Jennifer Finney Boylan is the author of thirteen books, is the inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University. She also serves as the national co-chair of the Board of Directors of GLAAD, the media advocacy group for LGBT people worldwide.
She has been a contributor to the op/ed page of the New York Times since 2007; in 2013 she became Contributing Opinion Writer for the page. Jenny also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. Jenny also serves as Special Advisor to the President of Colby College in Maine. Read more here.
Benjamin Jealous is a former president and CEO of the NAACP, an author and a civil rights leader. Jealous is currently the Senior Fellow at American Progress where he is focusing on tracking the political trends that affect civil and human rights.
Michael W. Twitty is the author of the food blog "Afroculinaria." He is a cook, historian and scholar on historic African American food and culture. Michael is a Judaic studies teacher from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area and his interests include food culture, food history, Jewish cultural issues, African American history and cultural politics. Afroculinaria will highlight and address food’s critical role in the development and definition of African American civilization and the politics of consumption and cultural ownership that surround it. Read more at http://afroculinaria.com/about/.
Subjects: African American history and culture, food and cooking, Jewish culture, etc.
Matt Taibbi -Author, JournalistThe Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
Matt Taibbi asked why does poverty rise, as crime goes down and the prison population doubles. He discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where troubling trends - wealth inequality and mass incarceration- meet. He contends that our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or by our poverty. Are the wealthy untouchable? The poor criminalized? A New York Times bestseller, Divide paints an alarming portrait of contemporary American life and provides a way forward against this crisis. He writes for Rolling Stone and recently launched a new digital magazine by First Look Media.
Mary Pipher, Ph.D., Author, Clinical PsychologistThe Green Boat: Sustaining Our Planet and Each Other
Dr. Pipher is concerned with how American culture influences the mental health of its people. In The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture, she considers how easily we are disconnected from our emotions, our bodies, each other and the truth, as we are engulfed in devastating information about the fate of Mother Earth. Author of nine books, Dr. Pipher suggests we must reconnect our inner and outer lives to respond to this trauma with an awareness that leads to resilient coping and for many a transcendent response.
29th Annual Commemoration Program | Monday, January 19, 2015 • 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Keynote Speaker: Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin's Mother)
Sybrina Fulton is dedicating her life to transforming family tragedy into social change. Since the death of her 17 year old son, Trayvon Martin, during the violent confrontation in 2012, Fulton has become an inspiring spokesperson for parents and concerned citizens across the country.
Her message not only appeals to people’s hearts as it relates to children, but is also one of hope and change, exemplified by her personal experiences and endeavors. As a mother, she inspires audiences to continuously educate their children about civil rights and to help them feel accepted as part of an ever changing society. An honest and relatable speaker, Fulton always looks forward sharing her powerful message with everyone from colleges and legal professionals to community and family organizations, and all other proponents of social justice.
Elaine Richardson, Ph.D., Author, Professor, Recording ArtistPHD (Po H# on Dope) to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life
Dr. Richardson’s one-woman show, PHD to Ph.D., features expressive performance, storytelling and music. Addicted to drugs, abusive controlling pimps, the streets, with short stints in jail, the cycle of death appeared to be her life with prison the inevitable end. Instead, she returned to school and never stopped. She became empowered with knowledge of her culture and history and changed her life. A Professor at The Ohio State University, her motto is: “Ignorance, low self-esteem and shame are killers. When you know who you are, nobody can control you.”
President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will kick-off the 2014-15 Diversity Lecture Series. Mr. and Mrs. Carter will discuss human rights, racial diversity and social justice.
Eavesdropping on America's Conversation on Race : Michele Norris is currently a host and special correspondent for NPR. Norris served as co-host of NPR's newsmagazine All Things Considered. Norris relates how intended to write a book about America’s hidden conversations about race but discovered much had been hidden from her by her family. Her parents kept the stories of racial injustice and pain to themselves because they wanted their children “to soar”. She found that her father had been shot in the leg after returning from service in WWII by white police officers. Her mother had worked for years as an itinerant Aunt Jemima traveling to small towns demonstrating pancake mixes. Norris suggests that silence has some rewards and many costs. She seeks to uncover and encourage real conversation around family and race.
Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's: John Robison grew up with Asperger's Syndrome during a time when few knew what to make of it. With no idea how to pass for normal, and undiagnosed until the age of 40, he nevertheless lived a full life. Robison offers a darkly humorous glimpse of Asperger's as a difference, not a disability. In his memoir, Robison recounts his idiosyncratic life with details of overcoming enormous odds: from an anti-social child to a successful father now running a multi-million dollar car specialty shop and his own photography business. Robison currently is an adjunct professor at Elms College in Massachusetts and is involved in autism research at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre.
Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy: Emily Bazelon is a senior editor at Slate, and a New York Times Magazine contributing writer. Her investigative journalism, compelling storytelling and extensive legal knowledge, makes her a leading authority on bullying in the cyber age: what constitutes bullying? What are the roles of personality traits, such as “grit,” character, and empathy, to overcome childhood trauma and find social success? What do recent cases of bullying tell us about how the issue has changed over the years? How are people using technologies—mobile phones, social media, texting—to both spread and combat bullying? See the [Bullying ... In the News] tab for articles on this topic.
Youth Revolt: The Future of the Middle East: Reza Aslan addresses the topics of Islam, the Middle East, and Muslim Americans with authority, wit, and an infectious optimism. He speaks for a young generation of Muslims—socially conscious, politically active, and technologically savvy. A new generation of young people clamoring for their rights and freedoms, with a vision that represents their values, not the values of a ruling elite of previous generations. Author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, Aslan reveals the nature of these historic societal changes. He unravels the complexities of the new Middle East and shows us what the future holds for this oft-misunderstood part of the world. Aslan is President and CEO of Aslan Media Inc.
LZ GRANDERSON - Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Journalist, Commentator, Sports Writer
Dare You to Move
LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for CNN.com, and is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com. He is a contributor to ESPN’s Sports Center, Outside the Lines and First Take. This former Detroit gang member rose to be selected a Hechinger Fellow at Columbia University. LZ’s commentary, reaches well beyond the world of athletics tackling subjects such as use of the N-word in the black community, the presence of gays in the locker room, and the truths and lies of reverse racism. Prior to joining ESPN, Mr. Granderson was a sports columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Grand Rapids Press.
Immigration: Not Legal, Not Leaving: A journalist for over a decade writing for some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country, Jose Antonio Vargas’ learned his green card was a fake at age 16. He knew he must hide this fact to avoid deportation. His journalism career flourished, yet the fear never ceased. “This deceit never got easier. The more I did it, the more I felt like an impostor, the more guilt I carried — and the more I worried that I would get caught.” Vargas exposed his story in an essay, “Outlaw: My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” for the New York Times Magazine. Today Vargas runs Define American, a non-profit organization that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration
Kambri Crews once lived with her deaf parents in a tin shed in Montgomery, Texas. She now runs her own PR and production company in New York City and is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Burn Down the Ground, her story of overcoming poverty, violence and near-crippling adversity. Crews uses comedic storytelling with brutal honesty and fearless humor and inspires with her motto and guiding philosophy, “Life’s Tough, Laugh More.” She is a co-producer of the ECNY Awards and has produced dozens of shows featuring comedians and writers from The Onion, The Daily Show to Saturday Night Live.