2020 Summit for Civil Rights Speakers

Photo of Keith Ellison

Attorney General Keith Ellison

Attorney General of Minnesota

Keith Ellison is the Attorney General of Minnesota. Ellison was elected to the office on November 6, 2018.  Congressman Keith Ellison represents Minnesota's 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to his election as attorney general, Ellison served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Minnesota's 5th Congressional District from 2007 to 2019. Ellison served as one of the chief deputy whips of the Democratic caucus for the 113th Congress. Ellison also served as deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

As a member of congress Ellison was a member of the House Financial Services Committee. He also served on the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee. In the past he served on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Rep. Ellison was elected co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for the 113th Congress.
He was also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, founded the Congressional Consumer Justice Caucus, and belonged to more than a dozen other caucuses that focus on issues ranging from social inclusion to environmental protection. Before being elected to Congress Rep. Ellison was a noted community activist and ran a thriving civil rights, employment, and criminal defense law practice in Minneapolis. He also was elected to serve two terms in the Minnesota State House of Representatives.

Congressman James E. Clyburn

Majority Whip, United States House of Representatives

James E. (Jim) Clyburn, representing South Carolina's 6th congressional district since 1993, is the House Majority Whip and the third-ranking leader in the United States House of Representatives.

Congressman Clyburn began his professional career as a public school teacher in Charleston, South Carolina. Before being elected to Congress he directed two community development programs, served on the staff of a South Carolina Governor, and ran a state agency under four South Carolina Governors – two Democrats and two Republicans. His memoir, Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black, was published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2015. It has been described ‎as a primer that should be read by every student interested in pursuing a career in public service.

His humble beginnings in Sumter, South Carolina as the eldest son of an activist, fundamentalist minister and an independent, civic minded beautician grounded Congressman Clyburn securely in family, faith and public service. He was elected president of his NAACP youth chapter at 12 years old, he helped organize many civil rights marches and demonstrations as a student leader at South Carolina State College, and he even met his wife Emily in jail following a student demonstration.

Congressman Clyburn played an outsized role in changing the nation’s political landscape in the 2018-midterm elections by engaging and energizing voters in districts all over America. Thanks to Congressman Clyburn, the 116 Congress looks more like America than at any time in our nation's history.

Congressman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott

United States House of Representatives

Robert C. "Bobby" Scott has represented Virginia’s third congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993. Prior to his service in Congress, he served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1978 to 1983 and in the Senate of Virginia from 1983 to 1993.

During his tenure in the Virginia General Assembly, Congressman Scott successfully sponsored laws critical to Virginians in education, employment, health care, social services, economic development, crime prevention and consumer protection. His legislative successes in the state legislature included laws that increased Virginia’s minimum wage, created the Governor’s Employment and Training Council and improved health care benefits for women, infants and children.

Congressman Scott has the distinction of being the first African-American elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Virginia since Reconstruction and only the second African-American elected to Congress in Virginia’s history. Having a maternal grandfather of Filipino ancestry also gives him the distinction of being the first American with Filipino ancestry to serve as a voting member of Congress.

Congressman Scott currently serves as the Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor. In this capacity, he is advancing an agenda that improves equity in education, frees students from the burdens of crippling debt, protects and expands access to affordable health care, ensures workers have a safe workplace where they can earn a living wage free from discrimination, and guarantees seniors have a secure and dignified retirement.

From 2015-2018, he served as the ranking member of what was then called the Committee on Education and the Workforce and developed a strong record of working across the aisle to pass critical legislation. In 2015, he was one of the four primary authors of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for the first time in 13 years and replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. Additionally, in 2017, he worked to secure passage of legislation to reform and update our nation’s career and technical education system, as well as the juvenile justice system in 2018, which were both signed into law by President Donald Trump. The latter legislation, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act, contained core tenets of Congressman Scott’s Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education (Youth PROMISE) Act, which he had introduced in every Congress since 2007.

As a part of his effort to provide universal health care for all, prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Congressman Scott sponsored the All Healthy Children Act, which sought to ensure that millions of uninsured children in the United States have access to a comprehensive set of health care services.

Congressman Scott also serves on the Committee on the Budget where he is a leading voice on fiscal policy and reducing the deficit. He was an ardent opponent of the 2001 and 2003 Bush-era tax cuts that were skewed towards the wealthiest Americans and contributed trillions to the national debt. He opposed the 2008 taxpayer-funded bailout of Wall Street, the 2013 Fiscal Cliff deal that permanently extended most of the Bush-era tax cuts, and President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Congressman Scott is also a recognized champion of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and he has fought to protect the rights and civil liberties of all Americans. In 1997, he protected the right of all children with disabilities to obtain a free and appropriate education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by leading a successful effort to defeat amendments aimed at curtailing that right for some children. Congressman Scott also actively opposed passage of the USA PATRIOT Act and has been a leading critic of both Republican and Democratic Administrations' misuse of surveillance authorities. He is also a leading opponent in Congress of efforts to permit employment discrimination in federally funded programs.

As the former Chairman and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security on the Committee on the Judiciary, Congressman Scott is also a leading advocate for reforming our nation’s broken criminal justice system. Congressman Scott sponsored the Death in Custody Reporting Act, which was originally signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and its subsequent reauthorization was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014. The law requires state and local law enforcement agencies to report to the U.S. Department of Justice how many individuals die each year while in the custody of law enforcement or during the course of an arrest. In 2010, Congressman Scott successfully led efforts in the House to pass the Fair Sentencing Act, one of the first successful reductions in a mandatory minimum sentence in decades. The law reduced the unfair sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.

In 2015, Congressman Scott and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) co-authored the Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Effective (SAFE) Justice Act, which has been recognized as one of the most comprehensive criminal justice reform bills in a generation and attracted significant support from across the political spectrum. Several provisions of the SAFE Justice Act, including retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 and a fix to how “good time” credits for prisoners are calculated, were included in the First Step Act, a sentencing and prison reform bill signed into law by President Trump in December 2018.

Congressman Scott is also a strong supporter of our nation's military readiness as well as our troops and their safety. In 2007, he introduced the House version of Senator Jim Webb’s Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008 and has been cited as the largest expansion of veteran education benefits since World War II. As a member of the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus, Congressman Scott is a leading advocate for shipbuilding, our shipbuilders, and our men and women in uniform.

In 2010, The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, recognized Congressman Scott as one of the 25 hardest working Members of Congress. The Hill later recognized him in 2012 as one of Capitol Hill's 50 most beautiful people.

Congressman Scott was born on April 30, 1947 in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Newport News, Virginia. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Boston College Law School. After graduating from law school, he returned home to Newport News and practiced law from 1973 to 1991. As a young attorney, he founded the Peninsula Legal Aid Center to assist those who could not afford legal representation. He received an honorable discharge for his service in the Massachusetts National Guard and the United States Army Reserve.

Congressman Scott is a member of St. Augustine's Episcopal Church in Newport News and is a member of many professional, community, and civic boards and organizations.

Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge

United States House of Representatives

Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge is a committed public servant who brings a hard-working, problem-solving spirit to Congress and to the task of creating jobs, protecting safety net programs, and improving access to quality public education, health care and healthy foods. First elected in 2008, she represents the people of the 11th Congressional District of Ohio.

