Forum on Tolerance logo with dove

The idea of the Forum on Tolerance germinated from a Professional Development Day at North Shore Community College in 1994, when Jan Darsa and Sonia Weitz formally introduced the topic of the Holocaust to the College community. The reception by faculty and staff was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. The college administration released funds to follow up Holocaust education informally with movies like Schindler’s List, plays like Children of the Holocaust, and field trips to see exhibits such as Holocaust artwork. In addition, the student body and faculty/staff were invited to the “ADL Annual Interfaith Passover Seder” and “Yom Hashoah - Interfaith Holocaust Commemoration.”

Following Professional Day 1994, we held an end-of- semester workshop presented by Dr. Steve Cohen entitled “Who Decided Who I Am?” (5/25/94). The idea of diversifying our programming in order to interest the community-at-large, inasmuch as the community college mission is to satisfy the educational needs of the people in the community, led to forums on tolerance. We kept the May date for an annual forum and later branched into a second yearly forum in  nds of faculty, staff, students and members of the community have attended these forums.


Forums at a Glance

Public participation and engagement:
NSCC invites students, faculty, staff and all members of the public to participate in these insightful events and to embrace the message of tolerance in their daily lives. 

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12 silhouettes of women's heads around a illustration of a uterus with "We're Not There Yet: Still fighting sexism and misogyny in the U.S." over it with a ghosted background of barbed wire.

October 27th, 2022

This past year, women’s rights in the U.S. have slid backward, most notably with the overturning of Roe versus Wade. In this forum, we will explore what that means for women’s autonomy over their own bodies and how this ruling impacts all of us.

Please join Professor Wanda Pothier-Hill, Dr. Kara Kaufman, Dr. Jennifer Harris, and Dr. Laurie Carlson for a viewing of short documentaries and a panel discussion about the current status of gender equality in the U.S. 


Eyeless eagle in front of a star in LGBTQ+ colors

Virtual Event from April 18th-21st, 2022

Beginning with the Selective Service Act of 1917 that brought 700,000 BIPOC men to the U.S. military (History, Art, and Archives), the armed services would grow to include women, LGBTQ+ folks, and other historically marginalized populations.  What are some of the experiences of the brave citizens from marginalized groups serving in the military? What was is it like afterward? Was the experience empowering, disempowering, or something else?

This event was co-sponsored by North Shore Community College's Office of Academic Affairs, RAP Experience, and Sheldon and Fran Brown Forum on Tolerance Endowed Fund.

Animation of collage of asian faces making up one head.

Virtual Event from October 18th-21st, 2021.

The need for this forum was spurred by the devastating 149 percent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in American cities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are also aware that such sentiments that exclude, stereotype, and target Asian-Americans have existed well before the recent pandemic.   What we hope to achieve with this forum is to share a variety of unique human stories that explore the many Identities, Struggles, & Contributions of Asian-Americans. We hope that all participants will also share their unique answers to the question, “What does Asian-American mean?”

  • Dr. Paul Watanabe, No Longer Strangers: Uncovering the Asian American Experience
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission and Cambridge Youth Council: A Panel Discussion with Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission, Executive Director, Yasmin Padamsee Forbes and Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission, Commissioner, Cinda Danh and Cambridge Youth Council member, Ziya Forbes.
  • Panel Discussion with Dr. Ben Railton from Fitchburg State University, Asian American Histories and Stories
  • Dr. Li Li from Salem State University, From the Chinese South to the American South: Historical, Personal, and Beyond
  • Author Aimee Liu, The Forbidden Family: From Imperial China to American Miscegenation



45th Forum on Tolerance GIF

April 12–April 16, 2021 (virtual event)

WITH OUR CONDEMNATION of the senseless murder of George Floyd as our catalyst, our virtual series will focus on the history of the harassment, profiling, and brutalization of our black citizens by the hands of community policing and the criminal justice system. We will explore steps that might be taken to reverse this systemic racism, help those who have been victimized by it, and heal as a nation and a community.

