2022 CMRSA Executive Committee Candidates

Election starts May 16 – 23, 2022

OpaVote Ballots will be sent via email to eligible voters who registered for the 2022 CMRS Conference held this past February.

Candidates for President (1)

Victoria Malaney-Brown – My name is Victoria Malaney-Brown (she/her/hers) and I am very interested in being the next President of the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference. Specifically, I would like to help guide our Executive Committee, our Conference committees, and further support fundraising efforts for the CMRS association and conference. I first attended CMRS in 2012 and found the conference to be a transformative and affirming experience for me. I would like to continue to strengthen CMRS through building on our current structure, seek ways to extend showcasing mixed race scholarship between the next conference cycle, and evolve our association to become a nonprofit organization. I have experience in leadership roles as the past Chair for the Multiracial Network and as a Governing Board member for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), which is very similar to the responsibilities of this officer role. As a multiracial scholar-practitioner, I have used my voice and agency in higher education to continue to advocate for mixed race students, faculty, and staff. Much of my scholarship, advocacy efforts work to decenter whiteness and challenge white supremacy in academia. I have collaborated and co-edited multiracial volumes, such as the book, Preparing for Higher Education’s Mixed Race Future: Why Multiraciality Matters and a special issue called, Beyond the Box: Connecting Multiracial Identities, Oppressions, and Environments. The scholarship that I have engaged in further indicates my commitment as a scholar-practitioner to strengthen our collective as an association and push the boundaries of our academic and community work forward. If selected, being the President of the Critical Mixed Race Studies Association would be the greatest honor. I can provide a statement for Caucus Coordinator too! please let me know if you would like that.

Candidates for Vice President (1)

Joseph Holt – It would be my honor to serve on the executive team for CMRSA. In 2010 I was one of the original presenters at DePaul University as I was finishing my academic career. I then decided to take my education outside the collegiate institution where I became a Union Organizer. I have always taken the studies and lessons of CMRS to all my positions. But I do wish to challenge our direction. I feel we need to reach out past the academic community and more towards activists and leaders who identify as mixed race, and trans-racial adoptees as we our academic findings are only as good as the people who implement the findings in day to day activities. As Vice-President I would support the President and board, and look forward to expand our outreach in the Mixed Race community while also being a good ambassador for CMRSA.

Candidates for Secretary (2)

Alma Villanueva – I am a graduating doctoral candidate in the English Department at Texas A&M University with a concentration in Cultural Rhetorics. My interdisciplinary and intersectional scholarship analyzes progressive mixed-race photo projects through a historical analysis of how mixed/race has been scientifically, visually, and legally constructed at the intersections of settler colonial, anti- Black, and anti- immigrant (Latinx, Asian American, and Muslim) racisms. My dedication to collaborative community and critical diversity is indicated by my year-long project as lead planner and coordinator of the Innovations for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accountability Grant from the College of Liberal Arts. We initiated, solicited, and hosted speakers, workshops, and working groups dedicated to improving the climate of diversity for students, staff, and faculty. I have served as the CMRSA Communications board member since 2019, I was on the Program Committee for the 2022 CMRS conference, I participated in our Book Talk series, and I initiated and lead our first Global Caucus meeting at the 2022 CMRS Conference. By continuing to serve the CMRS Association as the Secretary board member, I would be devoted to maintaining the institutional memory of the association and helping to make sure that we grow and flourish as a critical space for our multifarious community.

Melissa Poulsen – I’m thrilled to be a candidate for secretary of CMRS. I’m an assistant professor of English at Menlo College in California, where I teach literature and English composition classes. My research focuses on representations of mixed race in U.S. cultural production. I most often examine 20th century representations of mixed race Asian Americans in literature and popular culture; currently I am writing about mixed race and speculative fiction. If I’m not researching or teaching, you’ll find me dreaming of my next travel destination, gardening despite my lack of a green thumb, or reading (of course!). CMRS has been central to my development as a scholar, ever since I first attended conferences as a graduate student. I have always found the conferences to be a source of great inspiration and renewal: a place to meet and connect with scholars, activists, and community members and learn about all the amazing work we are each doing. I would be honored to be a part of the board and help to support this organization that has given so much to me. In appreciation for your consideration!

