Night of Ideas

People

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Robert Barsky

Professor and Writer

Robert Barsky is a Guggenheim Fellow and a Professor of Humanities and of Law at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of numerous works on vulnerable migrants, including Clamouring for Legal Protection: What the Great Books Teach Us About People Fleeing from Prosecution; Undocumented Immigrants in the Era of Arbitrary Law: The Flight and Plight of Peoples Deemed ‘Illegal’; and Arguing and Justifying: Assessing the Convention Refugees’ Choice of Moment, Motive and Host Country. He has written extensively on the milieus of Noam Chomsky and Zellig Harris, most notably The Chomsky Effect: A Radical Works Beyond the Ivory Tower. His creative work includes a novel called Hatched, and a forthcoming book of poetry called The Beltline Chronicles.

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Valérie Baud-Candau

Deputy Director of the International Institute of Human Rights

Valérie Baud-Candau is the Deputy Director of the International Institute of Human Rights (IIHR), also known as the Foundation René Cassin, in Strasbourg, France. The IIHR was created in 1969 by René Cassin, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Its goals are the teaching, promotion, and research of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Situated close to the seat of the European Parliament, the two organizations often work in tandem. 

Prior to serving the IIHR, Baud-Candau was a lawyer. She is also the author of the book The Test of Applied Law’s Jurisdiction over the Operating Bottom (FR: Le contrôle de la compétence de la loi appliquée au fond opéré).  

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Douglas Blackmon

Professor, Writer, and Filmmaker

Although Douglas Blackmon is a Professor of Practice at Georgia State University, he is most known for his book Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, which won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction Book in 2009. Blackmon also successfully released Slavery By Another Name as a film at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012, which proceeded to attract over five million views at its first broadcast via PBS. He is currently in the process of making a film titled The Harvest, a documentary of the integration of American public schools and its consequences.

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Sheila Pree Bright

Photographic Artist

Sheila Pree Bright is an International Photographic Artist and author of #1960Now: Photographs of Civil Rights Activists and Black Lives Matter Protests. She portrays large-scale works that combine a broad range of knowledge of contemporary culture. Her work is featured in the Washington Post and The New York Times, and she is a recipient of several nominations and awards.

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Yehimi Cambrón

Artist

Yehimi Cambrón is an Atlanta-based artist who became undocumented at seven years old when she immigrated to Georgia from San Antonio Villalongín, México. Cambrón is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, a U.S. policy allowing a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility of a work permit, announced by President Obama in 2012. Cambrón’s artwork asserts the humanity and presence of immigrants and focuses on the stories of Undocumented Americans. Her murals in Atlanta challenge the white, male-centric history of who is worthy of public celebration. She was named among Atlanta’s 500 Most Powerful Leaders from 2021-2023. Her most recent mural Monuments: Atlanta’s Immigrants is part of The Art Collection at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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Nadia Chérif-Raguibi

Consultant and Youth Advocate and Member of French Activist Organization ACLEFEU

Nadia Chérif-Raguibi is 48 years old. She lived in the city Clichy-sous-Bois, an emblematic Parisian suburb marked by its urban revolts in 2005. She grew up there learning to believe in her capabilities and her dreams. She has both studied and worked abroad. Today, Mrs. Chérif-Raguibi is an independent consultant in France and Morocco in the fields of communication, support, and business installation. She is an activist in ACLEFEU, born after the urban revolts of 2005, which provides aid to young people from difficult areas. At ACLEFEU, Mrs. Chérif-Raguibi teaches communications, stress management, and public speaking. She wants to continue the evolution of youth mentality by helping young people become positive leaders in their respective communities.

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Dr. Vicki Crawford

Professor and Director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection

Dr. Vicki Crawford is Director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection and Professor of Africana Studies.  In this position, she develops campus-based programming and community outreach initiatives that advance the teachings and nonviolent philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Also, she serves on the curatorial committee at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Dr. Crawford is a civil rights scholar whose groundbreaking volume of essays, Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers and Torchbearers, (1993) was one of the first publications to address the under-researched role of women in the Civil Rights Movement. Other publications include a co-edited book titled, Reclaiming the Great World House: The Global Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. She holds a Ph.D. degree in American Studies from Emory University.

