Skip to main content

Friday, November 15, 2019

Today's Message

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2019

The Past Is Present: A Discussion with Civic Leaders in 2019 – November 21

The Burchfield Penney Art Center will present a conversation with civic leaders and activists about how our communities try to ensure that “never again means never again” on Thursday, November 21, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The panel will focus on means of resistance that U.S. communities are engaging in as they confront various forms of oppression, including racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism. 


Anna Falicov, Moderator
Anna Falicov is an attorney and public health practitioner for the City of Buffalo. Her grandparents fled pogroms in Eastern Europe, moving 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 and the Western New York Law Center, and is a current member of Jewish Voice for Peace, an 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. 

Rachel Ablow
Rachel Ablow is a professor of English at the University at Buffalo. She helped organize the Close the Camps protest that took place in Buffalo last August. She has worked with Showing Up for Racial Justice, and she has also worked with Jewish Voice for Peace and Justice for Migrant Families WNY.

Jennifer Conner
Jennifer Connor is the executive director of Justice for Migrant Families WNY, where she coordinates with local, regional, and national networks to push back on anti-immigration policies and actions and to organize for rights and respect for all immigrants, including those currently in detention. She was profoundly influenced by the Catholic Worker Movement 25 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.

Rabbi Jonathan Freirich
Rabbi Jonathan Freirich has served 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 in Buffalo, helping to organize Racial Healing Circles and the National Day of Racial Healing. He 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, with his wife and college sweetheart, Ginny Freirich, helps raise two caring, loving, and compassionate children.

Pastor Hope Douglas Harle-Mould
Rev. Hope Douglas Harle-Mould is an activist, freelance writer, and United Church of Christ supply preacher throughout Western New York. As a young organizer, he worked with Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers movement, and was the founder and 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 the Batavia Federal Detention Center, and accompanies asylees at court hearings. He keeps a white dove named Gracie as a pet.

Oswaldo Menstre Jr.
Oswaldo Mestre Jr. is the chief service officer and director of citizen services for the City of Buffalo and serves its chief ombudsman and engagement official; Mr. Mestre is a senior-level administration official who also plans, coordinates, and evaluates 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 children 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 at Buffalo through the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). His major areas of study were architecture and public policy and administration. Most recently, Mr. Mestre was selected to participate in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, a yearlong collaboration with the 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.

Submitted by: Renata R Toney
Also appeared:
Monday, November 18, 2019
Thursday, November 21, 2019