We believe that “knowledge is power”, that facts matter, and that for all of us to be effective activists, we need to enhance our knowledge and build our skills. Therefore, Together We Rise CT, is hosting an Activism Teach-In, where experts from across Connecticut will speak from their experience and teach to the following topics. ASL Interpreting services will be provided, however the venue is not handicap accessible- we apologize as this is the only venue we could find. We will work towards live streaming the event for those who cannot attend. If we can make any additional accommodations please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
11:15 -11:30 a.m.- Arrival & Parking
11:30 -11:35 a.m.- Welcomes & Orientation to the Space
11:35 -12:20 p.m.- How to Talk to Your Legislator & Make An Impact- Michele Mudrick
12:20 -12:45 p.m.- Meet Your Neighbors at Lunch
12:45 -1:35 p.m. -The Lives of Undocumented Kids in CT & How to Help- Edwin Colon
1:35 -1:40 p.m.- Stretch Your Legs
1:40-2:30 p.m. -Demystifying the State Budget & Fight for Children- Derek Thomas
2:30-2:35 p.m. – Breathing/Stretching Exercises
2:35-3:25 p.m. – Intersectionality 101: What is it & How to Center our Work around It- Kristianna Smith
3:25-3:30 p.m.- Closing & Thank Yous
Here’s more about the experts who we’ll hear from
Michele Mudrick works to bring the concerns raised by Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ to the Connecticut General Assembly and executive offices, particularly in the legislative process. She also works to organize local church members to make sure their voices are heard on issues of concern. A Connecticut native, Michele has worked with the Christian Activities Council as a congregational organizer. She has also served in organizing or fundraising positions with the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, the Greater Hartford Interfaith Coalition for Equity and Justice, and United Action of Connecticut. Educated at Stonehill College and the University of Bridgeport, she spent five years as an elementary school teacher.
Edwin Colon joined the Center for Children’s Advocacy in 2011. He is an expert on the very specific Federal law and Connecticut procedures for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), which helps abused, neglected or abandoned immigrant children regularize their immigration status. In addition to providing legal representation for new arrival children and training Connecticut attorneys on this very specific work, Attorney Colon advocates in the public schools on behalf of youth who need educational support, are suffering from issues that keep them from academic success, or are involved with the juvenile justice system. He holds a JD from UConn School of Law and a MSW from UConn School of Social Work. He has worked with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Services, providing support for individuals and families involved with the foster care system, and with the Department of Children and Families as an Investigations and Treatment Social Worker on child abuse investigations. Attorney Colon has held faculty positions at the UConn School of Social Work and at Capital Community College, Hartford. Edwin Colon was named a 2013 “New Leader in the Law” by the Connecticut Law Tribune and one of the “50 Most Influential Latinos in Connecticut” by Latinos United for Professional Advancement in 2014 and 2015. He is a director on the board of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association.
Derek Thomas serves as a Fiscal Policy Fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children. Mr. Thomas served as Senior Policy Analyst for the Indiana Institute for Working Families since 2012, where he focused on state-level economic analysis and policy work to support mobility for low-income families. Mr. Thomas’ research was cited by The Guardian, a Reuters series on income inequality, and the U.S. Department of Labor, and he earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs and a Master of Public Affairs in Policy Analysis from Indiana University.
Kristianna Smith is an experienced educator and impassioned theatre artist & a founding partner of Via Arts LLC, an arts service company currently operating in Connecticut, that believes it is their social imperative to share their creative survival tools with people who, like them, continue to traverse their paths toward a greater understanding of humanity.
She has spent the past decade working with youth, educators, and the elderly reinvigorating the human experience through theatre arts. Kristianna attended the University of New Hampshire, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre with an emphasis in Secondary Education. After college, Kristianna was accepted as the 2011-2012 Education Resident for Long Wharf Theatre’s Next Stage Program.
Most notably, she has trained educators in both Arts Integration and Social Justice Theatre. This work has specialized in using the arts to reach students in traditional and non-traditional classroom settings.