Adrien Salazar is a climate justice advocate fighting for transformative and equitable climate policy solutions, food and land justice, and environmental justice. He is a Senior Campaign Strategist at Dēmos, where he advances climate change policy that centers racial and economic equity. As a Steering Committee member of the NY Renews Coalition he helped win the passage of the 2019 New York Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. He serves on the boards of the Sustainable Economies Law Center and the Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity. He is also a Senior Fellow with Data For Progress. He enjoys running, tending plants, and honoring the sacred places of the earth.
adrienne maree brown is the author of Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements. She is the cohost of the How to Survive the End of the World and Octavia’s Parables podcasts. adrienne is rooted in Detroit.
Aislinn Pulley is a co-executive director of the Chicago Torture Justice Center founded out of the historic 2015 reparations ordinance for survivors of Chicago police torture. Aislinn is also a cofounder of Black Lives Matter Chicago. She was an organizer with We Charge Genocide, a founding member of Insight Arts, a cultural non-profit that used art for social change, and a member of the performance ensemble, End of the Ladder. She is a founder of the young women’s performance ensemble dedicated to ending sexual assault, Visibility Now, as well as the founder and creator of urban youth magazine, Underground Philosophy.
Amber Espinosa-Jones is an independent producer and stage manager from Oakland, CA. She managers the Outreach & Inclusion program at Sundance Institute where she supports artists from underrepresented communities through intersectional fellowships and community programs. She has worked with a number of arts organizations looking to change the narrative of mainstream entertainment including the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), the Ford Theatres, and the Latino Theater Company.
Amber Trout has expertise in organizational and leadership development, change management, and capacity building of nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, emphasizing awareness of context as a crucial component to advance equity and inclusivity in organizations and in the communities they serve. Currently, she manages the evaluation of the Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative focused on enhancing civic engagement and cross-racial messaging and the Bush Foundation’s Change Network, a cohort style leadership program for helping leaders to build their skills toward equitably leading systems change. Previously, Amber served as the director of the Race, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative at NeighborWorks America
Founder and Principal of ASO Communications, Anat Shenker-Osorio examines why certain messages falter where others deliver. She's led the research on the Race-Class Narrative Project, in addition to dozens of previous studies on issues including immigrant rights, criminal justice reform, collective action and reproductive rights. Anat's original approach through priming experiments, task-based testing and online dial surveys has led to progressive electoral and policy victories across the globe.
Anat has delivered her findings at the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Centre for Australian Progress, Irish Migrant Centre, Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation and LUSH International, among others.
Her writing and research is profiled in The Washington Post, Atlantic, Boston Globe, Salon, The Guardian and Grist among others.
Andrea Jenkins is a writer, performance artist, poet, and transgender activist. She is the first African American openly trans woman to be elected to office in the United States. Jenkins moved to Minnesota to attend the University of Minnesota in 1979.She worked as a Vocational Counselor for Hennepin County government, for a decade. Jenkins worked as a staff member on the Minneapolis City Council for 12 years before beginning work as curator of the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota's Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies.
She holds a Masters Degree in Community Development from Southern New Hampshire University, a MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University and a Bachelors Degrees in Human Services from Metropolitan State University. She is a nationally and internationally recognized writer and artist, a 2011 Bush Fellow to advance the work of transgender inclusion, and the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships. In 2018 she completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University.
Angela Tucker is a writer, director and Emmy nominated producer who works in narrative and documentary genres. Her directorial work includes “All Skinfolk, Ain’t Kinfolk”, a documentary short which aired PBS’ Reel South about a mayoral election in New Orleans; “All Styles”, a narrative feature currently available on Amazon; “Black Folk Don’t”, a documentary web series that was featured in Time Magazine’s “10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life”; and “(A)sexual”, a feature length documentary about people who experience no sexual attraction that streamed on Netflix and Hulu. She is in her ninth year on the PBS strand, “AfroPoP”, now as a Co-Executive Producer and is currently producing “Belly of the Beast” (dir. Erika Cohn) which will broadcast on PBS' Independent Lens this fall. Her production company, TuckerGurl, is passionate about stories that highlight underrepresented communities in unconventional ways. A Visiting Professor at Tulane University, Tucker was a Sundance Institute Women Filmmakers Initiative Fellow. She received her MFA in Film from Columbia University.
Anna Castro is a communications strategist and currently works as the Media Relations Manager for Transgender Law Center. She has extensive experience spearheading strategic communications campaigns to promote migrant justice and protect voting rights.
In collaboration with South Asian activist Deepa Iyer, she launched the Solidarity School in Spring 2019. The Solidarity School is an online training series designed to foster cross-movement solidarity by providing tools that bridge the gap between theory and practice in combating anti-Black racism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia.
Arti Walker-Peddakotla is an Oak Park Village Trustee, first generation Indian American, U.S. Army veteran, community organizer, scientist, and technologist. Arti advocates for racial justice and reimagining community safety in Oak Park, IL with Freedom to Thrive Oak Park, immigrant and refugee rights with Veterans for American Ideals, a project of Human Rights First, and is a Defense Council member of Truman National Security Project.
Aselefech Evans, (She/Her). Aselefech identifies as Ethiopian-American and resides on the unceded Duwamish lands. She has five years of experience providing workshops, training, facilitation, and assessment services to build the internal and external capacity of health care, human services, and public health professionals both locally and nationally. As the Racial Equity Manager for the Housing Development Consortium, she helps organizations institutionalize their racial equity efforts and compliance, while using best practices based on data and evidence. Aselefech is currently a graduate student in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington, studying Integrative Health-Mental Health Advanced Practices which examines environmental, mind-body-spirit-cultural integrative practices.
Bernice has spent 8 years at CSS working with organizers and movement groups to transform narratives at the intersection of pollution, poverty, and racism. Prior to becoming Co-Director, Bernice accompanied the organization in an operations capacity as it evolved from its earlier years as the smartMeme Strategy and Training Project, and she most recently served as Strategic Partnerships Director. As a new WOC Co-Director, Bernice proudly uplifts the power of radical imagination and capacity-building in her own story of transformation and leadership development. She is originally from sunny Los Angeles, where she spent her time producing music festivals and building small businesses, and developed her commitment to collective-liberation as a student organizer at UCLA. Bernice is dedicated to bringing an entrepreneurial spirit to her work in social change. In her free time, she enjoys playing jazz flute and eating Chinese food.
Calia Marshall has been a teaching artist with National Dance Institute for 19 years and recently created the role of Equity Advocate. In this role, she is supporting the teaching artists and the organization as a whole to increase their effectiveness, skills, knowledge and practices around race and other equity issues. Calia is a workshop facilitator, yoga instructor and musician who uses her art and spiritual practices to create spaces where folks can connect to themselves individually and that foster community building.
