Talking About Race and Racism with children is not a one-time conversation, especially when a parent is not confident in their ability to address this issue with younger children. It can be extremely uncomfortable for adults as they become more aware of bias, inequity, and privilege in the world and in their own lived experiences. This panel discussion brings together experts and community leaders to help parents become more knowledgeable about these complex issues, how to develop an anti-racist curriculum in the home, and offers insight on how to engage young children in working towards a more just and equal world.
DeAnna Harris-McKoy is a licensed marriage and family therapist, associate professor, researcher, and social justice advocate. She has over 10 years of clinical experience with diverse populations and disorders in a variety of clinical settings. Her research focuses on adolescents, Black mental health, and social justice in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy. She has delivered presentations at local, regional, national, and international conferences. Dr. Harris-McKoy has been actively involved in her local and professional communities by serving on multiple boards and in various leadership positions.
Chloe Picot-Jacobs, LMSW, is the Infant/Early Childhood Program Supervisor at Austin Child Guidance Center. She joined ACGC as a graduate student in 2017, and became a full-time staff member in 2018. In addition to providing clinical services, Chloe leads the newsletter committee for the Trauma Informed Care Consortium of Texas (TICC). She considers social justice and anti-racist practices to be critical components of mental health work and community well-being.
Starla Simmons, LCSW is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Field Liaison at the UT Steve Hicks School of Social Work. She is strongly rooted in social justice and racial equity, with a passion for supporting the vitality and resilience of communities of color. She is experienced in holistic practices such as eco-therapy, mindfulness and TBRI (Trust-based Relational Intervention). Starla facilitates training in Austin for non-profits around the topics of racial equity, social justice, mindfulness and eco-therapy. She has over a decade of experience working as a school social worker, providing a range of direct care services to students, families, and staff. She worked as the liaison and coordinator for Austin ISD’s school mental health centers, providing consultation and operational support for school-based therapy services at 19 middle and high schools. Starla has served as an Austin leader for the national non-profit Outdoor Afro, which celebrates and inspires Black leadership in nature and served as board chair for Mama Sana Vibrant Woman, a local non-profit that provides pregnancy and birth support to women of color.
Kama Bruce is 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.
Moderated by Kristen Pierce-Vreeke, Executive Director.