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Embodying Our Visions: Healing for Our People
September 20-21, 2023

The CSSP 2023 Institute is a virtual peer-learning process where grantees share organizational and individual practices to achieve sustainable programming for our communities. 

This year’s theme is “Embodying Our Visions: Healing for Our People.” As culturally specific organizations, we understand the importance of healing for survivors as part of the work we do to strengthen community and are proud to come together to focus on that aspect of our work


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

welcome and logistics

11-11:20 am ET / 10:00 am CT – 10:20 am CT / 9:00 am MT – 9:20 am MT / 8:00 am PT – 8:20 am PT

Speakers: Rosie Hidalgo, Director  OVW; Paula Gomez Stordy – Esperanza United; Sylvia Pauling – OVW

Keynote: The Transformative Power of Purposeful Dialogue: Answering "The Call"

11:20-11:55 am ET / 10:20 am CT – 10:55 am CT / 9:20 am MT – 9:55 am MT / 8:20 am PT – 8:55 am PT

Speaker: Sister Mothyna James-Brightful

Affectionately known as Sister Mothyna, during a 16-year professional speaking career, Sister Mothyna James-Brightful has logged over 40,000 hours on stage and trained over 100,000 individuals. She is the author of the Amazon Bestseller “Engage Inspire Prevent: Strategies for Educating Teens on Sexual Violence” and co-author of “Speak Up: The Ultimate Guide to Dominate the Speaking Industry.” As the co-founder and Visionary Director of Heal a Woman to Heal a Nation, Inc. (HWHN), she committed to outrageously serving women leaders to create personal and professional success authentically. Sister Mothyna currently serves coaches, speakers, leaders, and entrepreneurs to elevate their public speaking skills as the CEO of Stage Ready Speakers.

Community Connections 1

11:55-12:20 am ET / 10:55 am CT – 11:20 am CT / 9:55 am MT – 10:20 am MT / 8:55 am PT – 9:20 am PT

Debriefing, networking, and celebration

Breakout session 1A: Building meaningful and equitable collaborations with local communities and religious leaders

12:35 – 1:45 p.m. EST / 11:35 – 12:45 p.m. CT / 10:35 – 11:45 p.m. MT / 9:35 – 10:45 a.m. PT

Speakers: Riffat Rahman & Sachini Rajapaksa – South Asian Network

During this workshop, we will address how meaningful collaborations with the community and faith-based leaders can create an impact and reduce domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the community. We will propose a scenario that can have two outcomes – negative aspects of community influence, which we have seen, and positive aspects. We hope to show that with community engagement can create a better support system for survivors and offender accountability.

Breakout session 1B: Healing through the arts from a restorative justice principles perspective (In Spanish with English translation available)

12:35 – 1:45 p.m. EST / 11:35 – 12:45 p.m. CT / 10:35 – 11:45 p.m. MT / 9:35 – 10:45 a.m. PT

Speakers: Janice Soliván-Roig, José Luis Baerga Aguirre, & Mariella Díaz Vargas – Casa Juana Colón

Our Casa Juana Colón community has been implementing the Sonic Self-Portrait for years to address the needs of the culturally specific population we serve. From the first day of implementing the technique until after the workshops are done, participants begin healing from the wounds of gender-based violence and sexual assault. Moreover, the technique allows them to access legal remedies, healing in parallel from their wounds while also using the tool to transform their environments.

Session 2: Gender rich advocacy

3:00 – 4:10 p.m. EST / 2:00 – 3:10 p.m. CT / 1:00 – 2:10 p.m. MT / 12:00 – 1:10 p.m. PT

Speakers: Alexalin Gonzalez Madrid & Edric Figueroa – Caminar Latino

Ten years ago, the first federal protections against LGBTQ discrimination were introduced through the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). While programs have struggled to implement this call, especially for men and people of transgender experience, VAWA created an opportunity for advocates to center the dignity of all survivors by getting real about how gender operates in a patriarchal society. This workshop will explore a liberatory analysis of gender and build upon the core tenets of coercive control to equip advocateswith new frameworks to serve diverse survivors. We will additionally share how a local family violence program, Caminar Latino, has integrated these ideas into the creation of its first male survivor support group.

