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

Morning Workshop Series A: 10:45 a.m - 12:15 p.m

Fair Housing 101


This workshop offers a comprehensive introduction to federal and state fair housing laws (Massachusetts & neighboring states). 


(Housing, Race, LGBTQ+, Aging, Disability, Diversity & Inclusion, Policy, Advocacy & Ethics, Religion, Spirituality & Meaning)


Facilitated by H. John Fisher, Way Finders;  Caitlyn Byers, Community Legal Aid

How Can We Pass Laws Against Recklessly Selling Lead in Commerce? 


Focusing on a bill introduced into the Massachusetts Senate (SD 1297, HD 1895) that would make it easier to take legal action against those who place lead into commerce without regard for its health effects, this workshop will provide participants with experience in strategizing how citizens can participate in and affect the lawmaking process.

(Healthcare, Housing, Justice System, Policy, Advocacy & Ethics)


Facilitated by Richard Reibstein, Boston University & others

Section 8 and Discriminatory Obstacles to Renting


This workshop will discuss the ongoing problem of source of income discrimination, particularly for tenants in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Panelists will explore what housing authorities and other advocates can do to reduce discrimination and help voucher holders to secure housing.


(Housing, Diversity & Inclusion)

Facilitated by Kristina da Fonseca and Claudia Wack, South Coast Fair Housing

Immigration and Civil Rights


This workshop will explore the immigration crisis and the strategies for dealing the problems faced by those seeking entry to the United States.


(Justice System, Diversity & Inclusion, Policy, Advocacy & Ethics)

Facilitated by TBA

Who Gets To Be Sexually Harassed? 


This workshop will discuss legal strategies that incorporate culturally proficient, linguistically appropriate, and identity-based approaches to tackling sexual harassment in the workplace, particularly reducing barriers to reporting and accountability. Whether it is a fear of deportation, language barrier, the financial strains of being the only breadwinner, or the stigma of being "outed," this workshop will explore collaborative approaches for lawyers, advocates and community groups to tackle critical challenges to this timely issue. 


(Employment, Justice System, Race, LGBTQ+, Diversity & Inclusion, Cultural Competency, Legal Updates)


Facilitated by Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal and Sophia Hall, Lawyers for Civil Rights

Understanding EEOC and the Anti-discrimination Statutes


Attendees will learn the priorities and issues identified in EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan and understand how to navigate through EEOC’s process when a charge of employment discrimination is filed and investigation is pending.  Attendees will develop skills to assess the pros and cons of mediating a case at the EEOC, and strengthen their EEO knowledge.


(Employment, Justice System)


Facilitated by Feng An and Elizabeth Marcus, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Challenging Exclusion of Latin@ Students from Special Education


This workshop will be a panel discussion of challenges faced by Latin@ families in obtaining special education services. Drawing from case experience, panelists will examine the exclusion of Latina students with disabilities as well as language access and its relation to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Finally, they will discuss strategies for resolving these issues at individual and systemic levels.


(Justice System, Poverty, Race, Education, Disability, Diversity & Inclusion, Policy, Advocacy, & Ethics)


Facilitated by Diana Santiago, Massachusetts Advocates for Children; Santina Ssciaba-Douglas, Center for Public Representation

The Relationship between Testing and a Charge of Discrimination


This workshop will provide an overview of how testing is utilized in a fair housing investigation, from start to finish. Panelists will describe how test evidence is beneficial to an investigation, including its role in the conciliation process, and final charge of discrimination. 

Presented by Lucy Allen, Eric D. Batcho, Emily Kelliher, and Sajid Shahriar, all of HUD. 

Afternoon Workshop Series B: 2:15 p.m - 3:45 p.m

Housing Rights for Survivors of Domestic Violence


The inability to access housing prevents many survivors  of domestic violence from ending abusive relationships. This workshop will focus on state and federal laws that protect survivors’ rights to housing, emergency transfers, lease terminations, and lock changes. This workshop is intended for survivors, those who work with them, property owners and managers.  


