Equity in Action: Critical Conversation Series

Upcoming Event Color Lines: Art and Inclusion

Sunday, October 22, 2017
3-5PM at KI
3549 Boulevard Place


Meet the Panel

Createquity Fari Nzinga

Fari earned both her M.A. and Ph.D in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University. She has been living in New Orleans since 2009, where she conducted her dissertation research on Black-led arts organizations and community rebuilding in the post-Katrina historical moment. In addition to nursing her literary aspirations, Fari is an emerging curator and an adjunct professor at Bard Early College in New Orleans where she teaches a course on contemporary visual art; and is co-founder of the Color BLOC, an information and resource-sharing platform for the professional advancement of New Orleans-based artists and arts professionals of color. She also sits on the editorial team of Createquity, a think tank and online publication platform that investigates the most important issues in the arts and what we, collectively and individually, can do about them.

Michael Jordan, a.k.a. ALKEMI

ALKEMI is a professional artist and poet living and working in Indianapolis for over 40 years. Norman Rockwell and Salvador Dali are among his influences and he has completed over 40 murals, including one for the Arts Council of Indianapolis’s 46 for XLVI. ALKEMI's work has been part of both group and solo exhibitions at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, Indiana Black Expo Fine Arts Pavilion, Crispus Attucks African American Museum, Jefferson Gallery, Central Library’s Meet The Artists, Athenaeum, the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, etc. He has lectured at Indiana University, Purdue University- Indianapolis, several high school and is a published writer.

Indy Convergence Robert Negron

Robert is an actor, playwright and martial artist, he trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and South Coast Repertory Professional Conservatory. He has also trained at with The Antaeus Academy, A.C.T. Summer Conservatory, CSU Summer Arts Conservatory, Coronado School of the Arts and interned at The La Jolla Playhouse. He has worked in such theaters as the Rubicon Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Boston Court, Old Globe Theatre and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Robert produced an adaptation of the book Into the Wild called Beautiful Blueberries 142 as a Black Swan project at OSF in 2007. Robert is International Programs Liason The Sa-K-La-K-Wel (SLW) Community Center in Jacmel, Haiti and spends part of each year as a resident arts instructor in Jacmel. In 2013 Robert attended the Earthship Academy in Taos, NM and is the build director of SLW Earthship build. In L.A. and San Diego Robert teaches classes including Acting for Dancers, Acting for the Camera, Acting Professionally and numerous Shakespeare workshops. Robert was the 1999 recipient of the Emerging Young Artist award

Arts Council of Indianapolis Ernest Disney-Britton

Ernest manages both the grantmaking programs and the arts education programs for the Arts Council. As the lead grants officer, he serves as support for arts organizations and individuals who apply for grant and fellowship funding through the Annual Grant Program, Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship, Robert D. Beckmann Jr. Emerging Artist Fellowship, and Transformational Impact Fellowship. Additionally, Ernest coordinates the Any Given Child Indianapolis program that is creating a long-range arts education plan for students in grades K-8 in Indianapolis Public Schools.

Every 4th Sunday 3-5PM at KI 3549 Boulevard Place

Read Notes from Equity Launch

Equity in Indianapolis

Last year Kheprw Institute and Spirit and Place ran an 8 month series focused on Gentrification. With more than 400 participants city-wide, this series provided a variety of voices: community activists, city officials, development professionals and residents a space to dig in deeper on the complex issue of gentrification and its impact on community.

This year KI and Spirit & Place are excited to announce our 2017 series, Equity in Action. Equity is the new buzz word everyone’s talking about. What is it? How do you get it? How can we learn from the ideas and actions from other communities around the country to make Indianapolis more equitable, economically, racially, gender, etc?

Recent reports nationally and locally have shown a broad consensus of disturbing data about Indianapolis’s economic health and racial/economic disparities. These include PolicyLink’s National Equity Atlas and The Center for Community Progress. For more data and analysis click here.