Congresswoman Fudge serves on the Committee on House Administration, House Committee on Agriculture and House Committee on Education and Labor. She is the Chair of the Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Elections and Chair of the Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight and Department Operations. She serves on the Subcommittees on Conservation and Forestry (Agriculture), Civil Rights and Human Services (Education & Labor) and Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (Education & Labor).

In the 115th Congress, the Congresswoman served on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittees on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education and on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions. She also served as Ranking Member on the House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry and a member on the Subcommittee on Nutrition. She is a member of several Congressional Caucuses and past Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Congresswoman Fudge consistently fights for voter protection, equitable access to a quality education from preschool through post-secondary programs, child nutrition, food stamp (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients, access to locally grown, healthy foods, fair labor practices, and civil and human rights, among other issues. Additionally, she remains a steadfast advocate to strengthen and preserve Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Congresswoman Fudge has served the people of Ohio for more than three decades, beginning with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. She was later elected as the first African American and first female mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, where she led the city in shoring up a sagging retail base and providing new residential construction.

Congresswoman Fudge earned her bachelor’s degree in business from The Ohio State University and law degree from the Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall School of Law. She is a Past National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a member of its Greater Cleveland Alumnae Chapter.

Congresswoman Fudge’s work ethic, problem-solving approach, and ability to build collaborative relationships have earned her a reputation among her colleagues in Washington and at home as an insightful leader and knowledgeable legislator. As a dedicated public servant, she begins each morning with a firm promise “to do the people’s work.” It is this simple philosophy that defines Congresswoman Fudge as a Member of substance and character who always keeps her promise.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore

United States House of Representatives

Congresswoman Gwen Moore was elected to represent Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District in 2004, making her the first African American elected to Congress from the State of Wisconsin. She is a member of the esteemed House Ways and Means Committee, which is the oldest committee in the United States Congress and has jurisdiction over the Social Security system, Medicare, the Foster Care System, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Unemployment Insurance, and all taxation, tariffs, and revenue-raising measures. She serves on the Oversight, Select Revenue Measures, and Worker and Family Support Subcommittees.

On the Oversight Subcommittee, Congresswoman Moore works to guarantee that the laws within the jurisdiction of the Committee are being implemented and carried out efficiently and in accordance with Congressional intent. She is also a member of the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee, working to create a more fair and progressive tax code that provides Americans greater opportunity and financial security. And she oversees a range of critical supports for workers, children, and families as a member of the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee.

She is an active member on the Congressional Progressive Caucus, LGBT Equality Caucus, the Great Lakes Caucus, and the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. She was also a former member of the Financial Services and Budget Committees and the former Regional Whip for the Democratic Caucus.

A strong advocate for measures that focus on improving the economic and employment conditions in low-income communities, she has fought to curb predatory lending in minority neighborhoods, led efforts to help small businesses grow and advance the creation of new jobs, pushed for affordable housing, and advocated for compliance with respect to the non-discriminatory hiring of minority-owned businesses for government contracts. She has been outspoken on behalf of low-wage workers, and in 2014, peacefully demonstrated for a living wage with fast food workers, leading to her arrest.

A champion for women, Congresswoman Moore served as the Democratic Co-Chair of the Congressional Women’s Caucus from 2011 to 2013. In this capacity and through her subsequent work, she has become a leader on issues like health insurance reform, women's health, maternal and infant mortality, and domestic violence – leading the charge to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act over the past two Congresses. She has also been an outspoken opponent of efforts to limit women’s reproductive freedom and care.

The Congresswoman has made it her mission to give voice to the voiceless, both domestically and abroad. As a member on the House Democracy Partnership, a commission of the U.S. House of Representatives, she collaborates with international partners and serves as a global presence to advocate for and implement the development of responsible democracies. In January of 2015, she received global recognition for assembling members of Congress to raise pencils in honor of free speech and the victims of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

She has been an ardent supporter of initiatives that put low-income students on the path to educational success. The Congresswoman has consistently supported legislation to ensure low-income students have school access to three nutritious meals a day, year-round, as good nutrition has been proven to improve children’s attendance and attentiveness. Congresswoman Moore is an alumnus and strong advocate for the Federal TRIO programs, which are designed to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and help them get to college. TRIO includes six outreach and support programs targeted to serve and assist low-income, first generation college students – and students with disabilities – to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post baccalaureate programs.

Born in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1951, Congresswoman Moore was raised in Milwaukee. The eighth of nine children, Congresswoman Moore’s father was a union factory worker and her mother was a public school teacher. Congresswoman Moore attended North Division High School in Milwaukee, where she served as Student Council President. After graduation, she started college at Marquette University as a single, expectant mother on welfare who could only complete her education with the help of TRIO. Congresswoman Moore earned a B.A. in Political Science from Marquette, and went on to serve as a community leader spearheading the start-up of a community credit union as a VISTA volunteer for which she earned the national “VISTA Volunteer of the Decade” award from 1976-1986. She was also a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate before serving in Congress.

She served in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1993-2004. Prior to her election to the Senate, Congresswoman Moore served two consecutive terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1989-1992. In 2000, Congresswoman Moore earned a Harvard University Certificate for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. As a state legislator, Congresswoman Moore was a champion for progressive and social issues and has continued to stand up as a voice for each and every constituent and region across the city. She applied her career expertise to help create jobs and build communities. She made a positive impact in critical issues related to welfare, education, and criminal justice. A tireless advocate for women's rights and civil rights, Congresswoman Moore led the fight against racial profiling, domestic abuse, and voting rights violations.

She is the mother of Jesselynne, Ade, and Sowande “Supreme” and is a proud great-grandmother.

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman

United States House of Representatives

Bonnie Watson Coleman, a long-time public servant and advocate for New Jersey families, was elected in 2018 to her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. The first African American woman to represent New Jersey in Congress, Watson Coleman is passionate about the issues affecting working families of all backgrounds, including criminal justice reform, building an economy that works for all families rather than a wealthy few, and rebuilding infrastructure to improve this country and support job creation. She focuses on these priorities and other critical issues as a member of the House Committees on Appropriations and Homeland Security

The daughter of legendary state legislator John S. Watson, Watson Coleman has continued a family legacy of public service, fighting for women, economically and socially disadvantaged populations, ad other vulnerable groups in our society. Prior to her election a Representative for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, Watson Coleman served eight consecutive terms in the New Jersey General Assembly and shattered racial and gender barriers to become the first Black woman to serve as Majority Leader, and as the Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. During her time as Majority Leader, Watson Coleman convened a year-long series of public hearings on reforms to prisoner re-entry programs while shepherding legislation through the Assembly that the New York Times called “a model for the rest of the nation,” on prisoner rehabilitation and release.

In 2016, Watson Coleman founded the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls alongside two of her colleagues, the first caucus aimed at bringing both the tremendous challenges and incredible successes of Black women to the fore in Congress’s policy debates. Watson Coleman is an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Watson Coleman is a graduate of Thomas Edison State College, and has received honorary doctorate degrees from the College of New Jersey, Rider University, and Stockton University. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and co-chair of the Girl Scouts of America Capitol Hill Honorary Troop. She resides with her husband, William, in Ewing Township. The two are blessed to have three sons: William, Troy and Jared; and three grandchildren: William, Ashanee and Kamryn.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University

She is author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, which 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, which won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBQT nonfiction in 2018.

