Reflective Racial Affinity & Community of Practice Groups

May 12, 2023


Reflective Racial Affinity Groups

For any early childhood professional who wants to further integrate equity into their roles, as well as engage in their own journey of healing and liberation alongside other similarly-identified colleagues. This includes early childhood mental health, home visiting, early education, early intervention, mental health consultation, research and policy, and other early childhood professionals.

IECMHC Community of Practice

Designed specifically for infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC) professionals who want to utilize their influence to lead with equity — regardless of role — within the IECMHC system. This includes, but is not limited to: state administrators, policy makers, supervisors, consultants, and other state/tribal/territorial IECMHC leaders.


Black Affinity Group

Open to those who identify as Black or African American

1st Mondays: 8:30-9:30 am PT/11:30 am-12:30 pm ET

BIPOC Affinity Group

Open to those who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color

2nd Tuesdays: 4-5:30 pm PT/7-8:30 pm ET

White Affinity Group

Open to those who identify as White or Caucasian.

2nd Fridays: 11:30 am-12:30 pm PT/2:30-3:30 pm ET


Group 1

2nd Fridays, 9:00-10:30 am PT/ 12:00-1:30 pm ET

Group 2

2nd Thursdays, 7:30-9:00 am PT/ 10:30 am-12:00 pm ET

Applications now open!

Groups will begin Summer/early Fall 2023 and will conclude after 6 months.

Filling out this form does not guarantee placement in a group.

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Deadline to apply is June 12, 2023.

Meet Our Facilitators

Tina Sykes. Tina Sykes has several years of experience developing and facilitating interactive professional development opportunities, providing coaching and mentoring to early childhood professionals, teaching in higher education, and utilizing creative arts to educate and entertain. Tina is dedicated to facilitating learning opportunities that promote reflection, curiosity, and openness to new ways of being and knowing.  She is committed to supporting others in the development of an equity lens and the embodiment of equity as a way of being in the world. 

Angelique Kane. Angelique Kane’s homebase is the land of the Susquehannock and Piscataway tribes which is presently known as West Baltimore, MD. She is an Early Childhood Research Professional with a background in Human Services. She believes that positive social-emotional learning in early childhood is a proactive public health strategy, models her service after the Sankofa principle, and remains committed to systems that elevate social justice while centering trauma-responsive care and solutions.

Aditi Subramaniam. Aditi Subramaniam identifies as a cis-gendered, heterosexual, south asian woman and an immigrant in this country. She is a licensed mental health clinician and registered movement psychotherapist with more than fifteen years of experience in the field of mental health, in India and Boston. Aditi is both a clinician at heart and a reflective systems thinker, committed to justice-informed policy, implementation, and practice toward creating equitable systems to meet the needs of Massachusetts’ youngest children and their families. She brings her identities as mother, daughter, partner, sister, aunty, friend and a BIPOC practitioner as very central to how she shows up in collective spaces.

Natasha Pérez Byars. Natasha Pérez Byars is the Director of Equity Consultation and Training at Indigo Cultural Center and is a licensed independent clinical social worker.  She is a biracial, Black and Hispanic woman, with family lineage coming out of Monterrey, Mexico through the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, as well as the cotton fields and red clay surrounding the freed persons town of Colony, Alabama which her great, great grandparents helped establish. Natasha earned a master’s degree in child development from Erikson Institute, a master’s of social work from Loyola University Chicago, and completed a post-graduate clinical social work fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital.  She is a ZERO TO THREE Academy Fellow (2018-2020) and has worked in infant and early childhood mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention as a clinician as well as systems leader, and in workforce development in early childhood education.  She holds the principles of liberation, inclusion, and honoring families and lived expertise as central to her work.

Laura Latta. Laura Latta, MHS, is the Research Project Manager for the Parent, Infant, and Early Childhood (PIEC) team at The Institute for Innovation and Implementation. She manages the evaluation efforts related to Maryland’s Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation programs. Ms. Latta has over ten years of experience in systems building and program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Prior to her role with the PIEC team, Ms. Latta was the Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at Family League of Baltimore and helped oversee B’more for Healthy Babies, Baltimore’s citywide initiative to reduce infant mortality with a specific focus on decreasing health disparities.

Juliana Stevenson. Juliana grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and attended the University of Maryland, where she found her place in the American Studies Department.   It was here that she was introduced to the accountability, authenticity and compassion that affinity group spaces can provide while participating in the Intergroup Dialogue Program on campus.  She relocated to NYC to study Social Work and has been lucky to work with children and families in a variety of settings including schools, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and community mental health.  She currently serves at the Jewish Board as an Early Childhood Mental Health Clinical Supervisor at the Marx Counseling Center in Harlem. In her free time, she enjoys hanging outside with her partner and 2 kids and is currently exploring ways to tap into her inner creative, artistic side.    

Jayley Janssen. Dr. Jayley Janssen is the Director of the Institute for Child Development Research and Social Change at Indigo Cultural Center. She uses anti-racist and equity-explicit framing to conduct rigorous evaluations that center the perspectives of educators, families, and community members. Dr. Janssen’s work is informed by the salience and privilege of her white racial identity, her upbringing on farmland in rural Illinois, and her research on the operation of racism and white supremacy in educational contexts.

Erin Lucas. Erin Lucas is the Director of Early Childhood Programs at Hopewell Health Centers in southeastern Ohio, where she has worked in community mental health for over 20 years. Erin has vision for creating effective collaboration across and within systems, pursing equity, diversity & inclusion to meet the needs of young children and families in rural Appalachian Ohio. Under her leadership, the Early Childhood Mental Health consultation model has been used to expand capacity of professionals across the state to promote the whole health and wellness of staff and the children they serve. She believes in leveraging local expertise and leadership to create innovative solutions to community challenges. 

Rosario Williams. Rosario Williams is a clinician by training, passionate about working with children and families. Most of her experience lies in working with the 0 to 5 population in a community mental health setting and providing clinical supervision. 2020 was really the turning point for her in terms of DEI concepts – Covid, the death of George Floyd, and identifying the disparities that families had in accessing the services they needed- was the turning point that led her to be more intentional to actively speak out and about equity. She looks forward to learning from you about your equity and leadership journey.

Deborah Chalmers. Ms. Deborah Chalmers (LCPC)  is a clinically trained clinician with many years of experience in the field of infant mental health. Serving as an independent early childhood mental consultant for fourteen of those years in the field before moving into the role of manager. Currently is the Director of Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, at Illinois Action for Children in Chicago, Illinois.  Co-managing alongside two program managers, a team of Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants, who provide early childhood mental health consultation across the early childhood community (childcare centers and family childcare homes-county wide, IAFC Early Learning program and its education partners, and school districts in the southern suburbs). Ms. Chalmers is a former graduate of Erikson Institute Infant Mental Health Certificate Program.

Daria Best Daria Best, LCSW, MS.Ed, IMH-E ® is a proud New Yorker and child of immigrant parents. She honors being a Clinical Social Worker with her authenticity, centering anti-oppressive, trauma-informed, community-based practice. Daria truly believes in being the change she wants to see.