Conversations for Change Equity Series – Online Event

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DateApril 18, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Time02:00 pm - 03:30 pm

Location 10091 McGregor Blvd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919 United States



Event details

Let’s talk about Racial Equity. Join us as we explore avenues to better understand and advocate for social and economic equity within our communities. In this series of conversations, we are intentionally creating spaces to have meaningful, authentic discussions about racial inequities within the arts, education, health and the workforce systems.

We envision a community of people whose literacy, success, safety and health are not pre-determined by their race. A community that acknowledges and celebrates cultural differences while exploring the universal ties that bind us all together. At the same time, we acknowledge that our actions – both conscious and unconscious, past and present – have benefited some communities while limiting opportunities and outcomes for communities of color.

Each conversation will begin with an artistic presentation by our featured artist on the theme for the evening, followed by a facilitated discussion with the artist, field experts and event participants.

Lydia Black will facilitate our first conversation with featured artists Chanon Johnson and Stephanie Mas of Urban Bush Women in New York and Dr. Ted Thornhill, Director of Center for Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at FGCU.

Join us as we use the arts as a vehicle to shed light on policies and practices within systems that perpetuate disadvantages and learn how to shatter misconceptions, confront inequities and transform our community.

Please note: this interactive and hands-on event is hosted online, which means you get to enjoy it from the comfort of your living room, studio or kitchen table! It will be hosted via Zoom. If you’ve never used zoom before, we suggest you take some time to familiarize yourself with the platform ahead of time and download the app. You can find everything you’ll need at or in the App store on your phone or tablet. An access link will be provided prior to the start of the event.

About the Facilitators

Dr. Ted Thornhill – Field Expert

Dr. Ted Thornhill is the Director of the Center for Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and Associate Professor of Sociology at Florida Gulf Coast University. Prior to that he was an Associate Professor of Sociology and African American studies at Earlham College and an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Race and Ethnic Studies at St. Olaf College. He teaches the following courses: White Racism, Racism and Law Enforcement, Sociology of African Americans, and Social Stratification.

His research and writing examines how color-blind ideology and organizational policies and practices promote racial inequality, particularly in K–12 and higher education. And his research, teaching, and commentary has been covered by/featured in numerous media outlets including CNN, The Washington Post, Forbes, NPR, US News, The Progressive, The Conversation, The Root, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Grio, BBC, The Boston Globe, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, TIME, Inside Higher Ed, and Newsweek.

Lydia Black – Facilitator

Lydia Black served as the Executive Director of the Alliance for the Arts for 13 years (2007-2020). She has a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management and undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Communications. Lydia has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector with emphasis in community building, arts & culture and education. Over her tenure, Lydia led the Alliance from being a small neighborhood art center to a powerhouse arts advocate and cultural hub for the entire Southwest Florida region. Lydia is a member of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Equity Action Team and has been recognized as Gulfshore Life’s Person of Year, a Florida Weekly’s Power Women, Gulfshore Business 40 Under 40, a News Press Trailblazer, Lee Art Educators Arts Advocate of the Year in 2015 and 2019 and she has received the Citizenship and Voter Advocate Awards from the League of Women’s Voters.  Lydia is an active community volunteer and serves on the Boards of WGCU Public Media and Fort Myers Community Concerts.

About the Artists

Chanon Judson (Co-Artistic Director/Performer) joined UBW in 2001. Additional credits: Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Prophecy Dance Company, Cotton Club Parade, Fela!. Commercial credits: L’Oreal Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary Concert. Chanon was part of the APAP Leadership Fellows Program, and DirectorsLabChicago. She was an arts educator with Alvin Ailey Arts in Education, BAM, and is founder of Cumbe Center’s Dance Drum and Imagination Camp for Children and Family Arts Movement.

Stephanie Mas

Stephanie Mas is a Miami native and has been a performer with Urban Bush Women since her entry into the Company in June 2013. Throughout her time with Urban Bush Women, she has had the opportunity to tour worldwide, performing and co-facilitating workshops/master classes in the different communities they have been invited to visit. She also works as a freelance performing artist and has had the opportunity to collaborate and create with artists such as Paloma McGregor, Millicent Johnnie, Megan Bascom, Megan Kendzior, Kate Weare, BODYART, and Kirstin Kapustik.

Thank you to our sponsors