Community building and partnership have always been crucial parts of the work that we do. The knowledge that we can count on each other for support, guidance, and strength is more important now than ever. This year’s conference will focus on building our communities and partnerships, strengthening the ones we already have, and how we can continue to build each other up, offer support in times of need, and not only be there for our communities, but be able to rely on them as well. Finding partnership and community is where we can truly thrive in our efforts to build a better world.
Dr. Meghna Bhat – Meghna Bhat, PhD (she/her) is a proud first-generation South Asian immigrant, feminist scholar, trained storyteller, and an independent gender and social justice consultant with 18 years of extensive work experience including gender violence prevention and intervention work. Born and raised in India, Dr. Bhat’s own experiences of witnessing and surviving sexual and domestic violence motivated her to be an outspoken advocate of gender and social justice. She is passionate about using films/ cinema, writing, and storytelling as tools to create ongoing social, cultural, and narrative change around gender justice, mental health, and racial, social, and immigrant justice.
Dr. Bhat’s interactive and engaging web conferences and workshops on using different forms of storytelling for prevention education and survivor-centered healing have been successfully received at the Institute for Violence, Abuse, and Trauma (IVAT) San Diego Summit, Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCEDSV) State Conference, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence Shifting the Lens Conference, and the University of Philippines and UNITAR.
Shirley Paceley – Shirley Paceley has dedicated a lifetime to the transformation of lives. She began her work with people with disabilities in the early 1970s, and quickly became aware of rampant abuse and neglect. Her career commenced into a personal mission that expanded into international impact as she worked tirelessly towards equal access to justice, prevention, and healing for survivors with disabilities. Her work has not only impacted the lives of thousands of individuals but has also supported systemic change on all levels. Shirley served on the Board of Directors of End Violence Against Women International, the Editorial Board of Sexual Assault Report and as Project Advisor to the National Center on Criminal Justice and Disabilities. Shirley received a 2021 Professional Impact award from EVAWI (End Violence Against Women International) for her lifetime of professional achievements. Shirley is the author of SHINING A LIGHT: Creating Pathways to Equity, Safety, Healing, and Justice with People with Disabilities.
Chance Rush – Chance serves as a consultant to tribes and organizations in reference to business, community outreach, staff trainings, and curriculum development. His passion for strengthening Native communities combined with his experiences led him to the development of Cloudboy Consulting, LLC.
Chance travels throughout the United States and Canada to work with Native communities in efforts to inspire, heal, motivate, and energize. He has a talent for using his energy and humor to spread a simple message, “Use your personal talents to lead you to greatness.” He promotes healthy living and lives his life alcohol and drug free.