ZAHRA BILLOO is a civil rights attorney and the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area (CAIR-SFBA) office. She has led its six-fold growth and today works with a team of a dozen advocates promoting justice and empowering American Muslims through legal services, legislative advocacy, know your rights works, and other initiatives. During her tenure at CAIR-SFBA, the oldest chapter of the nation’s largest American Muslim civil rights organization, she has filed lawsuits against the Department of Justice, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Southwest Airlines, and represented hundreds of individuals facing discrimination and harassment. Zahra was among speakers at the historic Women’s March in Washington in January 2017 and is a plaintiff in the Sarsour v. Trump litigation, challenging the Muslim Ban. Her advocacy has been highlighted in local and national media including MSNBC, NPR, and the San Jose Mercury News which named her among the women to watch in a March 2017 Women’s History Month cover story and the Chronicle of Philanthropy which named her among millennials who lead in a January 2018 cover story. Among her awards, Zahra has received the 2017 Human Rights Award from the Society of American Law Teachers and the 2014 Unsung Hero Award from the National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. She is currently a fellow with the American Leadership Forum’s Silicon Valley Chapter. A proud graduate of California’s public schools and universities, Zahra earned her undergraduate degrees from the California State University, Long Beach, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings. She is admitted to practice law in California
STACY BOHLENis the chief Executive Officer of the National Indian Health Board in Washington, DC. An enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Ms. Bohlen is a veteran of public policy, advocacy, coalition building and Tribal consultation. She began her career in the office of her Congressman and later was a policy analyst and legislative advocate for the American Osteopathic Association where she developed expertise in graduate medical education finance and policy. After serving as federal relations director for the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Ms. Bohlen joined NIHB as Legislative Director. She has served as the organization’s chief executive and spokesperson for twelve years.
SUNG YEON CHOIMORROW
SUNG YEON CHOIMORROW is the executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), nation’s only organization that works to advocate for the human rights and advance social justice for Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls living in the United States as a Reproductive Justice organization. Sung Yeon works to advance the voices and perspective of women of color, especially AAPI women and girls because she believes that when we bring the voices of experiences of women who experience intersectionality and address oppression and liberation from a intersectional, holistic approach, the progressive movement is stronger. Sung Yeon is passionate about making sure AAPI women and girls have a voice and representation in progressive policymaking and coalition spaces and building power in the communities of AAPI women and girls to lead the struggle to create change for ourselves. Before working at NAPAWF, Sung Yeon was the Director of Organizing at Interfaith Worker Justice leading collaborative work with various partner organizations, unions and faith communities on worker organizing and worker justice public policy. Prior to IWJ, Sung Yeon was a Community Organizer at Asian American Institute where she helped organize the pan-Asian American community in Chicago to work together on presidential and mayoral elections, immigration reform, the state budget, and redistricting. Sung Yeon was born in South Korea and spent her childhood in Singapore and India. Sung Yeon is a first generation immigrant who came to the U.S. Sung Yeon is an Ordained Minister in the Presbyterian Church(U.S.A.). Sung Yeon is a board member of Hana Center, a Korean American Immigrant Rights organization in Chicago. When not at coalition meetings and community meetings, she enjoys her time with her spouse and her precocious three year-old feminist in the making.
CONNIE CHOWis a bridge builder who crosses siloes, continents and disciplinary boundaries in order to create a world where more people can live up to their full potential. She is the founder and director of The Exploratory, a Ghana-based NGO that promotes relevant, joyful, collaborative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and gender equity. When in Boston, she is an associate lecturer in the Honors College at UMass Boston, where her teaching and programs focus on intersectionality and activism in and through STEM. Formerly, as the first Executive Director of Science Club for Girls, a Boston-based nonprofit that expands access to hands-on STEM, especially for girls of color. Connie’s work and leadership had been recognized by the Social Innovation Forum, MetLife Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance, amongst others. Prior to joining SCFG, Connie was an assistant professor in Biology at Simmons College, where she was the co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation-funded summer program that introduced technology and science to youth in the Boston public middle schools. Connie received her Ph.D. in Virology from Harvard University and her postdoctoral training in molecular parasitology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Connie actions have always been informed by human rights principles. She co-founded the Massachusetts CEDAW Project, a coalition that sought local implementation of the international women’s human rights treaty in Massachusetts, while she was on the steering committee for AIUSA’s Women’s Human Rights program. She served on the Board of Directors of Survivors, Inc., a grassroots organization comprising of low-income women and their allies, and was a member of the steering committee for the Women’s Human Rights program for Amnesty International USA.
