YWCA Madison

Racial Justice Summit

Each year, YWCA Madison hosts a Racial Justice Summit that brings together community stakeholders to work on eliminating barriers that foster racism in our community. The Summit focuses on institutional racism and involves nationally-known keynote speakers and researchers, as well as local experts and advocates. Through an environment that encourages learning from and supporting each other in our common goals, the Summit provides a platform for action planning and community dialogue. We invite organizations to demonstrate their commitment to racial equity through various sponsorship opportunities.

The Summit this year will be focusing on Living our Racial Justice Values: Building Collective Liberation - especially through challenging and changing times. As we navigate in our communities and workplaces while we experience the shootings of African Americans by police, increased xenophobia against Muslims and immigrants, and the daily changing political landscape, how to we keep our eyes on the prize and stay in community with each other as we pursue racial justice and equity. Keynotes and break-out sessions will offer participants the opportunity to connect to this theme, and to think about strategies that they can use individually, at work, and in their communities to stay focused on a vision of the future in which everyone belongs.  

The Racial Justice Summit will take place at the Monona Terrace (1 John Nolen Dr.)


Plenary & Keynote Presenters

During this year's summit, we will be talking about building collective liberation through the following themes: Othering and Belonging, Racism without Racists, and Revolutionary Love. Invited 2017 keynote presenters will include Sonali Sangeeta Balajee, Malachi Garza, Gyasi Ross (Blackfeet), and Dr. Heather Hackman.

Sonali Sangeeta Balajee is a thought leader, innovator, practitioner, and activist with over 20 years of experience in racial equity, transformative change and decolonizing efforts , the arts, and healing. She independently consults locally in Portland, Oregon, as well as nationally and internationally. Sonali also serves as a Senior Fellow with the Haas Institute of UC Berkeley focusing on the intersection of Belonging, Spirituality, Decolonizing, and Community Wellbeing, and has recently left 13 years of leading social justice, racial equity, and healing efforts in local government and national governmental movement-building.
Malachi Garza currently serves as Director of the Community Justice Network for Youth at the W. Haywood Burns Institute. Before coming to the BI Malachi spent 5 years at the School of Unity and Liberation (S.O.U.L.) as the Advanced Political Education Director. Malachi co-founded the Brown Boi Project in 2006 and is currently a National Strategist on the Board of Directors of Southerners On New Ground and board member of S.O.U.L. Malachi sits on the Advisory Committee of New Orleans, L.A. based BreakOUT!. Malachi is a 2008 KopKind Fellow. Malachi proudly brings over 15 years of community organizing and popular education experience to the W. Haywood Burns Institute and honored to help build a movement strong enough to Stop the Rail to Jail. 
Gyasi Ross (Blackfeet) is a writer and attorney. He has spoken at dozens of campuses nationwide on topics related to Native America as well as broader discussions on race, racism and white privilege. He recently keynoted at the 16th Annual White Privilege Conference in Louisville KY. Ross is the author of two books, Don't Know Much About Indians (but I wrote a book about us anyways) (2011) and How to Say I Love You in Indian (2014). "I come from a family of storytellers. My family tells long stories, drinking coffee and blowing smoke in your face. It just fit for me to tell stories, and then I started writing them." Ross writes for the Huffington Post, Indian Country Today, Deadspin and Gawker.
Dr. Heather Hackman has taught and trained on social justice issues for over 20 years, twelve of which were in human relations and multicultural teacher education. She recently resigned her tenured position in order to give her full energy to Hackman Consulting Group, writing books, and continuing to develop training and teaching rubrics addressing social justice issues. While the bulk of her work has addressed race, class and gender equity teaching and training, the last handful of years has seen her also develop training content addressing climate change and climate justice through a race, class, and gender justice lens.

