Change Agents 11/4/21: Kristallnact, the book “The Night of the Broken Glass” and Anti-Semitism in US schools

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Program Topics: Kristallnact in light of narratives in the book “The Night of the Broken Glass” and anti-Semitism in US schools

-The book “The Night of the Broken Glass” causes many people to realize that the violence of Kristallnact was far more deadly.
-Anti-Jewish degrading language and so-called “jokes” are used in US schools.
-The use of degrading language about Jews negatively impacts some Jewish students

Guests:
Catherine Share. She teaches a course on the Holocaust at Congregation Bet Ha’am in South Portland, Maine. Natalie and Julia are 8th grade students who are in Catherine Share’s class.

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.

Change Agents 10/7/21: The struggle for basic rights for Maine farm workers

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

-Examining the conditions for farm workers in Maine
-Discussing the racial bias against farm workers imbedded in US laws
-Discussing the important pending legislation in Maine to provide farm workers with greater rights

Guests: Thom Harnett and Mike Guare are both lawyers from Maine who have and continue to work to provide farm workers with the same rights that other American workers have. Thom is a state representative from Gardiner. Mike works for Pine Tree Legal Assistance.

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.

Change Agents 9/2/21: Conversations with Human Rights Advocates

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Conversations with Human Rights Advocates: Examining issues affecting transgender people including (i) discrimination and violence and (2) the issues affecting Black and other transgender people of color

Guests: Jennifer Levi and Tre-Andre Valentine

Jennifer is the director of GLAD’s Transgender Rights Project and a nationally recognized expert on transgender legal issues. Levi led the legal fight against President Trump’s transgender military ban in both Doe v. Trump and Stockman v. Trump. Levi has also been a leader in working on harm reduction for incarcerated transgender people. She is a law professor at Western New England University, co-editor of Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy (2012), and serves on the Legal Committee of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and a former law clerk to the Honorable Judge Michael Boudin at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Tre-Andre is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Politcal Coalition. They is is a queer, transgender indigenous Carib Indian, South Asian and Black immigrant from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. They have over 10 years of experience in supporting LGBTQ+ survivors of domestic violence, grassroots organizing, community engagement, fundraising, training facilitation, educational programming and development (specializing in anti-oppression and LGBTQ+ inclusion).

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.

Change Agents 8/5/21

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

My guests were Joel Furrow the Executive Director of the Root Cellar in Portland and Lewiston Maine and Darragh Graham who directs the programming for youth in the St. Columbs House in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Discussion of the difficult issues that face the youth from both communities. The Root Cellar in Lewiston serves mostly Somali youth and some Africans from other countries. The St. Columbs Park House works primarily with Protestant and Catholic youth.
Both guests discussed the role of religion in their work. This discussion focused on their own religious beliefs and how that informed their work. While they come from different religious traditions they found significant commonality about how religion informs their work.
Both guests discussed the emotional difficulty of their work for staff and for themselves and how to cope with the difficult issues affecting the youth they work with youth.

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.

Change Agents 7/1/21: Discussion about immigration with two people who came to the USA seeking asylum

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Discussion about immigration with two people who came to the USA seeking asylum who work on social justice and human rights in Lewiston, ME.
Mohamed Ali Ibrahim was born in Djibouti. Djibouti is on the horn of Africa. He worked as a translator for the USA military in Qatar, in the Middle East. Later he worked in the Djibouti embassy in Qatar. He came to the United States to seek asylum because it was not safe for him return to Djibouti because he opposed the policies of the leader of the country.

Mohamed has worked in Lewiston for the Maine Peoples Alliance on a number of issues, some of which focused on helping immigrants. He played an instrumental role in the “Community Conversations Project” which brought immigrants and long time American into facilitated conversations.

Bright Lukusa was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Her mother, herself and her brother left the DRC because of ethnic violence and moved to South Africa. They then left South Africa because of similar ethnic violence and came to the USA seeking asylum. She lives and works in Lewiston.

Bright worked for the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine for several years Bright worked for the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine for several years. She currently works with at Prosperity Maine, a non-profit organization that provides economic and financial literacy for immigrants.

Bright also had a critical role in the Community Conversations Project.

Bright and Mohamed discussed both the positive reactions from white people in Lewiston
toward immigrants and also the negative reactions. They also discussed why they work on social justice issues.

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.

