Plenary: UnGun Racism, From the Casual to the Fatal

Air Date: 20 June, 2023

Dr. Marty K. Casey: Performance Artist and Activist has procreated and given meaning to a new word “Actrivist!” Leveraging the ARTS for HEALING, Dr. Casey, founded UnGUN Institute, focused on healing trauma through applied arts. Dr. Casey has found a way to connect and communicate through the Arts; in 2020 she performed on stage in the Big Apple for the AARP association, to a sold-out crowd, just days before the global pandemic forced a lock down. While the pandemic slowed us all down, Dr. Casey, still found ways to push her agenda for activism and community healing and as such her efforts gained recognition, by the St. Louis Business Journal, featuring her on the cover as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Businesswomen in St. Louis. Dr. Casey’s community and philanthropy efforts over the past ten years have yielded numerous awards and accolades; however, the greatest reward of them all is realizing the positive impact that her commitment to engaging, connecting, and communicating with the community has had. Dr. Casey actively serves on three boards; Hope Creates, Gateway to Dreams and Purpose Earth, all aligned with her mission to heal communities through the empowerment of recovery through expressive arts. In 2021 Marty K. Casey received the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award signed by President, Joseph R. Biden.

Selwyn Miles Jones is a community and civil rights leader who has dedicated his life to creating social change. As the youngest of seventeen children, he grew up in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he and his siblings worked in tobacco fields alongside their parents in unimaginable poverty and disenfranchisement. Despite the challenges, his mother encouraged him to dream big, and his athletic prowess became his ticket out. He is a co-founder of the nonprofit Hope929, where he works to empower historically marginalized groups. Selwyn is also the co-producer and host of the inspirational podcast, Setting It Straight with Selwyn, which compels individuals to become leaders in their communities and inspires young people to bring about change.

Selwyn is the inspiration behind the soon-to-be released book, A Silent Civil War, which is forwarded by Cornel West and introduced by Ben Vereen. He is currently working on a documentary project. As a GQ Man of The Year, Selwyn walks this earth with a purpose to change lives and be the voice for those who struggle to use theirs. His personal growth journey positively enhances the lives of others, and he continues to strive for greatness in a world that is in need of positive change. He is assisting to push the Medical Civil Rights Act, a bill that would require police officers to immediately request emergency medical services when someone in police custody or contact experiences a medical emergency. Selwyn Jones is truly a star and a beacon of hope for those seeking a better tomorrow.

Elizabeth Darden is a fearless social justice advocate who is dedicated to improving her community. She was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, one of the most diverse cities in the country, which instilled in her a strong sense of multiculturalism from an early age. Her passion for diversity and inclusion led her to explore Afro-Brazilian and other multicultural dance forms. Applying her unique perspective and experiences from world travel, she has been working towards shifting the negative narrative about her town, which has been falsely labeled as the “Most Racist Town in the Nation,” despite being just ten miles from the KKK’s headquarters.

In 2022, Darden was appointed to Harrison’s Parks and Recreation Commission and was later elected unanimously to a vacant city council position. Her continuous journey towards creating equity for all historically marginalized groups led her to co-found a non-profit, Hope929. The organization collaborates with like-minded individuals to effectuate positive social shifts in areas such as policing, education, and public safety.

Behind the scenes, Darden produces and co-hosts the inspirational podcast, Setting It Straight with Selwyn. The podcast provides a platform for civil rights work that inspires individuals to become leaders in their communities and inspires young people to effect change.