Opal Tometi, Social Activist & Co-Creator of the Viral Twitter Hashtag and Movement, #BlackLivesMatter
Opal Tometi shares ideas and strategies for organizing and activism, as well as much-needed inspiration for creating a world where racial justice, immigrants’ rights and black lives matter.
Opal co-founded this generation’s civil rights movement in the wake of the murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. With the simple #BlackLivesMatter Twitter hashtag, she (together with Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors) launched what would become an international activist movement that has refocused the world’s attention on confronting systemic racism, anti-black violence, and social injustice.
Named a “New Civil Rights Leader” by the Los Angeles Times, for her extensive work on immigration rights and racial injustice, she also serves as the executive director at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, the country’s leading black organization for immigrant rights.
Opal enlightens with powerful insights on stemming the tide of unabated social injustice, anti-black bias, and uninformed views on immigration. She educates and inspires audiences to organize and stand together to transform society into a world where the lives and contributions of all individuals are recognized equally.
“Mighty Ruthie” Bolton: WNBA Star, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist
“If I am only remembered for being a basketball player, I believe that I will have failed in my job on this planet.” - Ruthie
Ruthie Bolton is one of the most accomplished female athletes in the world. She is a 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996 and 2000), a USA Basketball Female of the Year, the Sports Illustrated Best Woman Athlete by home state, and an inductee of Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2011.
Still in Auburn University record books, she was the first Lady Tiger to have her number retired. There, Ruthie led her team to a combined record of 119-13, including three Southeastern Conference championships, four NCAA tournaments and two NCAA runner-up finishes.
“Mighty Ruthie” Bolton was the original franchise player for the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs, where she racked in over 2000 career points, landed 4th on the WNBA’s all-time 3-pointer list, and was the first female to have her number retired. She has bee on cover of Sports Illustrated, guest on Regis Philbin's and David Letterman's talk shows, and featured in a Nike commercial.
Ruthie’s latest accomplishment was on May 22, 2016, when she was featured in an SEC Storied Documentary on ESPN. Ruthie shared her experience with domestic violence by her ex-husband. Along with Michael Bolton and others, she joined efforts with national domestic violence organization, Safe Horizon in their campaign #PutTheNailInIt.
Other notable facts about Ruthie: She was a 1st Lieutenant in the Army, the first National Spokeswoman for the WNBA’s “Play Fit/ Stay Fit” youth development program, she sang a Gospel single “Making a Way”, and is 16th child in a very close family of 20 children.
Systems Change Panel: Monday, March 6th from 1-2 p.m.
Matt Huckabay is the Executive Director for The Center for Violence- Free Relationships. Prior to becoming the Executive Director, he served for five years on The Center’s Board of Directors. As a member of the board, he was instrumental in leading the agency through a new mission, expanded focus, a name change and rebranding of the organization. With nearly two decades of experience as a successful for profit business owner he has worked to integrate best practices from the business community into non-profit management by focusing on creating a culture of accountability, using data to demonstrate effectiveness of service delivery.
Jessica Romo has been with Strength United for five years, and is currently the Prevention Education Program Manager for sexual assault and domestic violence. She oversees and implements prevention programming using the Close to Home community mobilization model with youth leadership teams. With over seven years of experience in the non-profit sector, she has worked closely with the Building Healthy Communities’ initiative and various diverse groups: at-risk youth, people experiencing homelessness, and families exposed to trauma, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
Gigi Tsontos, LCSW MPA, is the Executive Director of Women's Transitional Living Center, Inc. She has over 20 years of experience working within the social services arena serving the under-served throughout the US and internationally.
Leticia Campos, graduate of CSU Fresno, began at Marjaree Mason Center in 2010; and has experience providing in-home services to families in San Luis Obispo County. Leticia experienced domestic violence as a child in her own family; and later as a teen. Her passion is helping families affected by DV. Her background lays the foundation of her expertise working with families during the healing process. Leticia has been central to the design of this innovative merge of services, serving DV families in coordination with CalWORKs; and she is the manager of the DSS and MMC partnership: Family Stabilization Program.
Survivor Panel: Tuesday, March 7th from 12-1:30 p.m.
Sharon Turner, Client Services Director at STAND! For Families Free of Violence, has been active in social change work for thirty+ years. During her 22-year tenure at STAND! she has filled many roles, including Regional Director of Residential Services, Prevention and Clinical Programs. She implemented community partnerships including the Collaborative Response to Victims of Crime project, a multi-faith and service provider initiative to minister to social and spiritual needs of crime victims. Sharon is a Past Board President of the California Partnership To End Domestic Violence, serves on countywide and state committees and an alumni of the StrongField Leadership Cohort.
Miriam Guillén is from Yucatán, Mexico. She arrived in this country in January 2002 full of hopes and dreams. A domestic violence survivor with two children, Miriam first came to MUA (Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Women United and Active) in 2004 looking for support, and she was ultimately able to increase her self-esteem. She has taken several training courses to develop her leadership. In the SOUL training, she learned to be stronger and to appreciate that we’re all one. Now she is a good leader who continues supporting her community and learning every day from each one one her coworkers. She would like to share that she feels very proud. With the opportunity she has been given to work as a Domestic Violence Coordinator at Mujeres Unidas y Activas in the San Francisco office, she is in charge of offering Soul clinics, information, references, encouragement, and support to members who are suffering from domestic violence—so they can strengthen their self-esteem and become leaders in their own lives.
Nan-Hui Jo first came to the USA as film student in 2002. She became pregnant in 2007, but her boyfriend at the time aggressively opposed it. He became increasingly abusive, so she fled to her home country with her infant daughter in 2009. In 2014, she returned to the US. At the airport, she was wrongfully arrested for child abduction, separated from her daughter and stripped of all parental rights. She was jailed for nearly a year before being put into deportation proceedings, which would have permanently separated her from her daughter. She was finally released from immigration detention in 2015, and ICE has since filed two appeals to re-detain her. She is still fighting her deportation. Nan-Hui currently lives in Sacramento where she does her best to care for her daughter. She hopes to help other domestic violence survivors in similar situations.
Romarilyn Ralston incarcerated at 24, a survivor of intimate partner abuse and the prison system; was released after serving 23 years at the California Institution for Women. Post-release, she earned a Bachelor’s degree from Pitzer College in Gender and Feminist Studies (2014), a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts from Washington University in St. Louis (2016), and was selected to be a CORO Public Affairs Fellow. While attending Washington University, she worked at the Center for Women in Transition as the program assistant and restorative justice circle facilitator. She is currently at California State University, Fullerton as the Program Coordinator, Project Rebound.
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