Session Descriptions for SAR19

Schedule Overview here

Session Block I  9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Racism and Mental Health
Information Session & Discussion for Everyone
Long Hall 216

Addressing the ways oppression and racism effect mental health of people of color and how white people can be allies in the process of mental healing for people of color.

Presenters: Audra Lee, LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist/ Adjunct professor, who currently provides trauma informed therapy at The Center for Relational Change, and also serves as a trauma specialist for The Good Peoples Group. Ashley North Cook, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in practice at The Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, Family Resources of PA, Persad Center Inc., and adjunct faculty at Seton Hill University, and who now owns a private practice, North Cook Counseling, in East Liberty, Pittsburgh. Brianna Totty, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist that has been working in the field since 2011, who currently is working with Family Resources in their Counseling Center as well as the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, where she is engaged in trauma based work with families. Heather Brown, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist currently teaching as an adjunct faculty at Seton Hill University in the psychology department as well as practicing at The Center for Relational Change and Persad Center Inc.

Organizational Links: www.aamft.org

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Cut Through the Noise: Be an Engaged Citizen (or Candidate)
Interactive Workshop for Everyone
Long Hall 104

We are what happens next. In this session, we will describe a new framework and tool for ongoing civic engagement, beyond voting (e.g. through volunteering, demonstrating, donating, conversations, political activism), and get input on its use. We will also discuss insider knowledge and workshop ideas for folks looking to get involved in running for local and state elections for the first time, breaking down how and why money and current social norms influence the process.

Presenters: Joylette Portlock, Ph.D. is a socially-conscious mom, wonderer, and student of human nature, in addition to being president of Communitopia, a nonprofit that works on climate change communication (a separate endeavor). Lydia Morin is currently the Director of Community Engagement and Enterprise at Focus On Renewal Neighborhood Corp. in McKees Rocks and has been a grassroots organizer for politically progressive candidates.

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Understanding Privilege and Oppression
Interactive Workshop for Everyone, Especially People Who Have Not Previously Studied Structural Causes for Oppressive Systems Like Racism
Kadel Dining Room (Main)

This “101 level” session is a chance for participants to gain a greater understanding of their own personal identity and social location as well as the areas of society where the most power and privilege exist. We will look at race, but also disability, sexual orientation, class, gender, nation of citizenship, and more. We will also talk about how to leverage areas of privilege we have for justice.

Presenters: Tiffany Wilhelm is part of WHAT’S UP?! Pittsburgh (Working and Healing to Abolish Total Supremacy Undermining Privilege) and is an arts and social justice facilitator, collaborating with such groups as artEquity. anu jain, PhD, is the founder of Inclusant, which specializes in diversity and inclusion education. anu’s expertise includes original research, college teaching, and innovative community-building activities in varied contexts. With Tiffany, she also helps GPAC facilitate the Pittsburgh Coalition for Racial Equity in the Arts.

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Stereotyping Our Schools: Public vs. Private Education
Group Discussion for Youth
Long Hall 203

Unity starts with you! This workshop discusses the divides between private and public school (most specially, stereotypes) as well as equity vs equality. What action steps can our generation take to make change within our school’s systems for a more fair and equal education? How can we redefine these stereotypes into more truthful phrases? We discuss how it feels to not have the same advantages as others, and this will lead to a wider discussion about equity and equality. This workshop opens the door for students to promote discussion and awareness of our educational systems and these problems. Stereotypes have harmful effects on the interactions between students of private and public schools: we will explore bridging this gap together.

Presenters: Yael Perlman is a junior at the Ellis School and is passionate about women’s rights and education equality for all; Ashley Priore is a junior at the Ellis School who’s dream is to be a journalist and write about the issues our society wants to ignore.

