Elections Candidates

President Candidate Statements

Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr.

Dr. Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr. is Associate Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University.  He is the author of Becoming Mexipino: Multiethnic Identities and Communities in San Diego (RUP, 2012) and co-editor of Transnational Crossroads: Remapping the Americas and the Pacific (UNP, 2012), Red and Yellow, Black and Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies (RUP, 2017), and Beyond Ethnicity: New Racial Politics in Hawaiʻi (2018).

I wish to be considered to serve on the CMRS Executive board as President.  I have been a member of CMRS since its founding in 2010, and had the honor of being the 2017 keynote speaker at USC. Serving as President of CMRS will provide me with the opportunity to work with the diverse voices we have in our organization and strategize on how to best serve the members who participate in the national conferences, as well as their own institutions and community spaces. My goal will be to provide more opportunities for students, artists, and community members to engage with our field, making it an accessible, collaborative space for everyone.

My experience serving on other national boards as a member and/or advisor include the following:  CMRS Caucus Coordinator (2017-2018), Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS), Multiracial Americans of Southern California (MASC), MAVIN Foundation, the Smithsonian Asian-Latino Project and the Asian American Literary Review Mixed Race Initiative.  I have also served on the Program Committee of CMRS (2011) and as a committee member of the CMRS Paul Spickard Graduate Student Paper Award since 2014.  I am also currently on the site planning committee for the 2021 CMRS national conference to be held at Arizona State University. I hope my continued service to CMRS will help facilitate the organization’s growth and prosperity. Thank you for your consideration.

Celeste Chizoba Iroha

My name is Celeste Iroha. I am running to be the next President of Critical Mixed Races Studies Association. I want to help be the positive change that we can see. I am a young 22 years old college student at the University of Maryland College Park. I have years of leadership experience under my belt as I founded three organizations called It’s On Us UMD; Students Demand Action UMD; and March For Our Lives UMD and being the President of all three. Working with different types of individuals is what I love best and working towards the same goal is what I love to see. Let’s make some great change!

Treasurer Candidate Statements 

Chinelo L. Njaka

I have been part of the Critical Mixed Race Studies Association family since the first conference in 2010. My academic research examinations cross-national mixed race constructions in the US and UK. I have presented at the CMRS conference twice, and have collaborated with fellow colleagues throughout the years in various capacities. Presently, I am co-authoring a book entitled Mixed Race in the UK and US: Comparing the Past, Present, and Future with CMRS colleague, Dr. Jennifer Patrice Sims, forthcoming in 2020.

Alongside academia, I have vast experience in community research and working in local non-profit organisations. In my roles as research and project leads, I have had practical experience managing detailed accurate accounts and budgets for both small- and medium-scale organisations. I have participated in the financial auditing process and thus have experience in writing documentation and financial reports for this purpose. As a current board member for a local housing organisation, I have experience reviewing large-sum accounts and understand grant cycles, financial management, and monitoring and evaluation procedures. In founding my own local non-profit organisation, I am able to use my past experiences to understand the big picture and see how vital transparent financial management is to keeping an organisation running.

Thank you for your consideration for an opportunity to serve CMRSA in the capacity of Treasurer.

Alexandrina Agloro

I am honored to be nominated for Treasurer of the CMRS board. I have been an active member and participant in CMRS since its inception and the CMRS community has been an intellectual home for me. Even more, over the years it’s become a family to me filled with primxs and play cousins. I say this because my care for the well­being of this organization is the reason why I want to be part of the board as Treasurer.

As a member of the board, I would focus on the fiscal health of CMRS as well as creative solutions to keep our conference financially accessible. We have always been a community of scholars, artists, practitioners, and activists, so our model should reflect inclusive participation. I am invested in continued support for travel funds and student scholarships and that means investigating ways to increase CMRS’s revenue in ways that align with our values and our commitment to the well­being of the planet. In my past experience as a director of SCRAM (Situated Critical Race and Media), we coordinate the FemTechNet Network Gathering annually—a miraculous feat given that SCRAM is an international research group that does not hold its own money. We interface with a fiscal sponsor to manage donations, payments, and travel scholarships. For the past two years I’ve spearheaded SCRAM’s fundraiser that came up with small, yet powerful, ways to make giving irresistible. Since I have been part of the SCRAM directorship, we have ended each year with a fiscal surplus.

My experience with CMRS will allow me to step into the role quickly. I am currently on the site council for the 2021 conference, and I am already working closely with CMRS organizers. Thank you for your consideration.