Charles Kamasaki is Senior Cabinet Advisor of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR). In this capacity he serves as a senior member of the management team (“Cabinet”) at UnidosUS, (formerly the National Council of La Raza), the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization. Previously the Executive Vice President of NCLR, Kamasaki for two decades managed the group’s research, policy analysis, and advocacy activity. He has authored, co-authored, and supervised the preparation of dozens of policy and research reports, journal articles, and editorials, testified frequently at Congressional and Administrative hearings, coordinated pro bono litigation and legal analysis, and represented the organization at research and policy conferences and symposia.
Since May 2012, Kamasaki has also been a Resident Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, carrying out research that eventually produced a book, Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die (Mandel-Vilar Press, 2019), about the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and its follow-on bill the Immigration Act of 1990, the last comprehensive immigration reforms enacted into law.
Philadelphia State Representative Chris Rabb is a father, educator, author, and social justice activist.
Rabb — who has supported efforts to reform special elections, repeal the death penalty, and redistribute school funding in Pennsylvania — introduced legislation that would establish a reparations plan for slavery and systemic racism for people of African descent due to the laws, court rulings and practices of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 1776.
Producer/Shooter, Christen Marquez is committed to producing character driven stories and covering social justice issues throughout the world. In 2012 she produced a narrative feature entitled TWO SHADOWS, a fictionalized story about Cambodian families torn apart by the violent Khmer Rouge who are searching for their long lost relatives. In the same year she also completed her documentary feature debut, E HAKU INOA: TO WEAVE A NAME, which follows a young multi-racial Native Hawaiian throughout her journey to understand the meaning of her incredibly long Hawaiian name and reconnect with her estranged mother. This film was nationally broadcast on public television in May, 2014. Christen has also worked as a producer, videographer, and story producer for multiple short and feature length docu-series for networks including PBS, National Geographic, Discovery, and Univisión. Her work has been supported by Cal Humanities, The Independent Television Service (ITVS), and Pacific Islanders in Communications. She has also been honored with the ‘Through the Soul of an Artist’ grant for Artistic Innovation by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and was selected for participation in the 2013 CPB/PBS Producer's Academy. She holds a BFA in Film and Video Production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Cristina is Co-Founder and Senior Advisor of United We Dream (UWD), the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country. She migrated to the U.S from Ecuador with her family at the age of 13, growing up undocumented. Over the last decade, UWD, under Cristina’s leadership, has grown to a powerful network of over 800,000 members and has played a pivotal role in shifting the politics and narrative about immigrants and immigration, ultimately influencing policy. Cristina was instrumental in United We Dream’s successful push for President Obama to sign Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) into law. In recognition of her work as a social justice organizer, Cristina received a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship, the Four Freedoms Award, and a spot on the 2018 TIME 100 List.
Crystal founded IllumiNative in 2018 as an outgrowth of the Reclaiming Native Truth (RNT) project, the largest public opinion research and strategy setting initiative ever conducted by and for Native peoples. Crystal designed and co-led the RNT project as CEO of Echo Hawk Consulting (EHC). Through EHC, Crystal served as a leader of tribal and philanthropic teams that raised and directed the reinvestment of $37 million in Native communities. Crystal previously served as the first Executive Director of the Notah Begay III Foundation and led program design and investment of $9.7 million in Native obesity/diabetes prevention and youth leadership.
Danielle Purifoy is a Black queer lawyer and geographer at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her current research traces the roots of contemporary environmental conditions in the U.S. South, specifically in Black towns dating back to the post-Bellum era. Danielle has also written about the legal dimensions of environmental justice and equity in food systems. Danielle is the Race and Place editor at Scalawag, a magazine devoted to Southern politics and culture, and the Board Chair of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network.
Dash Harris is a Peabody-award winning multi-media journalist and entrepreneur based in Panama. Dash is the producer of NEGRO: A docu-series about Latino Identity, a decade-long, ongoing web-based docu-series that explores AfroDiasporic identity, colonization, the historical and present day class and color complex and hierarchy among Latinxs throughout the Americas. Dash is the co-founder of AfroLatino Travel a travel and community-building resource for the African Diaspora in Latin America, led by Black Latin American locals. Dash has been featured in “50 Shades of Black,” USA Today, Latina magazine, Remezcla, Vibe, CNN, People Chica, Hip Latina, For Harriet, & The Root.
Deepa Iyer is a Senior Advisor at Building Movement Project and Director of Solidarity Is, a project that provides trainings, narratives, and resources on building deep and lasting multiracial solidarity. Iyer is a South Asian American writer, lawyer, strategist, facilitator, and activist whose areas of expertise include the post 9/11 America experiences of South Asian, Muslim, Arab and Sikh immigrants, immigration and civil rights policies, and racial equity and solidarity practices.
Iyer’s first book, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future, received a 2016 American Book Award.
Derrick Johnson serves as President and CEO of the NAACP. President Johnson served as vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, as well as state president for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP. Born in Detroit, Mr. Johnson attended Tougaloo College, and received his JD from the South Texas College of Law. Mr. Johnson had fellowships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the George Washington University School of Political Management, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has served as an annual guest lecturer at Harvard Law School, lending his expertise to Professor Lani Guinier’s course on social movements, and as an adjunct professor at Tougaloo College.
Diane Robertson, believes her role is to leave the world a better place for her children and grandchildren's generation. This belief motivates and propels her work as a community organizer and activist. She has a particular interested in the power of story telling through the medium of film, where she works as a consultant in development and production. She studied history at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio and Latin American history at Indiana University. Ms. Robertson is from Jamaica, West Indies and lived on the East Coast, Mid West and the border of Mexico before moving to Carrboro, North Carolina. She is currently the Political Chair for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, serves on several boards, including Democracy North Carolina and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. In the past she served on the board of the Southern Documentary Fund and was the interim director in 2016.
Dove Kent, Senior Strategy Officer at Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, has two decades of experience in grassroots organizing, political education, and movement building. As the executive director of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (2011-2016), Dove supported the organization to triple in size and win game-changing legislative victories for police accountability and worker’s rights through powerful local coalitions. Dove teaches nationally, is the co-founder of the national Tzedek Lab network, has been published in many anthologies and news outlets including the Guardian, Ha’aretz, and is the co-author of the ground-breaking "Understanding Antisemitism: An Offering To Our Movement" (2017).
The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is the President & Senior Lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival; Bishop with The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries; Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary; Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and the author of three books: Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing; The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and The Rise of a New Justice Movement; and Forward Together: A Moral Message For The Nation.
Rev. Dr. Barber is also the architect of the Forward Together Moral Movement that gained national acclaim with its Moral Monday protests at the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013. These weekly actions drew tens of thousands of North Carolinians and other moral witnesses to the state legislature. More than 1,200 peaceful protesters were arrested, handcuffed and jailed. On September 12, 2016 Rev. Dr. Barber led a “Moral Day of Action,” the largest coordinated action on state capitals in U.S. history, calling for state governments to embrace a moral public policy agenda. On February 11, 2017, he led the largest moral march in North Carolina state history, with over 80,000 people calling on North Carolina’s elected officials to embrace a moral public policy agenda.
