Author Panelists

Albert Woodfox

Albert Woodfox was born in 1947 in New Orleans. A committed activist in prison, he remains so today, speaking to a wide array of audiences, including the Innocence Project, Harvard, Yale, and other universities, the National Lawyers Guild, as well as at Amnesty International events in London, Paris, Denmark, Sweden, and Belgium. He lives in New Orleans.

Alicia Garza

Alicia believes that Black communities deserve what all communities deserve -- to be powerful in every aspect of their lives. An author, political strategist, organizer, and cheeseburger enthusiast, Alicia founded the Black Futures Lab to make Black communities powerful in politics. She is the co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Global Network, serves as the Strategy & Partnerships Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and is a co-founder of Supermajority, a new home for women’s activism. Alicia has become a powerful voice in the media and frequently contributes thoughtful opinion pieces and expert commentary on politics, race and more to outlets such as MSNBC and The New York Times. She has received numerous accolades and recognitions, including being on the cover of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World issue and being named to Bloomberg's 50 and Politico's 50 lists. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart (One World Penguin Random House), and she warns you -- hashtags don’t start movements. People do.

Alina Das

Alina Das is an immigrant rights activist, lawyer, and professor at New York University (NYU) School of Law. Professor Das is the co-director of the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, a leading institution in national and local struggles for immigrant rights. She defends the rights of immigrants facing deportation and partners with community groups on immigrant rights campaigns. Her legal scholarship has been published by leading law journals and cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. She is the author of No Justice in the Shadows: How America Criminalizes Immigrants (Bold Type Books, April 2020).
Professor Das is the recipient of numerous awards for advocacy and teaching, including the Immigrant Defense Project Champion of Justice Award, the Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law, the New York State Youth Leadership Council Outstanding Attorney Award, the NYU Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award, and the NYU Law School Podell Distinguished Teaching Award. She is a frequent commentator on immigration law and policy for national and local media outlets. Professor Das lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

Anand Giridharadas

Anand Giridharadas is the author of Winners Take All, The True American, and India Calling, and writer of The.Ink newsletter. He is an editor-at-large for TIME and was a foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times from 2005 to 2016. He has also written for The Atlantic, The New Republic, and The New Yorker. He is an on-air political analyst for MSNBC, a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, and a former McKinsey analyst. He has spoken on the main stage of TED. Anand’s writing has been honored by the Society of Publishers in Asia, the Poynter Fellowship at Yale, the 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year award, Harvard University’s Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for Humanism in Culture, and the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Award. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Angie Cruz

Angie Cruz is a novelist and editor. Her novel, Dominicana is the inaugural book pick for GMA book club and chosen as the 2019/2020 Wordup Uptown Reads. It was shortlisted for The Women’s Prize, longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction, The Aspen Words Literary Prize, a RUSA Notable book and the winner of the ALA/YALSA Alex Award in fiction. The New York Times Book Review called it "Lovely and Compelling" NBC NEWS said, "Dominicana is a triumphant return for Cruz...The journey of Ana Canción is one of the most evocative and empowering immigrant stories of our time." It was named most anticipated/ best book in 2019 by Time, Newsweek, People, Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Esquire. Cruz is the author of two other novels, Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee and the recipient of numerous fellowships and residencies including the Lighthouse Fellowship, Siena Art Institute, and the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Fellowship. She’s published shorter works in The Paris Review, VQR, Callaloo, Gulf Coast and other journals. She's the founder and Editor-in-chief of the award winning literary journal, Aster(ix). She's an Associate professor at University of Pittsburgh where she teaches in the MFA program and splits her time between Pittsburgh. New York, and Turin.

Brené Brown

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. Brené is also a visiting professor in management at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.
She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and her latest book, Dare to Lead.
Brené hosts the Unlocking Us Podcast and the Dare to Lead Podcast. Her TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 50 million views. She is also the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix. The Call to Courage special debuted on the streaming service in April 2019.
Brené lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve. They have two children, Ellen and Charlie.

Brittney Cooper

Brittney Cooper is Associate Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers. She is author of the award-winning book Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women and the New York Times' bestseller Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower. Brittney is also a frequent contributor to Time Magazine, and MSNBC, and is co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective.

Carole Lindstrom

Carole Lindstrom is a New York Times Bestselling Author and a Caldecott Award Winning Author of literature for young people. She is Anishinaabe/Métis and an enrolled citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe. Her books include:

  • Girls Dance, Boys Fiddle (Pemmican Publishers).
  • Drops of Gratitude, is included in the anthology, Thank U: Poems of Gratitude, edited by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Marlena Myles, (Lerner/Millbrook).
  • We Are Water Protectors, illustrated by Michaela Goade, (Roaring Brook Press).
  • Circles, is included in the anthology, Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids, edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith, (Heartdrum – Feb 2021).

She is represented by Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere. Her writing has been awarded the Massachusetts Book Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, among other honors. She earned an MFA from the University of Michigan and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Chanel Miller

Chanel Miller is a writer and artist who received her BA in Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her critically acclaimed memoir, KNOW MY NAME, was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner, as well as a best book of 2019 in Time, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, NPR, and People, among others. She is a 2019 Time Next 100 honoree and a 2016 Glamour Woman of the Year honoree under her pseudonym, “Emily Doe”.

Charles King

Charles King is the author of the New York Times-bestselling Gods of the Upper Air, which received the Francis Parkman Prize and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books include Odessa, winner of a National Jewish Book Award, and Midnight at the Pera Palace, the basis for an upcoming Netflix series of the same name. He is a professor of international affairs and government at Georgetown University and lives in Washington, DC.

Dave Zirin

Dave Zirin is the sports editor of The Nation Magazine, their first sports editor in 150 years of existence. He is the author of 11 books on the politics of sports including the forthcoming The Kaepernick Effect. He hosts a weekly podcast called The Edge of Sports.

David Silverman

David J. Silverman is Professor of History at George Washington University. He is the author of several books on Native American, colonial American, and American racial history, including This Land is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and Troubled History of Thanksgiving (Bloomsbury, 2019) and Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America (Beknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2019). He is the recent recipient of the William Hickling Prescott Award for Excellence in Historical Writing, given by the Massachusetts branch of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and the Daily Beast.

David Treuer

Bestselling author David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, two Minnesota Book Awards, and fellowships from the NEH, Bush Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He divides his time between his home on the Leech Lake Reservation and Los Angeles, where he is a Professor of English at USC.
The son of Robert Treuer, an Austrian Jew and Holocaust survivor and Margaret Seelye Treuer, a tribal court judge, David Treuer grew up on Leech Lake Reservation. After graduating from high school he attended Princeton University where he wrote two senior theses--one in anthropology and one in creative writing--and where he worked with Toni Morrison, Paul Muldoon, and Joanna Scott. Treuer graduated in 1992 and published his first novel, Little, in 1995. He received his PhD in anthropology and published his second novel, The Hiawatha, in 1999. His third novel The Translation of Dr Apelles and a book of criticism, Native American Fiction; A User's Manual appeared in 2006. The Translation of Dr Apelles was named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, Time Out, and City Pages. He published his first major work of nonfiction, Rez Life, in 2012. His next novel, Prudence, was published by Riverhead Books in 2015. His essays and stories have appeared in Granta, Harper’s, Esquire, TriQuarterly, The Washington Post, Lucky Peach, The New York Times, The LA Times, Orion, and

Deesha Philyaw

Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction, The Story Prize (2020/2021), the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and a 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church. Deesha is also the co-author of Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce, written in collaboration with her ex-husband. Her work has been listed as Notable in the Best American Essays series, and her writing on race, parenting, gender, and culture has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Brevity, dead housekeeping, Apogee Journal, Catapult, Harvard Review, ESPN’s The Undefeated, The Baltimore Review, TueNight, Ebony and Bitch magazines, and various anthologies. Deesha is a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and a past Pushcart Prize nominee for essay writing in Full Grown People.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr

Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of African American Studies at Princeton University. Glaude is the author of several important books including Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, which has been described as “one of the most imaginative, daring books of the twenty-first century.” His most recent book, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, was released on June 30, 2020. Imani Perry describes the book as “precisely the witness we need for our treacherous times. Glaude is also a columnist for Time magazine and a regular contributor on MSNBC. He hails from Moss Point, Mississippi, a small town on the Gulf Coast, and is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Edgar Villanueva

Edgar Villanueva is an award-winning author, activist and expert on issues of race, wealth, and philanthropy. Villanueva is the Principal of Decolonizing Wealth Project and Liberated Capital and author of the bestselling book Decolonizing Wealth (2018, 2021). He advises a range of organizations including national and global philanthropies, Fortune 500 companies, and entertainment on social impact strategies to advance racial equity from within and through their investment strategies. Villanueva holds a BSPH and MHA from the Gillings Global School of Public Health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe and resides in New York City.

Emily Bazelon

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine, the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School, and a co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest, a popular weekly podcast. She is the author of two national bestsellers published by Penguin Random House: Charged, about the power of prosecutors, and Sticks and Stones, about how to prevent bullying. Charged won the 2020 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the current interest category and the Silver Gavel Book Award from the American Bar Association.
Before joining the Times Magazine, Emily was a writer and editor for nine years at Slate. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School. @emilybazelon

Erika Lee

One of the nation’s leading immigration and Asian American historians, Erika Lee teaches American history at the University of Minnesota, where she is a Regents Professor and Director of the Immigration History Research Center. The granddaughter of Chinese immigrants, Lee grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Recently elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, she is a frequent commentator in the media and the author of four award-winning books including The Making of Asian America: A History and America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States. Called “unflinching and powerful” by Carol Anderson (author of White Rage) and “essential reading” by Ibram X. Kendi (author of How to Be an Antiracist), America for Americans won the American Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and was highlighted in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the New York Public Library as one of the most important books illuminating the Trump era and informing essential issues in the 2020 election.

Feminista Jones

Feminista Jones is a Philadelphia-based feminist writer, public speaker, community activist, and semi-retired social worker. She is an award-winning blogger and the author of the novel Push the Button, the poetry collection The Secret of Sugar Water, and the critically-acclaimed Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World From the Tweets to the Streets (Beacon, 2019). Her work centers Black American culture, critical race theory, intersectionality, women’s health and well-being. She sits on the board of the Wayfinder Foundation, a grant-making organization that invests in women making a difference in their underserved communities.
Feminista's passion and talent for writing have led to her being featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, Essence, XOJane, Complex, Vox, Salon, and EBONY magazine to name a few publications. She is currently a weekly columnist at Zora Magazine, operates her own subscription-based platform, and contributes to various publications as a freelancer and commissioned writer.
Since 2013, Feminista has presented and lectured at various colleges and universities including Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, Boston University, UC Berkeley, and The University of Pennsylvania. Represented by APB Speakers, Feminista is a highly sought-after lecturer, panelist, and keynote speaker for major conferences and has been a featured speaker at several, including Stanford's Online Feminism Conference, Drexel's Racism in Medicine Conference, the Society for Social Work and Research Conference, Netroots Nation, SXSW, BlogHer, Woodhull Freedom Summit, and more. In 2018, she was honored to give the Baccalaureate speech during Vassar College’s Commencement weekend.
In 2014, she launched a global anti-street harassment campaign (#YouOKSis) and a National Moment of Silence protesting police brutality (#NMOS14), both of which received international media attention. That year, she was named one of the Top 100 Black Social Influencers by The Root. In 2015, she co-founded and served as General Director of the Women’s Freedom Conference, the first all-digital conference completely organized by and featuring only Women of Color. For her work, she was named one of SheKnows 2015 “Voices of the Year”. In 2017, Feminista was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Philadelphia by Philadelphia magazine and was later featured in Philadelphia Style magazine for her community work in 2018, In 2020, Feminista was named one of the "Bitch 50", honoring the work of feminist women around the world and one of the 76 Most Influential People in Philadelphia.
In 2019, Feminista joined two of her closest friends to create Black Girl Missing, a true-crime podcast that focuses on the stories of missing Black girls in the United States. Feminista is also a mom, an organizational leadership, management, culture, and diversity consultant, a mentor to young girls and women, a Ph.D. student at Temple University, and an outspoken advocate for the homeless, people living in poverty, and those living with psychiatric disabilities.

Heather C. McGhee

Heather McGhee is an expert in economic and social policy. The former president of the inequality-focused think tank Demos, McGhee has drafted legislation, testified before Congress and contributed regularly to news shows including NBC's Meet the Press. She now chairs the board of Color of Change, the nation's largest online racial justice organization. McGhee holds a BA in American studies from Yale University and a JD from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.

Howard Bryant

Howard Bryant joined ESPN in August 2007 as a senior writer of, weekly columns for He also contributes to ESPN The Magazine, ESPN, and ESPN Radio.
Bryant arrived at ESPN following two years as a reporter for the Washington Post from 2005 – 2007, where he covered general sports topics and the Washington Redskins. He served as the Boston columnist for the Boston Herald from 2002 – 2005 and a reporter for the Bergen Record in Hackensack, N.J. from 2001 – 2002. Bryant has also reported for the San Jose Mercury News, covering the Oakland A’s (1995 – 2001) and the Oakland Tribune (1991 – 1995).
Bryant is a prolific baseball writer on a variety of topics affecting the game. His books include Juicing the Game: Drugs, Power and the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball (Viking 2005) and Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston (Routledge 2002), for which he won the Casey Award for best baseball book and was named SABR Seymour Medal finalist. He has also contributed to The Dodgers (2005), The Good City (2004), Yankees Century (2002), Red Sox Century (2000), and Thinking Black (1995). His next book, Henry Aaron: A Biography (Pantheon) will be available in stores in 2009. For his coverage of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series in which the Diamondbacks defeated the Yankees, he won the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) award for best game story.
Bryant was graduated from Temple University in 1991. The Boston resident received his masters degree from San Francisco State University in 1993.

Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News correspondent. He is the author of many books including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and four #1 New York Times bestsellers, How to Be an Antiracist; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds; and Antiracist Baby, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky and Four Hundred Souls: A Community history of African America 1619-2019, edited with Keisha N. Blain. In 2020, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Ilhan Omar

Born in Somalia, Ilhan and her family fled the country's civil war when she was eight-years-old. They lived in a refugee camp in Kenya for four years before coming to the United States, eventually settling in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis in 1997.
Ilhan’s interest in politics began at the age of 14 when she was an interpreter for her grandfather at local DFL caucuses. Watching neighbors come together to advocate for change at the grassroots level made Ilhan fall in love with the democratic process.
As a student at Edison High School in Minneapolis, she became an organizer and has been a coalition builder ever since. She worked as a community educator at the University of Minnesota and has been a devoted progressive activist in the DFL party for many years. Before running for office, Ilhan was a Humphrey Policy Fellow and served as a senior Policy Aide for a Minneapolis City Council Member. Through advocacy work with which she’s been involved, she’s advanced important issues, including support for working families, educational access, environmental protection, and racial equity.
In 2016, Ilhan became the first Somali-American, Muslim legislator in the United States. With the help of her committed campaign team, they increased voter turnout by 37%. She was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 60B, where she’s lived for the past 20 years and where she and her husband Ahmed are raising their three children.
In 2018, Ilhan was elected to the Congress representing the Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota. Upon her first three months in office, Ilhan introduced the No Ban Act, combating Donald Trump’s xenophobic Muslim Ban, she also co-sponsored the Yemen War Powers Resolution that would end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen, she pushed to extend DED status for the Liberian community in Minnesota, joined the Black Maternal Health Caucus as a founding member and she has consistently worked to show that the American Dream is for everyone.

Imani Perry

Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she is also affiliated with the Programs in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Law and Public Affairs. Perry is the author of five books and numerous scholarly articles. Her fields of inquiry include legal history, cultural studies, literary studies, and music. She holds a PhD from Harvard in American Studies, a JD from Harvard Law School, an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center, and a BA from Yale College. She is also a creative nonfiction essayist and a book reviewer. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Perry spent most of her childhood in Massachusetts, as well as time in Chicago. Perry currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her two sons.

Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson is the recipient of a 2020 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, and she was the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Her New York Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, won the National Book Award, as well as the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor, and the NAACP Image Award. She also wrote the adult books Red at the Bone, a New York Times bestseller, and Another Brooklyn, a 2016 National Book Award finalist. Her dozens of books for young readers include Before the Ever After, New York Times bestsellers The Day You Begin and Harbor Me, Newbery Honor winners Feathers, Show Way, and After Tupac and D Foster, and the picture book Each Kindness, which won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award.

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is the author of more than a dozen books for young people, including Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, a National Book Award finalist that was named a Best Book of 2019 by NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post and TIME. A native of Washington, D.C.,Reynolds began writing poetry at age nine and is the recipient of a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, an NAACP Image Award and multiple Coretta Scott King Award honors. His most recent book (with Ibram X. Kendi), Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Jason is the 2020-2021 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and CBS This Morning. He is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing for Young People MFA Program. You can find his ramblings at

Johanna Fernández

Johanna Fernández is associate professor of History at Baruch College (CUNY) and author of The Young Lords: A Radical History. Dr. Fernández’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) lawsuit against the NYPD, led to the recovery of the "lost" Handschu files, the largest repository of police surveillance records in the country, namely over one million surveillance files of New Yorkers compiled by the NYPD between 1954-1972, including those of Malcolm X. She is editor of Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal and writer and producer of the film, Justice on Trial: the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Her awards include the Fulbright Scholars grant to the Middle East and North Africa, which took her to Jordan; and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in the Scholars-in-Residence program at the Schomburg Center. She directed and co-curated, ¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York an exhibition in three NYC museums cited by the New York Times as one of 2015’s Top 10, Best In Art. Fernández received a B.A. in Literature and American Civilization from Brown University and a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Columbia University. She’s the host of A New Day, WBAI’s morning show, from 7-8am, M-TH, at 99.5 FM in New York.

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is an author, preacher and moral activist. He directs the School for Conversion in Durham, North Carolina and serves on the Steering Committee of the Poor People's Campaign. His most recent book is Revolution of Values: Reclaiming Public Faith for the Common Good.

