OlaRonke Akinmowo is an interdisciplinary ritual based artist, workshop facilitator, yoga teacher, set decorator and mom. She is also the creator and director of The Free Black Women’s Library, an interactive mobile library that features 1200 books written by Black women as well as readings, performances, workshops and conversation.
Sasha Alexander is a trans, black/south asian, artist, educator, and healer. A former youth organizer, Sasha has been working at the intersections of lgbtq, youth, media, economic, gender, and racial justice movements for 20 years. In 2013 called to action by the murder of Islan Nettles, a young black trans women, Sasha launched Black Trans Media committed to addressing the intersections of racism and transphobia by shifting and reframing the value and worth of black trans lives. Sasha works as the Membership Director at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) in NYC a legal and movement based organization working for collective liberation; as the Membership Director and Co-Director of the Movement Building Team Sasha works to strengthen the leadership of trans and gender non conforming people of color and allies. Sasha uses the pronouns she/they/he and insists that you mix it up.
Noel Altaha is the Director of Programs and Development at UIC. She is an enrolled member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. Noel currently lives with her family in Brooklyn. She works as a Senior Program Manager in the Tribal Justice Exchange department at The Center for Court Innovation offering services to ensure that tribal communities have access to training and ongoing technical assistance about problem-solving community-based practices, such as Healing to Wellness Court, a domestic violence court, or a truancy reduction program. Noel received her MSW from Columbia University School of Social Work and is a Licensed Social Worker.
asha bandele is an award-winning journalist and the New York Times best-selling author of six books, including the widely acclaimed memoir, The Prisoner’s Wife, and novel, Daughter. Her most recent work is a collaborative effort with Black Lives Matter co-founder, Patrisse Khan Cullors, who courageously shared her story of challenge and triumph with asha in When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. An advocate for racial justice and prison abolition, asha serves as political and organizational management consultant for foundations, PACs and non-profits across the field. But of all her work, none has been more central than her role as the single parent of an exquisite daughter, Nisa, and stepmother to a brilliant son, Aundre, who was murdered in 2015.
Mikel Banks has been performing with a wide variety of artists for many years, as a vocalist, musician (digital horn, harmonica, percussion & flute), actor (Beyonce & Jay Z videos), storyteller & teaching artist. He is a member of Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, the AfroTronic band Digital Diaspora, and the Dustbin Brothers (Mikel’s DJ duo with IncogNegro Michael Adams). His new project, “Mr. Mikel’s Tot Rock & Reggae Experience” (ABC’s, 123’s & Positives for Pre-Schoolers & 1st Graders), is an outgrowth of being a pre-school music teacher.
Mildred Beltré is Brooklyn based artist, mother and activist working in print,drawing and participatory politically engaged practice, to explore facets of social change. She is interested in exploring political movements and their associated social relations and structures. Her most recent work involves looking at revolutionary theorizing and posturing through a feminst lens. Beltré’s selected national exhibitions include: Brooklyn Museum, NY; De Cordova Museum, MA; Everson Museum, NY; Fleming Museum, VT; International Print Center New York, NYC; Burlington City Arts, Burlington, VT; Five Myles Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; BRIC, Brooklyn, NY; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; Freedman Gallery, Albright College, Reading, PA; University of Colorado, Boulder, CO; Art in General, NYC ; and international group shows at Projecto Ace, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Hollar Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic; Brun Leglise Gallery, Paris France, among others.
Ian Brennan is Grammy-winning music producer (Zomba Prison Project, Tinariwen) and author of five books. Since 1993 he has taught violence prevention for such organizations as the University of London, UC Berkeley, and the National Accademia of Science (Rome). His latest book is Silenced by Sound: the Music Meritocracy Myth. He has worked with artists as diverse as Fugazi, country legend Merle Haggard, Sleater-Kinney, and filmmaker John Waters. His work has been featured on the front-page of the New York Times, PBS television, and in an Emmy-winning segment of “60 Minutes” with Anderson Cooper reporting.
