Winner of the 2022 NASPA Region V Innovation Program Award

The People’s Gathering: A Revolution of Consciousness conference is a professional and personal development learning experience that provides a supportive space where participants can engage in frank and open dialogue about race and racial disparities systemically present in work, school, and everyday life.  A host of local and national social justice scholars and leaders from Indigenous, Asian, Black, Latino, Multiracial, Pacific Islander and, white communities will lead small group discussions.

The People's Gathering
The People's Gathering Executive Producer Melanie Cunningham
Melannie Denise Cunningham, Executive Producer & Host

Greetings Fabulous People!

It is that season again, the fall convening of The People’s Gathering: A Revolution of Consciousness Conference!  Can you believe this will be our eleventh time coming together for this professional development experience?  You all keep telling us that this work is valuable to your development journey of becoming anti-racist. As such, we are relentless in keeping our commitment to bringing you the unapologetic truth about systemic racism, its detrimental impact on our mental and physical health as a community, and ideas for you to mitigate the harm.  Knowledge is the tool we use to eradicate racism.

I am challenging you to register early for the gathering and bring as many colleagues as you can gather with you.  The more people that attend from your work team – the more the learning will permeate the culture and affect change.  We offer a 10% registration discount for teams of 5 or more from the same organization.  Register today!

Fall 2022


November 10, 2022

virtual conference through Zoom

8:30 am – 4:00 pm
Pacific Time

$125.00 per person
10% discount for groups of 5 or more

America is Changing: Are You Ready?

There is no question that issues of blatant and systemic racism, hate, bigotry, and oppression continue to permeate America’s consciousness.  These are emotionally charged matters, hard to discuss, and most definitely difficult to navigate when behaviors stemming from this mindset show up in the workplace. For our featured presentation – TPG participants will be challenged to examine and explore issues related to bias, privilege, equity, supremacy, and belief systems. Additionally, they will learn how to take action against individual and systemic racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression

We need more leaders for social justice and equity across America. Do you have the skills and ability to lead? Are you changing or progressing?

We are excited to welcome Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. as the key presenter for the 11th convening of The People’s Gathering: A Revolution of Consciousness Conference!

Dr. Moore is one of the nation’s top speakers and educators in academia, business, diversity, leadership, and community service (America & MOORE, LLC). He is the Founder/Program Director for the White Privilege Conference (WPC) and The Privilege Institute (TPI), which engages people in research, education, action, and leadership through workshops, conferences, publications, and strategic partnerships and relationships. (  Dr. Moore is also the co-founder of the online journal Understanding and Dismantling Privilege (, the author of The Guide for White Women who Teach Black Boys, and the creator of the 21-day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge (

Dr. Moore

Find out more about Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr.:

Twitter: @eddieknowsmoore

Instagram: eddiemoorejr


*IDI Qualified Administrator

Hear Dr. Moore on the “What Say You” podcast:

Episode 58—The People’s Gathering

The People's Gathering Convener Melannie Cunningham

The People's Gathering Convener

Melannie Denise Cunningham is the Director of Multicultural Outreach and Engagement at PLU. She is also creator, executive producer and host of The People’s Gathering: A Revolution of Consciousness Conference.

Melannie is known locally, nationally, and internationally for her unapologetic talk and activism around anti-racist community building, social and economic justice, education, and advocacy for Black women and girls. In 2018 she was awarded the Greater Tacoma Peace Prize for her lifetime achievement working towards racial reconciliation. The “prize” she received was an all-expense-paid trip to Oslo, Norway, to represent her South Sound Washington community at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony.  She produced a documentary about her travels titled “Peace Queen” that was awarded a 2021 National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Northwest Emmy®.  Click here to view the documentary.

Melannie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington State University, an MBA from Pacific Lutheran University, a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University, and is currently a doctoral student at Fielding pursuing a Ph.D. in Organizational Development and Change.