Candidates for Treasurer (0)

Candidates for Community Art Liaison (3)

alejandro t. acierto – I wish to be considered to serve as the Community Art Liaison for the CMRS executive board. I have been an active member since its inception in 2010 when I presented as an undergraduate student and have since regularly attended the conferences over the years. Previously, I have served on the programming committee and was most recently a member of the 2022 site committee for this year’s gathering online through ASU. In my work as Community Art Liaison, I will draw on my background as a curator, programmer, and artist to further cultivate community across our vast multiracial experience to help shape engaging and thoughtful programs, build networks of support, and collectively imagine different possibilities for the sustainability of our fields. With these goals, I am committed to lead, help, and facilitate programs, projects, and opportunities for creatives across expressions and experience that may offer much needed support. Bio – alejandro t. acierto is an artist, musician, and curator whose work is largely informed by legacies of colonialism found within human relationships to technology and material cultures. He is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance at Arizona State University, New College, a 3Arts awardee, and has shown work internationally at the Havana Biennial in Matanzas, Cuba, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), ISSUE (NYC), Radialsystem (Berlin), and MCA Chicago among others. He is co-author of the artist book CQDE: A Feminist Manifestx of Code-ing with KT Duffy and continues to produce, curate, and edit artist publications, media projects, and curatorial projects that center diasporic, ALAANA, and queer artists.

Megan de Roiz Yankee – My deepest thanks for the double-extension on this application. I have craved this community my whole life and not ever known it. I’m so grateful for the 2022 conference, which still resonates with me. It would be my absolute honor to enable and coordinate other artists with mixed, liminal and shifting identities. Until very recently I had only worked in predominantly white institutions. I always struggled to find community therein, and this often lead to increased anxiety, stress, and painful physical symptoms. This was despite awards in academia and public schools for education and consistent compliments from my employers regarding my work ethic. Upon arriving at the UNM-Taos HIVE, I have found professional peace-of-mind among supportive coworkers enabling this Hispanic Serving Institution. I have been an active participant, facilitator and advocate for the power of art to change lives for the better for over two decades across the US and internationally. The ability for artists of different walks of life to arrive in a space together and heal those around them is what I aim to enable. I am adaptive, warm and a strong communicator in artistic and support roles. To view my career achievements beyond those listed in my attached resume, please visit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/megandry/

Tyler Clifford – As a queer, mixed race artist and administrator, I believe the path I travel has led me to a place of knowing the arts to be a necessary tool for self discovery, expression, healing, and connection. In collaboration with CMRSA, I am excited by the opportunity to transmute this “knowing” into a form of creative communion by building relationships, investing in community care, and advocating for safe spaces where we all feel comfortable to navigate the complexities of our intersecting identities. The more we value sharing our own stories and learning from the unique histories of others, the more we are able to generate seeds of change that grow into compassionate forms of equity and inclusion. This ability to seed change and create connections across differences is one reason why I am drawn to CMRSA and Mixed Roots Stories. I am inspired by how moving it is to become aware of the true power one’s story possesses and then watch as this sparks new ideas and feelings within others. As a Community Art Liaison, I will work to build a network of community arts leaders, artists, and organizations that reflects the rich diversity of mixed race peoples. A network not only working to advance its own creative projects, but has a desire to ignite the creative flame that resides within everyone. Every human being is an artist and has a story to share. My hope is that the CMRSA arts programming can support others in recognizing the artist within.

Candidates for Caucus Coordinator (4)

Maïko Le Lay – I am Dr. Maïko Le Lay, a scholar and dance practitioner from France and Japan. My personal experience growing up in a Japanese single-mother household in Europe, being a semi-professional dancer, struggling with the disembodiment of education, and moving to the United States, have informed my scholarship, shaped my interests as well as how I am, know, and move in the world. My new research interests focus on the identities and embodied practices of Black and Japanese people on social media and globally. My new line of work has started with my recent postdoctoral fellowship at the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. This new project aims to understand how Black and Japanese people navigate their bicultural identities in different cultural spaces and how do they promote racial equity, build communities, and develop new possibilities online. This work problematizes the #Blasian trends, examines Japanness and Blackness outside of the U.S context, and ultimately aims to decenter Whiteness. I developed leadership, advocacy, lobbying, and program management skills. I served as the elected Executive Vice President of the UCR Graduate Student Association and the Graduate Student Mentorship Coordinator. I had the opportunity to lobby at the White House in Washington D.C. and the Sacramento Capitol and organize the first UC-wide Graduate Students of Color conference during my tenure in these positions. I believe that my personal experiences, research interests, and skills align with the missions of your organization and the roles and tasks of the Executive Committee.

