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Niagara University's Ostapenko Center holding June conference on racial equity & equality


Tue, May 29th 2018 11:15 am
A three-day conference to be held next month at Niagara University seeks to create dialogue around racial equity and equality, and discuss ways to improve the social conditions of society's most vulnerable individuals.
From June 13-15, the University, Community and Government Partnerships Conference will convene approximately 150 stakeholders for a series of sessions on topics that include recidivism; perceived social-psychological barriers of underrepresented undergraduate students; a restorative model for addressing the harms experienced by mentors with a history of incarceration; electoral power disparities; student-led efforts to advance change; and many others.
In addition, a roundtable discussion concerning racial equity in Buffalo will be held Thursday afternoon, featuring the Rev. George Nicholas, senior pastor at Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church and member of the Concerned Clergy Coalition of WNY; Laura Smith, vice president of economic development for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership; Felicia R. Beard, director of racial equity initiatives for the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo; and Tommy McClam, Say Yes Buffalo's director of boys and men of color.
The conference's keynote speaker is Dr. David Hooker, associate professor of the practice of conflict transformation and peacebuilding at the University of Notre Dame. Hooker has worked with communities, governments, international NGOs and civil society organizations on post-conflict community building, environmental justice and other issues of public policy and social justice. A former assistant attorney general in Georgia, he serves as president and principal consultant of CounterStories Consulting LLC, where his work focuses on narrative alignment for civic, community and faith leaders.
Attorneys may also attend a Continuing Legal Education session on "Implicit Bias, Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession," which will earn 2.0 CLE credits toward New York's newly mandated category of diversity, inclusion and elimination of bias. That session, presented by Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, takes place from 3-4:45 p.m. Friday.
The conference is presented by Niagara University's Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equality and Mission; the New York chapter of the National Association of Social Workers; Catholic Charities; and Harter Secrest & Emery LLP.
"A central component of our Catholic and Vincentian mission at Niagara University is uniting people and organizations to have healthy conversations about how we can all help overcome marginalization and oppression in our communities," said Dr. Rolanda L. Ward, the endowed faculty director of the Ostapenko Center, which was established in fall 2017 to leverage change on causes associated with diversity, equality and social justice - both on campus and within the community.
To register and/or obtain additional information about the conference, visit www.niagara.edu/niagara-university-partnerships-for-race-and-equality.
Niagara University's Ostapenko Center is named in honor of Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko, a native of Germany who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1930s before becoming a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. To learn more, call 716-286-8520 or visit www.niagara.edu/ostapenko-race-equality-center.

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