Shakti Butler, PhD, filmmaker and Founder & President of World Trust, is a dynamic educator in the field of diversity and racial equity. Dr. Butler engages audiences with participatory keynotes and workshops, often using clips from her films. Known as a catalyst for change, she is hired by organizations seeking broader support for their diversity & inclusion goals. Shakti Butler is a multiracial African-American woman (African, Arawak Indian, and Russian-Jewish) whose work as a creative and visionary bridge builder has challenged and inspired learning for over two decades. She is the producer and director of groundbreaking documentaries including The Way Home, Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible, and Light in the Shadows. Her recent film, Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity uses story, theater and music to illuminate the larger frame of structural/systemic racial inequity. At this Summit, we’ll be featuring her newest film, Healing Justice which explores the causes and consequences of the current North American justice system and its effect on marginalized communities.
Yosimar Reyes is a nationally-acclaimed poet, educator, performance artist, and speaker. Born in Guerreo, Mexico, and raised in Eastside San Jose, Reyes explores the themes of migration and sexuality in his work. The Advocate named Reyes one of “13 LGBT Latinos Changing the World” and Remezcla included Reyes on their list of “10 Up And Coming Latinx Poets You Need To Know.” His first collection of poetry, For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly… was self published after a collaboration with the legendary Carlos Santana. His work has also been published in various online journals and books including Mariposas: An Anthology of Queer Modern Latino Poetry (Floricanto Press), Queer in Aztlán: Chicano Male Recollections of Consciousness and Coming Out (Cognella Press), and the forthcoming Joto: An Anthology of Queer Xicano & Chicano Poetry (Kórima Press). Reyes was featured in the Documentary, “2nd Verse: The Rebirth of Poetry.”
A proven leader in the human services field, Vanessa McDowell brings nearly 13 years of experience to her position as YWCA Madison’s Chief Executive Officer. She was initially hired in 2014 as the Director of Support Services for the YWCA, then promoted to Chief Programs Officer, later promoted to Interim CEO, and finally CEO . Vanessa is deeply committed to offering programs and services that support women and social justice, help families and strengthen communities. She has a passion for serving others by leveraging voices that have been silenced as well as empowering others to live out their purpose. She works from an empowerment model which aligns with the mission of the YWCA Madison which is to eliminate racism and empower women.
She was also selected to participate in the 2015 class of Leadership Greater Madison. In 2016 BRAVA magazine selected Vanessa as one of the 22 “Women to Watch”. In February 2018, Vanessa was named one of the 35 Most Influential African Americans in Wisconsin by Madison 365. Vanessa was also honored as one of Madison’s 40 under 40 by In Business magazine in 2018.
Sami Schalk (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a PhD in Gender Studies from Indiana University and an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Notre Dame. Dr. Schalk’s research focuses on issues of race, gender, and disability in contemporary American literature and culture. She is the author of Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction.
Emerald Rutledge (she/her/hers) is a second year M.A. Candidate in the Afro-American Studies department as an Advanced Opportunity Fellow at UW-Madison. Her research interests broadly explore Black feminisms, Black queer theory, and Black queer cultural productions. She is an Assistant Editor for the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society, and she is excited to begin writing her Master’s thesis this fall.
Jessi Corcoran is the Systems Coordinator at the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault and has a B.A. in Gender Studies and a Masters of Public Health. Her studies and work have focused primarily on campus sexual violence prevention and response, as well as the intersections of sexual violence and oppression. Jessi’s biggest life ambition is to integrate social justice activism into public health and systems work.
Kelly Parks Snider is a visual artist who explores contemporary social, political and cultural issues through the arts. Her work is displayed in both public and private galleries. She lectures nationally, serves in artist-in-residence programs and produces workshops. Her hope is that her work will stimulate thought and open eyes and hearts to our place in the world. She believes art gives our lives the focus that it desperately needs to bring us face to face with ourselves.
Stephen Kantrowitz is Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of History and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Afro-American Studies and the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on race, politics, and citizenship in the long nineteenth century. He is the author of More Than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889 (Penguin, 2012), which was a finalist for both the Lincoln Prize and the Frederick Douglass Prize, and Ben Tillman and the Reconstruction of White Supremacy (UNC Press, 2000), which won several scholarly awards and was a New York Times Notable Book.
Nestic Morris is the Outreach Coordinator at the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Since becoming a part of WCASA, she has earnestly worked towards bringing communities of color voices to the SA field. She offers statewide trainings on intersections of oppression in Black women’s lives. She is also Co-Chair of WCASA’s reconstructed Wisconsin Women of Color Consortium. She also has experience working in youth development and with women in the criminal justice system. Nestic has recently been awarded Community Shares Wisconsin Change-maker award.
Rev. Dr. Alexander Gee, Jr. is the lead pastor of Fountain of Life Covenant Church, a multiracial, multigenerational and multi-class congregation in Madison, WI. In 1992 he also pioneered The Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, a non-profit organization that enhances the quality of life for his entire city by inspiring, developing and mobilizing emerging African American leaders to become key partners in revitalizing and transforming their city. His commitment is to work to reveal grace and hope in every sector of the city of Madison, including the business community, The University of Wisconsin, City Hall and the State Capitol. Gee has worked to empower countless fatherless children, ex-offenders, drug addicts, teen parents and racially divided communities. He is passionate about promoting hope, transformation and justice for disenfranchised African American people everywhere.