Following the tragic accidental death of her five-year-old son, Susan’s world collapsed. Her loss snapped the final tether of resilience burdened by a past of pain and trauma. She descended into an emotional abyss of darkness and despair, but living in South Los Angeles, Susan didn’t have access to the resources she needed to heal. Without support, she turned to drugs and alcohol, which led to nearly 20 years revolving in and out of prison. Drawing on her personal experiences, she founded A New Way of Life Reentry Project (ANWOL) in 1998, dedicating her life to helping other women break the cycle of incarceration. ANWOL provides resources such as housing, case management, employment, legal services, leadership development and community organizing on behalf of, and with, people who struggle to rebuild their lives after incarceration. Susan has earned numerous awards and honors for her work, including being named a 2010 CNN Top Ten Hero. Released in 2017, her memoir, Becoming Ms. Burton, is the recipient of the inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice.
Shawnda Chapman is an activist and an experienced research and policy professional. Based partially on her own experiences, her work has focused racial justice, gender justice, and understanding the pathways into the criminal justice system for girls of color and LGB/TGNC youth. Shawnda serves as board chair of Black Women’s Blueprint, a transnational Black Feminist organization that works to end all forms of violence against Black women and girls. Shawnda also directs the Beyond the Bars fellowship program at the Center for Justice at Columbia University. Prior to her work at Black Women’s Blueprint, Shawnda worked on an ongoing initiative aimed at preventing and ending girls’ incarceration at the Vera Institute of Justice. Shawnda earned her bachelor's degree in sociology and master’s of science degree in applied social research from The City University of New York, Hunter College.
Ann L. Chinn is the founder of the Middle Passage Ceremonites and Port Marker's Project and has worked as an advocate for children and families in Washington, DC, a textile artist, a retailer, organizer of a collective artists’ market, and historian.
Barron Claiborne is self-taught photographer who began taking photographs at the age of 10 after receiving a camera as a gift from his mother, Betty. Barron works primarily in large format 8×10 and 4×5 but has used toy, pin-hole, handmade, and other cameras in his work. After moving to New York City in 1989, Barron began assisting established photographers including Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Saint Claire Born, and Richard Numeroff. He was fortunate to also have as a mentor, the legendary Gordon Parks. Admiring the techniques and mastery of the art of photography he saw while working with these individuals, his goal was to reflect such excellence, skill, and urgency in his own work. In 1989 he moved to New York City, leaving to pursue a career as a photographer. In the early 1990's he found success in the world of media, quickly rising from assistant to one of the most sought after photographers with his work soon appearing on the covers of multiple publications including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Life, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Forbes, Interview. His work is also seen in the Encyclopedia Brittanica and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After having the chance to employ world-class photo and lighting equipment he became a cinematographer.
Bridgett M. Davis
Bridgett M. Davis is the author of the memoir, The World According To Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life In The Detroit Numbers, a New York Times Editors’ Choice. She is also the author of two novels, Into the Go-Slow and Shifting Through Neutral, shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Award. She is writer/director of the award-winning feature film Naked Acts, and a creative writing and journalism professor at Baruch College, (City University of New York). Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Millions, Salon, the LA Times and O, Oprah Magazine. A graduate of Spelman College and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, she lives in Brooklyn with her family
Eisa Davis is a performer, composer, and writer working on stage and screen. A Herb Alpert Award recipient, Cave Canem fellow, and Obie winner for Sustained Excellence in Performance, Eisa was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her play Bulrusher, and wrote and starred in the stage memoir Angela’s Mixtape. Alongside her twelve full length plays, she has served as a story editor for the Spike Lee Netflix series She's Gotta Have It, penned the narration for Cirque du Soleil's ice show Crystal, and released two albums of music. Performance work includes The Looming Tower, Succession, House of Cards, The Wire, After The Wedding, Betty (HBO, upcoming), Carrie Mae Weems’ Grace Notes/Past Tense, the musical adaptation of The Secret Life of Bees, Kings, Julius Caesar, Preludes, Luck of the Irish, The Call, This, and Passing Strange.
