Restorative Justice, Community Healing, and Indigenous Truths: An Ethnic Studies Symposium

Friday, April 22, 2022


Please register here!

A collaboration between CU Denver Ethnic Studies Program, CU Boulder Ethnic Studies Department, UC Colorado Springs Women’s & Ethnic Studies Program, and the University of Wyoming School of Culture, Gender, and Social Justice.

Sponsored by CU Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


*Schedule is still being finalized. Some panelists are not yet confirmed.


11am- Welcome

Dr. Faye Caronan, Associate Professor and Director, CU Denver Ethnic Studies


11:05-11:20am- Symposium Opening Meditation on Ethnic Studies, Restorative Justice, and Healing

Dr. Rachel Harding, Associate Professor, CU Denver Ethnic Studies

11:30am-12:45pm- Undergraduate research panel

Panel Discussant: LeRita Cavness (CU Denver)

LeRita Cavness, founder, and director of Adolescents Know Your Rights, encourages the next generation to learn their voice and make informed choices. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she migrated to Denver, Colorado, to raise her children. There LeRita earned her Master of Social Science with an emphasis in Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Denver. As a mother, a founder, appointed Commissioner, and Volunteer, she works continuously to increase equity, inclusion, and human potential through introspective conversations. A lover of the outdoors and the arts, LeRita never misses an opportunity to explore and create and experience the fullness of life has to offer.



Elena Deras Galdamez (CU Denver)

Elena Deras Galdamez is a junior double majoring in Political Science and Ethnic Studies. She was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM and recently moved back to Denver for school. Currently she is an intern at the Capitol through the CU at the Capitol program. Prior to that, she was working with PAL (Peer Advocate Leader) and hopes to return to the program next semester. She plans on working in the political field to continue furthering her political knowledge and experience. Both of her parents migrated from El Salvador to Santa Fe and have been in the U.S. for more than 20 years. Her Central American identity is really important to her, which is why she is really interested in learning about different identities and how people’s identities can serve as defining factors for them. 


Courtney Cowling, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Courtney Cowling (they/them) is a Women and Ethnic Studies major at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. They are interested in exploring the complex ways systems validate and encourage harm. Conversations with Courtney tend to be centered around prison abolition, houseplants, death, or their precious cat, Lumi. If you are lucky, they will find a way to incorporate them all.


Leann Fremont, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Mary Leann Fremont is completing a double major at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs: a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Ethnic Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is committed to continuing her education towards a Certified Nurse Midwife and to bring babies into this world as a celebrated experience of life for all, focusing on women of color receiving equitable prenatal and birth care. Her ultimate goal is to open a water birthing cooperative that provides natural birthing options and provides equitable, affordable, and comprehensive care to all races of women in the southern Colorado area. Her desire is for this free-standing water birthing center, with surgical backup, to belong to the community.


Irina Amouzou, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Irina Amouzou has always had a passion for social justice and community involvement. They were born in Lomé, Togo. They are an activist and a poet in Colorado Springs, and holds multiple positions at UCCS, including being the Community Outreach Coordinator for MOSAIC and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, Co-President of QTPOC, and a 4th year Women's and Ethnic Studies major. 


Chloë Cross, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Chloë Cross is a senior student of Women’s and Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. One of her passions includes interweaving black lesbian feminist critique and pop culture. Her research seeks to expand perspectives beyond white heteropatriarchal academia and center marginalized subjects through her explorations and writings. 


Elyssa Hanley, CU Denver

Elyssa Hanley (she/they) is a junior majoring in Ethnic Studies at CU Denver. They are passionate about getting involved in their communities, especially those of LGBTQIA and sex work. They are on the organizing committee for the 2022 Pride Mutual Aid Fair, and they are looking into internship opportunities with Creative Strategies for Change this summer. In their free time, they enjoy dancing, trying out local vegan restaurants, and playing with their two kitties.


Richard Jeremiah, CU Denver


Chloe Frazee, CU Denver

Chloe Frazee is a fourth-year student working towards her bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and minors in Ethnic Studies. She recently got accepted into Teach for America and will be working as a teacher in Denver, Colorado when she graduates in May 2022. Her empathic nature is a quality she utilizes in her job, and her major as well. She is also a member of Alpha Phi Sigma, a Criminal Justice honors society on campus, and is working as Peer Advocate Leader at CU Denver, which shows her leadership qualities. In her free time, she enjoys painting and going on bike rides in nature.


