Lydia is my role model. She taught me how to reflect on my implicit biases and how to be an antiracist. Not only that, she also taught me how to take it a step further. Lydia showed me how to then transfer those same mindsets and skills to the classroom and my life in general. As a teacher and person, this has forever transformed me. Lydia has a special way of guiding you to do intensive self reflection and at the same time challenges you to see the world through an antiracist lens with grace, patience and urgency all at the same time. Some of my "life moments" of having realizations that changed my life have been with Lydia. She has challenged me to do better and be better. She is full of light and love and is exceptionally determined to dismantle the racist systems and institutions that perpetuate the deep seeded inequality in our country. It is the balance of those qualities that make Lydia so incredibly effective in the antiracist and DEI work she does.
Christina O'Leary, Chicago Public School Teacher
Lydia lives and breathes antiracism and DEI. She shows up in spaces able to name and notice patterns and dynamics in a room or group or individual, holding up a mirror with so much love and compassion and belief that radical change is possible and necessary. She is an exceptional facilitator— staying responsive to group needs both stated and unstated. She is also a powerful designer of and consultant around culturally responsive content— curriculum, research practices, learning experiences, etc. Lydia asks the right questions to help bring people alongside her in the lifelong journey of antiracism and equity.
Alex Ritson, Senior Director of Curriculum Design
Lydia is the most open, warm, caring, loving, compassionate, authentic, fierce and self-reflective human I have met in this work. She is so thoughtful about every detail of any session or training she leads. She encourages people to use their voice, and give themselves grace in this challenging but most important work. She brings people together across all lines of difference to learn from each other and learn how to show up for each other, which was crucial for me as a white woman working to dismantle white supremacy in myself and in my field. I instantly felt her love, and felt her really "see" me, perhaps before I saw myself. She gave me so much grace, and taught me how to reflect more deeply by always sharing what she was learning about herself and how she was experiencing her journey. She is the ultimate teacher- creating incredibly interactive and connective sessions (with yourself, others, and the world) and adjusting those sessions to meet folks where they're at in their journeys but also where they're at in that particular moment, so it is the most safe and inclusive space I've been in. I strive to create spaces and lead like Lydia does. Lydia is unafraid- to feel, to lead, to grow, to connect, to share, to be. I am better and happier for knowing her.
Nicole Petraglia, Senior Director of Fellow Experience
Lydia is an educator, coach, and leader who sees people in their full humanity and builds strong relationships, which is a vital component of doing DEI and racial justice work. She's unafraid to name the challenges she sees when it comes to antiracism in an organization, analytical enough to get to the heart of the issue quickly, and skilled in operationalizing change. She makes the connections between systems challenges and how they're showing up in individual and interpersonal interactions. She uses her ability to coach, train, and guide people to make strategic changes. Lydia is a leader who puts people and equity at the center of how and why she does this work.
- Moneek Bhanot, Co-Founder & Leadership Coach at Reflecting Justice
Lydia leads in ways that privileges inclusion. When I joined her design team for a conference, she opened up her vision and direction to be shaped by the whole group. In areas where we had ideas to try something new or different, she encouraged and pushed us to get creative. Her orientation to this process allowed us all to feel included beyond just execution, turning top-down decision-making on its head.
Lydia takes a human-centered approach - she spent just as much energy on me as a person as she did on the work we did together.
- Rohini Muralidharan , Director of Corps Experience Support
Working with Lydia is a transformative experience. She leverages her wealth of experience in DEI leadership, design, and coaching in every interaction, and leads with vulnerability, insight, and a gentle fierceness. Though Lydia was not officially my coach, my experience working with Lydia as a co-worker has immeasurably impacted my practice as a researcher and as an education sector employee. Urged by Lydia's questions and advocacy, I am now more committed to centering the needs and humanity of students and practitioners in my research, and am equipped with tools Lydia demonstrated to me of what it looks like to do that. As a team member of Lydia's, I observed countless times when Lydia intervened to transfigure conversations distorted by unspoken tensions around race, power, and positionality into profound experiences of sharing and witnessing each others human-ness. I could not recommend Lydia more strongly as a DEI consultant, coach, and facilitator.
