Archives for Change Agents

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.

Change Agents 9/3/20: Privacy Issues & the Impacts on People of Color

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

-The danger of facial recognition technology
-The disproportional impact of loss of privacy on people of color
-The gains that Maine has made

Guests:
Meagan Sway, lawyer and Policy Counsel at the ACLU of Maine, where she advocates at the state and local level for policy that advances civil rights and liberties for all people in Maine. Among the bills Meagan has recently written and lobbied in the state house are those on drug sentencing, bail, and juvenile justice reform. She is a lawyer with experience representing people in eviction, foreclosure, death sentence and civil rights cases, among other issues. Meagan graduated from New York University School of Law in 2008 and Wellesley College in 2003.

Nate Wessler, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, where he focuses on litigation and advocacy around surveillance and privacy issues, including government searches of electronic devices, requests for sensitive data held by third parties, and use of surveillance technologies. In 2017, he argued Carpenter v. United States in the U.S. Supreme Court, a case that established that the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to get a search warrant before requesting cell phone location data from a person’s cellular service provider.

Nate was previously a legal fellow in the ACLU National Security Project and a law clerk to the Hon. Helene N. White of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Nate is a graduate of Swarthmore College and New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern public interest scholar. Before law school, he worked as a field organizer in the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. He grew up in Litchfield and Hallowell, 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 7/2/20: The IPM Immersion Program in El Salvador and other places

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Key Discussion Points:
a) Does the Immersion program provide a benefit to the people from the host country (such as El Salvador)?
b) How does the Immersion program benefit the North Americans who travel to host countries?
c) Why each of the guests have dedicated their work lives to human rights work?
d) What is hard for the two guests about their work on human rights issues?

Guests:
Joe Cistone, Executive Director of IPM lives on Mount Desert Island.
Adela Zayaz Hernandez, Regional Director for the Latin America and the Caribbean and Director of Programs and Partnerships. She lives and El Salvador.

Joe Cistone and Adela Zayas Hernandez direct IPM’s Immersion program, along with other colleagues. The Immersion program brings North Americans to spend 7 to 10 days time with social justice and human rights programs in countries across the globe. 2500 people from North America have participated in this program.

Joseph F. Cistone, Chief Executive Officer
As Chief Executive Officer of IPM, Joe provides the strategic vision, leadership, and supervision of all activities, programs and staff of this interfaith, international, non-governmental organization with offices in El Salvador, India, Kenya, and the USA. Joe began his work with IPM in June of 2001 and IPM has quintupled in size during his tenure.

Joe has worked, lived, and studied internationally for over 30 years, including extended time in El Salvador, India, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Italy—where Joe pursued a Ph.D. in the Social Sciences at the Gregorian University and worked with a variety of international organizations. Joe was a Research Assistant in the Department of Programmes at Caritas Internationalis (1990-1992); the Director of the Joined Hands Refugee Center (1991-1995), where he served as an IPM Project Coordinator; and, as Associate Director of the International Office for Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation of the Franciscan Friars Minor (1995-1997). Immediately prior to joining IPM, Joe served as the founding Vice President of Capital, Endowment, & Philanthropic Programs at the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Foundation.

Adela Zayas, Director of International Programs & Partnerships; and Programs & Regional Director for Latin America and The Caribbean
Adela studied her Psychology Major at Universidad Centroamericana “José Simeón Cañas” (UCA). She was evolved in different social movements during her educational process, including projects related to environmental consciousness and conservation, community development, gender equality and women empowerment. She has post-graduate diplomas in Gender Equality and National Reality provided by the National University and the Lutheran University from El Salvador.

She also helped creating a non-profit organization in El Salvador, “Fundación Artesanas”, which promotes healthy environments, using art, social entrepreneurship and psychology as the main tools to achieve women’s empowerment. It mainly seeks to offer solutions for the unequal opportunities, in terms of education, health, employment and political participation, that many women experience in the country.

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.