Morning Workshops >>
9:30AM - 9:45AM | Welcome and Opening Remarks
10AM - 11:45AM | Joint Investigations and Mediation
This panel will focus on two distinct but important components of charge process at the EEOC. Part I will focus on how EEOC achieves its Strategic Enforcement Plan by working with our state and federal partners such as the United States Office of Federal Contract Compliance. Panel members will talk about document sharing and joint investigations specific to the Memorandum of Understanding. Part II of this panel looks at how EEOC’s mediation program helps employers and employee resolve charges shortly after they are filed. Mediation is distinctly different from EEOC’s Enforcement Unit because participation is voluntary, and the parties decide the terms of settlement. Best practices to be shared.
10AM - 11:45AM | Opiod Crisis and Reasonable Accomodation
Jessica will tell her real life story and how the EEOC got involved with respect to her claim of employment discrimination on the basis of her former addiction, regarded as disabled.
Jessica, former charging party who filed a claim with EEOC Boston
Habit Opco Counselor (name TBD)
Anthony M Pino Jr, Enforcement Supervisor, EEOC
10AM - 11:45AM | Police Misconduct: The Challenge of Enforcing Civil Right Protections for Victims of Racist Police Violence
This panel will discuss a major legal issue brought into sharp relief by the still-unfolding Black Lives Matter movement. More specifically, the panelists will examine the challenge of using federal and state civil rights law to provide civil remedies to victims of racist police violence and misconduct, including the all-important issue of qualified immunity for police. The panelists bring a range of first hand experiences and expertise to the issues raised by the protests and demands for change initiated by the Black Lives Matter movement.
Moderator, Prof. Matthew Charity, WNEU Law
10AM - 11:45AM | Paying for the Eviction Moratorium
The COVID-19 pandemic has left countless tenants and mortgage holders suddenly at risk of homelessness. If it had not been for prompt action in the form of eviction moratoria on the part of state and federal governments, many tenants, unexpectedly faced with a loss of income, would have already lost their housing. But rental payments that may have been deferred during these moratoria will become due as the moratoria expire, raising fears of an “eviction tsunami” when they do Likewise, landlords who continue to be without rental income find themselves increasingly unable to adequately maintain their properties, pay their mortgages or even meet their personal expenses face an increasing risk of foreclosure as the months go by. Without creative proactive action on the part of the government, we may find ourselves facing a situation where widespread homelessness is combined with the concentration of rental properties into the hands of a limited number of property conglomerates.
Focusing on the state of Massachusetts, this workshop panel will seek to consider how we might develop shared solutions to a pending crisis.
Afternoon Workshops >>
12PM - 1:45PM | Plenary Session: Keynote Speaker, Gillian Thomas
2PM - 4PM | Pops Peterson: The Making of a Protest Artist
“Protest Artist” is a label often pinned to outspoken artists through the
decades. But what constitutes protest art? Who are artists who have worn
the title? And what conditions drive these artists to speak truth to power through their paintings, novels and songs? Pops Peterson explores these questions in his riveting multimedia presentation, “The Making of a Protest Artist.”
York Times and other major media. He is slated to have a solo exhibition this spring at the Massachusetts State House.
"The Making of a Protest Artist" will center on artists whose work was devoted to making political change. Peterson examines the reasons why artists were prompted to devote their work to activism and, in the second part, discusses his own personal journey from landscape and portrait painter to renown activist artist.
2PM - 4PM | At the Border, in Detention, and in our Communities: Current Issues in Immigration Rights
The legal rights of immigrants – whether they be asylum seekers, lawful permanent residents or detainees - remains under attack by the federal government and adversely impacted by the COVID pandemic. Three front-line immigration attorneys will be discussing critical legal issues facing immigrants right now: How the COVID pandemic if impacting immigrant rights and procedures; conditions in ICE detention facilities; the Trump administration’s curtailing the rights of asylum seekers, and; the state of \ the Delayed Action for Child Arrivals Program (DACA), the status of immigrants granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and the Public Charge issues facing immigrants.
Claudia Quintero, Central West Justice
Megan Kludt, Curran Berger and Kludt
Hilary Thrasher, Central West JusticeModerator, Maureen Carroll Dennis, 3L, WNEU Law School & Center for Social Justice
2PM - 4PM | There's No Place Like Home - Legal and Economic Impediments to Fair Housing in America
This workshop has two interconnected parts:
Part one will address the myth that fair housing initiatives are “social engineering” that curtail the right of people to live where they choose. A review of 100 years of fair housing history reveals the real story: that where people live has indeed been socially engineered - by federal, state, and local officials - to create the segregated communities we have to this day. The only way to reverse the structural racism that is built into our communities’ housing patterns is to vigorously enforce state and federal fair housing laws.
Part two will address how the fundamental desire of Americans to have a home to provide shelter and comfort has, over the last decades, been up-ended by well-known big banks and shady money launders. In the lead up to the 2008 mortgage crisis, giant financial firms preyed upon borrowers to create and trade for-profit securities linked to predatory residential mortgage loans. This housing-centered exploitation, falling hardest on households of black and brown families, has led to nearly ten million families losing their homes due to foreclosure and short sales. Separately and also harmful are the inflated housing markets in major metropolitan areas where criminal actors using shell companies and kickbacks to launder their ill-gotten gains.
Erin Kemple, Connecticut Fair Housing Center
Prof. Jennifer Taub, WNEU Law
Moderator, Harris Freeman, WNEU Law
2PM - 4PM | The Future of Civil Rights: Tools for Advancing Democracy
The focus of the workshop will be an examination of the major trends and issues in fair housing and 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. This 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.
Morning Workshops >>
9:30AM - 9:45AM | Welcome and Opening Remarks
10AM - 11:45AM | DOJ Enforcement of Sexual Harassment in Housing
This workshop will address how the U.S. Department of Justice addresses sexual harassment under the Fair Housing Act, with panelists from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and Rhode Island discussing investigation and enforcement in their jurisdictions.
10AM - 11:45AM | 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).
10AM - 11:45AM | Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Why Local Collaborations Are More Important Than Ever
10AM - 11:45AM | Building the Jail to School Pipeline
How can our community address the unmet potential and educational needs of the many citizens in our region who are currently or formerly incarcerated? Drawing on work being done at Holyoke Community College and across the state, panelists will discuss a new initiative to build viable pathways to two and four-year degrees. Panelists include students who were formerly incarcerated, faculty from Holyoke Community College, and educators with experience in carceral settings.
Afternoon Workshops >>
12PM - 1:45PM | Plenary Session: Keynote Speaker, Chad Dion Lassiter
2PM - 4PM | Pandemics, Protests, and Politics: Issues Impacting Voting Rights in 2020
With local, and national elections slated for November, communities are facing both new and ongoing challenges to ensuring fair access to the vote for all of their constituents. The coronavirus, increased political tension, and a social justice awakening are all informing this year's elections. Our panelists help to unpack these issues and their impact on the right to vote both in their communities and nationwide.