The People’s Gathering
Virtual Conference Schedule


Welcome and Opening Remarks
8:30 am – 9:00 am

Session I- Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr

9:00 am – 11:00 am

Lunch Break
11:15 am – 11:45 am

Session II – Race Dialogues (breakout sessions)
11:45 am – 1:45 pm
Participants are prompted at registration to choose a dialogue room based on the box they check on the U.S. Census form “race” question.  These conversation groups are designed for care and support for those identifying in these categories to process the impact of race and systemic racism on daily living.

1:45 pm – 2:00 pm

Session III: Collective Dialogue
2:00 pm – 3:15 pm
A convening of the whole group to hear the report out of key take-aways and “call to action” from each dialogue room.

Dr. Karen Johnson, Director, Office of Equity, Washington State Governor’s Office
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm

Acknowledgements and Closing Remarks
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm


“Parking Lot”  Conversation

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

If you’re not ready to leave and just want to “hang out” and process the day – join us in this space!


Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Other Asian. Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Other Pacific Islander.

Commissioner Tufono-Chaussee is a first generation Samoan, born and raised in Carson, California. She began her work in 1979 as a Samoan community youth activist through the Office of Samoan Affairs, where she learned the importance of civic engagement in the Samoan community and advocacy for the disaggregation of Asian and Pacific Islander populations on all government documents. She followed in the footsteps of her late parents, Reverend Alatina and Siva Tufono, by serving her community through various grassroots youth and senior programs throughout Carson and San Diego, California. She also participated in many California based organizations such as Omai Fa’atasi (Come Together) and Samoan Athletes in Action, which recognized the contributions of Samoans in the U.S.

Commissioner Tufono-Chaussee studied Communications and Broadcasting at San Diego City College. She was inspired to pursue this field by three of her brothers who are professional Hip Hop DJs. In 1992, Commissioner Tufono-Chaussee and her brothers formed Samoan4Life Entertainment and worked with hip hop and reggae artists to promote their concerts throughout San Diego. It was then that she decided to become a radio DJ and hosted a radio show on KSDS 88.3 FM playing contemporary jazz. She continued her studies at the National Labor College in Silver Springs, Maryland, studying Union Leadership and Labor Contract Bargaining and Negotiations as a recipient of the Labor Union Minority Women scholarship. In 1995, she relocated to Seattle, Washington, and continued her work in the Samoan community.

From 2007 to 2010, Commissioner Tufono-Chaussee served as the first Samoan Union President of the International Association of Flight Attendants, AFA Local #16. In 2009, Commissioner Tufono-Chaussee and her husband Chris Chaussee founded the International Samoa Health Mission Alliance (ISHMA), which provided assistance to victims of the September 2009 earthquake and tsunami in Samoa and American Samoa. Four medical teams and $250,000 of medical supplies were sent to the disaster stricken areas. This work attracted international media attention in Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand, which led to the formation of ISHMA chapters in Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, and China. Tufono-Chaussee and the medical teams were recognized for their charitable tsunami relief work by Samoa’s Ministry of Health, the Honorable Gatoloaifa’ana Amataga Alesana-Gidlow and Governor Togiola Tulafono of American Samoa.

Commissioner Tufono-Chaussee was appointed to the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs in 2010 by former Governor Christine Gregoire and was reappointed for a second and third term in 2013 and 2016 by Governor Jay Inslee. She currently serves as the Commission’s Chair and is the first Samoan Commissioner to hold this position.

Jack Thompson, nicknamed “the Throwin’ Samoan”, is an American Samoan former professional American football quarterback. Thompson played in the National Football League for six seasons, four with the Cincinnati Bengals and two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played college football at Washington State.

After his football career, Thompson settled in Seattle and became a mortgage banker, as well as a volunteer quarterbacks coach at Ballard High School. His son Tony, a tight end, followed in his dad’s footsteps in suiting up at Washington State, and a nephew, Tavita Pritchard, was a quarterback at Stanford University.

Commissioner Faitalia is a first-generation Tongan-Samoan, born and raised in California. She recently settled in Covington, WA from Los Angeles, CA. She is the owner of Modern Blueprint Construction LLC and works for United Indians of All Tribes Foundation as the Ina Maka On Track Program Manager. Before moving to the Pacific Northwest, Ms. Faitalia served her Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Community in various capacities including working for the UCLA Center for Community College Partnership and Tribal Learning Community & Educational Exchange Program (TLCEE).