  • Dr. Chenzira Davis-Kahina: AfRaKan Healing TEA: Tolerance, Equity and Advocacy for Social justice during UN-IDPAD

  • NSCC Professors Troy Smith and yusef Hayes: Which Side is Hip Hop on?
  • Dr. Tiffany Magnolia: Intercultural Communication Training
  • Diverse People United and Solidarity north Shore: Message 'from' the Grassroots: Discussion with local organizers, scholars, and activists
  • Keynote Sean Ellis 
  • District Attorney, Rachael Rollins and Rev. Andre Bennett: Reforming a Broken Justice System
  • Student Conference: Listening and Acting on the Voices of our Students of Color


Black Lives Matter type

October 19–October 22, 2020 (virtual event)

WITH OUR CONDEMNATION of the senseless murder of George Floyd as our catalyst, our virtual series will focus on the history of the harassment, profiling, and brutalization of our black citizens by the hands of community policing and the criminal justice system. We will explore steps that might be taken to reverse this systemic racism, help those who have been victimized by it, and heal as a nation and a community.

  • Michael Eric Dyson Keynote with Introductions by Dr. Nate Bryant and Dr. Sean Bennett
  • Viewing and Discussion of documentary 13th with Professor Nathan Chio
  • Ricky Grant, Jr., Chief of Community Engagement, Office of Suffolk County D.A. Rachael Rollins 
  • Implicit Bias Training with Dr. Maria Vasquez and Dr. Jennifer Harris
  • Speaker Reverend Andre Bennett, NSCC Alumnus/Youth Minister at Zion Baptist Church
  • Performance Artist/Creator of Princess Day, Valerie Stephens.


Online hate image

October 21st–Oct. 24th, 2019

  • SSU Prof. Larry Davis
  • SSU Prof. Kevin Borgeson
  • SSU Dan Eshet
  • Alec May
  • Matt Savini-Burke

 This event was CANCELLED due to coronavirus.

Animal rights poster

April 24th–April 25th, 2019

Both animals and human beings in minority categories are exploited by the machine of white cisgender patriarchal Capitalism. Example: The meat industry exploits both animals and workers at the same time. In this Forum, we will explore this intersection and how being humane to animals can increase our overall humanity. 

  • Mike Keiley
  • Stephanie Harris
  • Lynne Snierson and Professor Diane M. Sullivan
  • Documentary presentation of the film The Last Pig.

Power, Privilege logo

Oct. 19th–Oct. 20th, 2018

By bringing the community together and beginning a dialogue, participants will learn about the history of privilege in our country and look at how to advance equity. With outstanding keynote speakers and dynamic workshops, we will explore issues of income inequality, disparities in the criminal justice system, and barriers to education and employment that impede progress.

This is not about blame; it is about listening deeply, talking with each other, and increasing our awareness, and to bring us closer to the understanding we all desire.

  • yusef Salaam
  • Barbara J. Love, and Jacqueline Battalora

Respect and Inclusion image

April 11th–April 12th, 2018

How do we combat hate in order to create communities that are truly inclusive? What exactly is the line between free speech and hate speech? What can you do to combat hate in your community? 
In this event we hope to engage in an open dialogue about these questions and come up with strategies to create a community that is not only tolerant but accepting. 

  • Attorney Joe Berman

Image of reverse statue of liberty

November 1st –November 2nd., 2017

We recognize that immigrants are now and have always been the backbone of our community, and we are saddened by recent events that might make our immigrant community feel fearful, rejected, or excluded. Please join us as we celebrate our immigrant community and acknowledge their struggles, while discussing possible solutions to impending legal challenges.

  • Viewing of documentary entitled The Invisible Crisis: The Female Face of Forced Migration
  • Keynote, Attorney Maria L. Santos, At the Heart of U.S. Immigration–DACA.
  • Rick Jakious, MA District Director from Seth Moulton’s office
  • Fatima Jallow Nambouh, student speaker, My Immigrant Story.

