Media And Press


LibertyCon 2019 – Seeking Sanctuary: Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness



Click here for a digital copy of the Conference Journal LibertyCon 2019 – Seeking Sanctuary – Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness Journal


Underground Railroad Freedom Seekers sought sanctuary in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. Today’s expression of sanctuary acknowledges that memory but is demonstrated in contemporary border confrontations at the Mexican and Canadian borders and in the seeking of sanctuary within the United States by those fleeing discrimination and oppression. We are all called to action to insure for all the human rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The theme of this conference is the exploration of Seeking Sanctuary, its relationship to the Underground Railroad, and to the broad issue of Sanctuary.


Shaping Inclusive Communities: Solidarity in Times of Othering

Vera will discuss the fundamental social, cultural, political, and legal challenges immigrants and refugees encounter today when they make claims to human rights and asylum protections. This presentation offers particular insights into notions of identity and belonging, and explores community based strategies that allow us to actively engage in creating a more inclusive and just environment.

Vera Eccarius-Kelly, Ph.D.
Professor of Comparative Politics

Vera Eccarius-Kelly Biography

Alan Singer, PhD, Hofstra University, will offer a response to Eccarius-Kelly’s remarks.

Alan Singer Biography





Darryl O. Freeman, PhD, California State Univeristy, Sarament will offer a response to Eccarius-Kelly’s remarks.

Darryl O. Freeman Biography




Sanctuary Advocacy Awardees

The Underground Railroad was a sanctuary movement. People of African descent who were enslaved in the United States sought sanctuary in a range of places including Albany County and City. We affirm this connection of past sanctuary efforts with contemporary expressions. URHP and the community are moved, encouraged, and uplifted by the work of three key public officials, Albany County Legislator Sam Fein, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, and Albany City Mayor Kathy Sheehan for their work on behalf of sanctuary seekers.


Albany County Legislator Sam I. Fein

Albany County Legislator Sam I. Fein Biography




Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple Biography





Albany City Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan

Albany Mayor Kathy M.Sheehan Biography




To Catch a Muslim: the Sting’s the Thing  

A program of Capital District Coalition Against Islamophobia

A staged reading of the original play, “To Catch a Muslim,” written by Steve Downs. It treats the Albany Aref-Hossain case of 2004-2006, the sting, the informant, and the trial’s aftermath with irony and a little humor, and takes some potshots at the government’s legal scheming to convict innocent men. Following the performance will be a panel discussion with Tarik Shah and Shamshad Ahmad, moderated by Kathy Manley. The panel will focus on the impact of Islamophobia on families and community as shown through the Aref-Hossain case. Tarik Shah was ensnared in a similar sting operation in New York City. An internationally acclaimed jazz bassist, he now lives in Albany, and his case was featured as part of the 2015 documentary film (T)ERROR. Shamshad Ahmad is the president of Masjid As-Salam in Albany, which was raided when Aref and Hossain were arrested. He is the author of Rounded Up, the definitive account of the case. Kathy Manley is a defense attorney who worked on Yassin Aref’s appeals.

For more information: Lynne Jackson • • 518-366-7324







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