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.

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

Heart Space: A Conversation with Frederick Joseph

Heart Space is an intimate conversation spotlighting the voices of nationally known speakers who will share their stories and engage in dialogue on topics of identity, gender stereotypes, interpersonal violence, race, politics, and social justice. In this session, we will feature Frederick Joseph, Award-winning author, Activist, Philanthropist, and Marketing Professional. 

Date: Thursday, November 18, 2021
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom Webinar
Panelist: 

  • Frederick Joseph, Award-winning Author, Activist, Philanthropist, and Marketing Professional

Register Now

About our Moderator

James LightfootJames H. Lightfoot, III, M.S. is originally from Detroit, MI where he learned the importance of having an education and building a strong professional network. James attended Grand Valley State University where he attained a Bachelor’s in Science degree in Public Administration and Springfield College where he obtained a Master’s in Science degree in Organizational Management and Leadership. James’ experience includes work in youth programs from various community-based organizations throughout Michigan and Massachusetts. James is a higher education professional at Springfield Technical Community College where he serves as Coordinator of Academic Advising.

James’ other areas of experience include teaching, program coordination, mentoring, and liaison for youth organizations. James performs in Community Theater, enjoys the creative arts, and looks to create outlets for youth and young adults to express their creativity through the arts. Among his numerous community commitments, James makes time to serve on multiple boards and is a member of the local chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Bios

Gustavo AcostaGustavo Acosta is a full-time Academic Counselor at the STCC Academic Advising & Transfer Center. Originally from El Salvador in Central America, Gustavo came to the United States as undocumented immigrant in 1981 when he was targeted by the US-backed military government in his native Santa Ana for his activism with the student revolutionary movement during the peak of the government’s repression campaign. Gustavo has worked and lived in LA, SF, WDC, and NYC where he worked for immigrant and refugee rights organizations, political organizing campaigns, ESL/GED adult education programs and health-risk prevention programs for public institutions and organizations. He moved with his family to Western Massachusetts in 1996. Before joining STCC in 2019, Gustavo has worked for nonprofit organizations and educational institutions as an outreach worker, program manager and director of family and youth educational and leadership development programs in Holyoke and Springfield. He has served in the Board of Directors of Nueva Esperanza, The Men’s Resource Center of Western Mass, and in the Planning Board of the City of Holyoke. Gustavo holds a M.B. in Leadership and Management of Non-Profit Organizations from Springfield College.

Hugo BaltaHugo Balta is an experienced, award-winning, broadcast & digital media news executive directing growth and innovation in several divisions and businesses in the U.S. and Latin America.

Balta is the Owner and Publisher of the Latino News Network, overseeing an independent group of five local news and information websites with a statewide, community editorial focus that includes MALatinoNews.com in Massachusetts.

Hugo is the twice president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). He was inducted into the organizations Hall of Fame in 2016.

That same year, Balta founded the Hortencia Zavala Foundation (HZF), a not-for-profit organization in honor of his late Abuelita Hortencia that provides scholarships for students studying Journalism. In 2020, HZF expanded its support of young journalists by sponsoring the Journalism Camp: covering race, ethnicity, and culture. The 12-week course provides mentoring and real work experiences.

Balta’s nearly 30-years of experience include leadership roles with storied news networks including PBS, NBC, ABC, CBS, Telemundo, and ESPN.

Frederick JosephFrederick Joseph is a Best-selling author and an award-winning activist, philanthropist, and marketing professional. His debut book, The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person, was an instant New York Times bestseller. Writing from the perspective of a friend, Joseph offers candid reflections on his own experiences with racism and conversations with prominent artists and activists about theirs—creating an essential read for white people who are committed anti-racists and those newly come to the cause of racial justice.

He was named to the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list, is a recipient of the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award from Comic-Con International, and was selected for the 2018 Root 100, an annual list of the most influential African Americans. Frederick consistently writes about marketing, culture, and politics for the Huffington Post, USA Today, NowThisNews, The Independent, amongst others and is a current contributor at AdWeek. He is also the creator of the largest individual Covid-19 support effort, the #RentRelief campaign, which has raised over $2 million dollars.

Marc LamontAs a scholar and award-winning author, Dr. Hill expertly dissects political and social moments as a way to initiate frank discussions on culture, politics and race. By identifying key issues, challenges, controversies and trends in the news, he spotlights the work that must be done to sustain the ongoing struggle for equality and freedom.

Dr. Hill’s message emphasizes the importance of working across generations to promote America’s youth and even rely on them to inspire future progress. He provides concrete solutions for bringing communities together, along with anecdotes and examples to inspire hope and courage.

