Adam Green is Associate Professor of American History and, since July 2011, Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division. He received his BA from The University of Chicago (1985) and his Ph.D. from Yale University (1998). He teaches and research in a variety of fields, including twentieth century U.S. history, African American history, urban history, cultural studies and social movements. He has written and co-edited two books: Selling the Race: Culture and Community in Black Chicago, 1940-1955 (Univ. of Chicago Press: 2006); Time Longer than Rope: Studies in African American Activism, 1850-1950, co- edited with Charles Payne (New York University Press: 2003). His current book research deals with the history of the black struggle for happiness, and he is developing several articles projects dealing with segregation, police torture, and post-1970 culture and society in Black Chicago.
Rahman is currently writing his dissertation at University of Michigan on the ideological history of Pan-Africanism in the 20 century. He will discuss the effect of the FBI COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) in the demise of several black nationalist in the 1960s and 1970s. He will also discuss the police targeting of African Americans for incarceration and racial profiling. During his 21 years in prison, Rahman received a Bachelors degree from Wayne State University. He was the first ex-prisoner admitted to the University of Michigan to obtain a graduate degree, where upon his release from prison he completed his Masters degree in history. He has been a staff member of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, and worked as a researcher for the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. Most recently, he worked as a program coordinator for Michigan’s Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives.
Aja D. Reynolds, is an educator/community organizer in various spaces throughout Chicago, IL. She has experience collaborating with youth and adults in CPS, as well as, well-known organizations that serve diverse groups of youth. Before coming to Chicago, she served as College Adviser and Co-teacher in an urban public school in Pennsylvania. She earned her masters’ of education degree at the University of Illinois- Chicago in Youth Development, which she spent much of her studies on researching how to effectively engage Black youth in activism and advocating for better educational institutions. She has conducted qualitative research at UIC on a study about African- American fathers involvement with their children. Most importantly, she is committed to resolving issues of social justice and youth voice.
Akiba Solomon is the Editorial Director of Colorlines.com and an NABJ-Award winning journalist, editor and essayist from West Philadelphia. Online, she has written about the intersection between gender and race for Colorlines.com and culture for Ebony.com. As Colorlines.com’s inaugural reporting fellow, Solomon reported on reproductive health access for women of color during and immediately after President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. A graduate of Howard University, the Brooklyn resident co-edited Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips, and Other Parts (Perigee, 2005), an anthology of original essays and oral memoirs about Black women and body image. Solomon has also been a researcher for Glamour, a health editor for Essence and a senior editor for the print versions of Vibe Vixen and The Source. She has also written for a range of publications on a freelance basis, including Redbook, Vibe and Heart & Soul. As a panelist, she has spoken about women’s and social justice issues through the lens of hip-hop culture at a range of institutions including The Schomburg Center for the Research in Black Culture, Stanford University, Yale University, Harvard University and The University of Chicago.
Albert Sykes is the Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Young People’s Project (YPP), and the proud father of three sons. This 30 year old is a 15-year veteran of YPP/The Algebra Project. Growing up in the Shady Oaks community and around the corner from where the NAACP member and the civil rights activist Medgar Evers lived and died has been one of Albert’s driving forces in doing the work needed to move Mississippi and our nation forward. Becoming a student of the Algebra project and a mentee of Bob Moses brought Evers into Albert’s life and made his sacrifices tangible to the young pre-teen. Sykes gained much firsthand knowledge and understanding of Black Mississippi’s struggle for justice, equity and full citizenship. Among the heroes and sheroes Sykes is proud to have learned from are Hollis Watkins, Chikwe Lumumba, Bobby Talbert, Willie Peacock, Janet Moses, Lawrence Guyot, Dorie Ladner, Flonzie Brown Wright, Dave Dennis and Frankye Adams-Johnson. Albert is a lifelong Jacksonian and describes Mississippi as “still trudging the path to becoming the mecca of beauty that Medgar Evens said it would be.” Sykes is a staunch believer in the power and energy of young people in advocacy and movement building. This can be traced directly with his participation in the Young Lords Project where from an early age he has been involved in sustaining a space for young people to learn from and teach to each other. Though YPP offered Albert a place to grow in classroom and community leadership in math, he saw Bob Moses story and work in Mississippi as an example of how those same skills could be used to solve community issues that are identified by young people, thus leading him to become the founding director of YPP’s Policy and Advocacy program. Sykes advocates for policies such as Quality Education as a Constitutional Right and works in conjunction with many organizations, which includes the NAACP, where he is a member of the Statewide Education Committee, and the Wisdom Foundation, where he serves as the board president and the United Way of Jackson among others. In Mississippi, Albert is helping to lead the growth and development of new statewide cadre of math literacy workers and young political organizers. Over the past decade, Sykes has served as an organizer for many projects and events, which include the Finding Our Folk Tour, The Gathering for Justice with Harry Belafonte and The Take Back America Conference. This organizer also served as national co-chair of the Freedom Riders 50th anniversary Youth Leadership Summit in Mississippi. Sykes has been active in the development of ITVS’ Masculinity Project content sponsored by Ford Foundation. Albert had the honor of being one of the speakers at the SNCC 50th anniversary conference alongside Bob Moses and addressed the likes of Julian Bond, Marion Barry and a host of other civil rights warriors on behalf of young people all around the country. This Mississippian developed the classroom curriculum for Barack and Curtis, a film by acclaimed director Byron Hurt. Albert has been a speaker both locally and nationally around issues of education, Black male achievement and mentoring along with various other issues. Currently, Sykes serves as an organizer for the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA) and as national trainer for the Children’s Defense Funds Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALT). Albert has recently been named the Youth and Education Director for The Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, Inc. and serves as a co-chair for the Youth Congress track for the Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Conference. He is currently working on an advocacy curriculum for young people. Albert has been selected for a September 2014 fellowship and residency at Brown University to continue the development of policy activities for high school and college aged youth. In April 2014, he was one of the six activists and change makers to receive the Fannie Lou Hamer Humanitarian Award from Fannie Lou Hamer Institute at COFO.
Ph.D., State University of New York, Stony Brook 1980. Areas of interest include social movements, theory, sociology of W. E. B. Du Bois, the civil rights movement, race, religion, social inequality and political sociology. His book, The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement, which received several prizes including the American Sociological Association Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award, emphasized the organizational and cultural basis of social protest. His current research extends that analysis to subsequent decades and regions in the U.S. He is co-editor of Frontiers in Social Movement Theory with Carol Mueller which has been translated into Chinese by The University of Peking Press. Morris is co-editor with Jane Mansbridge of Oppositional Consciousness: The Subjective Roots of Social Protest. Morris has published numerous articles covering his major areas of interests. Morris is currently working on two projects. The first explores the role of W. E. B. Du Bois in the founding of American Sociology. Du Bois, he argues, was central in producing the first major empirical sociological studies in America and building the first school of American sociology. This project explores the sociological, theoretical, and institutional factors responsible for Du Bois’ work being marginalized by the sociology profession. Morris’ second project is a study of the civil rights movement that takes into account the new scholarship on northern civil rights movements. The central question guiding this study is how must the dominant scholarly narrative be changed and expanded in light of the new scholarship on northern movements. It seeks to formulate a comprehensive explanation of the national Civil Rights Movement.
Co-chair of the Black Student Union at UCSB. She is also a 4th year Black studies major student. Alexis has been engaged with the Black community on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara since she arrived as a first year. Her freshman year, she represented her first year class as a Freshman Representative for Akanke, a Black women’s support group on campus. Her second year, she served as the co-president for Akanke organizing various community outreach programs for young women of color in surrounding areas. During her third year, Alexis held the Outreach coordinator position for the Black Student Union, and began her involvement with the BSU Demands Team presenting the administration with their list of demands that year. Last summer, she was a founding member of the Coalition for Justice (C4J), a coalition of different campus organizations and allied community members, organized in reaction to the Zimmerman verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder case. With C4J she organized a city-wide march and demonstrations throughout the summer time to educate the Santa Barbara community on the consequences of racial profiling in hopes to promote legislative impact within Santa Barbara County. Alexis currently serves as the co-president of the Black Student Union at UCSB focusing on a year theme “The War on Black Life”. She continues her work with the Demands Team and is an active member of the Afrikan Black Coalition central committee which acts as an umbrella for all of the BSU’s on the UC campuses and is currently expanding the Cal State Universities and community colleges. As a member of the Afrikan Black Coalition she is helping to organize a UC wide prison divestment campaign along with other outreach and retention initiatives for Black students in “at-risk” communities.
Alice Kim is an educator, cultural organizer, activist, and writer. She teaches and develops curriculum for the Gender and Women’s Studies program and Social Justice Initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is also the Editor of Praxis Center, a new online resource center for scholar activists hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College. A long-time death penalty and prison abolitionist, Alice is a founding member of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials project, a collective that documents the history of Chicago police torture through the arts and seeks justice for the survivors of police torture. In her activism, Alice embraces radical imagination, multi-ethnic organizing, and intersectionality. She writes about identity, family, coming of age as a first generation Korean American and issues connected to race and the prison industrial complex. You can read her writing on her blog Dancing the Dialectic. Alice was previously the Director of The Public Square, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council that creates spaces for public conversations about social, political and cultural issues. She also worked as a national organizer for the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the Consortium Administrator for the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Alice received her B.A. from Northwestern University, M.A. from DePaul University, and most recently, her M.F.A. from Bennington College Writing Seminars.
Alondra Nelson is a Professor at Columbia University and Director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Nelson is the author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination. This book is recognized with four scholarly awards as it is the first book-length exploration of the Black Panther organizations health-focused activites. Through its activism, the Black Panther Party advanced a “social health frame” that anticipated contemporary debates about racial health disparities. Her next book, The Social Life of DNA: Race and Reconciliation after the Genome (forthcoming from Beacon Press), traces how claims about ancestry are marshaled together with genetic analysis in a range of social ventures. Nelso has also edited three anthologies: Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History; Technicolor: Race, Technology and Everyday Life and Afrofuturism, a special issue of Social Text.
Dr. Amalia Pallares
Dr. Amalia Pallares (Associate Professor of Political Science and Latin American and Latino Studies) studies social movements, ethnicity and race in Latin America and in the U.S, focusing on the relationship between political activism and identity formation newly politicized groups. Her book From Peasant Struggles to Indian Resistance: the Ecuadorian Andes in the late Twentieth Century analyzes the social, economic and political conditions that inform contemporary indigenous activism and identity in Ecuador. Her work on immigrant communities in the United States studies the ways in which notions of nation, region and race inform immigrants’ social and political attitudes, behaviors. More recently, she has focused on immigrant activism in Chicago. She co-edited a book manuscript entitled Marcha: Latino Chicago and the National Immigrant Movement, which explores the role played by institutions, collective organizing experiences, political coalitions and public policies in shaping immigrant activism and subjectivities . Professor Pallares is also developing a manuscript on the framing of the family separation issue in the immigrant rights movements.
Amanda E. Lewis is an Associate Professor of African American Studies and Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on how race shapes educational opportunities and how our ideas about race get negotiated in everyday life. She is the author of Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the Color-line in Classrooms and Communities (2003). She is also the co-editor (with Maria Krysan) of The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity (2004), and co-author (with Mark Chesler and Jim Crowfoot) of Challenging Racism in Higher Education: Promoting Justice (2005). Her research has appeared in a number of academic venues including Sociological Theory, American Educational Research Journal, American Behavioral Scientist, Race and Society, DuBois Review and Anthropology and Education Quarterly. She is currently at work on a new book (with John Diamond) titled, Despite the Best Intentions: Why racial inequality persists in good schools (Oxford, forthcoming).
Amir George is a motion picture artist and film curator from Chicago. His video work and curated programs have been screened in festivals and galleries across the US, Canada and Europe. Amir’s work delves into installation, cinema, and performance. In addition to founding Cinema Culture, a grassroots film programming organization, Amir is also the co-curator of Black Radical Imagination a touring experimental short film program. He currently teaches and produces media with youth throughout Chicagoland.
Amisha Patel serves as Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative and Grassroots Illinois Action, affiliated non-profit organizations working to win racial and economic justice in Chicago and statewide. Both organizations educate and mobilize Illinois residents to build real power for working families, by fighting for living wage jobs, quality public schools, good housing, and safe streets, and by connecting these fights to the voting booth. These appointments follow six years at Service Employees International Union Local 73, where Amisha organized hospital employees and Head Start workers, and worked in coalition with community organizations to fight against school closings. She worked for five years doing arts-based violence against women prevention programming in communities of color in the Bay Area. The documentary that her youth created, Young Azns Rising! Breaking Down Violence Against Women, screened in numerous film festivals and won the Asian Emmy for the best documentary.
Andy Clarno is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on the relationship between race, class, and space in an era of neoliberal globalization. He teaches classes on globalization, comparative racial formation, race and urban life, and urban sociology. Andy is currently working on a book manuscript, The Empire’s New Walls, analyzing the neoliberalization of racial capitalism in South Africa and Palestine/Israel. He is also a member of the Chicago Area Study research team that is studying how individuals and cities in the Chicago area have responded to high levels of immigration from Latin America over the last 30 years.
Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world. Her work as an educator-both at the university level and in the larger public sphere-has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice. Professor Davis’ teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley. She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University. Most recently she spent fifteen years at the University of California Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness-an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program-and of Feminist Studies. Angela Davis is the author of nine books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” She also has conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender, and imprisonment. Her recent books include Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete? and a new edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In 2012 she published a new collection of essays entitled The Meaning of Freedom. Angela Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison. Like many educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.
Angelique Rollins aka Fresco Steez is a revolutionary community organizer, teacher, and aesthetic designer from the southside of Chicago. She currently works with the Black Youth Project as a lead organizer for Black on Both Sides, Black Thought Black Action, and BYP100. She also serves as a youth legal advocate for the Know Your Rights Project, which teaches young people of color how to navigate interactions with the police as a means of disrupting the cycle of the prison industrial complex. Fresco is rooted in the fight for Black Liberation and freedom for all oppressed people. She provides an intersectional young, Black, queer, feminist analysis to the struggle for justice on a local as well as national level. Her passion for transformative justice has led her to work relentlessly towards ending mass incarceration and systemic violence in Chicago.She is currently coding applications to enhance the digital reach of grassroots organizations through Code for Progress.
Ann Meredith Wooton
Ann-Meredith holds an A.M. in Social Work in Community Schools from the University of Chicago and an M.A. in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation from the School for International Training. She has a background in youth development, transformative justice, and arts-based trauma healing. Her research interests include liberatory alternative education programs in New Orleans, LA, fighting back against the Cradle to Prison Pipeline. In addition to her role with the Social Justice Initiative, Ann-Meredith is currently a facilitator with LuchArte and is a PhD candidate in Policy Studies in Urban Education at UIC.
Dr. Antonio Reyes Lopez
Born in Gary, Indiana and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Antonio Reyes López received his doctorate in Borderlands History at the University of Texas at El Paso. Dr. López has written extensively on anti-poverty and anti-racist social movements in Chicago. He has also contributed to human rights, environmental justice, and economic justice struggles in Chicago and on the U.S./Mexico border. Dr. López is currently the Executive Director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. For the past three years, he has also served as a mentor to incarcerated youth at Illinois Youth Center, St. Charles and contributed to the Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce (CGCT).
Anthony Bogues is Lyn Crost professor of Social Sciences and Critical Theory in the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University; affiliated Professor of Political Science and Modern Culture and Media; and Director of the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. His major research and writing interests are intellectual and cultural history, radical political thought, critical theory and Caribbean and African politics and literature. Bogues is the author of Calibans Freedom: the Early Political Thought of CLR James; Black Heretics and Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals; and Empire of Liberty: Power, Freedom, and Desire. He is also editor of two volumes of Caribbean intellectual history, After Man Towards the Human: Critical essays on the Thought of Syliva Wynter and The George Lamming Reader: The aesthetics of Decolonization. He is associate editor of the journal Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism and a member of the editorial collective of the journal boundary. He teaches courses on Africana political philosophy, cultural politics, intellectual history and contemporary critical theory and comparative literature of Africa and the African Diaspora, as well as courses on the history of Haitian society and art. He recently co-curated a national exhibition of Haitian Art, Reframing Haiti: Art, History, and Performativity. He is currently working on three major projects: a political/philosophical project on questions of the human, freedom, human emancipation an d the black intellectual tradition; co-curation of a major exhibit on Haitin art for 2014 in Paris and Cape Town; and an intellectual/political biography of Michael Manley and Jamaican postcolonial politics.
Second-year film and media studies major. She participated in the ‘I Am Beautiful’ Runway Show encouraging students to love their bodies.
B. Loewe, an organizer and communicator, originally joined the National Day Labor Organizing Network as the Co-Director of the Latino Union of Chicago where he worked from 2003 – 2006, transitioning the organization from a volunteer project to a city-wide institution, opening the first worker center in the Midwest, and passing pilot legislation for day laborer and migrant rights. In recent years, B. has served as NDLON’s Communications Director, supported the Alto Arizona work against SB 1070 and Sheriff Arpaio, and participated in the organizing of the 2010 US Social Forum in Detroit, Michigan.
Professor Barbara Ransby is a historian, writer and longtime community activist. She received her B.A. from the Columbia University and her M.A. and Ph.D in History from the University of Michigan. Barbara Ransby is currently a Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Woman’s Studies (director, 2008-2013), and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she directs the campus-wide Social Justice Initiative. She previously served as Interim Vice Provost for Planning and Programs (2011-2012). Her highly acclaimed biography, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision received eight national awards and recognitions. Professor Ransby is also winner of the prestigious Catherine Prelinger Prize for her contributions for her contributions to women’s history. Her most recent book is Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional life of Mrs. Paul Robeson (Yale University Press, 2013). Ransby has also published in numerous scholarly and popular publications and lectures widely. She serves on the editorial boards of the Black Commentator, (an online journal); the London based journal, Race and Class; the Justice, Power and Politics Book Series at the University of North Carolina Press; and the Scholar’s Advisory Commitee of Ms. Magazine, as well as the National Advisory Board of “Imagining America”. In the summer of 2012 she became the second Editor in Chief of SOULS, a critical journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society published quarterly since 1999. In addition to her scholarship, Professor Ransby is a public historian who works with many community based and activist organizations.
