2011 SPEAKERS

johnbraceyDr. John H. Bracey, Sr. 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)

 

keithmotleyDr. J. Keith Motley is the eighth chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston, a research university with 11 colleges and graduate schools and 17,000 students.

Chancellor Motley oversees an ambitious strategic planning initiative to enhance the university’s academic offerings and research enterprise, grow enrollment to meet the increasing demand for a well-educated workforce, and similarly build the university as a resource of knowledge and public service.

Chancellor Motley is also guiding a 25-year master plan to significantly enhance the campus and its layout on the scenic Columbia Point Peninsula in a way that invites and welcomes the Greater Boston community to interact with its public university. This project includes the construction of the new Integrated Sciences Complex, a second academic building, and housing for students, as well as the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, which the late senator requested to be located on the UMass Boston campus next to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Dr. Motley is a founder of the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School and chair emeritus of the school’s Board of Trustees. He is also the founder and education chair of Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts, Inc., and the Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self-Development, an academic and social enrichment program for school-aged children of color. He also serves on numerous boards of community organizations with local, regional, and national reach, including Carney Hospital (as chair of the board of trustees), Freedom House, the Boston Foundation, the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, the Boston Sports Museum, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Commonwealth Corporation, and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. Dr. Motley holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northeastern University and a doctor of philosophy from Boston College. He also holds an honorary degree awarded by Northeastern University. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s Upward Bound Program. He is married to Angela Motley and is the proud father of Keith Allyn, Kayla Iman, and Jordan Kiara.
 

kunjufuDr. Jawanza Kunjufu has dedicated his career to addressing the ills afflicting black culture in the United States, working primarily as an educational consultant and author but more recently expanding into video and film production. All aspects of the African American experience occupy Kunjufu’s attention, but the main thrust of his work has been directed toward improving the education and socialization of black youths. He is the founder and president of African American Images, a Chicago-based publishing company that sponsors dozens of workshops intended to help educators and parents develop practical solutions to the problems of child-rearing in what he perceives to be a racist society. Kunjufu holds advanced degrees in business and economics that have enabled him to place the problems of black society in the larger context of national and international economic models.

Born on June 15, 1953, in Chicago, Kunjufu—who adopted a Swahili name in 1973—credits his parents, Eddie and Mary Brown, with affording him the encouragement, discipline, and stability that would later become the core of his program for the renewal of black society. As a young man, Kunjufu was urged by his father to volunteer his time at a number of different jobs, working without pay in exchange for learning firsthand how businesses and skilled craftsmen went about their work. Kunjufu attended Illinois State University at Normal and received a bachelor of science degree in economics in 1974. Ten years later he finished a doctorate in business administration at Union Graduate School.
 
Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu was educated at Morgan State, Illinois State, and Union Graduate School. He has been a guest speaker at most universities throughout the U.S., and has been a Consultant to most urban school districts. He has authored 33 books including national best sellers, Black Students: Middle Class Teachers; Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education; An African Centered Response to Ruby Payne’s Poverty Theory; Raising Black Boys; 200 Plus Educational Strategies to Teach Children of Color; and his latest title, Understanding Black Male Learning Styles. His work has been featured in Ebony and Essence Magazine, and he has been a guest on BET & Oprah. He is also a frequent guest on the Michael Baisden show.
 
Dr. Kunjufu is proud to say that he is a husband, father, and grandfather. He’s also a vegetarian and an avid tennis player and has not missed a day’s work in 36 years.

 

lizwalkerRev. Liz Walker was an award-winning television journalist in Boston. At the height of her career, she embarked on a new path and was recently installed as Pastor of the Roxbury Presbyterian Church.

As a journalist and documentarian, she traveled to Sudan in 2001 on a fact-finding mission on the slave trade. She was so outraged by the human rights atrocities that she co-founded My Sister’s Keeper, a grass roots initiative that advocates for women and children who are trying to rebuild their country and their lives. She is also the co-founder of the Jane Doe Safety Fund, an advocacy group for survivors of domestic violence.

Ordained first as a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal tradition and most recently in the Presbyterian Church, Reverend Walker is a 2005 graduate of Harvard Divinity School. In addition to her role as pastor of the Roxbury Church, Reverend Walker serves as director of the Social Impact Center, whose mission is to create educational and economic development programs to strengthen the Roxbury community.

