Hartford Community Activist Dies at 67

Marlene Berg of the Institute for Community Research had just retired in Jan

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Marlene Berg
Photo:Courtesy of Institute for Community Research
Hartford Community Activist Dies at 67
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Hartford Community Activist Dies at 67

A woman who worked tirelessly in the community to enact social change has died.

67-year-old Marlene Berg was one of the co-founders of Institute for Community Research in Hartford. 

Berg had just retired from the Institute for Community Research as the Associate Director of Training this past January after working there for more than 25 years. Her colleagues remember her as a passionate activist and researcher.

"Marlene was one of the bravest people I'd ever met. She was never afraid to say anything to anyone regardless of the consequences."

Dr. Jean Schensul is the Institute's founding Director and Senior Scientist.

She says Berg was her best critic and a close friend.  She remembers the many young researchers Berg encouraged throughout her career

"She loved working with kids she was a kid herself."

Schensul said one of the projects Berg headed up was the Youth Action Research Institute where teens learned how to do effective research on issues that impacted them like teen dating violence and racism.

"It was a very progressive, very exciting, very promising, very wonderful way of working with young people in the city helping kids to express themselves, involving them in visual and performance research, encouraging them to advocate for policies that would improve circumstances for young people."

Her career also took her overseas where she spent time in India training graduate students in their research of alcoholism and HIV risk among low income men.

When she was diagnosed with cancer, Berg didn't let it keep her from her passion. Schensul says Berg kept continuing her work up until her death--she was even in the process of planning a three-week road trip. She passed away May 29.

A memorial for Berg will be held next Wednesday, June 20 at the Mandell Jewish community center in West Hartford.