WCTF 2021 Juneteenth Celebration

June 18, 2021 8:30 am - 1:30 pm

Join the Women of Color Task Force for its 2nd annual Juneteenth observance event. 

The Juneteenth holiday is celebrated on Saturday, June 19, 2021, but we invite you to join us for our celebration on Friday, June 18th, from 8:30 am – 1:30 pm. The theme for our event is “Improving Intercultural Race Relations to Develop Intercultural Solidarity.”

Juneteenth, also called Jubilee Day, Freedom Day, Liberation Day, or Emancipation Day, is the designated holiday commemorating the freedom of the slaves in the United States, traditionally observed annually on June 19th. President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation had officially outlawed slavery in Texas and the other states in rebellion against the Union almost two and a half years earlier on January 1, 1863. Enforcement of the Proclamation generally relied on the advancement of the Union troops. The anniversary of the June 19, 1865 date recognizes the day that the announcement by Union Army Major General Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery and the end of the Civil War was delivered to Galveston, Texas.

Conference Schedule

Conference Schedule
Friday, June 18, 2021
8:30 am
9:00 am
Panel Introduction - Zarinah Aquil, MS, Michigan Medicine Immunology Graduate Program
9:05 am
Learning from Cross-Cultural Experiences: A Global Perspective (Panel #1)
10:20 am
10:30 am
Panel Introduction - Grace Wu, MS, A. Alfred Taubman Research Institute
10:35 am
Toward a Culturally Inclusive Workplace (Panel #2)
11:50 am
12:00 pm
Keynote Program Welcome - Rachel Dawson, JD, Precision Health at the University of Michigan
12:05 pm
Greetings - Robert M. Sellers, PhD, Vice Provost for Equity, Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
12:10 pm
Greetings - Corie Pauling, JD, TIAA Senior Vice President, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility
12:15 pm
Panel Introduction - Nichole Burnside, School of Public Health
12:20 pm
Improving Intercultural Race Relations to Develop Intercultural Solidarity (Keynote)
1:25 pm
Final Remarks

9:00 a.m. - Panel 1: Learning from Cross-Cultural Experiences: A Global Perspective

9:00 a.m. – Panel 1: Learning from Cross-Cultural Experiences: A Global Perspective

Many racial groups abroad have benefitted and learned from the African American Civil Rights Movement. Through common experiences of oppression and the struggle against it, Asian, LatinX, and African cultures have formed historical alliances with African Americans to create a global resistance to white supremacy. However, these alliances weaken or fall apart when these groups share soil in the United States. This session will highlight examples of the African American influence on international liberation movements and examine how these movements might inform a path toward cross-cultural cooperation in the United States.


  • Keisha A. Brown, PhD, Assistant Professor of History, Tennessee State University
  • Kevin Brown, JD, Richard S. Melvin Professor, Indiana University Maurer School of Law
  • Marta Moreno Vega, PhD, Founder/President – Creative Justice Initiative
  • Moderator: Imara Dawson, JD, MPA, International Institute


Keisha A. Brown, PhD, Assistant Professor of History, Tennessee State University

Dr. Keisha A Brown is an assistant professor of history at Tennessee State University in the Department of History, Political Science, Geography, and Africana Studies. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, earned her doctorate from the University of Southern California, and was a 2018–2019 postdoctoral fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University. Dr. Brown is an Asian Studies scholar with a regional focus on East Asia specializing in modern Chinese history. Her research examines networks of difference in China used to understand the Black foreign other through an investigation of the social and political context that African Americans navigated and negotiated during their time in Maoist China. Her publication, Blackness in Exile: W.E.B. Du Bois’ Role in the Formation of Representations of Blackness as Conceptualized by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), analyzes W.E.B. Du Bois’ performativity of race in China. Dr. Brown is currently extending her research on Sino-Black relations to examine ideas of race and ethnicity and Afro-Asian diasporic connections, as evidenced by her blog post, “Teaching China through Black History” (Harvard University Fairbank Center), an essay, “Bridging the Gap: Blackness and Sino-African Relations” (International Institute for Asian Studies). In 2020, she co-founded the Black China Caucus, a non-profit collaborative aimed at encouraging the professional development and advancement of Black professionals who specialize in China.

