The City of Springfield, Massachusetts is one of the most diverse cities in the Commonwealth. Through diversity, equity, and inclusion, the City of Springfield takes a holistic look at the influence it has on employees and residents. The city’s goal is to provide a range of resources and tools aimed at creating positive and systemic change in the workplace and our city.
On Friday, September 22, 2023 Western New England University (WNE) President Robert E. Johnson and MGM Springfield President Chris Kelley joined representatives from MassMutual and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center to announce a series of events focused on criminal record expungement and career opportunities in conjunction with WNE School of Law's Center for Social Justice (CSJ).
On October 3, 2023 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. MGM Springfield will host WNE law students and other volunteers from the CSJ along with employees from MassHire Holyoke, who will provide information for those with a criminal record to learn about the expungement and sealing process. Attendees will have an opportunity to begin the process on-site by submitting a request for a free copy of their Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) report. In conjunction with this event, MGM will host a job fair to connect individuals with employment opportunities.
A follow-up joint event on October 26, 2023 from 2 to 5 p.m. coincides with the American Bar Association's Pro Bono Week (October 22-28th). Those who attended the October 3 event will be invited back to review their CORI with a MassMutual volunteer attorney and/or other legal volunteers who will assist on-site with the expungement or sealing process. This event will also be held at MGM Springfield.
"I am thrilled that Western New England University's Center for Social Justice and the School of Law's future lawyers continues to provide second chances and access to employment opportunities for those in need," said WNE President Johnson. "These events provide individuals with criminal records who may be facing barriers to housing, employment, and even education, an opportunity for a second chance. Together with our partners, we'll change people's lives."
"Criminal record expungement unlocks a meaningful second chance and builds a critical pathway toward enhanced workforce opportunities," said President and COO of MGM Springfield. "MGM Springfield is incredibly proud to partner with the Center for Social Justice at Western New England University School of Law, and MassMutual to assist in offering a fresh start. Expungement can be a first step in removing the obstacles of past mistakes, to create and shape a bright future."
The Center for Social Justice's Director Ariel Clemmer said, "The CSJ is proud of the work we have done with, and for, the community around CORI criminal record sealing and the expungement/sealing process in Massachusetts. The CSJ's CORI initiatives target racial and economic injustice and are intended to empower people by addressing the harms caused to people of color from the war on drugs. We partner with grassroots organizers, community partners, and volunteers to provide all clinic participants with free copies of their CORI records, one-on-one consultations with legal volunteers, preparation of petitions to seal/expunge, and brief legal advice."
All events are free and open to the public. Participants are required to bring a photo ID. For more information, call the Center for Social Justice at 413-796-2101.
Mayor Sarno stated, “Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Judi Crowell and I are looking forward to joining with Taurean Bethea and our Springfield LGBTQ+ community in support of our 2nd annual Springfield Pride Parade by kicking off the festivities with the Pride Flag raising ceremony here at City Hall. A good person is a good person, no matter what creed, color, background, sexual orientation, or gender identity. As a longtime member of Mayors Against LGBTQ Discrimination, I am proud to stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community to remind all that each of us deserves the same level of equality and respect. This month in particular, we honor those who have fought for equality for our LGBTQ+ community and recognize that respecting the rights of all makes for a better city and community.”
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno attended the special Pastor Installation Ceremony at St. John’s Congregational Church for Pastor Dayhige M. Wright on Saturday, April 22nd. St. John’s Congregational Church has a long, rich history and is one of the oldest Black churches in New England.
Mayor Sarno states, “Congratulations to Pastor Wright and the entire congregation of St. John’s Church. Pastor Wright was installed as the 14th Pastor of our historic St. John’s Congregational Church and his spiritual leadership will be a tremendous benefit for our Springfield community."
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Judi Crowell, representing Mayor Domenic Sarno, took part in a Community Iftar at American International College Tuesday, March 28th. Alongside Crowell was AIC President Dr. Hubert Benitez, Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (ODEIB) Bianca Figueroa-Santana, and many students, staff and faculty. Imam Mirza Yawar Baig gave a prayer and remarks.
