Dismantling Privilege: The Opportunities, Benefits and Plain Truth About What it Takes


Thursday June 8 | 2pm – 3:15pm


Michelle Ramos (Moderator)

Michelle Ramos, JD, has a twenty-year successful history in business, consulting and work in the arts non-profit sector nationwide. She is currently Project Director for the Vera Institute of Justice, New Orleans office. She has worked as an executive director for multiple non-profit arts organizations and served as a program officer for a foundation. She served as Director of Dance/NYC from 2006-2010. She has been a panelist for several organizations including the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. She was an adjunct professor at New York University for four years and consults with several colleges and university departments. Michelle, a licensed attorney, holds a B.S. in Organizational Behavior from University of San Francisco, a J.D. from Golden Gate University, and an LL.M. from California Western School of Law. She is pursuing her PhD in psychology with emphasis in race and culture. Michelle consults in communications strategy, diversity and equity training as well as leadership with non-profit organizations. She is board chair for Dancing Grounds and board chair elect for Dance/USA. She is the proud mother of a professional dancer and since retiring from her own dance career Michelle has become a competitive Ironman triathlete and marathoner.



Sage Crump (Speaker)

Sage Crump is a culture strategist who seeks to expand and deepen the work of artists, cultural workers and arts organization in social justice organizing. Based in New Orleans but working nationally, she works to leverage art, creative practice and the cultural sector to transform systemic oppressions. Sage is a program specialist for the National Performance Network managing Leveraging a Network for Equity (LANE) an initiative that addresses inequity in the field by amplifying the leadership of arts organizations of color and geographically isolated organizations. Her work with Detroit-based Complex Movements highlights the way intentional shifts in practice create new strategies that intersect artistic practice and movement building. She is a board member for the Center for Media Justice, Art2Action and a member of Alternate ROOTS.



Denise Saunders Thompson (Speaker)

Denise Saunders Thompson is the President & CEO of D.d.Saunders & Associates, Inc., a comprehensive fine arts advisory firm; co-founder of PlayRight Performing Arts Center, Inc., a non-profit arts organization in Atlanta, GA; former business manager for The Malone Group, Inc., a non-profit arts organization in Washington, D.C. that co-produced "Black Nativity" at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from 1994-1999, and currently serves as the Chairperson/Executive Director for The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD). She is also a Professorial Lecturer at American University for the Graduate Arts Management Program.

Thompson recently concluded 17 years of service at Howard University in the capacities of Professor and Manager. Freelancing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and across the nation in production, Thompson has held positions at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Lincoln Theatre, Alliance Theatre Company, National Black Arts Festival, 1996 Olympic Arts Festival, 1996 Olympics, Several Dancers Core, the Atlanta Dance Initiative, the Mark Taper Forum, the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Harrah’s Marina Hotel Casino as well as other numerous positions. In addition, she is a grant recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts, St. Paul Companies, and the DC Arts and Humanities Commission.

Thompson holds an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles and a BFA from Howard University.



Anne Dunning (Speaker)

Anne Dunning became principal consultant at ARTS Action Research in March, 2004. Prior to that she was administrative director of the Danny Grossman Dance Company in Toronto. In Canada, she was founding chair of the Canadian Dance Assembly, whip of The Creative Trust endowment campaign and served for twelve years on the George Cedric Metcalf Foundation’s Strategic Initiatives Advisory Committee. She has been a trustee and chair of the board of Dance/USA, a member of Dance/NYC’s advisory committee and is currently chair of the board of freeDimensional, a nonprofit organization that supports culture in the service of free expression, justice and equality. She has taught for Humber College’s arts administration program and been a guest speaker at the University of Toronto and NYU. Before becoming involved in the arts, Anne studied biology at McGill University in Montreal, where she received a BSc in ecology, evolution and behavior. She lives in Boston and New York with her husband, Gary, president and executive director of Celebrity Series of Boston.



Lily Kharazzi (Speaker)

Lily Kharrazi works at Alliance for California Traditional Arts / ACTA, managing the Living Cultures Grants Program and the Traditional Arts Roundtable Series since 2005. She has been an advocate of culturally-specific art genres in the Bay Area for three decades. Lily has a degree in Dance Ethnology and interdisciplinary Ethnic Arts from UCLA, training under pioneer of the field, Allegra Fuller Snyder. She worked with the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival from 1991-2003, where as program director she crafted nine seasons of work. Lily served as faculty/mentor to the 2006 initiative of the Regional Dance Development Initiative in San Francisco which was piloted by NEFA. She was a co-curator for the Performing Diaspora Series at CounterPulse San Francisco in 2013. Her articles on dance and culture can be found in publications such as InDance and through ACTA’s e-newsletter, The New Moon.Ms. Kharrazi has organized symposiums for Dance USA conferences, Counterpulse SF, and with ACTA on topics of dance and culture. She has served as an adjudicator and consultant to local, regional, and national arts and culture foundations such as the Ford Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, and California Arts Council. Additionally she has worked in refugee resettlement and arts education. Dance is a first love informing all of her passions: She has studied and performed numerous styles of world dance, including contemporary dance, Yemenite, Balinese, Balkan, and Haitian. She has recently found yoga and is an avid practitioner.



Michele Kumi Baer (Speaker)

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Michele Kumi Baer is an experienced dancer, choreographer, cultural organizer, researcher, project manager, and a newly minted funder. Michele is currently Program Associate for Thriving Communities at The New York Community Trust, where she manages the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund. This summer, she is launching a new endeavor – Kumi Cultural – to build and sustain principles, policies, and practices for a more just cultural system. Her commitment to develop stronger support structures for historically marginalized creative communities, culture bearers, and innovators in the United States emanates from her education in critical social theory and years of experience studying non-Western dances and cultural practices from West Africa, Haiti, Brazil, and elsewhere. Michele has a BA from Brown University and an MA from Columbia University. Her Twitter handle is @mkumib.