ABOUT THIS PROGRAM

Important Note: This program will be held at the Wells Fargo Auditorium at Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts located at 430 South Tryon Street.

This author talk and panel will discuss themes in Dr. DaMaris B. Hill's book, A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, as they relate to incarnation, social justice and historical trends in Charlotte, NC. The panel will discuss issues and environmental factors that lead to the incarceration of women, community repercussions, the in-jail/prison experience, as well as the intersection of poverty and the judicial system as issues of equity. This conversation relates to the Gantt Center’s Initiative for Equity and Innovation as well as Women's History Month, and the 400-year commemoration of enslavement. Dr. Hill will sign copies of her book immediately following the program.

Disclaimer: This panel will cover issues of incarceration, abuse and mature topics.

About The Panelists

Dr. DaMaris B. Hill is a writer. Her books include The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the Heartland and \ Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \ (Visible Textures), a short collection of poems. Her narrative-in-verse, A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing, is forthcoming with Bloomsbury Publishing. Hill is also writing a novel about girls that were incarcerated during the 1930s. She is represented by Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency.

Her work is modeled after the work of Toni Morrison and an expression of her theories regarding ‘rememory.’ In addition to working or taking workshops with writers such as Lucille Clifton, Thomas Glave, Sterling Watson, Nikky Finney, Marita Golden, Natasha Trethewey, David Rivard and Monifa Love-Asante, Hill sought to strengthen her writing with a PhD in English. Her development as a writer has also been enhanced by the institutional support of the The MacDowell Colony, Key West Literary Seminar/Writers Workshops, Callaloo Literary Writers Workshop, The Watering Hole Poetry, Eckerd College Writers’ Conference: Writers in Paradise, Project on the History of Black Writing, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference in Sicily, The Furious Flower Poetry Center, The Urban Bush Women and others.

Similar to her creative process, Hill’s scholarly research is interdisciplinary and examines the intersections between artistic criticisms, cultural studies, and digital humanities. She serves as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky.

Patrice Funderburg is the founder and chief visionary of Educate To Engage LLC (Edu2Engage), a social justice advisory services company with a bold vision to end institutional racism through education, exposure, and engagement. Educate To Engage LLC offers a free community book club and customized consulting services that are designed to build and grow anti-racist transformational change.

Prior to starting Edu2Engage in 2016, Funderburg held positions in corporate Human Resources for 20+ years, including corporate recruiting, diversity and inclusion, vendor/supplier diversity, and human resource operations. In her last corporate role, she was the HR Chief of Staff and Director of HR Operations at Belk, Inc., where she was responsible for supporting the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) and functioning as the senior intermediary across the HR executive team and Belk Executive Committee to ensure people organization and business continuity. During the 2012 DNC Convention in Charlotte, Funderburg served as the Deputy Director for business inclusion and procurement processes, and from 2006-2012, she held various positions at Lowe’s Companies, Inc., including Director of Supplier Diversity, Manager of Diversity & Inclusion, and Senior Corporate Recruiter.

In 2017, Funderburg became a board member with Center for Community Transitions. She is also a mentor with Changed Choices ‘Changing Our Outlook On Life” (COOOL) program, and substitute instructor with their Courage To Change program at Mecklenburg County Jail North. She is also a member of the Women’s Impact Fund, serving on the Member Engagement and Education committees. An alumna of Leadership Charlotte Class 35 and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Funderburg is a past recipient of the Urban League of the Central Carolinas volunteer of the year award. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a Master of Science in Organizational Communication and Development from Canisius College, also in Buffalo.

Kristie Puckett Williams has experience in the criminal justice system. Ten years ago, Williams found herself locked up on a drug trafficking charge through the second and third trimesters of her pregnancy. She has since cleaned up and in 2011 began doing advocacy work around some of the issues she experienced firsthand, including domestic violence and addiction. Her priority as she works on the Smart Justice campaign in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties is to gather residents who may be unfamiliar with the bail reform movement and hear what they have to say, rather than preach the positions of the ACLU. She organizes community meetings and sets rules related to respecting whomever is speaking, regardless of whether other participants agree. She admits that neither she nor the organization has a clear-cut answer on what the end of cash bail will look like, because that answer has to come from the community itself.

Chief Telisa White, is a 25-year veteran of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office and is currently the highest-ranking female within the agency. She was the first detention officer to be promoted to the rank of Captain, the first Detention Captain to be promoted to the rank of Major and the first Detention Major to be promoted to the rank of Chief.

White began her career with the Sheriff's Office in 1994. She is a Charlotte native and married with one son. She was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 1997 where she served in the roles of Facility Training Coordinator, Administrative Sergeant, Reality Sergeant and Direct-Action Response Team Sergeant (DART).

She was promoted to the rank of Captain in 2003 and served five years at the Office of Professional Compliance (Internal Affairs). White served as DART Commander for six years and Training Commander for three years. She was later promoted to the rank of Major in 2015, and in December of 2018, was promoted to the first Chief of Detention where she oversee the detention centers.

White is a graduate of Gardner-Webb University in 1992, with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

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