Edson Sean is a singer songwriter born and raised in Brooklyn and heavily influenced by legends such as Stevie Wonder, Black Thought, Big Daddy Kane and Donny Hathaway. He combines a knack for storytelling with masterfully created melodies to capture the minds and hearts of diverse audiences every time he takes the stage. In addition to being a show stopping solo act, Edson Sean is also a producer, composer, sound engineer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, playing keys, bass, and guitar. Soulful jazz, Hip-Hop, R&B, Afrobeat and Reggae are only some of the genres that inspire his uniquely developed sound. Edson Sean has travelled to West Africa with Jazz at Lincoln Center, toured with The Experi3nce, collaborated with Grammy Award winning producer Diamond D, Hip Hop legends David Banner and Redman, and had his own single, “Shine Bright” considered for Grammy nomination in 4 categories. He is a strong believer in building community and bridging cultural and generational gaps through music.
Throughout his career, Efraín has explored the intersection of evaluation and equity and presented on how to work with Latinx, LGBTQ, and other underserved communities at different national conferences.
Emily Harrold is a documentary filmmaker from Orangeburg, South Carolina. Her films have screened at such festivals as the Tribeca Film Festival, DOC NYC, the Melbourne International Film Festival, and the Telluride Film Festival. Most recently, she produced and directed the feature documentary, WHILE I BREATHE, I HOPE, which won the documentary Audience Award at the 2018 New Orleans Film Festival and premiered on WorldChannel's AfroPop series in 2019. Harrold is also part of the team behind Discovery's TIGERLAND (Sundance 2019) and National Geographic's Ron Howard- directed REBUILDING PARADISE (Sundance 2020). She is currently working with Apograph Productions on an upcoming documentary film for PBS’s American Experience series. Harrold is a member of Film Fatales. She is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
Eric K. Ward is a nationally-recognized expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate violence, and preserving inclusive democracy. In his 30+ year civil rights career, he has worked with community groups, government and business leaders, human rights advocates, and philanthropy as an organizer, director, program officer, consultant, and board member. The recipient of the Peabody-Facebook Futures Media Award, Eric’s widely quoted writings and speeches are credited with key narrative shifts. He currently serves as Executive Director of Western States Center, Senior Fellow with Southern Poverty Law Center and Race Forward, and Co-Chair for The Proteus Fund.
Erika Cohn is a Peabody, Emmy and DGA Award-winning filmmaker who Variety recognized as one of 2017’s top documentary filmmakers to watch and was featured in DOC NYC’s 2019 “40 Under 40.” Most recently, Erika completed THE JUDGE, a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated film about the first woman judge appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a courts, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2018 Independent Lens series. She co-directed/produced, IN FOOTBALL WE TRUST, an Emmy award-winning, feature documentary about young Pacific Islander men pursuing their dreams of playing professional football, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2016 Independent Lens series.
Erika grew up attending the Sundance Film Festival as a native Utahn, where she first began her career. She studied at Chapman University (California) and Hebrew University (Jerusalem) and has degrees in Film Production, Middle East Studies, and Acting Performance. In 2013, Erika founded Idle Wild Films, Inc., which has released three feature documentaries and produced numerous branded content and commercial spots, including Gatorade’s “Win from Within” series, for which she received a 2016 Webby award nomination. She is currently developing her feature narrative debut and will be releasing her third feature-length documentary, BELLY OF THE BEAST, in 2020. Erika is represented by APA.
Evelyn Alvarez is a doula, trainer, social entrepreneur. She is the founder of Prom King, an organization that seeks to level the playing field by providing suits, shirts, ties and shoes to boys and young men ages 10- 26 for special events. In line with her desire to connect urban families and programs that serve/support urban families, she works as a consultant with Ramapo for Children, where she facilitates workshops about parenting, reproductive justice and restorative practices in schools. She also works as a childbirth and termination doula. Her work has been featured in Latina, O, Oprah magazine, and amNewYork.
Favianna Rodriguez (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist and cultural organizer on a mission to create lasting social change. Her art addresses migration, gender justice, sexual freedom and ecology. Favianna lectures globally on the power of art, cultural organizing and activism, and leads art workshops at institutions around the country. In 2016, she was a recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship. Favianna co-founded CultureStrike in 2011, a national arts organization that engages artists in social justice. She co-founded The Center for Cultural Power to build a home and infrastructure for artists, story-tellers, and cultural workers.
Felicia T. Perez is the Innovation Director at the Center for Story-based Strategy. Her previous organizing experience includes work for United Workers Congress, GetEqual, the ACLU of Southern California, No on Proposition 21 campaign, and Californians for Justice. Felicia holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction. She is a published author and co-author of social studies curriculum and in anthologies on teaching and performance. Prior to her work in strategic communications, she taught social studies for twelve years in Los Angeles and was a union chapter chair for UTLA.
Glenn Harris is the President of the new Race Forward and Publisher of Colorlines. The new Race Forward is the union of two leading racial justice non-profit organizations: Race Forward and Center for Social Inclusion (CSI), where Glenn served as President starting in 2014. The new Race Forward will build on the work of both organizations to advance racial justice.
Glenn brings to the new Race Forward over 25 years of experience working on issues of race and social justice—working with community groups, foundations, and government agencies dedicated to building a more just and democratic society.
Prior to the new Race Forward and CSI, Glenn worked as the Manager of the City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), whose mission is to end institutionalized racism in City government and promote multiculturalism and full participation by all residents. Glenn has supported the start of similar initiatives in jurisdictions across the country, and helped to found the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE).
Gloria Negrete-Lopez is a Doctoral Candidate in Gender and Women’s Studies with a Minor in Mexican-American Studies at the University of Arizona. Her developing dissertation focuses on the role of abolitionist cultural work in disrupting narratives of (im)migrant criminality. Her research interests include: Chican@/Latin@ Studies, Cultural Studies, Migration Studies, Prison Abolition, and Women of Color Feminisms. She earned an M.A. in Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University (SFSU), has a B.A. in Gender Studies with a minor in Labor and Workplace Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and an A.A. in Liberal Arts from Fullerton College.
Hannah Hearn (pronoun: she) is the Impact Coordinator for Working Films. She holds a B.A in Film Studies and a Minor in Entrepreneurship from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Most recently, she was the Managing Director of Visions Film Festival & Conference and the Sound Mixer for the feature-length documentary “Dead in the Water” - a film that exposes the harmful practices of factory farms in eastern NC. In her current role, she is dedicated to coordinating impactful documentary film campaigns both locally and nationally in order to mobilize communities to create a healthy, fair, and equitable world.
Heather Villanueva is the Deputy Director of More Equitable Democracy. Heather worked at the Minority Executive Directors Coalition, a Seattle-based coalition advocating in solidarity for racial justice, then spent 10 years working at SEIU 775 as a community organizer, where she focused on grassroots and grasstops coalition building, legislative advocacy, issue and electoral campaigns, civic engagement, organizational development, and language justice.
Heather has served on several local boards and commissions and was the NW Regional Chair of the SEIU Asian Pacific Islander Caucus. She currently serves on the board of Ingersoll Gender Center supporting the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming community.