ANNA CHU serves as Vice President for Strategy and Policy at the National Women's Law Center. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Chu served as the Vice President of Policy and Research at the Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund, leading its economic justice advocacy work, and was previously the Director of CAP’s Middle Out Economic Program. Ms. Chu has also served as the Policy Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and has spent time on Capitol Hill as Policy Advisor for the House Democratic Caucus. After attending the University of Southern California Law School, Chu began her career as a law clerk to former Chief Judge Jane A. Restani in her sittings before the U.S. Court of International Trade and in six different federal appellate courts. Following this, Chu spent time as an attorney at Paul Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP.
CHERYL DORSEY is a pioneer in the social entrepreneurship movement, and the President of Echoing Green, a global organization seeding and unleashing next-generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems. Prior to leading this social impact organization, Cheryl was a social entrepreneur herself and received an Echoing Green Fellowship in 1992 to help launch The Family Van, a community-based mobile health unit in Boston. She became the first Echoing Green Fellow to head the social venture fund in 2002. An accomplished leader and entrepreneur, she has served in two presidential administrations as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor (1997-98); Special Assistant to the Director of the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Labor Department (1998-99); and Vice Chair for the President's Commission on White House Fellowships (2009-2017). Cheryl serves on several boards including the SEED Foundation, The Bridgespan Group, and, previously, the Harvard Board of Overseers. She has a medical degree from Harvard Medical School and her Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School and received her Bachelor’s degree in History and Science magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges. Cheryl has received numerous awards for her commitment to public service, including the Pfizer Roerig History of Medicine Award, the Robert Kennedy Distinguished Public Service Award, and the Manuel C. Carballo Memorial Prize. She was also featured as one of "America's Best Leaders" by US News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School in 2009, and as one of The Nonprofit Times' "Power and Influence Top 50" in 2010 and 2011. Cheryl was most recently elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
DR. AYANA ELIZABETH JOHNSON
DR. AYANA ELIZABETH JOHNSONis a marine biologist, policy expert, conservation strategist, and Brooklyn native. She is founder and president of Ocean Collectiv, a strategy consulting firm for conservation solutions grounded in social justice. Ayana envisions and works toward a healthy ocean that supports food security, economies, and cultures. In addition to client projects, she teaches at New York University as an adjunct professor, and volunteered as co-director of partnerships for the March for Science. As executive director of the Waitt Institute, Ayana co-founded the Blue Halo Initiative and led the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning effort. Previously, she worked on ocean policy at the EPA and NOAA, and was recently a TED resident and Aspen Institute fellow. Ayana earned a BA from Harvard University in Environmental Science and Public Policy, and a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in marine biology, with a dissertation on the ecology, socio-economics, and policy of sustainably managing coral reefs. She writes about how we can use the ocean without using it up on Scientific American and National Geographic and @ayanaeliza.
DABNEY P. EVANS
DABNEY P. EVANS, PhD, MPH is an Associate Professor in the Hubert Department of Health at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University. She is a mixed-methods researcher focused on gender-based violence, and the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. As one of the first faculty to include health and human rights in the public health curriculum, Dr. Evans is an established teacher and trainer. Since 2010 her teaching and training activities have touched over 20,000 learners from 171 countries. Her current research scholarly research is focused on the relationship between violence against women laws and intimate partner violence in Brazil. Dr. Evans has published over thirty book chapters, scholarly articles and commissioned works; she has made over 100 peer-reviewed and invited presentations. Since participating in The OpEd Project’s public program in 2015 she has published 16 pieces of public scholarship appearing in the Pacific Standard, the Atlanta Journal Constitution and The Hill; in 2015 she presented a TEDx talk. Dr. Evans is a member of the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa National Service Honor Society, and chair of the Human Rights Forum of the American Public Health Association. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award (2007), the Crystal Apple for excellence in professional school education (2015), the Unsung Heroine Award (2016), the American Public Health Association Mid-Career Award in International Health (2017) and the Association of School and Programs of Public Health Early Career Public Health Teaching Award (2018). She represents Emory University on the steering committee of the Interagency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crisis. She is fluent in Portuguese. Since 2017 she has been serving as the Interim Director of the Emory University Institute for Developing Nations.