A.B. Wilkinson

A.B. Wilkinson is an assistant professor of History at UNLV, earned his PhD in History at the University of California, Berkeley, and is also a longtime member of the Critical Mixed Races Studies Association (CMRSA).  He has research and teaching interests in African American history, Native American history, Ethnic Studies, and critical race theory in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Dr. Wilkinson specializes in studies of mixed-heritage peoples and ideas concerning ethnoracial mixture in the colonial Americas and the United States.  He is currently working on a book, Blurring the Lines of Race and Freedom: Mulattoes, Mustees, and Mixed Bloods in English Colonial America.  Dr. Wilkinson has also presented papers and chaired panels at every CMRS conference since the inaugural conference at DePaul University in 2010.  He served on the planning committee for the CMRS conference at the University of Southern California (2017) and on the awards committee at the University of Maryland (2018).

In terms of qualifications for the position of treasurer, I (Dr. Wilkinson) have nearly two decades of experience working within various high school and collegiate group organizations.  I also have years of experience balancing both personal and professional financial budgets.  Not only am I good with numbers, but I am also an attentive communicator, which is important when relaying information to others when working within any organization.  I am dedicated to serving the CMRSA openly, honestly, and in a transparent manner.  Personally, I want to see our association thrive and experience longevity that takes us into another decade of growth.  I seek the position of treasurer with an understanding of the time commitments and I am ready to serve the CMRSA so that our next conference at Arizona State University is a success in 2021.

Caucus Coordinator Candidate Statements

Marcelle Mentor

Born and raised in Apartheid South Africa, labelled at birth as a Cape Coloured, I have had an intimate and life-long relationship with being a mixed race human being. Having moved to the USA in 2005 I have been inspired to write and tell the complicated and multi-layered stories of the women of my people back home, and those who have chosen to live outside the borders of South Africa. As an academic and professor of education at the College of New Rochelle in New York,  my teaching philosophy is based on the concept of Ubuntu which is a Southern African ethic or humanistic philosophy which focuses on the fact that we are people through the existence and interaction with and from other people. We cannot be everything we are meant to be without the help of other people. In a learning environment this is especially true because we are all enriched by the experience. I enjoy the collaborative potential of educational experiences where we are all learners and teachers, and I would always want to promote a sense of openness and acceptance of others within these environments. I think this is especially true as we navigate the requirements of implementation of ideals and philosophies to the very practice of those philosophies within and outside of our educational institutional walls.

For this reason I would love to be able to serve on the Critical Mixed Race Association Board as I believe I have the life experience and academic intention to grow (with) the Association.

Joanna Thompson

My name is Joanna Thompson and I am currently the Director of the Office for Multicultural Learning at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA. I identify as a mixed-race (half-Black/half- Latina) and queer female. I received my B.A. from West Virginia University in Criminology and investigations and my M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Criminology, Law, and Justice. My research examines the intersections of identity development and interpersonal violence, discussing the impact of violence and victimization through microaggressions. My dissertation, in particular, looked at students at the University of Illinois at Chicago who identified as mixed-race and their lived experiences with bullying and harassment based on their multiracial identity.

I am interested in running for the Caucus Coordinator position with the Critical Mixed Race Studies Association not only because I feel my personal and professional background would be a great asset to maintaining the current caucuses but would aid in creating a greater sense of community amongst the association as a whole. From my East Coast roots, being born in Virginia and raised in Maryland, to my ever- growing move out West, I am thankful to have been at the center of unifying individuals throughout my work in social justice and continued advocacy for diversity, equity, and inclusion. I would love the opportunity to engage in community building with the current CMRSA caucuses and to brainstorm ideas for even more caucuses to potentially be represented. I am confident I could help facilitate growth of the caucuses to ensure multiple intersections of the mixed-race community are not only visible and have a seat at the table but have a greater voice in issues affecting the mixed-race community.

Arwin Smallwood

Dr. Arwin D. Smallwood, Professor and Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro. Currently a North Carolina Humanities Council, Road Scholar.  Received his BA in Political Science in 1988 and his MA in History in 1990 from North Carolina Central University.  Received his Ph.D. in early U.S and African-American history from The Ohio State University in 1997.

Dr. Smallwood is a member of the Historical Society of North Carolina and Phi Alpha Theta and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Societies. He is the author of several books including The Atlas of African American History and Politics: From the Slave Trade to Modern Times and Bertie County: An Eastern North Carolina History and archived papers including the Bart F. Smallwood Papers, housed in the Southern Historical Collection at The University of North Carolina at Chapel hill. His research primarily focuses on the mixing between between African-Americans, Native-Americans and Europeans in Eastern North Carolina and the South during the Colonial and early Antebellum period. He also works to map African-American, Native-American the early historical intermixing between the three groups.