Beth E. Richie is The Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and Professor of African American Studies and Criminology, Law and Justice at The University of Illinois at Chicago. The emphasis of her scholarly and activist work has been on the ways that race/ethnicity and social position affect women’s experience of violence and incarceration, focusing on the experiences of African American battered women and sexual assault survivors. Dr. Richie is the author Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation which chronicles the evolution of the contemporary anti-violence movement during the time of mass incarceration in the United States and numerous articles concerning Black feminism and gender violence, race and criminal justice policy, and the social dynamics around issues of sexuality, prison abolition, and grassroots organizations in African American Communities. Her early book Compelled to Crime: the Gender Entrapment of Black Battered Women, is taught in many college courses and often cited in the popular press for its original arguments concerning race, gender and crime. Dr. Richie is a qualitative researcher who is also working on an ethnographic project documenting the conditions of confinement in women’s prisons. Among others, she has been awarded the Audre Lorde Legacy Award from the Union Institute, The Advocacy Award from the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Visionary Award from the Violence Intervention Project. Dr. Richie is a board member of the Woods Fund of Chicago, The Institute on Domestic Violence in the African Community, The Center for Fathers’ Families and Public Policy and a founding member of INCITE!: Women of Color Against Violence.
Beverly Guy-Sheftall is Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies and English and the Founding Director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College. She is also adjunct professor at Emory Institute for Women’s Studies where she teaches graduate courses. A pioneer in academic feminism, Guy-Sheftall has been involved with the national women’s studies movement since its inception and provided leadership for the establishment of the first women’s studies major at a historically black college. Guy-Sheftall has published numerous works including the first anthology on Black women’s literature, Sturdy Bridges: Visions of Black Women in Literature; Daughters of Sorrow: Attitudes Towards black Women, and Sage: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women which she is founding editor. Guy-Sheftall is the recipient of various fellowships and awards, among them a National Kellogg Fellowship, a Woodrow Wilson fellowship, and Spelman College Presidential Faculty Award for outstanding scholarship. Outside of academia, she is involved with a number of different organizations including the National Black Women’s Health Project, the National Council for Research on Women, and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.
Rabbi Brant Rosen
Rabbi Brant Rosen has been JRC’s spiritual leader since 1998. A graduate of UCLA and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Rabbi Rosen is a past President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and currently serves as the co-chairperson of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council. Rabbi Rosen is also a long-time activist for peace, social justice and human rights, and has traveled on delegations to such countries as the former Soviet Union, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Iran. In 2010 he was awarded the “Inspiration for Hope Award” by the American Friends Service Committee – Chicago for his activism on behalf of peace and justice in the Middle East. Rabbi Rosen’s writings appear regularly in his two blogs, Shalom Rav and Yedid Nefesh, and he has contributed to such media outlets as the Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, among others. His book Wrestling in the Daylight was published by Just World Books in 2012. In 2008, Rabbi Rosen was honored by Newsweek magazine as one of the Top 25 Pulpit Rabbis in America. He lives in Evanston with his wife Hallie and his sons Gabriel and Jonah. You can contact Rabbi Rosen at email@example.com.
Bryant Brown is a student at Columbia University and is with Students Against Mass Incarceration which is a Black radical student organization committed to awareness and activism around mass incarceration, the prison industrial complex, and the existence of political prisoners in the United States. The mission of Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) is to spread awareness about the prison industrial complex, recidivism, and the existence of political prisoners in the United States. In order to bring awareness to the manifold issues that stem from mass incarceration, we believe we must analyze systemic injustices on all fronts. We do not believe we can divorce a politically conscious discourse from community based action. The national organization of SAMI sees prison abolition as its ultimate end, because we envision a state where societal ills are addressed through a front-end approach, rather than aggravated in a system of mass incarceration and social control. As a Black radical organization, we emphasize the intersection of our culture and our politics, and challenge our fellow students of African descent to fight for the causes that will benefit our communities most.
Dr. Cate Fosl is Associate Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Associated with the History Department. She also is Director of the Uof L Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research. Catherine (“Cate”) Fosl, MSW, PhD, is founding director of the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research at the University of Louisville, where she is also an associate professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and an associate in History. Her fields of expertise are oral history, the modern African American freedom movement, U.S. women’s history, and post-WWII social change movements in the U.S. South. Fosl is the author of three books: Subversive Southerner: Anne Braden and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Cold War South (2002; paperback 2006); Freedom on the Border: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky (co-authored with Tracy E. K’Meyer, 2009), and Women For All Seasons: The Story of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (1989). Subversive Southerner won the 2003 Oral History Association Book Award and was named an Outstanding Book of 2003 by the Gustavus Myers Center for Human Rights. In 2005, Fosl received the Catherine Prelinger Award of the Coordinating Council for Women in History, for excellence as a nontraditional female scholar. In 2005-06 she held a sexuality research fellowship with the Social Science Research Council, and in the fall of 2013 she was a visiting research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. From 2014 through mid-2015 she is working on a special project for the University of Louisville provost on Engaged Scholarship. A former social worker and journalist, Fosl has also been active in peace, justice, and feminist causes for more than 25 years and has considerable experience pairing academic research and social change advocacy. Fosl’s latest research projects include (a) a collaboratively researched and authored Fair Housing study funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and (b) collecting oral histories of South African women active in the fight against apartheid as the basis for new writing comparing women’s experiences in the racial justice movements in the United States and South Africa. In 2013 she premiered a new University of Louisville Study-Abroad course, taking 8 Women’s and Gender Studies students to Cape Town, South Africa, the digital archive of which is available online at wgst591.omeka.net.
Cathy J. Cohen is the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. She is also the Deputy Provost for Graduate Education and the former Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago. Cohen is the author of The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (university of Chicago Press, 1999). In addition to her academic work, Cohen has always been politically active. She was a founding board member and former co-chair of the board of the Audre Lorde project in NY. she was also on the board of Kitchen Table: women of Color Press as well as the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY.
Charity Tolliver is a 30 year-old activist who grew up in the Englewood neighborhood. Tolliver is a foster mother, writer, and spoken word artist, and former director of one of the largest and oldest organizing groups in Chicago, Southwest Youth Collaborative. In her 13 + years as an organizer, she has worked on campaigns on a broad range of issues, including fair housing, labor rights, school reform, prison reform, and LGBT youth rights. She was recently selected as one of seven activists nationwide to receive the Alston Bannerman Fellowship, given to outstanding seasoned community organizers of color. She is also the recipient of the George Soros National Justice Fellows Award.” Founder of Black Thought Black Action.
Charlene A. Carruthers is the national coordinator of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), an activist member-led organization of Black 18-35 year olds dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. Charlene is a political organizer and writer with over 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist and youth leadership development movement work. Her passion for developing young leaders to build capacity within marginalized communities has led her to work on immigrant rights, economic justice and civil rights campaigns nationwide. She has led grassroots and digital strategy campaigns for national progressive organizations including the Center for Community Change, the Women’s Media Center, ColorOfChange.org and National People’s Action. Charlene is deeply committed to working with young organizers seeking to create a better world. She has facilitated and developed political trainings for organizations including the NAACP, the Center for Progressive Leadership, the New Organizing Institute, MoveOn.org, Young People For and Wellstone Action. Charlene earned a B.A. in History & International Studies from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. Charlene was born and raised on South Side of Chicago where she currently resides.
Charles E. Cobb, Jr.
Visiting Professor of Africana Studies Charles E. Cobb, Jr. is a distinguished journalist and former member of National Geographic Magazine’s editorial staff. He currently is Senior Writer and Diplomatic Correspondent for AllAfrica.com, the leading online provider of news from and about Africa. From 1962-1967 he served as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Mississippi. He began his journalism career in 1974 as a reporter for WHUR Radio in Washington, D.C. In 1976 he joined the staff of National Public Radio as a foreign affairs reporter, bringing to that network its first regular coverage of Africa. From 1985 to 1997, Cobb was a National Geographic staff member, traveling the globe to write stories on places from Eritrea to Russia’s Kuril Islands. He is also the co-author, with civil rights organizer and educator Robert P. Moses, of Radical Equations, Civil Rights from Mississippi to the Algebra Project. His latest book published in January 2008 is On the Road to Freedom, a Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail. On July 24, 2008 the National Association of Black Journalists honored Cobb’s work by inducting him into their Hall of Fame.
A former clinical law professor at the Northwestern University School of Law Children and Family Justice Center, Cheryl has more than ten years of experience implementing restorative justice practices and providing training and support to communities, schools and juvenile justice providers. In 2005, Cheryl was awarded a Soros Senior Justice Fellowship to establish restorative justice practices in communities of color. She has traveled throughout the United States, Africa and Brazil to share restorative justice models with nongovernmental organizations, juvenile justice professionals, and political leaders interested in implementing community-based juvenile justice alternatives.
Che “Rhymefest” Smith
Che “Rhymefest” Smith is an internationally known Hip-Hop artist from the south side of Chicago. In addition to his own rap albums, the most recent of which came out in July 2010, he is known for his collaborations with fellow-Chicagoan Kanye West. One of the songs Smith co-wrote with West won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Song at the 47th Grammy Awards in 2005, and is included in the list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” from Rolling Stone Magazine. An activist and a writer, in October, 2010, Che Smith announced his candidacy for Chicago’s 20th Ward Alderman. After a spirited race with much grassroots support, he placed a very close second in the February 2011 election, but was ultimately defeated by the incumbent in a runoff election by only 200 votes. Last year, Smith helped Kanye West launch Donda’s House, Inc., named after Kanye West’s mother Dr. Donda West. The organization seeks to improve the lives of youths through the arts. He is also the new host of a radio program on Chicago’s WVON station.
Ciara Taylor is the Political Director of Dream Defenders, a human rights organization directed by Black & Brown youth who confront inequality and criminalization of youth in Florida since it’s inception in April 2012. She has been featured on MSNBC’s Politics Nation with Al Sharpton speaking about the fight to overturn the Stand Your Ground law in Florida. Ciara also currently works as a Campaign Coordinator for the ACLU. Previously she worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the League of Women Voters of Florida.
Coya Paz is a poet, director, and lip gloss connoisseur who was raised in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil before moving permanently to the United States in 1987. Coya is the artistic director of Free Street Theater, and the Lead Artist for the Poetry Performance Incubator at the Guild Complex. She is also a founding member of Proyecto Latina, and the co-founder of Teatro Luna, where she served as co-Artistic Director from 2000-2009. Recent projects include: Tempest, about the banning of William Shakespear’s The Tempest in Arizona school, Unnatural Spaces, a performance about enviromental justice; The Americans, based on conversations with 200 people in 10 states, Fa$hion, an adaptation of Anna Cora Mowatt’s play Fashion; Nation of Cowards, a multi-sited performance piece about interracial dialogue; Tour Guides; and Machos, which won the 2008 Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Best New Work and Outstanding Ensemble. Upcoming projects include Like Bread, a multigenerational piece about the role of art in activism, and the tour of her solo show, Coya Paz is Not____. Coya is an Assistant Professor in the Theater School at DePaul University, and holds a PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. She is a regular commentator on race, media and pop culture for Vocalo.org (89.5) and has published several articles on Latina performance, Latina/o identities, and public violence. Her artistic work has been profiled in The New York Times, American Theater Magazine, Theater Journal, and the Chicago Tribune, among others. She has been a featured reader at dozens of literary events including: Proyecto Latina, Paper Machete, Palabra Pura, Revolving Door, and 2nd Story. Coya was named one of UR Magazine’s 30 Under 30 (when she was under 30!), a GO-NYC Magazine 100 Women We Love, and received a Trailblazer Award for her service to LGBTQ communities. Above all, she believes in the power of performance and poetry to build community towards social change.
Complex Movements is a Detroit-based artist collective composed of graphic designer/fine artist Wesley Taylor, music producer/filmmaker Waajeed, hip-hop lyricist/organizer Invincible, and creative technologist/multimedia artist Carlos (L05) Garcia. They develop interactive performance work and workshops that illuminate connections between complex science and social justice movements to support transformation of communities. Their current project Beware of the Dandelions, integrates elements of sci-fi, gaming, hip-hop, techno, animation, and architecture, and is being co-produced by Sage Crump. Sage is co-director of Art is Change, which supports work to transform culture in the areas of economy, ecology, community, and creativity. Sage is also a long time member of Alternate ROOTS, and sits on the national advisory committee of Women of Color in the Arts.
Crystal Lameman (Keynote, Panel) is a Beaver Lake Cree First Nation activist, a Sierra Club Prairie activist and the Peace River tar sands campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network in Alberta, Canada – and a mother of two. With infectious dedication and passion, Crystal is committed to restoring Native treaty rights and stopping the expansion of the tar sands. Crystal is involved in the work of her nation to take the Canadian government to court over 17,000 treaty violations. In May 2008, the Beaver Lake Cree Nation filed a Statement of Claim in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench taking the Government of Canada to court. In March 2012, they were granted a trial. This trial stands as a precedent for other oil sands rights violations.
Daisy Yessenia Zamora Centeno received her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Latin American & Latino Studies. She was born and raised in Chicago. She is now a grad school student in the College of Education, Youth Development program at UIC. She was a founding board member of the Chicago Freedom School and Women and Girls Collective Action Network/Females United for Action (http://femalesunited.wordpress.com). Daisy co-taught a course on Black and Latino Unity for Freedom Fellows at the CFS. As part of the WGCAN she developed a media justice tool kit for non for profits. WGCAN testified at the FCC hearings and launched a campaign to bring down La Ley’s 107.9 pegaditas sexist and not culturally sensitive billboards (http://inthesetimes.com/article/2977/portrait_of_the_activists_as_young_women). She was the Chicago Intern for Facing Race the Conference. She is most currently working on making films with her partner about LGBTQ issues. She co-produced “Basketball 123″ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ9Av5X-LMQ). Daisy is interested in Queer Latina Health.
Danielle McGuire is an award-winning author and Assistant Professor in the History Department at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She is the recipient of the 2011 Frederick Jackson Turner Award. Her dissertation on sexualized racial violence and the African American freedom struggle received the 2008 Lerner Scott Prize for best dissertation in women’s history. Her essay, “It was Like We Were All Raped: Sexualized Violence, Community Mobilization and the African American Freedom Struggle,” published in theJournal of American History won the A. Elizabeth Taylor Prize for best essay in southern women’s history and was reprinted in the Best Essays in American History 2006. McGuire is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and has appeared on National Public Radio, BookTV (CSPAN) and dozens of local radio stations throughout the United States and Canada. Her essays have appeared on the Huffington Post, TheGrio.com and TheRoot.com.
Danton Floyd is a youth worker/organizer and socio-emotional counselor throughout Chicago, IL. He works with youth in community, psychiatric institutions, higher education and primary and secondary school based settings. He received his Masters degree from University of Illinois at Chicago in Education Psychology (Youth Development). He also works with black males in analyzing their identity as a catalyst for organizing and social change. Danton incorporates trauma informed and restorative practices as a tool to create a culture of youth/adult partnerships as a foundation for intergenerational organizing.
Dara Cooper is an activist, organizer and whole food lover based in Brooklyn, NY. She is the director of the NYC Food and Fitness Partnership at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, working on food and active living policy and systems change. The partnerships works in and with communities of color towards building an empowered community that determines and participates in an accessible, fair and equitable food system and a healthy, safe environment for all residents. In November 2013, she traveled with a delegation to Cuba as a part of the first Black Permaculture Network. A former Bold Food Fellow (exchange program between professionals in the U.S. and East Africa), a former Food Justice Fellow at the Arcus Center for Social Justice in Kalamazoo, member of Growing Food and Justice for All (GFJI) and Black Farmers Urban Gardeners Network. Dara believes in the power of people organizing, investing in self-determining, sustainable communities worldwide and is guided by the quote: “Imperialism is an international system of exploitation, and we, as revolutionaries, must be internationalists to defeat it.” -Assata Shakur
Dayo F. Gore
Dayo F. Gore is an Associate Professor in the Ethnic Studies Department and Critical Gender Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She received her Ph.D. in History from New York University and has previously taught at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Professor Gore’s research interests include Black Women’s Intellectual History; U.S. Political and Cultural Activism; African Diasporic Politics; and Women, Gender and Sexuality studies. She is the author of Radicalism at the Crossroads: African American Women Activists in the Cold War (which is just out in paperback) and editor of Want to Start of Revolution: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle. Professor Gore’s work has been supported by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University, and the Tamiment Library’s Center for the United States and the Cold War. Her current research projects include a study of African American women’s transnational travels and activism in the long Twentieth Century.
D. Denenge Akpem is an Afro-Futurist space sculptor, performance artist, designer, writer, and educator. For the last fifteen years, her award-winning work has bridged the disciplines of interior design, site-specific sculpture, public art practice, and science fiction. She seeks to create interactive spaces that interrogate stereotypes, titillate the senses, and empower those who experience them to shape their own futures, rooted in Sun Ra’s transformational legacy and asking “Who controls the future?” She is concerned with issues of incarceration and liberation, both physical and metaphoric. She developed the course “Afro-Futurism: Pathways to Black Liberation” and over the past eight years has taught “Black Arts Movement”, “Black World Ritual Performance”, and “Arts of Africa” at Columbia College Chicago as well as conducting community-based artworks at South Side Community Art Center, Young Women’s Leadership Charter School in Bronzeville (Chicago), Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (Grand Rapids, MI); Speak Out/Speak Art for Brown v. Board 50th Anniversary (audience interactive for Illinois Humanities Council); and as a Critical Encounters taskforce member for Rights, Radicals and Revolutions featuring Sam Greenlee’s Spook Who Sat By The Door. She has exhibited and held positions at venues including: “Rapunzel Revisited: An Afri-sci-fi Space Sea Siren Tale” at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; “Alter-Destiny 888″ at THE LAB for performance + installation, NY; “Super Space Riff: An Ode to Mae Jemison and Octavia Butler in VIII Stanzas” at Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, DC; and Program Coordinator, Visiting Artists Program, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Interview excerpts were recently published as part of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by Ytasha Womack. www.denenge.net
Dima Khalidi is the founder and Director of Palestine Solidarity Legal Support (PSLS), and Cooperating Counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). Her work includes providing legal advice to activists, engaging in advocacy to protect their rights to speak out for Palestinian rights, and educating activists and the public about their rights. Dima has a JD from DePaul University College of Law with a concentration in International Law, an MA in Comparative Legal Studies from the University of London – School of Oriental and African Studies, and a BA in History and Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan. Prior to founding PSLS, Dima worked with CCR as a cooperating attorney on the Mamilla Cemetery Campaign, drafting a Petition to United Nations officials to act against the desecration of an ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem. As a volunteer and an intern at CCR, she also worked on numerous cases that sought to hold Israeli officials and corporations accountable for Israeli violations of international law, including Belhas v. Ya’alon, Matar et al. v. Dichter and Corrie v. Caterpillar, as well as on CCR’s Guantanamo Bay docket. As a law student, she interned with the People’s Law Office in Chicago, helping in the acquittal of a Palestinian-American on major federal criminal charges. Prior to studying law, Dima worked at Birzeit University, heading a research project on the role of informal justice mechanisms in the Palestinian legal system. She has advocated on Palestinian rights issues in media forums such as the New York Times, the Jewish Press, The Real News Network, Mondoweiss, Huffington Post, Law and Disorder Radio, and Radio Tahrir. She is fluent in Arabic and French.
