Cazenovia Forum Speaker to Discuss War on Drugs and Policy Reform

4 Mar

CAZENOVIA, NY – Policy options related to the war on drugs will take center stage at the year’s first Cazenovia Forum lecture, as the director of the New York State office of the Drug Policy Alliance presents his views on reforming drug control policies.

The presentation by Gabriel Sayegh, who also serves as the organization’s Managing Director of Policy and Campaigns, will take place on Friday, March 20, at 7pm at the Catherine Cummings Theatre in Cazenovia. Admission is free of charge and will be followed by a reception at the Lincklaen House, at which audience members will have an opportunity to further engage the speaker.

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s leading organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. The organization works to advance the proposition that the war on drugs is doing more harm than good and promotes alternative policies to reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition.

As DPA’s New York director and campaign leader, Sayegh partners with community organizing groups, human service agencies and researchers. Recent campaigns include ending New York’s marijuana arrest crusade, developing municipal-based drug strategies, passing and implementing historic 911 Good Samaritan legislation to prevent accidental overdose fatalities, creating a tightly-regulated medical marijuana program, and reforming New York’s draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws.

Sayegh is the author of numerous articles and several reports, including Blueprint for a Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy (the subject of a New York Times editorial) and From Handcuffs to Healthcare: Putting the Affordable Care Act to Work for Criminal Justice and Drug Law Reform.

Prior to joining DPA, Sayegh served as session staff in the Washington State Senate, focusing on criminal justice and social welfare policy; conducted research on global trade agreements and domestic welfare reform; organized with grassroots community groups on ending domestic violence and mass incarceration; and worked as a line cook at a few different diners. He lives in Brooklyn.

Cazenovia Forum Announces 2015 Speaker Series

26 Feb

CAZENOVIA, NY – A former acting general counsel for the Central Intelligence Agency, the nation’s top expert on current events in Ukraine and a leading anti-corruption activist are among the upcoming speakers at the Cazenovia Forum, Central New York’s premier public affairs lecture series, which announced its 2015 lineup today.

Kicking off the 2015 season will be Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national organization that works to advance effective drug policies guided by science, equity and compassion. Sayegh’s lecture, to take place on Friday, March 20, at 7pm at the Catherine Cummings Theatre in Cazenovia, will focus on the War on Drugs and options for reforming drug control policies.

On Friday, May 1, the speaker will be Adrian Karatnycky, currently senior fellow with the Atlantic Council in New York, who is the former President of Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world. An expert on business and political affairs in the former Soviet states, Karatnycky frequently appears as a guest commentator in major print and broadcast media regarding the unfolding events in Ukraine.

On Friday, September 11, the Forum will host John Rizzo, who served as Deputy Counsel and Acting General Counsel of the CIA for the first nine years of the War on Terror and who was closely involved in the Bush Administration’s approval of controversial “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the agency to gain information from terror suspects.

Closing out the 2015 series on Friday, October 9, will be Zephyr Teachout, an associate professor of law at Fordham University, who challenged New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in last year’s Democratic primary election. Teachout is a leading campaigner against public corruption and in 2014 authored the book Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United.

Venues for the last three lectures will be announced shortly before they take place. All events will be free of charge and no reservations will be required. The lectures are followed by an audience question and answer session, and an open reception will follow each event.

Don McPherson Presents on Domestic Violence and Violence in Sports

28 Oct

By Aaron DeLoria, Cazenovia College Freshman

McPherson at Theatre

Don McPherson may have been a professional quarterback at one time, but now he focuses on a group he believes causes many of the problems in our society: men.

McPherson, a former professional football player and Syracuse University star, addressed the topic of bullying and men’s violence against women at Cazenovia’s Catherine Cummings Theatre on Oct. 16. This presentation was courtesy of the Cazenovia Forum lecture series.

He also spoke at Cazenovia High School earlier in the day.

McPherson gained national recognition after leading the Syracuse Orangemen to an undefeated season in 1987, followed by winning the Maxwell Award and finishing second in the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top college football player. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1988, and retired from professional football in 1994.

Since his retirement, McPherson has become director of Sport in Society’s Mentors in Violence Prevention Program and a national advocate for prevention of sexual abuse and violence. He has lectured for hundreds of college campuses across the country, as well to both community and national sports and violence prevention programs.

He began his talk by emphasizing how he wanted the night to turn into a conversation. He encouraged the audience to try to find common ground on the issues discussed.

“I think that we’ve sometimes lost our ability to have a critical, honest conversation about difficult issues,” he said.

According to McPherson, a “toxic masculinity” is the cause of most bullying and violence against women. He discussed the classic “you throw like a girl” and “you act like a girl” remarks and said that this mentality leads to men mistreating women and looking at women in a negative way.

“We don’t raise boys to be men, we raise them not to be women,” McPherson said.

He also talked about identifying himself as a feminist and how people have often questioned why he would call himself that. He related the ist suffix to words like environmentalist and economist — words meaning that one cares about the environment or cares about the economy. “If I’m a feminist, I care about women, and I think we should do a lot to protect women,” McPherson said.

A large part of his talk related sports to masculinity and masculinity to violence against women. He called out fellow athletes, such as Ray Rice, Kobe Bryant, and Jameis Winston, who had all been accused, but not convicted, of either rape or violence against women. According to McPherson, these players haven’t been held accountable. He said there is a culture of silence among men who don’t want to hold other men accountable for their actions.

This led him to talk about why he “loves sports” but is not “a sports fan.” McPherson said he enjoys watching young people compete and put in hard work to get better. However, he believes that professional sports organizations put “criminals” on the field in their quest to make money. He said that this action “flies in the face of what sports are all about.”

McPherson’s lecture was crowd-pleasing as he cracked many jokes and told some entertaining stories in parallel to his serious topics. When he finished speaking he opened up the floor for comments and questions, and remained long after most of the crowd left, talking with a group talk with sports management students Cazenovia College.

The Cazenovia Forum’s next speaker will be Adrian Karatnycky, a specialist on the Ukraine-Russia conflict. This lecture will take place next year and will kick off the 2015 lecture series.



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