YWCA Rock County Announces Keynote Speakers for 8th Annual Racial Justice Conference

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YWCA Rock County Announces Keynote Speakers for 8th Annual Racial Justice Conference

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YWCA Rock County is excited to announce the keynote speakers for the 8th Annual Racial Justice Conference that will be held virtually on Thursday, November 10th 2022. “BE THE BRIDGE TO ELIMINATE RACISM: How do you maintain your bridge?” is the theme for the conference this year. YWCA Rock County invites participants to join virtually as presenters offer insight into supporting diverse populations here in our community and beyond.

Reasons to attend: Learn how to foster diversity, inclusion, creativity, and growth within your business, school, organization and community from experts in the field. Build a network of peers and resources and learn how to take action.

YWCA Rock County is pleased to announce the morning keynote speaker will be Dr. Decoteau J. Irby, Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and founding member of Derute Consulting Cooperative. His life’s work focuses on questions of how to create and sustain organizations that ensure Black people’s self-determined well-being, development, and positive life outcomes. His academic research examines how equity-focused leadership improves Black children and youth’s educational experiences and outcomes. He is the author of several books, including:
• Stuck Improving: Racial Equity and School Leadership (2021) published by Harvard Education Press
• Magical Black Tears: A Protest Story (2021) published by Derute Consulting Cooperative
• Dignity-affirming Education: Cultivating the Somebodiness of Students and Educators (2022) with co-editors Charity Anderson and Charles Payne, published by Teachers College Press, and
• Black Participatory Research (2016) co-edited with Elizabeth Drame, published by Springer / Palgrage McMillan

Dr. Irby uses design thinking and continuous improvement methods to help leaders and teams design and create organizations that affirm Black people. He volunteers in his neighborhood community garden, is treasurer for his local park advisory council, and spends as much time as possible outdoors with his children and partner. Finally, he is the lead songwriter-guitarist and performer for the band Decoteau Black. Follow him on twitter at @decoteauirby or @stuckimproving. Learn more about his research at www.leadforequity.com

Mr. Paris Echoles will serve as the afternoon keynote speaker. To Paris Echoles, everyone, regardless of your race, socioeconomic status, and/or ability, is “Born Gift3d” and deserves to wear their crown with pride and joy. Through resilience, a servitude mindset, and a divine purpose, Paris has dedicated his life to building narratives, positively shaping lives, altering the physical, mental, and social-emotional well-being of BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) communities, and being a catalyst for social change.

As the founder and CEO of Born Gift3d LLC., Paris fights to uplift, love, support, and push our beautiful, brilliant, creative, passionate, and resilient brothers and sisters from around the world. Paris has founded Born Gift3d to intentionally help individuals and institutions understand the power of healing, while combating day-to-day systems of oppression, marginalization, and racism that exist across our institutions and communities. Through sustained partnerships and relationship-building under the Born Gift3d brand, Paris delivers empowering and game-changing mentoring, mindset coaching, consulting, training and workshops to individuals, groups, and organizations who are striving to transform their patterns, beliefs, behaviors, and outcomes on their journey towards success and wellness.

Prior to Born Gift3d, Paris served as a Building Principal at Savanna Oaks Middle School in Verona, WI, the Director of Youth ReEngagement with the Madison Metropolitan School District, an Assistant Principal at La Follette High School, the Coordinator of Diversity and Student/Family Engagement in the Kenosha Unified School District, and a high school history teacher in the School District of Beloit and the Oconomowoc Area School District.

Paris’ formal education includes a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Secondary Education and two Master’s degrees in Educational Leadership. Paris is currently completing his Doctoral degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with hopes of inspiring the next generation to believe that academic achievement at the highest level is possible, no matter where your personal journey begins.

Registration is $100.00 per person if registering between Monday, September 26th – Friday, October 28th and $125.00 per person if registering between Saturday, October 29th – Thursday, November 10th. Students are $50 per person. Registration for the conference will open on Monday, September 26, 2022. Once registration, you will be able register and pay for the conference online with a credit/debit card. You can also contact Danielle Squires at (608) 752-5445, ext. 200 she is able to help with credit/debit card or check payments as well as invoice submissions.

YWCA Rock County is also accepting nominations for the Dorothy Height Diversity in the Workplace Award. This award is celebrated and presented annually at the Racial Justice Conference. This award recognizes a business within Rock County that has demonstrated a sustained commitment in the pursuit of cultural diversity, inclusion and retention in the workplace. Nomination forms are due by Friday, October 7, 2022. The full application can be downloaded directly here: https://www.ywcarockcounty.org/dorothy-height-diversity-in-the-workplace-award/.

For additional questions about the YWCA Rock County Racial Justice Conference, please contact Amiee Leavy, YWCA Rock County’s Racial Justice Director at aleavy@ywcarockco.com.