Session Leader Biographies
This conference is wheelchair accessible. We ask that any persons that require assigned seating at the event due to mobility, visual or hearing impairment email email@example.com. Wearing perfume or other scented products is also strongly discouraged out of respect for those guests with allergies.
Session I: Honoring Herstory
Honoring the Strength and Resiliency of Immigrant Women
Presented by Farah Barnia, Karla Reyes and Sabby Kaur
Farah Barnia is an Employment counselor at Santa Clara County’s SSA. She has worked with Immigrants and Refugees from Middle East for past 15 years. Before coming to SSA, she was a case manager at the International Rescue Committee, resettling refugees from 36 countries. She is the founder and president of the Iranian Community Resource Service Center, a nonprofit 501 C organization operating in the Bay Area. She is also a trainer speaking on multicultural, immigrant and refugee issues, collaborating with governmental and other organizations serving multi-ethnic population. She is also a College instructor in the Family Certificate Program, Ethnic Studies, International Communication and Journalism. She holds a BS in Agricultural Engineering and an MA in Communication and Journalism, from Chico State University. She came to the U.S at the age of 16 by herself.
Karla C. Reyes is a San Jose State University graduate. She came to the United States from Mexico City at the age of nine. Karla’s passions include promoting the advancement of women of color in leadership positions and using art as a way to heal our community. Her goals for the future are to expand her newly founded business and pursue a graduate degree in business administration. She will be speaking of the strength young women bring to social justice movements. Specifically, her emphasis is on young women as trailblazers who open doors to education to the rest of the family. She will also talk about the important role all immigrants play in the society as they incorporate two or more cultures into their own social realities.
Sarbjeet ‘Sabby’ Kaur was born in India and received her M.A. degree in German from New Delhi, India. She immigrated to the U.S. 22 years ago. Sabby has managed projects with a nonprofit agency Women in Community Service. This organization focuses on low-income women, young women, and women in jail. She recently concluded a job-training program with the City of San Jose/work2future for the homeless and non-violent ex-offenders. In addition to her regular work, she also served on the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women and as the former chair of the Refugee & Immigrant Forum of Santa Clara County. Her passions include all women’s issues and programs that provide a “second chance” to underserved communities. Her dream is to open a school for adolescent girls in India. She will focus on her own brand of leadership and strengths of her culture, discussing how using this personal foundation we can get involved at any level of the community at large.
History Alive with Juana Briones
Presented by Olga Loya
Olga Loya, a native of East Los Angeles, is a solo performer, storyteller and writer who has performed and taught workshops all over the United States and Mexico. Loya performs in theaters, universities, festivals, conferences, museums, libraries and schools. She currently has five one women shows: Nepantla (between two worlds) Surprises of the Heart, Dancing through la Vida, the Day of the Dead program, and a show on Juana Briones, one of the first settlers in California. Some of the places Olga Loya has performed Juana Briones are at the Oakland Museum, the Mesa, Arizona, Museum, Monterey Library, San Diego University, South Mountain Community College, Phoenix, Az.,Juana Briones Elementary School, Palo Alto,Ca., San Jose and many historical Society Meetings.
I Program, You Code, She Keypunches
Presented by Marie Teixeira
Marie Teixeira got into high school electronics class even after her original counselor said that girls couldn’t enroll. And then another girl took the class too! Her first programming class was FORTRAN IV with punch cards. She helped create the Technical Information Management group at Digital Equipment Corp (now part of HP) and is currently a support engineer at Hurricane Electric in Fremont. She enjoys technical support and technical writing because you help people use technology and help software developers create more useful applications. Marie has degrees in English, Math/CS, and Library & Information Studies, CompTIA Network+ certified, and can do the Vulcan salute with either hand.
I Whip My Hair Back and Forth
Presented by Tracy Nguyen and Sally Tran
API Equality – Northern California was founded in 2004 in response to a 6,000-person rally against marriage equality organized by Chinese Christian leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area. Formerly a national ad hoc coalition of Asian & Pacific Islander (API) individuals and organizations committed to marriage equality, API Equality – Northern California is now full-fledged organization working to actively promote equality and justice in Northern California and in the state’s API and LGBTQ communities. We envision a world where Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Asian & Pacific Islander children, families, and individuals are affirmed, welcomed, and embraced by all communities to which they belong.
*Note: this workshop will appear in Sessions I & II.
Session II: Health, Wellness & Healing
Ecofeminism: Historical Perspectives and Importance in Our Local Context
Presented by Milina Jovanovic
Milina Jovanovic came to the U.S. 1994 from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where she completed her college education and received a J.D. and M.A. in Sociology of Law and Women’s Studies. Between 1991 and 1994 she worked as a sociologist at the Sociological and Criminological Institute in Belgrade researching changes in the Yugoslav family, youth, gender relations, and Sociology of Love. Upon coming to the Bay Area, Ms. Jovanovic received another M.A. in Social Sciences and Women’s Studies from San Jose State University. As a graduate researcher she compared women’s education and employment in California and Yugoslavia and published the results of her study.