Reverend Walker was awarded the 2013 Crime Fighter of the Year award by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino at the City’s National Night Out – a celebration of partnerships among the community, youth, police, city agencies and community-based organizations. Reverend Walker was honored for her work with young people and her role as spokeswoman for at-risk youth.

Liz Walker is the recipient of two Emmys, an Edward R. Murrow Award and special recognition from the prestigious Gabriel Awards for her on-air and documentary work.
 

2012 SPEAKERS

 

domingoDomingo Guyton is an Adjunct Professor at Springfield College-Boston Campus and Worcester State University, Guyton is well rounded in African American History and how relates to the current hip hop generation. Earlier years of Guyton’s life were documented in two books, Jackie Waldman’s Teens With The Courage To Give, which aired on Oprah in May 2000 and Barbara Metzler’s Passionaries. The producer of over 200 songs, his music has appeared in several TV shows and movies, including MTV & Paramount Pictures’ Spring Break Lawyer, CBS’s 90210, NBC’s Just Deal and ABC’s Lincoln Heights. For six years he was the drummer for Grammy® award winning group Tavares. The producer and director of three award winning films: Lest We Forget: The Black Holocaust, My Slave Sister Myself and YTF, which won five awards since 2013.
 

steveperryDr. Steve Perry‘s heart pumps passion and produces positive change. Featured in CNN’s Black in America series, Dr. Perry is the most talked about innovative educator on the scene today.  Perry is the founder and principal of what U.S. News and World Report has cited as one of the top schools in the country, Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. Capital Prep has sent 100% of its predominantly low-income, minority, first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006.

Perry is in a hurry to transform the community. Born into his family’s third generation of poverty on his mother’s 16th birthday, Perry believes that the success of a life is determined by where you end, not where you start.  It is this philosophy that inspired him to transform the lives of poor and minority children by providing them with access to a college education.

Dr. Steve Perry is a strong advocate of personal and civic responsibility in all aspects of life. He emphasizes the social issues that aim at building up both the individual and the community so that the next generation can be better contributing members of society. When Perry speaks, he reaches the heart of his audience to motivate change in themselves and their community.  His secrets to success and calls to action are revealed in his new book, “Push Has Come To Shove: Getting Our Kids The Education They Deserve – Even If It Means Picking A Fight.”

In addition to being the principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Dr. Perry, MSW is an Education Contributor for CNN and MSNBC, an Essence Magazine columnist, best-selling author, and host of the #1 docudrama for TVONE “Save My Son.”
 

timwiseTim Wise, whom scholar and philosopher Cornel West calls, “A vanilla brother in the tradition of (abolitionist) John Brown,” is among the nation’s most prominent antiracist essayists and educators. He has spent the past 20 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1000 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally, in Canada and Bermuda, and has trained corporate, government, law enforcement and medical industry professionals on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions.

Wise’s antiracism work traces back to his days as a college activist in the 1980s, fighting for divestment from (and economic sanctions against) apartheid South Africa. After graduation, he threw himself into social justice efforts full-time, as a Youth Coordinator and Associate Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism: the largest of the many groups organized in the early 1990s to defeat the political candidacies of white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. From there, he became a community organizer in New Orleans’ public housing, and a policy analyst for a children’s advocacy group focused on combatting poverty and economic inequity. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Smith College School of Social Work, in Northampton, MA., and from 1999-2003 was an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute in Nashville, TN.

Wise is the author of six books, including his highly-acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, as well as Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority, and Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity. His next book, Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America, will be released in early 2015. He has contributed chapters or essays to over 25 additional books and his writings are taught in colleges and universities across the nation. His essays have appeared on Alternet, Salon, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, The Root, Black Commentator, BK Nation and Z Magazine among others.

Wise has been featured in several documentaries, including “White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in America” (from the Media Education Foundation), which has been called “A phenomenal educational tool in the struggle against racism,” and “One of the best films made on the unfinished quest for racial justice,” by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva of Duke University, and Robert Jensen of the University of Texas, respectively. He also appeared alongside legendary scholar and activist, Angela Davis, in the 2011 documentary, “Vocabulary of Change.” In this public dialogue between the two activists, Davis and Wise discussed the connections between issues of race, class, gender, sexuality and militarism, as well as inter-generational movement building and the prospects for social change.

