The Equity Collective is a non-hierarchical collaboration and project. We embody honesty and non-violence to support the thorough investigation of social inequity. Through collaboration across discipline, partners commit to the dismantling of harmful social structures and the creation of a society that practices radical inclusion.
Dia Penning (she, her) is an Inclusion Facilitator, Yin Yoga Instructor, and founder of the Equity Collective. With a Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College, she is able to work in a number of different spaces. She has supported a diverse array of clients, from the National Parks Service to various yoga teacher training programs, arts organizations to tech executive coaching. Dia assists clients in investigating limiting assumptions and expanding their ideas of what is possible. Working one on one or in large groups, clients examine blockages in their bodies and minds, parallel them to external structures in interpersonal relationships, accumulated history and policy. They then investigate new possibilities, use the breath and mindful attention to challenge long held habits and create change.
Dia has published three volumes of curricula on structural racism as well as an at home study guide for parents interested in talking to their children about race. Dia is currently a fellow of the Network Learning Leadership Lab (Management Assistance Group) and collaborates on a Yoga and Social Justice trainings with Love Light Yoga out of Vancouver, BC and in Jamaica. She has held leadership positions at the City of San Francisco, the City of Chicago, Columbia College and California College of the Arts.
Megan Stielstra (she, her) is the author of three collections, most recently The Wrong Way To Save Your Lifefrom Harper Perennial, and her work appears in the Best American Essays, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Guernica and elsewhere. A longtime company member with 2nd Story, she has told stories for National Public Radio, Radio National Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art, Goodman Theatre, and regularly with The Paper Machete live news magazine at The Green Mill. She believes in storytelling as a form of social justice and teaches writing and performance in traditional and nontraditional classroom spaces around Chicago and the country. She is currently a writer-in-residence at Northwestern University.
New Orleans, LA
ChE (they, them) is a Queer GNC Afro-Indigenous artivist weaving ancestral healing, transformative consulting, and social-engaged artmaking. ChE is an honored Fellow for the 2017-2018 Intercultural Leadership Institute celebrating their unique intersectional justice framework, Afro-Indigenous Liberatory Practice. Creator of the Underground Railroad: Liberatory Coaching for Creative Radicals of Color, ChE supports (QT)POC artists, activists, and innovators in charting a path to freedom. As the co-founder/host of the BGD podcast, Spirit Medicine, they provides accessible wellness tools and rituals centering (QT)POC. Rooted in multigenerational community, ChE is the founder of the Art Liberation Troupe, a QTPOC youth performance group utilizing mentorship, dance, guerilla theatre, and political education workshops as tools for social change. ChE’s work as a cultural organizer includes Breaking the Silence: Teen Salon, Destiny Arts Center’s Q.E.A.R., The Time is Now, Black Folks Dinner, Emergence, #BlackHealingMatters, and The New Orleans Loving Festival. As a director/ choreographer, ChE’s work is robust with gospel soul sounds and movement of the African Diaspora that leave feet stomping and hands clapping. Brown University’s Black Spatial Relics Artist-in-Residence, ChE brings their Black Lives Matter artivist toolkit, #DignityInProcess throughout the country—merging site-specific performance rituals, Afro-Indigenous Wisdom Councils, and Freedom Schools celebrating the dignity of expansive Black evolution.
Follow the process at http://che-art.life/
Lott Hill (he, him) is the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at University of the Pacific in California. He has taught classes in creative writing, cultural studies, journalism, service-learning, and collaborative portfolio development. His work in faculty development and student learning is underpinned by the principles and practices of social and restorative justice, civic engagement, equity and inclusion, and community building as pedagogical practice.
Ada Palotai (she, her) is a queer mixed race woman of color who thinks strategically and grounds herself in the value of relationships. She is a Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner, and identifies as a healer-in-training. Working in the anti-gender-based violence field since 2001, as an advocate for victims/survivors, has taught her skills she can harness to do just about anything – from fixing a leaky faucet to managing large budgets to counseling someone who was contemplating suicide. Now called to the intersections – of violence prevention, racial equity, and liberation; of organizations and organizers; and of the scientific and the sacred, Ada inspires collaboration. Bringing a community organizing orientation with expertise in program/curriculum design, organizational/leadership development, and training and facilitation, she is a bridge-builder, able to strike the delicate balance between diplomacy and transparency. Ada facilitates the forging of relationships among those whom would otherwise be unlikely friends.
Currently a fellow of the Network Weavers Learning Lab – an 18-month program that creates a space for leaders to develop their thinking and practice and to explore and experiment together on ways to advance the movement to end relationship-based violence – and a founding member of Peace Pros LA – a violence prevention coalition whose aim is to change social norms about masculinity that perpetuate violence, Ada explores embodiment practices as vehicles for individual and collective healing and liberation. She specifically explores the role of APIs, non-Black POC, and mixed race folks in racial equity and liberation work; and developing multi-lingual organizing spaces.
Originally from Los Angeles, Ada lives in Oakland with her partner and their two dogs, and pursues fashion as a hobby in her free time.