Previous Speaking Engagements
— Previous Speaking Engagements —
Youth Celebrate Diversity 2019
Audience: 1,100 Students and adults from 105 Colorado high schools and youth organizations
Title/Theme: 26th Annual Cherry Creek Diversity Conference 2019
Audience: 250+ Students and teachers from 25 Schools/youth organizations across Colorado
Title/Theme: Northern Colorado Diversity Conference
The Student Executive Committee, made up of 29 students from 26 schools around the Denver Metro area, selected Luv Mrk to lead two workshops where we focused on identifying specific factors that leave an impression developing our views of social identities. Audience participated in activities to increase awareness of destructive social conditioning shaping our damaging beliefs which in turn influence actions having a detrimental impact in our lives and our relationship with others.
Through various activities and group discussions we looked into different experiences people have depending on our appearance and how we have also treated people due to our beliefs as well. The audience was challenged to self-reflect on their own biasing views of others in order to bring to the forefront how they have treated others due to judgment. People got into groups to discuss experiences from misperceptions and mistreatment of those they encountered, the root to where those views came from and what they can do differently to have a more positive outcome.
We also faced toxic views of self that lead to harmful choices in order to not accept demeaning messages that do not uplift us. Being that what we accept as truth becomes our reality we discussed our choice in not accepting teachings that devalue us and for us to know our worth so we make choices to treat ourselves in a loving manner.
Workshop concluded with affirming that as we are healing, discovering who we are and loving ourselves, we are writing our story and not allowing anyone else to write ours. And just as we have our story understand that others have their own as well and their story is not ours to write. tting to know people for who they are instead of judging them for who we expect them to be, allows us to build sincere relationships and be a part of the solution in cultivating a more peaceful, kind and loving world.
Transforming Safety 2018 - Current
Audience: Formerly incarcerated men and women and justice involved youth in Colorado
Theme: Breaking Chains Building Bonds. Created by The Storyteller’s Project
Five facilitator groups collaborating to provide interactive workshops for formerly incarcerated individuals being reintegrated with their family and society. The Impacting Perceptions workshop leads activities to be aware of how the messages we accept as truth become our reality. We uncover what we learn from our family, peers, schools, the media, our environment and our experiences that taught us how to see ourselves, others and life. We review specific factors that shape our perceptions which motivate our actions that have destructive consequences and acknowledge alternative choices that can be made to have a beneficial result. Environment is made for participants to feel comfortable to share their experiences, thoughts and choices. We acknowledge that our stories of what shaped us into who we were or are today are not to be excuses, yet it’s to provide substance of what’s truly going on in our hearts and minds for why we have done what we have or continue to do what we do.
We assess how powerful our words and thoughts are. The language we use with others can build relationships or create conflict and the thoughts we have about ourselves and words we use to say who we are can hold us back or inspire us to live up to our potential. We work on strategies to be mindful of our thoughts so we may create a habit of controlling them in an uplifting direction.
The participants are also given a forgiveness exercise to perform. The purpose for this project is not to excuse events that develop our harmful beliefs of our image, worth and potential but to stop holding onto the anger and hurt from those unfortunate incidents where we stay connected to that moment leaving the wound present and open. When we forgive people and ourselves that allows us to release that toxic connection in order to heal and no longer be controlled by the pain so our minds can be free and we can make conscious choices to build ourselves and our lives up.
Workshop concludes with everyone affirming their power, strength, good heart, intelligence and overall greatness.
PeaceJam 2017 - 2019
Audience: Middle School to University students all across Colorado
Title/ Theme: Rocky Mountain Youth Leadership Conference / We Walk Together 2019
Title / Theme: Youth Leadership Conference / Peace with Nature, Ourselves and the World 2018
Title / Theme: Rocky Mountain Slam / Peace-builders 2017
Participants were engaged with interpreting illusions and images to reveal that our discernment is from our own understanding. We can be looking at the same image yet see it differently because our views are not about what we see, but about how we see. Contingent upon what we have been taught and experienced will determine our interpretation of ourselves, others and events. We discussed the importance of questioning the accuracy of our perceptions being that once we believe our outlooks are true they become our reality and our actions then reflect those beliefs.