Most recently, Gee has nudged his local community to rethink racial unity by launching an incredible citywide movement called Justified Anger, named after a stirring viral essay he wrote about his experiences growing up Black in Madison, WI. Gee has assembled an impressive team of African American influencers from local business, university, community agencies and churches to create an impressive plan called “The Our Madison Plan”, designed to unify Madison’s divided communities.
Christy Clark-Pujara is an Associate Professor of History in the Department Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on the experiences of black people in British and French North America in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. She is particularly interested in retrieving the hidden and unexplored histories of African Americans in areas that historians have not sufficiently examined—small towns and cities in the North and Midwest. She contends that the full dimensions of the African American and American experience cannot be appreciated without reference to how black people managed their lives in places where they were few. Because an absence of a large black populace did not mean that ideas of blackness were not central to the social, political, and economic development of these places. Her first book Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island (NYU Press, 2016), examines how the business of slavery—economic activity that was directly related to the maintenance of slaveholding in the Americas, specifically the buying and selling of people, food, and goods—shaped the experience of slavery, the process of emancipation, and the realities of black freedom in Rhode Island from the colonial period through the American Civil War. Her current book project, Black on the Midwestern Frontier: From Slavery to Suffrage in the Wisconsin Territory, 1725—1868, examines how the practice of race-based slavery, black settlement, and debates over abolition and black rights shaped white-black race relations in the Midwest.
Erica Nelson is the Director of the Race to Equity Project, an initiative to dramatically reduce racial disparities in Dane County, Wisconsin (Madison) and throughout the rest of the state. The multi-year project, which was launched in 2012, has resulted in a vast increase in public awareness of the community’s deep racial inequalities, generated scores of public and private policy and practice initiatives to advance inclusion and equity, and fostered the development a widely embraced comprehensive community plan to level the playing field and improve outcomes for the region’s families and children of color. Before taking up this work, Erica practiced public interest law for three years in New York City, representing low-income families involved in the child welfare system in Manhattan Family Court. Her legal work followed a six-year career as a dancer/choreographer with New York-based contemporary ballet companies.
Erica received her BA Degree in history from the University of Wisconsin in 1994 and her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers Law School in 2004. She as well as the Race to Equity Team are the recipients of numerous honors and awards, including recently: Urban League of Greater Madison’s Whitney Young Award in 2014; the Rainbow Project’s Extra Mile Award in 2014; her selection as a “Woman to Watch in 2015” by BRAVA Magazine; the 2015 “M Awards for Social Innovation” to Race to Equity; and the Liesl Blockstein 2016 Community Leadership Award presented by Community Shares of Central Wisconsin. Erica is a frequent presenter and speaker on race, social justice, and family policy issues
Michelle Robinson is the Research, Data and Policy Associate for the Race to Equity Project. She is a dissertator in the Department of Sociology, a graduate fellow at the Institute for Research on Poverty, and a training fellow with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research’s Institutes for Education Sciences’ Interdisciplinary Training Program in Educational Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a quantitative sociologist she is interested in racial inequality and social stratification, and their relation to the development of societal institutions, social and public policy, and the State.
Michelle has over a decade of experience in research, data, evaluation and policy and expertise of topics related to race and racisms, inequality, stratification, diversity and inclusion and racial equity at the city, state, and federal levels—within and outside of academia. Her experience includes working on issues and programmatic responses related to recruitment and retention in regards to the high school-to-college pipeline among low-income students in the state of Texas at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; assisting with the development of research studies and statistical analysis pertaining to context of the educational systems in our nation at the National Center for Education Statistics and the American Institutes for Research; as well as supporting the successful education of middle and high school youth involved in the criminal justice system as a member of AmeriCorps at an alternative school in the Austin Independent School District.
Christin Calloway is a Policy Associate with the Race to Equity Project. Through holistic community partnership and engagement, Christin works to bring synergy to a county-wide movement by facilitating collaboration and supporting the development and operations of strategic partnerships designed to address the underlying, systemic and institutional drivers of racial inequity.
Christin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Mississippi where she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society and was a member of her class’s Hall of Fame. She earned her Master of Education in Education Policy and Management from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education in 2012. While at Harvard she served on the Dean’s Advisory Committee for Equity and Diversity and the Achievement Gap Initiative for the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. She is currently working on her doctorate in Educational Policy Studies at The University of Wisconsin- Madison. As a doctoral student, Christin has worked as a research and project assistant for the Black Family- School Relationship Study, and the Wisconsin Scholars Longitudinal Study — for which a nationally-funded report on policies to improve access to and success in community colleges was produced.
Opal Tomashevska is the Multicultural Business Strategy Manager for CUNA Mutual Group. Her role is dedicated to advancing the efforts of the Multicultural Center of Expertise, which includes gaining a deeper understanding of underserved consumers and partnering with internal departments to develop new strategies and products to serve their needs.
Alicia Chaney is an Emerging Sales Professional for CUNA Mutual Group. She is known for finding quick and easy resolutions on behalf of the sales account team and customers. She finds joy in facilitating customer care activities including helping credit unions with plan changes and sale implementations. Alicia is passionate about researching new and innovative ideas for credit unions around the world. Alicia is also the Campus Ambassador for her alma mater (Alabama State University), where she is responsible for creating awareness about CUNA Mutual Group, career and internship opportunities and maintaining the continuous link of communication with the university.