Dominic Moulden is a Manna, Inc. employee who grew up doing community organizing in Baltimore, now heads up Community Development Corporation. Manna CDC is devoted to true community engagement and ownership. Its organizing goes beyond mobilizing residents for issues selected and defined by Manna CDC staff. Built on traditions of popular education and organizing from the Highlander Center, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and other progressive movements in the U.S. and abroad, Manna CDC invests heavily in identifying and training community leaders. Shaw Education for Action – or SEA – was one of the CDC’s first programs. SEA helps community residents identify the root causes of the issues that affect their families and teaches them to develop strategies for long-term systemic change. SEA members learn, among other things, to build coalitions and grassroots membership, to speak directly to decision makers and hold them accountable and to connect the individual issues they work on to larger themes of justice.
Dottie Zellner is Director of Publications and Development for the City University of New York’s Law School. Zellner was looking for a way to connect with the emerging Civil Rights Movement as she graduated from college in 1960. That summer, she seized an opportunity to go south with Congress of Racial Equality for training in non-violent resistance. Zellner went to Miami with 35 community leaders and was arrested immediately in a demonstration. In the fall, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Executive Secretary James Forman snatched her up and asked her to volunteer for SNCC at night. In the winter of 1962, he asked her to work with Julian Bond on SNCC’s newspaper, The Student Voice. This newspaper built community and morale within the movement’s widely dispersed field workers and supporters. It also was one of the few publications reporting on the level of daily violence committed against southern Blacks and movement workers. Zellner also became involved in public relations outreach, and her effective representation of movement work, designed to elicit legal, moral, and financial support, enabled SNCC to rise to national prominence. In 1984, Zellner returned to New York where she worked for the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). During her time at CRR, one of her projects was coordinating the Ella Baker Law Students Internship Program for students of color.
Dream Hampton is a writer, award winning filmmaker and social justice organizer. Her film credits include: Director; “Black August (2010)”, Director; “I AM ALI (2003)”, Co- Executive producer; “An Oversimplification of Her Beauty”, Associate Producer; “The Russian Winter (2012)”, Co-Producer; “Behind the Music: Notorious B.I.G. (1999, Emmy).” She directed the music video “QueenS” which NPR named one of the most stylish of 2012. Hampton has written about music, culture and politics for more than two decades. She was a contributor to Vibe magazine for its first 15 years. Her articles have been published in The Village Voice, Spin, The Detroit News, Harper’s Bazzar, NPR, Essence and Ebony. Her essays have also been included in more than a dozen anthologies, including “Born to Use Mics: Reading Nas’s Illmatic”, 2009 (edited by Michael Eric Dyson) and “Black Cool: One Dozen Streams of Blackness, 2012 (edited by Rebecca Walker.) Hampton collaborated with Jay-Z on The New York Times bestselling book , “Decoded.” She’s a consultant at MomsRising, and is a board member for the national civil rights organization Color of Change. She also serves on the boards of Young Nation, Detroit Summer, and Write a House, all in Detroit, MI, her hometown.
Elena Rebeca Gutiérrez is an Assistant Professor in Gender and Women’s Studies and Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Dr. Gutiérrez earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan in 1999 and is a scholar of Latina/o Health, reproductive and sexual health politics, gender and social activism. She was most recently a fellow at the UIC Great Cities Institute where she developed a community-based rubric of research on Latina reproductive health.
Her current research focuses on the history of Latinas in the birth control movement, the politics of Latina health in Chicago, reproductive justice for Latina youth, mental health, and the effects of immigration reform on healthcare access. Her book publications include Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice with Jael Silliman, Marlene Gerber Fried, and Loretta Ross (Boston: South End Press, October 2004) which was the Recipient of the 2005 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award in the area of bigotry and human rights, and Fertile Matters: The Politics of Mexican Origin Women’s Reproduction (University of Texas Press, forthcoming January 2008). Fertile Matters documents the involuntary sterilization of Mexican-origin women in Los Angeles in the 1970s and illuminates the ways in which political, social and racial anxieties shaped the construction of the “problem” of Mexican origin women’s fertility and reproduction. In her past 16 years as an activist for women’s health and reproductive justice, Dr. Gutiérrez has served on the boards of and worked as a consultant with the National Latina Health Organization, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and Mujeres Latinas en Acción.
Elizabeth Robinson has been a media producer and activist for more than 30 years. At KCSB fm www.kcsb.org she has trained hundreds of people in the fundamentals of radio production and media criticism. She has produced public affairs programming at the local, national and international levels including her current programs ” No Alibis” and ” Third World News Review”. For 15 years, she was a member of AMARC (the French acronym of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, www.amarc.org) which is a global grassroots organization working to develop community media and defend communication rights. She has been a member of the AMARC international board and the organizations treasurer. In that capacity, she has represented the organization at the United Nations, the People’s Summit of the Americas, four World Social Forums, the World Summit on the Information Society, and numerous national events. Some of her audio programming can be found at www.kcsb.org. She is currently working with Santa Barbara’s La Casa de la Raza to establish a new low power radio station for the community. While she champions ‘old technologies’, she finds newer forms indispensable in her international work. And she believes that every voice is a ‘radio voice’.
Professor Todd-Breland is a historian of 20th-century American urban and social life, African American history, and the history of education. She earned her doctorate from the University of Chicago, where she defended her dissertation, “To Reshape and Redefine our World: African American Political Organizing for Education in Chicago, 1968-1988,” with distinction in 2010. During the following year she held a Mellon/ACLS Early Career Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University. She began teaching at UIC in Fall 2012. Professor Todd-Breland’s research centers on historical analyses of race, politics, education, and social movements in Chicago during the 20th century. Her book manuscript, A Political Education: Race, Politics, and Education in Post-Civil Rights Chicago, argues that the racial politics of post-industrial cities must be reconsidered in relation to the varied repertoires of civic engagement that residents developed in response to the “urban crisis.” More specifically, she draws on archival sources and oral histories to analyze transformations and shifts in modes of organizing, the relationship between Black politics and the Chicago Democratic machine, and the racial politics of education reform between the late 1960s and early 2000s. Her teaching interests and research agenda further encompass broad interdisciplinary issues animating studies of urban history, including social and economic inequality, urbanization, neighborhood transformation, urban public policy, and civic engagement
Emery Wright is the Co-Director of Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty & Genocide. Project South is a membership-based social justice organization and movement building institution rooted in the US South. Project South provides leadership development and political analysis to support community organizing. Over the past 15 years, Emery has worked extensively in the areas of youth development, and nonprofit organizational development. As an educator, Emery develops and facilitates curriculum using popular education to build analysis and strategy at the grassroots within the fields of Black studies, U.S. history, social movements and youth leadership development. Before working at Project South, Emery worked for five years as the founder and Executive Director of the Nia Project, a Black youth organization doing community organizing in Massachusetts, South Carolina and Georgia. During this same time period he co-founded and facilitated a Black Studies course at South Bay Prison and a sister program on the outside called Breaking the Cycle. Emery is a public speaker in a wide range of settings including prisons, community, college campuses and youth organizing spaces. He has travelled to build relationships of solidarity between his work and human rights or social justice work in East African, Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Emery is also a producer & Engineer for Youth Speak Truth Radio on WRFG 89.3 FM in Atlanta, GA.
Erica R. Meiners teaches, writes and organizes in Chicago. She has written about her ongoing labor and learning in anti-militarization campaigns, educational justice struggles, prison abolition and reform movements, and queer and immigrant rights organizing, in Flaunt It! Queers organizing for public education and justice (2009 with Therese Quinn), Right to be hostile: Schools, prisons and the making of public enemies (2007) and articles in Radical Teacher, Meridians, AREA Chicago and Social Justice. Her work in the areas of prison/school nexus; gender, access and technology; community-based research methodologies; and urban education, has been supported by the US Department of Education, the Illinois Humanities Council, and the Princeton Woodrow Wilson Public Scholarship Foundation, among others.
Erin Christovale is a curator based in Los Angeles focusing on film/video within the Africa Diaspora. She graduated with a B.A.from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and currently works at Film Independent. Erin works with a collective of creatives and heady thinkers called Native Thinghood promoting young, upcoming artists of color, she is also the co-curator of Black radical Imagination a touring experimental short film program.
Ethan Viets-Vanlear is a 19-year-old biracial man who was born and raised in Chicago’s West Rogers Park community. In addition to being a student, he is also a poet, activist, and organizer. Ethan has worked for the Know Your Rights Project (KYRP), based out of the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University. Through his work with KYRP, he helps facilitate workshops that inform students how to navigate interactions with the police. Ethan is also a Youth Commissioner on the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission. He has also interned at the Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. For the last three years, Ethan has helped facilitate/run a organization based out of Rogers Park called “LETS GO Chicago” that focuses on sustainability and urban agriculture through a socially conscious anti-oppressive lens. He’s also a leader at Circles and Ciphers, a young men’s group that uses restorative justice practices like peace circles and hip hop to facilitate conversations and break legacies of violence, incarceration, and patriarchal masculinity. Ethan helped write and performed a short play entitled “Two Years Later” that addresses youth reactions to Trayvon Martin’s murder. The play was run out of the Goodman Theater. Ethan has spoken on various panels throughout the city about juvenile justice issues, advocating for other young people. He also has traveled to Atlanta, Washington D.C, Oakland, among other places to attend Juvenile Justice conferences and organizing training. Ethan is inspired to go to school to gain the influence and skills necessary for furthering his social justice goals of peace, expanding the restorative justice community in Chicago.
Fabricio E. Balcazar , Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Balcazar’s primary research interest is in developing effective strategies for enhancing consumer empowerment and personal effectiveness among individuals with disabilities. Dr. Balcazar has conducted research over the past 25 years on several disability-related areas, such as the development of systematic approaches for the effective involvement of people with disabilities in consumer advocacy organizations; the development of interventions to help minority students with disabilities transition into employment and career development; and the promotion of cultural competence in rehabilitation services, among others. Dr. Balcazar is currently the director of the Center on Capacity Building for Minorities with Disabilities Research and as such, he has lead the development of a cultural competence conceptual framework, training curriculum and assessment instrument, conducting multiple workshops on this topic and providing TA to multiple organizations. Dr. Balcazar has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and recently co-edited a book entitled Race, culture and disability: Issues in Rehabilitation Research and Practice. Dr. Balcazar is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.
Specializing in the history and culture of African people in Latin America and the Caribbean, Professor Fannie Theresa Rushing served as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1961 and as a Freedom School teacher from 1962 to 1966. The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, Rushing received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago in 1992. As coordinator of the Southern African Program of the American Friends Service Committee from 1976 to 1977, Rushing organized a major international conference on Trans National Corporations and Southern Africa. She has worked as Director of Minority Services at Rosary College, and as a lecturer at Northwestern University, Governors State University, Dominican University, Columbia College, University of Illinois, and DePaul University.
G. Flint Taylor, a graduate of Brown University and Northwestern Law School, is a founding partner of the People’s Law Office in Chicago, an office which has been dedicated to litigating civil rights, police violence, government misconduct, and death penalty cases for 45 years. Among the landmark cases that Mr. Taylor has litigated are the Fred Hampton Black Panther case; the Greensboro, North Carolina case against the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis; the Ford Heights Four case in which four innocent men received a record $36 million settlement for their wrongful conviction and imprisonment; and a series of cases arising from a pattern and practice of police torture and cover-up by former Chicago police commander Jon Burge, former Mayor Richard M. Daley, former State’s Attorney Richard Devine, and numerous other police and government officials, five of which have been settled against the City of Chicago and Cook County for a total of approximately $26 million. He obtained a multi-million dollar settlement for a seven year old boy who was falsely accused by the Chicago Police of the murder of 11 year old Ryan Harris and has represented, and continues to represent, numerous other wrongfully convicted persons who have spent decades in prison and on death row, including Burge torture victims Michael Tillman, Darrell Cannon, Ronald Kitchen, Alonzo Smith, Anthony Holmes, Victor Safforld, and Shawn Whirl, exonerees Randy Steidl, Paul Terry, Ronald Jones, Jerry Miller, Oscar Walden, Terrill Swift, and Jonathan Barr, and the first woman jailhouse lawyer in Illinois, Maxine Smith. Taylor’s work in fighting against police torture in Chicago over the past 28 years has been instrumental in obtaining the conviction and imprisonment of police torture ringleader Jon Burge and the precedent setting decision that upheld the inclusion of former Mayor Richard M. Daley as a co-conspiring defendant in the Tillman civil rights case. He also represents Nanci Koschman in her case against the CPD and SAO for covering up the truth about the death of her son in order to protect the Daley family. Taylor also played a major role in the George Jones “street files” case that uncovered the unlawful Chicago police practice of keeping one set of files to be produced to defense lawyers while maintaining another secret set of files that often contained exculpatory evidence. This case dramatically changed the criminal discovery process in Cook County and also led to the groundbreaking wrongful prosecution verdict in Jones v. City of Chicago. As a police brutality litigator, he has been instrumental in pioneering and litigating Monell pattern and practice claims against municipalities, particularly in the areas of repeater cops, police discipline, the police code of silence, and domestic violence by police officers. Taylor also played a key role in major litigation brought against the Marion Federal Penitentiary, Stateville and Pontiac prisons in the areas of unconstitutional segregation, cruel and unusual conditions of confinement, and behavior modification. Mr. Taylor is also an accomplished appellate advocate, and successfully argued the cases of Cleavinger v. Saxner and Buckley v. Fitzsimmons before the United States Supreme Court, as well as numerous cases before Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and the Illinois Supreme Court. Mr. Taylor is a longtime National Lawyers Guild member, a founding editor of the Police Misconduct and Civil Rights Law Reporter, has extensively written and lectured in the field of civil rights litigation and police torture, and frequently appears on radio and television and at other public forums to discuss these topics. He has authored four law review articles on these subjects, and his articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times, the Nation, In These Times, and the Huffington Post. In 1975 Mr. Taylor was honored, along with his law partner Jeffrey Haas, for his work on the Fred Hampton case by being named by the Chicago Reader as members of the “Heavy 75,” and, in 1977, again with Haas, as an Advocate For Our Freedom for “representing a rare breed of legal advocates who take on the contemporary Sacco and Vanzetti or Scottsboro cases.” In 2002 he was named by Chicago Magazine as one of Chicago’s “30 Toughest Lawyers;” and by his peers as a “Leading Lawyer” in 2003, and as a “Super Lawyer” in 2009. He is the 2008 recipient of the William R. Ming Jr. Award of the Cook County Bar Association, given to a lawyer “for dedication and significant contribution to the causes of civil rights and individual liberties;” and in 2009 was awarded the First Defense Legal Aid First Defender Award for his “tireless commitment to protecting the civil rights of Chicago citizens.” He was also the recipient of the National Lawyers Guild’s 2009 Ernie Goodman Award “in recognition of extraordinary achievement by a National Lawyers Guild lawyer,”; the 2009 Rainbow PUSH Father to the Community Award; the 2010 Jenner and Block award from the Northwestern Center on Wrongful Convictions for his “unflagging struggle against police brutality and racial repression under color of law;” with his law partners Joey Mogul and John Stainthorp, the 2010 Chicago National Lawyers Guild Arthur Kinoy Award for their “commitment to the struggle for justice for the survivors of torture;” and the 2011 SFPIF Northwestern Law School Distinguished Alumnus Award for his “outstanding commitment to public service.”
A former transportation executive now devotes his life to sustainability. Fred is a certified teacher of Permaculture by the Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. He has been trained in photovoltaic & biodiesel by Solar Energy International. He is certified as a Peak Oil Community Leader by the Community Solution. “Black Oaks is a clearing for transitioning to a post carbon world.”
Gail Anne Johnson Mitchell
Gail Anne Johnson Mitchell is a quilt maker who documents iconic African American events in her culture quilts. Her quilts have been exhibited in different venues in New Jersey: Rutgers University, the New Jersey State Museum, Brookdale and Gloucester County Community Colleges and the Arts Council of Princeton. She has been interviewed on a local radio station in Trenton, New Jersey and televised on. She is a retired New Jersey public school teacher with a Master’s Degree in Teaching English to speakers of Other Languages. Her book, Learning English the Cultural Way, incorporates quilting with students whose first language is not English. She has quilts on exhibit at the Paul Robeson Galleries in Newark, New Jersey, in two exhibits: One Stitcher’s Stories: Commemorative Quilts by Gail Mitchell and In Site: The Creative Process in Plain View.
Gina Dent (Ph.D., Columbia University, English & Comparative Literature) is Associate Professor of Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, and Legal Studies and Director of the Institute for Advanced Feminist Research at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the editor of Black Popular Culture ( New York: The New Press, 1998) and author of articles on race, feminism, popular culture, and visual art. Her forthcoming book Anchored to the Real: Black Literature in the Wake of Anthropology (Duke University Press) is a study of the consequences—both disabling and productive—of social science’s role in translating black writers into American literature. Her two current book projects grow out of her work as an advocate for human rights and prison abolition—Prison as a Border, on prisons and popular culture, and Movement in Black and Red: The Life of Charlene Mitchell, an oral history and memoir. Her work is also focused on cultural transformation within the university, with special attention to the impact and interpretation of the language of diversity. In this capacity, she served as principal investigator for UC Santa Cruz’s recent climate study. She lectures widely in the US and abroad on the topics of prisons and popular culture, African American and African Diaspora studies, and the politics of disciplinary histories and transformations.
