Day of Action : Racial Justice

Racial Justice and creating opportunities for BIPOC LGBTQ+ people is a fundamental priority of the New Haven Pride Center.

The second of 2021’s Days of Action will take place the weekend before Juneteenth on Sunday, June 13th, and is dedicated to the diverse needs and struggles of LGBTQ+ Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). This mini-conference will aim to directly combat racism in the LGBTQ+ community through discussion, group learning, and artistic perspectives.

Goals of the 2021 Day of Action : Racial Justice in the Queer Community
  • Bringing together the community and listening to the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ BIPOC people.
  • Amplifying the voices of LGBTQ+ BIPOC creators and organizers at the forefront of movements for our collective liberation.
  • Forging connections between different segments of the LGBTQ+ BIPOC community, creating a more interconnected community.
  • Celebrate the rich diversity of our community and begin the important and ongoing work of addressing individual biases.
Thank You to Our Program Partner
Arts & Ideas Logo

Program Curator

Ala Ochumare (she/her), LGBTQ+ Youth Program Officer
Ala Ochumare (she/her)

LGBTQ+ Youth Program Manager
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Thank You to Our Sponsors

Schedule of Programs

Opening and Welcome

10:00a | Live on facebook and YouTube

Join us for our opening session where we will set the tone for the second Day of Action program for 2021. Our second day of programming will be focused on racial justice, combating racism, and confronting deamons within our own community contributing to anti-blackness and anti-immigrant sentiment.

Kick-off the day with a special artistic presentation by Hartford-born dancer / choreographer Arien Wilkerson and a welcome message from program co-curator Ala Ochumare, Director of Arts, Culture & Tourism for the City of New Haven Adrianne Jefferson, Executive Director of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas Shelley Springob Quiala and Director of Programming and Community Impact of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas Malakhi Eason.

Watch on YouTube

Panel : Combating Anti-Asian Sentiment in the Queer Community

10:30a | Live on facebook and YouTube

Anti-Asian sentiment reverberates throughout the community and during the past 14 months we have seen unprecedented increases to hate speech and vicious attacks. How, as a community, can we ensure that we are not contributing to anti-Asian hate?
In this panel we will discuss and explore the stigmas and racism faced by Queer Asians, including anti-Asian racism and the fetishization of Queer Asians’ sexualities and bodies. Panelists will share personal histories and perspectives as we discuss the ways in which Queer Asians experience racism, both within the queer community as well as from external forces.

This panel will feature perspectives from Caroline Smith and Vu Tran. Additional speakers to be announced. This panel will be moderated by activist, scholar, and AAPI feminist Minnie Chiu.

Watch on YouTube

Panel : The Complexity of Black Sexuality and Identity

12:00p | Live on facebook and YouTube

Black sexuality is broad and complex and doesn’t always fit neatly into the boxes defined by white heterosexual cisgender society. Black communities often approach sex, sexuality, and gender identity through their own experiences, cultures, and backgrounds.

In this panel, we will explore the complex nature of sexuality within the Black community and discuss how racism, white supremacy, and heteronormative gender norms can translate to homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia within the Black community.

This panel will feature perspectives from Kyle R. Edwards, Dyme Ellis, Kishorn Henry-Walker, Ravyn Laveau-Moulton, and Tyler Napper. This panel will be moderated by anti-racist facilitator and theatre artist Kristianna Smith.

The panel is presented in partnership with Black Lives Matter New Haven.

Watch on YouTube

Workshop Track 1 : Racial Justice Activists

Workshop Track 2 : Be Anti-Racist, Anti-Bias Informed

De-Stigmatizing the Body in the Racial Justice Movement

1:30p | Live on Zoom

Have you ever experienced shame when it comes to your body? What if I told you it wasn’t your fault and your body is worthy?

In this dynamic workshop Farron will explore the origins of body hatred and shame, specifically fatphobia and how it intersects with anti-blackness. Participants will then have the opportunity to apply what they learn by exploring where they first were taught to hate their body and then change that story.

This workshop will be facilitated by community organizer Farron Harvey.

