Step Into My Shoes, our current and most ambitious Equity project, provides real-time opportunities to lead by example. Core to DFI is the action of applying equitable and inclusive best practices to the work we do daily. Our Village reflects our intention to build a community house with plenty of room for everyone to thrive.
Nicole Morris | Equity Coach
I am an educator, researcher, and poet that designs and delivers anti-bias and trauma-informed equity programs for institutions, educators, and students.
As a visiting artist, curriculum designer, and teacher coach, my focus is on the intersections between white supremacy, colonialism, and patriarchy utilizing Critical Race Theory and Feminist lenses.
With 15 years of experience in the classroom with marginalized communities across higher education, and as a practicing artist, I have dedicated my life to transformative education, justice, and liberation.
Chad Grohman | Thoughtful Illustrator
Chad Grohman is an educator and illustrator based in Western New York. He has taught illustration at Rochester Institute of Technology for 12 years. He is currently an Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Program Director of Illustration. He continues to maintain a thriving freelance career while teaching at the University, working with clients across the world. Chad has been an illustrator for 29 years.
In 2021 he entered the The Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program in association with the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. The program, lead by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach contains a concentration on DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility) designed to enable students to build the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that will support their own personal growth and their capacity to teach a wide range of mindfulness practitioners. DEIA faculty includes Konda Mason, Crystal Johnson and Kitsy Schoen.
Chad is part of the Western Buddhist clergy practicing within the United States. He has been active in the Buddhist community since 2004 and began organizing events in leadership beginning in 2008. Since entering the cergy in 2014 he has held weekly dharma talks and leads temple services and events in Lockport, New York.
Salman Lee | Truth Telling Activist
Black Trans Lives Matter Advocate. SIMS Trans Life SME and inspiring muse. She/her, Trans, Lesbian Leaning Bisexual. Muslim. Queer.
“Coming out was the best decision I have ever made. When I’m happy, sad, depressed, ecstatic, femme or butch, I am legitimately and unapologetically trans.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me in my transition”.
Salman Lee (right) and Tigre Marshal-Lively (left). Black Trans Lives Matter Juneteenth Celebration 2020 ~ Taos, NM.
Miles Bonny | Social Good Music Maker
Miles is the product of a family focused on human support and music. Born to a Trumpet playing father and guitar playing mother in NYC, Miles’ family culture was the byproduct of his strong family roots. These roots most include a paternal grandmother who was a pioneering Music Therapist and maternal grandmother who championed Women and cross-cultural dialogue.
With two Minister Grandfathers added to the mix, this New York City-born New Jersey-bred young boy has traveled the globe as he trusts his gut with a faith in the eternal good of life. As a trumpeter, vocalist, producer, dj and community empowerment worker his explorations in social issues and world cultures has taken him on numerous tours in Europe, invited him into collaborations addressing drug abuse with artists in Russia and fatherhood in Italy, random excursions including time in Sweden with Diplo, and Australia with Osunlade and Ta-Ku. Whether rubbing shoulders as child with Tito Puente, Max Roach, Carmine Caruso, Vic Damone, and Michael Brecker or as a collaborator with many in the international DJ, Vinyl, Beat, and Soul scenes as an adult, Miles has stayed in the fold of not only music but culture.
A fan of community work and social good, Miles spends his non-music time working to support and recognize support needs for young children, teenagers, and parents. His actions and music are a warm blanket that hugs you while exploring life’s bed of nails. Social Awareness filters through his mouth, microphones and computers to represent itself as creations that are experienced by soulful people around the world. Rather than fear the negative aspects of the world, Miles dives into them as he seeks possible answers to our collective social issues. ”I like the corners of society” he says. Connect with Miles and welcome the future as your friend.
Nikesha Breeze | Interdisciplinary Artist, Advisor + Equity Bridge Builder
Working from a Global African Diasporic, Afro-Centric and Afro-Futurist perspective, Nikesha Breeze’s interdisciplinary work reimagines the possibility of healing inter-generational traumatic inheritance through the intersection of art and ritual. Black, Brown, Indigenous, Queer and Earth bodies, material and immaterial, are seen as undeniably sacred and inviolable. Nikesha’s work centers Black bodies, simultaneously existing within realms of past, present, and future.
Nikesha uses performance art, film, painting, textiles, sculpture, and site-specific engagement to build a counter-narrative of an Otherwise, where black bodies and ideas are seen as existing in hypervalue, a realm of indivisibility between black artistic aesthetic, black time, and ritual healing. Black pasts become re-informed by Black futures, and the resulting present is experienced as a living altar and artifact. Nikesha’s methodologies call upon ancestral memory and archival resurrection to bring to the fore, faces, bodies, stories, and spirits that have been systematically erased from the master narrative. Thier performance art and film work reimagines relationships with the body, the invisible world, and the social space.
MAGIC Spell Studios | VR/MR Experience Innovation Partner
MAGIC Spell Studios is the entrepreneurial and commercial heart of MAGIC at RIT. Encompassing a fully functional film sound stage, sound mix and color correction post-production studios, a 4K Dolby Atmos theater, and several working media laboratories, MAGIC Spell Studios is ready and available to work with you on your next project. And with student and faculty talent in all aspects of media production and design, we also can provide a capable workforce to get your jobs done. Browse below to see all the possibilities for collaboration with us.
Rochester Institute of Technology is ranked #6 in the Top 50 Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR Colleges in the US by Animation Career Review and recently announced MAGIC Spell Studios new collaborative partnership with Pure Imagination Studios.
We are so thankful to Chad Grohman and the RIT/MAGIC team for supporting DFI in making our Equity VR/MR dreams come true. #GRATITUDE
Be yourself so that the people looking for you can find you.Arlan Hamilton
It takes a village . . .
It takes a village to not only raise a child, but to create any kind of real, sustainable change in the world. Period.
There is no such thing as a “self made” man or woman. We have all been lifted, supported, instructed and/or empowered by somebody or something to get to where we are with what we got.
As a family our work and hearts have always belonged to the community and we find comfort, strength and courage in our village.
Gratitude for ALWAYS believing in us and holding space for our work and dreams.
We rise together.
- Project: Step Into My Shoes
- Home Base: Taos, NM + Phoenix, AZ
- Contact: 575.779.5323
- Hours: 24/7 | 365
Get In Where You Fit In
Please don’t hold back if you have the skill-set we’re missing and/or great seed idea we can help water. Our village has room to grow and opportunities yet to be tapped. Be in touch with Luckie. Let’s get at it!