Delphine Diallo is a Brooklyn-based French and Senegalese visual artist and photographer. She graduated from the Académie Charpentier School of Visual Art in Paris in 1999 before working in the music industry for seven years as a special effect motion artist, video editor and graphic designer. In 2008, she moved to New York to explore her own practice after giving up a cooperate Art Director role in Paris. Diallo was mentored by acclaimed photographer and artist of Peter Beard who was impressed by her creativity and spontaneity before offering her to collaborate for the Pirelli calendar photo shoot in Botswana. Inspired by new environments on this trip, she decided to return to her father's home city of Saint-Louis in Senegal to start her own vision quest.
A writer, vocalist and sound artist, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of TwERK (Belladonna, 2013). Her interdisciplinary work has been featured at the Brooklyn Museum, the Poesiefestival in Berlin, Museum of Modern Art, the QOW conference in Slovakia, the International Poetry Festival in Bucharest, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, the 56th Venice Biennale and Beijing. As a curator and director, she has staged events at BAM Café, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The David Rubenstein Atrium, The Highline, Poets House and El Museo del Barrio. LaTasha is the recipient of numerous awards; of them include New York Foundation for the Arts, Barbara Deming Memorial Grant, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, the Japan-US Friendship Commission, Creative Capital and the Whiting Foundation Literary Award. She lives in Harlem.
Born and raised in Brooklyn New York, Patrick Dougher is a self-taught fine artist, musician, poet and actor. Patrick has performed and recorded with Sade, the Grammy award winning Dan Zanes and many others. He has played drums with many notable reggae artists such as Black Uhuru’s Michael Rose and Steel Pulses’ David Hinds and Hip Hop star Chuck D of Public Enemy. Patrick also played drums on “The Dub Side of the Moon” one of the bestselling reggae LPs of all time. He has performed his poetry for the WNET Open Mic series as well as BRIC TV and venues around NYC. Patrick was a lead actor in the Ping Chong 651 Arts theatre production “Brooklyn 63” which toured in 2014. Patrick worked as an art therapist with HIV positive children at Kings County Hospital, a co-curator at the Museum of African Art, a youth counselor and teaching artist at Project Reach and Studio in a School and most recently as the Program Director of Groundswell, NYC’s premier community mural arts organization where he oversaw and directed over 300 public mural projects throughout the city. He is currently working as he Interim Director of Education for BRIC Arts Media and as a freelance consultant with The Center for Court Innovations. For over 20 years Patrick has used the arts to empower and support the socio-emotional growth of at-risk and disenfranchised youth of the city.
Asma Feyijinmi, is a Brooklyn born and raised artist who particularly savors facilitating community building. Movement and percussion are her vehicles to explore social justice, history and language. She has worked as a teaching artist with many arts and education programs throughout the five boroughs including: UBW’s BOLD, Lincoln Center, The Morris Jumel Mansion and DreamYard Project. In November of 2018, she joined The Park Avenue Armory Teaching Corps. Her career as a performer has included working with: Urban Bush Women, Edwina Lee Tyler and A Piece of The World, Forces of Nature, LadyGourd Sangoma and Obba Babatunde. She also performed in "The Love Project" with dancers from 2 to 80 years of age, directed and choreographed by Penelope McCourty. She can be found as the lead actress in: “A Powerful Thang” by filmmaker Zeinabu Davis and contributed to the soundtrack of Ms. Davis’s film “Compensation”. Asma has also been a muse for artists: Harvey Dinnerstein, Quimetta Perle and George Staempfli.
Sherman Fleming seeks to create projects that identify cultural and social mechanisms that resonate with his processes of visual art making and performance art practice and collaboration, combined with his experiences as a public arts manager bridging artists, youth and communities to create collaborative public art works.
Demita Frazier, JD, is an educator, thought leader, writer and lifelong radical political activist, commited to social justice. She is a co-founder of the Combahee River Collective, and a co-author of the Combahee River Collective Statement. An organization development consultant focused on the interrogation and eradication of white supremacy in the workplace, she has been less busy than she'd like. For obvious reasons.