Kevin Brown, JD, Richard S. Melvin Professor, Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Professor Brown, a 1982 graduate of Yale Law School, is the Richard S. Melvin Professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. He has been a member of the faculty of the Law School since 1987. Brown has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas School of Law, University of Alabama School of Law, and University of San Diego School of Law. He has been affiliated with universities on four different continents including the National Law School of India University in Bangalore, India; the Indian Law Institute in New Delhi, India; the Law Faculty of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa; the Law Faculty of the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa; Adilet Law School in Almaty, Kazakhstan; and the University of Central America in Managua, Nicaragua. Brown also spent the Spring Semester of 2014 teaching in the London Law School Consortium Program and was a Fellow with the Palestinian American Research Center in 2016.

Among the courses he teaches are Race & Law and a Seminar on Transnational Inequality (comparing issues of discrimination of blacks in the US, with blacks in the UK, blacks in South Africa, Dalits in India, and Arab Israelis/Palestinians in Israel and Palestine). Professor Brown was a Fulbright Scholar in 1997 at the National Law School in Bangalore and the Indian Law Institute in New Delhi. An original participant of the Critical Race Theory Workshop in Madison, Wisconsin in 1989, Brown’s research interest now is primarily in the areas of transnational inequality and US race law. However, Brown has published two books and over eighty articles or comments on issues, including comparisons of struggles of blacks in the US with those of Dalits in India and blacks in South Africa. He has a special relationship to the Dalit struggle because Brown was born on October 14, 1956 (India time). Brown’s current book project with co-author Suraj Yengde is tentatively entitled CASTE ANALOGY REMIX: The Benefits for the Black Community from Comparing Their Liberation Struggle to that of Dalits in India.  In addition, Brown has made three academic trips to India and participated in over a dozen conferences there comparing the liberation struggles of Dalits and African-Americans at institutions including the Indian Institute for Dalit Studies, University of Delhi, JNU, Jindal Global Law School, National Law School in Bangalore, University of Mumbai and the Tata Institute. Professor Brown has also spoken about his research at several prestigious organizations including at the High Commission of India in London, the Annual Convention of the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus Braintrust Meetings, the National Bar Association, the National Summit of Black Women Lawyers, the American Bar Association, and the Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court; at several leading law schools and universities including Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Duke, Cornell, Emory, Northwestern, UCLA, and Texas; and several overseas institutions including at Oxford University, University of Leeds, University of Kasel, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jindal Global Law School, the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London and the University of Mumbai.

Marta Moreno Vega, PhD, Founder/President Creative Justice Initiative

Dr. Moreno Vega is the founder/president of Creative Justice Initiative (CJI) and founder/ former President of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI). She established CCCADI in 1976 with a vision and mission inspired by the intent to centralize the aesthetic legacy, intelligence, and creative presence of the global African and African Diaspora communities. These international organizations are focused on the process of networking and linking African communities of African descendants wherever they are present. Framed in assuring racial and social rights from an equity justice lens CJIs programs network individuals and organizations actively engaged in racial and social equity initiatives designed to assure racial, social, economic justice for our communities.

As CEO of the CCCADI, Dr. Moreno Vega successfully implemented a building campaign raising 9.3 million dollars to renovate a historic landmark building where the organization is now housed at 120 East 125th Street. Dr. Moreno Vega has been a committed advocate and educational implementer of cultural multidisciplinary education that was the foundation of her work as the second director of El Museo del Barrio. She developed the project of El Museo, originally funded by the New York State Department of Education from a local project, into an internationally recognized Puerto Rican museum. During her tenure as its director, she negotiated a collaboration between The Metropolitan Museum of Art and El Museo del Barrio, which developed the first comprehensive exhibit of the history of Puerto Rican Art in the United States and Puerto Rico, curating the exhibition from the collection of 11 international organizations.

Institution Builder: Dr. Moreno Vega directed the development of numerous organizations assuring the creation of organizations grounded in the mission and voices of community. She was central to the development of the Association of Hispanic Arts, the Network of Centers of Color, and the Roundtable of Institutions of Color. Dr. Moreno Vega is co-founder of the Global Afro Latino and Caribbean Initiative (GALCI), an interdisciplinary program housed in the Hunter College-CUNY Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program. Dr. Moreno Vega has taught as an adjunct professor at Hunter College-CUNY; in the Religion, Arts and Public Policy Departments of New York University; and at Rutgers University Department of Latin Studies. Dr. Moreno Vega is presently growing the Creative Justice Initiative and she is the co-founder of Corredor Afro based in Loiza, Puerto Rico.