- Suzanne Wulach, Director of Program Learning, OneGoal
It took awhile for my mental smoke to clear. Excuse me because I am an old man. The last time we were together in that group was one of the most challenging moments of my life. I have overcome economic challenges, spiritual challenges, challenges because of how I looked, challenges because of how I "am", well...how I was. You have taken me to the greatest place of change...how I think. Thank you, my friend, for challenging me to move from how I was to how I want to be.
- Group Participant
I was a member of a monthly DEI educators group that Lydia led, and it changed my life. I went from being someone who felt uncertain of my place in discussions about race and inequity to feeling like I had something to contribute. I learned to really listen and hear what others were saying when it wasn’t my experience or my perspective. This was so much more than a training for Diversity Equity and Inclusion-- working with Lydia helped me rediscover the joy and meaning in what I do as a teacher. She was unfailingly kind and genuinely curious about every person in the group, no matter what came up. I have never worked with anyone like her and I’m deeply grateful for the experience.
The (Un)Learning Space asks questions of the individual and their relationship to doing the internal work needed to make change. This brings critical caring so that the work is uncomfortable, but they commit to continuous (un)learning with you, for you, and for the you...you seek to be.
Lydia radiates light.
- Instructor, Loyola University Chicago
Lydia can lead, design, and support antiracism and DEI work yes because her dynamic work ethic AND uniquely because of her genuine passion to the work. She does not just DO the work of DEI, she consist lives into being inclusive, curating spaces for equity, and transforming individuals and organizations to reflect liberation.
Lydia is a safe place that helps you grapple with these big words like White Supremacy Culture, Antiracism, and Equity with love and accountability. She has a heart for helping individuals and organizations grow with a mindset that is rooted in trust, healing, and accountability.
- Jessica Newman
Lydia, founder of the (Un)Learning Space has both deep knowledge of issues of equity as well as ample experience leading, designing, and supporting DEI & antiracism work in a variety of professional contexts. Further, Lydia's unique gifts as a person – her ability to listen, her presence, her care for others – make her an ideal person to lead work that is challenging, emotional, and personal.
- Veer Kothari
I learned so much about my work as a coach and Director of Teacher Support from watching Lydia and working alongside her. However, I learned the most about transformational coaching and antiracist/ educational equity from planning and executing trainings and developing curriculum with Lydia.
Lydia is one of the most empathetic, compassionate, and authentic people you will ever meet. She has a heart for people and is a champion of social justice. She makes everyone and everything better because she believes and acts on her beliefs.
- Sashai A. Jasper, OneGoal Director of Secondary Partnerships
Lydia is incredibly grounded in equity and liberation. Her work is not just the work of rooting out inequities and oppression, but then also taking the time and heart work to dream bigger and work positively toward what could be. Liberation work for our freedom as human beings (not human doings!)
Lydia walks what she talks. She is always in the work alongside you, doing her own unlearning, excavating, and growing. I want to keep working and learning with Lydia because we are doing it together and I see the impact of this work in interacting with her every day.
- Rachel Bennett, Dean of Post-Secondary, Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy
Lydia is free and she is light! With love, she pushes you to have real "rap raw conversations." Lydia is here to help facilitate thinking and understanding that have been misconstrued and abused.
- Venice Williams
Lydia is warm, kind and patient with everyone around her. She brings a positive energy into spaces that is contagious. In all sizes of spaces, I have watched Lydia create open conversations with between people from all racial backgrounds that make them feel safe, heard, and comfortable sharing their truths even when that was hard. Lydia questions and pushes, yes, but she does so with her heart and a true belief that we can better understand each other as humans in this crazy world when we do so.
- Molly Rankin, OneGoal Senior Director of Teacher Support