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Confronting the Racist Legacies of U.S. Housing Policy and Finding Real Solutions to the Affordable Housing Crisis
Panel Presentation for Everyone
McNaugher Lounge

Housing policy has been a major tool for perpetuating racial segregation since the early 20th century. How might we envision a new approach to housing that can enable all people to find affordable and decent housing in neighborhoods they choose? Leaders in housing justice coalition work will help participants: 1) understand how housing policies have long served to segregate communities and reproduce racial discrimination and exclusion; 2) appreciate the limits of existing policy ‘solutions,’ for addressing racial injustice; and 3) identify non-market solutions in the form of social housing and a commitment to housing as a human right. The panel and discussion will discuss possibilities for people to engage in activism in Pittsburgh and in national networks for racial and housing justice.

Panelists include: Ronell Guy, Northside Coalition for Fair Housing & Homes for All Pittsburgh, Carl Redwood, Hill District Consensus Group, Waverly Duck, Pittsburgh Housing Summit Steering Committee, and a representative from Pittsburghers for Public Transit

Organizational Links: Housing Summit Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh Against Discrimination: No Limits for Women
Interactive Workshop for Everyone
Long Hall 205

In December Pittsburgh passed an ordinance (law) reflecting the principles of the UN Convention to End Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  In 2017, Pittsburgh will hire an Executive Director to lead a Gender Equity Commission.  They will execute a Gender Analysis, looking at the delivery of City services as they relate to alleviating discrimination against women, specifically Economic Development, Education, and Violence Against Women. We’ll provide a brief overview of the ordinance and some of the gender analysis that’s been done, then break into groups for discussion and input about changes the participants would like to see. Join us to learn more and contribute to the identification of discrimination that you FACE and that we want to help FIGHT.

Presenters: Tynishia Williams is a licensed attorney with an interest in women’s rights, civil rights, and other social justice issues and she has directly experienced the impact of gender and racial disparities in her life and is dedicated to making our communities safer and more compassionate.  Abby Yochum is a 2017 joint degree candidate in the School of Law and Social Work and is dedicated to providing access to legal services to underserved, oppressed, and low-income populations.

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Compassionate Conversations in Troubling Times
Interactive Workshop for Everyone
Long Hall 207

Business as usual has been upset by the recent election. We acknowledge the changes that have happened and will continue to happen over time. The workshop will provide tools for deep listening to our concerns and fears about the direction of this country and our daily relationships. The interactive workshop will provide opportunity to explore creative ways forward and provide tools for use in small diverse listening groups.  We will learn each others stories with the hope that new and creative human responses will emerge.

Presenters: Our workshop leaders Wanda Guthrie (Latina), Scilla Wahrhaftig (Caucasian),  Yvette Shipman, (African American), and Karen Hussaini (Muslim American) are deeply committed to building peaceful, healthy communities where all are heard and all experience validated.

Organizational Links: Listening Project;
Creating a Culture of Peace

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Ending the School to Prison Pipeline with Community Schools: Lift us Up! Don’t Push Us Out!!
Information Presentation for Everyone
Small Dining Room

Students in Pittsburgh missed over 15,000 days of school last year for out-of-school suspensions and 70% of those suspensions were for minor misconduct. National statistics show that one suspension by 9th grade doubles the chance of student dropping out and 80% of students who were suspended three or more times end up incarcerated. Black students and those with disabilities are suspended from school at higher rates. The Education Rights Network and One Pittsburgh has launched the #SolutionsNotSuspensions Campaign to draw attention to the school pushout crisis. This workshop will inform participants about school pushout, give them ways they can join the campaign and explore the community school strategy as a solution.

Presenters: Angel Gober, community organizer with One Pittsburgh; Pam Harbin, community organizer with One Pittsburgh, and co-founder of the Education Rights Network; Felicia Williams, member of the Education Rights Network; Bridget Clement, Executive Director, Communities in School.

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An examination of Racism through the lens of Black Steelworkers: Their “Struggles in Steel”
Information Presentation and Group Discussion for Everyone
Long Hall 204

During this session, participants will be shown a hybrid version of the Struggles in Steel Documentary produced by Tony Buba and Ray Henderson and moderated by Jamaal Craig. Following the viewing there will be an interactive discussion of the film. This discussion will raise awareness of the racism that Black Steelworkers were subjected to by the Steel Companies as well as the United Steelworkers Union.