Self-Care and Healing for Racial Justice Changemakers

3:00p | Live on Zoom

What would you say to your younger self? How would you re write your your story? Let’s unpack together. This Healing workshop will provide you with education and innovative tools to support you in your healing journey.  This workshop can help you develop artistic expression to reconnect with yourself and others.

This workshop will be facilitated by community activist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter New Haven Sun Queen.

Aspiring & Active Co-conspiratorship

1:30p | Live on Zoom

In this one-hour session, you will not attain fully realized co-conspiratorship.

We will reflect on and discuss ways to be stronger co-conspirators of marginalized individuals with whom we work and play, AND actively dismantle systems of oppression in spaces that we co-exist in. From public space co-conspiritorship to ensuring our homes and private spaces are equitable, we will discuss how to co-create in the most equitable form.

This workshop will be facilitated by teacher and community advocate Jennifer Heikkila Diaz (JHD).

Holistic Anti-Racism for White Folks

3:00p | Live on Zoom

A year after racial justice uprisings and a surge of white and corporate support for Black Lives Matter movements, white people’s support for BLM has plummeted below pre-2020 levels.  Bills targeting trans people are exploding across the country. How can white people participate in intersectional racial justice movements as whole and effective partners? In this participatory workshop we will move through three components (1. internal work, 2. retraining harmful white behaviors 3. taking action to shift power) in order to strengthen our capacity as grounded, fierce, and committed partners in the liberation movement of our lifetimes.

This workshop will be facilitated by community activist TW.

A Conversation with Blair Imani

5:00p | Live on facebook and YouTube

Blair Imani is a critically acclaimed historian, author, educator, and influencer living at the intersections of Black, Bisexual, and Muslim identity.

Join us as we sit down in conversation with Blair about how her intersectional identities have translated into her organizing and activism work and have influenced how she has advocates for her community. From discussing her books, to her web series, and all of the incredible ways she represents the community on the international stage, bringing forth understanding and connectivity between different identities that are not always seen as being able to co-exist.

This conversation will be moderated by artist, youth organizer, and founder of Black Haven Film Festival Salwa Abdussabur.

Watch on YouTube

Performance : The Power of the Spoken Word

6:30p | Live on facebook and YouTube

The spoken word has brought light to injustice, empowered communities across the world, and given voice to the underrepresented for centuries. The art of using spoken word to tell our community’s story, fight against supremacy, and call out injustice will be celebrated at this evening of performance.

This program will feature performances Sun Queen, Anne:Gogh, Jonah Craggett, Versatile Poetiq, and Karleigh Webb. by This program will be hosted by Day of Action Program Curator Ala Ochumare.

Watch on YouTube

Meet Our Day of Action Speakers & Artists

Arien Wilkerson – Opening Ceremony & Welcome

Arien (they/them or she/her) is a queer, black, choreographer, dancer, film maker, director, producer, installation born/raised in Hartford CT. Arien Wilkerson is a member of Tnmot Aztro, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a collaborative multidisciplinary company featuring six to ten artists at any given time. Works include sculpture, spatial design, lighting design, installation, photography, sound design, and at times seven or more movement artists including Wilkerson. Tnmot Aztro considers that the complexities within art derive from the alienation of objects, identities, the body, sounds and humans, among many things. As an entity the artistic practice in making performance, sculpture, experimental film, photography and dance is rooted in repurposing or redefining meanings of “fine art” and its attachments to colonialism, white supremacy, and institutionalized racism.

Wilkerson was nominated for a Pew Fellow in 2020, awarded 2020 Black Artist Support from the Sachs Program for Arts & Innovation at UPenn, 2019 Connecticut Dance Alliance Jump Start Award, The Greater New Haven Arts Council & Connecticut Office of the Arts – Artist Workforce Initiative Sponsorship (2019), The Connecticut Office of the Arts Artist Fellow (2019). The Connecticut Office of the Arts project grant (2018), two New England Dance Fund Grants (2017) (2018), The Spirit of Juneteenth award from the Amistad Center for Art and Culture (2017), The National Endowment for the Arts “Big Read” Grant (2018), The Director’s Discretionary Fund Award from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund (2018) and was selected as NEFA’S 2018 Rebecca Blunk Fund Awardee.

