& Social Justice
Rooted in the belief that relationships and community are central to our liberation, I am a Black woman with extensive experience in anti-racism change efforts. An accomplished race relations trainer skilled in anti-racist data and measurements, systems analysis, group facilitation, anti-racist leadership development, and policy impact analysis, I am practiced in implementing systemic change within large complex structures. With an M.Ed in Organizational Leadership and a MPA in Policy Development, I have actively engaged in moving the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) forward over the last 15 years.
A board member of the Non-Profit Anti-Racist Coalition (NPARC) and founder of Kyana Wheeler Consulting, I work with organizations to embed institutional practices that create sustainable change and develop infrastructure that supports conversations about systems of oppression through the lens of race. A proven consensus builder adept in developing partnerships between leadership and staff, I am experienced in coaching and motivating people to build skill and create capacity in increasing their effectiveness in challenging inequity within their organizations.
I wear many hats in my personal life – wife, mother, and spoken word artist, using my art as a platform to connect with community and generate discussions that imagine a world more humane, just and free.
Lasting organizational change is the result of shared understanding and collective action to embody our values in policy and programs (what we do), and practice (how we do it). As a capacity builder, I coach clients to gain the knowledge, skills and tools they need to leverage their influence and resources to create the restorative environments and the equitable processes that produce outcomes they support.
I approach the facilitation of conversations about race from the understanding that, while we are not to blame for the inequities that persist in our institutions, we are responsible for identifying, addressing and challenging policies and practices that have disproportionate impacts on our communities of color. It is necessary to purposefully and strategically confront the institutionalized power of race and racism with an understanding that power and privilege mirror the intertwining dynamics of racism and oppression. In this strategy, it is crucial that we implicate ourselves by analyzing how we gatekeep and wield power. Operating from a lens of anti-racism, I elevate the conversation of systemic inequity as a way of transforming systems of oppression and healing from the dehumanizing impacts of the historical construction and systemic centering of “whiteness” that now lives and breathes in the infrastructure of our institutions.
Addressing race, at its core, is intersectional work. Intersectionality, a term coined by Kimberle Crenshaw, seeks to center the most impacted by structural and institutional harm. Our society frequently discusses various issues we face: homelessness, poverty, poor education, job insecurity, wage inequality, unhealthy food, global warming, inadequate healthcare, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. However, as we look closer, statistics show that communities of color within each of
these categories are most severely impacted. Therefore, to address issues facing our society, racism is centered, talked about, and challenged within the context of all oppression.
Today, we look beyond individual acts of prejudice and understand that racism has been built into the composition of our society at the institutional and systemic levels. The very fabric of the United States was founded through the lens of race as a social construct, where a human’s rights and liberty depended on the color of one’s skin or the origin of ones ancestors. Over hundreds of years, our systems of government, education, criminal justice, housing, military, industry, religion, etc. have developed racist policies and practices designed to continue this system of power by legalizing and normalizing racial inequality. Race and racism are part of the foundation of our nation and has been leveraged to manipulate all oppressions. Racism has played a pivotal role in shaping our ideas and understandings of how we view people. Historical institutional practices over the last few centuries have resulted in the marginalization and oppression of Black and Brown people and we see statistically how race is a determining factor in the daily lived experiences of people of color in our institutions and communities. Unfortunately, this is where we are today.
I center race with the deep understanding that without disrupting and changing how this current system functions, racism will always exist and people of color throughout every institution will continue to be harmed in oppressive and dehumanizing ways. To achieve racial equity, we must become culturally proficient and vigilantly unpack and dismantle all systems of oppression in order to create an organizational culture in which every member can thrive.
Keynotes, Presentations, Trainings, & Organizational Change Efforts
Southwest Youth and Family Services
White Privilege Symposium
City of Seattle
New York Public Schools [NY]
C+C [WA, OR, MA]
City of Shoreline
Transylvania University [KY]
Henry Art Gallery
Government Alliance for Racial Equity (GARE)
NW Doula Association
University of Washington
WA State Community Action Partnership
Seattle Education Access
League of Conservation Voters
Seattle Arts and Lectures (SAL)
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Seattle Children's Theater
Seattle Public Schools
University of Alaska at Fairbanks [AK]
Linn-Benton Community College [OR]
Associated Recreation Council (ARC)
Alameda County Public Defender's Office [CA]
Seattle Design Review Board