Mohammed Soriano-Bilal is an accomplished Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) consultant, educator, and a strategist. He has spent the last 20 years using DEI strategy to help campuses, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies like Twitter, Nokia, the Springfield Housing Authority, and the Progressive Corporation remove blockages that stand in the way of impact and growth.
Currently Mohammed serves as Associate Dean and Director of the Office for Inclusion, Belonging and Intergroup Communication at Stanford University, where he oversees a team of skilled facilitator-scholars, teaches two courses on intergroup communication, consults on DEI issues, including recruitment, retention, and design innovation, and explores his scholarly passion for the confluence of equity, art, and innovation. He previously served as Executive Director of the African American Art and Culture Complex, one of San Francisco city's six cultural centers.
Mohammed is also known as the voice of reason on MTV's Real World San Francisco. He is an acclaimed poet and an award-winning producer of both music and film. As a multi-disciplinarian artist, Mohammed has collaborated with Santana, Public Enemy, Ben Harper, De La Soul, Danny Glover and Mos Def. His music has been featured on NBC, the CW, and at the Sundance Film Festival. He wrote a weekly column for the San Francisco Bay Guardian .
His film work includes "If I Were President," an election campaign that helped register 200,000 first-time voters of color and "Vocabulary of Change," a SpeakOut-sponsored live conversation between Angela Davis and Tim Wise. Mohammed is also the director of the film, "Towards Excellence," which explores diversity and equity at independent schools. The documentary looks closely at the problematic 80’s, when many private schools intentionally/experimentally increased admittance of African American students to meet self-imposed quotas. Through interviews with some of today’s top administrators, the film offers valuable insights for building vibrant and inclusive school communities. Bilal, who attended and taught at independent schools, unravels power and privilege, race, gender and space.
12 Steps Towards Appreciating Diversity Have you ever been misunderstood due to cultural differences? Have you ever longed for everyday, logical, concrete steps for communicating and forming strong, lasting friendships with people from different cultures (i.e. difference genders, ethnicities, abilities, sexualities, etc.)? With this presentation, Mohammed has helped thousands of people move beyond the sheer tolerance of difference. His 12 Steps Towards Accepting Diversity is a fun, interactive presentation sprinkled with scholarship, hip-hop, and self-reflective narratives that equip the participant with easy, valuable, and powerful tools for appreciating the wondrous diversity around us.
How to Create Brave and Safer Spaces in an Anxious World How can we have difficult or challenging conversations with people who may not agree with or grasp our perspectives? How do we create safer, structured environments where people from different social identities can explore power, privilege, positionality, and systems of belief? We live in a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty, a situation which has forced many to seek refuge in comfortable, familiar spaces devoid of meaningful differences and ideological challenges. In this workshop, Mohammed utilizes experiential activities and scholarship to catalyze intergroup dialogue and understanding across differences. Participants will learn dialogic methods for examining their own social identity and its relationship to power, alongside skills for designing braver and safer spaces - so necessary for engaging more people to transform our institutions to be true beacons for equity and social justice.
Recognizing Bias in the Workplace - How to Create a More Inclusive Environment If bias is an error in decision-making, and errors can be bad for business, how do we work toward effectively mitigating bias in our personal lives and the workplace? We start by understanding how bias affects us and how we might interrupt the patterns that lead to bias. In this presentation, Mohammed provides insights into tested methods for creating a more inclusive workplace.
Big, Little Steps Toward Inclusive Leadership - How Leaders Can Use Small Wins to Build Trust For many organizations, the development of equitable policies and the shifting of culture needed to actualize those policies takes clear strategy, care, and time. For leaders looking to make substantive, meaningful change, this workshop explores the concept of small wins the short-term actions inclusive leaders need to take to demonstrate their commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion while long-term policies are being institutionalized.
Social Justice is a Value Is charity Social Justice? Volunteering? Service Learning? If Social Justice is a living, breathing thing, then our understanding of it, our relationship with it, affects our actions around it. Our values aren't immune to our weaknesses and prejudices. In this talk/workshop, we explore Social Justice as a Value, a value that we place on living systems. So come use a little scholarship, a little Hip-Hop, and a little laughter to explore the Social Justice that lives in you.
Preference & Prejudice Do you prefer pink or blue, car or bike-- black man or white woman? When choosing A over B- how do preconceived socio-cultural notions affect our daily choices and what role does prejudice play in our preferences? Preference & Prejudice is a engaging, insightful examination of preference and its role in the ways we move toward and away from one another. Using his own personal narrative, Mohammed Bilal blends scholarship, rap and spoken word into a playful exploration of preference and desire, elucidating everyday methods for open interactions.
Spatial Awareness While people of any composition are allowed equal treatment under U.S. law, do Black Americans occupy the same space as White Americans? Hurricane Katrina, the Digital Divide, the killing of Black people by police and vigilantes, and the Federal abandonment of (un)affordable housing in big city America, all shed light on the ways in which "space is proscribed, denied, and ascribed" for people of African descent living in America. Using scholarship, personal narratives and Hip-Hop lyrics to highlight the ongoing quest for equity and inclusion in America, Mohammed Bilal explores Blackness and Space, offering practical solutions toward greater understanding and a freer America.