The New Ground Project is the collaborative effort of four cultural change-workers from disparate walks of life. We are caretakers, educators, facilitators, touring artists, and community builders with home bases all across the United States. While we bring a myriad of perspectives to the conversation, we share a commitment to integrity and pragmatically reaching for progress without compromising our values. We believe in embracing the long game over applying superficial patches to tough problems and we are committed to the power of collaboration and community to create long-term, sustainable solutions.
Kimberly McCrae is an educator, minister, performance artist (poet, singer, musician) and works as a higher education professional at Duke University. Kim is in her 5th year as an academic advisor and worked as Program Coordinator in Duke’s Women’s Center for 3 years. In that time, she has developed and facilitated workshops and difficult conversations on diversity, cultural sensitivity and aspects of Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention, both at Duke and in other college and faith communities. As an academic advisor, workshop designer, facilitator and programmer (particularly in higher education environments and in faith communities), Kim’s focus is interfaith dialogue, diversity and inclusion, and shaping/ maintaining welcoming communities for all. She has travelled internationally and engaged audiences widely regarding poetry, activism, and human justice. Kim’s personal belief is, “If I’ve not positively influenced someone everywhere I go, I’ve not walked in my purpose.”
Tatyana Brown is a celebrated touring poet, lecturer, and workshop facilitator based out of the Bay Area. She has taught at Indiana University, Duke and Yale University, among others, coached at Washington University in St Louis, and regularly mentors students at CalPoly Technic and Sonoma State University. A domestic violence survivor who was raised working class and Jewish, Tatyana has spent years honing the communication skills it took to interrupt her inherited patterns of abuse and turn them towards the purpose of dismantling socialized privilege. Her poetry has brought her to be a featured reader in all but nine states in the U.S., and she uses her time on the road to develop more tools for The New Ground Project.
Amber Butts is an educator, writer and artist living in the Bay Area. She is a caretaker and behavioral therapist for foster children with disabilities. She enjoys multicultural, alternative educational settings and facilitating workshops with youth on identity, healthy relationships, community building and self-love. Amber’s work at Saint Mary’s College of California work has instilled a lifelong passion for creating responsive systems that welcome faculty, students and staff with non-normative lived experiences and instead provide practical tools to work against oppressive structures (without alienation, shame and fear). She believes that consistent communication and positive interdepartmental/ inter-office relations are important to the overall health and maintenance of every institution. In her spare time she enjoys storytelling and reading comic books.
Quetzal Francois is an educator and curriculum designer living in the Bay Area. As a Girls Inc Program Leader and Expect Respect Educator she has facilitated workshops on healthy sexuality and relationships dynamics from middle schools to colleges. She trains other educators to teach on these topics to include more than just the current dominant narrative and makes these conversations accessible to marginalized communities. She also stands as an advocate for the undocumented community (which is informed by her own experience as an undocumented youth for over a decade) through co-facilitating trainings at UC Berkeley on the needs and realities of undocumented youth. She believes developing strong communication skills and honesty are essential steps in maintaining the kind of listening and tenderness required to dismantle systemic oppression.