WHEN: June 6 - 7, 2024 

WHERE: Intech, 6325 Digital Way, Indianapolis, IN 46278

ISTA is hosting its second annual Indiana Educators of Color Network Conference for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) members and allies. This year’s theme is Powerful Voices. Powerful Change.



Thursday, June 6

11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. | Registration & Lunch

12:30 - 1:30 p.m. | Welcome & Keynote, Storytellers for Change, Luis Ortega

1:40 - 3:40 p.m. | Ice Breakers & Community Building Activities

3:50 - 5:20 p.m. | Keynote, Racial Literacy Circles: The Hip-Hop Edition, Sundjata Sekou

5:20 - 6:30 p.m. | Break

6:30 - 10 p.m. | Passport Around the World: Dinner Stations and Activities*

*Dinner stations and activities will take place at the Girl Scouts Founders Lodge (7201 Girl Scout Ln, Indianapolis, IN 46214). Please allot time to travel to the destination.

Friday, June 7

8 - 8:30 a.m. | Grab & Go Breakfast

8:30 - 9:40 a.m. | Workshops - BLOCK A

9:50 - 10:40 a.m. | Workshops - BLOCK B

10:50 - 11:40 a.m. | Workshops - BLOCK C*

11:50 a.m. - 1 p.m. | Panel Discussion, Amplifying Your Voice in Your Union, Gabriel Tanglao, Dr. Monique Atherley & Sheila Keller

1 - 1:40 p.m. | Lunch

1:50 - 2:50 p.m. | Regional Planning for Next Steps

3 - 3:30 p.m. | Closing Session

*Attendees must choose a session different from the one attended in Block B.


Come and join informative sessions with a team of experienced speakers and facilitators who are well-versed in a wide range of topics. The speakers come from diverse backgrounds, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise that is sure to captivate and inspire. No matter what topic interests you, the speakers and facilitators can provide valuable insights and perspectives. Learn more about speakers for this years' keynote and panel discussion.


Luis Ortega

Luis (he/they) is a multidisciplinary storyteller, educator, narrative strategist, and the founder and director at Storytellers for Change.

Over the last 16 years, Luis has worked with youth, educators, and cross-sector leaders to harness the power of narrative to co-imagine, craft, and share stories to build an equitable world. Luis has a BA in Political Science from the University of Washington and a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Luis was born and raised in Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) and now lives in the unceded and ancestral lands of the Duwamish and Coast Salish people (Seattle).


Sundjata Sekou

“Blood of a slave, heart of a king.” Those Nasir “Nas” Jones lyrics captures Sundjata Sekou because he has advocated, written, spoken, organized and facilitated workshops that center racial justice in education and union spaces.

His involvement has led him to write cover stories and articles in the NJEA Review on topics such as race, racism and white supremacy. He has also written on the refusal of New Jersey schools to educate children on how Black societies and other African nations contributed to civilizations in areas of writing, mathematics, science, religion, music and the arts.

Sekou has organized members to speak at board of education meetings about hiring more Black and Brown teachers in Dover, supported inclusive curriculums in Pleasantville and advocated for Black and brown students in Glassboro.

He has presented at several conferences on the topics of race, racism, equity, white fragility and protecting Black and brown children and Black and brown adults in educational and union settings.

His most popular workshop is Racial Literacy Circles: The Hip-Hop Edition. In this workshop, hip-hop is used to talk about how to cultivate genius in Black and brown students. This workshop critiques the American justice system, study the effects of poverty on communities and how to have “fulljoy” in education settings.

He is a “dope” third grade teacher and the recipient of the 2024 New Jersey Education Association Urban Educator Activist Award. He champions himself as the individual who will stand up for Black and brown people in education and union settings.


Dr. Monique C. Atherley

Dr. Monique C. Atherley shines her rare light to illuminate workplace culture that still has dark practices. She is a dynamic, impactful and vision-based leader who works to diligently offer underrepresented populations opportunities to succeed. Dr. Atherley focuses her praxis and pedagogy on empowering, informing, exposing and preparing both clients and students for the realities and opportunities that will help revolutionize their existence. A child of immigrants, she’s committed to the protection and joy of Black and brown bodies; and positions herself in spaces that support them thriving, not just surviving. Dr. Atherley is a scholar-practitioner, servant leader, capacity builder and trainer with over 15 years of experience across K-12 schools, community based organizations and higher education. She has a specific focus on public, urban educational offerings and college access.

Dr. Atherley is also a former staff member and current volunteer for the New York Urban League and has served as president of the Pan African Network of ACPA, an affinity space in higher education creating room and visibility for those from or in support of the African diaspora. Dr. Atherley currently serves as a senior program analyst and policy specialist for the NEA Center for Racial and Social Justice.


Gabriel Tanglao

Gabriel Tanglao is an educator at heart, activist in spirit and organizer in practice for justice-centered unions to help cultivate a liberatory learning ecosystem within public education. Tanglao's journey as an educator-union-activist has been filled with joy in justice, from his classroom to the community and from facilitation to movement-building.

Tanglao is a proud Filipino-American, son of a union-nurse and product of New Jersey Public Schools. He started his career teaching economics in the wake of the Great Recession at Bergenfield High School, located in one of the most diverse working-class communities in the state. Tanglao has been recognized with the 2017 Teaching Champion Award from the Council for Economic Education; 2018 Finalist for the Social Justice Activist Award from the National Education Association and 2019 Global Learning Fellowship with the NEA Foundation.

He has served as associate director of professional development and instructional issues for the New Jersey Education Association. He works tirelessly to advance racial, social and economic justice through public education. His has served as a facilitator, speaker and writer and is now a manager in the NEA Center for Racial & Social Justice.


Sheila Keller

Sheila Keller is a NEA national bilingual organizer with over 15 years experience in labor, community, parent and immigrant rights organizing. Keller's experience is broad. She has organized around several issues including foreign policy and immigrant student rights, school to prison pipeline, labor organizing with janitors and public school education. She has led internal and external organizing campaigns effecting thousands of workers, led and developed organizing trainings for staff from around the country and has successfully counseled small to large union locals on organizing in rural, suburban and urban areas.

Thank you to the members, speakers and ISTA staff who made the 2023 conference a huge success.

View conference photos.