I thoroughly enjoyed the Identity Driven Leadership workshop led by the Ashlees. Kyle and Aeriel engaged all of the attendees through thoughtful sharing of their own experiences, storytelling, and activities that pushed us to engage in deep reflection and conversations about identity-related experiences. I have participated in intensive graduate-level diversity courses and trainings and this workshop increased my knowledge about ways to approach diversity and engage people from different backgrounds in constructive conversations about differences. I would highly recommend the Ashlees to organizations interested in deepening their engagement in diversity issues in a warm, honest, and approachable way.
-Adia Gooden, PhD, Clinical Psychologist | Blogger | Speaker
The most striking thing about the Ashlees is how they role model vulnerability, trust, and warmth in the way they work and facilitate. Their approach showed us how to combine heart and head in the work we do, and connect the social justice issues we care about to our personal truths and lived experiences. They bring exuberance, flexibility, and an unparalleled positivity to the community they work with, and are as excited to learn as they are to share. We benefited greatly from their facilitation training, which taught us to create brave spaces, meet people where they are at, to show rather than tell, and create meaningful connections.
-Kokila Annamalai, Campaign Manager, Assoc. of Women for Action & Research in Singapore
VITAL should be required reading for anyone and everyone looking to educate about and understand social justice issues through self-reflection and advocacy. The Ashlees masterfully delve into their five core principles, sharing easy-to-understand concepts and strategies with readers, which are both interesting and insightful. VITAL challenges us to not only reflect on our individual identities and talk about social justice, but more importantly, how to actively engage in seeking social justice in our day-to-day lives.
-Dave Vale, Assistant Director of First-Year Experience and Family Programs, Case Western Reserve University
Whether you are an experienced SJ educator or sticking your toes into the water for the first time, VITAL is a handbook for life. The Ashlees have laid out a path for you whether you are in need of a refresher or have never looked at your privilege in the mirror before. Through seamless collaboration, the authors purport that anyone is able to "do this work" as long as they are committed to the self first and are willing to open their eyes to the privilege and inequities that are present in daily life. I would recommend this book for supervisors of teams who want to have an open dialogue about social justice, as well as individuals who are simply looking for self-improvement. VITAL is a work that should have a permanent place on your bookshelf!
-Trent Pinto, Director of Residential Education and Development, University of Cincinnati