lead Facilitators

Shadiin Garcia - RJI Network Facilitator

Carol Redfield Mims

Facilitator: Restorative Justice Circle & Teacher Support Circle – Jackson, Mississippi

Dr. Carol Redfield-Mims joins IDEA’s team of facilitators with fifteen years of experience. Her professional path has offered her several rich experiences as a facilitator, adjunct professor, curriculum specialist, instructional coach, restorative justice practitioner, community organizing, and lesson plan creator for BetterLesson. Her most significant accomplishments are meeting students and teachers where they are in their learning and working with them to help cultivate their unique crafts.

Dr. Redfield-Mims holds a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Grand Canyon University, a master’s degree in Reading Education, and an undergraduate degree in education K-6 from Jackson State University.  

Dr. Redfield-Mims resides in Utica, MS. When she is not engaged in her work as an educator, she enjoys writing and publishing books for young girls of color, advocating, and spending time with her family.

Delma Jackson - RJI Network Facilitator

Delma Jackson III

Network Facilitator: Racial Justice Institute

Delma Jackson III (he/his/him) is an activist, facilitator, writer, counselor, and lecturer.

His research covers a variety of issues including: American pop-culture and media literacy, Islamophobia in America and abroad, Hip-Hop in the context of a Black musical legacy, sexism and media, linguistic authenticity in cross-cultural dialogues, white identity, America’s love affair with violence, the legacy of Black comedy in America, African Americans and history of health care, and African Americans in the context of US housing policy.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in African-American Studies and Psychology from Eastern Michigan University (EMU) and his Masters degree in Liberal Arts with a focus on American/African American Studies from the University of Michigan.

Delma has twice conducted research on Afro-European identity. In 1999, he traveled to the Netherlands to explore the Dutch role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. In 2014, he went back to the Netherlands to explore migration and immigration patterns across Western Europe as well as European racialized pop-culture and its impact on Afro-Dutch identity.

He has lectured on various topics across multiple venues including New York University’s Tisch School for Performing Arts, Toledo University’s Graduate School for Criminal Justice, Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and twice at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education (NCORE).

Jill (Yill) Ruchala, IDEA Facilitator - Antiracism Course for White Educators, How Are You Doing With Your Whiteness?

Jill (Yill) Ruchala

Facilitator: IDEA’s Antiracism Course for White Educators

Jill Ruchala has been an educator, facilitator, and coordinator of educational programs, events, and gathering spaces for 20 years in the US and abroad. She’s passionate about cooperative learning models, adult education, antiracist education (in small and large scale), and language acquisition. Her work has included coordinating global education programs for youth with the United Nations Foundation, serving as Director of the English Department at a state university in rural Oaxáca, Mexico, teaching English as a Second (and 3rd, 4th, 5th, …) Language to migrant adults in DC, and supporting/nudging white folks as we embrace more humanity in ourselves and others. See also: hiking, houseplants, community-supported agriculture, buy nothing groups/swaps, and photography. Yill lives in Washington, DC, on ancestral land of the Nacotchtank people, where taxation without representation is a daily experience.

Jonah Canner, IDEA Facilitator - Antiracism Course for White Educators, How Are You Doing With Your Whiteness?

Jonah Canner

Facilitator: IDEA’s Antiracism Course for White Educators  |  Coordinator: Racial Justice Institute

Jonah Canner is an ambassador for the world we have not yet built. He believes in people, community, and the obligation we have to make positive change in the world around us. Jonah’s primary areas of focus include racial equity, restorative justice, experiential education, and working through conflict. Jonah has been on the founding team of a public high school, a summer camp, a national education organization and an international change initiative. He has worked as a classroom teacher, a summer camp director, and a consultant offering mentoring, training, and support for individuals and organizations. Jonah has a Masters in Education from the New School University in New York. His current work projects include: How’re You Doing with Your Whiteness – a course for white educators working to embody an Antiracist practice – through the Institute for Democratic Education in America; and Breaking Binaries, Building Connections – an approach to Israel education that is rooted in critical analysis, nuanced argument and shared community values – through the New Israel Fund. In his free time Jonah is writing a collection of memoir essays that explore questions of grief, identity, ancestry, and place.

Jonah Canner, IDEA Facilitator - Antiracism Course for White Educators, How Are You Doing With Your Whiteness?

