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Plenary & Workshop Speakers

Ijeoma Oluo is a Seattle-based writer, speaker, and Internet Yeller.  She’s the author of the New York Times Best-Seller So You Want to Talk about Race, published in January by Seal Press. Named one of the The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2017, one of the Most Influential People in Seattle by Seattle Magazine, one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Seattle by Seattle Met, and winner of the of the 2018 Feminist Humanist Award by the American Humanist Society, Oluo’s work focuses primarily on issues of race and identity, feminism, social and mental health, social justice, the arts, and personal essay. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, NBC News, Elle Magazine, TIME, The Stranger, and the Guardian, among other outlets.


Amy Herzfeld Copple portrait Amy Herzfeld Copple serves as Deputy Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Western States Center. Raised in Idaho, Amy has deep roots in social justice activism. She started volunteering for LGBTQ rights campaigns at the age of 14 and never looked back. Amy has been active in progressive movement building in the West for over 20 years and her past roles include Executive Director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights, proud builder of the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial; Oregon State Director for Working America; and Co-Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group. Amy joined the staff of Western States Center in 2018 after serving on its board for 11 years, including nine as board chair. Her professional experience ranges from human rights policy advocacy and labor organizing to electoral management and award-winning journalism.


Aparna Shah portrait Aparna Shah has worked to co-create and catalyze transformative social change for over 25 years. She leads the reset project at Power California, which leads with cultural strategy and embodied practice to cultivate imagination and build power toward inclusive and participatory governance. The reset project advances governance that centers people and the natural world by holding interdependence, self-determination, and sustainability as sacred. Previously Aparna was Co-Executive Director of Power California (formerly Mobilize the Immigrant Vote and YVote). Under her leadership over the last 10 years, PowerCA/MIV organized statewide campaigns reaching 500,000+ young, immigrant, and refugee voters of color and Indigenous voters, built the long-term infrastructure and capacity of grassroots multiracial and intergenerational organizations across the state to run electoral and issue campaigns, and established a sister organization, PowerCA Action (formerly MIV Action Fund). She has also worked to advance the self-determination and reproductive justice of women, people of color, and queer communities and spent several years working to transform a public middle school into a vibrant youth and community center in San Francisco’s Mission District. Aparna sits on the Board of 18 Million Rising and holds a Master of Health Sciences degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She was born in Manila, grew up in Mumbai, and lives with her family in Oakland, CA.


Bonnie Fairbanks portrait Bonnie Fairbanks is a member of the Leech Lake Nation and works at Gaa-zagaskwaajiimekaag Leech Lake Behavioral Health Services. She is passionate about supporting families with culture to enhance their well-being and encouraging staff within direct service areas to use cultural best practices. She is a proud mother, grandmother, and wife who is deeply committed to the health and well-being of her families and community.


Bryan Lyda portrait Bryan Lyda is a cultivator of wholeness and social change, who believes we as a human family can do better. Through the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, he works to connect all of us across generations, and challenge ourselves to show up for the world we want to see. Bryan strives to use fierce compassion and courageous truth telling to foster thriving communities with leaders of all ages and experiences. His core purpose is to move towards wholeness with fellow men and discover new ways of being rooted in love, connection, and interdependence. While gardening and exploring Idaho keep him grounded, he chooses to take many paths in life and hopes at least a few of them are made of dirt.


Casey Swegman portrait Casey Swegman is the manager of the Forced Marriage Initiative at the Tahirih Justice Center. In that role she chairs the Forced Marriage Working Group, fields technical assistance requests nationally, and supervises the Forced Marriage Initiative’s direct social services program. Casey was the principle developer of which includes self-help resources and survivor stories as well as an online training and resource toolkit and publications library. She spends about half the year travelling for outreach and training on the issue and has been featured as an expert by NPR, Reuters, and PBS News. Prior to joining Tahirih in 2013, Casey worked in the field of refugee resettlement in Baltimore and abroad.


