Event logo with the words “LiberatED Virtual Launch Party.” The “i” in “LiberatED” is replaced with an image of a teal-colored fist with roots growing from the bottom of the forearm.
We invite you to gather with us virtually this summer to celebrate the official launch of LiberatED: A liberatory approach to social and emotional learning (SEL), racial justice, and healing.

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Meet the Speakers

Dr. Dena Simmons 

is the founder of LiberatED, a liberatory approach to social and emotional learning (SEL), racial and social justice, and healing. Dr. Simmons is a leading voice in education and has been profiled in Education Week, the Huffington Post, NPR, the AOL/PBS project, MAKERS: Women Who Make America, a Beacon Press Book, Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists, Black Enterprise, and more. A recipient of numerous national fellowships and awards, Dr. Simmons earned her doctorate degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she recently served as faculty in the Summer Principals Academy. Dr. Simmons’ research interests include teacher preparedness to address bullying in the K-12 school setting, culturally responsive pedagogy, and the intersection of justice and SEL interventions. She is the author of the forthcoming book, White Rules for Black People (St. Martin’s Press).

Dr. Jennifer Mullan

 is affectionately nicknamed “the Rage Doctor” by peers  and clients. Dr. Jennifer Mullan (she/her) is trained as a Clinical Psychologist, and is a published author. She currently serves communities as a Consultant, Therapeutic Coach, Ancestral wound worker who seeks to unpack the oppressive legacy of modern mental health practices, particularly for Queer Indigenous Black Brown People of Color (QIBPOC).  She has been featured in Allure, GQ, The Today Show, Cosmopolitan, The Calgary Journal, and was selected by ESSENCE Magazine to receive the 2020 Essential Hero Award, in the category of Mental Health. 

Dr. Stephanie Cariaga

 has served the wider Los Angeles community for over thirteen years as a high school and middle school literacy teacher, founding member of the People’s Education Movement, and now an assistant professor in teacher education at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Rooted in radical feminist epistemology that centers wholeness, healing, and intimacy, her teaching and research examines the intersections between healing justice, critical literacy, and critical teacher sustainability. She is inspired by her best teachers, daughter Laila and son Catalino. 

Esther Armah

is the Executive Director of the Armah Institute of Emotional  Justice, a global institute that works across Accra, New York, and London. It implements the visionary change agent framework for racial healing through programming: Projects, Training and Thought Leadership. Esther is an international award-winning journalist, a playwright and an international speaker. She has written five Emotional Justice plays that have been produced and performed in New York, Chicago, and Ghana.

Alexis Harewood

is a Program Officer at the Nellie Mae Education Foundation where she supports grantees who are challenging racial inequities and advancing excellent, student-centered public education for all New England youth. Prior to joining the Foundation,  Alexis was a middle and high school English teacher in Boston Public Schools. In her spare time, Alexis enjoys baking, thrifting and walking her dog.

Dr. Nadia Lopez

 is an award-winning, globally recognized thought-leader in education, who opened a school to close a prison. She opened Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a  STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) focused school, located in Brownsville. Transitioning from the role of a school administrator after recovering from stress-induced illnesses, Dr. Lopez continues to speak internationally, consults with companies to develop strategic partnerships, as well as supporting leaders through 1:1 and group coaching. 

Student Panelists

Angelle

Angelle (they/them) is a non-binary Black woman. A rising senior at New London High School in New London, CT, they are the leader of the Connecticut chapter of the Young Black Panther Party. Their poem, "Untitled" is inspired by their experience in a Black body, their research, and their activism. Angelle works with an Afropessimism framework and zeroes in on the effects of colonization and white supremacy, how racism runs rampant through every institution, Black trauma, and Black history. This poem is an outlet for the emotions they experienced in the process of research and activism.

Giulia

Giulia was born in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. She recently completed her first year of high school in South Burlington, Vermont. As an eighth grader, she co-founded and led an affinity group for students of color at her middle school and continues to lead the middle school group. She has given presentations on addressing race in the classroom for middle school teachers. Giulia has been playing violin since the 3rd grade and plans on becoming a physical therapist.

Theo

Theo is a recent high school graduate from Lawrence, MA. They have provided valuable feedback as a youth advisor for Nellie Mae and worked in collaboration with other youth across New England in order to create a "Mental Health Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic" grant for youth programs in the area. They are also a member of Elevated Thought, a youth organization which prioritizes empowering youth voice through art and expression. On their free time, Theo enjoys crocheting, thrifting, writing poetry, advocating for queer rights, and making fond memories with friends. Theo is going to Tufts University in the fall and aspires to be either a forensic psychologist or orthodontist.

Daniel

Daniel is a recent high school graduate from Manchester, CT. He is a social justice activist and is currently steps away from becoming an Eagle Scout in the BSA (Boy Scouts of America). He is an aspiring leader who enjoys photography, video games, and hanging out with his friends and family, especially his twin brother. He strongly believes in empowering the oppressed and bringing change to the world that will last many generations. He plans on attending college in the fall.


Cassie

Cassie is an incoming college freshman at Brown University from Rhode Island! She is a coach at Diversity Talks and a member of the We Won’t Be Silenced reproductive rights campaign. Cassie is an artist of all forms: they’re a visual artist, singer, actor, and dancer. She is an advocate in the areas of STEM and the Arts, and plans on obtaining a career in biological research and changing the world.


Mya

Mya is an incoming freshman of Hope College from North Providence, Rhode Island. As a former facilitator and current coach of Diversity Talks, she is extremely passionate about the liberation of people of color from the unjust racist society that hinders their abilities and opportunities. Mya will be majoring in psychology and possibly minoring in dance, and is planning to incorporate her passion for activism into her future career. 


Our all-star lineup includes a powerful performance by a spoken word artist on the rise and a brilliant student panel!  

If you would like to donate to LiberatED so that we can continue to offer resources and host dynamic programming and events, please click the button below. Between today and August 4th, 100% of your gift will be used to support the launch’s brilliant speakers.

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