Iftar is an important pierce of the Islamic faith, as it is the nightly meal and prayer which culminates a day of fasting during the monthlong observation of Ramadan. The community was invited to attend and experience an Iftar during the Holy Month of fasting, prayer, and reflection, and share in the traditional sundown meal.
"To all our Muslim brothers and sisters, a blissful and solemn Ramadan. God Bless."
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined with City Councilor Kateri Walsh, Chair of the Springfield Women’s Commission, Councilor Maria Perez, City Clerk Gladys Oyola, members from the Springfield Women’s Commission and World Affairs Council of Western Mass to celebrate and recognize International Women’s Day in the City Council Chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, March 21st. Mayor Sarno presented a proclamation and spoke about the tremendous accomplishment’s women have achieved over the years.
The event featured special guest, women from over 25 different countries who either hold elected office or are professionals in their particular profession back in their country. They were participating in the US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program on Women in Politics and Civil Society. The women participating were from Albania, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Eswatini, Federated States of Micronesia, Georgia, Ghana, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined with Ward 1 City Councilor Maria Perez for the Women on the Vanguard’s first annual Latina Women’s Day Breakfast at the La Quinta Hotel, in observance of the International Women’s Day. Mayor Sarno brought greetings and presented a proclamation recognizing this inaugural event. Mayor Sarno thanked Councilor Perez for her unyielding work on behalf of our community and acknowledge all of the women of the Vanguard for their efforts in advocating for our community, especially for being strong role models for our young women.
City Councilor Kateri Walsh, New North Citizens Council Executive Director Maria Ligus, retired Springfield Assistant Superintendent Lydia Martinez-Alvarez, and Waleska Lugo-DeJesus were also in attendance.
The event was sponsored by Springfield Pharmacy and recognized some important Latina women in our community. Councilor Perez presented awards honoring local Latina’s for their commitment and dedication serving the community. City Clerk Gladys Oyola, the first Latina Clerk and Cabinet Head under my administration and in the city’s history, and Mayoral Aide Mini Marrero were among those being recognized.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and city and state officials joined with our Springfield Dominican Community for a special flag raising ceremony on Saturday, February 25th at City Hall to commemorate the 178th anniversary of Dominican Independence. Mayor Sarno presented a proclamation to mark this occasion.
Mayor Sarno states, “As we continue to honor our city’s diversity, it is important to thank, acknowledge and recognize our Dominican residents, families and businesses for their continued belief and investment in our Springfield. Springfield is proud of our history and the diverse heritage from all of our residents and I am proud to stand together with our Dominican Community as we celebrate Dominican Independence Day.”
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and State Representative Bud Williams hosted the 37th Annual Black American Heritage celebration with a special flag raising ceremony at City Hall on Wednesday, February 1st. The event was emceed by Dr. Gloria Williams and featured guest speakers including City Council Vice President Melvin Edwards and Councilor Malo Brown. The keynote speaker was Rev. Dayhige Wright from St. John’s Congregational Church and a special presentation of the prestigious Ruth B. Loving Civil Rights Award to given to Dr. Amilicar Shabazz. The ceremony included a powerful singing performance from the Golden Voice of Springfield Vanesa Ford and culminated with the raising of the African American Heritage flag on the front steps of City Hall.
City Council President Jesse Lederman, Councilor Lavar Click-Bruce, School Committeewoman Barbara Gresham, Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, License Director Attorney Alesia Days, Veterans Services Director Tom Belton, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Judi Crowell, Board of Police Commissioner Robert ‘Cee’ Jackson, Mayoral Aide Shenell Ford, the Peter Brace Brigade, the Third Masonic District of Massachusetts, and students from the Hampden Charter School of Science were also in attendance.
