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Articles on the Gussie Wortham Foundation Inc.
A Life Cut Short, So Long Ago, Inspires Brothers's Good Works
By Susan Campbell
The Hartford Courant
August 23, 2006
You don't meet a lot of Gussies or Agnes these days, but Kenneth Thompson's family had some of each. "What is an Agnes?" Kenneth Thompson used to tease, and then he would thank his parents for giving him what he thought was a sensible name. His older sister Gussie was named after a great-aunt in Florid, a, not far from Tallahasse, where the younger Gussie grew to her teen years . In the 60's lured by the promise of jobs, the family moved to Hartford.
Gussie the oldest of nine, grew up to be a quiet, family-oriented woman, and the mother of four children she adored. On weeekends, Kenneth Thompson didn't want to stay home. he wanted to go Gussie's house. She was, he said, his best friend. For all the family knew, Gussie and her husband, James C. Wortham, had a happy union. If they had knwon the truth, Kenneth Thompson maintains they would have stepped in. You don't put your hands on any one in anger, man or woman. You just don't.
When James and Gussie separated--it happens--Gussie started to get on with life. Then one weekend in May of 1981, james came to pick up the kids for the day. When brought them back, he told the kids to wait downstairs while he went upstairs to talk to their mother. Neighbors heard the fight called the police, but by the time they got there Gussie Wortham age 30, had fallen on the third floor with a knife still in her chest. Her husband ran from the aprtment, but neighbors showed the police where he'd gone. Gussie was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital. James spent time in jail, and died in 1997.
The four Wortham children moved in with their grandmother. Gussie's boy, Anthony, shared a bedroom with his uncle Kenneth Thompson and quickly went from being a nephew to being a buddy. Just a few years seperated them anyway.
When Gussie died, domestic violence was just coming onto the radar screen for the public at large. For the most part, the attitude was that the beating, shootings and stabbings happened in other people's homes. Thompson went to the library and found the clipping. "City Woman Slain; Husband Charged". It was the Courant's only mentionof the brief life that was Gussie's. Thompson carries the clipping in his briefcase. Statistics form the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the year Gussie was stabbed, about 11 percent of homicide victims were killed by their intimate partner--although firearms were the weapons of choice, not knives. Sometimes, Thompson pulls out the clipping and rereads it. he must ahve memorized it by now: " A city man was charged Saturday in the fatal stabbing of his 30-year-old wife. ..."
In 2004, Thompson started the Gussie Wortham Foundation Inc., of which he is the executive director. Anthony Wortham, now a correctional officer at Osborne Correctional Institution in Somers, is his assistant. The foundation has a mentoring program for fifth-andsixth grade boys. They sponsored basketball teams around the city. they do what they can to get the word out. Believe in yourself. Keep your head up. Don't put your hands on anyone in anger, just don't. This weekend, the foundation is holding its annual basketball tournament at Bulkeley High School, starting a 9 a.m. Saturday. Eighteen teams have signed up to participate, in the tournament,which has grown every year. The t-shirts and trophies have been purchased, but Thompson and wortham could use some volunteers. For more information, call Thompson at (860)727-0069. Susan Campbell is at firstname.lastname@example.org or (860)241-6454
Over 300 Partcipate In The Gussie Wortham B-Ball Classic
Clubs & Organizations
Submitted by Kenneth Thompson on 2009-08-24.
On August 15 & 16, 2009 the Gussie Wortham B-Ball Classic was held at the Walter 'Doc" Hurley field house. There was
over 300 participants from the greater Connecticut and Springfield area involved in this event dedicated to the memories of those lost in the fight against domestic violence. This event would not
have been possible if it was not for the support of the following community organizations and people: The Greater Hartford Pro-Am, The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, The City of Hartford
Recreation Dept., The City Of Hartford Building and Grounds Dept., Wentworth and DeAngelis Insurance, My Peoples Clinical Services LLC, Discount Trophy, The Thompson, Harris and Wortham family,
Rosella Sharpe, The Law Offices of Matthew J. Lefevre, Ken Smith, Marilyn and Ralph Lopez, Mark Mocadlo and Frank Wadsworth, Reggie Hatchett, Howard Simpson, John Kemp, Darin Williams, Ed Fenton, Sam
Broome, and Levi Gillispie and The Northstars.
