Amplify, Connect, and Expand

Liberating Black Girls: 
Equitable Solutions for Wellness, Prevention, and Solidarity
Friday, July 26, 2024 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM ET

Amplify, Connect, and Expand

Calling all youth service providers in the Boston area! Are you ready to unite and create a brighter future for Black girls in Boston? You’re invited to an upcoming event on July 26th with Youth Collaboratory and a community of passionate Bostonian allies. Together, we’re focused on building the capacity of youth, young adults, and youth-serving programs to prevent and identify commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC) while fostering safety, belonging, and equitable service provision. This one-day event will bring together diverse voices, experiences, and expertise to safeguard the well-being of Black youth and combat commercial sexual exploitation.

Amplify, Connect, and Expand
Liberating Black Girls: Equitable Solutions for Wellness, Prevention, and Solidarity
Friday, July 26, 2024 | 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM ET
43 Hawes Street
Boston University
Brookline, MA 02446
Attendance is open to Massachusetts-area youth/young adults and providers; registration required.


This one-day event will shine a spotlight on the critical issues faced by Black girls in the Boston area and equip participants with the tools to create positive change. Register now and be a part of the movement toward liberation, equity, and wellness.

Register Today! 
 

What A.C.E. Does

Amplify

We are amplifying equitable solutions as we explore restorative approaches to youth engagement and discover pathways for youth leadership, fostering a more inclusive and empowering environment.

Connect

We are connecting in community solidarity by bringing together like-minded individuals, organizations, and professionals to create a unified front against exploitation. Let's unite to create a brighter future for Black youth in the Boston area.

Expand

We’re expanding capacity with insightful workshops so you can be empowered with knowledge and best practices related to prevention strategies, identifying CSEC, and culturally responsive service provision.


Agenda

8:30 a.m.Doors Open
9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.Youth Collaboratory Opening
9:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.Girls Action Board (GAB) Welcome Activity
10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.Fireside Chat: Identifying the Disparities and Centering Equity in Anti-Trafficking Youth Programs
10:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.Wellness Break
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.Workshop Sessions
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.Lunch and Learn Panel: Centering Equity and Youth Leadership in Youth Programs and Organizations
1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.Keynote Speaker: Alexandria C. Onuoha, M.S.
2:15 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.Break
2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.Panel Discussion: Culture as a Protective Factor in Programming a Pan-African Mindset Towards Prevention in Supporting Youth Survivors of Trafficking
3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.Youth Collaboratory Closing
3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.Black Joy Celebration Tea Party


Workshops

The Light Workers Training for Service Providers

Presenter: Dr. Rayna B. Minors

Participants will identify their own biases and unpack how their biases impact relationships as well as gain insight into potential conflict. Participants will undergo intensive self-awareness processes that allow them to separate their own trauma and better serve the whole community.

Facilitators will coach participants to navigate cultural differences as well as provide concrete strategies for building authentic relationships.

Equitable Policy Centering Youth of Color

Presenter: Audrey Morrissey

This workshop focuses on embedding equity at the core of federal responses, ensuring that youth not only survive but thrive in diverse communities. This workshop offers practical strategies and insights to cultivate inclusive policies and programs, fostering environments where every young person can reach their full potential.

Self-Care for those Directly Impacted

Presenter: Queen Viv

This space will be held exclusively for those directly impacted by trauma.

In this workshop, Queen Viv will be holding a healing space for those directly impacted by trauma. This workshop is intended to teach the participants the importance of self care and ways to maintain balance in their daily life.

Participants will be given the opportunity to explore some of the root causes of generational trauma and its impact on the psyche and receive tools on centering wellness and healing.


Speakers and Partners

A.C.E. Presenters

 

Alexandria C. Onuoha, M.S,
Alexandria C. Onuoha, M.S. (she/her)
Ph.D. candidate in Applied Developmental Psychology at Suffolk University
A.C.E. Keynote Speaker

Alexandria Onuoha, M.S., is a Ph.D. candidate in Applied Developmental Psychology at Suffolk University, conducting research within the Youth Equity Sexuality (YES) Lab. Additionally, she serves as a Graduate Research Assistant in the F.H.I.R.E Lab at Washington University in St. Louis. Alexandria is a former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School and currently holds a position as an adjunct lecturer at Emmanuel College in the Psychology and Neuroscience Department. 