Each forum is free and open to the public and will take place each month on the 4th Sunday 3-5pm at Kheprw Institute (3549 Boulevard Place).


Media Contacts

Bohlsen Group Media Contact| Andrea Hawman | ahawman@bohlsengroup.com | 317.275.2063

Kheprw Institute Media Contact | Imhotep Adisa | info@kheprw.org | 317.329.4803 ext. 706

Series Schedule

Putting the Public Back Into Education


Community Grown Food Solutions


Life, Liberty and Justice for All?


Use What You Got: Social Capital and Entrepreneurship


How Can Institutions Support Community?

June 25, 2017

Prisons, Re-entry and the Future of Justice in Indy

July 23 , 2017

Nature of Green Equity

August 27, 2017

Empowering the Next Generation

September 24 , 2017

The Color Line: Arts & Inclusion

October 22, 2017


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Policy Link

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Equity Atlas - Indianapolis

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Racial Equity Tools

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View Full List of Equity Resources

View Resource List

Resources and Articles

September Forum Highlights Empowering the Next Generation

Sunday, September 24, 2017
3-5PM at KI
3549 Boulevard Place

Meet the Panel

Chicago Freedom School Tony Alvarado-Rivera

Tony is the Youth Programs Director at the Chicago Freedom School. Tony is a multi-issue community builder working and living within an anti-oppression and harm reduction framework. Most recently, Alvarado-Rivera completed his tenure at Broadway Youth Center as the Mentor Program Coordinator. Additional experience includes work with the groundbreaking About Face Youth Theatre and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in New York.

Child Advocates Cindy Booth

Cindy is the Executive Director of Child Advocates Inc. She began her work in child welfare as an attorney at Child Advocates in 1994 and became Executive Director in 1996. The agency began focusing on Undoing Racism in 2000 as it worked to review and address the disproportionate percentage of African American children in the child welfare system.

Kheprw Institute Rasul Palmer

Rasul is the IT Manager at Kheprw Institute. He has worked with KI for over 8 years. Over the years he has led the organization’s work in technology, leading trainings in web design, video game programming and coding. He has also facilitated and presented in many community discussions at KI on current events and topics important to community. He is currently a sophomore at IUPUI with a full-ride scholarship from the Masarachia Program. He plans to major in Informatics.

Indiana through Mentoring (AIM) Scott Janz

Scott has been engaged in youth empowerment and education in Indianapolis for the past 8 years. Scott obtained his Bachelor's of Music in Composition from Butler University in 2012. While attending Butler, Scott began working with Aftercare for Indiana through Mentoring (AIM), developing and implementing programming directed toward serving reentry youth. In 2015, Scott began managing Crossroads Café, a Program of AIM, and a from-scratch restaurant serving as a hands-on job training program for system involved youth. Scott lives in Indianapolis with his Tabby cat, Admiral Ackbar.

August Forum Highlights Nature of Green Equity

Sunday, August 27, 2017
3-5PM at KI
3549 Boulevard Place

July Forum Highlights Prisons, Re-entry and Working for Equity

Sunday, July 23, 2017
3-5PM at KI
NEW LOCATION: Martin Luther King Community Center 40 W 40th St, Indianapolis, IN 46208

Meet the Panel

New Life Development Ministries Reverend Eugene Potter

Works to restore the lives of men with criminal histories. Have worked with re-entry for 25 years. Trains and employs men who have returned to their communities after incarceration so that they can earn meaningful wages to support themselves and their families. Mentors with faith-based principles. Training started in construction trade skills and now includes home maintenance and auto mechanics. Uses abandoned houses for on-site training, then they become transitional, or rental properties.

Use What You've Got Prison Ministry Cecelia Whitfield

Upon dealing with the pain and hurt while learning that their son was facing 40 years of prison, Cecelia Whitfield founded Use What You've Got Prison Ministry in 1988. This ministry became a 501(c)(3) public charity in August of 1990. In the past 20 years, Cecelia has traveled countless miles serving this ministry. In order to minister to the children and mothers, she began a toy giveaway in 1993 and a women's retreat for the mothers in 1994. To further serve her calling, Mrs. Whitfield eventually resigned from her full-time job to drive visitors to the prisons and serves as it's president.

PACE Indy Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson joined PACE Indy in 2010, and has over 10 years’ experience in case management and employment support services. Originally as the Transitional Services Coordinator, Michael is now the LEAP Post-Release Coordinator. The mission of pace is to provide a variety of services to help offenders, ex-offenders, and their families to lead productive and responsible lives in their community.

Brookside Community Church Charles "Preach" Neal

Charles "Preach" Neal became Pastor and Reentry Director at Brookside Community Church in early 2017. Previously he served as Director of Peer Development at RecycleForce, a nonprofit social enterprise on Indianapolis’ Near Eastside that provides transitional jobs to men and women returning to Marion County after incarceration. In that capacity, Neal played an essential role in the development of the onsite peer mentoring program, meeting weekly with mentors to discuss their work and providing direction to transitional employees as needed. He also led the morning “Circle of Trust”.

Craine House

Craine House offers women a second chance for rehabilitation through family therapy, substance abuse counseling and vocational programs while providing them with a safe and structured, homelike setting to live with their preschool aged children.

Office of Health and Public Safety Brooke Daunhauer

In her new role as director of re-entry, Daunhauer is working to improve connectivity for those re-entering the community with existing service providers, promote public-private partnerships to fill gaps in services, and uplift the work already being done by partners to foster successful reintegration within the community. Before joining the Office of Health and Public Safety, Daunhauer worked with the Marion County Public Defender Agency, as a family support specialist supervisor with Wishard Healthy Families and as a healthy families group facilitator at the Marion County Public Health Department.


June Forum Highlights How Can Institutions Support Community?

Sunday, June 25, 2017
3-5PM at KI
3549 Boulevard Place


Meet the Panel

BMO Harris Bank Gary Reiter

Gary Reiter is a Vice President and Trust Officer at BMO Harris Bank. In May of 2015, Gary was named an Indianapolis Plan 2020 Fellow for his submitted idea to create a project to bring together a Community Development Financial Institution, the City of Indianapolis and County of Marion, and a well-capitalized nonprofit (WCN) to partner with a host of organizations including Foundations, Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority, and financial institutions to create the Indianapolis Equitable Transit Oriented Development Fund (‘Fund”). Structured as a unique blend of risk and return requirements, the Fund will be capitalized with $15 million. The Fund’s initial goal is to support the creation and preservation of over 1,000 affordable housing units and mixed use development through strategic property acquisition in both current and future transit corridors in Indianapolis. A similar Fund in Denver resulted in an economic impact exceeding $598 million according to an independent analysis by an Economist. At BMO Harris Bank, Gary specializes in providing customized trust and estate administration for high net worth individuals and families as part of an overall personal wealth management strategy. Gary joined BMO in 2013 and has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. Gary earned a BA in Political Science from John Carroll University and a JD from Cleveland State University, John Marshall College of Law. Gary is an active member of the Indianapolis community and has been involved in various environmental initiatives, as well as leading roles in various area nonprofit organizations.

Community Action of Greater Indianapolis Edgar N. Tipton Jr.

Edgar N. Tipton Jr. is currently the President of Community Action of Greater Indianapolis, Inc; a multi-million dollar non-profit agency which serves four counties in Central Indiana. He has been with the agency since 1998. He is also President / CEO of Tipton and Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in financial management, business planning, loan packaging, economic development, etc. He has 17 years of banking experience. Education: He earned his undergrad degree in Political Science from DePauw University and earned an MBA from the University of Indianapolis with concentrations in Finance and Accounting. He has a strong commitment to community and is a life-long resident of Indianapolis, Indiana. He has been active and continues to volunteer for a number of organizations and serves on a number of non-profit boards.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation Indianapolis Thomas Orr