Khalif Williams

Arc Facilitator: Racial Justice Institute

Khalif Williams has spent more than 25 years working near the nexus of education and social change, guided by the wisdom of young people and their clear longing for the beloved community. He most recently served as Program Director in charge of strategy development and implementation for both the Bay and Paul Foundation’s PreK-12 Transformative Learning Practices and Indigenous Leadership in Climate Education programs.

Over the last two decades, he has created partnerships for racial equity in higher education, consulted for nonprofits and community groups on strategy and organizational development, served nine years as the Executive Director of the Institute for Humane Education, and served as the Director of a local independent elementary school.

As a relational philanthropist and resource organizer, he developed and oversaw portfolios in Vermont, Mississippi, and Michigan that focused on fostering transformative capacity in school systems and communities toward greater equity and deeper learning. His work supported and elevated efforts to bring social justice and sustainability to the center of our purpose as educators and learners.

He has stepped down from his previous roles to explore ecosystem rebalancing, and BIPoC healing through earth connection. His work has long been deeply informed by his contemplative practice and sense of play as a musician, poet, and artist.

Lori Tapahonso - RJI Fellowship Facilitator

Lori Tapahonso

Fellowship Coordinator & Facilitator: Racial Justice Institute

Lori Tapahonso (Diné/Acoma Pueblo) is a public relations specialist, a teacher, a consultant, a storyteller, a jeweler, and an actor. She has a strong background in adult education and training. Communication is her passion and the catalyst for developing communication-based, life-skills training seminars specifically for Indigenous audiences.

She is currently the Native American Program Coordinator at Lane Community College where is manages the development and implementation of programming specifically geared towards Native students at Lane. In her position, Lori teaches Native American leadership college courses and produces a summer youth college readiness program for Native high school students in Oregon. She also manages the daily use and scheduling of the Lane Longhouse, a culturally significant community and college gathering space on campus.

Lori comes to Lane with a strong tribal college background. She most recently served as the Education Project Specialist at the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in Albuquerque, NM, where she was responsible for project management on behalf of the President on matters pertaining to academics, integrated advising, housing, college readiness, recruitment, and public relations. Prior, she served as the Senior Public and Community Relations Officer for the six campuses of Diné College. In this position, she specialized in event promotion; media communication; internal communication; collaborative recruitment; strategic marketing development; and social media management. Lori also served as the Executive Assistant and Public Information Officer at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS. At Haskell, she also developed and taught college courses in the Communication Studies department, specializing in Speech Communication, Public Speaking, Intercultural and Interpersonal Communication. Outside of her tribal college work, Lori is also a consultant who specializes in developing Communication-specific and culturally responsible training seminars/programs for organizations and tribes.

Lori holds a master’s degree in Liberal Arts- Management and Leadership from Baker University; a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from The University of Kansas; and an associate’s degree in Theatre Arts from Haskell Indian Junior College (now, Haskell Indian Nations University).

Lori currently resides in Eugene, OR. She is a mother of two adult children, Chamisa Bah and Briana Nezbah; and is married to James Snyder, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at the University of Oregon.

Delma Jackson - RJI Network Facilitator

Miriam Gray

Facilitator: Restorative Justice Circle & Teacher Support Circle – Jackson, Mississippi

Ms. Miriam Gray, a decade-long educator, currently serves as an Instructor at Jackson State University and is the founder of Servant Leaders Institute. Gray credits her upbringing in Fayette, Mississippi, time spent in Cape Town, South Africa, and teaching experience as catalysts for her commitment to education and challenging structural inequalities.

Trained as a Restorative Justice educator, human rights advocate, and social justice leader, Gray has an extensive background in public school education systems and community outreach. Gray’s background and partnerships with local community leaders, have afforded her the opportunity to provide students an enriching learning environment. It has also afforded her the opportunity to work with and serve fellow educators to foster healthy work environments.

Throughout her time in education, Gray has successfully coordinated resourceful events and workshops for students, parents, and teachers. Gray volunteered and trained tirelessly with the Jackson Human Rights Institute for four years to help ensure Jackson, MS upheld its commitment to be a human rights city. She now continues this work beyond the Human Rights Institute. Most recently, Gray successfully completed the Mississippi Black Leadership Institute for Public Policy 2018-2019 cohort. Gray is excited and grateful to continue serving fellow educators and students in various capacities.

