Black Thought Wall Madison – Artist/Presenter Bios

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Alicia M. Walters | Creator

Alicia Walters Photo

The most powerful way to shift people’s beliefs is through lived experience. Alicia conceived of the Black Thought Project as a way to engage Black people on a deep level of what they truly think and believe to be true about themselves and the possibilities for society when their experiences are honored; when the world sees itself in relationship to Blackness. For others, the project provides a concrete way for people to have a lived experience of centering Blackness by protecting and taking in what Black people are sharing without trying to subvert or capitalize on their expression. She believes that in seeing and experiencing the world beyond the dominant narratives and beliefs we’ve been fed will we be able to create the relationships and systems to transform society. The Black Thought Project has since been featured in the New York Times and the Together Apart podcast.

The Black Thought Project is the most recent iteration of Alicia’s creativity in engaging and centering Blackness. For five years she directed Echoing Ida, a writing and media training fellowship she founded to raise the visibility of Black women’s expertise through the media, generating narratives that affirm Black people’s humanity. Nearly 40 “Idas” have published 500 articles in over 80 media outlets since its founding. An anthology of the work is forthcoming in Fall 2020 by Feminist Press. 

As an organizer and policy advocate, Alicia has focused on developing campaigns and initiatives that challenge the dehumanization of Black people and other people of color. She has authored groundbreaking legislation to prohibit the shackling of pregnant people in California jails and prisons, and co-authored Who Pays: the True Cost of Incarceration on Families, based on the participatory research of 23 organizations across 13 states. 

In her work as a consultant to organizations, Alicia challenges her clients and collaborators to create worlds beyond the one we see and invites participants to design campaigns, narratives, and identities in alignment with those visions.  She has worked with organizations to develop innovative programs, create strategic and bold messaging campaigns, and sustain thriving networks. Alicia enjoys creating messaging and campaigns that are as accessible and relevant as they are transformative. Clients include the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, Media Justice, Essie Justice Group, If/When/How, and ACLU of Northern California, among others. 

Alicia’s work has been featured on CNN, The Guardian, Ebony, and Rewire. As a performing artist, Alicia has collaborated and performed with renowned Bay Area choreographers and directors. Her most challenging and fulfilling role yet is as a wife to Nigel Jones and mama to their daughter Irie Diana Gertrude in the community she loves and believes in, Oakland, California.