(Housing, Justice System, Healthcare, Policy Advocacy & Ethics)


Facilitated by Ashley Grant and Meris Bergquist, Massachusetts Fair Housing Center

Arts and Civil Rights


Pops Peterson’s multimedia presentation is an emotional cavalcade of photos video, music and stories of artists and artworks that have fostered civil rights in American history.  Participants will gain an understanding of how the arts have served to advance civil rights from before the Civil War to the current day.

(Cultural Competency, Diversity & Inclusion)


Facilitated by Pops Peterson

Communicative and Environmental Needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Tenants


Often, housing authorities do not provide effective communication and/or environmental access to Deaf and hard of hearing tenants.  This deprives tenants of their rights to equivalent communication access and often deprives them of equivalent safety and environmental notification that is afforded to tenants who are not Deaf or hard of hearing.


(Disability, Diversity & Inclusion, Cultural Competency)


Facilitated by Jonathon O’Dell, Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Improving Outcomes for Economically Disadvantaged Children


This workshop will introduce the Opportunity Atlas which uses big data to answer the question:  Which neighborhoods offer children the best chance to rise out of poverty? It will  explore the role that housing mobility plays in improving outcomes, and which place-based investments in housing and other services improve outcomes in lower-opportunity neighborhoods. 


(Healthcare, Housing, Poverty, Policy, Advocacy & Ethics) 


Facilitated by Sebi Devlin-Foltz, Opportunity Insights

Calling Home Instead of Calling the Police: Reducing Reliance on Police in Schools


A first-time arrest doubles the odds a student drops out of high school, but after continued school shootings, more districts are placing police in schools.  With greater police presence, more students – particularly students of color and students with disabilities – are being arrested for matters traditionally addressed by school disciplinarians.  To counter this, Massachusetts passed several school policing reforms in its Criminal Justice Reform Act last year.  This interactive panel will review those changes, discuss their implementation, and highlight steps you can take to make sure this new law is being followed in your community.  Given the location of this conference, this panel will lend a particular focus to school policing and school discipline issues in Springfield, including a review of a groundbreaking lawsuit to enforce Massachusetts’ recent school discipline reforms, Doe v. City of Springfield et al.


Facilitated by Elvis Mendez, Organizing Director, Neighbor to Neighbor

Matt Allen, Field Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Matt Cregor, Staff Attorney, Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee

Healthy Housing: A Fair Housing Issue


This panel session will cover how community organizations can work with healthcare to implement evidence-based healthy housing interventions to improve conditions & reduce health issues. Panelists will discuss successful programs partnering with healthcare across the nation, best practices, challenges, policy barriers and solutions that participants can use in their communities. 


(Healthcare, Diversity and Inclusion, Policy Advocacy & Ethics)


Facilitated by Michael McKnight, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative; Monica Lowell, University of Massachusetts Medical Center; Sarita Hudson, Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts

History, Biology and Inspiration


This workshop will acquaint participants with: transgender history, the biology that makes questions of gender more complex than the binary system of traditional social norms, and the importance of owning one’s life as a Transgender person.


(Education, Diversity, LGBTQ+)


Facilitated by Allyson Hale

The Future of Civil Rights: Tools for Advancing Democracy


The workshop will be comprised of a 58 minute panel discussion, followed by a 30-minute Q&A period.  It will be moderated by Bob Terrell, Fair Housing and Equity Officer for the Boston Housing Authority, and will focus on an examination of the major trends and issues in civil rights today. Participants will not only learn the importance of these issues, but why they are strategic for the future of democracy in the United States and how to explore ways in which people and organizations can respond to our current crisis by expanding democratic institutions and practices in their communities. We hope to impart tools, strategies and best practices in building a new and better civil rights movement. We also hope to explore what a democracy should look like in the 21st century. The workshop is designed to be informative to any and all participants at the conference, but will have significant impact even on those with little civil rights background.


(Building a Civil Rights Movement)


Facilitated by: Robert Terrell, Fair Housing and Equity Officer, Boston Housing Authority; Nadine Cohen, Managing Attorney, Consumer Rights Unit, Greater Boston Legal Services; Rahsaan Hall, Director, Racial Justice Program, ACLU of Massachusetts; David Harris, Executive Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice; Marvin Martin, Executive Director, Action for Equity; Jamie Williamson, District Director, Region 2, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Lydia Edwards, Boston City Council