Mignonette “Minnie” Chiu – Panel : Combating Anti-Asian Sentiment in the Queer Community

Mignonette “Minnie” (she/her) has taught in WGS departments at Hunter College, Barnard College, Cornell University and the University of Missouri, where she was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department. Dr Chiu received her BA English from Wesleyan University; an MA in international comparative education from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a PhD in political science from Columbia University. She specializes in immigration/migration; transnational feminisms; global/globalization studies; ethnic studies; critical race studies; and Asian American/diaspora studies.

Caroline Smith – Panel : Combating Anti-Asian Sentiment in the Queer Community

Caroline (she/her) is a co-founder of Collab, a community-centered accelerator for Connecticut entrepreneurs and project builders. Currently, she was elected the Chair of the Downtown-Wooster Square Community Management Team and is also a Board Member of the New Haven Free Public Library Foundation. She’s received the New Haven Biz Women in Business Award, Connecticut Magazine 40 Under 40, City of New Haven Individual Innovator Award, and Yale Seton Elm-Ivy Award for her work.

Vu Tran – Panel : Combating Anti-Asian Sentiment in the Queer Community

Vu (he/him) graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Accounting in 2010. While at the University of Connecticut, Vu also worked at the Rainbow Center as the educational outreach coordinator. Since graduating, he has worked professionally at Ernst & Young and is currently employed as a contract auditor with the federal government. Vu has also remained active in the LGBTQ+ community. He has served on the Board of True Colors, the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition, and the Imperial Sovereign Court of All Connecticut. In addition, Vu teaches Zumba at various gyms and community events.


Kristianna Smith – Panel : The Complexity of Black Sexuality and Identity

Ktistianna (she/her) is an anti-racist facilitator, theatre artist, intuitive, and Queer Black Mama. As the owner of Via Arts, she uses play and theatre as a mechanism to dismantle institutional oppression and take up practices that move us closer to liberation.

Most recently, Kristianna has started the project Policy Through Play on instagram and facebook. Policy Through Play seeks to decode local politics and give the general public the tools they need to shift political practice towards a structurally care-centered world.

Kristianna also uses her social media platforms to explore the intersection of Black Queer Motherhood and Pleasure, asking, “How do I hold freedom in a world that tries to keep it from me?”

In her whole, Kristianna practices generative conflict, deep joy, and radical dreaming.

Kyle R. Edwards – Panel : The Complexity of Black Sexuality and Identity

Kyle (he/him) is a biracial sexually fluid man who lives in New Haven. He works for a large bank in the northeast doing Quality Assurance, Call Monitoring and Training and has extensive experience working with people from various backgrounds including immigrants and people with disabilities. He was also a recruiter in the light industrial and office sectors prior to his time in banking.

In addition to his professional work, he volunteers extensively with the New Haven Pride Center and the Imperial Sovereign Court of All Connecticut. He also hosts a segment on the internet-based program, CT Connection, where he focuses on intersectionality and highlights those within our community that are doing the leg work to make a better tomorrow for us all. He advocates regularly, giving a voice to those who may not have the opportunity to speak or have the courage to defend themselves.

Kyle’s family is Jamaican, African American, and German.

Dymin “Dyme” Ellis – Panel : The Complexity of Black Sexuality and Identity

Dymin “Dyme” (they/them) is a Black non-binary artist, administrator, and aspiring curator in New Haven, CT. A poet, model, visual artist, and producer of experimental music, Dyme intentionally explores alternative ways to enhance wellbeing in marginalized communities while centering QTBIPOC.

Kishorn Henry-Walker – Panel : The Complexity of Black Sexuality and Identity

Kishorn (he/him or they/them), is a 36-year-old genderqueer person who lives in Bridgeport, CT with his amazing husband Aharon. Kishorn has been working in the human resources field for the past 13 years and currently works in the tech industry. Kishorn originally hails from St Thomas, US Virgin Islands. He has dabbled a bit in the arts as a classically-trained trombonist and steel pan artist. His love for music and art also comes from his active participation in Caribbean carnival events – a term known as “feteing”.

