Equity & Inclusion Speaker Series

Westside School is excited to partner with local independent schools to sponsor the Equity & Inclusion Speaker Series, which offers our community the opportunity to connect, learn, and engage in topics around equity, inclusion, and antiracist education and action. The purpose of this series is to raise awareness, challenge ourselves, deepen understanding, and empower our communities to advance their efforts to actively recreate systems into equitable, inclusive, and antiracist institutions. The program invites 4-5 speakers throughout the academic year to create access to recognized authors and speakers that engage participants in complex topics through dialogue, cross-cultural communication, and a deeper understanding of the impact that racism and oppression have in our institutions and the greater society. Find out more here. 


Ruha Benjamin

Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez

Storytelling as Resistance: Experience at Predominantly White Institutions and Generational Trauma
Thursday, October 5, 2023, 6:00–7:15 pm

In this talk, Prisca Dorcas will name what it means to attend a predominantly white institution, PWI, as a non-white person. She will also address generational trauma, telling stories about her own experiences with therapy, the stigmas around therapy, being 1st generation, and the experiences with being from a war-torn country has meant for her and her family. She will also explore ways to reclaim traditions while healing from generational trauma. 

Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez was born in Managua, Nicaragua, but calls Nashville, Tennessee home. She is a feminist, theologian, storyteller, and advocate, founder of Latina Rebels, and author of “For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts” A Love Letter to Women of Color.” Mojica Rodríguez merges storytelling with pedagogy to help folks understand the larger forces at play, also known as systemic oppression.

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Dr. Bernice A. King

Dr. Bernice A. King

A Conversation with Dr. Bernice A. King 
February 8, 2024, 5:00–6:15 pm RSVP

Dr. Bernice A. King is a global thought leader, strategist, solutionist, orator, peace advocate, and CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center For Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), which was founded by her mother as the official living memorial to the life, work, and legacy of her father. In this position, Bernice continues to advance her parents’ legacy of nonviolent social change through policy, advocacy, research, as well as education & training through the Kingian philosophy of nonviolence, which she re-branded Nonviolence365TM️ (NV365). See Complete Bio

Recording (Available until August 2024)

For those of you who missed it, the recording of the conversation with Dr. Bernice A King is now available to extend the reach of the discussion and allow those who couldn't attend live to still benefit from the insights shared.


Dr. Megan Asaka PhD

Dr. Megan Asaka

Beyond the Model Minority: Asian American Histories of Resistance and Renewal in the Pacific Northwest and Beyond
March 13, 2024, 6:00–7:15 pm RSVP

In this talk, Dr. Megan Asaka will examine how Asian Americans have responded to, challenged, and resisted anti-Asian racism and injustice. Though often portrayed as passive “model minorities,” Asian Americans have a rich legacy of resistance and militant action that has long been overlooked. Focusing on historical accounts from in and beyond the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Asaka will offer a new understanding of the Asian American past as a pathway for future action.

Award-winning scholar, writer, and teacher of Asian American history, urban history, and public humanities. She is the author of Seattle from the Margins: Exclusion, Erasure, and the Making of a Pacific Coast City, which examines the erased histories of the communities that built Seattle. The book was inspired by her own family history in Seattle as well as her work as an oral historian and archivist for Densho, a community-based organization that seeks to preserve and share the stories of the Japanese American incarceration. She is an assistant professor of history at the University of California, Riverside and lives in Pasadena.

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Ruha Benjamin

Race to the Future? Reimagining the Default Setting of Technology and Society
May 23, 2024, 6:00–7:15 pm RSVP

From automated decision systems in healthcare, policing, education and more, technologies have the potential to deepen discrimination while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to harmful practices of a previous era. In this talk, Ruha Benjamin takes us into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech predictions with historical and sociological insight. When it comes to AI, Ruha shifts our focus from the dystopian and utopian narratives we are sold, to a sober reckoning with the way these tools are already a part of our lives. Whereas dystopias are the stuff of nightmares, and utopias the stuff of dreams… utopias are what we create together when we are wide awake.

Ruha Benjamin is a professor of African American studies at Princeton University, founding director of the Ida B. Wells JUST Data Lab and author of three books, Viral Justice (2022), Race After Technology (2019), and People’s Science (2013), and editor of Captivating Technology (2019).  Ruha Benjamin speaks widely about the relationship between innovation and inequity, knowledge and power, race and citizenship, health and justice.

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