Civil rights icon Minnijean Brown Trickey to be featured speaker at the 18th Annual Liberation Based Healing Conference to be held at Montclair State University on November 3 and 4, 2023

Brown Trickey was a member of the Little Rock Nine, nine teens selected to desegregate Central High School in Arkansas in 1957 after Brown v. Board of Education decision

MONTCLAIR, NJ – American civil rights icon and activist Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the Little Rock Nine—a group of African American teens who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957—will be a featured speaker at the 18th Annual Liberation Based Healing Conference at Montclair State University on November 3 and 4, 2023. 

Brown Trickey will take part in the conference’s opening panel, “Reparative Voices for the Injuries of Enslavement and Genocide: Unveiling Hidden Narratives of Black Belonging, Community in Appalachia, and the Holocaust.” The panel will also include her daughter, Spirit Tawfiq, an antiracism educator and storyteller; Clory Jackson, sharing her personal journey as a Black person born and raised in Appalachia; and Avi Wisnia, who will use music to convey his experiences as the grandson of a Holocaust survivor. 

Brown Trickey was barely 16 when she became a pivotal figure in the Civil Rights Movement as one of nine African American students chosen to attend Central High School following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. The students were prevented from attending their first day of classes because the Arkansas National Guard, deployed by Gov. Orval Faubus, formed a blockade around the school. Days later, President Dwight Eisenhower intervened by ordering the 101st Airborne Division to escort the teenagers past the angry mob of protesters.

Throughout the school year, the Little Rock Nine endured harassment and physical abuse from their white classmates. Brown Trickey, in particular, faced taunting, assault and two suspensions before eventually transferring out of Central High.

In 1999, the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor given by Congress. That same year, Brown Trickey was appointed by President Bill Clinton as deputy assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior responsible for diversity—a position she held until 2001.

The Liberation Based Healing Conference (LBHC) is an annual, two-day event that brings together scholars, activists, educators, students, staff and community members from all over the U.S. to engage in collective discourse about how coloniality manifests in traditional education and therapeutic models. The panels at this conference use an intersectional approach to dissect how societal-level markers, such as ability, age, class, citizenship, ethnicity, gender, race, religion and sexual identity, show up simultaneously in community and individual levels as power and privilege.

The Liberation Based Healing Conference is organized by the Institute for Family Services and is sponsored by Montclair State University and the Tri County Care Management Organization (CMO) of Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren counties in New Jersey.

Dr. Rhea V. Almeida, the founder of the Institute for Family Services, emphasizes the conference’s focus on integrating Indigenous cultural healing practices with mainstream psychology.

Montclair State University is located at 1 Normal Avenue in Montclair, NJ. It is easily accessible, located less than an hour from New York City and reachable via public transportation. 

Registration fees include breakfast and lunch for both days, and the event offers 16 continuing education units (CEUs) for social workers, marriage and family therapists, and counselors. Additionally ASL/English interpreters will be available during the conference.

To register for the 18th Annual Liberation Based Healing Conference and for a full list of speakers, please visit

About the Conference
Since 2005, the Institute for Family Services has been bringing together health practitioners and therapists, community activists and organizers, educators, faith and community leaders, students and others during its annual conference. Participants engage in dialogue education with a focus on relational healing that embraces critical consciousness, empowerment and accountability. They also receive CEUs and get a chance to network with their peers from around the country.