Heart of a Man

A Virtual Engaging Men Series

Heart of a Man speaker & conversation series

Heart of a Man is a virtual series engaging men in dialogue on topics of identity, gender stereotypes, interpersonal violence, race, politics, and social justice. Each event will feature a panel of men from diverse backgrounds, professions, and experiences who will share their stories and engage in dialogue with participants.

Come hear community leaders and campus members share their stories about how men engage from the heart in creating healthy relationships, healthy communities, and platforms for social change.

The Heart to Heart Focus Group is an initiative seeking to strategically engage male students of color in holistic support for retention, while also developing a shared commitment to ending gender-based violence. Students will be paid for their participation. For more information about how to get involved please see the Heart to Heart Focus Group page.

This series is a collaboration of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Title IX, and #STCCWeCan. #STCCWeCan is an initiative of the STCC Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) Campus Program grant that seeks to engage the campus community in the shared work of preventing sexual and relationship violence. Together, we can be the change we want to see in the world.

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Upcoming Conversations

Changing Hearts: Mens’ Role in Ending Gender-based Violence

Gender-based violence, including dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, is a widespread issue that impacts communities across the United States and around the world. As fathers, brothers, uncles, teachers, coaches, and friends, men hold a critical role in creating families and communities free of gender-based violence. Come and listen to experts and community panelists as they break down the complex roots of violence and share how men and masculine identified people can mobilize one another to create social change.

Date: Thursday, April 8, 2021
Time: 2:00 p.m.

Jesse MahlerJesse Mahler: As program specialist on the Public Education team Futures Without Violence, Jesse advances national violence prevention campaigns that engage youth, men and boys, educators, and athletic coaches such as Coaching Boys Into Men. His passion for creating sustainable structures for cultural change around gender and racial justice have led him to specialize in program strategy, community organizing, group facilitation and youth leadership development, skills that he brings to his training and technical assistance with OVW. Prior to FUTURES, Jesse organized with young activists at The Center for Teen Empowerment in Boston and led healing spaces for men in the Jewish community.

Jorge VidalJorge Vidal is a community builder, healer, and social justice practitioner/ally born in Peru who has made the US home for 32 years. Over the decades, as a front-line worker, Jorge has been a witness to many injustices and lack of celebration for BITQPOC folks. Leading with feminine energy as a Latino man was not always easy, but magic happened when Jorge found power in his intersections. He has been a strong advocate for cultural organizations and peers across the US as a cultural leader. Jorge has built and led local NY programs as an Assistant Director and transfer the knowledge in 3 states he lived in, including Puerto Rico, DC, and Florida. In all, he has lived and worked with the Latino community in 5 different states. Within the domestic violence and HIV/AIDS movement, Jorge has contributed to policy changes within organizations, race equity consultant, technical assistance provider, mentor to cultural leaders, and speaker in numerous conferences around and outside the United States. Jorge values and fights the undermining of heart-to-heart connection that often is overlooked in our work. He holds a master's in social work from Fordham University.

Eric BrownEric S. Brown, M.Ed. is a Professor of Psychology at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). At STCC, Eric created the Human Services/Social Work Program, as well as the Psychology of Love course. Prior to coming to STCC, Eric worked as a Behavioral Specialist for the Pathfinder Outreach School Program in West Springfield, and created a Human Services Agency (Brown and Sullivan, Inc.) that specialized in co-occurring diagnosis and provided respite, residential, and crisis services. Eric’s connection to work to end gender-based violence is rooted in experiences as a private therapist in California where he specialized in domestic violence, was a member of the Southern California Task Force on Male Abusers, and worked as a therapist in the Women’s Shelter. Eric’s basic philosophy is that love is the answer to human connection, and that most behavioral complications occur due to a person’s inability to give or receive love.

Luis SantiagoI was born and raised in Yauco, a town in Puerto Rico, famous for its architecture, culture, and coffee plantations. My parents were school teachers, who were always reading and having discussions about history, politics, and social issues at the dinner table. This environment made me an avid reader, and also a good listener. Since a young age, I like listening to other people’s opinions, especially if they are different than mine. Sports were also a big part of my upbringing. I played many sports growing up, with baseball being my big love.

I went to College in the 90's, and graduated from Medical School at the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico. I practiced medicine for a few years, and I was always interested in how the inequalities and social injustices affected people’s health.

Life brought me to Springfield MA, where I worked as a Study Coordinator with an inner-city Infectious Disease Specialist, who does research mostly related to HIV and Hepatitis C.  This experience allowed me to see firsthand how the problems of violence, substance use, poverty, racism, and social injustice affect our city’s population.

For the last two years, I have had the privilege of working at the YWCA of Western Massachusetts, counseling survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. I believe that we, as men, have a responsibility to educate ourselves about the problems of domestic violence and sexual abuse, that we have the power to break with the cycle of gender stereotypes, and that we have an obligation to condemn toxic masculinity, which is one of the root causes of violence, homophobia, and misogyny. Besides working at the YWCA, I coach both girls and boys sports, a platform which I believe brings diverse families together, and that I use to create conscience, in both boys and girls, of the challenges that female athletes face when compared to their male counterparts.

