Healing Racism Institute of the Pioneer Valley and Hampden District Attorney’s Office Announce Partnership

Click here to view highlights from today’s press conference.

August 14, 2019 -Springfield- Today,Waleska Lugo-DeJesús, Director of the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley and Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni announced a partnership between their organizations. Click here to view highlights from today’s press conference.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni stated, “As prosecutors, we have ethical responsibilities to victims, to public safety, to criminal justice, and to the communities we serve. The decisions we make effect people’s lives and liberty. We have an obligation to carry out these duties without bias and solely in the interests of justice.” D.A. Gulluni went on to say, “Our partnership with the Healing Racism Institute will enhance and refine the capacity of our decision-makers to understand the innate biases that all people possess, and to learn to operate above any possible predispositions to do their work through a clear and objective lens. This ensures that we are always fair and objective, which is the foundation of the work we do.”   

Waleska Lugo-DeJesús stated, “We live in a global society where understanding race relations is key to building a community of inclusion. It is my pleasure to announce our partnership with the Hampden District Attorney’s Office. We will engage in a multi-faceted approach to break down internal and external beliefs and pre-judgements. This partnership with the Hampden District Attorney’s Office is groundbreaking and unique.” She went on to say, “We will bring our innovative approach to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office and engage on the historical context of racism and its systemic nature, while aiming to elevate the empathy and consciousness of D.A. Gulluni’s prosecutors.” 

Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni recently completed the institute’s signature two-day Healing Racism program. The curriculum focuses on identifying internalized racism, and interpersonal racism, while seeking to reduce institutional racism that causes discrimination. D.A. Gulluni addressed this experience with the following: “The seminar was a personal and professional undertaking through which I deepened my understanding of the historical aspects of racism and bias and the ways in which these issues play a role in today’s society, including in the work that I do. The impact of this experience will resound as I go forward in my professional and personal life. I hope to share this growth experience with members of my office, as we all seek to improve our professional and personal perspectives.” 

In addition to District Attorney Gulluni’s participation, all assistant district attorneys in the Hampden District Attorney’s Office will take part in a specially-designed program that seeks to inspire conversations about the causes and consequences of bias and racism, while disentangling internal beliefs, attitudes, and pre-judgements that exist in all of us. The anticipated outcome is to enlighten and enhance particpants’ empathy, understanding, and skills around judgement and bias.

The Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley is committed to engaging the community around issues of race and inclusion, and in addressing the issue of racism. The institute’s process facilitates a community wide understanding of the root causes and effects of racism, as well as its institutional nature. The goal is to allow for the building of a better and more equitable community.

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