The youth performed social identity scenarios to acknowledge implicit biases, and were involved in group discussions to acknowledge their perspectives varied due to their life based experiences. We communicated how these views have affected our esteem, decisions we have made in our personal lives and our reaction to others. We then discussed getting to know people for who they are not who we expect them to be or who we think they are due to first impressions.
The participants received empowering tools to both gain awareness of their worth so they may walk in confidence to have peace in being their true selves, as well as have an understanding that when we take the time to not judge and truly know someone we are building relationships and cultivating peace. We concluded with acknowledging that others are making decisions based off their teachings and experiences just as they are. Being understanding of who we are and who others are allows us to not project our truth onto others.
Higher Education Diversity Summit 2018
Audience: Students, staff and faculty from universities across Colorado
Theme: Tipping Point, Advocacy to Action
We led this breakout session with an introduction to discuss a common belief we had as children to acknowledge that once we believe a story to be true it then becomes our reality and the choices we make are a direct reflection of that belief. Being that our actions stem from what we trust is reality, tools were provided to explore the development of our perceptions of social identities and how those views affect the way we treat ourselves and others.
The students, staff, and faculty participated in activities to recognize that we use our memory to interpret and assign meaning to what we’re seeing. Personal stories were shared among the group to provide examples on what we have learned from our family, peers, education, religion, politics, media, environment and experiences that have shaped our views. We discussed how our views have affected our self-image, self-worth, and our beliefs on who others are and how those perceptions led us to making decisions that were harmful. Encouraging and inspirational methods followed to retrain our minds to consciously speak uplifting words and carry out kind and loving actions toward self and others.
The ROCK Center 2018
Audience: High School and University students in Denver, CO
Theme: Youth Leadership Training for Peace Warrior Camp
The leaders participated in a series of activities to exhibit how we make sense of what we see and hear in order to recognize our interpretation derives from what we remember learning and experiencing. We assessed the perceptions we have of ourselves and others learned through the media, education, religion, politics, family, peers, and our environment so we may acknowledge these factors influencing our choices having a destructive or favorable impact.
Uncovering the sources that shaped us into who we are today permits us to let go of what does not benefit us or support a healthy relationship with others. Additional activities were carried out to encourage the leaders to value their life and others in order to work well together as a team and be a role model to the younger generation.
Manual High School 2018
Audience: High School Students
Theme: Food Matters Elective Class (invited as guest speaker for the day)
The class completed a food wheel to be used as a visual to see what foods they eat and how often. The students also had fun participating in games to acknowledge if they make their food choices due to culture, taste, or accessibility. We outlined strategies to make healthier choices if needed.
McGlone Academy 2017 - 2018
Audience: Middle School Students, Montbello, CO
Theme: Elective Class
The students were involved in solving brain teasers, reviewing illusions, interpreting images, and playing observational games to explore their views to understand how they see themselves and the world around them. The class shared their perspectives on how we treat people due to their age, gender, appearance, race, religion, and economic status, and in addition they expressed their concerns with politics and policies affecting their families.
We discussed strategies on our abilities to make positive social changes.
Kepner Beacon Middle School 2017 - 2018
Audience: Middle School students in Denver, CO
Theme: Enrichment Class
The students participated in deciphering riddles, solving puzzles, reviewing illusions, interpreting images, and playing observational games to be aware of how they view themselves and others in order to build their self-esteem and have empathy for others. The activities guided them into understanding the factors that affected their confidence and the relationship with others.
We also spent time identifying our language to bring to light that the words we speak or tell ourselves are indicators to our underlying beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world. We worked on approaches to break habits in order to speak words that will lift us and others up.
The Apprentice of Peace 2017
Audience: Community/ Adults and children ages 11+
We reviewed videos, images and illusions to reveal how we perceived the assorted scenarios in order to uncover the sources that develop our beliefs in order to recognize how we interpret ourselves, others and events leading us to making harmful or advantageous decisions in our personal and professional lives. We shared methods for creating and maintaining inner-peace and self-Luv.
100 Men Who Cook 2017
Audience: Adult volunteers in Denver, CO
Theme: Team building
The volunteers viewed illusions to be aware of how we use our memory to assign meaning to what we're seeing and described images to realize our interpretations reflect our beliefs. They were then separated into groups to collaborate on solving brain teasers to be mindful of their different perspectives for each problem and to recognize how they communicated with one another to reach a solution.