Eric Kestin has volunteered for the YWCA Madison Racial Justice program for over a decade. He has facilitated and co-facilitated numerous trainings helping people explore the issues of race, privilege, equity, implicit bias and related subjects. He serves on the YWCA Madison Board of Directors. Eric currently works as the Affirmative Action Officer for the Madison Metropolitan School District. In this position, he educates on and enforces the District’s Non-Discrimination policy and supports staff in bullying investigations and helping individuals and groups navigate difficult conversations. Eric has over 20 years of coaching, mediation, facilitation and training experience.
Donna Mackey has been a YWCA Racial Justice facilitator since 2004. She is a retired educator, social services specialist, and banker. Donna conducted leadership and race relations dialogues for student groups in over 25 Wisconsin elementary, middle, and high schools for 13 years. She also developed and facilitated cultural competence workshops for educators, social workers, medical personnel, religious organizations, hospitality personnel, and law enforcement. Donna has a B.A. in Political Science from West Virginia State University, a Post Baccalaureate in Education at Knox College and completed graduate work in Personnel Administration at Troy State University.
Dr. Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) is a Native scholar, writer, blogger, and activist, and is passionate about reframing how the world sees contemporary Native cultures. She is the creator and author of Native Appropriations, a blog discussing cultural appropriation and stereotypes of Native peoples in fashion, film, music, and other forms of pop culture. Through her writing and activism, Keene questions the ways Indigenous peoples are represented, asking for celebrities, large corporations, and designers to consider the ways they incorporate “Native” elements into their work. She is very interested in the way Native peoples are using social and new media to challenge misrepresentations and present counter-narratives that showcase true Native cultures and identities.
Rebecca Ramirez currently works for the Madison metropolitan school district in an intensive wraparound program called Building Bridges. Prior to joining the district, she worked in community mental health for 20 years. She has focused much of her work on ethnic minority communities to help heal these communities. In this capacity, she has worked with both the Oneida and Ho-Chunk nations in their mental health programs.
As an intern at UW-Madison’s Multicultural Student Center, and being a student of color on a predominately white campus, Mouna Algahaithi advocates for social justice on a daily basis, especially as a Muslim woman who has been wearing hijab since the age of 10. During her time at Madison College, Mouna created a Muslim Student Union to create a safe space for connection and solidarity for Muslim students as well as a platform to educate the general public about key Islamic issues that were often misunderstood. She has also won multiple awards for her work as a student journalist, writing about topics such as being a Muslim post 9/11 and educational inequities. Studying Educational Policy and Criminal Justice, Mouna aims to work within schools as a curriculum advisor to ensure classrooms (and teachers) are inclusive of all identities, especially refugee and immigrant students.
Sedgwick Smith Jr. currently working as a Program Leader at Sherman Middle School and a volunteer for the Tenant Resource Center. He Has served as the BSU president, Campus Center representative of the Student Activities Board at Madison College, where he received an associates degree, as well as The Presidential Volunteer Service Award, and the Karen Roberts Student Life Leadership Award. He Is currently attending UW-Milwaukee where he is majoring in Architectural Studies with a minor in Urban Planning.
Sedgwick is passionate about issues regarding homelessness, affordable housing, the improvement of black and brown communities and representation in the Muslim community, having facilitated multiple events at Madison College bringing awareness to the importance of having African America role models in college and beyond, teaching and mentoring middle school students, as well as hosting dialogues between unlikely communities.
Maria Ahmad serves as the Assistant Director for Leadership and Involvement at Multicultural Student Center. In this role, Maria oversees the MSC intern program, development of over 25 multicultural student organizations, general facilities management of the MSC space, and leadership and professional development opportunities for student leaders. Maria brings experience from her previous position as the Coordinator of Student Life and Campus Diversity at Indiana University Kokomo, and her education. She earned her undergraduate degree from the Ohio State University, and her Masters in Student Affairs at Northern Illinois University where she served as the Graduate Advisor for student organization support and leadership.
Maria is involved in NASPA Knowledge Communities, and chairs the regional IV-E KC on Religion, Faith, and Spirituality. She also works with the National Muslim Students Association Board as the Higher Education liaison. She is passionate about helping students get involved on campus and build community while also developing into strong leaders and friends who work to make the world a better place for all.
Syed Umar Warsi is a spoken-word artist and entrepreneur, originally from Flushing, NY. He graduated from NIU in 2013 with a B.S. in Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences and then completed his MBA at Indiana University. While in grad school, Syed worked full-time as the Director of Supported Living Services at Bona Vista Programs, Inc. serving families and individuals with intellectual disabilities for three years. Syed is also the co-founder of “Book A Muslim”, an agency that promotes and represents Muslim speakers, artists, performers and allies (www.bookamuslim.com). Syed lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife, two year old daughter and two month old son. He loves to cook for his YouTube audience and vlog called “The Maria and Umar Show”.
