"I welcome DECD and the state to take more accountability and more responsibility for their state vessel," she says. "It's imperative for the long-term future of the vessel and the organization for the state to be directly involved."
Capt. William D. Pinkney, the "master emeritus" of the Amistad and the dude who gave the order to begin the construction of the ship, wrote an angry op-ed piece in the Hartford Courant blasting people who were making "a political football" out of his beloved schooner.
Urban thinks the state's report is hogwash. She says DECD officials must have known at least by 2007 that Amistad America was "going off the deep end," but they failed to take action or even simply tell lawmakers about the problems.
"Don't tell me they didn't have the statutory authority to do anything," says Urban. She also dismisses arguments that it was basically the state's lack of direction and involvement that triggered the financial problems.
"They [Amistad America staff and their supporters] are saying it's the state's fault for not catching us and telling us we were bad," Urban says. She believes the entire board of directors and the current staff need to go.
She also scoffs at the idea that this is a move to hijack the Amistad away from New Haven. "I think that came out of DECD just to muddy the waters," Urban says.
According to Urban, the Amistad needs to stay in New Haven where it entered into anti-slavery history, and she says it needs to return to its mission of educating children and adults about that history.
Washington says she knows the current board needs to be replaced and is now recruiting replacements who can rev up fundraising and financial support. "I have a commitment to the mission of this organization," she says. "I've seen its impact… it's too important to let it go."