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The Immersion East Side (IES) Program provides members of the Canisius community with the opportunity to critically examine how the college can be an effective partner in pursuing justice for the East Side.

“The East Side is a part of the city that has been stagnated by economic disinvestment, political disenfranchisement, and racialized poverty,” said Devonya Havis, PhD, associate professor of philosophy.  Havis and Michael Gent, PhD, emeritus professor of management, started IES in 2012.  Melissa Mosko, PhD, associate professor of philosophy, joined the IES faculty team in 2015.

IES cultivates a well-educated solidarity with the college’s East Side community partners. Seminars engage participants experientially, intellectually and emotionally through a combination of site visits and listening sessions with leadership and members of the East Side community. Participants are also introduced to the cultural, religious and artistic movements operating as forms of resistance and resilience in the face of their communities’ challenges.

In turn, the seminars engage religious, cultural and grassroots institutions on the East Side to gain insight into the way they make sense of community conditions, respond to the specific forms of economic injustice affecting their communities, and promote political action to remedy these conditions.

IES is open to all members of the college community. Join us for these upcoming events:

On September 21 – 23, the IES Program co-hosts the first Prison Abolition Western New York (PAWNY) conference in the college’s Montante Cultural Center —“Connecting the Struggles:  Abolition and Transformative Justice.” The event begins at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, September 21 and concludes at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 23. Other sponsors include the Buffalo Anti-Racism Coalition and Buffalo Save the Kids.  For more information, and to register online, click here.

Later in the fall, the Immersion East Side faculty seminar will conduct three discussion sessions on—Race, Criminal Justice/Policing/Carceral State, and Education—as these topics pertain to Buffalo’s East Side.  All interested faculty should contact Mike Gent ( or Devonya Havis ( for further details.

Click here to watch a video highlighting IES.

Pictured below are photos from last month’s IES seminar completed by eight faculty and staff members.

Submitted by Drs. Devonya Havis and Michael Gent, Immersion East Side