Monday, July 14, 7:30-9:00 pm
Weinstein Auditorium (Wright Hall)
Moderator: Kenta Asakura, M.S.W.; Panelists: Tomas Alvarez, M.S.W.; Enroue Halfkenny, M.S.W.; Keshia Williams, M.S.W.
This panel will convey the power of Smith School for Social Work's anti-racism mission and the continued support of students of color. In light of the new dean's tenure, The Council for Students of Color wants to acknowledge the importance of this commitment for students (as future professional social workers), teachers, and the social work field. This focus is crucial in increasing future social workers' awareness of oppression and encouraging positive changes in the field. Panelists will highlight the importance of centering race and racism work in our social work education and help continue the tradition of centering students of color and anti-racism at Smith College's School for Social Work.
Kenta Asakura is a 2004 graduate of Smith College School for Social Work. As an immigrant gay man of color, he brings his own lived experience and social locations into his clinical practice, teaching and research. As a doctoral candidate in Social Work at the University of Toronto, Kenta has published and/or presented on the following three substantive areas: (1) health and well-being among LGBTQ youth and adults, (2) relevance of contemporary psychodynamic theory in social work practice and education, and (3) advancing anti-racist and anti-oppressive commitment in social work education. Kenta currently holds adjunct faculty appointments at the University of Toronto and Smith College School for Social Work. He also works as a faculty field advisor and maintains part-time agency and private practice in Toronto, working primarily with LGBTQ clients of color.
Tomas Alvarez III - In 2004 while a graduate student at Smith College School for Social Work, Tomas pioneered one of the country's first Hip Hop Therapy programs that used the process of creating rap music as a tool for promoting mental health and healing among urban youth uninterested in traditional talk therapy. Today, Tomas' Hip Hop Therapy program has become a benchmark and serves youth throughout the Bay Area. In 2011 Tomas founded Beats Rhymes and Life, Inc. (BRL), a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California, dedicated to improving mental health and social outcomes among marginalized youth.
In addition to his current role as CEO of BRL, Tomas serves as the Co-Chair for the Advisory Committee for the Center for Multicultural Development, a cultural competency advocacy project based out of the California Institute for Mental Health. In 2012 NBCLatino.com named Tomas one of the country's Top 20 Innovators, whose work is changing their fields. The top honor placed him in the company of other innovators such as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Dolores Huerta. More recently, Tomas was elected to serve as a lifetime Fellow by the Ashoka Foundation, an international organization that supports social entrepreneurs whose bold ideas have the power to transform patterns in society.
Enroue Halfkenny is a licensed clinical social worker, a graduate of Smith College School for Social Work, an artist, a social justice activist and a priest within the traditional Yoruba culture and religion. He works part time at a child and family community mental health clinic addressing issues of complex trauma, problematic sexual behaviors and with issues impacting military families. Enroue also has a private practice, Healing and Liberation Counseling, where he works with individuals, couples, families, organizations and communities.
Keshia Williams is a Clinical Social Worker and Adjunct Faculty member at NYU Silver School of Social Work and Smith College School for Social Work. She focuses on issues of diversity, racism, oppression and privilege as they manifest in family and community violence and school based practice. She works collaboratively to co-create meaningful relationships that are inclusive of the wholistic human experience. Keshia Williams graduated from Smith College School for Social Work where she developed her interest in psychodynamic frameworks as well as postmodern modalities such as narrative therapy, the use of reflecting teams and Open Dialogue. She is currently working to make her practice more dialogic and is supported by the Institute for Dialogic Practice at the Mill River Brassworks. Keshia Williams' work has led her across the globe and granted her the opportunities to work with diverse ethnic, racial and religious communities around the world and within the United States and Canada. She strives to provide services that are attentive, collaborative and driven by forward movement towards all forms of liberation.