Outside of his work life, Kishorn is involved in LGBTQ+ awareness and advocacy in Connecticut, where he currently resides. Kishorn has been performing as drag queen “Sparkle A. Diamond” for the past 15 years and currently is on the cast of Lipstick, Lashes and Lies, a weekly drag show at the Mohegan Sun Casino and has performed in various other venues in and around Connecticut, as well as other major US cities. Kishorn/Sparkle is also featured in various panel discussions and a very special programming of Drag Artist Story Hour in conjunction with the New Haven Pride Center where storytime is recorded for local children to enjoy. In his spare time, Kishorn enjoys gardening, sewing/costume-making, small home improvement projects, traveling, entertaining friends, cooking delicious meals and makeup artistry, just to name a few. Kishorn lives by the motto “seek to understand” which speaks to his natural curiosity.

Ravyn Laveau-Moulton – Panel : The Complexity of Black Sexuality and Identity

Ravyn (she/her) is a former sexual deviant, a Trans women of color and a victim advocate for the LGBTQ+ community at, particularly for Trans women of color. She is an activist and Public Ally at Trinity Health of New England St. Francis, whose mission is to create a just and equitable society for all and help to create diverse leadership to sustain it.

Public Allies Connecticut is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national network of programs.

Tyler Napper – Panel : The Complexity of Black Sexuality and Identity

Tyler (he/him) is a Geographer at Orbital Insight, where Tyler analyzes land use activity via satellites that are in outer space and creates training data for machine learning algorithms.

Tyler has worked with reputable geospatial intelligence agencies, including the University of Connecticut’s Transportation Institute, and Connecticut’s Department of Transportation, among others. Tyler helps activists and analysts identify socioeconomic issues in various areas of interest. You can expect 100% transparency, thought-provoking stories, and lots of fun moments when working with Tyler.

Tyler is a proud gay black man. Tyler is a dog lover and a hobbyist that forages mushrooms from Connecticut.

Farron Harvey – Workshop : De-Stigmatizing the Body in the Racial Justice Movement

Farron (they/them or she/her) is the owner & founder of Farron’s View. They created Farron’s View as an offering and a commitment. They wanted to offer their services to those who felt connected to my work. For so long they believed that they had to compartmentalize theirself if they wanted to be in certain spaces, but every time they left parts of myself it felt like a painful denial of my whole self- it felt like they weren’t acknowledging that the reason why they are able to create, vision, collaborate, and execute is because of ALL of their identities, not despite it. They are continuously practicing to bring their whole self at all times, that’s their commitment. Their offerings are rooted in their expertise in facilitation and movement work since the age of 16.

Sun Queen – Workshop : Self-Care and Healing for Racial Justice Changemakers & Performance : The Power of the Spoken Word

Sun Queen (she/her) is a New Haven native. She is a Black queer woman whose passion, love, and activism are born out of her journey of self-exploration.Sun Queen is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter New Haven, established in 2015.

Sun Queen published her first poetry collection in a book entitled It Happened Within The Sun (2019). Black Girls are Sunshine is Sun’s trademarked brand, appearing on apparel, bags, aprons, etc. Sun developed this brand to remind Black women and girls—who are so often disrespected, dehumanized, and erased from conversations, history, and spaces— that they are special, unique, and have a special light within them.

Jennifer Heikkila Diaz (JHD) – Workshop : Creating Racially Diverse and Competent Spaces

JHD (she/her or they/them) identifies as Korean American, Asian American, and biracial. For over two decades, she/they has worked in coalition with students, families, and school-based staff, pursuing educational equity–most of those years as a teacher, most of those years in school administration and instructional coaching, and some of those years in education nonprofit work. She/they has had the privilege of teaching thousands of students, partnering with thousands of families, and coaching/supporting thousands of teachers and school leaders. She/they spends as much time as possible with young people, including her/their children, Magdalena Yoon-Jae and Gabriela Mi-Ja.

TW – Workshop : Holistic Anti-Racism for White Folks

TW (she/they) is an educator, farmer, abolitionist organizer, and queer/genderqueer mama based in New Haven, CT. In addition to their work as a high school educator, TW facilitates youth retreats with Beyond Diversity 101, visions with the Academy for Peace and Liberation Education, and collaborates with other educators in working towards a dismantled and re-visioned education system with the Aspiring Abolitionists group. TW recently graduated with an M.Ed in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts where she worked with the Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research.

