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ASDAH Conference 2023

Dreaming of New Worlds: Health at Every Size® in the Future

The 2023 ASDAH Conference was held June 8th-10th, 2023 with over 200 participants joining together to envision a different world of care that ensures everyone is fully and truly cared for. Our sponsors and full schedule with sessions descriptions and more can be found below.

2023 Conference Sponsors

Pre-Conference Sessions

Let Me (Re)Introduce Myself: A First Look at the Revised Health at Every Size® Principles and New Framework of Care

Pre-Conference Workshop | Thursday, June 8 | 2:00-4:00pm CT

Included in Conference Registration

Since the Fat Liberation movement began in the 1960s, fat activists have provided critical analyses about how weight is used in accessing, and the provision of, healthcare. This critique developed into what would eventually be called the Health at Every Size® Principles, drawing thousands of healthcare professionals to reconsider what is accepted as care for fat people.

Over the last year, we’ve held focus groups, collected survey responses, and engaged with thought leaders in fat justice in healthcare to update the Health at Every Size® Principles and develop a Framework of Care for healthcare providers. Join us as we introduce the revised Principles and new Framework of Care. We’ll also be sharing the research, ethical considerations, and skills & tools that support Health at Every Size®-aligned care.

This session is great for folks brand new to Health at Every Size® and more seasoned providers and advocates who want to stay up-to-date with the latest about Health at Every Size®.

Presented by the ASDAH Team

Celebrating the Dream — “Conference is Community” Mixer

Pre-Conference Workshop | Thursday, June 8 | 7:00-8:00pm CT

Join Vision and Strategy Leader Veronica Garnett and Advocacy and Community Leader Angel Austin to share energy and intention as we enter the 2023 conference. This time will allow attendees to get to know each other informally, make connections, be in community with like-minded folks. There will be music and we encourage you to bring snacks and drinks! 

Note: This session will not be recorded.

Presented by the ASDAH Team

Opening & Closing Sessions

An Invitation to Dream — Welcome to the ASDAH Annual Conference for 2023

Welcome & Opening Remarks | Friday, June 9 | 11:15-11:45Am CT

It’s with great pleasure that we present our annual conference. Tune in as ASDAH Director of the Board Pontsho Pilane welcomes us to the 2023 Conference and shares some opening remarks about the past year of work with ASDAH. Special performance by Omotara James, poet and author of Song of My Softening. Let’s dream together as we embody our theme for the year and Dreaming of New Worlds.

With special performance by:
Image of Omotara James with gold sparkly details around the frame.

Omotara James

Award-winning Poet

Omotara James is the author of the poetry collection, Song of My Softening, forthcoming from Alice James Books. Her chapbook, “Daughter Tongue,” was selected by African Poetry Book Fund, for the 2018 New Generation African Poets Box Set, (Akashic Books). Her projects explore the intersectionality of family, sexual-identity, love, grief, fatness, race and culture.

Born in Britain, she is the daughter of Nigerian and Trinidadian immigrants. She has lived in England, Scotland and was raised primarily in America. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Hofstra University and an MFA in Poetry from New York University. Former art therapist and social worker in the field of Harm Reduction, she has instructed workshops at New York University, The 92NY Unterberg Poetry Center, Cave Canem Foundation, Hudson Valley Writers Center, Queens Public Library. Currently, she lives, works and edits poetry in New York City.

Fat, Black and 101: Health at Every Size® Strategies for Liberation

opening Keynote Address | Friday, June 9 | 12:00-1:00pm CT

This keynote address will engage participants in a visioning and thought journey for a future of liberatory care for fat, Black people. The necessity of visioning a liberatory future for fat Black people will be emphasized along with some of the factors that interfere with transformational visioning. Participants will be encouraged to identify the images, notions and upbringing factors that have been associated with fat black people and to examine their impact on possibilities for the creation of a liberatory future of care for fat Black people.

Five elements of liberatory consciousness that are necessary to create a liberatory future of care for fat Black people including awareness, analysis, action, and the need for transformative accountability and allyship will set the stage for participant pledges for transformation.

Dr. Barbara Love

thought leader • Transformation Specialist • Liberation Worker

Image of Dr. Barbara Love surrounded by flowers & a butterfly

About Dr. Barbara Love

Dr. Love is Professor Emeritus, Social Justice Education, UMASS- Amherst. She is a speaker, executive coach, thought leader, and writer on Developing Liberatory Consciousness as a framework for JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) issues related to organizational, individual and societal transformation.

