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About US

The Imagining Freedom Institute (The IF Institute), is a thought leadership group that works with organizations and institutions to build their capacity for internal and external equity and social justice work.


Our Methods

 (The IF Institute) is rooted in action-oriented, equitable & radical capacity building for institutions. The National IF Institute office is based in Dallas, TX. The IF Institute focuses on dismantling institutional and structural racism, providing historical analysis of inequitable policy and practices, addressing intersectionality in issues and solutions, implementing equity and social justice, and envisioning a more equitable society. IF builds organizational capacity to deliver on an equitable development mission and (2) formalize organizational commitment at all levels to equity as an essential part of the mission and work.

The IF Institute’s training method is based in anti-racism fundamentals, historical analysis and understanding power dynamics in systems and structures. The IF Institute works with organizations to create an equitable plan of change and/or equity audit/assessment.


Our goal is to help organizations develop racial equity frameworks, historical analysis and a strategic action plan through customized trainings and ongoing consultation.

Structural inequity is embedded in the policies and practices of institutions who have not engaged in equity work. To move towards equity, institutions must address the unacknowledged historical oppression/inequities, and develop a common understanding of history in relation to current conditions.The IF Institute helps institutions develop rules of engagement in equity work


what we do

The Imagining Freedom Institute (The IF Institute) offers a vast array of services to organizations and institutions to deepen their knowledge and increase their understanding of equity concepts. They Include:


Historiography & Timelines

Project Management




Speaking Engagements

 Conferences, Summits & Events


& Institutions

 Strategic Planning

Change Management

Institutional Equity Audits

Leadership & Staff Training


Equity Impact Forecasting

White Papers and Op Eds

Historical Analysis

What We Do


  • I-345: Racism & Reimagintaion
    Watch Now
    Recorded Series
    Watch Now
    Recorded Series
    Join IF as we join Coalition for a New Dallas to explore the past, present, and future of Interstate 345, the highway that destroyed historical African American communities including the original Deep Ellum and Stringtown.
  • Community Conversations on Racial Equity
    Watch Now
    Recorded Series
    Nothing Like It

workshop Topics

Events IF has presented and/or are scheduled to present, including the title(s):

Teaching with Racial Equity
Audience: Richardson ISD Teachers and Administration

Racism and Reimagination in Three Acts:
The history of race and highway construction in Dallas

Audience: Coalition for a New Dallas and open to the public

Transcending Dominant Narratives for New Characters:

Audience: Harvard American Repertory Theater
1776 cast and staff

 When and Where I Enter:
The History we Inherit and the History we Create

 Audience:Richardson ISD high school students

Equity Indicators for Community Based Work
Audience: National Coalition for Family Learning Dallas
community group

Cultural Diversity: The Start of a Conversation
Audience University Texas at Arlington School of Social Work


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 
100% WorthyYear Up, 2020

The History of Race as told by the United States Census
Audience: State Fair of Texas Community Census Day Event


Built on Stolen Land and Built with Stolen Labor:
The shaping of American history through Native and Black stories

Audience: Open community sessions, Dallas ISD students and staff

Beyond Accommodating:
The history of Women creating Place
and taking up Space in Texas History

Audience: Ntarupt Youth Council

The History of race in Dallas
Audience: Dallas ISD students, Dallas Teach for America alumni

Dallas ISD Summer Program:
Race and personal identity, gender roles,
ableism, reimagining our communities

Audience: Dallas ISD students

Language Matters: Shifting Narratives for Community Benefit

Audience: open to community members

Workshop Topics

Our Team


Jerry Hawkins

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Jerry is the executive director of Dallas Truth Racial Healing & Transformation, part of a national 14-city initiative by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a co-founder of the Imagining Freedom Institute. 

 Jerry holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Child and Family Services, Southern Illinois University and an M.A. in Education from Northeastern Illinois University with a concentration in Inner City Studies.

Jerry began his career at the Chicago Urban League as a Male Involvement Specialist, co-founded The Boys Leadership Institute, a uniquely designed early childhood “Saturday School” at The University of Chicago Donohue Charter School for African- American and Latinx kindergarten and 1st-grade boys from single-mother head-of- household homes. 

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Amber Sims

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Amber Sims is a founding member of The IF Institute and Young Leaders, Strong City. Amber has worked as a consultant, speaker and advisor in areas that include: racial equity, policy, workplace culture, public relations, community advocacy, partnerships, and program expansion. She is  Amber is a trusted voice for racial equity and is a leader in local and national conversations.

Amber has been published in both the Washington Post, Dallas Morning News and Texas Monthly as an opinion columnist on issues such as fair GED testing and an visions for an equitable South Dallas.

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Robbie Esteban

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Robbie Esteban is co-founder of Young Leaders, Strong City and principal at The Imagining Freedom Institute.  She holds B.A.’s in both History and Philosophy from the University of North Texas and a Graduate Marketing Certificate from Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business.


Robbie's roots are in  Montessori education, public education and she currently provides digital and messaging strategy for electoral candidates across the country.


caazena hunter

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Caazena Hunter is a coach, facilitator and educator. Caazena holds a dual bachelors in Spanish and Sociology with an International Studies Certificate from the University of Tulsa. She also holds a masters in Sociology from the University of North Texas.


Caazena has worked in nonprofit for almost two decades. She co-authored Race and Reciprocity: Inter-household Exchanges in a Multiracial Neighborhood. She is a firm believer in volunteerism, as demonstrated by her work as a facilitator for Dallas Dinner Table. Dallas Dinner Table provides an opportunity to hear and share diverse perspectives about the impact of race on the daily of Dallas residents. 

Our Team
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 Our clients and projects focus on: City and County Governance, Government Agencies,  Non-Profit Organizations, Corporations, Politicians, Crisis Management Opportunities, Cultural Institutions, Education 

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Clients include: The National Center for Families Learning, University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work, Harvard University's Experience the a.r.t. Theater Program, Dallas Public Library System, Richardson Independent School District, Dallas Independent School District, State Fair of Texas , and Coalition for a New Dallas


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The Imagining Freedom Institute (The IF Institute), a thought leadership group that works with organizations and institutions to build their capacity for internal and external equity and social justice work.

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