Research: Dr. Moreno Vega has conducted extensive research in Yoruba belief systems in the African Diaspora and has organized numerous international conferences uniting scholars and leading experts on African Diaspora religions. She has organized international conferences in Ile Ife, Nigeria; Salvador da Bahia, Brazil; Havana, Cuba; and Loiza, Puerto Rico among other locations. Dr. Moreno Vega is the author of Altar of My Soul, the Living Traditions of Santeria, Co-Editor of Voices from the Battlefront Achieving Cultural Equity.

Additional Publications: Dr. Moreno Vega is chief editor of Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora (Arte Publico Press). The book is a result of an international conference focused on Afro Latina/x women, addressing social justice and activism in their countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. Dr. Moreno Vega is also the author of numerous essays published in scholarly journals on Race and Cultural Equity, African Traditional Belief systems in the Americas. She is director and co-producer of the documentary, When the Spirits Dance Mambo: Growing Up Nuyorican in El Barrio, and has written a personal memoir by the same name (Three Rivers Press, 2002).

Teaching: Dr. Moreno Vega’s teaching career in higher education includes Adjunct Professor at Art and Public Policy Department, New York University, Hunter College, Centro de Estudios de Puerto Rico y El Caribe.

Education: Dr. Moreno Vega is a graduate of New York University, earning both an undergraduate degree (1963) and a master of arts in Education degree (1970). She received her doctorate in African Studies at the Temple University (1995), where she was awarded a full scholarship for developing Latino/a scholarship.

Work in Progress: Dr. Moreno Vega is currently working on a documentary focused on African-based spirituality in Puerto Rico, When the Spirits Call (working title). She is also developing a children’s book, Dos Islas, focusing on a view of Puerto Rico and the Manhattan Islands. As CEO of CJII, a not-for-profit 501c3 organization, she is presently engaged in presenting a series of national conversations (and an affiliated national survey) entitled, Culture: Race, Myth Art = Justice.


Imara V. Dawson, JD, MPA, is the Managing Director and Chief Administrator of the International Institute (II) at the University of Michigan which houses 17 centers and programs focused on specific world regions and global themes. The International Institute also houses four undergraduate majors, eight minors, and a Masters’s program in International and Regional Studies. Prior to working at the University of Michigan, Mr. Dawson served as Executive Director and Senior International Officer at the Rinker Center for International Programs at Ball State University. Prior to working at Ball State University, Mr. Dawson served as Associate Director of the Office of International Programs at Chicago State University. During this tenure, he also served as the Assistant Program Director for the USAID-TLMP/Ghana (2005-2011). Textbooks and Learning Materials Program (TLMP) was an $18.5 million project, funded by the Africa Education Initiative (AEI) and implemented by USAID, which focused on challenges relating to a lack of textbooks and other learning materials in Ghana. In addition, at Chicago State, Mr. Dawson served as the program coordinator of a $3.5 million USAID-funded South African capacity-building grant called the South Africa Area Initiative (USAID-SAAI).

Mr. Dawson holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree with an emphasis in International Business / Trade, International Law, and International Intellectual Property and a Master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on public and private partnerships within the context of International Development, both from Indiana University-Bloomington. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree (cum laude) from Hampton University with an emphasis on pre-and post-colonial African history. Mr. Dawson’s research areas include examining the relationship between the public sector, private sector, and non-governmental organizations as a model for international development in developing nations.

Mr. Dawson is a child of a former Peace Corps Director (Fiji, Tanzania, and Swaziland), and has lived, worked, studied, and visited four continents and over 20 countries. He is also a 2015-2016 Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA) Presidential Fellow and a former member of the AIEA Strategic Issues Committee. He is currently a member of the AIEA Public Policy Committee, serving a three-year term from 2020-2023.

10:30 a.m. - Panel 2: Toward a Culturally Inclusive Workplace

10:30 a.m. – Panel 2: Toward a Culturally Inclusive Workplace

Underrepresented cultural groups in the United States face a range of challenges in the workplace that impact their well-being, professional advancement, and economic outcomes. However, how racism is experienced varies amongst these groups.  To advance understanding between the races of their shared and unique experiences with workplace bias, this session will examine the range of stereotypes and discrimination that impacts people of color in their careers such as; 1) the African American burden of being the last hired, first fired, 2) the stigmatization of Asian Americans as the model minority, 3) forced adoption of whiteness for certain LatinX American groups, 4) the required conformity for all people of color, and; 5) the glass ceiling barrier to leadership and upper management positions. Finally, the session will discuss approaches to eliminate these racial barriers to create an anti-racist workplace.