Jalena Keane-Lee (Director, Producer) is a Director, DP, Producer, and the co-founder of Breaktide Productions, an all women of color video production company. Jalena has lead Breaktide to create national video campaigns for clients like THINX, Bright Pink, and Nike, as well as producing original short films. Jalena is a 2018 NeXt Doc Fellow and a 2018 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow at the Jacob Burns Film Center, which has supported shorts that have premiered at SXSW, HotDocs, and Sundance. Jalena is currently in production directing her first documentary feature following a young menstrual activist fighting to end the tampon tax co-produced by Stick Figure Productions.
Jameka Autry is a director, creative producer, and 2019 Sundance Creative Producing Lab Fellow. She was previously recognized as a 2017 Impact Partners Creative Producer Fellow and in 2018 she was selected as part of the inaugural DOC NYC 40 Under 40 List. She started her career with the award-winning duo, Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, at Break Thru Films and also worked as an integral part of the Original Productions team at Cinereach. She has worked on the creative development and production of feature documentaries, narrative films, commercials, short films, and multimedia campaigns. Her films have screened at Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW, and New Directors New Films. Jameka produced Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing (HBO) and In My Father’s House (Showtime), which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and garnered wins for Best Documentary at both the Nashville Film Festival and Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival. She was a line producer on Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. and served as a consulting producer on We the Animals and CNN Films' Love Gilda. She spent two seasons helming the docu-series The Fashion Fund in collaboration with Conde Nast and Vogue, which aired on Amazon. She recently completed work on Ernie & Joe (HBO),which received jury awards at SXSW and Boston International Film Festival. She is currently working on directing her first feature film The United States v Billie Holiday, for which she was awarded one of four Sundance/A&E Brave Storyteller Awards.
Jeremie Greer was raised by a hardworking, midwestern family in a historically black neighborhood in St. Paul, MN. His first job as a community organizer in DC trained him to solve inequalities early on. His skills in national policy were honed at the US GAO, LISC, and Prosperity Now. At Prosperity Now, as Vice President of Policy and Research, he oversaw federal, state, and local policy work, and launched the organization’s Racial Wealth Divide Initiative.
Jolene Pinder is a New Orleans-based documentary producer and currently serves as the Executive Director of #CreateLouisiana, a grantmaking organization designed to champion Louisiana talent in film. Prior to this role, she served as the Executive Director of the New Orleans Film Society—the producer of the Oscar-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival—for six years.
For four years prior, she worked at Arts Engine / Big Mouth Productions in NYC as a documentary film producer and Director of the Media That Matters Film Festival. She recently produced the documentary short, All Skinfolk Ain't Kinfolk (dir. Angela Tucker), which premiered at DOC NYC in November 2018. Other documentaries producing credits include (A)sexual (premiered at Frameline Film Festival), Arctic Son (broadcast on POV), Election Day (broadcast on POV), and Pushing the Elephant (broadcast on Independent Lens). Her graduate thesis film Bismillah won the Student Emmy in the documentary category in 2008 and went on to broadcast on Al-Jazeera. She is currently producing the documentary feature Hollow Tree, a recipient of development funding from the Sundance Documentary Film Program, Fork Films, and the International Documentary Association.
Joshua Clark is the Political Participation Analyst at the Othering & Belonging Institute, and Senior Researcher at Tides Advocacy. In these roles, he leads research and analysis on civic engagement, democratic representation, independent political infrastructure development, voting rights, and cross-group bridging. Josh is a social anthropologist with a deeply inter-disciplinary training and outlook, and particular expertise in ethnographic and other qualitative methods. He has held previous positions at the Rapoport Center for Human Rights & Justice, and the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity.
Judith Browne Dianis is Executive Director of Advancement Project National Office. Dianis has served as a lawyer, professor and civil rights advocate for more than two decades in the movement for racial justice. Hailed as a voting rights expert and pioneer in the movement to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, Dianis leads Advancement Project National Office’s work in combatting structural racism in education, voting, policing, criminal justice and immigration. A graduate of Columbia University School of Law and former managing attorney of the DC office of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, was named one of the “Thirty Women to Watch” by Essence magazine. Judith Browne Dianis lives with her family in Maryland and is a proud basketball mom.
Juell is the Policy Research Manager at Race Forward. Prior to working at Race Forward, she broughther expertise in advocacy, communications and public policy to the Bay Area's thriving cannabis industry. Her thirst for urban culture has led her from Chicago to Brooklyn to Philadelphia to her current home in San Francisco, where she likes to explore the city in her free time. Juell has a Master's in City Planning with a concentration in Community Economic Development from the University of Pennsylvania.
Kamm Howard is a Chicago businessman and real estate investor, and is an internationally respected reparations activist. In 2014, he spoke at the 8th Pan African Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa on the “new paradigm of reparations activism.” In 2016, he was a key organizer for the US visit of the United Nations Working Group of Experts for People of African Descent that proclaimed that the US must engage in reparations.
Kamm has been a 16-year member of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, N’COBRA. In 2017, Kamm was elected as the National Male Co-Chair. In 2015 as a member of the National African American Reparations Commission, led a team to re-vise HR 40, the federal reparations bill. Kamm recently authored a pamphlet, “Laying the Foundation for Local Reparations: A Guide for Providing National Symmetry for Local Reparations Efforts.” And in June of 2020, Kamm successfully led the work to pass the City of Chicago Subcommittee on Reparations.
Kay Gayner is the Associate Artistic Director of NDI and currently serves as Artistic Director for the NDI/China Project in Shanghai and the NDI/Lebanon Project in Beirut, training teachers in the NDI pedagogy and overseeing the development of NDI’s partner programs in both countries. Kay is an NDI Master Teaching Artist and was named the 2009 Teacher of the Year. With Agnes McConlogue Ferro, Kay serves as co-creator and co-director of the NDI DREAM Project (Dancers Realize Excellence through Arts and Movement): an inclusion-based dance program that focuses on augmenting movement potential through partnerships, collaboration and choreography.
Kelli Dillon is an advocate for violence prevention and intervention. She is founder of Back to the Basics, a community empowerment organization based in Los Angeles. In 2006, she became the first survivor of sterilization abuse to sue the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for damages, and is an advocate for reparative justice for forced sterilization survivors.
Kien Lee provides organizations in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors with research and evaluation services in the areas of cross-cultural competency, inclusion, and equity in health disparities, immigrant integration, civic participation, and community change. She currently provides strategic direction for the evaluation of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s place-based work in Mississippi and New Orleans, The Colorado Trust’s Community Partnerships for Health Equity initiative, and the Racial Equity Anchor Collaborative. She worked with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity to evaluate its effort to help five city governments apply a racial equity lens, an initiative funded by Living Cities.
Dubbed the Ancient Jazz Priestess of Mother Africa, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi is a Nigerian, Cuban, Indigenous, American performance artist, author, teacher, choreographer, priestess, speech writer, playwright, writing coach, advocate, healer, a founding member of Force Collision. She founded The Inanna D Initiatives, which curates, produces, and cultivates events and initiatives designed to center and celebrate the work of TGNC Artists of Color. Considered one of the most prolific artists of our time, she is the first trans woman of color to be nominated for a Helen Hayes Award. She also costarred in the new web series King Ester.
