No Hate, No Fear – YWCA Stand Against Racism Panel Discussion

No Hate, No Fear – YWCA Stand Against Racism Panel Discussion

April 18, 2019 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Parsons Leadership Center
1611 E Dobbins Rd
AZ 85042
Robyn Reyff

Join the YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix
April 18, 2019 @ Parsons Leadership Center


  • Facilitator: Matthew Whitaker, Ph.D, Founder and CEO, Diamond Strategies { BIO }
  • Patricia Davis, Human Resources Director, Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus Pine Council; President, National, Association of African Americans in Human Resources, State of Arizona Chapter { BIO }
  • Vanessa Ruiz, Professor of Practice, Arizona State University; Director of Cronkite Borderlands; News Anchor AZ PBS { BIO }
  • Alessandra Soler, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona { BIO }
  • Alejandra Gomez & Tomas Robles, Jr., Co-Executive Directors, Living United for Change in Arizona { BIO }
  • Donna Cheung, President, Japanese American Citizens League, AZ Chapter { BIO }

Free to attend, registration required.

Matthew C. Whitaker, Ph.D.

Matthew C. Whitaker, Ph.D. is the Founder and CEO of Diamond Strategies, LLC., a trend-setting diversity, equity, and inclusion firm. He is also the Director of Equity and Inclusion at Brophy College Preparatory. Dr. Whitaker is also an award-winning educator, author, community engagement specialist, motivational speaker, and founder the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, winner of the 2014 Arizona Diversity Leadership Alliance (DLA) Inclusive Workplace Award, at Arizona State University, where was a professor of history for 16 years. Most recently, he was given DLA’s 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Leader Award. He specializes in U.S. history, African American history and life, civil rights, race relations, social movements, cultural competency, equity and inclusion. He has edited three books, including Hurricane Katrina: America’s Unnatural Disaster, and he is the author of Race Work: The Rise of Civil Rights in the Urban West. He has also authored a number of award- winning articles, penned over 40 opinion pieces, and is currently completing a memoir entitled The Undisputed Truth: A Revolutionary Journey to Black Manhood.

Dr. Whitaker has consulted, spoken, and lectured in Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, Ghana, and Ireland. Has been featured on CNN, NPR, PBS, WVON, KEMET, and was given ASU’s 2015 Pioneer Award for working to improve African-American life, community and culture. He is also a co-founder of the Healing Racism Public Dialogue Series, winner of the 2008 National League of Cities Promoting Inclusive Award, and he was given the City of Phoenix 2006 Martin Luther King, Jr. Living the Dream Award. He is a trustee of the Cancel Support Community of Arizona, a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Community Advisory Board, and can be followed on Twitter at @Dr_Whitaker. Diamond Strategies can be followed on Twitter at @dstategiesllc.

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Patricia Davis

Patricia Davis is an experienced Human Resources leader in organizational effectiveness, leader and manager development, diversity, equity and inclusion and change management. Patricia held various Human Resources leadership roles at Intel Corporation, Ford Motor and Kraft Foods, driving the development and implementation of human resources strategies. Currently, she is the Director, Human Resources for the Girl Scouts—Arizona Cactus Pine Council. She is the President and CEO of NAAAHR – State of Arizona Chapter. Patricia earned her B.S. in Psychology from Hampton University (HBCU) and her Juris Doctorate from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. Patricia is a world traveler and has been to all seven ‘continents’.

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Vanessa Ruiz

Vanessa Ruiz is the Emmy award winning director of the Borderlands coverage team at Cronkite News, the student-produced, faculty-led news division of Arizona PBS. She also helps lead the Spanish-language newscast, Cronkite Noticias, is an anchor and host for Arizona PBS and a Cronkite School ambassador for diversity and inclusion. Prior to joining the Cronkite School, Ruiz was the main evening news anchor at KPNXTV, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix, while also reporting on the stories that matter to those who live in the Valley of the Sun.

Ruiz began her career in early 2001 as an assignment desk editor and later as associate producer for Telemundo Network’s national newscast. Just a few months into her career, Sept. 11 occurred, catapulting Ruiz onto a career in broadcasting that continues to this day. There, she became Telemundo International’s youngest news anchor, bringing national and international news stories to the homes of 5 million-plus U.S. and Latin American viewers in English & Spanish. Her interviews ranged from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the presidents of Peru, Ecuador and El Salvador.

From 2005 to 2011, she accepted the challenge of being a reporter for WSVN-FOX Miami, one of the most dynamic and innovative news stations in the country. Ruiz covered a wide range of stories, from the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, several hurricanes, the BP Oil Spill and Super Bowl XLI, among others.

She was then recruited by TV Marti to anchor and report on issues impacting Cuba, the Caribbean and South America. At TV Marti, Ruiz covered stories as a correspondent in Venezuela and Nicaragua, while field anchoring both U.S. political conventions in 2012 and President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.

In 2014, Ruiz signed on with KNBC in Los Angeles, covering a news market that spans 41,000 square miles. There, she reported on a wide spectrum of stories coming from the nation’s No. 2 news market, working at the station’s flagship morning show, “Today in L.A.”

At KPNX in 2015, Ruiz anchored Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States from Philadelphia and in the summer of 2016, Ruiz was the station’s choice to represent the station during the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There, she provided live, original and exclusive uninterrupted coverage across multiple platforms. In the same year, Ruiz was part of KPNX’s main anchor team for Decision 2016, NBC’s presidential election coverage. During an election cycle like no other, viewers turned to Ruiz’s experience, objectivity and steadiness to provide unbiased, up-to-the-minute information during an unforgettable moment in U.S. history.

