Ashley Ellis is the Founder & Keeper of B.R.E.A.T.H.E Circles for My Sistas and a passionate restorative justice practitioner & trainer. She was born and raised on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois on the 2900 block of West Harrison, Street. For her, Black liberation means a divine experience of generational healing for what was, what is, and what shall be. She became woke in 2014 on a bus journeying to Ferguson in October while reading Audre Lorde’s words in Sister Outsider that said “Your silence will not protect you.” She will be hosting a table conversation inspired by a Masai proverb on the healing and well being of our often forgotten youth in a table talk titled “How are the children?”
DR. GAIL CHRISTOPHER
OWNING OUR BODIES AND MINDS
Dr. Gail Christopher is the founder and owner of The Ntianu Center for Healing and Nature located in Fort Washington, Maryland. She was born and raised in a Black community in Cleveland, Ohio. For her, Black liberation is our full ownership of our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits. She became “woke” in 1966 when she successfully organized her community in Cleveland to protest and prevent the closing of our college prep high school; authorities wanted to replace it with a vocational training (only) school because it had become all African American. She will be hosting a table conversation on what she has learned over four decades about “owning” our own bodies and minds.
DR. IBRAM X. KENDI
BLACK AND ANTI-BLACK: CONFRONTING INTERNALIZED RACISM
Ibram X. Kendi is Professor and Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, and the author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. He was born and raised in Jamaica, Queens, and moved to Manassas, Virginia in high school. For him, Black liberation means Black people have the power to control their own destinies. He became woke through majoring in African American Studies at Florida A&M University. He will be hosting a table conversation on internalized racism and anti-Black ideas among Black people.
LET’S GET FREE: SEEK YOUR EMANCIPATION THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Kiyomi Rollins is a community-minded Collaborative Capitalist and serial entrepreneur who has founded successful ventures such as The Good Hair Shop, Marley Media Productions, 8th Annual Ujamaafest & the Economic Heritage Small Business Pitch. Black Liberation is being able to live the wildest dreams of our Ancestors by aspiring for everything that was taken from them. From a very young age, Kiyomi possessed a strong ancestral remembrance that has always been a constant state of "wokeness." Join her for Let's Get Free: Seek Your Emancipation through Entrepreneurship.
BUDDHIST VS. BAPTIST: SPIRITUAL EVOLUTION IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
Shana Nunnelly is co-owner of HoneeComb Natural Hair in Atlanta, Georgia and Sacred Waters Retreats. She was born in Columbia, Missouri. For her Black liberation is never conforming to the confines of a dominant inhumane society, mentally or spiritually. Being born in a small town in Missouri where oppression fought to erase her existence, Shana can't think of a time she was not connected to the awareness that she is an African in America, free spirited and alive by the will of her Ancestors. She will be hosting a table conversation on Buddhist vs Baptist and spiritual evolution in the Black community.
Sofiya Ballin is an award-winning journalist currently residing in Philadelphia. She was born and raised in Mt. Vernon, New York to two Jamaican parents. For her, Black liberation is truly loving and being proud of ALL of us, no matter what shade, phenotype, gender identification or sexuality. She became woke when she was 10 and told her father she had a big nose and big lips and because of that she wasn't pretty. Her father asked, "What makes you think your nose is too big or your lips are too big? You ever think their noses are too small and their lips are too small?" She will be hosting a table conversation on Black Unity where the conversation will focus on healing our divides, debunking myths and lies we've believed about each other and the steps we need to take to move forward as a united diaspora.
REVEREND DORINDA G. HENRY
INTERSECTIONALITY OF RACE, GENDER, SEXUALITY, SPIRITUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
Reverend Dorinda G. Henry is the Founder of RIZE Fellowship, Inc. and the creator of On the Other Side of Midnight - a progressive, and at times, controversial, Christian blog, and the author of Bulldagger. She was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas, but she also considers Seattle, Washington home. For her, Black liberation means the freedom to love and revere the multiplicity of blackness, not just its strengths, but especially, it vulnerabilities. She became woke in 1983 as a Foster Child in Washington State. As punishment for some minor infraction, she was instructed to read and turn in a book report on the Autobiography of Angela Y. Davis. She will be hosting a table conversation on The Intersectionality of Race, Gender, Sexuality, Spirituality and Social Justice.
