Dawn-Lyen Gardner

Actor and Writer |

Actor and writer Dawn-Lyen Gardner currently stars as Charley Bordelon on the critically-acclaimed hit TV show QUEEN SUGAR, created by Ava DuVernay and executive produced by Oprah Winfrey. An activist and former teaching artist, she is also a member of America Ferrera and Wilmer Valderrama’s social justice collective HARNESS, which works to center marginalized communities in pop culture. In 2018, Dawn-Lyen became an official ambassador for women’s empowerment organization Women for Women International.

Presentations from Facing Race 2018

Being You and Doing Good: a conversation between Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Rinku Sen


All of us strive to align our personal practice in social change with our values. Actor and teaching artist Dawn-Lyen Gardner and activist/writer Rinku Sen make change while obsessing about the big questions: Where are we on the spectrum of despair to optimism? How do we cultivate courage, vulnerability and creativity? Is a racial identity fixed or fluid? Can pop culture really drive systemic change? How do we hold on to our ethics when the cost of doing so is high? Join these two racial justice leaders in a wide-ranging yet intimate conversation about leadership, morality, identity, art, and much more.

Speakers: Rinku Sen, Dawn-Lyen Gardner