2023 Racial Justice Breakfast

October 4th, 2023

8:00 – 9:30 am

Music Hall


2023 Keynote Speakerweb headshot

Verna Williams (she/her) is the CEO of Equal Justice Works. In her role as CEO, Verna continues to advance the mission of Equal Justice Works to create opportunities for leaders to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service.

Verna previously served as the dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she was a professor prior to becoming dean, and taught courses on family law, gender discrimination, and constitutional law. Additionally, she founded and co-directed the Judge Nathaniel Jones Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice at the University of Cincinnati.

Before her work at the University of Cincinnati, Verna was the Vice President and Director of Educational Opportunities at the National Women’s Law Center, where she focused on gender equity in education. In this role, she was the lead counsel and successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, which established that educational institutions have a duty to respond to and address complaints of student-to-student sexual harassment.

Verna clerked for the Honorable David S. Nelson, U.S. District Judge for the District of Massachusetts. After the clerkship, she practiced law at Sidley Austin LLP and the U.S. Department of Justice. Verna also has a background in research, which examines the intersection of race, gender, and class in law and policy. She has authored and co-authored many articles and essays on her area of expertise.

Among her other achievements, Verna has presented papers at the Latina/o Critical Race Theory Conference and meetings of the Association of Law, Culture, and the Humanities. She also served as a consultant for the Ford Foundation, where she chaired the convening of a national conference at UC entitled Women Coming Together: Claiming the Law for Social Change. Verna received the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2004 and 2011. She was recently honored by the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati, and the Cincinnati Bar Association, which presented her with the Themis Award for exemplary service to the law and the community.



YWCA Greater Cincinnati is proud to present the YWCA Racial Justice Awards annually to two community leaders who have dedicated their lives to racial justice and equity. We are humbled to honor these two local heroes for their service to our community.

The Honorable Janaya Trotter Bratton

•Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge since 2019
• First Black woman to serve as President of the Cincinnati Bar Association
• Chair, Salmon P. Chase College of Law Alumni Council; Former Vice-President, Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati; Former Chair, Cincinnati Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee
• Accolades: National NAACP Foot Soldier in the Sands Award; Cincinnati NAACP Marion Spencer Outstretched Hands Award; Cincinnati Women’s Political Caucus’ Outstanding Achievement Award


Alandes Powell

• Executive Director of Black Art Speaks
• Driving force behind Cincinnati’s Black Lives Matter Mural
• Former Chair, Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio Board; member of GenNow and ROMAC Boards
• Co-authored several books, including Cincinnati’s Black Lives Matter Mural, Leadership Tidbits Volume 1 and Real Fathers
• Accolades: Black and Brown Faces – Paying Homage Award, UC Health MLK Humanitarian Award; Mayerson Strength Hero title, Triumph Humanitarian Award





fifth third




Interact for Health

Game Day Communications



BT Rise

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation



  • BakerHostetler
  • Cincinnati Children’s
  • The E.W. Scripps Company
  • EyeMed Vision Care
  • FEG Investment Advisors
  • KeyBank
  • YMCA of Greater Cincinnati
Supporter partners:
  • 84.51
  • Bricker Graydon LLP
  • Dinsmore & Shohl
  • Duke Energy
  • Frost, Brown Todd LLC
  • Government Strategies Group, LLC
  • Hard Rock Casino
  • Humana Healthy Horizons in Ohio
  • Johnson Investment Counsel
  • Keating, Muething & Klekamp, PLL
  • Knox Presbyterian Church
  • Paycor, Inc.
  • Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP
  • Thompson Hine, LLP
  • Ulmer & Berne LLP
non-profit partners:
  • African American Chamber of Commerce
  • Alloy Development Co
  • Best Point Education and Behavioral Health
  • Black Art Speaks
  • Caracole
  • Center for Closing the Health Gap
  • Cincinnati Bar Association
  • Cincinnati Museum Center & National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
  • Community Action Agency
  • Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati
  • Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center
  • Northern Kentucky University
  • Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio



For additional information, contact  ksteiner@ywcacin.org