First Unitarian Women’s Alliance
October 4, 2021
Addressing Issues of Women’s Incarceration
Speaker: Meghan Kallman
As of January 2021, only around 80 women were incarcerated in the women’s prison in Rhode Island. Each incarceration costs approximately $120,000 annually, compared to about $60,000 for men. The vast majority of incarcerated women are struggling with addiction and the repeated incarcerations that result from it. By expanding diversion, parole, and reentry programming, Rhode Island could close its women’s prison and open secure, non-correctional residential facilities, creating a community-based network of halfway houses and transitional houses.
State Senator Meghan Kallman represents District 15 and is a sponsor of S245, which would study ways to reduce incarceration. She is a professor at the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at UMass Boston and taught at the ACI for six years.
November 1, 2021
Saltmarsh Sparrow: “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers”
Speaker: Deirdre Robinson
The Saltmarsh Sparrow has become symbolic of wildlife that is at risk of extinction from climate change. Researchers predict the Saltmarsh Sparrow (SALS) could become extinct as early as 2040, due to inundation of its tidal marsh habitat. The Saltmarsh Sparrow Research Initiative (SALSri), a five-year program based at Jacob’s Point Salt Marsh in Warren, RI, is designed to document aspects of Saltmarsh Sparrow breeding and post-breeding ecology to improve our understanding of the species prior to its extinction.
Deirdre Robinson is Co-Director of SALSri. She earned a master’s degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Rhode Island, specializing in Avian Ecology.
December 6, 2021
The Status of Policing in Providence
Speaker: Steven Paré
Recent events have resulted in greater scrutiny of policing across communities, accusations of systemic racism, and calls for police accountability. The Providence Commissioner of Public Safety is in a unique position to assess such issues in the capital city and will share his perspective on the status of policing.
For ten years, Steven Paré has served as the Commissioner of Public Safety for the City of Providence. Prior to assuming this role, Paré served with the RI State Police for 27 years, retiring as Superintendent. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Bryant University.
January 3, 2022
Why Are Asians and Pacific Islanders Invisible in American Society?
Speaker: Robert G. Lee
Chinese and Filipinos had settled in North America before the Jamestown Colony was established. Today, more than 23 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) live in the United States, a number that will double by 2060. Still, most Americans know little about their history, diversity, and place in our racial hierarchy.
Professor Robert G. Lee taught Asian American Studies at Brown University for over 30 years. His book Orientals: Asian Americans in Popular Culture is a prize-winning study of the stereotyping of Asians in American history. Vox recently listed it among its eight books to read to understand anti-Asian racism.
February 7, 2022
The Role of Doulas in Improving Pregnancy Experiences and Outcomes
Speaker: Felicia Love
Doulas are an increasingly popular option chosen by pregnant women to make childbirth a safe, healthy, and positive experience. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their White counterparts. Felicia will explain how doulas can help to reduce this disparity while also improving the pregnancy experience before, during, and after birth for all women by reducing the need for medical intervention.
Felicia Love is a Registered Nurse and a Certified Lactation Counselor. She is also a doula and is Co-President of Doulas of Rhode Island (DoRI).
March 7, 2022
Medicare For All: Truths, Lies, and Consequences
Speaker: Dr. James Cowan
Jim’s presentation will explore why a single-payer national health insurance program (Medicare For All) is the only viable long-term solution to problems of access to affordable health care in the United States.
James Cowan, M.D., M.P.H., FACP, is an internist and former Chief of Medicine at the St. Luke’s Health System in Pennsylvania and former National Medical Director at Aetna Health Insurance Company in the US and UK. He is Vice President of the Rhode Island chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.
April 4, 2022
Singing as a Spiritual Practice
Speaker: Beth Armstrong
We will interactively explore the benefits of group singing and the many physical, spiritual, and psychological benefits of this simple means of expression. Beth has been singing for as long as she can remember and is surprised that her last 40 years have been devoted to encouraging others to sing as well.
Beth Armstrong is music director of two local, nonauditioned community choruses. She served as music director at the Unitarian Church of Concord, New Hampshire, for 16 years and as the sabbatical music director at First Unitarian in fall 2019. She taught public school music for 12 years and has sung in chorales, choirs, septets, and community theater productions most of her life. She thinks she is lucky to have made a career from the thing she truly loves.
May 2, 2022
African American Heritage Education for All RI Students
Speaker: Anastasia Williams
In its 2021 session, the RI General Assembly passed legislation requiring the state’s public K-12 institutions to teach a comprehensive African American history and heritage curriculum, developed by Rhode Island historical and academic institutions. The goal is to ensure that Rhode Island students understand the role the state played in the slave trade, as well as other aspects of the nation’s African American heritage history. As the sponsor of the bill in the House, our speaker will share her hopes for the outcomes of this legislation.
First elected to the General Assembly in 1992, Representative Anastasia Williams represents District 9 in Providence. She chairs the House Labor Committee and serves on several other key committees. She attended Roger Williams University and has five children.
June 6, 2022
Annual Outing: The Nature Center, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Bristol
Speakers: Audubon Society Staff
Program: 10:00 – 11:00am
The program may include a raptor presentation and/or a tour of the pollinator garden. Following the program, there will be free time to view exhibits, wander through the meadow, walk to the shore on the boardwalk, or browse in the gift shop. Lunch at a nearby restaurant in Warren, RI.
Women’s Alliance 2021-22 Programs
Click on the program below to view or download a copy
of the Alliance Programs and Activities 2020-21 brochure.
Click below to view the June Alliance meeting with
a Virtual Tour of the State House with Lane Sparkman
Click below to view the April Alliance meeting with Katy Troyer
Click below to view the March 1st Alliance meeting with Debra Sharpe
Click below to view the February 1st Alliance meeting with Rev. Lester
Click below to view the January 4, 2021 Discussion:
January 4, 2021 The History and Future of the Immigration Crisis
Speaker: Rodrigo Pimentel
Click below to view the December 7th discussion:
The Well-being of Rhode Island’s Children: What the Data Say
Speaker: Stephanie Geller
To view a video recording of the November 2nd discussion
with Dr. Michael Fine, click here.