2018 Workshop Speakers

2018 Building Bridges Conference

Workshop Speakers
10:40 a.m. and 11:40 a.m. in Beck Hall

Leah Ida Harris

From Punishment to Healing: Breaking Cycles of Criminalization

Racism intersects deeply with “mentalism," defined as Othering, discrimination and violence against people of all races who are perceived as unstable or mentally ill. The various systems designed by those in power tend to reinforce entrenched and interlocking patterns of racism, mentalism, power and control. The majority of people of color killed by police also had some form of psychiatric disability. The school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately affects children of color who are survivors of trauma and/or those with with mental, physical and developmental disabilities. Trauma and resilience educator, activist, and writer Leah Harris will talk about alternatives to these cycles of criminalization, including restorative justice-based, expressive arts-based, and trauma-informed, community-led approaches.


Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre is an MC, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist and educator. He is a Minneapolis-based artists, whose work explores the relationships between identity, power, and resistance, and has been featured on Upworthy, Welcome to Night Vale, Everyday Feminism, MSNBC, the Huffington Post, and beyond. Garnering over ten million views online, Guante has also performed live at the United Nations and given a TedxTalk.

Marya Hart

A member of the Fidgety Fairy Tales - Mental Health Musicals use gentle humor, great music, and compelling performances by talented youth to raise awareness about children’s mental health. The goals of the group are to: provide accurate information about mental health disorders using clear, accessible language, dispel the myths and reduce the fear and misunderstanding around mental health disorders, portray the strengths and struggles of children with mental health disorders, help families, friends, and communities respond with compassion, understanding, and support.

Jessica Gourneau

She focuses on Intergenerational Trauma in Native American Communities. The mission of the American Indian Family Center (AIFC) is to provide American Indian families with programming and services enriched by traditional American Indian values and culture. She will be sharing her experiences, and providing ways for all to be activists in their lives and speak out against mental health discrimination.

3:10 p.m. in Beck Hall, Second Floor

An essential component of the Building Bridges Conference is the Interpretive Walk Through, taking place this year on the 2nd floor of Beck Hall. Through an interactive experience we will utilize visual and performance art to explore the ways our culture perpetuates and normalizes mental health stigma and discrimination. The walk through will mimic a museum where attendees can walk through at their own pace, and experience each room on its’ own. Mental health is an incredibly unique experience that cannot be generalized to include the experiences of all or described through one room, as such there will be 5 rooms that show our interpretation.


5:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall

Sue Abderholden & Mark Anderson

They will talk about the need to see people in crisis as needing help and not just as being a threat. They will highlight how we need to be responding to the whole person, using an asset based response rather than a blaming and shaming response. There will be discussions regarding the recent tragic deaths of individuals in crisis who were responded to by law enforcement, and the need to partner with communities on mental health issues as a way to avoid these tragedies. A history of the mental health movement will be included, along with a look at our mental health system and how our mental health system isn’t broken – it’s never been built. This address will focus on the strides that have been made and what needs to be done next.