MMP's Critical Conversations: A Three Part Series in Equity and Belonging Focusing on Black and Brown Youth with Intention

"We can create an equitable society. It will take intentional work and deep community and learning. It will take being adults who cultivate an equity mindset in themselves and kids". - Dr. Kira Banks


Please join us for this virtual speaker series featuring conversations on equity and belonging with a focus on supporting Black and Brown youth with intention. We will be exploring racial identity formation and expanding the dialogue as the foundation with Dr. Kira Banks. The series will explore the intersection of racial identity and gender and disabilities with a lens on youth-adult relationships. Join our expert speakers who will build your knowledge and skills to build programs and advocacy for Black and Brown youth in your communities across the Commonwealth. There will be opportunities to network and engage in conversation with your colleagues. Click here to register.

Guest speakers:

November 17: Dr. Kira Banks, Ph.D. - Racial Identity Formation

Session Description:Join Dr. Banks as she shares her research, wisdom, and national work as she raises our awareness and deepens our understanding of Racial Identity Formation and the important role adult relationships play in supporting young people as they navigate the process, maturing and creating their pathways to adulthood. She will explore the role individuals youth workers and mentors play as well as how organizations can implement intentional programming to support the process.

About the Speaker

Dr. Banks’ decades of experience allow her to make complex and controversial topics accessible in schools, communities, institutions of higher education, and corporations. She co-founded the Institute for Healing Justice and Equity at Saint Louis University, where she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. She also served as a racial equity consultant for the Ferguson Commission and continued as the Racial Equity Catalyst for Forward Through Ferguson. Her research, teaching, and facilitation around equity, diversity, and inclusion have helped frame racial equity in the St. Louis region and beyond.

In addition, Dr. Banks has published over 20 articles in peer-reviewed outlets, including American Psychological Association journals such as American Psychologist, Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, and Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. She has also contributed to The Harvard Business Review and popular media outlets like The Atlantic and The Guardian. Dr. Banks received her BA from Mount Holyoke College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and her MA and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Today, Dr. Banks has a podcast—Raising Equity—to support adults in talking to kids about systems of oppression. She is also co-principal of The Mouse and the Elephant, which develops customized curriculum to meet organizations’ long-term needs.

December 1: Keith Jones - The Fullness of Humanity: Understanding the Intersection of Race and Disability 

Session Description:This presentation discusses how the intersection of race and disability impacts delivering, as well as accessing, equitable and high quality youth programs and services for communities of color. Mr. Jones will discuss the continued lack of awareness and importance given to policies and practices that are barriers to true inclusion of people with disabilities, while offering solutions to start towards full inclusionary programming.

About the Speaker: 

Keith Jones is the President and CEO of SoulTouchin’ Experiences. As an African American community activist and entrepreneur with cerebral palsy. As a strong advocate for independent quality living in the community, Mr. Jones has participated actively in various issues that face people with disabilities. These areas include, but are not limited to housing, education, and voting access. Mr. Jones is also extremely active in multi-cultural, cross-disability education and outreach efforts and has performed trainings (including train the trainer) with the purpose of strengthening outreach efforts to provide services and information to people with disabilities. Mr. Jones works to not only educate the disability community about enhanced community living, but also the community at large. Mr. Jones holds a strong desire to get the disability community more involved in the issues that concern their own lives.

Mr. Jones provides outreach support in relationship to the arts and independent living skills. Mr. Jones has been recognized for his emerging leadership by the state of Massachusetts and President’s Commission for Employment for People with Disabilities. Also, Mr. Jones is the Disability Law Center’s 2011 Individual Leadership Award.

December 15: Jasmin Ramon - Exploring the Intersections of Gender and Race  

Session Description: Together, we are going to explore the intersections of gender and race. Through an overview of language, history, and contemporary media examples, participants will better understand the foundation of the social constructs of race and gender, and the messages youth are receiving about the intersections of these identities.

About the Speaker: 

Jasmine is a proud Haitian-Puerto Rican raised in Newburgh, NY. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Alfred University, and a Master’s degree in Sociology from Northeastern University. Her research interests are identity development and representation of mixed/multiracial young adults.

Though early in her career, Jasmine has a passion for empowering student leaders to be identity-conscious and socially aware. When she's not building community, she enjoys traveling, soccer, scary movies, and family time.