Gussie Wortham B-Ball Classic
Mike Anthony (Hartford Courant)
On August 1, 2009 8:21 PM
This is not UCONN related but….a reminder about a great weekend of basketball, for an even better cause. The sixth annual Gussie Wortham B-Ball Classic will August 15-16 at Weaver’s Doc Hurley Field House, 415 Granby Street, Hartford.
The Gussie Wortham Foundation, which is a non-profit, helps in the prevention of domestic violence, working in conjunction with the City of Hartford and State of Connecticut to provide resources to survivors of domestic violence, including relocation, medical, mental health treatment, and legal advocacy and mentoring.
Gussie Wortham, murdered in 1981, was the oldest sister of Kenneth Thompson.
“LINKS OF A CHAIN”
By Vern Mitchell
People aren’t born as P.I.L.L.s (Positive Inspirational Life Link). They are generally thrust into these roles by an event or series of events that compels them to action. Such is the case for Hartford, Connecticut’s Kenneth Thompson.
I met Thompson while searching for someone to help me resurrect the Fermi High School of Enfield, Connecticut Boys Basketball Program. I was told of Thompson’s natural enthusiasm for working with kids and that he was the founder of a local, annual summer basketball tournament that is rapidly becoming a classic. A tournament that began with 12 teams grew to 30 teams by the summer of 2008, including several teams from the greater Springfield area and is expecting greater participation in 2009.
The basketball tournament established in 2004 is a byproduct of a non-profit organization created to increase awareness of the devastation caused by domestic violence. The organization’s name is The Gussie Wortham Foundation Inc. for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. Familiar with The Gussie Wortham Basketball Tournament, at least in name, I had no clue of its origin.
In May 1981, Gussie Wortham, then age 30, was violently murdered by her estranged husband, James Wortham. The collateral damage of this single event reached out and touched the lives of many. Gussie’s death left children without parents (James Wortham went to prison where he ultimately died in 1997) and directly impacted the lives of siblings, other relatives and friends.
`Thirty years ago domestic violence didn’t receive the attention it warrants; it was accepted as part of our culture, especially in the urban communities. The ramifications of Gussie’s death were obscure. The perpetrator was apprehended and for all intents and purposes the case was closed. But Thompson, the youngest of nine siblings, was determined not to let Gussie’s name die as anonymously as she did.
In addition to The Gussie Wortham Foundation Inc., which provides mentoring and tutoring services to area elementary school-aged children, Thompson has also served the Hartford youth through church-based programs such as Conference of Churches, Men of Color and Sons of Thunder. Thompson has also spearheaded collaboration between The Gussie Wortham Foundation Inc. and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“Being a family-based foundation and helping youth in areas beyond athletics continues to be our goal. We want to be known for more than just the tournament because it [basketball tournament] sometimes overshadows our mission which is to be part of building a stronger community,” stated Thompson.
There are a myriad of ways that non-profits with heartstrings larger than purse strings can use help. As Thompson and The Gussie Wortham Foundation Inc. gear up for another summer basketball tournament, the foundation could use your help. There are never enough hands or money – why not donate yours!
The Gussie Wortham Foundation Inc. for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
912 Barn Owl Court
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, 29579
(860)888-9945 Website: www.gussieworthamfoundation.org
Ken Thompson, father, coach and community advocate against domestic violence, truly represents the selfless portrait of a P.I.L.L.
Life’s full of headaches. Are you a P.I.L.L.?
Please call us at: 1(843) 796-3989 or 1(860) 888-9945. You also have the option of filling out our contact form.
Gussie Wortham Foundation Inc.
912 Barn Owl Court
Myrtle, Beach, SC
August 24, 2109
Gussie Wortham Foundation Inc. Top 10 CT High Scool Teams B-Ball Classic
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
St. Matthews Gym
87 Franklin Square
New Britain, CT 06051
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