Articles, Blogs, and Transcripts
I am a social equity educator and consultant who utilizes a "Tapestry Framework" to explore the why and the how of what diversity, equity, and inclusion truly means. I incorporate personal, professional, and historical experience and narratives that tell the stories of our ancestors and provides guiding introspection for our pathways forward in cultural humility and radical acceptance, broadening horizons of understanding across identity and intersections.
I draw upon concepts and theories of social and existential psychology, cultural anthropology, and sociology to facilitate a gracious space for organizations to gain the tools and rituals needed to transform from one that is “well intentioned” to “well aware” in their social equity journey.
I provide DEI assessments and scans, social and community impact reports and strategies, workshops and trainings, facilitation and caucusing, and various nonprofit consulting services. My expertise is rich, but my favorite topics are discussing the theories and "why's" of social equity; Racism, colorism and antiblackness; and intersectional disability inclusion initiatives.
I am also available for panels, keynotes and speeches, artistic justice performances, and writing for your publication or blog.
Some esteemed clients include:
¬Seattle Office for Civil Rights
¬King County Solid Waste
¬King County Boeing Field
¬King County Department of Permitting
¬The Arc of King County
¬Washington Autism Advisory Council
¬WA Misdemeant Probation Officers Conference
¬Housing Development Consortium
Articles, Blogs, and Transcripts
The following is a transcript of a speech given on the importance of actionable accomplices in social justice versus philosophical allies in inaction; given at the Seattle Womxn's March on January, 19th, 2019. Hello Seattle Womxn's March! I'm honored for the opportunity to share a message on this MLK Weekend and give a call to action for 2019.
This speech was given at the MLK Jr. Coalition "Affirmative Action=Justice" rally in Seattle, WA January 21, 2019. Earlier this weekend, I referenced a passage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in the letter from Birmingham Jail where he stated, "I had hoped that the White moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice, and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress."
Someone asked me what they should do if they feel as though they've not found their "life's passion." I've been asked this question quite a lot. As I enter this new year, and over 15 years into this journey, I seek to find an answer -- if not for my own mindful reflection out-loud for critical social discourse.
After more than a decade advocating for Intersectional Disability Justice, I received the honor of being voted the first Co-Chair of the Seattle Disabilities Commission who identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color.
by ChrisTiana ObeySumner After more than a decade advocating for Intersectional Disability Justice, I received the honor of being voted the first Co-Chair of the Seattle Disabilities Commission who identifies as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color. Ever since, I have turbo-charged my advocacy and study of intersectional disability and fought for the amplification...
by ChrisTiana Obey One: When I wake up in the morning, and I greet my white husband When I lay in bed and wait for my body to tell me if this is a good day or a muscle relaxer day When I rem...
by ChrisTiana ObeySumner A seemingly consistent rite of passage across the lived experience of Black Americans is the moment where one realizes that: 1) they are Black, and; 2) being Black is a problem. My first mini-rite of passage was in kindergarten. I was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and went to a predominantly White elementary...
by ChrisTiana ObeySummer To White folx who deny, or are unaware of, their privilege: Considering our Euro-Centric culture, government, and education system, I empathize being faced with a lifetime of misinformation and the subsequent schema change that must come from that epiphany. It is important to be mindful and knowledgeable about what people mean when...
ChrisTiana ObeySumner, Affordable Housing and Homelessness Advocate November 9, the day after the 2016 general election, re-ignited something within my soul. A drive for justice, equity, and bringing the voices of those who are most affected by the failures in our system to the forefront.
Videos and Audio of Speeches, Panels, and Interviews
The Seattle Womxn's March, now in its third year, has come and gone. But the voices from the rally linger in these speeches. Themes included healing and thriving, peace through justice and local calls to action.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a mission, "to improve the quality of life for all those affected by mental illness." For the second year now, NAMI Washington has presented a storytelling event in Seattle called The Brainpower Chronicles.
Spotlights and Highlights of Advocacy and Work
Posted by Caitlin Joyce, '11, '18 on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 at 3:48 PM PST Seattle University alumni and students are well known for their leadership skills and commitment to service. As an institution that places an emphasis on professional excellence and discernment, it should come as no surprise that many alumni feel called to start their own businesses.
On May 4, 2017, a 50-year-old man arrived at a crowded Burger King on Rainier Avenue in South Seattle to order a burger-just like any other customer. Except that he stepped up to the counter, ordered, and proceeded to a table with a hamburger-along with his dog.
The organization hired its first social impact consultant last February.
By Gabrielle Kazuko Nomura Gainor This spring, Seattle Opera is excited to be working with Social Impact Consultant ChrisTiana ObeySumner as we continue our racial equity work. ChrisTiana will help Seattle Opera forge a dialogue with members of Seattle's Black and PoC communities leading up to our and Porgy and Bess productions.