Thomas Orr is a Senior Program Officer with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in Indianapolis, where he manages the Centers for Working Families initiative. He was instrumental in launching a green jobs project for low-income workers focused on "deconstruction" of unsafe and abandoned properties. He is currently working on implementation of a career pathways project to “bridge” basic skills and occupational training for low-wage workers. He represents LISC on a cross-agency team to develop strategies for re-use of industrial sites leading to job creation in urban core neighborhoods. He served as the COO of EmployIndy (the Workforce Investment Board for Marion County) and was a co-founder of RecycleForce, a green enterprise employing ex-offenders in electronic recycling. Early in his career, he served as a frontline case manager at the John H. Boner Community Center. He has delivered presentations, workshops, and technical training across the country on workforce program design and performance management. He serves on the Leadership Council of the National Skills Coalition. He is a Certified Workforce Development Professional. He is the author of two books, Hammers in the Fog and Tongue to the Anvil. He holds a B. A. from Gordon College.

Kheprw Institute Imhotep Adisa

Imhotep has spent over thirty years working to address issues of equity across public, civic and business sectors. Since 2004, he has served as the Executive Director of Kheprw Institute (kheprw.org). KI works to nurture critically aware young people to build a culture that is in harmony with the environment and created economic opportunity through social entrepreneurship. KI is rooted in a spirit of self-mastery and innovation. The Institute has incubated a number of successful enterprises including KI NuMedia which tells stories that empower community through videography, social media and web design (kinumedia.org). In addition to building the Kheprw Institute from the ground up, Imhotep spent nine years in public education in various capacities that involved training, facilitation, technology and administration. After leaving this arena, he then started and ran a successful business enterprise for nearly a decade. Over the years, Imhotep’s primary emphasis has been to promote indigenous, youth-led initiatives and to engage young people in advancing sustainable practices within themselves and their surrounding community.

Indianapolis Museum of Art Jerry Wise

Jerry Wise, Chief Financial Officer of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, is responsible for all financial aspects of the Museum. He oversees the Finance department and Investments, as well as Human Resources, Procurement, Information Technology, and The IT Lab. Mr. Wise manages all aspects of the Museum’s financial operations and transactions and the Museum’s relationships with banks, investment managers, suppliers, vendors, auditors, the IRS and insurance firms. He is responsible for financial planning and strategy, analysis and reporting, operating and capital budget management, tax matters, all treasury related activities, and external reporting requirements including preparation of year-end audited financial statements; federal and state tax returns for federal and state. For Human Resources, Mr. Wise acts as the IMA’s Chief Human Resources Officer, overseeing legal compliance in all aspects of employment, structure and implementation of benefit offerings, department and staff reorganizations, professional development and compensation. For IT, he oversees general information technology strategy, including ecommerce and online solutions, as well as oversight for the IMA lab, which provides internal and external strategic IT services. From 2004-2013 Mr. Wise served as Treasurer and Director of New Business Development for the Indianapolis Airport Authority. He has also held positions with the Indiana Public Finance Office and LECG (Chicago, Ill.), He holds a Mas. Urban Planning from New York University and BA from Yale University.

Social Enterprise Greenhouse Kelly Ramirez

Kelly is the CEO of Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG), and grew the organization from a small informal group of engaged philanthropists with a annual budget of $25K to a $1 Million + organization with 8 staff, and a community of 200+ volunteers that serves a portfolio of 220 companies in just six years. Kelly is also the founder of the SEEED Summit, a national social enterprise conference that is run in collaboration between SEG, Brown University, the City of Providence and the State of Rhode Island. Kelly has taught/teaches Social Enterprise at RISD, Salve Regina, Providence College and in Brown University’s Leadership Institute.


