Attorney Lani Guinier
Attorney Guinier is the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the first woman of color appointed to a tenured professorship at the Harvard Law School. Before her Harvard appointment, she was a tenured professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Professor Guinier worked in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice and then headed the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1980s. Professor Guinier has published many scholarly articles, op-eds and books where she has addressed issues of race, gender, and democratic decision-making, and sought new ways of approaching questions like affirmative action. Professor Guinier's leadership on these important issues has been recognized with many awards and by ten honorary degrees, including from Smith College, Spelman College, Swarthmore College and the University of the District of Columbia. Her excellence in teaching was honored by the 1994 Harvey Levin Teaching Award from the graduating class at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the 2002 Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching Excellence from Harvard Law School.
Rev. Dr. Frederick Haynes, III
Frederick Douglass Haynes, III, is a prophetic pastor, passionate leader, social activist, and eloquent orator and educator engaged in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, fighting against racial injustice; committed to economic justice and empowerment in under-served communities and touching and transforming the lives of the disenfranchised. For 31 years, Dr. Haynes has served as a visionary and innovative senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Under his servant leadership, the ministry and membership have grown from less than 100 members in 1983 to over 12,000. Since Dr. Haynes accepted the call to become Senior Pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church, the church has grown numerically and in ministry to the Dallas community and around the world. Dr. Haynes is a committed community activist who has formed alliances with local community leaders and Dallas city officials to fight domestic violence and poverty by organizing a Faith Summit on Poverty. He has worked with the Center for Responsible Lending in order to fight economic predators in Texas and across the nation that engage in predatory lending. Dr. Haynes is frequently invited to the White House in order to address issues ranging from the state of the economy to voting and civil rights. As a reflection of Dr. Haynes’ commitment to community transformation and social consciousness, he serves in various leadership capacities in organizations that champion social change and education. He serves as chairman of the board of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, a national organization of pastors, activists and leaders committed to social justice. He is on the board of the Conference of National Black Churches and the National Action Network. He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas where he has also served as an adjunct professor.
Mary Kay Henry
In 2010, Mary Kay Henry was unanimously elected International President and became the first woman to serves as International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which unites 2 million workers in healthcare, public and property services. Henry has devoted her life to helping North America's workers form unions and strengthen their voice at work about the quality of the goods and services they provide, and the quality of care they are able to deliver. Since joining SEIU's staff in 1979, Henry has stood side by side with nursing home workers in Fresno, Calif., who fought for time to treat seniors with the dignity and respect they deserve, and suburban janitors in the Twin Cities, who wanted full-time work to support their families on a living wage. She has also worked with California state employees who sought to cut out waste and inefficiency from government, and registered nurses in Seattle, who wanted a partnership with management to improve the cost and quality of care throughout the state. Henry was elected to SEIU's International Executive Board in 1996 and as an International Executive Vice President in 2004. In her role as International Executive Vice President, Henry served as the union's chief healthcare strategist and led efforts to build a stronger voice for healthcare workers and enact historic healthcare reforms. More than a million healthcare workers nationwide, including registered nurses, technicians, doctors, and hospital and clinic workers are now united in SEIU Healthcare. Under her leadership, SEIU members have joined together on the job to win better wages and benefits and build better communities; while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of people, not just corporations and the wealthy. Henry's commitment to confront income inequality and social injustice is embodied in the historic "Fight for 15" movement and in SEIU's continued dedication to holding politicians accountable to working families, and achieving justice for immigrants and communities across our country.
Joy Reid is a MSNBC political correspondent and the former Managing Editor of theGrio.com, a daily online news and opinion platform devoted to delivering stories and perspectives that reflect and affect African-American audiences. Reid joined theGrio.com with experience as a freelance columnist for “The Miami Herald” and as editor of the political blog The Reid Report. She is a former talk radio producer and host for “Radio One,” and previously served as an online news editor for the NBC affiliate WTVJ in Miramar, FL. During the 2004 presidential campaign, Reid served as the Florida deputy communications director for the 527 “America Coming Together” initiative, and was a press aide in the final stretch of President Barack Obama’s Florida campaign in 2008. Joy’s columns and articles have appeared in The Miami Herald, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, South Florida Times and Salon.com. She is currently producing a documentary, “The Fight Years”—which takes a look into the sport of boxing during the 1950s and 1960s in Miami. Joy’s recent book Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide. Reid graduated from Harvard University in 1991 with a concentration in film, and is a 2003 Knight Center for Specialized Journalism fellow. She currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband and family.
The Honorable Congresswoman Alma Adams, NC-12
Dr. Alma S. Adams was elected to her first term representing the 12th Congressional District of North Carolina on November 12, 2014. After winning a special election, Congresswoman Adams was sworn in immediately as the 100th woman elected to Congress, the most in U.S. history. Representative Adams sits on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Agriculture Committee, the Small Business Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee. She is the Ranking member of the Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight. The Congresswoman is the founder of the first ever Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus and she is part of the Women’s Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, Diabetes Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Historic Preservation Caucus, AIDS/HIV Caucus, Hunger Caucus, Medicaid Expansion Caucus, and the Art Caucus. Congresswoman Adams also holds a leadership role in the Democratic Caucus as Vice President for the 114th Congress’ freshmen class and she serves as a Regional Whip for the Democratic Caucus.
Throughout her career, Representative Adams has promoted quality education for all students, spearheading legislation to boost funds for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, providing nutritious breakfasts in schools and while supporting increased pay for teachers. For 40 years, Dr. Adams taught Art History at Bennett College, leading the effort to increase student civic participation coining the phrase “Bennett Belles are Voting Belles” and organizing annual marches to the polls. In 1994, Dr. Adams was appointed by her peers to serve in the North Carolina House District 26 seat. She went on to serve ten terms in the state House. During her tenure, she rose to become the chair of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus and was instrumental in passing legislation that improved the climate for quality affordable health care in the state and successfully spearheading the state’s first minimum wage increase in nine years. Before serving as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly, Congresswoman Adams served nine years on the Greensboro City Council.
Ari Berman is a contributing writer for The Nation magazine and an Investigative Journalism Fellow at The Nation Institute. He has written extensively about American politics, civil rights and the intersection of money and politics. His stories have also appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian, and he is a frequent political commentator on MSNBC, C-Span and NPR. His new book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, was published in August by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His first book, Herding Donkeys: The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics, was published in October 2010 by FSG. He graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and political science. He lives in New York City.