SCORE-SQUARE

SOLIDARITY COUNCIL on RACIAL EQUITY

Solidarity to

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has an enduring commitment to racial equity. We know that for children to thrive, their communities need to be equitable places of opportunity.

La June Montgomery Tabron - W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Yet, we live in a world that continues to favor some human beings over others; one that advances opportunities for a few at the expense of too many.

At this moment, although many hunger for unity, no one voice has the power or reach to draw people together around equity. The inaugural Solidarity Council on Racial Equity has been formed in response – to inspire more people to actively pursue equity.

“To keep moving towards equality, our ranks must swell with those committed to racial progress. When we stand together, we are closer to creating the society that all of our children deserve.”

La June Montgomery Tabron
President and CEO
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

 

SOLIDARITY TO ADVANCE RACIAL EQUITY

Solidarity Council on Racial Equity members are recognized global change leaders in advocacy, the arts, business, education and media. Each stands at the forefront of equity in the public arena. Each is celebrated in his or her professional sphere. Each brings a stirring voice to conversations in the public arena, one that resonates with W.K. Kellogg Foundation values and commitment to racial equity.

As part of the Solidarity Council on Racial Equity, these powerful voices are joining together to reach beyond familiar circles. In partnership with the Kellogg Foundation, they are contributing insight and creative energy to advance racial equity and create a platform for collective action.

2018-2020

2018-2020
SOLIDARITY COUNCIL on RACIAL EQUITY

  • Ava DuVernay
    Ava DuVernay
    Filmmaker
  • Bryan Stevenson
    Bryan Stevenson
    Activist and Attorney
  • David R. Williams
    David R. Williams
    Professor
  • Diane Wolk-Rogers
    Diane Wolk-Rogers
    Parkland, FL Teacher
  • Heather C. McGhee
    Heather C. McGhee
    Senior Fellow
  • Dr. Hélio Santos
    Dr. Hélio Santos
    Diversity Leader
  • Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj
    Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj
    Anthropologist
  • John Legend
    John Legend
    Singer-Activist
  • john a. powell
    john a. powell
    Professor
  • Jerry Tello
    Jerry Tello
    Author and Leader
  • Kent Wong
    Kent Wong
    Educator and Kellogg Fellow
  • Linda Sarsour
    Linda Sarsour
    Activist
  • Michelle Alexander
    Michelle Alexander
    Author
  • Megan Davis
    Megan Davis
    Professor
  • Maria Hinojosa
    Maria Hinojosa
    Journalist
  • Manuel Pastor
    Manuel Pastor
    Professor
  • Mayra Santos-Febres
    Mayra Santos-Febres
    Writer and Professor
  • Saru Jayaraman
    Saru Jayaraman
    Author-Activist
  • Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki S.J.
    Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki S.J.
  • Timothy F. Ryan
    Timothy F. Ryan
    Business Executive
  • Ava DuVernay
    Ava DuVernay
    Filmmaker
  • Bryan Stevenson
    Bryan Stevenson
    Activist and Attorney
  • David R. Williams
    David R. Williams
    Professor
  • Diane Wolk-Rogers
    Diane Wolk-Rogers
    Parkland, FL Teacher
  • Heather C. McGhee
    Heather C. McGhee
    Senior Fellow
  • Dr. Hélio Santos
    Dr. Hélio Santos
    Diversity Leader
  • Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj
    Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj
    Anthropologist
  • John Legend
    John Legend
    Singer-Activist
  • john a. powell
    john a. powell
    Professor
  • Jerry Tello
    Jerry Tello
    Author and Leader
  • Kent Wong
    Kent Wong
    Educator and Kellogg Fellow
  • Linda Sarsour
    Linda Sarsour
    Activist
  • Michelle Alexander
    Michelle Alexander
    Author
  • Megan Davis
    Megan Davis
    Professor
  • Maria Hinojosa
    Maria Hinojosa
    Journalist
  • Manuel Pastor
    Manuel Pastor
    Professor
  • Mayra Santos-Febres
    Mayra Santos-Febres
    Writer and Professor
  • Saru Jayaraman
    Saru Jayaraman
    Author-Activist
  • Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki S.J.
    Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki S.J.
  • Timothy F. Ryan
    Timothy F. Ryan
    Business Executive

For more information please contact communications [at] wkkf.org.

Ava DuVernay
Filmmaker

Filmmaker whose credits include Queen Sugar, Selma and A Wrinkle in Time

Academy Award nominee, Emmy, BAFTA and Peabody Award winner, Ava DuVernay is a writer, director, producer and film distributor. Her directorial work includes the Oscar Award winning historical drama Selma, the Oscar-nominated criminal justice documentary 13th and Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time, which made her the highest grossing African American woman director in domestic box office history.

Ms. DuVernay is currently in production on her next project, based upon the infamous crime case known as the “Central Park Five,” while overseeing production of her critically-acclaimed TV series, Queen Sugar. Winner of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival’s Best Director prize, for her micro-budget film, Middle of Nowhere, DuVernay amplifies the work of people of color and women of all kinds through her media distribution collective ARRAY, named one of Fast Company magazine’s Most Innovative Companies.

In 2017, she was featured as one of FORTUNE magazine’s “50 Greatest Culture Leaders,” and was additionally named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”‎ DuVernay currently sits on the boards of the Sundance Institute, and Film Independent.

Bryan Stevenson
Activist and Attorney

Lawyer, activist, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative

Bryan Stevenson is the Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest attorney who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults.

