Who We Are
Overhaul of Advocacy is a project with many different hands in it. The mission of this database is to provide a full spectrum look at the world of being an advocate and genuine ally to the Black community. Advocacy looks different for everyone, therefore it is important to include as much as possible to spark everyone's unique interests. The project is very new and we are adding new resources as much as possible. We decided to launch it in its early stages to be a visual representation of how we are all growing in knowledge, consciousness, and advocacy.
The Co-Creators, Carlyn and Mary, are honored to have many influential Black, Queer, Non-Black POC leaders in the advocacy world as advisors and collaborators. Given the nature of this work, for safety reasons, some collaborators have asked to remain anonymous at this time and are not mentioned as we must respect their personal level of comfort.
Carlyn (she/her) was born on the West Coast, went to elementary school on the East Coast, middle school in the South and graduated from high school in the Midwest. Each time she relocated to a new state, a common thread was her parents' goal to ensure she and her younger brother would feel empowered to dream big and try any and all things. Growing up in primarily white communities, Carlyn struggled for years with self love and appreciation for her Blackness. It was not until college that she unlearned many negative attitudes about her skin color and instead felt confident in her identity and began to truly love being a Black woman in this country.
She studied healthcare and the system in undergrad and graduate school with a true passion for improving the health and wellbeing of marginalized communities. Her early realization that healthcare is more than one's physical health - it's mental, emotional, sexual as well spiritual fueled her interest in finding ways to making healthcare more approachable and accessible for folks that have historically struggled in clinical settings. Carlyn has had the opportunity to work in roles dedicated to women's health, queer health and the existing health disparities for Black folks. She is an enthusiastic learner, an eager listener and growing to be an effective leader. She welcomes the challenge and opportunity to better serve others around her and to do this important work.
A note from the Creator: Whether you've been at this work for years or you recently started putting in the work as an ally - welcome! You have chosen empathy and we are so happy to have you on this team. This will not change overnight and it will not be easy, please be gentle with yourself. Thank you for being here. - Carlyn LaGrone
Mary (she/her) is a queer, cis-woman living in California (Muwekma Ohlone native land). She is dedicated to unlearning unconscious biases and being a positive learner in the movement towards a just and equitable world.
Mary studied music and psychology at Simpson College located in Indianola, Iowa. She is an elementary teacher in the Bay Area. Her professional experience is rooted in music education as well as behavior therapy. She has lived in the Bay Area for a little over three years and originally is from Iowa. She strives to create an equitable classroom where students know they have the ability to be agents of change. This year, she will be focusing on normalizing differences and how we discuss challenging topics at a fifth grade level.
Currently, Mary is a Fifth grade ELA teacher with Rocketship Charter Schools. Through her platform as a teacher, she guides students to utilize their innate power they have to raise their voices in and out of the classroom. Equity in education is where she believes the work starts.
A note from the Creator: Remember to lead with compassion in your heart, fire in your spirit, and tact in your approach to others that may not be where you are in their journey. - Mary Hudson
Anne Marie Knight- Advisor
Anne-Marie Knight is the Chief Strategy Officer of SHINE! Consulting and Training, LLC and is the new acting director of The Black Business Alliance an organization that educates, empowers and grows black-owned businesses across the state of Connecticut.
Now, more than ever, there is a need to have challenging conversations about
race, hate and equity....and then to move toward meaningful action. Anne-Marie feels that her most important work, besides raising her children, is helping others make deep transformational change. She is a Diversity and Inclusion expert, a Certified Master OASIS Trainer and has facilitated diversity trainings and assembly programs for the past 18 years, impacting thousands of students, faculty, law enforcement, organizations and businesses throughout the Northeast. She weaves her engineering mindset and mindfulness techniques into every training – creating custom-designed, interactive, practical programs.
Anne-Marie is a 4th generation entrepreneur and is also known for her glamorous cupcakes.