Karen González

Karen Gonzalez is a speaker, writer, public theologian, and immigrant advocate, who herself immigrated from Guatemala as a child. Karen is a former public school teacher and attended Fuller Theological Seminary, where she studied theology and missiology. For the last 12 years, she has been a non-profit professional, currently working for World Relief, an organization in Baltimore, MD that serves refugees and other immigrants. She wrote a book about her own immigration story and the many immigrants found in the Bible: The God Who Sees: Immigrants, The Bible, and the Journey to Belong (Herald Press, May 2019). She is currently at work on her second book on immigration from a theological lens.

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio has written about immigration, music, beauty, and mental illness for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Glamour, Elle, Vogue, n+1, and The New Inquiry, among others. She lives in New Haven with her partner and their dog.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes and speaks on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States.
She is author Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership (University of North Carolina Press, 2019). Race for Profit was a semi-finalist for the 2019 National Book Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2020.
Her earlier book From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Haymarket Books, 2016) won the Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book in 2016. She is also editor of How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective (Haymarket Books, 2012) which won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBQT nonfiction in 2018.
Taylor is a contributing writer at The New Yorker. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Boston Review, Paris Review, Guardian, The Nation, Jacobin, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, among others. She is a former Contributing Opinion Writer for The New York Times.
In 2016, she was named one of the hundred most influential African Americans in the United States by The Root. In 2018 Essence Magazine named her among the top one hundred “change makers” in the county. She has been appointed as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians by the Organization of American Historians.
When asked by The Nation about the limits of electoral politics, Taylor responded: “We know people died for the right to vote. But people also died for democracy and justice and inclusion, and voting does not necessarily secure that. When people say that, they ignore the most important factor in creating progress in the United States: social movements, and the power of ordinary people to come together collectively, to force the political establishment to adhere to their demands.”
Taylor is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.

Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. In his sharply observant, often hilarious work, Laymon does battle with the personal and the political: race and family, body and shame, poverty and place. His savage humor and clear-eyed perceptiveness have earned him comparisons to Mark Twain and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Recalling her first time reading Laymon’s writing, Roxane Gay reflected, “I was stunned into stillness…. Then I reread the essay and was stunned into stillness again.” His bestselling memoir, Heavy: An American Memoir, won the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, and the audiobook, read by the author, was named the Audible Audiobook of the Year. In a starred review, Booklist called it “ artfully crafted, miraculously personal, and continuously disarming, this is, at its essence, powerful writing about the power of writing.” Heavy was named a best book of 2018 by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and more. Laymon is also the author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, a collection of lacerating essays on race, violence, celebrity, family, and creativity; and the novel Long Division, which combines elements of science fiction, satire, and social commentary into a book that The Wall Street Journal called “funny, astute and searching.” Three essays from How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America were included in the Best American series. Long Division was selected as one of the best books of 2013 by Buzzfeed, Salon, The Chicago Tribune, Library Journal, Guernica, and others. Laymon has written for Gawker, Esquire, ESPN The Magazine, NPR, Colorlines, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Ebony, Guernica, and The Oxford American, among others. A contributing editor for Vanity Fair, he teaches at the University of Mississippi, and has taught at Vassar College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is at work on several new projects including the long poem, Good God; the horror novel, And So On; the children’s book, City Summer, Country Summer; and the personal narrative about family and Mississippi, I Don't Know What You Mean.

Kiley Reid

An Arizona native, Kiley Reid is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was the recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. Her New York Times-bestselling debut novel, SUCH A FUN AGE, is currently in development by Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions and Sight Unseen Pictures. The novel was longlisted for The 2020 Booker Prize and a finalist for the New York Public Library’s 2020 Young Lions Fiction Award, the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author, and the Mark Twain American Voice in Literature Award. Kiley’s writing has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Playboy, December, Lumina, where her short story was the winner in the 2017 Flash Prose Contest, and Ploughshares, where her short story was the winner of the 2020 Ashley Leigh Bourne Prize for Fiction. Kiley lives in Philadelphia.

Linda Sarsour

Linda Sarsour is an award-winning racial justice and civil rights activist, seasoned community organizer, direct action strategist, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. She is a Palestinian Muslim American and a self-proclaimed “pure New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn!” She is the co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change and co-founder of Until Freedom, an intersectional racial justice organization focused on direct action and power building in communities of color. Until Freedom is best known for their work on the Breonna Taylor police murder case in Louisville, Kentucky.
Linda was one of the national co-chairs of the largest single day protest in US history, the Women’s March on Washington. She has been named amongst 500 of the most influential Muslims in the world. She was recognized as one of Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders and featured as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Linda was a 2020 Roddenberry Fellow and released her highly anticipated book, “We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love & Resistance”. She is most recognized for her transformative intersectional organizing work and movement building.

Lonnie Bunch

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian. He assumed his position in June 2019. He oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers and several education units and centers.
Previously, Bunch was the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. When he started as director in July 2005, he had one staff member, no collections, no funding and no site for a museum. Bunch transformed a vision into a reality. The museum has had more than 7 million visitors since it opened in September 2016 and compiled a collection of nearly 40,000 objects.
Before his appointment as director of the museum, Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (2001–2005).
A widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from the black military experience, the American presidency and all-black towns in the American West to diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. His most recent book, A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump, chronicles the making of the museum that would become one of the most popular destinations in Washington.
Bunch has previously worked at the Smithsonian, holding several positions at its National Museum of American History from 1989 through 2000, where he oversaw the curatorial and collections staff that developed a major permanent exhibition on the American presidency.
Born in Belleville, New Jersey, Bunch has held numerous teaching positions across the country, including at American University and George Washington University, both in Washington, D.C., and the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth.
Among his many awards, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2010. In 2019, he was awarded the Freedom Medal, one of the Four Freedom Awards from the Roosevelt Institute, for his contribution to American culture as a historian and storyteller; the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from the Hutchins Center at Harvard University; and the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund.
Bunch received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the American University in Washington, D.C.

Marcia Chatelain

Professor Marcia Chatelain teachers history and African American Studies at Georgetown University. The author of South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration and Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, Chatelain is a Chicago native residing in Washington, D.C.

Maria Hinojosa

Maria Hinojosa dreamt of a space where she could create independent, multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diverse American experience. She made that dream a reality in 2010 when she created Futuro Media, an independent, nonprofit newsroom based in Harlem, NYC with the mission to create multimedia content from a POC perspective. As Anchor and Executive Producer of the Peabody Award-winning show Latino USA, distributed by PRX, and Co-Host of Futuro
Media’s award-winning political podcast In The Thick, Hinojosa has informed millions about the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad.

Mehrsa Baradaran

Mehrsa Baradaran is a professor of law at UCI Law.
Baradaran writes about banking law, financial inclusion, inequality, and the racial wealth gap. Her scholarship includes the books How the Other Half Banks and The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, both published by the Harvard University Press. The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap has received multiple awards, including the 2019 Best Book Award by the Urban Affairs Association.
Baradaran and her books have received significant media coverage and have been featured in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Slate, American Banker, the Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times; on NPR’s “Marketplace,” C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” and PBS’s “NewsHour;” and as part of TEDxUGA. She has advised U.S. Senators and Congressmen on policy, testified before the U.S. Congress, and spoken at forums like the U.S. Treasury and the World Bank.

Michael Zapata

Michael Zapata is a founding editor of MAKE Literary Magazine and the author of the novel The Lost Book of Adana Moreau, winner of the 2020 Chicago Review of Books Award for Fiction, finalist for the 2020 Heartland Booksellers Award in Fiction, and a Best Book of the Year for NPR, the A.V. Club, Los Angeles Public Library, and BookPage, among others. He is on the core faculty of StoryStudio Chicago and the MFA faculty of Northwestern University. As a public-school educator, he taught literature and writing in high schools servicing drop out students. He currently lives in Chicago with his family.

Mikki Kendall

Mikki Kendall is a writer, diversity consultant, and occasional feminist; she has appeared on the BBC, NPR, The Daily Show, PBS, Good Morning America, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, WBEZ, and Showtime, and discusses race, feminism, police violence, tech, and pop culture at institutions and universities across the countryBBC, NPR, The Daily Show, PBS, Good Morning America, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, WBEZ, and Showtime, and discusses race, feminism, police violence, tech, and pop culture at institutions and universities across the country. She is the author of the New York Times-bestselling HOOD FEMINISM (recipient of the Chicago Review of Books Award and named a best book of the year by BBC, Bustle, and TIME). She is also the author of AMAZONS, ABOLITIONISTS, AND ACTIVISTS, a graphic novel illustrated by A. D’Amico. Her essays can be found at TIME, the New York Times, The Guardian, the Washington Post, Essence, Vogue, The Boston Globe, NBC, and a host of other sites.