We concluded that when we have an understanding that we see things differently we can take that into account so we'll know how to effectively communicate with one another. Being able to have respectful interactions results in creating a positive environment and productive cooperation to get work done.
Black Hills State University 2007-2016
Audience: University students in Spearfish, SD
Theme: Race & Ethnic Relations Sociology Class, Intro to Sociology, Diversity Week, ITOLD Leadership Seminar, 24 Hour Diversity Workshop, Geek Speak
Majority of the presentations consisted of the students sharing their thoughts on how we view and treat people because of their gender identity, race, religion, and socio-economic status. We explored our own views on social identities affecting the way we treat others to acknowledge if we are contributing to the division we experience in this country or are building bridges. We concluded with being aware of our perceptions and cognizant of our words and actions supporting peace and Luv.
Media: SDPB (South Dakota Public Broadcasting). Interview starts at 19:45.
Perceptual Awakening Retreat - Winter Park, CO
Audience: Adults ages 21+
Theme: Luv You
Attendees participated in transformational activities to overcome internal and external battles that have hindered them from being their best self or living a life they preferred to live. Participants reviewed their satisfaction level in specific areas of their life, identified language and thoughts blocking progress, pinpointed experiences that caused their damaging views of self which influenced their choices and actions resulting in destructive results, they learned how to break unhealthy habits, have multiple solutions to one problem, replace self-defeating thoughts with confident affirmations, understand what they want, and setup goals to achieve having the kind of life they want to live.
National Organization for Women - Rapid City, SD
Audience: Community/ Adults and children ages 8+
Theme: Love Your Body Campaign
A story was shared on how our value doesn't change. Just as money remains the same value no matter how many times it has been stepped on or crumpled up, if it's a hundred dollar bill it is still worth one hundred dollars. A poem was also shared that expressed not chasing acceptance, to not seek validation outside of yourself, to not use the lens of others to define your beauty, to not measure your attractiveness or worth due to the amount of perceived flaws you posses, decide for yourself who you are, decide for yourself how you want to present yourself, look into the mirror and replace outside opinions with your own empowering declarations, only speak words that nurture your spirit, only make choices that lift you up, and always look in the mirror to love what you see.
Media: Interview with KEVN Black Hills Fox
Youthwise – Spearfish, SD
Audience: High School students
High School students participated in activities to be aware of their perspectives of people due to their identity. We discussed our beliefs on who a person is from first impression and shared strategies to make choices to get to know others for who they are and not who we expect them to be.
Sertoma Club - Denver, CO
Audience: Adults ages 40+
Theme: Choices reflecting beliefs
We discussed the correlation between where we are in our personal lives and in this country are due to a collection of our choices which stem from our beliefs. Members agreed that once we change our perceptions of self we can change our decisions that result in us living our personal lives to the fullest, and once we change our perceptions of others to where we see each other from one human being to another, then we can get from being divided due to our differences and treat each other with respect, kindness and Luv.
Members were interested in connecting us with organizations serving youth to facilitate self-esteem building workshops.
Kiwanis – Spearfish, SD
Audience: Adults 21+
Members interpreted images and played games to realize that we use our memory to understand events and others. We discussed how our perspectives developed from our environment, teachings, and experiences and our differences do not make one right or wrong.
Rotary – Spearfish, SD
Audience: Adults 21+
Theme: Self-Awareness/Positive thinking
Members described illusions and images to be aware of how they interpret others and themselves. We discussed the changes we can make in our lives when we focus on the positive.
Saints Rising Documentary Discussion
Audience: Community/ All ages
Theme: Film and Socially conscious media
Colorado Committee on Africa and the Caribbean, Mercury Café – Denver, CO
The Bug Theatre – Denver, CO
San Diego Black Film Festival – San Diego, CA
Oakland International Film Festival – Oakland, CA
EFPalooza Film Festival – Denver, CO
FairGrinds Coffee House – New Orleans, LA
After viewing the documentary that addressed the housing crisis, the mental devastation of the residents and the grassroots movement to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina we discussed the economic, psychological, and social impact Hurricane Katrina had on the residents of New Orleans. Resources were provided for those motivated to get involved in rebuilding the city physically and emotionally.
The imprint we leave when we live by our heart.