The Policing of Black People in Public Spaces: An Old Trend That Legislation Has The Power To Stop

  • Wednesday, June 17, 2020
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Online

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The OLLI Distinguished Speakers Series presents
in partnership with the Berkshire County branch of the NAACP and the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Roberta McCulloch-Dews on

The Policing of Black People in Public Spaces:
An Old Trend That Legislation Has the Power to Stop 

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020
7:00 pm Eastern Time Online
Free & online: pre-registration required
(rescheduled from the original April 25, 2020 date)

2018 saw a rash of troubling incidents in which law enforcement was called to investigate bystander accounts of black men, women, and children occupying public and community spaces. These accounts were not based on the witnessing of actual crimes or offenses, but rather a suspicion on the part of the caller. The unifying factor is that the calls were made by white individuals.

Fast forward to 2020 and these disturbing and discriminatory acts still continue to occur. So what can we do to stop it?

The mobilization of law enforcement for unfounded nuisance calls is not only a diversion of public resources, but perpetuates the weaponization of police against black people, actions that date back to this country’s origins. This talk presents the historical framework surrounding the policing of black Americans in the United States; explores the role of bias; and highlights how legislation can play a major part in addressing discriminatory behavior. 

Roberta McCulloch-Dews serves as Director of Administrative Services in the Office of the Mayor for the City of Pittsfield and is a communications professional with two decades of experience. Roberta serves as a Trustee on the board for the Norman Rockwell Museum and is a member of the board for the Elizabeth Freeman Center. She is a member of the Equity and Diversity Committee for the Central Berkshire Regional School District and a youth mentor with the Rites of Passage Empowerment Program (R.O.P.E).

Admission is free and open to the public; pre-registration required.

Thank you to our co-sponsors:



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OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College
Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

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