Presenters: Struggles in Steel Documentary, produced by Tony Buba and Ray Henderson

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Beyond Black and White: Building a Multiracial Anti-Racist Movement
Panel Presentation for Everyone
Basfield Dining Room

Socialists have long been part of the fight against racism. We believe that racism, as well as all other forms of oppression, are rooted in a society that is based on exploitation of the 99% by the wealthiest 1%. We believe that the only way to stop oppression based on race is to form a multi-multiracial movement against all forms of oppression and exploitation. We take this lesson from the history of struggles for human liberation, here and abroad.

Presenters: Sean Champagne is a third year student at University of Pittsburgh Law School, specializing in criminal justice and legal ethics. Edward Lee is a physician and member of the International Socialist Organization. Josh Cascone is the secretary of the Utility Worker’s Union, Local 666, and member of the International Socialist Organization.

 

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Let’s Get Free: Women and Trans Prisoner Defense
Interactive Workshop for Everyone
Shak

Prisons are a violent arm of systemic structural racism and economic oppression, but we know people are not disposable. Join our interactive workshop to learn how the Prison Justice Movement fights for Freedom, builds power and makes change. We will discuss multiple tactics including overhauling the Pennsylvania commutation process, building statewide coalitions and centering the voices of those most impacted: people serving life sentences and their families. Workshop will teach creative strategies of organizing, reveal how justice work you’re already doing is connected to prisons and welcome new people to join!

Presenters: We are prison abolitionists, dedicated prison justice activist, envisioning new systems of transformative justice and healing, some with loved ones inside.

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The Church on Sunday the Most Segregated Time 
Interactive Workshop for Everyone
Long Hall 207

This workshop will help people recognize and value the sacred breath within each individual as being essential to building relationships. This ultimately can reduce violence, racism and increase respect and acceptance (moving beyond tolerance) for oneself and others. Indeed, practicing spiritual disciplines can help people understand the meaning of the suffering and frustrations of others, channel their anger constructively, and reduce violence and racism.

Presenter: Sharon A. McIntosh, currently working with Greater Pittsburgh Coalition Against Violence, Youth Summit /Anti-Violence Coordinator, Associate Minister at South Hills Baptist Church, former Public School Administrator.

Organizational Links: B-PEP

 

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Creating your Personal Narrative – Speaking your Truth
Interactive Workshop Specific to Teens and Young Adults but All Are Welcome
Long Hall 215

In this workshop, the goal is to begin the lifelong process of creating your personal narrative through self-reflection and discussion. We’ll accomplish this goal by watching a video on the importance of creating your narrative, doing a short writing exercise to ensure that there is time for self-reflection, holding a group discussion that encourages people to be vulnerable and to own their truth, and ending with another conversation on how knowing this truth creates a strong foundation of self that’s necessary in doing anti-racist work.

Presenters: Nyjah Cephas is a student at The Ellis School, and a member of Furthering Student Unity who’s excited to guide and take part in self-reflective exercises in FSU’s workshop this year. Audrey Baldwin is a student, artist, a member of Furthering Student Unity and is looking forward to engaging in thoughtful conversation. Mae is a student at Westinghouse, an artist, and member of Furthering Student Unity who’s excited to meet new people and have reflective discussions. Rori Cain is a student, activist, and member of Furthering Student Unity who’s looking forward to learning new things at the Summit Against Racism this year.

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Lunch Session I 11:35 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.

Health Inequities: We Know They Exist, Let’s Prove It
Information Presentation for Everyone
Long Hall 210

To translate passion into policies and funded projects, activists need access to high-quality information, including statistics and research. The presentation will highlight sources of evidence on the effects of racism on health status, including structural racism, institutional racism, and implicit bias. It will also demonstrate how to find relevant national, state and local health data. Participants will walk away with sources of reliable information to prove the extent of health inequity and ways to combat health disparities. All resources presented are freely available and accessible to non-researchers.