Missy Tracy is the Municipal Relations Coordinator at Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison and a tribal member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Her career spans three decades in business with 22 years of management experience. For the past eight years, Missy has worked for Indian country in Public Relations, Training, Regulation and Community Relations. Missy has served as the Seminar Director at the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA Seminar Institute) and the Senior Public Relations Manager for Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells. Missy has been on the board of the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gaming since 2009 and has delivered an award-winning strategic public relations marketing program with recognition from the Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, Red Cross and the Baraboo Chamber of Commerce.
Megan Monday is a Co-Founder of Love Wisconsin, a digital storytelling project with a mission to use storytelling and technology to bring about a more connected, compassionate, and engaged Wisconsin. Through Love Wisconsin, she and Co-Founder Jet Waller interview and capture the unique perspectives and experiences of real people around Wisconsin, then share their stories on social media. Love Wisconsin has an audience of over 100,000 story-loving followers. Many of the project’s stories are featured in a new book, Love Wisconsin: Stories From The Place We Call Home.
Wenona Wolf is Ojibwe and grew up on the St. Croix Chippewa reservation in northwest Wisconsin. Wolf serves on the leadership team at Kids Forward and Race to Equity as the Communication and Development Manager. She manages all of the organization’s fundraising efforts and oversees its external communication and media relations. Wolf uses her passion to translate complex public policy issues and matters related to racial equity to help build the political will needed to break down barriers of success for people of color.
Wolf is also a vocal advocate for Native communities and communities of color and draws on her expertise and experiences in public policy, advocacy, and non-profits to challenge systems that have historically oppressed people of color—particularly women of color. Wolf is dedicated to amplifying the voices of women of color and bringing issues related to Indigenous communities to the forefront.
Chet Agni is a Communication and Development Associate at Kids Forward, the Race to Equity Project, and the Wisconsin Budget Project. Through effective messaging, digital organizing, and outreach, Chet works to advance public policy solutions that will improve the lives of Wisconsin’s kids and families, especially kids and families of color. Chet is passionate about making our communities and systems more equitable, primarily through policy change, political advocacy, and community engagement. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Political Science from UW-Madison, as well as a Certificate in Global Health from UW-Madison’s Global Health Institute.
Jasmia Hamilton is passionate about education as a tool for social and economic inclusion. She has a personal and intellectual commitment to improving communities stemming from being a Chicago native and earning a Master’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies in 2017 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is grateful to work for an organization that shares this commitment to education and community engagement & improvement. Her current biggest project beyond work and family is revising a previously self-published memoir.
Angela Russell is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at CUNA Mutual Group. Ms. Russell has more than 16 years of professional experience involving diversity, equity and inclusion, external relations and outreach, communications, policy development, and research and evaluation. Prior to joining CUNA Mutual Group she was a Health Equity Coordinator at Public Health Madison and Dane County. She holds a Master of Science in Population Health from the University of Wisconsin School Of Medicine and Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Beloit College.
Jordan Bingham has over a decade of experience as a partner, strategist and facilitator in the areas of public health and racial justice. As health equity coordinator at Public Health Madison & Dane County, and as a consultant, she serves in leadership roles in local and national initiatives aimed at advancing health and racial equity in government and community. She is actively involved in community groups, with an emphasis on engaging white people to work for racial and social justice in solidarity with communities of color.
Jacquelyn L. Boggess, J.D., has worked with the Center since its inception in 1995. Her work as a policy analyst involves the investigation of the welfare system, the family law courts, and the child support system. Her particular interest lies in the interrelations among these systems, and how the social welfare policy and practice that result from this relationship affect low-income fathers, mothers, and children. Additionally, Ms. Boggess has concentrated on the question of the impact of government initiated “family formation” and father involvement policy on the safety and well-being of women and children. Ms. Boggess has a particular interest in the impact of non-resident father involvement on mothers and children. Her work in this regard has resulted in connections and collaborations with domestic violence organizations and progressive advocacy groups working on poverty reduction, violence prevention, and economic justice for parents and children. Ms. Boggess is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School.
Nancy Wrenn Bauch is a Social Worker with 38 years of direct service practice with a focus on poverty, homelessness, trauma, and racism. She has a BS in Social Work from Illinois State University. She managed the YWCA Madison’s Third Street program which serves single moms providing housing and support services. Her direct service work inspired and informed her racial justice work. Nancy is a certified facilitator for StirFry Seminars Unlearning Racism Workshops, as well as for World-Trust Inc. Heart to Heart Conversations, Creating Equitable Organizations and Restorative Justice Circles. She has been part of the YWCA Racial Justice Committee since its inception in 2001. She has facilitated racial justice workshops and dialogs for many organizations and the community series offered by the YWCA.
Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on the ways in which urban youth negotiate Hip Hop music and culture to form social, cultural, and political identities to create new and sustaining ways of thinking about urban education and intersectional social justice. Her research also focuses on how teachers and schools working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged, anti-racist, anti-homophobic, and anti-sexist educational, equitable classrooms. For her work in the field, in 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. She is also the creator of the Hip Hop civics curriculum GET FREE.