Her third book, Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, published in 2019 by the University of North Carolina Press, has been longlisted for a National Book Award for nonfiction. This new book looks at the federal government's promotion of single-family homeownership in Black communities after the urban rebellions of the 1960s. Taylor develops the concept of "predatory inclusion" to examine the federal government's turn to market-based solutions in its low-income housing programs in the 1970s impacted Black neighborhoods, Black women on welfare, and emergent discourses on the urban “underclass”. Taylor is interested in the role of private sector forces, typically hidden in public policy making and execution, in the “urban crisis” of the 1970s.

Taylor’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Review, Paris Review, Guardian, The Nation, Jacobin, and Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, among others.

Taylor is a widely sought public speaker and writer. In 2016, she was named one of the hundred most influential African Americans in the United States by The Root. She has been appointed as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians by the Organization of American Historians, and as the Charles H. McIlwain University Preceptor at Princeton University from 2018-2021.

Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D.

President emerita of Spelman College

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College, is the author of the best-selling book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race, now in its 20th anniversary edition.

A thought-leader in higher education, she was the 2013 recipient of the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award and the 2014 recipient of the American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology. Dr. Tatum holds a B.A. degree in psychology from Wesleyan University, a M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from University of Michigan, and a M.A. in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary.


Derrick Johnson

President and CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Mr. Johnson formerly served as vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors as well as state president for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP.

Born in Detroit, Mr. Johnson is a veteran activist who has dedicated his career to defending the rights and improving the lives of poor and working people. As State President of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, he led critical campaigns for voting rights and equitable education. He successfully managed two bond referendum campaigns in Jackson, MS that brought $150 million in school building improvements and $65 million towards the construction of a new convention center, respectively. As a regional organizer at the Jackson-based non-profit, Southern Echo, Inc., Mr. Johnson provided legal, technical, and training support for communities across the South.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Johnson founded One Voice Inc. to improve the quality of life for African Americans through civic engagement training and initiatives. One Voice has spawned an annual Black Leadership Summit and the Mississippi Black Leadership Institute, a nine month training program for community leaders.


Dr. Rajiv J. Shah

President of the Rockefeller Foundation

Dr. Shah serves as President of the Rockefeller Foundation, a global institution with a mission to promote the well-being of humanity around the world.  The Foundation applies data, science, and innovation to improve health for women and children, create nutritious and sustainable food systems, end energy poverty for more than a billion people worldwide, and enable meaningful economic mobility in the United States and around the world.

In 2009, he was appointed USAID Administrator by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  Dr. Shah reshaped the $20 billion agency’s operations in more than 70 countries around the world by elevating the role of innovation, creating high impact public-private partnerships, and focusing US investments to deliver stronger results.  Shah secured bipartisan support that included the passage of two significant laws – the Global Food Security Act and the Electrify Africa Act.  He led the U.S. response to the Haiti earthquake and the West African Ebola pandemic, served on the National Security Council, and elevated the role of development as part of our nation’s foreign policy. Prior to his appointment at USAID, Shah served as Chief Scientist and Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics at the United States Department of Agriculture where he created the National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

Shah founded Latitude Capital, a private equity firm focused on power and infrastructure projects in Africa and Asia and served as a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at Georgetown University.  Previously, he served at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he created the International Financing Facility for Immunization which helped reshape the global vaccine industry and save millions of lives.

Raised outside of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Shah is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the Wharton School of Business.  He has received several honorary degrees, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, and the U.S. Global Leadership Award.  He is married to Shivam Mallick Shah and they have three children.

Na’ilah Suad Nasir

President of the Spencer Foundation

Na’ilah Suad Nasir is the sixth President of the Spencer Foundation, which invests in education research that cultivates learning and transforms lives. From 2008-2019, she held a faculty appointment at the University of California, Berkeley, where she also served as Vice-Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion. Nasir earned her PhD in Education Psychology at UCLA and was a member of the faculty in the School of Education at Stanford University. Her work focuses on issues of race, culture, learning, and identity. She is the author of Racialized Identities: Race and Achievement for African-American Youth and has published numerous scholarly articles. Nasir is a member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). 

Darren Walker

President, the Ford Foundation

Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, a $13 billion international social justice philanthropy. He is a member of Governor Cuomo’s Reimagining New York Commission and co-chair of NYC Census 2020. He chaired the philanthropy committee that brought a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy.

Before joining Ford, Darren was vice president at Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs. In the 1990s, he was COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Harlem’s largest community development organization.

Darren co-chairs New York City’s Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and has served on the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform and the UN International Labour Organization Global Commission on the Future of Work. He co-founded both the US Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. He serves on many boards, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gallery of Art, Carnegie Hall, the High Line, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. In the summer of 2020, he was appointed to the boards of Square and Ralph Lauren. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the recipient of 16 honorary degrees and university awards, including Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal.

Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren was a member of the first Head Start class in 1965 and received BA, BS, and JD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been included on numerous leadership lists: Time’s annual 100 Most Influential People, Rolling Stone’s 25 People Shaping the Future, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Ebony's Power 100, and Out magazine’s Power 50.

Richard L. Trumka

President of the AFL-CIO

Richard L. Trumka is president of the 12.5-million-member AFL-CIO. An outspoken advocate for social and economic justice, Trumka is the nation’s clearest voice on the critical need to ensure that all workers have a good job and the power to determine their wages and working conditions. He heads the labor movement’s efforts to create an economy based on broadly shared prosperity and to hold elected officials and employers accountable to working families.

In 1982, at age 33, Trumka ran on a reform ticket and was elected the youngest president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).

There, in addition to reforming the UMWA’s fractious bureaucracy, he led one of the most successful strikes in recent American history against the Pittston Coal Company, which tried to avoid paying into an industry-wide health and pension fund.

Trumka was elected AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer in 1995, and held that post until 2009, when he was elected president.

Trumka’s economic advocacy extends from the kitchen table and spans the globe. He has rallied international labor support for workers struggling for justice, and he has fought to end unfair trade practices and restore U.S. manufacturing strength. As secretary-treasurer, he carved out an innovative leadership role that continues today, working with programs that invest the collectively bargained pension and benefit funds of the labor movement to ensure they serve the long-term interests of workers.

Trumka’s commitment to improving life for working people began early. He grew up in the small coal-mining town of Nemacolin, Penn. Nearly all the men in his family, including his father and grandfather, were coal miners. Trumka followed them into the mines, working there as he attended Penn State and Villanova University law school.

Solidarity and his determination to improve life for all working families have driven Trumka’s life as a labor leader. Comprehensive immigration reform is a central part of that goal. Trumka’s work on behalf of immigrants is just one signal of his deep commitment to securing economic and social justice for all working people.

As Trumka looks forward, he envisions an economy of shared prosperity for all working families—an economy of rising wages, equal pay, respect at work, safe jobs, secure retirement, and the freedom for all workers to form or join unions and bargain collectively. He knows what it will take to get there: solidarity and commitment.

That is the truth Rich Trumka has carried from the mines of southwest Pennsylvania. With solidarity and commitment, we all have a chance to work in dignity and live well. 

