Date & Time: September 19 4:30pm
Location: Virtual

The Safe Center LI, Inc. is a creation of two former non-profit agencies that separately served the victims of domestic abuse and child abuse.

Keynote Speaker

Carla Canales has won acclaim on leading stages around the world as a performer while also being recognized as an educator, advocate, and entrepreneur. This summer, she joins the faculty at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University, where she will serve as Professor of Practice and lead a program on cultural diplomacy. In addition, Carla is a Social Innovation and Change Initiative Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
Carla has served as a U.S. State Department Arts Envoy since 2005. Missions in 2021 include creating new arts programs for U.S. Embassies in Honduras, Peru, Montenegro, and Kazakhstan. In 2022, she continues her work as an Arts Envoy in Indonesia for the Triple Threat Academy, a five month-long program. Carla was a 2021 Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University, the youngest fellow in the history of the program to date. During her fellowship, she collaborates with Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs on a new self-created initiative titled “The Future of Cultural Diplomacy”.
Carla has been a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities Turnaround Arts Program, was selected by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of its 100 Leading Global Thinkers and won the Medal of Excellence from the Sphinx Organization, which was presented to her at the Supreme Court by Justice Sotomayor. Carla was also named one of Musical America’s 30 Movers and Shapers of 2018.

Carla is the founder of The Canales Project, a non-profit arts and advocacy organization through which she created Hear Her Song, a musical celebration of distinguished female leaders worldwide that commissions new songs written by female composers to honor them. The project engages a variety of participants and partners worldwide, including Vital Voices, El Sistema USA, and participants including honorees Hillary Clinton, Sonia Sotomayor, and Malala Yousafzai.

As a classical singer, Carla has been in demand for her portrayal of Bizet’s Carmen, a role she has performed over eighty times in twelve countries. Her performance was praised by Opera News as “a well-practiced, sexy Carmen, [Carla] dominated the show.” Other roles in her repertoire include Dalilah in Samson et Dalilah (Sinfonica de Yucatan), Eboli in Don Carlo (Opera Royal de Wallonie), Maddalena in Rigoletto (Opera Royal de Wallonie, Michigan Opera Theater), Giulietta in Les Contes d’Hoffmann (National Centre for the Performing Arts Beijing), Adalgisa in Norma (Portland SummerFest), Fenena in Nabucco (Michigan Opera Theater) and Preziosilla in La Forza del Destino (Opera Royal de Wallonie). As a concert soloist, she has sung at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.

Carla has been a guest speaker/lecturer at the United Nations, Oxford University, SciencesPo (Paris), Aspen Institute, and TEDxMidAtlantic. Carla holds dual U.S. and Mexican citizenship. She is fluent in Spanish, French, Italian, German, and English and is currently studying Mandarin.

Presenter’s Bio

April McCarthy, MSEd is the Campus Education & Outreach Coordinator for the only comprehensive family violence agency in Long Island, The Safe Center LI.

For over 13 years, April has been committed to The Safe Center’s mission “To protect, assist, and empower victims of family violence and sexual assault while challenging and changing social systems that tolerate and perpetuate abuse.”

She has provided direct trauma support services as a Crisis Counselor, Crisis Advocate, Shelter Support Advocate, Educator, and Group Facilitator for survivors of abuse and their children.

Currently, as the Campus Education & Outreach Coordinator, April oversees a Title IX & New York State Enough is Enough joint task force and provides awareness education and prevention training on a variety of topics. Topics include, but are not limited to sexual abuse, dating violence, trauma, bystander intervention, healthy relationships, healthy nightlife, hazing, role modeling, federal and state student rights and protections, and other relevant topics.

Remaining true to The Safe Center LI’s motto, “Restoring hope for victims of abuse,” April utilizes her prolific speaking, educational skills, and commitment to inclusivity to establish connections and to foster personal understanding with all training participants. April often reminds community partners that “We are all stakeholders in challenging and changing social systems that tolerate and perpetuate abuse. It starts with us, personally, then graduates to a collaborative effort to help restore hope for survivors of abuse. We all have our parts to play within our spheres of influence to hold offenders and systems legally, ethically, and socially accountable. It really does takes all of us to do that.”

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