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Keynote Speaker

Charlene Carruthers

Charlene Carruthers

Charlene A. Carruthers is a Black, queer feminist community organizer and writer with over 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist and youth leadership development movement work. She currently serves as the national director of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), an activist member-led organization of Black 18-35 year olds dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people.

Her passion for developing young leaders to build capacity within marginalized communities has led her to work on immigrant rights, economic justice and civil rights campaigns nationwide. She has led grassroots and digital strategy campaigns for national organizations including the Center for Community Change, the Women’s Media Center, ColorOfChange.org and National People’s Action, as well as being a member of a historic delegation of young activists in Palestine in 2015 to build solidarity between Black and Palestinian liberation movements.

Charlene is the winner of the “New Organizing Institute 2015 Organizer of the Year Award” and has served as a featured speaker at various institutions including Wellesley College, Northwestern University and her alma mater Illinois Wesleyan University. Charlene also received a Master of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Charlene was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago where she currently resides and continues to lead and partake in social justice movements. Her work has been covered several publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Reader, The Nation, Ebony and Essence Magazines. She has appeared on CNN, Democracy Now!, BBC and MSNBC.

Charlene has also written for theRoot.com, Colorlines and the Boston Review. She was recently recognized as one of the top 10 most influential African Americans in The Root 100. Her inspirations include a range of Black women, including Ella Baker, Cathy Cohen, and Barbara Ransby. In her free time, Charlene loves to cook and believes the best way to learn about people is through their food.

Presenters

Ash Lynch

Ash Lynch

Ash Lynch is a black queer boi abolitionist who uses Hip-Hop as their soundtrack toward freedom dreams.
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Dana Nickson

Dana Nickson

Dana Nickson is a third-year doctoral student and Rackham Merit Fellow at The University of Michigan in Educational Studies with a concentration in Education Foundations and Policy.
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Darlene Anita Scott

Darlene Anita Scott

Darlene Anita Scott’s scholarship and creative work explore the corporeal performance of trauma and the violence of silence.
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Grace Gipson

Grace Gipson

Grace D. Gipson is a Visiting Professor in African American Studies at Georgia State University and a doctoral candidate in the African American Studies program with a designated emphasis in New Media at the University of California Berkeley.
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Jakita Thomas

Jakita Thomas

Dr. Jakita O. Thomas is a Philpott Westpoint Stevens Associate Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Auburn University in Auburn, AL. Dr. Thomas is also Director of the CUltuRally & SOcially Relevent (CURSOR) Computing Lab.
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Jalondra Davis

Jalondra Davis

Jalondra A. Davis is a Black feminist artist-intellectual, a writer, scholar and educator in Los…

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Jay Nixon

Jay Nixon

Jay Nixon is a writer, scholar, educator, and world traveler.
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Kishundra King

Kishundra King

Kishundra D. King holds a Master of Science in Counseling from Creighton University and a…

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LaKeisha Thorpe

LaKeisha Thorpe

LaKeisha L. Thorpe (MFA, PhD Candidate) is a well-versed higher education professional who is passionate…

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Maria Velazquez

Maria Velazquez

Dr. Maria Velazquez received her doctorate from University of Maryland, College-Park. Her dissertation, "Reclaiming Black…

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Meseret Hailu

Meseret Hailu

Meseret Hailu is a doctoral candidate in the Morgridge College of Education at the University…

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Miari Taina Stephens

Miari Taina Stephens

Miari Taina Stephens is a doctoral student at Harvard University in the African & African…

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Nicole Joseph

Nicole Joseph

Dr. Nicole M. Joseph is an assistant professor of mathematics and science education in the…

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Nicole Kenney

Nicole Kenney

Nicole E. Kenney, M.P.P. is a wellness activist and budding Philadelphia filmmaker. Her documentary and…

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Raven Cokley

Raven Cokley

Raven K. Cokley is a native of Sarasota, FL. She earned her M.Ed. from the…

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Tamyka Morant

Tamyka Morant

Dr. Tamyka Morant has been a professional educator for over 15 years and current serves as the Assistant Principal of Garrison ES in Washington, DC.
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