Mindy is a board-certified psychiatrist who explores the ties between environment and mental health. She received her bachelor’s degree from Bryan Mawr College and her MS and MD degrees from Columbia University. Dedicated to the psychology of place, Mindy’s research started in 1986 when she linked the AIDS epidemic with place of residence and she continues to focus on the health problems caused by inequality. For the past 30 years, Mindy has been investigating how broken connections between different sections of cities harm public health and explores ways to reconnect them. Previously, Mindy taught at Columbia University and was a lecturer at Parsons. She has published numerous articles and six books including "Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities," "Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It," and "House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place." She has received many awards, including inclusion in many “Best Doctors” and two honorary doctorates (Chatham College, 1999, and Bank Street College of Education, 2002).
t’ai freedom ford
t’ai freedom ford is a New York City high school English teacher and Cave Canem Fellow. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in The African American Review, Apogee, Bomb Magazine, Calyx, Drunken Boat, Electric Literature, Gulf Coast, Kweli, Tin House, Obsidian, Poetry and others. Most recently she has won awards from the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) and is a 2019 Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship inaugural fellow. Winner of the 2015 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize, her first poetry collection, how to get over is available from Red Hen Press. Her second poetry collection, & more black, is with Augury Books. t’ai lives and loves in Brooklyn where she is an editor at No, Dear Magazine.
Dr. Brenda Greene
Dr. Brenda M. Greene is Professor of English, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature, and Director of the National Black Writers Conference at Medgar Evers College, CUNY. She is editor of The African Presence and Influence on the Cultures of the Americas, Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2010), and co-editor of Resistance and Transformation: Conversations with Black Writers, Morton Books (2010), Meditations and Ascensions: Black Writers on Writing, Third World Press (2008), and Redefining Ourselves, Black Writers in the Nineties.
Alicia Hall Moran
Mezzo-soprano and composer Alicia Hall Moran conjures a sonic world wherein classical and African American cultures join. Praised by The New York Times for her “imaginative recontextualization of classical singing,” Moran is a trained vocalist “who never tries to sound like anything else, despite the diverse artistic company she keeps.” Moran made her Broadway debut in the Tony-winning revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, before starring as Bess in the celebrated 20-city American tour. The Los Angeles Times praised her performance, writing that she found “the truth of the character in her magnificent voice.” Her second album, Here Today, was released to high praise in 2017, as was her first album, Heavy Blue. She recently recorded Gabriel Kahane’s oratorio emergency shelter intake form with Oregon Symphony and for pianist Lara Downes’ Holes In The Sky. She tours Bryce Dessner’s Triptych, touring worldwide.
Nikole Hannah-Jones is an award-winning investigative reporter covering segregation and racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. In 2017, she received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, known as the Genius Grant, for her work on educational inequality. She has also won a Peabody Award, a Polk, National Magazine Award, and the 2018 John Chancellor distinguished journalism award from Columbia University. In 2016, Nikole cofounded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a training and mentorship organization geared towards increasing the numbers of investigative reporters of color.
Saidiya Hartman is the author of Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth Century America (Oxford, 1997); Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007) and Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments (Norton, 2019). She is currently at work on a new book project, N Folio: An Essay on Slavery and the Archive. She has published articles on slavery, history and the archive, and black women’s lives, including “The Terrible Beauty of the Slum, ” “Venus in Two Acts,” and “The Belly of the World.” She was a Guggenheim Fellow for 2018-2019, and has been a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana, a Whitney Oates Fellow at Princeton University, and a Critical Inquiry Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. from Yale. She has taught at the University of California at Berkeley and is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is the former director of the Institute for Research on Gender and Sexuality.
