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Chevara Orrin

Chevara Orrin is a diversity & inclusion practitioner, author, international speaker and survivor of sexual violence who inspires students to connect passion and purpose to achieve their greatest potential.

Topics

▪Character Development ▪Diversity ▪First Year Experience ▪Leadership ▪LGBTQ+ Issues ▪Motivational & Inspirational ▪Orientation ▪Personal Growth ▪Sexual Violence Prevention ▪Social Justice

Keynotes

▪Live your PASSION. Walk in your PURPOSE. Discover your POTENTIAL to change the world!
▪The Radical Fire of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
▪Level UP: Setting the Tone for Inclusion on Campus
▪Beyond #MeToo
▪#WhiteAndWoke: Becoming Race-Courageous

Chevara’s Bio

Chevara Orrin believes in connecting passion with purpose to discover personal potential. She is a diversity & inclusion strategist, social entrepreneur, published author, social justice activist, independent filmmaker and public speaker. Her work and passion lives at the intersection of gender parity, racial equity, LGBTQ equality and arts activism. Chevara is also a survivor of childhood poverty, incest, teenage pregnancy, and domestic violence. Her personal journey of tragedy and triumph has inspired Chevara to use her experiences and voice as a catalyst to ignite social transformation.

Chevara has more than 20 years of experience ranging from senior management in the arts and higher education sectors to consulting with Fortune 500 clients. As Chief Creative Catalyst for Collective Concepts, she conceived and co-created We Are Allies, a national advocacy campaign to support equality and move towards passage of inclusive policies to protect the LGBTQ community and #WhiteAndWoke an initiative to raise awareness about racial inequality and promote equity through intentional action. This successful Allies campaign has drawn the participation of prominent figures such as feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Olympic gold medalist and civil rights attorney Nancy Hogshead-Makar, cultural and faith leaders, and superstars from the corporate world, including the CEOs of Florida Blue and SunTrust Bank.

Chevara is deeply inspired by the legacy of her parents. Her mother, a white, Jewish woman, served as the lead coordinator for the 1967 March on the Pentagon in opposition of the Vietnam War and her father was a fiery top lieutenant of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a driving force behind many critical civil rights campaigns of the 1960s, including the 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade, 1965 Selma to Montgomery march and passage of the Voting Rights Act. Chevara’s father is portrayed by Grammy, Emmy and Academy award-winning artist, Common in the critically acclaimed film, SELMA.

A native of Washington, D.C., Chevara was raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Memphis and is a 2017 graduate of the Georgetown University Strategic Diversity and Inclusive Executive Management Program.

Connect With Chevara

Wrapped up a powerful shoot in DC for my documentary short, “Why is Washington [Still] Burning? We explored the fundamental question that white activists in the U.S. have faced, and continue to face today: What is a white American’s role in the struggle for racial justice?

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“Chevara was incredible! She not only spoke to her experience but was able to gain our students trust to open up and share their stories, too. We have not seen a speaker like her on campus and are very satisfied with the information shared during her #BeyondMeToo workshop. Our students learned so much from this presentation”

Gabriela Mata

Student Leadership Assistant, Morton College

Keynotes

Live your PASSION. Walk in your PURPOSE. Discover your POTENTIAL to change the world!

Every expansive movement, bold innovation or creative change begins with an idea. There are few places filled with more ideas than a college campus. Students arrive with diverse perspectives and experiences, excited about what the future holds and inspired to “be the change.” Students are our present and our future. Millennials are leading the way from hash tags to walkouts to call for governmental reform to corporate activism. In this exciting keynote, audiences will learn what makes students voices uniquely powerful and how to harness that power to meaningfully pursue a passion and path for social change.

As a former university administrator and advisor to two diverse student organizations, Chevara knows firsthand how to engage and inspire students to think beyond themselves and connect to their potential and power to create change in the world. Chevara founded the first-ever Gay-Straight Student Alliance at a North Carolina based university and within seven months, the institution had passed the first non-discrimination policy inclusive of sexual orientation, creating a campus culture of understanding, empowerment and acceptance. She then founded two national initiatives, We Are Allies, a national advocacy campaign to support equality and move towards passage of inclusive policies to protect the LGBTQ community and #WhiteAndWoke an initiative to raise awareness about racial inequality and promote equity through intentional action.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • how to engage in civil discourse and actively listen to others’ viewpoints
  • how to make a lasting impact using technology and social media
  • how to navigate barriers to social change
  • how hash tag activism has changed the world
  • how collaboration drives effective and more impactful social change
Level UP: Setting the Tone for Inclusion on Campus

We are all part of a bigger story. Despite our seemingly obvious differences, we are connected by common threads of humanity. Oftentimes, it’s easier to stay within our comfort zones and the safety of what’s familiar. However, growth comes from exploring the uncomfortable and challenging ourselves to be curious about others’ unique experiences. Why does diversity matter on a college campus, anyway?