BLACK EMPIRE: HOW WHITE CAPITAL IMPACTS BLACK LIBERATION
Whitney uses she or they pronouns and is a community activist, organizer, and researcher for the movement for Black lives. She was born in San Mateo, California and in 2011 moved out of the state to Washington DC at the age of 22. For her, Black liberation is when difference is celebrated, not subjugated. She was politicized through her student organizing efforts coupled with her study of Afro-pessimism at University California in Irvine, beginning in 2006. She will be hosting a table conversation on Black Empire: How white Capital Impacts Black Liberation, which hopes to invoke strategic conversation about our historic and current material conditions and what that means for mass movement towards Black liberation in this century.
STORYING THE REVOLUTION
melvin bray is the principal facilitator, strategist, and organizer for Collabyrinth, an equity/diversity/inclusion design firm. he was born and raised in Washington, D.C. yet now resides with his family in Atlanta, Georgia. for him, black liberation is collaboratively telling our own stories, toward our own generative ends. although melvin has been what is generally considered woke most his life, he finally abandoned any hope in the value of assimilation after the Trayvon Martin murder when he realized his children could not outrun the misperceptions of others. he will be hosting a table conversation on Storying the Revolution, in which he asks, "what new stories and scripts do we most stand in need of?"
AFIA WALKING TREE
ANCESTORS BREATH: CONJURING AND RECLAIMING RENEGADE STRATEGIES OF QUEEN NANNY AND OTHER MATRIARCHS AS A MEANS OF ELIMINATING VIOLENCE AND EMPOWERING OUR AFRICAN SOVEREIGNTY
Afia Walking Tree is the visionary founder and principal steward of Spirit Drumz. Afia Walking Tree was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica and emigrated to Queens, NY in September 1985 at 18 years old. For Afia, Black liberation means the complete embodiment of ener-genetic and elemental forces of spirit, power, grace and sovereignty. The Drum Spirit WOKE and empowered Walking Tree's destiny at 22. Afia Walking Tree will be hosting a table conversation on Ancestors Breath: Conjuring and Reclaiming Renegade Strategies of Queen Nanny and other Matriarchs as a means of Eliminating Violence and Empowering our African Sovereignty.
JEANNÉ ISLER & FAITH BYNOE
BUILDING A MICRO WAKANDA
Jeanné L. L. Isler is a connector of people and a curator of empowered spaces. She was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, and after living in the south, and midwest, she returned to DC in 2010. For her, Black liberation means that Black people confidently know that we belong everywhere and that our society is structured in ways that support each of us in fulfilling our purpose in this life. She became woke in 1999 when she helped to organize a demonstration and awareness campaign after Amadou Diallo was shot by police 41 times. She will be co-hosting a table conversation with Faith Bynoe on the strategy of woke Black people owning a controlling economic interest in a town or city and leveraging power to implement the social and political solutions that liberate our people.
Faith Bynoe is a Minister-Healer-and-Dream Builder. She was born in Brooklyn and raised in both Brooklyn and Barbados. For her, Black liberation means the Black diaspora feels safe and secure in their overall basic wellness so they dream big in contributing to their communities and work towards actualizing those dreams. She became woke in 1992 when she chose to work for ACORN and register people to vote even though she was underage. She will be co-hosting a table conversation with Jeanné Isler on the strategy of woke Black people owning a controlling economic interest in a town or city and leveraging power to implement the social and political solutions that liberate our people.
ZAKIYA CARR JOHNSON & MARTA CELESTINO
Zakiya Carr Johnson is principal at ODARA Solutions in Atlanta, Georgia. She was born in Northern California (raised in Nairobi aka East Palo Alto). For her, Black liberation means embracing the talent of the African Diaspora without borders. Zakiya’s parents planned to raise a woke child; she attended preschool at the Pan African People’s Organization. She will be co-hosting a table conversation with Marta Celestino on the importance of building strong bonds across language and nationality and tapping into our collective potential. #buildbridges
Marta Celestino is a managing partner at Ebony English in São Paulo, Brazil, where she was born and raised. Black liberation means we recognize ourselves as a diaspora people and appreciate the plurality of black culture inside and outside of Africa, the source of our identity. Marta became woke when at 12, her teacher introduced her and her class to the subject of black consciousness. She will be co-hosting a table conversation with Zakiya Carr Johnson on the importance of building strong bonds across language and nationality and tapping into our collective potential.