Image of senior women

April 20th–April 21st, 2017

  • Alice Bonner, Secretary Elder Affairs
  • Phyllis DeLaricheliere
  • Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion, Archives & Etchings
  • Dr. Michael Sandberg and Thomas MacLachlan, NSCC Professor Emeritus.

Origami elephant and donkey photo

October 27th–October 28th, 2016

With the divisive nature of the coming presidential election, and the civil unrest happening in this country; How do we get along and work with those who hold political beliefs different than our own? 
How can we celebrate our commonalities and see ourselves as one nation?

  • NSCC President Emeritus Wayne Burton
  • Prof. yusef Hayes and Prof. Troy Smith, Beyond Political Correctness: Finding Common Ground in Social Justice & Community Building
  • Sheriff Frank Cousins, Building Trust in Law Enforcement
  • Student Perspectives from the "Presidential Election Teach-In”
  • Dr. Lawrence Davis, Dr. Kara Kaufman, Estelle Rand (Beverly MA Ward 2 Representative) and NSCC Students, How Can Americans Create a New Language of Political Tolerance?

Gender Box image

April 14th–April 15th, 2016

Transgender people, and particularly transgender women of color, are disproportionately affected by hate violence in our communities (GLAAD). In 2015, 20 transgender people lost their lives to hate crimes. Through understanding and empathy this forum seeks to make our community safer for transgender individuals.

  • Alishia Ouellette, the first MA Firefighter to transition on the job.
  • Dr. Tiffany Magnolia and Dr. Kara Kaufman Stepping In & Out Of The Box
  • Marcia Garber, NSCC student Gianni Lara, and  Steve Harrington of North Shore Alliance for LGBT Youth (NaGLY), Stories From The Heart

 Barbwired fence image

October 21st–October 22nd, 2015

Understanding and healing for those reentering the community after a conviction, the community that accepts them, and the criminal justice system as a whole.

  • Prof. Steven Chisholm: Drug Related Offenses and Mass Incarceration
  • Keynote Speaker: NSCC Student and motivational speaker, Ruben Holguin, Now What? Faces of Healing 
    After Incarceration
  • Dr. Gina Curcio, NSCC Criminal Justice faculty and Dr. Robert Waxler, UMass-Dartmouth 
    Professor, Second Chances for Criminal Offenders: History, Reforms and Rehabilitation 

 April 23rd–April 24th, 2015 

  • Dr. Sehdev Kumar is Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo, Canada; currently he lectures on Bioethics, Forgiveness and Science-Religion Dialogue at the University of Toronto.

    Philosopher and historian of science, Dr. Kumar has written and lectured extensively about Bioethics and Cultural issues globally.

    Author of recently published Matters of Life & Death: Reflections on Bioethics, Law and the Human Destiny, his forthcoming books are: “Time to Remember: Time to Forget—From Fear to Forgiveness” and “7000 Million Degrees of Freedom.”

    Dr. Kumar conducts workshops on Forgiveness and Healing internationally. For over four years, he has written a weekly column, ‘Ideas & Beliefs’ about forgiveness and cultural issues for South Asian Observer in Canada. 


Homeless image

October 22nd–October 23rd, 2014

WHO are the Homeless?

  • Screening of the documentary, No Place Like home
  • Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau
  • NSCC Alumni
  • House Speaker Robert DeLeo
  • Community Activist Judie VanKooiman

WHAT Are The Causes of Homelessness?

  • Gini Mazman -Program Director, The Haven Project
  • Richard Adelman - NSCC Professor
  • Barbara Ikalainen - NSCC Green Curriculum Coordinator
  • Dr. Carlos Marin - NSCC Professor
  • NSCC Students

What can be done?