Sylvia A. Harvey
Sylvia A. Harvey is an award-winning journalist and reporting fellow at Type Investigations. She reports at the intersection of race, class, and policy with an emphasis on mass incarceration. Her work has appeared in Elle, The Nation, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Appeal, Yes! Magazine, WNYC, The Root, Colorlines, the Feminist Wire, Huffington Post, Narratively, New York Post and AOL’s Bedford-Stuyvesant Patch, where she served as a columnist covering gentrification, and more. Her commentary on race and the criminal justice system has been featured on WNYC, NPR, Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan, WBAI, HuffPost Live, Radio Curious and beyond. Harvey is currently a Visiting Journalist at The Russell Sage Foundation in New York. Her forthcoming book, The Shadow System, is an urgent, deeply reported investigation on the effects of mass incarceration on families, to be published by Bold Type Books/Hachette Book Group.
Kali Holloway is Senior Director of the Make it Right Project, a national initiative dedicated to taking down Confederate monuments and telling the truth about history. She is also a Senior Writing Fellow at the Independent Media Institute. She co-curated the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art's 2017 summer performance and film series “Theater of the Resist.” Formerly, she was Senior Writer and Associate Editor of Media & Culture at progressive news site AlterNet. Before that, she was both a producer and the outreach director on the PBS documentary the New Public; Director of Outreach and Audience Engagement for the HBO documentary Southern Rites and the Emmy-nominated film Brooklyn Castle; and Outreach Consultant on the award-winning documentary The New Black. She worked in production and programming on the long-running PBS documentary film series POV. Prior to that, she was speechwriter for a New York City Commissioner and Deputy Director of Communications for the New York State court system. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, Salon, The Guardian, TIME, Huffington Post, The National Memo, The Daily Beast and numerous other outlets.
Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and Olio. Olio won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The Midland Society Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. It was also nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN Jean Stein Book Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Leadbelly was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU Alumni, received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004–2005 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Jess is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team, and won a 2000–2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. He presented his poetry at the 2011 TedX Nashville Conference and won a 2016 Lannan Literary Award in Poetry. He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2018. Jess is a Professor of English at College of Staten Island.
Writer, performer, and producer Jake-ann Jones has written plays including Portrait of the Artist as a Soul Man Dead (Penumbra Theater, St. Paul), Under Frank Observation (New York Theater Workshop), Magic Kingdom (New Georges/Hourglass), and her play, Death of a Ho: A Fairy, Scarey, Whorey Tale was published in the TCG anthology PLAYS FROM THE BOOM BOX GALAXY. Along with Gabriel Tolliver she co-wrote the Urban World/HBO Film Festival’s Grand Prize-winning screenplay SPOOK CITY and was the co-writer and co-producer of the web-series MONDO BLACK produced by BlackPublic Media. Her biography of Civil Rights activist, journalist and press secretary Florence L. Tate, Sometimes Farmgirls Become Revolutionaries: Florence Tate on Black Power, Black Politics, and the FBI, is being published by Black Classic Press this fall.
Kwasi Konadu is John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Endowed Chair and Professor at Colgate University, where he teaches African and African diaspora histories. Konadu is the author of Our Own Way in This Part of the World: Biography of an African Community, Culture, and Nation (Duke University Press, 2019), The Ghana Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University Press, 2016), Transatlantic Africa, 1440-1888 (Oxford University Press, 2014), The Akan Diaspora in the Americas (Oxford University Press, 2010), among other books. He is above all a father and husband, then a healer (Tanɔ ɔbosomfoɔ) and publisher of scholarly books with the Diasporic Africa Press, Inc.
Jason Bernard Lucas
Jason Bernard Lucas is a voice actor, narrator and poet; percussionist and playwright. His musical stylings are political and punk as the drummer in both The 1865 and Dragons of Zynth. He has performed with visual artist Nick Cave at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, led percussion workshops for the Bang On A Can Summer Music Festival, created commissioned short films with Mono No Aware, and been a guest artist in Dance at his alma mater Williams College. He is currently creating a theatrical performance based on the works of Sterling A. Brown’s “Southern Road”.
