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Hari Kondabolu to Deliver Second Keynote at Facing Race National Conference in Detroit

Media Contact: Melissa Franqui
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Hari Kondabolu to Deliver Second Keynote at Facing Race National Conference in Detroit 

Race Forward releases full program for the nation’s largest conference for racial justice movement-making


September 18, 2018 (New York, NY) - Leading racial justice organization Race Forward today announced that esteemed comedian, writer, and podcaster Hari Kondabolu will deliver a keynote address at the nonprofit’s upcoming Facing Race conference, to be held at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan from November 8-10.

Kondabolu—who has been described by the New York Times as “one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today”—is the second of two keynote speakers to be announced for the Detroit conference, joining #MeToo founder and social justice activist Tarana Burke.

“Since our last Facing Race in 2016, communities of color have shown tremendous strength, leadership, and courage amidst a period of heightened persecution and crisis,” said Race Forward President Glenn Harris. “During such a critical moment in our nation’s history, we’re honored to be welcoming cultural icons like Hari and Tarana whose voices will be essential in making this our most action-oriented and solutions-driven conference yet.”

Last year, Kondabolu won critical acclaim for his documentary, “The Problem with Apu,” and was recently named one of Variety’s Top 10 Comics To Watch following the release of his 2018 Netflix Special “Warn Your Relatives.”

 “I’m excited to be performing at a conference with such brilliant and passionate people who are actively working for racial justice in this country,” said Kondabolu.

In tandem with the keynote announcement, Race Forward has also released the full program schedule, which consists of Race Flicks film screenings, Racial Justice Reads literary fair, and over 100 panels and breakout sessions on a wide array of key issues, with a focus on four key tracks:

  • Arts, Media, & Culture
  • Organizing and Advocacy
  • Inclusive Democracy
  • Racial Identities and Innovation

In addition to Kondabolu and Burke, Facing Race attendees will have the opportunity to hear from more than 210 prominent activists, artists, educators, and other leaders, including esteemed author adrienne maree brown, actress Dawn-Lyen Gardner, and activist Bree Newsome.

In reflection of Race Forward's commitment to supporting locally-owned businesses and advancing local leadership within Detroit communities, the Facing Race team has spent the last year working in partnership with local organizers to ensure that the 2018 conference adheres to the principles of Community Benefits Agreements. With this Agreement, Race Forward aims to center the leadership, skills, and entrepreneurship of communities of color and other historically disadvantaged communities in Detroit.

“Detroit is home to some of the most visionary organizing in the United States, which made it a clear choice of locale for bringing together advocates from throughout the country to build a multi-racial movement for advancing equity,” said Leslie Grant-Spann, Race Forward Conference & Convenings Director. “Facing Race 2018 is an opportunity to lift up authentic narratives about Detroit while amplifying local struggles, solutions, and collective leadership to overcome racially disparate outcomes.”

This is Race Forward’s ninth Facing Race conference, and the first to be held at a convention center after the record-breaking turnout in 2016, when over 2,000 people joined Race Forward for the sold-out conference in Atlanta, GA. Previous speakers have included Jose Antonio Vargas, Roxane Gay, Melissa Harris-Perry, Van Jones, and W. Kamau Bell.

Highlights from previous conferences can be found via reporting from Colorlines, an award-winning investigative news site published by Race Forward. Videos of past Facing Race keynote and plenary presentations can be found here. For the latest updates on Facing Race 2018, follow on Facebook and Twitterwith #FacingRace.

Press are encouraged to attend, with a variety of resources offered including interviews with keynote and plenary speakers. Apply for a media credential here. All media inquiries should be directed to [email protected].

To register and find more information, visit: https://facingrace.raceforward.org/.


Race Forward united with Center for Social Inclusion in 2017 to become the new Race Forward.

Founded in 1981, Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. Founded in 2002, CSI catalyzes community, government, and other institutions to dismantle structural racial inequity and create equitable outcomes for all.

The new Race Forward is home to the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. Race Forward publishes the daily news site Colorlines and presents Facing Race, the country’s largest multiracial conference on racial justice. 

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