Hope Hernandez, CU Denver

12:45-1:15pm- Lunch Break

1:15-2:15pm- Graduate Research panel

Panel Discussant: Dr. Chad Shomura, Assistant Professor, CU Denver Ethnic Studies

Chad Shomura is a political theorist, teacher, and artist based in Denver, Colorado. Chad was born and raised on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. His work focuses on affect and politics at the intersections of race, sexuality, coloniality, species, and materiality. It explores minoritarian struggles to survive and thrive, as well as the alternative ideas, aesthetics, and worlds that are created along the way. In his research and teaching, Chad engages canonical and nontraditional political thinkers through fields such as feminist, queer, and American studies and through various media, including poetry, literature, and film.


Caitlin Ross, CU Denver, "Contested Racial National Identity in Past and Present History Curriculum in Colorado"

Caitlin Ross taught Social Studies in Denver Public schools for 7 years. She decided to take a break from the classroom in order to learn critical knowledge she was lacking. She is a master’s student in the Social Justice track in the Humanities and Social Sciences program (MHMSS) at CU Denver and is in the process of finishing her graduate certificate in Ethnic Studies. She is currently working on a thesis that combines a historical analysis of U.S. history curriculum in Denver, racialized politics, national identity, and democracy. She is planning on returning to the high school classroom in the Fall.


Raquel Guerrero, CU Boulder “Chicana Reclamations of Indigenous Spiritual Mothering: The Complexities of Revitalizing Indigenous Maternal Spirit as Resistance Against Historic Trauma”

Raquel Hernandez Guerrero is a mother of two and a PhD student in the department of Ethnic Studies at CU Boulder. Her research seeks to understand the liberatory principles inherent both in the ritualization of spiritual resistances and in the formation of Chicanx spiritual identities. In her previous ethnographic research with danza Azteca/danza Conchero groups she focused on Chicanx reclamations of Indigenous spirit expressed through the vehicle of revitalization movements as a way in which to resist the historical forces of colonization, acculturation and forced assimilation. Her current research is focused on Chicanx religious hybridities of colonial and Indigenous maternal divinities and their relationalities to contemporary Chicana mothering.


Shawn O’neal, CU Boulder, “Audio Intersectionality: Self-Identification Within the Processes of Interdisciplinary Explorations in Sound, Music, and Performance”

Shawn Trenell O’Neal is a PhD candidate in the Department of Critical Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, in addition to a renowned DJ and audio producer. His research include: African American studies, musicology, ethnomusicology, queer and trans of color critique, and women of color feminisms. He is currently developing an interdisciplinary, and intersectional theoretical concept called Audio Intersectionality (A.I). A.I. can be defined as conjoining intersectional contexts such as race, gender, sexuality, class, with sound, music, and performance studies to evaluate the methods in which sound, music, and social performance are utilized operationally as strategies of resistance and platforms of activism (survival)


Roberto Mónico, CU Boulder, “Los Angeles and William H. Parker: Race, Vice, and Policing during the Red Scare”

Roberto is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He earned his Master’s degree in Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. He has taught classes for the Program of Writing and Rhetoric and Ethnic Studies Departments. Teaching has allowed Roberto to develop a curriculum where students’ subjectivity is centered. Roberto focuses on historical policing methods, specifically in the Los Angeles area, and how they impacted working-class African American and Latina/o/x communities. He’s also interested in the War on Drugs and its antecedents that dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. He has worked with California Prison Focus, Prison Activist Resource Center, Underground Scholars Initiative, and the Inside-Out Project.


Stanley Miller, CU Denver, "The Bahamas’ Tourism Plantation: An Exploration of the Impact of Tourism on the Bahamian Experience and its Reflections of a Colonial Past" 

Stanley D. Miller is a cultural historian, writer and graduate of the University of Georgia where he received B.A. in Political Science and B.A. in Journalism with a minor in Communication Studies and Brown University where he received a M.A. in American Studies. He is currently completing a PhD track graduate certificate in Ethnic Studies at UC Denver. His research interests are Caribbean Studies, Race, Politics, Displacement and Migration, Social Justice Movements, Black Masculinity and Urban Education. 


2:30-3:30pm- Ethnic Studies in Practice: What we do with an Ethnic Studies degree

Panel Discussant: Dr. Elizabeth Garcia, Visiting Assistant Professor, CU Denver Ethnic Studies

Elizabeth Garcia’s areas of specialty are Latino/a Studies, Ethnic Studies, Feminist & Gender Studies, Latina Women's Literature, Puerto Rican Studies, Latinx Children and Young Adult Literature. Her book, Healing Memories: Puerto Rican Women's Literature in the United States, a literary analysis of the works of Puerto Rican women from the diaspora, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2019. She also writew for the blog and for my own blog Brown Stories. In both sites I write reviews of books by Latinx and other BIPOC authors.