She is recognized globally for her work with a broad range of organizations including business and industry, government, civic, and higher education. Love is an executive coach with corporate leaders, has consulted with clients in Europe, Middle East, Israel, Africa, and South America, with leaders in higher education including, leaders in climate justice, and with national and global organizations focused on the climate crisis. She was the facilitator for the development of the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform. She has led delegations and gave presentations at the United Nations Conferences for Women in Nairobi and Beijing, the UN COP (Conference of the Parties on Climate Change) in Paris and Morocco, and the UN Conference on Racism, Xenophobia and other Related Intolerances (South Africa).

In addition to working with faculty in the development of the first graduate degree program in Social Justice Education in the US, her research and publications appear in academic peer-reviewed journals, and a variety of journals and anthologies. Her pamphlet on “Healing Internalized Oppression” is globally acclaimed for insights into oppression and liberation.

Parent, daughter, sibling, aunty, farmer, teacher, community builder, liberation worker, Love treasures the symbolic guidance of the ‘strongbox’ liberated by great grandfather Miles in 1864 as he departed the plantation, for its direction setting toward the transformation of the world.

Post-Heavy Revelations: A Conversation With Kiese Laymon

Closing Keynote Address | Saturday, June 10 | 3:00-4:00pm CT

In 2018, Kiese Laymon published Heavy: An American Memoir, and he has been speaking about it with audiences across the country ever since. A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations. In his keynote address, Laymon will share some of the unexpected things he learned about fatness and the nation in the five years he’s been talking about the book.

ASDAH Director of the Board, Da’Shaun Harrison will host the in conversation and Q&A portion of Kiese’s keynote address.

Image of Kiese Laymon with planetary rings, flowers and butterflies framing his photo.

Kiese Laymon


Image with teal back ground and images of Kiese's three books: Long Division, Heavy, and How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.About Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. In his observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. His savage humor and clear-eyed perceptiveness have earned him comparisons to Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alice Walker, and Mark Twain. He is the author of the award-winning memoir Heavy, the groundbreaking essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, and the genre-defying novel Long Division.

Laymon’s memoir Heavy won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the 2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, the Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media, and was named one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years by The New York Times.  A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable—an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family. In a starred review, Kirkus wrote, “Laymon skillfully couches his provocative subject matter in language that is pyrotechnic and unmistakably his own…. A dynamic memoir that is unsettling in all the best ways.” Heavy was named a best book of 2018 by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly. The audiobook, read by the author, was named the Audible 2018 Audiobook of the Year.

For more information on Kiese Laymon, please visit him on Instagram, Twitter and at

Making Moves: Using Insight Gained from the 2023 ASDAH Conference to Create a New World

Closing Remarks | Saturday, June 10 | 4:30-5:00Pm CT

After an amazing conference where we have come together as a community to learn, grow, and most importantly dream, it is time to take action to create a new world. Our Vision & Strategy Leader Veronica Garnett will close out our conference with some remarks that will inspire us all to reflect on our experiences over the weekend and to take actionable steps when we return to our daily lives. The dreaming and the work does not end here. Let’s keep the party going!

There will be a special performance by classical & jazz vocalist Seradin Veonne that you don’t want to miss!

With special performance by:
Image of Seradin framed by flowers and planetary rings

Seradin Veonne

classical & jazz vocalist | ASDAH Virtual Assistant

Seradin is an artist, youth educator, and lifelong learner, born and raised in New York City. She studied Classical and Jazz Voice at Hunter College. Through Hunter, Seradin became a member of the groups Jazz Vox and Voices of Vision. In recent years, she sang and co-wrote background vocal arrangements with the experimental pop band, Decibelists.

After supporting and volunteering for 7 years, Seradin is currently a member of the first registered African Royalty character company Your Queens, Inc. She continues to explore self-expression through writing and developing a love for movement.

When she’s not doing any of that, she loves listening to records with her family, learning new things, spending time in nature, and watching animated comedies and documentaries on Netflix.

Plenary Sessions

Fat Futures: Writing Our Way to Liberation

Author Panel Plenary Session | Friday, June 9 | 4:00-5:30pm CT

As health professionals, activists and advocates, and fat people fighting to access basic care, we might overlook the power of tools like storytelling on the path to creating liberatory fat futures. Join authors Alechia Dow, Clarkisha Kent, and Caleb Luna in this engaging author panel about using the written word to create liberatory futures of care for all. Each author will share an excerpt from their books and discuss their work and how the written word can transform our world.


