This summer we have watched individuals and communities across the country face some hard truths about race and racism. The racial inequities, prejudices, injustices and violence have played out in real time on television and online – and teens are paying attention.
This panel discussion comprised of adults and teens focuses on how we can come together to guide and lead teens to a deeper level of awareness of the role race and racism plays in our history, society, families, schools and world. Together, we are learning more about the experiences of people of color, racial inequalities and racist systems, and how injustices have an impact on the mental health of black, indigenous, and children of color.
Maria ArabboIs the Executive Director of the Amala Foundation, an organization that provides mindfulness and social emotional learning programming to individuals of all ages, including Circle Up, a weekly program that serves youth in elementary, middle, and high schools in the Austin area. Maria has nearly a decade of experience working in the education sector, she previously worked at E3 Alliance, and served immigrant and refugee youth as the Refugee Liaison for AISD for several years. Maria earned a Master’s degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University and as an Argentine native, brings a strong bi-cultural lens to all of her work and is strongly rooted in identifying and addressing issues of race, equity and accessibility.
Kama BruceIs a seasoned K-8 teacher, educational leader, researcher, consultant, and social justice advocate in AISD and Independent Schools. Kama is currently the division head at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin Texas. He has over 20 years of experience in elementary educational settings working with students, families, and educators of diverse background and experience. He has presented at local and national conferences regarding educational design, curriculum reform, and social justice in education. His research is centered on how teachers position socio historical knowledge of race to inform social justice practices in classroom environments.
Malena HeinemanIs a rising senior at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, Texas. She is the president of her school's Diversity Council, which works to create a safe and inclusive environment for students, and to promote an open minded community by facilitating discussions, activities, and events which celebrate diversity on the campus. She is also the co- editor in chief for the Liberator, her school's newspaper, as she values writing about important topics that directly impact her peers. In her free time, she likes to teach herself the guitar and read.
Anthony WatsonIs starting his 31st year as an educator and 7th year as Principal of Stony Point High School in Round Rock ISD. Prior to that, he was Principal of Hopewell Middle School for 8 years. He has served in the Austin Independent School District as well as the East Central School District in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from Langston University with a B.S. in Biology, the University of Texas with a Masters in Administration Education, and received his superintendent certification from Lamar University in 2012. He recently celebrated his 30th Wedding Anniversary to the Love of his life, Michelle Watson. Together, they have three beautiful adult children who are thriving in their own right.
Moderated by Kristen Pierce-Vreeke, Executive Director.