William Mundo, CU Denver alum

William Mundo (he/him) is a first-generation student and the son of two immigrants from Acapulco, Mexico. He was born in East LA but raised in the rural mountains of Leadville, Colorado. He is currently a fourth-year MD student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine applying into emergency medicine. He also earned his MPH in Global Health Systems Management and Policy from the Colorado School of Public Health. He is a former graduate from CU Denver with undergraduate degrees in ethnic studies and public health. He has been actively involved in various leadership experiences during his tenure at CU and recently authored his first book titled, “From Margins to Medicine.”


Whitley Hadley, UCCS

Whitley Hadley (she/they) is a Black, first-generation alumna of the WEST program at UCCS and currently serves as the Director of the MOSAIC and LGBTQ+ Resource Center at UCCS.


Brianna Leyva, UCCS alum

Brianna Leyva (she,they) currently works at Summit County Middle School as the Pre-Collegiate Parents and Student Coordinator. 


Betsabet Samarripa, CU Boulder alum

Betsabet Samarripa (they/she/elle/ella) is interested in critical disability studies, but more specifically the inaccessibility to education and healthcare for disabled people. 


Briannah Hill, CU Boulder alum

Briannah Hill (they/them) is a poet, storyteller, workshop facilitator, and educator. They graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a major in Ethnic Studies, emphasizing Blaqueer and Transgender Studies. They also have a minor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Unapolgeticness is the foundation for the life they live.


Victoria Acuña, CU Boulder alum

Victoria Acuña (she/her) is a Master's student in Education Policy at CU Boulder, having gotten her BA in Ethnic Studies last year as part of the BAMA program. In addition to getting Ethnic Studies in K-12 schools, as an abolitionist, she is interested in dismantling disciplinary practices that funnel youth into the school-to-prison pipeline.


Victoria Dadet, CU Boulder alum

Victoria Dadet (she/they) is an issue advocacy program manager who works with New Era Colorado and Soul 2 Soul Sisters. Since 2016 they have worked on three elections mobilizing young people and young Black folks to vote and take action on the issues they care about. She has also trained dozens of college students through the Brazen Project to be abortion rights organizers and lead successful campaigns to combat the stigmatiazing work that anti-abortion counseling centers do on our campuses.


Tiffany Tasker, CU Denver Alum

Tiffany Tasker is a Colorado native, doctoral student of the EdD program in Leadership for Educational Equity, Urban and Diverse Communities at the University of Colorado Denver. Tasker has the interest of studying gentrification, whiteness, and dominant frameworks and how they impact people of color. This has been explored through her thesis, Psychopathology of the Insomniac American Nightmare: Whiteness, Gentrification, and the supposed American Dream in Five Points, Denver, Colorado. She also is the Director of Outreach and Marketing and the Assistant Program Director of the Financial Education and Economic Transformation (FEET) Center and the Vice President of Friends of Guéoul where she focuses her efforts to contributing to education in marginalized communities.


3:45-4:15pm- Keynote: “Ethnic Studies and Radical Relationality: Subversive Technologies for Healing Our Communities and the Earth”

Dr. Clint Carroll, Associate Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, CU Boulder


Clint Carroll is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. He received his doctorate from the University of California Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in Anthropology, with a minor in American Indian Studies. A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, he works closely with Cherokee people in Oklahoma on issues of land conservation and the perpetuation of land-based knowledge and ways of life. His book, Roots of Our Renewal: Ethnobotany and Cherokee Environmental Governance (2015, University of Minnesota Press), explores how tribal natural resource managers navigate the material and structural conditions of settler colonialism, as well as how recent efforts in cultural revitalization are informing such practices through traditional forms of decision-making and local environmental knowledge. 


In his current work, funded by a National Science Foundation Early Career Award, he co-directs with a group of elders and wisdom-keepers a land education program for five Cherokee students; He also serve as Principal Investigator on our study about Cherokee plant gathering access in rural northeastern Oklahoma. Through this integrated education and community-based research project, the elders, students, and he seeks to formulate lasting methods for maintaining Cherokee land-based knowledge and to better understand how Cherokee people are negotiating access to land due to complex ownership patterns and the impact of shifting climate conditions. We hope that the results of the research will inform advancements in community-defined and -directed local ecosystem stewardship and tribal land conservation strategies

4:30-5:30pm Cross-campus meet and greet/happy hour

Come meet other Ethnic Studies scholars and students on the Front Range. Let’s build our networks and spark collaborations!