Between 1999 and 2001, as a member of a small team, she conducted research on immigrant contributions and integration practices in Santa Clara County. She contributed to a nationally recognized study Bridging Borders in Silicon Valley and co-edited KIN: Knowledge of Immigrant Nationalities. This research was funded by the Santa Clara County’s Office of Human Relations. Milina is still working at the same office, designing and monitoring programs for immigrants and providing mediation services.
Her interests and publications include the following areas: Ecofeminism, history of immigration, history of Yugoslavs in the U.S., foreign policy, political history of Yugoslavia, global studies, & Erich Fromm and bell hooks’ theories of love.
In addition to her regular work, she advocates for immigrants, human rights, peace, rights of the Mother Earth, environmentally responsible policies, and social justice. Milina has written poetry since 1975, and her first collection of poems entitled A Dog Violet in My Hair was published in 2007.
*Note: this workshop will appear in Sessions II & III.
Nurturing the Warrior Inside: Self-care for API Womyn
Presented by Liza Pizarro, Christina Pham, Lan Thao Nguyen, Anna Huynh, Huong Nguyen and Mindy Nguyen
South Bay First Thursdays (SBFT) is a non-profit organization and program sponsored by Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI). We are a volunteer group of young professional and college students who get together to host a monthly dinner series that focuses on issues impacting the Asian/Pacific Islander (API) community. Past events include panel discussions on gambling, domestic violence, mental health, and HIV awareness in API communities.
Expect Respect: A Conversation on Relationships & Boundaries
Presented by Zephira Derblich-Milea
Zephira Derblich-Milea has worked as a violence prevention educator for ten years. In 2005 she began coordinating Love Shouldn’t Hurt (LSH), Shalom Bayit’s outreach and prevention program for Jewish youth. This program has enabled her to connect her passion for preventing domestic violence with her love for the Jewish community. In 2007 Zephira was awarded a fellowship at The Bureau of Jewish Education and co-authored the successful national LSH curriculum. In 2012 Zephira was awarded the Helen Diller Award for Excellence in Informal Jewish Education.
Zephira has led workshops at a variety of conferences including, the IVAT 4th Annual Violence in the World of Our Youth, the JWI 3rd annual international conference on domestic abuse in the Jewish community, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s 14th national conference on domestic violence.
Session III: Facing Forward
Reclaiming Our Higher Education as Single Parent(s)
Presented by Elisha St. Laurent
As a single mother, full-time student and working I find it hard to be a successful Spartan. Therefore I create a workshop for faculty, students and supporters to encourage the retention rate among student(s)- parent(s).
Self-Determine Writing: The Self We Show, The Self We Hide
Presented by Lorenz Dumuk and Dennis Lozano
Lorenz Mazon Dumuk is a writer and community organizer. He has two collections of poetry, Ay Nako: Writing Through the Struggle and I Think In Poetry. He is involved with the national organization APIA Spoken Word and Poetry Summit as well as involved with the local writing group, The ReWrite, which focuses on building and developing the API spoken word and poetry community in the Bay Area.
Dennis is a East San Jose resident who seeks to understand his identity and privilege as a male. Sensitive and gentle as a child, he did not fit into dominant society’s male culture. Through years of searching, he has learned to accept and celebrate his own form of masculinity alongside others Although he works a corporate job, he is very much interested in social justice and community change. During his spare time, he enjoys biking with his 20-month-old son Mateo Francis.
Growing Roots through Collaboration: Going Forth as Community Organizers
Presented by Dr. Susan B. Murray and Dr. Tanya Saroj Bakhru
Dr. Susan B. Murray is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. Dr. Murray received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Northern Arizona University in 1985. She received her MA (1987) and Ph.D. (1995) in sociology from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Dr. Murray is a feminist sociologist and has taught courses in sociology of gender, family, LGBT studies, violence in the family, feminist theory, poverty, wealth, and privilege, social psychology, and deviance. Dr. Murray describes herself as a community-based sociologist. She is a qualitative researcher specializing in participant-observation field methods, depth interviewing, and focus group research. Her research interests include campus climate, immigrant students, violence against women, family violence in communities of color, gay and lesbian battering, child care work, and the challenges facing gender variant people.
Dr. Tanya Bakhru holds a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies from University College Dublin, Ireland (2007). She is currently an Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies in the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science at San Jose State University, California. Dr. Bakhru is a former lecturer in Women’s Studies at San Diego State University, California. Her areas of interest include feminist critiques of globalization, reproductive health and justice, and transnational women’s health. In addition Dr. Bakhru holds a B.M. in Violin Performance from the University of Redlands, California and an M.A. in Women’s Studies from San Diego State University, California.