Events & Programs

Time To Talk

prisons pic

This ongoing series brings some of the region's leading activists, scholars, and organizers to TSL for talks and panel discussions that directly engage the TSL community.

While topics focus on international, national, and local issues, the role and experience of the TSL community is at the forefront.

These events offer a unique opportunity for people to connect with others interested in learning about and affecting social change.

Community Relationships

We support organizations, ad hoc groups, and passionate individuals who seek to improve the quality of life in our community.

TSL regularly partners with others to create events and to work on long-term projects.



in collaboration with the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center -JUVENILE JUSTICE: What is Working / What is Not

July 17, 2013
Time To Talk: JUVENILE JUSTICE: FOLLOWING THE PLAYERS, in collaboration with the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center This series continues with a discussion, moderated by Linda Mussmann, about the probation process. Guests include: Michelle Clark (Probation, Youth Division), Clarissa Garvey (CC Attorney), Dan Kibler (Director of Probation), Paul Mossman (DSS), Judge Jonathan, Nichols (CC Court).


CODEPINK/MEDEA BENJAMIN/The Use of Killer Drones in Modern Warfare

July 16, 2013
Time To Talk: CODEPINK / MEDEA BENJAMIN / The Use of Killer Drones in Modern Warfare / in collaboration with WGXC 90.7 FM Hands-On Radio Medea Benjamin's presentation will include a comprehensive look at how drones are being used to assassinate people around the globe, the legal and moral implications of that policy and ways to build a movement to rein in this policy. The presentation will also look at how drones are coming to local police departments, and what that means for privacy rights. Benjamin is an author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. She is a co-founder of both CODEPINK and the international human rights organization Global Exchange. CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities.


Juvenile Justice in collaboration with Staley B Keith Social Justice Center - Discussion

June 12, 2013
TSL and the SBKSJC continue to explore the complex world of juvenile justice in New York State. Join the conversation, moderated by Richard Smith (Sociologist & Reentry Specialist), with Judge Jonathan D. Nichols (CC Court), Judge John Connor, Jr. (City of Hudson), Judge Mark S. Portin (City of Hudson), Robert Linville (CC Public Defender), and Gwen Avent (CASAC, CC Regional Family Juvenile Treatment Court).


Juvenile Justice in collaboration with Staley B Keith Social Justice Center - Discussion

May 10, 2013
Juvenile justice in New York State is a complex network of services and processes focused on providing targeted interventions that help justice-involved youth become successful and that keep our communities safe. Join the conversation, moderated by Andre Morris (Director Of Re-Entry Services, Trinity Alliance) with special guests Judge Jack Connor, Jr. (City of Hudson), Judge Richard Koweek (Columbia County), and Lee Wynn (Former Director Tryon Boys Center, Office of Children & Family Services).


A Place at the Table Potluck & Panel Discussion

April 26, 2013
Staley B Keith Social Justice Center presents

5:30pm Panel Discussion with SBK Mobile Food Pantry

6:30pm: Potluck

7:00pm: Movie "A Place at the Table"


Potluck & Discussion - The School to Prison Pipeline

April 9, 2013
Special guest speakers include: Hon. Jonathan D. Nichols, Columbia County Court,and Richard Smith, Reentry Professional. Focus is on the PINS program and its effect on this community.


Potluck & Reading & Discussion - Womens' Words, Women's Voices

March 22, 2013
In celebration of Women's History Month and the publication, 50 years ago, of Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" which gave birth to the second wave of feminism), TSL hosts a potluck supper starting at 6:00 followed by readings from some of our favorite writers - old and new -whose writings enlighten and engage us and encourage us to think about the strength that comes from making our voices heard.


Potluck & Discussion - The School to Prison Pipeline

February 13, 2013
Potluck followed by a panel of people who are from this community who have been impacted by the "school to prison pipeline" process that is acted out in our very own back yard. Organized by Linda Mussmann & Quintin Cross as part of the "Justice" project.
Special guest speaker Richard Smith, who works as a reentry professional, guiding men and women as they emerge from prison, is a graduate of the Master's program in Africana Studies at the University at Albany and a cum laude graduate in Sociology from Boston University. Originally from Hudson, Richard and company will address the issues that affect our young people as they travel through the school system and are subject to PINS petitions which place them firmly in the grip of the "state". People on PINS have a lawyer, appear before the County Judge and the probation office is involved.