Hilda was born and raised in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. She graduated from Benito Juarez High School. As a Posse Scholar, Hilda received a full tuition scholarship to Carleton College, where she received a B.A. in History. Along with other fellow Posse scholars at Carleton, she took initiative in creating dialogues on campus surrounding critical global issues that affect local communities. As an advocate of accessibility to quality education, Hilda also carries a strong passion for the arts and views learning and teaching as a creative process. She worked for the Chicago Freedom School for 4 years, where she trained young people from varies CPS schools in community activism and socio-political consciousness. She has trained several youth and adults in youth leadership development strategies and understanding oppression in order to dismantle oppressive systems. She is particularly interested in understanding the pervasiveness of adultism in society. Hilda has taught and led youth activism programs in various educational locations, intersecting components of organizing, arts, social consciousness and history in her trainings. She is currently in the process of a Masters in Teaching History from UIC and a full time educator at Rudy Lozano Leadership Academy. Hilda teaches U.S. History: A Legacy of Colonization and Leadership Philosophy, as well as leads and after school social action team.
Honey Pot Performance
Honey Pot Performance is a collaborative creative community committed to chronicling Afro-diasporic feminist and fringe subjectivities amidst the pressures of contemporary global life. HPP draws upon a central notion found both in performance studies and black feminist discourse: non-Western, everyday popular and/or folk forms of cultural performance are valuable sites of knowledge production and cultural capital for subjectivities that often exist outside of mainstream communities. This mission grows out of our collective passions and expertise as artists, scholars, educators, and activists, following in the footsteps of cultural workers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Beryl McBurnie, Pearl Primus and Katherine Dunham.Works have been presented at Kenyon College, Columbia College Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center, Northwestern University, University of California-Irvine, Malcolm X College, Links Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music, Collaboraction, Experimental Station, Kenyon College, Ohio University, the University of West Indies (Trinidad), and the University of North Carolina-Chapel-Hill. Our performance schedule for 2013-2014 includes the premiere of Price Point, a remount of Ladies Ring Shout, a new iteration of our ongoing house music/dance projects Juke Cry Hand Clap, and the next cycle of the To Art & Profit festival. Stay tuned. Stick with Honey Pot!
Student at Columbia University with Caribbean Students Association. The mission of The Caribbean Student collective is to educate, reform, and bridge the gap between different ideologies through cultural awareness. The Caribbean Student Collective is, and will always be an organization dedicated to serving the greater community by promoting awareness about the Caribbean culture through leadership, dedication, enlightenment, love and tolerance. On March 29 eight student groups at Columbia University in New York City hosted a meeting on the fight to free the Cuban Five. (See “Who are the Cuban Five?”.) Some 200 people heard from a panel of speakers that included Martin Garbus, lead attorney for the Five; Rodolfo Reyes, Cuba’s ambassador to the U.N.; Julio Escalona, Venezuela’s deputy ambassador to the U.N.; and Luis Rosa, Puerto Rican independence fighter and former political prisoner. Civil rights attorney Michael Warren and N.Y. Casa de las Américas President Nancy Cabrero co-chaired the meeting. Ike Nahem gave remarks on behalf of the July 26 Coalition, which along with Casa and the Popular Educational Project to Free the Cuban Five endorsed and helped promote the event. Last week’s issue included an article on the meeting. This week the Militant is printing talks by students Randolph Carr, Imani Brown, David Luna and Gerardo Romo. Carr and Brown refer in their presentations to a successful fight waged by the students to prevent the university administration from imposing strict limits on attendance from outside the campus on the pretext of “public safety.” While dozens were turned away, most of those who wanted to attend from outside the university were able to do so.
Dartmouth University student activist.
James Thindwa was born and raised in Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia. His family took part in Rhodesia’s fight against British colonial rule. There he learned the power of organized labor and organized protest. Thindwa won a scholarship to Kentucky’s Berea College and went on to a masters degree at Miami University of Ohio. As a student he protested against the Ku Klux Klan and apartheid in South Africa. He moved to Chicago, where he advocated for senior citizens before joining Jobs with Justice. Growing up, Thindwa saw unions perform more functions than just negotiating for better wages for workers-they were a legitimate vehicle for transforming society. It was with this in his mind that Thindwa became an organizer in Chicago. Most recently, Thindwa has been advocating for the Employee Free Choice Act. Jobs With Justice engages workers and allies in campaigns to win justice in workplaces and in communities where working families live. JwJ was founded in 1987 with the vision of lifting up workers’ rights struggles as part of a larger campaign for economic and social justice. JwJ believes in long-term multi-issue coalition building , grassroots base-building and organizing and strategic militant action as the foundation for building a grassroots movement.
A member of the Anne Braden Institute
Jasmine Davis has worked with youth centers and community groups from Chicago to DeKalb. She has dedicated her life to community education. Her passion led to early and widespread experience training youth and adults. Jasmine has worked with Generation-Y for 8 years, co-founded the Center of Change for youth in the neighborhood with the highest juvenile arrest rates in Chicago, and was a mentor for the Kids of Dekalb. She continues to mentor street youth in her community to imagine and create a more just future.
Jasson Perez is a Chicago-born organizer, parent, subpar rapper in the rap group BBU and Third World liberation romantic. As a high school dropout and formerly incarcerated youth, Perez discovered on a personal level what’s at stake when schools become a pipeline to prison. Perez worked as a labor organizer with SEIU Local 73, working with the support staff at Chicago Public Schools in the fight against school closings since 2004 when CPS announced Renaissance 2010. He currently serves as national co-chair of BYP100, Black Youth Project’s nationwide network of one hundred young black activists working to build a transformative justice movement that centers on a feminist, queer, differently abled, and decolonial praxis.
Jazz Hudson is an international Poet, Artist, & Educator who serves a host of communities seeking transformation through art. With a holistic approach to content & development, her interdisciplinary work engages audiences in dialogue and activism that extend beyond the page and stage. She is a recipient of the 2013 Oakland Indie Changemaker Award. Jazz currently resides in Oakland, CA where she serves as a Poet Mentor/ resident artist in several Bay Area schools and Organizations: Dewey High School, Oakland High School, Oakland School for the Arts, North Oakland Community Charter School, and Youth Speaks. Jazz leads and designs workshops utilizing oral and written traditions as a means of reclaiming and defining self. her work has been featured on 106 KMEL Street Soldiers, at innumerable rallies, SF Chronicle, NPR, the Empowering Women of Color Conference, events honoring Oscar Grant and commemorating Black August, in juvenile halls, Soulciety’s Empowerment showcase, and high school classrooms all over the SF Bay Area. She has shared stage with Saul Williams, Angela Davis, Dr. Joy DeGruy, Mos Def, Susan Taylor, and Michael Eric Dyson. She is a Youth Speaks alumna and a Brave New Voices International Teen Poetry Slam Finalist.
Jennifer Alzate Gonzalez
Jennifer Alzate Gonzalez is an English L&L PhD student at the University of Michigan and a member of the United Coalition for Racial Justice. The United Coalition for Racial Justice (UCRJ) is a coalition of students, student organizations, faculty, and staff building on the momentum of racial justice activism at the University of Michigan who demand for administrative transparency and accountability and a presidential mandate by incoming President Mark Schlissel. Alzate was an organizer of Speak Out!, a 12-hour all-night protest over the low minority enrollment and inclusion on the university campus.
With a joint appointment in the Program in Gender and Women’s Studies and the History Department, Jennifer Brier’s research and teaching are largely focused on exploring the historical intersections of gender, race, and sexuality. Her first book, Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Response to the AIDS Crisis (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) argues that AIDS provides the perfect lens through which to see the complex social and political history of the 1980s and 1990s. She substantiates this argument by detailing how activists, service providers, philanthropists and the federal government responded to AIDS in the first two decades of the AIDS epidemic. She places the history of a successful yet complex and contentious social movement organized to deal with the AIDS epidemic in conversation with a more traditional political history of how the state dealt with this public health crisis. Finally, she links the local to the global by connecting the development of domestic AIDS policy and activism to global AIDS policy and activism. Brier is also actively engaged in producing public history. She co-curated the award-winning exhibition, “Out in Chicago,” on LGBT history in Chicago at the Chicago History Museum as well as Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics and Culture, a traveling exhibition for the National Library of Medicine. Brier is currently leading a team of UIC faculty, students and staff to build a community-curated mobile gallery called History Moves that will provide a space for Chicago-based community organizers and activists to share their histories with a wide audience. The interdisciplinary project has received funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, UIC’s Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE), Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP), and the Chancellor’s Multidisciplinary Discovery Award.
Jessica Disu (FM Supreme)
Born and raised in Chicago, Jessica Disu, also known as FM Supreme, uses language as a tool for positive change. She’s a three-time international performing poet, artist, activist and educator who describes herself as a “humanitarian rap artist.” As a two-time champion of Louder Than A Bomb, the Chicago youth poetry slam festival, Disu has served as coach and youth leader in that slam and others. Her commitment to mentoring youth extends across the globe. Recently, she toured Southeast Asia in Bangkok, Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) with The Peace Exchange: Chicago-Asia 2013-a community-based, educationally focused and young adult-led effort to understand violence and foster peace in some of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods; chicagoyouthpeace.org. Disu has shared stages and performed at conferences with the likes of Russell Simmons, Lupe Fiasco, Common, MC Lyte, Nick Cannon, Spike Lee, Melissa Harris Perry (MSNBC/Tulane University), Chuck D (Public Enemy), Prodigy (Mobb Deep), Christopher “Play” Reid (Kid N Play), Steve Stoute (Translation LLC), Stephen G. Hill (BET), Q Tip, Andre Harrell, Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Chicago), Mitch Landrieu (New Orleans) Michael Nutter (Philadelphia) and a host of activists, scholars, artists, policy makers and elected officials on a Cities United crusade to decrease violence in inner city communities and to positively uplift Black males in the media with Open Society Foundation’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement. FM Supreme is founder of Chicago International Youth Peace Movement and co founder of The Peace Exchange: Chicago – Asia 2013.
Jessica Gordon Nembhard
Jessica Gordon Nembhard is is an associate professor of community justice and social economic development in the Department of African-American Studies at John Jay College, CUNY. She is also a consultant (formerly Research Director) to the Preamble Center, Washington, DC. From 1997-2000, she was Senior Economist at Morgan State University’s Institute for Urban Research; and was Economic Development Analyst for the Black Community Crusade for Children of the Children’s Defense Fund from 1993-1996. Dr. Nembhard’s current areas of interest include democratic community-based economic development, alternative urban development strategies, cooperative economics, race and economic inequality, wealth inequality, and popular economic literacy.
Dr. Jifunza Wright Carter
A former transportation executive now devotes his life to sustainability. Fred is a certified teacher of Permaculture by the Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. He has been trained in photovoltaic & biodiesel by Solar Energy International. He is certified as a Peak Oil Community Leader by the Community Solution. “Black Oaks is a clearing for transitioning to a post carbon world.”
Joseph Hoereth was hired as Associate Director of the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE) when it was founded in the fall of 2008, and appointed Director in January 2009. IPCE creates opportunities for scholars, concerned citizens, students, and government to participate in public discourse and educational programs on current policy issues and social trends. As Director, he is responsible for the overall management of the Institute. Dr. Hoereth came to UIC in 2004 as the Associate Director of the Great Cities Institute (GCI), bringing a wide range of experience in community development research and evaluation, having previously worked for university research centers, non-profit organizations and private consulting firms. As an independent consult, he conducted research projects on housing and comprehensive community building. He has worked for two private consulting firms, including an urban planning firm specializing in fiscal and economic impact studies for housing developers and a firm conducting research and program evaluation for foundations and non-profits. He has held staff positions at the Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) at Loyola University Chicago and the Center for Urban Policy Research (CUPR) at Rutgers University. Additionally, he has authored multiple reports and papers on housing, community economic development, and urban planning. Hoereth holds a B.A. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, a Masters, and a Ph.D. in urban planning from Rutgers University. He has taught courses as adjunct faculty in the Department of Urban Planning and the Department of Public Administration.
Joey L. Mogul is a partner at the People’s Law Office. Mogul’s practice focuses on representing people who have suffered from police and other governmental torture, abuse and misconduct in civil rights cases, and defending individuals in criminal and capital cases. Mogul also teaches and directs the Civil Rights Clinic at DePaul University College of Law. Mogul has sought justice for Chicago Police torture survivors for the last fifteen years, representing torture survivors in their criminal post-conviction proceedings and in federal civil rights cases. Mogul also successfully presented the cases to the UN Committee Against Torture (CAT) and the Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland in 2006, obtaining a specific finding from the CAT calling for the prosecution of the perpetrators and accountability in these cases. For the past nine years, Mogul has represented a class of over 800 people falsely arrested en masse at an anti-Iraq war demonstration in Chicago on March 20, 2003, and successfully argued the case in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Mogul also co-coordinated the NLG mass defense of individuals arrested at this and other anti-war protests, and successfully obtained an acquittal on behalf of the only person arrested and forced to trial on charges stemming from the March 20, 2003 protest. Mogul frequently represents LGBTQ people in criminal court and civil rights proceedings involving police and prison misconduct, abuse, rape and torture. Mogul’s activism has included securing organizational support from LGBT individuals and organizations for, and spearheading campaigns on behalf of, capital defendants who have been wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death based on homophobic, transphobic and sexist arguments. Mogul has spoken widely before both legal and popular audiences on the state’s use of racist, homophobic and sexist arguments in criminal cases and has devised legal train to counter such efforts. Mogul is co-author of Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States.
John Dittmer is Professor Emeritus at DePauw University, a historian with recognized authority on the Civil Rights Movement. His books include Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi and The Good Doctors: The Medical Committee for Human Rights and the Struggle for Social Justice in Health Care. The Good Doctors tells the story of the Medical Committee for Human rights, a group of health care professionals active only in the Deep South at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, but also as part of the New Left during the late 1960s and 1970s; pushing the agenda of health care as a human right.
Horace Julian Bond is a Distinguished Professor in Residence at American University and a faculty member at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, where he teaches history of the Civil Rights Movement. He was a founding member of SNCC and its communications director as well as a co-founder of the Committee on Appeal for Human Rights. He was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a 4-term state congressman, and 6-term state senator. Bond organized the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, and was one of 11 representatives who refused to vote when the legislature elected segregationist George Maddox governor of Georgia. During the 1968 presidential election, Bond led an alternate delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and was proposed as the first black vice-presidential candidate. His anti-war efforts included testifying for the Chicago Seven, who were convicted of crossing state lines to incite a riot at the convention. From 1980 to 1997, he hosted the weekly news show, America’s Black Forum, which is the oldest black-owned show in syndication. He has been an ardent supporter of gay and lesbian rights, including same-sex marriage, even boycotting Coretta Scott King’s funeral, because it was held at an anti-gay church. From 1998 to 2010 he was chairman of the NAACP, and worked to educate the public about the history of the struggles of African Americans, especially the Civil Rights Movement. Bond was a strong critic of the Bush administration for appointing Cabinet secretaries “from the Taliban wing of American politics”, specifically targeting Attorney General John Ashcroft, who had opposed affirmative action, and Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who had defended the Confederacy in a 1996 speech on states’ rights.
Kali Akuno is a member of Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (www.mxgm.org) and former Co-Director of the US Human Rights Network (www.ushrnetwork.org). Kali was also the Executive Director of the Peoples’ Hurricane Relief Fund (PHRF) and was a co-founder of the School of Social Justice and Community Development (SSJCD). He is the author of several critical works including, “Born of Struggle, Implemented Through Struggle”, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance”, and “Operation Ghetto Storm”.
She is a human rights Lawyer, Journalist and a Clinical Psychologist with experience in the field of human rights advocacy. She is a psychologist, journalist, lawyer, human rights and, women’s rights activist, and voice of the violated. Presently she is the South Asia Coordinator of Peoples Health Movement and the Steering Committee Member of the National Alliance on Maternal Health and Human Rights. She has worked as the South Asia Advocacy Coordinator with ARROW on women health rights, on their project for a year. The focus of her work has been developing policy briefs and advocacy strategies on maternal mortality as human rights issues, looking at the sexual and reproductive rights of adolescents, and integrating the issue with various other movements in a South Asian context. Kamayani has also conceptualized, coordinated the first health panel in People SAARC held in Colombo 2008, just before the Official SAARC Summit. Earlier, she worked as a Senior Research Officer with Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT) in Mumbai, India, taking care of the health and human rights program involving various projects for five years. She has been a leader in the campaign against sex selective abortions and for the right to abortion. She has also launched and drafted modules for the first international course on health and human rights in India in 2005 as a collaborative effort of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Center for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT). She was the Asia Regional Focal Point officer of the International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organizations (IFHHRO), for two years and organized human rights trainings at the Regional level in Asia. She is actively associated with the rights trainings at the Regional level in Asia. She is actively associated with the peoples’ Health Movement especially in its campaign on rights to health and health care. She is involved with GHETS (Global Health Education and Training), USA. Has actively been involved in advocacy on health and human rights, healthcare as a right, private health sector, women’s health and reproductive health, violence as a public health issue, honour killings, health rights of the vulnerable and has also been networking both others working in these fields in India as well as internationally, especially from the NGO sector. She has also been interacting with the Ministry of health and the Planning Commission on these issues in official meetings, working groups and conferences. As a Chevening Scholar in 001 from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London, Kamayani has worked with Interights and Amnesty International on the issue of domestic violence and honour killings.