He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, fellowships and grants including; the American Philosophical Society’s, Library Resident Research Fellowship and their Franklin Research Grant, the National Endowment for the Humanities African-American Research Fellowship for the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.  Dr. Smallwood has also participated in the award winning UNC-TV film documentary titled, “The Birth of A Colony: North Carolina,” produced by UNC-TV, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and Horizons Productions. Dr. Smallwood also serves on several Boards including the Advisory Board for the North Carolina Historical Markers Commission and the education curriculum committee for the Historic Hope Foundation.

Sarah Yang Mumma

Sarah Yang Mumma is a PhD student at Smith College School of Social Work where her research interests includes multiracial identity development, ethnic racial socialization, immigration, cross­cultural application of psychodynamic psychotherapy, and visual methodologies. Sarah is also a psychotherapist and has worked with diverse populations both nationally and internationally. As a biracial Asian researcher and clinical practicitioner, Sarah is interested in the intersection of theory and practice. At CMRS 2018, she started the Clinical Caucus and experienced the caucus meeting as supportive and envigorating. As Caucus Coordinator, Sarah would value the unique contributions of each caucus, work to identify potential new caucuses, and support all the caucus leaders in their missions.

Jerry Javier

Hello, CMRS community! My name is Jerry Javier. I’m an Ethnic Studies and Geography student from the University of California, Berkeley graduating this May. I’ve attended the last two CMRS Conferences, and have been pursing my own research on multiracial identity for the last two years under Professor Stephen Small.

I’m applying to this position because I’ve been itching to get involved with the conference, as I’ve found it as an invaluable space to my growth. I have experience holding identity based caucus spaces for the University of California Student Association and Queer and Trans People of Color Conference. I work as a Board Director for a student housing organization, which is a highly demanding fiduciary role. With these experiences, coordinating committee should be a familiar operation that I can do effectively. This position is crucial in supporting our mission statement of relevant, critical engagement. I believe that I can play a strong supporting role in enabling the CMRS Conference to continue being a generative and critical space by helping allow groups of people the space to share and work together. In the past I’ve enjoyed being able to attend the queer caucus and meeting folks that are grappling with particular issues that arise out of our different intersecting identities.

I am able to serve throughout the whole two year term, and I will be at the Arizona CRMS Conference (2021). I will be taking a gap year before I pursue my PhD with the help of the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This position will be an wonderful way for me to stay engaged with and give back to our intellectual community.

Graduate Student Representative Candidate Statements

Hannah Stohry

I am applying for the position of Graduate Student Representative on the CMRS Executive Committee due to my 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. I am a social worker, and a Ph.D student 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. As a 2nd-year Ph.D student, I currently anticipate that my dissertation will focus on the relationship between biracial identity and whiteness, inspired by my own personal intersectional experiences as a biracial Asian/White Third Culture Kid.

Regarding community building, my active engagement on our EDL Graduate Student Council has allowed me to be a liaison for graduate students in our department. I planned and implemented activities that facilitated community-building (social events) as well as tailored professional development opportunities (workshops) based upon student interest and schedules.

My recent publications include two chapters in the book Reflexivity of Pain and Privilege: Auto-ethnographic Collections of Mixed Identity (Hurd, 2019) called “Transformative Consciousness Raising Questions” and “Raising Consciousness for Multi-Racial Third Culture Kids.” This work directly reflects my positionality as well as my commitment to justice, not just for self, but with others with mixed identities.

When it comes to advocacy and justice, having worked as a home-based family therapist and social worker has taught me valuable communication skills, having had to relay psychoeducational materials at all developmental levels, advocacy for and with clients in front of judges in court systems. My clients taught me as much about myself as how society works, mostly as an unjust system, but with hopeful potential for socially just change.

Lakia Shavon Lightner

As a graduate representative, I plan to be that. Positive role model for fellow graduates. Also abide by the, Critical Mixed Race mission. Recruit even more graduates. I want to make a impact on each graduate. Representing the excellence of the, CMRS organization. Teaching graduates that they are entitled to. Having confidence and self­worth. By embracing who they are as a, mix race individual. I’m commitment to being a CMRS graduate representative. I’m so excited for this opportunity to meet. Different graduates around the world. In closing, it’s so joyous to. Be able to be on the; Critical Mixed Race Studies board. Personally it will be an honor to serve.