Her overarching goal is to foster joy and well-being within Black girls and families through the practical application of her research, community engagement, youth development programming, and policy recommendations. Alexandria employs both qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore topics such as misogynoir and developmental strategies, including resistance, among Black girls. She aims to translate her psychological research findings into actionable school-based practices and support for families. Particularly, she focuses on understanding how creating joyous spaces can enhance the psychosocial well-being and health-related behaviours of Black girls within oppressive systems. Furthermore, Alexandria is the founder and creator of ACO STYLES, a creative art initiative that emphasizes the transformative power of dance in positively shaping Black lives and gives Black girls their flowers figuratively and literally.

In recognition of her graduate achievements, she has received several awards, including the American Psychological Association's Psychology of Black Women Graduate Student Award for her contributions to research on the intersections of race and gender in psychology. Her research, expertise, and community engagement have been highlighted in various publications, including the Boston Globe, Teen Vogue, Al Jazeera, and others. Finally, Alexandria, born in Massachusetts, was raised by a Jamaican mother who instilled in her a deep love for the Caribbean. She continues to travel to Jamaica annually in hopes of creating joy spaces there for Black Caribbean adolescents in the future.

Dr. Rayna B. Minors
Dr. Rayna B. Minors (she/her)
Owner, Who’s Got Morale (WGM)
A.C.E. Workshop Presenter and Panelist

Dr. Rayna B. Minors is dedicated mother of three, possesses a strong educational background and a passion for fostering wellness in individuals and communities. With a master’s degree in public health and education, she combined her academic expertise with her nurturing nature to make a profound impact on the lives of those she encounters.

She is not only a master of education but also, she holds a doctorate in educational leadership, a testament to her commitment to continuous learning and leadership in the field. Her expertise goes beyond the classroom, as she has embarked on a journey as a wellness coach, guiding individuals towards a path of healing and personal growth. Dr. B. Minors’ work extends further through workshops and retreats, where she specializes in helping individuals overcome traumatic experiences, guiding them towards a sense of resolution and empowerment. Her compassionate and empathetic approach creates a safe space for individuals to embark on their healing journey. 

Dr. Minors is also the proud owner of an organization, Who’s Got Morale (WGM), a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of underserved communities, with a particular focus on children. WGM strives to ensure that children in underserved communities experience holistic health, addressing not only their physical well-being but also their emotional and educational needs. She is a passionate and accomplished individual who leverages her educational background, wellness coaching skills, and organizational leadership to make a positive impact on individuals and communities, with a heartfelt dedication to the holistic well-being of children and those who care for them.

Workshop: The Light Workers Training for Service Providers

Participants will identify their own biases and unpack how their biases impact relationships as well as gain insight into potential conflict. Participants will undergo intensive self-awareness processes that allow them to separate their own trauma and better serve the whole community.

Facilitators will coach participants to navigate cultural differences as well as provide concrete strategies for building authentic relationships.

Audrey Morrissey
Audrey Morrissey (she/her)
Associate Director, My Life My Choice
A.C.E. Workshop Presenter and Panelist

Audrey Morrissey is the Associate Director of My Life My Choice, a program of Justice Resource Institute. Since 2002, My Life My Choice has offered a unique continuum of survivor-led services aimed at preventing the commercial sexual exploitation of children. 

As a local and national leader in the field of exploitation, Ms. Morrissey most recently has served as Co-Chair of the Victim Services Committee of the Massachusetts Task Force on Human Trafficking. Ms. Morrissey has also served as a primary consultant to the Massachusetts Administrative Office of the Trial Court’s “Redesigning the Court’s Response to Prostitution” project. 

Drawing from her personal experience in “the Life”, Ms. Morrissey seeks to help vulnerable girls avoid being recruited into the commercial sex industry and/ or leave exploitation behind them. To this end, Ms. Morrissey facilitates My Life My Choice exploitation prevention groups throughout Greater Boston, as well as trains service providers in Massachusetts and nationally on recognizing the signs of exploitation and helping girls exit. In addition, she works individually mentoring girls who are victims of CSEC or are deemed high risk. 

Ms. Morrissey is a 2008 recipient of the prestigious Petra Foundation Fellowship and a 2012 recipient of The Philanthropic Initiative’s Boston Neighborhood Fellows Award.

Workshop: Equitable Policy Centering Youth of Color 

This workshop focuses on embedding equity at the core of federal responses, ensuring that youth not only survive but thrive in diverse communities. This workshop offers practical strategies and insights to cultivate inclusive policies and programs, fostering environments where every young person can reach their full potential.
 

