Salve Regina University

Panelists representing diverse walks of life – including the law enforcement and immigrant communities – will lead a discussion, “Uniting Not Dividing: Exploring the Roots of the Divide Between Police and Communities” at 7 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 24 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall at Salve Regina University.

The panel discussion, one of many Multicultural Education Week events, is free and open to the public.

Now in its third year, the “Uniting Not Dividing” series continues to build awareness, with panelists discussing the minority perspective and focusing on building mutual respect among police and the communities they serve.

The discussion series began in fall 2015 with “Uniting Not Dividing: Why Black and Blue Should Not Hurt.” The conversation was further explored in fall 2016 during “Uniting Not Dividing: Finding Our Inner Voice of Reason as a Nation.” Tuesday’s discussion will end with a policy analysis to help determine solutions or actions to progress as a society.

Salve Regina senior Rosa Brito will moderate the discussion. Confirmed panelists include:

Toyosi Akanji, a chemistry major at Salve Regina. She is the president of the Black Student Union, the treasurer of the Multicultural Student Organization and a Nuala Pell Fellow. She is a first-generation Nigerian-American student from Cranston, Rhode Island.

Kobi Jason Dennis has extensive expertise in addressing issues pertaining to the urban community. His most recent initiative, Unified Solutions, is a community-led collaborative offering programs that have empowered thousands of community members. Dennis is involved with the Bridges Initiative to help improve police and community relations and is also the founder of Project Night Vision, a free after-school program for kids ages 12-18. He relaunched the Providence Midnight Basketball Leagues to provide an athletic outlet to inner-city adult men, and also facilitates anti-bullying and violence prevention training as a consultant with the Partnership to Address Violence through Education.

Daniel Knight is a retired FBI special agent and former director of Salve Regina’s graduate program in administration of justice. With the FBI, he was supervisory special agent of an organized crime and public corruption squad in the Baltimore division, then the public corruption unit of the criminal division at FBI headquarters. He ended his FBI career as supervisory senior resident agent at the Providence agency out of the Boston division. A longtime faculty member in administration of justice, Knight is currently teaching courses on ethics in the justice system and white-collar crime in Salve Regina’s Circle of Scholars program. He is on the board of the YMCA of Greater Providence.

Roxana Mendez-Sola is a Salvadorian immigrant and Newport resident who works as a housekeeper at Salve Regina.

Dr. Timothy B. Neary is associate professor and chairman of the Department of History and coordinator of the American studies program at Salve Regina. He teaches a variety of classes and has presented at meetings around the country. His first book, “Crossing Parish Boundaries: Race, Sports and Catholic Youth in Chicago,” was published in 2016. Neary has won multiple awards at Salve Regina, including faculty research sabbatical, collaborative project grant, faculty/student research grants, media relations award and the Presidential Faculty Award.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

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In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
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