photo credit by Shan Wallace, blacksandblues.com
What We Do
As a team, we have held workshops for the National GLSEN conference and the National Secular Student Alliance (SSA) conference. Our goals in these conversations are: 1) to provide participants with tools for honest conversation about implicit racial bias, structural racism, and white supremacy as both conscious and unconscious practices; 2) to encourage participants to reflect on their own identities, specifically racial and gender-related identities, in the context of advancing social justice; and 3) share lessons learned on building, challenging, and strengthening multi-racial friendships and relationships.
Rajani has participated in several panels and led dozens of workshop discussions on race, gender, identity, community organizing and policy advocacy with groups ranging in size from ten to hundreds of people. In leading large group discussions, she shares her experiences with her multiple, intersecting identities and offers tools for ending oppression and dreaming of a more equitable world. She encourages participants to engage in the discussion, reflecting deeply on their own relative power and privilege. When leading a discussion on race with a multi-racial or predominantly white audience, Rajani prefers to co-present with a white ally (or rather, co-conspirator), namely Megan Kenny, to encourage white participants to see themselves in the work for anti-racism.
Megan’s public speaking experience includes lectures and panels around Baltimore highlighting whiteness within the anti-racist movement, police brutality, and corruption watchdog strategies. The Baltimore Uprising of 2015 had a profound impact upon Megan as she finally accepted the fact that in order to break down the oppressive power structures at play in American society, those in positions of power, including herself, must look within themselves and see how they each contribute to perpetuating those systems. Consequently, she actively reflects on her direct and indirect participation in the perpetuation of white supremacy and elitism, especially as a white, middle class, Atheist, Ivy-League educated woman working in the Black Lives Matter movement in Baltimore City.
Who We Are
Rajani Gudlavalleti and Megan Kenny first met as graduate students at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. They found an instant connection, having both been raised as young children in the San Francisco Bay Area and instilled with zealous dedication to social justice.
Rajani is a second-generation Asian Indian-American queer woman. Her work focuses on advancing social justice at the intersections of public health and the legal system. Currently, she is lead community organizer for Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition, advocating to end the war on drugs and anti sex worker policies. Rajani is also a consultant with Baltimore Racial Justice Action, co-organizer of Baltimore Asian Resistance in Solidarity, and board member of Foundation Beyond Belief. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor’s in Sociology and English Literature from Willamette University.
Born and raised in white, middle class California suburbia, Megan has lived along the East Coast for the past 24 years. She graduated from Yale University in 1998 with a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and went on to work in education for the next 11 years before moving to Baltimore in 2009. These days, Megan works as a data analyst for a variety of businesses, non-profit organizations, and volunteer projects. She is a co-founder of Open Justice Baltimore, a volunteer organization that develops open source data projects to increase transparency of the Baltimore Police Department and Baltimore City officials. Like Rajani, Megan also received her Master’s in Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University in 2011.
Stuff We Talk About
Racism and other forms of oppression within the secular community
Secular experiences in the anti-racist movement
Conditioning of structural racism/white supremacy/anti-Blackness
A personal Asian-American experience within the secular movement
Data analysis and the use of quantitative data in academia and policy development
Personal experiences in the Ivy League and other prestigious PWI academic institutions
Multi-racial friendships and relationships