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Friday, April 15, 2011

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION TO HOST “CONVERSATIONS” SERIES SURROUNDING RACE ISSUES

Hate Crimes, Hate Language to be Discussed at Series of “Conversations” Over the Next Several Months; All Members of the Public Invited to Participate; Meetings to be Hosted in Several Languages

The Somerville Health Department and Director of the office of Somerville Commissions Sonja Darai announce that the Somerville Human Rights Commission will host a Conversations Project, a series of community roundtable discussions focusing on racial issues and hate crimes, during spring and summer 2011. Discussions at these roundtables will focus on racially-based hate language and using appropriate language during disputes. Conversations will be hosted in several languages by the HRC and community partners, beginning on Friday, April 29th and continuing monthly through September 2011.

"The goal of these discussions is to dramatically increase discussions around hate language, the community's role in decreasing a climate of hate, and examples of positive and negative conflict resolution. Somerville is an extremely diverse community, and we want to ensure that we celebrate each others' unique ethnicities and backgrounds, and educate ourselves about how to resolve conflicts and disputes responsibly and without the use of racially-based language," said Darai.

Events and discussions throughout the series include:
A Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgengered (LGBT) Hate Language discussion is currently airing on the CityTV cable show, "Voices of Somerville."

"The Painter," a two-man play about racial issues, will be featured at the Unity Church, 6 Williams Street, on Friday, April 29th. Following the play, the HRC will co-sponsor a "Racism and Classism" discussion with the director, playwright, and actors.

A Nepali community discussion, "Hate Language and the Community", is in development for May to be held in the Nepali language.

A HRC Conversations Capstone event will be held in September to review all discussions, present findings, and consider possible recommendations with a keynote speaker and Conversations participants.

Started in 1996, the Conversations Project is a series of dialogues about the changes and challenges facing the City, hosted by different City organizations and covering a variety of topics in each series.

For more information, please contact the Office of Somerville Commissions at commissions@somervillema.gov, or 617-625-6600 ext. 2400.

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