Thursday, Mar. 30, 2023
5 - 7 p.m. PST



Who's Invited

Campus Community, Public

The title and theme of the 2023 Ethnic Studies Conference is Decolonial Spiritualities, Healing and Social Justice. The panelists include the first woman and person of color elected as the Episcopalian Bishop of the West Diocese of Tennessee; a holistic and critical Ethnic Studies healer, a scholar who specializes in the healing medicine of plants, and a practitioner of Indigenous and African curanderismo.

The panelists will address how their work integrates critical, intersectional social justice activism through the cultivation of truth-telling and healing of the wounds inflicted on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) within the U.S. and in Mexico/Latin America.  

Register for Zoom URL

Sponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies


5:00-5:10 p.m. - Introduction by Dr. Mary Roaf
5:10-5:20 p.m. -  Panelist Intros
5:20-5:40 p.m. - Rev. Dr.Trinity Ordona
5:40-6:00 p.m. - Javier Perez Robles
6:00-6:20 p.m. - Victor Manuel Escotto
6:20-6:40 p.m. - Bishop Phoebe Roaf
6:40-7:00 p.m. - Closing by Dr. Mary Roaf


Victor Manuel Escoto is a creative artist and spiritual practitioner based in Mexico City. As an artist, Victor Manuel's paintings incorporate a variety of themes, including existential, transcendental, and political, and his latest art piece is featured on the spring 2023 cover of Feminist Formations, the leading journal of the National Women's Studies Association. As an art restorer, he has worked in the Frida Kahlo Museum, Chapultepec Park, and Templo Mayor—the main temple of the Mexica (or Aztec) people. As a spiritual practitioner, Victor Manuel Escoto is grounded in his grandmother's cultural ways of curanderismo, which is a traditional (and syncretic) holistic approach to healing the mind, body, and spirit that has been used in the Americas for hundreds of years.  

Javier Perez Robles completed his PhD in Biological Sciences with emphasis in Biotechnology and has carried out research on physiology and genetics of marine organisms, biomedicine, and nanotechnology. He has also participated in community development projects implementing eco-technologies in remote areas and is a specialist in plant-based medicines/psychedelics and their healing properties. 

Rev. Trinity A. Ordona, Ph.D. is a Filipino American lesbian, veteran community organizer, retired instructor in LGBTQ Studies, and an ordained minister using psychic healing arts in recovery work with survivors of trauma and sexual abuse.

Bishop Phoebe Roaf life had prepared her for the moment in May 2019 when she was consecrated and ordained as the Bishop of the Diocese of West Tennessee.

Growing up 144 miles southwest of Memphis in the Arkansas Delta city of Pine Bluff, she knows the struggles and the potential of this part of the U.S.   Trips for shopping and entertainment brought her to Memphis on occasion.  She received a law degree from the University of Arkansas – Little Rock, clerked for two years for a federal Court of Appeals judge, and worked in a New Orleans firm from 2000 to 2005.

By her early 40s, she had come to understand that her life’s calling was not the law.  Rather, it was to serve as a member of the clergy in the Episcopal Church.  Armed with her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an MPA from Princeton University, she attended Virginia Theological Seminary, the flagship seminary for the Episcopal Church, graduating in 2008 and now serving as vice-chair of its board of trustees.

6th Annual Ethnic Studies Conference art