Featured SpeakersPage address: http://www.mnsu.edu/panafricanconference/speakers.html
Mawuli Mel Davis
Thursday, February 8, 2018 9:45-10:45 AM
Mawuli Mel Davis is a founding partner of the Davis Bozeman Law Firm where he leads the firm’s Civil Rights Division. He attended the United States Naval Academy and earned a degree in Political Science. Attorney Davis is recognized as a Super Lawyer, a distinction given to less than 3% of the lawyers practicing in Georgia. Attorney Davis was been recognized for his work as Civil Rights attorney and advocate by the Gate City Bar Association, ACLU of Georgia, Urban League of Greater Atlanta, and Southern Center for Human Rights. His diverse television appearances range from serving as a guest commentator on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on CNN to representing recording artist Lil’ Scrappy on VH-1’s Love & Hip Hop Atlanta. His organizing efforts include working with gang members in Chicago to participating in the UN World Conference Against Racism. As an activist, Attorney Davis is a co-founder of Let Us Make Man. After the acquittal of George Zimmerman, he was one of the primary organizers for the”Respect Black Life” march of over 5,000 protesters from the Atlanta University Center to CNN which was featured in Ebony magazine. As a result of his many community endeavors, Attorney Davis was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP. Additionally, he has represented and organized legal support for Occupy Movement, Moral Monday, and Black Lives Matter. He has affectionately been dubbed the “Liberation Lawyer”.
Charlene A. Carruthers
Thursday, February 8, 2018 12:30-1:30 PM
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 work has been covered in 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.
Thursday, February 8, 2018 4:00-5:00 PM
When artist Damon Davis went to join the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after police killed Michael Brown in 2014, he found not only anger but also a sense of love for self and community. His documentary "Whose Streets?" tells the story of the protests from the perspective of the activists who showed up to challenge those who use power to spread fear and hate. He explains that his practice is part therapy, part social commentary. Davis works across a spectrum of creative mediums to tell stories. These stories range in topic and scope. In recent years, he has been making art to empower the disenfranchised and powerless, and to combat the system oppression that plagues our world today.
Friday, February 9, 2018 10:00-11:00 AM
Paris Hatcher is a Black, queer feminist in love with the South. With over 10 years of experience on the local, national, and international level, Paris has been working with leading organizations to amplify the leadership of marginalized communities, win public policy campaigns, and advance reproductive and sexual health and justice, gender justice and queer liberation. Notably, she co-founded and was the Executive Director of SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, one of the leading reproductive health and justice organizations in the Southeast. Under her direction SPARK led successful advocacy campaigns, increased the participation of women of color, queer and trans youth of color, and young people in the political process, and worked with stakeholders to begin to shift the narrative about reproductive health and justice in the state of Georgia and in the Southeast. She completed her Masters of Arts in Africana Women’s Studies at Clark Atlanta University with a research focus on Caribbean women’s activism and social movements. Paris is a Board member of SONG (Southerners On New Ground), a founding Board member for the Groundswell Fund(2007-2012), a founding Steering Committee member for the Black Reproductive Justice Think Tank, and a bike magician with Red, Bike, and Green. When not grinding for justice, you can find Paris on her bike, on the farm, dancing, or with her fabulous family including her beloved Jack Russell Terrier, Audre.
Friday, February 9, 2018 10:00-11:00 AM
M. Adams is a community organizer and co-executive director of Freedom Inc., where she has been for eight years. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Adams has been in Madison since 2003. Adams’s dad has been incarcerated most of her life and she comes from a community that has been the extreme targets of police violence—and in March 2016 Adams’s mother transitioned after fighting cancer and many forms of violence. Adams, herself, also a dad and has her family as a primary motivator for her work. As a queer Black person, Adams has developed and advocated for a strong intersectional approach in numerous important venues: Adams is a leading figure in the Take Back the Land Movement, she presented before the United Nations for the Convention on Eliminating Racial Discrimination, the co-Author of Forward from Ferguson and a work in progress on Black community control over the police, and author to intersectionality theory in Why Killing Unarmed Black folks is a Queer issue. Adams can be seen in person, on TV or in the newspapers giving near weekly presentations, testifying at city council meetings, and energizing crowds at protests. For the second year in a row, the online nonprofit magazine, Madison365, published a "Black Power list" naming Adams one of Wisconsin's Most Influential African-Americans.
Zenzele Isoke, PhD
Friday, February 9, 2018 5:00-5:30 PM
Zenzele Isoke is a black feminist theorist, urban ethnographer, and political storyteller. Drawing from the ideas of black decolonial thinkers, Isoke writes the contemporary history of cities through the political struggles of self-identified black/queer women of the African diaspora. Writing across the fields of geography, political science, and urban anthropology, her scholarship spans several cities in the U.S., Middle-East, and the Caribbean. Her book new project: Unheard Voices at the Bottom of Empire develops a set of “counterpoetic” writing practices to theorize and explore black feminist politics through the mediums of collaborative art-making, breath and meditation, and conventional grassroots organizing in racially segregated urban spaces. She is author of Urban Black Women and the Politics of Resistance (Palgrave 2013). Her writing has been featured in several peer-reviewed journals and anthologies including Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, Transforming Anthropology, Gender, Place and Culture, among others. She is also the mother of two teenaged black girls, a (slowly) rising poet, and organizer in her own right. She is currently writing a genre blending memoir/self-help book now titled, “Head Above Water: Black Womanhood and the Afterlife of Childhood Sexual Abuse.” Dr. Isoke is Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota.