Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State University to Host Innovative Social Justice Symposium March 23

Race, oppression and social justice among the themes to be addressed

Westfield State University will host its fourth annual cross-cultural symposium, titled “Social Justice Scholarship in Action: An Interdisciplinary Symposium Countering Hate and Systemic Oppression,” on Friday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the University’s Loughman Living Room in Scanlon Hall.

In addition to University faculty and students, scholars from a variety of disciplines, local religious and civic leaders and two prominent authors will join Westfield State professors and students participating in the event, which will explore social justice efforts in the academy and community.

“We are fortunate to benefit from such breadth of expertise and perspective at this year’s symposium,” said Associate Professor of English, Carol Bailey, Ph.D., who spearheads coordination of the event. “This year is truly a multi-disciplinary effort. As a result, we have a wide range of thought-provoking viewpoints and angles to present.”

Maureen Reddy, Ph.D., professor of English at Rhode Island College, will deliver the opening keynote, “Discarding the Master’s Tools in the Ivory Tower: Race & Social Justice on and off Campus,” at 9:15 a.m.

Diana Abu-Jaber will deliver the keynote address titled “Losing Your Coordinates: the Creative Freedom of Writing Off-Course,” at 1:30 p.m.

Other guest speakers and panelists will include:

  • Rabbi Justin David of Congregation B’nai Israel, Northampton;
  • Mehlaqa Samdani, founder and executive director, Critical Connections;
  • Ginetta Candelario, Ph.D., professor of sociology and of the Latin American and Latina/o Studies Program, Smith College;
  • Pat Griffin, Ed.D., national LGBTQ educator and UMass Amherst professor emerita;
  • Diana Abu-Jaber, award-winning author
  • Oliver de la Paz, award-winning poet and professor of English , College of the Holy Cross;
  • Michael Wood, Jr., former Baltimore Police Department sergeant and activist against police brutality
  • Marion Davis, director of communications, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition;
  • Westfield State University Association Professor of Education Laura Baker, Ed.D. 

For more information, contact Dr. Carol Bailey at or Vanessa Diana at

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