May Forum Highlights Use What You Got: Social Capital and Entrepreneurship

Sunday, June 25, 2017
3-5PM at KI
3549 Boulevard Place


Meet the Panel

Kheprw Institute; Hip Hop Artist Diop Adisa

Diop Adisa has worked to empower community for the past 5 years through uplifting stories, projects and visions rooted in Community Empowerment through Self-Mastery. One of the main tools he uses to encourage and support equity, community voice, community control and community vision is independent filmmaking. Central to KI’s mission is the ability to, through the use of intentional storytelling, paint the narratives that culturally reflect how we see reality and how we envision reality in its ideal state. With a focus on empowerment, he dedicates his time, energy and effort to shedding light on the stories and messages of individuals and groups working diligently to bring about this reality. He currently leads KI NuMedia's videography team, trains youth and seniors in filming and video editing and helps to co-lead the enterprise. He is a hip hop artist and recently his track, "LowKey LowKey" was selected to be featured in Spike Lee's upcoming Netflix series She's Gotta Have It.

RecycleForce Charles "Preach" Neal

Charles "Preach" Neal is the Peer Mentor Director at RecycleForce. He became Pastor and Reentry Director at Brookside Community Church in early 2017. Previously he served as Director of Peer Development at RecycleForce, a nonprofit social enterprise on Indianapolis’ Near Eastside that provides transitional jobs to men and women returning to Marion County after incarceration. In that capacity, Neal played an essential role in the development of the onsite peer mentoring program, meeting weekly with mentors to discuss their work and providing direction to transitional employees as needed. He also led the morning “Circle of Trust”.

Purdue University Dr. Ariana Torres

Dr. Torres’ background combines field experience in agriculture with theoretical and applied research on agricultural economics. She has worked on projects looking at the impact of marketing choices on technology adoption for fruit and vegetable growers; the economic implications of social capital on entrepreneurship; and the role of community support on the resilience of small business after disasters.

ACLU Racial Justice Program Dennis Parker

Dennis Parker is director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program, leading its efforts in combating discrimination and addressing other issues with a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Parker oversees work to combat the “School-to-Prison” pipeline, the profiling of airline passengers subjected to searches and wrongfully placed on watch lists and the racial bias in the criminal justice system.

April Forum Highlights Life, Liberty and Justice for All?

Sunday, April 23, 2017
3-5PM at KI
3549 Boulevard Place


Meet the Panel

Southern Poverty Law Center Natalie Lyons

Natalie Lyons is Staff Attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., where she is working on behalf of immigrant detainees. She has worked on criminal justice reform campaigns in California and Alabama, and served on the trial team for Braggs v. Dunn, a class action lawsuit against the Alabama prison system for the failure to provide adequate medical and mental health care to prisoners.

ACLU Indiana Jan Mensz

Jan Mensz is a Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Indiana and was a Debevoise Fellow in 2010-2011. He was involved in cases including the confinement of mentally ill prisoners in extreme isolation, a challenge to state discriminatory practices against U.S. citizen children of immigrant parents and a challenge to Indiana law denying Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood, among many others.

Robert H. McKinney School of LawFran Watson

Fran Watson is a Clinical Professor at Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Professor Watson continued directs the Criminal Defense Clinic and developed the Wrongful Conviction Clinic. The Wrongful Conviction Clinic is a founding member of the Innocence Network and provides live-client representation in state and federal proceedings to Indiana inmates claiming actual innocence and wrongful conviction.

Felege Hiywot Center Aster Bekele

Aster Bekele is the director of the Felege Hiywot Center. The Felege Hiywot Center is a gardening program in Indianapolis whose focus is on urban youth, second generation Ethiopian youth, and orphans in Ethiopia. Aster has been in the United States for 31 years and has enjoyed the freedom and the opportunities as a citizen since 1981. Her desire to give back to her Hoosier community as well as to the homeland of her birthplace, Ethiopia. Her motivation of starting a mission began in 1975 following her move from Franklin College to IUPUI when she began living at 25th and Martindale. At that time, she realized there were many kids who could use her help so she started tutoring them after school. While working with these children, she realized an impression was being made on them as they learned about the living conditions of children in her homeland, Ethiopia. They started to understand how fortunate they were compared to Ethiopian children, even though compared to Indiana standards they may have considered themselves underprivileged.It was while working with these neighborhood children that the idea of a mission connecting the poor orphans of Ethiopia to the needy children here in Indianapolis started.