Min Jin Lee

Min Jin Lee is a recipient of fellowships in Fiction from the Guggenheim Foundation (2018), the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard (2018-2019), and the New York Foundation for the Arts (2000). Her novel Pachinko (2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction, a runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize, and a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017. A New York Times Bestseller, Pachinko was also a Top 10 Books of the Year for BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the New York Public Library. Pachinko was a selection for “Now Read This,” the joint book club of PBS NewsHour and The New York Times. It was on over 75 best books of the year lists, including NPR, PBS, and CNN. Pachinko will be translated into 30 languages. In 2019, Apple ordered to series a television adaptation of Pachinko, and President Barack Obama selected Pachinko for his recommended reading list, calling it, “a powerful story about resilience and compassion.” Lee’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires (2007) was a Top 10 Books of the Year for The Times of London, NPR’s Fresh Air, USA Today, and a national bestseller. In 2019, Free Food for Millionaires was a finalist for One Book, One New York, a city-wide reading program. Her writings have appeared in The New Yorker, NPR’s Selected Shorts, One Story, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Conde Nast Traveler, The Times of London, and Wall Street Journal. She served three consecutive seasons as a Morning Forum columnist of the Chosun Ilbo of South Korea. In 2018, Lee was named as an Adweek Creative 100 for being one of the “10 Writers and Editors Who are Changing the National Conversation” and a Frederick Douglass 200. In 2019, Lee was inducted in the New York Foundation for the Arts Hall of Fame. She received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Monmouth College. She will be a Writer-in-Residence at Amherst College from 2019-2022. She serves as a trustee of PEN America, a director of the Authors Guild and on the National Advisory Board of the Immigration Initiative at Harvard

Mira Jacob

Mira Jacob is a novelist, memoirist, illustrator, and cultural critic. Her graphic memoir Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award, longlisted for the PEN Open Book Award, named a New York Times Notable Book, as well as a best book of the year by Time, Esquire, Publisher’s Weekly, and Library Journal. It is currently in development as a television series.
Her novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, longlisted for the Brooklyn Literary Eagles Prize and named one of the best books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, the Boston Globe, Goodreads, Bustle, and The Millions.
Her work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Electric Literature, Tin House, Literary Hub, Guernica, Vogue, and the Telegraph. She is an Assistant Professor at the Writing Program at The New School, and a founding faculty member of the MFA Program at Randolph College.
She is the co-founder of Pete’s Reading Series in Brooklyn, where she spent 13 years bringing literary fiction, non-fiction, and poetry to Williamsburg.
She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, documentary filmmaker Jed Rothstein, and their son.

Mitchell S. Jackson

Mitchell S. Jackson’s debut novel The Residue Years received wide critical praise. Jackson is the winner of a Whiting Award and the Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. Jackson’s honors include fellowships, grants, and awards from Creative Capital, the NYPL’s Cullman Center, the Lannan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, PEN America, and TED. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Time, The New Yorker, Harpers, The Paris Review, The Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, and elsewhere. His nonfiction book Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family was named a best book of the year by fifteen publications. Jackson’s next novel—John of Watts—will be published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. He covers race and culture as the first Black columnist for Esquire Magazine and teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago.

Nic Stone

Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work. Her novels for young adults, Dear Martin and Dear Justyce and her debut middle-grade novel, Clean Getaway, were all New York Times bestsellers. She is also the author of Odd One Out, Jackpot, and Black Panther novels Shuri and Shuri: The Vanished. All of her novels have been widely embraced by children and adults and have been the recipients of numerous accolades and awards. Nic lives in Atlanta with her family. Find her online at or @nicstone.

Nicholas Buccola

Nicholas Buccola is a writer, lecturer, and teacher who specializes in American Political Thought. He is the author of The Fire Is Upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America, which was a finalist for the Benjamin Hooks National Book Award, Phi Beta Kappa’s Ralph Waldo Emerson Award, and the Museum of African American History’s Stone Book Award. His essays have been featured in numerous scholarly journals as well as popular outlets such as The New York Times, Salon, and Dissent. He is the Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science at Linfield University in McMinnville, Oregon.

Noliwe Rooks

Noliwe Rooks is the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Literature and a professor of Africana studies at Cornell University and was for ten years the associate director of African American studies at Princeton University. She is the author of White Money/Black Power (2006) and Hair Raising (1996). She lives in Ithaca, New York.

Paul Ortiz

Paul Ortiz is a PEN-Award winning author. He served as a consultant and featured narrator for the PBS series from Henry Louis Gates, Jr. titled: The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song. He is director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and professor of history at the University of Florida. He serves on the Faculty Advisory Council for the UF Center for Latin American Studies.
Paul is a third generation military veteran and a first generation university graduate. Paul received his PhD in history from Duke University in 2000. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the Evergreen State College in 1990, and his Associate of Arts degree from Olympic College in 1988
His most recent book An African American and Latinx History of the United States was identified by Bustle as one of “Ten Books About Race to Read Instead of Asking a Person of Color to Explain Things to You.” Fortune Magazine listed it as one of the “10 books on American history that actually reflect the United States.” called his book Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 “As both an essential teaching of American history and a critical resource for understanding grassroots organizing today.”
Paul co-edited Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South which received the Lillian Smith Book Award from the Southern Regional Council.
His pathway to academia included years of organizing work with the United Farm Workers, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFSCME and many other unions. He is currently president of the United Faculty of Florida-UF (FEA/NEA/AFT/AFL-CIO) the union that represents tenured and non-tenure-track faculty at the University of Florida.
Paul has published essays in: Latino Studies, The American Historical Review, Cultural Dynamics, The Oral History Review, Truthout, Southern Exposure, Kalfou, the Florida Historical Quarterly, and many other journals. He has been interviewed by Agencia De Noticias Del Estado Mexicano, ARD German Radio and Television, Newsweek, Telemundo, The Guardian, The Undefeated, ABC News, BBC, Hong Kong Daily Apple, and a variety of media on the histories of voter suppression, social movements, immigration, Latinx & African American history among other topics.
Paul is the faculty advisor for the UF Dream Defenders, Por Colombia, CHISPAS and other student organizations. In 2013, he received the César E. Chávez Action and Commitment Award from the Florida Education Association, AFL-CIO.
Paul is currently finishing three books including: People Power: History, Organizing, and Larry Goodwyn’s Democratic Vision in the Twenty-First Century which will be published by the University Press of Florida this summer.

Resmaa Menakem

Resmaa Menakem, New York Times bestselling author of My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, is a visionary Justice Leadership coach, organizational strategist and master trainer. Resmaa is a leading voice in today’s conversation on racialized trauma. As described by On Being with Krista Tippett, Resmaa “activates the wisdom of ancestors and a very new science, about how all of us carry the history and traumas behind everything we collapse into the word “race” in our bodies. He illuminates why all of the best laws and diversity training have not gotten us anywhere near healing.” Resmaa created Cultural Somatics, which utilizes the body and resilience as mechanisms for growth.
As a therapist, trauma specialist, and the founder of Justice Leadership Solutions, a leadership consultancy firm, Resmaa Menakem dedicates his expertise to coaching leaders through civil unrest, organizational change, and community building. He helps “Justice Leaders realize their potential in the areas of Equity and Race.” Resmaa’s embodied approach which he calls Somatic Abolitionism is a living, embodied philosophy that requires endurance, stamina, and discernment. These can be built, day by day, through reps. These reps will temper and condition your body, your mind, and your soul.
Resmaa successfully coaches, trains and speaks to a diversified array of Justice Leaders who are community activists, police leaders, non-profit executives, CEOs, collegiate and professional athletic directors/managers, healthcare professionals, educators, government and judicial leaders, and the list goes on. Resmaa helps leaders examine and begin to heal the trauma of racialization that thwarts emergence. He coaches leaders on how to do the embodied work to gain the cultural maturity to lead and build community within themselves, their groups, organizations and movements.
Resmaa is a highly sought after keynote and public speaker, radio, television, and social media personality, author, international trainer and effective communicator among diverse ethnic populations. Resmaa has hosted his own radio talk show as well as appeared on programs ranging from The Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Phil shows as an expert on conflict mediation, self care and healing to Minnesota Public Radio as an expert on racialized trauma during civil unrest. Resmaa has instructed and trained personnel extensively in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) police departments, as well as provided years of experience as a trauma counselor and trainer to military and US contractors in Afghanistan. Resmaa is also the author of two additional books 101 Tips for Emerging Justice Leaders, and a powerful book on conflict in relationships titled Rock the Boat: How to use Conflict to Heal and Deepen Relationships. Resmaa has served as an executive directing behavioral health for several non profits and a business owner for over 28 years. To see how you or your organization can work with Resmaa, please contact him at JUSTICE LEADERSHIP SOLUTIONS.

Rion Amilcar Scott

Rion Amilcar Scott's first book, Insurrections, won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. His work has been published in the Kenyon Review, the Rumpus, PANK, and Confrontation, among others. He lives and writes in Maryland.

Robert Jones Jr.

New York Times-bestselling author Robert Jones, Jr., was born and raised in New York City. He received his BFA in creative writing with honors and MFA in fiction from Brooklyn College. He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Paris Review, Essence, OkayAfrica, The Feminist Wire, and The Grio. He is the creator of the social-justice social media community Son of Baldwin. THE PROPHETS is his debut novel.

Saeed Jones

Saeed Jones is the author of the memoir How We Fight for Our Lives, winner of the 2019 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction, the 2020 Stonewall Book Award/Israel Fishman Non-fiction Award, a 2020 Publishing Triangle Award, and a 2020 Lambda Literary Award. He is also the author of the poetry collection Prelude to Bruise, winner of the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and the 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award. The poetry collection was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his dog Caesar.