Information about PINS PINS petitions are not the only harm that generate disciplinary actions such as out of school suspensions etc. Here is some information from Lynn Sloneker's blog UNMUFFLED *A PINS proceeding is initiated when a Person In Need of Supervision petition is filed requesting court ordered treatment or supervision of a child alleged to behave inappropriately. The petition may be filed by a parent or guardian, school district or social service agency with whom a child is placed. In 2010, the Hudson City School District was responsible or the overwhelming majority -- 59 percent -- of all PINS petitions filed in Columbia County. Data provided by Columbia County also indicated a disproportionate number of children of color enrolled in the Hudson district were placed in detention and placement settings between 2008 and 2010.


Poets Raise Their Voices!

January 25, 2013
Potluck will start at 6:30 join us for some food and conversation prior to the event at 7pm. TSL continues its series featuring poets whose words speak to the issues of poverty, justice, mass incarceration, and emancipation. In Celebration of The Emancipation Proclamation that was made law by Abraham Lincoln Jan. 1, 1863. The 150th anniversary is a celebration and a mark along the way toward freedom. Organized by Linda Mussmann and Quintin Cross.

  • Derek Anderson spent 31 years in prison. He believes that he became a routine statistic and victim of the system because he had no way to achieve his own empowerment. Poetry has provided a way for his voice to be heard.
  • Ifetayo Cobbins is a resident of Hudson, NY, who has been performing since 2007, exploring the depths of her poetry and pursuing her dream to write and be heard. This month, TSL published Ife's first volume of poetry: Trying to Make a Dollar Out of Fifty Cents.
  • Alexis Marie is a 20-year-old Brooklyn native with a passion for social justice and change. She is a spoken word artist, creator and community activist, and student at Simon's Rock College.
  • Cara Benenson Professor of Poetry at Mt. McGregor Correctional Faccility and organizer of the Pen Prison Writing Program.


Poet's Raise Their Voices!

December 14, 2012
Poets from around the region add their voices to the issues surrounding mass incarceration, poverty, justice, and moving on. Poets include Hudsonian, Ifatayo Cobbins, Derick Anderson & Friends from Albany, Students from Simon's Rock College, and Cara Benenson, Professor of Poetry at Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility and organizer of the Pen Prison Writing Program. This is a continuation of the TSL series dedicated to understanding what the "War on Drugs" has done to our communities over the past decades and what our communities can do to demand change and move forward. Suggested contribution: $5.00 TSL members $10 non-members.


Dr. Helen Caldicott: "If You Love This Planet"

November 29, 2011
The single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises, Dr Helen Caldicott, has devoted the last 4 decades to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and the necessary changes in human behavior to stop environmental destruction. Lecture will be followed by a Q&A. $10.


Our Bees, Our Health - a roundtable discussion

November 8, 2009
Join beekeeper Skye Taylor and herbalist Margo Mullein for a round table discussion about the intersections between honey bees and health - from the healing path of a beekeeper, to herbs that bees pollinates, to bee health through herbal gardening and improved hive design. This is a great opportunity to meet fellow bee enthusiasts and TSL's beekeeper, who will be taking on a small number of apprentices starting in January 2010 for a series of 10 monthly workshops. And all of it will be over a delicious, sustainability-minded brunch.


Jimmy Massey From Mills River to Babylon and Back

June 2, 2009
Guest Speaker: Former Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey, a 12-year Marine veteran, and co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Massey speaks with Joseph C. Stillman's documentary that chronicles the life of Massey and examines the political, legal, moral, and human rights implications of the war. Interviews with Martin Sheen (actor/human rights activist), Ramsey Clark (former U.S. Attorney General), Cindy Sheehan (founder of the Gold Star Families), Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and others.