Christina Castro Portrait Christina M. Castro, PhD (Taos/Jemez/Xicana) is a mother, educator, writer, community organizer and fitness instructor. She completed her doctorate in Justice Studies from Arizona State University in the spring of 2018. Castro is co-founder of Three Sisters Collective, a Pueblo/Indigenous woman-centered collective based in Santa Fe that seeks to empower and build community through arts, activism, education and social justice. She thrives best living in her ancestral homelands.


Cristine Davidson Portrait Cristine Davidson is in her 13th year at the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition. MIWSAC is a statewide tribal coalition and national technical assistance provider that works with individual and organizational members across Minnesota, and with tribal grantees and allies nationwide to end sexual violence against Native women and children. She is also a Movement Maker, selected for Cohort 3 of Move to End Violence, a 10-year capacity building initiative of the NoVo Foundation. Her role at MIWSAC includes providing training and technical assistance to sexual assault advocates such as a Native focused 40-Hour Sexual Assault Advocacy Training/Train the Trainer, Strengthening Sovereignty by Enhancing Tribal Response to Sexual Violence Project, Engaging Native Men and Boys in Sexual Violence Prevention, Community Advocacy Training for Praxis International, Moving Upstream Prevention Collaborative, Prevention with Native Youth Through Culture Program, The Barrette Project: A living memorial with beaded barrettes and stories of survival, and the Solidarity Shawl Project: Red, teal and purple shawls worn at events and pow-wows to honor survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Cristine is a survivor of multiple incidents of sexual violence, as well as long-term child sexual abuse by a self-proclaimed medicine man. She has committed her life to amplifying the voices of survivors and deepening community involvement in ending sexual violence in all its forms. She grew up in Red Lake, Minnesota, served four years in the Marine Corps, and now lives on her home reservation in White Earth, Minnesota.


Ed Heisler portrait Ed Heisler is Co-Executive Director (with Sarah Curtiss) of Men As Peacemakers (MAP), an organization dedicated to the primary prevention of sexual violence, domestic violence, and commercial sexual exploitation. Ed specializes in developing and implementing innovative community-driven strategies to promote equality and prevent gender based violence. Additionally, he has seven years experience as a Core Trainer for A CALL TO MEN, co-facilitated batterer’s intervention classes for ten years, published research on men’s involvement in ending violence against women, and is a member of the 3rd Cohort of Move to End Violence. Ed is grateful to work with a community of people committed to radical hope for a “new normal” that protects everyone’s interconnected wellbeing and ability thrive.


Elizabeth Bringier portrait Elizabeth Bringier is an Advocate and Program Supervisor at The Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivor of Abuse. From the deep south, but currently based out of Seattle, she is deeply committed to the complexity of anti-violence work that centers the liberation of Black and Brown people. Her work continues to focus on power and oppression, healing from sexual violence, and LGBTQ+ youth and families.


Erica McFadden portrait Erica McFadden currently serves as the Executive Director of the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. McFadden has more than 20 years of experience working in the disability community. Most recently, McFadden served as Senior Policy Analyst at Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy where the majority of her research focused on addressing disability policy issues in Arizona.  She has presented at numerous conferences and published academic articles, book chapters, policy briefs and reports on disability with a special focus on governance and empowerment.  She holds a PhD in Public Administration & Policy from Arizona State University, an MSW from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and dual bachelor’s degrees (Business Administration and Spanish) from the University of Texas at Austin.


Farah Tanis portrait Farah Tanis is a New York City–based transnational Black feminist, human rights activist and co-founder and executive director of the Black Women’s Blueprint and of the Museum of Women’s Resistance. She is the chair of the US Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Black Women and Assault, a 2012 U.S. Human Rights Institute Fellow. Founder of the Museum of Women’s Resistance (MoWRe), Creator of Mother Tongue Monologues, Contributor to several grassroots documentaries, development and teaching of curricula and human rights policy advocacy and organizing in the U.S. and the Caribbean. She attended the 2017 Women’s March to raise awareness on the trafficking of black women. Having experienced physical and sexual abuse as a child, Tanis began working in activism on behalf of women around 1993, running a women’s shelter before founding Black Women’s Blueprint. She was one of the organizers of the 2017 March for Black Women in Washington D.C.