March Forum Highlights Community Grown Food Solutions

Sunday, March 26, 2017
3-5PM at KI
3549 Boulevard Place


Meet the Panel

CCFI Mimi Zakem

In 2015 the only urban grocery store chain in Indy closed all of its four stores. In response we held a youth-led forum on food access. Inspired by the forums, a group of neighbors supported by Kheprw Institute Equity Fellow Mimi Zakem and staff continued to meet to share food and talk about what we could do. In June 2016 the Community Controlled Food Initiative launched as a food co-op where people pool their resources to buy wholesale from local farmers. This was created with zero capital and provides fresh produce to 42 families. Mimi is starting her second year as a fellow and will continue to support and scale the Community Controlled Food Initiative.

South Circle Farm Amy Matthews

South Circle Farm is an urban farm in Downtown Indy.South Circle Farm's founder and farmer is Amy Matthews. A native of the southside of Indy, Amy has traveled far and wide to learn the craft of farming--from the mountains of Montana, to the urban wilds of Chicago, from the tundra of Alaska to the rust belt of Cleveland. Toggling back and forth between urban and rural, social service and for-profit, Amy has seen many angles on growing food. She is happy to be back in Indy and encouraged to see our city joining in the healthy revolution.

Mandela MarketPlace ​​Trisha Chakrabarti

​​Trisha Chakrabarti is the Program and Policy Manager at Mandela MarketPlace, wh​ich leads community-based programming and research in food access, healthy retailing​, and support for small food-based businesses​.​ She has worked in community food programming​ ​for the last decade, and has led participatory research and advocacy initiatives with youth in Boston. She grew up in the South Asian diaspora, and sees a​ community-owned food system as a key indicator of political and economic self-sovereignty.

Food Policy Director City of Indianapolis Shellye Suttles

February 2017 Forum Highlights Food Politics and Equity

Sunday, February 26
3-5PM at KI
3549 Boulevard Place

Meet the Panel

Common Cause Julia Vaughn

Bread for the World Dave Miner

IU Health ​​Kaliah Ligon

Former IPS School Board Member and IUPUI Urban Education Studies doctoral student Gayle Cosby

A resident of the near-eastside of Indianapolis for over thirty years, Gayle Cosby has been connected with Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) in different capacities her entire life. After working in social services for several years, she began a teaching career with IPS in 2007, and earned a Master's Degree in Education from Marian University in 2009.

Forum Highlights Putting The Public Back Into Education

Saturday, March 25, 2017
1:30-3:30PM at KI
3549 Boulevard Place


Meet the Panel

Assistant Professor, Knox College and graduate of the IUPUI Urban Education Studies doctoral program Dr. Nate Williams

Dr. Nate received his PhD in Urban Education Studies from IUPUI and now serves as an assistant professor in Knox College's Department of Educational Studies. He holds a Master's degree in Education Psychology from Indiana University at Bloomington and a Bachelors in Art Education from Herron School of Art. The primary focus of his research centers on the overrepresentation of Black students in school discipline. His research seeks to explore how the “school-to-prison pipeline” acts as a function of systemic racism.

professor in the IUPUI Urban Education Studies doctoral program Dr. Jim Scheurich

Dr. Scheurich is dedicated to supporting the creation of schools that deliver high quality success to all student groups, especially those groups that have historically not been well served by public schooling, like African American students, Latino students, students from low income families, student from families that do not speak English at home, students from other cultures, students with disabilities, girls in math and science, lesbian/gay/bi/transgender students, or any other group not receiving the benefits of a high quality education.