2020 Conference Program

Recorded Keynote Panel Discussion, EOA 2020

Intersectionality in Institutions & Communities: Accessibility, Race, & Gender

Thursday, November 12, 2020 | 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm CST | Virtual Conference

This year, we are focusing on issues of racial equity, institutional barriers, and accessibility, in light of the exacerbation of inequalities engendered by the Coronavirus pandemic and insufficient response, the racial justice protests, and the 30th anniversary of the American Disabilities Act.

Over the last three years, we have welcomed over 800 community members, practitioners, advocates, faculty, staff, and students to participate in our grassroots-funded and volunteer-led social justice conference. These conferences have featured keynote speakers such as Robin Diangelo (‘19), Carol Anderson (‘18), Sophia Khan (’17), and Emmanuel Cleaver II (’17). Attendees participate in workshops, panel discussions, and presentations on a variety of topics related to inclusion, community building, advocacy, and dismantling structures of oppression.

This year, we are excited to partner with the Kauffman Foundation, Race Project KC, UMKC, and Rockhurst University to bring Ijeoma Oluo, New York Times bestselling author of So You Want to Talk about Race, as well as Andre Perry, author of Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Cities for a panel discussion moderated by KC based New York Times journalist, John Eligon. After the keynote from 12-1:30pm, we’ll feature 4-6 breakout sessions across 2 breakout sessions in the afternoon focusing on accessibility, housing, policing, trans issues, student activism and more!

Pre-Conference Session 10:30am – 11:45am CST

How to Check Imposter Syndrome at the Door

This pre-conference panel will provide a range of perspectives into what imposter syndrome is, who is impacted by it, and how it operates in our lives. Participants will be asked to reflect on their own feelings and experiences in order to create a plan for how to engage with and in situations, like conferences, that may commonly induce imposter syndrome in themselves and others. This session is hosted by First Gen Proud, an initiative that celebrates and acknowledges the first generation college student identity, during UMKC’s second annual First Gen Celebration. All are invited to attend and contribute to this session.

Moderator: Alicen Lundberg

Click here to register and receive the virtual session link.


Keynote Session 12:00pm – 1:30pm CST

Panel Discussion: Ijeoma Oluo & Andre Perry

Ijeoma Oluo, author of NYT bestseller So You Want to Talk about Race, and Andre Perry, author of Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities, will respond to several contemporary events focused on racial injustice, including the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, resulting social movements and anti-racism efforts both locally and nationally. The panel will be moderated by New York Times journalist John Eligon. In addition, in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Educate-Organize-Advocate conference will center issues of accessibility, including access to housing, health care, and education exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In an intersectional vein, we aim to highlight how each of these social issues are connected to and amplified by each other.

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Breakout Sessions 1:45pm – 3:15pm CST

Register for one of the following concurrent sessions.

Trans Table Talk with Korea Kelly & Friends

Transgender and gender non-conforming people often face discrimination in their day-to-day lives. That includes discrimination and mistreatment when accessing public accommodations, obtaining housing, and seeking employment. Many members of the transgender and gender non-conforming (“TGNC”) community have displayed strength and courage in speaking out against and challenging this unjust discrimination. I have brought together a well rounded group of Kansas Cities Transgender and gender non-conforming to have a round table discussing on what it like just being who we are in the city and world we live in. I hope you will toon into learning, ask questions, and be enlightened.

Presenter: Korea Kelly is a Black transwoman, eldest sister of 5 loved ones, and a wife of a loving husband of 10 years. She is better known in the community as “Korea Cavalli”, founder of Cavalli Entertainment LLC. Korea has a rich background in entertainment, LGBT advocacy, and leadership. She is the first Black transwoman in Kansas City to own and operate a successful business, and has facilitated many local Trans support groups that focus on providing access to tangible resources. In addition, she is one of the leading Kansas City historians of local Black & Brown queer culture.

Panelists: Korea Kelly (Host), Kelly Nou, CiCi Glasgow, Freddie Dolphus, Samantha Ruggle

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Who Do You Call? Thoughts on the Reforming the Police

The May Uprisings shook the world like never before. The murder of George Floyd triggered an unprecedented wave of protests against police brutality from every corner of the globe. In the wake, conversations revolved around shifts in the paradigm of policing have become one of the few constants. Police reform and police abolition have polarized the conversation. Utilizing guiding questions, this conversation will focus on determining which position offers a way forward, and how both positions can be put in conversation with each other to better envision a paradigm for making Black Lives Matter in this country.