Favianna Rodriguez portrait Favianna Rodriguez is an award-winning artist, cultural strategist, and social movement leader who has partnered with national organizations and progressive advocacy groups to design effective cultural campaigns. Her projects include creating art for Ben & Jerry’s Pecan Resist, partnering with Jill Solloway to create, collaborating with #TimesUp Entertainment, and leading immersive artist delegations to the US Mexico border. A strategy advisor to artists of all genres, Favianna is regarded as one of the leading thinkers and personalities uniting art, culture and social impact. In addition to being the visionary behind the Migration Is Beautiful imagery and narrative – documented by Pharrell Williams in a 3-part documentary – Favianna e mbodies the perspective of a first-generation American Latinx artist with Afro Peruvian roots who grew up in working-class Oakland, California during the birth of the internet, and in the midst of an era of anti-immigrant hate and a war on drugs.


Hellitz Villegas Portrait Hellitz Villegas joined Tahirih in 2018. As the Forced Marriage Initiative Project Associate, Hellitz provides direct services to individuals in the U.S. facing or fleeing forced marriage, responds to requests for technical assistance internationally, and conducts education and outreach. She spends most of her time safety planning with service seekers, connecting them to emergency resources, and working with other service providers to ensure the needs of survivors of forced marriage are appropriately met. Prior to joining Tahirih, Hellitz worked with survivors of domestic and sexual violence in crisis, court, and therapeutic settings in Florida.


Kelly Miller portrait Kelly Miller is the executive director of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence and an alumni cohort member of Move to End Violence, a 10-year initiative of the NoVo Foundation. After thirty years in anti-violence work as an attorney, prosecutor, and activist, she has been on a transformational journey toward our collective thriving with an understanding that the practices to cultivate thriving have to begin with ourselves. She deeply believes that in order to move towards a world that is interdependent, resilient and regenerative, we have to live into that vision ourselves. We cannot become what we cannot imagine.


Kristen Zimmerman portrait Kristen Zimmerman is committed to bringing about a world that recognizes our fundamental interdependence. As an artist-storyteller, movement maker, strategist and facilitator she helps people open to new ways of thinking and being, align around purpose and move towards action. She has three decades’ experience as innovator who launches and nurtures groundbreaking work in social transformation and co-founder of projects like Movement Strategy Center, Community LORE, and Youth in Focus. She loves being a parent, community weaver, connecting to land through hiking and training in zen buddhism.


Malia Collins portrait Malia Collins grew up in Hawaii and has lived, worked, and traveled around the world. She is Idaho’s current Writer in Residence and travels around the state giving readings and teaching creative writing workshops. She is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the College of Western Idaho. One of her favorite classes to teach is a first-year-experience class called, “Transformative Storytelling: Shift Your Worldview.” Her hope is that through oral storytelling and creative writing, her students will have transformative conversations, both on the page and with each other. She is at work on a collection of essays about Hawaii.


Maureen Casey Maureen Casey is a Senior Advisor of the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES).  DES invests approximately $4 billion annually to assist more than 2.9 million Arizonans to reach their potential through temporary assistance for those in need, and care for the vulnerable.  Maureen has 20+ years of service in early childhood special education, and has personal experience voicing family concerns and perspectives to policymakers on behalf of families with children and youth with disabilities. In 2001, she was awarded the NYC Department of Public Health Award for Excellence for her work with the New York City Early Intervention Coordinating Council. In 2008, she was the National Parent Leadership awardee for outstanding leadership on behalf of infants, toddlers and their families from the IDEA Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association.  Maureen is originally from New York – and holds a Master of Arts from Fordham University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Marist College.


Maya Perez portrait Maya Perez is an advocate and program supervisor at the Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse. Before the Northwest Network, Maya worked within various states school systems, non-profits, as well as for the City of Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights. Her work continues to focus on liberation, survivor centered advocacy, alternative justice practices, and healing.


Melanie Fillmore portrait Melanie Fillmore is an urban, mixed Hunkpapa, Lakota of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North and South Dakota. She is a Political Science Masters Candidate at Boise State University through the School of Public Service. Her research utilizes Political Science and Indigenous Methodologies to understand political authority and citizenship of the Boise Urban Indian community. Melanie is also contracted with the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence working with the Thriving Families project. She also works as adjunct faculty teaching a course on Power and Violence through the University Foundations Program at Boise State.


