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Biography and Booking information

{Shakti Butler }
Racial Equity Educator and Filmmaker,

Shakti Butler, PhD, filmmaker and Founder and Creative Director of World Trust, is a dynamic educator in the field of racial equity.  She engages her audience with participatory keynotes and seminars, often using clips from her groundbreaking documentaries. 

Dr. Butler is a multiracial African American woman (African, Arawak Indian, and Russian-Jewish) whose work as a creative and visionary bridge builder has challenged and inspired learning for over two decades and has served as a catalyst for change.

Butler is the producer and director of the acclaimed documentaries, “The Way Home,” “Light in the Shadows,”and “Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible.” Her newest film, “Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity” uses interviews, story, theater and music to illuminate the larger frame of structural and systemic racial inequity. Featuring some two dozen racial justice leaders from across the country, the film examines the causes and consequences of systemic inequity in the United States.

Dr. Butler is an inspirational facilitator, trainer and lecturer. Her work emerges from years of self-exploration and her commitment to social justice. Dr. Butler’s services are sought after by schools, universities, public and private organizations, and faith-based institutions.

Dr. Butler invites her audience to grapple with both the intellectual and emotional complexities of race. She conveys the interconnection between internal and external/structural components of racial inequity, and reveals how self-perpetuating systems reinforce disparities in institutions. This framing, along with the use of Butler’s films, set the context for constructive conversation. Dr. Butler inspires a collective will and develops deeper, cohesive understanding that can be directly applied to analysis and action.

A warm and compassionate person, Butler uses her ability to listen deeply while asking critical questions that support self-directed learning in others. Her speaking and teaching styles enrich people’s abilities to move toward expanded capacities for building community, an important first step in effecting change.Group dialogue, self-inquiry, reflection and whole body learning by participants are some of the strategies she employs.

Dr. Butler received her doctorate from the California Institute of Integral Studies in the School of Transformative Learning and Change. She holds an MA in Guidance and Counseling from Bank Street College of New York and graduated Magna Cum Laude from City College of New York.

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"I was impressed with Dr. Butler's ability and willingness to integrate an appeal to the spirit with an explanation of systemic oppression, to consider the whole person and to address issues from that perspective. The clips from Cracking the Codes were able to bring people into a situation very effectively, to inspire empathy and break down the distance between audience and subject in a way that bridges intellect and heart."
— Janice R. Welsch, Professor Emerita and Co-Director, Expanding Cultural Diversity Project, Western Illinois University
"Dr. Butler’s leadership in conceptualizing the issues of racism at the institutional and individual level is revealed not only in her films, but also in her personal work as a well-recognized and well-respected facilitator and public speaker on these topics. The audience participants raved about both the content and the conditions that Ms. Butler created for the exploration and analysis of these often-taboo topics."
— Dr. Melanie Tervalon, Consultant,
Children's Hospital, Oakland; University of California, Berkeley
"Thank you once again for the outstanding presentation and workshop... As one student stated, 'What a fabulous, emotional day! Thank you.' For a second straight year, your presentation and workshop evaluations are excellent!"
— Isa D. Williams, Ph.D.,Program Director, The Atlanta Semester, Agnes Scott College
"She is a master of helping people look/listen deeply into themselves to reflect and excavate what we'd rather not see. She brings such compassion and humility to her work."
—Marcia Rayene, Workshop Participant
Multimedia