchinson: I could talk about trails probably for days, because it's such a powerful experience to do something like that. And you meet people all walks of life. Jane Garibay: That is a good match for exoneration trail. Josh Hutchinson: It's such a beautiful idea. We want to see every one of the communities that was involved do something to honor victims and have places where people can go and pay their respects and learn the facts, and that ties it all together so neatly. Sarah Jack: Jane, is there anything else that you would like to specifically say about this experience or what you're doing or just anything else? Jane Garibay: [00:57:00] I think I'm fortunate to have become involved in this and meet all of you. It's very emotional and to know what this means to people that in some way I can help to heal. This whole experience reminds me of kindness, hope, acceptance, and so many things that we get so busy in life. I mean, I always try to remember those things, but something like this just really is very powerful, right. And working together for a common goal, to help lots of people, right? Just everyone that's been affected by this. So I feel very fortunate to be involved to work on your bill. I don't wanna forget that it is your bill. I am just the vehicle. Josh Hutchinson: Thank you so much for working with us. It's a real treat and just watching you do your work. We know that you take this seriously, and that you're very busy behind the scenes doing a lot for [00:58:00] this. So we really appreciate that. Jane Garibay: Our work isn't finished. We're like in the last lap here, right? We just gotta get that finish line together. Josh Hutchinson: Yes, exactly. But we appreciate you continuing patiently, persistently and just following through all the way to the end. Jane Garibay: Thank you for letting me be part of this. Josh Hutchinson: Absolutely. You've been the perfect representative to take this up. Jane Garibay: And now we have Senator Anwar, so, you know, it all works out well. Josh Hutchinson: And we appreciate everything that Matthew has done. We know he's done a lot of work back there. Jane Garibay: Incredibly, because it's above and beyond for him. Do you know what I mean? He's the head of staff for the majority leader, but he's always been helpful. And when I went to him with this idea, he was on board right away, from the beginning, you know, as was the speaker and a ton of people. [00:59:00] So it's gonna be good. Sarah Jack: Thank you very much, Matthew Brokman and Jane Garibay and Saud Anwar. Just the flexibility to accommodate, to respond to questions, to inform us. When Josh and I talked about how to thank you, we had so many points, so many facets of it. We just appreciate all the details. Jane Garibay: So we're mutually appreciative. Josh Hutchinson: Thank you for taking the time out to speak with us today. It's, I think this will be a very important to understand this issue. Jane Garibay: Thank you for having me. We're passionate about it, so it was really very easy. Josh Hutchinson: Your remarks were incredible. You're really very good at expressing your passion. Jane Garibay: Because it is a passion, right? I think that's the easy part. When it's not, it's different. Josh Hutchinson: It wasn't forced. It was [01:00:00] very real. Jane Garibay: Your passion is contagious, seriously, and Beth's passion. It was just very easy to get involved with this and to see the need and the right of the issue. Sarah Jack: We want you to hear the proposed resolution. Resolved by this assembly: Whereas, The courts in the early colonies of Connecticut and New Haven indicted at least 34 women and men for the alleged crime of witchcraft and convicted 12 of them, executing 11, and it is now accepted by the historical profession and society as a whole that all the accused were innocent of such charges. And whereas, Legal procedures differed at the time, and many practices of the court would no longer meet modern standards of proof, so that the miscarriage of justice was facilitated by such procedures. And whereas, The status of women was radically different than it is today, and misogyny played a large part in the trials and in denying defendants their rights and dignity. [01:01:00] Whereas, Community strife and panic combined with overwhelming fear and superstition led to these accusations of alleged witchcraft and the subsequent suffering of those accused. Now therefore, be it resolved, That all of the formally convicted and executed are exonerated of all alleged crimes relating to the charges of witchcraft. The legislature proclaims the innocence of the following convicted and executed people: Alice Young in 1647, Mary Johnson in 1648, Joan Carrington in 1651, John Carrington in 1651, Goodwife Bassett in 1651, Goodwife Knapp in 1653, Lydia Gilbert in 1654, Mary Sanford in 1662, Nathaniel Greensmith in 1663, Rebecca Greensmith in 1663, and Mary Barnes in 1663, and one Elizabeth Seager, convicted and reprieved in 1665. Be it further resolved, That those who were indicted, forced to flee, banished, or even [01:02:00] acquitted, continued to live with their reputations destroyed and their family names tarnished will have their reputations restored and no longer have disgrace attached to their names, now being in good standing in Connecticut. The following indicted who were not convicted but still suffered greatly after indictments were: Goodwife Bailey in 1655, Nicholas Bailey in 1655, Elizabeth Godman in 1655, Elizabeth Garlick in 1658, unknown person in Saybrook in 1659, Margaret Jennings 1661, Nicholas Jennings in 1661, Judith Varlet 1662, Andrew Sanford in 1662, William Ayers in 1662, Judith Ayers in 1662, James Wakeley in 1662, Katherine Harrison in 1668 and 1669, William Graves in 1667, Elizabeth Clawson in 1692, Hugh Crosia in 1692, Mercy Disborrough in 1692, [01:03:00] Mary Harvey in 1692, Hannah Harvey in 1692, Mary Staples in 1692, Winifred Benham in 1697, and Winifred Benham Jr. in 1697. Be it further resolved, That the state of Connecticut apologizes to the descendants of all those who are indicted, convicted, and executed and for the harm done to the accused person's posterity to the present day and acknowledges the trauma and shame that wrongfully continued to affect the families of the accused. Josh Hutchinson: Thank you, Sarah. Sarah Jack: You're welcome. Josh Hutchinson: Thank you for listening to Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. Sarah Jack: Join us as you always do next week. Josh Hutchinson: Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Sarah Jack: Visit thoushaltnotsuffer.com. Josh Hutchinson: And remember to tell your friends, family, acquaintances, and neighbors about Thou Shalt Not Suffer: The Witch Trial Podcast. Sarah Jack: Join our efforts to End Witch Hunts. Visit endwitchhunts.org to learn more. Josh Hutchinson: Have a great [01:04:00] today and a beautiful tomorrow.