SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
TUESDAY OCTOBER 13
9:00-9:30 WELCOME TO THE CONFERENCE: Ken Burak
9:30-10:45: PANEL: Police Brutality: Ashleigh Strange (LVSU - Lehigh Valley Stands Up), Ryan Velazquez (EERC – Emmaus Equal Rights Coalition): Who gets to feel safe in our communities? Who gets labeled as a criminal? Who do we call when the cops murder and maim? Looking at instances of police brutality and pulling from personal stories of harassment, this panel will say the names of people who have been hurt by police, what the department responses were, and how we are building up our communities to prevent it from happening again. RECORDING HERE:
11:00-12:15: HEALTH CARE DISPARITIES AND COVID-19: This session will explore the impact COVID 19 has had throughout our communities. COVID 19 has allowed us to examine the disparities in care. And our Healthcare professionals are responding in ways to ensure our communities are thriving. Bart Bailey (Courage2care).
12:30-1:45: PANEL: Local Protesting Spotlight on Palmerton Protest: On Saturday July 18, a anti-police brutality protest was held in Palmerton, PA. After disinformation was circulated, a counter-protest was held in opposition. This counter-protest, of armed and belligerent people, outnumbered the anti-police brutality 5 to 1. This session will be focused on this event and the experiences of those in attendance. Arthur Louis Benson II (Action Town Activists), José Ortiz, Sierra Hahn, Councilwoman Ce-ce Gerlach. RECORDING:
2:00-3:15: Immigration and Asylum Seeking 2020: Attorney Molly Marte will share her personal and professional experience handling immigration matters and talk about why we should all care about immigration. She will discuss DACA and TPS and their effects on vulnerable families and individuals. We will also learn about overt and subtle changes to immigration policy that have made immigration more exclusive, expensive, difficult, and time-consuming. Come ready to challenge your own assumptions as we participate in an engaging discussion about immigration.MOLLY MARTE;
3:30-4:45 ELEVATING OUR COMMUNITY THROUGH ACTION (Arthur Louis Benson II-Action Town Activists): Action Town Activists is an organization located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Creating lasting changes in the community that focus on equity, peace, and justice is a priority for ATA. Because of this, a political platform and running for office is an important gateway to creating these types of lasting changes. Members of ATA will be discussing their platform during this session.
5:00-6:15: The GURLZ ROOM: Protect Black Femmes. This panel will focus on Black Trans women, feminine Gay Black men, Black Womxn, and Black non-binary Femmes and how racism, transphobia, sexism and other acts of injustice affects these communities. Topics discussed will include: What is intersectionality? Reactions to the Breonna Taylor Verdict; How Black Femmes are viewed in Heterosexual Spaces (e.g. Barber Shops/ Bars), and How to support Black Femmes: CHLOE COLE (VALLEY YOUTH HOUSE/THE SILK PROJECT), Angel Febres, Kenny Screven, Ibn brandon
6:30-9:00: SCREENING: Inside/Outside and Q and A with Director Nandini Sikand: Inside/Outside (2019, 94 minutes) is a feature length documentary film about women and mass incarceration in the United States as they struggle with the challenges of sexual assault, substance abuse and often, motherhood. Seen through the lens of a predominantly white, county jail in a rapidly gentrifying town in the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, this film explores challenges the women face inside and outside jail. For more info on the film, click here.
8:00-9:15 Writing Letters to Prisoners: Patrick McGee (Everlasting Time): A discussion of their campaign to raise visibility and engagement with incarcerated revolutionaries, the MOVE Organization, art, and anti-sociality as a fortress in late capital.
9:30-10:45 PANEL: Towards a Police Free Future: Peter VanKoughnett (MPD 150), LVSU - Lehigh Valley Stands Up):In this session, Peter will present an overview of MPD150's work - a history of the Minneapolis Police department's oppressions, theories of abolition, and tools to practice abolitionist thinking. Ashleigh will present on Lehigh Valley Stands Up and particular policies which bring us closer to a police free future."
11:00-12:15: Black Lives Matter: Black Lives Matter (BLM) Lehigh Valley will be covering issues such as our fight against systemic and oppressive racism within multiple channels, how to make change at the local level, and what defunding the police really means. Justan Parker (LV BLM);
12:30-1:45: The Pink Elephant in the Room: Leave all of your preconceived notions about race and diversity at the door and step into a room where courage is required and having an open mind is preferred. Welcome to the Pink Lounge where the Pink Elephant in the Room is not ignored, but embraced and discussed openly.Shonta Ford;
2-3:15: PANEL: Prison Industrial Complex: Michael Ralph, Darian Colbert (Cohesion Network):
For this session on the "Prison Industrial Complex," Darian Colbert will open by discussing his experiences working in Northampton County Jail. Darian will examine the obstacles posed by the school to prison pipeline. He will then discuss: probation and parole (or how some people get trapped in a cycle of surveillance by the state); the phone system / commissary (or, clandestine prison profits); and, prison labor (as a kind of free labor).
