speakers

 

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Aimee Allison, President of Democracy in Color

Aimee Allison is a thought leader, public speaker, writer, and expert on women of color in politics. She is president of Democracy in Color, a national media organization focused on race, politics, and the New American Majority. Aimee is the founder of She the People, a multiplatform initiative to crystallize and amplify the political voice of women of color. In 2016, Aimee organized and moderated the first DNC Chair Forum highlighting the central role of women of color in the future of the Democratic Party. In 2017, she launched “Get in Formation,” a national call for Black women to support Stacey Abrams, who could be the first Black woman governor in the history of the United States. Aimee is also the host of the acclaimed “Democracy in Color” podcast and author of the forthcoming book on women of color and politics, She the People. She contributed political commentary for KQED, Pacifica, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and MIC; and has written for The New York Times, ESSENCE Magazine, Teen Vogue, The Hill, and Huffington Post. Aimee lives in Oakland, CA. You can follow her on Twitter: @AimeeAllison

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Glynn Washington, Host & Executive Producer of WNYC's Snap Judgement

Before creating Snap Judgment, Glynn worked as an educator, diplomat, community activist, actor, political strategist, fist-shaker, mountain-hollerer, and foot stomper.

Glynn composed music for the Kunst Stoff dance performances in San Francisco, rocked live spoken word poetry in Detroit, joined a band in Indonesia, wrote several screenplays, painted a daring series of self portraits, released a blues album, and thinks his stories are best served with cocktails.

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Mina morita, artistic director of crowded fire theater

Mina Morita (director) is the Artistic Director of Crowded Fire Theater, a critically acclaimed, intrepid, female-led company dedicated to developing a fierce contemporary theater canon that reflects the plurality of our world. Previously, she served as the Artistic Associate at Berkeley Repertory Theatre—and a founding member of its Ground Floor program; as Board President of Shotgun Players; as a 2014 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab participant; as one of the founding members of Bay Area Children's Theatre; as Community Arts Panelist with the Zellerbach Family Foundation; and Guest Artist at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. She is a recipient of Theatre Bay Area’s 2014 award for Best Director of a Musical: Tier II and TBA's 2016, 40@40 award for her impact on Bay Area Theater. In 2015, Mina was honored to share her story on TEDx, and in 2016, she was chosen as one of the YBCA100, for "asking questions and making provocations that will shape the future of culture." 

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Bernice Yeung, Propublica reporter

Bernice Yeung is a reporter for ProPublica who covers labor-related issues. Previously she was a reporter with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, where work examined issues related to violence against women, labor and employment, immigration, and environmental health. 

While at The Center for Investigative Reporting, Yeung was part of the national Emmy-nominated Rape in the Fields reporting team, which investigated the sexual assault of immigrant farmworkers. The project won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. Yeung also was the lead reporter for the national Emmy-nominated Rape on the Night Shift team, which examined sexual violence against female janitors. That work won an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for investigative journalism, and the Third Coast/Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition. Those projects led to er first book in 2018, “In a Day's Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America's Most Vulnerable Workers.” 

A former staff writer for SF Weekly and editor at California Lawyer magazine, Yeung has had her work appear in a variety of media outlets, including The New York Times, The Seattle Times, The Guardian and PBS FRONTLINE. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master's degree from Fordham University, where she studied sociology with a focus on crime and justice. She was a 2015-16 Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan, where she explored ways journalists can use social science survey methods in their reporting. 

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Rhodessa Jones, Director 

Performer, teacher, director Rhodessa Jones is Co-Artistic Director of San Francisco’s performance company Cultural Odyssey. Jones directs The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, an award-winning performance workshop committed to incarcerated women’s personal and social transformation, now in it’s 23rd year. As recipient of US Artist Fellowship, Jones expanded her work in jails and educational institutions internationally. She conducts Medea Projects in South African prisons, working with incarcerated women and training local artists and correctional personnel to embed the Medea process inside these institutions. In 2012, she was named Arts Envoy by the US Embassy in South Africa. Recent US residencies include Brown University and Scripps College Humanities Institute. Recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from CA College of the Arts, SF Bay Guardian’s Lifetime Achievement Award, SF Foundation’s Community Leadership Award, Non-Profit Arts Excellence Award by the SF Business Arts Council, and an Otto Rene Castillo Award for Political Theater.