Greg Mays, a self-declared community catalyst, is the founder of the Jamaica-based nonprofit A Better Jamaica, Inc. -- a community service organization engaged in activities designed to strengthen the set of southeast Queens, New York neighborhoods known collectively as Jamaica. A Better Jamaica's sixteen program initiatives include: Family Movies in the Park; Jamaica311.com; Classic Film Fridays; Jamaica Reads; Jamaica Solutions; The Jamaica Ball; JAC’s Holiday Music; Jamaica Shoots; The AirTrain Jazz Festival; The Delightful Festival; ABJ’s CASA; The Carver Scholars Program; The Jamaica Dance Festival; SU-CASA; The Saint Albans Craft Walk; and Art to the People. Greg is a current member of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, the former chair of Community Board 12’s Parks Committee, and a past president of the Addisleigh Park Civic Organization. Greg is presently the board treasurer for the Classical Theatre of Harlem, and is a former governance chair of the board of directors of the Harlem School of the Arts. Greg was born and raised in New York City, holds an undergraduate degree in Accounting from Howard University, and an MBA from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business. In his spare time, Greg is a SAG eligible actor.
Sekou Odinga is a Muslim, citizen of the Republic of New Afrika, former member of the Black Panther Party/Black Liberation Army (BPP/BLA) and is a 33-year former u.s. held Political Prisoner of War. Sekou helped established and was a leader of the Harlem/Bronx chapter of the BPP before being targeted by the FBI’s Cointelpro program. He escaped arrest and trial as one of those targeted in the 1968 New York Panther 21 case. Forced underground, Sekou was sent to Algiers to help establish the Party’s international section. In the mid-1970s, he returned to the states and continued to struggle underground until his capture on October 23rd 1981. Convicted in both state and federal court, Sekou served twenty-eight years in federal prison on two counts of the federal Racketeering Influence Conspiracy Organization ACT (RICO) and the liberation of Assata Shakur. In 2009, he reached a mandatory release date and was "paroled" to New York State to begin serving a 25 to life sentence for the attempted murder of six NYPD. Five years later, a legal victory resulted in a parole hearing and his November 25th, 2014 release from Clinton CF.
Kimberly Peeler-Allen has been working at the intersection of race, gender and politics for almost 20 years. Kimberly is the Co-founder of Higher Heights, a national organization building the political power and leadership of Black women from the voting booth to elected office. Kimberly and her Co-Founder Glynda Carr have built Higher Heights from an idea on the back of a placemat into a network of over 90,000 members, donors and activists across the country that have helped elect 10 Black women to Congress, 1 Black woman to the US Senate and grow the number of Black women in statewide executive office and leading our nation’s largest cities. Higher Heights has helped drive the national narrative about the power of Black women voters and has inspired countless Black women to step into their power whether it is as voters, activists or elected leaders.
Anthonine Pierre is a community organizer, facilitator and writer imperfectly loving and strategizing her way to the world she wants to live in. She currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center, where you can usually find her implementing leadership development activities and yelling at the mayor about discriminatory and abusive policing.
Anthonine is deeply committed to leveraging her leadership to create leadership possibilities with others. In 2013, she co-founded No Disrespect, a Black woman led anti-street harassment collective addressing the issue in Central Brooklyn through a restorative justice lens. She has also trained over 500 advocates and organizers on government advocacy as a facilitator with the Advocacy Institute since 2015. Anthonine currently sits on the Steering Committee of CPR, the Community Funding Committee of the North Star Fund and the Advisory Board of the Advocacy Institute.
Anthonine is a lifelong Brooklynite and enthusiasm enthusiast. When she’s not problem solving in the movement, she’s usually biking in Flatbush with her husband Jeffrey.
Judy Richardson was on SNCC staff in Georgia, Miss. and Lowndes Co., Alabama (1963-66) and ran the office for Julian Bond’s successful first campaign for the Georgia House of Representatives. She is also on the Board of the SNCC Legacy Project, and on the editorial board of the SNCC / Duke University website: SNCCdigital.org. She lectures nationally about the Movement, its history and values, and its relevance to issues we face today. She was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Brown University and received an honorary doctorate from Swarthmore College.
Matt Sandler directs the MA program in American Studies at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University and co-chairs the University Seminar in American Studies. His book The Black Romantic Revolution: Abolitionist Poets and the End of Slavery is forthcoming from Verso in 2020.