Lana Garland has worked as a Creative Director, Director, and Writer/Producer in television and film in the US and Europe. Her work has included creating content for HBO and BET in America, and TV2 in Denmark. In documentary film, she has freelanced on films such as Bowling For Columbine and HBO’s Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives. Lana is a Gordon Parks IFP screenwriting finalist, a Worldfest Houston finalist, a Telly Award winner, and a NATPE fellow. As a Fulbright Specialist, she taught film at Makerere University in Uganda. As the festival director and curator of the Hayti Heritage Film Festival, Lana is focused on developing a Black & Southern film ecosystem. She is the recipient of the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Award from the Durham Arts Council and serves on Gov. Roy Cooper’s Advisory Council on Film, Television, and Digital Streaming.
Lauren Franklin, is a filmmaker based in New York. She has aided in the development, fundraising, coordination and distribution of a variety of narrative and documentary feature films. Most recently she worked on season two of Wrong Man, which aired on Starz. She’s also collaborated on Margaret Brown’s (The Order of Myths) documentary The Great Invisible, which won the Best Documentary Award at the 2014 South By Southwest Film Festival, and Antonino D’Ambrosio’s Frank Serpico, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and was picked up by Sundance Selects. She is currently working on an upcoming sports series for ITV. Franklin received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Layel Camargo (They/Them/Theirs) is an indigenous descendant of the Yaqui and Mayo tribes from the Sonoran Desert and a Trans & gender non conforming person. They are a performance artist in theater and video. Layel was an artist-in-residency with 'Las Hociconas Lab' & Soundwave SF ‘biennial’. Layel is an organizer for Transformative Justice and is currently a cultural strategist to Movement Generation and Impact Producer for ‘The North Pole Show’. Layel brings their passion for the environment, zero waste and ‘veganismo para el planeta’ to their impact on climate justice & work with artists and frontline communities.
Recently re-elected to a second term as WNBPA Vice President Layshia helped negotiate a groundbreaking CBA Agreement that will serve as a bedrock for women’s professional sports leagues moving forward. A current member of both 5x5 and 3x3 National Team pools, Layshia captured gold with Team USA in the 2018 FIBA World Championships. In 2017, Layshia was named a WNBA All-Star, led the league in total assists, and broke the franchise record for assists in a single season. Clarendon was Cal’s leading scorer while in college where they led the Golden Bears to the first Final Four in school history. During their senior season, she was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection and the Pac-12 women’s basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Clarendon is a noted social advocate, speaker, and writer, who is often asked to lend their voice and opinions on various social topics. She has been published in The Players’ Tribune, Mic, Esquire, and ESPN. In the off-season, you can find them on the sidelines providing color commentary for the Pac-12 Network.
Leah Obias (they/them) is a queer, Filipinx community organizer and activist. They bring to Race Forward over 15 years of organizing, policy, and movement building experience in youth, immigrant, and low-wage worker spaces.
Before joining IllumiNative, Leah worked as a Senior Associate at Hattaway Communications, where she developed messaging and communications strategies for clients including The Rockefeller Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and the Harlem Children’s Zone. Leah had previously led strategic communications work for the National Indian Education Association. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Cornell University with a focus on racial and gender inequality.
Loira Limbal is an Afro-Dominican filmmaker and DJ interested in the creation of art that is nuanced and revelatory for communities of color. She is the Senior Vice President of Programs at Firelight Media. Firelight is committed to making films about pivotal movements and moments in the U.S. Firelight's flagship program - the Documentary Lab - is a fellowship that provides mentorship, funding, and industry access to emerging filmmakers of color. Limbal’s current film, THROUGH THE NIGHT is a feature documentary about a 24 hour daycare center. THROUGH THE NIGHT was part of the 2019 Sundance Edit & Story Lab and was selected for world premiere at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. Her first film, ESTILO HIP HOP, was a co-production of ITVS and aired on PBS in 2009. Additionally, she co-produces and helms the popular Brooklyn monthly #APartyCalledRosiePerez. Limbal received a B.A. in History from Brown University and is a graduate of the Third World Newsreel's Film and Video Production Training Program. She is a Sundance Institute Fellow and a former Ford Foundation Justfilms/Rockwood Fellow. She lives in the Bronx with her two children.
Mahsima is native of Elon, North Carolina. She studied southern history at UNCG and is a certified paralegal. Mahsima is currently focused on cultivating spaces in rural communities where people can talk about race, class & gender, and reclaim their experiences with a sense of hope. As an expert Deep Canvasser, she has knocked over 4,000 doors along with leading two national Deep Canvasses. Her passions for honest and open communication are rooted in being a politically activated artist along with a vision for policy that represents working people, not the corporate establishment. Mahsima hopes to attend law school.
Mala Nagarajan (she/he) is a DC-born, second-generation, middle-class, Indian-American; a certified Senior Human Resources Professional (SHRM/HRCI); and a social justice nonprofit consultant. As part of the RoadMap consulting network, she is spearheading their HR/RJ working group. She supports clients with HR audits, restructuring compensation, developing equitable organizational policies, strengthening team building and workflow, and professional development and performance management with a movement building lens.
Malcolm Shanks is a researcher, writer, organizer, and facilitator. They use popular and political education to build strong movements, resilient groups, and connected people. Hailing from Washington, D.C., Malcolm has been involved in political organizing and education for more than a dozen years. They have worked in movements for peace, for gender liberation, for racial justice, and for decolonization. In 2017 they co-created the zine Decolonizing Gender, which has since been discussed, read, and shared in classrooms, museums, and other revolutionary spaces in more than 40 countries and in several languages.
Manju Rajendran is a facilitator, trainer, conflict transformation practitioner, and organizer with 27 years of local, state, regional, and national-level experience. Her work is grounded in popular education pedagogy and healing justice. Manju is a trainer with Ready the Ground Training Team, member of Sanctuary Beyond Walls, and member of Durham Beyond Policing Coalition. Manju is a queer, working class, South Asian, immigrant woman who grew up in North Carolina. She hopes her facilitation work can support participants in planting seeds for strong and joyful futures.
In her roles as multimedia journalist, curator, strategist, and educator, Manolia Charlotin tells stories that feed spirit and amplifies voices that seek liberation. She has helped lead several media organizations and campaigns, including the Boston Haitian Reporter, The Haitian Times, and Feet in 2 Worlds. Most recently, she was the Associate Director at The Media Consortium. As a strategic consultant, she’s helping change agents channel their resources to center the capacity of communities of color to build institutions in their image. Manolia also serves on the board of directors for Bitch Media and YES! Media.
Marc Morial is the current President and CEO of the National Urban League. He served as the Mayor of New Orleans as well as the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He previously was a Louisiana State Senator, and was a lawyer in New Orleans. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, and the University of Pennsylvania, and he has also been inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, GA.
