Centering the experiences of Black Girls and Womxn Navigating Institutional Spaces
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Jaqui Rogers

Educated by the Saint Louis Public School system, Jaqui earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Secondary Education Language Arts from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She acquired her MBA from Webster University shortly thereafter, and has since dedicated her career work to the non-profit sector by way of non-traditional education and curriculum development. Currently, Jaqui is a full-time educator with an unapologetic passion for designing and facilitating unique opportunities for her students to address injustices in their communities, while learning (and teaching) important life skills. She’s currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and Social Justice through the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her dissertation explores themes and remedies surrounding the experiences of Black Mothers advocating for their children in schools. Since embarking upon this research, she’s founded Mama2Mama, LLC—a platform that centers the experiences of and resources for Black Mothers advocating for themselves, their children, and equity in K-12 education.

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Amber Bell-Christian

Amber Bell-Christian has experience planning, implementing, and leading educational programs for both, formal and informal institutions. She is a co-founder of The Crooked Room Conferences and has led entrepreneurial incubator programs that focus on racial equality and quality education in the St. Louis region. She has experience building community partnerships between universities and non-profits, using anchor institution strategies to build lasting relationships. Amber serves on advisory committees for multiple, local public schools and volunteers for non-profits that serve low-economic and under-represented communities. In 2017, Amber implemented the Imagine Science Program in St. Louis; an unprecedented partnership between four of the leading, national youth-serving organizations to bridge the STEM gap for historically under-represented youth. Amber joined Missouri Institute for Mental Health in November 2018 and works as the Overdose Prevention Support Specialist on the Missouri Opioid - State Opioid Response grant.

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ēNiCōL is a co-founder/Volunteer & Entertainment Coordinator of The CrookedRoom Conference. In 2016, Ē founded Ēffective Hōlistic Fitness, LLC - a creative, more inclusive alternative to typical fitness centers and gyms. They/she blends a keen passion for cooperative community development, wellness, and artistic expression to partner with others to co-create healing spaces for members of marginalized communities. As the Holistic Fitness and Wellness Fellow at The InPower Institute, a leading center for inspiration, transformation, and empowerment - Ē has spearheaded dynamically impactful programming like the most recent awareness campaign - IN PLAIN SIGHT: Sex Trafficking in St. Louis. Certified as a diversity-inclusion trainer and anti-bias educator through the National Conference for Community and Justice in St. Louis (NCCJ-STL) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Ē achieved a graduate certificate in Social Justice in Education from the University or Missouri-St. Louis and is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree in WISDOM from the Ancestors. In spare time, ēNiCōL serves as a consultant for small businesses, plays tag at home with Avalanche and Phoenix (canine companions), contemplates re-building the universe with partner Jaqui, and chills laughing mother, De’Borah.

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Kristy Jackson, Ed.S.

Kristy Jackson, ED. S. , a serial entrepreneur, coach & speaker is the co-founder of Social Synergy Project which houses an entrepreneurship accelerator program for underrepresented entrepreneurs. She is also the CEO of DK Solutions, LLC consulting and the DK Annex private event space. Kristy and her husband James Jackson, II, CEO of Jaj2 Music have been identified by the startup community as one of the first African American couples to own an incubator space in the St. Louis Area. Born out of her own experience as a Bossy Girl, Kristy also founded GLAMM-Girls Lead and Make Moves. She is devoted to her social mission of service and giving to build a better community powered by economic growth and investment in women and girls. In one year she has impacted 600 underrepresented entrepreneurs and 2,900 youth with her leadership and entrepreneurial community programs. Delux Magazine recognized Kristy as one of STL’s 50 Most Intriguing women and one of their top 100 influencers and advocates in the STL business community. She was also recognized by Small Business Monthly Magazine as most admired CEO.

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Sherita Love

Sherita Love began her career in education in the Webster Groves School District before moving into curriculum, program and staff development with YMCA Community Development Programs. Aside from Sherita’s role as a director with the YMCA, she was a national trainer with the Y of the USA in Leadership and Diversity & Inclusion courses for professional staff, served on the Multicultural Mentorship Committee with the YMCA of the USA and the Diversity and Inclusion Council with the Gateway Region YMCA. There, Sherita developed the current model for Diversity, Inclusion and Global strategy for the staff in St. Louis and Southwest Illinois. She continues to serve on the board of the O'Fallon Park Rec YMCA in St. Louis and on the WEDO (Women Empowered to End Disparities in Obesity) board of the Community Development YMCA.

She then joined Diversity Awareness Partnership, a nonprofit in St. Louis focused on increasing awareness, facilitating engagement and providing education about diversity and inclusion managing youth programs like Give Respect, Get Respect (an anti-bias program), EXPLORE (STEM Career Immersion Programs) and the Diverse-City Art Competition.

Sherita currently serves as the Manager of the Education Hub (EdHub STL) at Innovation Hall powered by Venture Cafe St. Louis. She is also the founder of ExpandED Equity Collaborative where she works to close the education opportunity gap in collaboration with educators and community, the co-founder of GLAMM (Girls Lead and Make Moves) promoting education and empowerment for young women of color, advisory board member for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta School, and as a consultant with a lens for supporting girls and students of color with STEMpact’s STEM Teacher Quality Institute, a comprehensive professional development program for teachers in our region focused on "stemitizing" classroom curriculum with Washington University.

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Lauryn Donovan

Lauryn Donovan is a 15-year-old tenth grader with a warm heart and a determined soul. In elementary school, Lauryn was the kid who befriended a friendless girl and defended a disabled boy. By middle school, she had joined the “Friends of LGBQT Club” because she felt empathy for the way those oppressed by the mainstreaum. Around this time, she discovered the power of social media and spent much of her spare time learning about history and then attempting to educate other kids in her social media circles about African American oppression. She especially enjoyed debating about the existence and impact of white privilege. She soon discovered that others sometimes have opposing opinions and are equally as strong willed as her, but that only served to fuel her passion.

 Lauryn is equally as passionate about promoting positive self-awareness and uplifting other black girls who may not realize their beauty and value. Her dream is to uplift individuals and communities who routinely experience oppression, such as women, LGBTQ and racial, ethnic and religious minorities. She's especially close to the Black Lives Matter movement and the disparate treatment of blacks versus whites by police officers. Her first taste of activism came about when she helped to organize a teacher-led walkout at her school after a series of racially motivated incidents at the school. She was a featured speaker at the 2017 and 2018 Women's Marches in St. Louis and also served as a panelist at The Crooked Room education conference in 2017. She is one of three local teens, along with three South American teens, who will be a featured in a documentary by NYC-based Human Pictures. The film, still in development, highlights the striking similarities between racial climates and student activism in Ferguson, MO and a small town in Colombia. The goal is to have each set of teens visit the others’ country next summer.

Lauryn was an invited speaker for the student Democrats at Saint Louis University in March 2018, where she gave a very engaging lecture about her experience of growing up as a black girl in a mostly white community. In addition, she was interviewed about her activism on NPR radio last summer. Lauryn was selected by her school to attend a fully paid in-residence program this summer to study race relations and activism. She was also recently accepted for the Cultural Leadership program, a year long intensive learning experience focused on Jewish and African American history and cultures. The program will culminate in a three week long adventure to various historically significant sites in the US next summer.

Lauryn plans to continue learning and developing her skills as a writer and activist. She is also passionate about her spoken word poetry writing and performances. She’s a member of the Show Me Arts Academy, a youth performance arts organization, and Youth Poet Ambassador at Urb Arts in St. Louis. 


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Jae Sheperd

Jae Shepherd (they/them) is a 26 year old flower boi passionate about community health & wellness, healing, twerkin, staying hydrated, and black liberation.  Jae is the house manager for Bravely, a residential community for women who have survived lives of commercial sexual exploitation (trafficking and prostitution), violence and addiction. Jae is a co-facilitator for Flower Boi Support, a peer lead support group created for masculine center people of color to unlearn toxic masculinity & hold each other accountable. Jae is also a NASM certified personal trainer who is excited to assist their community in their holistic fitness goals. Jae teaches a twerk fitness class called Booty Werk! Jae seeks to motivate their community to choose yourself always, commit to yourself always, &  celebrate the wholeness & complexities of yourself always. 

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LadyAshley Gregory

A native of St. Louis and the grandniece of the late civil right activist Dick Gregory, LadyAshley Gregory’s  passion is civil rights specifically focusing on bringing awareness to transphobia. She has become a notable transgender rights activist in her home of St. Louis. Joining the Board of the The Metro Trans Umbrella Group  as its first cisgender member in 2016. She works to create a more supportive and inclusive community in the St. Louis area. Within this grassroots non profit organization she diligently works as an ally to the trans community. LadyAshley also teaches Cultural Humility and Allyship trainings through the Metro Trans Umbrella Group for businesses within the St. Louis area.

LadyAshley is also the lead support group facilitator for QTPOC:STL , a group dedicated to uplifting queer and transgender people of color in the St. Louis area through providing resources, community, and a support system. With her tagline being “Black, Bisexual and Bipolar,” she brings awareness to disparities and  injustices within in communities of people of color, the bisexual community, as well as mental health awareness.

LadyAshley Gregory has had the opportunity to sit on panels with activist such as Cece Mcdonald and has spoken on the topics of Black Girl Magic, the absence of Black,Queer representation in the media, and Transgender health disparities.LadyAshley is a Graduate of Kalamazoo College and has her master degree in Human Resources Development from Webster University.


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