Featured Speakers and Presenters

Denise Oliver-Velez headshot

Denise Oliver-Vélez

Denise Oliver-Velez is currently an adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at SUNY New Paltz, and is a Contributing Editor for the progressive political blog Daily Kos. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1947, she currently lives in New York’s Hudson Valley on a small farm with her husband, dogs, cats and roosters; growing garlic and roses, and spending time with her hobby of African-American genealogical research, when she isn’t teaching or blogging or registering voters.

She has been a political activist and community organizer, was in the Civil Rights movement, women’s movement, and AIDS activism movement, and was a member of both the Young Lords Party and the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She worked in community media and public broadcasting for many years, and was a co-founder and program director of Pacifica’s first minority-controlled radio station, WPFW-FM, in Washington DC. She was the executive director of the Black Filmmaker Foundation. She has published ethnographic research as part of several HIV/AIDS intervention projects and is working on a book on the women of the Young Lords Party with co-author Iris Morales.


Dorothy Roberts

Dorothy Roberts is the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, with joint appointments in the Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology and the Law School, where she is the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights. She is also Founding Director of the Penn Program on Race, Science & Society. An internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate, Roberts has written and lectured extensively on the interplay of race and gender in U.S. institutions and has been a leader in transforming thinking on reproductive health, child welfare, and bioethics. She is the author of Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon 1997; Twentieth Anniversary Edition, Vintage 2017), Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books 2002), and Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century (New Press 2011) and more than 100 articles and book chapters, as well as co-editor of six books on constitutional law and gender. She has served on the board of directors of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Black Women’s Health Imperative, and National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, and her work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harvard Program on Ethics & the Professions, and Stanford Center for the Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity. Recent recognitions of her work include Columbia’s 2017 Mamie Phipps Clark & Kenneth B. Clark Distinguished Lecture Award, Society of Family Planning 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, and American Psychiatric Association 2015 Solomon Carter Fuller Award.

Karen Washington

Karen Washington

Karen Washington has lived in New York City all her life and has been a resident of the Bronx for over 30 years. Since 1985 Karen has been a community activist, striving to make New York City a better place to live. As a community gardener and board member of the New York Botanical Gardens, Karen has worked with Bronx neighborhoods to turn empty lots into community gardens. As a member of La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, she helped launched a City Farms Market, bringing fresh vegetables to her neighbors. Karen is the Just Food board Chair and a Just Food Trainer, leading workshops on food growing and food justice to community gardeners all over the city. Karen is a Why Hunger board member and the former president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, a group that was founded to protect and preserve community gardens. She co-founded Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings and has been key to Farm School NYC, whose mission is to train NYC residents in urban agriculture. In 2012 Ebony magazine voted her one of their 100 most influential African Americans in the country. In 2014 she received the James Beard Leadership Award. Professionally, Karen had been a Physical Therapist for 37 years, balancing her professional life with community service. Since retiring in April 2014, she is pursuing her passion for farming full-time at the Rise and Root Farm in Chester New York.

Featured Performer


Sonya Renee Taylor 

Sonya Renee Taylor is the Founder and Radical Executive Officer of The Body is Not An Apology, a digital media and education company committed to radicaselflove as the foundational tool for social justice and global transformation. Sonyas work as an award winning Performance Poet, Activist and transformational leader continues to have global reach. Sonya is a former Nationaand International poetry slam champion, author, educator and activist who has mesmerized audiences across the US, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, England, Scotland, Sweden, Brazil, Canada and the Netherlands as well as in prisons, mental health treatment facilities, homeless shelters, universities, festivals and public schools across the globe.


Workshop Presenters

Dr. Jacquilen Tomas, Ali headshot

Dr. Jacquilen Tomas, Ali

Dr. Jacquilen Tomas, Ali, ND is a naturopathic physician located in Philadelphia, PA with a client base throughout the United States. Dr. Ali has been a part of the holistic health community for more than 20 years. As a former classroom teacher and administrator in both the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare field, Dr. Ali understands the importance and the necessity in balancing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. This has become the main focus of her practice.

Black Women for Wellness Team


Marissa Chan

Marissa is a recent Urban and Environmental Policy graduate from Occidental College in Los Angeles with an interest in all things endocrine disruptor related. Her passion and work experience focuses on the intersection between exposure to place-based and product-based toxics and environmental justice. She is one of the newest additions to Black Women for Wellness as the Environmental Research and Policy Coordinator.


Nourbese Flint

On top of being a blerd with a background in journalism and an interest in all things X-Men and Batman related, Nourbese is the Policy Director and Manager of Reproductive Justice Programming for Black Women for Wellness. Her work focuses on addressing both the causes and symptoms of chemical exposures in, environmental racism towards, and the social marginalization of Black Women and women of color. She not only guides the reproductive health work at BWW, but also the community advocacy and policy efforts for equitable access to health services and toxic-free products for both consumers and salon workers.

CurlyCLE Team 


Nicole Liatos

Raised in the city of Van Wert, Ohio, just an hour shy of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Nicole Liatos is a small town girl with big city drive. Nicole has a passion for empowering and uplifting women. She uses her platform to create safe spaces to help individuals embrace their authentic selves. In the summer of 2014, Nicole helped with the launch of curlyCLE. Her organization strives to connect the natural hair community in the greater Cleveland area through workshops and events dedicated to celebrating, learning, and embracing who they are.