Member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee from the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, NC; Coordinator for the Eastern Cherokee Organization (ECO) Cherokee, NC; Southeast Regional Representative for the Indigenous Environmental Network
Mehrdad Azemun has nearly 20 years of experience running electoral and legislative campaigns with grassroots leaders at the local state, and national level. His roots are in the immigrants rights movement and community organizing. He has run the grassroots organizing machines for 2 different national immigrant justice campaigns. Before that, he was Organizing Director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Mehrdad is an immigrant from Iran. Most recently, Mehrdad worked with People’s Action member organization to design and execute a Deep Canvass on immigration and race that focused on conflicted voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
Dr. Michael McAfee became President and CEO of PolicyLink in 2018, seven years after becoming the inaugural director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink. His results-driven leadership, depth of knowledge about building and sustaining an organization, and devotion to serving the nation’s most underserved populations made him the obvious choice to lead the 20-year-old PolicyLink as Angela Glover Blackwell transitioned to founder in residence. Before joining PolicyLink, Michael served as senior community planning and development representative in the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While at HUD, he managed a $450 million housing, community, and economic development portfolio where he partnered with local leaders to create more than 3,000 units of affordable housing and 5,000 jobs and to ensure access to social services for more than 200,000 families. Before his public service, Michael served as the director of community leadership for The Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Affiliated Trusts. He was instrumental in positioning the organization to raise $121 million from individual donors, an accomplishment recognized by the Chronicle of Philanthropy for receiving more contributions than any community foundation in America. Michael’s commitment to the needs of people of color and those living in poverty extends to his work on the boards of Bridge Housing, Independent Sector, North Lawndale Employment Network, One Degree, and Sweet Beginnings, LLC, each of which is committed to creating opportunity for those among the 100 million economically insecure people in America. Previously, Michael served in the United States Army and as Dean's Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He earned his Doctor of Education in human and organizational learning from George Washington University and completed Harvard University's Executive Program in Public Management.
Michaela A. Harrison is a Washington, D.C. native whose career is rooted in relaying the healing, transformational power of music through song. She has performed nationally and internationally as a soloist and with various bands and musical collectives. As a resident of New Orleans for over 17 years, Michaela established an enthusiastic following at local venues such as Café Istanbul, Second Vine Wine, and Ashé Cultural Arts Center.
Michaela began singing in the Baptist church at age five. Her musical style incorporates her gospel roots as well as a diverse range of genres including jazz, blues, R & B, soul, samba, MPB and African traditional music. As a protégé of Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey In The Rock, Michaela is well-versed in spirituals, work songs, and protest music from the Civil Rights era. Her soulful, heartfelt delivery of covers and original music has often moved audiences to tears.
Michelle Melendez is the inaugural director of the City of Albuquerque Office of Equity and Inclusion. She is a Chicana, native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with more than 18 years of experience in community development, leadership development and advocacy to address the social determinants of health and their policy antecedents. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s in Communication, having been as a journalist for 13 years before moving into community health equity work.
Michelle brings a lifelong vision of racial equity to the Office of Equity and Inclusion, and believes that her relationships with incredibly dedicated social justice, economic development and public health champions will lead the City of Albuquerque to embrace equity as a guiding principle in all areas of civic life.
“My goals are to make Albuquerque a safe, inclusive place for all people. Our health is tied to wealth and to where people live, work, learn, pray and play.”
Michelle worked as the Director of EleValle, a South Valley Healthy Communities Collaborative of the Rio Grande Community Development Corp; and as Development Director and Training Director at First Choice Community Healthcare. She also worked as Community Services Director of CHI St. Joseph’s Children, and for the New Mexico Department of Health after she left her journalism career in 2001.
Michelle received fellowships with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Ladders to Leadership and Connect Program) and served on the boards of Health Leadership High School, Future Focused Education, Bernalillo County Community Health Council, Con Alma Health Foundation’s Community Advisory Committee, as well as on the Board of Trustees of UNM Hospitals.
Nathan Clarke is a filmmaker living in Richmond, VA. His documentary work has been featured in the New York Times (Neighbors, 2009), The Washington Post (The Psalms, 2016), and Paste Magazine (Wrestling for Jesus, 2011). His feature documentary, Wrestling for Jesus, premiered at the Wisconsin Film Festival and won best doc at the Virginia Film Festival. He is also the co-creator of the Box Canyon, a music and story experiment filmed entirely in a remote canyon in the Texas Hill Country.
Producer Nicole Docta is a documentary producer who has focused her career on socially impactful projects and BIPOC stories. She Co-Produced the Emmy-nominated As Goes Janesville (Independent Lens 2013). Nicole was the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for the Emmy award-winning In Football We Trust (Sundance 2015). She Associate Produced the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated The Judge (TIFF, DOC NYC, IDFA 2017), which aired on Independent Lens in 2019. She is a Producer on Belly of the Beast (HRWFF 2020) Directed by Erika Cohn and Co-Producing Through The Night (Tribeca 2020) by Director Loira Limbal. Nicole is also a Special Initiatives Producer at Firelight Media.
Olivia Araiza is director of the Network for Transformative Change. She supports a new paradigm-shifting platform of individuals and institutions dedicated to aligning movements to transform our most pressing societal issues. Olivia was the director of Justice Matters in Oakland, CA. She brought together her background as a daughter/sister of immigrants, mother, community organizer and policy analyst. She dedicated herself to changing the conditions communities of color experience in public schools by combining public policy analysis with community organizing for educational justice. Olivia coordinated the ACLU Driving While Black and Brown Campaign and organized for police accountability for PUEBLO.
Omisade Burney-Scott is a Black southern 7th generation native North Carolinian feminist, mother and healer. Omisade has spent the better part of the past 25 years of her life focused on the liberation of marginalized people, beginning with her own community through advocacy work, philanthropy,community organizing and culture work. She is the creator/curator of The Black Girls’ Guide to Surviving Menopause, a multimedia project seeking to curate and share the stories and realities of Black women and femmes over 50. This project is a direct result of Omisade finding herself and her peers living at the intersection of social justice movement work, creative healer identities and aging. She has chosen to use the medium of storytelling to disrupt the erasure of Black women's voices as they age.
Omisade is a member of the 1999-2001 class of the William C. Friday Fellows for Human Relations, a 2003 Southeastern Council on Foundation’s Hull Fellow and founding member NGAAP, Next Generation of African American Philanthropy. She has served on various nonprofit boards including stone circles, Fund for Southern Communities, Spirithouse, Village of Wisdom, Working Films and The Beautiful Project. She is a 1989 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, the proud mom of two sons, Che and Taj and resides in North Carolina.
Pierce Freelon is a musician, director and Durham City Council Member.
Pierce is the founder of Blackspace, an Afrofuturism digital maker space for teens in Durham. He is the writer, composer and co-director of the PBS animated series, The History of White People in America. He is a co-founder of Beat Making Lab, a PBS web-series, which won Best Video Essay for its episode Heartbeats of Fiji at the 2015 Daytime Emmy Awards. His latest project is a children’s music album, titled D.a.D, which has been featured on NPR and Today Show.
