2021: The People’s Gathering (Fall Virtual Convening) - SOLD OUT

Truth Tellin’ about Critical Race Theory

The essence of Critical Race Theory is to examine the intersections of race and law in the United States and bring the truth about how racism has been institutionalized into American Laws and Policies to broader social awareness.

On one side of discourse is the belief that Critical Race Theory helps us to examine racist laws and policies through a scientific lens and commit to historical truth telling about the intergenerational impact of those laws and policies on individuals and communities of color.

Detractors believe that the purpose of Critical Race Theory is to paint all whites as racist and to indoctrinate white children into shouldering shame for benefiting off of the actions of their predecessors.

Without full understanding about the content of and context for teaching Critical Race Theory, it, like so many potentially enlightening ideologies, has been politicized to further create fear, anger, and division.

The People's Gathering

Fall 2021: Featured Speakers

Karena L Hooks, MSW, Founder & Visionary (She/Her), Hooks Global

Hello family!

I am a Black, cisgender, queer woman.  I was born and raised in California by two southern blues/country musicians, a Black father from Mississippi and a white mother from Tennessee.  I deeply love music, the ocean, community, martial arts, poetry, learning, teaching and traveling.  Laughing is one of my favorite pastimes.  My passion is all things social justice and healing while I dream of making freedom and liberation a reality.  My superpower is my ability to make deep connections in an instant.  I listen for what’s not being said, and I explore the soul of a person with curiosity.  My come-from is influenced by what I ‘ve witnessed and experienced.  I promise: Liberation is possible.

Dr. Amy Young, Professor of Communication, Pacific Lutheran University

Deconstructing Conservative narratives on Critical Race Theory

Conservative rhetoric has a number of identifiable features, but one of the more ubiquitous is a claim of victimhood. Victimhood creates an in-group identity that helps organize and marshal feelings of alienation and exclusion from an increasingly pluralistic, socially progressive culture. Those feelings are then weaponized by conservative media and political institutions against issues like Critical Race Theory, creating an ongoing and amplified outrage machine that seeks to drown out considerations of structural injustice and to terrify white parents that their children are being indoctrinated in their places of learning.  Dr. Young will lead participants to a deeper understanding on why victimhood is such a powerful lure, and identify ways to respond to claims of victimhood designed to deny dissent.

Dr. J is the inaugural Director for the newly created Washington State Office of Equity, established by the legislature and signed into law in April 2020.

The office will work with agencies to increase access to equitable opportunities in order to bridge opportunity gaps and reduce disparities. The office will also work with communities to develop the state’s five-year equity plan.

Dr. J holds a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, a master’s in public administration, and doctorate in Urban Services.

She is energized by seeking liberty and justice for all.

Jesse has over 20 years of professional and Big 4 experience, serving in executive-level positions at Fortune 500 companies. An accountant by training, he has led countless internal audit processes in numerous organizations and also held leadership roles on diversity advisory councils and employee resource groups, advising business unit leaders and internal stakeholders on strategies for building an inclusive culture and increasing diversity representation. Jesse conducts extensive volunteer work including with the Wonder of Women International organization that serves Black women and girls.  He has been featured in LEAD Magazine for his mentorship and community involvement.

Jesse serves on several boards, including Western Washington CBE Advisory Board, Corporate Giving Network, After-School All-Stars, and is the National Treasurer and a lifetime member of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), since chartering a student chapter while at his alma mater, Drexel University where he also became a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

2020: The People’s Gathering (Fall Virtual Convening) - SOLD OUT

Anti-Racism: What is it and how do we engage?

The People's Gathering 2020

2020: Pre-Recorded Welcome and Discussion

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal opened the fall convening of The People’s Gathering conference in a recorded discussion with Melannie Denise Cunningham, TPG Convener, about the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. election results and what citizens can do to promote unity and healing amount and within our diverse communities.

Congresswoman Jayapal is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where she serves as Vice Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee, and on the House Education & Labor and Budget Committees. She is also the elected Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; Chair fo the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus; and a Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus.

Elected in 2016, Congresswoman Jayapal is serving her second term in Congress representing Washington’s 7th District, which encompasses most of Seattle and its surrounding areas. She is the first South Asian American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and one of the fourteen naturalized citizens currently serving in the United States Congress.