Sarika Tandon - RJI Network Facilitator

Michelle Henry

Facilitator: Parent Support Circle – Jackson, Mississippi

Michelle Henry is a lover of all things Jackson, Mississippi. From its food, to its rich heritage and history, but most importantly its people. Her work in school districts across the nation has poised her to see the inequities that face Black students in the public education realm. This awakening has motivated her to take the struggles of the past and share them with the scholars of the present to create a Jackson commUNITY can be proud of. She currently serves as the lead City-Manager for Own Your Story Jackson.

Regina D. Laurie - RJI Network Facilitator

Regina D. Laurie

Network Facilitator: Racial Justice Institute

Over the past 20 years, Regina D. Laurie (she/her/hers) has worked as an educator, lead facilitator, trainer, activist, and consultant engaging residents in communities shaped by decades of disinvestments and systemic oppression to become change makers. Regina currently serves as Race & Gender Equity Coordinator at the YWCA of Greater Flint where she is responsible for the implementation of race & gender equity programming, Challenging Racism curriculum development, all associated training components, and supporting initiatives to help advance transformational change for girls and women and the greater Flint Community.

Before joining the YWCA, Regina was a Lecturer in the University of Michigan-Flint’s Public Health and Health Sciences Department where she taught a required Cultural Competency in Health Care course, and served as a consultant providing a range of services including building effective facilitation teams, forming coalitions based on values of equity, authenticity, justice, empathy, intentionality and creating healthy community processes; designing processes for engagement with and alongside groups and organizations working on racial justice, environmental justice, addressing food insecurity, healthy sexuality, and growing organizational effectiveness and equity; helping organizations to identify and manage conflict, and working directly with and training teams to acknowledge, appreciate and integrate young people and elders through the power of storytelling to strengthen intergenerational community capacity.

In all her work, Regina strives to transform ideals into action to create a more just world for all human beings.

“When I dare to be powerful to use my strength in the service of my vision then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” Audre Lorde

Sarika Tandon - RJI Network Facilitator

Sarika Tandon

Network Facilitator: Racial Justice Institute

Sarika Tandon is an equity strategist and racial justice advocate.  She consults, teaches, writes, speaks, and collaborates at the intersection of race, equity, and environmental issues. Sarika is deeply committed to working within the climate and environmental movement to address issues of racial injustice and to support the inherent power, brilliance, and well-being of communities of color.

Sarika is the Curriculum Director of the Racial Equity Leadership Lab, a collaborative racial equity learning space for conservation leaders within the Cities Network of the Nature Conservancy. She is an Adjunct Faculty member at Antioch University New England’s Graduate School of Environmental Studies, where she teaches about Justice, Equity and the Environment and Climate Justice and Equitable Adaptation. She is an Equity Strategist with Shelburne Farms where she is the lead designer and facilitator for the Power Equity Privilege and Race professional learning program.

In 2020 Sarika co-developed and led the Climate Justice Deep Dive for research faculty with the Sustainable Solutions Lab at UMass Boston. Sarika is Co-Senior Editor and contributing author in the first iteration of The Field Guide to Conservation in Cities, a guidebook for practitioners doing urban conservation with communities of color and financially poor communities.

As a Program Director at Center for Whole Communities, Sarika led the development of Whole Measures for Urban Conservation, an equity-oriented planning, evaluation and community engagement focusing on justice and fairness, economic vitality, community engagement and community resilience.

Sarika has served as co-advisor to Montpelier High School’s Racial Justice Alliance, and serves on the Advisory Boards of the Education Justice Coalition of Vermont, and the Montpelier Community Justice Center. She serves on the BIPOC Advisory group for Renew Vermont.

Sarika is a first generation Indian-American, who grew up in the suburbs of Rochester NY. Her family comes from the foothills of Himachal Pradesh. Sarika was deeply influenced and inspired by the East Bay Area’s rich activist traditions while studying at the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned dual degrees in Peace and Conflict Studies and Conservation and Resource Studies. Before returning to graduate school, she worked for several years with her partner to build Restorative Formulations, a socially and environmentally responsible natural medicine company. She was able to pursue her twin interests in social and environmental justice while earning a Master’s degree in Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability from Antioch University New England’s Department of Environmental Studies. Sarika lives with her family in Vermont.

Shadiin Garcia - RJI Network Facilitator

Shadiin Garcia

Network Coordinator & Facilitator: Racial Justice Institute

Shadiin Garcia is Laguna Pueblo and Chicana from New Mexico, the heart of Aztlán. She is devoted to her two sons and her sister’s two daughters.