The Springfield City Council’s Mental Health Subcommittee, chaired by Councilor Zaida Govan, has partnered with Behavioral Health Network to develop a Community Mental Health Survey for Springfield residents. City of Springfield residents are encouraged to give their input on the effectiveness of access to mental health services.
Complete the survey today by visiting: surveymonkey.com/r/commmentalhealth.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined today with Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, State Senator Adam Gomez, State Representatives Orlando Ramos, Carlos Gonzalez, and Jake Oliveira, City Councilors Maria Perez, Jesse Lederman, Lavar Click-Bruce, Justin Hurst, and Sean Curran, as well as Police Commissioner Norman Roldan, City Clerk and Elections Commissioner Gladys Oyola, and Mayoral Aid Genesis Velez along with residents for the City’s 33rd Annual Puerto Rican flag raising ceremony at City Hall to kick-off the beginning of Puerto Rican Heritage Month.
Mayor Sarno issued a proclamation declaring the month of November 2022 as ‘Puerto Rican Heritage Month’ in the City of Springfield. Betzaida Sierra performed the national anthem.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, State Representative Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr., State Senator John Velis, Agawam City Councilor George Bitzas, and Lt. Stephen Rose representing Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, joined with our Greek community on Thursday, September 8th to celebrate the start of Glendi 2022 with a special Greek flag raising ceremony at City Hall. The iconic Glendi festival kicked-off for the weekend on Friday, September 9th, with family fun entertainment and traditional Greek food, music and dancing at the Greek Cultural Center, 22 St. George Road, Springfield, MA all weekend long.
Mayor Sarno brought greetings and read a proclamation declaring Thursday, September 9th through September 11th as ‘Greek Heritage Weekend’.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I am looking forward to celebrating with our Greek community by kicking off their iconic Glendi 2022 Festival with a special Greek flag raising ceremony here at City Hall. I want to thank Father Dionysios Koulianos, Dean of St. George Cathedral, Liza Pappas, Xenophon Beake, and everyone from the Greek Cultural Center, the Glendi Committee and St. George Cathedral for their continued strength, belief, and investment in our Springfield. Our beloved Springfield is richer because of our residents representing the Greek faith, culture and heritage. I want to encourage everyone to come down to our Greek Cultural Center starting this Friday and enjoy the family fun entertainment and delicious food and wonderful music and dancing – my family and I have made this a yearly tradition – see you there!”
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined on Sunday with Raj Rayonia, Dinesh Patel, the Indian Association of Greater Springfield, and hundreds of members of the Indian and Indian-American community from Springfield and beyond to celebrate 75 years of Indian Independence. On August 15, 1947, India became an independent nation after over 200 years of British-rule. Springfield is now home to a vibrant Indian community and Indians and Indian-Americans are a vital part of our city and country. Mayor Sarno issued a proclamation declaring August 15, 2022 India Independence Day in the City of Springfield and joined on Monday to raise, for the first time, the Indian flag at City Hall.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I am so grateful to our friends in Springfield’s Indian Community, especially my friends Dinesh Patel and Raj Rayonia, for hosting these vibrant and colorful celebrations to mark this milestone 75th anniversary of Indian Independence. What an honor it is to be part of the first ever raising of the Indian Flag at City Hall. Our Springfield has long been home to a thriving Indian community and we are proud to join them to celebrate their heritage, culture, and independence.”
On August 1, 2022, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, Attorney Talia Gee and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Judi Crowell joined with Shenell R. Ford, the Heart2Heartbeat Lactation & Wellness, Breastfeeding Community Action Circle, and Baystate Health to recognize and support National Breastfeeding Month with a flag raising ceremony on the front steps of City Hall.
Celebrations are occurring throughout the month beginning with World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1st-7th), Native and Indigenous Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 8th-14th), Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 15th-21th), and Black Breastfeeding Week (Aug.22nd-31st).