On stage, Dr. Hill displays the charismatic and provocative style that has made him a popular host of HuffPost Live, BET News and VH1 Live, as well as a former political contributor for CNN. Audiences are drawn to his passion and intellect while responding positively to his call to continuously reimagine the world they want to live in.

 Jose H. Lopez-FigueroaBorn in Puerto Rico, raised in Worcester, MA. I earned my B.S. in C.J. from Westfield State University. After college, I went to Boston to work for Action for Boston Community Development, specifically working with DYS youth. I came back to Westfield State to earn my Master of Public Admin. I started at STCC in 2015 as a TRIO SSS Academic Counselor. For the past 5 years, I have had the pleasure serving as the Director of CAS. In this position I work one-on-one with students to assist them in overcoming non-academic barriers and challenges that may impact their ability to stay in school.

Miguel MariaBorn in New York, Miguel moved to Springfield at an early age with his family. His mother was from Puerto Rico and father was from the Dominican Republic. He went through the Springfield Public School system.

At Westfield State, he earned his bachelor’s degree with a dual major in Economics and Political Science. After completing his undergraduate degree, he returned to WSU to earn his Master's in Public Administration, concentrating in Public Management. As a Graduate Assistant in Academic Achievement, Miguel got a glimpse of what it was like to work in Higher Education and the importance of student success services. He decided this was the place for him. He is currently completing his Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed. D.). His research focus is on millennial administrators in Higher Education.

Before joining STCC as the Director of the Male Initiative for Leadership and Education (MILE), he worked as a Financial Aid Counselor at Westfield State University. Miguel is a first-generation college student and remembers how support services helped him achieve his goals.

“I’m so passionate about student support programs because I’m a product of student support programs,” As the Director of MILE, he works one-on-one with underrepresented male students to assist them in the college completion process. Miguel promotes student success by providing mentoring, academic support, and community engagement opportunities for MILE participants.

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.

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.

Panelists:

  • 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.

Panelists:

  • 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.

Panelists:

  • 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.
Panelists:

  • 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.
Panelists:

  • 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

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.
Panelists:

  • Jesse Mahler, Program Specialist- Futures Without Violence
  • Jorge Vidal, Director of Technical Assistance and Engagement- Caminar Latino
  • Eric Brown, M.Ed., Professor- Social Science, STCC
  • Luis Santiago, Direct Care Supervisor- YWCA of Western Mass.
  • Dr. Anthony C. Hill, Distinguished Associate Professor, Springfield College

Mental health and wellness is a critical issue throughout our country and on college campuses in particular. What are the challenges that prevent men from seeking support, addressing trauma, and taking steps to prioritize their own wellbeing?  Join campus and community panelists as they explore the impacts of race, class and gender on mens’ overall wellness. 

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

  • Larry Spotted Crow Mann, Writer, Poet, Cultural Educator & Traditional Storyteller
  • Richard Greco, Dean of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, STCC
  • Dr. Anthony C. Hill, Distinguished Associate Professor, Springfield College
  • Abraham Sculley, Professional Mental Health Speaker, Educator, Author, & Storyteller

Join us for the kick-off of the fall 2021 Heart of a Man Virtual Engaging Men Series with a focus on Hispanic Heritage Month. What are our experiences as Hispanic/Latino men, and how do these experiences inform the way we relate to ourselves, our families, and our roles in the community? Come listen to campus and community panelists share their perspectives on healthy masculinity and the practice of seeking support and expressing vulnerability.

Date: Thursday, October 14, 2021
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom Webinar
Panelists: 

  • Gustavo Acosta, Academic Advisor, STCC
  • Miguel Maria, Director, Male Initiative for Leadership in Education (MILE), STCC
  • Luis Santiago, Direct Care Supervisor, YWCA of Western Massachusetts
  • Hugo Balta, Owner of Latino News Network
  • Jose Lopez-Figueroa, Director of the Center for Access Services, STCC

Heart Space is an intimate conversation spotlighting the voices of nationally known speakers who will share their stories and engage in dialogue on topics of identity, gender stereotypes, interpersonal violence, race, politics and social justice. In this session, we will feature Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Award-winning Journalist, TV Personality, Author, and Social Justice Activist and Organizer.

Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom Webinar
Panelist: Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, Journalist, Author, Social Justice Activist, and Organizer.

Resources

Accommodations

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.

Contact

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
vmlightfoot@stcc.edu

Cindy Breunig
Violence Prevention Coordinator
Campus Police
(413) 755-6553
cbreunig@stcc.edu