Bios are listed in order of appearance in the session schedule.
M. Carmen Lane (Carmen | they) is a two:spirit African-American and Haudenosaunee (Mohawk/Tuscarora) artist, writer, facilitator, and birth/postpartum and end-of-life doula living in Cleveland, Ohio. Carmen is founder and director of ATNSC: Center for Healing & Creative Leadership and the Akhsótha Gallery. Carmen’s work has been exhibited in galleries and published in numerous journals and anthologies. Carmen has been an artist-in-residence with Creative Fusion, Room In The House at the historic Karamu theatre, and the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University. Carmen has been awarded a Joyce Award, the AU/NTL Segal-Seashore Fellowship, and the Hal Kellner Award. Carmen is an Amanda Fouther scholar/member of NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science and Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Carmen holds a BA in Women’s Studies from Earlham College and an MS in Organization Development & Change from American University.
Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes (she | her) excitedly brings her deep roots in New Orleans’ indigenous culture to her work as Executive Director of Efforts of Grace and Ashé Cultural Arts Center. Prior to joining Ashé, she previously served at the New Orleans Business Alliance and the City of New Orleans’ Mayor’s Office, as well as coordinating and executive producing a wide range of cultural festivals. Asali has taught in New Orleans public schools, universities, and prisons, and continues to utilize her spoken and written word as a platform for societal change. She is a 2019 Tulane University Mellon Fellow who counts among her honors President Obama’s 2012 Drum Major for Service Award, the New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian Council’s 2013 Queen’s Scribe Award, and Essence Magazine’s 2018 Excellence in Service Award. Asali holds a BS in English Literature and Secondary Education from Vanderbilt University.
Calia Marshall (she | her) is a yoga instructor, dancer, musician, doula, Reiki practitioner, and educator. For the past 20 years, she has been a dance instructor/choreographer at National Dance Institute and currently serves as Equity Advocate. Calia received yoga teaching certifications from Laughing Lotus Yoga Center and Ritam Healing Arts (with Saul David Raye). Influential to her teaching have been Seane Corn, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling (Off the Mat, Into the World), and Arturo Peal and Cheri Clampett (Therapeutic Yoga). As a biracial, black and queer woman who experienced oppression within predominantly white yoga spaces, she decided to found Brown Sugar: Yoga for Folks of Color in 2014. Calia strives to honor the roots of yoga, while making it relevant for the people she is sharing it with. She is grateful to all of her teachers and honored to share her curiosity, fascination, love of movement and music, and magic-making with her community.
Fatmata Bah (they | she) is dedicated to approaching youth development in a holistic sense. They relish in the opportunity to broaden young people’s ideas around wellness, gender and sexuality. In the future, Fatmata hopes to combine their interest of history and memory work with their love of being an educator, teaching community members curriculum from an intersectional and decolonized lens- fostering self-reflection and honoring of each person’s heritage. Currently they are a Peer Lead at Lion’s Tooth Project and Youth Farmer at The Hattie Carthan Community Garden in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn.
Daria Blue (they | she) is 20 years old and currently enrolled in Hunter College's Yalow Honors program, majoring in Women's & Gender Studies, on the path to receive their Masters in Social Work. She has a deep passion for art, nature, and working with youth. Daria especially loves being able to combine these things while working with Lion's Tooth Project as a Peer Lead. They have also previously done work as a Youth Advisor at The LGBT Center in NY.
Natalia Guerrero (they | them) is a queer POC non-binary community educator and cultural organizer based in New York with an M.A in Media Studies from The New School. With roots and indigenous ancestry in Colombia, they have been in service of immigrant, refugee, LGBTQIA+, Black, Indigenous, and POC youth for the past 12 years in various capacities at the UN, The LGBT Center, the Bronx Documentary Center, among others. As a community worker, they are passionate about honoring the intersectionality of people’s identities and uplifting the leadership of those directly impacted by systemic oppression. In 2018, they founded Lion’s Tooth Project, a community-led organization serving immigrant, queer, and BIPOC youth. Through photography and earth medicine, LTP inspires youth to have more agency over their own wellness, healing, and personal stories connecting in their legacy and joy.
