BBWC FACILITATION TEAM
In 2015 Shani received their Masters degree in Community Practice and Policy Work from Bryn Mawr College's Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Following this they became a whistle blower to address the anti-black policies and practices within the Philadelphia AIDS Service non profit sector. In January of 2016 Shani Akilah visioned and created the Black and Brown Workers Collective (BBWC). Shortly thereafter in 2017, and in Community with Dominique London and Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, they cofounded what is now the Black and Brown Workers Cooperative. The BBWC has successfully Impacted change in the power structures of Philadelphia’s gayborhood and more broadly speaking throughout Philadelphia. From the removal of anti black people in power (see gayborhood racism, Mazzoni Center, and former councilwoman Jannie Blackwell) to impacting city wide policy, supporting Mazzoni workers in unionizing, and more recently housing victories around housing for low income community land trusts and the passing of sealed eviction legislation the BBWC has and continues to transform spaces in service of Black and Brown marginalized communities.
Today Shani focuses on continuing to teach decolonial theory and pedagogy, build Curriculum rooted in Liberatory practice, provide organizing and political education training to the cooperative and community, facilitate restorative justice processes and provide wholistic healing resources through their african diasporic practices, Reiki practice, and death doula practice.
A Black Anarchist, Shani believes that strong Communities do not need representatives, but rather resources to assist them in moving more deeply towards their Liberation. They believe that we are not simply planting the seeds of Liberation—but that we will see complete Liberation in this lifetime.
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As a proud West Philadelphian, through the last decade Kris has facilitated within and co-created spaces and structures centering the needs of Black and Brown communities, Black leadership and Black Joy. They use multimedia art forms, shared traditional diasporic healing practices and cultural preservation rituals as essential tools to sustain the many communities they belong to. Kris has held a path of challenging oppressive systems around gender based violence, the quality of education, mass displacement and access to healthcare that includes . This led to recognizing Black Liberation on a national and global scale.
Kris hopes to continue utilizing the reproductive justice framework and practices within Black traditions of organizing as they dive deeper into traditional African spiritual practices to further shape their commitments and offerings to community in their role with BBWC.
LaTierra is a Professional Womanist-Marxist, Community Educator, Writer and Cultural Producer using her talents and skills to invest in the work of Black Queer & Trans folx, Black Women/Womyn/Womxn & Femmes Liberation. A Midwest native, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin with her B.A. in Communication, minor in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies & acquired certificates in Community Based-Learning and Media Literacy. She currently carries out her Soul Work through the Womxnist Liberation Co-op, The Womanist Working Collective and BBWC.
What inspires my work are the gifts, offerings and technologies for survival developed by Black womyn and femmes who both intuitively and through lived experience, knew that our communities would need these tools one day. There is a lifetime’s worth of knowledge, skills, literature, art, maps, instructional guides and resistance strategies created by our ancestors throughout our herstory because they genuinely wanted to see us free. They knew what some of us are still trying to figure out: Liberation is Everything and getting us there is ALL of our work. However daunting and enigmatic this task may seem, Toni Cade Bambara reminds us that “The most effective way to do it, is to do it!”
Juanyta supports cultivation of Liberatory Spaces and Transformative Justice as healing and justice work from internalizing and perpetuating extremist institutional spaces.
As a Catholic adolescent, ingrained with virtue and charity, Juanyta served with CityYear Boston, followed by coerced service in the marine corps. She then completed undergrad, medical school, and a year of residency that she discontinued. Her movement through higher education was instructed by activism confronting the effects of racial imperialism, militarization and structural violence leading to health disparities. Her work evolved to community solidarity through the praxis of Harm Reduction and Collective Liberation prioritizing Black Liberation.