Karen G. Lewis was elected president of the 30,000 member Chicago Teachers Union on June 11, 2010. A member of CTU since 1988, Mrs. Lewis taught high school chemistry in the Chicago Public Schools for 22 years. She believes that students, parents, teachers and community members are educators’ natural allies. Her goal is to truly improve Chicago Public Schools and stand firmly against the privatization of public education. The only National Board Certified Teacher to lead a U.S. labor union, she also serves as executive vice president to the Illinois Federation of Teachers and as vice president of the American Federation of Teachers. Karen is a product of Chicago Public Schools, having attended Kozminski Elementary School and Kenwood High School, until accepting early admission at Mount Holyoke College. She later transferred to Dartmouth College, where she earned the distinction of being the only African American woman in the class of 1974. Mrs. Lewis comes from a family of educators– her father, mother and husband, John Lewis, who is now retired, all were CPS teachers.
Karess is originally from Long Island New York. At the age of 24 she already has years of experience working in political campaigns. She was a field organizer for Equality Maryland and The Human Rights Campaign. Karess currently attends Columbia University, where she is pursuing her Masters degree in Sports Management. She will continue to make progress as she pushes to increase more advocacy work for underrepresented communities.
Black Student Union Secretary at UCSB, a third-year communication and feminist studies double major.
Keeanga- Yamahtta Taylor
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is a writer, public speaker and activist in Chicago. She writes on Black politics, housing inequality, and issues of race and class in the United States. Her articles have been published in Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, New Politics, The Black Commentator, Gaper’s Block, Ms. magazine among other publications. She will be Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University in September 2014.
Kesh Ross is the co-coordinator of the Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce and a parent organizer. Kesh Ross is a graduate of RP schools and is now compiling a youth and social justice curriculum as part of an initiative coming out of UIC with the help of other SJ educators.
Kevin Coval is the poet the Chicago Tribune called “the voice of the new Chicago” and who the Boston Globe says is “the city’s unofficial poet laureate”. Author of Schtick, L-vis Lives!: Racemusic Poems, Everyday People, Slingshots: A Hip-Hop Poetica, and More Shit Chief Keef Don’t Like, Coval is the founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival and Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, LTAB’s non-profit home. Coval teaches hip-hop aesthetics at The University of Illinois-Chicago, is a 4x HBO Def Poet, and has written for a wide variety of publications including CNN.com, The Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, National Public Radio’s Chicago affiliate WBEZ, The Spoken Word Revolution Redux (Source), Handbook of Public Pedagogy (Routledge) 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed U.S. History (Haymarket) & It Was Written: Reading Nas’s Illmatic, ed. by Michael Eric Dyson (Basic). Coval won a New Voices/New Visions award from the Kennedy Center for a play co-authored with Idris Goodwin about graffiti writers called, This is Modern Art, that will premiere in the winter of 2015 at Steppenwolf Theater and is currently editing an anthology, The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket) due out February 2015. @kevincoval on all social media especially instagram.
Laura Emiko Soltis
Laura Emiko Soltis currently serves as a professor at Freedom University, which provides college-level education to undocumented youth who have been banned from the top public universities in Georgia under Policy 4.1.6. Emiko is a recent graduate of Emory University, where she wrote her dissertation on interracial labor movements in the U.S. South. Her research focused on the immigrant farm workers of the Coalition of Immokalee workers and their use of radio, popular education, and human rights strategies to build interracial solidarity and advance their movement goals. Emiko has been active in immigrant rights and student/labor activism in Atlanta since 2006, and can often be found leading freedom songs and making photographs at movement actions. Since joining the teaching at Freedom University, Emiko has founded the Freedom University Photography Project and has worked to establish relationships between undocumented youth and veterans of the Atlanta Student Movement.
Laura Flanders is the Executive Producer and host of The Laura Flanders Show, an online source for in-depth intelligent interviews with cutting-edge thinkers and doers. She was the founder and host of “GRITtv with Laura Flanders” which appeared daily on Free Speech TV and on cable and public television stations across the US from 2008 to 2011. On Air America Radio, Flanders hosted The Laura Flanders Show and RadioNation. She is currently a contributing writer to The Nation magazine and a regular contributor to MSNBC. She has also appeared on shows from Real Time with Bill Maher to The O’Reilly Factor. Her books include the New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians(Penguin Press, 2007). She tweets @GRITlaura.Before joining Air America when it launched in March 2004, Laura hosted the award-winning “Your Call,” Monday-Friday, on public radio, KALW, 91.7 fm in San Francisco. She was also founding director of the Women’s Desk at the media watch group, FAIR and for more than ten years she produced and hosted CounterSpin, FAIR’s nationally-syndicated radio program. About her first book Real Majority, Media Minority; the Cost of Sidelining Women in Reporting (Common Courage Press, 1997) Susan Faludi wrote, “If only there were a hundred of her.”Among other awards, Flanders is the recipient of the 2013 Metro Labor Press Council’s Communicator of the Yearaward for her coverage of labor issues, and in the same year, a Stonewall Award from the Stonewall Community Foundation for her leadership in the LGBTQ community. She lives in NYC with her partner, choreographer Elizabeth Streb.
Leenah Odeh is from the southwest side of Chicago. As a posse scholar she earned her B.A. in history with a concentration in Middle East and African American studies at Carleton College. She was trained as a youth organizer at the Southwest Youth Collaborative Liberation Institute and was a youth organizer with Generation Y. Leenah worked and lived throughout the Levant and continues to build connections and international solidarity across communities of struggle in the US and Middle East. Her interests and research include popular education, comparative diasporas, transnational feminism, the third world project, the carceral state and the global military industrial complex, critical race and queer thought. She is a student at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston and will be an Ella Baker Social Justice intern this summer at the Center for Constitutional Rights in Government Misconduct and Racial Justice.
Leslie K. Etienne
A native of the Midwest (Dayton, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan), Dr. Les Etienne has worked in areas of education, social justice and community power throughout the US South. For over twenty years Dr. Etienne has had specialized experience working with youth leadership and development, therapeutic community direct care, education ranging from k-12 through higher education, nonprofit leadership, and organizational development. Dr. Etienne has extensive academic training as a social justice/ social movement historian whose research is focused on Pan African frameworks for liberation, grassroots leadership, and community based alternative multigenerational education. He is particularly versed on the narrative story of the SNCC Freedom Schools and is published in the subject. In addition, Dr. Etienne is also member of the Board of Directors at the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, TN and he is campus coordinator for University Sin Fronteras Atlanta campus and Teacher/Organizer Institute Planning Team.
Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe is currently an assistant professor in Disability Studies at the University of Toledo. She was also a postdoctoral research associate at the department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the co-editor of a forthcoming volume entitled Disability Incarcerated: Imprisonment and Disability in the United States and Canada. Her dissertation “Genealogies of resistance to incarceration: prison abolition and de-institutionalization activism in the US,” looks at demands to close down repressive institutions that house those labeled as criminals, mentally disabled and mentally ill. Her academic interests are in activism, coalition building and intersectionality, Critical Disability Studies, representations of dis/ability, inclusive pedagogy and more. Liat has written on such topics as the International Symbol of Access;inclusive pedagogy; academic repression; disability, anti-capitalism and anarchism; queerness and disability ; deinstitutionalization and incarceration and the politics of abolition. She is also a co-founder of ISDN, the Israeli Disability Studies Network.
Lisa Brock is the Academic Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. Lisa has been an activist all her life, from fighting for girl’s rights and black rights in her native Cincinnati, Ohio area and against police violence and judicial misconduct in Washington D.C., to becoming a leader in the anti-apartheid movement in Chicago, Illinois. She lived in Mozambique as a Fulbright Scholar in the 1980s and successfully merged her academic interest with southern African Social Justice Struggles. In the mid 2000s, she worked with others to found the Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collection (archives) at Columbia College Chicago and led the effort to endow an international travel scholarship at CCC. She herself successfully developed study abroad programs in South Africa and Cuba .She is the author of Between Race and Empire: African American and Cubans Before the Cuban Revolution, and her articles on Africa and the African Diaspora have appeared in dozens of academic journals and as book chapters. her latest project is a comparative study of Afro descended peoples in the United States and Cuba.
Lisa Yun Lee
Lisa Yun Lee is the Director of the School of Art & Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Visiting Curator at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and an Associate Professor in Art History and Museum and Exhibition Studies. As the previous director of the Hull-House Museum, she reinvigorated public programming, developed award-winning preservation programs, and installed a new core exhibition that integrates radical exhibition strategies and contemporary art. Lee is also the co-founder of the Public Square at the Illinois Humanities Council, an organization dedicated to creating spaces for dialogue and dissent and for reinvigorating civil society. She has published a book on Frankfurt School philosopher Theodor Adorno titled, Dialects of the Body: Corporeality in the Philosophy of Theodor Adorno (Routledge, 2004), and researches and writes about museum and diversity, cultural and environmental sustainability, and spaces for fostering radically democratic practices. She has published articles about feminism, museums and diversity, and sustainability. Lee also writes for In These Times magazine.
Lulú Martínez is a queer Chicana from Tlalnepantla, Mexico. She immigrated to the U.S. with her family at the age of three and began organizing after one of her peers was put into deportation proceedings. She helped co-found the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL), a Chicago-based undocumented youth-led organization and spent two years organizing in the Southeast with the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA) and Southerners On New Ground (SONG). Her shared identities and experiences continue to encourage her to move towards a path of truth-seeking, deep spiritual and political thought and organizing efforts that recognize multiplicities in the spaces she shares. More recently, she participated in the DREAM 9 action and self-deported to Mexico to emphasize family separation caused by deportation, violence and homeland insecurities.
Lynette Jackson is an associate professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and African American Studies at UIC. She received her PhD. in African History from Columbia University in 1997. Dr. Jackson is the author of Surfacing Up: Psychiatry and Social Order in Colonial Zimbabwe (Cornell 2005) and numerous other articles and book chapters on topics relating to women, the state and medical and public health discourses in colonial and postcolonial Africa, particularly having to do with the regulation of African women’s sexuality. Dr. Jackson’s current research explores the history of child refugee diasporas from Southern Sudan, particularly focusing on two streams of unaccompanied children: The Lost Boys and Girls and the Cuban 600. She has also begun conducting research for a critical biography of Winnie Mandela. Dr. Jackson is engaged in social justice and human rights activism, with a particular focus on the human rights of women and girls and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered peoples in Africa. She serves on the Chicago Committee of Human Rights Watch, the World Refugee Day planning committee and held previous board memberships on Heartland Alliance’s Human Care Services and Vanavevhu: Children of the Soil, an organization that caters to orphans and vulnerable children from Zimbabwe. Dr. Jackson also provides expert witness testimony in gender-based political asylum cases, particularly cases involving Female Genital Mutiliation. Recent radio interview on “African refugee children in diaspora: the Lost Boys and beyond” for WVON’s African Diaspora Today program hosted by Carol Adams. April 25, 2010.
In 2011, Malcolm London won the Louder than a Bomb youth poetry slam in his native Chicago, scooping the top award as both individual performer and with a team. The poet, performer and activist has performed on stages throughout his home city as well as across the United States. A member of the Young Adult Council of the prestigious Steppenwolf Theater, London brings vim and vigor to his energetic performances tackling tough contemporary issues head-on. 20 year-old London is a member of UCAN’s National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention and a teaching artist on staff at Young Chicago Authors, a program working to transform the lives of young people by cultivating their voices through writing, publication and performance education. Deeply interested in working on ways to improve the national education system, London regularly visits schools to work with current students on writing workshops and performances. In 2013 he was featured on “TED Talks Education” and is a member of the Black Youth Project 100.
Maria Varela is a community organizer, writer, photographer and occasional adjunct professor who lives in New Mexico. She was a staff member of the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee from 1963-1967 working primarily in Alabama and Mississippi. Varela created filmstrips and photo books utilized by SNCC and local community organizers for various organizing campaigns. She took up the camera because there were no training materials showing black people taking leadership to change their communities. Varela’s job as a SNCC staffer also included photographing marches, as the presence of cameras often protected marchers from violence. In 1968, she moved to New Mexico at the invitation of leaders of the Hispano land rights movements. For 40 years Maria organized rural communities in New Mexico and the Southwest to reduce poverty and loss of ancestral lands by creating culturally sustainable economic enterprises. For this work she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1990. Varela continues to mentor young organizers in New Mexico and more recently has supported the work of Native American leaders fighting for environmental justice on their native nations poisoned by uranium mining.
Mariam Williams is program coordinator at the University of Louisville Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, a part-time student at the university, and a nonfiction writer. She has received numerous awards for her columns and essays, including recognition from Kentucky Arts Council, The Kentucky Foundation for Women, and Louisville Society of Professional Journalists, and currently is a contributing columnist for National Catholic Reporter. She is interested in the intersections of race, Christianity, gender, and social justice regionally and globally and is working on a full-length memoir about her life as a black Christian feminist. Mariam blogs at www.RedboneAfropuff.com and at www.ncronline.org/blogs/intersection. Her work can also be found in the 19th edition of “Calliope: The Anthology of Women Who Write.”
Mariame Kaba is the founding director of Project NIA. Launched in 2009, Project NIA is an advocacy, organizing, popular education, research, and capacity-building center with the long term goal of ending youth incarceration. Their mission is to dramatically reduce the reliance on arrest, detention, and incarceration for addressing youth crime and to use instead promote the use of restorative and transformative practices, a concept that relies on community-based alternatives. From 2004 to 2009, she was a program officer at the Stearns Family Foundation where her work focused on education, youth development and evaluation. She has taught high school and college students in New York City and in Chicago. She has developed and taught courses about the history of black education, youth violence, urban education, and contemporary social issues at Northeastern Illinois University and at Northwestern University. Kaba has been active in the anti-violence against women and girls movement since 1989. Her experiences includes coordinating emergency shelter services at Sanctuary for Families in New York City; serving as the co-chair of the Women of Color Committee at the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network; working as the prevention and education manager at Friends of Battered Women and their Children (now called Between Friends); serving on the founding advisory board of the Women and Girls Collective Action Network; and being a member of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence. She is also a founding member and founding board chair of the Chicago Freedom School. She considers herself, above all, to be a social justice educator.
Marisa Franco, a lead organizer for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, has organized multi-racial constituencies across community and labor. Before joining the staff at NDLON, Marisa was the lead organizer for the Right to the City Alliance. Prior to working at the national level, Marisa organized with People Organized to Win Employment Rights in San Francisco, CA and Domestic Workers United in New York City. She has worked on a variety of social justice issues, including prison rights, rights of people who are homeless, welfare reform, gentrification and migrant rights.
Mark Anthony Neal
Mark Anthony Neal is a Professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African- American Studies at Duke University, where he won the 2010Robert B. Cox Award for Teaching. Neal has written and lectured extensively on black popular culture, black masculinity, sexism and homophobia in Black communities, and the history of popular music. Neal is founder and managing editor of the blog NewBlackMan. He hosts the weekly webcast Left of Black in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University. A frequent commentator for National Public Radio, Neal contributes to several on-line media outlets, including Huff Post Black Voices and SeeingBlack.com.
Martha Biondi is a member of the Department of African Studies and History Department at Northwestern University. She specializes in twentieth century African American history with particular attention to grassroots activism, black political thought, gender, labor, and cities. She has written two major studies on the modern black freedom struggle, and is the author of To Stand and Fight: the Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City, which was awarded the Thomas J. Wilson Prize as best first book of the year. She has also authored The Black Revolution on Campus, an account of the nationwide Black student movement of the late 1970s. She illustrates how the simultaneous fight to save historically black colleges from the threat of integration contributed to a new understanding of racial progress by the 1970s. She is currently researching a book on neoliberalism, violence, and Black life, focusing on Chicago since the 1980s.
Martin Xavi Macias
Martin Xavi Macias is a 4th year Urban and Public Affairs student where he chairs the Community Development Committee for Students in Urban/Public Affairs (SUPA) at UIC. Martin is also part of the national leadership for United Students Against Sweatshops, a national student movement-building student and worker power on campuses and in cities across the globe. He has a background in multi-issue community organizing, facilitation, media justice projects, community journalism initiatives and youth media work.
Mary F. Morten, president of the Morten Group (MG), is a filmmaker, activist, and consultant committed to social change through video and film development. Her background includes 20 years of executive leadership at nonprofits and a mayoral appointment by Mayor Richard M. Daley in city government. She is the immediate past Director of the Office of Violence Prevention for the Chicago Department of Public Health and has also served as Director for the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. She has also developed films around policy initiatives and women’s rights for several clients including Pillars, Chicago Foundation for Women, and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. For the past two years, she and the Woke Up Black documentary subjects have toured the country with the film, which has been broadcast twice on PBS in Chicago and has been used for professional, educational and community development by organizations from After School Matters to the United States Department of Defense. In 2012, Woke Up Black won a Black Excellence Award for Documentary Film from the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago. Last fall, Mary and the team started pre-production on Woke Up Black. Again. She is frequently seen in national and local media outlets for her expertise as a women’s advocate. She has received numerous honors for her work with women and girls and in the philanthropic community.
Mary Scott Boria
Mary Scott-Boria is a lifelong resident of Chicago, having witnessed Chicago, “the city that works,” from many interesting perspectives; from a young teenager experiencing Chicago as a place of many uprising and social movements, to an activist and professional deeply committed to ensuring that the city works for everyone.
Mary has over 30 years of experience and knowledge of Chicago’s communities, having worked as a professional social worker and human services administrator in several not for profit organizations. Her work and interests have been in women and youth issues and in community organizing and politics. She served as the founding executive director of the Chicago Sexual Assault Services Network, director of Youth Services Project (YSP), and a founding executive member of the Cook County Democratic Women. As director of Women’s Services for the Metropolitan YWCA, she became interested in global issues of violence against women and visited women’s anti-violence projects in Ghana and South Africa. Her background in anti-racism education and organizing has kept her involved in issues of racial justice since the late 60s. Mary holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her leadership in the Anti-Racism Institute of Clergy and Laity Concerned led her to seminary where she recently completed her Master of Divinity degree from the McCormick Theological Seminary here in Chicago. She serves on the training team of the Christian Peacemakers Teams and is active with the Mikva Challenge Foundation and CLAIM (Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers). She lives in the Humboldt Park community and takes advantage of the many opportunities to experience, in sight, sound, words and movement, this vibrant multicultural and intensely interesting city.