Stevenson’s work fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has won him numerous awards including the ABA Wisdom Award for Public Service, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award Prize, the Olaf Palme International Prize, the ACLU National Medal Of Liberty, the National Public Interest Lawyer of the Year Award, Gruber Prize for International Justice and the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award.

In 2015, he was named to the Time 100 recognizing the world’s most influential people. In 2016, he received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award. He was named in Fortune’s 2016 and 2017 World’s Greatest Leaders list. He received the MLK, Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize from The King Center in Atlanta in 2018. He also received the American Bar Association Medal, the Association’s highest honor. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, has been awarded 34 honorary doctorate degrees and is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law.

He is the recent author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy, and in April 2018, opened a new museum, The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, built on the site of a former slave warehouse in downtown Montgomery. This is a companion to a national memorial to victims of lynching, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened simultaneously.

David R. Williams
Professor

Professor of Public Health at Harvard who will serve as an honorary member

Dr. David R. Williams is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and professor of African and African American Studies and Sociology there. His prior academic appointments were at Yale University, and the University of Michigan. He holds a MPH (Master of Public Health) from Loma Linda University, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Williams is an internationally recognized authority on social influences on health. He has been an honored invitee as keynote speaker of scientific conferences in Europe, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, South America and across the United States. The author of more than 425 scientific papers, his research has enhanced our understanding of the complex ways in which race, socioeconomic status, stress, racism, health behavior and religious involvement can affect health. The Everyday Discrimination Scale that he developed is one of the most widely used measures of discrimination in health studies.

He has received numerous honors and awards, and has ranked among the top 10 most cited social scientists in the world. In 2005, Dr. Williams was acknowledged as the most cited black scholar in the social sciences. Thomson Reuters has called him “one of the world’s most influential scientific minds.” His research has been featured by some of the nation’s top print and television news organizations, and in his “TED Talk,” which was released in 2017.

Diane Wolk-Rogers
Parkland, FL Teacher

Parkland, Florida AP World History teacher who survived shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018

Diane Wolk-Rogers began teaching because she was passionate about supporting too-often neglected young people facing challenges and vulnerabilities. Early in her career, she led efforts to integrate students diagnosed with learning and emotional disabilities into mainstream classrooms throughout the country’s 6th largest school district, Broward County, Florida.

A classroom teacher for 33 years, Wolk-Rogers received recognition and awards for developing county wide curriculums and leading in-service workshops, which considered learning differences among students. In 2001, she joined the faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) in Parkland, Florida. Wolk-Rogers gained national attention upon speaking publicly in support of #MarchforOurLives, a social justice movement led by her students who’d survived a mass school shooting in February of 2018.

Wolk-Rogers serves as the faculty advisor for MSD’s Gender Sexuality Alliance, and faculty sponsor of the National Students Against Gun Violence chapter. To address the problems of trauma and stress in the classroom, Wolk-Rogers continues her training with the Center for Mind-Body Medicine. She further leads self-awareness and stress-reduction groups in her community and founded the Mind Body Ambassador Program which equips students with simple and effective methods to reduce stress and help others who seek to journey through and beyond trauma.

Wolk-Rogers is a National Board-certified teacher, and holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.

Heather C. McGhee
Senior Fellow

Distinguished Senior Fellow and former president of Demos

Heather C. McGhee joined Demos in 2002 and served as its president from 2014 through June 2018. A recognized thought-leader on the national stage, McGhee is now a distinguished senior fellow, advancing the vision of equal say and equal chance through her writing, public speaking and media appearances.

McGhee is currently authoring a major book to be published in 2019 regarding the personal, economic and societal costs of racism to all Americans. She serves as a frequent contributor to NBC News, appearing on top-rated talk-shows including “Meet the Press”, among others. Her opinions, writing and research have been featured in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, The Nation and The Hill. She has received New York University’s McSilver Award for Leaders in the Fight Against Poverty, and Citizen Action of New York’s Progressive Leadership Award.

McGhee currently serves on the boards of the Center for Working Families, Consumer Reports and Indivisible. She holds a B.A. degree in American Studies from Yale University and a J.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.

Dr. Hélio Santos
Diversity Leader

Former chairperson at Baobá – Fundo para Equidade Racial, leading voice on diversity and inclusion in Brazil and globally

Born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Dr. Hélio Santos, Baoba Board Chairman and President, studied and taught extensively in Sao Paulo, where he earned a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) from the University of Sao Paulo (USP).

He currently resides in Salvador de Bahia, where he teaches human development at Visconde de Cairu University and runs his own consultancy company focused on business diversity. Dr. Santos is the author of many studies and books, and is also a diversity business strategy consultant for several organizations; among them Itau-Unibanco Bank, Abril Editors, CPFL Power and Electricity and the Ford Foundation. He has been an active member of the Brazilian black empowerment movement for more than 40 years, and was responsible for the creation of the first public policy council for affirmative action there.

Dr. Santos was the speaker at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s 2012 America Healing Conference in New Orleans, and he proudly serves as chairperson and president for the Baoba Fund for Racial Equity, as well as the Brazilian Institute of Diversity.

Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj
Anthropologist

Social anthropologist and international spokeswoman (Maya-K’iche’) for indigenous cultures

Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj is a social anthropologist and international spokeswoman who has been at the forefront of the struggles for respect for indigenous cultures. She formerly served as Executive Director of the Mecanismo de los Pueblos Indígenas Oxlajuj Tzikin (Support Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples), from 2005 through 2013.

