PRESS RELEASE: Sixth Annual Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference

03/30/2012 - 5:13pm




Date:        March 30, 2012  

Contact:  Meris Bergquist, Executive Director, Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, (413) 539-                9796 x 108,

                 Jamie Williamson, Commissioner, Massachusetts Commission Against                Discrimination, 413-739-2145,;

                 John Fisher, HAPHousing, 413-229-1609;


Sixth Annual Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference to be Held at Western New England University on April 13, 2012. 

This all-day conference is presented by The Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and HAPHousing, Inc. This year the keynote speaker will be Georgetown Law School Professor and Author Sheryll Cashin. Professor Cashin writes about race and inequality in America. Currently she is working on a new book about the future of American race relations and multiracial coalition building.

Her recent book, The Agitator’s Daughter: A Memoir of Four Generations of One Extraordinary African-American Family (PublicAffairs, 2008) traces the arc of American race relations through generations of her family. Her book, The Failures of Integration (PublicAffairs, 2004) was an Editors' Choice in the New York Times Book Review. Both of Cashin's books were nominated for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for non-fiction (2005 and 2009).

Professor Cashin has appeared on NPR All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, The Tavis Smiley Show, The Newshour With Jim Leher, CNN, BET, ABC News, and numerous local programs.  She worked in the Clinton White House as an advisor on urban and economic policy, particularly concerning community development in inner-city neighborhoods. She was law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She graduated summa cum laude from Vanderbilt University in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. As a Marshall Scholar, she went on to receive a masters in English Law, with honors, from Oxford University in 1986 and a J.D., with honors, from Harvard Law School, in 1989, where she was a member of the Harvard Law Review.   For more information about Sheryll Cashin, please visit her website at


There will be multiple workshops to choose from in the morning and afternoon sessions.  Workshop topics will include:  LGBT rights, the legal rights of ex-offenders; successful public/private partnerships; creating inclusive communities; civil rights litigation at MCAD, Fair Housing 101 and barriers to Section 8 mobility.  Following lunch there will be a panel of community leaders to discuss the recent shooting of Trayvon Martin. 


About the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center


            MFHC has been in the forefront of the fight against housing discrimination  for over 23 years.  MFHC provides free legal services and accepts housing discrimination complaints based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex, disability, presence of minor children, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran’s status, or receipt of public assistance, including Section 8 housing assistance.  MFHC also provides extensive education and outreach services to community groups, service providers, landlords, realtors, newspapers and others. 


About the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination

            The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination is the state's chief civil rights agency. The Commission works to eliminate discrimination on a variety of bases and areas, and strives to advance the civil rights of the people of the Commonwealth through law enforcement, outreach and training.


About HAPHousing

HAPHousing provides a broad range of housing services to meet the needs of low and moderate-income households and is the region’s largest nonprofit developer of affordable housing.


MFHC receives funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the cities of Springfield and Northampton.