2021 Speakers

Building on the ongoing invitation and practice of centering Blackness as a path to build collective power and justice for all, YWCA Madison’s 20th Racial Justice Summit theme, this year, is Reimagining Us: Unapologetic Love, Transformative Justice, and Radical Imagination. Our invitation this year is the continuation of co-creating a legacy of racial justice and collective liberation for future generations by deliberately seeding who we need to be as whole people in relationship with each other and Nature. In this common imperative of Reimagining Us, we offer the practices of unapologetic love, transformative justice, and radical imagination as compasses for our journey towards co-liberation.

All virtual keynotes will feature American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and captioning in English.


Featured Keynote Speaker Bios

Summit Closing Artists: Cosmic Possibilities

Featured Artists Alice Y. Traore

Alice Y. Traore currently resides in Madison, WI, yet has deep roots in Peoria, IL. She is the daughter of Melba and Preston Jackson. Alice works at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a facilitator and curriculum designer of learning communities that assist faculty and staff in the exploration and implications of their social and cultural identities.

Alice describes herself as a self-taught watercolor artist. Her artist-life adds an additional layer of depth to her full-time work as it provides her further space to explore her own socio-cultural journey.

Artist Statement

I describe myself as a self-taught watercolor artist who explores topics such as Black woman liberation and the centering of marginalized bodies. I often use the image of the mermaid as an aquatic presence who watched over the souls of enslaved people who did not survive their trans-Atlantic kidnapping. In my mind, she has reappeared in contemporary times in the wake of continued violence against Black humanity. Also, I have recently created several self-portraits. During the pandemic, many of us found ourselves turning our gazes inward. 

The self-portraits reflect the thoughts I either welcomed or was forced to reckon with during this time of isolation. I thought a great deal about healing from racial trauma, mending broken relationships, and how I wish to journey through the rest of my life after the world reopens. The periods of time I spent in painting these portraits became time for meditation and reflection. As my skill and technique improve, I plan to evolve my subject matter so that my art becomes my activism. We all need our stories told so that we can better understand each other’s lived experiences, and we all need positive reflections of ourselves. My hope is to create art that encourages conversation. Where words fail us, images say more than we can ever imagine.