Elita Laya

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Elita (they) is a Black, queer, trans, and nonbinary scholar-activist with a background in counseling, education, and leadership. They have a master's degree in counseling psychology from the University of San Francisco, a master's degree in cultural studies from Claremont Graduate University, and are a current PhD candidate in Education and Urban Leadership.


Elita has been professionally consulting organizations, programs, and individuals on critical social justice dialogues since 2017. as the Principal Consultant for The Center for Critical Mentoring and Youth Work, they disrupt oppressive institutions by supporting student activism, abolitionist social change, and fostering liberatory spaces for professionals and practitioners.


Elita is committed to demanding more than minimal from institutions, organizations, and individuals. They call on us to co-create change, harness our collective power, and disrupt the status quo Together, we reclaim liberatory minds, bodies, and futures.


They offer poetry readings, course visits, workshop facilitation, and ready-to-go presentations on: their lived experiences and education journey, student activism, youth leadership, critical mentoring, JEDI and oppression 101, anti-oppressive education and counseling practices, trans and gender-inclusive schools, LGBTQ+ social change, Black wellness and healing, education trauma and inequity, and liberatory language. Elita see's speaking invitations as community storytelling opportunities that are purposefully meant to invite you to reach deep into your being.


Who are you? What are the stories that have been told about you? To you? Which ones have you claimed? Is there anything that can be reclaimed? Most importantly, where is there space to unlearn, emancipate, and liberate yourself, your beliefs, the work, and our communities?

Elita Laya's Experiences

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Virtual In-Person

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  • What is your favorite quote? “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” –Angela Davis.
  • Are there any moments that stand out as having a significant impact on your career? Reading, growing, learning, and leaving grace for my own "unlearning journey" has been critical to my professional growth.
  • Outside of your profession do you have any hobbies/interests? I presently reside in the San Francisco Bay Area and am a fan of poetry, lo-fi hip hop, and plants.
  • Who do you look up to as a mentor and why? I hold a significant appreciation for my ancestors, activists, intellectual, and scholarly kin who have long been stewards of abolition and liberation work.
  • Is there anything else we should know about you? I see speaking invitations as community storytelling opportunities that are purposefully meant to invite you to reach deep into your being, your beliefs, the work, and our communities?