Activists and Agitators

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Activists and Agitators 2020

You are Powerful

More than 1,000 individuals listened, learned, and reflected with us during the 2020 Activists and Agitators, and we sincerely thank the community for being a part of our first virtual racial equity training and grounding conversation with Austin Channing Brown. YWCA Columbus created Activists and Agitators with the belief that anyone and everyone can be an agent for social change.

We know that you care deeply about making our community equitable for all people, so we hope the training and grounding conversations you heard serve as only the beginning of your journey into social advocacy, activism and anti-racism.

We challenge you to take a stand against racism. If we all commit to intentional, anti-racist, direct action and harm reduction, our collective impact will be profound.


donate nowevent program DE&I Training Interest form

The IAT Test

Once you read about the test, click the button to proceed, and you’ll select the Race (‘Black – White’ IAT).

Take the IAT test

The IAT measures the strength of associations between concepts (e.g., black people, gay people) and evaluations (e.g., good, bad) or stereotypes (e.g., athletic, clumsy). It is a tool that can help all of us, from all backgrounds, recognize unconscious and hidden biases which may unknowingly distort our objective evaluation and treatment of others based upon race, gender, religion, culture, etc. During the training, as we explore how to practice anti-racism by starting with our own personal journeys, the IAT results can be one source of unique insight into where we as individuals are starting.

YWCA Columbus Leadership and Social Justice Team

Jillian Olinger

Chief Mission Officer

Jillian has spent more than a decade working with marginalized communities in central Ohio and across the country on a variety of social justice issues, including equitable community development and engagement, and housing policy intersections.

Caroline Woliver


Caroline has years of nonprofit leadership experience empowering women, advancing racial literacy, and building community coalitions. She develops intersectional, equity-centered programs and policies that create inclusion and transformative change.

Lauren James

Program Manager

Lauren began her work in the YWCA Columbus Leadership and Social Justice department as an office assistant in early 2017. She now serves as Manager of the department, which provides leadership and advocacy training to women and girls across Columbus.

Belen de Leon

Program Coordinator

Belen has experience in youth mentorship and working to empower marginalized communities. With an educational background focused on human rights and social and racial justice, she works to develop and implement YWCA Columbus’ Bright Futures Program.

Rachel Greene

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Trainer

Rachel is an educator with experience in program management, training, and facilitation. With a background in higher education, instruction, learning, and development, her work focuses on racial equity for underrepresented communities.

About Our Program Participants

Austin Channing Brown

Austin Channing Brown

Austin Channing Brown is a speaker, writer and media producer providing inspired leadership on racial justice in America. She is the author of New York Times‘ bestselling I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – recently chosen as a Reese Witherspoon Bookclub pick – and the Executive Producer of web series The Next Question. Her lectures are incisive, fun, disarming and transformative. By using an intentional mix of humor, pop-culture, story-telling, and audience engagement, she awakens people to the current realities of systemic racism and the everyday actions which allow racism to thrive.

Austin's book

About Austin’s Book

In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’M STILL HERE is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.
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Barbara Fant

Barbara Fant

Barbara Fant has been writing and performing poetry for over a decade. Her first poetry collection, Paint, Inside Out was awarded the Cora Craig Award for Young Authors. She is the author of several chapbooks and the co-author of two stage productions. The founder of Bloom Barb Fant, LLC., she teaches poetry in correctional institutions and schools. She is also the Artistic Director for Harmony Project, a teaching artist at Transit Arts, and co-curator of the reading series Paging Columbus.

Janelle Coleman

Janelle Coleman

Executive Vice President, External Affairs, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Coleman has more than 20 years of leadership experience in developing and implementing initiatives that enhance corporate strategy and positively impact communities. She currently oversees the zoo’s communications, marketing, philanthropy, and community engagement efforts.

Conversations with

Judge Laurel Beatty Blunt

Judge Laurel Beatty Blunt

Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals

After a career in corporate law firms and serving as Director of Legislative Affairs for the Ohio Secretary of State, Judge Beatty Blunt was appointed to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, General Division in 2009 and in 2018 was the first Black woman elected to the Tenth District Court of Appeals.

Autumn Glover

Autumn Glover

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and PACT

Autumn Glover, is an urban planner passionate about the intersection of race, place and health. She serves in a dual role with Wexner Medical Center and Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT). Autumn leads multiple civic and community engagement projects for the medical center, including the development of a prevention focused healthy community center and an enterprise-wide health equity and anti-racism strategy.

Erin Upchurch

Erin Upchurch

Executive Director, Kaleidoscope Youth Center

Erin Upchurch (she/her) MSSA, LISW-S, currently works at the Kaleidoscope Youth Center, an organization that works to serve and support LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults. She is a seasoned advocate, community leader, and facilitator of conversations centered on reducing harm related to the experiences of oppression for marginalized and minority communities.


Tammy Fournier-Alsaasda

Lead Organizer, Juvenile Justice Coalition

Tammy is currently serving as the Lead Community Organizer for the Ohio Juvenile Justice Coalition advocating for Ohio’s youth. In 2015, she helped to found the Peoples Justice Project organizing people of color to lead the fight against mass incarceration, police accountability and criminal justice transformation. Because of her outstanding leadership and involvement she is recruited and called to serve in a variety of local task forces, boards, and initiatives.

About This Event

Activists and Agitators

Activists and Agitators is an annual YWCA Columbus event dedicated to uniting the Columbus community, inspiring attendees to pursue greater social change together than we can achieve alone. Activists and Agitators fosters dialogue, provides practical resources and educates the community on how to promote empowerment and inclusion.

Fantastic event! I love how the event encourages connection, action and taking the risk to create change. Because the speakers and messages were so well aligned with the YWCA’s mission and vision, the event felt authentic and important – and that’s no easy feat.
Activists and Agitators Attendee


Jessica Wichtman-Will


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