Reanae McNeal is an award-winning international performing artist, inspirational speaker, acclaimed vocalist, oral HERstorian, visual artist, griotess (storyteller), performing art poet, and cultural activist. Reanae’s specialty is storytelling in the African/African-American/African-Native American tradition. She plays over twenty African and Native American instruments. These instruments come from the countries of Turtle Island/United States, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda. Her acclaimed award-winning one-woman plays centering on the diversity of women’s lives have been featured nationally and internationally as testimonies to the endurance of women across social locations. These plays include Don’t Speak My Mother’s Name in Vain, Blues Women Don’t Wear No Shoes, And Still I Fly, and Blood at the Roots: African Native American Women as well as others.
Anjali Misra is a Chicago-based nonprofit professional, freelance writer, community theater director, grassroots organizing strategist, sometimes radio journalist and part-time emcee. She attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison where she earned a BA in English Literature, a minor in Gender & Women’s Studies and a Master of Arts in Gender & Women’s Studies. Over the last 9 years, Anjali has had the immense privilege to support the work of organizations and groups like Free Spirit Media, GSAFE, YWCA Madison, MEChA and South Asian Sisters Madison – focusing on inter-ethnic solidarity, interracial coalition building, and gender justice.
Owen Karcher co-founded the Center for Community Healing in Madison, WI to provide high-quality therapy to people with marginalized identities. Owen is a bilingual art therapist, author, and social justice educator. Owen works towards the individual and collective healing of trauma and oppression through embodied creative expression. He has ten years of experience in mental health, violence prevention, child sexual abuse, anti-racism, and HIV/AIDS. As an educator, he facilitates group processes that invite participants to learn how power, privilege, and identities impact their relationships and work and teaches best practices for serving LGBTQ and other marginalized individuals.
Chelsea O’Neil Karcher co-founded the Center for Community Healing in Madison, WI to provide high-quality therapy to people with marginalized or misunderstood identities. Chelsea is an art therapist and social justice educator specializing in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer identities, currently serving 95% LGBTQ clients and 90% identifying as transgender or gender nonconforming. She received her master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology: Art Therapy from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and has spent much of her professional career working to stop violence against women and LGBTQ+ people,providing allyship education, organizing for racial justice, and advocating for reproductive rights.
Araceli Esparza is a first generation Latina and expert storyteller and writer. She has been published in several magazines and was named Women to Watch 2015 by Brava Magazine. She is the owner of Wisconsin Mujer, a social engagement company that specializes in targeting multicultural audiences with fun social media activities with proven success in several statewide campaigns and fundraising efforts. Araceli is also a wellness practitioner and believes strongly that telling your story has power to heal and ushers in social justice on a personal level. She is currently training with hundreds of teachers in the certified yoga teacher training, Breathe for Change. Wisconsin Mujer is a 100% Minority and Woman-owned company.
Nadya Mariam is the host of En Nuestro Patio, a Spanish speaking radio show at WORT, where topics, stories and news of interest to our Latinx community are emphasized. She also has four years of experience in documentary, in both film making and photography.
Originally a California native, Jacklyn Velasquez is a 2017 Vermont Law School graduate and member of the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley. During law school, she was an Environmental Mission Scholar, active in her Native American Law Student Association chapter and returned to her tribe to complete two separate projects with the Big Pine Paiute Tribe Environmental Department. There she worked on funding requirements for climate change, community outreach, quality assurance projects as an Institute for Tribal Environmental Professional Intern and researched the adverse impacts of a proposed large industrial scale solar project as a Blair Hamilton Memorial Fund Fellow.
As an Equal Justice Works Fellow, Jacklyn will continue her tribal advocacy as she works to engage Tribes to hold Wisconsin accountable to Clean Water Act by legally and technically assisting a collaboration that assesses and addresses Tribes’ risks from the State’s regulatory failures.
Dr. Shawn Anthony Robinson is an author and consultant, and serves on the Board of Directors with the International Dyslexia Association. Robinson’s research focuses on the intersection of race, giftedness and dyslexia. He brings a wealth of academic experience, training and knowledge about the psychological development of dyslexia. Dr. Robinson has written peer-reviewed articles and book chapters that discuss African American males with dyslexia, which is an understudied area of scholarship in various outlets (Journal of African American Males in Education; Advanced Development – a Journal on Adult Giftedness; Journal for the Education of the Gifted; Disability & Society; Journal of Education and Development in theCaribbean). He has also edited the book, Untold Narratives African Americans Who Received Special Education Services and Succeeded Beyond Expectations. His writings have been highlighted on NBCNews in an editorial piece titled, “This Man is Searching For a Link Between Illiteracy and Racial Bias,” as well as in INSIDE HIGHER ED.
Karen Reece is a founding member and serves as President of Urban Community Arts Network. Karen develops programming, writes grants and curriculum, and facilitates community organizing in the Hip-Hop community. Karen served as chair of the City of Madison’s Task Force on Equity in Music and Entertainment.
ShaH comes to us from Maywood, IL by way of Richland Center and is the co-founder and Vice President of Urban Community Arts Network. ShaH eats, sleeps and breathes Hip-Hop, and has been booking local and national acts for years. He is the owner of the music blog, Get Your Buzz Up.com and ME Management and Consulting. ShaH own The Blast Muy Thai Kickboxing Plus gym and speaks about positive life choices with youth and young adults in Madison and surrounding areas.
Corey “Dash DUB” Whitmore comes to us from Harrisburg, PA by way of Milwaukee. Corey has extensive experience doing teen programming and coaching basketball as part of the Boys and Girls of Greater Milwaukee and in Madison with Urban Community Arts Network. Corey is a rapper, producer, studio engineer, and owner of record label and management company, Duce Duce Entertainment.