Jamel Shabazz is best known for his iconic photographs of New York City during the 1980’s. He is a documentary, fashion and street photographer. Jamel is the 2010 recipient of the Rush arts award given by the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation for his community service and mentorship, and the 2018 recipient of the Gordon Parks award. This prestigious honor is presented to selected individuals whose art and humanitarianism have enriched and continue to enrich the lives of those they touch throughout the world. In January of 2020 Jamel will be exhibiting at the Minnesota Museum of Art alongside the work of Gordon Parks Jr in a show titled, A Choice of Weapons / Honor and Dignity. Shabazz’s work is housed within the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum, The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Getty Museum, The Gordon Parks Foundation, The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
Image credit: Michael McCoy
Chaney SimsAlthough she is a native New Yorker, Chaney Sims was raised listening to old school Blues, Soul, Jazz and Worksongs. Steeped in these musical traditions, Chaney is dedicated to sharing their significance, and telling her story through poetry and song. A founding member of the GRAMMY-nominated Heritage Blues Orchestra, Chaney is a seasoned performer who has toured internationally. She is honored to have to opened for, and shared the stage with, amazing artists including Mavis Staples, Staceyann Chin, Phylicia Rashad, Keb' Mo', Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Taj Mahal, and the late Odetta. Currently, Chaney is working on a project called Heartstrings. This collaboration with Rootstock Republic brings together Chaney's inspired lyrics, new interpretations of "old school" classics, and the lush compositions of Juliette Jones.
Robyn C. Spencer is a historian that focuses on Black social protest after World War II, urban and working-class radicalism, and gender. She teaches survey and seminar courses on Black history at Lehman College, City University of New York and graduate level courses at the CUNY Graduate Center. In 2018-2019 she was Visiting Endowed Chair in Women's and Gender Studies at Brooklyn College. Through writing, teaching and public presentations, she aims to educate others about the contributions of urban, working-class African Americans, especially women, to the Black freedom movement. She has presented her work at dozens of universities, several correctional institutions in Pennsylvania and k-12 classrooms.
Dr. Jonathan Michael Square is a writer and historian specializing in fashion and visual culture of the African Diaspora. He has a PhD in history from New York University, a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and B.A. from Cornell University. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons School of Design, and currently at Harvard University. He has have written for Fashionista, Fashion Studies Journal, Refinery29, Vestoj, Hyperallergic, and the International Journal of Fashion Studies. A proponent in the power of social media as a platform for radical pedagogy, he also run the website Fashioning the Self in Slavery and Freedom, which explores the intersection of fashion and slavery.
Greg Tate is a writer, musician and cultural provocateur who lives in Harlem. Tate was a Staff Writer at The Village Voice from 1987-2003. His books include Flyboy In The Buttermilk, Everything But The Burden— What White People are Taking From Black Culture, Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and The Black Experience, and Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader. Tate has also written catalogue and monograph essays on the artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rammellzee, Thornton Dial, Terry Adkins, Senga Nengudi, David Hammons, Kerry James Marshall, Wangechi Mutu, Chris Ofili, Ellen Gallagher, Arthur Jafa and Ayana Vellissa Jackson. He has been a Visiting Professor at Yale, Columbia, Brown,NYU, Princeton and San Francisco State University. A founding member of the Black Rock Coalition, Tate has led the Conducted Improv ensemble Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber since 1999 and, over that time, produced 16 albums for the group’s Avant Groidd imprint.
Chinara is a Dr. of Behavioral Nutrition and licensed registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) with specific research expertise in: (1) the neural correlates of obesity and (2) the neuromodular effects of food. Her work as a dietitian is grounded in evidence-based practice with an emphasis on cognitive behavioral coaching, nutrition counseling and individualized dietary analysis and planning. Her nutritional philosophies are premised on conducting critical appraisal of the latest nutrition research so that her clients receive the most accurate and up-to-date information available to become experts in optimizing their own health and well-being.