Wise appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues and was featured in a 2007 segment on 20/20. He graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, in New Orleans. He and his wife Kristy are the proud parents of two daughters.

 
battleDr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste is an Associate Professor of Anthropology  and the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She is a wife, the mother of three incredible children, and a scholar that believes that activism can happen in the classroom and beyond.  Dr. Battle-Baptiste, by training, is a historical archaeologist interested in the intersection of race, class, and gender, across the African Diaspora.  Her theoretical interests include Black Feminist theory, hip-hop feminism, critical heritage studies, and the African Diaspora.  Her publications include commentaries and papers in edited volumes on historical archaeology and slavery in the Southern United States. Her courses include: Gender and Slavery in the Americas, Gender in Hip-Hop Culture, Historical Archaeology, Race & the American Museum, African Diaspora Archaeology, Racialized Bodies, and Writing and Research Methods in Archaeology.  Dr. Battle-Baptiste has conducted field work at a variety of sites, including The Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson in Nashville, Tennessee; Rich Neck Plantation in Williamsburg, Virginia; and The Abiel Smith School in Boston, Mass; and the W. E. B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Her latest research is a community-based archaeology project at the Millars Plantation site on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.
 

souljahSister Souljah is the author of 5 national best sellers. In 2007 she became a New York Times Best Selling author and has since charted in the top ten of the NYT list three times over. She has penned The Coldest Winter Ever (fiction), which has sold two million copies to date, and Midnight,  A Gangster Love Story (fiction), Midnight and The Meaning Of Love, (fiction), A Deeper Love Inside; The Porsche Santiaga Story (fiction) and NO DISRESPECT, (non fiction), all best sellers. On November 10th, 2015, her newest novel, titled; A Moment Of Silence, MIDNIGHT III will be published wherever books are sold.

Souljah is an American hip hop-generation author, activist, recording artist, and film producer. She gained prominence for Bill Clinton’s criticism of her remarks about race in the United States during the 1992 presidential campaign. Clinton’s well-known repudiation of her comments led to what is now known in politics as a Sister Souljah moment. A major participant in the international student anti-aparthied  movement, Souljah helped to create a momentum, movement and fervor which liberated Nelson Mandela and brought about the divestment of millions of dollars from corporations doing business with apartheid South Africa. Her travels in Africa also included Zambia and South Africa. She believes it is essential that African professionals work together, invest in and help to save, shape and further develop our continent, resources, families, and children.

As a student activist in America, Souljah created, financed, and implemented the African Youth Survival Camp, a six week summer sleep away academic/ cultural camp for 200 children of homeless families. With a skillful curriculum, which she designed, this camp ran for over 3 consecutive years and inspired major celebrities to start their own camps and schools, and to build charities and institutions to give back.

As a community activist, Souljah organized against racially motivated crimes, police brutality, and the miseducation of urban youth. She produced and promoted several outdoor rallies and concerts, in Harlem NY, which drew nearly 30,000 youth each time, as well as the participation of top Hip-Hop and R&B celebrities.

Many people attempt to silence, isolate, interrupt or alter Sister Souljah’s powerful voice. and beautiful presence. An influential woman who has achieved so much, she remains down to earth, consistent and persistent. She has been blessed to reach and touch hundreds of thousands of young people, students and even the elders. Her mantra, is to work with and alongside any human of any race or faith or culture, who lives to add to the good in the world, and not the evil.


2013 SPEAKERS

KocopowellCoqueace “Koco” Powell is a health educator who has made it her mission to educate other women about breast cancer, especially the type she has, triple-negative breast cancer, which can be aggressive. She said black women in particular lack awareness about the disease that many people do not want to talk about. A recent study by the University of California Davis found that black women with advanced breast cancer die at a higher rate than women of other races.

“Breast cancer has opened my eyes,” Powell said. “It was for a reason because I have a voice where I can speak out about it. I can talk about it and say, ‘If you don’t get early detection, this is what happens.’”