Christina Diaz – In addition to scholarship, CMRS embraces a wide variety of ways to challenge systemic injustices created and sustained by White supremacy, as well as other forms of oppression. As a community-based organizer, I am grateful for an approach that encourages all forms of social justice activism (not just scholarship) and creates a home for Multiracial people. A constant refrain I heard during the CMRS conference was one of relief, joy, and belonging – finally finding a place where, as Multiracial people, we did not have to justify or defend our existence. Multiraciality exemplifies an experience of intersectionality. However, the intersectionality does not just exist in the mix of our racial identities alone. There are other aspects of who we are that play an important role in how we understand our Multiracial identity. Because of the importance of engaging all aspects of our community, I am applying to be the Caucus Coordinator. The Caucuses that exist and those yet to come create spaces for us to embrace, celebrate and use our unique identities in social justice activism and challenge monoracist structures that attempt to deny or erase our existence. Coming from a background of community organization and activism, I understand the importance of supporting the individual Caucuses and creating connections between Caucuses and the Board to strengthen our advocacy and foster more spaces for Multiracial people to grow and thrive. I believe that each caucus represents a thread which, woven together, creates a strong trenza to realize the mission of CMRS.

Orkideh Mohajeri – I would be happy to serve CMRS in the role of caucus coordinator. I have been attending CMRS since 2018, and I see what a vital difference the conference and its many offerings make in terms of support, community, and inspiration for students, scholars, activists, and artists around mixedness and the fluidity of racial identity. I work as an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at West Chester University, and my own research focuses on mixedness and multiracialization, with an emphasis on delineating the operations of whiteness and white supremacy. In midst of the many wonderful offerings of the conference, caucuses can offer a different type of space – more intimate, personal, and somewhat different in pacing. I will work with others to coordinate the details that go into make such critical conversation successful, and will ensure that communication between the caucus organizers, moderators, and the executive board is regular and effective. Thank you for your consideration.

Hannah Stohry – I am a social worker, and a Ph.D Candidate in the Department of Educational Leadership (Leadership, Culture, & Curriculum Program) at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where I work as a Graduate Assistant in the Mindfulness & Contemplative Inquiry Center. My dissertation utilizes autoethnography as methodology (informed by interviews with other multiracial Asian people) to explore my multiracial wholeness. I co-led our EDL departmental Graduate Student Council for two years, as a liaison for graduate students in our department, planning and implementing activities that facilitate community-building as well as professional development opportunities to foster student growth. This meant that I was also obligated to attend our university’s Graduate Student Association meetings as a liaison. I am currently our college’s Graduate Student Representative for our DEI Task Force. I am also the outgoing Graduate Student Representative with American Educational Studies Association Executive Council. I am involved in a community-based appointed position with our city. As you can see, my positionalities and experiences lend themselves to a strong desire to build community, pursue social justice, and advocate for those of us who identify as both/and but have the (n)either/(n)or imposed upon us. My academic and community-based service demonstrates my commitment to learning on various systems levels. I wish to serve in a leadership organization like Critical Mixed Race Studies as the Caucus Coordinator because I not only have a lot to contribute but I wish to help others contribute their urgent work around critical multiraciality.

Candidates for Graduate Student Representatives (3) 

