Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort - 633 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA  January 12, 2018, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
An event to honor Highlander Research & Education Center with Fielding’s Social & Ecological Justice Award

We Make the Road by Walking

Higher Education & Native America: What We Can Learn Together

This is an unique event that honors both Highlander Center, a long-respected organization that serves as a catalyst for grassroots organizing and movement building in Appalachia and the South, and our colleagues in Native America that are dedicated to quality education for native peoples. We will hear from a leader in higher education and Native America as well as from people who are fighting for justice, equality and sustainability, supporting their efforts to take collective action to shape their own destiny.

Accepting the award on behalf of the Highlander Research & Education Center:

Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson 

Co-Executive Director – Highlander Research & Education Center

Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson is an Affrilachian (Black Appalachian) woman, born and raised in Southeast Tennessee. She has served in positions of leadership for many organizations including as past president of the Black Affairs Association at East Tennessee State University and the Rho Upsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She holds a BA in English with a minor in African and African American History. She has extensive experience with community organizing and is a former staff member of the Chicago SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) History Project, and a past member of the United Students Against Sweatshops National Coordinating, Political Education, and Collective Liberation Committees.

She is a long-time activist working around issues of mountaintop removal mining and environmental racism in central and southern Appalachia, and has served on the National Council of the Student Environmental Action Coalition. She is also an active participant in the Movement for Black Lives. Henderson has experienced Highlander through participating in Cultural Organizers’ Weekend, Transitions, and has served as a board member since 2012. She comes to Highlander from Project South, where she is a member and regional organizer, active participant on the governance council of the Southern Movement Assembly, and organizer with Concerned Citizens for Justice (Chattanooga, TN).

Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele

Co-Executive Director – Highlander Research & Education Center

Raised in Texas, Germany, and North Carolina, Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele’s movement work has included solidarity struggles with Thai people’s movements, work as an educator and organizer in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and a range of support for front-line struggles in Nashville, Tennessee, and throughout the South and Appalachia. As a member of the Educational    Network for Global and Grassroots Exchange (ENGAGE), Allyn was a member of Highlander’s 2010 Threads cohort and served as an adult ally for the 2010 Seeds of Fire youth program. He joined Highlander’s Board of Directors in 2011, where most recently he has served as board chair.

An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Allyn has served congregations in Juneau, Alaska; and Nashville and Springfield, Tennessee. Allyn’s focus and interests lie at the intersection of radical pastoral care, institutional transformation, dismantling toxic white masculinities, and liberation-driven ministry and movement building, especially in rural and small-town communities. Allyn holds a BA in history from Wofford College (SC) and a Masters of Divinity from    Vanderbilt Divinity School. He comes to Highlander from the Scarritt Bennett Center in Nashville, where he has served as a member of the education team.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Sherry R. Allison

President – Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

A member of the Diné Nation, Dr. Allison grew up in Shiprock, New Mexico. She is of the Oozei’ Tachii’nii (Red Running into the Water People-related to the Hopi) clan, born for the Naakaii Dine’e’ (Mexican) clan. Her maternal and paternal   grandparents are Ma’ii deeshgiizhinii (Coyote Pass-Jemez clan) and Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People) respectively.

Dr. Allison has a Doctorate of Education from Northern Arizona University, and Master of Arts in Education and Bachelor of Social Work from New Mexico State University. In 2011, she completed an intense training with the Executive Leadership Institute.

Serving as president of Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute since January, 2009, Dr. Allison has served on numerous national and state boards, task forces and committees including services as the 1999-2000 President of the National Indian Education Association; she was also appointed by the New Mexico State Superintendent of Education as chair of the New Mexico Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Advisory Panel. Dr. Allison has over 30 years of professional experience in education, including employment with the Navajo Nation and tenures at the University of Arizona and University of New Mexico.  Recognized with numerous honors, she is most proud of being selected as a Patricia Roberts Harris Academic Fellow from the U.S. Department of Education to complete her doctorate degree