Powell was featured in a Walgreens commercial that aired during the Lifetime network TV movie Five, about breast cancer. She does not cover her head, which is bald from the chemotherapy, with a wig or scarf because she wants others to see cancer’s effects. She serves as spokesperson for a number of organizations and travels the nation educating communities.
 

kunjufuDr. Jawanza Kunjufu has dedicated his career to addressing the ills afflicting black culture in the United States, working primarily as an educational consultant and author but more recently expanding into video and film production. All aspects of the African American experience occupy Kunjufu’s attention, but the main thrust of his work has been directed toward improving the education and socialization of black youths. He is the founder and president of African American Images, a Chicago-based publishing company that sponsors dozens of workshops intended to help educators and parents develop practical solutions to the problems of child-rearing in what he perceives to be a racist society. Kunjufu holds advanced degrees in business and economics that have enabled him to place the problems of black society in the larger context of national and international economic models.

Born on June 15, 1953, in Chicago, Kunjufu—who adopted a Swahili name in 1973—credits his parents, Eddie and Mary Brown, with affording him the encouragement, discipline, and stability that would later become the core of his program for the renewal of black society. As a young man, Kunjufu was urged by his father to volunteer his time at a number of different jobs, working without pay in exchange for learning firsthand how businesses and skilled craftsmen went about their work. Kunjufu attended Illinois State University at Normal and received a bachelor of science degree in economics in 1974. Ten years later he finished a doctorate in business administration at Union Graduate School.
 
Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu was educated at Morgan State, Illinois State, and Union Graduate School. He has been a guest speaker at most universities throughout the U.S., and has been a Consultant to most urban school districts. He has authored 33 books including national best sellers, Black Students: Middle Class Teachers; Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education; An African Centered Response to Ruby Payne’s Poverty Theory; Raising Black Boys; 200 Plus Educational Strategies to Teach Children of Color; and his latest title, Understanding Black Male Learning Styles. His work has been featured in Ebony and Essence Magazine, and he has been a guest on BET & Oprah. He is also a frequent guest on the Michael Baisden show.
 
Dr. Kunjufu is proud to say that he is a husband, father, and grandfather. He’s also a vegetarian and an avid tennis player and has not missed a day’s work in 36 years.
 

timwiseTim Wise, whom scholar and philosopher Cornel West calls, “A vanilla brother in the tradition of (abolitionist) John Brown,” is among the nation’s most prominent antiracist essayists and educators. He has spent the past 20 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1000 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the nation. He has also lectured internationally, in Canada and Bermuda, and has trained corporate, government, law enforcement and medical industry professionals on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions.

Wise’s antiracism work traces back to his days as a college activist in the 1980s, fighting for divestment from (and economic sanctions against) apartheid South Africa. After graduation, he threw himself into social justice efforts full-time, as a Youth Coordinator and Associate Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism: the largest of the many groups organized in the early 1990s to defeat the political candidacies of white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. From there, he became a community organizer in New Orleans’ public housing, and a policy analyst for a children’s advocacy group focused on combatting poverty and economic inequity. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Smith College School of Social Work, in Northampton, MA., and from 1999-2003 was an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute in Nashville, TN.

Wise is the author of six books, including his highly-acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, as well as Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority, and Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity. His next book, Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America, will be released in early 2015. He has contributed chapters or essays to over 25 additional books and his writings are taught in colleges and universities across the nation. His essays have appeared on Alternet, Salon, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, The Root, Black Commentator, BK Nation and Z Magazine among others.

Wise has been featured in several documentaries, including “White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in America” (from the Media Education Foundation), which has been called “A phenomenal educational tool in the struggle against racism,” and “One of the best films made on the unfinished quest for racial justice,” by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva of Duke University, and Robert Jensen of the University of Texas, respectively. He also appeared alongside legendary scholar and activist, Angela Davis, in the 2011 documentary, “Vocabulary of Change.” In this public dialogue between the two activists, Davis and Wise discussed the connections between issues of race, class, gender, sexuality and militarism, as well as inter-generational movement building and the prospects for social change.

Wise appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues and was featured in a 2007 segment on 20/20. He graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, in New Orleans. He and his wife Kristy are the proud parents of two daughters.
 

kembaKemba Smith-Pradia grew up as an only child in Richmond, Virginia and graduated high school and continued her education at prestigious Hampton University. What happened to Kemba in her new campus environment was a nightmare. In an attempt to “fit in,” Kemba associated with the wrong crowd and became involved with a drug dealer. He was a major figure in a crack cocaine ring and drew Kemba right in the middle of his life with physical, mental and emotional abuse disguised as “love.”