Commissioner Faitalia joins CAPAA Commission with fifteen years of community service and advocacy experience. She completed both her Undergraduate and Graduate education from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Suzanne Pak

Suzanne Pak is the Director of Community & Behavioral Health for Korean Women’s Association (KWA). Her department provides CRISP (Culturally Responsive, Integrated & Strength-Based Parenting) education for BIPOC parents of young children (with DOH funding), Potentially Preventable Hospitalization (PPH) Learning Collaboration education for community and behavioral health professionals (with TPCHD funding), and care coordination and preventative health education services. She serves on the Pierce County Opioid Task Force, Tacoma Pierce County Health Departments’ PPH Steering Committee, City of Tacoma’s Age Friendly Tacoma Committee, Help Me Grow’s Community Advisory Board, and Fred Hutch’s Community Advisory Board. She is a certified trainer in Screening Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment, Motivational Interviewing, and Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Lua Pritchard

Lua Pritchard was born in the village of Amouli, which is located on the island of American Samoa. She left Samoa at the age of 10 to attend school in San Francisco. Lua attended Pepperdine University in Los Angeles and the Universities of Minnesota and Hawaii.

Lua, her husband and her 5 children moved to Lakewood WA in 1988 to care for her in-laws. She and her husband culturally adopted 16 more children in Lakewood; their family now consists of 21 adult children and 34 grandchildren. During this time Lua also worked for the Korean Women’s Association (KWA) ultimately retiring as the Executive Director of KWA in 2009. She is currently the director of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center. Lua has been recognized with countless awards for her volunteer work in the Asian Pacific Community, Pierce County and Washington State.

Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somali, etc.

Dr. Adrian Thompson is the Chief Equity Officer for the Department of Enterprise Services.  He recently came to this role from the Department of Corrections (DOC), where he also served briefly as the Chief Equity Officer after Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Dr. Karen Johnson as the director of the Office of Equity.

By training and experience, Dr. Thompson is a psychologist, researcher, author, lecturer, and community servant.  He has helped research mental health disparities in the court system, advocated for and treated youth who were sexually abused, and co-created a medical mentoring program designed to target disparities in high school achievement and medical school enrollment.

Thompson earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Howard University. While at Howard, Dr. Thompson participated in several nationwide diversity and minority initiatives to increase academic diversity and representation. His research and publications focus on the physiological effects of race and racism, diversity, and social initiatives to increase minority participation.

Shellie Willis is the Senior Director of Collective Impact Workforce Central, the public workforce development council serving employers and job seekers in Tacoma and Pierce County. Shellie serves as an advocate for system partners and the community by facilitating the Pierce County Community TaskForce and provides education and training on continuous quality improvement opportunities and increases access to education and employment by intentionally working with local elected officials, community partners and employers to solve complex problems in a structured way to design and create and equitable result.

 Shellie is also the Founder of “Redefining You Foundation,” a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that supports and empowers transitioning service women, women veterans, and military spouses redefine their lifestyles and perspectives following military service. She is a 24-year veteran of the US Army and holds a Master’s Degree in Management- Nonprofit Administration from the University of Maryland, Global Campus.

Volunteer Service: 

  • Chair of the Washington State Women Veterans Committee
  • Member of the Governors Veteran Affairs Advisory Committee
  • Board of Directors for Harborstone Credit Union
  • Board of Directors for the Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce
  • Appointed Post Surgeon for VFW Post #2224

Current Title:  Renowned America’s Select Veteran Queen 2022/2023 

LinkedIn:  (7) Shellie Willis, MSM Nonprofit, CDFM-A,LSSBB | LinkedIn

Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian, Guatemalan, Spaniard, Ecuadorian, etc.

Dr. Plácida Gallegos

Dr. Plácida Gallegos has been an organization development consultant and executive coach for the past 30 years, engaged in supporting diverse individuals, groups and organizations in thriving and achieving optimal outcomes. Based on sound research, assessment and an appreciative approach, she works with clients to maximize performance, engagement and authenticity. She is deeply committed to co-creating inclusive organizations and teams that support people to learn and grow to their fullest capacities.

