Building Inclusive Communities was a series of daylong symposia, organized with Critical Connections, in which representatives of diverse sectors developed mutual understanding and the beginning of shared work toward inclusion and equity in Western Massachusetts communities. Topics included Engaging Our Muslim-American Neighbors; The Role of Faith Leaders; and Improving Relations between Law Enforcement and Communities of Color.
Building Inclusive Communities: Improving Relations between Law Enforcement and Communities of Color
This event was a day-long symposium that took place in Holyoke, MA in May, 2018. Its goal was to improve understanding of the structural and societal factors that adversely affect relations between law-enforcement and communities of color. The symposium examined local initiatives that increase police accountability, highlighted community perspectives on gaps and challenges, and identified some opportunities to address them collaboratively.
Panel presentations were followed by small group and plenary discussions on best practices and next steps. Join community leaders, activists, civil rights experts, and law-enforcement personnel for a day of reflection and conversation on strengthening community-police relations.
Building Inclusive Communities: The Role of Faith Leaders
This event was a day-long symposium in Holyoke, MA in December, 2017. It focused on reflection, small-group discussions, and sharing of best practices with local multi-faith clergy, guided by questions including: How can faith leaders address racism, homophobia, religious intolerance and other forms of prejudice within their communities? How do they reconcile theological beliefs with secular laws? What risks do they take? What are the challenges and opportunities they grapple with to promote inclusion and diversity, and what are effective strategies to develop empathy and understanding?
Presenters and moderators included Imam Rasul Seifullah (Al-Baqi Mosque, Springfield), Rabbi Justin David (Congregation B’nai Israel, Northampton), Rev. Marisa Ludwig (First Church of Christ, Longmeadow), Rev. Corey Sanderson (Second Congregational Church, Greenfield), and Ms. Tahirah Amatul Wadud.
Building Inclusive Communities: Engaging with Our American-Muslim Neighbors
This event was a daylong symposium in April, 2015 among local Muslim communities and religious leaders, educators, refugee organizations, journalists, and law enforcement personnel in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. Attendees left the conference with an improved understanding of the American-Muslim experience and a clearer picture of the role each sector can play in building safer, more inclusive communities.
Event Highlights included panel discussions with local educators, law enforcement personnel, religious clergy and social service providers that will highlight opportunities and challenges in building cohesive, diverse and resilient communities; sector–specific working groups that will devise strategies drawing on best practices; and a free networking Mediterranean lunch catered by Cedar’s Restaurant.