After enduring this turbulent four-year relationship in 1994, Kemba was sentenced to 24.5 years and served 6.5 years in federal prison. Fortunately, she regained her freedom after President Clinton granted her clemency in December 2000. Her case drew support from across the nation and the world to reverse a disturbing trend in the rise of lengthy sentences for first time non-violent drug offenders. Her story has been featured on CNN, Nightline, Court TV, The Early Morning Show, Judge Hatchett, and a host of other television programs. In addition, Kemba has been featured in several publications such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, JET, Emerge, Essence, Heart and Soul, Glamour, and People Magazines.

Kemba’s traumatic real life experience forces today’s students to recognize that there are consequences to their life choices. She has been corporately sponsored to speak at a variety of high schools and college venues by Proctor & Gamble, Bank One Academy, Shell Corporation, BET, Traveler’s Foundation, and Verizon. Rainforest Films acquired the rights to produce Kemba’s life story into a film. Rainforest Films is based out of Atlanta and has produced the critically acclaimed films: Stomp the Yard, This Christmas, Obsessed, Takers and Think Like a Man.

Kemba is a graduate of Virginia Union University and was a past recipient for a two year Soros Justice Postgraduate Fellowship for advocates. She has spoken on panels, testified before Congress and the United Nations regarding a variety of criminal justice issues including: crack cocaine sentencing, mandatory drug sentencing, women and incarceration, felony disenfranchisement, and re-entry. Currently, Kemba is continuing to develop her 501 (c) (3) foundation, the Kemba Smith Foundation.
 
As a wife, mother, advocate, national public speaker and author of her long awaited memoir, Poster Child, Kemba has received numerous awards and recognitions for her courage and determination to educate the public about the devastating consequences of current drug policies. Ultimately, Kemba knows that there is a lesson in each experience in life, and she has embraced her experience, learned from it, and is now using that experience to teach others.
 

2014 Speakers
 
steveperryDr. Steve Perry‘s heart pumps passion and produces positive change. Featured in CNN’s Black in America series, Dr. Perry is the most talked about innovative educator on the scene today.  Perry is the founder and principal of what U.S. News and World Report has cited as one of the top schools in the country, Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. Capital Prep has sent 100% of its predominantly low-income, minority, first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006.
 
Perry is in a hurry to transform the community. Born into his family’s third generation of poverty on his mother’s 16th birthday, Perry believes that the success of a life is determined by where you end, not where you start.  It is this philosophy that inspired him to transform the lives of poor and minority children by providing them with access to a college education.
 
Dr. Steve Perry is a strong advocate of personal and civic responsibility in all aspects of life. He emphasizes the social issues that aim at building up both the individual and the community so that the next generation can be better contributing members of society. When Perry speaks, he reaches the heart of his audience to motivate change in themselves and their community.  His secrets to success and calls to action are revealed in his new book, “Push Has Come To Shove: Getting Our Kids The Education They Deserve – Even If It Means Picking A Fight.”
 
In addition to being the principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Dr. Perry, MSW is an Education Contributor for CNN and MSNBC, an Essence Magazine columnist, best-selling author, and host of the #1 docudrama for TVONE “Save My Son.”
 

watkinsDr. Boyce Watkins is an author, economist, political analyst, and social commentator. Formerly a member of the finance faculty, and currently a Scholar in Residence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Syracuse University, he also is a Distinguished Scholar with the Barbara Jordan Institute for Policy Research, and was previously a Visiting Fellow at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and the Centre for European Economic Research (Mannheim, Germany). Watkins is also a faculty affiliate with the College Sports Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has authored several financial advice books, including Financial Lovemaking 101: Merging Assets with your Partner in Ways that Feel Good, Black American Money, as well as What if George Bush were a Black Man?; his work has also appeared in such publications as the Journal Of Small Business Management, and The Journal of Economics and Business.
 