Mayor Sarno states, “I commend Ms. Ford – ‘Shenell.’ This young lady has really worked hard to get the word out and to help educate and support others on this very important nurturing mother and child public health aspect. Thanks to her continued leadership advocating for mothers and families, and thanks to the efforts from Attorney Talia Gee, city employees now have a dedicated parental leave lactation room right here in City Hall to privately and comfortably attend to their lactation needs.”
Learn more about Mayors United Against Antisemitism, a joint initiative to combat antisemitism organized by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and The U.S. Conference of Mayors. See which Mayors have joined as signatories.
Read the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts' Letter of Support for Mayor Sarno's Signing of “Mayors United Against Antisemitism” Statement.
Research confirms that quality mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on young people in a variety of personal, academic, and professional situations. Ultimately, mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development, and social and economic opportunity. Yet one in three young people will grow up without this critical asset. Young adults who face an opportunity gap but have a mentor are 55% more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. (The Mentoring Effect, 2014).
Follow My Steps Foundation, a private non-profit organization, was created to provide youth in under-resourced communities with the opportunity to be Pioneered by individuals from diverse cultures, to provide key career skills and enhance financial literacy. Learn more about their programs.
The City of Springfield has joined with many fantastic partners over the years to raise many variations of the Pride flag at City Hall during the month of June. In June 2022, Springfield hosted its first and inaugural Springfield Pride Parade and is looking forward to more celebrations.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined thousands of other Americans and more than 60 other mayors who represent more than 21 million constituents in submitting a public comment and letter opposing a proposed federal rule attempting to undermine the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Equal Access Rule, which ensures protections for LGBTQ people seeking federal housing and safe shelter. Read more
Mayor Sarno states, “I’m proud to receive this acknowledgement and recognition from Mayors Against LGBTQ Discrimination. As I’ve always said a good person is a good person with mutual respect being the key to better understanding and appreciating one another.”
Mayor Sarno states, “I want to thank Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Attorney Talia Gee for bringing this matter to my attention. We wanted to create a safe and comfortable space where we could accommodate the needs of new parents so that they have the privacy they need. Special thanks to Human Resources and Labor Relations Director Attorney Bill Mahoney, PBRM Director Patrick Sullivan, City Hall Facility Manager Al Rodriguez and our dedicated city team for working together to create this special and important room here in City Hall for our employees. My administration recognizes the importance of breastfeeding and fully supports our employees as they care for their little bundles of joy. This parental leave lactation room will allow our employees to take the time they need, in a private setting if necessary, to care for their newest family members.”
The new parental leave lactation room is available at City Hall for city employees and includes all the amenities needed. Employees needing to use the room will notify and coordinate with their supervisor and the Human Resources Department.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris joined with Shenell R. Ford and the Heart2Heartbeat Lactation & Wellness and the Breastfeeding Community Action Circle to recognize and support National Breastfeeding Month with a flag raising ceremony on the front steps of City Hall. Mayor Sarno presented a proclamation declaring the month of August 2021 as “National Breastfeeding Month” in the City of Springfield.
August is National Breastfeeding Month, and celebrations occurr throughout the month, beginning with World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1st-7th), Native Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 8th-14th), Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 15th-21th), and Black Breastfeeding Week (Aug.25th-31st).
Mayor Sarno states, “I want to commend Ms. Ford – ‘Shenell.’ This young lady has really worked hard to get the word and education out on this very important nurturing mother and child public health aspect. Through Shenell’s continued and dedicated awareness initiatives and the efforts of my Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Attorney Talia Gee, we have, I believe one of the first municipal lactation private rooms in the area right here in City Hall for the comfort of our city mother employees who are nursing their child.”
Black Breastfeeding week was birthed from the vision of three innovators in the field of maternal child health, Kimberly Seals Allers, Kiddada Green, and Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka, out of the need to raise awareness around the unique challenges and triumphs of being Black and breastfeeding.
2022 marks the 10th celebration of Black Breastfeeding Week, and it continues to bring visibility to the experiences, joys, and beauty of Black breastfeeding. The 2022 theme is “A New Foundation."