Change Agents 6/3/21: Reducing Racism in Schools and Communities

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Reducing Racism in Schools and Communities: Two women, one a person of color-Puerto Rican-Latina and the other white, discuss the difficulties and successes of working to reduce racism

-Has racial bias changed in our guests life times
-What is difficult in trying to reduce racial bias in schools and communities
-What does progress in reducing racial bias look like

Guests:

Eva Vega is an anti-bias, anti-racist educator and diversity, equity and inclusion specialist and administrator with 20 years of professional experience creating change in Pre-K through university education spaces, nonprofit organizations and the corporate world. Eva creates interactive experiential educational tools, training resources, and leads group education through facilitated dialogue, workshops and performance driven keynotes. Melding wellness with equity, emotional intelligence with practical skills building, Eva aspires to better prepare participants to take on the everyday work of disrupting structurally oppressive patterns that limit our highest ideals for diversity, equity inclusion by developing a personal and professional practice. Eva received her Master’s Degree in Sociology from the New School for Social Research and is a Certified Personal Coach with ICF accredited, Leadership That Works. Eva identifies as a white-presenting Afro-Indigenous Latina and uses she/her/hers pronouns. For more information about her work log onto EvaVegaWorld or follow her on her social media

Beth Yohe is an accomplished facilitator, consultant and curriculum writer with over 20 years of experience, writing and delivering training programs on a variety of topics related to addressing bias, transforming conflict and creating dialogue. Prior to joining The Conflict Center as Executive Director, she served in a number of roles at a national civil rights organization, including as the Regional Director of Development and as the Director of Training for the National Office, overseeing its national anti-bias education training. She is involved nationally on issues related to conflict transformation, social justice, bullying prevention and social emotional learning, including serving on the Advisory Board for The Ad Council’s Love has No Labels campaign, the board of the International Bullying Prevention Association and a facilitator for the Social Justice Training Institute. She received her Masters of Science from Colorado State University and her Bachelors of Arts from Texas A&M University. She loves spending family time whether at home, at one of her daughters’ activities or out enjoying the beauty of Colorado.

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.

Change Agents 5/6/21 What happens after genocide: Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

-Can the surviving victims of genocide and the aggressors work together?
-Is there hope that the two sides can reach peace?

Guests:
Felix Hageniamana, Immigration lawyer in Portland ME. Felix is an attorney whose law firm Hagenimana Law specializes in immigration law. Felix has previously worked as a linguist, translator, and consultant for the BBC and a student attorney in the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic. A graduate of the University of Maine Law School, Felix works as an Asylum Outreach Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) in addition to managing his own law firm.

Azur Imširovic, consultant on human rights issues in Bosnia Herzegovina and in other countries Holds a BA in English and French studies from the University of Zagreb, Croatia and a MA in Comparative Politics from the University of York, United Kingdom. He has worked for more than fifteen years in the fields of human rights, democratization, security stabilization, judicial reform and elections in international organisations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and North Macedonia. Currently Azur works as an independent analyst and contributor specializing in post conflict political development and human rights issues in the Western Balkans.

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.

Change Agents 4/1/21: Discussion between two clergy who focus on human rights

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Discussion between two clergy who focus on human rights

How to address members of you church who disagree with their minister or priest’s sermon or homily
How do you rebound when human rights are not protected
What part of scripture speaks to the importance of human rights

Guests:
Jane Elliot, minister and the Executive Director of the Maine Council of Churches and Mike Seavey a former priest for over 30 years. He now works as with a nonprofit organization in Maine

About the host:
Steve Wessler will soon will be starting his 28th year of working on human right issues. He founded the Civil Rights Unit in the Maine Attorney’s Office in 1992 and led the Unit for 7 years. In 1999 he left the formal practice of law and founded the Center for the Prevention of Hate. The Center worked in Maine and across the USA. He and his colleagues worked to reduce bias and harassment in schools, in communities, in health care organization through workshops and conflict resolution. The Center closed in 2011 and Steve began a consulting on human rights issues. For the next 5 years much of his work was in Europe, developing and implementing training curricular for police, working in communities to reduce the risk of hate crimes, conflict resolution between police and youth. He has worked in over 20 countries. In late 2016 he began to work more in Maine, with a focus on reducing anti-immigrant bias. He continues to work in schools to reduce bias and harassment. Wessler teaches courses on human rights issues at the College of the Atlantic, the University of Maine at Augusta and at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in northern Virginia.