Pierce earned a BA in African and African American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and an MA in Pan African Studies at Syracuse University. He has taught in the Departments of Music, Political Science, and African American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. Freelon ran for Mayor of Durham in 2017, and was appointed to serve on Durham City Council in 2020. Pierce is the son of 6-time Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and the late architect of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Phil Freelon.
Pierce lives in Durham with his wife of 12 years and their two children.
Pua Case was born and raised on the Island of Hawai’i surrounded by the high mountains of Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualalai and Kohala. She is a Kumu Hula, a teacher of traditional dance and chant, and a teacher of the ways, culture and traditions of the kanaka maoli or native peoples of Hawai’i. With a degree in Hawaiian Language and culture, and a teaching degree in Social Studies, interwoven with the traditional teachings, philosophies and expectations from her kupuna or elders, Pua has integrated ‘Ike Hawai’i or Hawaiian knowledge and lessons into the public school system for over 30 years. Pua sits on various educational and cultural boards including the Waimea Hawaiian Civic Club, Waimea Community Education Hui, and MKEA, Mauna Kea Education and Awareness. Pua and her family are petitioners in the Contested Case hearing filed on behalf of Mauna Kea Mountain. As a representative of the Mauna Kea ‘Ohana Na Kia’I Mauna, Idle No More Hawai’i Warriors Rising and Idle No More Mauna, Kea she and her family have traveled throughout the continent, to Europe and various places across the Pacific to network, support and address the issues and challenges facing sacred places and life ways of the people of Hawaiʻi.
Raven practices in community with survivors and allies as a therapist, poetic dissenter, full-spectrum doula, and facilitator. She has walked alongside people who have been harmed and those who have caused harmed since 2011. Raven believes in calling attention to the ways our bodies respond to the disruption of interpersonal harm and oppressive systems - particularly how patterns of racism and sexism create danger. She finds the most joy in-between the pages of books and the dirt of a garden. Raven most desires to be in community with people who seek radical change for reproductive and economic resources available to all.
Rhiana Gunn-Wright is the Director of Climate Policy at the Roosevelt Institute. Before joining Roosevelt, Gunn-Wright was the policy director for New Consensus, charged with developing and promoting the Green New Deal, among other projects. Previously she served as the policy director for Abdul El-Sayed’s 2018 Michigan gubernatorial campaign. A 2013 Rhodes Scholar, Gunn-Wright has also worked as the policy analyst for the Detroit Health Department, was a Mariam K. Chamberlain Fellow of Women and Public Policy at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and served on the policy team for former First Lady Michelle Obama. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale in 2011 with majors in African American studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.
Richael Faithful (they/them) is a southern Black trans-radical lawyer, organization strategist, traditional folk healer and former organizer known for developing healing culture within movement groups. Their unique intersection of skill sets and identities has positioned them as a highly sought conflict worker and relational facilitator. Richael is a former Equal Justice Works Fellow and staff attorney whose two-year project successfully changed felony disenfranchisement laws in Virginia. During their fellowship they were also an active National Lawyers Guild member, and served as Executive Editor at the National Lawyers Guild Review.
Rinku Sen is a writer and a political strategist. She is currently Senior Strategist at Race Forward, having formerly served as Executive Director and as Publisher of their award-winning news site Colorlines. She is also a James O. Gibson Innovation Fellow at PolicyLink. Under Sen’s leadership, Race Forward has generated some of the most impactful racial justice successes of recent years, including Drop the I-Word, a campaign for media outlets to stop referring to immigrants as “illegal,” resulting in the Associated Press, USA Today, LA Times, and many more outlets changing their practice. Her books Stir it Up and The Accidental American theorize a model of community organizing that integrates a political analysis of race, gender, class, poverty, sexuality, and other systems. She writes and curates the news at rinkusen.com.
Rosana Cruz is a writer, parent, racial justice facilitator, cultural organizer, intersectional feminist and tgnc witch. They have lived in and loved New Orleans, Louisiana for the last 22 years. Essays by Cruz have been published in hipMama, Bridge the Gulf Project, Colorlines and the anthology Mamaphonic. Cruz is a 2017 and 2020 VONA Voices Fellow. Their fiction has been published in Black Warrior Review and their writing practice is now centered on Speculative Fiction and Afro-Futurist influenced Magical Realism. They are the founder of Racial Justice Reads. You can follow RC on twitter, instagram or at rosanacruz.com
K. Sabeel Rahman is the President of Demos, an Associate Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School and the co-author of Civic Power, which looks at how to build a more inclusive and empowered bottom-up democracy. His academic research focuses on issues of democracy, economic power, law, and inequality. He has worked extensively with a range of think tanks, advocacy organizations, and foundations to develop novel approaches to addressing these issues in practice. He earned his law degree and doctorate at Harvard University, and his Masters degrees at the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
Sameena Mustafa is the host of "Hand Her the Mic," a show produced by women of color centering women and nonbinary folks of color in politics and activism. She ran for Congress as a Justice Democrat, the organization behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Prior to running for office, she worked as a tenant advocate for nonprofits and small businesses, managed a women’s health center on Chicago's West Side, and founded a diverse stand-up comedy collective. She will be launching a civic engagement initiative to amplify the voices of women of color.
Sana Qutubuddin is a United Nations Development Program consultant on emergency education relief and has served as a consultant in various UNDP programs over the last 10 years. She is the National Advocacy Executive for the Indian American Muslim Council.
Sanu is an energetic and adaptable movement builder who brings corporate and non-profit experience to uplift people within the African Diaspora. She leverages analytical skills and deep networks to develop strategic solutions to complex issues. Sanu is a notable and awarded professional committed to ending the experiences of interpersonal and systemic violence.
Shorlette Ammons is a native of Mount Olive, North Carolina, where she grew up in a large family of farmworkers, cooks, and storytellers. She is a former children’s librarian, with a Masters of Library Science (MLS) degree from North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC.
Shorlette currently serves as Equity in Food Systems Coordinator, Extension Associate with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at NC State University in Raleigh, NC, although her work is statewide/regional with participation in some national networks. She works as a part of the Community Food Strategies team, which supports and uplifts the efforts of food councils around the state. Shorlette leads the CEFS CORE (Committee on Racial Equity) team where she coordinates and facilitates racial equity trainings and ongoing learning sessions, guest lectures and develops curriculum and strategic tools to address food insecurity and other food systems disparities through the lens of structural racism and serves as a member of the Community Food Strategies team. She was selected as the Center for Social Inclusion’s 2013 Food and Racial Equity Fellow (now the Maya Wiley Fellowship), releasing a policy brief, Shining a Light in Dark Places, which is a series of interviews of southern Black and Latinx Women of Color working in the food system resulting in policy recommendations and long-term solutions for creating a more equitable food system.
In her work and her daily life, she seeks to lift up and be informed by familial ancestors like her grandparents, Grandma Adell and Grandaddy Rasper, her daddy June, her aunt Annette and cousin Brandon, as well as freedom fighters like Fannie Lou Hamer. She has a teenage daughter, now in college and a sweet pup named Lady. They all call the Bull City of Durham, NC home.
