Our Presenters & Performers

hernandez version of head shot 2Jillian Hernandez, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Ethnic & Critical Gender Studies, University of California, San Diego

Jillian Hernandez, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Ethnic Studies Department and Critical Gender Studies Program at the University of California–San Diego, independent curator, and community arts educator. Her transdisciplinary research investigates processes of racialization, sexualities, embodiment, girlhood, and the politics of cultural production ranging from underground and mainstream hip hop to visual and performance art.  jillhernandez@ucsd.edu

rnbrownphotoRuth Nicole Brown, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Education Policy, Organization and Leadership University of Illinois Champaign Urbana

Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown is an assistant professor in the Gender and Women’s Studies and Education Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies Departments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research documents, analyzes, and interrogates Black girls’ lived experiences as it intersects with cultural constructions of Black girlhood. Her second book, Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood (University of Illinois Press, 2013), is an ethnographic account of the creative processes Black girls rely on to make intelligible the ways power, creativity, spirituality, memory, and performativity structure meanings of belonging. This book draws directly from her experiences in SOLHOT. SOLHOT (Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truths), founded in 2006 by Ruth Nicole Brown, is a commitment by Brown in collaboration with the Champaign community to organizing a “space” dedicated to the celebration of Black girlhood in all of its complexity.

View the Hear Our Truths Music Video/Book Trailer

Visit Save Our Lives Hear Our Truths

AnyaWallaceHeadshotAnya Wallace, Ph.D. Candidate
Ph. D. Candidate, Penn State University

Anya Wallace is currently a PhD candidate in Art Education and Women’s Studies at Penn State University. In addition to her scholarship,  she is a visual artist—with concentration in black and white craft photography and painting. She received a BA from Agnes Scott College in Studio Art and Spanish and studied Photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her work in photography is shaped by a desire to visually narrate the stories of Black girlhood. She has worked in the service of girls through program and curriculum development with the Girl Scouts of the USA (Savannah, GA) and recently as the Director of MOCA, North Miami’s Women on the Rise! outreach program for girls. She is the founder of The Vibrator Project a creative space designed to investigate the self-knowledge of young women of color regarding their perceptions about sexual pleasure. Her research interests center on the intersection of art theory, social justice, literature, and women’s health.  Combined with photographic field study, her scholarship invests in documenting the pedagogies and social activism related to reproductive health, sex, and sexuality among Black women and girls.
Follow Anya on Twitter @NYNFSuperstar

Isabel Moros-Rigau
Artist & B.C.C.P. Youth Development Program Director, Brooklyn College Community Partnership / RFCUNY

Isabel Moros-Rigau is a visual artist whose artwork intends to idealize the inescapable and potential relations between and within people anywhere; through surreal video collages that include animated creatures, audio field recordings, make-shift landscapes, and overlapping layers of images and all of these together, Moros-Rigau wants to remind you of something familiar, something akin to a human fabric.  Currently, as a professional in Youth Development, Moros-Rigau applies the same principles of connectedness to embrace the energy source of each individual and provide a resource and support network for teens.

photoNereida Garcia Ferraz
Visual Artist and WOTR! Educator

Nereida  Garcia Ferraz studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and currently works at MOCA’s Women on the Rise program and Perez Art Museum of Miami’s Brick X Brick Education Program. She co-produced and directed the award winner video-documentary Ana Mendieta: Fuego de Tierra.  Her work has been exhibited internationally and she is currently a resident at the Fountainhead Studios in Miami, FL. Nereida has been the recipient of the Ryerson Traveling Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship, the Illinois Arts Council Visual Arts Fellowship, and a Mac Arthur Foundation Media Grant. She was nominated to Anonymous Was A Woman in 2013.

CarlaSilvaCarla Silva
MSW, Executive Director, Alliance for GLBTQ Youth

Carla Silva has been advocating with and for queer youth for the past decade, mostly in New York City and now in Miami. She received her Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in 2004 with a concentration on Contemporary Social Problems.

Carla has dedicated her practice to developing the social work infrastructure of the communities she occupies. She is passionate about being an active contributor to social change with specific focus on issues impacting sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and class. Her experience ranges within a variety of systems, including: community-based organizations, treatment facilities, and secondary and collegiate academic settings. Carla created the infrastructure to sustain the premier transitional living program for homeless LGBT youth; executed a comprehensive sexual education needs assessment with the assistance from the New York City Department of Health; collaborated on the survey development and execution of a project focused on the sources of and institutional responses to anti-LGBT youth violence; cultivated and sustains a multi-agency service partnership with one collective vision to safeguard LGBT youth; and facilitates trainings and lead practice conferences on LGBTQ issues.

In addition to The Alliance, Carla is an adjunct professor at Barry University School of Social Work. She credits her successes to having a resolute work ethic and enduring commitment to being a change agent for community prosperity.