  • Carol Lee, MS, Chief of Staff for Organizational Learning and Sonya Jacobs, the Chief Organizational Learning Officer (COLO), Senior Director for Faculty and Leadership Development, and Senior Adviser to the President
  • Shanita Smith, Managing Director, CCO Nuveen Securities, LLC
  • T. Shá Duncan Smith, MSW, Assistant Vice President & Dean of Inclusive Excellence and Community Development at Swarthmore College.
  • Moderator: Maria Flores, Michigan Medicine Department of Learning Health Sciences


Carol Lee, MS, Chief of Staff for Organizational Learning and Sonya Jacobs, the Chief Organizational Learning Officer (COLO), Senior Director for Faculty and Leadership Development, and Senior Adviser to the President

As Chief of Staff, Carol supports the COLO in executing her vision for learning, development, and culture change across U-M’s campuses, including Michigan Medicine, Flint, and Dearborn. This includes driving the development, and implementation of executive-level and cross-functional initiatives, providing administrative leadership in the areas of strategic planning, communications, and internal operations, troubleshooting or elevating roadblocks, and representing the COLO’s position to promote understanding and make decisions. 

Prior to joining U-M in 2016, Carol’s background encompasses a diverse career including recruitment, marketing & communications, event planning, and sales. This varied experience serves Carol well in her current role that requires many hats: communicator, dot connector, confidant, problem solver, relationship builder, and “air traffic controller” of both priorities and people.  

Carol is the staff lead for Michigan Medicine’s Advancing Asians in Leadership Task Force, Co-Chair of the UHR Development committee, and a member of the MM Advancing Inclusive Leadership and MM DEI Steering Committees. 

Carol holds a B.S. in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University and an M.S. from DePaul University’s School of Public Service with a concentration on Public Services Management.

Shanita Smith, Managing Director, CCO Nuveen Securities, LLC

Shanita Smith leads a team of Compliance professionals with responsibility for developing and executing compliance programs that support distribution in the Americas and Nuveen’s Electronic Communications. In addition, Shanita serves as Co-Chair of the TIAA National Empowered Business Resource Group for Black Associates and Allies. She has been with the organization since 2011. Shanita came to Nuveen from Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based investment management firm, where over the course of her five-year period held a variety of roles in Compliance, Transfer Agent/Shareholder Services, and Marketing. Prior to joining Ariel, Shanita held a Senior Consultant position with Vista360, a boutique consultancy firm, where she was responsible for key client engagements primarily in the areas of registered investment advisers and mutual funds. Prior to Vista360, Shanita held a Compliance position at an investment management subsidiary of US Bancorp focusing on product and marketing review compliance. Shanita earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

T. Shá Duncan Smith, MSW, (PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania) is the Assistant Vice President and Dean of Inclusive Excellence and Community Development at Swarthmore College. In her role, Shá provides strategic direction for diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and initiatives at Swarthmore College. She works in collaboration with Swarthmore students, faculty, staff, and institutions throughout the U.S. to share diversity and inclusion best practices and strategies to enhance the academic and social experiences of students, faculty, and staff. Prior to working at Swarthmore College, Sha’ worked in various diversity, equity, and inclusion leadership roles at the University of Michigan for over 15 years. Later this summer, she will begin a new role as the first vice president of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Santa Clara University, in Santa Clara, California. She earned both her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Sociology at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus.


Maria Flores is the Staffing and Work Culture Specialist, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Lead at the University of Michigan Medical School’s Department of Learning Health Sciences (DLHS). An honors graduate of the University of Michigan, she is an action-oriented leader with the goal of developing collaborative partnerships, infrastructure, and systems to create and sustain inclusive institutions where employees are engaged, valued and innovation thrives. She serves as an Executive Team member of the Women of Color Task Force, where she collaborates with women leaders to develop programming to advance the career development of U-M staff, with a special focus on the needs of women of color. She is also a member of the Advancing Inclusive Leadership for Women and Underrepresented Identities Committee at Michigan Medicine where she works to identify ways to reduce discrimination and emphasize inclusive leadership skills and competencies throughout the institution. She has presented on the topic of authenticity in the workplace and has moderated discussions including the “Building a More Inclusive, Anti-Racist Workplace” panel at the 2021 WCTF Annual Career Conference.