Mayowa “MO” Osinubi
Mayowa “MO” Osinubi (she/her)
Founder and CEO, Mics for the Missing
A.C.E. Workshop Panelist 

Mayowa “MO” Osinubi is a multifaceted activist, artist, and entrepreneur, serving as the Founder and CEO of Mics for the Missing, an organization committed to raising awareness and advocating for missing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). She is also the Principal Owner of Social Glue Media, a digital media and marketing company that explores the dynamic intersections of communications, arts, and education. Her research and endeavors center on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

With over a decade of experience in content marketing and growth marketing management across various industries, MO is celebrated for her innovative leadership, which consistently yields transformative results with diverse audiences. Prior to founding Social Glue Media, she served as the Senior Growth Marketing Manager at Embark Veterinary, a globally leading Boston-based dog health tech company. During her tenure, MO spearheaded the company’s content marketing efforts, driving substantial growth through its landmark $94.3 million Series B funding round—the largest of its kind for a pet startup.

Before her role at Embark Veterinary, MO held the position of Senior Marketing Manager at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where she led the marketing department through the groundbreaking development of the institution’s first exhibit on race, gender, and identity—Boston’s Apollo. With a wealth of experience accumulated over nine years in New York City, she also managed marketing initiatives for esteemed international organizations and agencies, such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Engineering for Change.

As an artist— poet, music producer, and rapper, her studies on ethnno-racial trauma healing through music grounds her creativity, using music as an intervention of healing from oppression, specifically for individuals who have been "othered" by society. MO produces, writes, and performs hip-hop futurist sounds honoring the traditions of the genre while expanding its boundaries. Her unique productions pay homage to her Nigerian-American roots, her father from Lagos with Ejebu-Igbo Balogun heritage, and her mother from a strong Black-Indigenous legacy. MO’s music bridges the old with the new, re-imagining the intersections of African rhythm, and rap, all while sonically exploring hip-hop’s relationship with its influences. Centered around community healing, MO believes she is part of the global consciousness upshift and embraces the interconnected power of unity across various disciplines, industries, places and spaces. Her new music album titled Drinks of Hope, is entirely self-produced and will be released in 2024.

MO’s academic credentials include a Master's degree in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Leadership from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing Communications and Black World Studies from Columbia College Chicago. Her tireless dedication to advancing social justice and fostering inclusive spaces underscores every aspect of her professional journey.

Queen Viv
Queen Viv (she/her)
Author, Speaker, and Coach
A.C.E. Workshop Presenter and Panelist

Vivian Smith-Barnes (Queen Viv) is an author, speaker, transformational coach, and playwright. She holds a master’s degree in mental health counseling and a bachelor’s in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice, women’s studies, religion, and creative writing. She worked as a mental health clinician for over 12 years, and is a certified Reiki Master/Teacher & Soul Realignment Specialist.

Her journey began with her quest to conquer the challenges she faced while battling a blood disorder and surviving the sex trade industry. She now integrates the healing arts with mental health as a holistic life skills approach. Queen Viv is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategy director for a well-established behavioral health organization in New Bedford, MA. She was also sworn in to serve on The Bristol County Commission on the Status of Women in 2023. Queen Viv has devoted her life to improving the mental and spiritual health of women and families.

Workshop: Self-Care for those Directly Impacted
This space will be held exclusively for those directly impacted by trauma.

In this workshop, Queen Viv will be holding a healing space for those directly impacted by trauma. This workshop is intended to teach the participants the importance of self care and ways to maintain balance in their daily life.

Participants will be given the opportunity to explore some of the root causes of generational trauma and its impact on the psyche and receive tools on centering wellness and healing.


Youth Collaboratory Organizers

A.C.E. Organizers

 

Joy Thompson
Joy Thompson (she/her)
Director of Programs, Building Community and Preventing Trafficking and Exploitation

Joy Thompson has more than 19 years’ experience partnering with community-based organizations, institutions, and governmental agencies. She currently leads strategic planning and development as the director of programs at Youth Collaboratory, which provides training and technical assistance to federally funded community-based programs spanning more than 35 states. Overseeing two of the three areas of focus at Youth Collaboratory — community building through mentoring and creating liberatory futures through ending human trafficking — Joy holds the unique responsibility of being responsive to the needs of communities, maintaining compliance and developing innovative solutions.

Joy has worked to advance equity within Youth Collaboratory, and externally in the fields she’s been involved with through facilitation of federal listening sessions to improve outcomes for marginalized youth, delivering briefs on Capitol Hill and facilitation of equity frameworks for staff, and developing proposals that create pathways to leadership for people with intersectional identities.

Personally, Joy is passionate about music, the integration of inclusive practices that contribute to liberatory futures, and finding time to be near the water.

