ForumThinks programs are hosted by our community partners to provide a deeper understanding of Forum topics. Events include book groups, discussion panels, photography exhibits, documentary screenings, and more.

This fall, we are focusing our ForumThinks programs on activities surrounding the keynote event “The Half-Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America” with Jelani Cobb.

Springfield Public Forum Community Conversation: Race and Justice in America

Presented in Partnership with the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley


Screening of “13th” 

Monday, October 23, 2017.

Times vary by location. Open to the public at local colleges, libraries, and St. John’s Congregational Church.   

In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom. This piercing film earned an Oscar nomination and won Best Documentary at both the BAFTAs and the NAACP Image Awards.


Screening of A FRONTLINE Special: Policing the Police

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Location TBD

How do you change a troubled police department? FRONTLINE goes inside the Newark Police Department- one of many forces in America ordered to reform. As the country’s debate over race, policing and civil rights continues to unfold, The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb examines allegations of police abuses in Newark, N.J. and the challenge of fixing a broken relationship with the community.


“The Half-Life of Freedom: Race and Justice in America” with Jelani Cobb.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

6:00 p.m.

Springfield Symphony Hall

Jelani Cobb is a staff writer at The New Yorker and writes about the enormous complexity of race in America. In 2015, he received the Sidney Hillman Prize for Opinion & Analysis Journalism for his New Yorker columns, in which he combined “the strengths of an on-the-scene reporter, a public intellectual, a teacher, a vivid writer, a subtle moralist, and an accomplished professional historian.” He has penned a remarkable series of articles about race, the police, and injustice. His articles include “The Anger in Ferguson,” “Murders in Charleston,” and “What We Talk About When We Talk About Reparations.” Cobb teaches in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is the recipient of the 2017 Walter Bernstein Award from the Writer’s Guild of America for his investigative series “Policing the Police,” which aired on PBS Frontline in 2016. He was also featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary “13th.”


Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley Fall Session 

Thursday, October 26 – Friday, October 27, 2017

Springfield Technical Community College

The Institute’s signature program is its two-day Healing Racism sessions, which provide a safe environment to learn about the impact of racism on our nation and community in a process that is engaging and transformative. More information can be found at


Book group recommendations

“White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide”

“Between the World and Me” 


Stakeholder Follow-Up Breakfast 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Hosted and Sponsored by the Community Foundation of Western MA

The Community Foundation of Western MA will host a meeting of organizations and groups who are affected by issues of race and justice to both continue the conversation and find a way forward. If your group is interested in being included in this session, please contact


With the exception of the Healing Racism Institute session, all programs are free and open to the public.  Please email to register for a program.