Maya Ann Evans
Best known as the first person convicted under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 for carrying out a peaceful anti Iraq war protest, Maya Anne Evans has worked on projects relating to the war on terror with the anti war campaigning group Justice not Vengeance for 4 years. In 2005 she was involved in the making of a 20-minute documentary about why people become terrorists, specifically reasons behind Al Qaeda’s terrorist attacks, focusing on the promotion conflict resolution over a continuation of the cycle of violence. She has spoken extensively on the importance of defending civil liberties and is an active peacemaker motivated by a deep commitment to non violence.
Megan Carney is the Director of the Gender & Sexuality Center, one of the Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she provides vision and resources for collaborative programs that investigate and reveal diverse LGBTQ identities and histories using oral history collection, participatory workshops and a variety of public programs. Megan is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Theatre and Music at UIC. She has an MFA in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech with a focus on Directing and Public Dialogue. Megan is a co-founder of About Face Youth Theatre and current member of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Recent performance and civic dialogue projects include Never Too Late to Refuse, based on Bayard Rustin’s writings from prison created for the Rustin Centennial Conference at UIC; Pittsburgh Project Remix, exploring the legacy of the steel industry and shifting identities in the rust belt; Open Systems, commemorating five years after Hurricane Katrina made landfall commissioned for the Education and Community Engagement Program of the Goodman Theatre. She is currently a lead artist on Women at War investigating experiences of women returning from military service. Megan’s writing on theatre, community building and social change can be found online and in print.
Miles Johnson is a student at Columbia University and is with Students Against Mass Incarceration which is a Black radical student organization committed to awareness and activism around mass incarceration, the prison industrial complex, and the existence of political prisoners in the United States. The mission of Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) is to spread awareness about the prison industrial complex, recidivism, and the existence of political prisoners in the United States. In order to bring awareness to the manifold issues that stem from mass incarceration, we believe we must analyze systemic injustices on all fronts. We do not believe we can divorce a politically conscious discourse from community based action. The national organization of SAMI sees prison abolition as its ultimate end, because we envision a state where societal ills are addressed through a front-end approach, rather than aggravated in a system of mass incarceration and social control. As a Black radical organization, we emphasize the intersection of our culture and our politics, and challenge our fellow students of African descent to fight for the causes that will benefit our communities most.
Moya Bailey is a graduate of the Emory University Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department. She is interested in how race, gender, and sexuality are represented in media and medicine. She is the co-conspirator of Quirky Black Girls, a digital collective of strange and different Black girls. Formerly, she was a blogger and digital alchemist for the Crunk Feminist Collective. She also co-curates the #transformDH initiative in Digital Humanities. As an undergrad she received national attention for her involvement in the “Nelly Protest” at Spelman University, a moment that solidified her deep commitment to examining representations of Black women in popular culture. She is an active member of the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association and National Women’s Studies Association. As a frequent organizer of the Shawty Got Skillz session at the annual Allied Media Conference, Moya is able to bridge her passion for social justice and her work in the digital humanities.
Nadine Naber is an Associate Professor in the Department of Gender and Womens Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a member of the Diaspora Studies Cluster. She came to the University of Illinois at Chicago from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor where she co-founded Arab American Studies (an Ethnic Studies unit within the Program in American Culture). She is author of Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism (NYU Press, 2012). She is co-editor, with Rabab Abdulhadi and Evelyn Alsultany, of Arab and Arab American Feminisms Perspectives, winner of the Arab American Book Award 2012 (Syracuse University Press, 2010). Nadine is an editorial board member of the Middle East Research and Information Project; an advisory board member of the Expanding Frontiers: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality book series with the University of Nebraska Press; and a member of the Arab Families Working Group. Nadine is co-founder of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association, North America (cyber AWSA); Arab Movement of Women Arising for Justice (AMWAJ) and Arab Women’s Activist Network (AWAN) and a former board member of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence; Racial Justice 9-11; and the Women of Color Resource Center.
Nakisha Hobbs is the principal and co-founder of Chicago’s Village Leadership Academy (VLA), an independent elementary school where the primary focus is to transform urban youth into global leaders. A Chicago native and fourth generation educator, Nakisha began her journey in community activism as an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In response to the negative impact of high-stakes testing, Nakisha mobilized a group of her peers to develop an African-centered tutoring program designed to empower marginalized youth. Nakisha continued her passion to address inequities in education by co-founding It Takes A Village Early Learning Centers in 2004 and VLA in 2007. This pipeline educational system, which is currently birth through eighth grade, serves over 700 students and redefines the purpose of urban education. Village Leadership Academy envisions a society where people from all communities are equipped to address the social, political, and economic issues that confront them.The education students receive at VLA, reflects this vision. Innovative components of the school include a practical approach to leadership development; a spiraling world studies and social justice curriculum; and access to global travel through the World Scholars Program. VLA’s World Scholars Program has taken students, ages 13 and under, and mostly urban students of color to South Africa, DRC, and the Dominican Republic as part of a global education experience. Nakisha Hobbs has spoken at conferences and in various media about her work and education with a social justice approach.
Naomi has over 12 years of experience in youth development, training facilitation and restorative justice. Prior to moving to Chicago in 2008, Naomi worked in Indianapolis, Detroit and the Mississippi to build youth voice and leadership for educational justice. her previous positions include Community Advocacy Coordinator at the University of Indianapolis, Program Coordinator for the Youth Dialogues Program on Race and Ethnicity in metropolitan Detroit (a project of the Michigan Youth and Community program), and visiting lecturer in restorative justice at North Park University. For five years, she also led the Restorative Justice program at Alternatives Inc. where she worked with public schools across Chicago to implement restorative discipline systems to combat the school to prison pipeline. In 2008, she became a volunteer and then board member at the Chicago Freedom School. She joined CFS’s staff as a director in 2013. Naomi was born outside of Chicago and grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Social Work degree from University of Michigan.
Natalie D. A. Bennett is a feminist scholar, educator and book artist who hails from Granville, St. James (Jamaica) and currently lives in Chicago, IL (USA). She has been engaged in community work for many years on a variety of issues including developing adult literacy classes for Jamaican immigrants in NYC; working with Sudanese refugee women in Nebraska to create community gardens, and doing advocacy for LGBT Caribbean immigrants in New York City. She currently serves on the board of Global Girls, Inc. an art-based youth development organisation for African American girls, and as Director of the Granville Reading & Art Programme. She occasionally blogs atmyalweed.wordpress.com. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nik Theodore is Professor of Urban Planning and Policy and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Research in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs of the University of Illinois at Chicago. His co-authored book with Jamie Peck on policies mobilities, Fast Policy, is forthcoming with the University of Minnesota Press. His research has been published in economics, public policy, and urban studies journals including: Cambridge Journal of Economics, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Geography, European Urban and Regional Studies, Global Networks, Urban Studies, Political Geography, Antipode, and others.
Niqua is working with the Education Justice for Atlanta research project and the National Student Bill of Rights to coordinate a southeast agenda. He is a youth representative apart of the Formerly Incarcerated Peoples Movement. As an aspiring hip hop artist, students of Black Southern movements and Atlanta history, YST Radio Air Shifter and graduate of YCAP and SCCPI, Niqua has been a part of the Project South movement building community for over 3 years.
Owen Daniel-McCarter is a founding collective member of the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois, which provides free, holistic legal services to transgender people targeted by the criminal legal system in Chicago, which has three core values: the right to gender self-determination, vision toward a long-term goal of prison abolition, and dedication to resisting state-sponsored systems of control through transformative justice and community
Ozi Uduma is a graduate of the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor; double majoring in Anthropology and Afroamerican and African Studies. She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, by way of Nigerian parentage. She is the former Co-chair for the Coalition for Queer People of Color and the former Seba for the Black Student Union. Ozi is passionate about celebrating lived experiences of everyone, especially Women of Color and dismantling the shame that we were taught to embody because of said experiences.
Peniel E. Joseph is Professor of History at Tufts University and the author of the award-winning Waiting ’til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America and Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama as well as editor of The Black Power Movement:Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era and Neighborhood Rebels: Black Power at the Local Level. He is a frequent national commentator on issues of race, democracy, and civil rights whose commentary has been featured on NPR and Public Radio nationally. During the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions Professor Joseph provided historical commentary for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. His essays have appeared in The Journal of American History, The Chronicle Review, The New York Times, The Black Scholar, Souls, and American Historical Review. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Peter Orris is Professor and Associate Director of the Great Lakes Center for Occupational and Environmental Safety and Health, at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health (a World Health Organization Collaborating Center) . Dr. Orris is also the Director of its Occupational Health Service Institute and Global Toxics Policy Program. He has a long history of advocacy for elimination of profits and racism in health care and opposing corporate policies that poison the environment of the developing world. He serves on the Board of Physicians for Responsible Negotiations-SEIU and is a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. He has also served as expert witness in workers’ compensation cases, and other medical aspects of employment or environmental cases.
Phillip Agnew first came to community activism as a student at Florida A&M University after 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson was beaten to death at a Florida boot camp (the camp was shuttered soon after). Seven years later, in response to teen Trayvon Martin being killed, Agnew formed the Dream Defenders, which brought vigor and national attention to the Martin case from the start. The black-and-brown youth-led Dream Defenders now has chapters on nine college campuses in Florida and highlights racial and social economic-justice issues like prison privatization, racial profiling and “zero tolerance” policies in schools — which many believe lead students of color straight into the prison system. Although he was locked out as a speaker, Agnew pushed forward and remarked online. He tweeted: “We won’t use this as an opportunity to bash older generations. They ran out of time. Youth will rise. And our time is now.”
Rozell “Prexy” Nesbitt was highly active in labor and equality movements and in 1976, he became the national coordinator and field organizer for the Bank Withdrawal Campaign for the American Committee on Africa. Two years later Nesbitt was named the director of the Africa project at the Institute of Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. In 1979, Nesbitt became the program director and secretary for research at the World Council of Churches, based in Geneva, Switzerland. Nesbitt returned to Chicago in 1984, where he continued his work as a labor organizer. In 1986, Chicago mayor Harold Washington named Nesbitt as a special assistant. The following year, the government of Mozambique appointed Nesbitt to serve as a consultant to help them represent their interest to the United States, Canada, and Europe;he remained in this post until 1992. In 1990, Nesbitt took a post as a lecturer with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, and in 1993, Nesbitt has served as senior program officer, and dean of community engagement and diversity with the Program on Peace & International Cooperation with the MacArthur Foundation. In addition to his foundation work, Nesbitt worked as an African and American history teacher at his high school alma mater, Francis W. Parker School. Nesbitt also taught African History at Columbia College, and served as a consultant on diversity for the Francis W. Parker School; the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools; and the East Education Collaborative in Washington D.C. In 2001, Nesbitt became the South African representative of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the interim director for the American Friends Service Committee Africa Program. From 2003 on, Nesbitt worked as the Senior Multiculturalism and Diversity Specialist for the Chicago Teachers Center at Northeaster Illinois University. Nesbitt has lectured both in the United States and abroad, and has written extensively, publishing a book and articles in more than twenty international journals. Nesbitt also served as a co-writer on the BBC production of The People’s Century program Skin Deep, about racism in the United States and South Africa. Over the course of his career, Nesbitt made more than seventy trips to Africa, including trips taken in secret to apartheid torn South Africa; his work has garnered him numerous awards throughout his career.
Premilla Nadasen is an associate professor of history at Barnard College/Columbia University. She researches and writes about race, gender, social policy, and labor history. She is the author of several books on welfare, including the award winning Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the United States as well as numerous scholarly and popular articles about welfare, domestic work, social movements, and African American women’s history. She has published in the Journal of Policy History,Feminist Studies, Race and Reason, Feminist Formations, Working USA, and Ms. Magazine and she blogs regularly for Ms. She has also written for the Progressive Media Project and her op-eds have appeared in dozens of newspapers around the country. She has won fellowships and honors for her work, including the American Studies Association’s John Hope Franklin Book Prize, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Article Prize, and a position as Visiting Endowed Chair in Women’s Studies at Brooklyn College. She was named a “Top Young Historian” by History Musings. Nadasen has written policy briefs, served as an expert academic witness, and speaks widely on issues of labor and poverty. She is currently writing a history of domestic worker organizing in the United States
Purvi Sha is the Director of the Social Justice Institute at the Center for Constitutional Rights, a new training institute committed to building a diverse generation of movement lawyers to serve social movements in the US and across the world. Purvi has over a decade of experience as an activist, organizer, attorney, and law professor. In 2006, she received a New Voices Fellowship to launch the Community Justice Project at Florida Legal Services. While there, Purvi worked collaboratively with community and worker organizations to represent tenant unions, public housing residents, immigrants’ rights groups, and taxi drivers. From 2007-2011, Purvi served as a professor at the University of Miami, School of Law, where she co-founded and co-directed the Community Lawyering Clinic. Over the years, Purvi has become a regularly feature panelist and trainer on the connection between law and organizing, conducting numerous state and national trainings for law students and young lawyers. Prior to becoming an attorney, Purvi worked as a community organizer with youth in Miami, students in India and families of incarcerated youth in California. Purvi has received many awards for her work including the Rodney Thaxton Award for Racial Justice from the ACLU of Florida and the Miami Fellowship for Rising Civic Leaders from the Miami Foundation. Purvi is a graduate of UC Berkely School of Law at the University of California and of Northwestern University.
Rachel Harding currently teaches classes on religion at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, She is the Executive Director of The Veterans of Hope Project: A Center for the Study of Religion and Democratic Renewal at the Iliff School of Theology. The veterans for Hope Project documents the life stories of community organizers, creative artists, religious leaders, and educators who have been active for many years in movements for compassionate social change. Through educational videos, public forums, workshops, retreats, consultations, and cultural events, the Project passes on the values, faith, and practices that have guided these “Veterans” in their work, with the goal of encouraging a healing -centered approach to community-building that recognizes the interconnectedness of spirit, creativity, and citizenship. Harding is also a member of the Terreito de Cobre candomble community in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, where she experiences a rich connection between ancestral spirituality, social justice activism, and the ritual poetics of dance, prayer and obligation. These spiritual influences and practices form the basis of her academic, creative, and activist work. She is the author of A Refuge in Thunder: Candomble and Alternative Spaces of Blackness, a history of the nineteenth century development of the Afro-Brazilian religion candomble. She has presented numerous papers on candomble, Afro-Atlantic and Afro-Latin religions, and poetry, and her essay, “What part of the River You’re In’: African American Women in Devotion to Osun,” appeared in Osun Across the Waters: A Yoruba Goddess in Africa and the Americas. Harding is also an accomplished poet, and her poetry has been published in Callaloo, Chelsea, Feminist Studies, The International Review of African American Art, Hambone, and in several anthologies.
Randolph Carr II
Randolph is a recent graduate of Columbia University, where he received a B.A. in Philosophy. In college, he served as political education chair of Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI), a group dedicated to prison abolition. During that time, Randolph was also involved in performance and hip-hop groups which sought to merge the distance between creativity and political awareness.
Rami Nashashibi has served as the Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) since its incorporation as a nonprofit in January 1997. He has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago and has been an adjunct professor at various colleges and universities across the Chicagoland area, where he has taught a range of Sociology, Anthropology, and other Social Science courses. He has worked with several leading scholars in the area of globalization, African American studies and urban sociology and has contributed chapters to edited volumes by Manning Marable and Saskia Sassen. Rami has lectured across the United States, Europe, and Asia on a range of topics related to American Muslim identity, community activism and social justice issues, and is a recipient of several prestigious community service and organizing honors. Rami and his work with IMAN have been featured on many national and international media outlets including the BBC, PBS and a front page story in the Chicago Tribune. In 2007 Islamica Magazine profiled Rami as being among the “10 Young Muslim Visionaries Shaping Islam in America” and in 2009, Chicago Public Radio selected Rami Nashashibi as one of the city’s Top Ten Chicago Global Visionaries. Rami was named one of the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in concert with Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. He was named a White House “Champion of Change” in 2011, and was also invited by the governor of Illinois to serve on the Commission for the Elimination of Poverty and as a member of the Governor’s Muslim Advisory Council. Rami lives with his wife and three children on Chicago’s Southwest Side.
Reyna Wences is a queer Chicago youth organizer, pro-immigrant rights activist and undocumented immigrant. She’s a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago majoring in gender and women’s studies and an active member of the Immigrant Youth Justice League ( IYJL), a Chicago-based grassroots organization led for and by undocumented youth and with support of allies. She has worked on campaigns to stop the deportation of students and organized civil disobedience to pressure Congress to pass the DREAM Act. At the recent Netroots conference in Minneapolis, Reyna was named one of the recipients of the Freedom from Fear Awards, which honors courageous individuals.
Social Justice Institute founder and director Rhonda Y. WIlliams, Ph.D. is an associate professor of history and the founder and director of the postdoctoral fellowship in African American studies at Case Western Reserve University. She authored The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles against Urban Inequality. her research interests include the manifestations of race and gender inequality on urban spaces and policy, the history of low income people’s lives and activism, and illicit narcotics economies in the post-1940s United States.
Rob “Biko” Baker
Rob “Biko” Baker is the executive director of the League of Young Voters, and a nationally recognized leader. Based in Milwaukee Baker is a pioneer in running city-level, data driven, voter turnout campaigns that dramatically increase the voter participation of young urban citizens. A leading voice on field campaigns targeting young African American voters, Baker serves on CIRCLE’s research advisory board and is a board member of the New Organizing Institute. He is also a well known communicator around elections, as well as cultural and political issues including gun violence and voting rights. In addition to being a former contributor to The Source, he has appeared on C-Span, Fox News, and CNN. A powerful and popular speaker at conferences and events, Baker has interviewed luminaries Cornel West, Russell Simmons, and Howard Dean, and has been on panels with many of the nations strongest progressive voices. Baker holds a Ph.D in history from UCLA.