In addition to publishing scholarly articles on finance and investing, Watkins is an advocate for education, economic empowerment, and social justice, and has made regular appearances in various national media outlets, including CNN, Good Morning America, MSNBC, Fox News, BET, NPR, Essence Magazine, USA Today, The Today Show, ESPN, The Tom Joyner Morning Show and CBS Sports. He is also a frequent guest on, The Wendy Williams Experience radio program. Watkins is also a frequent contributor to theGrio and TheLoop21.com.

 
williamsskinnerDr. Barbara Williams-Skinner has made an indelible imprint in American public policy, government, and community relations as former Director of the Congressional Black Caucus; current President of the Skinner Leadership Institute; Co-Chair of the National African American Clergy Network, and a member of the White House Faith Council.  She has a long history of building bridges and advancing the inclusion of people of all cultures in both the private and public sector.
 
Considered one of Washington’s most influential leaders, and included in 2008’s “Presidential Who’s Who Among Business and Professional Achievers,” Dr. Williams-Skinner was the first female Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus (1974-1981). She continues to serve as advisor to CBC Members and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.  She co-founded the CBCF Prayer Breakfast that annually attracts 2500 business, government, and civic leaders across generation from throughout the nation. As President of the SkinnerLeadership Institute, Dr. Williams-Skinner and her team provides networking, bridge-building and leadership development opportunities between Congressional leaders, business executives, diverse groups, college students, faith leaders, young professionals, and urban youth.  She  currently serves on the President’s Council of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership, working on the issue of global human trafficking.
 
Dr. Williams-Skinner has written numerous articles including “The Power of Love,”, “Been There, Done That: Why African American Christians Resist Racial Reconciliation,” “Why and How Would Jesus Vote?” and ”Obama, the Black Church, and the  Promise of Reconciliation”. She has also published two leadership-training workbooks, Becoming An Effective 21st Century Leader and Personal Transformation Through Biblical Reconciliation.  Most recently, she co-founded the Masters Series for Distinguished Leaders, for African American middle managers, ages 25-45, helping them to move to next levels of their lives and careers while giving back to underserved communities.
 
She earned a B.A. from San Francisco State University and a Master of Social Work, (M.S.W.), and Law Degree (J.D.) from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).  She also earned her Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry from the Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C.
 

joemadisonJoe Madison, also known as “The Black Eagle” needs two wings to fly. And for Madison that translates into successfully balancing the passions of talk radio and political activism. It’s a balancing act that has won him praise in the talk radio industry, and civil rights community.
 
When many of his peers are “all talk and no action,” Madison has spent his entire adult life in the trenches, engaged in the very issues he raises with his radio audience. It’s a sacrifice that has meant going to jail for civil disobedience countless times, taking part in hunger strikes in opposition to apartheid in South Africa, and genocide and modern-day slavery in Sudan.
 
In April 2008, Madison was awarded Talker magazine’s coveted “Freedom of Speech Award.” Previous recipients have included Howard Stern, Al Franken, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’ Reilly and Brian Lamb. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Madison has been named Talker Magazine’s 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts nine times, an amazing feat for someone who started his career on Detroit’s legendary WXYZ-AM in 1980.
 
 
For Madison, it was activism that prepped him for a career in radio. In 1974, several years after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, Madison was appointed Executive Director of the 10,000 member Detroit NAACP at 24.  Madison not only became the youngest person appointed to this position, but displayed leadership well beyond his years. Four years later, he was rewarded with a promotion to director of the NAACP Political Action Department in 1978, by former president and CEO of the NAACP, Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks.
 
 
Madison has been relentless in his efforts to protect those who suffer at the hands of powerful interests. He led demonstrations and arrests in front of the Sudanese Embassy for 90 straight days to end the genocide in Darfur. His efforts led first to the House of Representatives and U.S Senate, and later the Bush administration declaring genocide was taking place in Darfur. Madison followed this up by leading a campaign to divest $93 billion in Sudan. To date, Illinois, South Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, and California have divested from Sudan.
 
Being someone who is proud to say he launched his radio career in Detroit, Madison is equally proud to say his activism brought justice and recognition to the legendary Motown group The Four Tops.  After 40 years in the music industry, The Four Tops had not received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.  It was another “What are you going to do about it” moment for Madison. So in a yearlong campaign, Madison and his listeners sent letters to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce urging them to honor the group. After thousands of letters and calls, The Four Tops were awarded a star on the Walk of Fame in June 1996. Duke Fakir, a member of The Four Tops, said, “We will be forever be grateful to Joe.” The Four Tops publicly honored him at the Wolf Trap Arena in Washington, D.C. with a replica of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Star as officially, “The Fifth Top”.
 

