Isles’ Virtual Forum 2023

Isles’ 2023 Virtual Forum

Isles 2023 Virtual Forum Day 1 (6/5/23) Recordings

Theme of the day: Environmental Justice

Session Title Session Presenters Session DescriptionSession Recordings
Urban Heat Islands: The Role of Trees in Mitigating the Impact on City Centers

June 5, 2023
11:00 am
* Nathan Magee (The College of New Jersey)
* Kim Pearson (The College of New Jersey)
* Robin Lowe-Skillern (Isles)
* Jay Watson (New Jersey Conservation Foundation)
* Michael Nordquist (Isles)
Trenton and cities like it are at risk for more dramatic health and environmental impacts from extreme heat events, in part due to the limited tree cover in Trenton and surrounding suburbs. Vulnerable low income and minority communities with reduced tree canopies experience hotter summer temperatures, with low-income communities having up to 30% less tree cover while being 4 degrees Celsius hotter. Join this session to learn more about local efforts to understand and address this inequitable distribution of environmental and health risks.Session recordings are available below through the Vimeo platform.
Don’t Stop at Community Gardens! Green Entrepreneurship Models

June 5, 2023
1:00 pm
* Pearl Thompson (Isles)
* Hesire & Nefera Lawton (Growin’ Folx Farm under the Foodshed Alliance’s SAgE program)
* Tobias A. Fox (Newark Science and Sustainability, Inc.)
* Justin Allen (Isles)
* Michael Nordquist (Isles)
For too long, communities of color have been overlooked or left out of conversations about the future of local, sustainable, and healthy food production in New Jersey and across the country. Join this panel to hear from New Jersey-based BIPOC farmers, entrepreneurs, and food activists about their efforts to create an equitable, sustainable food system in the region.Session recordings are available below through the Vimeo platform.
Building Electrification: Next Steps for Healthy Homes and Cleaner Climate

June 5, 2023
2:30 pm
* Matt Rusteika (Building Decarbonization)
* Ben Butterworth (Acadia Center)
* Jamal Lewis (Rewiring America)
* Barbara Blumenthal, (the New Jersey Conservation Foundation)
* Barbara Gottlieb, (Physicians for Social Responsibility)
* Elyse Pivnick (Isles)
A panel of industry, climate and housing advocates will discuss the health, economic, and climate benefits of electrifying New Jersey’s buildings. Rapidly transitioning New Jersey’s homes and buildings, which make up 26% of the state’s total emissions, is essential to meeting the state’s goal to reduce emissions 80% by 2050.  Session recordings are available below through the Vimeo platform.

Isles 2023 Virtual Forum Day 2 (6/6/23) Recordings

Theme of the day: Social Justice

Session Title Session PresentersSession DescriptionSession Recordings
Post Legalization: What’s the Real Deal with Weed?

June 6, 2023
11:00 am
* Laura Fenster-Rothschild (Isles)
* Jason J. Redd (Stono Public Affairs)
* Marjorie Forbes (Just A Woman Cannabis)
* Phil Charles (Black Cannabis)
Considering the post-marijuana legalization climate. 

– How is it affecting black and brown communities? 
– Who is benefiting?  
– Expungements?
Session recordings are available below through the Vimeo platform.
Addressing Youth Gun Violence through Community Collaboration

June 6, 2023
1:00 pm
* Stacy Heading (Isles Inc.)
* John Duarte (ProbationDivision New Jersey Courts)
* John Hart (Isles)
Cities like Trenton have dedicated and talented people who work tirelessly to reduce gun violence and no where is more important to have these committed individuals working than with youth. At the “front-line” are State agencies and nonprofits. Come hear two seasoned professionals in these areas discuss what they are doing to help end youth gun violence and what you can do to help.Session recordings are available below through the Vimeo platform.
The Role of Environmental Design in Neighborhood Safety

June 6, 2023
2:30 pm
* Chris Shimchick (Isles)
* Heather Johnson-Smith (Trenton Community Street Teams TCST, Isles)
* Ben Haygood (Isles)
* Kelvin Boddy (Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey- HCDNNJ)
Improving community-based public safety requires close attention to how a neighborhood’s public/private spaces are designed, perceived, and used. For decades, the connection between public safety/public spaces designed to build community and social relationships has been well known and studied. Today organizations are working to build community-focused public spaces that contribute to a neighborhood’s sense of safety and community, in an effort to prevent undesirable behavior. Hear from organizations seeking to build public safety into neighborhood amenities and design.Session recordings are available below through the Vimeo platform.

Isles 2023 Virtual Forum Day 3 (6/7/23) Recordings

Theme of the day: Economic Justice

Session Tittle Session Presenters Session DescriptionSession Recordings
Professional Trajectories: Stories from BIPOC Members of the C-Suite

June 7, 2023
9:30 am
* Laura Fenster-Rothschild (Isles)
* John Hart (Isles)
* Catherine Bell (Center for Supportive Schools)
When we explore economic justice it is important to consider career trajectories of individuals who represent historical marginalized communities.  This panel is reflection of lessons learned as speakers reflect on their own rise in their fields, what they have learned, and what opportunities exist to ensure the others follow their lead? Session recordings are available below through the Vimeo platform.
Exploring a Comprehensive Workforce Development Model

June 7, 2023
11:00 am
* Laura Fenster-Rothschild (Johnson Center, Isles)
Andre Thomas (Isles)
Digging into a model of workforce development that goes beyond preparing a resume and practicing interviewing. We’ll unpack the model that the Johnson Center is launching to incorporate technical training with life skills, financial education, transportation and other supports that people need to be successful members of the workforce. Session recordings are available below through the Vimeo platform.
The Role of Environmental Design in Neighborhood Safety

June 6, 2023
2:30 pm
* Patricia Berhau (Isles)
* Emily Benfer (Eviction Lab, Princeton University; George Washington Law School)
* DuEwa Edwards (Mercer County Department of Human Services, Division on Community Services)
* Nasir Square (ArtworksTrenton)
There is an eviction crisis across America today – and here in New Jersey. Although the pandemic wreaked havoc on most all sectors of American life, one shining light has been new policy at all levels bringing evictions down below pre-COVID levels. New tools like eviction moratoria, right to legal representation, emergency rental assistance and other eviction diversion programs at the federal, state, and local levels have helped keep millions of renters in their homes. Hear from experts how to engage with stakeholders at all levels to make these life-saving resources permanent, and how to use these tools in your community.Session recordings are available below through the Vimeo platform.

2023 Forum Sponsors

Isles’ Past Virtual Forums

As part of our 40th anniversary celebration, Isles developed our first Virtual Forum, a weeklong series of free webinars, workshops, and panels focused on a variety of themes related to our work, including community development, environmental solutions, violence prevention, and more. The Forum, held in June 2021, featured panelists from a variety of partner organizations and brought over 650 attendees together to discuss these crucial topics.

Due to the success of our first Virtual Forum, we decided to host it yearly, and held the second annual Virtual Forum in June of 2022. This second forum allowed us to expand upon the most important topics from the first year and bring in new partners and members of the organization to share about totally new topics, as well. We hope to continue to learn and grow as an organization and spread our knowledge through hosting these yearly forums.

Interested in partnering with us for our next virtual forum? Have ideas for topics you think we should focus on in the future? Contact us here.