Sahar Mustafah

Sahar Mustafah is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, an inheritance she explores in her fiction. Her first novel The Beauty of Your Face was named a 2020 Notable Book and Editor’s Choice by the New York Times Book Review, Marie Claire Magazine’s Best Fiction by Women, and a 2020 Best Book by The New Arab, among other honors. Her short story collection Code of the West was the winner of the 2016 Willow Books Fiction Award. She writes and teaches outside of Chicago.

Salamishah Tillet

Salamishah Tillet is the Henry Rutgers Professor of African American and African Studies and Creative Writing and the director of the New Arts Justice, an incubator for feminist art at Rutgers University, Newark. In 2020, she became a contributing Critic-at-Large for The New York Times and was awarded the Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant for her book-in-progress, "All the Rage: The World Nina Simone Made." She is the author of "Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination"(Duke, 2012) and the recently published memoir, "In Search of The Color Purple: The Story of An American Masterpiece" (Abrams, 2021) which explores the enduring legacy of the most celebrated and most controversial African American novel ever written. She, alongside Tarana Burke and LaTosha Brown and other trailblazing Black feminist leaders, is a founding member of the philanthropic initiative, The Black Girl Freedom Fund, and in 2003, she along with her sister Scheherazade Tillet, founded A Long Walk Home, an art organization that empowers young people to end violence against girls and women.

Sarah M. Broom

Sarah M. Broom is the author of The Yellow House, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize. She has contributed to the New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Oxford American, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others. She received her Master’s in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, and has been awarded fellowships from the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and The MacDowell Colony. She lives in Harlem with her partner, filmmaker Dee Rees, and a tiny brown dog.

Sunny Hostin

Sunny Hostin is the 3x Emmy Award-winning legal journalist and co-host of The View. Last fall, Hostin released her debut book, “I Am These Truths: A Memoir of Identity, Justice, and Living Between Worlds,” with HarperOne. She is also the author of “Summer on the Bluffs,” the first in her upcoming three-book fiction series, which will be published on May 4, 2021. Hostin has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Woman, Essence, Newsweek, The New York Post, Latina, and Ebony. A sought-after public speaker, she has delivered a TEDxTalk called “A Possibility Model” and spoken at and moderated panels for the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Corporate Counsel Women of Color, and the National Bar Association, and served as a witness at the Federal Judiciary’s Congressional Hearing for the Public’s Right of Access to the Courts. Hostin lives with her husband and two children in New York.

Tarana Burke

For nearly three decades, activist and advocate Tarana J. Burke has worked at the intersection of racial justice, arts and culture, anti-violence and gender equity. Fueled by commitments to interrupt sexual violence and other systemic inequalities disproportionately impacting marginalized people, particularly Black women and girls, Tarana has created, led and participated in various campaigns focused on increasing access to resources and support for impacted communities, including the ‘me too.’ movement, which to date has galvanized millions of survivors and allies around the world.

Tiffany Jewell

Tiffany Jewell is a Black biracial writer, twin sister, first generation American, cisgender mama, anti-bias antiracist (ABAR) educator, and consultant. She is the author of the #1 New York Times and #1 Indie Best Seller, This Book Is Anti-Racist, a book for young folks [and everyone] to support waking up, taking action, and doing the work of becoming antiracist. Tiffany is currently working on multiple book projects for readers of all ages.
She has been working with children and families for over eighteen years and worked as a Montessori educator for fifteen years. She enjoys exploring social justice with young folks, especially the history of racism and resistance, economic justice, and socially and personally constructed identities. Tiffany enjoys working with educators and supporting them building strong, authentic communities in which every child can be seen and valued.
Tiffany lives with her two young storytellers, husband, and a turtle she’s had since she was nine years old.

Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange’s There There is a national bestseller that won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and the American Book Award. It was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The audiobook for There There was a 2019 finalist (Multi-VoicedPerformance). Tommy Orange is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, and was born and raised in Oakland, California.

Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City and grew up in South Korea, South Africa and India. An acclaimed writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she is the author of the essay collection Sidewalks; the novels Faces in the Crowd and The Story of My Teeth; Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions and Lost Children Archive. She is the recipient of a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship and the winner of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, The Carnegie Medal, an American Book Award, and has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Kirkus Prize, and the Booker Prize. She has been a National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree and the recipient of a Bearing Witness Fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's, among other publications, and has been translated into more than twenty languages. She is a Writer in Residence at Bard College and lives in New York City.

Yaba Blay

A thought leader on Black racial identity, colorism, and beauty politics, Dr. Yaba Blay is a scholar-activist, public speaker, and cultural consultant. Her scholarship, work, and practice
centers on the lived experiences of Black women and girls. She has appeared on CNN, BET, MSNBC, BBC, and NPR, and her work has been featured in The New York Times, EBONY, Essence, Fast Company, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Colorlines, and The Root. She earned a Master of Arts and PhD in African American Studies (with distinction) and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from Temple University. Connect with her at and on Twitter at @yabablay.

Zach Norris

Zach Norris is the Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, author of Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment, and co-founder of Restore Oakland, a community advocacy and training center that will empower Bay Area community members to transform local economic and justice systems and make a safe and secure future possible for themselves and for their families. Zach is also a co-founder of Justice for Families, a national alliance of family-driven organizations working to end our nation’s youth incarceration epidemic.
Zach helped build California’s first statewide network for families of incarcerated youth which led the effort to close five youth prisons in the state, passed legislation to enable families to stay in contact with their loved ones, and defeated Prop 6—a destructive and ineffective criminal justice ballot measure.
Defund Fear, released in 2020 (formerly titled We Keep Us Safe), has been praised by Forbes, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, and Kirkus Reviews.
In addition to being a Harvard graduate and NYU-educated attorney, Zach is also a graduate of the Labor Community Strategy Center’s National School for Strategic Organizing in Los Angeles, California and was a 2011 Soros Justice Fellow. He is a former board member at Witness for Peace, Just Cause Oakland and Justice for Families. Zach was a recipient of the American Constitution Society’s David Carliner Public Interest Award in 2015, and is a member of the 2016 class of the Levi Strauss Foundation’s Pioneers of Justice.
Zach is a loving husband and dedicated father of two bright daughters, whom he is raising in his hometown of Oakland, California.

Literary Agent Panelists

Alvina Ling

Alvina Ling is VP and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (a division of Hachette Book Group) where she has worked since 1999. She edits children's books for all ages, from picture books to young adult. She has edited such books as A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin; Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier; Shark Vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert, The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. She Tweets with the handle @planetalvina and is on Instagram @alvinaling. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her partner and their cat, Venus.

Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh is an agent at Ayesha Pande Literary. Some of her recent and forthcoming projects include Bridgett Davis’ acclaimed memoir The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers, Susan Abulhawa's 2020 Palestine Book Award-winning novel Against the Loveless World; and the graphic novel Wake: The Hidden History of Women-led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martinez (S&S, June 2021).

Ayesha Pande

Ayesha launched her eponymous agency fifteen years ago. Before becoming an agent she worked as an editor at Farrar Straus & Giroux, HarperCollins and Crown Publishers. She is drawn to voices, perspectives and ideas that aren’t usually represented in mainstream publishing and to authors who take risks and want to express something meaningful about our world. She is on the Board of the AALA (Association of American Literary Agents) where she founded the Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Ayesha represents literary fiction with a distinctive voice, engaging point of view, and strong characters; well-written narrative nonfiction across a broad range of topics; memoir and biography, and select YA

Chris Jackson

Chris Jackson is the publisher and editor-in-chief of One World, an imprint of Random House. He’s the editor of a wide range of award-winning and bestselling authors, including Bryan Stevenson, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jill Leovy, Trevor Noah, Karla Cornjeo-Villavicencio, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Ibram X. Kendi, Heather McGhee, Alicia Garza, Valarie Kaur, and Eddie Huang. His own writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Callalloo, The, and other outlets. He lives in New York.

Gayatri Patnaik

Gayatri Patnaik is Associate Director and Editorial Director at Beacon Press and has published authors including Imani Perry, Cornel West, Kate Bornstein, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Jeanne Theoharis. She acquires in US History, with a focus on African American History and race/ethnicity/immigration, and began Beacon’s award-winning “ReVisioning History” series. Gayatri also began Beacon’s LGBTQ series, “Queer Action/Queer Ideas,” and developed books in “The King Legacy,” a series about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Titles she published include:

  • The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis, winner of the 2014 NAACP Image Award
  • An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (part of the “ReVisioning History” series) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, recipient of the 2015 American Book Award
  • Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry by Imani Perry. Winner of the 2019 Pen/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography; winner of the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction; Winner of the 2018 Publishing Triangle Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction.
  • A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross; 2021 NAACP Image Award Nominee: Outstanding Literary Work-Nonfiction

Namrata Tripathi

Namrata Tripathi is Vice President & Publisher of Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers dedicated to centering stories from the margins. Previously, Namrata held editorial positions at HarperCollins, Disney-Hyperion, and Simon and Schuster. She is the editor of the picture books My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña and Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison; the Newbery Honor-winning middle grade novel The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani; and the YA novels Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay and Noggin by John Corey Whaley, which were both National Book Award finalists. Namrata grew up in Afghanistan, India, Canada, Pakistan, Germany, and Poland, and has happily called New York City home for the last twenty years. Follow her on Twitter: @Tweetpathi.

