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20NTC Session Proposal

Racial Affinity Space

Submitted by: Ash Shepherd NTEN Member badge |


The Nonprofit Technology Conference is a space to talk about tools, strategies, and new ideas for the way nonprofit staff make a change and meet their mission. Those conversations require we also talk about the way we work with each other, the systems [of oppression] that influence our ability to do our work, and the conditions of our sector and world in which our missions make an impact.

As in all of our decisions, we are guided by our values and our commitment to equity, as well as by the feedback of our community. To that end, we are including this racial affinity space at the 19NTC.

What is Racial Affinity Space

The intention of these spaces is for attendees (including speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and general attendees) of color at the NTC to have places to gather and connect that do not include white attendees. Racial affinity spaces allow attendees of color to center and prioritize their specific needs, voices, and experiences in a room, without introducing the potential of harm or trauma from well-intentioned white allies.

The desire by white attendees to learn, grow, and serve as allies is important; however, those goals are best reached in other avenues (including other sessions on the agenda linked below) and not by participating in gatherings intended only for attendees of color.

You can learn more about the Racial Affinity Space at NTC here.

Facilitators, Not Speakers

Please be aware this space will not have prepared content. This space will have a facilitator team (listed below under the “Speakers” header) in the room to support the direction that the group wants to take it. There is no pre-set expectation for how many people come, who those people are (except that they are not allies), what they may want to discuss, or how they may want to discuss it.


Rajneesh Aggarwal

President, Lead Strategist


Raj founded Provoc in 1999 and serves as President and Lead Strategist. Over twenty years of experience as a communications and technology strategist, he has worked with more than 400 nonprofits and socially responsible businesses on a variety of projects including internal and external branding, marketing and customer engagement. Raj keeps Provoc rooted in empathy-driven work by forging partnerships with values-aligned, visionary leaders and has led workshops and talks at dozens of national conferences. He serves on the boards of Think Local First, DC and Ben’s Chili Bowl Foundation, and recently shared his personal story on NPR.

Vanice Dunn

Director of Equity


Vanice hails from years of experience working directly with members of various non-profits, so she’s all about participation and collaboration. Vanice began to hone her skills in social justice advocacy in an organic way — as a young girl of color in a small southern town, her existence itself became a political statement. Those experiences gave Vanice practice in being critical of assumptions, dissecting polarizing arguments, and ultimately standing strong in her convictions. Her passion led her to the Provoc team, where she strives to make an impact by building partnerships with visionary clients and serving as lead strategist for brand and communications projects. By rooting her work in a womanist lens, Vanice has a particular passion for projects that combat the ‘isms’ — including racism, classism, and sexism.

Melissa Chavez

Racial Affinity

To the Point Collaborative

Melissa is a UX Strategist consultant for To The Point Collaborative, a Portland-based digital agency specializing in health care-related companies and nonprofits. In her spare time, she volunteers with Books to Prisoners, helps run the Portland chapter of Tech4Good, and learns languages.

Lindsey Watchman

Umatilla/Walla Walla Tribal Member Health Educator

Oregon Community Health Workers Association

Lindsey is a Persian Gulf War Veteran, an educator, father, enrolled Native American tribal member, and Cultural Acclimation trainer. He comes from a family of healthcare professionals, including his Native American grandmother (a CHR) who sat on the CTUIR Health Commission; which self-compacted federal Indian Health Services to local community control in 1996. Yellowhawk serves over 4,000 American Indian/Alaska Native people who reside on or near the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in northeastern Oregon.

After seven years in the US Air Force, Lindsey served 17 years in Oregon Indian Education. Later migrating into the Health Education field…in order to holistically empower tribal members towards individual self-sufficiency. As Yellowhawk’s Workforce Development Manager, his aim is to support ‘community members, serving community members’ by integrating Traditional Health Workers into healthcare delivery systems. He sits on the OHA, OEI THW Commission, and ORCHWA Board.

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March 13, 2019


10:30am – 11:45am