Blair Imani – A Conversation with Blair Imani

Blair (she/her) is a critically acclaimed historian, author, educator, and influencer living at the intersections of Black, bisexual, and Muslim identity. The New York Times praises Blair Imani’s unique ability to create progressive lessons with vibrant visuals and a perky, quirky delivery.” Her viral microlearning series Smarter In Seconds, which has earned over 100 million views, demonstrates her signature style of making abstract concepts more concrete in a well researched, well presented, and concise manner.

She is the author of two historical books: Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History (2018) and Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream (2020). Blair Imani educates using a variety of social media platforms (YouTube, Instagram, TikTok) in addition to speaking at universities and organizations around the world. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Tegan and Sara Foundation, and on the Board of Trustees for Muslims for Progressive Values.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Blair Imani attended Louisiana State University where, in 2014, she founded Equality for HER, a non-profit organization that provided resources and a forum for women and nonbinary people to feel empowered. Her fearless leadership took her to the front lines of anti-police violence protests and, following her arrest at the protests of Alton Sterling’s murder in Baton Rouge, Blair began building a platform and social media presence to organize and create awareness about injustices in Black, LGBTQ+, and Muslim communities.

Following her meteoric rise to prominence during the uprisings of 2020, Blair Imani was profiled by The New York Times to discuss her daily routine as a historian, social activist, and influencer. Her viral TEDxBoulder talk,
Queer & Muslim: Nothing to Reconcile,” has sparked important discourse about the intersection of the two identities. In 2019, she was proudly featured in New York City Pride’s campaign honoring the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. From the United States to Germany, Kenya, France, and the United Kingdom, Blair Imani has inspired audiences around the world. As an Influencer and historian, semi-retired organizer, and public speaker, Blair Imani is dedicated to making the world a better place and amplifying the voices and work of those fighting the good fight.

Salwa Abdussabur – A Conversation with Blair Imani

Salwa (they/them) is a Connecticut born singer, songwriter, actress, and poet who sung background for Childish Gambino during his historical host and performance on Saturday Night Live to debut the “This is America” and “Saturday” Singles. They are an up and coming artist with soul and consciousness that uses their voice and floetry to both uplift spirits and voices.

Anne:Gogh – Performance : The Power of the Spoken Word

Anne:Gogh (she/her) is a proud Hartford native committed to uplifting the community through creating safe spaces for self-care and expression. She is a visual & performing artist who is determined to fortify the importance of veracity and altruism. Currently, Anne: is engulfed in working as the Artist in Residence for Kamora’s Cultural Corner and facilitator for Toivo.

Jonah Craggett – Performance : The Power of the Spoken Word

Jonah (he/him) is a second year Graduate Candidate in Creative Writing at Southern Connecticut State University. A New Haven native, Jonah was the winner of the 2014 campus slammer storytelling festival and his poems have been published numerous times in the Eastern Connecticut Exposure Literary Magazine. He has spent the last decade working to fight for equity in black spaces with numerous groups including the New Haven People’s center, the ECSU women’s and Intercultural Center, NHPS, and local churches. Jonah’s writing focuses on Black humanism, joy, and the nuances of forgotten black history.

Versatile Poetiq – Performance : The Power of the Spoken Word

Bio coming soon. 

Karleigh Webb – Performance : The Power of the Spoken Word

Karleigh (she/her) has been in sports journalism and sports broadcasting for 26 years. She is currently a writer-contributor to Outsports in addition to doing varied freelance editing/videography and producing projects through her firm Karleigh Webb Video in Connecticut.

When not chasing a story, Karleigh is a crisis operator for Trans Lifeline. North America’s only 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week hotline dedicated to the need of transgender people. She considers her service as an honor as great as her awards and commendations she has earned as a journalist. It is this work that also fuels her work as a activist centering around human rights, anti-war issues, and the fight against economic violence placed upon working people.

Sports is not just a piece of her craft and passion, it is also her hobby. A lifelong athlete, Karleigh is an active, budding duathlete-triathlete, and love to get behind the plate in softball and be the signal-caller behind center in flag-football.