Madison native DJ Pain 1 is a Urban Community Arts Network co-founder and serves as Treasurer. DJ Pain 1 is a platinum-certified professional Hip-Hop producer, DJ, and certified secondary educator, who has produced records for artists such as Ludacris, Public Enemy, The Game, and Jadakiss. DJ Pain 1 recently completed the Teaching Artist Training program through Overture Center for the Arts in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Stephanie Campbell is a second-year school psychology doctoral student at UW–Madison. She serves as a co-chair of the Educational Psychology Diversity Committee. Stephanie’s research interests broadly center around the experiences of ethnically/racially minoritized students in schools. One area she is beginning to explore is body image perception and satisfaction as matters of social justice. Stephanie would like to investigate the intersectionality of cultural identities, body image, and socioeconomic status in adolescents. She is interested in dismantling fatphobic attitudes of school professionals and constructing evidence-based, culturally-responsive practices to encourage body image resiliency.
Sophia Dodge is a first-year school psychology doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is a recipient of the Ed-GRS fellowship and her research interests include cultural identity development and its relationship with children’s academic performance, as well as the implementation of proactive prevention frameworks in foreign schools. Sophia is interested in finding a feasible and culturally sensitive framework to problem-solve in academic environments in order to improve the services given to all students in the United States and other countries.
Katie Lawlor is a first-year doctoral student in the school psychology program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Katie’s broad research interests center around practices that foster partnerships between schools, families, and communities. More specifically, she is interested in parent-child relationships and how they contribute to school success and emotional well-being.
My passion is ensuring inclusion and engagement is front and center in my work. I have strong policy and analytic skills, a wide network of community, government and business relationships, and extensive networks and relationships within Madison and Dane County’s diverse populations. A key strength is as a connector between community, business, and nonprofits; which I believe results in developing and implementing ideas and strategies that are inclusive, and resilient which produces a strong community backbone.
Adopted in 1968, Rosita is a transracial, Korean-American, Holt International adoptee. Her road has been speckled with Puerto Rican and Appalachian relatives. Once content with her role as a “Tennerican,” she has discovered that her children have inherited her racial ambivalence. Returning to her home country in 2014, she has not only visited the peninsula but also moved her family to Seoul for five months. Her stories have appeared in xoJane, Listen to Your Mother and The Race Card Project. She will perform at The Moth Grandslam later this month. She shares her narrative on her blog, mothermade.
Grace Newton is a recent graduate of Macalester College and a Chinese adoptee. She has interned for the Minnesota based company Land of Gazillion Adoptees LLC and served as editor for the college section of Gazillion Voices, the first adoptee led adoption magazine. Her writing has been featured in two anthologies and focuses on introducing those unrelated to adoption to a more nuanced look at the practice and aiding adoptive parents in holding discussions on race and adoption with their children as they mature. Grace is a recent member of The Lost Daughters and is one of the founding members of her alma matter’s Transracial/Transnational Adoptee Identity Collective; both are places she has found a great sense of camaraderie. She has spoken at three Korean Adoptee and Adoptive Family Network (KAAN) Conferences and is on the Advisory Council for KAAN. Grace has spoken at national conferences and symposia including the Midwest Asian American Students’ Union Conference and the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs, on air with Public Radio International, as well as on panels at the University of St. Thomas, Macalester College, and for the Families with Children from Asia – Midwest. When Grace isn’t discussing issues of race and adoption in person, she is writing about it online at her blog: redthreadbroken.wordpress.com
Baltazar is an immigrant who grew up in Mexico and came to the United States when he was 23 years old (He is now 41). Because of biking and a healthy lifestyle, Baltazar lost 95 pounds and reversed a pre-diabetic diagnosis. Some years ago, when Baltazar’s driver’s license expired (and because of his immigration status he was not able to renew it) he started using biking as his main means of transportation. Baltazar is now able to get a drivers license (he became a Legal Permanent Resident in 2016) but he has chosen not to buy a car and continue using biking as a main means of transportation. In the short time that Baltazar has been biking in Madison, he has found that unfortunately there is a bike racial disparity and bike inequity in the city of Madison. Baltazar does not want to be one of the few Latinos who bike. His goal is to bring more people from the Latino/African American/Hmong communities into biking. As more people bike, there is going to be a yet higher need for better biking infrastructure in Madison. Madison is currently a great place for biking. Unfortunately, it is only a great place to bike for just a few members of the community. Baltazar believes this can change. Baltazar is a member of the JUST Bikes coalition and currently works as the Dane County Program Director at the Wisconsin Bike Federation.
Mario García Sierra works tirelessly and with humility to unite the disparate experiences of everyone who calls Madison home. By sharing his story, he connects on a personal level with everyone he meets. Mario is the Community Services Manager at Madison Gas & Electric, where he runs the Living in Balance program to help create healthy communities in Madison. Balance engages communities of color in sustainability, lifting up stories of success and offering resources to help people live more sustainable lifestyles. In 2017, Sustain Dane partnered with Mario to host The Megaphone, a powerful community platform that provides the space and tools to craft and share our stories. Mario shared his story of calling Madison home, but being constantly reminded that he is different by people who ask, “but where are you really from?” Mario shares these hurtful experiences honestly and publicly to spark change. His storytelling invites listeners in with humor and openness in a way that you can’t help but see yourself in his shoes and be inspired to make our community more inclusive. Mario is committed to using his voice and his story to inspire grassroots change that promotes sustainability, healthy living, and justice for people who experience discrimination and marginalization.
