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Handprints Heal Footprints: An Uncommon Conference on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
June 17 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Footprints are acts, intentional or unintentional, that cause harm to someone or something. Handprints are intentional acts that offset footprints.
–Dr. Gregory Norris
The first annual Handprints Heal Footprints: An Uncommon Conference on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is set to take place on June 17th, 2021. This is a one-day learning conference sponsored by the students of SHOUT (Social Handprints Overcoming Unjust Treatment) that will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn about the Handprints Heal Footprints Framework that can be used to create environments that are more equitable and inclusive. View conference agenda here.
The art of storytelling is a powerful catalyst to evoke change. There is power in the vulnerability within our stories to inspire others. We all have a story to tell that highlights the experiences that shape us, the lessons we learn along the way, the source of our values and passions, what makes us unique, and why we care about what we care about. This conference will promote a safe space in which participants can share their stories and embrace the stories of others. Most importantly, it will provide a space where one’s experiences materialize into ideas that can impact a wider range of people.
The interactive nature of this conference will allow participants to experience the power of stories through different events including, but not limited to: workshops (founders Yamini Yepuri and Berfin “Snow” Bircan will present the renowned #handprintsHEALfootprints workshop), small group breakout sessions, book giveaways, and keynotes speakers.
Keynote Speakers + Session Info
Zach Betz “The Benefits of Autism”
Zach is an 11th-grade student at South Fayette High School who was diagnosed with a form of autism at a young age. He is an active student who is passionate about running, biking, and business. He is a co-chair and founder of the student-led organization SHOUT (Social Handprints Overcoming Unjust Footprints) whose mission is to make schools culturally-responsive safe spaces for all students, faculty, and staff. Zach also has a heart for people with mental health issues. This shows through in his active personal mission to show support and kindness to everyone he meets. After high school, Zach is interested in pursuing a career in business. Zach has many people who he is grateful towards throughout his life, such as his family for their support since the beginning.
People with autism are not only just as capable of succeeding in life as people without autism, but they also have some advantages to gaining success. Often, people take pity on those with autism, thinking that this is a disadvantage or a burden. Zach will explain how people with autism see problems from a unique perspective and how their different perspectives are beneficial. Zach believes it is important to bring this misconception to light because of the growing number of people diagnosed with autism.
Dr. Tyler Titus
Dr. Tyler Titus is the oldest of 12 children and grew up in Titusville, PA. Their parents became foster parents when Tyler was 16 years old. Tyler watched as their family struggled to help youth who had endured child abuse and neglect. Being in a rural area, locating and accessing support and resources was incredibly challenging, and at times resulted in their family feeling very isolated. These lived experiences inspired Tyler to embark on a journey to create safer, healthier, and thriving communities. Through that journey, they became a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Pennsylvania, a trauma-informed leader, public speaker, and activist. Dr. Titus previously served on the Board of Directors for Crime Victim Center. They currently serves as President of the Erie City School Board in Erie, PA, and is the co-vice chair for the Pennsylvania Commission of LGBTQ+ Affairs.
More information coming soon