PathStone Presents –Provok!ng Thought , is an exciting opportunity for Western New York community builders of all kinds to hear local and national thought leaders around one of the most compelling and difficult issues of our time – poverty. We hope to be able to feature trends, innovations and policy topics to provoke new ways of thinking about poverty and to stimulate partnerships to address the challenges that poverty brings to the creation of a vibrant and healthy community.

This Year's Event

Racial segregation characterizes every metropolitan area in the U.S. and bears responsibility for our most serious social and economic problems. We’ve taken no serious steps to desegregate neighborhoods, however, because we are hobbled by a national myth that residential segregation is de facto—the result of private discrimination or personal choices that do not violate constitutional rights.

The Color of Law demonstrates, however, that residential segregation was created by racially explicit and unconstitutional government policy. Just Action describes how we can begin to address this, providing dozens of strategies local groups can pursue to redress segregation in their own communities. By starting with achievable local victories, we can build a national movement that can remedy our unconstitutional racial landscape.

Keynote Speakers

Richard Rothstein

Richard Rothstein is a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He is the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, which recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. 

He is also the author of many other articles and books on race and education, which can be found on his web page at the Economic Policy Institute. Previous influential books include Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black–White Achievement Gap and Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right.

Leah Rothstein

Leah Rothstein is co-authoring, with Richard Rothstein, a sequel to The Color of Law. While in The Color of Law, Mr. Rothstein described how government policy created residential segregation, the sequel will describe how local community groups can redress the wrongs of segregation. 

Leah has worked on public policy and community change, from the grassroots to the halls of government. She led the Alameda County and San Francisco probation departments’ research on reforming community corrections policy and practice to be focused on rehabilitation, not punishment. She has been a consultant to nonprofit housing developers, cities and counties, redevelopment agencies, and private firms on community development and affordable housing policy, practice, and finance. Her policy work is informed by her years as a community organizer with PUEBLO and Californians for Justice, working on housing, public safety, environmental justice, and youth leadership, and as a labor organizer with the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE).

Leah received a Bachelor’s Degree with honors in American Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Goal

The goal of PathStone Presents! is to create a forum where key issues and hot-button topics affecting all citizens in the region are discussed. The series will feature both local and nationally recognized speakers from a wide variety of venues involved in addressing the impacts of poverty. PathStone hopes to bring attention to the struggles and issues all industries face that are inherent with working to alleviate the impacts of poverty be they nonprofits or for-profits involved with workforce development, education, health, housing, racial diversity, and/or economic development.

Our format for PathStone Presents! is flexible in order to support involvement by as many people and organizations as there are diverse opinions, profound insights and fascinating discussion on this topic. Pulitzer Prize winners, community builders, local activists, political figures, distinguished journalists, authors and other celebrated personalities will present and stimulate our audience. Each event will be followed by a Call to Action to either showcase and continue the good work already being done by groups and/or to form new partnerships to tackle issues.

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