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Brynn Watkins, Barry Walston, Ta-Sean C. Murdock, and Nathaniel Gray headline the 2023 Saint Rose Social Work event, "Turning Passion into Action to Build a More Inclusive Community."

Brynn Watkins, Barry Walston, Ta-Sean C. Murdock, and Nathaniel Gray headline the 2023 Saint Rose Social Work event, “The Time Is Now: Turning Passion into Action to Build a More Inclusive Community.”

The second annual Saint Rose Social Work Conference, “The Time Is Now: Turning Passion into Action to Build a More Inclusive Community,” will be held on March 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. in Saint Joseph Hall Auditorium, 985 Madison Avenue in Albany. The conference includes dinner and a panel discussion with social justice leaders in the Capital Region.

Panelists will share their stories about discovering a gap or racial disparity in the community and how they defined and narrowed the focus on complex issues. Attendees will learn how to tap into what drives them to make a difference in today’s world. The audience will have an opportunity to connect with panelists, share ideas, and explore opportunities to take action.

Admission to the event is free, but preregistration is required via Eventbrite.

The panelists are:

Nathaniel Gray, MSW, executive director of the Pride Center of the Capital Region: Gray brings to this role his experience in clinical casework and program development for queer homeless youth, a passion for effective and inclusive policy changes, and his own unique perspective as a former state policymaker, as well as New York City drag queen, and empathy-building trainer and educator. As an Albany transplant in 2019, Nathaniel was the proud recipient of the Edie Windsor, Marsha P. Johnson, and Sylvia Rivera LGBTQ+ Empire Fellowship. In this inaugural role, Nathaniel served as a policymaker for the Office of Children and Family Services and supported the Governor’s Office outreach for annual Pride events each year.

Ta-Sean C. Murdock (T.C.), African-American entrepreneur, business owner, youth advocate, and executive director of Grand Street Community Arts: Murdock, a leader in youth program development and youth advocacy work, also is the author of the children’s book titled “I Can and I Will,” created to show youth that they can be anything they want to be if they put their mind to it. Over the last nine years, Murdock has worked with new and upcoming entrepreneurs to inspire, encourage, and motivate them. His specialties are rebuilding and improving business and program strategies, marketing/PR, and start-up business consulting. Murdock currently serves as the president/founder of One Team One Dream Business Network, LLC, which he established in February 2014, serving customers in New York and South Carolina. Following his dream of changing the lives of youth and teenagers, he also served as the unit director at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area.

Barry Walston, MSW, Honest Weight Food Co-Op Board of Directors: Walston is a lifelong activist who prides himself on being his brother’s/sister’s keeper. He serves as president of the Albany Black Child Development Institute, delivering culturally relevant resources and programmatic supports that respond to the unique strengths and needs of Black children, including early childhood education, health, child welfare, literacy, and family engagement. He is also employed by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) as a manager and serves as chair of the NYSDOH Affirmative Action Advisory Committee. Prior to joining NYSDOH, Walston served as the interim director of the Whitney M. Young Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program in Albany. The majority of his professional career has been dedicated to working in human services and supporting programs that service populations at risk.

Brynn Watkins, Schenectady Menstrual Health Coalition: Watkins is a New York State Public Health Corps Fellow based in Schenectady and is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Health. Watkins is the co-founder of Capital Region Menstrual Health (CRMH), which works to promote the health and well-being of individuals who menstruate in the Capital Region. CRMH aims to increase menstrual equity by bringing period products directly into under-resourced communities through a network of established and trusted community-based organizations and their period pantries.