Fred Blackwell

CEO of the San Francisco Foundation

Fred Blackwell is the CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country. The San Francisco Foundation works hand-in-hand with donors, community leaders, and both public and private partners to create thriving communities throughout the Bay Area. Since joining the foundation in 2014, Blackwell has led it in a renewed commitment to social justice through an equity agenda focused on racial and economic inclusion.

Blackwell, an Oakland native, is a nationally recognized community leader with a longstanding career in the Bay Area. Prior to joining the foundation, he served as interim city administrator for the city of Oakland, where he previously served as the assistant city administrator. He was the executive director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Development in San Francisco; he served as the director of the Making Connections Initiative for the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the Lower San Antonio neighborhood of Oakland; he was a Multicultural Fellow in Neighborhood and Community Development at The San Francisco Foundation; and he subsequently managed a multiyear comprehensive community initiative for the San Francisco Foundation in West Oakland.

Blackwell serves on the board of the Independent Sector, Northern California Grantmakers, the Bridgespan Group, the dean’s advisory council for UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, and the community advisory council of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. He previously served on the boards of the California Redevelopment Association, Urban Habitat Program, LeaderSpring and Leadership Excellence. He is a visiting professor in the department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley and the Co-Chair of CASA — The Committee to House the Bay Area. He holds a master’s degree in city planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College

john a. powell

Professor of Law Professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies Robert D. Haas Chancellor's Chair in Equity and Inclusion Director, Othering & Belonging Institute

john a. powell is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties and a wide range of issues including race, structural racism, ethnicity, housing, poverty, and democracy. He is the Director of the Othering & Belonging Institute (formerly Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society), which supports research to generate specific prescriptions for changes in policy and practice that address disparities related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomics in California and nationwide. In addition, to being a Professor of Law and Professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Professor powell holds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor’s Chair in Equity and Inclusion. He was recently the Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University and held the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties at the Moritz College of Law. Under his direction, the Kirwan Institute has emerged as a national leader on research and scholarship related to race, structural racism, racialized space and opportunity. He has been a leader in developing an “opportunity-based” housing model that provides a critical and creative framework for thinking about affordable housing, racialized space, and the many ways that housing influences other opportunity domains including education, health, health care, and employment.

Professor powell has written extensively on a number of issues including structural racism, racial justice and regionalism, concentrated poverty and urban sprawl, opportunity based housing, voting rights, affirmative action in the United States, South Africa and Brazil, racial and ethnic identity, spirituality and social justice, and the needs of citizens in a democratic society. He is the author of several books, including his most recent work, Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.

Previously, Professor powell founded and directed the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. He also served as Director of Legal Services in Miami, Florida and was National Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union where he was instrumental in developing educational adequacy theory.

Professor powell has worked and lived in Africa, where he was a consultant to the governments of Mozambique and South Africa. He has also lived and worked in India and done work in South America and Europe. He is one of the co-founders of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and serves on the board of several national organizations. Professor powell has taught at numerous law schools including Harvard and Columbia University.

Algernon Austin

Senior Researcher with The Thurgood Marshall Institute at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Algernon Austin is a Senior Researcher at the Thurgood Marshall Institute. He conducts social science research and writing across a range of areas relevant to civil rights, policy development, public education, and advocacy. He is also involved in building partnerships with other research organizations and individuals.

Prior to joining the Thurgood Marshall Institute, Algernon conducted economic policy research on racial wealth inequality for the Dēmos think tank. He has also been a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Global Policy Solutions, and he was the first Director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy. Prior to his shift to the “think tank world,” he served on the faculty of Wesleyan University. He has discussed racial inequality on PBS, CNN, NPR, and on other national television and radio networks.

Eric Foner

DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University

Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History, specializes in the Civil War and Reconstruction, slavery, and 19th-century America. He is one of only two persons to serve as President of the Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, and Society of American Historians. He has also been the curator of several museum exhibitions, including the prize-winning "A House Divided: America in the Age of Lincoln," at the Chicago Historical Society. His book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery won the Pulitzer, Bancroft, and Lincoln prizes for 2011. His latest book is Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.

Professor Foner's new, free, online courses on THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION will be available this academic year, beginning in mid-September, from Columbia University at ColumbiaX.

Mark Dimondstein

President, American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

Mark Dimondstein is President of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents more than 200,000 employees of the U.S. Postal Service and approximately 1,500 employees in the private-sector mailing industry. He began his first three-year term in November 2013 and was re-elected on October 5, 2016 for another term starting in November 2016. 

Since taking office, Dimondstein has transformed the APWU into a fighting, activist organization. He helped establish A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service, strengthened the unity among the four postal unions, helped forge the Campaign for Postal Banking, and led the successful fight against a privatization scheme involving the office-supply chain, Staples. In the union’s recent contract fight, he outlined a vision that emphasizes the unity between the demands of postal workers for a good contract and the demands of the American people for an expanded, vibrant, public Postal Service.

Prior to taking office as president, Dimondstein held a variety of positions in the APWU. He was elected to six consecutive terms as President of the Greater Greensboro Area Local, serving from 1986 to 1998. From 2000 to 2010, he served as National Lead Field Organizer, where he engaged in a series of ground-breaking union organizing campaigns and contract negotiations for private-sector workers in the mailing industry. In tribute to his efforts, he received the AFL-CIO Southern Organizer of the Year Award in 2001.

During his years in Greensboro, he was appointed by the City Council to serve on the Greensboro Human Relations Commission, a position he held for six years. In addition, he served as the coordinator of North Carolina Labor Against the War, co-founded the Greensboro Chapter of Jobs with Justice, and helped initiate a local coalition, Postal Customers and Workers United to Save the Public Postal Service.

Dimondstein began his postal career in 1983. He has been married to his union-activist wife, Melissa, for more than 40 years. They have three adult daughters and three grandchildren.

Throughout his many years of activism, Dimondstein has held the fervent beliefs that the union belongs to the members, the American people deserve a vibrant public Postal Service, and workers everywhere deserve dignity and respect.

Tiffani Torres

Student, Pace High School, Brooklyn and leader of Teens Take Charge

Torres lives in Brownsville, Brooklyn, and is an activist with Teens Take Charge, a student-led group that advocates for integrating the city’s public schools, which are among the most segregated in the country. Torres has spoken to Mayor de Blasio twice on public radio call-in show to challenge his education record and presented about modern-day school segregation at The Atlantic Magazine’s 2019 Education Summit in D.C., and also TED Talks' Education segment. She helped lead and organize a 400-student demonstration for school integration on steps of NYC DOE headquarters in response to their inaction, along with several other direct public actions, such as weekly school strikes, a sit-in, and public testimonies.

Torres was a part of the high school graduating class of 2020 and will be attending Georgetown University in the fall, continuing her advocacy for educational equity on campus and beyond.

Elizabeth Powell

Secretary-Treasurer, American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO

Liz joined the United States Postal Service in 1970 as a part time flexible
clerk, working at the Hempstead, NY Post Office on Long Island while at the same
time working as a Teacher's Aide for the Hempstead School District. She became
actively involved in the Hempstead Local APWU early in her postal career, serving as
Chief Shop Steward and Secretary-Treasurer. In 1979 she was elected as the first
female president of the Hempstead APWU Local, now known as the Western Nassau, NY Area Local. She
held that position until 1983 when she became one of the first two women to be elected as a full-time National
Business Agent, New York Region, Clerk Division for the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO.
Liz served the membership as a National Business Agent from 1983 until 1989, when she was elected
as the first and only female member of the APWU National Executive Board as the Regional Coordinator,
Northeast Region, representing Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York,
Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
On October 16, 2009, she was appointed by APWU President William Burrus, and approved by a vote
of the National Executive Board, in accordance with the APWU Constitution, to serve as the union’s national
Secretary-Treasurer, making her the first woman executive officer in the union’s history. In the 2010, 2013
and 2016 National Officer’s Election, she was elected to serve a three-year term as Secretary-Treasurer of
the American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO.

