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Conference Cancelled; COVID-19 Concerns. See conference website for more information. 

Marta Miranda-Straub, author of Cradled by Skeletons: A Life in Poems and Essays /  Mecida por Esqueletos: una vida en poems y ensayos (Shadelandhouse Modern Press 2019) and founder and principal of Catapult Now LLC, will be presenting the Plenary Session on Transformation Leadership at theCancto be held March 19–22, 202o, at the Sheraton Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama. She will also be reading selections from Cradled by Skeletons / Mecida por Esqueletos. Other speakers at the conference include Rep. Merika Coleman-Evans (Alabama House of Representatives) , Tina Kempin Reuter (Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Associate Professor at University of Alabama Birmingham), and Dr. Anna Scheyett (Dean, School of Social Work, University of Georgia).

Marta is a poet and storyteller who has spent her life working towards equity, inclusion, and creating systems change. Her activism has focused on advancing social and economic justice for marginalized communities. Until the age of twelve Marta was raised in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. In 1966 she immigrated to New Jersey. “As a refugee family from Cuba,” Marta said, “we were resettled by Catholic Charities in West New York, New Jersey, with a sponsor family in September 1966. We left our extended family, photo albums, toys, worldly belongings, language, culture, flag, and land on the island.” She now lives and works in Louisville, Kentucky, and describes herself affectionately as a Cubalachian— a combination of Cuban and Appalachian.

Marta is a Latinx Queer woman who lives and works at the intersection of identities, ethnicity, race, gender, and sexualities—applying an intersectional feminist lens to all she does. She has over forty years of experience in organizational and clinical social work practice, during which she has held multiple roles—professor, social researcher, author, psychotherapist, executive leader, fund raising professional, community organizer, advocate/activist, executive coach, facilitator, trainer, and public speaker.  Marta was inducted into the Affrilachian Poets by Frank X Walker in 2009. She has read and performed poetry and stories nationally at universities, literary venues, conferences, marches and rallies.

Catapult Now LLC provides organizational and leadership development, board development, executive coaching, coalition building, and facilitation and trainings services to nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

Cradled by Skeletons: A Life in Poems and Essays /Mecida por Esqueletos: una vida poemas y ensayos “embrace[s] immigrants, broken people, and people otherwise disillusioned and dispossessed … at once intimate, poignant, and raw.” Foreword Clarion Reviews (4-star review). The memoir, a raw expression of identity and place, relates Marta’s  experience of trauma, resilience, and transformation. The book also portrays how her life’s work as a social worker, educator, leader, activist, advocate, and community organizer has been fueled by discernment, resistance, and transformation of individual, institutional, and societal systems of power. Marta has a keen sense of awareness and she questions injustices with intention, compassion, humility, and humor. There is a shared connection with both the victim and the perpetrator in her writings that exalts the grit and grace of humanity.  (English and Spanish edition includes a complete Spanish translation.) 

The Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, Inc. (BPD) is dedicated to the promotion of excellence in Baccalaureate Social Work Education.