Lachele Greenlee is an educator with the Madison Metropolitan School District, currently working as a Professional Learning Coordinator serving the District’s Elementary Schools. She began her career as a Middle School teacher in Baltimore, Maryland and continued in the classroom upon her return to Madison in 2008. In her professional role, Lachele facilitates trainings and professional learning for various groups on topics including instructional coaching, equity, race, bias, and identity. In December Lachele will graduate from UW-Madison with her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on Social Justice.
Jet Waller is a Co-Founder of Love Wisconsin, a digital storytelling project with a mission to use storytelling and technology to bring about a more connected, compassionate, and engaged Wisconsin. Through Love Wisconsin, she and Co-Founder Megan Monday interview and capture the unique perspectives and experiences of real people around Wisconsin, then share their stories on social media. Love Wisconsin has an audience of over 100,000 story-loving followers. Many of the project’s stories are featured in a new book, Love Wisconsin: Stories From The Place We Call Home.
Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. has pursued and achieved success in academia, business, diversity, leadership and community service. In 1996, he started America & MOORE, LLC [www.eddiemoorejr.com] to provide comprehensive diversity, privilege and leadership trainings/workshops. Dr. Moore is recognized as one of the nation’s top motivational speakers/educators especially for his work with students K-16. Dr. Moore is the Founder/Director for the White Privilege Conference (WPC), [www.whiteprivilegeconference.com]. He is featured in the film “I’m not Racist….Am I?” Dr. Moore is co-editor of Everyday White People Confront Racial and Social Injustice: 15 Stories and The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys.
Aaron Bird Bear (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Dine’ Nations) is the Assistant Dean for Student Diversity Programs in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bird Bear oversees five academic programs serving pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate students in the School of Education, including the American Indian Curriculum Services unit supporting teacher education. Beginning in 2012, Bird Bear began assisting the School of Education’s efforts to incorporate American Indian Studies into public PK-16 education. For campus teaching and learning, Bird Bear is noted for the First Nations Cultural Landscape Tour developed in 2003 with UW-Madison Facilities Planning and Management staff Daniel Einstein to examine how humans have called the shores of Waksikhomik (Lake Mendota) home for 12,000 years. Research illuminates that UW–Madison is likely the most archaeologically rich campus in the United States, and on the place-based learning tours with integrated American Indian Studies content, students, faculty and staff visit a 1,200-year-old archaeological site and learn about the university’s ongoing relationships with the First Nations of Wisconsin, including the Ho-Chunk Nation, on whose treaty lands the university now sits. Additionally, Bird Bear consulted on the development and design of Dejope (Four Lakes) Residence Hall, named by the Ho-Chunk Nation. Bird Bear received his Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis MS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his Physical Oceanography BS degree from the University of Washington-Seattle.
Lisa Baker, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, consultant, advocate, and mindfulness teacher with over 15 years of experience working in a variety of roles in human service and community-based organizations, including those serving LGBTQ+ communities and communities of color. Lisa is currently Faculty and Director of the Engaged Mindfulness Co-Lab at Edgewood College’s Social Innovation and Sustainability Leadership Program where she teaches and is lead coordinator of the Engaged Mindfulness Summit. Lisa’s work extends into the community in Madison and beyond as a consultant to organizations and businesses, including leadership/team development, training, and coaching. Throughout her life, Lisa has experienced and witnessed the power of compassion and love to transform relationships and communities, especially in the hardest of times, and she seeks to practice and embody these qualities in all areas of her life, including healing and justice work.
Ali Muldrow is a parent, partner, writer, instructor, advocate, and doula. She began her work in education in 2006 when she became the after-school spoken word club liaison for the East High School in partnership with UW-Madison’s First Wave program. Ali is currently the Co-Director of GSAFE, where she has for the last several years authored the curriculum for and taught Foundations of Leadership, a course based in the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth of color that recruits high school students from the entire Madison public school district who are advanced learners in the areas of leadership. At GSAFE, Ali has also paired over 70 students with mentors and hosted annual LGBTQ+ Youth of Color Leadership Conferences as well as co-directed GSAFE’s Leadership Training Institute. In 2015, Ali launched GSAFE’s New Narrative Project in the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center, a program that provides incarcerated young people with clear channels to academic success, civic engagement, and self-determination. Ali grew up in a multiracial family where identity was discussed at the dinner table and difference was celebrated. She is passionate about consent, freedom, learning and human rights. Ali is committed to bringing innovation and love to all that she does.
Matt Dannenberg (Milwaukee, WI) is Field Director at Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters (WLCV) and a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. WLCV helps elect pro-conservation candidates to state offices and promotes public policy that benefits public health and our natural resources. In this role, Matt manages a team of community organizers that build relationships and environmental leadership all across Wisconsin. In 2012, Matt developed the WI Native Vote program which encourages civic engagement and tribal members to vote and run for office. Matt graduated UW-Madison in 2010 with a BA in Political Science and a certificate in Environmental Studies.