Dr. Velásquez Nimatuj is the first Maya-K’iche’ woman to earn a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology, and she initiated the court case that made racial discrimination illegal in Guatemala. She has won numerous academic fellowships and awards for her journalism. She was a member of the Latin American Consulting Group of Indigenous Leaders for UNICEF, and participates through the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She also served as advisor on indigenous issues for the Latin American and Caribbean office of UN Women.

In addition, she possesses experience transmitting this knowledge to different collectives from a grassroots level to university students and the public. In recent years, she has taught at different public and private universities throughout the United States, notably The University of Texas at Austin, Duke University and currently Brown University. Her work has been accompanied by an intense struggle to connect, in as many ways as possible, the academic field with activism.

She writes a weekly newspaper column in elPeriódico de Guatemala, and through both her political and academic efforts seek to create viable and realistic ways to create equality for indigenous people.

John Legend
Singer-Activist

10-time Grammy Awards winner, an Academy and Tony awards winner, philanthropist, and founder of the FREEAMERICA CAMPAIGN

Critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning, platinum-selling, singer-songwriter John Legend has garnered ten Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, a Tony Award and a Golden Globe, among others.

From a young age, Legend aspired to use his position in the entertainment industry as a platform for social change. In an essay competition Legend won at the age of 15, he wrote of his dream to become a recording artist and to use his influence and resources to give back to his community. And, that is exactly what he has done. Throughout his career, Legend has committed his time, energy and resources to social justice and equality.

For well over a decade, Legend’s philanthropy and advocacy has focused upon building just, equitable and thriving communities. In 2007, he launched the Show Me Campaign, to give every child access to a quality education and address systemic issues in our criminal justice system. In 2014, he established LRNG Innovators in partnership with The National Writing Project, and with support from The MacArthur Foundation. Most recently, he introduced FREEAMERICA, a multi-year culture change campaign focused on ending mass incarceration.

In addition to his signature initiatives, Legend serves on the Board of Directors of Harlem Village Academies and Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and on the advisory boards of The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School (Penn Law), and Teach for All, global network.

john a. powell
Professor

UC Berkeley Professor and Haas Institute for Fair & Inclusive Society Director who will serve as honorary member

john a. powell is Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, and Professor of Law, African American and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He was previously the executive director at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, and the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota.

Prior to this, he served as the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He is co-founder of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and serves on the boards of several national and international organizations. powell led the development of an “opportunity-based” model that connects affordable housing to education, health and health care, and employment, and is well known for his work developing the frameworks of “targeted universalism” and “othering and belonging” to effect equity-based interventions.

Mr. powell has taught at numerous law schools, including Harvard and Columbia Universities, and is the author of Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Concepts of Self and Other To Build An Inclusive Society.

Jerry Tello
Author and Leader

Author, Racial Healing practitioner and co-founder of National Compadres

Jerry Tello, Founder and Director of Training & Capacity for the National Compadres Network, comes from a family of Mexican-Texan roots and was reared in South Central Los Angeles. He is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of men and boys of color, fatherhood, family strengthening, racial justice and healing, community peace and mobilization, and culturally-based violence prevention and intervention issues.

Over the past 40 years, Tello has dedicated his efforts to “La Cultura Cura”, or efforts addressing systems and community transformational healing from the effects of racial inequity and internalized oppression. His ideology is based on a belief that individuals and community have culturally-based knowledge and wisdom that can be leveraged to prevent and heal the pain of relationship and community violence, teen pregnancy, fatherlessness and racial justice.

He has appeared in Time, Newsweek and Latina magazines, among others, and has received many major awards including President Obama’s White House Champions of Change Award, the Maria Shriver Architect of Change Award, two California Governor’s Awards, the Ambassador of Peace Award and the Presidential Crime Victim’s Service Award, presented by former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno.

Kent Wong
Educator and Kellogg Fellow

Vice President of the California Federation of Teachers and Director of the UCLA Labor Center; Kellogg Fellow Class 10

Kent Wong is the Director of the University of California Los Angeles Labor Center, where he teaches Asian American Studies and Labor Studies. The UCLA Labor Center engages in research, education and public service to advance the interests of the working people of California.

Previously, he worked as staff attorney for the Service Employees International Union in Los Angeles. He was also the first staff attorney for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, the largest Asian American civil rights organization in the country.

Wong was the founding president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the first national organization of Asian American union members and workers. He is a vice president of the California Federation of Teachers, representing 120,000 teachers and education workers, and served as the founding president of the United Association for Labor Education, the national organization representing university-based labor centers and union educators.

Wong serves on the board of the New World Foundation, and previously was a Fellow of the Kellogg National Leadership Program. He has published more than 12 books on the labor movement, immigrant rights, popular education and the Asian American community. His most recent works are Nonviolence and Social Movements: The Teachings of Rev. James L. Lawson Jr., and Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation.

Linda Sarsour
Activist

Arab American political activist and co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March

Linda Sarsour is an award-winning racial justice and civil rights activist, and community organizer. She is a Palestinian-Muslim American, born and reared in Brooklyn, New York; former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change. Sarsour is a member of the Justice League NYC, a leading force of activists, artists, youth and formerly incarcerated individuals committed to criminal justice reform through direct action and policy advocacy.

Most recently, she was one of the national co-chairs of the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, the Women’s March on Washington. She has been named amongst 500 of the Most Influential Muslims In the World, and has been bestowed numerous awards including the White House Champions of Change from the Obama administration. Sarsour was recognized as one of FORTUNE magazine’s 50 Greatest Leaders, and was featured as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People In the World, in 2017.

Sarsour is a frequent media commentator on issues impacting Muslim communities, Middle Eastern affairs and criminal justice reform, and is acknowledged for her transformative, intersectional organizing work and movement building.