ChrisTiana ObeySumner took the summer off of classes-they're getting a Master's degree (their second) in public administration at Seattle University-to work more and read books, one of which is the dictionary. Why? To color code words that have implicit racial connotations, whether positive or negative.
Voting is extremely important. But it's a small part of getting someone elected. No matter how you slice it or dice it, getting elected is going to cost money. As a voter, vouchers empowered me to support a candidate who would fight for issues I cared about.
ChrisTiana ObeySumner is an Alaskan-Born, Philly-Raised, East-Coast transplant who moved to the area in 2010 to attend Seattle University as a Transfer Scholar. They have a BS in Psychology, a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership, and is currently pursuing their M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health & Addictions Counseling.
This morning's Seattle City Council committee meeting on proposed regulations for the ridesharing industry is shaping up as a showdown between traditional and new economies. Peers, a group that champions the "sharing economy movement," says it will deliver a petition representing more than 1,700...
Media Mentions and Features
The Women's March stands as a controversial symbol of feminist activism from the past two years. This remains especially true today, as critics accuse the movement of only representing the limited agenda of white, affluent, cisgender women. "I have been going to feminist marches since I was [a student] in college," Theresa Earenfight, the program [...]
The 7:55 a.m. ferry sailing to Seattle from Bainbridge Island is more often filled with commuters with ironed dress shirts, slacks and hair-sprayed dos accompanying their shoulder bags and backpacks. But on Saturday they were replaced with pussy hats and black garbage bag-wrapped, shouldered protest signs.
SEATTLE -- The third annual Seattle Womxn's March kicked off Saturday with thousands in attendance. The march began at Cal Anderson Park, led by indigenous drummers, and headed into downtown. The thousands marching flew balloons and held up signs, many of which mocked and protested the president.
Seattle Opera is working to make black people feel more welcome in an art form with a history of excluding people of color. The ways black people are misrepresented - or not represented at all - in opera came up...
November 29, 2018 | Maya Branch and María Antonella Pereira What do you get when you put over 100 disabled people in a room together? We found out at this year's biennial Disability & Intersectionality Summit. Both disabled women of color ourselves, we know too well what it's like to be more punchline than human being.
Austin is growing and it's getting more difficult for middle-income people to afford the city. But Austin is not alone; cities across the country are facing similar issues. KUT's Audrey McGlinchy traveled to Seattle, Portland and Denver to find out how each city is dealing with rapid growth - and how they're trying to make sure every resident benefits from it.
No one can call watching the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Thursday easy. Dozens of women and men came together in Westlake Park at noon on Thursday with "I believe" written on their hands, to listen to survivors share their stories and even sing, briefly (Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive").
SEATTLE -- Coast to coast, people rallied in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday as Senate committee hearings got underway. At Westlake Center in Seattle, about 100 people turned out with messages like, “Believe Survivors. ” Donna Burdick attended the rally to vocalize support for all people who have been victimized.
In June 2017, Seattle's Charleena Lyles' life was taken by the Seattle Police Department. Almost one year later, we are coming together to honor her memory, and speak back to injustice through art, performance, and word.
Former Councilmember Nick Licata is the only experienced lawmaker among about a dozen applicants for the Position 8 seat, vacant since the council last month appointed Tim Burgess to the city's top post after Mayor Ed Murray resigned. Share story An old hand or a new voice?
The first forum for applicants to temporarily fill Tim Burgess' seat on City Council on Tuesday night made one thing clear: some of these people should not hold office.
Tonight, the Seattle City Council and several community organizations will host a forum at City Hall for the 16 people vying for a temporary seat on the council. Doors open at 5:30; the action starts at 6.
SEATTLE -- On the steps of City Hall, it was a rally around ridesharing Wednesday. The popular car service has replaced the taxi cab for many people. But it's also an industry that is unregulated. The City Council has a proposal it's considering to regulate rideshares, but the companies that provide the service and their customers believe the city is going too far.
The Seattle City Council's taxi committee got an earful from taxi advocates and advocates for ridesharing services like Lyft and UberX, this morning, after a long discussion of new rules that would significantly restrict ridesharing. Lyft and UberX-services that allow users to summon a driver via smartphone app-are technically illegal in Seattle, but are thriving, as the proliferation of pink-mustached Lyft cars attests.
SEATTLE -- The City of Seattle has proposed new regulations for ride sharing services around the city that could impact how you get around town. The city council meets Friday morning to discuss how to start regulating this growing industry and companies like Uber X, Lyft and Sidecar aren't happy about.
by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor Lyft, a mobile-phone-based ridesharing service, is asking its passengers to