Katherine Johnson

My name’s Katherine Johnson and I am nominating myself for the graduate student representative board position. I’m graduating with my MAIS from George Mason this spring, and will be continuing my education at North Carolina State University in the fall as a Sociology PhD student with a focus on inequality. My master’s thesis research, “Are You White? Racial Identity Formation in Biracial White-Asian Women from the U.S.” examines how white-Asian women identify themselves, what factors most influence their labeling decisions, how their racial identity has changed over time, and if they identify as women of color. As a biracial white-Asian woman myself, I’m interested in continuing research on multiracial identities, white passing, the black-white binary, and how racial categories have changed over time as a PhD student.

Because of my research interests and desire to connect with colleagues who have similar interests, I’d be honored to serve as the graduate student representative. This position would allow me to expand my network and personal knowledge of mixed race studies. I believe I’m a qualified candidate because I’m detail oriented, communicative, and have the ability to time manage multiple projects at once. It’s exciting to know that this is a growing body of research and scholarship, and I look forward to immersing myself as I continue my own work.

Haley Pilgrim

My name is Haley Pilgrim and after over two years in the Critical Mixed Race Studies family, I’m excited to run for the Graduate Student Representative. I’m entering my fifth year in Penn Sociology’s PhD program and I primarily study the racial identity formation and performance second-generation multiracials. You may remember me from last year’s Paul Spickard Graduate Student Award, but what you may not know about me is that I have been actively involved on Penn’s campus representing graduate students. Over this past year, I represented more than 13,000 graduate students as President of the Student Body – never before held by a black woman. Before this, I represented 700 black graduate students as the Black Graduate Association president and over 3,000 students as chair of our marginalized student group collective, IDEAL. I find my purpose in being an advocate for my constituents, and did so effectively from University administration to senators on capital hill. I love building productive teams and working for substantive institutional change. No matter the role, I always seem to also take up the social media because not only do I enjoy taking photos, but I think it’s so important to show how hard we’ve worked and the progress the team has made to those outside of the executive board.

Community Liasion Candidate Statements

AnaSofía Villanueva

I am a stage director, playwright, producer, and activist. I am the Artistic Associate at History Theatre in Minnesota. Along with directing productions and administrative duties, I produce History Theatre’s Raw and Next Stages festivals, touring productions, establish and oversee creative teams for productions, community engagement projects, and fundraising. I am on the artistic board for the Alliance of Latinx Minnesota Artists where I am currently producing a festival to showcase Latinx artists. I direct and facilitate discussions on equity, diversity, and inclusion for Pillsbury House Theater’s Breaking Ice Program. I am also actively involved with Mixed Blood Theatre, a company that is nationally recognized for its use of performance as social justice work.

I presented at the 2018 CMRS conference, where I spoke about playwrighting from a mixed-race Latina’s perspective. My writing draws from my non-monolithic upbringing and identity and centers mixed-race womxn characters and stories in order to complicate the ways in which we tend to think about race in America. I believe storytelling, through plays and other mediums, has true revolutionary potential. As a theater artist, I am devoted to creating space for silenced voices to be heard and for multiple worldviews to emerge.

Having worked in professional theater for nearly two decades, I have the kind of experience that would translate to the duties required of the Community Liaison. I value building authentic relationships and know what it takes to pull all the elements together for a production or event. I would utilize my connections with the theater companies in the Twin Cities and establish communication with theaters and other artists within the Phoenix community to organize and host cultural and artistic productions for the CMRS 2021 conference. I am invested in CMRS and believe my skillsets will contribute to its success.

Naliyah Kaya

I have enjoyed serving as the Community Liaison for the past two years— organizing arts programming for the 2018 CMRS Conference at the University of Maryland (UMD). I had the opportunity to work with the incredible Mixed Roots Stories team and to secure award ­winning poet and author Elizabeth Acevedo as our featured performer and host at the Mixed Monologues open mic (an annual monologue program I institutionalized while at UMD through my TOTUS Spoken Word Experience program), which was hosted off campus as part of the CMRS Conference in collaboration with MilkBoy ArtHouse and The Clarice Performing Arts Center.

As a poetic public sociologist, I utilize art as a medium for teaching, community building, and social change. In my administrative roles, I’ve worked with numerous community partners, organizations, and artists. I also served as a cultural consultant and community workshop facilitator for the BMORE Than The Story exhibit featured at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. Though I am now an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Montgomery College, I continue to run the TOTUS Spoken Word Experience Program at the University of Maryland in partnership with the Office of Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy and the Jiménez ­Porter Writers’ House.

As Community Liaison, I would strive to ensure that programming and partnerships are representative and inclusive at the 2021 CMRS Conference at Arizona State University.