FUTUREWORLDS: CALL TO ACTION! is a panel discussion that will explore the role of art as a catalyst for social change. We will converse with activists, community organizers, artists, and academics who will share their insight on youth incarceration, afrofuturism, future leadership, and paving new paths for young people of color.
JeShawna C. Wholley is the new Program Coordinator of Brown University’s LGBTQ Center. Prior to that, Wholley served as the Programs Manager in charge of the Emerging Leaders Initiative and Special Projects at the National Black Justice Coalition. JeShawna provides strategic insight on outreach and issues affecting Black LGBT young people. A graduate of Spelman College, Wholley served as President of the LGBT student union, Afrekete. In 2009, alongside Morehouse College’s Safe Space organization, she spearheaded the first LGBT Pride Week in the Atlanta University Center. Wholley has been honored as the recipient of the 2011 Campus Pride Voice & Action National Leadership Award for her tireless efforts to make Spelman College and the Atlanta University Center a more inclusive environment for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) gay and transgender student body. Additionally, she was instrumental in the research and planning of the historical Audre Lorde HBCU Summit, which focused on the social climate regarding LGBT affairs on HBCU campuses. Dedicated to the empowerment of LGBT youth of color, Wholley travels across the nation to keynote and conduct workshops on creating safe and inclusive campuses for all students to thrive.
Marco A. McWilliams is armed with a rich Mississippi Delta heritage and a degree in Africana Studies from Rhode Island College. McWilliams developed the first ever Black Studies program at DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality). This community-based political education project systematically investigates the robust tradition of Black radical thought and organized resistance – with an emphasis on providing theoretically grounded political instruction designed to disrupt normative narratives of oppression confronting folks from oppression-resisting communities.
Anjel Newman is AS220 Youth’s Director and program alumna. Newman has been involved with AS220 for the past 14 years in various capacities and realizes the mission of AS220 Youth alongside a team of instructors and young people. She leads AS220 Youth in providing incarcerated and beyond-risk youth with deep artistic and mentorship experiences with a focus on workforce development. AS220 Youth is a national advocate and model for the arts and juvenile justice reform in America. Newman is a proud mother of two, a practicing visual, performing artist, and the founder of the Rhode Island Hip Hop Union, a community of performers and activists from all over the state.
AS220 Youth is dedicated to dismantling the pipeline to prison by empowering beyond-risk and incarcerated youth through arts, culture and professional opportunities. Our mission is to raise a justice league of young leaders who use their experience, influence and creativity to build an alternative future for themselves and their communities.