Trained as a social psychologist with a Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology, she is attentive to how individuals and teams are affected by the systems and structures within which they operate, and how they can constructively influence those systems. Diversity, equity and inclusion have been consistent threads through her research, consulting, and teaching practices.

John Rodriquez is an accomplished leadership coach, workshop/retreat facilitator, and systems change consultant. He has been consulting and facilitating leadership and culture change for over two decades. His assignments have taken him to 37 states working with organizations from 50 to 200,000 employees. As a Systems Theory practitioner, he works with senior and frontline leaders on high-impact and high-performing team development. Clients include Black Health New Mexico, National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW), NeighborWorks America, Center for Workforce Excellence, FedEx, Kellogg, Verizon, NYU Langone, Ascension Health, LiDistri Foods, BlueCross BlueShield, United Airlines, Whirlpool, Rochester Economic Development Corporation, and Roc the Future Alliance. Recent assignments include coaching systems change and Collective Impact collaboratives in healthcare, education, and human services, BIPOC maternal health and policy change, wealth gap and economic support organizations, national community development and health worker associations, change management for healthcare evidence-based group care implementation, and equity-based leadership team development.

In 2008, John co-created The Five Steps of Adaptation, a change adaptation process to help leaders understand the impact of change events on themselves — before assisting others. This model was the basis for engaging a 6,500-employee workforce during the recession of 2008-09. The results were that not a single employee was laid off, and the company remained fiscally stable as it adapted to significant customer losses during the economic downturn. The organization returned to growth by 2010, adding new customers in the process.

In 2002, John was selected to serve as a Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Fellow. He traveled throughout the United States and Mexico during this period, learning about leadership as a societal stabilizing force. He also served as a primary consultant on the “Bridges to Our Future” project in Michigan, the largest community cross-sector intervention initiative in the United States at the time. The project was featured in a Public Television Special and served as a case study for researchers and students at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government & Public Policy. John was also the recipient of the New York State Hispanic Businessperson of the Year Award, presented by the New York State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Before entering management consulting, John was an executive and partner in the advertising industry, where he worked with some of the world’s leading brands. In addition to building a multimillion-dollar ad agency, John helped start several social enterprises and businesses and has served on numerous non-profit committees, commissions, and boards. John has been a post-graduate student at the Bowen Center for the Study of Family Systems in Washington, D.C. He holds three coaching certifications, a master’s degree from the State University of New York College at Brockport, and a bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Renée Roman Nose

Renée Roman Nose, MAIS, is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. She is an activist, artist, actor, poet, painter, photographer, and cultural anthropologist. Her book, Sweet Grass Talking (2017), was published by Uttered Chaos Press and nominated for the Oregon Book of the Year Award for 2017. Her paintings and photography have been most recently featured at the Kallet Theater in Oneida, NY, as well as having had showings in Tacoma and Everett, Washington. Her second book, Have War Paint, Will Travel, is currently with the publisher, and her third book, as yet untitled, is a collaborative book of poetry with Suzan Harjo.

R. Stan Thomas

R. Stan Thomas

-Enrolled member of the San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham Nation in southern Arizona.
-Over 20 years of community development and activism, working with Federal, State and Tribal governments.
-Direct involvement in the development of the Tohono O’odham Community College that now offers academic and cultural classes to tribal community members.
-International development activities via Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) for various communities in targeted 3rd World countries.

Roxane Maiko Byrne is the Coordinator of Equity, Diversity and Cultural Competency at Santa Barbara City College in Santa Barbara, California. Roxane holds an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in Human Development from Fielding Graduate University. Her research centers on the experiences of multiracial students in higher education with an emphasis on exploring identity and sense of belonging in racial affinity spaces. Dr. Byrne has served the SBCC community for over 16 years as an educational administrator, adjunct faculty member, classified staff member, and a personal counselor. She currently oversees multiple programs and centers within the Office of Equity, Diversity and Cultural Competency including the Center for Equity and Social Justice, the Umoja Center for Black Student Success, The Dream Center for Undocumented Student Success, and the Basic Needs Centers. Dr. Byrne also served as an adjunct professor of psychology and education at Antioch University, Santa Barbara for 4 years.

