Lunchtime Events

Sewn Acrylic Paint on Canvas © Life Pieces To Masterpieces, Inc.
To see additional painting in the series and to learn more about LPTM, see

CCW Awards Ceremony and Distinguished Engaged Scholar Roundtable

featuring Ellen Cushman, Eli Goldblatt, Steve Parks, Elaine Richardson, and our 2021 and 2022 Distinguished Engaged Scholar winners

Near the River Documentary Roundtable Conversation

with Kari Fulton, Angela Mahecha, Ada Vilageliu-Diaz

The roundtable conversation with Kari Fulton, Angela Mahecha, Ada Vilageliu-Diaz will address the making of the film Near the River and the role of women environmental leaders in Washington, DC. The roundtable will focus on the DC-WE project by Ecohermanas that led to the film which documented environmentalism, restorative justice, and community activism in DC.  

Near the River (2014) documents the cultural and environmental heritage of the Anacostia River and its impact on East of the River residents. This documentary focuses on the stories of women eco-leaders and community members about their relationships to the river after years of pollution and environmental neglect. Near the River features women eco-leaders who have redefined environmentalism, community activism, and their relationship with Mother Earth in the District. This film is based on the DC-WE project by Ecohermanas sponsored through a DC Community Heritage Project Grant by Humanities Council of Washington, DC. The film was in the official selection of film festivals in Colombia, Brazil, India, Spain, and the US.  

About the Facilitators

Kari Fulton (image)Kari Fulton is an award-winning Environmental and Climate Justice organizer, advocate, and educator.  Her work has been featured in various media including Black Entertainment Television (BET), Teen Vogue, Essence Magazine, and Chinese Global Television Network (CGTN). Fulton serves as the Frontline Policy Coordinator with Climate Justice Alliance and is an alumna of Howard University (B.A. Communications and Culture) and Georgetown University (Master of Policy Management).  Her work can be found at

Ada Vilageliu-Díaz (image)Ada Vilageliu-Díaz is an Assistant Professor in English at the University of the District of Columbia where she teaches composition, literature, and creative writing. She received her Ph.D. in English from Howard University and her B.A. in English Philology from Universidad de La Laguna, Canary Islands. Her research focuses on rhetoric and composition; community-based teaching; and community-based scholarship. She is the director of Near the River (2014), a documentary film about environmental women leaders in the DC area. 

Angela Mahecha (image)Angela Mahecha is a Climate Justice leader originally from Colombia. Angela, migrated to the US as a kid playing alongside incinerators, factories, and power plants. Prior to leading the EJM Fellowship, Angela was the Executive Director of the Climate Justice Alliance, where she centered the national influence of 74 frontline urban and rural alliances, movement-support organizations, and base-building grassroots groups to move forward a Just Transition and Just Recovery within the climate movement. She has served as a leader of local and global social movement organizations including: It Takes Roots, the Rising Majority, La Via Campesina North America, US Food Sovereignty Alliance, the Rural Coalition, Friends of People Affected by Dams from Brazil, People’s Climate March, the Green New Deal National Network, and United Frontline Table. As a natural weaver, she facilitates relationships between sectors such as greens, philanthropy, and now academia, with those on the frontlines of the ecological crisis. In her advisory roles with the Fund to Build Grassroots Power, the Mosaic Fund, the Building Equity and Alignment for Impact Fund, CDAC, Shake the Foundations, and other philanthropic partners, she has collaboratively moved millions to the grassroots. Angela splits her time between New Jersey and Florida with her two kids, partner, and the occasional manatee.

Soul Bags and Social Justice with Life Piece to Masterpieces

Co-facilitated by Mary Brown and Maurice Kie

Founded in 1996, Life Pieces To Masterpieces is an Arts and Human Development nonprofit in based in Washington, DC’s Ward 7. LPTM has been successfully using artistic expression as a tool in developing character, unlocking potential and supporting Black boys and young men, ages 3 to adulthood, to transform their lives, their community, and the world. LPTM changes how black boys and young men see themselves; how the world sees black boys and young men; and our LPTM boys and young men change how the world understands our Shared Humanity.

During the Conference on Community Writing, LPTM will lead an interactive and reflective one-hour session, Soul Bags & Social Justice, in which the following will be introduced:

  • The importance of more deeply understanding identity as we initiate actions to inspire positive change and a vision of Shared Humanity (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Liberation) in our own lives, our communities, and the world; and
  • The imperative to better understand the implications of race, gender, sexual orientation, and cultural background in creating the ‘isms’ born of individual, institutional and systemic biases and prejudice.

Soul Bags & Social Justice is an abbreviated experience rooted in LPTM’s, 15-hour course, Color Me Community. The Color Me Community™ experience is central to LPTM’s commitment to dismantling racism and other forms of oppression. Ultimately, the goal is systemic change born of individual growth that leads to increased awareness and a sense of positive identity, encompassing and open to the identity of others, rather than being restricted by the traditional barriers that sustain racism and inequality.

This session will be co-facilitated by Mary Brown, Co-founder & Executive Director of Life Pieces To Masterpieces, Inc. (LPTM) and Maurice Kie, a founding LPTM Apprentice (former participant) and current LPTM Ambassador.

About the Facilitators

Mary Brown (Co-Founder & Executive Director of Life Pieces To Masterpieces, Inc. Washington, DC) 

For nearly 35 years, Mary Brown has worked to create meaningful change in the lives of young people and their families living in some of the most marginalized areas of our nation’s capital. Mary Brown is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Life Pieces To Masterpieces, Inc.

Selected as one of The 2019 Top 100 Minority Business Entrepreneurs in the DC Metro Area, Ms. Brown’s distinguished work, commitment and impact over the past 30 years has also been recognized by The Meyer Foundation, Washingtonian Magazine, The College Board, Georgetown University, and Leadership Greater Washington. Ms. Brown currently serves on the board for The Statesmen College Preparatory Academy of Boys. 

Maurice Kie (image)Maurice Kie (Life Pieces to Masterpieces Ambassador)

Mr. Maurice Kie has been with Life Pieces to Masterpieces since its founding twenty-five years ago. Brother Moe was one of the original cohort of seven young men when the program started (1996). He grew up in Life Pieces and is both an architect of the curriculum and one of its greatest success stories. Over the years, Brother Moe has served LPTM in many capacities, including co-educator, youth advisor to the Board of Trustees, and Program Coordinator. He has studied Education & Psychology at Morgan State University and University of the District of Columbia, and he has a deep commitment to unlocking the potential of young boys and men. For Brother Moe, growing up within and working at Life Pieces showed him how to build strength and confidence, and he is devoted to passing that along to the next generation.

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