Self-defense workshop comes to Manhasset

Amelia Camurati
The Center for Anti-Violence Education will present a workshop Tuesday at Unitatian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock. (Photo courtesy of The Center for Anti-Violence Education)

A self-defense class for people wanting helpful and safe ways to deal with prejudice is coming to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock next week.

The class, held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the social hall, will be presented by trainers Carol Scott and Julie Hwang from Brooklyn’s Center for Anti-Violence Education. The workshop is $20, and registration is open for congregation members and nonmembers until the class limit of 35 is reached.

(Poster courtesy of UUCSR)

“I think we’ll be doing a lot of role-playing situations where we either encounter prejudicial remarks, maybe hate speech, or even when we’re witnessing a situation where someone else is being abused, verbally or physically,” social justice coordinator Claire Deroche said. “What we’re looking for is to learn how to respond to those kinds of situations in a helpful and safe way because we know sometimes situations like that can become dangerous.”

Deroche said the idea for the workshop came from a premiere last year of Ken Burns’ documentary “Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War,” a film about Waitstill and Martha Sharp’s journey from their home in Massachusetts to Czechoslovakia in 1939 to save scores of Jews and refugees in Europe.

After seeing the movie, Deroche said the congregation formed the CoUUrage to Defy Hate task force, following in the Sharps’ example and working with refugee families on Long Island.

The task force and social justice committee decided to co-sponsor the workshop, Deroche said, because many people have asked for ways to help in nonviolent but still sensitive and uncomfortable situations.

“As concerned citizens, we are very aware of how the political climate in our country has changed since the election, and we don’t want to just stand idly by and not do something,” Deroche said.

To register, contact Sharon Esposito at 516-472-2960 or

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