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Race and Social Equity (RASE) Fall Forum 2021

Information about the 2021 Charlotte Race and Social Equity Fall Forum hosted by the Race and Social Equity Academy (RASE) and J. Murrey Atkins Library

Keynote Speaker: Tony Peek

Tony Peek, BSW, is an entrepreneur, social worker, and motivational speaker. Mr. Peek was originally born in Torrance,California but grew up in Charlotte, NC and was highlighted as a promising student-athlete at West Charlotte Senior High School. However, traumatic experiences as a teenager interrupted his progression to college and sent him down a path of decisions he would later regret. Mr. Peek served time in state prisons and while incarcerated made a choice to do something different, the moment of clarity... Purpose! He had a vision and plan that once he was released, he would turn his life around and receive a college education. Mr. Peek was successful in not only receiving an Associate of Human Services & Associate of Arts degree from Stanly Community College but he went on to receive a Bachelor of Social Work degree from UNC Charlotte. Despite his successes, he continued to endure hardships. Mr. Peek is a storyteller and uses his experiences to educate others about systemic failures, racism, and continued discrimination he endures.

Panel Moderator: Dr. Michelle Vance

Michelle M. Vance, PhD, MSW is an Assistant Professor in the Joint
Master of Social Work Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is also an esteemed alum of the Charlotte School of Social Work. Her research area of interest includes intersectionality and racial disparities for BIPOC communities, specifically as it pertains to suicide prevention and community re-entry.


Courtney LaCaria, MSW is the Housing and Homelessness Research Coordinator for Mecklenburg County Community Support Services. Courtney’s role is to connect actionable data and research with community stakeholders to inform and drive decision-making around policy, funding and programs that address housing instability and homelessness. Courtney received her Master of Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill and completed her undergraduate studies at Duke University. Prior to working for Mecklenburg County, Courtney worked for a local nonprofit that served families experiencing homelessness.  



Deronda Metz, MSW, LCSW is the Director of Social Workers for the Salvation Army. She has worked for The Salvation Army for over 30 years, providing leadership for the agency’s homeless and housing efforts. Since serving in her current job capacity she has expanded her focus and energy to include a system approved to address the issues of homeless and housing. Deronda has a master’s degree in Social Work and is a licensed clinician (LCSW) as well as a licensed addiction specialist. She is a constant voice for those that are homeless on a local and national level and has been involved in several advocacy efforts that have resulted in affordable housing solutions for persons experiencing homelessness. 



Hannah-Marie Warfle, MSW is a social worker at the Salvation Army Emergency Shelter, a homeless shelter for single women and families. She is also currently the co-Chair of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Homeless Services Network Advocacy Committee. Hannah-Marie has a bachelor's degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she majored in English and double-minored in Art History and Spanish. She has a Master's degree in Social Work from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. For over five years, she has worked in homeless services, she has most enjoyed building relationships with clients and colleagues in order to improve services, systems, and access to resources. Hannah-Marie is married and has two cats and one dog.