Equity & Inclusion

Virtual Speaker Series 

Presented by POCIS Seattle

The Equity and Inclusion Virtual Speaker Series is a program sponsored by POCIS Seattle, People of Color of Independent Schools in the Northwest, to offer our communities and beyond the opportunity to connect, learn, and engage in topics around equity, inclusion, and antiracist education and action. The purpose of this series is to raise awareness, challenge ourselves, deepen understanding, and empower our communities to advance their efforts to actively recreate systems into equitable, inclusive, and antiracist institutions. The program invites 4-5 speakers throughout the academic year to create access to recognized authors and speakers that engage participants in complex topics through dialogue, cross-cultural communication, and a deeper understanding of the impact that racism and oppression have in our institutions and the greater society. These events aims to serve a public purpose by making this programming free and accessible to all.

Free and Open to the Public E&I Virtual Series 2023–2024

Storytelling as Resistance: Experience at Predominantly White Institutions and Generational Trauma

October 5, 2023, 6:007:15 pm  RSVP

In this talk Prisca Dorcas will name what it means to attend a predominantly white institution, PWI, as a non-white person. She will also address generational trauma telling stories about her own experiences with therapy, the stigmas around therapy, being 1st generation, and the experiences with being from a war-torn country has meant for her and her family. She will also explore ways to reclaim traditions while healing from generation trauma. 

Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez was born in Managua, Nicaragua but calls Nashville, Tennessee home. She is a feminist, theologian, storyteller, and advocate founder of Latina Rebels, and author of “For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts” A Love Letter to Women of Color.” Mojica Rodríguez merges storytelling with pedagogy to help folks understand the larger forces at play, also known as systemic oppression.

A Conversation with Dr. Bernice A. King 

February 8, 2024, 5:006:15 pm RSVP

Dr. Bernice A. King is a global thought leader, strategist, solutionist, orator, peace advocate, and CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center For Nonviolent Social Change (The KingCenter), which was founded by her mother as the official living memorial to the life, work, and legacy of her father. In this position, Bernice continues to advance her parents’ legacy of nonviolent social change through policy, advocacy, research, as well as education & training through the Kingian philosophy of nonviolence, which she re-branded Nonviolence365TM️ (NV365). See Complete Bio

Beyond the Model Minority: Asian American Histories of Resistance and Renewal in the Pacific Northwest and Beyond

March 13, 2024, 6:007:15 pm RSVP

In this talk, Dr. Megan Asaka will examine how Asian Americans have responded to, challenged, and resisted anti-Asian racism and injustice. Though often portrayed as passive “model minorities,” Asian Americans have a rich legacy of resistance and militant action that has long been overlooked. Focusing on historical accounts from in and beyond the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Asaka will offer a new understanding of the Asian American past as a pathway for future action.

Award-winning scholar, writer, and teacher of Asian American history, urban history, and public humanities. She is the author of Seattle from the Margins: Exclusion, Erasure, and the Making of a Pacific Coast City, which examines the erased histories of the communities that built Seattle. The book was inspired by her own family history in Seattle as well as her work as an oral historian and archivist for Densho, a community-based organization that seeks to preserve and share the stories of the Japanese American incarceration. She is an assistant professor of history at the University of California, Riverside and lives in Pasadena.

Race to the Future? Reimagining the Default Setting of Technology and Society

May 23, 2024, 6:007:15 pm RSVP

From automated decision systems in healthcare, policing, education and more, technologies have the potential to deepen discrimination while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to harmful practices of a previous era. In this talk, Ruha Benjamin takes us into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech predictions with historical and sociological insight. When it comes to AI, Ruha shifts our focus from the dystopian and utopian narratives we are sold, to a sober reckoning with the way these tools are already a part of our lives. Whereas dystopias are the stuff of nightmares, and utopias the stuff of dreams… utopias are what we create together when we are wide awake.

Ruha Benjamin is a professor of African American studies at Princeton University, founding director of the Ida B. Wells JUST Data Lab and author of three books, Viral Justice (2022), Race After Technology (2019), and People’s Science (2013), and editor of Captivating Technology (2019).  Ruha Benjamin speaks widely about the relationship between innovation and inequity, knowledge and power, race and citizenship, health and justice.

POCIS Seattle Member Schools 2023–2024 

Thank you! 

Past Presentations

Virtual Series 20222023

Dear White Woman, Please Come Home: Showing Up as a Safe Space in Our Schools

May 4, 2023 6:00-7:15 pm

Kimberlee Williams, Author of Dear White Woman, Please Come Home, is a humanist first and believes that racism can be dismantled through authentic relationship building where a mirror is held up to interrogate one's assumptions, beliefs, behaviors, and patterns of interactions. With a shift in any and all of the above as authentic relationships dive beneath the surface, the power and harm caused by the legacy of racism can be dismantled.

Disability, Race, and Identity

March 9, 2023 6:00-7:15 pm

Within this presentation LeDerick Horne  will draw from the book “Empowering. Students with Hidden Disabilities: A Path to Pride and Success.”  LeDerick will share his own experience navigating special education classes and will give advice to help all students develop positive identities as people with disabilities. Strategies to help students reach their transition goals will be provided. The audience will also explore the intersectionality of disability, race, and identity to help them create more inclusive schools and communities. LeDerick’s personal story and poetry will also be shared during this talk.