  • Peggy Andreas - Nurse, Boston Health Care For The Homeless
  • Donna Davis - NSCC Mental Health Advisor & Senior Academic Advisor
  • Debbie Campbell - NSCC Mental Health Advisor & Senior Academic Advisor
  • Corey Jackson - Director, Citizens For Adequate Housing
  • Kelly Turley - Director of Legislative Advocacy, MA Coalition For The Homeless

Earth image

April 24th, 2014

  •  Keynote: Janot Medler de Suarez, Climate Change Resilience 
     Consultant  & Visiting Research Fellow at Boston University
  • “What’s Your Ecological Footprint?” 
     – Dr. Carlos Marin & Leanne McGuinness
  • “Human Impact on the Environment”
      – Dr. Frederick Altieri & Professor  Joseph Modugno
  • “The Challenges of Change” 
    – Lori LaB. Schwarz, The Massachusetts Audubon Society 
     – Barbara Ikalainen, NSCC Green Initiative Coordinator & NSCC Students
  • “What You Can Do To Help” – NSCC Environmental Club


October 3rd, 2013

  • Marcia Hohn and Jeff Gross

Seven Fingers Chagall self portrait painting

March 11th, 2013 

Noted author and authority on Marc Chagall, Jacobson worked for Chagall for 11 years and has written about her experiences in her book, Sharing Chagall: A Memoir.

Vivian Jacobson was honored to work closely with Chagall on major international projects during the last eleven years of his life. Among them was heading up the fundraising committee to present a Chagall tapestry to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in 1986. Woven by Yvette Cauquil-Prince of Paris, the masterful Job tapestry was commissioned by the Friends of the Chagall Tapestry.

In 2001, Vivian Jacobson was  appointed a speaker on Marc Chagall for the North Carolina Humanities Council Forum and the grant was extended through 2014. She has lectured for art groups, museums, churches, synagogues, colleges and schools nationally as well as in Europe and Israel.

  • Vivian R. Jacobson , author and artist

October 25th, 2012 

  • Rabbi Moshe Waldoks on The Art of Dialogue

  • Panel of religious leaders 
    - Soto Zen Priest Joan Amaral 
    - Rev. Dr. Dennis Calhoun 
    - Rabbi Baruch HaLevi 
    - Chaplain Mary LaHaj 
    - Chaplain Jane Korins, Moderator

  • NSCC Panel 
    - David Houle, LGBT Church 
    - Donna Richemond, Seventh Day Adventist 
    - Donna Collins, Congregational

  • Music and Dance
    - ISKCON Boston 
    - Doreen Murray & the Follow Hymn Choir 
    - Hope Rising 
    - Ruach Rally Band 
    - Sufi Ruhaniat 
    - Sufi Order International 

November 3rd, 2011

  • Shonda Schilling, Our Family’s Journey with Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Dr. Karen Levine, Characteristics and Treatment of Autism
  • Barbara L'Italien, Advocating for Individuals with Autism
  • Panel of experts moderated by President Wayne Burton

March 31st, 2011

  • Derrek Shulman, Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League, New England Region
  • Jacqui DeLorenzo, author of A Thread of Hope
  • Brigitte Berman, teen activist & author of Dorie Witt’s Guide to Surviving Bullies


November 4th, 2010

Rabbi Reuven Cohn will discuss his parent's rescue by Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat who saved 6,000 Jews from the grasp of Nazi Germans in 1940.

  • Rabbi Reuven Cohn, instructor at Hebrew College and Maimonides School in Boston
  • Excerpts from video, Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness
  • Chorus Boston, Japanese singing group
  • The Honorable Toyohisa Kozuki, Consul General of Japan in Boston


April 8th, 2010

  • Dr. Cheryl Finkelstein
  • Professor Bruce Ciaramella
  • Coordinator Katharine Gravino

November 5th, 2009

Topics included: Jobs/Unemployment;  Services/Resources, Mass. Dept. Transitional Assistance; Keeping Ourselves Healthy, physically and mentally; Importance of Community; Personal Reflections

  • Peter and Lori Monaco

April 2nd, 2009

Legal perspectives and personal stories from the community.