Presenter: Davon F is a native of KC. Focusing on education and theory, Davon has worked with KC youth to empower through critical analysis and argumentation.

Presenter: Derrick Sax grew up in an underserved neighborhood in KC. This experience led to him want to organize in his community for better conditions as well as pursue his dream of running a neuroscience research lab.

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Panel Discussion: Student Activism

Racial justice and equity. Climate action. Ending police brutality. These are just a few examples of the types of social change that activists across the nation and the world have been demanding this year. While there have always been people speaking out about these issues, 2020 has seen an incredible surge in the number of people participating in these calls for change. So what drives people to get involved in social movements? What is activism? How are students driving change locally? How can our local communities and universities support students who are showing up and raising awareness about important issues? These are some of the questions that our panel of students will be discussing in this exciting breakout session. Come be a part of this necessary conversation highlighting the voices and experiences of our students and find out how you can get involved!

Moderator: Taylor Blackmon, MSW is a recent graduate from UMKC’s Master’s of Social Work program. She has worked in the community with several grassroots organizations as a student organizer/activist and has assisted as a volunteer in any way that she can. She currently works at UMKC as the Scheduling Coordinator in Registration and Records. Her future plans include furthering her education by obtaining her doctorate in either Social Work or Educational Leadership and Policy. By obtaining her doctorate, Taylor hopes to pursue her dream of becoming a professor in an MSW program or any field of study that is dedicated to exploring the intersections of race, class and gender.

Panelist: Shanice Taylor (she/her) is a Community Health Worker with the Kansas City Health Start Initiative. She works with pregnant women who experience housing instability and health inequities. Shanice got involved with KC Tenants in August 2019 and committed to centering tenant voices and leadership. She was born and raised in St. Louis where her family lived the experience of the city’s racial and class divides. Shanice has an undergraduate degree in Health Science and is currently working on a Master’s degree in Social Work at UMKC.

Panelist: Jessie Thompson – Having double majored in psychology and sociology with a minor in anthropology during undergrad and being a second year Master of Social Work Student at UMKC, Jessie has learned to appreciate the importance of advocacy. Since spring of 2020, she has served as treasurer of the Master of Social Work Student Organization, which encourages students to get involved in the community on multiple levels. Whether it be encouraging students to register to vote, participating in the Black Lives Matter movement via peaceful protests, or educating others on systemic issues, Jessie continues to have a thirst for education and advocacy concerning systemic issues, specifically with the prison system.

Panelist: Brandon Henderson is currently serving as President of the UMKC Student Government Association. He’s a senior studying political science. In addition to his responsibilities as SGA President, Brandon has been active in the protests that began in late May following the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, and he is passionate about building a world where people don’t live in fear of police violence.

Panelist: Nabil Abas is originally from Nairobi, Kenya and came to Kansas City at a young age. “As a young immigrant coming to the states, I was always taught important lessons about the importance of education, culture, and heritage”. Nabil began college at Metropolitan Community College, where he felt he was able to grow as a student, serving in different leadership roles and being part of the Henry W. Bloch Scholars and TRIO programs. He transferred to UMKC after earning his AA degree from MCC and is now pursuing a major in Interpersonal Communication Studies with a minor in Sociology. He currently serves as the president of the Men of Color student organization at UMKC. Off campus his passion for giving back to his community lead to starting a non-profit called Al-Huda Youth Advocacy Group, focused on unifying Muslim Youth while combatting common issues they face in their communities.

Panelist: Allison Vermiglio is a senior at Rockhurst University. She studies Psychology, English, Global Studies, and pre-MBA. She is President of VOICES for Justice, which is a social justice educational and action-oriented student group on campus. She is also President of Rockhurst’s chapter of Alpha Sigma Nu, a Resident Assistant for On-Campus Housing, and a Writing Tutor.

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Breakout Sessions 3:30pm – 5:00pm CST

Register for one of the following concurrent sessions.

Accessibility in the Age of COVID

We will discuss the ways that COVID-19 has interfered with accessibility – our access to employment, housing, healthcare and other necessary resources. We will also discuss how we have adapted and opportunities for further accommodations.

Presenter: Melissa Patterson Hazley, PhD., is a Senior Researcher at the Institute for Human Development at UMKC. Her works focuses on community action research. She takes on evaluation, needs assessment and mixed methods research projects that are truly in partnership with the impacted community and develops actionable policy and program recommendations to reduce barriers and increase access. UMKC – IHD is a Center for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities where all work is inclusive of people who are differently abled. Dr. Patterson Hazley is passionate about community driven change, equitable policy and program development and civic engagement.

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Racial Capitalism and Housing

Trainers from KC Tenants will conduct a workshop on racial capitalism and housing, exploring and critiquing the systems that create the housing and tenant crises that we experience today. Attendees will leave with an understanding of racial capitalism, how it applies to housing, and how our understanding of it must inform our organizing practice.

Presenter: Jenay Manley (she/her) grew up in Kansas City. Last year, she returned to a toxic relationship in order to keep a roof over her kids’ heads. Jenay has experienced housing insecurity since she was a child. She believes that housing is a Black issue, and that Black liberation won’t come until we all have safe, healthy, and stable homes. Jenay is the mother of twins, Avery and Lilly.

Presenter: Tara Raghuveer (she/her) is the founding director of KC Tenants. She is also the Homes Guarantee Campaign Director at People’s Action, a national network of grassroots organizations committed to racial, economic, gender, and climate justice. Tara is an Australian-born, Indian-American immigrant who came to the US with her family in 1995 and grew up in Kansas City.

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Poetry on the Ground: The Lyrics of Lived Experience

Local BIPOC poets perform original works and discuss poetry as a vehicle for social and racial equity.

Presenter: Dashawnta Brunson. I am everyday people. Mentor, Poet, Lover, Friend, Family, The One people turn to when they need someone.

Presenter: Lucky Garcia (she/her) is a queer Indigenous/Chicana/Latina writer, community organizer, and software engineer. She has lived in Kansas City for 14 years. An Iraq War veteran turned political leftist, she has dedicated her life to social justice. Lucky speaks publicly at schools, conferences, and community events on relationships, sexuality, as well as LGBTQ, political, women’s rights, and racial justice issues. She is a founding member of the poetry collective, La Resistencia and member of the Latino Writers Collective. She is an organizing member of One Struggle KC in the Movement for Black Lives, Brown Voices/Brown Pulse which centers LGBTQ people of color and Showing Up for Racial Justice – Kansas City (SURJ).

Presenter: Glenn North holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the Executive Director Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center. He is also the author of City of Song, a collection of poems inspired by Kansas City’s rich jazz tradition and the triumphs and tragedies of the African American experience. He is a Cave Canem fellow, a Callaloo creative writing fellow and a recipient of the Charlotte Street Generative Performing Artist Award and the Crystal Field Poetry Award. His work has appeared in Kansas City Voices, One Shot Deal, The Sixth Surface, Caper Literary Journal, Platte Valley Review, Kansas City Voices, KC Studio, Cave Canem Anthology XII, The African American Review, and American Studies Journal, and The Langston Hughes Review. He collaborated with legendary jazz musician, Bobby Watson, on the critically acclaimed recording project, Check Cashing Day and is currently filling his appointment as the Poet Laureate of the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District.

Presenter: Courtney Faye Taylor is a winner of the 92Y Discovery / Boston Review Poetry Prize, Best New Poets 2020, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poetry appears in Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Adroit Journal, TriQuarterly, Witness, and elsewhere. Courtney is a graduate of Agnes Scott College and the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program. She is the Poetry Editor of SLICE Magazine. Find her online at courtneyfayetaylor.com

Presenter: Jermaine Thompson was born in Louisville, Mississippi. He learned language from big-armed women who greased their skillets with gossip and from full-bellied men who cursed and prayed with the same fervor. He’s been writing poetry since he was 13– inspired by having to memorize Langston Hughes’ “Harlem” for a Black History Program at his church. He has a B.A. in English from Stillman College, an HBCU in Tuscaloosa, AL, and a M.A. in English from Mississippi State University. He moved to Kansas City in August 2015 to complete an MFA in Poetry from the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC). He has publications in The Pinch, Memorious, Whale Road Review, and Southern Indiana Review among others. He currently teaches English at Pembroke Hill Upper School and Black Studies at UMKC. Jermaine is also a board member of The Writers Place—a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the literary community in Kansas City, Missouri.

Click here to register and receive the virtual session link.

Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities

A Community Conversation | Kansas City Public Library | November 12, 2020 | 6:30pm CST | Virtual Event

Register for this event co-presented by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Kansas City Public Library. Watch it live online at YouTube.com/kclibrary.