12:00 p.m. - Keynote Program: Improving Intercultural Race Relations to Develop Intercultural Solidarity  

12:00 p.m. Keynote Program Welcome: Rachel Dawson, JD, Precision Health at the University of Michigan

12:05 p.m. Greetings: Robert M. Sellers, PhD, Vice Provost for Equity, Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer

12:10 p.m. Greetings: Corie Pauling, JD, TIAA Senior Vice President, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility

12:15 p.m. Panel Introduction: Nichole Burnside, School of Public Health

12:20 p.m. Keynote Program: Improving Intercultural Race Relations to Develop Intercultural Solidarity  

The 2020 election, along with the international pandemics of COVID-19 and racism, not only highlighted shared oppression amongst people of color but also revealed tensions between racial groups within the United States. This session will examine the nature of intercultural racism to develop an understanding of multiracial conflict, and then discuss approaches to resolve tensions by highlighting shared goals and experienced oppression in order to develop multiracial solidarity.


  • Lorraine Gutiérrez, PhD, Associate Dean for Educational Programs, School of Social Work
  • Charles H.F. Davis, III, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Education
  • Sy Stokes, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow,  National Center for Institutional Diversity
  • Moderator: Whitney Peoples, PhD, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching

Keynote Greetings:

Robert Sellers, PhD, Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Education

Dr. Robert Sellers is the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, and the Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Education. As Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Sellers works with the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs on matters related to diversity at the university as well as a broad range of academic issues including the budget, faculty tenure, and promotions, and student enrollment. He oversees operations of three central administrative units.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Dr. Sellers attended Howard University where he earned All-America honors in football. After graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s of science degree in psychology in 1985, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in personality psychology from the University of Michigan in 1990. Following his graduate work, Dr. Sellers served as an Assistant and an Associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. In 1997, Dr. Sellers returned to the University of Michigan to continue his research and teaching efforts. He served four years as the Associate Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan before serving as Department Chair from 2011-2014.

Dr. Sellers’ primary research activities have focused on the role of race in the psychological lives of African Americans. He and his students have developed a conceptual and empirical model of African American racial identity. The model has been used by a number of researchers in the field to understand the heterogeneity in the significance and meaning that African Americans place on race in defining themselves. Dr. Sellers and his students have also investigated the processes by which African American parents transmit messages about race to their children. Finally, his research has examined the ways in which African Americans suffer from and often cope with experiences of racial discrimination. Over the years, he and his graduate students have published extensively on the topic. In addition to his research on the role of race in the lives of African Americans, Dr. Sellers has frequently published research examining the life experiences of student-athletes. He is also one of the founders of the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context. The center conducts state-of-the-art, action-oriented research on the healthy development of African American youth as well as provides an important training ground for future researchers.

Dr. Sellers has received significant recognition for his research and teaching. He is a past President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (Division 45 of the American Psychological Association). He is a fellow of Division 8 (Society for Personality and Social Psychology) and Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race) of the American Psychological Association as well as a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. He also won numerous honors and awards including the Theodore Millon Mid-Career Award in Personality Psychology from the American Psychological Foundation, the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program Research Achievement Award, and the APAGS Kenneth & Mamie Clark Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Professional Development of Ethnic Minority Graduate Students.

Corie Pauling, JD, Senior Vice President, Chief I & D Officer And Head Of Corporate Social Responsibility

At TIAA since 2006, Corie Pauling became the organization’s Senior Vice President, Chief Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) Officer, and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility in 2018. Corie was instrumental in the launch of the I&D function at TIAA over ten years ago and served as a primary legal and business advisor and thought leader in this area. In her prior role, Corie held the position of Senior Director, Associate General Counsel in the Employment, Benefits & Labor Law Group, providing trusted counsel to TIAA’s executives, its prior I&D leaders and other Human Resources leaders and also business managers on a broad range of workforce issues, and she also managed employment litigation nationally. In the I&D space, she has extensive experience in strategy development, board interface, EEO policy, training/learning, I&D data analytics/metrics, supplier diversity, pay and performance equity, talent acquisition and engagement, employee/business resource groups, federal contractor compliance, and workplace investigations. She also leads the TIAA enterprise’s Corporate Social Responsibility function, which last year led over 230 volunteer projects, 10K employee volunteers, and $11M in corporate and workforce giving, globally. Corie also led the Culture Action Team for TIAA’s Law area from 2016-2018.

A former shareholder with the international employment law firm Littler Mendelson, P.C. and also a former partner with the legendary civil rights law firm Ferguson Stein Chambers, Corie’s experience includes counseling financial services institutions and other Fortune 500 companies as well as representing individual employees in employment and education rights litigation. She has significant trial and appellate experience on civil rights matters. Having presented before the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the North Carolina Bar Association, the Practicing Law Institute, the Society of Human Resources Management and other organizations, Corie frequently speaks at programs on emerging employment law, diversity, equity, and inclusion topics.