Neil de la Flor_headshot_2010_09Neil de la Flor
Executive Director/Founder, Reading Queer

Neil de la Flor is a writer, teacher, photographer and Executive Director of Reading Queer. His publications include An Elephant’s Memory of Blizzards (Marsh Hawk Press, 2013); Sinead O’Connor and her Coat of a Thousand Bluebirds (Firewheel Editions, 2011), co-authored with Maureen Seaton and winner of the Sentence Book Award; Almost Dorothy (Marsh Hawk Press, 2010), winner of the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize; Two Thieves and a Liar (Jackleg Press, 2013) and the chapbook Facial Geometry (NeoPepper Press, 2006), both co-authored with Maureen Seaton and Kristine Snodgrass.He earned an MFA at the University of Miami and was a Michener
Fellow. Neil can be reached at www.neildelaflor.com.

THEESatisfaction 3 (2012)Thee Satisfaction

THEESatisfaction are Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White. Stas was born and raised in Tacoma, Cat in Seattle and Hawaii. The pair live/laugh/love/dance and create in Seattle, WA. They write, produce and perform their own material, funk-psychedelic feminista sci-fi epics with the warmth and depth of Black Jazz and Sunday morning soul, frosted with icy raps that evoke equal parts Elaine Brown, Ursula Rucker and Q-Tip. They met by what was clearly cosmic happenstance at the University of Washington and haven’t stopped the flow since.

THEESatisfaction, the Queens Supreme. Bring yourself.

alliance_splashpg_01 Alliance for GLBTQ Youth

The Alliance for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning Youth coordinates a full range of quality services through partnerships with many Miami-Dade County service organizations. The Alliance serve youth, families and their communities while advocating for equal rights and status of all youth regardless of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity/ expression.

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 1.58.00 PMBreakthrough Miami

Breakthrough Miami provides an academic enrichment program that uses a student-teaching-students model to ensure that motivated, under-resourced middle-school students have access to excellent high-school opportunities, graduate from high school on time, and attend college. Today, Breakthrough Miami serves more than 1,000 students from across Miami-Dade County on sites located at five independent schools and one public charter school, and the program has become an eight-year program, guiding students from the 5th grade through high school graduation.

Breakthrough Miami has been partnering with Women on the Rise! for three years.

Pridelines Youth Services
Pridelines Youth Services is dedicated to supporting, educating and empowering South Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in a safe and diverse environment.

Pridelines Youth Services is a grassroots non-profit organization created by gay youth for LGBTQ youth and their allies in the wake of Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign.  Rooted in a peer-led/adult-facilitated youth group model, Pridelines has provided safe space, social support, skills building, leadership development and referrals to mental health, health care and support services for LGBTQ youth and their straight allies for more than 28 years. 

Pridelines Youth Services has been partnering with Women on the Rise! for over three years.

cropped-RQ-FACEBOOK-PROFILE-PICReading Queer

Founded by Neil de la Flor and Paula Kolek, Reading Queer seeks to establish Miami as a center for queer literature through an annual week-long literary festival, creative writing workshops led by nationally and locally recognized queer writers, a literary salon series and a literary archive. Reading Queer is open to all writers who create hybrid, genre-bending works that address queer identity.

Poetry Participants

Sara Ryan is a student at the University of Miami studying creative writing, art and psychology. She is the first woman editor-in-chief of Mangrove, University of Miami’s literary journal. She is from Chicago, Ann Arbor, California, and anywhere else she’s been. She has been published in Boxcar Poetry Review, Wingbeats, Uncommon Core and Bear Review. She loves cooking, reality TV, being hugged and writing until the sun rises. She aspires to pursue her MFA in poetry after graduating from the University of Miami.

Nadra Mabrouk was born in Cairo, Egypt and has lived in Miami, Florida for the past 16 years. Her work has appeared in Best Teen Writing of 2010 published by The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, Jai-Alai #6, and RHINO 2014. She graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Arts in English in April.

Annik Adey-Babinski is studying for her MFA in poetry at Florida International University in Miami. You can find some of her poems in recent issues of Hobart, Salamander and Transom journals. She’s online at annika-b.blogspot.com.

Marci Calabretta earned a poetry MFA from Florida International University, where she was awarded a Knight Fellowship. Her work has appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Chautauqua, and The MacGuffin, and other journals. Her chapbook, Last Train to the Midnight Market, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2013. She is a contributing editor for Florida Book Review.

Melany Rosa

logoUrgent Inc.

URGENT, Inc. is a non-profit Miami,  FL based youth and community development organization dedicated to empowering young minds to transform their communities.  Guided by the principles of innovation, growth and transformation URGENT sees young people as the drivers of change and works to provide empowering opportunities to create the next generation of social change agents.

Urgent Inc. has been partnering with Women on the Rise! for over 6 years.





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