On Sunday, April 26, 2015, 4:30 – 6:00 PM at the Griffin Museum, 67 Shore Road, Winchester, the Network hosted a program “Taking a Stand Against Racism—the Cost of Unequal Justice.” It joined with events across the country for Stand Against Racism, a movement by YWCA USA whose goal is a society free of racism and discrimination. Stand Against Racism facilitates conversations about the issue of racism and its elimination. The Network had three eminently qualified speakers on racism and its deleterious effects on the criminal justice system. Each panelist spoke from her/his perspective: District Attorney Marian Ryan shared the challenges of balancing safety, prosecuting crime and community connection; Attorney Rahsaan Hall, Deputy Director of Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, spoke about the challenges that felons face as they re-enter the community after serving their sentence; and Attorney David Harris, Managing Director of Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, spoke about the value in changing where monies are spent to keep people out of prison.

The Griffin Museum was packed with the audience including the Town Manager Richard Howard; Massachusetts State Senators Pat Jehlen and Jason Lewis; Neil Osborne, President of the Mystic Valley branch of the NAACP;  Lieutenant Peter MacDonnell from the Winchester Police Department; and Detective Lieutenant Scott Jones from the Bedford Police Department.

What the panelists shared and the Q&A that followed truly advanced the spirit of the Network’s mission in that it touched on appreciating diverse perspectives, advocacy, and hard-hitting confrontation on issues of race.