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Dr. Tekisha Dwan Everette’s passion for social justice was fueled by her personal experiences and influences as a child. As a youth, she experienced delays in diagnosing asthma, and faced challenges accessing and navigating the health care system. These experiences gave Everette first-hand knowledge of the importance of health and health care access. This, combined with her admiration for social justice trailblazers such as Thurgood Marshall, Barbara Jordan, and Sandra Day O’Conner, inspired Everette to dedicate her life’s work toward eradicating health care inequities through advocacy and policy.
Everette has built a successful career in public policy, particularly health care policy, and advocacy in the non-profit, state, and private sectors. Before taking the helm of Health Equity Solutions (HES), she served as the Managing Director of Federal Government Affairs with the American Diabetes Association, where she provided strategic leadership on policy and advocacy initiatives with the White House, several federal agencies, and Congress, which led to important victories for people with and at risk for diabetes. Prior to this, Everette worked as a government relations consultant with Drinker, Biddle, and Reath, LLC, where she represented the interests of several nonprofit health care organizations on issues such as health reform, Medicare, Medicaid, and federal appropriations. Everette has also worked for the Service Employees International Union, RESI, the State of Maryland, and the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.
Everette earned her doctorate in Sociology from American University with a concentration in race, gender, and social justice as it relates to social policy. She received her Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Center of Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (popularly known as Virginia Tech) and holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Studies from the same institution.
Everette is an alumna of the Masters Series for Distinguished Leaders and the National Urban Fellows America’s Leaders of Change program. She is a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Association of Black Sociologists, and serves on the board for the Washington, DC Metropolitan affiliate of Girls, Inc.
Mitzy Sky (formerly Corrine Taylor) shares her journey through writing, spoken-word-storytelling, and videography. She’s consciously unlearning messages that she unconsciously learned that hindered her from living wholeheartedly. She is a published author in the anthology Imagining Monsters. The Good Men Project, Mad in America, and The Inner-City News has published her work. She is the creator of the Beyond the Story© project and Blogger/Vlogger at MitzySky.com. She currently works at Advocacy Unlimited, in advocacy education, where she develops and facilitates the compassionate activism program.
Benita Toussaint is currently Chair of the Human Relations Commission for the City of Hartford and serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc. Previously, she served as Chair of Catchment Area 23, Co-Chair of the Behavioral Health Partnership Oversight Council of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Board Member of NAMI Connecticut, and has been honored with several awards and recognitions, most recently from Scouting USA for her work supporting human rights.
Jennifer Henry is the Advocacy & Education Engagement Specialist at Advocacy Unlimited, Inc
Taylor C. Ford, MSW is the Statewide Youth & Family Coordinator at FAVOR Inc. and a member of Katal.
Lydia Velez- Herrera(Lilly) is President and CEO of Lilly sin Barreras/Lilly without Barriers LLC. After a brain injury and four long years of recovery. Lydia took on the mission to provide work shops trainings on her strategies to leave with her disability. She provides one on one advocacy for clients who can not afford a lawyer and do not qualify for Legal Services.
She established a radio station and TV show to provide information and interview guest who have remove barriers. Both channels are in English and Spanish.
Kathy Flaherty is the Executive Director at the Connecticut Legal Rights Project and is a lifelong Connecticut resident who has lived at the intersection of mental health and the law for 30 years.
Brittany Mancini is in her third year of law school at Quinnipiac University School of Law where she is the Part-Time Vice President of the Student Bar Association and a member of the Women’s Law Society. She received a M.A. in Criminal Justice from Boston University and a B.A. in Justice and Law Administration from Western Connecticut State University. Brittany also works full time as an administrative assistance for Comprehensive Neuropsychological Services. When Brittany is not working or studying she enjoys traveling, outdoor activities, and spending time with her four-year-old son, Benjamin.
Tracey Sondik is a licensed clinical psychologist, E-RYT 500 hour yoga teacher, certified C-IAYT yoga therapist, certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction trainer, and iRest teacher. She has spent most of her professional career working in inpatient and outpatient behavioral health settings She has authored several publications book chapters around holistic behavioral treatment for different mental health conditions, yoga for addiction, and is currently writing a book on yin yoga and mental health that is set to be published in 2020. She created and co-chairs the State of Connecticut State-Wide Integrative Medicine Collaborative dedicated to the use of holistic treatments for behavioral services throughout the state of Connecticut. Tracey is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale University Department of Psychiatry, and adjunct faculty member at University of Hartford Graduate School of Professional Psychology in Hartford, CT and Maryland University of Integrative Health Master’s of Science Yoga Therapy program in Laurel, Maryland.
