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Monday, January 19, 2009

Cha Cha Connor
from The Pulse 28 to Watch in 2008
27. Cha Cha Connor, 24, Activist and artist

Cha Cha Connor is a 24 year old Worcester native, anarcha-holic, human rights activist and performance artist who gets excited about affordable development, ending homelessness, and connecting with anyone who works for a more just Worcester.

In the past year, Cha Cha been in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca “…doing human rights observation as people’s movements struggle for economic justice and self determination against a repressive government. Returning to the U.S. in April, I went on an east-coast tour as the Supermodels for Oaxaca, a protest theatre ‘models strike’ that used stilettos and style to draw attention to Oaxacan social movements.”

June 1 saw Cha Cha crash land on Millbury St. in South Kelley Square. “It’s a great neighborhood to be involved in, with a ton of artistic and activist creativity. One group I’m excited about is the residents and regulars at the Hotel Vernon who came up with the idea to do a ‘Women of Green Island’ calendar, celebrating the local places that are important to us, and fundraising for neighborhood improvements.”

Since 2005, Cha Cha has worked with a group of residents from all over Worcester called Real Solutions who raise concerns about how poor and vulnerable residents are being treated, especially with regard to city policies on homelessness, housing, and social services. Says Cha Cha, “Too often, ‘revitalization’ takes the form of gentrification, and happens without consulting working and poor folks already living in and contributing to a neighborhood. In Worcester I think we have a chance to do it differently - to organize for just and sustainable economic development that prioritizes our rights to affordable housing, decent jobs, education and healthcare.”

Venture into the nightlife of the Canal District, and you’ll probably find Cha Cha singing for the Happy Hour Hyjinx ~ a serenade of funk-inspired local tales of love and pride and beer and positive change.

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