As the mother of a joyful, brilliant and exuberant young boy, Chinara is very passionate about working with entire families toward making more sound nutritional choices. In addition to offering a range of family nutrition services, Chinara also provides personally tailored prenatal and postnatal nutrition planning and counseling specific to the unique dietary needs of mothers and soon-to be mothers.
The Dream Unfinished is an activist orchestra. Its mission is to use classical music as a platform to engage audiences in dialogues surrounding social and racial justice. Since 2015, The Dream Unfinished has staged performances throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, and partnered with organizations such as the Center for Constitutional Rights, Black Women's Blueprint, African American Policy Forum, New Sanctuary Coalition, and others. Past seasons have centered on police brutality, the #SayHerName movement, the school to prison pipeline, the current immigration crisis, and environmental justice, and the 2020 season will be centered on voting rights. The Dream Unfinished has people of color in the orchestra, in the music, behind the scenes, and in the audiences. We are an orchestra that looks and sounds like New York City, and through music, explores pressing issues which are affecting our communities.
Brooklyn's own Akim Vann from Prospect Lefferts Gardens is the daughter of a Yiddish-speaking African-American father from Bensonhurst and a Chinese-American mother from Sheepshead Bay. Akim has grown up in the midst of both the television and music industries, as both a regular on Sesame Street from the ages of 3-15, and as a recording artist at the age of 5, singing a Christmas favorite "Santa Claus is a Blackman" which was written and produced by her Grammy award winning father, Teddy Vann. In addition to her personal experiences as talent, she's managed her four children's modeling careers with Wilhelmina, as well as brokering the deal for the first episode of her late husband Reggie Ossé's podcast, "The Combat Jack Show", which later earned him a place in the Academy of Podcasters Hall of Fame.
Akim is a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University, and has been a private tutor specializing in math, as she works with Kindergarten through College level students. She has also been working as a student life coach for over 20 years. Her career as a tutor and life coach to young stars has become extremely successful, and has been in her blood as her mother trained math teachers and taught in the New York City education system. She has home schooled artists signed to Atlantic Records, Republic Records, and Roc-A-Fella Records. Akim is the owner of The Bakery on Bergen in Prospect Heights, a multifaceted bakery that functions as a workshop, class, and party space. Her bakery is featured in Episode 3 of Bravo Television's "Get a Room" series with Carson Kressley and Thom Felicia. Besides her busy life with her 4 children, she will be partnering with the Brooklyn Children's museum next month to offer a math and baking class.
Akim constantly shows love to her city, but more importantly reps her borough, and In the words of the legendary, Notorious B.I.G., Akim is one of "Brooklyn's Finest"
L. Joy Williams
L. Joy Williams is a highly sought-after political strategist, public speaker, political analyst, and social justice activist. With well over a decade of experience in politics, and over fifteen years in public speaking, L. Joy has made a name for herself as a respected, intelligent voice in modern politics. Demonstrating a strong talent as a political planner and tactician, both in political campaigns and government, L. Joy has been a regularly featured commentator on MSNBC (“Up with David Gura”; “Melissa Harris-Perry Show”; “AM Joy”), and NY1 (“Inside City Hall”). L. Joy’s passion for political and community activism was instilled at an early age, stemming from a deep-rooted family history and commitment to civil rights and social justice. In this tradition, L. Joy currently serves as the President of the Brooklyn NAACP, one of the most generational diverse branches in the country. She is also the Legislative Coordinator for the New York State NAACP Conference of Branches. Her outstanding leadership has increased chapter membership and engagement, making Brooklyn NAACP one of the leading civil rights groups in New York City.
Dorothy M. Zellner is a veteran of the 1960s civil rights movement. A staff member of the Atlanta-based Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from 1962-67, she worked with Julian Bond as part of SNCC’s communications department. She spent the 1964 Freedom Summer in Greenwood, Mississippi, and worked in Atlanta, Georgia, and Danville, Virginia, as well. After spending 20 years in the South, Ms. Zellner returned to her hometown, New York City, where she became a long-time staff member at the Center for Constitutional Rights and then at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law. She is currently an activist on Israel/Palestine issues and serves on the Board of the Friends of the Jenin Freedom Theatre.