Berkshire Immigrant Center Names New Advisory Board Members, Leadership

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Immigrant Center has welcomed three new members to its Advisory Board and has new board leadership.

Joining the Advisory Board are Jenn Gomez, Helen Moon and Colin Ovitsky, all of Pittsfield, and Dr. Rose Ellis of Williamstown assumed the role of Advisory Board chairwoman on July 1. Ellis is the former superintendent of schools at Mt. Greylock Regional High School, Williamstown Elementary and Lanesborough Elementary schools and has been the board's vice-chair this past year.

"I have learned firsthand that the Berkshire Immigrant Center does critically important work that speaks to who we are in Berkshire County, a caring and welcoming community that goes the extra mile for our immigrant neighbors. I am honored to serve on this board and help in any way I can," Ellis said.

She brings a storied repertoire of leadership and management skills to her new position and is excited to guide the center to a new level of sustainability so its mission is secured for the long term. Ellis offered her thanks to her predecessor, Ethan Klepetar of Becket, an attorney with Hellman, Shearn & Arienti in Great Barrington. Klepetar was a founding member of the BIC Advisory board. He has served the center for eight years and will continue on as ex-officio of counsel attorney.

Gomez began her professional career in television news in Norfolk, Va. After two years as a news producer, she moved to Massachusetts to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the City of Pittsfield. She currently works in the marketing department of a school that serves young adults with autism and learning differences. She is a freelance videographer and marketing consultant, has previously served on the Artscape board, and is currently vice president of the Berkshire Art Association.

Born in South Korea, Moon immigrated to the United States at the age of 4 and obtained her citizenship in 2001, two months after the Sept 11 attacks. Since then, she has been hyper-aware of the rights and safety of immigrants and other marginalized groups. Her hope is that one day, we can embrace diverse experiences and weave them into the fabric of the American identity. She considers moving to the Berkshires in 2008 one of the best decisions of her life. Moon currently works as a registered nurse at Fairview Hospital in the Critical Care Unit, and as a visiting nurse for Porchlight VNA. In her free time, she is a Pittsfield city councilor.

Ovitsky grew up in Berkshire County and is the administrative coordinator for the Center for Learning in Action at Williams College, where he provides administrative, technical and logistical support for his colleagues, advises several student volunteer groups, coordinates the college's alternative spring break service programs, and serves on the Benefits Committee and Children's Center Advisory Committee. Colin was educated in the Pittsfield Public Schools and received his BA in entertainment management and production from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has worked in the music business in Boston and at Harvard Law Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice. Since returning to the Berkshires, he has been a founder of the Berkshire Jewish Musicians Collective and serves on the doard of directors of Knesset Israel synagogue, and the executive committee of the Four Freedoms Coalition. He is a 2018 recipient of the Berkshire Community College 40 Under Forty Award and finalist for the Berkshire Trendsetter Awards, as well as a proud husband and father of four children ranging from 4 to 15 years old.

Joining Ellis in the board's leadership are Robert Bogomolny, who is vice chair. Bogomolny, a Lenox resident, is the former President of the University of Baltimore; he also serves on the board of Construct, Inc. Ellen Janis of North Adams also joins the Executive Leadership of the Board. A board member since the spring of 2016, Janis is a financial planner with Commonwealth Financial Group (previously MassMutual Northern New England) in 2015. Prior to that, she worked for over 10 years in nonprofit fundraising, including as director of development at Bennington College.

Also serving on the BIC Advisory Board are Tracy Finnegan of Williamstown, who also works at the Williams College Center for Learning in Action; Sue Fish of Great Barrington, a psychotherapist and owner of a fair-trade jewelry and handcrafting company, the Women’s Peace Collection; Rev. Dan Randall, minister of the New Hope United Methodist Church in North Adams; and Williamstown resident Scott Wong, the Charles R. Keller professor of history and public affairs and the Schumann Fellow for Democratic Studies at Williams College, where he teaches a variety of courses in American immigration history, Asian American history, the history of the American West, history and memory, and American Studies.

In June, BIC was named the "Best Small Nonprofit" in the state by Massachusetts Nonprofit Network. The center's mission is to help immigrants achieve economic stability, adjust to the local culture, navigate the complex U.S. immigration system, and become fully integrated and active in the community. BIC serves an average of 700 clients per year, from more than 70 countries, and reaches many more through presentations and workshops.


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Gotta Dance, Gotta Sing: There's Both This Week on Local Stages

By Grace LichtensteinGuest Column

Downtown Pittsfield Third Thursdays — TL Collective

Each third Thursday of the month, streets are closed in downtown Pittsfield and all kinds of music rocks the city. Featured June 20 at 6 p.m. in the Dance Zone at the north end of the street festival is TL Collective, the athletic, family-friendly contemporary and hip-hop moves of Micaela Taylor's company. The group performs an evening length work "Drift." The aim, according to organizers, is to "demonstrate an individual's ever-changing relationship to self while exposing a personal season of self-growth."

You can find the dance zone near the corner of Bradford and North Streets in front of St. Joseph’s Church.  This program is a presentation of the Berkshires stalwart Jacob's Pillow.


Jacob's Pillow

Ballet BC is coming to Jacob's Pillow this week.

At the Pillow's expansive home in Becket, the featured company in the Ted Shawn Theater this week is Ballet BC, which is celebrating 10 years under the innovative leadership of artistic director and former company member Emily Molnar.

"Truly contemporary" is how one reviewer described the Vancouver-based troupe. On the bill this week is Molnar's most recent work "To this day," along with the U.S. premiere of "Bedroom Folk." The latter work originated with the Nederlands Dans Theater and was created by Israeli collaborators Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, among others.

This program runs Wednesday, June 19, through Sunday, June 23, at 8 p.m.,  with matinees on Saturday and Sunday in addition to evenings.

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