Carmen Alonso, Ph.D., licensed psychologist, has been teaching mindfulness meditation classes in the Madison area over the past 15 years. She had taught mindfulness-based interventions to a wide variety of groups such as patients with clinical depression and anxiety, veterans with and without PTSD, Spanish-speaking populations, and medical residents and students. Most recently, Carmen’s primary focus is teaching mindfulness and other contemplative practices to incarcerated men and women in several prisons across Wisconsin. She has also combined her mindfulness teachings with Tae Kwon Do, a martial art she has been a practitioner of for 26 years, including more than 20 years as head instructor of the Choi Tae Kwon Do School at UW.
Gloria Castillo Posada is passionate about sustainability and storytelling. Her interest in storytelling sparked when listening to many women’s stories around the world about belonging, resilience, and lucha, values that strongly guide her work today. As the Sustainable Communities Director at Sustain Dane, she has been able to integrate different narratives from diverse communities in order to expand and enrich the sustainability movement in Dane County. At the center of Gloria’s work and passions lays the firm commitment to uplift and celebrate people’s voices and unique life experiences as a way to challenge the status quo. In her partnership with Living in Balance, Gloria works tirelessly to bring to the front the stories of those that have been traditionally excluded, but whose work is transforming and revitalizing our communities and our planet. In that effort, Gloria brings an intersectional lens to a broad spectrum of sustainability issues such as food insecurity, immigration, climate change, civic engagement, among others. In six words, Gloria defines her personal story as “the result of my grandmother’s dream”.
Sue Robinson joined the UW-Madison faculty at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in January 2007 and now holds the Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism research chair. As a scholar, she explores how journalists and news organizations adopt new information communication technologies to report on public affairs in new forms and formats as well as how audiences and individuals can use the technologies for civic engagement. Central to her work is the consideration of information flow as it moves through specific media ecologies and networks at the local community level. Her current book, Networked News, Racial Divides: How Power & Privilege Shape Progressive Communities, researches how digital platforms enable and constrain citizens – especially those in marginalized communities – who produce and share information in the public sphere about racial achievement disparities in the K-12 education system.
Jessica Cavazos is the President and CEO of the Latino Chamber of Commerce. Prior to this role, she was the President of the Eleva Group, an organization whose mission was to create social programs, help non-profits with governance issues and assist for-profit and non-profit entities in implementing initiatives aimed at promoting actions that are both economically and socially beneficial. In addition to her work with the Eleva Group, Cavazos has extensive experience in government relations, policy, community engagement and business development. She also worked as a Congressional Liaison for eight years in the office of Congresswoman Gwen Moore. She has served as Secretary and board member of the National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives Midwest Region and coordinator for the Central Region’s Federal Diversity Committee. She was the former State Director of Woman’s Activities for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Wisconsin. She was a founding member of several women’s groups, including LULAC Latinas Council and Latinas En Acción (part of the Woman’s Fund). In 2012, she was named UMOS Hispanic Woman of the Year for her volunteerism and community advocacy.
Henry Sanders is the founder and CEO of Madison365, a non-profit online media outlet focused on reaching people of color and allowing all voices to be heard and Madison365 Enterprises a for-profit media and strategic communications company. Prior to founding Madison365, Sanders served as Vice President of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce where he started the Small Business Advisory Council, Latino Chamber of Commerce and the African American Black Business Association. Sanders is also the founder of the young professionals organization Madison Area Growth Network (MAGNET), Madison Network of Black Professionals, and Capacity 360, a government relations firm that brought more than $15 million to Wisconsin businesses. He serves on the Board of Directors of Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, and chairs its Membership Advisory Council.
An advocate for social change in Madison for over 25 years, Milele is the publisher of UMOJA Magazine. UMOJA is the longest running Black magazine in Wisconsin, dedicated to covering positive news in the Black Community. Among her expansive body of work, Milele was the first Afirmative Action Director for the City of Madison. In that capacity, she worked to open doors for women and people of color for employment opportunities and helped to remove historical barriers to equal rights. During her tenure, Milele founded the Minority Affairs Committee, which is still active thirty years later. Milele was also the one of four acting directors of the Equal Opportunities Commission. She was also the first African American to serve on a Wisconsin School Board.
Karen Lincoln Michel joined the Madison Magazine staff April 2015 as the editor. Michel has editorial experience with publications including the La Crosse Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, The New York Times Syndicate, the Green Bay Press-Gazette and most recently as executive editor of The Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, Louisiana. She also serves on the board of directors as vice president with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and is past president of both UNITY: Journalists for Diversity and the Native American Journalists Association.
Toya Washington joined the WISN 12 News team in December 2002, and is currently serving as co-anchor of the 5 p.m. newscast. Washington’s rise through the broadcast journalism ranks has been swift. She came to WISN-TV after six years at WISC-TV, the CBS affiliate and leading station in Madison, Wis., where she worked as a weekend news anchor and reporter. Her career choice in broadcast journalism was influenced early on, after taking part in a unique career enrichment program at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, one of the nation’s top-ranking CBS affiliates. Washington graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a BA in broadcast journalism and women’s studies. She has been an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and was involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, while working in Madison.