November 29, 2023

“Policing of hate crimes and hate speech” Community Conversation Coming to Stubblefield Institute this Week

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — It’s a conversation some may find uncomfortable, but the Stubblefield Institute hopes those attending their upcoming “Your Community Engagement Conversation” event on hate crimes and  hate speech will embrace their goal of civil communication even when the topic is polarizing.             
Wednesday’s community conversation, “Policing of hate crimes and hate speech” will be moderated by former WEPM News Director Hans Fogle and feature a panel of folks from the community, including Keith Pollard, Sheriff Nathan Harmon, Rita Caufield, and Bill Powell.Pollard is a Hate Crime Victim Advocate for the  Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center and Stop Hate WV: Hope Lives Here
Harmon was elected Berkeley County Sheriff in 2020
Rita Caufield is the Legal Redress Committee Chair for the Berkeley County NAACP
Bill Powell is the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia.
Wednesday’s event is set to begin at 5:30 in the Storer Ballroom on the campus of Shepherd University. During the first half hour, those interested will sit in small group discussions and generate questions for the panel.
Following that, beginning at 6 p.m. will be the panel conversation, which will also be simulcast conversation on the Panhandle News Network (WEPM and WCST) on air at 93.7 FM and 93.5 FM/1340 AM and 1010 AM as well as online by clicking the Listen Live button.
An event announcement from the Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Communications bills the event as a “community engagement conversation about the formal and informal policing of hate crimes and hate speech.”
“From understanding how organizations define and respond to hate crimes and hate speech, to thinking about what impact family and community members can have, this important conversation will tackle tough questions,” the event announcement continues.This event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required to reserve your spot.  Event Details:
Your Community Engagement Conversation – 
Topic: Policing of hate crimes and hate speech
Wednesday, November 15, 5:30-7:15 p.m.Storer Ballroom, Third Floor, Student Center, Shepherd University210 N. King St., Shepherdstown, WVWest Virginia state code says that, “All persons within the boundaries of the State of West Virginia have the right to be free from any violence, or intimidation by threat of violence, committed against their persons or property because of their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation or sex.”The United States Department of Justice provides a set of vocabulary and background regarding the legal understanding of hate crimes.Hate Crime: At the federal level, a crime motivated by bias against race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.Bias or Hate Incident: Acts of prejudice that are not crimes and do not involve violence, threats, or property damage.The Panelists:Rita CaufieldLegal Redress Committee Chair Berkeley County NAACPGrowing up in Indiana, Rita Caufield graduated from Purdue University. After graduation, she was a Chicago public school teacher, a sheltered workshop supervisor, and a psychiatry research assistant before attending law school at Antioch University. As an attorney, she worked for fifteen years with Legal Services in Kentucky. In retirement, she and her husband were volunteers in Ecuador for two years. Since moving to Martinsburg in 2009, she has volunteered with numerous community organizations, mainly Catholic Charities, CASA, and NAACP. She and her husband have two daughters and two granddaughters.Nathan HarmonBerkeley County SheriffElected in January 2021, Nathan Harmon is a retired Marine and worked as a contractor in Iraq with Blackwater. He has 12+ years of experience in law enforcement, during which time he was named 2001 WVSP Trooper of the Year and Chief of Police in Rivesville, WV. He teaches classes on firearms, tactics, EVOC driving, Active Shooter, Situational Awareness and other skills to both the LE and civilian community.Keith PollardHate Crime Victim Advocate Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center and Stop Hate WV: Hope Lives HereKeith Pollard (He/him) is an award-winning advocate that has spent the better part of the past decade advocating for the rights of BIPOC and LGBTQ individuals. Before returning to West Virginia, Keith worked for multiple advocacy programs in Washington, DC that mainly served LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. He is now the current Hate Crimes Victim Advocate at Stop Hate WV: Hope Lives Here. The first of its kind program in the state, Stop Hate WV serves victims of hate crimes and hate incidents in the eastern panhandle.Bill PowellFormer U.S. AttorneyBill Powell is an attorney with Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in Martinsburg. His primary areas of focus include commercial litigation, internal investigations, federal criminal defense, and serving as a mediator in legal disputes. Bill is a 1985 graduate of West Virginia University’s College of Law, and has been practicing law for more than 38 years. Prior to his work with Steptoe & Johnson, Bill has served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of West Virginia, an Assistant Prosecutor in Jefferson County West Virginia, a Member of Jackson Kelly PLLC and the United States Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia.The Moderator:
Hans FoglePublic Information Officer Jefferson County SchoolsHans Fogle grew up in the Eastern Panhandle. After graduating from Shepherd University, he began a career in broadcasting in Petersburg. He returned home to become the news director for WEPM radio in Martinsburg, expanding that role to two other stations in the cluster, WLTF and WICL, and became the host of a local interest talk show, Panhandle Live. He has also worked for Hospice of the Panhandle and has spent the last five years as Public Information Officer for Jefferson County Schools.A recording will be available after the event, on the Stubblefield Institute YouTube channel.