Skip to Main Content
Join CBH for the second in our virtual series exploring the intersecting struggle for gender equality and racial justice. Co-presented with the Ms. Foundation for Women in honor of their 50th anniversary, Part 2 looks at the struggle today and into the future.

What does the fight for gender equity look like today, with bias in policing; violence against women, trans, and gender non-conforming people; issues of reproductive justice, and more? What are the paths that might transform the future? 

Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom, 2020 MacArthur Fellow and author of the critically acclaimed book THICK: And Other Essays, explores pain points and solutions with Native American lawyer and playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle, abolitionist activist Andrea Ritchie, and Ms. Foundation for Women president and CEO Teresa C. Younger.


Mary Kathryn Nagle is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She is an attorney whose work focuses on the restoration of tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault, and a playwright whose works have been performed at the Yale Repertory Theater, Santa Fe Opera, Arena Stage, and Denver Center for the Performing Arts. From 2015 to 2019, she served as the first Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. 

She is most well known for her work on ending violence against Native women. Her play Sliver of a Full Moon has been performed in law schools from Stanford to Harvard, NYU and Yale. She has worked extensively on Violence Against Women Act re-authorization, and she has filed numerous briefs in the United States Supreme Court, as a part of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center’s VAWA Sovereignty Initiative, including most recently, Denezpi v. United States, United States v. Cooley, Oklahoma v. Murphy, Oklahoma v. McGirt, Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta, and Brackeen v. Haaland. She represents numerous families of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, including Kaysera Stops Pretty Places’ family who have brought a public campaign demanding an investigation into her murder. 


Andrea J. Ritchie (she/her) is a Black lesbian immigrant survivor who has been documenting, organizing, advocating, litigating and agitating around policing and criminalization of Black women, girls, trans, and gender nonconforming people for the past three decades. She has been actively engaged in anti-violence, labor, and LGBTQ organizing, and in movements against state violence and for racial, reproductive, economic, environmental, and gender justice in the U.S., Canada, and internationally since the 1980s. Andrea is the author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, and co-author of No More Police. A Case forAbolition, Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women; and Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States. She co-founded Interrupting Criminalization with Mariame Kaba, as well as the In Our Names Network, a network of over 20 organizations working to end police violence against Black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming people. In these capacities and through the Community Resource Hub and National Black Women's Justice Institute she works with dozens of groups across the country organizing to divest from policing and secure deep investments in community-based strategies that will produce greater public safety.


Teresa C. Younger is an activist, advocate, renowned public-speaker, organizational strategist, and a proven leader in the philanthropic and policy sectors. Having spent over 20 years on the frontlines of some of the most critical battles for comprehensive equity and the elimination of institutionalized oppression, she now serves as the President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women.

Prior to joining the Ms. Foundation for Women, Younger served as the executive director of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women and as executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut — the first African American and the first woman to hold that position.

Younger is a thought leader at the critical intersections of gender and race. Within the philanthropic sector she serves on initiatives to shape and change the narrative of women and girls, including Grantmakers for Girls of Color, Funders for Reproductive Equity, Philanthropy New York and Black Funders for Social Justice. She regularly appears in the media, including on MSNBC, NBC, NPR, and the New York Times. She is a graduate of the University of North Dakota and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters in Humanities from the University of New Haven in 2018. She is also a proud lifetime Girl Scout and Gold Award recipient.


Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom is an award-winning author, professor, and sociologist, whose work has earned national and international recognition for the urgency and depth of its incisive critical analysis of technology, higher education, class, race, and gender. Her most recent accolades include being named the 2023 winner of the Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize by Brandeis University for her “critical perspective and analysis of some of the greatest social challenges we face today.” She is a senior research professor with the Center for Information, Technology and Public Life at UNC-Chapel Hill, a New York Times columnist, and 2020 MacArthur Fellow.

McMillan Cottom earned her doctorate from Emory University’s Laney Graduate School in sociology in 2015. Her dissertation research formed the foundation for her first book Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy.

McMillan Cottom’s most recent book, THICK: And Other Essays, is a critically acclaimed Amazon best-seller that situates Black women’s intellectual tradition at its center. THICK won the Brooklyn Public Library’s 2019 Literary Prize and was shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award in nonfiction.

close navigation
Celebrate Library Giving Day! All gifts made between now and April 4 will be MATCHED—dollar for dollar, up to $45,000—by a generous group of Library Trustees.
Donate now