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Laleh Khadivi, Author

Laleh Khadivi was born in Esfahan, Iran. Her debut novel, The Age of Orphans, received the Whiting Award for Fiction, the Barnes and Nobles Discover New Writers Award and an Emory Fiction Fellowship.

Her debut documentary film 900 WOMEN aired on A&E and premiered at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. She has worked as director, producer and cinematographer of documentary films since 1999. Her fiction and non-fiction can be found in The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, VQR, The Sun and other publications. She is the recipient of a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Grant and a 2016 Pushcart Prize for her story Wanderlust. She lives in Northern California.

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Vanessa Hua, Journalist & Author

Vanessa Hua is the author of Deceit and Other Possibilities (2016), winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and a finalist for the California Book Award, as well as A River of Stars (2018). She has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, Dr. Suzanne Ahn Award for Civil Rights and Social Justice reporting as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, Asian American Journalists’ Association, and Best of the West. A columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, she has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, and ZYZZYVA, among others, and has filed stories from China, Burma, South Korea, and elsewhere. She teaches at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.

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Lydia Chávez, Founder & Executive Editor of Mission Local

Lydia Chávez started as a reporter for the Albuquerque Tribune, later moving on to Time magazine, Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, where she served as El Salvador and South American bureau chief. In 2005, Chávez and her students collaborated to publish Capitalism, God and A Good Cigar: Cuba Enters the Twenty-First Century (Duke University Press). And in 1998, Chávez published The Color Bind: California’s Battle Against Affirmative Action, which won the Leonard Silk Award (UC Press). She has also written op-ed pieces for The New York TimesLos Angeles Times and San Francisco Examiner and magazine pieces for The New York Times and Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazines and George magazine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley, a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalismm, a Graduate Diploma in Art History and a master’s degree in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She is the founder and executive editor of Mission Local, a news site covering the Mission District that began at Berkeley in the fall of 2008 and became independent in the summer of 2014.

Michael Grant

Michael Grant, John S. Knight journalism Fellow at stanford 

Michael Grant started out designing print pages for newspapers, then pivoted to become a newsroom developer and interactive designer. Before becoming creative director of the San Francisco Business Times, he was a digital designer at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. Earlier in his career, Grant was a web developer at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he led the newsroom’s digital initiatives and was a key player in its innovation incubator. Through digital storytelling Grant crafts beautiful user experiences that often incorporate data visualization and leverage new story forms. Grant has found a second calling training journalists in digital storytelling techniques and is focused on mentoring and encouraging young minority journalists to learn these skills and jump-start their careers. He is co-chair of the Online News Association HBCU Digital Media Fellows where, for the last two years, he has mentored and trained a small group of students from historically black colleges and universities in digital media. He also chairs the digital task force of the National Association of Black Journalists and is co-chair of the association’s HBCU task force. He regularly coaches and trains aspiring journalists and is a member of several professional journalism organizations.

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Martina Abrahams Ilunga, Creator & CEO, You Had Me at Black

Martina turned her lifelong passion for storytelling into a career in marketing and media. Frustrated by the one-dimensional portrayal of blackness in the media, she created You Had Me at Black. You Had Me at Black reclaims the Black narrative by giving folks a platform to share the stories not seen on TV. A Bay Area transplant from New Jersey, Martina is also a product marketer at Square, where she connects underserved communities with financial services to start and grow businesses. She holds a degree in Marketing from Georgetown University and has previously worked at AdRoll and Google.

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Helen Zia, Journalist & Author 

Helen Zia is an award-winning journalist and scholar who has covered Asian American communities and social and political movements for decades. She is the author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, a finalist for the prestigious Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize.

Zia has received numerous journalism awards for her ground-breaking stories; her investigation of date rape at the University of Michigan led to campus demonstrations and an overhaul of its policies, while her research on women who join neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations provoked new thinking on the relationship between race and gender violence in hate crimes.

