Announcing Our Keynote Speaker: Isabel Millán, Incite!

20 05 2010

When I attended my first Special Training at Haverford College in 1992, I was struck with wonder and amazement.  I had not imagined the reach of the women’s martial arts community, or how many women beyond my little dojo were training in similar ways, albeit in different styles and places.  I was thrilled to discover the depth and breadth of our movement.

I had a similar experience at SDIC 2009 when conference organizer Cadelba Lomeli-Loebl shared information about Incite! Women of Color Against Violence at the evening skill swap.   It was inspiring and exciting to learn about this national network of feminists of color.  I felt humbled by my ignorance of the work of Incite! and vowed to learn more.  But most of all, I was reminded that the anti-violence movement I am part of as a certified self defense instructor is expansive and complex.  I felt the same sense of possibility I felt in 1992: the possibility of alliance, connection and greater impact that can grow out of a diverse movement.

This is why I am personally delighted to announce that the keynote speaker for SDIC 2010 is Isabel Millán.

A radical queer feminist of color at heart and in practice, Isabel Millán is currently a coordinator and active member of her local Incite! Women of Color Against Violence Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti chapter.  Under the political framework of Incite!, Isabel Millán and her collective designed and taught a holistic approach to self-defense for local women of color.  This approach emphasized the larger needs of marginalized communities alongside the role of state institutions, such as the prison industrial complex.  As a member of Incite!, Isabel  Millán also designed and co-facilitated a series of workshops, including a workshop on political remix video editing for high school youth and a Sex Positive 101 workshop for college students.  In addition to her involvement with Incite!, she has also helped organize a number of conferences and trainings, including the Queer of Color Community Summit at the University of Michigan in 2009, the first Queer People of Color Leadership Summit at the University of California, Berkeley in 2006, and the first annual Womyn of Color conference at UC Santa Barbara in 2001.

Isabel Millán received her master’s degree in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University and is currently pursuing her PhD in American Culture at the University of Michigan.  Her research interests include transnational feminist, queer, and critical race theories as they relate to children’s media and girlhood culture.  An educator and community activist, Isabel Millán will share her thoughts on self-defense, social justice, community accountability, and institutions of power as they relate to a larger anti-violence movement and political framework.

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