Diversity expands worldliness.
Diversity enhances social development.
Diversity prepares students for future career success.
Diversity prepares students for work in a global society.

As the daughter of a white, Jewish mother and black father, Chevara has explored intersectionality and navigated the complexity of cultural identity since childhood. She inspires audiences with her extraordinary journey of humorous and tragic family stories and a passion to help people discover common connections.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • the value of human difference
  • how to critically analyze their own cultural norms and biases and describe how these affect their world-view
  • how to dismantle systems of inequity one interaction, one person at a time
  • how to build more diverse and inclusive organizations
  • how to articulate the difference between the business case for diversity and the moral imperative
  • how to align the diversity and inclusion practices of the university to strategies within their organizations
  • how to communicate diversity and inclusion goals and metrics to all levels within an organization
The Radical Fire of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.- More than a Mountaintop

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is often held up in history as the ultimate peacemaker. A moral voice championing harmony in the midst of racial division. “Unifying” and “nonviolent” are the words most commonly ascribed to his actions. This image is incomplete at best. It is easy to forget the radical fire of Dr. King when we only remember snippets from his idealistic “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King was an advocate of disruption. In his day, he was considered a “dangerous troublemaker.” He was reviled as a communist, harassed by the FBI and vilified in the media. In a speech condemning the Vietnam War, Dr. King spoke these words: “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”

This session will explore the complexity of Dr. King’s legacy interspersed with personal stories from Chevara’s own unique history as the daughter of Rev. James Luther Bevel, a key civil rights figure who was the architect of several of the most pivotal campaigns of the 1960s including the 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade and the Selma to Montgomery march which ultimately led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Chevara’s father is portrayed by Grammy, Emmy and Academy award-winning artist, Common in the critically acclaimed film, SELMA.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • the difference between activism and advocacy
  • learn the six principles of nonviolence to enhance conflict resolution skills
  • an understanding of the history of key actions during the Civil Rights Movement
  • how to identify, describe, and analyze important social issues from multiple cultural perspectives
  • how to explain root causes of injustice
  • how to respond to injustice in today’s world
#WhiteAndWoke: Becoming Race-Courageous

With growing racial tension and widening educational disparity across our nation, it is easy to become fragile in conversations about race. Discussions about injustice and inequity on a college campus can be daunting. This is the perfect moment in history for white students to become “race-courageous,” engaging in intentional, effective, accountable solidarity with communities of color to dismantle structural and institutional racism. Guided by the principle of centering the lived experiences of people of color, this session will help students explore and understand their own identity and gain an understanding that being “woke” is not a destination, but self-actualization that exists on a continuum. Students will learn about the parallel history of “woke white people” doing the work in the 1960s and those on today’s front lines. From the lunch counter to the locker room, this session will provide an overview and resources to move campuses closer to racial equity. This workshop will provide tools and resources, and allow participants to practice concrete ways to bring more white people into racial justice work. Students will learn the strategy employed by a group of mostly young white people who organized in Washington, DC two days after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968, examine the relevancy of their strategy and draw parallels to modern day.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • how to build a greater understanding of white cultural identity
  • how to identify and disrupt racism in social and professional settings
  • how to take action as advocates against hidden individual and organizational biases
  • how to engage, educate and empower other white people to dismantle racism and champion equality and equity
Beyond #MeToo

Since the #MeToo movement gained national attention, college campuses are grappling with how to create safe spaces, support those who are survivors of sexual violence and educate students about harmful norms of masculinity, behaviors that can lead to self-detrimental, sexist and sometimes violent behavior, including sexual assault. Some campuses are seeing renewed interest in existing programs and others are addressing this issue for the first time, educating all students about healthy relationships and anti-violence measures.

As a survivor of childhood incest and college sexual assault, Chevara understands first-hand the challenge of stigma and trauma. She also knows the power of perseverance and survivorship, and will share her extraordinary journey of self-discovery, forgiveness and reconciliation, and how she learned to transform tragedy into triumph and become an advocate for herself and others. Thrust into the spotlight during a very public 2008 incest trial involving her father, an acclaimed civil rights leader, Chevara shares how she navigated media scrutiny and public opinion, and found space to heal.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of attending this program, students will learn:

  • to define the terms sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and consent (continuum of harm)
  • how to identify strategies to intervene in situations that may lead to sexual assault or misconduct (bystander intervention)
  • the role that men play in ending violence against women
  • the concepts that encourage healthy consensual sexual relationships, that address non-stranger sexual violence, and that dispel traditional beliefs about sexuality and sexual violence
  • how to identify at least three ways healthy relationships and healthy sexuality are expressed
  • how to demonstrate communication skills that are nonjudgmental and compassionate with survivors
  • how to convey the messages that they are not to blame, that they aren’t alone, and that there are resources available to them
  • strategies for self-care