2 positions

Brendon Soltis – As a multiracial practitioner and scholar, I appreciate the opportunity to submit my candidacy for the Graduate Student Representative. Through my career in student development in higher education, I had the challenge of navigating monoracial spaces while supporting multiracial students and advocating for multiracial initiatives. I have been a part of many different professional organizations, but the Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) association and conference has been the most affirming, validating, and supporting of my whole self, identities, and heritages. While working in student affairs, I served as a representative for various professional organizations, advocating for constituents’ needs and providing networking opportunities. For two years, I was the regional representative for the Transracial Adoptee and Multiracial Knowledge Community through the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators. During that time, I collected and disseminated current research and practice about multiraciality in higher education; provided opportunities for multiracial professionals to connect in the region; advocated for needs to the advisory board; and planned numerous mini-conferences and programs. As the graduate student representative for CMRS, my goals will be similar. Aligned with the CRMS mission, I would bring together graduate students across disciplines, fields, regions, and level of study to discuss, critique, and move towards action regarding multiraciality in academia. Graduate students have many different professional goals, but share the motivation to reflect on their own experiences and produce knowledge in their respective discipline. Bringing together graduate students through CRMS will create a robust support network and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Lisa Delacruz Combs – My name is Lisa Delacruz Combs and I use she/her/siya pronouns. I am a second year doctoral student at The Ohio State University in the Higher Education and Student affairs program. My research interests primarily focus on critical mixed race studies. I am interested in serving as the Graduate Student Representative because of my positionality as a current graduate student that is interested in advancing critical mixed race scholarship and creating community among graduate students in CMRS. It is imperative to create spaces where graduate students’ voices can feel heard within the CMRS community. Because I live in Columbus, Ohio and feel strongly connected to The Ohio State University, I also have a lot of interest in serving on the conference program committee and to facilitate networking events and community building opportunities for graduate students. CMRS holds a special place in my heart because it is a space where I feel like I can show up as my authentic self in a community and collective with many different voices from scholars to community members and students. I also strongly believe in the mission of CMRS to disrupt systems of racism, white supremacy, and monoracism through not only my work as an emerging scholar but through my actions as a community member within CMRS. I would be honored to serve on the executive team and build community with other graduate students.

Kevin Ronny Kandamby – As a Graduate Student Representative, I hope to continue bringing graduate students across institutions globally. My experience at the most recent CMRSA conference demonstrated how it is often time only this conference in which we as graduate students no longer slip into the cracks or sit at the confines of our departments where we must justify our research—essentially our existence to be taken serious. I hope to continue supporting graduate students in the CMRS field to create a sense of community in which we are understood as mixed people, while also creating opportunities for collaboration to grow the CMRS and the importance of our research. As an AsianLatinx Studies graduate student myself, I hope to foster collaborative efforts in which identities do not continue to be silenced or overshadowed, but to continue critiques of racialization, social stratification, and intersecting identities to address injustices rooted within systemic racism. In my experience, I have been neglected and not supported within my department for putting forth an AsianLatinx perspective to the Chicanx and Central American Studies at UCLA. I share this because I have been supported by faculty from other institutions and understand that other graduate students have shared similar experiences to mine. Ultimately, as the graduate student representative, I hope to create a community of support for other graduate students to continue pushing the importance of CMRS across all disciplines.

Candidates for Global Representative (2)

Anne Coker – I nominate myself for the position of CMRSA (Global Representative First Choice) and (Secretary Second Choice). Election to either of the above positions would be a great privilege for me. I have the advantage that I control my own diary and time and due to this flexibility, I would be able to offer you a significant amount of my time and commitment. I am a retired medical practitioner. I worked as a doctor in the health care sector for several decades. I now work part time as a psychotherapist in my own company delivering mental/emotional health care. Relevant Experience Lived experience of the mixed ‘race’ experience. Experience of meeting others from the mixed ‘race’ community in an online social group setting in the UK Online Group experience of meeting with others from the mixed ‘race’ community in a professional explorative setting. Interest I have a strong interest in mixed ‘race’ experience as well as in mixed ‘race’ literature, film and culture. I feel very passionately about the injustices and prejudice and ignorance and microaggressions experienced by people of mixed black and white heritage. I feel strongly about the negative impact which is a consequence of the absence of teaching and knowledge and representation of the mixed ‘race’ experience. I would love to be part of a mixed community that brings about positive change. I would like to be part of the collective action as I believe that this is the best way to address these injustices on a global scale. As a group we are very dispersed geographically however online connections are enabling optimism and opportunity for collective action and growth.

Ledson Chagas – Considering that mixed-race populations have their identities as a target of erasure, in historical or more recent processes – this second case being what currently occurs in Brazil, my country -, my objective is to contribute to the construction of global networks devoted to defend the mixed-race populations rights of autonomous categorization. CMRSA seems to me to be an organization of great importance in this mission, which combines academic research and a commitment to social transformation. Thus, based on the work developed as a Global Representative, I would like to contribute to the construction of societies in which mixed-race people are not attacked in terms of our identities. A process that can only be developed through contact, exchanges and coordination of forces dispersed in several countries.

