Change Agents 6/2/22: Reducing Anti-immigrant Bias and Harassment

Producer/Host: Steve Wessler

Change Agents, human right and social justice advocates on WERU FM

I interviewed Denise Wright who has been working on reducing anti-immigrant bias and harassment in Belfast, Northern Ireland for over 20 years. She has changed the hearts and minds of many people who were had negative views of immigrants. We discussed some of the work we have done together in Belfast.

Key Discussion Points:
1. Changing the minds and hearts of Catholics and Protestants
2. Protecting immigrants from harm
3. Conducting dialogues

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.