Regina Brooks

Regina Brooks is the founder and president of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC, based in Brooklyn, New York. Her agency has represented and established a diverse base of award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature. Writer's Digest magazine named Serendipity Literary Agency as one of the top 25 literary agencies in 2004. Prior to opening her own agency, Ms. Brooks held senior editorial positions at John Wiley and Sons (where she was not only the youngest but also the first African-American editor in their college division) and McGraw-Hill. She is the author of Essences Magazine’s quick pick children's book, Never Finished! Never Done! (Scholastic) and WRITING GREAT BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADULTS (Source Books) and is a well-received blogger for the Huffington Post. Brooks is also on the faculty of the Harvard University publishing program. She has been highlighted in several national and international magazines and periodicals, including Forbes, Media Bistro, Writers and Poets, Essence Magazine; Writers Digest Magazine, The Writer, and Sister2Sister magazine.
She is a regular speaker at writer’s conferences and is interested in the areas of non-fiction and literary/commercial fiction for adults, young adults and children. She is drawn to subjects like science, politics, psychology and self-help, pop culture, health, women's issues, parenting, cooking, design crafts, alternative spirituality, business, technology, and always interested in new and emerging writers.

Tanya McKinnon

Tanya McKinnon is the founder of McKinnon Literary where she represents New York Times bestsellers and award-winning non-fiction, children's books, and graphic novels. She specializes in non-fiction that addresses cultural issues as well as gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality. She is most drawn to work that pushes political and cultural boundaries. This can be in categories such as history, sociology, psychology, anthropology, medicine, cultural criticism, memoir, popular culture, journalism, and sheer whimsy. She's also drawn to character-driven literary fiction.

Tracy Sherrod

Tracy Sherrod is the VP, editorial director of Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Her most recent titles includes Cicely Tyson’s #1 New York Times bestseller, Just As I Am, National Book Award Finalist Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn, NAACP Image Award winner Dick Gregory’s Defining Moments in Black History, James Beard Winner Michael Twitty’s The Cooking Gene, Jenifer Lewis’ The Mother of Black Hollywood, and forthcoming titles by Zora Neale Hurston, Natalie Baszile, Mary J. Blige, Chris Gardner, and Paul Beatty. The imprint publishes Steve Harvey, Ursula Burns, Zain Asher, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Timbaland, and other esteemed writers and personalities. She was born and raised in Flint, Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University’s James Madison College.

Vanessa Mobley

Vanessa Mobley, Vice President, Executive Editor, Little, Brown and Company
Vanessa is an editor of bestselling, diverse, prize-winning and culturally relevant nonfiction books. At Little, Brown she has published Binyamin Appelbaum, Bridgett M. Davis, Kate Fagan, Ronan Farrow, Josh Levin, Wesley Lowery, Beth Macy and Clint Smith, whose book How the Word is Passed will be published on June 1.


Adeline Gutierrez Nuñez

Adeline Gutierrez Nuñez is the assistant to the director at Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research. Adeline uses a philosophical approach in challenging social policy and ethics, by centering the experiences of communities of color domestically and abroad. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Philosophy and Social Policy and her scholarship focuses on Dominican-Haitian relations.
Adeline has previously organized and facilitated workshops on race and gender. She is passionate about building intentional communities through honest conversation and direct action.

Anna Malaika Tubbs

ANNA MALAIKA TUBBS is the author of the critically acclaimed book The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of MLK Jr., Malcolm X, and James Balwdin Shaped a Nation. She is also a Cambridge Ph.D. candidate in Sociology and a Bill and Melinda Gates Cambridge Scholar. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a BA in Anthropology, Anna received a Master’s from the University of Cambridge in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies. Outside of the academy she is an educator and DEI consultant. She lives with her husband, Michael Tubbs, and their son Michael Malakai.

Bettina Love

Dr. Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and the Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia. She is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers. Her writing, research, teaching, and educational advocacy work meet at the intersection of education, abolition, and black joy. Dr. Love is concerned with how educators working with parents and communities can build communal, civically engaged schools rooted in Abolitionist Teaching with the goal of intersectional social justice for equitable classrooms that love and affirm Black and Brown children. In 2020, Dr. Love co-founded the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN). ATN’s mission is to: develop and support teachers and parents to fight injustice within their schools and communities. In 2020, Dr. Love was also named a member of the Old 4th Ward Economic Security Task Force with the Atlanta City Council.
Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics, including: Abolitionist Teaching, anti-racism, Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, Hip Hop feminism, art-based education to foster youth civic engagement, and issues of diversity and inclusion. She is the creator of the Hip Hop civics curriculum GET FREE.
In 2014, she was invited to the White House Research Conference on Girls to discuss her work focused on the lives of Black girls. For her work in the field of Hip Hop education, in 2016, Dr. Love was named the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. In April of 2017, Dr. Love participated in a one-on-one public lecture with bell hooks focused on the liberatory education practices of Black and Brown children. In 2018, Georgia’s House of Representatives presented Dr. Love with a resolution for her impact on the field of education. She has also provided commentary for various news outlets including NPR, Ed Week, The Guardian, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
She is the author of the books We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South. Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including the English Journal, Urban Education, The Urban Review, and the Journal of LGBT Youth.

Eugene Scott

Eugene Scott is a national political reporter for The Washington Post where he hosted “The Next Four Years” podcast, Amazon’s top original podcast. He has spent two decades covering politics at the local, national and international level.
Scott’s a regular political analyst on MSNBC, CBS and NPR. And was a contributor to the NYT bestseller “FOUR HUNDRED SOULS: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019.”
Prior to coming to the Post, he covered national politics at CNN and was a fellow at the Georgetown University Institute of Politics.
He received his Masters from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he is on the board of advisers for the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. And he earned his bachelor’s from the University of North Carolina Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

Britt Hawthorne

A visionary and hands-on leader, Britt’s work moves the idea of equity in education from a goal to reality. She partners with action-orientated educators to create classroom environments that are inclusive and equitable for all learners.
Britt began her journey by courageously leaving the teaching profession to create spaces where the intersection of education and social justice could be explored. Her honest and inspiring journey to create space, documented on Instagram, has since garnered over 80k engaged followers as well as a deeply committed online community, Collective Liberation.
Compassionate and challenging, Britt's voice continues to be sought-after for training and workshops at schools and universities across the nation. Her work has been recognized by PBS, Drew Barrymore, Google Edu, The Mom Project, Rice University, Association Montessori Internationale, and countless more.
Britt has traveled extensively to speak at over 40 conferences, authored publications, and appeared on podcasts covering social justice, liberation, and equity in education. And, she keeps the conversation moving forward. Britt is currently authoring a forthcoming book about antiracist parenting due for release in 2022.

Damon Young

Damon Young is writer, critic, humorist, satirist. His debut memoir What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir In Essays (Ecco/HarperCollins) is a tragicomic exploration of the angsts, anxieties, and absurdities of existing while black in America, and won Barnes & Noble's 2019 Discover Award. It was also longlisted for the PEN America Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award, nominated for an NAACP Image Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and a Thurber Prize for American Humor, and is a Krause Essay Prize nominee. NPR, which named it one of the best books of 2019, called it an "outstanding collection of nonfiction."
He's also the co-founder and editor in chief of VerySmartBrothas -- coined "the blackest thing that ever happened to the internet" by The Washington Post -- a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and a columnist for GQ.

David Dennis Jr.

David Dennis, Jr. is a freelance writer, editor, educator and social commentator based in Atlanta, Georgia. His work has been featured in Atlanta magazine, The Atlantic, ESPN’s The Undefeated, The Washington Post, HuffPost, and numerous publications on Medium.
As a visiting professor of journalism at Morehouse College, Mr. Dennis is committed to mentoring his students and has previously advised the school’s newspaper. He is currently writing a book entitled, The Movement Made Us, set to be published next year by HarperCollins, about his father’s experience in the civil rights movement, written from a first-person perspective. The book is a study of memory—both individual and collective—and the trauma and perseverance that can be passed down in Black families, especially from fathers to sons.

Dillon Carmichael

Dillon Carmichael is a 2018 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, studying Anthropology and gender and sexuality. Prior to his senior year, he started a video series called Redefining Black Masculinity which was dedicated to documenting black masculine experiences. As it has progressed, it has expanded into a platform specific for various forms of content aligned with that same goal. He has given talks at his alma mater and facilitated discussions on race and masculinity for various middle schools and elementary schools. Additionally, Dillon is an affiliate of Holistic Wealth Consulting, a firm committed to helping communities shape holistic wealth & sustainable wellness by utilizing the wisdom that already exists within ourselves.

