Broken Beautiful = Resilience in the face of adversity
The knowledge and skills gained from this conference will serve as the underpinnings for cultural and gender responsive programs that supports and sustains healthy life choices for young women of color. The purpose of this forum is to address the health and well being of young women of color by bringing together a broad array of providers in the Boston area who serve young women of color, along with young women themselves. The conference seeks to break down the silos of service providers across different disciplines serving young women of color, and between providers and young women themselves. The gathering is open to young adult women of color, health and human services providers, and community members.
This is an intergenerational, interdisciplinary approach giving perspective to the context of the lives of young women of color in our community. We would love for you to come and show your support. See you there!
Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a queer black trouble-maker and a black feminist love evangelist. She walks in the legacy of black lady school teachers in post slavery communities who offered sacred educational space to the intergenerational newly free in exchange for the random necessities of life. As the first person to do archival research in the papers of Audre Lorde, June Jordan and Lucille Clifton while achieving her PhD in English, Africana Studies and Women’s Studies at Duke University, she honors the lives and creative works of Black feminist geniuses as sacred texts for all people. She believes that in the time we live in access to the intersectional, holistic brilliance of the black feminist tradition is as crucial as learning how to read.
In 2002, at the age of nineteen, Alexis founded BrokenBeautiful Press a grassroots publishing initiative inspired by Kitchen Table Press, which has published several poetry collections, educational zines, transformative workbooks and online projects. Alexis is also the founder of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind, a transmedia-enabled community school and lending library based in Durham, North Carolina, and co-creator of the Mobile Homecoming Project, a national experiential archive amplifying generations of black LGBTQ brilliance with her partner Julia Roxanne Wallace. In 2012, Alexis founded Brilliance Remastered a multifaceted educational project to support visionary underrepresented graduate students and emerging community accountable scholars in staying connected to their unstoppable purpose and the communities they love.
Alexis is also a widely published essayist on topics from the abolition of marriage to the power of dreams to the genius of enslaved African ancestors. Her work appears in publications as varied as Signs, American Book Review, Make/Shift, Left Turn, The Crisis, Ms. Magazine, The Feminist Wire, Obsidian and she has essays in many academic and activist books including The Revolution Starts at Home, The Black Imagination, Abolition Now!, Does Your Mama Know and the Women’s Studies classroom staple Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions. Her work has been celebrated in national publications such as Curve, The Advocate, Bitch, Huffington Post, Gay and Lesbian Quarterly and of course Durham Magazine!
Alexis has won a number of awards and honors including being named one of UTNE Reader’s 50 Visionaries Transforming the World in 2009, a Black Woman Rising and a Reproductive Reality Check Shero in 2010, a recipient of the Too Sexy for 501-C3 Trophy in 2011 and one of Advocate Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 in 2012. To contact Alexis visit alexispauline.com.
Audrey Porter is the Associate Director of My Life My Choice. Audrey has been an integral part of MLMC since 2003 and was the first survivor in Massachusetts to begin mentoring exploited girls. Drawing from her personal experience in “the Life”, Audrey seeks to help vulnerable girls avoid prostitution and/or leave exploitation behind them. In addition to mentoring and prevention work, Audrey leads all of MLMC’s training and public awareness initiatives in conjunction with the MLMC Director. She has served as a consultant to the Administrative Office of the Trial Court’s “Redesigning the Court’s Response to Prostitution” project and was recently appointed to the Massachusetts Human Trafficking Task Force chaired by Attorney General Martha Coakley. Audrey is a 2008 recipient of the prestigious Petra Foundation Fellowship and a 2012 Boston Neighborhood Fellow.
Dr. Jacqueline Smith-Crooks
With a background in psychological education, community psychology, and religion, Dr. Jacquelyn Smith-Crooks has extensive experience in academic , faith and community-based organizations. She has lived and worked in urban and rural communities, from affluent to Appalachian, and north and south. She was also a member of a group that established the state of Virginia’s first community-based residential treatment center for females ages 13-17.
An ordained minister, she is a spiritual life and professional coach and educational consultant, she works with individuals and organizations that seek positive change in the midst of transition. In addition, she has a passion for intergenerational oral history and international relations.
