Keep That Same Energy (KTSE) is a multi-faceted series of conversations hosted by Demos. It is designed to mobilize and motivate millennials of color to be civically engaged beyond voting and present ways to own our power and make changes in our communities.
It was purposefully formed to create an open and safe space for black and brown millennials to discuss the significance of defining, building and maintaining power in our communities, and how we can ensure to “keep that same energy” in our approach to political engagement.
Keep That Same Energy held a panel in Philadelphia at the 2019 Netroots Nation.
Netroots is a conference attended by activists and advocates from across the country, and the Philly KTSE panel was a place to unpack issues detrimentally impacting black and brown communities in 2019 and how movement organizations and could work to build and maintain power in our communities (beyond voting).
About the Panelists
Panel Moderator Shanaé Bass is a Communications and Media Relations Associate at Demos. She develops and implements public relations and pitching strategies, conducts press outreach, fields incoming media requests, and manages the media monitoring database for Demos.
Prior to joining Demos, Shanaé worked as Publicity Assistant at Dan Klores Communications and Public Affairs, where she provided media relations and publicity outreach support. Previously, she worked as a Publicity and Promotions Coordinator for Allied Integrated Marketing in Washington, D.C. where she organized media and grassroots promotions and coordinated press events.
Rodney McKenzie, Jr. is the Executive VP of Movement Strategies at Demos and an experienced community organizer, movement leader and out person of faith with over fifteen years of experience fighting for grassroots political power in marginalized communities. Before joining Dēmos, Rodney was the Director of the Academy for Leadership and Action at the National LGBTQ Task Force, where he led the grassroots organizing strategy that focused on faith organizing across the country. His work at the Task Force focused on disrupting the national narrative that LGBTQ people aren’t people of faith and that people of faith don’t support LGBTQ equality.
Aditi (Adi) Varshneyais the Community Organizer & Outreach Coordinator at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. She graduated from New York University, where she received the Metropolitan Studies Program Prize and high honors for her thesis titled “Climate justice in New York City: community resilience after Hurricane Sandy.” A former intern at WE ACT as well as at Bronx Community Board 6, she recently began working on her Master of Urban Planning at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She has also worked as a researcher at NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, and at Ocean Collective, a consulting group working to advance social-justice oriented ocean conservation solutions.
Rapheal Randall is the Executive Director of Youth United for Change (YUC). He has received both a Bachelor of Science in Design (Concentration: Industrial Design - 2006) from The Ohio State University, and a Master of City and Regional Planning (Concentration: Community and Economic Development - 2012) from the University of Pennsylvania. Before taking the helm at YUC in 2014, he worked as a product designer for Michael Graves Design Group (Princeton, NJ); and later became an urban planner and designer with Interface Studio LLC (Philadelphia), developing community plans for nonprofits and neighborhood groups throughout North Philadelphia.
During his tenure at Interface, he also took part in local anti-displacement and minimum wage organizing campaigns, utilizing his skills as a community planner in these fights. His goal at YUC is to help young people of color develop their own approaches to social justice leadership, as well as embrace their roles as change agents through organizing campaigns rooted in their own needs and experiences.
KTSE in Harlem
Keep That Same Energy launched in March 2019 with a panel of today's leading speakers, organizers, and advocates of building black and brown power.
The panel at our first series event addressed a standing room-only crowd at WeWork Harlem.
Jessica González-Rojas is the Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national reproductive justice organization that specifically works to advance reproductive health, rights and justice for the 28 million Latinas in the United States.
Jamilah Lemieux is a renowned cultural critic and writer with a focus on issues of race, gender and sexuality, Jamilah Lemieux is a leading millennial feminist thinker, influencer and game-changing media maverick.
Rashad Robinson is President of Color Of Change, a leading racial justice organization driven by more than 1.4 million members building power for Black communities.
Linda Sarsour is an award winning racial justice and civil rights activist, and community organizer. She is the co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change and served as one of the national co-chairs of the largest single day protest in US history, the Women’s March on Washington.
Moderator: Shanaé Bass, Communications and Media Relations Associate at Demos.