Robin D.G. Kelley
Author and historian Robin D.G. Kelley is one of the most distinguished experts on African American studies and a celebrated professor who has lectured at some of the most recognized learning institutions in the United States. He is currently the Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA. Kelley’s research and teaching interests range widely, covering the history of labor and radical movements in the U.S., the African Diaspora, and Africa; intellectual and cultural history (particularly music and visual culture); urban studies, and transnational movements. Kelley has written remarkable award-winning books which include: Thelonious Monk: His Story, His Song, His Times; Race Rebels: Culture Politics and the Black Working Class; Yo’ Mama’s DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America; and Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination. In 2012, he completed the book Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times (Harvard University Press). Kelley’s work includes seven books as well as over 100 magazine articles, which have been featured in such publications as The Nation, Monthly Review, The Voice Literary Supplement, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Code Magazine, Utne Reader, and African Studies Review. His career spans several esteemed universities, including serving as a Professor of History and Africana at New York University as well as acting as Chairman of NYU’s History Department. He received his PhD in US History and MA in African History from UCLA and by the age of 32 he became one of the youngest full professors in the country at NYU. He was also the William B. Ransford Professor of Cultural and Historical Studies at Columbia and helped to shape programs at its Institute for Research in African American Studies.
Robyn Spencer is an Assistant Professor of History at Lehman College where she teaches courses on the Black freedom movement. Her areas of research include Civil rights and Black Power, urban and working-class radicalism, and gender. Her writings on the Black Panther Party have appeared in the Journal of Women’s History, Souls, Radical Teacher and many collections of essays on the 1960s. She is completing a book on gender and the organizational evolution of the Black Panther Party in Oakland with Duke University Press; and starting a second book project on the intersections between the movement for Black liberation and the anti Vietnam war movement. She is a long time supporter of grassroots movements against mass incarceration and in support of political prisoners. In 2013, she launched History for the People, an initiative to develop programming that brings the history of Black radicalism, especially the contributions of Black women, to community based spaces. The first project centers on the life of Mae Mallory, Pan Africanist, advocate of armed self-defense, and ally of Robert and Mabel Williams. Since traveling to Israel and Palestine in January 2014, Spencer has curated Black on Palestine, http://blackonpalestine.tumblr.com/, a blog dedicated to an intersectional movement for Palestinian liberation.
Roderick Ferguson is a Professor of American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota where he specializes in African-American literature, queer theory and queer studies, classical and contemporary social theory, African- American intellectual history, the sociology of race and ethnic relations and black cultural theory. He is affiliated faculty with the Departments of Gender, Women, and Sexuality and African-American and African Studies. Ferguson is most reowned for the concept of “queer of color critique” from his book Aberrations in Black, which is exemplified by the work of Audre Lorde, Cherrie Morage, Barbara Smith, and the Combahee River Collective and said to be critiques that do not presume homogeneity across racial or national groups. Instead, they offer powerful relational analyses of the radicalized, gendered, and sexualized valuation and devaluation of human life. He is the recipient of the Modern Language Association’s “Crompton-Noll Award” in 2000, which awards the ” best essay in lesbian, gay, and the Other Side of Redemption.” He served as associate editor of American Quarterly: The Journal of the American Studies Association from 2007 to 2010 and filled the position of Department Chair in American Studies at the University of Minnesota from 2009 to 2012.
Ronak Kapadia is Assistant Professor of Gender and Women Studies and Affiliated Faculty in Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is an interdisciplinary cultural theorist of race, sexuality, and empire in the twentieth and twenty-first century United States. Kapadia is at work on his first book, The Sensorial Life of Empire: Race, Security, and the Queer Calculus of Counterinsurgency, a study of contemporary South Asian, Muslim, and Arab diasporic visual culture and its critical intersections with the logics and tactics of the US global security state. Kapadia’s broader areas of research and teaching include critical ethnic studies, transnational queer and feminist cultural studies, visual culture and aesthetics, critical prison and security studies, and interdisciplinary approaches to US Empire and the Muslim International. His published and forthcoming essays appear in Asian American Literary Review, South Asian Diaspora, Journal of Popular Music Studies, and edited volumes from American University of Beirut (AUB) Press and the Critical Ethnic Studies Collective. Kapadia is the recipient of several national fellowships and awards and has served on the executive board of directors of both the Association for Asian American Studies and FIERCE, a member-led community organization working to build the leadership and power of LGBTQ youth of color in New York City.
Rosa M. Cabrera is the director of the Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center, one of the Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), which provides educational experiences about Latino cultures, community issues and assets through socially relevant public programs, intercultural arts-based civic dialogues, and engaged learning opportunities. Rosa is adjunct faculty in the Department of Anthropology, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, and Museum and Exhibition Studies. She earned her Doctorate in Anthropology and Bachelor of Arts in Design from UIC. For ten years, she directed The Field Museum’s “Cultural Connections” program, a partnership of more than 25 ethnic museums and cultural centers in Chicago that formed the Chicago Cultural Alliance in 2006 under her leadership. She also led a research team in a project with the Pilsen neighborhood’s Mexican community and the West Ridge’s South Asian community to better understand how cultural values and traditions impact residents’ understanding and practice of eco-friendly activities. Currently, she is leading the UIC Heritage Garden project to explore the connections between environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, and social justice.
Rosa Clemente is a Black Puerto Rican grassroots organizer, hip -hop activist, journalist, and entrepreneur. Founder of Know Thy Self Productions, Rosa has created two successful college/universities tours, Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win and the Speak Truth to Power. With an earned degree from the University of Albany and a Masters of Professional Studies from Cornell University she is committed to scholar- activism and youth organizing. As an activist she has traveled domestically and internationally to colleges, universities high schools and prisons. She has delivered lectures on topics such as African- American and Latino/a Intercultural Relations, Hip-Hop Activism, The history of the Young Lords Party, and Organizing to Free U.S. Political Prisoners. Rosa has written for Clamor Magazine, The Black World Today, The Final Call and has been the subject of articles in the Village Voice, The Amsterdam News, the New York Times and Red Eye Magazine. Rosa has appeared on CNN, C-Span, and Democracy Now, Street Soldiers, and National Public Radio (NPR). In 2001, she was a youth representative at the United NationsWorld Conference against racism in South Africa and in 2002 was named by Red Eye Magazine as one of the top 50 Hip Hop Activist to look out for. Currently she is co-host/co-producer WBAI’s (99.5 FM/NYC) show Where We Live, was recently published in Third World Press, Role Call: A Generational Anthology, is a member of the Malcolm X grassroots Movement, the Black August Collective and is the coordinator of the State of Black World Youth Caucus. Rosa is currently writing a novel titled Siempre Palante: Young Lords and the Legacy of youth resistance.
Rose M. Brewer, Ph.D. is a long time activist scholar. She is the Morse Alumni Distinguished Professor of African American Studies at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. She writes extensively on radical Black feminism, political economy, social movements and the Black Liberations Movement, publishing over 60 articles, book chapters and essays. her co-authored, The Color of Wealth received the Gustavus Meyer national book award in 2006 and she is one of the editors of the The United States Social Forum: Perspectives of a Movement, 2010. In 2012, she was an organizer of the Black Environmental Thought II conference at the University of Minnesota. Her deep commitment to ending racism, national oppression, sexism, imperialism, and economic exploitation in the U.S. and globally took root in Black student activism and local community struggles for social change. The struggle for her continues to be about fundamental social transformation. She is a core organizer of the United States Social Forum, a 2015 polycentric forum.
Raised in Inglewood, California, Rosemary Ndubuizu is the child of Nigerian immigrants. Rosemary went to college originally to become a gynecologist, but she quickly realized community organizing was her true passion. After her brief tenure as a program coordinator for an all-Black girl’s after-school program in D.C., Organizing Neighborhood Equity hired Rosemary as a community organizer in 2007. She organized residents to demand for their human right to safe, decent, and affordable housing. Rosemary returned to graduate school in 2010 to analyze the challenges of organizing for some of America’s most demonized populations, namely chronically unemployed single mothers, formerly incarcerated residents, and substance abusers and sellers. Rosemary’s dissertation examines how three D.C. housing advocacy organizations fight for these groups’ housing rights. Rosemary also observes how gender, race, and class-based ideologies shape affordable housing debates, particularly discerning how these narratives influence structural outcomes like gentrification. As a community-engaged scholar, Rosemary hopes her research will provide advocates and scholars alike with an opportunity to reflect on how advocacy groups work to house every individual, not just those who are considered “morally deserving” of affordable housing.
Rosi Carrasco has been a community organizer and educator since she emigrated from Mexico with her husband and her two daughters in 1994. She has played key roles in immigrant rights mobilizations in Chicago and nationally, including the massive demonstrations in Chicago in 2006 and 2007, and various civil disobediences protesting deportations around the country since 2011. Her latest arrest was in Broadview, Illinois, when she was part of an action to stop a deportation bus and shut down the immigrant detention center locate there. Before she came to the U.S. she worked for the education department in Mexico City as a researcher and studied Sociology at the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico. There, she began her activism and organizing at a young age, as a student supporting teacher’s rights and mobilizing community members to participate in local politics. She is currently Program Director at the Latino Organization of the Southwest and a volunteer organizer with Undocumented Illinois/Organized Communities Against Deportations.
Sage Xaxua Morgan- Hubbard
Sage Xaxua Morgan- Hubbard is a multidisciplinary artist, poet, activist, and educator. She is currently the Academic Partnership Coordinator of the Dance Department at Columbia College Chicago where she helping to develop a Hip Hop Studies Hub within the school of Fine and Performing Arts. Sage started a biannual B- Hip Hop series at Columbia College Chicago (B-Divine: Celebrating the Feminine within Hip Hop Culture in March 2012, B-Fresh Holistic Hip Hop festival in October 2013, and B-Real: Looking in Urban Movements in February 2014) where she co-organized the Hip Hop Teach-In Remixing the Art of Social Change with Words, Beats & Life in May 2011. She served as the Outreach Director of Young Chicago Authors and as a teaching artist throughout the Chicagoland area instructing kindergarten through college-level students as well as in the juvenile system in Cook County jail. She earned her MA in performance Studies at Northwestern University and her B.A. in “Performance Studies: Socially Conscious Art of the Everyday” and Ethnic Studies from Brown University. She is a founder of WORD! Spoken Word Artists and Activists in Providence, RI, and was one of the original members of Spoken Resistance, DC Writers Corps and Sol y Soul. Sage believes in praxis, peace, & the arts as tools for social change and transformation. Sage recently performed her original two-woman show about multiracial Black and Jewish identity entitled Mixed Mamas Remix Vol 1. with Stacy Erenberg.
Samuel Kelton Roberts is Associate Professor of History and Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University. He writes, teaches, and lectures widely on African- American history, medical and public health history, urban history and the history of social movements. His book titled Infectious Fear: Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation is an exploration of the political economy of health, urban geography, and race between the late nineteenth century and the mid- twentieth century, a periodization which encompasses both the Jim Crow era and the period from the bacteriological revolution to the advent of antimicrobial therapies. Robert is currently researching and writing a book- length project which examines the policy and political history of the postwar heroin epidemic, through the adoption of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) in the 1960s, and syringe exchange programs (SEPs) and harm reduction in the 1980s-1990s. Dr. Roberts also has affiliations with the Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), and the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars program (HSS), where he served as Coordinator of the RWJ’s Working Group in African- American History and the Health and Social Sciences (AAHHSS). Dr. Roberts currently is the Policy Coordinator for the newly begun Columbia University Criminal Justice Initiative, involving the schools of Arts & Sciences, Journalism, law, Education (Teachers College), Nursing, and Social work. Roberts is also a member of the Mailman School of Public Health’s Working group on Public Health and Mass Incarceration.
Sarah Gonzales is a Xicana-Indian organizer, artist and educator whose practices are rooted in liberatory learning and education as the practice of freedom. Inspired by the Ovarian Psyco bike crew in LA, she has co-organized monthly luna rides and sista circle for non-male identifying people to build community and co-founded an all people of color zine/writing collective called Brown & Proud Press. Upon studying to complete her Bachelor’s in Urban Elementary Education at UIC, she, along with other students of color in the program, organized a public forum addressing microaggressions, lack of students of color in the teaching program, and the way white supremacy operates within the program.
Sarah Jane Rhee
Sarah Jane Rhee (a.k.a. Sarah-Ji) is a Chicago-based movement photographer and parent who views and documents local grassroots struggles through an intersectional lens. She primarily focuses on education justice, prison abolition, and the work being led by youth of color. She has collaborated with organizations such as UIC’s Social Justice Initiative and Project NIA in using photography as a tool for organizing and documenting grassroots resistance. Her work was featured as the inaugural exhibit at SJI’s Pop Up Just Art Space (PUJA) and was part of the 2013 Unfurling series by Never the Same: Conversations About Art Transforming Politics & Community in Chicago & Beyond. In addition to photographing the movement, Sarah spends her time raising her daughter Cadence with her chosen family, choosing love as a practice of liberation, and attempting to incorporate the principles of community accountability and restorative/transformative justice into her everyday life.
Sara Vogt is a Disability Specialist at the Disability Resource Center, a Center for Cultural Understanding and Social Change, at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). In this role, she arranges accommodations for students with disabilities on campus and works with instructors to ensure that their courses are accessible to all students. She is also the Chair of the Disability Culture Advisory Committee, where she works with faculty, staff and students from a variety of disciplines to promote the construction and planning of social, cultural and educational programming to advance the understanding of and engagement with the breadth of issues connected to the experiences and identities of disabled people. Sara Vogt received her PhD in Disability Studies at UIC in 2012, where her research examined the intersections of race, gender, and disability in the U.S. Eugenics Movement during the early twentieth century. She has presented her work at various professional conferences, including the Society for Disability Studies, the American Historical Association, the American Association for the History of Medicine and the Social Science History Association. She has also taught graduate courses in the History of Women in Medicine and the History of Eugenics.
Seneca Kern has incorporated his experiences working in the community and his grandmother’s garden with a love of food to co-found WeFarm America with Bill Morrisett. An organic gardening social enterprise focused on promoting self-sustainability, effective resource allocation and open source information, WeFarm looks to help re-energize the food movement with the most local, organic, and sustainable food possible: your own. Also an active part of the Chicago Urban Agriculture and Food Justice movements, Seneca works closely with Black Oaks Center, Sacred Keepers Sustainability Lab, Urban Canopy, American Indian Center, Chicago Time Exchange, Center for Urban Transformation, Sustainability Leaders Network, Feed the People, NewGrange Development, and Truck Farm Chicago. Interests include eating, dancing, meeting new people, teaching, learning, and growing his own food. All of which makes his job the best he’s ever had!
Shana Griffin is a life-long resident of New Orleans, mother of two, black feminist, researcher, and social justice activist, who has over 16 years experience organizing nationally and locally with low-income communities of color on critical issues pertaining to racial and gender justice; sexual health and reproductive justice; housing affordability; ending gender-based violence; prison abolition; gender and disaster vulnerability; just sustainabilities; education equity; and climate justice. Shana is co-founder of the Women’s Health & Justice Initiative, where she currently serves as Research & Advocacy Director, and is the former Interim Director of the New Orleans Women’s Health Clinic she co-founded in 2007. Shana a member of INCITE! and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Women With A Vision, Inc. and Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, a local community land trust. Shana holds a Masters of Arts in Sociology from the University of New Orleans and two undergraduate degrees in Sociology and History. Her organizing and academic work are rooted in radical black feminists organizing traditions, theories, and movements. Shana’ current activism is focused on challenging punitive social policies, practices, and behaviors that restrict, exploit, regulate, criminalize, and police the bodies and lives of low-income and working class women of color most vulnerable to the violence of poverty, polluting environments, reproductive legislation and population control policies of blame, displacement, and social neglect.
Shayla Scales just graduated from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at University of Michigan with an emphasis in Marketing, Strategy, & Entrepreneurship. She also has a minor in Economics. Feeling passionate about education and teaching others how to leverage resources within their communities; she spent her time in college as a mentor and tutor for quantitative subjects for minority students at UofM and as a elementary reading tutor in Detroit. Realizing economic independence and financial literacy was just as important as education in marginalized communities she decided to volunteer and help create the curriculum in the program MReach, bringing hundreds of high school students to Ross each month to participate in mock business classes and career exploration programming. Shayla later started her own company in 2013, InControl Wear Inc.; receiving prototype and angel funding from UofM to continue to develop her company and she has since been accepted into the UofM Law School’s ZEAL Clinic to patent her market disruptive shape wear designs. Shayla ended her undergraduate college experience by becoming a student activist and leader in the #BBUM Movement – advocating for equality and inclusion on the UofM campus. This past year she has negotiated with and worked alongside administration to create initiatives that increase the enrollment of diversity and ensure that African Americans have a safe academic environment and inclusive social climate. The Twitter campaign produced national media attention from outlets such as CNN, NY Times, Wall Street Journal and UofM TedX; granting Shayla the national pedestal necessary to generate swift transformation at UofM. This movement resulted in UofM’s strategic advancements in creating its necessary critical mass and served as a catalyst for what has become an international discussion about equality in post-secondary education.
Sherie Randolph is assistant professor of History and AfroAmerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The former Associate Director of the Women’s Research & Resource Center at Spelman College, Randolph received her Ph.D. from New York University in 19th- and 20th-century American history with concentrations in African Diaspora and women and gender history. She has received several grants and fellowships for her work, most recently being awarded fellowships from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Rutgers University’s Institute for Research on Women and the Center for Race and Ethnicity. Randolph’s principal teaching and research interests focus on the historical intersections of race, gender, class and empire in the United States. She is currently revising a book manuscript titledBlack Feminist Radical: Florynce “Flo” Kennedy.
Shira began working as an activist and with non profits as a young person 18 years ago. She has focused on the experiences of girls, boys, transgender and queer youth involved in the sex trade and street economy since 1995. Using organizing and popular education as tools, Shira has lived and worked in Chicago and New York City helping young people start their own non profits and lead social justice work. As the Director of Young Women’s Empowerment Project from 2006-2011, Shira partnered with the young people in the organization to create a youth run member based social justice organizing project led by and for young women, girls and transgender youth of color with current or former experience in the sex trade and street economy. In 2013, Shira helped the organization wind down as a result of the political and economic climate. Currently working as a consultant, Shira offers program development & design, grassroots fundraising, participatory evaluation/action research and creating sustainable, healing centered and trauma-informed environments for staff through intensive partnering with organizational leaders. She has trained and spoken nationally on the sex trade, harm reduction, self injury, group work and healing & transformative justice. She received her Masters in Social Work from New York University in 2002.