Image of Clarikisha Kent. The frame is adorned by a flower, butterfly, and gold glittery rings lie those of a planet

Clarkisha Kent

Image of Alechia Dow with flowers and a butterfly around the frame.

Alechia Dow

Image of Caleb Luna, flowers and a butterfly adorn the frame.

Caleb Luna

About Clarkisha Kent

Clarkisha Kent is a Nigerian American writer, culture critic, former columnist, and author of Fat Off, Fat On: A Big Bitch Manifesto. Committed to telling inclusive stories via unique viewpoints from nigh-infancy, she is fascinated with using storytelling and cultural criticism not as a way to “overcome” or “transcend” her unique identities (as a FAT, bisexual, and disabled Black African woman), but as a way to explore them, celebrate them, affirm them, and most importantly, normalize them and make the world safe enough for people who share them to exist.

As a University of Chicago graduate with a B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and English, she brings with her over eight years of pop culture analysis, four years of film theory training, and a healthy appetite for change.

Her writing has been featured in outlets like Entertainment Weekly, Essence, gal-dem, PAPER, BET, HuffPost, MTV News, The Root, and more. She is also the creator of #TheKentTest and the co-creator of The Kelli & Kat Test—both of which are media litmus tests designed to evaluate the quality of representation that exists for Black women, women of color, and fat [Black] women respectively. 

Currently, Kent is working on a novel about a Black female outlaw and a TV comedy pilot about an immortal familiar.

About Alechia Dow

Alechia Dow is a former pastry chef, librarian, author of YA scifi-fantasies: The Sound of Stars (a Junior Library Guild Selection and Hal Clement ALA notable), The Kindred (Indie Next Kids Jan 2022 Pick), A Song of Salvation, several short anthology pieces, and middle grade stories Just a Pinch of Magic and The Cookie Crumbles which she co-authored with Tracy Badua. When not writing, you can find her having epic dance parties with her daughter, baking, reading, taking teeny adventures, and exploring her local food scene.

About Caleb Luna, Ph.D

Caleb Luna is an artist, public scholar and theorist of the body. They are the bestselling author of REVENGE BODY (Nomadic Press, 2022), an award-winning educator and scholar, and co-host of the podcast Unsolicited: Fatties Talk Back. Caleb holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. They are currently a University of California President’s and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Ultimately, they are interested in engaging embodied difference as a generative resource toward fatter understandings of collective freedom. You can follow Caleb on Instagram and Twitter at @dr_chairbreaker, or get in touch with them at

Possibilities of a Fat Futurity

Plenary Session | Saturday, June 10 | 11:00-12:00pm CT

What is a fat future? What is the prospect of visioning abundantly against a world that consistently marks fatness as an impossible future? Gathering collectively as healers, visioners, activists, and those who want to move towards something else beyond our current fact, this session aims to surface lofty dreams of a fat future. Through sonic, visceral release we will practice naming what world we hope to conjure.

Image of Mary Senyonga framed by flowers, a butterfly and gold planetary rings

Mary Senyonga, Ph.D

professor • researcher

About Mary Senyonga, Ph.D.

Mary Senyonga (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor of Black Feminisms in Women’s and Gender Studies at Sacramento State University. Her research and teaching privileges Black feminisms, Critical Race Theory, and Queer of Color Critique to surface alterity to systemic oppression. Her most recent work focuses on Black women organizing during the 60s and 70s to highlight the genealogy of Black lifemaking against domination.

Breakout Session #1

Mutual Aid: Fat Care Now and in the Future

Breakout Session #1 | Friday, June 9 | 2:00-3:00pm CT

Mutual Aid has long served as a form of community care when the healthcare system (and other systems) fail folks, particularly those most oppressed in society. Angel will discuss the ways in which Mutual Aid is crucial for the care of the most marginalized. She’ll also share ways those with privilege can organize and mobilize. Attendees should leave this session ready to use the information they learned to immediately support community members with various needs. Angel will encourage attendees to follow her and join the Mutual Aid Network she has already created.

Presented by

Image of Angel Austin with flowers and a butterfly around the frame.

Angel Austin

Mutual aid Organizer • infinifat activist

About Angel Austin

Angel Austin, ASDAH’s Advocacy and Community Leader, is the Black, infinifat, and disabled founder of Sacred Space for Fat Bodies. She is dedicated to the creation of and increased access to self-care experiences for superfat and infinifat people, especially those who are Black, disabled, members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, indigenous, Latine, Asian, or members of other groups who exist at myriad intersections and who are also substantially marginalized.

Angel also works to facilitate direct care via various mutual aid initiatives. She advocates and fundraises for individuals and families in the aforementioned marginalized communities and at all relative intersections.