Michelle Alexander
Author

Author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights attorney, advocate, legal scholar and author of The New York Times bestseller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The New Jim Crow helped spark a national debate about the crisis of mass incarceration in the United States and inspired racial justice organizing and advocacy efforts nationwide.

Alexander has been featured on national radio and television media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, The Bill Moyers Journal, the Tavis Smiley Show, MSNBC, C-Span, and Democracy Now. She has also written for numerous publications including: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post. Alexander has served as a professor at several universities, including Stanford Law School, where she was an Associate Professor of Law and where she directed the Civil Rights Clinics. She also taught at The Ohio State University where she held a joint appointment with the Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

Prior to entering academia, Alexander served as the Director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, where she coordinated their media advocacy, grassroots organizing, coalition-building, and litigation. The Project’s priority areas were educational equity and criminal justice reform, and it was during those years that she launched a major campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement, known as the DWB Campaign or Driving While Black or Brown Campaign.

In addition to her non-profit advocacy experience, Alexander has worked as a litigator at private law firms, including Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, in Oakland, California, where she specialized in plaintiff-side class action lawsuits alleging race and gender discrimination.

Currently, Alexander is Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York City where she is exploring the moral and spiritual dimensions of mass incarceration. She is also an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times.

Megan Davis
Professor

Law Professor and Pro Vice Chancellor at UNSW Law, Sydney, Australia

Professor Megan Davis is Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous and Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), in Sydney, Australia. Professor Davis is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

She is former chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and is acknowledged as one of Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers who was a member of the Prime Minister’s Referendum Council, and the Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution.

In 2018, Ms. Davis was named Australia’s Most Influential Woman by the Australian Financial Review and was also a recipient of the Qantas Women of Influence Award, for her leadership in achieving the constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples, which led to the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Davis is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. Furthermore, she is a Commissioner on the NRL/Australian Rugby League Commission.

Maria Hinojosa
Journalist

Longtime journalist now anchor and executive producer of Latino USA on National Public Radio

As a reporter who was the first Latina in many newsrooms, Maria Hinojosa dreamt of a space where she could create independent, multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diverse American experience. To that end, in 2010, she created the Futuro Media Group, an independent, nonprofit organization based in Harlem, New York, with the mission to create multimedia content for and about the new American mainstream, in the service of empowering people to navigate the complexities of an increasingly diverse and connected world.

As anchor and executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning television show, Latino USA, distributed by NPR, as well as co-host of In the Thick, the Futuro Media Group’s political podcast, Hinojosa has worked to enlighten audiences about the changing cultural and political landscape in America, and abroad. She also is anchor and executive producer of America By the Numbers on PBS, the first national series to examine our country’s dramatic demographic shifts, as well as Humanizing America, a digital video series which deconstructs stereotypes about the Americana electorate.

Hinojosa is also a new contributor to the long running, award-winning news program CBS Sunday Morning, and is a frequent guest on MSNBC. Her nearly 30-year journalism career includes reporting for PBS, CBS, WNBC, CNN and NPR. She is the author of two books, and has won professional awards that include four Emmys, the John Chancellor Award, the Studs Terkel Community Media Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award and the Ruben Salazar Lifetime Achievement Award. She is currently the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Chair of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul University of Chicago.

Manuel Pastor
Professor

USC Professor and Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity who will serve as honorary member; Kellogg Fellow Class 09

Dr. Manuel Pastor is professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC), where he currently directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII). He is the USC Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change, and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Dr. Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues surrounding the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities, and the social movements seeking to change these realities. His recent books include: State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future (New Press, 2018), Unsettled Americans: Metropolitan Context and Civic Leadership for Immigrant Integration, co-edited with John Mollenkopf (Cornell University Press 2016), and Equity, Growth and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas, co-authored with Chris Benner (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

Dr. Pastor has previously served as a public member of the Strategic Growth Council in California, as a member of the Commission on Regions, appointed by California’s Speaker of the State Assembly, and as a member of the Regional Targets Advisory Committee for the California Air Resources Board. In 2012, he received the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year Award for social justice research partnerships.

Mayra Santos-Febres
Writer and Professor

Afro-Latina author, poet, novelist and professor of literature at the University of Puerto Rico

Mayra Santos-Febres is a Puerto Rican writer, novelist, professor of literature, essayist and literary critic of African descent. Her parents were teachers who instilled within her a passion for literature.

Her work focuses primarily on themes of race, diasporic identity, female sexuality, the erotic, gender fluidity, desire and power. She has also published children’s books. Santos-Febres has been an influence in bringing about and spotlighting new youth writers in Puerto Rico. In 2010, she founded “El Festival de la Palabra,” a literary fair for the diversification of readership and the support of educational communities.

After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico experienced a 40% increase in school desertion, and massive migration from the island. In response to the situation, Santos-Febres founded #Noestasolo #Quenoseacabenlaspalabras, a program to help Puerto Rican children from disenfranchised communities to stay in school. The initiative leverages art and literature to strengthen the bonds of youth, and supports them as they recover their hope, emotional stability and curiosity toward learning.

Saru Jayaraman
Author-Activist

Indian American attorney, author, activist and advocate for restaurant workers and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California-Berkeley.

Saru Jayaraman is Co-founder and President of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California-Berkeley. After “9/11,” in collaboration with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC, which now has more than 30,000 worker members, 500 employer partners and 23,000 consumer members in a dozen states nationwide.

Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was listed among CNN’s Top 10 Visionary Women, and she has been recognized as a “Champion of Change” by the White House in 2014. She further was a recipient of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015. In January 2018, she attended the Golden Globe Awards as the guest of actress Amy Poehler, and used that platform to bring widespread attention to the issue of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry. Saru was one of eight women activists who attended representing the #TimesUp initiative.

Saru is the author of Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, and Forked: A New Standard for American Dining (Oxford University Press, 2016). She has appeared as an interview guest on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry, UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki S.J.

President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States

Father Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J., is President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Jesuit Conference promotes common goals and oversees international projects for the Society of Jesus.

As Conference president, Fr. Kesicki works with the Jesuit Provincials of the United States and Canada on implementing programs, and represents the Conference internationally. Prior to leading the Jesuit Conference, Fr. Kesicki served from 2008 through 2014 as the provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus.

From 2000 to 2008 he served as president of Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio.

Timothy F. Ryan
Business Executive

US Chairman and Senior Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, leader of building conversation about diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Timothy F. Ryan is U.S. Chairman and senior partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) after having been elected to a four-year term beginning in July of 2016. Ryan is responsible for leading the corporate culture and setting the tone on quality for the U.S. firm and its approximately 52,000 employees and partners.

Prior to this, he acted as vice-chair and Markets, Strategy and Stakeholders Leader at PwC, having responsibility for the firm’s strategy function and stakeholder relationships; including investor relations, regulatory affairs, public policy, corporate responsibility and human capital. Also, he formerly led PwC’s Assurance Practice.

Ryan serves on the U.S. Board of Partners and Principals, as well as the Network Leadership Team (NLT). He plays an active role in the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ), a non-partisan, non-profit group dedicated to enhancing investor confidence and public trust in the global capital markets. He is a visionary, strategic and results driven leader, known for high quality professionalism in relationships with business, industry and community leaders nationally and globally.

In addition, he collaborated with a small group of CEOs to launch CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, a pledge that outlines specific actions that companies can take to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It is the largest ever CEO driven business commitment on diversity and inclusion. A Boston native, he is a graduate of Babson College, where he studied accounting and communications.

Ava DuVernay
Filmmaker

Filmmaker whose credits include Queen Sugar, Selma and A Wrinkle in Time

Academy Award nominee, Emmy, BAFTA and Peabody Award winner, Ava DuVernay is a writer, director, producer and film distributor. Her directorial work includes the Oscar Award winning historical drama Selma, the Oscar-nominated criminal justice documentary 13th and Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time, which made her the highest grossing African American woman director in domestic box office history.

Ms. DuVernay is currently in production on her next project, based upon the infamous crime case known as the “Central Park Five,” while overseeing production of her critically-acclaimed TV series, Queen Sugar. Winner of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival’s Best Director prize, for her micro-budget film, Middle of Nowhere, DuVernay amplifies the work of people of color and women of all kinds through her media distribution collective ARRAY, named one of Fast Company magazine’s Most Innovative Companies.

In 2017, she was featured as one of FORTUNE magazine’s “50 Greatest Culture Leaders,” and was additionally named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”‎ DuVernay currently sits on the boards of the Sundance Institute, and Film Independent.

Bryan Stevenson
Activist and Attorney

Lawyer, activist, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative

Bryan Stevenson is the Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest attorney who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults.

Stevenson’s work fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has won him numerous awards including the ABA Wisdom Award for Public Service, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award Prize, the Olaf Palme International Prize, the ACLU National Medal Of Liberty, the National Public Interest Lawyer of the Year Award, Gruber Prize for International Justice and the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award.

In 2015, he was named to the Time 100 recognizing the world’s most influential people. In 2016, he received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award. He was named in Fortune’s 2016 and 2017 World’s Greatest Leaders list. He received the MLK, Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize from The King Center in Atlanta in 2018. He also received the American Bar Association Medal, the Association’s highest honor. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government, has been awarded 34 honorary doctorate degrees and is also a Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law.

He is the recent author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy, and in April 2018, opened a new museum, The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, built on the site of a former slave warehouse in downtown Montgomery. This is a companion to a national memorial to victims of lynching, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened simultaneously.

David R. Williams
Professor

Professor of Public Health at Harvard who will serve as an honorary member

Dr. David R. Williams is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and professor of African and African American Studies and Sociology there. His prior academic appointments were at Yale University, and the University of Michigan. He holds a MPH (Master of Public Health) from Loma Linda University, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Williams is an internationally recognized authority on social influences on health. He has been an honored invitee as keynote speaker of scientific conferences in Europe, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, South America and across the United States. The author of more than 425 scientific papers, his research has enhanced our understanding of the complex ways in which race, socioeconomic status, stress, racism, health behavior and religious involvement can affect health. The Everyday Discrimination Scale that he developed is one of the most widely used measures of discrimination in health studies.

He has received numerous honors and awards, and has ranked among the top 10 most cited social scientists in the world. In 2005, Dr. Williams was acknowledged as the most cited black scholar in the social sciences. Thomson Reuters has called him “one of the world’s most influential scientific minds.” His research has been featured by some of the nation’s top print and television news organizations, and in his “TED Talk,” which was released in 2017.

Diane Wolk-Rogers
Parkland, FL Teacher

Parkland, Florida AP World History teacher who survived shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018

Diane Wolk-Rogers began teaching because she was passionate about supporting too-often neglected young people facing challenges and vulnerabilities. Early in her career, she led efforts to integrate students diagnosed with learning and emotional disabilities into mainstream classrooms throughout the country’s 6th largest school district, Broward County, Florida.