Former Director of the Harvard Medical School Office of Community Outreach Programs and Executive Director of Macedonia Church Family Life Center, Dr. Jacquelyn has an undergraduate degree is in Sociology-Psychology (Eureka College/Illinois); a M.A.T. in Education and Instructional Communications from East Tennessee State University (Johnson City); an EdD in Human Services/Applied Behavioral Sciences (Psychological Education) from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst.
She has done additional studies in education, psychology and religion at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard Divinity School, St. John's Seminary and Andover Newton Theological School.
Hope Freeman was born and raised in Boston MA. She is a graduate of Smith College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Africana Studies. Hope has worked in the public health fi eld since she was 15 years old and continues that work at Boston GLASS, a GLBTQ drop in center for youth, where she is the Community Education Coordinator, responsible for the creation and facilitation GLBTQ cultural competency trainings for adult professionals that work with young people between the ages of 13-25 whom are interested in being strongly allied with young GLBTQ people. Hope is a certified Family Planner and Crisis/Resource specialist, and an HIV counselor/tester trained in harm reduction practices, the RESPECT model, and other prevention strategies. Hope is passionate about improving the lives of the young people that she works with through education on health issues, education on GLBTQ history and affirming those within GLBTQ communities of color.
Hope is an Active Bystander, a Safe Sex Educator, a Youth Worker, and a Womynist.
Marta Casas graduated from Javeriana University in Bogota, Columbia, as a Clinical Psychologist in 1981. Initially, she created and implemented a mental health program for disenfranchised populations in Bogota. In 2000, she was contracted to work with survivors of Colombia's political war. The impact of this experience motivated her to move to Boston to become part of the Trauma Center's team, as a VOCA clinician working with complexly traumatized adults. Currently, she is the clinical liaison between the Trauma Center and the Latino Health Institute in Boston, where she also coordinates a SAMHSA-funded program to provide trauma-informed services for Latino children and their families. The growing Colombian war has furthered her interest in the aftermath of political violence and is the reason why she also trained at the Harvard Refugee Program in Global Mental Health.
Naima Morales Cozier
Naima Morales Cozier has worked in public health for 10 years and is an experienced trainer and evaluator. She began her public health career as Program Manager for the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies (IWES), a woman of color reproductive and sexual health organization in New Orleans, Louisiana. As Program Manager at IWES, she coordinated and implemented a HIV prevention program for young African American and Latina women. The success of this HIV prevention program led to its adaptation and implementation in eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). After Hurricane Katrina, Naima relocated to Atlanta, Georgia and joined JSI Research and Training Institute Inc. (JSI) where she has worked on a variety of HIV/AIDS consulting projects. As Training Advisor for the AIDS.gov project, Naima provides training and technical assistance (TA) on the use of social media for community-based organizations (CBOs) and national AIDS service organizations. Naima is Project Director for a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office of Women’s Health (OWH) HIV/AIDS prevention program project. The project provides capacity building assistance to community based organizations on integrating gender-responsive approaches into HIV prevention programs. She is currently, working on the national dissemination of the HIV Prevention Gender Toolkit that provides a framework for making U.S. based HIV programs more gender responsive. Naima grew up in an Afro-Cuban and Jamaican/Guianese home and spent her childhood years in both New Orleans, Louisiana and Atlanta, Georgia. She holds a Masters of Science in Public Health from Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a Bachelors of Science from Xavier University of Louisiana.
Pamela Arroyo is a 22 year old visual artist from Boston. She majored in Visual Arts at Boston Arts Academy where she studied various forms of art in addition to participating in various classes at Mass. College of Art while still in high school. Her art education had helped her begin to define her personal artistic style. She particularly enjoyed learning about art history and the surrealist and romantic eras which is evident in a lot of her art works. Her artwork has won 3 Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards in 2008, in addition to her work being selected and used as an image for the Access Awards. After graduating she continued to refine her craft by experimenting with various styles of art including tattooing and mural painting by volunteering at the Boston Mural Crew. She also continued her art education at a local community college which she hopes to finish at a local art college. Broken Beautiful: The Faces of Beauty is her first art show curator project outside of high school and hopes it can launch more art related opportunities.
