Counting on Community Symposium 2023
Speaker Spotlight


Chandra profile photo


Chandra Ghosh Ippen is a child psychologist and award-winning children’s book author. She is Associate Director of the Child Trauma Research Program at the University of California, San Francisco, co-developer of Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), and a member of the board of directors of Zero to Three. She is the Director of Dissemination and Implementation for CPP and has spent the last 30 years conducting research, clinical work, and training in the area of childhood trauma. She has co-authored over 20 publications on trauma and diversity-informed practice as well as a number of children’s books that translate information about trauma, attachment, and emotion regulation into story, including Once I Was Very Very Scared, Holdin Pott, You Weren’t With Me, and Mama’s Waves. Her Trinka and Sam disaster story series, developed in collaboration with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, has reached over 350,000 families across the world.

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Brianna C Bragg (they/she), Ihanktonwan Nation, is a Co-Creator at The UPRISE Collective. Brianna is a fat, queer, two-spirit, biracial womxn who roots her work in relationship, with liberation and healing as the goal. Brianna has over 15 years in professional early childhood education, social services, and advocacy. She was born and grew up on the stolen and occupied lands of the sovereign Salish and Duwamish people. They are the eldest of over 20 first cousins, where they learned early on the value of childhood, education, and community. Brianna has worked as a Montessori Teacher, Nanny, Family Advocate/Home Visitor, Sexual Assault Crisis Responder, Early Childhood Policy Advocate and Therapist for folks that live outside. She has spent her post-graduate experience as a clinician and in community organizing work within the Houseless, Indigenous, and QTPOC communities. Brianna is dedicated to the eradication of oppressive systems utilizing the means of community organizing, civil disobedience, and structural policy shifts. She believes strongly in the need to approach oppressive and inequitable situations with a both/and mindset, looking at these restructure opportunities with a wholist, relational worldview. Brianna works to demystify systems and flatten hierarchical structures so they are accessible, and useful to the people while working on the preservation, reclamation, and uplifting of traditional practices and ways of knowing. They have two undergraduate degrees from Portland State University in Social Science (Womxn’s Studies & Sociology) and Child & Family Studies (Early Childhood Education) and a Masters in Social Work (Policy, Leadership, and Community Organizing). They love to read, write, grow their own food, cook for the community, bead, crafting of any kind, and a good road trip. Brianna stays grounded with the help of her partner, her two tiny dogs, and her chosen family.

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Stephanie Roberson has 18 years of experience in education, nonprofit, and social change work. Stephanie has worked as a middle school teacher, K-5 school administrator, and a mental health practitioner with unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children. Stephanie’s work includes the development of SixOne, a collective of middle school students across six schools in St. Louis who work to desegregate spaces and engage in policy work that is important to them, in response to the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO. Stephanie is also privileged to serve on the Board for the African Youth and Community Organization (AYCO), and is a founding member of the Oregon chapter of the Association of Black Social Workers. Stephanie has engaged in grassroots policy work at the state and national level, while working and volunteering with people in hospice care, sexually trafficked youth, and youth with significant and multiple disabilities. Stephanie is an experienced teacher and facilitator with respect to restorative justice, decolonizing spaces, equity and liberation work, and culturally humble curricula and instruction. Stephanie has undergraduate degrees in International Business and Romance Languages and Literatures, a graduate degree in Social Work with a certificate in Human Services Management, and is bilingual in English and Spanish. Stephanie is a woman of color with light skin privilege who loves to garden and to roll around on the floor with her baby boy.

Beth profile picture


For the past 30 years, Beth Heavilin has provided supports and services on behalf of young children and their families. She currently does her works with the Humboldt County Office of Education. In this role, she provides early childhood mental health consultation and training to programs covering three rural Northern California counties. Beth is the co-coordinator of a community-based group called the 0 to 8 Mental Health Collaborative whose mission is to provide training and systems change on behalf of children and family mental health. Under the umbrella of the 0 to 8 Mental Health Collaborative, Beth directs the Humboldt Infant-family and Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate Program. She is a fellow of the Napa, Parent-Infant and Child Institute and the Reflective Supervision, Coaching and Facilitating Academy and a recipient of the 2019 Dr. Bruce Perry Spirit of the Child Award. Beth endeavors to embed the practices and principles of the Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health field into her direct services with families, training of staff and coordination of community efforts. Her overarching goal is to create a transdisciplinary qualified workforce capable of supporting all pregnant and parenting families.

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Mo Harper-Desir, Mo, is a first generation, Queer arts activist from Western MA.Working across the country to provide arts based creation, education and services for community growth. Mo is a mother to 2 free brown boys and considers herself a caretaker to her community. Mo has been dedicated to social justice & arts based education for over 15 years and implements her experiences as a marginalized identity and an artist to build meaningful curriculum, professional development and learning moments of play. You may also recognize Mo from her work with Humboldt County organization Black Humboldt or Access Humboldt and her micro business Mo HD Creates. As an artist Mo actively creates using Multimedia Visual Arts, Hip-Hop, Hip Hop theater, Dance and Poetry. Mo values free speech, inclusion/equity, education, open communication and Black Joy!


Jefferson holding a puppet


Ms. Ashley (she/her) is the early childhood enthusiast and play advocate. She brings her 20+ years of experience as an early childhood teacher, museum curator, and performer as the Founder of Play Plan Afrikan (, an early learning collective, and Nguzo Babies (, a children’s puppet show. Ms. Ashley is also a prolific curriculum author, the popular being her Kwanzaa 365 curriculum to help classrooms integrate cultural diversity. Her passion is offering support and quality resources to families with young children to restore the beauty of childhood and family pastimes.

Ijumaa Jordan with foliage on her head


Ijumaa Jordan is a fat, Black, cisgender woman (she/her) daily engaging in the beautiful struggle of life, doing the internal and external work to abolish systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, transphobia, and classism, etc. Ijumaa shows up for this work with intensity and passion, being joyful, thinking critically, and holding learning space with care and grace. She loves afternoon naps and snacks, you can usually find her online looking serious and laughing loudly.

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Silvia Esqueda is a bilingual/bicultural, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has worked with families and Promotoras Comunitarias for more than twenty-five years. Presently, Silvia Esqueda is the national master trainer and consultant for Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors program. Silvia Esqueda was the director for Hathaway Family Resource Center, adjunct professor for Pacific Oaks college, trainer for Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, and writer of mental health topics that have been incorporated into Promotoras Comunitarias’ curriculums. Silvia Esqueda graduated from California State University Los Angeles with a Bachelor Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, has earned a certificate in Pupil Personnel Services, a Masters Degree in Counseling and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Shoshanna smiling for the camera


Shoshanna has danced throughout her life and has been delighted to teach little ones since she was a teen. She is a professional dancer who has studied many forms of Middle Eastern Dance, Modern, Jazz, Ballet, and even Tap, but finds some of her deepest happiness teaching Creative Dance for young children and getting others comfortable with bringing the concepts of dance to life in working with little people. She has been putting on local parties, camps, and festivals for over a decade and since 2022 has been the Youth Services Outreach Coordinator at Humboldt County Library. At the library, she happily advocates for early literacy and a joy of reading all across the county and can be often be found at the Eureka Library Children’s Room.