An engaged civic leader and also a competitive 13-time marathoner, Corie was incredibly honored to receive the 2021 Elite 100 Black Women Leaders award by Diversity Woman Magazine, named on the 2020 list of North America’s Most Influential D&I Leaders by Hive Learning, and also a 2019 Black Enterprise Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity and, very meaningfully, a TIAA Working Mother of the Year in conjunction with the national publication Working Mother and a recipient of the Young Civic Leader Award by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Corie also served on the Board of Governors of the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) and as chairperson of the NCBA’s 500-attorney Labor and Employment Law Section. Among other leadership posts, she served on the Board of Directors for the Levine Museum of the New South and Charlotte’s Arts & Science Council Advisory Committee and co-chaired the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. As also an avid “late bloomer” runner, she is thrilled to have run the Boston Marathon in 2018, with her eyes set on another running in the years to come.

Corie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and also a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law.


Charles H.F. Davis III, PhD, is a third-generation educator committed to the lives, love, and liberation of everyday Black people. As an assistant professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan, Dr. Davis’ research and teaching broadly examine issues of race, racism, and organized resistance in college and its social contexts. Dr. Davis is especially interested in the role new and digital media play in the ability of contemporary social movements to achieve their political goals. His current ethnographic project, #PoliceFreeCampus, explores the digitally-mediated organizing practices of Black-led student-community movements working to advance community-centered understandings of public safety and security and a police-free future. He is the founder and director of the Scholars for Black Lives collective and considers Black Lives Matter Los Angeles his primary political home.

Professor Lorraine Gutiérrez, PhD, is the Associate Dean for Educational Programs in the School of Social Work, and also has a joint appointment with the Department of Psychology. Her teaching and scholarship focus on multicultural praxis in communities, organizations, and higher education. She brings to her work community-based practice and research in multiethnic communities in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, and Seattle. Current projects include identifying strategies for multicultural community-based research and practice, multicultural education for social work practice, and identifying effective methods for learning about social justice. Her contributions to undergraduate education have been recognized by the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship. She is currently an editor for the Journal of Community Practise.

Sy Stokes, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. Dr. Stokes’ research focuses on the intersections of three key areas: (1) interrogating the historical development of racial capitalism, nationalism, white supremacy, and racism to help identify the superstructural catalysts to contemporary issues in higher education, (2) exploring the relationship between presidential rhetoric and federal policy on college students’ racialized experiences, and (3) examining the ways that college students respond to campus racism and issues in the broader sociopolitical environment through activism and political engagement.  Dr. Stokes graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a BA in African American Studies; earned his master’s degree in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania; and completed his PhD in Education at the University of Southern California.



Whitney Peoples, PhD, serves as a Director in Educational Development and Assessment Services and the Coordinator of DEI Initiatives & Critical Race Pedagogies at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT).  She earned a PhD in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies from Emory University, an MA in Women’s Studies from the University of Cincinnati, and a BA in Political Science from Agnes Scott College. With fifteen years of experience in feminist and critical race research, activism, and teaching, Whitney has spoken and written on the intersections of race, gender, health, and popular culture. She has taught introductory, core, and special topics courses in Women’s and Gender Studies and African American Studies, including courses on feminist media studies; African-American gender ideologies; race, sexuality, & identity; reproductive justice; feminist research methods; and feminist pedagogies. Whitney has also published critical essays on topics including hip-hop feminism, advertising for oral contraceptives, representations of women in African American film. Most recently she co-edited the volume Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations; Theory; Practice; Critique.


Juneteenth Planning Committee

Chair: Rachel Dawson, JD, U-M Precision Health


Zarinah Aquil, MS, Michigan Medicine Immunology Graduate Program

Maria Flores, Michigan Medicine Department of Learning Health Sciences

Janice S. Reuben, CEW+WCTF Coordinator

Doreen Tinajero, LSA Center for Social Solutions

Linda Tam, University of Michigan Office of Research

Grace Wu, MS, A Alfred Taubman Research Institute


Corporate Platinum Sponsor:

TIAA logo

WCTF extends special thanks to TIAA, our Platinum Plus corporate sponsor, for its generous support.



The WCTF Juneteenth event is also co-sponsored by the Association of Black Professional, Faculty, Administrators & Staff group, CEW+, and the International Institute.