Daniel-José Cyan (he | him) graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Film from Hunter College in 2020 with a plan to pursue Social Work at Silberman in 2021. Daniel-José is primarily a filmmaker and poet but believes in the power of still images as a photographer. His personal projects explore gender identity, recovery, mental health, among others. Currently he works as a Community Organizer at Churches United for Fair Housing, a housing rights non-profit. He is also a Teaching Artist and Partnership Manager with Lion’s Tooth Project and former youth participant. LTP has been an inspiration and a motivator to combine his love for film and working with youth down the line, eventually with a license in social work.
Brandi Turner (she | her) was born in Michigan and raised in New Orleans, LA and Oxford, Mississippi. She is a very creative spirit and an active member of the Utica/Raymond community. Brandi has built a strong career in beauty products, including a number of years with Estee Lauder and Mary Kay. She is still an active freelance makeup artist. Currently, Brandi works as co-owner and Managing Director of TWA Consulting, a firm that provides services in creative consulting for organizations looking to strengthen their work in arts and culture. She is also the program & event coordinator for the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production in Utica, MS. Brandi resides in Utica with her husband Carlton Turner and their three children, Jonathan, Xiauna Lin, and Tristan.
Carlton Turner (he | him) is an artist, agriculturalist, researcher and founder of the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (Sipp Culture). Sipp Culture uses food and story to support rural community, cultural, and economic development in his hometown of Utica, Mississippi where he lives with his wife Brandi and three children. Carlton currently serves on the board of First People’s Fund, Imagining America, and Project South. Carlton is a member of the We Shall Overcome Fund Advisory Committee at the Highlander Center for Research and Education and former Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS. He is also a founding partner of the Intercultural Leadership Institute. Carlton is a current Interdisciplinary Research Fellow with the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. He is also a former Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow and a Cultural Policy Fellow at the Creative Placemaking Institute at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design in the Arts.
daniel johnson is a parent, partner, and artist working in community in Jackson, Mississippi. Focused on agency, equity, and the formation of agreements, johnson roots the artistic process through the lens of everyday life as unfolding, intersecting stories. Through deep listening, reflections on belonging, and facilitated community storytelling, johnson works with groups of people to harness their unique cultural expressions in a co-design process to disrupt power dynamics and realize shared intentions. johnson firmly believes that the communicative, connective power of culture provides the most powerful tools for forming affinity among people and focusing their energies toward practical impacts for everyday life.
Lolly Bowean (she | her) is a program officer for Media & Storytelling at the Field Foundation. She is a Pulitzer prize nominated writer who lives on the South Side of Chicago. Before joining Field, she was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune and at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. She has been published in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Lenny Letter and Longreads. She has served as a contributing instructor for the Poynter Institute and lectured at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, former program officer for the Chicago Headline Club, a Studs Terkel Award winner, and was a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. In 2019 she became the first African-American awarded the Gene Burd Urban Journalism Award.
Tempestt Hazel (she|her) is a curator, writer, and founder of Sixty Inches From Center, a Chicago-based arts publication and archiving initiative that has promoted and preserved the practices of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ artists, and artists with disabilities across the Midwest since 2010. She is also the Arts Program Officer for the Field Foundation. At Field, she works with organizations, collectives, and artists to give grants and other support to arts-focused, justice-driven, and cross-sector community care work led by BIPOC organizations in historically divested communities of Chicago.
Patty Berne (she | they) is the Co-Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of Sins Invalid, a Disability justice-based performance project centralizing disabled artists of color and queer and gender non-conforming artists with disabilities. Patty’s experiences as a Japanese-Haitian queer disabled woman provides grounding for her widely recognized work creating “liberated zones” for marginalized voices and establishing the framework and practice of disability justice. Patty’s training in clinical psychology focused on trauma and healing for survivors of interpersonal and state violence. Their professional background includes advocacy for immigrants who seek asylum due to war and torture, community organizing within the Haitian diaspora, international support work for the Guatemalan democratic movement, work with incarcerated youth toward alternatives to the criminal legal system, offering mental health support to survivors of violence, and advocating for LGBTQI and disability perspectives within the field of reproductive genetic technologies.