Candidates for Social Media Coordinator (4)

Andrew Lewis – As the son of a Peruvian immigrant and African-African American father, I have navigated the world as a mixed person which has framed nearly every experience I’ve ever had (including my career in public service, and now as a local Elected Official on the Westside of LA)> As a result of this, I’ve made sure to be an Advocate and leader in my local Mixed Community here in Los Angeles. I am a Founding Board Member of the UCLA Mixed Alumni Association (one of the first of it’s kind in the Nation, and recipient of the Chancellor’s ‘Trailblazer Pathways’ Award). Built out of the UCLA Mixed Student Union, the UCLA Mixed Alumni Association serves the greater UCLA Mixed and Interracial Community. In this Organization I have served as the immediate past President (where I lead the Organization for several years), expanded the membership and Board, as well distributed one of the first Scholarships for mixed-identity in the Country to a UCLA Student. I have considerable experience in Social Media management from my extensive work in the Public Sector as well as managing and various groups and intra-organization dynamics.

Yuki Maynor – Hello! My name is Yuki Maynor. I am a first-year Ph.D. student in Sociology at Florida State University running for the Social Media Coordinator position, and my goal is to bolster CMRS’s presence on social media. I still remember the feeling that I’d found my “home” when I attended my first CMRS conference in 2017 – as an aspiring mixed-race scholar and as a mixed-race individual. Since then, I’ve participated in every meeting, hoping that I might have the opportunity one day to become more involved in this organization I hold so dear. What is unique and what I love so much about CMRS is that it is more than an area of academic study. It is a community (emphasis on community) bridging “scholars, artists, community activists, clinicians, and students” with the common desire to create a more just world. My vision as Social Media Coordinator is to continue to inform and create a more sustained online presence through posts that highlight member accomplishments and the myriad ways in which individuals engage with issues of mixed race, posts that address related social justice issues, etc. Thank you for reading my statement.

Rebecca Cepeda – As a Multiracial individual who identifies as Mexipina, I was unaware of spaces that centered the Multiracial community to challenge injustice rooted in systems of racism and white supremacy, thereby ignoring and erasing Multiracial experiences. Once I learned about Multiracial organizations and communities that existed across disciplines, I became inspired and motivated to conduct scholarship and teaching on Multiracial communities within higher education. The lack of my exposure to Multiracial scholarship and representation has moved me to help make these experiences and communities acknowledged beyond the academy. I nominate myself for the social media coordinator position to support CMRS and the executive committee with expanding our social media presence to effectively engage the community and broader audiences. As an individual who has opened up a small business while pursuing my PhD in Higher Education and Student Affairs, I have knowledge on creating templates for social media posts and sharing messages across various platforms like Instagram and Facebook. I hope to invite others to engage in productive conversations to analyze and critique institutions based on dominant conceptions of race. Moreover, I intend on sharing updates about the next CMRS conference that will be held in Columbus, Ohio in 2024 to people around the world, country, and within the Columbus community. Thank you for your consideration for this position.

Rahul Yates – Growing up as a multiracial and multicultural individual, I struggled to understand my identity. As I entered high school and gained a better understanding of society and myself, I began to appreciate my mixed heritage. Because of the lack of resources available to young people to help us process and learn about our own identity, I started HumSub GlobalTEEN, a platform that raises awareness and builds community for multiracial and multicultural youth. Over the past 2 years, I have spoken on panels, written blogs, created social media posts, conducted interviews, and more, regarding mixed-race and multicultural identity from a youth perspective. As I seek out more opportunities to become involved in the mixed community, I would love to join CRMSA’s Executive Committee as Social Media Coordinator. Through my work with HSGT, I have built a purely online platform with over 1,200+ followers across social media sites, created eye-catching and informative posts, developed and maintained a website, and engaged with hundreds of people in discussions about mixed-race identity, social justice, and society. In addition to having the required skills for this position, I also possess a valuable perspective as a multiracial and multicultural young adult through which I can offer my thoughts on topics regarding racial identity, intersectionality, and systemic injustice. Lastly, as I enter adulthood, I would love the opportunity to work with an organization like CMRSA to further its advocacy as well as expand my engagement within the mixed community. Thank you for your consideration!