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Lecture / Discussion  |  The Past is Present: a discussion with civic leaders in 2019

Thursday, November 21, 2019, 6–8 pm

Join us on November 21st for a conversation with civic leaders and activists about how our communities try to ensure that “never again means never again,” with a focus on forms of resistance US communities are engaging in as they confront a variety of forms of oppression, including racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism. 

Panelists include: 

Anna Falicov, Moderator

Anna Falicov is an attorney and public health practitioner for the City of Buffalo. Her grandparents fled pogroms in Eastern Europe to arrive to Argentina; her parents then immigrated to the United States and instilled in her and her sisters a commitment to justice for immigrants and all oppressed people. She has served as the Board Chair of the Coalition for Economic Justice, the Western New York Law Center and is current a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, a Jewish organization dedicated to justice for Palestine. Her current work with the City of Buffalo focuses on lead poisoning prevention. She lives in Buffalo with her spouse and two young sons. 

Rabbi Jonathan Freirich,  Temple Beth Zion

Rabbi Jonathan Freirich serves Temple Beth Zion in Downtown Buffalo and Amherst since his arrival in Western New York in 2016.
An outspoken advocate for civil rights for all, Rabbi Freirich:

  • was a plaintiff in the successful lawsuit against the anti-same sex marriage State Constitutional Amendment in North Carolina;
  • participated in Moral Monday Marches for equity in education;
  • serves as a member of the Racial Equity Roundtable here in Buffalo helping to organize Racial Healing Circles and the National Day of Racial Healing;
  • serves as a Board Member for Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York;
  • helps organize the advocacy of Western New York Jews as part of the Religious Action Center of New York;
  • and most importantly, helps raise, with his wife and college sweetheart Ginny Freirich, two caring, loving, and compassionate children.

Jennifer Conner

Jennifer Connor is the Executive Director of Justice for Migrant Families WNY. In that role she coordinates with local, regional and national networks to push back on anti-immigrant policy and actions and to organize for rights and respect for all immigrants, including those currently in detention. She is a member of the Green Light Steering committee that won a new law in New York this year to restore driver license access to all immigrants, set to go into effect in December. She was radicalized by the Catholic Worker Movement twenty-five years ago and has a background in direct action, anti-militarism, collective organizing and early childhood education. She lives with her spouse on the West Side of Buffalo.

Rachel Ablow

Rachel Ablow is Professor of English at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. She helped organize the Close the Camps protest that took place in Buffalo last August. She worked with Showing Up for Racial Justice on the #CanCarl campaign that removed Carl Paladino from the Buffalo School Board and the #FireHoward campaign that attempted to unseat Sheriff Tim Howard. She has also worked with Jewish Voice for Peace and Justice for Migrant Families.

Mr. Oswaldo Menstre Jr.

Oswaldo Mestre Jr. is the Chief Service Officer & Director of Citizen Services for the City of Buffalo and serves its chief ombudsman and engagement official; Director Mestre is a senior-level administration official who also plans, coordinates, and evaluate the implementation of citywide service plans that engage citizen volunteers in their communities while building the city’s capacity to address its most pressing challenges. The eldest of three, and raised by a single mother he received his primary, secondary, and higher education all at public institutions. Mr. Mestre strongly believes that with influence, comes the responsibility to open doors for those less fortunate. Mr. Mestre received his undergraduate education from the University of Buffalo, through the Equal Opportunity Program (EOP). His major area of study was Architecture and Public Policy & Administration. Most recently director Mestre was selected to participate in, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, a yearlong collaboration with Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. This program offers leadership and management training to mayors worldwide who lead cities with vision and purpose, and senior officials from each city who are most crucial to affecting organizational change.

Pastor Hope Harle-Mould

Rev. Hope Douglas Harle-Mould is an activist, freelance writer, and United Church of Christ supply-preacher throughout WNY. As a young organizer, he worked with Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers movement as well as being founder/director of Baltimore Clergy And Laity Concerned. Over the years as pastor of many churches, he has helped resettle refugees from Vietnam, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, and Latin America. He is currently an active member of the Sanctuary Committee of Pilgrim-St. Luke’s UCC in Buffalo, visits at the Batavia Federal Detention Center, and accompanies asylees at court hearings. And he has a pet, a white dove named Gracie.