Discussion: Dreams Taking Shape — Implementing the New Health at Every Size® Principles & Framework of Care

Breakout Session #1 | Friday, June 9 | 2:00-3:00pm CT

The revisions to the Health at Every Size® Principles and creation of the Framework of Care came out of extensive community discussions. These updates have widespread implications for changing how we align our work with Health at Every Size®. During this breakout session, we will discuss revised principles and new framework and what it will mean to begin putting them into action! This session is great for those who participated in the pre-conference workshop and want some time to process & discuss in community.

Note: This session will not be recorded.

Facilitated by Veronica Garnett, ASDAH Vision & Strategy Leader

Breakout Session #2

Abolition Principles & Practice for Health at Every Size®

Breakout Session #2 | Saturday, June 10 | 1:00-2:00pm CT

What does it mean to be an abolitionist? What are abolitionist goals that can inform our personal and collective lives? This workshop will dig into the concepts of prison industrial complex abolition and health abolition to understand the shared values of these two liberation strategies & practices. In doing so we’ll dig into the framework and goals of an abolitionist reform vs a reformist reform to better inform our Health at Every Size® practices, fat justice organizing, and fat futures world building. This workshop will ask us to personally challenge the way white supremacy and capitalism has normalized reforming a broken system as the best way to reduce harm.

Presented by

Image of Cory Lira with flowers, gold rings (like around a planet), and a butterfly around the frame.

Cory Lira, M.Ed.

community organizer • educator

About Cory Lira, M.Ed.

Cory Lira (she/they) is a Portland, Oregon-based fat queer femme indigenous Xicana disabled activist, community organizer, writer, and educator. In addition to her professional work in education and organizational consulting, she focuses her community organizing and political work on prison industrial complex abolition, fat liberation, and disability justice. She organizes with Critical Resistance Portland and the former Care Not Cops PDX campaign and is also one of the founders of QUEER CRAFT, a yearly queer arts & crafts community event.

Research Corner: Integrating New Learning into the Health at Every Size® Framework of Care

Breakout Session #2 | Saturday, June 10 | 1:00-2:00pm CT

In this breakout session, we feature two researchers’ work on topics related to Health at Every Size®. In Part 1, Ni’Shele Jackson presents their research on how fat attitudes change after exposure to the Health at Every Size® framing of health and healthcare. Part 2 of this session highlights Tiffany Stewart’s research on the experiences of fat, Black women with racism and fatphobia.

Part 1: Health at Every Size is a framework that is said to reduce anti-fat bias, however, there is not a lot of empirical research testing these claims. In this session, researcher Ni’Shele Jackson will present their paper title ‘Attitudes Toward Fat Diversity: Is the Health at Every Size® (HAES) Frame Effective at Promoting Attitudes Around Fat Acceptance and Body Diversity?’ which conducts an experimental survey aimed at testing the efficacy of the Health at Every Size® framework in reducing anti-fat bias. This session will be an opportunity for practitioners, activists, and those curious about Health at Every Size®, to critically assess the framework’s strengths and weaknesses.

Part 2: This part of the presentation will take you on a journey of pain and triumph of Black women in larger bodies. Black women, who specifically and historically, have encountered body shame and racism at the hands of medical professionals, romantic partners, family members, workplaces and schools, and society at large. The goal of this study is to finally give a voice to those who have longed to be heard. My hope is that this study will have a positive impact on all of the communities where Black women reside. The time for our voices to be heard is NOW.

Presented by

Are you still actively working on the researcher images for the web? I don't want to mess you up but I was going to get them ready for the website

Ni'Shele Nicole Jackson

sociologist • researcher

About Ni’Shele Nicole Jackson

Ni’Shele Nicole Jackson (they.them.theirs) is a graduate student in the sociology program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Their research interests include fat studies, intersectional theory, queer theory, sociology of health and medicine, and sociology of the body. Their current work attempts to contextualize constructions of fatness within a larger biopolitical project that seeks to maintain race, gender, sexuality, and class hierarchies.

Tiffany Stewart

Fat liberation activist • researcher

Image of Tiffany Stewart with flowers and a butterfly around the frame of her image.