Sheryll Cashin

Professor of Law, Civil Rights and Social Justice at the Georgetown University Law Center

Sheryll Cashin is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Civil Rights and Social Justice at the Georgetown University Law Center. She teaches Race and American Law, and a seminar about American segregation, among other subjects.

She is working on a new book about the role of residential segregation in producing racial inequality. Her book, Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy (Beacon, 2017), explores the history and future of interracial intimacy, how white supremacy was constructed and how “culturally dexterous” allies undermine it. Her book, Place Not Race (Beacon, 2014), recommended radical reforms of selective college admissions in order to promote robust diversity; it was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Non-Fiction in 2015. Her book, The Failures of Integration (PublicAffairs, 2004) explored the persistence and consequences of race and class segregation. It was an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review. Cashin is also a three-time nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for non-fiction (2005, 2009, and 2018). She has published widely in academic journals and written commentaries for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Salon, The Root, and other media.

Cashin worked in the Clinton White House as an advisor on urban and economic policy, particularly concerning community development in inner-city neighborhoods. She is a former law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, Oxford, and Vanderbilt universities, and was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama where her parents we civil rights activists.

Julian Vasquez Heilig

Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Education

University of Kentucky College of Education Dean Julian Vasquez Heilig, Ph.D., is an award-winning leader, teacher and researcher and dynamic voice for equity in education in the U.S. and around the world.

Vasquez Heilig came to UK in 2019 from California State University, Sacramento, where he was a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership program.

Vasquez Heilig received his Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Policy Analysis and a master’s degree in Sociology from Stanford University. He also earned a master’s in Higher Education and a bachelor’s degree in History and Psychology from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.

A prolific scholar, in the last decade alone, Vasquez Heilig has been an author or co-author on nearly 50 peer-reviewed journal and/or refereed articles or law reviews as well as chapters. Topics have been diverse in range and scope, covering issues such as racial equity and teacher preparation among many others.

He has been honored with more than 30 teaching, research and service recognitions, including a Ford Foundation fellowship, the American Educational Research Journal Outstanding Reviewer award, and named as a Diversity in Education Magazine Multicultural Champion. He also served as the education chair for the California Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP.

Vasquez Heilig’s work in higher education also includes serving on the faculty and as an academic leader at the University of Texas at Austin from 2006 to 2014.

Bishop Reginald T. Jackson

Presiding Prelate-Sixth Episcopal District, AME Church

Bishop Reginald Thomas Jackson is the presiding prelate of the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church which encompasses over 500 churches in the state of Georgia. He was elected and consecrated the 132nd bishop of the A.M.E. Church in 2012 at the 49th Quadrennial Session of the General Conference held in Nashville, TN and was appointed to the Twentieth Episcopal District (Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Uganda) and as the Ecumenical and Urban Affairs Officer. He has served as the chairman of the Social Action Commission of the A.M.E. Church and is the current chairman of the Commission on Colleges, Universities and Seminaries.

A native of Dover, Delaware, he was born on April 26, 1954. After graduating from the Dover Public Schools, he enrolled and in 1976 graduated from Delaware State University in Dover, with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. In 1972 Bishop Jackson licensed to preach at MT. Zion AME Church, Dover under the pastorate of The Rev. Rudolph W. Coleman. Ordained an Itinerant Deacon in 1975 by Bishop Earnest Lawrence Hickman, he was assigned as the supply pastor of Graham AME Church, Greenwood, Delaware where he served for one year, before leaving to go to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Turner Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), Atlanta, Georgia. He was ordained an Itinerant Elder by Bishop Richard Allen Hildebrand in 1977. In 1978 while still in seminary, and assigned to serve as supply pastor, at St. John AME Church, Coleman St., Atlanta.

Upon graduating in 1979, he was appointed by Bishop Hildebrand to St. John AME Church, Jersey City, NJ where he served for two years. He was then appointed in 1981 by Bishop Hildebrand to St. Matthew AME Church, Orange, NJ. This was the beginning of a pastorate that would last 31 years. During his ministry at St. Matthew the congregation grew from about 75 to more than 2800 Disciples of Christ, engaged in ministry, mission and outreach. Included in this number were more than 300 children and youth, to whom he placed special emphasis and time.

St. Matthew accepted the motto as “the servant church of the Oranges” and instituted more than 30 ministries to meet the spiritual, emotional, educational, physical and financial needs of both church and community. The Neighborhood and Individual Development Association (NIDA), the church’s community development corporation was also founded. In addition a new church edifice was built in 1985 and because of continuous growth a second edifice was built in 2002. The doors of St. Matthew are open seven days a week and the church is a hub of activity for church and community. The church’s budget increased from $50,000 a year in 1981 to $2,000,000.00 annually.

Shortly after arriving in Orange, Pastor Jackson became involved in the life of the city, county and state, speaking out on issues and informing and organizing ministers and community to act in promoting God’s kingdom on earth and in their best interest. In addition to pastoring St. Matthew Church, Pastor Jackson served as the Executive Director of the Black Ministers Council of New Jersey (BMC), representing more than 600 Black churches in New Jersey from 1994-2012. He has been outspoken on every major issue in New Jersey, pressuring the state Supreme Court to order New Jersey to increase spending on poor school districts in the state, adequate funding for charity care, legislation to end predatory lending, ending the death penalty in New Jersey, needle exchange and most notably, legislation to end and make racial profiling a crime, the only state in the nation to pass such a law.

Richard Rothstein

Author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Richard Rothstein is the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, which recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. Previous influential books include Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black–White Achievement Gap and Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right

Stella Flores

Associate Dean and Associate Professor at New York University

Dr. Stella M. Flores is Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity and Associate Professor of Higher Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. She is also Director of Access and Equity at the Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy at NYU. Dr. Flores holds an EdD in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University, an EdM from Harvard University, an MPAff from The University of Texas at Austin, and a BA from Rice University.

In her research she employs quantitative methods to examine large-scale databases, grades K through 20, to investigate the effects of state and federal policies on college access and completion rates for low-income and underrepresented populations. Dr. Flores has written about demographic changes in U.S. education, the role of alternative admissions plans and financial aid programs in college admissions in the U.S and abroad, Minority Serving Institutions, Latino and immigrant students, English Language Learners, and community colleges. Her publications include various peer-reviewed articles in The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Educational Researcher, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, American Journal of Education, The Review of Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, The Journal of Mixed Methods, The Journal of College Admission, The Future of Children, and The Journal of Hispanics in Higher Education, as well as three co-edited volumes. Her coauthored work (with Catherine L. Horn) has been cited in the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court Gratz v. Bollinger decision (dissenting opinion) and in various amicus briefs submitted to the Supreme Court on affirmative action cases in higher education admissions. Professor Flores serves on the editorial boards of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, The Review of Higher Education, Sociology of Education, and the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness and AERA Open.

In 2017 she was named “One of the Top 25 Women in Higher Education and Beyond” by Diverse Issues Magazine and has also been recognized as one of the top 200 scholars in Education Week’s RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings from 2015-2017 as well as a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow in 2010. She currently serves as a member of the Committee on Developing Indicators of Educational Equity from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, a board member of The Institute for Higher Education Policy and the American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education, and was recently elected as an at-large member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Her research has been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation and the Educational Testing Service. Prior appointments before NYU include Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University as well as positions as a program evaluator for the U.S. General Accountability Office and a program specialist for the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Michelle Burris

Senior Policy Associate, The Century Foundation

Michelle Burris is a senior policy associate at The Century Foundation, focusing on racial and socioeconomic integration in pre-K–12 settings. Prior to joining TCF, Michelle was a teacher at Truman High School in New York City working with African immigrant students. She also served in the United States Peace Corps in Rwanda, teaching English at a boarding school. Michelle participated in internships at the White House and was a congressional fellow in Congressman Jim Cooper’s office. She graduated summa cum laude from Spelman College with a BA in political science, and holds a MA in politics and education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Carmen Berkley

Political strategist, entrepreneur, radio host, and DJ

Carmen Berkley is an award winning political strategist, entrepreneur, radio host, and DJ striving to change the world through politics, social impact, creative expression, and culture. Carmen has focused her career on intersecting the issues of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and women into initiatives and programs that have improved the lives of millions of people.

She currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for Dancing Hearts Consulting, a Black women-led social and political impact firm that brings on the ground experience to build power for communities and expand a reflective and responsive democracy.

Carmen is a co-host and producer for one of the nation's longest-running women's radio shows, Sophie's Parlor on WPFW 89.3 FM, where she works with a team of incredible women to deliver music and politics to their listeners. On the weekends, you can also find her spinning on the ones and twos at clubs, parties, and family events as CarmenSpindiego.

Carmen's nearly 15 years of experience in advocacy, communications and trainings has allowed her to serve as the President of the United States Student Association, Field Director at NAACP and URGE (formerly Choice USA), Executive Director at the Generational Alliance, Director of Civil, Human and Women's Rights at the AFL-CIO, and most recently, Managing Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. She serves as a co-founder of the social impact group Can’t Stop! Won’t Stop! Consulting, where she has developed strategic plans, equity strategies and advocacy trainings for businesses and non-profit organizations. Carmen has developed thousands of people as a political campaigns and organizational development trainer for re:Power (formerly Wellstone Action) and Midwest Academy

Named Essence Magazines Woke 100 and Washington Life Magazines top 40 under 40, Carmen has been recognized many times for her work by her peers in the movement. Carmen has been featured in the Washington Post,Huffington Post, Coveteur Magazine. and New York Times. She currently serves as an equity advisor for Sephora, board chair for re:Power, board member for Advocates for Youth, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She proudly serves on the steering committee of Black Womxn For, and is a a founding member of BYP100. She’s lives in Maryland where she loves to eat crab legs and attend concerts with her brilliant husband, LeeSingsRNB.

Claude Cummings Jr.

Vice President, Communications Workers of America, District 6

Claude Cummings, who has served as an at-large member of the Executive Board of the Communications Workers of America since 2007, was elected Vice President of CWA District 6 in July 2011 and was re-elected in July 2015 representing workers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. Since then, Claude has also been appointed to lead the Human Rights department for the National CWA. In addition, Vice President Cummings has been elected as 2nd Vice President of the Houston NAACP, while also serving as an At Large member of the CBTU and APRI Executive Boards. Prior to his election to District 6 Vice President he was President of CWA Local 6222 representing more than 4,000 members. He was first elected President of the Local in 1999; previously serving as Vice President and held other leadership positions in the local. A leading voice in local and state politics, Cummings worked for passage of a state law to enable AT&T to provide video services to customers. He also served as a delegate to past Democratic National Conventions. He is a longtime community activist, supporting and directing civil rights efforts in the region, United Way contribution drives, community religious events, and other community and civic campaigns.

A leader in the Fifth Ward Missionary Baptist Church, Cummings is Chairman of the Deacon Board and a member of the Choir, Brotherhood and Male Chorus. Cummings joined Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1973 (now AT&T) and had worked as a Frame Attendant and Communications Technician, maintaining systems for NASA, among other corporate customers. He is married to Ruth Cummings; they have three children: Kenyetta, Katrina, and Claude III and 8 grandchildren: Laura, Ale'ycia, Yuri, Deiondre, Brianna, Jillian, Claire, and Laila.

Rev. James Woodall

State President of the Georgia NAACP

James is a native of Riverdale, Georgia and an alumnus of Georgia Southern University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Religious Studies. He also is an 8-year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve, having served as an Intelligence Analyst.
​He ran for State Representative in 2016 and also served on the State Committee of the Democratic Party of Georgia and State Vice President of the Georgia Clients Council. He also served as the Deputy Campaign Manager for Francys Johnson for Congress [GA12] and has served as the legislative aide to State Representative Miriam Paris [HD142-Macon] for three years in the Georgia General Assembly.
Major is a Silver-Life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He has served as its State President of the Georgia Youth & College Division, Vice President of its Bulloch County Branch and State Chairman of the Young Adults Committee. He graduated in December 2018 as an inaugural member of the Next Gen Program, a national NAACP leadership co-hort. He currently serves as the State President of the Georgia NAACP.Woodall is a minister of the gospel. He is currently enrolled at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) pursuing a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) through the Morehouse School of Religion. He is an Associate Minister at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia where Rev. Sammie J. Dow is the Pastor.Rev. James Woodall is a public theologian, an activist, a student, but most importantly, a prisoner of hope. He is guided by the words of the prophet in Zechariah 9:12, “Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope. Today I declare that I will restore double to you.” And in these days of challenge and adversity, he believes in the beauty of this moment to make America a better nation.

Yolanda N. Melville


Yolanda N. Melville, Esq., is an attorney at Cooper Levenson, P.A. in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Yolanda serves as General Counsel to numerous business entities and represents clients throughout every stage of the litigation process in both state and federal courts, and also serves as the Chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee. Yolanda is also a longstanding civil rights advocate.  Throughout her civil rights journey, Yolanda has served as both moderator and nationally recognized speaker on various topics, such as voting rights, housing and intergenerational leadership, and worked with today’s greatest civil rights leaders throughout the country.  Yolanda serves as a Legal Committee member to the NAACP National Board of Directors.  In 2019, Yolanda was elected Chair of the NAACP NEXTGEN Alumni. The NAACP NEXTGEN Program is a leadership training program for young adults between the ages of 21 and 40 to receive comprehensive advocacy training and develop leadership competencies to become effective civil rights leaders within the NAACP and beyond.

Stefan Lallinger

Fellow and Director of TCF’s Bridges Collaborative, The Century Foundation

Stefan Lallinger is a fellow at the Century Foundation and the Director of TCF’s Bridges Collaborative. He focuses on issues of racial and socioeconomic integration, equity, school governance, and district-charter relationships.