KWAJELYN JOHNSON currently serves as Co-Director at Feminist Women's Health Center (FWHC) in Atlanta, GA, where she leads development and communications, admin and operations, volunteer engagement, grassroots organizing, leadership development, education programs, community outreach, civic engagement, and legislative advocacy work to improve reproductive health, rights and justice in Georgia. Since 2013 she has been committed to expanding FWHC’s statewide and national impact and deepening community partnerships. Kwajelyn also sits on the board of directors for All-Options, Abortion Care Network, Soul Food Cypher, and ProGeorgia, and on the steering committees of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance and the Mife Coalition. In all of her work, Kwajelyn is interested in opportunities to use a reproductive justice lens to spark dialogue, transform perspectives, develop leaders, and cultivate change. Prior to joining FWHC, she spent three years as the Program Manager for WonderRoot Community Arts Center and eight years as a Credit Risk Manager with Wachovia Bank's Community Development Finance Group.
NICOLE KEENAN-LAI is the Executive Director of Puget Sound Sage, a community and worker advocacy organization based in Seattle, Washington. Until 2018, she was a co-founder and Executive Director of the Fair Work Center, a hub for workers to better understand and exercise their legal rights, improve their working conditions and connect with community resources. In just three years after opening, the Fair Work Center had trained nearly over 20,000 people about their rights, influenced legislation like secure scheduling, and established a legal clinic in partnership with two local universities (that recovered over $400,000 in settlements for workers in its first full year). Earlier, as an organizer with Washington Environmental Council, she played a key role in preventing a coal export facility in Grays Harbor County. The facility, if built, would have contaminated the air and water near several oyster farms and residential neighborhoods. Before launching the Fair Work Center, she was the policy director of Puget Sound Sage, where she launched the organization’s climate justice program in addition to serving as the policy lead for the Fight for $15 coalition in Seattle and prior to that served as a primary researcher and organizer for the $15 living wage campaign in SeaTac. In 2014, at the age of 29, she served on Mayor Ed Murray’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee—the youngest person on the committee—where she was a voice for racial equity and workers’ rights. Her work had an influential impact on the passage of the historic $15/hour minimum wage in Seattle. In 2014, she received a 50th Anniversary Civil Rights Leadership Award from the Seattle Office of Civil Rights and Seattle Women’s Commission, and the following year, she was named one of the “15 people who should really run Seattle” by Seattle Met magazine.
ANA KHARRAZI Is the Executive Director of Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that aims to strengthen the Iranian diaspora and empower its youth. Under Mana's leadership, IAAB has grown into a leading Iranian-American community organization with its celebrated Camp Ayandeh, a high school leadership program featured on CNN International, The Washington Post, and other media outlets. IAAB and Camp Ayandeh were also featured in ‘The Limits of Whiteness; Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race,’ a groundbreaking work about shifting racial status in the United States. IAAB is the organizational plaintiff in IAAB v Trump, a legal challenge against the Muslim Ban that succeeded in obtaining an injunction in the 4th circuit. Mana is the former Education Director of Response Centre International, a volunteer Greek NGO created in response to the refugee crisis. As part of her role, Mana co-developed the first comprehensive educational program for refugee youth in Greece, tying in experiential youth leadership practices, social justice principles, and trauma sensitive curriculum. Prior to leading IAAB, Mana was a Field Organizer at Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), leading the organization's work in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as other parts of the South. Mana campaigned on maternal healthcare, immigration, the death penalty, and national security issues. Mana served as a member of the Southern Human Rights Network's steering committee and various regional human rights collectives. Mana helped advocate on behalf of Troy Davis, including helping coordinate actions in Savannah during an evidentiary hearing in federal court. Mana received her BA from Emory University in International Studies and Middle Eastern Studies, along with a minor in Persian. Mana was a Rhoda Kaufman Scholarship recipient and a steering committee member of Center for International Living.
LOUIE A. ORTIZ-FONSECA
LOUIE A. ORTIZ-FONSECA is an award winning HIV activist and artist. For over 20 years, he has been committed to working with grassroots queer agencies of color to strengthen their work with Black and Latinx queer men. He is the 2015 winner of the Hispanic Choice Awards for Creative Artist of the Year for his storytelling project The Gran Varones. Louie is currently the Director of LGBT Health & Rights at Advocates for Youth, where he oversees a multi-city project working school districts to provided intentional and effective HIV Prevention to Black and Latino young adolescent sexual minority males.
CARA PAGE is a Black Feminist Queer cultural/memory worker, curator & organizer. She comes from a long ancestral legacy of organizers and cultural workers from the Southeast to the Northeast. For the past 20+ years, she has fought for LGBTQIGNC & People of Color liberation, and organized in the Southeast with movement builders such as SONG, Project South, and the Atlanta Transformative Justice Collaborative and many organizers, healers and cultural workers across the U.S. Over the past two decades she has organized to build community led safety strategies to interrupt and intervene on generational trauma, policing & surveillance; and build survivor led wellness strategies to transform interpersonal, communal and state violence. She believes in abolition of the PIC and the MIC (Medical Industrial Complex) that continues to use scientific racism and criminalize People of Color & Indigenous practitioners and our traditions, as an extension of state control. She is the former Executive Director of the Audre Lorde Project; an organizing center for, by and about Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Two Spirit, Transgender & Gender Non Conforming People of Color in New York City; and now the Director of Programs at the Astraea Lesbians for Justice Foundation. She is also the co-founder of the Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective; a southeastern network of healers, health practitioners and organizers responding to and intervening on incidences of violence & generational trauma. She is a current recipient of the Barnard Center for Research on Women Activist-in –Residence Fellowship. She is also the Director of Programs at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice.
JULIE RIKELMAN is the Senior Director of Litigation in the US Program at the Center for Reproductive Rights. The Center is a global legal organization that works to secure reproductive rights as fundamental human rights that all governments around the world are obligated to protect, respect and fulfill. In the United States, the Center’s work includes cutting-edge litigation to protect women’s dignity and equality and expand to access reproductive health care services, including abortion, prenatal care and contraception. The Center’s groundbreaking cases, including numerous cases at the United States Supreme Court, have changed the law and improved the lives of women throughout the country. During her tenure at the Center, Julie has litigated against a discriminatory policy aimed at women seeking prenatal care in South Carolina, as well as challenged abortion restrictions in states such as Mississippi, North Carolina, Louisiana and Texas. Julie graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and Harvard College.
KAREN ROMERO ESTRADA
KAREN ROMERO ESTRADA was born in Anaheim, California. Currently, she is a research and policy analyst at OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development) and provides research and policy analysis for OCCORD's projects and organizing efforts. Prior to OCCORD, she was an environmental equity policy associate with the Greenlining Institute and a fellow for the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University. She received her bachelor's in Urban and Environmental Policy from Occidental College. Karen is deeply committed to using public policy as a tool to address inequalities and create more equitable environments alongside affected communities.
MARITZA SILVA-FARRELL is the Executive Director of ALIGN, committed to driving transformational change in New York City by forging powerful alliances that benefit workers, immigrants, women, low-income communities of color, and the environment. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Maritza was ALIGN’s Deputy Director and Campaign Director. She has led or played a critical role in coalitions such as Real Affordability for All, Caring Across Generations, the Universal Pre-K campaign, and the campaign that successful halted Walmart’s plans to develop in East New York. Previously, Maritza worked with the Long Island Progressive Coalition to coordinate the Yes, In My Back Yard (YIMBY) campaign, increasing affordable housing throughout the entire island. A native of Ecuador, Maritza earned her BA in journalism from the Central University of Ecuador. She later completed a BA degree in communications from SUNY Old Westbury, where she organized with the New York Public Interest Research Group and United Students Against Sweatshops. She has also worked with Long Island Jobs with Justice on issues related to youth, labor, and immigrant rights, where she combined her passions for journalism and activism by producing short workers’ rights documentaries. Maritza’s vision is of a just and sustainable New York City, achieved by workers and community coming together to tackle inequality and climate change.
MONICA RAYE SIMPSON
MONICA RAYE SIMPSON is the Executive Director of SisterSong, the national Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. A native of rural North Carolina, Monica organizes against human rights violations, reproductive oppression, the prison industrial complex, and structural racism through a feminist and interdisciplinary approach to Black liberation from a southern to a global scale. A true renaissance leader, she is also committed to birth justice as a certified Doula and centers the reproductive justice framework in her practice. Monica’s masterful integration of activism and artistry “artivism,” created a path for the release of her first live album entitled Revolutionary Love, an album praised for its blending of her gospel roots and her passion for social justice. As a cultural strategist Monica created Artists United for Reproductive Justice and works to empower marginalized people and to dismantle systems of oppression. Monica was named as a New Civil Rights Leader by Essence Magazine and was chosen as one of the Advocate magazine’s 40 under 40 leaders.
DR. LAURA EMIKO SOLTIS
DR. LAURA EMIKO SOLTIS is based in Atlanta, Georgia and currently serves as the Executive Director and Professor of Human Rights at Freedom U. As an experienced social movement strategist, Emiko works to advance the immigrant rights movement in the South by building bridges between undocumented and documented student groups, advocating for fair admissions policies in higher education, and cultivating intergenerational relationships between undocumented students and veterans of the Black Freedom Movement. Emiko received her PhD from Emory University and wrote her dissertation on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an interracial farmworker organization in South Florida. As an active public scholar, she writes and lectures frequently on topics such as human rights advocacy,undocumented student activism, economic justice, and music and mobilization. Having also served as a longtime student activist, Emiko is committed to mentoring immigrant youth and providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to be effective leaders in their own freedom struggle. In 2017, Emiko was selected as an Ashoka Fellow. She is also an accomplished photographer and violinist, and sings in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus.
ALEXANDRA C. SUH
ALEXANDRA C. SUH is Executive Director of KIWA (Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance). Founded in 1992, KIWA is a multiracial worker center dedicated to building the power of immigrant workers and residents to transform Los Angeles workplaces and communities. KIWA organizes workers in low-wage industries to share experiences, analyze pressing problems that affect their lives, and together forge solutions. KIWA integrates organizing and leadership development with community services, affordable housing, workplace justice actions, and policy campaigns. KIWA was on the steering committee of LA Raise the Wage, which created a pathway to a $15 minimum wage and established wage enforcement agencies in LA City and County. KIWA was also co-sponsor of 2015 California anti-wage theft legislation SB 588 “A Fair Day’s Pay,” and a leader in the statewide coalition that came together to pass it. Alexandra was a proponent of LA City ballot initiative JJJ: “Build Better LA,” which seeks to bring Los Angeles development in in alignment with public transit, good jobs and affordable housing. JJJ was voted into law by Angelenos in November 2016. Alexandra joined KIWA’s staff in 2009 and began as director in 2011. Her past experience includes community organizing and advocacy around women workers; peace and trade justice; and immigrant women facing homelessness, prostitution, mental illness, and substance abuse. Alexandra holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and took courses in Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona with the aim of integrating environmental solutions with social and economic justice work. She was formerly a professor at Scripps College, The Claremont Colleges. She and her partner live in Koreatown where they are raising two children.
NAJEEBA SYEED is Associate Professor of Interreligious Education at Claremont School of Theology and Director of the Center for Global Peacebuilding. She is an award-winning peacemaker in interreligious and interracial gang conflicts, scholar of critical peace studies and has developed dozens of restorative justice programs around the nation. As a Muslim activist she regularly organizes on issues relevant both to her community and on human rights issues that affect others such as deportation and targeting of undocumented migrants. Most recently she received the Walter Wink Scholar-Activist Award in 2017 for her research and activism in interfaith community organizing on the vital issues of our time