2009, 68 minutes


Frida Berrigan

May 14, 2009
Frida Berrigan is Senior Program Associate of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. Previously, she served for eight years as Deputy Director and Senior Research Associate at the Arms Trade Resource Center at the World Policy Institute at the New School in New York City. She has also worked as a researcher at The Nation magazine. She is a columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus and a contributing editor of In These Times magazine. She has been a featured expert on national and regional radio outlets, and regularly speaks on national security issues to citizen’s organizations and at major conferences throughout the United States.


Slow Money/Slow Food

April 24, 2009
This event is a stellar first for Columbia County. The Schumacher Society, The Columbia Land Conservancy, Hawthorne Valley Farm and Gianni Ortiz are honored to bring Woody Tasch, author of Slow Money, Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered and Paolo Di Croce, Executive Director of Slow Food International, together to discuss their creative initiatives and the impact these ideas are having locally and globally.


Revolution '67

February 13, 2009
with Jerome Bongiorno & Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno
REVOLUTION '67 is an illuminating account of events too often relegated to footnotes in U.S. history - the black urban rebellions of the 1960s. Focusing on the six-day Newark, N.J., outbreak on July 12, 1967, the film reveals how the disturbance began as spontaneous revolts against poverty and police brutality and ended as fateful milestones in America's struggles over race and economic justice. Voices from across the spectrum - activist Tom Hayden journalist Bob Herbert, former Mayor Sharpe James and other officials, National Guardsmen and Newark citizens - recall lessons as hard-learned then as they have been easy to neglect since. Featured on PBS's celebrated P.O.V. series. Made possible, in part, with funds from the Axe-Houghton Foundation.

2007, 87 minutes


Why Shamanism Now

August 21, 2008
Imagine having the following dream: A spider appears, tells you that you need an "ego death", and then rips you to shreds. You might think that was a bad thing. You'd be wrong. If you look up "spiders", "ego death", and "dismemberment" in your handy-dandy Encyclopedia of Shamanism, you'll discover that, shamanically speaking this dream is in fact a powerful gift from the Spirit. Intrigued? Come join shaman author Christina Pratt for a discussion titled, "Why Shamanism Now?"

A shamanic skill set is humanity's birthright. When humans used this skill set, they lived without separation from spirit in the physical work, co-existed in harmony with the environment, and made decisions that were beneficial for the next seven generations. Some would argue that today we don't make decisions that are good for one generation. More often than not, we find that the decisions that do work solve one problem in the short term, only to breed more unexpected problems in the future. We need shamanism now to recover the skill set necessary to make better decisions daily, setting us in good relation with all living things. We need this technology for working directly with spirit to chart a practical, effective and wise path to bringing humanity - in all of its diversity - into balance with the earth and her limited resources. An Encyclopedia of Shamanism can be a tool an ally in assisting us to work together and with the assistance of the invisible world, to accomplish that which at first glance may seem impossible.


The Coming Permanent Energy Crisis with James Howard Kunstler

February 2, 2008
The author of Geography of Nowhere will speak on The Coming Permanent Energy Crisis. Co-Sponsored by Scenic Hudson

Praise for Geography of Nowhere:

"A wonderfully entertaining useful and provocative account of the American environment by the auto, suburban developers, purblind zoning and corporate pirates."
-Robert Taylor, Boston Globe

"A serious attempt to point out ways future builders can avoid the errors that have marred the American landscape.'
-The New Yorker

"Contributes to a discussion our society must hold if we are to shape our world as it continues to change at a dizzying pace."
-James G. Garrison, The Christian Science Monitor

"Provocative and entertaining."
-Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times


James Ivory in Conversation

November 10, 2007
Sold Out! For waiting list reservations call the Historical Society at 518-758-9265.

Director Chris Terrio leads a conversation with James Ivory

Internationally renowned film director James Ivory will discuss his forty-six years as an independent filmmaker, the art of making movies in the cinematic cultures of Asia, Europe, and America, and his experiences working with some of the most celebrated actors and writers of our era. He will be interviewed by director Chris Terrio, whose 2005 film Heights, starring Glenn Close, was a Merchant-Ivory production. They will use clips from award-winning Merchant-Ivory films such as Room With A View, Howards End, and Remains of the Day to elucidate the process of creating films that have lasting import. Ivory will also speak about his skirmishes with the Picasso family, Thomas Jefferson scholars, and explosive actors.

