Activists and Agitators

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Activists and Agitators 2020

Join your YWCA Columbus on Wednesday, October 14, 5:30-7:00 p.m. for Activists and Agitators, a virtual racial equity training and grounding conversation with Austin Channing Brown.

Through an online workshop, facilitated by YWCA Columbus’s Leadership and Social Justice Team, this year’s Activists and Agitators will empower new audiences with a foundational understanding of how racism is pervasive throughout our systems and codified throughout history, and requires a focus on systems change that centers equity on the path to justice. This training will be a conduit for ongoing development of racial literacy in Columbus, increasing accessibility and inclusion to racial equity training, and advancing the organization’s mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice freedom and dignity for all.

Additionally, YWCA Columbus has partnered with racial justice activist, best-selling author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, and media producer, Austin Channing Brown to enable attendees to begin a journey toward social transformation and racial justice. The program will also spotlight activists and agitators from the community including a special performance by Barbara Fant.

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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 deLeon

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.

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.

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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