Join YNPN San Diego for another frank discussion on equity, diversity, and inclusion. We all know it's been a divisive year full of "us vs them" rhetoric. It's time to crack this issue open and talk about how systemic inequality, prejudices, and implicit biases are influencing society at large and specifically, the social sector.
This event will feature experts who will share their experiences and provide some tips and tricks for us all to be better advocates for equity in our daily lives and workplaces. Come with an open mind and be ready to challenge your assumptions.
Moderator: Ashley Rodriguez, Development Coordinator, Center for Policy Initiatives
- Ian Gordon, Executive Director, San Diego Youth Development Office
- Mejgan Afshan, Public Affairs and Policy Coordinator, CAIR
- Jennifer Eve Thorn, Executive Artistic Director, MOXIE Theatre
FREE RSVP with suggested donation of $10 at the door
Mejgan Afshan is a native of beautiful San Diego, California and has been involved in supporting progressive issues at the local, state and national level for over a decade. Before joining CAIR San Diego she most recently served the newly resettled immigrant and refugee community at the International Rescue Committee in San Diego. Her commitment and passion for progress is evident in her experience and she believes in the power of the people. Since her time at San Francisco State University receiving a B.A. in International Relations she has continued to shift the paradigm in engaging Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian and various other marginalized groups into organizing and self-advocacy. She has worked on several political campaigns, for the Barona Band of Mission Indians Tribal Council, the San Diego Democratic Party, former Mayor Gavin Newsom and then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Because of her love of art she is a regular cultural consultant on multimedia and theater projects while avidly supporting inclusive artistic freedom.
Jennifer Eve Thorn is one of the founders and Executive Artistic Director of MOXIE Theatre, the only theatre in Southern California dedicated to producing women's work. She received her BA in Theatre from the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. After university, Ms. Thorn moved to New York to work with the renowned Off-Broadway Vineyard Theatre as assistant to the general manager. In 2001, Thorn returned to her hometown of San Diego to take a position at the San Diego Repertory Theatre. In May of 2003 Thorn’s adaptation of the national best seller First They Killed My Father was staged and produced at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art to raise funds for Land Mine Victims in Cambodia, raising an astounding $500,000 for the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. Thorn is also the director and co-creator of A Lesson For Life. Recently she was awarded a Global Leadership Award from The Young President’s Organization for this groundbreaking educational theatre experience. She developed the “MOXIE Theatre Immersion” program, designed to incorporate the art of theatre into the world of corporate strategic planning to facilitate team building and communication with major brands like Disney, Pixar. In 2012, Ms. Thorn was nominated for San Diego Magazine’s Woman of the Year Award.
As Director, Ian Gordon is responsible for advancing the mission of San Diego Youth Development Office (YDO) to support positive youth development strategies that improve outcomes by connecting, convening and engaging stakeholders and their resources to advance the health and economic wellbeing of San Diego’s children, youth, families, and communities. He has held positions of increasing responsibility in Federal contracting, organizational and non-profit management, community and workforce development, social science research, and business. An expert in human development, Ian is knowledgeable of the neighborhood, cultural, physical, and psycho-social factors necessary for the healthy development of children and youth. For twenty years, he has applied social science theory, research, and best practice to a variety of initiatives and programs that have resulted in improved behavioral, educational, and employment outcomes for children and youth.
In addition to being Director, Ian is the San Diego region’s site lead for a national initiative to address the policy and systems barriers that have led to the increasing number of Opportunity Youth (16 to 24-year-olds who are not connected – or insufficiently connected – to education or employment). As a result, a cross-sector collaborative of public, private, and community-based organizations, foundations, and businesses are involved in addressing high school dropout, post-secondary training, and credentialing and employment in life-sustaining careers in three local districts. Under Ian’s leadership, YDO is the backbone organization for the San Diego Youth Opportunity Pathways Initiative (PATHWAYS) which utilizes a collective impact framework to effect policy and systems change.
Ian has served on boards and committees including the San Diego Workforce Investment Board’s Youth Council Resource Committee, Linked Learning San Diego, San Diego County Juvenile Justice Comprehensive Strategy Task Force, California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities, California Opportunity Youth Network, City Heights Partnership for Children’s Leadership Table, Open Places San Diego, San Diego Alternatives to Incarceration Core Team, San Diego Trauma Informed Guide Team and National Youth Employment Coalition.
Ian holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Howard University, and a Master’s degree in Human Development from The Pennsylvania State University.