Dominos Toppled at the 2nd Annual Rise Up Conference

November 1, 2023

The 2023 Rise Up Conference Highlights

Rise Up: Be the Domino took place on Wednesday, October 18th, 2023.  Held at the California Endowment Centers, Penny Lane Centers invited 200 people to engage in conversations related to racial and social justice.  

Upon arrival guests were greeted at registration and found themselves at the Resource Fair.  The Resource Fair was a coming together of Penny Lane and community partners to engage with participants to discussion about the services they offer.

The day began with messages of welcome from PLC’s CEO, Wendy Carpenter, and Director Brandon Nichols from DCFS.  From the beginning we noted that today was about action and asked all participants “How can you be a domino?  What can you do to effect change for yourself, colleagues, those we serve and the communities we live and work in?”

The opening session, facilitated by Parviz Nafari and Mayra Gonzalez, of PLC looked at our non-belonging stories and the impact that non-belonging can have on our emotional state and mental health.  By sharing personal reflections, attendees were also able to reflect on their experiences of non-belonging.  The session culminated in a gift of yellow roses and a sense of community and belonging.

Over the course of the day, participants learned from leaders in the field representing private practice, universities and DCFS to name a few.  7 workshops were conducted with topics ranging from Anti-Blackness to implementing DEIB in organizations.  We were happy to have heard from Dr. John Pascarella of USC, Shyrea Minton, Ed.D., LPCC of CSUN, Lee Yates, M. Div. of Covina Community Church, Dr, Arisha Muhammad-Lewis from A New Vision for You, Janet Lazar, LMFT of Penny Lane, Kendra Tankersley-Davis from Crittenton Service for Children and Families and Cory Schneider, LMFT.  

Lisa Whitecrow, along with her team from the DCFS Lancaster office; Dominique Denny, Zelerie Woods, Deborah Keyser, Lydia Cincore and Wendy Wiegmann, delivered the keynote which focused on the implementation of and efforts around ERDD (Eliminating Racial Disproportionality and Disparities).  We learned about the development of ERDD, heard the data, witnessed a ERDD recorded session and heard of personal experiences.  

The day culminated with a reading by Kaitlyn Kim, of the poem, Today I am a Witness to Change and the call to action and Domino Promise, facilitated by Diane Nunn.  Judy Sandino, Chief Program Officer, then wrapped up the day encouraging all to follow through on their Domino Promise so that the dominos begin to topple in the name of racial and social justice.

The theme of the domino was a consistent thread throughout all presentations.  We found that that this theme allowed for personal accountability, while also resonating with attendees on a personal level.  Rise Up was a wonderful day where people of like mind could gather to address these difficult topics and work together to find solutions.  We all have the power to effect change, which was evidenced throughout the day.

“How wonderful it is that no one has to wait but can start right now to gradually change the world.” -Anne Frank
-Judy Grant, Penny Lane Centers

Check out some more photos below!

Rise Up Conference Website: