Initiative 2: Centering Social Justice

Since our beginning, AWBW has been committed to offering art as an equitable tool for supporting marginalized communities, working to break cycles of violence and trauma. Additionally, over the past few years, our curriculum has grown to include culturally responsive workshops, and our trainings continue to expand on racism, oppression, and marginalization as forms of individual and intergenerational trauma.

We acknowledge though that we can — and must — do more.

The voices of social justice already emanate from within every sector we serve. Working together, we can amplify their volume and reach — and bring them to communities across the country. The action items under this initiative will strengthen AWBW’s commitment to equity and inclusion, empowering our network of facilitators to build on meaningful dialogue towards systems change.

Action Items:

  1. Creation of training scholarships for social justice organizations — members of which will then become thought leaders for AWBW work.
  2. Development of social justice workshops — focused on antiracism, social change, and potential action items for our communities — all shaped by facilitators who carry specific lived experiences that further understanding of inequity
  3. Extension of guidance and culturally responsive resources to allies and aspiring allies in our collective promotion of social justice
  4. A proactive search for BIPOC talent at staff, leadership, and board levels across our organization — drawn, in part, from job boards and community organizations centered in BIPOC communities

I CAN WE CAN Community Art Initiative, 2012

Self-Led Art Worksheets, 2020

Social Justice Fellowships

In honor of AWBW’s 30th Anniversary, we are deepening our commitment to community activism and promoting BIPOC voices through the creation of Social Justice Fellowships; full training scholarships supporting individuals who forward the establishment of equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout our society. These fellowships are rooted in AWBW’s history of supporting innovative and community-based solutions through the individual action of our facilitators.

Candidates for a Social Justice Fellowship will demonstrate their commitment to using art as a tool for collective activism, and will engage with other Fellows throughout the year to support and learn from their peers — co-creating collective resources that work to uproot, transform, and eradicate systems that foster inequity, disparity, and injustice in all forms.

By receiving this full training scholarship ($1500 value), Fellows commit to:

  • Provide a goal statement for how they intend to use art as a tool for promoting individual activism for collective change
  • Submit a monthly highlight story forwarding their leadership as a facilitator and exemplifying the impact of their arts practice
  • Attending quarterly “Resource Exchange” with your Fellowship cohort
  • Provide a photo and short bio for AWBW’s website

Learn more about our Facilitator Trainings | Apply for a Social Justice Fellowship*

*July fellows have been selected. The application cycle for Fellowships is now open for our November 4 & 5 training cohort.


Meet our Fellows:

March 2021

Unathi Mahlati

Just Detention International, South Africa

Just Detention International South Africa

Unathi Mahlati

Unathi is a Programme Officer at Just Detention International-South Africa (JDI-SA) — a health and human rights organisation that seeks to end sexual violence in all forms of detention. She is passionate about protecting and advancing the rights of marginalised and vulnerable populations. She is equally passionate about storytelling as a tool for reflection, healing, and shining a spotlight on contested issues. She conducts research, provides technical support to the Department of Correctional Services’ officials, manages JDI-SA’s communications, and ensures that survivors of sexual violence in detention get the psychosocial support they need and deserve.

March 2021

Chavaughn Gibson

The Daughters Den, Ohio

The Daughters Den Ohio

Chavaughn Gibson

Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder of The Daughter’s Den, Chavaughn has 13 years of non-profit leadership experience and continuously contributes to furthering the advancement of health, technology, education, economics, and government affairs. She is a graduate of The University of Toledo, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the National Association of Health Service executives, and currently serves on the National Board of the African American Employee Resource Group at McKesson Pharmaceuticals. She was named one of Northeast Ohio’s Top 20 under 30 and received American College Healthcare Executive’s North East Ohio Regent Award for Future Healthcare Executives. Inter-connectivity and holistic approaches to life encompass mind, body, and spirit which led to her yoga practice and most recently, 1st place in a national physique competition. As a homeschooling mom, mentor, content contributor, and speaker; she is dedicated to developing future leaders as they discover their passions and create paths to transcend barriers while changing the world for the better.

March 2021

Tamara Jackson, LMSW, MBA, CA

SilenceIsViolence, Louisiana

SilenceIsViolence Louisiana

Tamara Jackson, LMSW, MBA, CA

Tamara Jackson is a powerful force in the cultural and social justice spheres of New Orleans. As volunteer President of the Social Aid and Pleasure Club Task Force, Tamara has achieved reforms on behalf of all local parading social aid and pleasure clubs. A victim-survivor of violence herself, Tamara joined SilenceIsViolence in 2009 as a volunteer consultant pertaining to victim services. She took over management of the SilenceIsViolence Victim Allies Project in 2010, and accepted responsibility over all SilenceIsViolence programs when the Board of Directors appointed her Executive Director in 2011.

Tamara holds a Bachelor's Degree in Health Care Administration from the University of Phoenix, as well as a Master’s in Business Administration, and a Master's of Social Work from the University of Southern California. Tamara received her national certification as a Comprehensive Victim Intervention Specialist in 2014. She is a certified law enforcement elder abuse instructor and a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team in New Orleans. She has conducted victim assistance and cultural diversity trainings for the New Orleans Police Department and has facilitated seminars and workshops on victim services, domestic violence, and cultural diversity at numerous organizations throughout New Orleans and nationally. Tamara worked for the State of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Office of Mental Health for 17 years as a Medical Specialist.

March 2021

Shanika Rucker, LCSW

Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, Connecticut

Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants Connecticut

Shanika Rucker, LCSW

Shanika holds her Bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Bridgeport, CT and Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University, NY. She is the Clinical Program Manager of Survivor Services at CIRI and has a part-time private practice where she provides arts-based psychotherapy. At CIRI, she supervises the program Case Manager and Staff Attorney, who provide direct services to torture survivors. In addition, she offers clinical support to agency staff, coordinates the Mental Health Evaluator Network, and conducts statewide presentations to raise awareness on the only torture survivor program in CT.

Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) is a statewide nonprofit organization that assists refugees and immigrants resolve legal, economic, linguistic and social barriers so that they become self-sufficient, integrated and contributing members of the community. CIRI achieves this mission by providing a compassionate array of high-quality legal, social and educational programming and by promoting cross cultural understanding and decent treatment for all.