A second generation Chinese American, Zia has been outspoken on issues ranging from civil rights and peace to women's rights and countering hate violence and homophobia. In 1997, she testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the racial impact of the news media. She traveled to Beijing in 1995 to the UN Fourth World Congress on Women as part of a journalists of color delegation. She has appeared in numerous news programs and films; her work on the 1980s Asian American landmark civil rights case of anti-Asian violence is documented in the Academy Award nominated film, "Who Killed Vincent Chin?" and she was profiled in Bill Moyers' PBS documentary, "Becoming American: The Chinese Experience.

 

 

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Juliana Delgado Lopera, Author 

Juliana Delgado Lopera is an award-winning Colombian writer, historian based in San Francisco. The recipient of the 2014 Jackson Literary award, and a finalist of the Clark- Gross Novel award, she’s the author of ¡Cuéntamelo! an illustrated bilingual collection of oral histories by LGBT Latinx immigrants (Aunt Lute 2017) which won a 2018 Lambda Literary Award and Quiéreme (Nomadic Press 2017). She's received fellowships from Brush Creek Foundation of the Arts, Lambda Literary Foundation, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and The SF Grotto, and an individual artist grant from the SF Arts Commission. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in various publications. She’s the executive director of RADAR Productions. Follow her on IG @julianadlopera

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Alice Wong, Disability Activist & Storyteller

Alice Wong is a disability activist, media maker, and consultant. She is the Founder and Director of the Disability Visibility Project® (DVP), a community partnership with StoryCorps and an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture created in 2014. Alice is also a co-partner in two projects: DisabledWriters.com, a resource to help editors connect with disabled writers and journalists, and #CripTheVote, a nonpartisan online movement encouraging the political participation of disabled people.

From 2013-2015 Alice served as a member of the National Council on Disability, an appointment by President Barack Obama. She has a Masters in medical sociology and worked at the University of California, San Francisco as a Staff Research Associate for 15 years. During that time she worked on various qualitative research projects and co-authored online curricula for the Community Living Policy Center, a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.

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Reyna Grande, Novelist & Memoirist

Reyna Grande is an award-winning novelist and memoirist. She has received an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the International Latino Book Award. In 2012, she was a finalist for the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Awards, and in 2015 she was honored with a Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature. Her works have been published internationally in Norway, South Korea, and Mexico.

Her novels, Across a Hundred Mountains, (Atria, 2006) and Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009) were published to critical acclaim. In her best-selling memoir, The Distance Between Us, ( Atria, 2012) Reyna writes about her life before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States. An inspirational coming-of-age story about the pursuit of a better life, The Distance Between Us is now available as a young readers edition from Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division–Aladdin. It has received a 2017 Honor Book Award for the Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature and a 2016 Eureka! Honor Awards from the California Reading Association, and an International Literacy Association Children’s Book Award 2017.

Shanthi Sekaran

Shanthi Sekaran, Author & Teacher

Shanthi Sekaran teaches creative writing at California College of the Arts, and is a member of the Portuguese Artists Colony and the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. Her work has appeared in Best New American Voices and Canteen, and online at Zyzzyva and Mutha Magazine. Her first novel, The Prayer Room, was published by MacAdam Cage. A California native, she lives in Berkeley with her husband and two children.

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Geraldine Ah-Sue, Podcast Producer

Geraldine Ah-Sue is an award-winning podcast producer interested in using creative media to inspire a more loving and just world. She was the producer for the second season of SFMOMA's podcast, Raw Material, which focused on art, community and social justice. Her work has also been featured on StoryCorps on NPR, KALW and KPFA. Geraldine's newest project is a pun-filled comedic radio drama called Playing With Food: The Place Where Food Comes to LifeShe is also a producer for the Disability Visibility Project podcast. During the day, she works alongside the brilliant scholars, teachers and staff of Oakland High School.

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Trinidad Escobar, Poet & Illustrator 

Trinidad Escobar is a poet, illustrator, mother, bruha, and educator from the Bay Area, California. She is an alumnus of San Francisco State's poetry program and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics MFA Poetry program at Naropa University. She earned her MFA in Comics at California College of the Arts. Her writing and visual art have been featured in various publications such as Rust & Moth, The Brooklyn Review, The Womanist, Red Wheelbarrow, Solo Cafe, Mythium, Tayo, the anthologies Walang HiyaOver the Line, Kuwento, and more. Trinidad has been a guest artist and speaker at the San Jose Museum of Art, Pilipino Komix Expo, LitQuake, and The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. Her forthcoming graphic memoir CRUSHED will be available in summer 2018. Trinidad teaches Race & Comics at California College of the Arts in Oakland, California.