Dr. Lallinger previously worked as a Special Assistant to Chancellor Richard Carranza in the New York City Department of Education working on agency policy and strategy. He earned his doctorate from Harvard University, where he studied integration and school district leadership. At Harvard, he received a fellowship with the Reimagining Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools (RIDES) Project, coordinated the Education Redesign Lab’s By All Means Initiative in Providence, RI, and facilitated professional learning for some of the nation’s largest districts with the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) held at Harvard Business School.

Prior to graduate school, Dr. Lallinger led Langston Hughes Academy, a Pre-K through 8th grade open-enrollment school in the Recovery School District, in post-Katrina New Orleans, where he served as principal, assistant principal and teacher for nine years. Before moving to New Orleans, he coordinated a boys mentoring program in Providence, RI. Inspired by his grandfather Louis Redding, a civil rights lawyer, Stefan has been a fierce advocate for integration and equity throughout his career.

He holds BAs in Political Science and Development Studies from Brown University, an MA in History from the University of New Orleans and a doctorate in Education Leadership from Harvard University.

Rev. Willie Francois

Senior Pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Pleasantville, New Jersey, President of the Black Church Center for Justice and Equality

Willie Dwayne Francois III serves as Senior Pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Pleasantville, New Jersey and as the President of the Black Church Center for Justice and Equality. Francois' pastoral activism and literary witness take shape around racial equity, economic justice and criminal justice reform. Francois co-authored the book Christian Minister’s Manual: For the Pulpit and the Public Square for All Denomination—the most progressive and comprehensive clergy service resource for congregational and justice ministries. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Religion, holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry from Emory University.

Prentiss Dantzler

Assistant Professor in the Urban Studies Institute, Georgia State University

Prentiss Dantzler is an Assistant Professor in the Urban Studies Institute. Currently, Prentiss’ research is focused on 4 projects: 1) racial capitalism and urban development processes, 2) housing assistance and neighborhood change across the Toronto metro area, 3) the role of nonprofit organizations in shaping gentrification narratives, and 4) equitable housing policies in local comprehensive planning.

Prentiss’ research has appeared in a number of academic journals including Urban Studies, Housing Studies, Housing Policy Debate, and the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. He also serves on the Editorial Board for City and Community. Prentiss has written for popular media outlets including Blackademia, Shelterforce, The Conversation, and The Huffington Post. He has also received several fellowships from a number of professional organizations including The Institute for Research on Poverty Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, The Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In the Fall of 2019, Prentiss served as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto – St. George. Prior to joining the Urban Studies Institute, Prentiss was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Colorado College.

Theodore M. Shaw

Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill

Professor Shaw was the fifth Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., for which he worked in various capacities over the span of twenty-six years. He has litigated education, employment, voting rights, housing, police misconduct, capital punishment and other civil rights cases in trial and appellate courts, and in the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Shaw’s legal career began as a Trial Attorney in the Honors Program of the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., where he worked from 1979 until 1982. In addition to teaching at Columbia and at Michigan Law School, Professor Shaw held the 1997-1998 Haywood Burns Chair at CUNY School of Law at Queens College and the 2003 Phyllis Beck Chair at Temple Law School. He was a visiting scholar at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia in 2008-2009. He is a member of the faculty of the Practicing Law Institute (PLI). Mr. Shaw served on the Obama Transition Team after the 2008 presidential election, as team leader for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

Davida Russell

Councilwoman and President of the Northeast Ohio District of the Ohio Association of Public-School Employees OAPSE/AFSCME Local 4/AFL-CIO)

Davida Russell is the newly elected Councilwoman for the city of Cleveland Heights. Elected November 2019 receiving the 2nd highest vote of all the candidates while making history for her 1st time running for a public office.

Davida Russell is also the State President of the Coalition of labor Union Women, a Vice President of the Ohio AFL-CIO, State Executive Board Member and President of the Northeast Ohio District of the Ohio Association of Public-School Employees OAPSE/AFSCME Local 4/AFL-CIO), Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the North Coast Area Labor Federation, and Trustee of the Cleveland North Shore Federation of Labor AFL-CIO,  In these positions, Davida represents more than 180,000 members across Ohio and 11,000 just in Northeast Ohio.

Davida is a Commission Member of the Cuyahoga County Charter Review Commission appointed by Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and Executive Board Member of the Gateway Economic Development Corporation of Greater Cleveland one of two single appointment of Mayor Frank Jackson.

Davida served as president of the Ohio Association of Public-School Employees OAPSE/AFSCME Local 744 for 20 consecutive years, representing Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCBDD) Transportation workers until her retirement. Davida was appointed by Governor, Ted Strickland to the Board of Commission of MR/DD to serve on the Futures Study Committee for the state of Ohio. Davida also served as the Vice Chair of the first historic Cuyahoga County Charter Review Commission appointed by Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald and served on the Cleveland Heights Reaching Heights Board. Davida served nationally on President Clinton’s Women’s Round Table of Greater Cleveland and has been invited to the White House on three separate occasions. Davida represented public employees in Sao Paulo Brazil where she received an award from the Ambassador of Italy;

Davida also served as State Vice President of the Ohio Association of Public-School Employees (OAPSE/AFSCME Local 4/AFL-CIO) for over 10 years until her resignation in 2015 to focus more of her time in Northeast Ohio.

Well known for her dedication to working people, she has been in the forefront of organizing, educating, training, increasing political awareness among workers, campaigning for pro-labor politicians and issues and operating and managing the largest canvassing operation in the state of Ohio since 2002. Every few months Davida continues to be featured on America’s Work Force Radio WERE 1490 the only daily labor-radio program in America. Davida been entered in several editions of Who’s Who including the 2019 edition as One of The Most Influential Black Women in Cleveland Celebrating African American Achievement. She has also been a co-host on a local television show located on cable public access station called “Another Look.”  Davida has been featured in union sponsored radio commercials She have wrote, produced and directed a union play called “We May Be Getting Old… But We Ain’t Dead Yet”! The play was presented in Cleveland’s downtown Music Hall for the OAPSE/AFSCME Convention.

She’s the author of the book “The Birth of a Union: The Legacy of Noridean McDonald” published in 2007. She is a graduate of Cleveland State Labor-Management Relations Center Program a graduate of Leadership Cleveland Class 2004.

Davida graduated from the George Meany National Labor College with a double major Bachelor’s in Labor Studies and in Union Leadership and Administration.

Bill Fletcher Jr

Bill Fletcher Jr has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO.

Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice“; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.

Mark Pearce

Executive Director, Workers Rights Institute and Distinguished Lecturer

Mark Gaston Pearce is the Executive Director of the Workers Rights Institute at Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Pearce is a former Board Member and Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board who served for two terms, concluding in August 2018. Prior to assuming his position at Georgetown, he was a visiting senior scholar and Lecturer at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York Mr. Pearce is a graduate of Cornell University and State University of New York at Buffalo Law School. He was a founding partner at Creighton, Pearce, Johnsen & Giroux and began his 40 year career first as a Field Attorney and later, District Trial Specialist with Region 3 of the National Labor Relations Board. After entering private practice Mr. Pearce served by appointment of the Governor of New York State to the NYS Industrial Board of Appeals as well as several state committees and commissions. He is currently arbitrator and also served as a certified mediator for the United States District Court, Western District of New York. Mr. Pearce is a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and has lectured and given continuing legal education presentations before state and national bar associations, labor management organizations and educational institutions throughout the country.

