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Uplifting Communities: Spotlighting the invaluable contributions of AfroLatine community leaders, and those studying AfroLatinidad, who championed social justice, education, and empowerment through their dedicated research and community engagement within our city.

Shaunté Keakalani Caraballo

Shaunté Keakalani Caraballo is an assistant professor at CSU Dominguez Hills in the department of Theatre, Speech and Dance where she teaches all three disciplines. She is currently serving as the chair for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, in Region 8, where she previously served as the vice-chair of representation, equity, and diversity. She has been a professional public speaker for over 15 years. She is a multiple national award-winning speech and debate competitor and coach with over 20 years of competition and a history of national success as a competitor and as a coach. She is a director and spoken word artist who specializes in devised theatrical work, working with BIPOC actors and creating work focusing on social justice issues. She has taught many workshops on developing anti-racist works of art with social justice argumentation, diversity, equity, and inclusion. She lives in Long Beach with her husband Craig, daughter Sam, and their fur-baby Misty.

Sharon Cruz

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Shay Cruz is a proud Black Latina, embracing both her Puerto Rican and African American roots. With a diverse background as a public speaker, corporate leader, poet, and cultural educator, Shay's journey has been marked by her deep passion for sharing and educating others about Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean heritage.

As the driving force behind the Non-profit organization, Afro-Latino Education & Arts Collective and the founder of AfroCalifornia, Shay has devoted herself to a mission: To foster understanding, appreciation, and celebration of the rich cultural heritage and histories of Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean communities. Her leadership role in these organizations has afforded her the unique opportunity to extensively explore various regions of Latin America and the Caribbean over the past decade. Through her travels, Shay has immersed herself in the wonderfully diverse and resilient cultures, gaining deep insights into the histories of the Black populations in these areas.

Shay's passion for cultural education and her commitment to bridging gaps within and beyond her community are evident in her work such as the recent production of the very 1st Annual Afro-Latino Culture Fest for Hispanic Heritage Month on the West Coast.

Cynthia Nagel

Born and raised in Callao, Peru to Peruvian father, and Japanese mother but very much immersed in to the Criollo music and traditional Peruvian tunes she listened to while growing up. Started dancing at the age of 6 and it never stopped. With over 25 years of dance career, she has been representing Peru locally and internationally. She was part of the National School of Folklore Jose Maria Arguedas in Lima, Peru as well as one of the lead dancers if their ballet “El Conjunto Nacional de Folklore- one of the most prestigious dance companies in Peru. In 2012, she became a body worker and a health educator at the National Holistic Institute in California. At this point, she found herself a happy place where she not only can share dance and culture but also to raise awareness for wellness and the wellbeing. A beautiful blend of Therapeutic dance healing arts. Now living in Los Angels, since 2016, she started teaching Peruvian dances and practicing body work in Southbay. She is one of the founders of AfroPeruvian Experience , a safe place they built together to learn, heal, visualize, and expand the love for our beautiful and rich AfroPeruvian Culture.

This event is co-sponsored by the William H. Hannon Library, the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, the College of Communication and Fine Arts, and the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Alliance.

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