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Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures, discussions, and conversations from area events and festivals, thanks to a remarkable collection of community partners. Click here to view the full archive. Events are recorded at no cost to the partner and archived here online; select recordings are broadcast on Aspen Public Radio Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Equity Symposium 2024: Storytelling as a Strategy for Anti-Racist Community Action and Solidarity

This event was recorded on May 10, 2024, as part of the 2024 Equity Symposium, in partnership with Aspen Public Radio.

MANAUS' Equity Action Project hosted the second Equity Symposium on May 10, 2024. The Equity Symposium focused on the topics of: anti-racism; intersectionality; and the relationship between language justice and educational equity.

Speakers for this panel include:

Kenya Johnson, PhD, MSW:

Dr. Kenya Johnson the co-owner of Full Circle Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm specializing in helping organizations and communities engage in anti-racist change. As a lead strategist at Circle, Dr. Johnson engages with diverse organizational leaders and their staff who represent various professional sectors across the country. She co-facilitates skill-building training, provides coaching and strategy support alongside a team of certified HEARTspeak facilitators. Full Circle’s approach centers anti-racism, holistic wellness, liberation, solidarity, and love as core values that affect change.

Dr. Johnson also has more than twenty years of teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate levels in both sociology and social work. She is currently an assistant social work professor with the University of Houston-Downtown. Dr. Johnson has an extensive background as a practitioner working in school-based settings. Her career also includes political engagement and community organizing work having facilitated grassroots mobilization efforts that increased voter engagement, especially in communities of color.

Donisha Shepard, MSW:

Donisha Shepherd (she/they) serves as Talent and Wellness Strategist & HEARTspeak Facilitator with Full Circle Strategies. Donisha had dedicated her work to the long-term goal of decolonizing the profession she has dedicated her life to. She believes that anti-racism work is necessary and provides an opportunity for everyone to “rethink what we think we know”, unlearn the teachings that divided us, and learn how to utilize our differences as building blocks to becoming better as a whole. Donisha became heavily politically engaged as a voter registration official in Harris County and other counties surrounding Houston. Donisha has extensive political organizing and education experience. Before joining Full Circle, Donisha participated in the Texas legislative session where she was able to analyze policy based on its impacts on working class Texans while assessing the lack of urgency Texas leaders had on issues that disproportionately impacted Black and Brown Texans. Donisha is a graduate of the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) where she received her Master’s degree in Social Work with a Macro concentration.

Luana Da Silva, LCSW-S, SEP:

Luana Da Silva (they/she) is a somatic-based trauma and cultural worker. Luana has been called to engage with the impact of generational trauma and/or grief through a decolonial lens with people across varied identities, situations and settings. Currently they do so by engaging in different forms of therapeutic work, birth work, community and cultural work, in addition to their ongoing personal work. Luana is a HEARTspeak Facilitator with Full Circle Strategies, and holds a license as a board-approved clinical social worker and supervisor (LCSW-S) in Texas, as well as being a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP).

Margaret Mayer, LMSW:

Margaret Mayer, LMSW (she/they) serves as a HEARTspeak Facilitator for Full Circle Strategies. She has spent the last ten years honing her calling to disrupt white supremacy in white spaces while having realized just how much she too has to learn and unlearn in her own life. Margaret has worked within organizations, in communities, and with individuals to create space for hope and healing, address identity and belonging, face loss and uncertainty, and to support people in processing feelings they may be avoiding due to the fear and discomfort. Margaret also works in direct practice with individuals as a therapist in Houston, Texas.

Other talks presented as part of this symposium include:

Regan Byrd - "Advanced Intersectionality."

Sofía E. Chaparro- "La Lucha Continua: The Fight for Linguistic Rights and Educational Equity in Colorado."

Equity Action Project Alumni Panel