Keynote: Unleashing creativity to be our whole, true selves in embodying our visions and healing our people

4:25 pm ET – 4:50 pm ET/ 3:25 pm CT – 3:50 pm CT / 2:25 pm MT – 2:50 pm MT / 1:25 pm PT – 1:50 pm MT

Speaker: Beckie Masaki

Beckie Uta Masaki is a seasoned advocate with over 40 years of experience in providing multilingual, multicultural services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, as well as children, youth, and families. She co-founded the Asian Women’s Shelter in San Francisco, one of the first shelters to address the unique needs of Asian survivors. Beckie is currently the Founder/Co-Lead of the Gathering Strength Collective, dedicated to immigrant and refugee advocacy. She passionately champions race and gender justice through intersectional collaboration, shared leadership, and collective power.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Welcome and logistics

11:00 – 11:15 a.m. EST / 10:00 – 10:15 a.m. CT / 9:00 – 9:15 a.m. MT / 8:00 – 8:15 a.m. PT

Speakers: Youngju Ji – Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence

Keynote: Decolonial Resistance, Healing and Justice

11:15 am ET – 12:15 pm ET / 10:15 am CT – 11:15 am CT / 9:15 am MT – 10:15 am MT / 8:15 am PT – 9:15 am PT

Speaker: Ana Romero

Ana Romero Diaz, a sociologist with 30+ years of experience, is a progressive advocate against gender violence, emphasizing community-driven initiatives. Her leadership at The Network, a coalition of 40+ organizations, focused on developing multidisciplinary training programs for gender violence prevention. In 2015, Ana was chosen by the NoVo Foundation as one of 20 influential leaders for the Move to End Violence initiative. Presently, she serves as the Executive Director of Women for Economic Justice and is a member of the Steering Committee of Nosakhele, an international network contending gender violence.

CSSP Grantee listening session

12:30 – 1:10 p.m. EST / 11:30 – 12:10 p.m. CT / 10:30 – 11:35 a.m. MT / 9:30 – 10:10 a.m. PT

The CSSP Grantee Listening Session is a time to share your feedback and training and technical assistance needs with Esperanza United and API-GBV

Breakout session 3A: UnMasked, the ART of healing trauma!

2:25 – 3:35 p.m. EST / 1:25 – 2:35 p.m. CT / 12:25 – 1:35 p.m. MT / 11:25 – 12:35 p.m. PT

Speakers: Kandee Lewis & Destiny Chapron – Positive Results Center

UnMasked: The Art of Healing Trauma will lead participants in self reflection on the masks we wear in our lives as a response to the trauma we experienced or how other people’s trauma has impacted us. Trauma can change who we are, how we act, and how we show up or not (for ourselves, our families, and the people/communities we serve).This workshop includes an hands-on arts and crafts activity. Participants decorate mask to celebrate who they are; how the world sees us, or how we think other’s sees us. We take a deep dive into our reality to learn the truth about us, as we examine yourself through your lens of truth.

Breakout session 3B: Healing together: A collective experience of emancipatory service (In Spanish with English translation available)

2:25 – 3:35 p.m. EST / 1:25 – 2:35 p.m. CT / 12:25 – 1:35 p.m. MT / 11:25 – 12:35 p.m. PT

Speakers: Angela Cruz & Karla M. Morales – Taller Salud

In this interactive workshop, we will share experiences used with participants in Puerto Rico on how to connect cultural aspects with individual and collective healing

Community connections 2

 3:40 pm ET – 4:25 pm ET / 2:40 pm CT – 3:25 pm CT / 1:40 pm MT – 2:25 pm MT / 12:40 pm PT – 1:25 pm PT

Debriefing, networking, and celebration

Closing remarks

4:25 pm ET – 4:30 pm ET / 3:25 pm CT – 3:30 pm CT / 2:25 pm MT – 2:30 pm MT / 1:25 pm PT – 1:30 pm PT

Speakers: Paula Gomez Stordy – Esperanza United; Youngju Ji – Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence; Michelle Brickley, Veronica Smith, & Tonette Ngassa – OVW


Why Do You Use “@”?

Esperanza United has chosen to use “@” in place of the masculine “o” when referring to people or groups that are gender neutral or both masculine and feminine. This decision reflects our commitment to gender inclusion and recognizes the important contributions that women, men, and gender-nonconforming people make to our communities.


Embodying Our Visions: Healing for Our People is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), in partnership with Esperanza United, the Asian Pacific Institute on GenderBased Violence (API-GBV), the National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA), and the Women of Color Network, Inc (WOCN).


This project was supported by Grant No. 15JOVW-21-GK-02252-CSSP awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.