A classroom teacher for 33 years, Wolk-Rogers received recognition and awards for developing county wide curriculums and leading in-service workshops, which considered learning differences among students. In 2001, she joined the faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) in Parkland, Florida. Wolk-Rogers gained national attention upon speaking publicly in support of #MarchforOurLives, a social justice movement led by her students who’d survived a mass school shooting in February of 2018.

Wolk-Rogers serves as the faculty advisor for MSD’s Gender Sexuality Alliance, and faculty sponsor of the National Students Against Gun Violence chapter. To address the problems of trauma and stress in the classroom, Wolk-Rogers continues her training with the Center for Mind-Body Medicine. She further leads self-awareness and stress-reduction groups in her community and founded the Mind Body Ambassador Program which equips students with simple and effective methods to reduce stress and help others who seek to journey through and beyond trauma.

Wolk-Rogers is a National Board-certified teacher, and holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.

Heather C. McGhee
Senior Fellow

Distinguished Senior Fellow and former president of Demos

Heather C. McGhee joined Demos in 2002 and served as its president from 2014 through June 2018. A recognized thought-leader on the national stage, McGhee is now a distinguished senior fellow, advancing the vision of equal say and equal chance through her writing, public speaking and media appearances.

McGhee is currently authoring a major book to be published in 2019 regarding the personal, economic and societal costs of racism to all Americans. She serves as a frequent contributor to NBC News, appearing on top-rated talk-shows including “Meet the Press”, among others. Her opinions, writing and research have been featured in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, The Nation and The Hill. She has received New York University’s McSilver Award for Leaders in the Fight Against Poverty, and Citizen Action of New York’s Progressive Leadership Award.

McGhee currently serves on the boards of the Center for Working Families, Consumer Reports and Indivisible. She holds a B.A. degree in American Studies from Yale University and a J.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.

Dr. Hélio Santos
Diversity Leader

Former chairperson at Baobá – Fundo para Equidade Racial, leading voice on diversity and inclusion in Brazil and globally

Born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Dr. Hélio Santos, Baoba Board Chairman and President, studied and taught extensively in Sao Paulo, where he earned a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) from the University of Sao Paulo (USP).

He currently resides in Salvador de Bahia, where he teaches human development at Visconde de Cairu University and runs his own consultancy company focused on business diversity. Dr. Santos is the author of many studies and books, and is also a diversity business strategy consultant for several organizations; among them Itau-Unibanco Bank, Abril Editors, CPFL Power and Electricity and the Ford Foundation. He has been an active member of the Brazilian black empowerment movement for more than 40 years, and was responsible for the creation of the first public policy council for affirmative action there.

Dr. Santos was the speaker at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s 2012 America Healing Conference in New Orleans, and he proudly serves as chairperson and president for the Baoba Fund for Racial Equity, as well as the Brazilian Institute of Diversity.

Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj
Anthropologist

Social anthropologist and international spokeswoman (Maya-K’iche’) for indigenous cultures

Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj is a social anthropologist and international spokeswoman who has been at the forefront of the struggles for respect for indigenous cultures. She formerly served as Executive Director of the Mecanismo de los Pueblos Indígenas Oxlajuj Tzikin (Support Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples), from 2005 through 2013.

Dr. Velásquez Nimatuj is the first Maya-K’iche’ woman to earn a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology, and she initiated the court case that made racial discrimination illegal in Guatemala. She has won numerous academic fellowships and awards for her journalism. She was a member of the Latin American Consulting Group of Indigenous Leaders for UNICEF, and participates through the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She also served as advisor on indigenous issues for the Latin American and Caribbean office of UN Women.

In addition, she possesses experience transmitting this knowledge to different collectives from a grassroots level to university students and the public. In recent years, she has taught at different public and private universities throughout the United States, notably The University of Texas at Austin, Duke University and currently Brown University. Her work has been accompanied by an intense struggle to connect, in as many ways as possible, the academic field with activism.

She writes a weekly newspaper column in elPeriódico de Guatemala, and through both her political and academic efforts seek to create viable and realistic ways to create equality for indigenous people.

John Legend
Singer-Activist

10-time Grammy Awards winner, an Academy and Tony awards winner, philanthropist, and founder of the FREEAMERICA CAMPAIGN

Critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning, platinum-selling, singer-songwriter John Legend has garnered ten Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, a Tony Award and a Golden Globe, among others.

From a young age, Legend aspired to use his position in the entertainment industry as a platform for social change. In an essay competition Legend won at the age of 15, he wrote of his dream to become a recording artist and to use his influence and resources to give back to his community. And, that is exactly what he has done. Throughout his career, Legend has committed his time, energy and resources to social justice and equality.

For well over a decade, Legend’s philanthropy and advocacy has focused upon building just, equitable and thriving communities. In 2007, he launched the Show Me Campaign, to give every child access to a quality education and address systemic issues in our criminal justice system. In 2014, he established LRNG Innovators in partnership with The National Writing Project, and with support from The MacArthur Foundation. Most recently, he introduced FREEAMERICA, a multi-year culture change campaign focused on ending mass incarceration.

In addition to his signature initiatives, Legend serves on the Board of Directors of Harlem Village Academies and Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and on the advisory boards of The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School (Penn Law), and Teach for All, global network.

john a. powell
Professor

UC Berkeley Professor and Haas Institute for Fair & Inclusive Society Director who will serve as honorary member

john a. powell is Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, and Professor of Law, African American and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He was previously the executive director at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, and the Institute for Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota.