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland is an American politician and businesswoman who is the U.S. Representative-elect for Washington State’s 10th congressional district. She will begin her first term on January 3, 2021. Strickland previously served as the 38th Mayor of Tacoma from 2010 to 2018. She will be the first member of the United States Congress who is of both Korean and African American heritage

2019: The People's Gathering

The People's Gathering 2019

2019: Featured Speakers

Dr. Kathy Obear

A successful author of three books (…But I’m Not Racist!Turning the TideIn It For the Long Haul) with over 30 years of experience specializing in conflict resolution, change management, and creating inclusive environments, Dr. Kathy Obear is a leading expert in helping to establish socially just environments where everyone feels valued and respected.

As the founder of The Center for Transformation and Change, Kathy has given speeches, facilitated training sessions, and consulted to top leaders at hundreds of universities, human services organizations, and corporations across the United States and internationally with a goal to increase the passion, competence, and commitment to create inclusive, socially just environments for all members of the organization.

Kathy is a Co-Founder of the Social Justice Training Institute (www.sjti.org). For 20 years, she and her colleagues have helped over 3,000 people deepen their capacity to be effective organizational change agents and to create greater racial and social justice.

Dr. Maria Chávez

Dr. Maria Chávez is an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Political Science department at Pacific Lutheran University.  She is the author or co-author of four books. The first, Everyday Injustice: Latino Professionals and Racism (2011) won the prestigious American Political Science Association’s Latino Caucus Best Book Award in Latino Politics published in 2011.  She is lead co-author of Living the Dream: New Immigration Policies and the Lives of Undocumented Latino Youth (2015) and co-editor of Latino Peoples in the New America: Racialization and Resistance (2019).  Her new book, Latino Professionals in America: Testimonios of Policy, Perseverance, and Success is scheduled for publication in May (Routledge, 2019).  She has also published many peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, newspaper editorials, and blogs regularly for www.racismreview.com.

Dr. Chávez’s work centers on the progress and barriers of Latinos in American society. Specifically, her research is focused on the political and social incorporation of Latinos in various locations and circumstances ranging from vulnerable undocumented Latinos living in the shadows to successful Latino professionals.

Among her academic laurels, Dr. Chávez was awarded the American Political Science Association’s Centennial Grant Award in 2016 and APSA’s Small Research Grant Award in 2015. She has served as a fellow for the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute and was the recipient of the Washington State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Award for her research on Latino lawyers. While a doctoral student, she received the Washington State University President’s Award for Student Leadership for her work mentoring undergraduate Latino students.

2018: The People's Gathering

2018: Featured Speakers

Dr. Shakti Butler
Dr. Shakti Butler

Filmmaker, CEO World Trust, Inc.

Shakti Butler, Ph.D, filmmaker, and Founder & President of World Trust, is a dynamic educator in the field of diversity and racial equity. She is a multiracial African-American woman (African, Arawak Indian, and Russian-Jewish) whose work as a creative and visionary bridge builder has challenged and inspired learning for over two decades.

She is the producer and director of groundbreaking documentaries including The Way HomeMirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible, and Light in the Shadows. Her newest film, Healing Justice, addresses trauma, justice and healing and asks America to talk about the causes and consequences of our current system of justice.  She will be presenting Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity, which uses story, theater and music to illuminate the larger frame of structural/systemic racial inequity.

Jewel Diamond Taylor
Jewel Diamond Taylor

“The Self-Esteem Doctor”

In the late 1980s, Taylor was one of the first women of color to become a national and international motivational speaker.

She has made presentations for the Pentagon and in prisons, for corporate America and on college campuses, and for community groups and on military bases. Taylor is the author of seven books, an ordained elder in her church, founder of Women on the Grow Ministry, and a frequent radio guest. She is tasked with keeping the conference agenda flowing and the energy positive.

Alana R. Simmons
Alana R. Simmons

Hate Won’t Win

Alana Simmons is the granddaughter of Rev. Daniel Simmons, one of the nine members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, who were killed as an intentional act of hate on June 17, 2015. She heads the national non-profit organization “Hate Won’t Win”, which promotes acts of forgiveness and gives voice to the message that love is stronger than hate. Alana will update the gathering on the Hate Won’t Win Movement.