Archives for Change Agents

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.

Change Agents 3/4/21: A discussion about race and racism between grandfather and granddaughter

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Program Topic: A discussion about race and racism between grandfather and granddaughter who are 56 years of age apart. Roy is Black and Jasmine is a woman of color. Roy lives in Maine and Jasmine lives in Ann Arbor, MI.

Discussion of how the death of George Floyd affected them
Discussion of racism that they have seen in their lives
Discussion of whether they are optimistic about reducing racism toward black people

Guests:
Roy Partridge: Has worked for many years at Bowdoin focusing on addressing racism
Jasmine Bose Partridge: She is Roy’s 18 year-old granddaughter and will be attending Barnard College next fall in New York City

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 2/4/21: Directors and Playwrights Who Focus on Human Rights Issues

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

-The reaction to plays on human rights themes
-What is hard about presenting a play focused on human rights issues
-Why doing a play about Abraham is important

Guests:
Arthur Feinsod, Director and teacher at Indiana State University in Terre Haute
Andy Park, Artistic director of Nebraska’s only professional equity theater, Nebraska Repertory Theatre.

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 1/7/21: Human Rights Abuses Toward Roma People

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

-Roma people are subject to violence from Romanian police
-Roma students are discriminated against in their education
-Roma advocates have won significant gains both in the European Court of Human Rights and in the Romanian Legislature

Guests:
Marion Mandache directed a Roma human right organization (Romani Chriss) in Bucharest, Romania. He now lives in Massachusetts and soon will be a lawyer in the USA

Magna Matache also directed Romani Chriss. She now works at the Harvard University Roma Project

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 12/3/20: Palestine and Efforts to Silence the Voices of Palestinians in the USA

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

-The Nabka led to Palestinians being expelled or fleeing from safety from Palestine. Many are still refugees.
-Some Jewish settlers in the West Bank engage in serious harassment of Palestinians.
-There are ongoing efforts in the USA to silence the voices of Palestinians.

Guests:
Diala Shamas, staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she works on challenging government and law enforcement abuses perpetrated under the guise of national security, both in the U.S. and abroad. She regularly advises human rights advocates as they come under attack by state and private actors. Prior to joining the Center for Constitutional Rights, Diala was a Clinical Supervising Attorney and Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School, and a Senior Staff Attorney supervising the CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility) project at CUNY School of Law. She’s a Palestinian native of Jerusalem. View a video of her work documenting harassment and violence toward Palestinians in the West Bank here

Tarek Ismail, Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New York School of Law where he co-directs the Family Law Practice Clinic and is counsel to the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project. His clinical work and scholarship focuses on the surveillance, profiling, punishment, and separation of families. Prior to joining the faculty at CUNY Law, Tarek was a Senior Staff Attorney at the CLEAR Project, staff attorney in the Family Defense Practice at the Brooklyn Defender Services, and a Fellow at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute.

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 10/1/20: Reducing sectarian bias among youth in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Reducing sectarian bias among youth in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Guests:
John Harkin: He is a long time teacher and assistant principle for high school students at Oakgrove Integrated College in Derry-Londonderry.
BIO for John Harken
John Harkin became a teacher in 1996, starting in West Yorkshire, England, before moving to Oakgrove Integrated College in 2001, where he became Vice Principal in 2006. Oakgrove is Derry-Londonderry’s only integrated college. Passionate about the all-inclusive nature of integrated education, John believes the concept needs to be more widely embraced in order to advance the vision of reconciliation outlined in the Good Friday Agreement. John has responsibility for promoting the integrated ethos within the school, and supporting community links with other schools and organisations, specifically those focused on promoting education for reconciliation, peace and conflict studies, active citizenship and international projects to promote understanding. John values the role of global learning in understanding the lessons to be learned and shared between schools in different cultures and countries. At Oakgrove, John teaches English and co-ordinates the Hands For A Bridge project, which links with Roosevelt High School’s programme which encourages local and international dialogue and promotes leadership for change. John has been active in a number of human rights groups and as a student volunteered in refugee camps in former Yugoslavia, and more recently has taken part in two peace visits to Israel and Palestine.

Robin Young: He was a police officer in Derry-Londonderry for many years. As a sergeant he directed a community policing team. He now is retired and continues to reduce sectarian tensions between Catholic and Protestant youth.
BIO for Robin Young
Robin Young was brought up in the Protestant community, the sectarianism he saw caused him to doubt the attitudes that seemed to go with some of the politics. He was passionately interested in reducing conflict as a young man but focused on the actual study of tactics and strategy. “While my peers read fictional comic books, I was engrossed in factual histories of the battle for Stalingrad and the autobiographies of Generals like Heinz Guderian.”
After a short service with the military, Robin joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1986. His experiences of victim recovery at the Coshquin human bomb incident of 1990 and the Omagh explosion of 1998 affected him deeply and he suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The support obtained from so many people, both friends and former enemies, during his recovery inspired him to get involved with peace and reconciliation work in order to make a positive impact on peace at home and abroad. Having retired from the police in 2017, Robin has now graduated with a degree in Community Development and is working as a freelance consultant promoting reconciliation, conflict resolution and community understanding at home in Northern Ireland, across Europe and globally. He says he now is part of the change he wants to see in the world.

Recorded via Zoom

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.