Prior to this, he served as the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He is co-founder of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and serves on the boards of several national and international organizations. powell led the development of an “opportunity-based” model that connects affordable housing to education, health and health care, and employment, and is well known for his work developing the frameworks of “targeted universalism” and “othering and belonging” to effect equity-based interventions.

Mr. powell has taught at numerous law schools, including Harvard and Columbia Universities, and is the author of Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Concepts of Self and Other To Build An Inclusive Society.

Jerry Tello
Author and Leader

Author, Racial Healing practitioner and co-founder of National Compadres

Jerry Tello, Founder and Director of Training & Capacity for the National Compadres Network, comes from a family of Mexican-Texan roots and was reared in South Central Los Angeles. He is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of men and boys of color, fatherhood, family strengthening, racial justice and healing, community peace and mobilization, and culturally-based violence prevention and intervention issues.

Over the past 40 years, Tello has dedicated his efforts to “La Cultura Cura”, or efforts addressing systems and community transformational healing from the effects of racial inequity and internalized oppression. His ideology is based on a belief that individuals and community have culturally-based knowledge and wisdom that can be leveraged to prevent and heal the pain of relationship and community violence, teen pregnancy, fatherlessness and racial justice.

He has appeared in Time, Newsweek and Latina magazines, among others, and has received many major awards including President Obama’s White House Champions of Change Award, the Maria Shriver Architect of Change Award, two California Governor’s Awards, the Ambassador of Peace Award and the Presidential Crime Victim’s Service Award, presented by former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno.

Kent Wong
Educator and Kellogg Fellow

Vice President of the California Federation of Teachers and Director of the UCLA Labor Center; Kellogg Fellow Class 10

Kent Wong is the Director of the University of California Los Angeles Labor Center, where he teaches Asian American Studies and Labor Studies. The UCLA Labor Center engages in research, education and public service to advance the interests of the working people of California.

Previously, he worked as staff attorney for the Service Employees International Union in Los Angeles. He was also the first staff attorney for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, the largest Asian American civil rights organization in the country.

Wong was the founding president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the first national organization of Asian American union members and workers. He is a vice president of the California Federation of Teachers, representing 120,000 teachers and education workers, and served as the founding president of the United Association for Labor Education, the national organization representing university-based labor centers and union educators.

Wong serves on the board of the New World Foundation, and previously was a Fellow of the Kellogg National Leadership Program. He has published more than 12 books on the labor movement, immigrant rights, popular education and the Asian American community. His most recent works are Nonviolence and Social Movements: The Teachings of Rev. James L. Lawson Jr., and Dreams Deported: Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation.

Linda Sarsour
Activist

Arab American political activist and co-chair of the 2017 Women’s March

Linda Sarsour is an award-winning racial justice and civil rights activist, and community organizer. She is a Palestinian-Muslim American, born and reared in Brooklyn, New York; former executive director of the Arab American Association of New York and co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change. Sarsour is a member of the Justice League NYC, a leading force of activists, artists, youth and formerly incarcerated individuals committed to criminal justice reform through direct action and policy advocacy.

Most recently, she was one of the national co-chairs of the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, the Women’s March on Washington. She has been named amongst 500 of the Most Influential Muslims In the World, and has been bestowed numerous awards including the White House Champions of Change from the Obama administration. Sarsour was recognized as one of FORTUNE magazine’s 50 Greatest Leaders, and was featured as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People In the World, in 2017.

Sarsour is a frequent media commentator on issues impacting Muslim communities, Middle Eastern affairs and criminal justice reform, and is acknowledged for her transformative, intersectional organizing work and movement building.

Michelle Alexander
Author

Author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights attorney, advocate, legal scholar and author of The New York Times bestseller, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The New Jim Crow helped spark a national debate about the crisis of mass incarceration in the United States and inspired racial justice organizing and advocacy efforts nationwide.

Alexander has been featured on national radio and television media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, The Bill Moyers Journal, the Tavis Smiley Show, MSNBC, C-Span, and Democracy Now. She has also written for numerous publications including: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post. Alexander has served as a professor at several universities, including Stanford Law School, where she was an Associate Professor of Law and where she directed the Civil Rights Clinics. She also taught at The Ohio State University where she held a joint appointment with the Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

Prior to entering academia, Alexander served as the Director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, where she coordinated their media advocacy, grassroots organizing, coalition-building, and litigation. The Project’s priority areas were educational equity and criminal justice reform, and it was during those years that she launched a major campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement, known as the DWB Campaign or Driving While Black or Brown Campaign.

In addition to her non-profit advocacy experience, Alexander has worked as a litigator at private law firms, including Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, in Oakland, California, where she specialized in plaintiff-side class action lawsuits alleging race and gender discrimination.

Currently, Alexander is Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York City where she is exploring the moral and spiritual dimensions of mass incarceration. She is also an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times.

Megan Davis
Professor

Law Professor and Pro Vice Chancellor at UNSW Law, Sydney, Australia

Professor Megan Davis is Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous and Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), in Sydney, Australia. Professor Davis is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

She is former chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and is acknowledged as one of Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers who was a member of the Prime Minister’s Referendum Council, and the Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution.

In 2018, Ms. Davis was named Australia’s Most Influential Woman by the Australian Financial Review and was also a recipient of the Qantas Women of Influence Award, for her leadership in achieving the constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples, which led to the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Davis is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. Furthermore, she is a Commissioner on the NRL/Australian Rugby League Commission.