Presenter: Kate Flewelling is a medical librarian who believes that information can be a power tool for social justice.

Organizational Links: National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Middle Atlantic Region and 
Health Services Research Information Central: Health Disparities 

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Lunch Session II 12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Reflections on Resistance: Embracing African American Civil Rights Historical Sites
Information Session for Everyone
Long Hall 215

This workshop unlocks the value of civil rights tourism to the struggle by highlighting African American civil rights historic sites, exhibits and museums that are located in the eastern and southern United States.  A PowerPoint presentation that incorporates audio, video, photography and spoken word will help attendees understand the transformative power that lies in visiting various sites including: Harper’s Ferry West Virginia National Historic Park, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Rosa Parks Museum, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Civil Rights at the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, National Civil Rights Museum, National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Attendees will gain a greater appreciation for the time, people, place, and tactics that African Americans and allies have made in building America.

Presenter: Kevin Mosley, former Pennsylvania State Trooper, Community Activist.

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Lunch Session III 1:05 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Cinema Justice Soup Screening and Discussion

Screening with Facilitated Discussion

Long Hall 216

This session will screen excerpts of films that have already been presented from the on- going Cinema Justice Soup Film Series. All these films expose the inequalities and flaws of the American criminal justice system. A facilitated discussion will occur throughout the workshop to explore various issues that are affecting our communities.

Presenters: Maritza Mosquera has practiced liberation and diversity work for over 20 years; leading workshops and assisting in community transformation objectives through art and dialogue. Thomas Poole is a filmmaker, curator and media educator.

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Session Block II 1:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

The Arts in Activism Movements Throughout History
Interactive Workshop for Everyone
Long Hall 210

Three students from CAPA’s Black Student Union program and the Youth Advocacy League will spend the first portion of the workshop educating participants of how the arts impacted and transformed movements for equality in the past. The object of this workshop is additionally to educate on the role people of color played in equality movements, instead of the white washed history many are accustomed to hearing. The focus in intersectionality: how LGBTQ+ equality, racial equality, and gender equality have and continue to intersect. The second section of the workshop will be a quick counseling on how to write “reaction poems” to current events, or to write about a part of you that you take pride in, despite feeling as though society has told you not (heritage, gender, sexuality), using Rupi Kaur, Nayyirah Waheed, and various other authors as examples. The workshop will end with people writing and sharing their own pieces.

Presenters: Brianna Kline Costa (literary artists), Kianna Copeland (instrumental major), and Selena Williams (vocal major), are all tenth grade students at Pittsburgh Creative and Preforming Arts and members of CAPA’s Black Student Union and the Youth Advocacy League.

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Naming Our Unfinished Business and Growing Our Capacity for Compassion
Interactive Workshop for Everyone
Shak

Social change begins with change in our personal relationships, and from there moves on to our communities and larger social structures. Using a theme of Naming Our Unfinished Business, we will explore the universal human needs at the heart of the struggle for racial justice. We will also learn to recognize the empathy blockers that so often prevent us from connecting across differences. Participants will leave with practical guidance for how they can recognize the everyday moments where they are turning away from others, and specific do-able steps to take to turn towards connection.

Presenters: Dr. Stephanie Boddie is a scholar, author, and artist deeply interested in the intersection of race, religion, and public life. Rev. Karen Sloan is a leader with Compassionate Pittsburgh.

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Refugees Welcome: Fighting Racism and Embracing Diversity
Panel Presentation for Everyone
McNaugher Lounge

This panel discussion will look at refugees from various populations who are living in Pittsburgh. It will include refugees from Sudan, Rwanda, Iraq, Burma, and Bhutan. They will briefly share their stories and then discuss struggles and what they’ve overcome. We will discuss their experiences in Pittsburgh and with racism.