Mr. Pearce has served on the Committee on Character and fitness for the Fourth Department of the New York State Supreme Court; the Board of Directors of the Lawyers Coordinating Committee of the AFL-CIO; the Coalition for Economic Justice; the Workers Rights Board and the Advisory Board of the Labor and Employment Research Association of Western New York.

His community activities include prior service as president of the Volunteer Lawyers Project Inc., the Minority Bar Association of Western New York, and Housing Opportunities Made Equal. Additionally he served on the Council of the Burchfield-Penney Art Center and the WNY Workforce Investment Board. He is a Silver Life Member of the Buffalo Chapter of the NAACP and is a class of 2000 graduate of Leadership Buffalo.

Mr. Pearce’s many honors and statements of recognition from labor and community organizations include special recognition from the Lawyers Coordinating Committee of the AFL-CIO; Honor Roll of the National Employment Law Project; the Leadership Award from the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety and Health and the Workplace Justice Champion Award from the Employment Justice Center of Washington, D.C. 

Myron Orfield

Myron Orfield

Earl R. Larson Professor of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Director, Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity University of Minnesota Law School

Professor Myron Orfield is the Director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity. He has written three books and dozens of articles and book chapters on local government law, spatial inequality, fair housing, school desegregation, charter schools, state and local taxation and finance, and land use law. The syndicated columnist Neal Peirce called him “the most influential demographer in America’s burgeoning regional movement.” Orfield’s research has led to legislative and judicial reforms at the federal level and state level reform in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, and Maryland.

William M. Treanor

Dean of the Georgetown University Law Center

William M. Treanor is Executive Vice President and Dean of the Georgetown University Law Center.  Previously, Dean Treanor had been dean of the Fordham Law School and Paul Fuller Professor.  He has also been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne.  Dean Treanor has served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice. He was associate counsel, Office of Independent Counsel, during the Iran/Contra investigation, and in 1990 he served as a special assistant U.S. attorney, Misdemeanor Trial Unit, Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. He has published widely, with a focus on constitutional law and legal history.

John C. Brittain

Olie W. Rauh Professor of Law, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

John C. Brittain joined the faculty of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, in 2009, as a tenured professor of law, and served as Acting Dean from 2018 to 2019. Prior to joining UDC Law, he served as Dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of law at Texas Southern University in Houston, as a tenured law professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law for twenty-two years, and as Chief Counsel and Senior Deputy Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C., a public interest law organization founded by President John F. Kennedy to enlist private lawyers in taking pro bono cases in civil rights.

Professor Brittain writes and litigates on issues in civil and human rights, especially in education law. In 2015, the Mississippi Center for Justice honored him as a "pioneering civil rights leader and esteemed law professor who has inspired a generation of young attorneys." In 2013, he was named to the Charles Hamilton Houston Chair at North Carolina Central University School of Law, established to bring prominent civil rights law professors and litigators to the law school to teach constitutional and civil rights law for a year. Professor Brittain was one of the original counsel team in Sheff v. O’Neill, the landmark school desegregation case decided by the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1996, chronicled in Susan Eaton’s book, The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial, in which he is frequently mentioned. He was a part of a legal team representing private plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against the State of Maryland for denying Maryland’s historically black institutions of higher learning – Morgan, Coppin, Bowie and Maryland Eastern Shore Universities – comparable and competitive opportunities with traditional white universities

B.A., Howard University 1966; J.D., Howard University 1969

Barbara Ransby

Distinguished Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

Barbara Ransby is a historian, author and longtime activist. She has been involved in the Black freedom movement, feminist and women’s organizations, and social and economic justice projects for nearly forty years. Dr. Ransby received her undergraduate degree from Columbia University in New York and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Dr. Ransby is author of three books and numerous articles and book chapters.

Garry W. Jenkins

Dean of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Dean Jenkins previously served as associate dean for academic affairs and John C. Elam/Vorys Sater Professor of Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. His research and teaching interests are in law and philanthropy, corporate governance, and leadership studies. His scholarly articles have been published in leading law reviews and interdisciplinary journals, and his scholarship has been honored for excellence in three different subfields: nonprofit law, global justice, and corporate law.

Prior to entering academia, Dean Jenkins was chief operating officer and general counsel of the Goldman Sachs Foundation. Before that, he was an attorney with the New York law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where he counseled public charities and private foundations, formed and advised private investment funds, and negotiated mergers and acquisitions.

He earned a B.A. from Haverford College, a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Upon graduation, he clerked for Judge Timothy K. Lewis of the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.

Photo of Richard Kahlenberg

Richard D. Kahlenberg

Senior fellow at The Century Foundation

Richard D. Kahlenberg is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation and author of The Future of School Integration: Socioeconomic Diversity as an Education Reform Strategy.

Richard D. Kahlenberg is director of K–12 equity and senior fellow at The Century Foundation. The author or editor of seventeen books, he has expertise in education, civil rights, and equal opportunity. Kahlenberg has been called “the intellectual father of the economic integration movement” in K–12 schooling and “arguably the nation’s chief proponent of class-based affirmative action in higher education admissions.” He is also an authority on teachers’ unions, private school vouchers, charter schools, community colleges, housing segregation, and labor organizing.

John H. Bracey, Jr.

Professor of History, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Professor John H. Bracey, Jr., has taught in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst since 1972. He is now serving a second stint as department chair, and is co-director of the department’s graduate certificate in African Diaspora Studies. His major academic interests are in African American social history, radical ideologies and movements, and the history of African American Women and more recently the interactions between Native Americans and African Americans, and Afro-Latinos in the United States. During the 1960s, Professor Bracey was active in the Civil Rights, Black Liberation, and other radical movements in Chicago. Since his arrival at UMass he has maintained those interests and commitments both on campus and in the wider world. His publications include several co-edited volumes, include Black Nationalism in America (1970); the prize winning African American Women and the Vote: 1837-1965 (1997); Strangers and Neighbors: Relations between Blacks and Jews in the United States (with Maurianne Adams, 1999); and, African American Mosaic: A Documentary History from the Slave Trade to the Twenty-First Century (with Manisha Sinha, 2004).

Professor Bracey’s scholarship also includes editorial work on the microfilm series Black Studies Research Sources (LexisNexis), which includes the Papers of the NAACP, Amiri Baraka, the Revolutionary Action Movement, A. Phillip Randolph, Mary McLeod Bethune, the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, and the Papers of Horace Mann Bond. Professor Bracey is a co-editor with Professor James Smethurst and Professor Emerita Sonia Sanchez of SOS: Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader (2014).

Rev. Timothy Tee Boddie

Summit for Civil Rights Faith Outreach Co-Director

Rev. Dr. Timothy Tee Boddie is the immediate past General Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer of the Progressive National Baptist Convention in Washington, DC. Prior to his pastoral ministry, Dr. Boddie served for 11 years as University Chaplain and Pastor of the Memorial Church at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. In 2007, Chaplain Boddie was elected to a one-year term as president of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, becoming the first African-American from a historically Black university to serve this capacity in the organization’s then 60-year history. Born in Raleigh, NC, Dr. Boddie was reared in Newport News, VA, and is the product of its public schools. Dr. Boddie majored in English at Morehouse College and also holds a master’s degree from Stanford University. He has done further study at New York University, and he earned his doctorate degree from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA.