2022 Nonprofit Summit: Courageous Conversation

​The 2022 Nonprofit Summit held in May was the first in-person Summit for two years! Thanks to our funding partner, the Delaplaine Foundation Inc. a wonderful time was had by all.

Dr. LaKeisha Cook of Courageous Conversation gave a thrilling and inspiring keynote presentation. She called on the group to reflect on how bias presents itself, how to ready ourselves and engage with the challenging work of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and called all audience members to act. The pursuit of racial equity has been present in LaKeisha’s work in the nonprofit sector and advocacy field. Her commitment led her to advocate with a group of social-justice-minded individuals in Virginia against capital punishment. This work was successful and resulted in Virginia being the first state of the south to end capital punishment. Her work continues as she serves on the executive board of Interfaith Power in Light to challenge environmental and social injustices.

Accompanying the inspiring words of LaKeisha was the advice of the distinguished panelists: Dr. Denise Rollins, Dr. Kantahyanee Murray, Tara Taylor, Jose Dominguez, and Noah Smock. This group presented clever and innovative ideas about how to intentionally include actions and language into your everyday life that supports DEI including leaving an open chair at every meeting to represent those that are not at the table. Another encouragement was to embrace the challenging and uncomfortable situations – it shows that you are growing and changing. And did someone just use an inappropriate term or phrase? Challenge this individual’s perspective with thought-provoking questions (“oh, are we still using that work/phrase?”) and by trying to understand. Small things like these are what can be done daily to continually break down barriers and support diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The panelists and keynote of the day left everyone feeling energized and ready to tackle uncomfortable conversations. The Nonprofit Summit Committee hopes that this day will inspire you to continue these conversations and engage more with this work at your own institutions!

Check out the full photo gallery here!

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