Presenters: Jaime Turek, Senior Reception and Placement Case Manager at NAMSC, will facilitate the panel with refugees from Sudan, Rwanda, Iraq, Burma, and Bhutan.

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Building a Local Movement for Human Rights and Racial Justice
Panel Presentation for Everyone
Long Hall 215

Many in our community are legitimately fearful about the future. This makes it even more important that we build a unified movement to support human rights against the racist, exclusionary policies and rhetoric of the incoming Trump administration. Each workshop participant will speak for 5-10 minutes to guide a dialogue aimed at sharing information about existing activism and projects and identifying new strategies and political imaginaries that can help build unity among those working for various human rights. Specific projects emerging from immigrant rights, anti-racism, and housing justice coalitions will be discussed. The goal is to emerge with plans for how we can work more effectively to defend and protect human rights at this critical time.

Presenters: Ronell Guy, Northside Coalition for Fair Housing & Homes for All Pittsburgh; Brandi Fisher, Alliance for Police Accountability; Monica Ruiz, Casa San Jose; Carl Redwood, Hill District Consensus Group; TBA, Pittsburghers for Public Transit; TBA, Cities for CEDAW Coalition. Panel Facilitator: Jackie Smith, Human Rights City Alliance.

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Neither Black or White, but Asian American
Interactive Workshop for Everyone
Long Hall 204

Understandings of race in the United States (including in Pittsburgh) are polarized in many ways, such as reductionist thinking in terms of black and white. But some Asian communities have been in America for many generations — and Asians in general are the fastest growing ethnic groups in the country. Many people don’t know the diverse histories of these 21 plus million people or the different immigration trends that led to varied Asians relocating to particular regions of the U.S. To rectify such invisibility, this workshop begins with a panel of Asian American speakers telling their stories, offers historical context about how Asians influenced understandings of race in the U.S., and it ends with time for Q&A.

Presenters: Moderator anupama jain is the principal consultant of Inclusant, a small business focusing on diversity and inclusion education. The panelists are: Ash Chan, Program and Outreach Coordinator for New Voices for Reproductive Justice; Jasmine Cho, founder of Yummyholic; and Kenny Chen, Program Director of Ascender, a newly opened startup incubator and coworking space.

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Her Time to Shyne: The Impact of Hip Hop on Black Women
Panel Presentation for Women of Color and Youth
Long Hall 205

A panel presentation and discussion about the impact of hip hop on Black Women.

Presenter: Blak Rapp Madusa is a hip hop activist, artist, organizer, and filmmaker.

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Don’t Just Stand There: Strategies to Be an Effective Ally
Interactive Workshop for Everyone
Kadel Dining Room

A multiracial, multiethnic learning, sharing, and practice session to provide participants with the skills and knowledge to be an effective ally for marginalized groups. Participants will learn about white privilege, the matrix of oppression, and social injustice in everyday life through educational materials and each others’ stories. The workshop will use Anne Bishop’s “How to Be an Ally” as a framework and includes an interactivity to teach participants bystander intervention strategies. The intended outcome of the workshop is for participants to become social change agents in their communities. Open to people of all backgrounds.

Presenters: Teanna Medina is a social worker, community organizer, and youth advocate, who works at the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and is the Founder of Yemaya Pittsburgh; Chris Mason is an indie filmmaker and anti-oppression human affiliated with WHAT’S UP?! Pittsburgh; and Shane Freeman is a resident of Bethel Park and an advocate for social and environmental change.

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Pittsburgh Raising every Kid; Economic and Racial Justice in Early Childhood
Information Presentation for Everyone
Basfield Dining Room

All children should have an equal chance to succeed later in life by getting a solid foundation early in life. However, statistics show that black and brown communities disproportionately lack access to high quality, affordable, and inclusive early education.  One Pittsburgh and its partners will address iniquities in early childhood education, the impact on our families and communities, and what we can do about it.

Presenters: Jon Walker, organizer with One Pennsylvania; Cynthia Jackson, member organizer with Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (PFT400); Sarah Byrne-Houser, outreach coordinator with Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC).

