Ariel Luckey is a nationally acclaimed poet, actor, and playwright whose community and performance work dances in the crossroads of education, art, and activism. Named a "Visionary" by the Utne Reader, Luckey seamlessly weaves storytelling, spoken word poetry, dance, acting, and hip hop music in compelling narratives of personal and political transformation. Born and raised in Oakland, California, he has been a featured artist at the North Bay Hip Hop Theater Festival, the Hecho en Califas Festival, Café Cantante in Havana, Cuba, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City, the White Privilege Conference, and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity. Luckey's hip hop theater show, Free Land, and his first book of poetry and lyrics, Searching for White Folk Soul, have inspired and informed audiences at theaters, conferences, community centers, and classrooms across the country. Luckey sees his community work in the world as an extension of his most precious and important work as father to his two sons.
Tamrat Tademe, Ph.D. is a statewide-, nationally- and internationally-known speaker on racism and the "toxic isms," xenophobia, imperialism, Pan Africanism and emancipator multicultural education. He has been recognized multiple times as "Professor of the Year" at St. Cloud State University, most recently in 2010 and 2011. Tademe serves as advisor to several student organizations on campus and was called up to serve as a keynote speaker for the Pan African Student Leadership Conference and the Ethnic Studies Conference hosted by Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2011. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Relations and Multicultural Education at St. Cloud State University and co-founder of the Faculty and Staff of Color Caucus.
Becky Martinez is an independent consultant and trainer with a focus on social justice, inclusion, and leadership. She works with clients to meet their organizational needs in today’s diverse society, and has worked in a variety of settings to create dynamic, interactive learning opportunities for people of all ages. She believes that while organizations may have a depth of diverse members, there is a great deal of work to create an inclusive environment for members, and it is our responsibility as leaders, regardless of title, to create such space.
Martinez’ career portfolio includes working as an administrator within the California State University, the University of California, and the Colorado State University systems as well as private liberal arts colleges. She is a Social Justice Training Institute alumna, a lead facilitator for the LeaderShape Institute, and a former certified counselor-advocate through Peace over Violence (previously Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women). She holds a Master of Science degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of La Verne and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne, focusing on social justice and transformative learning.
Mr. Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States and was recently named one of "25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World," by Utne Reader, and lectures on the issues of comparative racism, race and education, racism and religion and racism in the labor market.
Wise is the author of five books, including White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son; Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White; Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male; Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama, and his latest, Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity. White Like Me (The Remix)—a reworked version of his memoir was just recently released and in January 2012, his newest book, Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority will be published.
Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers, physicians and medical industry professionals, as well as corporate, government, entertainment, military and law enforcement officials on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions.
Wise graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond in New Orleans. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs, is a regular contributor to discussions about race on CNN, and has been featured on ABC’s 20/20.
For nine years, Esera Tuaolo excelled in the N.F.L. as a defensive lineman: he played for five different teams and went to Super Bowl XXXIII with the Atlanta Falcons. He played with some of football's greatest, including Brett Farve, John Randle and Jack Del Rio. He even sang the national anthem in uniform at a nationally televised Monday night game as a rookie and at the 1999 Pro-Bowl.
But as a gay man in the hyper-masculine culture of professional football, Tuaolo was forced to hide his sexuality. The secret crippled him, leading him to drink excessively and contemplate suicide. It also hindered his football achievements, as he felt that if he were too good a player, he would be exposed as a homosexual. He led a double life that deeply depressed him, but which he now looks back on with a new perspective. During this difficult time, he persevered by following his mother's example and maintaining his strong spiritual faith.
It was after retiring from professional football that Tuaolo became fed up with pretending to "be straight." He publicly announced his sexuality, which he describes as "taking off a costume I've been wearing all my life." Only one of three former N.F.L. players to ever come out, he has received huge amounts of support: from old teammates, the media, friends and family alike. Now he brings his incredible story to the podium to inspire others to achieve their best by speaking to their individual truths without fear or intimidation.
Waziyatawin is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist committed to the pursuit of Indigenous liberation and reclamation of homelands. Her work seeks to build a culture of resistance within Indigenous communities, to recover Indigenous ways of being, and to eradicate colonial institutions. She is currently writing on the topics of Indigenous women and resistance and Indigenous survival in the collapse of industrial civilization. Waziyatawin comes from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe (Yellow Medicine Village) in southwestern Minnesota. After receiving her Ph.D. in American history from Cornell University in 2000, she earned tenure and an associate professorship in the history department at Arizona State University where she taught for seven years. Waziyatawin currently holds the Indigenous Peoples Research Chair in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria. She is the author or co-editor of five volumes, her most recent being What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland.
Dr. Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual and is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. Graduating Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years Dr. West obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton, since then teaching at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard and the University of Paris. He has written 19 books and edited 13 books and is best known for his classic Race Matters, Democracy Matters, as well as his new memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. A frequent guest on the Bill Maher Show, the Colbert Report, CNN, C-Span and Tavis Smiley’s PBS TV Show, he is also co-host of the popular and highly acclaimed progressive radio program "Smiley & West" heard on PRI around the country.
West has made three spoken word albums including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One and the late Gerald Levert. His spoken word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard’s Choices, which won the Grand Prix in France for the best Jazz Album of the year of 2009, The Cornel West Theory’s Second Rome, Raheem DeVaughn’s Love & War: Masterpeace, and most recently on Bootsy Collins’ The Funk Capital of the World. Dr. West has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.