Meet Our Panelists!
Kass Botts is a harm reductionist, a student of Psychology at Indiana University, and a caseworker for the Housing First program at Beacon, Inc. They were formerly the Executive Director of the Indiana Recovery Alliance, a harm reduction organization based in Bloomington, IN.
Mark Bray is a historian of human rights, radicalism, and political violence at Rutgers University. He is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook and Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street and the co-editor of Anarchist Education and the Modern School: A Francisco Ferrer Reader. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Salon, and numerous edited volumes.
Carolina Castoreno-Santana is the Executive Director of the American Indian Center of Indiana. She is an enrolled member of Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas, and is also of Mescalero Apache and Yaqui descent.
At Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, she pursued her BA in an Individualized Major focusing on Multicultural and Diversity Studies and also served as the President of the Native American Student Alliance. She has presented on topics surrounding Indigenous identity and rights at several Educational and Diversity conferences across the country.
As Director, she has increased outreach activities, started a food pantry, and began a partnership with the state's Division of Mental Health and Addiction to address inequities Urban Indians face with regards to substance abuse and access to Mental healthcare. She is passionate about collaborating with other communities of color, and she is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of the issues that Urban Indians face in the Indiana community. One of her other areas of interest is highlighting Indigenous identity in Latino communities. She is a current member of the American Indian Movement IN/KY Chapter, and has recently joined the newly formed Indiana Racial Justice Alliance as chair of their Indigenous peoples and Immigrations committees.
Carolina is a writer, activist, student, and mother who is dedicated to social justice, the preservation of Native identity, decolonization efforts, and education for and of Indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Myranda is a social worker and facilitator whose work focuses on liberating social work education and praxis. Rand’s professional background spans program development and evaluation, group facilitation, case management, mental health assessment, and psychiatric inpatient social work. Their work centers evidence-informed and culturally-responsive data, history, and practices.
A proud Hoosier, Rand was born and raised in Indianapolis. They received both their BA and MSW at IUPUI. The classrooms and spaces Myranda co-creates alongside students are rooted in critical and liberatory pedagogy, constructivist and standpoint theories, specifically Chela Sandoval’s oppositional consciousness and Patricia Hill Collins’ black feminist thought.
Their social work practice, teaching philosophy, and personal values seek to reflect the wisdom of Angela Davis: “We have to talk about liberating minds as well as liberating society.” In that vein, Rand most enjoys spending time exploring the vastness of the world through the lens of their child, Liliana, reading and writing poetry, and hosting dance parties in their living room.
Dr. Jakobi Williams
Dr. Jakobi Williams is the Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies and the Department of History at Indiana University-Bloomington. He is a Civil Rights, Black Power, Social Justice, and African American history scholar. He has provided hundreds of invited lectures domestically and abroad on the subjects of Civil Rights and social justice movements.
Dr. Williams serves as a consultant regarding Civil Rights issues and history for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Southern Poverty Law Center, The National Civil Rights Museum, The Social Justice Institute at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and the Kairos-Center for Religion, Rights, and Social Justice—which helped to found the New Poor People’s Campaign led by Rev. Barber. His most recent book, From the Bullet to the Ballot: The Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and Racial Coalition Politics in Chicago, was published by the University of North Carolina Press under the prestigious John Hope Franklin Series.
His other peer reviewed publications have appeared in the Journal for Civil and Human Rights; Black Perspectives; Black Women, Gender, and Families; Journal of Pan African Studies; University of Georgia Press; University of Wisconsin Press; and the New Press. His work can also be found in Jacobin Magazine, Tikkun, Mother Jones, Gawker, Vox, and the Indianapolis Star.
Dr. Williams most recent awards include the Mellon Foundation funded Black Metropolitan Research Consortium fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities grant, the National Humanities Center fellowship, and the Big Ten Academic Alliance-Academic Leadership Program award. He received his BA in History from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, his MA in African American Studies and PhD in History both from UCLA. He has also held faculty positions at UCLA, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Kentucky.
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