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Restorative Practices:  Fostering Healthy Relationships & Promoting Positive School Discipline in Schools
Information Presentation for Everyone
Small Dining Room

Across the U.S., exclusionary discipline disproportionately affects black students and other marginalized communities. There are viable alternatives to exclusionary discipline.  One of the most promising approaches is Restorative Practices. Through this, we can reduce school suspensions and increase student engagement. Restorative practices proactively build relationships and a sense of community to prevent conflict as well as address issues after they arise.

Presenters: Brandi Taylor is a Parent Organizer at A+ Schools and a certified restorative practice trainer, who is passionate and dedicated to empowering parents; Amie Matson is the Director of Family and Youth Engagement at  A+ Schools, and has been actively involved in the nonprofit arena for over ten years in multiple cities including San Jose, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh.

Organizational Link: Twitter @APlusSchools

 

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Personal Vs. Professional: It’s The Same Damn Thing!
Interactive Workshop for Everyone
Long Hall 216

Our workshop will tie together entrepreneurship, personal accountability, and the myth of “personal vs. professional.” Attendees will engage in a fishbowl and facilitated conversation about how we hold ourselves personally accountable and how entrepreneurship should be seen as a mechanism for bringing together our personal and professional lives. As an entrepreneur, your success is largely contingent on your ability to be held accountable to your work and your actions. The fishbowl will then segue into a conversation to challenge the notion that we have a linear progression in our anti-racism and anti-oppression work and help all of us (facilitators included) to identify the moments and situations that trigger us and/or trigger our defense mechanisms.

Presenters: Liana Maneese, Audra Lee, Amy Scott, Sydney Olberg, members of The Good Peoples Group, which educates individuals to confront themselves, live with integrity, and disrupt oppression through our hands-on programming. We help individuals and teams stretch beyond productivity towards transformational leadership that challenges, inspires, and stimulates professional and personal growth.

Organizational Links: CollectedPgh; The Good Peoples Group

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The Joint Battle Against White Supremacy and Racism: Black Lives Matter and Palestinian Liberation Movement
Interactive Workshop for Everyone
Long Hall 104

We seek to educate and motivate the masses of justice minded people to see the struggle for Black Lives in the US and the struggle for Palestinian Lives in Israel and Occupied Palestine as the same struggle against the same enemies of white supremacy as manifested in the US and Israeli institutions and policies.

We will lift several examples, i.e.: The racist laws in the state of Israel which mirrors our Jim Crow era, etc.; the militarized oppression / occupation of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza being mirrored by many (Israeli trained) inner city police departments (Ferguson, Baltimore, etc.); the recent US legislation passed to silence American voices (particularly on college campuses) that speak against the government of Israel reveals the return to America’s legalized fascism. With our new president coming in, we see this as only the beginning.

Presenters: Ken Boas is a member of the Pittsburgh BDS Coalition, Chair of the Board of Israel Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD USA), and visiting Scholar of the Humanities Center, University of Pittsburgh. Earl Hord is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, an AmeriCorps member, and future graduate student of Public Health. Rev Chad Collins is Pastor of Valley View Church in Garfield and an active leader in the Black and Palestinian communities for justice and peace, member of the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (IPMN), and Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA). TBA: A Palestinian businessman with a business in Wilkinsburg, and a professional translator of documents in Arabic.

Organizational Links: Friends of Sabeel North America

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Why Black Lives Don’t Matter or How Slavery Created a Nation of Sociopaths
Information Presentation for Youth 15 Years and Up and Adults
Long Hall 210

The legacy of slavery is the perversion of the American psyche and creation of a sociopathic culture designed to oppress, criminalize, and remove African Americans from meaningful participation in U. S. Society via a corrupt political and criminal justice system and led to American’s obsession with guns and gun violence which affects us all, black and white. This workshop will explore the origins of that violence.

Presenter: Martha R. Conley is an attorney and activist campaigning against the death penalty and mass incarceration.