Kanesha Lenore Jean-Baptiste Brown
Kanesha Lenore Jean-Baptiste Brown (she/her)
Training and Capacity Building Manager

Kanesha Lenore Jean-Baptiste Brown is a community advocate specializing in the support of child survivors of sex trafficking. Holding a BA from Grambling State University and an MS in Human and Social Services, Lenore leverages her extensive education and experience to engage with local, statewide, and national platforms, advancing advocacy efforts in the human services field, particularly for youth in high-poverty communities. Her direct-service work is deeply rooted in trauma-centered programming, community outreach, and addressing the multifaceted challenges faced by youth experiencing homelessness and sex trafficking.

Lenore's expertise extends to developing and implementing impactful programming for youth in detention centers, shelters, and Title I schools across the nation. She has spearheaded evidence-based youth programs focused on therapeutic and culturally responsive mentoring and has delivered targeted awareness training for community members, mentors, government officials, and social service organizations.

Currently serving as a training and capacity building manager for Youth Collaboratory, Lenore develops customized training, resources, and public awareness campaigns to enhance the services provided by child and youth sex trafficking programs. She ensures these programs meet their goals and fulfill their programmatic requirements by consistently implementing evidence-based practices, including trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, positive youth development, and harm reduction.

Lenore is committed to developing innovative solutions, enhancing program effectiveness, and promoting cultural humility, ensuring diverse populations receive the support they need to thrive.

Dashamir Pettway
Dashamir Pettway (she/her)
Training and Capacity Building Manager

Dashamir Pettway was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Dashamir implements her passion and resilience from her lived experience to her work. Dashamir is pursuing her BA for a social work and a minor in law at Wayne State University. She advocates for social justice and is committed to making a positive difference in her community. She is determined to use her education and lived experience to create meaningful, lasting change.

Dashamir was a former National Youth consultant, a Youth Catalyst Team member, and is now a training and capacity building manager with Youth Collaboratory. She has expertise in foster care, youth homelessness, the commercial sexual exploitation of children, mentoring youth impacted by trafficking, and youth leadership program design and implementation. Dashamir has been involved with many local advocacy programs, including a Youth Advisory Board, where she supported other young leaders and advocated for change in the youth homelessness system. She is also currently involved with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) working with the Department of Division of Victims Services, in which she is a signed-on consultant working for the Division of Victims Services under a grant relating to Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth Victims of Human Trafficking. In addition, she is a member of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and serves on a council to improve, address, and implement the Michigan Homeless Policy.

Through her work with Youth Collaboratory, Dashamir has worked to advocate and promote policy change and has conducted significant advocacy work at the national level, providing in-person and virtual training, resources, and technical assistance to organizations both locally and nationally to assist them in establishing authentic relationships with young people and preventing and addressing sexual exploitation of youth and young adults, and Black girls.

Toyin Bilewu
Toyin Bilewu (she/her)
Youth Catalyst Team Consultant

Toyin Bilewu (she/her/hers) is a recent UCONN alumna with her bachelor's degree in human development family sciences. As an undergrad, Toyin helped bring awareness to the prejudicial social issues impacting the student body and created safe and inclusive spaces for students to gather and combat this. She's honed her leadership skills through her efforts to dismantle discriminatory barriers, particularly those impacting students facing food and housing insecurities.

Toyin currently serves as a YCT-GAB subject matter expert at Youth Collaboratory, where she aims to instill change in systems that negatively affect Black girls and homeless and foster youth. Through her contributions, she has helped create and implement resources for youth, emphasizing the importance of centering more youth-led spaces. She continues to advocate for marginalized populations and aspires to utilize her knowledge of the intersection between social issues and health disparities to pursue a career in the medical field.

Makayla Dawkins
Makayla Dawkins (she/her)
Youth Catalyst Team Consultant

Makayla is a graduate of UConn's Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program (Class of '23) and a Master of Public Health candidate in UConn's Applied Public Health Sciences program.

Dawkins consistently showed her commitment to community engagement through her academic and personal pursuits and extensive involvement in campus organizations. Some of those organizations included the Department of Psychology, Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Student Health and Wellness, Undergraduate Student Government, and various Culture Centers. In the current, she has centered her advocacy around people living with HIV and serving children with incarcerated parents. Dawkins’ interest in supporting the community is simply emblematic of equity.


About Youth Collaboratory

Youth Collaboratory is a national network that strives to dismantle the systems of oppression that create barriers for young people to achieve liberation and reach their full potential. To transform historically oppressive systems, we work across intersecting issue areas including:

  • Youth housing,
  • Liberation from exploitation and trafficking, and
  • Building supportive relationships and communities through mentoring.

Learn more and level up your capacity >>


Questions

If you have any questions about this event, please contact lenore@youthcollaboratory.org.

This convening is produced by Youth Collaboratory, with sponsorship provided by Liberty Mutual.

Register Today!