In Merchant Ivory Productions, James Ivory, his partner Ismail Merchant, and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala worked together for forty-five years in what Andrew Sarris called "the most famous collaborative troika in film history." Merchant Ivory Productions made over thirty-five films for theaters and television on several continents. Their last movie together was The White Countess.


Hudson Weather Fugues with Margaret Cogswell

October 21, 2007
Incorporates weather related stories contributed by individuals who work or live near the river and know it intimately as fishermen, boat builders, sailors, climate historians, conservationists, naturalists and more.

120 minutes


1973 Nervous Breakdown with Andreas Killen and Alan and Susan Raymond

October 19, 2007
Andreas Killen, author of 1973 Nervous Breakdown: Watergate, Warhol, and the Birth of the Post-Sixties America, will speak, along with Alan and Susan Raymond creators of An American Family.

1973 signaled the end of the 1960s and the birth of a new cultural sensibility. The year was marked by upheaval: the defeat in Vietnam, Roe v Wade, OPEC oil embargo, and Watergate.


Cathy Wilkerson

October 6, 2007
Former SDS activist and Weatherman, Cathy Wilkerson will speak about her life and read from her memoir, Flying Close to the Sun.

"In this remarkable memoir, Cathy Wilkerson is honest, critical, yet respectful of the motivations that led herself and others into dreadful mistakes. Most important of all, she still believes that another and better world is possible." --Staughton Lynd

Former SDS activist and Weatherman, Cathy Wilkerson will speak about her life and read from her memoir, Flying Close to the Sun.

Legacy of Torture will also screen. (28 minutes) Eight former Black Panthers were arrested in January 2007 and charged with the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. The case rests on torture coerced "confessions" made in 1973.


River Cities Unite!

September 16, 2007
Stephen Tremaine, New Orleans native and resident, Bard College Graduate, Director of New Orleans Initiative at Bard College and other guests will discuss their work in New Orleans and the condition and current situation of this beloved American city.


Nobody Passes with Editor Mattilda

March 30, 2007
Editor and Writer, Mattilda a.k.a Matt Bernstein Sycamore rejects the rules of gender and conformity. pass (pa·s) -v.

  1. to be accepted as a member of a group by denying one's own ancestry or background: You could pass for an American.
  2. to serve as a barely acceptable substitute: He is awkward and shy, but he will passuntil I find another date.

Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity

A discussion with Mattilda, a.k.a Matt Bernstein Sycamore Nobody Passes starts by tearing binary gender norms to shreds, and then proceeds to examine the perilous intersections of identity, categorization, and community in order to challenge the very notion of belonging. From activism to academia, immigration to appropriation - to cruising for sex, hip-hop to disability culture - to transgender communities, Nobody Passes challenges both societal mores and countercultural norms, asking, If we eliminate the pressure to pass, what delicious and devastating opportunities for transformation might we create?


US Relations with Iran; the Prospects for Peace, Solidarity and Liberation

July 28, 2006
The US draws up war plans. Accusations of Iranian development of Weapons of Mass Destruction are increasing and President Bush blames the turmoil in Iraq, Israel, and Lebanon on Iran. Yet, life in Iran continues to be left out of mainstream media reporting. Join TSL and area activists to discuss what is going on and how we can forge a peace movement. Peace activists Carrole Ferraro and Diane Reinerm, and Iranian-born writer Leila Zand will discuss life in Iran, current US/Iran relations, and the history of the region. The discussion will draw on their photos and personal experiences.


Justice Series: On Bhopal

April 7, 2006
On December 23 1984, a Union Carbide factory malfunctioned, releasing one of the most toxic chemicals into the Indian city. Thousands died that night. A free health clinic has been set up in Bhopal and international movement is working for Justice to the Bhopal Survivors. There will be a movie and then a discussion led by volunteers who have worked at the clinic. Including TSL's events programmer - Michael Chameides.