Michael Ralph will then discuss his experiences teaching in Shawangunk Maximum Security Prison and Walkill Correctional Facility (then, minimum security). Michael will also discuss a graphic book and two short, animated films he is working on that build on teaching and research experiences involving incarceration populations to demonstrate that ingenuity cannot be incarcerated.
3:30-4:45: The unspoken emotional effect of "surviving the skin we're in:" As Black Americans we live under a constant threat in America. And the burden of imparting and interpreting this to our children is unfair.Nah-tarsha Cherry, Mary Elizabeth O’Connor (Bethlehem NAACP).
5:00-6:15: Lights, Camera, Activism: Youth Storytelling and Creative Community Building in a Time of Isolation: Screening of Youth Films followed by a panel and Q&A with Drew Swedberg, Nasheera Brow:
6:30-9:00: SCREENING: in love, in memory, Q and A with Directors and Team: This is a work-in-progress screening of a feature-length documentary titled, in love, in memory, co-directed by Shalon Buskirk and Drew Swedberg. In the wake of her son’s murder, a mother moves into community activism, assembling personal and collective memories to poetically reframe an intimate loss within her city’s haunting legacy of systemic violence. The screening will be followed by a talkback with the directors and members of the film’s creative team. For More info on the film:
8:00-9:15: THE 2020 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Come to discuss some of the most critical issues surrounding the 2020 president election. Topics may include: Basics of PA voting right now; Ongoing litigation around the election; Nonpartisan Election Protection efforts and how people can get involved, or Potential election day/post-election issues. Sara Mullen, Associate director and advocacy and policy director of the pa ACLU: https://zoom.us/rec/share/ZZd5fBolepecx3UYHVTSbmSzxQ-aCdu_2dT8i_p8g_Tk-l8tTc0nyZ5NUbvgLrQ.QusE7l9ktlDYq8YK
9:30-10:45: PANEL: ROOTS OF SYSTEMIC RACISM PANEL: While racism and misogyny are not unique to capitalist systems, they are its creations. To be anti-capitalist, you must be equally committed to feminism and anti-racism, or your words and actions carry no real meaning. In the same way, to be feminist or anti-racist without anti-capitalism is solely a desire to get the boot off your own neck only. Attractive, to be sure, but not truly liberatory. We will discuss how these forces interact, where they are independent and where they are intertwined, and how this should (and does!) inform anti-racist organizing.Christine Conden (LV DSA-Lehigh Valley Democratic Socialists of America, PAS SIMPSON (Promise Neighborhoods), RODNEY BE;
11:00-12:15: PANEL: Voting: Enid Santiago, Pas Simson (Promise Neighborhoods), Tara ZrinSKI;
12:30-1:45: PANEL: Climate Justice (Anita Forrester, Maria Santiago-Valentin, Jill MacIntyre Witt - Climate Reality Project): Climate change is not just a science and environmental concern, but a political and ethical issue since it has different social, economic, public health, and other adverse impacts on communities and often it is BIPOC and frontline communities that are most impacted.
2:00-3:15: Incarceration and Education: Mike Logan (NCC), Bonnie Winfield, Nandini Sikand (Lafayette College): Three educators share direct testimony from incarcerated women and men residing in Pennsylvania's correctional facilities. Panelists will relay voices from inside jails in the forms of artworks, poems, journal entries, and personal interviews with incarcerated students. This interactive panel will seek to highlight various psychological, physical, and emotional hardships borne by those struggling to re-boot their lives from inside a revolving-door prison system. Panel presentations will be 10 minutes each, followed by open forum and active discussion. RECORDING:
3:30-4:45: Environmental Justice: Pipelines and Communities (Karen Feridun, Maria Santiago-Valentin): Opposition to pipeline projects has grown exponentially as communities have recognized the dangers they pose to the places they love, to the communities where the greenhouse gasses are extracted, processed, exported, and burned in power plants, and to the planet that can’t survive the continued use of greenhouse gasses to generate energy or produce plastics. Recording:
5:00-6:15: WRAP UP/ACTION PLAN SESSIONS
6:30-9:00 SCREENING (DEBUT!) followed by q & a: Black Poets Project: The Beautiful Needful Thing: In a beautiful natural setting, nine women read poems by Black poets and talk about “Why?” What does Black poetry have to say to us now? Black poetry invites the reader into empathy. Black poetry offers an alternative perspective on the history of this country. Black poetry shines a light on injustice and expresses the pain, the joy and the hope of freedom. panelists: raya levy, cleveland wall, grace adele hochella, Deirdre Van Walters, Jennie Gilrain