April 8, 2021

Voices Envisioned in 2020–2021

April Reign
April Reign

Pursuing Justice in the Digital Age with April Reign

TUES, April 20 | 7pm


As the creator of the viral hashtag-turned-movement, #OscarsSoWhite, April Reign has been challenging the lack of representation of marginalized communities in Hollywood and beyond since 2015. Reign sustains a movement that has resulted in the most permanent systemic change ever seen in the over 80-year history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her name continues to be synonymous with this historic change, the results of which are reverberating throughout the entertainment industry and will do so for decades to come.

April Reign practiced law for nearly twenty years, honing her talent for public speaking, persuasive writing and effecting policy change, but it wasn’t until she walked away from her legal practice that she found her true passion.

She has now partnered with Overture Global, a New York-based media company, to launch Ensemble, a digital content studio to accelerate opportunities around content and development in front of and behind the camera for people of color. Reign is also part of the founding cohort for She Will Rise, a grassroots campaign to support the nomination and confirmation of the first Black Woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Reign is an influential and sought-after media presence, having built an impressive global organic social media following over several platforms, as well as a network of recognized celebrities, creators, activists, and decision-makers at the corporate level. Reign capitalizes on this network and her experience, using her voice to spark conversations and explore issues of race, politics and culture, helping structure ways to turn dialogue into action.

April is a sought-after advocate, consultant, writer, speaker and interviewer regarding issues of diversity and inclusion, and on the representation of all marginalized communities in the arts, tech and entertainment. Her work includes constant dialogue with media as well as collaborations with Procter & Gamble, Twitter, Google NextGen, AARP, HBO and more.

Wednesday, May 12 | 7pm

Tyrone Howard
Tyrone Howard

Uplifting All Children to Cultivate Critical Wellness: Race and Culture Matter

Dr. Tyrone Howard addressed the importance of equity, access, and excellence in today’s schools. Using data on today’s student demographics, he discussed strategies, approaches, and resources that school personnel can implement to aid learners, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable students. His talk also addressed the complex challenges that students encounter in their efforts to be successful and how they can be supported socially, emotionally, and academically by parents & guardians, health & wellness practitioners, faculty, staff, and school leaders.

With Drawn Arms Panel
With Drawn Arms Panel

With Drawn Arms: A Conversation about Activism, Art, & Athletics

With Drawn Arms co-directors Glenn Kaino & Afshin Shahidi, Tommie Smith, fellow Olympic gold-medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee pro-basketball player Chinenye “Chiney” Ogwumike joined Oakwood’s Director of Athletics Steve Smith and Visual Art Chair KP Pepe for a conversation on the intersection of art, activism and athletics. 

Watch Zoom recording here.

Dr. Joy DeGruy
Dr. Joy DeGruy

Dr. Joy DeGruy: Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome and the Effect of Slavery and Institutionalized Racism

Dr. DeGruy, whose research focuses on the intersection of racism, trauma, violence and American chattel slavery, has over thirty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work. She conducts workshops and trainings in the areas of intergenerational/Historical trauma, mental health, social justice, improvement strategies and evidence based model development.

Tiana Day & Jacqueline Azah
Tiana Day & Jacqueline Azah

Tiana Day & Jacqueline Azah: A Conversation on Youth Activism

Tiana Day and Jacqueline Azah shared their backgrounds, how they were drawn into racial and social justice, their accomplishments, and visions for the future. A panel of Oakwood student leaders then moderated the discussion on the promise and power of youth activism.

Patrisse Cullors
Patrisse Cullors. Photo by Giovanni Solis

Patrisse Cullors

We are honored to welcome artist, organizer, activist, freedom fighter, and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Patrisse Cullors as our first Voices Envisioned speaker of the new school year. This virtual talk centered around activism and community organizing.


Now in its 14th year, Voices Envisioned is a speaker series for the entire Oakwood community to engage in dialogue about important issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial & social justice.