“Little White Lies” Change Lives

Filmmaker Lacey Schwartz uses life lessons to empower women at Women of Color Conference

Filmmaker Lacey Schwartz will provide inspiration to women from her personal experience to “own who you are and tell your story” at the 2015 Women of Color Leadership Conference at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Schwartz created a documentary based on the truth she discovered about her identity and is using that knowledge to empower others.

Even though she questioned her race for years, Schwartz didn’t confront her mother until after her first year in college. The result of that confrontation is “Little White Lies,” a documentary that tells her story of growing up in New York with her parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity, only to discover she was not white, but biracial.

Schwartz will discuss her life – and film – at the 10th annual conference “Together We Rise: 10 Years of Paving the Way” at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, June 5 at the Student Union, 5100 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo. Also covered in the $50 registration fee is a Thursday, June 4 film screening.

The conference takes place from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the UMKC Student Union. Two blocks of workshops, a continental breakfast and lunch during the keynote address make up the day. Also, vendors will showcase their wares during the conference.

“It is an honor to be a part of such an inspirational event and to welcome the community to our 10-year celebration,” said Susan B. Wilson, vice chancellor of the Division of Diversity & Inclusion. “As in the past years, we have a wonderful speaker in Lacey Schwartz, who can relate to issues many of our participants have or will face. We also have exciting workshops to make this a day of learning and enjoyment for our loyal attendees.”

In addition to the documentary, Schwartz will guide the audience through ways in which women of color can take situations that appear tragic and move forward with their lives.

According to Schwartz, her January trip to Kansas City could be viewed as a teaser. She can now convey lessons learned and how they can positively impact your personal life, as well as your professional career.

She will include topics, such as

  • Own who you are
  • Create your own space to share acceptable or unacceptable conversations
  • Know who you are and who you want to be

Along with the keynote speaker, workshop facilitators will lead interesting and beneficial topics. Some of the sessions include:

“Women of Color Living in Whiteness: Examining How Internalized Racist Oppression Triggers Interpersonal and Collective Conflict,” presenter PaKou Her, Tseng Development Group.

  • What factors contribute to race-based conflict between women of color, and what behavioral indicators show us that racialized gender conflict is occurring? Participants will explore how women engage in our own individual and shared marginalization by internalizing racial oppression, and how to navigate a system of racism in ways that build revolutionary power and collaboration rather than division and in-fighting.

“There is Power in Your Story!” featuring Charity Brooks, secondary coach, Kauffman Scholars, Inc.

  • Women can equate their stories of struggle with failure and disappointment only to be hardened to the opportunities that life’s challenges present. Brooks will focus on teaching women how to own the authorship of their life stories, embrace vulnerability and forge ahead carrying the wisdom that only an experienced life can bring.

“Small Business Development and Entrepreneurism Strategies for Women of Color,” featuring Kim Mason, corporate negotiator/MWBE coordinator, Truman Medical Centers; Carol Espinosa, Freedome Companies, Inc.; and Adrienne B. Haynes, J.D.

  • This session will help small business owners and entrepreneurs develop strategies and tactics for competitive advantage in the marketplace. Participants will leave with a better understanding of business incubator structures and the registry process for WBE/MBE businesses.

“A Partner is NOT a Financial Plan,” with Jackie Loya-Torres, community development officer, Commerce Bank; Becky Gripp, coordinator, The Tamale Project; and Leonor “Leoni” Segura, opportunity center-economic security advocate, Guadalupe Centers, Inc.

  • This will provide financial strategies that are independent and strategic, not relative to partnership status. Women will be able to plan for their future with new financial tools and direction.

The Women of Color Leadership Conference is sponsored annually by the UMKC Division of Diversity & Inclusion. Free parking is available in the Cherry Street Parking Garage, 50th & Cherry Streets, on levels five and six only.


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