Stacy Rene Erenberg is a community organizer, activist healer and socially conscious musician. For the past 12 years Stacy has worked with youth and other change makers fighting for equal education, ending gender violence, immigration reform and racial justice. Through her diverse experience working with all walks of life, she has gained skills as a facilitator, participatory action researcher, youth worker, popular education facilitator, advocate and cultural worker. Stacy was born and raised on the North east side of Chicago. She dedicates her life to justice through organizing, healing arts and music.Currently, she is the co-founder and practitioner at Sage Community Health Collective. Through her work at Sage, Stacy is committed to providing affordable, harm reductionist and preventative healthcare and access to healing practices for all.Stacy’s healing practice is a mixture of Tui Na, which is Chinese Massage that includes stretching, pulling, and acupressure, Shiatsu Meridian Therapy and Reiki. Stacy is a Reiki Level II practitioner and a certified Asian Body Therapist.Stacy believes that the way people move and the chronic pain they suffer from often is a result of a collection of traumas that the body has experienced over a lifetime. Therefore, her approach to healing the body and the entire being is to incorporate energy work into her practice to address the emotional and energetic healing of her patients. Each bodywork treatment Stacy gives is unique to that particular person and their own story and needs. Because of her deep conviction that the “personal is political “and that our individual healing process is deeply connected to the collective struggle; she specializes in providing healing services to community activists, organizers, social workers and teachers who are on the front lines of fighting for a more just world.At Sage aside from being a practitioner, she is the Outreach Coordinator and Internal Development Coordinator. She facilitates regional and national healing justice movement building for Sage and works with the other Sage members to address and heal their own internalized oppress ions. In her free time Stacy likes to sing and write songs, practice the guitar, do crossword puzzles, and read historical novels and memoirs. She also enjoys hanging with friends and family, decompressing with her partner by watching bad T.V, laughing out loud and dancing it out on a regular basis.All of these things, she says, “nourish my spirit and help me feel whole.”For information on her upcoming performances and work outside of Sage, visit http://stacyrene.
Steven W. Hawkins (born July 10, 1962) is an American social justice leader and litigator. He is currently the executive director of Amnesty International USA. He was previously the Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Color People (NAACP). He also held position as executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, as senior program manager at Justice, Equality, Human Dignity and Tolerance Foundation, and as program executive at Atlantic Philanthropies and as an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Hawkins is known for bringing litigation that led to the release of three teenagers wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death row in Tennessee.
Suey Park is a 23-year old graduate school dropout and fashionista. Between running her recreational bakery Suey-ts and hosting brunch parties, she can be see publishing her written work on twitter. Suey Park graduated from the University of Illinois in 2012 and was involved with social issues theatre, interfaith, and racial justice organizing on campus. She started the hashtags #POC4CulturalEnrichment, #NotYourAsianSidekick, #nopologetics, #CancelColbert–and most importantly #ActivistPickUpLines. She does social media consulting for organizations and frequently speaks with college students about how to enhance campus organizing efforts. She is on the board for Activist Millennials and was listed as #12 on the Guardian’s annual list of 30 under 30 in digital media.
Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, Divest UM, U. of Michigan
Tania Unzueta Carrasco
Tania Unzueta Carrasco is an undocumented queer woman born in mexico City, who has lived in Chicago, Il since she was 10 years old with her mother, father and sister. She is a co-founder of the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL), and a nationally recognized leader in the undocumented and immigrant rights movements. In 2010 she became nationally known as one of the framers of the ‘coming out of the shadows’ strategy, urging undocumented immigrants to take risks and make their story public. She was also a lead organizer of the first civil disobedience by undocumented immigrants, which took place in Arizona. Tania has also worked on LGBTQ rights, and has been active with the Chicago Dyke March, the Chicago LGBTQ Immigrant Alliance, the LGBT Immigrant Rights Coalition of Chicago and Amigas Latinas. She is an outspoken ‘undocu-queer’ and has been key in national conversations about intersections of these two movements. Since 2009 Tania has focused her academic and grassroots work on deportation and deportation defense. She is currently the lead national organizer on deportation defense cases with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. As part of this work she has supported hundreds of immigrants facing deportation and their communities to defend themselves through organizing. She has also taken lead in supporting several civil disobedience actions with undocumented adults and supporters, including that which shut down various detention centers across the country. she is also a graduate of Latin American and Latino Studies masters program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is about to publish her first academic, peer reviewed article in the Latino Studies Journal this summer, Disrupting the Dream: Undocumented Youth reframe Citizenship and Deportability through Anti-deportation Activism.
Tara Mack is the director of the Chicago-based Education for Liberation Network, a national coalition of teachers, community activists, researchers, youth and parents who believe a good education should teach people-particularly low income youth and youth of color – how to understand and challenge the injustices their communities face. They host the annual “Free People Free Minds” conference which brings together educators and activists.
Tawana Petty is a mother, award winning activist, social justice organizer, poet and author. She is the past recipient of the Spirit of Detroit Award, Woman of Substance Award, Women Creating Caring Communities Award and has been recognized as one of Who’s Who in Black Detroit. In addition to her social justice and youth advocacy work on the ground in Detroit, Tawana has performed across the globe. She has been featured on NPR/WDET, AM 1440, FM 107.5, former Detroit Councilwoman JoAnn Watson’s television program Wake Up Detroit, the Motown Writers Network, and on former Rolling Stone Editor Dave Marsh’s national radio program Living in the Land of Hopes and Dreams. She has also been featured in the Huffington Post, the Michigan Citizen, on Shetroit.com, in Truth-out and in Red Pepper Magazine (UK). Tawana was the organizer of Detroit 2012 and Detroit 2013 in collaboration with the Boggs Center, one of the organizers of the 1000 Forward Detroit Youth Summit in collaboration with Youth Voice, and co-organizer of the People’s Forum II: State of Emergency in collaboration with several Detroit activists/artists. She is a board member of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership, the Detroit Urban Debate League, and the Detroit Center for Community Advancement. She is also a member of the all female collective, The Foundation of 5e Gallery which celebrates women in hip hop while actively resisting misogyny and sexism in music and media, as well as a member of the Oakland Avenue Artist Coalition. Tawana Petty is the author of Introducing Honeycomb and is currently working on her second book, as well as coordinating the New Work New Culture Conference scheduled for October in Detroit.
Teresa Córdova is the newly appointed Director of UIC’s Great Cities Institute. She is also Professor of Urban Planning and Policy in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA). Dr. Córdova is a former elected official on the Bernalillo County (New Mexico) Board of Commissioners. While a County Commissioner, she served on the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority; The Metropolitan Transportation Board; and was Chair of The Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Government Commission. While Commissioner, she brought needed infrastructure projects and improvements, economic development, amenities such as open space and parks, a medical clinic, youth facilities and various services to her district. She also initiated several long range planning projects. Professor Córdova received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Before her appointment as the third permanent Great Cities Director (following Wim Wiewel and David Perry), she was Chair and Professor of Community and Regional Planning at the University of New Mexico (UNM). She is founder and former Director of the Resource Center for Raza Planning in the College of Architecture and Planning at UNM. She was a National Research Council Fellow and has received multiple recognitions for her role in developing a small business incubator and commercial kitchen. She has sat on numerous national and local boards and steering committees of community development corporations, planning organizations, policy groups, and campus committees. Professor Córdova is currently President of the Board of Directors of The Praxis Project, a national, nonprofit organization that provides research, technical assistance and financial support to tackle issues impacting the well being of communities.
Therese Quinn is Chair and Associate Professor of Art History and Director of the Museum and Exhibition Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She earned her doctoral degree in Curriculum Studies at UIC’s College of Education in 2001 with an arts-based qualitative study using museums and exhibit development strategies to explore the experiences of non-dominant group users of mainstream museums. Drawing on her work as an exhibit researcher, developer, and evaluator for the Field Museum of Natural History, the Chicago Children’s Museum, Museums in the Parks, and more, she teaches courses exploring the histories and pedagogical practices of museums and exhibitions. She writes about the arts and cultural institutions as sites for democratic engagement and justice work; contributes a regular column to Yliopisto, the magazine of the University of Helsinki; and is a founding member of Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE). Her most recent books are Art and Social Justice Education: Culture as Commons (2012, Routledge), Sexualities in Education: A Reader (2012, Peter Lang), and Teaching Toward Democracy (2010, Paradigm).
Timothy B. Tyson is an American writer and historian who specializes in the issues of culture, religion and race associated with the civil rights movement of the twentieth century. He has joint appointments at Duke University and the University of North Carolina. He has won numerous teaching awards, as well as recognition for creative and experimental courses, including one that took students on a tour of sites of the civil rights events in the South. His books have won the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize, James A. Rawley Prize, the 2007 University of Lousville Grawemeyer Award in Religion, and the southern Book Award. In addition, two have been adapted as films, and one as a play.
Tony Alvarado Rivera
Tony is a multi-issue community builder working and living within an anti-oppression and harm reduction framework. Most recently, Alvarado-Rivera completed his tenure at Broadway Youth Center as the Mentor Program Coordinator. Additional experience includes work with the groundbreaking About Face Youth Theatre and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in New York.
Toussaint G. Losier holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago. For years Losier has been engaged as a community activist, including advocating for a trauma center on the South Side of Chicago while attending graduate school. His research interests include Urban Social Movements, U.S. Political History, Carceral State, and 20th Century African and Caribbean History. Losier recently delivered a talk at Occidental College on “Black Power and Police Brutality in Chicago.” His various fellowships include the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship and the Mellon Mays Dissertation Fellowship.
Tracye Matthews is a historian, curator, and documentary filmmaker. She is currently the associate director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, where she served as a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in 2004-2005. Matthews was the media curator for the Teen Chicago Project (2004) at the Chicago Historical Society (CHS—now Chicago History Museum). In 2003, she curated Harold Washington: The Man and The Movement, a major exhibition at CHS commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the election of Chicago’s first Black mayor. Dr. Matthews previously served as a public historian and project coordinator of Neighborhoods: Keepers of Culture, also at the Chicago Historical Society. In 2006, Dr. Matthews served on the steering committee for the National Museum of Mexican Art’s (NNMA) groundbreaking exhibition, The African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present. She also produced a video installation and organized scholarly symposiums on Afro-Mexican studies at both the NNMA and the DuSable Museum of African American History. In 2010, she wrote the historical script for the National Urban League’s Centennial Exhibition, which is currently touring the U.S. Matthews’ other involvement in documentary film and video projects includes work at the award winning ROJA Productions, TV Gals Productions and Firelight Media in New York City; and Our Film Works, Exhibit Media, Juneteenth Productions and the Morten Group in Chicago. She has also served on review panels for the National Black Programming Consortium and the Independent Television Service (ITVS). Presently, Matthews is in pre-production on a semi-autobiographical documentary exploring adoption in African American communities. Matthews was previously an assistant professor in the Africana Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Race and Class, Sisters in Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement, The Black Panther Party Reconsidered, and Black Women in the United States: An Historical Encyclopedia. She is currently writing a book on the gender and sexual politics of the Black Panther Party. Ms. Matthews earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and master’s and doctorate in American History from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Executive Director of Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), organizes workers in the community. As Executive Director, Avila has recruited 700 members and activated the 250,000 workers who make up the Chicago restaurant workforce, and is now leading a national campaign against the Darden Restaurant group, the largest full-service restaurant corporation in the United States.
Vincent Harding is a scholar, university professor, theologian and author. Harding has now devoted much of his life to teaching about the meaning of the Freedom Movement. His insights into the very heart of the Movement are as meaningful for activists today as they were during the struggles for freedom in the 1950s and 1960s in Birmingham, Montgomery, Albany, Selma, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Willa J. Taylor
Willa J. Taylor is the Director of Education and Community Engagement for Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. She began her theatrical career in Dallas as an actor and has worked as producer, production coordinator, stage manager, and sound designer for theatre, opera, radio and television. She created the Allen Lee Hughes Fellows Program for Arena Stage in Washington, DC; designed the arts education program for the inaugural season of the New Victory Theater in New York City, the city’s first theater for children; developed educational materials for the Broadway production of The Diary of Anne Frank starring Natalie Portman; and spent seven seasons as Education Director for Lincoln Center Theatre. While serving as a linguist in the U. S Navy, she produced USO shows as military bases in Turkey, Greece, and Italy. As Cultural Director for Gay Games IV in New York City, Ms Taylor oversaw the production of more than 200 cultural events during the 16-day festival, including the Broadway premiere of Sir Ian McKellen’s one-man show, A Knight Out, and the world premiere of a new dance work by Bill T. Jones commissioned for the festival. Because of a lifelong commitment to activism and social justice, Ms Taylor volunteered with Hands On New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina to rebuild houses and libraries there. She has served as the Chair of the Board of the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Conference, and currently serves on the board of the Adler School of Professional Psychology and Chicago’s Season of Concern, a service organization committed to helping members of the theatre community who are suffering from catastrophic illnesses. Ms. Taylor has taught English and American Literature at New York’s Harvey Milk High School, and has lectured on Theater and Social Change at colleges and universities around the country. She has a BS in Liberal Studies from Excelsior College, a culinary degree from Kendall College, and is currently working on a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at Concordia University.
Dr. Yohuru Williams
Dr. Yohuru Williams Professor and Chair of the History Department as well as the Director of Black Studies at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. He received his Ph.D. from Howard University in 1998. He is also the Chief Historian for the Jackie Robinson Foundation and Museum in NYC. Dr. Williams is the author of Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven (Blackwell, 2006) and Teaching beyond the Textbook: Six Investigative Strategies (Corwin Press, 2008) and the editor of A Constant Struggle: African-American History from 1865 to the Present Documents and Essays (Kendall Hunt, 2002). He is the co-editor of In Search of the Black Panther Party, New Perspectives on a Revolutionary Movement (Duke, 2006), and Liberated Territory: Toward a Local History of the Black Panther Party (Duke, 2008). He also served as general editor for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s 2002 and 2003 Black History Month publications, The Color Line Revisited (Tapestry Press, 2002) and The Souls of Black Folks: Centennial Reflections (Africa World Press, 2003). Dr. Williams served as an advisor on the popular civil rights reader Putting the Movement back into teaching Civil Rights. Described by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as “the most exciting scholar of his generation;” Dr. Williams has appeared on a variety of local and national radio and television programs most notably Aljazeera America, Huffington Post Live, EBRU Today, Fox Business News, CSPAN, and NPR and was a regular political commentator on the Cliff Kelly Show on WVON, Chicago. Dr. Williams’s scholarly articles have appeared in the American Bar Association’s Insights on Law and Society, The Organization of American Historians Magazine of History, The Black Scholar, The Journal of Black Studies, Pennsylvania History, Delaware History, and the Black History Bulletin. Dr. Williams is also presently finishing a single authored book entitled In the Shadow of the Whipping Post: Lynching, Capital Punishment and Jim Crow Justice in Delaware 1865-1965. Dr. Williams’s areas of media expertise include United States and African American History, education policy, Civil Rights Law and policy, race and criminal justice, and politics. In addition to providing professional development for teachers, Dr. Williams regularly speaks to young people on a variety of topics from American and African American History to character education. To date he has conducted teaching seminars in 38 states and the District of Columbia and has spoken to thousands of students from California to Connecticut.
Yvonne Welbon has produced and distributed over 20 films including Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100, winner of ten best documentary awards -including the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary and Sisters in Cinema, a documentary on the history of black women feature film directors. her films have screened on PBS, Starz/Encore, TV-ONE, IFC, Bravo, the Sundance Channel, BET, HBO, and in over one hundred film festivals around the world. She recently produced The New Black, an award winning documentary by Yoruba Richen. her current projects are Sisters in the Life: 25 Years of Out African American Media-making- a web based online community building project that includes a book of essays, a documentary, an archive and a mobile app and The Sisters in Cinema Archive project. Originally from Chicago, Welbon received a B.A. from Vassar College, an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She is also a graduate of the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. Welbon is an Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, NC and a Humanities Writ Large Visiting Faculty fellow in Women’s Studies at Duke University.
Yelnats Calvin is a student at Columbia University and is with Students Against Mass Incarceration which is a Black radical student organization committed to awareness and activism around mass incarceration, the prison industrial complex, and the existence of political prisoners in the United States. The mission of Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI) is to spread awareness about the prison industrial complex, recidivism, and the existence of political prisoners in the United States. In order to bring awareness to the manifold issues that stem from mass incarceration, we believe we must analyze systemic injustices on all fronts. We do not believe we can divorce a politically conscious discourse from community based action. The national organization of SAMI sees prison abolition as its ultimate end, because we envision a state where societal ills are addressed through a front-end approach, rather than aggravated in a system of mass incarceration and social control. As a Black radical organization, we emphasize the intersection of our culture and our politics, and challenge our fellow students of African descent to fight for the causes that will benefit our communities most.
Zenzele Isoke is Associate Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota. She studies black women’s politics and activisms in urban spaces. She teaches courses in black feminist thought, hip hop feminism, and black feminist geographies. Her first book, Urban Black Women and the Politics of Resistance, was released by Palgrave-MacMillan Press in 2013. Using intersectionality as a central analytic tool and the stories that contemporary Black women activists tell about “politics“ as her primary evidence, her book examines both the practical and discursive roles that black women activists play in hip hop politics, black queer politics, and other contemporary social movements. Her work has been published in Gender, Place and Culture, Transforming Anthropology: Journal of the Association of Black Anthropologist, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society. She is currently working on a new book project called, “Unheard Voices at the Bottom of Empire: Translocal Sites of Black Feminist Resistance” which takes a transnational, ethnographic approach to exploring black women and black transwomen’s contemporary political organizing within and across multiple cities including Minneapolis, Dubai, Port Au Prince, Memphis, and Harlem.
Gwendolyn Zohara Simmons is an Assistant Professor of Religion and affiliated faculty in the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Florida. She focuses on Islamic law’s impact on Muslim women, and also teaches courses on African American religion, race, and rebellion. She became a member of SNCC while attending college in Atlanta. As part of the Freedom Summer of 1964, Simmons helped build freedom schools and libraries in black communities in Mississippi. Overall, she spent seven years working full-time on voter registration and desegregation in Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. For 23 years, she worked as a staff member of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker peace, justice, and international development organization, in Philadelphia. She is an activist, organizer and a scholar who has worked toward finding meaningful ways to do justice, cultivate peace, and resist and transform inequality.
*This page will be updated regularly, as speakers are confirmed.