Voter Fraud with Cheryl Gerber

January 12, 2006
Will your vote be stolen in 2006 with an electronic voting machine? The gross lack of security in e-voting machines presents an unprecented threat to our democracy. Yet the federal, so-called Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 requires all states to use e-voting machines by 2006. According to experts at Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Stanford University, e-voting computers are being pushed out the door before they are ready, leaving them wide open to election fraud, if it hasn't occurred already. Private e-voting machine companies have questionable ethics in their background and they are making millions of dollars off the HAVA Act, which appropriates $3.9 billion for only the first round of federal funding, to pay for these e-voting machines. There are three major e-voting machine companies who now control our elections and they all have highly partisan ties. These companies refuse to allow the inspection of their election software for malicious code and fraud. And there is no federal oversight body to monitor them.

The New York State Board of Elections is now in the process of reviewing and certifying these machines. The Board is required by law to provide an open comment timeframe on e-voting machines until January 20, 2006. It is imperative that voters make their concerns known to the Election Board before that time or New York could be in the same position in 2006 as Ohio and Florida were in 2000, 2002 and 2004, with the legitimacy of those elections still in question. Learn the facts of this problem and what you can do about it.

Cheryl Gerber is a technology marketing consultant and writer who has been covering technology for 18 years. She will summarize the myriad security problems of e-voting machines, show the movie Invisible Ballots and then facilitate a Q & A discussion afterwards. Invisible Ballots includes interviews with experts at the above-mentioned universities.


The Justice Series: Public Health & Prisons with Ernest Drucker

November 11, 2005
If you look at the way incarceration spreads through a neighborhood, from a public health perspective, it's an epidemic. Large areas of the country have been ravaged by the "disease" of the prison system. Epidemiologists use a measure called Years of Life Lost, or YLL, to express the impact of disasters. The Rockefeller Drug Laws led to 110,000 YLL, more than the 90,000 of the World Trade Center Attacks. For the last 30 years' worth of drug incarcerations, the total YLL is equivalent to more than 200,000 deaths-twice the number of U.S. soldiers killed in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Likewise, the life expectancy of African-Americans is significantly lower than that of Whites. Could this discrepancy be explained by the effects of mass incarceration - largely focused on African-Americans? Ernie Drucker, Professor of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, examines the facts.


Justice Series II: Kids and Courts

September 23, 2005
The focus for the second part of the Justice Series will be on young people. Columbia County Judge Nichols will speak about drug court and ways to redirect our resources and our young people in positive directions. Jenny Kronenfeld, director of the Vera Institute's Esperanza Project, will speak about this innovative justice program that seeks to reduce the number of youth placed in juvenile facilities. Nichols and Kronenfeld bring two distinct points of view to the discussion.


Downsizing Prisons with Michael Jacobson

August 19, 2005
Over 2 million people are incarcerated in US prison and jails. Since the 1970s, the U.S. prison population has increased eightfold.

More than 600,000 convicted felons annually leave prisons and return to the community. 67.5 percent of those who leave prison will be rearrested and 51.8 percent will be behind bars again in three years. Parole violators make up most of this group. Most return to prison not for committing new crimes, but breaking one or more of many parole conditions.

The national average caseload for probation is about 150:1. If current incarcerations rates remain constant, one in three Black males born today will go to prison in his lifetime, compared to one in six Hispanic males and one in 17 white males.

Because most in prison are in state prisons, reforming the system, means changes must happen in each state.

Michael Jacobson offers practical policy solutions and strategies for states to reduce their prison systems. Jacobson is the former Commissioner of the New York City Departments of Correction and Probation, current President and Director of the Vera Institute of Justice, and author of Downsizing Prisons: How to Reduce Crime and End Mass Incarceration. The discussion will be moderated by Daniel Karpowitz, director of the Bard Prison Initiative. This is the first part of the TSL Justice Series.


Jennifer Washburn

May 6, 2005
In hard-hitting expose-style, investigative journalist Jennifer Washburn reveals how conflicts of interest, involving individual scientists and often entire universities, have led to compromised research and a loss of scholarly independence. This toxic mix of science and profit - in areas ranging from medicine to the environment - jeopardizes the well-being of millions who rely on the historic impartiality of academic research. It is eroding academic freedom and weakening the university's capacity to perform pathbreaking research and innovation.

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