ML Daniel Portrait M.L. Daniel is the Founder of Spiritual Alchemy which empowers organizations and individuals to rediscover, embrace, and activate their spirituality. In addition to being an attorney for over 25 years, M.L. is an ordained minister and trainer who has worked with organizations specializing in the areas of domestic violence and sexual violence. Working from the principle that everyone has a connection to Spirit, ML acts as a guide, creating the conditions in which her clients can reconnect to their own deep knowing. She ministers through retreats, workshops, facilitation, speaking engagements, and coaching. ML is devoted to helping justice seekers in both the nonprofit and business worlds. She has had the honor to work with many wonderful organizations, including California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, The Resonance Network, and Move to End Violence, a program of the NOVO Foundation, and with individual justice seekers from a broad scope of industries and non-profit leaders seeking to align their lives and work with their purpose.


Monica Ramirez Portrait Mónica Ramirez is a long-time advocate, organizer, and attorney. In 2003, Mónica created the first legal project in the U.S. specifically focused on addressing gender discrimination against farmworker women, which she later expanded in 2006 when she founded Esperanza: The Immigrant Women’s Legal Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2011, she co-founded Alianza Nacional de Campesinas. In her role as Alianza’s board president, Mónica wrote the “Dear Sisters” letter to women in the entertainment industry that was published in TIME magazine that was credited in helping to spark the launch of TIME’S UP. In 2014 she founded Justice for Migrant Women and currently serves as the President of Justice for Migrant Women and the Gender Justice Campaigns Director for National Domestic Workers Alliance. Mónica has received numerous awards for her leadership, including Harvard Kennedy School’s first Gender Equity Changemaker Award, Feminist Majority’s Global Women’s Rights Award, the Smithsonian’s Ingenuity Award and Forbes Mexico named her among the 100 Most Powerful Women in 2018. Mónica was born, raised and lives in Fremont, Ohio. She is married to Scott Derome. Mónica and Scott are the parents to an inquisitive, kind and energetic son.


Nadiah Mohajir Portrait Nadiah Mohajir is a lifelong Chicagoan, Pakistani-American-Muslim, mother of three, public health professional, reproductive justice activist, and anti-sexual assault advocate. She is the Founder and Executive Director for HEART Women & Girls. For the last nine years, she has led the organization to provide sexual health education and sexual violence awareness programming and advocacy. HEART ultimately aims to dismantle the stigma, silence, and systems that prevent individuals from seeking information, healing, and justice. Nadiah has worked in public health and reproductive justice for over fifteen years in the areas of research, academics, policy, and community health. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Health University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor’s in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago. Nadiah is a American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute Fellow, Germanacos Fellow, a recipient of the Women’s Innovation Fund, a participant in NoVo Foundation’s Move to End Violence program. She currently serves on the board of directors for the National Women’s Health Network.


Navila Rashid Portrait Navila Rashid is a Bangladeshi-American forensic social worker, freelance educator & trainer, and consultant working with diverse clients from government agency staff, public defenders, nonprofit agencies and community members/leaders. She provides program coordination, technical assistance, and capacity building services around advocacy, social media, digital storytelling, and gender-based violence education. She co-founded “The Cathartist”, a web-based platform for victims and survivors of sexual violence, and activists to showcase their creative works as a tool of coping and healing with trauma. Navila is also featured as a survivor in the award winning documentary, Breaking Silence, where she addresses the nuances and experiences of being a survivor of sexual violence in a Muslim and South Asian community, and the journey towards healing.


Rebeka Ndosi Portrait Rebeka Ndosi, L.AC, M.S., RYT-200 is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, certified teacher of Kundalini Yoga & Meditation and Radiant Child Youth and Family Yoga, and a certified Community Coach in Healing Justice. She is creator of Warriors of Light:Tools & Techniques for feeling healthy, happy and whole featuring youth of the african diaspora and founder of the Youth Healing Justice Network. Dedicated to building a culture of mind, body and wellbeing practice for youth of color and the adults in youths’ everyday spaces and places, her work recognizes, honors and nurtures the individual and collective wisdom that we hold and is driven by the firm belief that lasting, revolutionary change and healing starts from within. She focuses on practical, relevant and integrative healing modalities to support children and youth, especially indigenous youth and youth of color, and the adults and communities who surround them in relieving stress, processing and healing from trauma, and affirming their greatness.