Jennifer Lopez is currently the Advocacy Program Director for Interval House, a domestic violence program in Hartford. Interval House, serving 24 towns from Andover to Avon for over 40 years, is Connecticut’s largest non-profit domestic violence intervention and prevention organization, providing comprehensive services from community education to crisis intervention. As the Advocacy Program Director, Jennifer is responsible for the oversight of Interval House’s systemic programs, such as the Family Violence Victim Advocate Program, (in Hartford, Manchester Criminal and Family Courts), The Lethality Assessment Program and Project: Hope Beyond Fear.
Jennifer has 32 years of experience in the field of domestic violence and is considered one of the state’s leading experts in all aspects of the issue including crisis intervention, counseling, legal issues, safety planning, case management, support groups, program development and education. Jennifer provides technical support and assistance to attorneys as well as health care providers in the community. She regularly conducts trainings and workshops to the community, service providers and law enforcement. She is certified as a Battered Women Counselor under C.G.S-52-146K, a member of Connecticut’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence and qualified as an Expert Witness in the field of domestic violence in the state of Connecticut.
Jennifer currently serves as a member of the DCF- Region IV-Regional Advisory Counsel, CCADV’s Legal Advocacy Project and CCADV’s Learning Community. Jennifer also serves as the facilitator of Hartford’s Criminal Court Docket Team. Jennifer has also participated in many other communities and stateside committees, most recently CCADV’s Statewide Dual Arrest and Law Enforcement Advisory. Jennifer’s breadth of experience encompasses dynamics of domestic violence, immigration, custody, criminal and family court process, cultural competency, domestic violence effects on the children and police response to domestic violence.
Kamora Le’Ella Herrington is a mother first, in all of the ways that a mother is. She is the owner and operator or Kamora’s Cultural Corner and is an active Cultural Humility presenter and educator who began her formal career as a teacher for the City of Hartford’s Early Learning Centers in the early 90’s. Through the years she has worked with numerous organizations and groups committed to marginalized communities, most recently as the Director of Youth Programming and Mentoring at True Colors. Inc. where she ran a mentoring program for Queer youth in out of home care for 15 years and is a proud and vocal advocate for Queer youth. Kamora is a member of the National Black Justice Coalition’s (NBJC) Leadership Advisory Council, a founding member of CT Black Women and the Chair of the City of Hartford’s LGBTQ+ Commission.
Over the years Kamora has been honored as a person committed to supporting and nurturing humans, most recently as a 2019 recipient of the 100 Women of Color Award; she is also very proud to have been awarded the 2016 Association for Experiential Education Person in Charge of Unlocking Potential (PICCOUP) award. Her personal life mission includes, “creating spaces where families are free to love their children” which is the guiding principal of all of her work.
ANDREA IGER DUARTE, LCSW, MPH. Ms. Duarte is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Public Health Professional who received her Masters Degrees from the University of Connecticut and has over 25 years of experience in substance abuse and suicide prevention, and mental health promotion. Ms. Duarte is a Behavioral Health Program Manager in the Prevention and Health Promotion Division of the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Office of the Commissioner. She oversees federal and statewide initiatives and contracts, is the Suicide Prevention Director, and Employee Assistance Program Liaison. Ms. Duarte is a member of many statewide committees, a founding member of the CT Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, has served as the Co-Chair of the CT Suicide Advisory Board since January 2012, and is the 2017 recipient of the CT Psychological Association’s Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in the Public Interest Award.
Kathleen Chapman, Ph.D.
Dr. Chapman is a licensed clinical psychologist working in a DMHAS community mental health center, River Valley Services, in the position of Quality Management Director and is in part time private practice. She received her doctorate from the University of Connecticut with a research interest in how gender role stereotypes influence the perception and treatment of women with substance abuse and mental health needs. She is also a member of the Board of the Connecticut Psychological Association, as Representative for Public Interest, and a member of the Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board. She provides training on suicide prevention in treatment and community settings across the state, and is involved in developing core competencies in suicide prevention for treatment providers. She believes that knowledge and openness about suicide, and the use of evidence based assessment and intervention, empowers us in ending suicide.
Destiny Printz Pereira received a dual B.A. from the University of Connecticut in 2013 in Psychology and African-American Studies. Upon graduation, she worked for four years as a Project Manager at the Yale School of Medicine and Veterans Health Administration. Destiny is currently a 4th year clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Connecticut. She is also a Health Policy Research Scholar with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Destiny’s research and clinical work aims to address disparities in chronic stress and trauma in marginalized populations, and the resulting mental and physical health impact across the lifetime. She is primarily interested in building coping and resilience in families of color, low-income, and mothers. Her current research focuses on perinatal disorders, the intergenerational transmission of trauma, racial discrimination, and chronic pain.