Esta Montano

Esta Montano, Ed. D. is a well-known educator in Massachusetts, best known for her commitment to social justice and equity for all students, their families, and communities. In 2018 she retired from the Boston Public Schools (BPS), where she was Director of Instruction at Boston Latin Academy for four years, preceded by a year as Senior Director of Program Design, Instructional Delivery and Assessment for BPS’s Office of Educational Options (Alternative Education), and a year as Director of Special Programs for English Language Learners in the same school district.
Prior to her tenure in the Boston Public Schools, Dr. Montano served as the Director of the Office of English Language Acquisition and Academic Achievement for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and the Director of Equity and Achievement for Framingham Public Schools, where she first began her educational trajectory as an ESL/Bilingual and Dual Language teacher.
In her retirement from public school education, Dr. Montano is an adjunct professor at Boston University, teaching in the Prison Education Program at MCI Framingham. She is also an adjunct professor at Framingham State University.
Dr. Montano’s interests and expertise focus on the areas of race, culture, language, gender, sexuality and identity and the intersection of these constructs with K-12 students’ socioemotional well-being and academic achievement. Aside from her commitment to students and educators, she is also focused on community and the need for improved communication and understanding around the areas that people find hard to discuss, namely diversity and inclusion. Dr. Montano holds a Masters’ degree in Applied Linguistics and a Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Leadership in Urban Schools, both from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Jamise Harper

Jamise Harper along with Jane Mount is the co-author of Bibliophile Diverse Spines which publishes Fall 2021. Bibliophile Diverse Spines is a book-lover's guide to BIPOC authors and marginalized stories that will help readers diversify their reading lists and discover new voices.
Spines & Vines is a love affair with books and wine founded by Jamise, who is also an avid reader & wine enthusiast. Members of the Spines & Vines community experience book and wine pairings to broaden their reading life and please the palate. Jamise’s passion for reading diversely led her to create the #diversespines hashtag and book community on social media to highlight literature by Black Women and Women of Color. She is a champion for amplifying marginalized voices and Diverse Spines has become a valuable literary resource.
Jamise hosts #LiteraryWineDown, a book + wine Instagram Live series featuring debut and best-selling authors. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and lives in the Washington DC metro area.

Jemar Tisby

Jemar Tisby is the bestselling author of The Color of Compromise and How to Fight Racism. He is the founder of The Witness Inc. and co-host of the Pass The Mic podcast. Tisby speaks nationally about history, religion, and antiracism.
Before the Center, Jemar Tisby joined Teach For America and was assigned to the Mississippi Delta Corps where he taught sixth grade at a public charter school and later went on to be the principal. He received his MDiv from Reformed Theological Seminary and is presently working toward his PhD in History at the University of Mississippi studying race, religion, and social movements in the twentieth century.

Jeneé Osterheldt

Jeneé Osterheldt is a Boston Globe associate editor and columnist who covers identity and social justice through the lens of culture and the arts. As creator of the multimedia series "A Beautiful Resistance," she celebrates Black Joy and honors Black lives and the lives of people of color.
Osterheldt believes in the power of story, of bearing witness, of illuminating the truth. She uses her platform to cover the expansiveness of Black culture. Sometimes this means writing about Kamala Harris and Black womanhood or unpacking the importance of public art and representation. Sometimes this means examining the toxic and haunting effects of systemic supremacy. It always means Black lives matter.
She recently won the News Leaders Association award in opinion writing. She joined the Globe in 2018. A native of Alexandria, Va. and a graduate of Norfolk State University, Osterheldt was a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard. Her studies focused on the intersection of art and justice. She previously worked as a Kansas City Star culture columnist.

Karida Brown

Karida L. Brown is an oral historian, a sociologist, and an educator. She currently serves on the boards of The Obama Presidency Oral History Project and the Du Boisian Scholar Network and is the Director of Racial Equity & Action for the 2020 NBA Championship team, the Los Angeles Lakers. Brown is a Fulbright Scholar, and her work has supported by national foundations such as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Hellman Fellows Fund. She is recognized for her work writing back into history the lives, stories, and experiences of Black people around the world. Dr. Brown is the author of two books, Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia (UNC Press, 2018) and The Sociology of W.E.B. Du Bois: Racialized Modernity and the Global Color Line (co-authored with José Itzigsohn, NYU Press, 2020). In addition, her research is published in various peer-reviewed academic journals such as the American Journal of Cultural Sociology, Southern Cultures, and the Du Bois Review. She is currently working on her third book, Separate and Unequal, which unearths a global history of racially segregated education systems and its enduring legacies on racial inequity in education in our present day.
Dr. Brown is a Professor at UCLA in the Departments of Sociology and African American Studies. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from Brown University in 2016, and a M.P.A. in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011.

Kellie Carter Jackson

Kellie Carter Jackson is the Knafel Assistant Professor of the Humanities in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. She is author of the award-winning Force & Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence. Her book was listed among 13 books to read on African American History by the Washington Post. Carter Jackson is also co-editor of Reconsidering Roots: Race, Politics, & Memory. She is the co-host of the podcast “This Day in Esoteric Political History.” You can follow her on Twitter @kcarterjackson.

Kwani Lunis

Kwani A. Lunis is a social media producer at NBC10 Boston and New England Cable News (NECN). She currently hosts "10 Questions with NBC10 Boston," a digital video and podcast series, and is the co-host of “The A-List Podcast" on the CLNS Media Network. After graduating from Boston College, she apprenticed at WBZ-TV and then worked at NBC Sports Boston for four years.
Kwani is of Haitian descent and is originally from Orange, NJ.

Kyle Mays

Kyle T. Mays is an Afro-Indigenous (Saginaw Chippewa) scholar of African American Studies, American Indian Studies, and History at UCLA. He is the author of Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America (SUNY Press, 2018) and An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States (Beacon Press, November 2021).

Lauren N. Williams

Lauren N. Williams is an American journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. She is a senior editor at The Atlantic covering culture.

Liz Walker

Liz Walker is Pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church in the heart of Boston where she leads the Cory Johnson Program for Post Traumatic Healing (CJP). Named after a promising young church member who was murdered in 2010, CJP is a faith-inspired, clinically supported, community based program that addresses the epidemic of Post-Traumatic Stress in a neighborhood too often overrun by violence. CJP offers weekly community gatherings where residents are encouraged to share painful often unspeakable experiences, increase their understanding of psychological trauma and learn coping skills. The program also offers access to mental health support that some residents might not otherwise receive. Since its inception in 2014, CJP has served more than 7,000 people and is in the process of replicating its ‘Can We Talk’ community conversations in 8 different locations around the country.
Reverend Walker has taken a lead role in vaccine education for communities disproportionately impacted by COVID 19, serving on Governor Baker’s Advisory group for COVID vaccine distribution.
A 2005 graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Reverend Walker has long been actively involved in healing the world. She helped found the Jane Doe Safety Fund, a multi-million dollar statewide anti-violence initiative that works on policy and supports domestic abuse shelters and safe houses around the Commonwealth. She spent 11 years as a humanitarian working in South Sudan, one of Africa’s most troubled countries. Reverend Walker became a minister after a television career spanning 21 years as the city’s first African American News Anchor on WBZ TV.
Reverend Walker is a member of the Core Strategy Team of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and serves on the Board of Trustees for Boston Medical Center. She has served on the Board of Trustees for Andover Newton Theological Seminary, the Tufts Health Foundation and Board of Overseers for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Reverend Walker has been awarded honorary degrees from numerous institutions including University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, Boston College, Simmons College, Salem State University and Bridgewater State University. She is the mother of three and grandmother of two.

Lynae Bogues

Lynae Bogues, also known as, @_lyneezy is a multifaceted, bombshell of pure talent. Hailing from Atlanta, GA, with a BA in Psychology from Spelman College and a Masters in African American Studies from Boston University, she uses her platform to speak on everything from race to feminism, politics, and inclusivity. She has built her brand on "keeping it black but keeping it brief" with short episodes of her viral Instagram Series "Parking Lot Pimpin". And while you may know her from IGTV's most impactful and influential cretors, Lynae also produces, directs and stars in concept films, has gone viral on TikTok, and is a performing spoken word artist. Amassing near 250k followers on IG and TikTok in the past year, Lynae has now gained over 7 million views across platforms for her content.

Manuel J. Fernandez

Manuel J. Fernandez is the current and founding Head of School of the Cambridge Street Upper School in Cambridge, MA. He is also the founder and president of the ManDez Group. Since 1999, ManDez has provided school districts, municipalities, workplace institutions, and community groups with transformative strategies and facilitation to decenter equity and promote anti-racist practices in the workplace and public spaces. Fernandez has worked for over thirty years in public education as a high school principal, middle school principal, elementary school assistant principal, counselor, and humanities teacher. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth, Northeastern University, Wheelock College, and Teachers 21. His work has been featured in many publications and he has received numerous recognitions and awards for social justice and anti-racist advocacy. In February 2020, he facilitated the Massachusetts Partnership for Diversity in Education statewide Building Bridges Conference. In April 2020, he was appointed to the Nellie Mae Education Foundation Community Advisory Board. On July 1, 2021, Fernandez will assume the role of interim Chief Equity Officer for Cambridge Public Schools in Cambridge, MA.

Megan Ming Francis

Megan Ming Francis is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Political Science and Law, Societies, and Justice at the University of Washington. During the 2020-21 academic year, she is also a Senior Democracy Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and a Racial Justice Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Harvard Kennedy School. Formerly, she was a research fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute at the NAACP-LDF. Francis specializes in the study of American politics, with broad interests in constitutional law, Black political activism, critical philanthropy, and the post-civil war South. She is the author of the award winning book, Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State. And recently led her students in the development of a widely listened to podcast ‘Philanthropy and Social Movements.’
Her research and commentary have been featured on ABC, MSNBC, NPR, The New York Times, LA Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the Seattle Times, and she has conducted a TED talk with over two million views.
Francis is a proud alumnus of Seattle Public Schools, Rice University in Houston, and Princeton University where she received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics.