Nivea Castaneda portrait Nivea Castaneda, PhD is a critical Interpersonal, Family, and Health Communication scholar that is interested in the cultural, gendered, and familial discourses that inhibit and enable survival when people experience silenced trauma in the family. More specifically, her research focuses on Latinx family communication with a special emphasis on child sexual abuse disclosures as well as baby loss communication. Her passion is to do transformative community work that helps families learn how to cope and heal through their trauma. On a personal level, Nivea loves to hang out with her family, loves attending and watching sporting events, and loves trying new food.


Ruben Angel Portrait Ruben Angel, popularly known as Queer Xicano Chisme, is a multimedia content creator present across all social media. Their work includes: curating a social justice blog, writing and editing essays, hosting and producing podcasts, as well as creating video content and other visual media. He employs their embodied knowledge, oral histories, and critical readings, as well as his experience as an organizer, educator, and healer to educate and entertain. Their work focuses on Latinx/Chicanx issues, QTPOC, lived and generational trauma, survivor advocacy, pop culture, social justice, and the ethical application of radical “chisme”.


Sarah Curtiss Portrait Sarah Curtiss has worked for Men As Peacemakers since 2015. Prior to joining Men As Peacemakers, she spent six year providing training and technical assistance for tribal communities both nationally and locally as the director of the Sacred Hoop Coalition through Mending the Sacred Hoop. Sarah has worked in the anti-violence field for over 15 years and began her career as a women’s advocate for the Dabinoo’Igan shelter and coordinated the Giiwe Mobile team, which provided housing and support to long-term homeless Native families in Duluth, Minnesota. In her work at Men As Peacemakers, Sarah utilizes primary preventions tools to work with communities to systematically shape their environment to prevent violence against women. Sarah is the Keeper of Traditional Ways (Board President) for the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, and is a founding member of the Native Sisters Society. Her greatest accomplishment, in her opinion, is that she is the mother to a dynamic and funny son named Allan.


Tai Simpson Portrait Tai Simpson is “The Storyteller” in the indigenous language of the Nimiipuu nation (Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho). She believes indigenous “old ways” are the principles on which many communities build their social and political narratives. As an antiracism activism and community leader, she uses contemporary and traditional Indigenous storytelling to depict the lens of “old ways” and how it is used to protect the sacred, build strength in the community, and keep nature in balance. She is a direct descendant of Chief Redheart of the Nez Perce tribe. Tai’s academic background is in Political Philosophy & Public Law at Boise State University. Tai is supported by her amber-eyed staffy “Gunner” who is in turn supported by his grey-eyed staffy “Lola.” Tai loves wine, wilderness, and sunshine.


Toni Brinegar Portrait Toni Brinegar (formerly Toni Belknap) has had a myriad of life experiences including becoming a wife, mother, employee and business owner. As an only child growing up in rural Idaho, she has always been naturally outgoing and classifies herself as an “uber-extrovert.” Her passion is helping people and families with disabilities live the lives that they choose in the way that they choose to live them. She is also passionate about intentionally spending time with people that she wants to get to know better and those she wants to continue relationships with. She lives in Nampa with her husband of 22 years, David, their three children (Antahn, 20yrs; Grey, 15yrs; and Dante, 11yrs) and their cat named Uncle Rico.


Zakir Khan Portrait Zakir Khan, is a Program Manager and Trainer/Organizer at Western States Center and serves as the Board Chair for the Oregon Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations. He recently led statewide hate crime reform efforts in Oregon resulting in a new law being passed. Prior to joining Western States Center, he served as a Professor of Communication at Linn-Benton Community College and at Broward College. He also has worked diligently on police accountability through the Transparency and Accountability Project, one of a few projects to publish disciplinary records on law enforcement. Zakir has also held roles with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Asian Law Caucus.