Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Great Stories Club: Implementation Team

Great Stories Club

The American Library Association (ALA) is grateful to the following members of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Great Stories Club (TRHT GSC) Implementation Team.

These humanities scholars and programming librarians led the development of new reading and discussion series inspired by W.K. Kellogg Foundation's TRHT process. Each series engaged libraries, community partners and underserved teen audiences in reading and discussing three theme-related books and participating in programs led by a racial healing practitioner. The project engaged local communities in racial healing and change efforts to address present inequities linked to historic and contemporary beliefs in racial hierarchy.

Literature Scholars

Maria Sachiko CecireMaria Sachiko Cecire is Director of the Center for Experimental Humanities and Associate Professor of Literature at Bard College in New York. Her areas of specialization include children's literature and youth culture, media and digital studies, and medieval literature and its afterlives. Prior to joining Bard’s faculty in 2010, she taught at Oxford University. Maria holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago, as well as a Master of Studies and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford. Her book Re-Enchanted: The Rise of Children’s Fantasy Literature in the Twentieth Century was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2019. Other publications include Space and Place in Children’s Literature, 1789-Present, which she co-edited with Hannah Field, Kavita Mudan Finn, and Malini Roy; articles in journals such as Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, The Journal of Children's Literature Studies, Medieval English Theatre; and essays in collected volumes including The Disney Middle Ages, Anglo-Saxon Culture and the Modern Imagination, and Debates in the Digital Humanities. She received a Rhodes Scholarship in 2006.

Susana MorrisSusana M. Morris is an Associate Professor of Literature, Media and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and co-founder of the popular feminist blog, The Crunk Feminist Collective. Susana is the author of "Close Kin and Distant Relatives: The Paradox of Respectability in Black Women’s Literature" (UVA Press 2014) and co-editor, with Brittney C. Cooper and Robin M. Boylorn, of the anthology, "The Crunk Feminist Collection" (Feminist Press 2017). Susana is also series editor, along with Kinitra D. Brooks, of the book series "New Suns: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Speculative," published at The Ohio State University Press. Currently, she is a Digital Integrative Liberal Arts Center Fellow at Georgia Tech working on her latest book project, "Electric Ladies: Black Women, Afrofuturism, and Feminism."

Librarian Advisors

Wini AshoohWini Ashooh is a youth services/teen specialist librarian at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library System in Virginia. She provides library services to the teen residents at the Rappahannock Juvenile Center (RJC) in Stafford, Virginia. The RJC is an 80-bed facility that provides secure incarceration for court-ordered youth, crisis intervention, substance abuse and counseling services.
Edith CampbellEdith Campbell is an assistant librarian in the Cunningham Memorial Library at Indiana State University. As part of the Reference and Instruction team, she serves as the liaison to the Bayh College of Education. Edith was elected to the 2018 YALSA Printz Award Committee and has been appointed the ALSC Sibert Committee from 2019-21. She is on the advisory board for the online peer-reviewed journal, Research on Diversity in Youth Literature. Her research interests include the visibility of Black girls in young adult literature and implementing mind and brain research in library practices. She blogs to promote literacy, decolonization and social justice in young adult literature at CrazyQuiltsEdi. Edith received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Cincinnati and M.L.S. from Indiana University.
Vanessa Centeno Vanessa “Chacha” Centeno is a youth services librarian with the Sacramento Public Library. She is best known for her work with immigrant and refugee families, advocacy for at-risk youth and diversity representation in libraries. Before her career as a librarian, Vanessa worked with chronic homeless populations and interned with her local Juvenile Probation Department while completing a Baccalaureate Degree in criminology & criminal justice. She has brought services to at-risk communities through partnerships with groups serving youth in special education, and by advocating for change in policy and service to foster and group home youth. Vanessa was raised amongst family with diverse Chicano and American Indian backgrounds and credits her grandmothers for teaching resilience and nurturing her love for younger generations. She enjoys storytelling and believes it teaches and preserves culture while healing the wounds of generational trauma. She is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Angelina CortesAngelina M. Cortes is a reference librarian and diversity trainer at Sno-Isle Libraries in the rural Snohomish and Island counties of the Pacific Northwest. She provides cultural competency, diversity and inclusion training to internal employees of 21 community libraries in the area. She has worked in private, academic and public libraries as a cataloger, archivist and special librarian. Angelina is a partner with the Social Justice Education Around Technology (S.E.A.T.) Institute based out of Washington’s Puget Sound area. Angelina holds a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington at Seattle and a Bachelors of Spanish and Latin American Literature and Creative Writing from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA.
Joslyn Bowling DixonJoslyn Bowling Dixon is the assistant director for the Prince William Library System, serving Prince William County, Virginia. Joslyn has a depth of public library knowledge that spans 20 years of extensive management experience and includes supervising service to children and young adults in urban and suburban public library systems In Illinois, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia. Joslyn serves on the Coretta Scott King Awards Executive Committee as the chair of the Marketing Committee and has presented at ALA national and regional conferences on the subject of spaces, places and literature for teens, as well as the need for civil discourse on race using the public library as an effective catalyst and platform for change. Joslyn has a B.A. in English from Hampton University and earned her MLiS in 2008 at Dominican University.