Maria Hinojosa
Journalist

Longtime journalist now anchor and executive producer of Latino USA on National Public Radio

As a reporter who was the first Latina in many newsrooms, Maria Hinojosa dreamt of a space where she could create independent, multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diverse American experience. To that end, in 2010, she created the Futuro Media Group, an independent, nonprofit organization based in Harlem, New York, with the mission to create multimedia content for and about the new American mainstream, in the service of empowering people to navigate the complexities of an increasingly diverse and connected world.

As anchor and executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning television show, Latino USA, distributed by NPR, as well as co-host of In the Thick, the Futuro Media Group’s political podcast, Hinojosa has worked to enlighten audiences about the changing cultural and political landscape in America, and abroad. She also is anchor and executive producer of America By the Numbers on PBS, the first national series to examine our country’s dramatic demographic shifts, as well as Humanizing America, a digital video series which deconstructs stereotypes about the Americana electorate.

Hinojosa is also a new contributor to the long running, award-winning news program CBS Sunday Morning, and is a frequent guest on MSNBC. Her nearly 30-year journalism career includes reporting for PBS, CBS, WNBC, CNN and NPR. She is the author of two books, and has won professional awards that include four Emmys, the John Chancellor Award, the Studs Terkel Community Media Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, the Edward R. Murrow Award and the Ruben Salazar Lifetime Achievement Award. She is currently the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Chair of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul University of Chicago.

Manuel Pastor
Professor

USC Professor and Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity who will serve as honorary member; Kellogg Fellow Class 09

Dr. Manuel Pastor is professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC), where he currently directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII). He is the USC Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change, and holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Dr. Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues surrounding the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities, and the social movements seeking to change these realities. His recent books include: State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future (New Press, 2018), Unsettled Americans: Metropolitan Context and Civic Leadership for Immigrant Integration, co-edited with John Mollenkopf (Cornell University Press 2016), and Equity, Growth and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas, co-authored with Chris Benner (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

Dr. Pastor has previously served as a public member of the Strategic Growth Council in California, as a member of the Commission on Regions, appointed by California’s Speaker of the State Assembly, and as a member of the Regional Targets Advisory Committee for the California Air Resources Board. In 2012, he received the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year Award for social justice research partnerships.

Mayra Santos-Febres
Writer and Professor

Afro-Latina author, poet, novelist and professor of literature at the University of Puerto Rico

Mayra Santos-Febres is a Puerto Rican writer, novelist, professor of literature, essayist and literary critic of African descent. Her parents were teachers who instilled within her a passion for literature.

Her work focuses primarily on themes of race, diasporic identity, female sexuality, the erotic, gender fluidity, desire and power. She has also published children’s books. Santos-Febres has been an influence in bringing about and spotlighting new youth writers in Puerto Rico. In 2010, she founded “El Festival de la Palabra,” a literary fair for the diversification of readership and the support of educational communities.

After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico experienced a 40% increase in school desertion, and massive migration from the island. In response to the situation, Santos-Febres founded #Noestasolo #Quenoseacabenlaspalabras, a program to help Puerto Rican children from disenfranchised communities to stay in school. The initiative leverages art and literature to strengthen the bonds of youth, and supports them as they recover their hope, emotional stability and curiosity toward learning.

Saru Jayaraman
Author-Activist

Indian American attorney, author, activist and advocate for restaurant workers and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California-Berkeley.

Saru Jayaraman is Co-founder and President of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California-Berkeley. After “9/11,” in collaboration with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC, which now has more than 30,000 worker members, 500 employer partners and 23,000 consumer members in a dozen states nationwide.

Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was listed among CNN’s Top 10 Visionary Women, and she has been recognized as a “Champion of Change” by the White House in 2014. She further was a recipient of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015. In January 2018, she attended the Golden Globe Awards as the guest of actress Amy Poehler, and used that platform to bring widespread attention to the issue of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry. Saru was one of eight women activists who attended representing the #TimesUp initiative.

Saru is the author of Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, and Forked: A New Standard for American Dining (Oxford University Press, 2016). She has appeared as an interview guest on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry, UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.

Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki S.J.

President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States

Father Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J., is President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Jesuit Conference promotes common goals and oversees international projects for the Society of Jesus.

As Conference president, Fr. Kesicki works with the Jesuit Provincials of the United States and Canada on implementing programs, and represents the Conference internationally. Prior to leading the Jesuit Conference, Fr. Kesicki served from 2008 through 2014 as the provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus.

From 2000 to 2008 he served as president of Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio.

Timothy F. Ryan
Business Executive

US Chairman and Senior Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, leader of building conversation about diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Timothy F. Ryan is U.S. Chairman and senior partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) after having been elected to a four-year term beginning in July of 2016. Ryan is responsible for leading the corporate culture and setting the tone on quality for the U.S. firm and its approximately 52,000 employees and partners.

Prior to this, he acted as vice-chair and Markets, Strategy and Stakeholders Leader at PwC, having responsibility for the firm’s strategy function and stakeholder relationships; including investor relations, regulatory affairs, public policy, corporate responsibility and human capital. Also, he formerly led PwC’s Assurance Practice.

Ryan serves on the U.S. Board of Partners and Principals, as well as the Network Leadership Team (NLT). He plays an active role in the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ), a non-partisan, non-profit group dedicated to enhancing investor confidence and public trust in the global capital markets. He is a visionary, strategic and results driven leader, known for high quality professionalism in relationships with business, industry and community leaders nationally and globally.

In addition, he collaborated with a small group of CEOs to launch CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, a pledge that outlines specific actions that companies can take to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It is the largest ever CEO driven business commitment on diversity and inclusion. A Boston native, he is a graduate of Babson College, where he studied accounting and communications.