Monica Wang

Dr. Wang is the Associate Director of Narrative at the BU Center for Antiracist Research, an Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health, and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her work focuses on addressing racial/ethnic and social inequities in obesity and chronic diseases through community-engaged research and building cross-sector collaborations to promote health and health equity through public health interventions and policies. She has generated over $4 million in federal and foundation funding for her program of research and published over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters and over a dozen public health policy and public engagement documents. She has received numerous awards for her research, teaching, and service, including the Society of Behavioral Medicine Early Investigator Award and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Award. At the national level, she serves on the Civic and Public Engagement Committee of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Nicole Hemmer

Nicole Hemmer is an associate research scholar with the Obama Presidency Oral History Project at Columbia University and author of Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics. She cohosts the podcasts Past Present and This Day in Esoteric Political History and writes a weekly column for CNN.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is an award-winning writer, author and co-founder and Senior Editor of the award-winning website, (a vertical of, cited as "the blackest place on the internet" by the Washington Post. He graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in economics and holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland-College Park and really enjoys getting to be Black as a living.

Phillip W.d. Martin

Phillip Martin is senior investigative reporter for WGBH News Center for Investigative Reporting. He is a multi-award winning journalist. Honors include 2020 National Gabriel and Public Media Journalism awards, 2019 National Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting, the National Society of Professional Journalists 2017 Sigma Delta Chi award for Investigative Reporting and the 2014 National Edward R. Murrow Award/ for Investigative Reporting. He is also the recipient of the <2013 New York Festivals Gold Award and the 2013 United Nations UNDPI Gold Award. He was part of a team of reporters that was honored in 2002 with a George Foster Peabody Award to NPR for coverage of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
Phillip was a 1998 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and most recently a Pulitzer-Center grantee (2018). Phillip earned a master's degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Phillipe Copeland

Phillipe Copeland, PhD, LICSW is a clinical assistant professor at BU School of Social Work. His teaching, scholarship, and service focus on the intersections of social justice, democracy, and social welfare with the goal of achieving a world without racism. His interests include the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM), decarceration, health justice, and the abolitionist movement. Dr. Copeland’s experience in antiracist activism, training, and education spans two decades.
He currently serves as coleader of the Promote Smart Decarceration (PSD) Grand Challenge as part of the Grand Challenges for Social Work, an initiative of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.
Dr. Copeland is a former advisory committee member for the Racial Reconciliation and Healing Project at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center and recently ended a two-year term as a member of the first-ever Racial Justice Council of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-MA). Copeland has been selected to serve a two-year term as a member of the BU Initiative on Cities’ Faculty Advisory Board.

Raul Fernandez

Dr. Raul Fernandez is a Lecturer at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development where he studies, writes, and teaches about inequities in education. He was the first in his family to earn a college degree and now serves as an elected member of the Select Board in Brookline, Massachusetts – the first Latinx person ever elected to that position. He is also an appointee to the Racial Imbalance Advisory Council of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and was recently named a Public Impact Scholar by the Initiative on Cities. In the last few years alone, Dr. Fernandez researched and wrote a piece that helped topple a monument to white supremacy, created a film and conversation series that engaged thousands of people in challenging dialogues on social justice issues, and trained thousands more in developing equitable practices at institutions throughout the country and beyond. He also led the successful effort to create a Racial Equity Advancement Fund in Brookline and is currently leading a task force focused on reimagining public safety.

Sherrod Blakely

Sherrod Blakely is an NBA Front Office Insider for Bleacher Report, Lecturer in Boston University’s College of Communication and the creator and co-host of the A-List Podcast. He spent 11 years as the Boston Celtics Insider for NBC Sports Boston and was the winner of’s A-List Celtics Reporter of the Year award in 2011. Blakely previously covered the Detroit Pistons for the award-winning website, and earlier was a beat writer focused on ACC football and men’s basketball for the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer.
Blakely taught journalism to high school students shortly after graduating from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications and continues to do his part in helping develop the next wave of journalists as the two-term chair of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Sports Task Force which awards scholarships and internships while also being an advocate for increased newsroom diversity. In addition, he is a member of the APSE Scholarship Committee and the SMASH Advisory Council.

Saher Selod

Saher Selod is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Simmons University in Boston and the author of Forever Suspect: Racialized Surveillance of Muslim Americans in the War on Terror published on Rutgers University Press.

Saida Grundy

Saida Grundy is a feminist sociologist of race & ethnicity studies and the author of "Manhood Within the Margins: Promise, Peril and Paradox at the Historically Black College for Men" (forthcoming with University of California Press). She began her appointment as the Assistant Professor of Sociology & African American Studies at Boston University in 2015 where she holds an additional courtesy appointment in Women's & Gender Studies. In November 2020 she was additionally named Assistant Director of Narrative at the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Her research to date has focused upon formations and ideologies of gender within Black elites--specifically men. Using ethnographic approaches and in-depth interviews, her current work examines graduates of Morehouse College, the nation's only historically Black college for men. Quite simply, this work asks how, in light of an ongoing national reality and discourse about young Black men in crisis, the men of Morehouse experience gender and masculinity at an institution that attempts to groom them as solutions to this crisis. Her most recent publication on racialized rape culture and campus sexual assault (based on this data) is forthcoming in Social Problems.
Prof. Grundy's research interests span Race & Ethnicity; Gender & Sexuality; Men & Masculinities; Intersectionality; Campus Sexual Assault; Qualitative Methodology; Feminist Theory; and Sociology of Culture. She received her Ph.D. (2014) in the Joint Program in Sociology & Women's Studies at the University of Michigan, where she was a Horace H. Rackham Fellow and Mellon Mays Predoctoral Fellow. In July 2018 she was named Junior Faculty Fellow of the Boston University Center for the Humanities and a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Career Enhancement Fellow. When she has something to say, she contributes to The Atlantic.

Sara Rimer

Sara Rimer is a senior contributing editor for Boston University’s news site, BU Today, and alumni magazine, Bostonia. A journalist for more than three decades, she worked at the Miami Herald, The Washington Post and, for 26 years, The New York Times, where she was the Boston bureau chief, and a national reporter covering education, aging, immigration, and other social justice issues. Her stories on the death penalty’s inequities were nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and cited in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision outlawing executions of people with intellectual disabilities. Her journalism honors include Columbia University’s Meyer Berger award for in-depth human interest reporting. She holds a BA degree in American Studies from the University of Michigan.

Sarah Coquillat

Sarah Coquillat is a lifelong reader. Born in Côte d'Ivoire, she immigrated to the United States as a child. Sarah is passionate about social justice and promoting equity. She is a researcher by day, and when not reading can be found hiking or trying new recipes from her many cookbooks. Sarah is also the voice behind @bookishandblack. Started as an Instagram, Bookish and Black is a community for those who love to read and connect with fellow readers.

Sheena Collier

Sheena Collier is a super-connector, convener, and planner with over 15 years of experience in community organizing, partnership building, strategic event planning, and program development. As Founder and CEO of The Collier Connection (TCC), she designs innovative diversity, equity, & inclusion initiatives and events to help companies engage employees, customers, & suppliers of color.
In 2020, Sheena founded Boston While Black (BWB), the first membership network for Boston-based Black professionals, entrepreneurs, and students who are seeking connection and community. Through programs, events, and a digital community, BWB connects Black people who are active in their local neighborhoods, working at the most innovative companies, building the businesses of the future, attending the area’s universities, and shaping the culture of the region. Boston While Black is creating a city where Black people want to live and work because they have the spaces, tools, and relationships to find their tribe, grow their network, navigate the city, and have fun.
Sheena's previous roles include Director of Economic Opportunity at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Boston Promise Initiative Director at Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, and Senior Associate at Collaborative Communications Group. She is a 2020 recipient of the Harvard Club Boston's Most Influential Women award; 2020 recipient of YW Boston's Academy of Women Achievers Sylvia Ferrell-Jones Award; 2018 recipient of the GK25 - Who is Who Millennial Leaders of Color Awards; 2017 and 2018 nominee of the Ad Club’s Rosoff Awards; and a 2016 recipient of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s Ten Outstanding Young Leaders Award.
Sheena received her BA from Spelman College and her Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a proud board member of Jeremiah Program Boston, Union Capital Boston, and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, advisory board member of Boston Harbor Now, an investor in the Boston Ujima Fund, and member of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA).

Takeo Rivera

Dr. Takeo Rivera is Assistant Professor in English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Boston University, with affiliations with African American Studies and the Center for Antiracist Research. His work focuses on Asian American panethnic racialization and cultural politics, theater and performance studies, new media, and gender and sexuality, all of which converge in his upcoming book Model Minority Masochism, under contract with Oxford University Press. He is also an award-winning playwright whose work has been staged in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Traci Thomas

Traci Thomas is the creator and host of "The Stacks," a podcast about books and reading. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and twin sons.


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