Reflect and Strengthen (R&S) is a grassroots collective of young working class women from the urban neighborhoods of Boston who take a holistic approach to organizing in order to create personal and social transformation. Our programming focuses are political education, healing from trauma, creative expression, community building, and organizing to end racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. R&S's vision for social justice is to create a world where all people are afforded equitable opportunity, support and resources to nurture the development of their minds, spirits, health, and well-being; where women, people of color, queer people, differently-abled people, elders and youth are respected interpersonally and institutionally; where people are free to practice and share their beliefs and traditions; where societies are run collectively and resources are shared equally; where international laws prevent the taking of land, natural resources or labor by force and violence. www.reflectandstrengthen.org/
Tanee Hobson is a Survivor Mentor and Group Facilitator with My Life My Choice. A survivor of sexual exploitation who had been in Massachusetts DCF custody since the age of two, Tanee is a former client of MLMC who uses her life experiences to help reach other exploited and high risk girls. Tanee is a frequent presenter at public speaking events, and has represented MLMC in panels at the Germaine Lawrence School and at Attorney General Martha Coakley’s hearing for human trafficking legislation in Massachusetts. Currently studying Human Services at Northern Essex Community College, Tanee plans to continue working with exploited girls in the future and become a national leader in the movement to end the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.
Yvette Modestin was born and raised in Colon, Republic of Panama. Yvette is the Founder/Director of Encuentro Diaspora Afro in Boston, MA which mobilizes the Afro-Latino Community, empowers young girls of African descent and builds bridges of understanding between African Americans and Latinos. She is currently the Diaspora Coordinator of the Red/Network de Mujeres AfroLatinoamericanas, Afrocaribenas y de la Diaspora. In her role she has spoken at the United Nations, the OAS and the International Commission on Human Rights and the Black Caucus. She is known as a writer on Afro-Latino issues, poet and community activist. Ms. Modestin has been profiled by the Boston Globe as "The Uniter" for her work in bringing the Latin American and African American community together and for her activism in building a voice for the Afro Latino Community. In 2006 she was highlighted as "Six in the City" by the Boston Globe for her service in the community. She was the recipient of the 2009 Drylongso Award by Community Change Inc. for her extraordinary anti-racism work. She shares her passion for her people in national, international spaces. She is involved in the work in her home town of Colon. Ms. Modestin looks to continue creating a space to address race in the Latino community and the recognition of the Afro-Latino/a experience and the commonalities of Africans in the Diaspora and credits her spiritual discipline to keeping her steadfast on her journey for social justice for her people. Ms Modestin has received numerous awards for the work in the community and sits on many Boards that address such issues as Afro-Latinas and empowerment of communities of color.
As 17 year old graduate of Cathedral High School, Fayette Long has developed as a strong poet and young women. Used to being the outcast she has found a voice and a choice to improve her life and the lives of those around her. She just finished a volunteer opportunity at the Hattie B. Cooper Community Center working with preschool student and adolescents at an after school program, and that is just the latest pursuit. Not only is she gifted with words but she is gifted in spirit and she is a highly motivated young woman of color.
Beginning her career in youth development, Rebecca has worked for various organizations that promote strength based programming and resiliency for youth and young adults in both New York and Connecticut. Quickly realizing that the experiences individuals have in life often determine the choices they make in the future, Rebecca became passionate about issues related to gender equality, violence and health disparities. Since moving to Boston in 2008, Rebecca has worked on both administrative and direct service levels of mental health programs in the Boston Public School system, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and hospital based violence intervention programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston Medical Center. Rebecca is currently the Addictions Prevention Manager for the Boston Public Health Commission. As an African American woman, Rebecca sees her ability to advocate and support populations who are vulnerable or disempowered as nothing short of a blessing. Rebecca received her BA from Post University and her MSW from Boston College.
Books of Hope
Books of Hope is a literacy empowerment program that brings creative writing workshops to at-risk urban and immigrant youth in the communities where they live, aiming to foster and promote the next generation of youth authors. To do this, we engage youth ages 13-25 in creative writing, performance, publishing, and entrepreneurship and provide opportunities to be mentored by professional writers, performers, creative designers, and educators.