Norman Antonio Zelaya

Norman Antonio Zelaya, Author & Poet

Norman Antonio Zelaya was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. He has published stories in ZYZZYVA, NY Tyrant, 14 Hills, Cipactli, Apogee Journal, among others, and he was a 2015 Zoetrope: All-Story finalist. He is a founding member of Los Delicados, and has performed extensively throughout the US with them. Zelaya has appeared on stage, in film and in the squared circle as luchador, Super Pulga. Currently, he lives and works in San Francisco's Mission District as a special education teacher. Orlando & Other Stories is his first published book.

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Johnson Fung, Head of Learn at Adobe

Johnson Fung is a compulsive creator and can’t help but be scrappy and hacky in all his endeavors. When he was 12, he turned his love for movies into a business selling pirated DVDs to his high school teachers. In his late teens, his love for making music evolved into a record label and event management company for suburban teens with exploding emotions and unlimited mascara. After college, he was the creative director of an award-winning interactive design firm, working and traveling across 59 cities in 21 countries with his best friend, and later the Director of Storytelling for The Millennium Network, Canada’s largest merit-based scholarship.

Johnson earned his MBA and M.A. Education at Stanford and is currently the Head of Learn for Adobe in San Francisco.

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Shreya Shankar, Director of Rooted in Resilience

Shreya Shankar is a Tamilian-American writer, organizer, and creative based in Oakland, CA. With a degree in Environmental Politics, Environmental Design & Urbanism from UC Berkeley, Shreya Shankar is passionate about building systems, economies, and imaginaries offering multidisciplinary alternatives to dated paradigms. She is the author of bars, which offers a new way to experience poetry: across the mediums of print, animation, and film. She is also the Director of Rooted in Resilience, a nonprofit organization for environmental justice advocacy and radical, resilient systems design.

Richard Cruz

Richard Cruz, Ahimsa Collective

Richard Cruz is a Program Manager at the Ahimsa Collective, Substance Abuse Treatment Counselor and Mediator. He also mentors to at-risk youth in the ReDirect Youth Diversion Program, Co-facilitator of Realize Restorative Justice Group and a Peer Counselor in the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program at Valley State Prison. He organized, trained, and facilitated groups in Cognitive Behavior Treatment (Criminal Thinking, Anger Management, Family Relation, Denial Management, Victims Impact, Substance Abuse). Richard has facilitated and participated in numerous other classes such as N.A., A.A., VHOPE (Victims Healing Others People through Empathy), Domestic Violence, Peace Education Program and Prisoners of Peace. Which offer support, connection, life skills, support services for youth, and promote healing in the community. Richard believes that there is no right or wrong, there is only different.

Jeannine Ventura

Jeannine Ventura, Undertone Collective

Jeannine is a co-founder/co-editor at Undertone Collective & Magazine. She’s a novice writer, creative director, podcaster, and overall fat, fea, flâneur. She’s committed to manifesting compassionate and supportive community wherein our experiences, bodies, and realities are respected and valued. undertonecollective.com  | @undertonecollective | @undertonemag @oyenenx

Troy Williams

Troy Williams

While serving 18 years at San Quentin State Prison, Troy Williams founded the San Quentin Prison Report (SQOR), a media production company that produces radio and video content inside San Quentin. When incarcerated he also directed the San Quentin Prison Restorative Justice Roundtable, raising prisoner participation from less than 40 to over 200. In 2014, he accepted an award for excellence in journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists.

 
Ra Malika Imhotep

Ra Malika Imhotep, The Black Aesthetic

Ra Malika Imhotep is a black feminist writer/root worker from Atlanta, GA currently pursuing a doctoral degree in African American and African Diaspora Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a member of the curatorial collective The Black Aesthetic (@the_blkaesthetic) and co-convener of the experiential study group The Church of Black Feminist Thought (@blackfeministstudy).