By day Nicole is a Program Manager at the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI). Nicole works closely with the Women’s Business Center (WBC). Her responsibilities include implementing new WBC entrepreneurship curriculums and programming, program management and community building at The Dealership (co-working space). She helps connect local entrepreneurs to resources to help their businesses grow.


Alana R. Lewis

Alana Lewis is a Legislative and Political Organizer with the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, the largest federal employee union representing 700,000 federal and D.C. government workers nationwide and overseas.  Previously, Alana worked as Political Coordinator for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO in Cleveland, OH.

Alana is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.A in Management. She believes that organized labor gives people the pride and dignity to live a decent life. Alana strives to inspire individuals who have a strong sense of purpose and values, encourage people to get back into the political process and give hope to the next generation of labor leaders.


Janielle Bryan headshot

Janielle Bryan

Janielle Bryan is a sexuality educator, advocate, and blogger based in Philadelphia. She holds a B.S. in Public Health from Temple University and is in the process of obtaining her Master of Public Health from Drexel University. She’s passionate about everyone having access to inclusive, comprehensive, and empowering sex education.

Jennifer Cline Headshot

Jennifer Cline

Moya Moon, 31, is the owner and operator of Herb Culture a small business producing herbal and plant based home and personal health products. As co-founder of Ascendant Light Healing Services, she provides services and tools to help people heal themselves through spiritual enrichment and holistic health. Currently, she is a fellow in the Patients to Advocates program, a leadership development, coalition project of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation, New Voices Cleveland, Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and Preterm.  During her years serving a natural foods cooperative she developed a working knowledge of herbs and whole foods and continues to feed her fascination with plants as a healing modality.



Brittany Brathwaite

Brittany is a reproductive justice activist and fierce protector of #blackgirlmagic from Brooklyn, NY. She holds a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Syracuse University and Master of Public Health and Social Work from Columbia University. She is also the co-founder and curious-curator at The Homegirl Box.

Kimberly Huggins Headshot

Kimberly Huggins

Kimberly is a sexual health enthusiast, co-founder of KIMBRITIVE and resident #trapscholar studying Social Work and Human Sexuality at Widener University. She also obtained her B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University and her Master of Public Health from SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

New Voices for Reproductive Justice Team


Lexi White

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and current MPP candidate at Temple University, Lexi White is a published writer, community organizer, wellness advocate and social justice activist whose work focuses on the advancement of health policy and the experiences, full wellness and liberation of Black Women, Women of Color and Queer and Trans People of Color. Lexi’s original, Philadelphia-based research on Black and Latina women’s experiences with street harassment was awarded the Caroll Smith-Rosenberg Prize. She currently works with New Voices for Reproductive Justice and is based here in the wonderful city that she calls home, Philadelphia.


Kinks, Locks & Twists headshots

Nhakia Outland

Nhakia Outland, MSW is a HIV Prevention Navigator for the Phila. Dept. Of Public Health. She is also the owner and principal consultant of Prevention is Key Consulting, a sexual health consulting business. She has multiple degrees and certifications and has been involved with sexual health, HIV, AIDS, and STI prevention for over 10 years. She enjoys advocating, working with, and addressing sexual health and prevention to underserved and marginalized communities.

Faith Peterson

Faith Peterson

Faith Peterson, M.D. is a physician, women’s health advocate, doula and breastfeeding counselor. She completed her internship in obstetrics and gynecology and has a focused interest in reproductive justice and perinatal mental health issues. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and their five children.

Shonettia Monique headshot

Shonettia Monique

Shonettia Monique takes a holistic approach to engaging the body, mind, and spirit to discuss issues of identity, oppression, and healing. She has extensive experience working intentionally with youth and women of color and has worked as a consultant to social service agencies, community groups, institutions, and universities. She is dedicated to love as liberation.

The Womanist Working Collective Team 

Johanna James

Johanna James

Johanna James is a Biologist from Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Her scientific training focused on signal transduction pathways in a Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer model system. She is committed to uplifting women of color and creating avenues of self-empowerment, self-reliance and self-care that foster a sense of well being in the here and now even while creating and rebuilding the communities in which they live and raise families.

LaTierra Piphus

LaTierra Piphus

LaTierra Piphus is a Professional Womanist and Community Organizer specializing in affinity groups for Black Queer & Trans folks and Black Women/Womyn/Womxn & Femmes. A Midwest native, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin with her B.A. in Communication, minor in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies & acquired certificates in Community Based-Learning and Media Literacy. In addition to living her passion and purpose through The Womanist Working Collective, she is acquiring her Masters of Social Work in Community Organizing practice.

Ahnna Scott

Ahnna Scott

Ahnna Scott is an Entrepreneur born and raised in the city of Philadelphia.She is dedicated to developing women of African-descent who desire to be self-reliant through business ownership. Her belief is that when you employ yourself you empower yourself and your community.

Check out all this #BlackGirlMagic 

Eventbrite - Kinks, Locks & Twists: Environmental & Reproductive Justice Conference™ 2017