In 2016 and 2017, Ruiz’s team won the Rocky Mountain Emmy for Best Evening Newscast. She’s also been recognized by The Academy of Television of Arts and Science for special coverage of Sept. 11, received the David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award for exceptional integrity, bravery and originality in reporting and recognized as one of Florida’s leading Latinos in journalism.

Ruiz was born in Miami and is of Colombian descent. She studied part of her elementary and high-school education in Spain and considers herself proudly part of the 200 percent: 100 percent American and 100 percent Latina. She graduated with honors from Florida International University with a B.S. in Mass Communication and a minor in International Relations.

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Alessandra Soler

Alessandra Soler came to the ACLU of Arizona as Executive Director in February 2006, and is the first Latina to head the ACLU in Arizona. Her passion for the ACLU is driven, in large part, by her background raised in a tri-lingual household. Her Brazilian mother taught her to work hard and look out for others, while her Argentine father taught her to be a vocal and outspoken defender of the democratic and human rights values that “disappeared” during his country’s Dirty Wars. Those very same values of equality, fairness and justice are now the focal point of her work at the ACLU. From challenging laws in 1959 that made it illegal for people of different races to marry to fighting back against measures that punish DREAMers and other immigrants, the ACLU of Arizona has been involved in some of the state’s most historic, important cases seeking to protect and expand people’s rights.

Under her leadership, the ACLU of Arizona has grown from a staff of 4 in 2006 to now 22, including five full-time attorneys, three communications strategists and a new organizing and advocacy department with four full-time organizers on staff. Through litigation, the ACLU of Arizona has secured important legal victories on behalf of members of the LGBT community, incarcerated individuals, and immigrants, including ending discriminatory racial profiling practices by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a historic lawsuit that led to his criminal contempt charges and will dramatically revamp policies and practices within the embattled agency. Most recently, the ACLU of Arizona has engaged in numerous successful advocacy efforts limiting enforcement of Arizona’s notorious racial profiling law SB1070 in communities and schools, and is working to leverage the wins in the Arpaio litigation to improve police-community relations in cities across the state.

Under Alessandra’s leadership, the ACLU of Arizona also is tackling criminal justice reform issues, working to build bi-partisan support for changes in Arizona’s byzantine sentencing scheme, and improving medical and mental health care for 33,000 inmates in ADC custody. The organization also is working to reduce suspensions and expulsions in school through its #Demand2Learn campaign.

Alessandra previously served as Communications Director of the ACLU’s fifth largest affiliate in Florida, where she was responsible for spearheading statewide public education campaigns on the USA Patriot Act and racial profiling post 9-11. Prior to her work in Florida, Alessandra worked at the ACLU of Louisiana, coordinating advocacy efforts in New Orleans to combat police misconduct, improve prison conditions and keep school-sponsored prayer out of public schools. Before joining the ACLU, Alessandra worked as a reporter for The Miami Herald, where she covered local government, business, crime and education. She also worked for a brief period at the Roanoke Times in Virginia. Alessandra, who is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, is the proud mother of a 14-year-old boy and 11-year-old identical twin girls. She has an MBA from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management and received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Florida.

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Alejandra Gomez

Alejandra Gomez was born in Pomona, California to immigrant parents.  Alejandra became aware of the US’ broken immigration system at a young age after Prop 187 was passed.  Prop 187 was an anti-immigration law that targeted undocumented immigrants living in California in the mid-1990s. Alejandra’s father at the time was undocumented and Prop 187, forced Alejandra’s family to move to Arizona in hopes of escaping the dangers of Prop 187 and other anti-immigrant sentiment.

Alejandra began her career in community organizing in 2007, during the beginning of Sheriff Joe  Arpaio’s criminal suppression sweeps that were racially charged and targeted immigrant communities.  Seeing the fear and harassment her community was experiencing and the remainder of her own childhood, Alejandra began working with Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability to organize against Sheriff Arpaio and his unfair practices.

Since her start in organizing, Alejandra has focused her work on immigration rights through large-scale civic engagement efforts to bring out the Latino vote and direct action. Alejandra lives in Phoenix, AZ and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Arizona State University. Alejandra was the Field Manager for the Adios Arpaio campaign that registered Latinos to vote during her time with the New Organizing Institute, worked for Organizing for America in Arizona and has dedicated her work not only to leading large scale voter registration efforts that surpassing 90,000 Latinos voters registered but also worked as a Deputy Organizing Director at United We Dream during the immigration reform push in 2013 and 2014. Rooted in the her family’s immigration struggle, Alejandra lead the organizing efforts in the fight for DAPA and expanded DACA at United We Dream National Network as the Deputy Organizing Director.

Alejandra has dedicated her life to a commitment to social justice and community empowerment through grassroots mobilization. Currently, Alejandra serves as Co-Executive Director’s for the Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA).

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Tomás E. Robles Jr.

Tomás E. Robles Jr. serves as Co-Executive Director of Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA). LUCHA is a member-driven organization that has played a key role in the recent movement in Arizona to bring attention to wage inequality and workers’ rights.

Tomas began organizing to promote civic engagement and comprehensive immigration reform. Since then, Tomas has been a key leader changing Arizona’s political landscape and moving forward issues affecting working families, including immigration, voters’ rights, workers’ rights, Veterans issues, and housing discrimination. In 2016, Tomas lead Prop 206, the campaign in Arizona to raise the minimum wage. Tomas was named 40 leaders under 40 from the Phoenix Business Journal in 2017.

Tomas is the son of Mexican immigrants. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and is a graduate of Arizona State University.

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Donna Y. Cheung

Born in Hong Kong, Donna immigrated to the U.S. as a young child and calls Phoenix her home. Trained in medical anthropology, she is currently a caregiver of family members and the President of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Arizona Chapter.

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