Holding the Weight of Whiteness
January 27, 2022
10:00 - 11:00 am EST
Authors from the best-selling book Latinx in Social Work came together for a panel discussion hosted by Richeleen Dashield, EdD, MBA, SPHR, and Luisa Lopez, MSW. The authors reflected on their experiences as people of color within the academy and in the field of social work, the burdens they carried as students of color in predominantly White institutions, and how aspiring social workers of color can take back their narratives to assist and strengthen their communities.
Richeleen Dashield, EdD, MBA, SPHR
Richeleen Dashield is the Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at NYU Silver. She most recently served for nine years as Dean for Multicultural Affairs at Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey, and was Director of Social Equity at West Chester University in Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2010. She also held leadership positions at Kean University, has an MBA in Human Resources from Rutgers, and an EdD in Educational Services and Leadership at Rowan University, where her dissertation examined diversity accountability in higher education. Dr. Dashield has received many awards and recognitions for her leadership on diversity and equity in higher education and has delivered numerous presentations on these topics locally and globally.
Luisa Lopez, MSW
Luisa Lopez, MSW is a native of New York City and currently serves as President of the Latino Social Work Coalition and Scholarship Fund, and Director of Digital Media at the Office of the Manhattan Borough President. She has previously served as chief of staff at the NYC Council, and served in the Washington, DC office of former Congressman José E. Serrano as a policy fellow with a focus on addressing community issues in the South Bronx.
In her career, she has concentrated on addressing structural challenges by developing and implementing social interventions aimed at effecting positive change at all levels of government. Additionally, Luisa has become an advocate for the increased accessibility and availability of assisted reproductive technology, as well as destigmatizing infertility in communities of color.
As president of the Latino Social Work Coalition she is a fierce advocate for increasing the number of culturally and linguistically competent social workers serving in New York City’s most vulnerable communities, as well as for the importance and value that social workers bring to all areas of public life and civic engagement.
Luisa holds B.A. in political science from the College of the Holy Cross. A social worker by training, Luisa earned her Masters of Social Work from the New York University Silver School of Social Work.
Amelia Ortega, LCSW
Amelia Ortega, LCSW, currently works as a somatic psychotherapist, organizational change consultant, and professor of Social Work practice. As a social worker, Amelia has worked for the last fourteen years dedicated to supporting queer and trans young adults and families. Amelia currently works in their NYC-based practice, Amanecer Feminist Psychotherapy, and is an instructor at the Columbia University School of Social Work, where they have taught for nine years. Amelia specializes in trauma focused therapies and trauma informed classroom pedagogies. Amelia’s clinical and teaching practice engages healing through use of somatic experiencing, EMDR, and their training in the Trauma Conscious Yoga Method. In 2019, Amelia was named by Negocios Now as one of “NYC’s 40 Latinos under 40” for their trauma therapy work with LGBTQ Latinx community.
Amelia received their MSW from the Columbia University School of Social Work in 2007, and is beginning work on their doctorate of social welfare at SUNY Buffalo in Fall 2021.
Amelia is a deep listener of all life, and when they aren’t working, is often found out in nature with birds and wildlife. They are a photographer, writer, visual creator, and naturalist.
Dr. Jasmin Collazo, DSW, LCSW
Dr. Jasmin Collazo is a licensed clinical social worker from Newark, NJ, serving in a variety of social work roles. Dr. Collazo is the Director of Coaching for MindRight Health, a mental health tech start-up serving youth of color. She is also an adjunct professor at New York University and owns a part-time private practice in New Jersey. She has a master’s degree in social work and a doctorate degree in social welfare (DSW), both from NYU Silver School of Social Work.
A life-long learner and a passion for trauma-informed care, Dr. Collazo aspires to continue to use her practice and social work roles to serve adolescents, young adults, and police officers to advocate for the inclusion of trauma-informed mental health practices in her community.
Cindy Bautista-Thomas, PhD, LCSW, RYT
Dr. Cindy Bautista-Thomas is an innovative visionary committed to helping others tap into their hidden potential, discover their God-given gifts, and help them take inspired action towards creating the life they’ve always envisioned. She is a first- generation Dominican American who was born and raised in the Bronx. She is also a licensed clinical social worker, educator, podcast host, yoga and mindfulness instructor, author, mother, wife, master trainer, and curator of spaces of healing.
In 2017, Cindy decided to leverage her leadership, interpersonal, and facilitation skills and co-founded Velocity Visions , a company whose mission is to provide healing, transformation and impact to individuals, groups, and corporations through wellness activities, workshops, and interactive exercises that enhance personal and professional efficacy. With her larger-than-life personality, warm smile, and innate ability to help others feel comfortable, Cindy is using her God-given talents to help others find theirs. Her strong presence, passion, and professionalism makes Cindy one of the premiere trainers in the industry. She is currently a Doctoral Lecturer in the Department of Social Work at The College of Staten Island.
When she’s not transforming lives, Cindy spends her time with her family and pursuing her creative passion of writing. To learn more about Cindy and the work she does with Velocity Visions, Inc. visit their website at www.velocityvisionsinc.com.
Laura Quiros, PhD, LMSW
Laura Quiros, PhD, LMSW has been an associate professor of social work at Adelphi University for the past twelve years. She teaches social work practice at the doctoral and master’s level. Her research and scholarly interests focus on the trauma informed care from a social justice lens. The common thread in her consulting, teaching, and scholarship is elevating complexity and furthering the mission of social justice, including diversity and inclusion.
She coaches, trains and facilitates dialogues with executive- level staff across higher education, corporate, and nonprofits to dig deep and sincerely connect to diversity and inclusion. Some of this work involves gently pushing the boundaries of overcoming the resistance to talking candidly about whiteness and unpacking diversity and inclusion work. Much of this has been accomplished through relationship building. She uses her relationship building and clinical skills as a way to foster connection, inclusion and empathic accountability. The intersection for her is clear, as a woman of color from a very multicultural background, she could only survive through relationship building. Negotiating her identity required her to create safe enough and brave spaces in order to survive and thrive. Her practice is one of liberation, love, and generosity.
About Latinx in Social Work
Created by NYU Silver Alumna Erica Sandoval, LCSW, Latinx in Social Work is a collection of personal narratives that amplifies and highlights the voices of Latinx social workers healing, leading, and inspiring while sharing their challenges and successes navigating their careers.
Latinx in Social Work is a book is about space. The space Latinx social workers take up, the spaces they create and nurture, and the spaces that have yet to exist, but are so crucial to the growth and development of Latinx social workers, mental health practitioners, executives, and professionals in all industries in this country, and beyond.