Building Inclusive Communities: Improving Police-Community Relations
8:30 AM08:30

Building Inclusive Communities: Improving Police-Community Relations

Join us for a day-long symposium that will explore the structural, institutional and societal shifts necessary to improve relations between local/federal law-enforcement agencies and communities of color. 

The symposium will examine local initiatives that increase police accountability, highlight community alternatives to incarceration and restorative justice programs, identify continuing gaps, and explore opportunities to address them collaboratively. 

Panel presentations will be followed by small group discussions and an exploration of best practices and next steps. 


8:30am - 9:00am

Keynote Speaker: Mr. Rahsaan Hall (awaiting final confirmation)
Director, Racial Justice Program, ACLU-MA
9:00am - 10:00am

Panel 1
Improving Resilience and Accountability
10:10am - 11:20am


Officer Brian Beliveau, Springfield Police Department
Mr. Ed Caisse, Hampden County Sheriff's Department
Dr. Gary Berte, Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice, Springfield College (former police officer)
Mr. David Sullivan, Northwestern District Attorney

Moderator: Ms. Linda O'Connell, Co-President, MA League of Women Voters

Panel 2: 
Addressing Prejudice, Advancing Restorative Justice, and Building Community
11:30am - 12:40pm


Mr. Nelson Roman, Holyoke City Councilor, Executive Director, Nueva Esperanza
Ms. Alicia Fleming, Community Activist, Lead Organizer, March for Racial Justice
Ms. Yolanda Cancel, Community Activist, South End Metro C3 Coordinator
Dr. David Rudder, Chair of the LWV/Springfield Police Accountability Committee, Dean, School of Professional and Continuing Studies, Springfield College

Mediterranean lunch
12:45pm - 1:45pm

Small Group Discussions
1:45pm - 2:45pm

Panel 3:
Exploring Collaborative Approaches and Next Steps
2:45pm - 3:45pm

Closing Remarks
3:45pm - 4:00pm

The event is free and open to the public--however, you must be registered to attend the event. Please register by emailing by May 20th, 2018. 


Holyoke Community College
Kittredge Center
Room No. 301 (3rd Floor)
303 Homestead Avenue
Holyoke, MA 01040
(Please park in Lots C and D for Faculty and Staff)

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Combatants for Peace: A Conversation with Palestinian and Israeli Peace Activists
4:00 PM16:00

Combatants for Peace: A Conversation with Palestinian and Israeli Peace Activists

Combatants for Peace (CfP), founded in 2006, is a non-profit, volunteer organization of ex-combatant Israelis and Palestinians, men and women, who have laid down their weapons and rejected all means of violence. Their mission is to build the social infrastructure necessary for ending the occupation and conflict. They work together toward this goal of bringing justice and peace to the land, demonstrating that there is a real alternative to the cycle of violence and that Palestinians and Israelis can work and live together. They believe that disseminating such activities widely can and will affect attitudinal change at the societal level and policy change at the political level. Hear their powerful story on April 22nd at the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts (ISWM)

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U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East: Trends and Trajectories under the Trump Administration
7:00 PM19:00

U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East: Trends and Trajectories under the Trump Administration

A year into the Trump presidency, we hope to explore the broad contours of the administration's approach to the Middle East and understand what the next few years will look in terms of U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran, approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. role in Syria, counterterrorism operations, etc. We will also examine how U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East has been shaped over the decades and its impact on the way ordinary Americans perceive the region and the broader Muslim world. What must we as citizens know about our shifting diplomatic position in order to keep our government accountable? To better understand the current direction of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, join us for a conversation with UMass Professor David Mednicoff and Professor Osamah Khalil, Syracuse University. Co-sponsors: Middle East Studies (UMass Amherst), Critical Connections, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding

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The #MeToo Movement and Minority Voices: A Conversation with Shaheen Pasha and Gina Beavers
7:00 PM19:00

The #MeToo Movement and Minority Voices: A Conversation with Shaheen Pasha and Gina Beavers

At a time of national reckoning and accountability around sexual harassment, what challenges and opportunities do women of minority communities experience in speaking out against men both inside and outside their identity groups? What does the #MeToo movement represent for women of color? What are the causes of misogyny in the broader American culture and what are the legal, political, and social shifts required to address the prevalence of sexual harassment in society? Join us to hear Shaheen Pasha (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Journalism, UMass Amherst) and Ms. Gina Beavers (Arts and Culture Editor, The Valley Advocate) speak on this critical issue 

Venue: Friends Meeting House, 43 Center Street, Northampton


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Secrecy, Surveillance, and National Security: A Conversation with Professor Sudha Setty
7:00 PM19:00

Secrecy, Surveillance, and National Security: A Conversation with Professor Sudha Setty

The thin line between effective national security and the preservation of civil liberties and democratic rule of law in the U.S. is an ongoing debate that underpins American societal values and ignites the discussion on the place for secrecy in a government accountable to the people. In 2018, as the Trump administration doubles down on its national security strategy, how do we ensure the rights of all Americans are protected? What models do other nations offer that strike the balance between security and privacy?  To understand the Trump administration's approach to secrecy in matters of national security, join us as constitutional law expert Sudha Setty unpacks this complex issue and discusses her new book, National Security Secrecy: Comparative Effects on Democracy and the Rule of Law.

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9:00 AM09:00


How can faith leaders tackle racism, homophobia, and religious intolerance within their communities and without? What are the challenges and opportunities in promoting pluralism in the current climate and what kind of interfaith collaboration is possible? Join us for a half-day symposium and hear local faith leaders talk about their struggles and successes in building inclusive communities. 

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7:00 PM19:00



The International Club of Minnechaug Regional High School, Critical Connections and the World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts are pleased to present "Being Muslim in America: Perspectives from Two Muslim Women" on Wednesday, November 8 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the the MRHS auditorium in Wilbraham.

The program will feature Attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud and Critical Connections Executive Director Mehlaqa Samdani in conversation with John Morse, president of the World Affairs Council Board of Directors. 

The event is FREE and open to the public.

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