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Keynote Speakers

Photo of Emad Rahim
Emad Rahim

Bridging our differences with empathy and storytelling: Dr. Emad Rahim is an award-winning author, educator, entrepreneur, Fulbright Specialist and TEDx Speaker. His story was turned into the short documentary “Against the Odds,” a 2016 Bronze Award Winner at the F.A.M.E.’US International Film Festival and adapted into a Syracuse Stage theater production titled Tales from the Salt City,’ which is an extension of the acclaimed Undesirable Elements series written by celebrated playwright and Presidential National Medals of Arts Award recipient, Ping Chong. He has been featured in the Huffington Post, Forbes, IntelligentHQ, World Class Magazine, The Post Standard, VICE, Rutgers’ The Humanist and CEO Magazine, and interviewed on the BBC, NPR, StoryCorps, PBS and multiple podcast shows. He authored Resilience: From Killing Fields to Boardroom and co-authored The Inclusive Leader: An Applied Approach to Diversity, Change, and Management and Foundations of Social Responsibility and Its Application to Change.

Dr. Rahim has earned advanced post-doctoral credentials from Harvard University, Tulane University, and the University of Maryland/UC. He has a Doctorate of Management and two graduate degrees in business from Colorado Tech, and completed his undergraduate education at SUNY Empire State College. In 2018, Dr. Rahim was awarded an honorary degree from SUNY Onondaga Community College (OCC), was the recipient of the prestigious Outstanding Alumni Award issued by the American Association of Community Colleges (only 5 selected across the country), and was honored with the John H. Mulroy Founder’s Award by OCC’s Board of Trustees, and received the 2016 Award of Distinction from Southwest University. He was recognized by the United Nations Foundation as an Empact100 Honoree, given a Congressional Award for Civic Engagement, won the Entrepreneur Teaching Excellence Award from Oklahoma State University, Presidential Teaching Innovation Award from Bellevue University, and 40 Under FORTY Business Leader by Whitman School of Management and CNY Business Journal, and Certified Manager of the Year by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers of James Madison University.

Please visit Dr. Rahim’s website at


Photo of Allie Cannington
Allie Cannington

Beyond Diversity: Real Talk on Disability and Intersectionality

Nationwide, the Disability community is the largest, most diverse marginalized population. A disproportionate number of people with disabilities are also survivors of trauma, marginally housed, low income, LGBTQ, and people of color. Therefore, when supporting, serving and empowering students with disabilities, the work must use an intersectional, trauma-informed, and disability affirming approach.

This general session panel will allow participants to listen and learn from a panel of students and advocates with disabilities who embody multiple, intersecting marginalized identities. Panelists will share personal accounts and best practices of how to support students with disabilities who have multiple, marginalized identities in post-secondary and employment settings. Additionally, the panel will address how trauma disproportionately impacts multiply-marginalized Disabled students and how allies can create educational and employment environments that are trauma informed. Upon leaving the session, the audience will gain knowledge and tools for how to truly support ALL students with disabilities.

Serving as our panel moderator is Allie Cannington, a white Queer, multiply Disabled community advocate, educator, and youth development specialist. For over eight years, Allie has led and organized youth with disabilities on local, state and national levels, always centering Disabled youth who are Queer and Trans, low/no income, and of color. As a consultant, Allie partners with organizations to create greater access, integration, and equity for people with disabilities. Allie is also a Program Coordinator at LYRIC, SF’s LGBTQ Center for Youth. Ultimately, Allie’s work is dedicated to unveiling everyone’s proximity to disability and to fueling justice movements that are intersectional, sustainable and intergenerational.

The image is a black and white photo of Yosmay, a Trans and Queer Latinx person. In the photo his face is turned slightly at an angle and the snapshot is taken from above. Yosmay is wearing a black driving cap worn at a tilt and a dark colored t-shirt that says New York. He also has round plug like earrings in both ears. Yosmay has short, dark hair which is only visible as a fade below the line of the cap. He smiles widely at the camera with almond shaped eyes and lots of freckles dotting his face. Yosmay's expression is of joy and invitation in this casual picture.

Yosmay del Mazo is an Oakland raised Cuban and Trans person living with invisible disabilities. He is also a writer, photographer, and audio producer who currently supports Trans* and Gender Nonconforming young adults with educational attainment and job readiness. In his work with LYRIC, StoryCorps, the Disability Visibility Project, Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation, and Family Violence Law Center, he focuses on intention and community resilience. In his artistic and non profit projects, he engages many marginalized communities from immigrant to veteran, disability to POC, people impacted by incarceration to survivors of violence.


Giovana is pictured smiling in front of a colorful Frida Kahlo mural after a day of classes in San Francisco. She is smiling sorted in her black electric wheelchair with a school book on her lap. Giovana is wearing a long purple patterned sweater, black and gray patterned leggings and a heart locket choker around her neck. Her hair is styled half up and down with mini buns uptop and her fingernails are painted cobalt blue .

As an Afro-Latina with Cerebral Palsy, Giovana is very familiar with being one of the very few disabled women of color in an academic environment. She is currently a fashion marketing student attending community colleges both in Berkeley and San Francisco. Her next step in her academic journey is to transfer back to Academy of Art University in San Francisco and graduate with a BFA in fashion marketing. A big dream of Giovana’s is to further integrate the fashion industry with people with disabilities especially those of color and gender non conforming. Her other passions include traveling, laughing, intersectional activism, color, and medical cannabis.


Brown genderqueer person, with micro bangs, long straight black pony tail and shaved sides , wearing square black and gold glasses, septum ring and Cupid's bow stud, stares directly into camera without smiling at bus stop with, with red graffiti art behind them

Hablo is a genderqueer, artist, spoken word smith, first generation Colombian and Mexican revolutionary who’s work centers around femme rage, change and the intersections of disabled queer and trans person of color. Their work can be found in The Huffington Post, La Bloga Los Angeles’s oldest Latinx poetry archive and Mills College poetry book, “580 Split”.

There is a Transmasculine chicanx person sitting on a green planter box made by green tiles. They are smiling with their neon green braces. The sun is also in their face so their eyes are squinting. They are wearing a black t shirt with a black string as a necklace. On top of that they have a black jean jacket that have color copper buttons running down the middle. They are also wearing half frame glasses that have a top black outline. Their hair is all gelled back and put up in a ponytail.

Kelsey is a trans chicanx who is an SF native, born and raised in the Mission. Kelsey is a full time student at City College of San Francisco, studying health education. They are passionate about health education specifically catering to trans/queer folks of color. Kelsey creates an impact in their community by showing up and presenting themselves as a young non-binary person. Kelsey has a passion to work with youth and children about bringing awareness about LGBTQ+ issues into the classroom. Around this work, they are open about explaining their gender identity to those who may not understand.

mature woman of African descent, smiling, with foliage behind her.

Toni Newman, Sacramento City College DSPS, Coordinator/Counselor, cisgender, is a life long learner with a commitment to social justice. Toni has almost 20 years of experience in working with populations that identify as disabled. She worked in K-12 as a special education teacher, and for the housing authority, supporting residents in senior and disabled housing. She began her career in higher education in 2005, which she says is finally the right fit.