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School of Law to Host Forum on Hate Crimes, Extremist Activities, and Bias Incidents

THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017 - 3:03 PM All News , Law , Arts and Sciences

The Western New England School of Law will host a community forum on “Hate Crimes, Extremist Activities, and Bias Incidents” in western Massachusetts on Friday, March 31, from 12:00 noon to 3:30 p.m. in the School of Law. This event is open to the public and encourages local residents, advocates, and all affected constituencies to attend. A light complimentary lunch will be served.

The recent presidential election and subsequent executive appointments have created a high level of uncertainty for politically marginalized groups. Both the news media and non-profit organizations that monitor hate and bigotry are reporting an increase in these incidents. While such crimes are often discussed at the national level, it is important that communities be alert to local activities that directly affect the lives of their neighbors, families, and friends. 

The legal forum will feature representatives from local law enforcement, government agencies, educational providers, community organizations, and faith- based groups that are involved in these issues on a daily basis. The panelists will discuss their perspectives on current events, and will also explain how interested students and community members can become involved in reducing these incidents. 

This gathering is intended to provide accurate and current information, to reduce misinformation in our community, and to improve collaboration. 

For more information contact Assistant Clinical Law Professor Bob Statchen at rstatchen@law.wne.edu or 413-782-1469.

Panel 1:  Law Enforcement, Government and Public Education:  12:15 – 1:30 p.m.,  Moderated by Law Professor Tina Cafaro

  • Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Julia Cowley, FBI, Boston Division, Springfield Resident Agency  
  • Commissioner Sunila Thomas George, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination  
  • Lieutenant Jessica Henderson, Springfield Police Department   
  • Dr. Andrew C. Kandel, National Conference for Community and Justice
  • Assistant Attorney General Ann Lynch, Consumer Protection and Civil Rights, Western MA Division     
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Regan, District of Massachusetts, Springfield

Panel 2:  Community and Faith Based Organizations: 1:45 – 3:00 p.m.  Moderated by Law Professor Jennifer Levi

  • Attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, Commission on the Status of Women and Executive Board Member, Council on American Islamic Relations of MA
  • Maris Bergquist, Executive Director, Massachusetts Fair Housing Center     
  • Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz, Ph.D., Temple Beth El
  • Law Professor Jennifer Levi, Transgender Rights Project Director, GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)    
  • Pastor Marisa Ludwig, Interfaith Council of Western Massachusetts 
  • Mehlaqa Samdani, Executive Director, Critical Connections

Additional Questions and Answers: 3:00 – 3:30 p.m.