Amira ShabanaAmira Shabana is the managing school librarian for Barrington Middle School in Barrington, Illinois. Since 2009, she has worked as a school librarian at the elementary school level, junior high level, and now, high school level. She has worked in a variety of library settings — school, public,and special libraries including the Art Institute of Chicago-Ryerson & Burnham Libraries. Her academic achievements include a B.A. in history and art history from the University of Illinois, a Masters of Library Information Science from Dominican University and a Reading Specialist endorsement from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently part of the reader panel for the Illinois State High School Reading List Abe Lincoln Teen Choice Award and a member of the Art Institute's Teacher Action Panel. Amira is passionate about social justice, educational equity and the opportunity to turn this passion into action as a member of ALA’s Implementation Team.

Racial Healing Practitioners

Dushaw.headshotDushaw Hockett is the founder and executive director of Safe Places for the Advancement of Community and Equity (SPACEs), a Washington, DC-based leadership development and community building organization dedicated to bridging the gap between what people imagine and what they achieve. A native New Yorker who now resides in Maryland, Dushaw has over 20 years of experience in community building and organizational development. He's the former Director of Special Initiatives for the Center for Community Change (CCC), a 40-plus year old national social justice organization founded in the memory of the late Robert F. Kennedy. During is 12-year tenure at CCC, Dushaw led projects focused on affordable housing, immigration and race.

Mee MouaMee Moua is the Principal of Interdependent Group, LLC, which provides training, facilitation and coaching support for individuals and organizations in planning, leadership, and transformation. She is passionate about democracy building, heart leadership and making visible the interconnectedness among peoples. She is currently a governance coach to a cohort of newly elected local and State officials and a consultant to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as a law and policy expert and a racial healing circle facilitator. She is the immediate past President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, a leading national civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. Prior to her work in Washington, DC, she was an attorney in private practice in St. Paul, Minnesota and a member of the Minnesota State Senate.

Mike WengerMichael R. Wenger is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Sociology at The George Washington University, where he teaches classes on race relations and institutional racism. He also serves as a senior consultant on race relations with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In this capacity, he provides guidance on the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation effort of the Foundation and has facilitated racial healing circles at the conferences of several large organizations, including Independent Sector, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, the American Library Association, and Virginia’s Commonwealth Commission on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He was recently named as a senior fellow at the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U).

Dialogue Facilitation Advisor

Val RamosValeriano (Val) Ramos Jr. is director of strategic alliances at Everyday Democracy, a national organization devoted to building the capacity of communities for dialogue and problem-solving. In this role, he contributes to leveraging organizational resources; working with state, regional and national networks on building a civic infrastructure for dialogue and deliberation; and developing state and regional intermediary (“anchor”) partnerships to build community capacity for dialogue and change. He is also coordinator for the Connecticut Civic Health Project. As Everyday Democracy’s equity officer, Val works with an “Equity Team” to build an organizational culture that promotes anti-racism practices and helps to bring an “equity lens” to the work of the organization. Before joining Everyday Democracy, Val was director of constituent affairs under former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.