  • David Wilson, pioneer of same-sex marriage in massachusetts
  • Randy Price, pation's first openly-gay newscaster
  • Arline Isaacson, political strategist for the LGBTQ+ Community
  • Corey Johnson, former Masconomet Hight School football quarterback/captain

November 13th, 2008 

  • Dr. Aviva Chomsky, author of They Take Our Jobs and 20 other myths about immigration, Professor of History and Coordinator of latin American Studies, Salem State University

March 27th, 2008

  • Genocide in Darfur, James Modi, Sudan Southern Sudanese Organization
  • Student perspective on Southern Sudan, Garang Macam
  • Drum music, Mamadou Diop
  • Ethiopian Jews, Barbara Ribakove Gordon, founder of NACOEJ 
  • AIDS in Africa:  One Community Making a Difference in Uganda, Lewis and Judy Priven 

March 29th, 2007 

Workshops, entertainment, roundtable discussions, breakfast, and lunch with Halal Food (provided by the Muslim Students Association)

  • Rose Gould/yusef Hayes
  • The Role of Muslim Women
  • Round Table Dialogue on World Religions
  • Exploring Islam and Challenging Misconceptions

November 16th, 2006 

Hiding and Seeking, an award-winning documentary tells the story of a Jewish father who journeys with his two ultra-Orthodox sons back to Poland trying to  help them overcome their hatred toward the “other” and seeking the Christian farmers who hid their family from the Nazis.

  • Menachem Daum, film producer

November 17tjh, 2005

Dr. Vicky is the winner of the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice, recipient of an honorary degree from the College of the Holy Cross, and a distinguished speaker at the Beijing Conference on the Status of Women. 

From her beginnings traveling alone on horseback ministering to the sick, Dr. Vicky established and now runs a holistic, multi-service NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) serving 90,000 people in the western part of the country.  (See for more information.)

  • Dr. Vicki Guzman, Director of ASAPROSAR (The Salvadoran Association for Rural Health)


March 18th, 2005

Genocide survivors and experts on “Paths to Justice,” “Policy Intervention and Prevention,” and finally a call to action.

  • Professor Martha Minow, Harvard University


November 16th, 2004

  • Eric Kahn
  • Janet Applefield
  • Dr. Alan Brown
  • Rena Finder
  • Joseph Matzner
  • Sonia Weitz

 May 2nd, 2004 

  • Professor Krishna Mallick
  • Judge Emogene Johnson Smith
  • The NSCC Women’s Center, Women: Inside Out—An Interactive Speak-Out Transcending Physical and Societal Stereotypes

 November 6th, 2003 

  • Apo Torosyan

 May 22nd, 2003 

  • Rev. Dr. Gloria White-Hammond

 November 6th, 2002  

  • Dr. Jabbar Al-Obaidi, Bridgewater State College Communications Studies And Theater Arts Dept.

May 22nd, 2002 

  • Dr. M. Douglas Scott

 November 18th, 2001

  • Brent Scarpo

 May 23rd, 2001

  • Dr. Henry Friedlander, The Persecution and Murder of the Gypsies During the Nazi Era
  • Ms. Jocelyn Ajami, Contemporary Gypsy Culture and Dance
  • Professor Claire Jackson, National Coalition Building Institute, Welcoming Diversity Workshop

 November 14th, 2000

  • Sister Jeannine Gramick

 May 24th, 2000

  • John Lazada

November 16th, 1999

  • Yala Korwin

 May 26th, 1999

  • Gregalan Williams

 November 4th, 1998 

  • Dr. Michael Franzblau

 May 27th, 1998

  • Deputy Police Superintendent William Johnston; 

 May 28th, 1997 

  • Alan Stoskopf 

 May 23rd, 1996

  • Father Robert Bullock
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