Shruti Jayaraman lives according to a handful of intentions. One of these is an intention to support the fundamental well-being of people. She is the Director of Learning at Chicago Beyond, an impact investor that backs the fight for youth equity by fueling organizations, individuals, and ideas.
Shweta Moorthy, PhD currently serves as Research Director at Race Forward. Born and raised in New Delhi, India and now living in the US, she considers it her life’s work to fight for social justice wherever life, immigration and capitalism takes her. Shweta cut her teeth in social justice movements for Palestine, nuclear disarmament, actions against US imperialist wars in Afghanistan while in India, and in Black liberation, and caste abolition spaces in the US. Shweta has over ten years of research experience, with a significant proportion of that time spent in developing and implementing a research justice vision that is compatible with and moves towards achieving social justice change. She has authored publications such as Leading With Race: Research Justice in Washington County, set up Portland’s first community-driven hate violence tracking system through Portland United Against Hate, and research capacity building work among communities of color in Oregon.
Sia joined the Restorative Justice Project at Impact Justice in 2014, collaborating with communities to establish pre-charge restorative justice diversion (RJD) programs that, without relying on incarceration, center the needs of those affected by crime and support those responsible in taking accountability. She later left to do conditions of confinement work at the Prison Law Office and then the National Prison Rape Elimination Act Resource Center. In 2020, Sia returned to the Restorative Justice Project, this time leading efforts to dismantle the criminal legal system by supporting communities throughout the East Coast and the South in establishing pre-charge RJD programs.
Sky Allen is the Project Manager for Inland Empowerment, a coalition of nonprofit organizations organized to increase civic participation through engagement of historically ignored and disenfranchised communities of color. Through her role Sky has served as both Census Coordinator for Census IE and IE RISE Coordinator for the IE RISE table. With IE RISE, she facilitates cross regional collaboration of an ambitious community grounded, regional planning table. Prior to Inland Empowerment, Sky was a policy fellow for the Warehouse Worker Resource Center leading a civic engagement campaign and researching city planning within the Inland Empire. She graduated from the UCR with a B.S. in Business Administration and a Minor in Ethnic Studies.
Solana Rice was raised by a Black, midwestern family that made tremendous emotional and physical sacrifices to get by. Solana brought her talents to PolicyLink where she led national and local networks aimed at the advancement of policies and strategies that enhance the financial wealth of low-income people of color. She then transitioned to Prosperity Now where she led the organization’s state and local policy work.
Stephanie Castro (29) is a queer 1st generation daughter of immigrants, digital media storyteller, multi-medium creative, full-spectrum community doula & social justice organizer. Stephanie has over 8 years of experience in digital communications & content creation. She is a Mijente member & serves the #KeepAleFree campaign as a digital media strategist & fundraising event coordinator. She also co-organizes at MoneyToThePeople an NYC based fundraising collective that seeks to educate on different social movements & provide tangible ways to support communities through donation/celebration. Stephanie through radical acts of love is helping build a just world rooted in dignity & respect.
Steve Deline is co-founder of the New Conversation Initiative. He began in this work as a gay volunteer terrified to talk to anti-gay voters. Over 8 years on the Leadership LAB team Steve helped develop the original deep canvass conversation model.
He helped the LAB team partner with other organizations to apply deep canvassing. In 2012 he embedded with the Minnesotans United marriage equality campaign. That successful campaign organized over 14,000 volunteers to have more than 220,000 deep canvass conversations. He is deeply passionate about the superpowers of vulnerability and non-judgmental curiosity, especially in a political context.
sumi is a writer, organizer, and healer. She is a Campaigner at 18 Million Rising, a national Asian American digital-first media and organizing project. sumi practices herbalism, dog whispering, and is deeply curious about what the healing possibilities are for Asian America. She was born, raised, and lives in Durham, where she fights for #CareOverCages with Southerners on New Ground and melts ICE with her community.
Tyler Trumbo is a Virginia-based documentary filmmaker and editor born and raised along the Blue Ridge Mountains. His work has been featured on The Atlantic and shown around the world including screenings at Sheffield Doc/Fest, Slamdance Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and the Virginia Film Festival. He holds an M.F.A in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University and has served in the past as an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University.
UyenThi Tran Myhre is a volunteer with MPD150, a cat mom, a daughter of refugees, and a writer. She believes another world is possible, and that now is the time to build the alternatives we want to see.
Xuan Vu, is a documentary filmmaker whose core motivation is to give a voice to those who otherwise would not be heard. From her activist work in political documentaries about the threat to U.S. citizens' voting rights (Stealing America and Reclaiming Their Voice, by Oscar-nominated and Emmy award winner Dorothy Fadiman), to her devotion to raising awareness about the stigma of mental health in the Asian American community (Can, by Pearl J. Park), to her editorial contributions in international causes such as sustainability efforts in Haiti (Holy Crap! by Jennifer Benorden), Xuan continuously devotes her energies and skills to shedding light upon vehicles of positive change. Her more recent work in broadcast television highlights both her storytelling and more technical skills as an editor (such as PBS’s “Unladylike2020,” PBS's "America by the Numbers with Maria Hinojosa,” Showtime's "Dark Net,” and CNN’s “This is Life with Lisa Ling”). Xuan currently lives in New York City and holds a dual BA/MA degree in Documentary Filmmaking & East/West Philosophy from Boston University's University Professors Program.
Yakir Ben-Hur (Associate Music Director) Pianist/Percussionist, Composer, Arranger and Educator. A native of Israel, Ben-Hur came to New York to study with Jazz legend Barry Harris in 1999. He holds a BFA and M.A. in composition from the City College of New York. In 2004, he recorded the album, “A Sonny Day,” featuring Avishai Cohen and Eli Degibri. Ben-Hur has performed in many of the major venues in New York City and has traveled the world performing and teaching. In 2006-10, he served as musical director and pianist for the Grammy nominated artist Amel Larriuex, with whom he recorded and arranged the album, “Lovely Standards.” Ben-Hur was an adjunct professor at the New School University for Jazz and Contemporary Music and has been a part of the NDI family since 2003.
Yirssi is an Afro-Dominican, queer, multicultural researcher, and writer. Currently, she’s at Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation, and was previously at Planned Parenthood of North Florida, and the ACLU.
On the writing front she has contributed to Colorlines, CNN iReport, and The Huffington Post, among others. She’s a VONA alum, and has won writing awards from the Michigan Press Association, and the American Model United Nations.
Born in the Dominican Republic, and raised in Spain, in her free time you will find her working out, reading, or planning her next traveling adventure.
Yolanda Coentro is the President and CEO of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP), working to transform the nonprofit sector to make it exponentially more effective, equitable, diverse, and connected. Under Yolanda’s leadership, INP is scaling its award winning leadership development programs nationally, and deepening programmatic impact for a student body that is majority BIPOC and women. INP has fully integrated social justice, racial and gender equity into its curriculum offerings. Recognized as one of the ‘2020 Power & Influence Top 50’ by The NonProfit Times, she has consulted with organizations to advance organizational change and realize their equity objectives.