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© 2019 by The Fair Housing & Civil Rights Conference. Proudly created with Wix.com

Registration Closes Monday 4/8 at 5 PM

April 12, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Western New England University School of Law

1215 Wilbraham Rd, Springfield, MA 01119

$25 Registration Fee

(More information on this fee on the registration page)

Space is Limited!

To Pay by check and register by mail please download and complete the form here:

If you need to request an invoice and email registrations forms, please contact info@fhcrconference.com


Now in its 13th year, the Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference continues to bring together people who share a commitment to protecting and furthering the rights of all Americans, both regionally and nationwide.  The conference provides an opportunity to hear speakers from a wide range of disciplines discuss the state or fair housing and civil rights in America today and share their ideas on how to effectuate change on both a local and national level.

This year’s Conference has particular reason to celebrate in that 2019 is a special date for two of its cosponsors:  It is the 30th anniversary for the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center and the 100th anniversary for Western New England University, to which the conference returns this year.

Conference Day
Friday, April 12
8:30 - 9:30 A.M
Registration and Coffee (Rivers Memorial Auditorium)
9:00 - 9:20 A.M.
​Welcome and Opening Remarks
  • Hon. Domenic J. Sarno - Mayor, City of Springfield
  • Sudha Setty - Dean, Western New England University School of Law
  • Meris Bergquist - Executive Director, Massachusetts Fair Housing Center
  • H. John Fisher - Fair Housing Coordinator, Way Finders
  • Susan Forward – Director, Region 1, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
9:20 - 10:30 A.M.
Morning Panel
Discrimination against Individuals with Substance Abuse Disorder
Significant attention has been paid over the years to the discrimination sober houses face from their surrounding communities. Less attention has been paid, however, to the discrimination applicants and residents face from the operators or house manages of the homes themselves. Common issues include: admission denials due to the use of medication assisted treatment; sexual harassment or assault of residents; evictions without due process. These issues raise significant, complex and sometimes contradictory concerns and addressing them requires a thoughtful conversation. This panel seeks to examine abuses and discrimination faced by individuals in recovery in the context of sober houses, and to explore potential solutions.
10:30 - 10:45 A.M.
Break - Move to classrooms at Blake Law School
10:45 - 12:15 P.M.
Workshop Sessions Series A (Blake Law School)
  • Full Workshop list up March 15
12:15 - 12:30 P.M
Break - Move to luncheon at Rivers Memorial Auditorium 
12:30 - 2:00 P.M
Dr. Joseph McNeil Luncheon (Rivers Memorial Auditorium)
  • Key Note Speaker - Councilor Lydia Edwards, Boston City Council
  • Presentation of 2019 Drum Major Award to an individual or group who has personified Dr. Martin Luther King’s definition of having “a desire to lead the parade”
2:00 - 2:15 P.M
Break - Move to classrooms at Blake Law School
2:15 - 3:45 P.M.
Workshop Sessions Series B (Blake Law School)
  • Full Workshop list up March 15
3:45 P.M.
Conference Close
1215 Wilbraham Road,
Springfield, MA 01119

On behalf of the School of Law and the entire Western New England University community, we are pleased to welcome you to the 13th Annual Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference. As we celebrate the University's centennial this year, we can reflect on the long history of the University as an institution of opportunity and growth in the Western Massachusetts community, and look forward to a second century in which we continue to build on that history of serving the community and beyond. The School of Law and the University are proud to join the sponsors and attendees of the conference in advancing civil rights and equality in our workplaces, neighborhood, educational institutions, and all public accommodations. 

Dr. Anthony S. Caprio
President, Western New England University
Sudha N. Setty
Dean, Western New England University School of Law
About our other sponsors

Way Finders - Way Finders has been a co-sponsor of this Conference since it began 13 years ago.Way Finders is the largest nonprofit housing provider in Western Massachusetts. We provide an array of supportive services impacting thousands of families every year. We provide services such as housing counseling, employment training, financial education, first-time homebuyer classes, landlord support, foreclosure prevention, and a variety of other programs. We believe that everyone deserves to have a safe, stable home in a community where they can thrive.


Massachusetts Fair Housing Center - The mission of the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center (MFHC) is to end systemic discrimination and build inclusive communities. It is the oldest fair housing center in Massachusetts. Since its inception thirty years ago, MFHC has provided a full-range of critically needed services, including public education, accepting and investigating complaints of housing discrimination, and offering free legal services to victims of housing discrimination. Our work changes lives by protecting housing choice, preventing homelessness, creating lead-safe housing for children, protecting victims of domestic violence and hate crimes, and ensuring that tenants with disabilities have equal access to housing. To address the high levels of racial and ethnic segregation in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, MFHC began a new program in 2015 to counsel and support recipients of housing vouchers who are interested in moving to communities of opportunity. Our day-to-day work reveals the direct connection between housing rights and human rights. For over 30 years, victims of housing discrimination have depended on us to help them fight for their right to housing and housing stability. MFHC is committed to providing full communication access, including American Sign Language interpreters, to all individuals with limited English proficiency.  MFHC has been a co-sponsor of this conference since it began 13 years ago.

Boston Housing Authority - The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) provides affordable housing to more than 58,000 residents in and around the City of Boston. Residents are assisted through a combination of public housing and federal and state voucher subsidy programs that provide a wide variety of housing opportunities. As the largest public housing authority in New England, the BHA houses close to 9 percent of the city's residents. Our mission is to provide stable, quality affordable housing for low and moderate income persons; to deliver these services with integrity and mutual accountability; and to create healthy living environments which serve as catalysts for the transformation from dependency to economic self-sufficiency.