Across education, philanthropy, advocacy, policy, strategy and leadership, Shadiin works to counteract the systemic inequity created by colonization. She has an unrelenting belief that centers the full humanity of all people and children.

As Organizational Strategy & Innovation lead, Shadiin drives collective processes that harness people’s lived experiences by uplifting and reinforcing community practices. She achieves this by being in alignment with the land under our feet and leading client work with her deep knowledge of people power, curiosity and love.

Her areas of expertise include:

  • Asset-based community engagement with a focus on creating clarity for all participants 
  • Development and implementation of policy for K-12 public education environments
  • Deep expertise in Indigenous education, including work with federally recognized sovereign nations and organizations such as the National Indian Education Association 
  • Support of professional learning communities that cultivate peer-to-peer learning models 
  • Organizational strategy and leadership development for schools, nonprofits and foundations
  • Centering sovereignty, racial justice and belonging in all her work

Her experience includes:

  • Senior strategy and operations advisor for the Oregon Department of Education
  • Executive director of the Educator Advancement Council in Oregon
  • Deputy director of Policy and Research, Chief Education Office
  • Indian Education lead consultant at Education Northwest

Shadiin has a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University as well as two degrees from the University of Oregon: a master’s in educational leadership and a PhD in critical and sociocultural studies.

Shadiin brings her expertise as the board chair of the Women’s Foundation of Oregon. She also serves on the boards of College Possible and Carry It Forward. Additionally, she is an Indigenous education consultant for the Partnership for the Future of Learning and the Bay and Paul Foundations.

She describes herself as an awkward runner, voracious reader, irreverent storyteller, terrible dancer, slow hiker and deep-belly laugher. Her friends describe her as a “truth-teller” and “mirror-holder” who centers everyone’s wisdom and gifts.

Shadiin, currently, is an Executive Vice President and Organizational Strategy and Innovation Lead at Metropolitan Group.

Yaniyah Pearson - RJI Fellowship Facilitator

Yaniyah Pearson

Fellowship Coordinator & Facilitator: Racial Justice Institute

Yaniyah Pearson formed Transformation In Action in 1996 in response to requests from youth-service organizations wanting a holistic (psycho-social-political) approach to working with youth and their communities. Yaniyah Pearson (she, her) has been working in the fields of youth and human services for over 40 years. As a facilitator and senior manager in the areas of youth development, leadership development, community building, transformative justice, and racial equity, she has crafted transformational experiences for youth and adults nationally and internationally. For 3 summers, she supervised groups of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) youth in an unprecedented cultural exchange program in Russia and Uzbekistan.

She has dedicated much of her career to galvanizing support for urban older youth/young adults. As an appointed member of the Youth Council of the Workforce Investment Board of NYC she co-designed policy and best practices for youth workforce development. For 12 years Yaniyah worked with YouthBuild USA as a T.A. provider and the director of YouthBuild Brownsville advancing youth leadership as a transformational process. She introduced yoga, meditation, and “spiritual” retreats to YouthBuild youth and staff. nationwide. She received a Safe Haven award for her service. As the Human Services director in Newburgh, NY Yaniyah launched a comprehensive community development and violence prevention strategy that brought together faith based leaders, community based organizations, and newly formed neighborhood associations. As the Director of Restorative Justice and Racial Equity Initiatives at Ramapo for Children, Yaniyah worked with Dr. Stacey Alicea to build capacity for whole school restorative justice implementation in New York City, Baltimore and New Jersey. She has presented on racial equity and restorative justice at local and national conferences. She is a MDNFL certified Mindfulness Instructor bringing present awareness practices into her work. She is also a regular guest instructor for the IDEA Educators Antiracism Course for white educators where she applies energetic healing practices to help educators transform internalized patterns of dominant culture. As a cultural activist and performing artist, Yaniyah is often called upon to create community ceremonies to uplift healing and cultural pride. She is a published writer and a 2017 Sinister Wisdom Pushcart-nominated author.

Yaniyah has a master degree in Counseling Psychology specializing in Adolescent Development. She honed her skills in group development and facilitation at the National Training Laboratory (NTL) Institute for Human Development. She has received in depth restorative circle keeping training from Kay Pranis, Erin Dunlevy, and the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP).

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