2015 Speakers

 
monieloveMonie Love became a breakdancer at the age of 14. He love for the Hip Hop culture evolved into Dejaying and Rapping. Her mastery of the English language propelled her to become a Lyricist. In the late 1980’s, Love was signed to the London based record label –Chrysalis Records. She achieved chart success with hits: Grandpas Party, Monie in the Middle and It’s Shame.Love quickly became a well-respected figure in British hip hop, and made an impact with American Hip Hop audiences as a protégé of female American artist Queen Latifah. Signed to Warner Brothers for the US and Canada, Love achieved acceptance among her U.S. peers and received Grammy nominations for Monie in the Middle and It’s a Shame. Today, Monie can be loudly heard on Sirius XM with her Ladies First Show. She is an author and founder of the Ladies First Women’s Empowerment Organization. Currently, Monie travels, performs, hosts and DJ’s. She is also the host for the high energyVideo Mix Party with the Legendary DJ Wiz of Kid N Play.

 

cliftondavisClifton Davis is a minister, singer, songwriter and actor. Star of long running televisions shows “That’s My Mama” and “Amen,” Davis also penned the song “Never Can Say Goodbye,” which was made famous by the Jackson Five. Davis won a nomination for a Tony Award for his Broadway performance of “Two Gentlemen of Verona and also starred in Broadway productions “Apple Tree” and “Hello Dolly.” He has guest-starred on several television sitcoms and hosted a show on TBN. He is a motivational speaker who enjoys helping others and bringing hope and prosperity into their lives.

 

 

 
debbieirvingDebby Irving  has worked since the 1980s to foster diversity, inclusiveness, and community-building. She has both a passion for cross-cultural collaborations and an awareness of the complexities inherent in cross-cultural relationships. She has worked in public and private schools as a classroom teacher, board member, and parent. Debby is author of the landmark book “Waking Up White: which was described by author and social commentator Tim Wise as “a brutally honest, unflinching exploration of race and personal identity, told with heart by a truly gifted storyteller.” Debby is graduate of the Winsor School in Boston, she holds a BA from Kenyon College and an MBA from Simmons College. A racial justice educator and writer, Debby works with other white people to transform confusion into curiosity and anxiety into action. As her husband, Bruce, likes to say, “It couldn’t have happened to a whiter person.”
 

domingoDomingo Guyton is an Adjunct Professor at Springfield College-Boston Campus and Worcester State University, Guyton is well rounded in African American History and how relates to the current hip hop generation. Earlier years of Guyton’s life were documented in two books, Jackie Waldman’s Teens With The Courage To Give, which aired on Oprah in May 2000 and Barbara Metzler’s Passionaries. The producer of over 200 songs, his music has appeared in several TV shows and movies, including MTV & Paramount Pictures’ Spring Break Lawyer, CBS’s 90210, NBC’s Just Deal and ABC’s Lincoln Heights. For six years he was the drummer for Grammy® award winning group Tavares. The producer and director of three award winning films: Lest We Forget: The Black Holocaust, My Slave Sister Myself and YTF, which won five awards since 2013.

Series Host

 tswanBishop Talbert W. Swan, II is the pastor of the Spring of Hope Church Of God In Christ, Assistant General Secretary for the International Church Of God In Christ, National Chaplain of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., Executive Director of COGIC Family Services, an author, radio talk show host, newspaper columnist, and long-time community activist. He is the president of the Greater Springfield NAACP, Chairman of the Board of Dunbar Family & Community Center and sits on various other boards and committees. Bishop Swan has been at the forefront of civil rights issues throughout the region and the nation for over two decades. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Western New England College, an Associate of Science and Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies from Charter Oak State College, a Master of Arts in Theology from Hartford Seminary, a Master of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and Graduate Certificates from Hartford Seminary and Harvard Divinity School. Bishop Swan’s life’s work has been committed to the mission of ensuring the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and eliminating race-based discrimination.