Anthony HillDr. Anthony (Tony) C. Hill, Ed.D., MSW is a tenured, associate professor at Springfield College School of Social Work at Springfield College. Dr. Hill earned his B.S. degree in Human Services and Administration from Springfield College, his MSW from the University of Pennsylvania, and an Ed.D from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Dr. Hill has extensive experience in both the fields of social work and education and has been employed as a clinician, adjunct faculty member, school social worker, assistant principal, principal, and college administrator. He was the Distinguished Professor of Humanics for Springfield College in the academic year 2018-2019, the highest honor awarded to a faculty member at Springfield College. He has worked with Springfield Public Schools 100 Males to College initiative and formed a collaboration with the Springfield College student organization Men of Excellence in increasing opportunities for men of color to access higher education and excel academically, socially, and emotionally. Dr. Hill's experiences provide him with a unique perspective to teach students and work with organizations in addressing ways to improve staff morale, multicultural, diversity, and political, economic, and social justice issues.


Register Now

MENtally Showing Up: A Dialogue on Mental Health & Wellness

Date: Thursday, May 6, 2021
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Panelists: TBD

Register Now

Past Conversations

What are our experiences as men, and how do these experiences inform the way we relate to ourselves, our families, and our roles in the community? Join community and campus panelists as they share how their personal stories shaped how they have experienced healthy masculinity, practiced seeking support, and found ways to express vulnerability.

Date: Thursday, Oct 22
Time: 2:00 p.m.


  • Kevin Powell,  Acclaimed Writer, Author, Civil and Human Rights Activist
  • M. Quentin B.L. Williams, Esq., Educator, Author and International Speaker
  • Justice Roe Williams, Personal Trainer and Executive Director of BodyImage4Justice 
  • Brian Candido, STCC Faculty and Department Chair, Computer and Information Technology

If you missed the October 22 event please see the video below.

How can we show up to our role as fathers and in our families to challenge gender stereotypes, and model healthy and equitable relationships? Listen to campus and community panelists as they share how they engage with fatherhood to shift stereotypes, break cycles of violence, and create healing and change in their families for current and future generations.

Date: Thursday, Nov 12
Time: 2:00 p.m.


  • Dr. Anthony "Tony" C. Hill, Distinguished Associate Professor, Springfield College
  • Kevin Powell,  Acclaimed Writer, Author, Civil and Human Rights Activist
  • Joe Rivera, Chief STCC Police and Senior Director of Public Safety
  • M. Quentin B.L. Williams, Esq., Educator, Author and International Speaker
  • Justice Roe Williams, Personal Trainer and Executive Director of BodyImage4Justice

How do experiences of racialized trauma and police violence impact the way men of color show up to their families and communities, and what are the steps forward needed for both social change and healing? Listen to experts and community panelists as they get to the heart of the issue of police violence and its connection to violence inside the home, and help us to identify ways toward healing what is broken.

Date: Thursday, Dec 3
Time: 2:00 p.m.


  • Justin J. Hurst, Esq., Springfield City Councilor, Educator and Entrepreneur
  • Kevin Powell, Acclaimed Writer, Author, Civil and Human Rights Activist
  • Dr. Kobie Stewart, Assistant Professor/Coordinator, Criminal Justice, Asnuntuck Community College
  • M. Quentin B.L. Williams, Esq., Educator, Author and International Speaker

How do you define education? Is it in the classroom, the community, or beyond? This session will focus on how race, class, and gender shape the experiences of men of color in education both inside and outside of the classroom. Join campus and community panelists as they share how they have overcome barriers and the impact that educational experiences have had on their lives, self-worth, and relationships.

Date: Thursday, Feb 11, 2021
Time: 2:00 p.m.

  • Miguel Velez, ABE & ELL Intake Specialist, Springfield Adult Learning Center
  • Elijah A. Oliver Sr., MS., Founder & CEO of Take FLYGHT Enterprises
  • Michael Peterson, Father, Poet, Spoken Word Artist; Dean of Students, New Britain High School, CT
  • Shaun Woodly, PhD., Educator, Author and Professional Development Expert
  • Stephen A. Arrington, M.Ed, Assistant Principal at Dozier Middle School, Newport News VA, Musician, and Arts Advocate

How do experiences of racialized trauma and police violence impact the way men of color show up to their families and communities, and what is needed for both social change and healing?  Listen to experts and community panelists as we continue this dialogue, with a focus on current events that shed a light on the disproportionate response of law enforcement based on race, power, and political ideology.

Date: Thursday, March 11, 2021
Time: 2:00 p.m.

  • Kobie Stewart, Ed.D., Assistant Professor/Coordinator, Criminal Justice, Asnuntuck Community College
  • J. Anthony Guillory Ph.D., Adjunct Faculty, History, STCC
  • Justin Hurst, Esq., President, Springfield City Council, Educator, Entrepreneur
  • José López-Figueroa, M.P.A., Director, Center for Access Services, STCC


Prospective students or current students who need accommodations should contact the Office of Disability Services at 755-4785 or via email at disability-services@stcc.edu at least two weeks in advance.

Members of the general public or employees who need accommodations should contact Affirmative Action Officer, Kathryn C. Senie, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources at kcsenie@stcc.edu at least two weeks in advance.


If you are interested in learning about more ways to support the Heart of a Man Series, please feel free to contact us using the information below:

Vonetta Lightfoot
Multicultural Affairs Operations Manager
(413) 755-4461

Cindy Breunig
Violence Prevention Coordinator
Campus Police
(413) 755-6553