2017 Racial Justice Summit Agenda

Tuesday, October 3

8:00 - 8:30

8:30 - 8:45Welcome
8:45 - 9:30
Plenary: Sonali S. Balajee
9:30 - 10:10
Plenary Reflection
10:10 - 10:30Break
10:30 - 12:00AM Breakouts
12:00 - 12:15Break

12:15 - 1:30

Lunch & Performances, featuring Opal Ellyse Tomashevka
1:30 - 1:45Break
1:45 - 3:15PM Breakouts
3:15 - 3:30Break
3:30 - 4:45Closing Plenary Session: Malachi Garza
5:00 - 6:30   Networking Reception & Alix Olson Award for the Promotion of a Tolerant and Just Community

Wednesday, October 4

8:00 - 8:30Registration
8:30 - 9:00Welcome: Eddie Moore Jr.
9:00 - 10:00Opening Keynote: Gyasi Ross
10:00 - 10:15Break 
10:15 - 11:45Break-out Sessions
11:45 - 12:00Break
12:00- 1:45Lunch and Keynote: Heather Hackman
2:00 - 4:30Post-Summit Institutes (Optional)

View breakout session descriptions and presenter bios.

Lodging Information

Reserve hotel rooms at Best Western Inn on the Park (22 South Carroll Street, Madison, 53703) by calling (800) 279-8811 (Mention YWCA Summit 2017 Block). To receive block rate, reserve by 9/2/2017.

Racial Justice Summit Planning Committee Members

Vaunce Ashby, Wisconsin Historical Society
Jacquelyn Boggess, Director of the Center for Family Policy and Practice
Carrie Braxton, Dane County Office of Equity & Inclusion
Kamal Calloway, YWCA Board Member & Exact Sciences
Betsy Day, State of Wisconsin
Danielle Dieringer, YWCA Madison
Andrea Erickson, Dane County District Attorney’s Office
Eugenia Highland, YWCA Madison
Carolyn Hogg, Seeking Tolerance and Justice Over Hate
Qiana Holmes-Abanukam, The Road Home
Jackie Hunt, YWCA Board Member & Nehemiah
Eric Kestin, YWCA Madison & Madison Metropolitan School District
Lara Mainella, City of Madison
Anjali Misra, UW Madison
Libby Tucci, YWCA Madison
Nancy W. Bauch, YWCA Madison
Naomi Takahashi, YWCA Madison
Missy Tracy, Ho-Chunk Gaming
Jay Young, YWCA Madison 

Sponsorship Opportunities

Download the sponsor information form

Summit Sponsorship benefits your organization and community in many ways. Sponsorship allows you to offer your staff intensive professional development opportunities with nationally renowned speakers and trainers.

Sponsorship will highlight your organization’s commitment to equity and diversity in the community and expose your organization to thousands of invited participants. Your organization’s sponsorship not only provides you with exposure, it allows us to offer this opportunity to the community at large with the intention of creating a more equitable and inclusive community for all.

Last year we had over 600 attendees from all around Wisconsin and beyond. We partnered with over 30 local businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions to present our largest Racial Justice Summit in the history of YWCA Madison. This year, we hope to continue to build on that momentum and help individuals and organizations network and learn effective and sustainable strategies.

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  •    2017 Summit Sponsors

        Sustaining Sponsors

          City of Madison




       Empowering Sponsors








       Collaborator Sponsors

       Dane County DA's Office
       Dane County Office of Equal Opportunity
       Filene Research Institute
       Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin
       Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office

      Nonprofit Partners

        ATTIC Correctional Services, Inc.
       Center for Family Policy & Practice
    Community Shares of Wisconsin
       Department of Family Medicine and Community Heath
       Edgewood College
       End Domestic Abuse WI
       First Unitarian Society of Madison
       Forward Community Investments
       Foundation for Madison Public Schools
       Madison Area Diversity Roundtable
       Morgride Center
       Race to Equity
       Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters
       Sustain Dane
       The Road Home Dane County
       White Privilege Conference/America & MOORE 

       In-kind Sponsors

         American Printing Company