Participants will be able to:

• List several evidence-based practices and strategies which can empower students with disabilities to reach their transition goals.

• Describe the importance of disability identity to reduce stigma and improve student engagement and disability pride.

• Address many of the challenges facing students with disabilities from communities of color to help service providers and families build a more equitable learning environment.

• List sources of mentors and role modelsto help students build a meaningful connection to the disability community.

Healing & Wholeness as Love, Power, and Resistance

January 19, 2023 6:00-7:15 pm

In community, we pause, 

we open, we nourish, 

and we become. 

We pay attention, and all we hear is urgency. The challenges are innumerable, but also infinite are the opportunities. Our grief is daunting, but also heartening is our compassion. This historical moment encourages us to reflect, make sense, and participate in the collective transformation expected from the human world today. Contemplative living reminds us that intentional action requires mindful assessment of the causes and conditions that have shaped who and where we are today. I suggest three contemplative insights are crucial to advance our shared journey towards collaborative and restorative solutions: the reckoning of the harm caused by human othering of self, others, and the Earth; a sense of ecological belonging that engenders a feeling of being part of an ever-expansive circle of care and concern for Earth systems and communities; and the realization of a collective path of spiritual becoming honoring life on Mother Earth.

The Anti-Racist Kid: Identity, Justice, and Activism

October 19, 2022  6:30-7:45 pm

Grow your antiracist consciousness! Using a framework similar to This Book Is Anti-Racist, learn how to take action and work towards creating anti-bias anti-racist classrooms, libraries, schools, and community spaces. Listeners will grow into their awareness and start to make a plan on how to support their own growth and that of those they are working with. Learn how to authentically center the voices of those who are too often silenced, ignored, and left out of history in our own spaces! Build an inclusive anti-bias antiracist community that empowers all who enter! 

NWord: Is There a Message in the Madness

November 15, 2022  6:00-7:15

Who is allowed to say the N!word? What do we do or say when the N!word is said in our classrooms, hallways, practices, cafeterias and resident halls? Ignoring the N!Word is not an option anymore - You can hear N!Word everywhere nowadays. Participants are challenged to examine their personal/professional histories with N!Word when and/or how they first heard N!Word and pictures/feelings associated with the word. The workshop encourages all people, but specifically future leaders, educators and parents, to consider the ramifications of casual or uniformed usage of a powerful and troublesome word.

Participants will leave the session with:

Virtual Series 20212022

Indigenous People, Race, and Education with Gyasi Ross

Native American voices work to raise awareness about the unique challenges that Indigenous people face, and to acknowledge the important contributions they've made to the diverse traditions and cultures of America. Ross is the author of Don’t Know Much About Indians (but I wrote a book about us anyways) (2011) and How to Say I Love You in Indian (2014). He is a speaker on race, social justice, and white privilege as well as issues specifically affecting contemporary Native Americans. 

Asian Americans in America's History: A Look to Xenophobia and Racism with Dr. Erika Lee

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing group in the US and have long and complicated histories in the country. Still, most Americans may only know Asian Americans through the stereotype of America's "model minorities." Award-winning author and historian Erika Lee joins us to dive deep into the history of Asian Americans in the United States, with a specific focus on anti-Asian xenophobia and racism. This lecture and discussion will offer new insights into the Asian American experience and what it means to be American today.

A Conversation with Dr. Beverly Tatum about Race and Racism  

The ongoing senseless killing of Black men and women has prompted much-needed and long-overdue conversations about race and racism. Many of us wonder, how do we talk about this with our kids? How do we teach them about racial identity and equality? Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College, an award-winning clinical psychologist, a national authority on racial issues in America, and a thought leader in higher education, joins us to look at why these conversations are so difficult and share her insights on how to talk with kids and each other about race and racism and how to be actively anti-racist.

Racism and Young People's Literature with Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is a #1 New York Times bestselling author who writes novels and poetry for young adult and middle-grade audiences. His award-winning book, Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, was a National Book Award finalist, Carnegie Medal winner, and was named one of the best books of 2019 by NPR, The New York Times, School Library Journal, and more. Look Both Ways is composed of interconnected stories, each centering on a different student from the same school and tells what happens after the dismissal bell rings, brilliantly reminding readers to look at our surroundings more closely and notice all the things that connect us to our communities.

We Gon’ Be Alright, But That Ain’t Alright: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom with Dr. Bettina L. Love

Dr. Love discusses how Hip Hop Civics Ed, when linked to the framework of intersectionality and Abolitionist Teaching, creates a space where Black lives matter and analytic sensibilities are nurtured to engage youth in the work of fighting for visibility, inclusion, and justice. Her talk will end by calling for us all not only to teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to make sustainable change in their communities through innovative and radical civic curriculum, but also to expose youth to the possibilities that come with envisioning a world built on Black joy, creativity, imagination, boldness, ingenuity, and the rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists. 

Sponsoring Schools for speaker series 2020–2023- Thank you!