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The NE OKC Food Security Symposium is an informational and educational event intended to foster collaboration and build community engagement around the issue of food security in NE OKC. ULI Oklahoma will host top researchers and experts who have studied food insecurity specifically within the context of black communities. We hope to provide a micro and macro view of the issue, provide background on how we got here, and discuss possible community engagement opportunities and solutions.
MODERATOR – Councilwoman Nikki Nice
Councilwoman Nikki Nice was elected Nov. 6, 2018, to serve as Ward 7's representative on the Oklahoma City Council. She's the 10th woman, and the second woman of color, to serve on the Council since the City's incorporation in 1890. A fourth-generation Oklahoman, Councilwoman Nice was born, reared, educated and spiritually nurtured in Ward 7. Her early education was completed in the Millwood Public School District. She is a graduate of Northeast High School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcasting from historic Langston University. She has studied abroad in The Gambia and Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa. Councilwoman Nice is a well-known television and radio personality with nearly 15 years of on-air experience in the Oklahoma City market.
PANELIST - Dr. LaVonna Blair Lewis
LaVonna Blair Lewis, Ph.D., MPH, is a Teaching Professor of Public Policy and the Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Dr. Lewis joined the USC faculty in 1996 from Rice University where she received her PhD in Political Science. Dr. Lewis’ areas of research and professional interests consistently focus on cultural competency and health equity, both targeting the health status and health care needs of underrepresented groups. As such, she feels she has a two-fold mission in life—to make the invisible, visible (if people are blind or unaware of problems for a particular group or in a particular community, you have to find ways to get these problems on their radar screen) and to make people uncomfortable (she believes that if people are always comfortable, they aren’t being challenged or they have quit learning and growing). She is currently involved in projects that address racial and ethnic health disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes. All of the work to date has employed a community based participatory research framework that partners with the relevant stakeholder groups in developing the research questions.
PANELIST - Dr. Ashanté M. Reese
Ashanté M. Reese is an assistant professor in the department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Dr. Reese earned a Bachelor's in History with a minor in African American studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. After teaching middle school at Coretta Scott King Leadership Academy, Reese went on to earn a Master's in Public Anthropology at American University in 2013 and a PhD in Anthropology, specializing in race, gender, and social justice two years later. Broadly speaking, Reese focuses her work in Black geographies – the ways Black people produce and navigate spaces and places in the context of anti-Blackness. Dr. Reese is specifically interested in and committed to documenting the ways anti-Blackness constrain Black life, continually asking the question, what and who survives?
PANELIST - Dr. Bryce C. Lowery
Bryce C. Lowery, PhD, is an assistant professor of Regional + City Planning at the University of Oklahoma Gibbs College of Architecture. He joined the faculty in 2014 after completing his PhD in Urban and Spatial Planning from the University of Southern California. Dr. Lowery’s research focuses on environmental and social influences of neighborhood well-being as well as land use policies that aim to improve community health. His most recent work investigates the relationship between grocery store location, socioeconomic status, and diet related health outcomes in Oklahoma where elevated rates of diet related disease suggest an urgent need for action. In this context, he documents inequalities in access to healthy food to provide guidance to public health and planning professionals working toward making sure communities experiencing elevated rates of chronic disease have an opportunity to lead a healthy quality of life. He holds a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Behavior from the University of Michigan and an undergraduate degree in economics and environmental studies from the University of Southern California.