About Tiffany Stewart

Tiffany Stewart is a recent graduate of Miami University. She earned  a B.A. in Psychological Science with a minor in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. Tiffany will begin the Clinical Psychology PhD program at Miami University in August 2023 where her primary research will focus on the intersection of racism and fatphobia. She has been a fat liberation activist for over 5 years. Tiffany is married and is the mother of two sons. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Discussion: Client/Patient Advocacy and the Law — How to Show Support While Working in the Healthcare System

Breakout Session #2 | Saturday, June 10 | 1:00-2:00pm CT

Advocating for fat patients is fraught with organizational, credentialing-related, and legal barriers. What do you do when the ethical path is at odds with the rules & laws that impact your role as a healthcare provider? Recent guidelines such as the AAP’s Clinical Practice Guideline for the Evaluation and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Obesity imply that not providing weight-biased care calls into question a provider’s license and credentials. This session will be a discussion among attendees about how you navigate these harmful systems while advocating for body autonomy and fat liberation at all levels of the healthcare system. We’ll discuss common barriers, the role of documentation, communication, and share strategies and lessons from our work advocating within the Medical Industrial Complex. 

Note: This session will not be recorded.

Facilitated by Veronica Garnett, ASDAH Vision & Strategy Leader

Evening Community Sessions

Building New Worlds: Lessons from The Venus Project

Documentary viewing & discussion | Friday, June 9 | 7:00-9:00pm CT

The Venus Project advocates for a new sociopolitical system that works for all of us and the environment on which we depend. This system is a resource-based economy that focuses on human concern, environmental reclamation, directing technological solutions toward housing, transportation, energy, food, and water that would improve the quality of life for all people, and seeking out new ways of thinking and living that emphasize and celebrate the vast potential of the human spirit. The Venus Project offers us a vision and veritable blueprint for a new world.

During this session, we will be viewing The Choice is Ours. This documentary explores the determinants of human behavior, how the environment and social structures shape our values, and the failure of our current global monetary system to meet the needs of most people. It concludes by offering alternatives and solutions; a vision of an entirely new world. Afterwards we will have a rich discussion about how The Venus Project’s vision & goals can help influence the future of Health at Every Size® and transform our healthcare systems.

Content warning: Contains graphic images of the result of violence, war, and environmental degradation. Viewer discretion is advised.

Hosted by the ASDAH Team

Art is Living Resistance: Inviting Creativity into our Work and Life

Art workshop & Community time | Saturday, June 10 | 5:00-7:00pm CT

Let’s make space to create together in community! For many of us, our day-to-day lives don’t leave much space for dreaming, getting messy, and being creative. Yet creativity is healing, communal, and helps keep hope for better days. As indigenous author Katilin B. Curtice says, “Art is living resistance.” Gather the supplies for any medium you want to work in and join us for an evening of music, community, and creativity!

What creative activity you choose is up to you. It might be something you are very skilled at, have done before, or something brand new that you want to try. You could choose to write (any genre: speculative fiction, free form writing, poetry, spoken word, songwriting), draw, paint, cross-stitch, knit, color in a coloring book, play an instrument, sculpt using clay or playdough, make something from Lego blocks, make jewelry, the options are endless!

We’ll spend a short time grounding and then we’ll spend the rest of the time creating in community! You’ll have the option to listen to music in the main room, or go to a breakout room for either silent time or to join others who want to chat while they create.

Note: This session will not be recorded.

Hosted by the ASDAH Team

Post-Conference Sessions

Taking a Collective Breath — Conference Debrief and Wrap-Up

Debrief | Sunday, June 11 | 1:00-2:00pm CT

Spend time with fellow conference attendees discussing the impact of the conference and where we go from here. Let’s take some time and space to unwind from the whirlwind of incredible wisdom imparted over the days of the conference, continue to make lasting connections, and be in community with like-minded friends.

Note: This session will not be recorded.

Two debriefs will be available so people in all timezones have an opportunity to connect and debrief in real time.

Oceania & East Asia Debrief | Sunday, June 11 | 4:30pm AET

image of Nadia FelschThe Oceania & East Asia debrief is co-hosted by Nadia Felsch.

I’m Nadia Felsch, BHSc (she/her) a nutritionist, intuitive eating counsellor, feminist and fat activist. I am a white, thin, woman living on unceded Gadigal Country in Sydney Australia with my partner and our two miniature dachshunds. I make my living supporting folks who aren’t happy with their relationship to food and body, find freedom AKA what works for them and how to do more of it, within oppressive systems such as patriarchy, capitalism, healthism, white supremacy and anti-fatness.

My work online, through my podcast and supporting folks directly is underpinned by the great unlearning of, and healing from the the typical narratives we all hold about food, health and our bodies. I believe we need to tear it all down and start again and consider myself a guide to folks re-connecting with and trusting their innate body wisdom – resisting the whole way.

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