Shakti Butler, PhD, a dynamic filmmaker and visionary educator in the field of social and racial equity, will provide the keynote address for the 17th-annual Ambrose Women for Social Justice Conference on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Butler’s keynote, “Framing a Racial Justice Foundation,” begins at 3:30 p.m. via Webex. It is open to the public; viewers should click here to join the Feb. 23 keynote.

Shakti Butler is president and founder of World Trust Educational Services.

On Feb. 24, “Healing and Radical Imagination,” an interactive workshop is designed to encourage open conversation and exploration of first steps to begin working towards healing the deep wounds caused by racial injustice. The workshop runs from 4-6 p.m.; click here to join the workshop on Webex.

The AWSJ events coordinate with the St. Ambrose University College of Arts and Sciences 2020-21 academic theme, Changing Climates: From Rising Seas to Societal Needs. The conference is sponsored by Ambrose Women for Social Justice, the Baecke Endowment for the Humanities, and the Rev. Joseph E. Kokjohn Endowment for Catholic Peace and Justice.

Butler is president and founder of World Trust Educational Services Inc., an organization dedicated to racial justice and healing through film, curricula and programs that spark institutional, structural, and cultural change. She has produced five documentaries and her latest project, Healing Justice: Cultivating a World of Belonging, is igniting national conversation about justice through the lens of restorative practices, accountability, and healing.

Her Wednesday 4 p.m. workshop is free and open to the public; however, it builds on the keynote address and as such assumes participation in the prior event. The WebEx link to access the learning lab can be found at


Brittany Tullis, PhD, associate professor and chair of SAU’s Modern Languages and Cultures program and director of the Women and Gender Studies program, said widespread racial injustice and continued violence and murder stemming from deeply ingrained, systemic racism is perhaps the greatest crisis of our time. “It is also one that we can — and must — all work towards changing,” she said.

Brittany Tullis is director of St. Ambrose University’s women and gender studies program.

“This requires first understanding and acknowledging the multiple forms of racial injustice that have characterized our nation from its very beginnings,” Tullis said.

“Only after this first step has been thoroughly undertaken can the work of healing and restorative justice begin. These are the guiding principles of Dr. Butler’s work and the kind of justice-based activism that led us to invite her to give this talk and facilitate this interactive learning lab at St. Ambrose,” she said.

Butler was a diversity consultant for “Zootopia,” a 2016 Disney film on challenging bias and stereotypes, and is currently building World Trust’s body of work to include the benefits of radical imagination, healing and play in creating cultures of belonging. She received a doctorate in Transformative Learning from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.