The first in a series of conversations during this landmark year – the 100th anniversary of securing women’s right to vote – we discussed anti-racism, intersectional feminism and a path toward equity. Our first conversation featured author and cultural critic Roxane Gay, California State Senator Holly J. Mitchell, the First Lady of Los Angeles Amy Elaine Wakeland, Mount Saint Mary’s President Ann McElaney-Johnson, Author, Speaker and Founder, GirlTalkHQ Asha Dahya, and Director of the Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s Emerald Archer.
Join renowned historian Francille Rusan Wilson, Ph.D., associate professor of American Studies & Ethnicity, History and Gender & Sexuality Studies and interim chair of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Southern California and Camille Bethune-Brown, Ph.D., Director of Collections and the Library, Women’s Museum of California as they explored women’s history from the 19th Amendment to the present, with a focus on intersectional change agents who fought racism and sexism.
9:30 AM – 9:55 AM: Coffee and connect with other attendees and explore the Sponsor and Exhibitor Hall
10:00 – 11:00 AM: Event Program
Asha Dahya, author, speaker and founder of GirlTalkHQ and Emerald Archer, Director, Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s will take a deeper dive into women and girls’ successes and challenges in areas such as politics, health and wellness, education and economic prosperity.
Emerald Archer, PhD, is the director of the Center for the Advancement of Women at Mount Saint Mary’s University. She has dedicated her career to studying questions related to gender equity and women’s representation in non-traditional domains such as the United States military. Through the Center, Archer’s primary goal is to promote and increase gender equity in California and our region, and she leads the Center's efforts related to applied research, education and policy analysis. Archer has also published articles in The European Legacy and Armed Forces & Society, and is the author of a book titled “Women, Warfare and Representation: American Servicewomen in the Twentieth Century.”
Camille Bethune-Brown, Ph.D., is a queer, disabled, Black, female Historian and Museum Curator working at the intersection of race and gender studies. Camille has worked in numerous museums from Washington DC to San Diego, California and is currently the director of Collections and the Library at the Women’s Museum of California. Camille’s primary area of expertise is focused on aspects of late nineteenth- and twentieth- century African American culture and historiography in relation to the emergence of museums and memory making. She believes in thought provoking conversations that force America’s reckoning with its collective past.
Asha Dahya is a TEDx Speaker and Producer with nearly two decades of experience creating content for major broadcast and digital platforms including FOX, ABC, MSN, and MTV. In March 2020 Asha released her first book, "Today's Wonder Women: Everyday Superheroes Who Are Changing The World". An ardent women’s rights advocate, Asha is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of GirlTalkHQ.Com: a daily female empowerment blog promoting women’s voices and stories.
Asha lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.
Roxane Gay is a culture columnist for The New York Times and author of several books, namely “Bad Feminist.” She co-hosts a Black feminist podcast called Hear to Slay with Tressie McMillan Cottom. Her work garners international acclaim for its reflective, no-holds-barred exploration between race, gender, and popular culture, contemporary fiction, and the political novel.
Dr. Ann McElaney-Johnson is the 12th president of Mount Saint Mary’s University, the only women’s university in Los Angeles, and a leading advocate for the advancement of women and innovative teaching and learning. She has spoken at international conferences and institutions, including the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. She led the creation of the Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California. Ann is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and the Board of Directors for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. She is also Board Chair of the Women’s College Coalition and is on the ambassador council for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. After majoring in French literature at Holy Cross, she earned a master’s degree in French from Middlebury College and a Ph.D. in French from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Sen. Holly J. Mitchell is the proud daughter of career public servants, and she continued her family legacy of “firsts” when she became the first African American to chair the powerful Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee in 2016. Less than two months later, a profile in The Los Angeles Times described Mitchell as the “Legislature’s moral compass.” She proved to be just that in 2017 and 2018 when she oversaw the adoption of consecutive state budgets of nearly $200 billion each and won wide praise for directing funds to elementary and college students, health-care systems and long-neglected programs to assist infants, the elderly, youth and working families.
First Lady of Los Angeles, Amy Elaine Wakeland
Amy Elaine Wakeland is a public policy expert, political strategist, advocate for women and children, and a proud mother and wife.
In 2013, Wakeland initiated the first study of the status of women and girls in the City of L.A. As a result of her work, women now comprise at least half of L.A. City’s commission and board appointments for the first time in history, and girls now make up at least half of the Mayor’s Youth Council and have made major gains in other youth programs. Ms. Wakeland launched and hosted LA.’s first State of Women and Girls Address and Young Women’s Assembly in 2017. At this now-annual event, over one thousand women and girls learn about what their local government is doing for them and engage with women who have achieved success in sports, science, and public service, among other professions.
During the COVID-19 crisis, Wakeland helped launch several important emergency relief programs. Working with the not-for-profit Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, she raised funds and developed the criteria for the highly-successful Angeleno Card program, which has provided nearly $37 million in critical cash assistance to over 100,000 L.A. residents.
Francille Rusan Wilson, PhD, is an intellectual and labor historian whose research examines the intersections between black labor movements, black social scientists and black women’s history during the Jim Crow era. Her book, “The Segregated Scholars: Black Social Scientists and the Creation of Black Labor Studies, 1890-1950” was awarded the 2007 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Prize for the best book in black women’s history. Wilson is currently an associate professor of American Studies & Ethnicity, History and Gender & Sexuality Studies and the interim chair of Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Southern California.