Isis Castañeda has been working with teens, young adults, and their families in the Santa Barbara area since 1997.  She established her business, Creating Connections in 2016 with a solid history of facilitating teen and parent groups, community outreach, trainings, public speaking, and organizing events.  Isis immigrated to the United States as a young child from Central America and lived in Virginia until her early teens. She returned to live in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Belize throughout her teen years and eventually landed in Santa Barbara. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies at Antioch University of Santa Barbara and is certified in Emotional Intelligence, Restorative Justice, Team Building Experiential Education, and as an Instructor for Youth Mental Health First Aid and teen Mental Health First Aid.


Isis’ global perspective and multicultural and multiracial heritage, her background in youth development, and life-coaching practice allows her to connect easily with teens, young adults, parents, and community service providers.

German, Irish, English, Italian, Lebanese, Egyptian, etc.

Beth Kraig, Ph.D.

Beth Kraig, Ph.D. strongest interests center on the history of discrimination and oppression (and resistance to those forces) in the United States, and especially in the 20th century. Her research into the subject include examinations of anti-gay ballot measures in the 1970s, racism in the military in World War II, and feminist voices in popular literature in the post-WWII decades. She is actively involved in interdisciplinary programs and fields of study, including Women’s Studies and Peace Studies, and has participated in research and projects that center on the importance of historical thinking in interdisciplinary contexts. Dr. Kraig is a professor of History at Pacific Lutheran University (retired).

This is the sixth The People’s Gathering for Ken Sauby who brings 30 years of WA Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) experience. Ken started as a Financial Service Specialist (now called Public Benefits Specialist) and worked as a Leadworker, Supervisor, Region Financial Trainer, Deputy Administrator (Yakima CSO, two years), Administrator (Sunnyside CSO, six years), Strategic Initiatives Program Manager (four years under Dr. Karen A. Johnson), and now five years as Employee Engagement Program Manager under Nichole Ossa in the Pro Equity Anti-Racism (PEAR) Unit consulting primarily for the 2,300 staff of the Community Services Division and assisting the 17,000 staff of DSHS. Ken has attended many EDI training sessions over the years.

Ken is a certified trainer in Crucial Conversations and Crucial Accountability. He is also a certified trainer and Coder/Coach for Motivational Interviewing. In addition to his regular duties he started delivering Shared Strengths Workshops to staff in 2007 based upon the 34 Clifton Strengths from Gallup. With 130 workshops provided to over 2,000 staff, this one day experience is always in popular demand and now is a major part of his regular duties. He manages the Strengths Community of Practice that has over 1,500 members statewide. Strengths, Self-Care, Well-Being, and Trauma Informed are regular topics that Ken presents or facilitates activities around. In 2022 he became a Work + Love Leader and will be a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach within a few months.

Ken is married to Deb (33 years) and they have five sons and seven grandchildren. They share their Moxee home with two Siamese cats, Haven and Lexi, and one dog, Remy, who is a ShihTzu/Bichon Frise mix and provides constant companionship.

Kristy Gledhill founded the South Sound Antiracist Project in the summer of 2019 in response to a growing dissonance in her own life between the reality of racism and the direct attention and action she was applying to understanding and fighting it. A white affinity group that meets monthly, with additional monthly “action group” meetings, SSARP is an active community of white people committed to understanding, adopting, employing and promoting antiracist ideas, policies and actions in all their spheres of influence. On the side, Kristy is a writer living with her husband in Gig Harbor. She has lived and worked—mostly for nonprofits—in the Tacoma area for 26 years.

Thomas Reynolds

Thomas has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership focused on addressing poverty, hunger and other forms of global injustice all over the world.  After working in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, he served as Vice President of Program Partnerships and Learning at CARE, responsible for anti-poverty programs in 95 countries. Since 2017, Thomas has been the CEO of Northwest Harvest where he is focused on advancing equity-oriented policy outcomes; developing a network of human service providers; and distributing nutritious and culturally appropriate food throughout Washington.

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