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David Edwards

Policy Advisor for Neighborhoods for the City of Atlanta and Director of the Center of Urban Research at the Georgia Institute of Technology

David Edwards is the Policy Advisor for Neighborhoods for the City of Atlanta and the Inaugural Director of the Center for Urban Research at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He served as Chief Executive Officer at Purpose Built Communities, a non-profit firm partnering with local leaders to revitalize distressed urban neighborhoods. In addition, Mr. Edwards served on IBM’s Global Smarter Cities team, as Senior Policy Advisor to Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group in Atlanta, and as Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs at Columbia University. He initially began his career at the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President in Washington, D.C.

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Elizabeth Elango

CEO and Head of School of Global Village Project

Elizabeth Elango is the CEO & Head of School at Global Village Project (GVP); a school for refugee girls in the US. Before joining GVP, she served as the CEO of Junior Achievement Africa for five years, promoting the organization’s mission in 15 African countries from the regional headquarters in Ghana, where she was based. She is a passionate advocate for education, youth programming and sustainable development and has spoken and written extensively on the subject globally, including on platforms like BBC World, CNBC Africa, The Colbert Report, Forbes Woman Africa, Forbes Africa, Dominion TV and others. Under her leadership, the JA Africa won the coveted UNESCO King Hamad Prize for the Use of ICT in Education, which was awarded in Bahrain. Previously she ran the Africa program at Heifer International as Vice President; an organization where she worked for 15 years. She began her career teaching English as a Second language in Atlanta as well as an internship at the Carter presidential Center.

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Dr. Cheryl Finley

Director of the Atlanta University Center Art History and Curatorial Studies Collective

Cheryl Finley holds a Ph.D. in History of Art and African American Studies from Yale University. She directs AUC Art Collective, an innovative undergraduate program at the largest HBCU network designed to transform and diversify the art industry. Dr. Finley is the author of “Committed to Memory: the Art of the Slave Ship Icon” (Princeton UP, 2018) and “My Soul Has Grown Deep: Black Art from the American South” (Yale University Press, 2018). A specialist in the art market and African diaspora art history, Dr. Finley’s current research examines the global art economy, focusing on the relationship among artists, museums, biennials and migration in the exciting new book project, “Black Venice.”

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Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall

Professor and Writer

Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall is the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies as well as the Founder and Director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College, the first at a historically Black college or university. In addition, she teaches as Adjunct Professor at Emory University and serves as President of the National Women’s Studies Association. Guy-Sheftall has published numerous texts on African American and Women’s Studies, including, but not limited to, the first anthology on Black women’s literature, Sturdy Black Bridges: Visions of Black Women in Literature, and several anthologies, e.g. Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought.

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Adlia Halim

Art Curation Director for the Atlanta Trap Music Museum

Adlia Halim is the Art Curation Director for the Atlanta Trap Music Museum, an interactive experience using art to showcase the rich culture of trap music and pay legacy to its impact on the city. The exhibitory gallery space was initially envisioned by renowned Atlanta rapper T.I. and his creative team. Halim’s previous positions also reflect her continued passion in the art-cultural-expression world, including positions at Louis Vuitton, Prada, Neiman Marcus, and Gucci. Halim stresses the importance of maintaining and celebrating Black culture and art, especially in a culturally important city like Atlanta.

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Floyd Hall

Cultural Producer

Floyd Hall is a media strategist, engineer, cultural producer, writer, and documentarian from Atlanta, Georgia. As an artist and curator his work often relates to the intersection of culture, media, and technology as platforms to construct narratives of place. In 2022 he co-curated the inaugural Science Gallery Atlanta exhibition, HOOKED. In 2021 he co-curated the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) exhibition, The Future Happened: Designing the Future of Music. He holds a BS in Mathematics from Morehouse College, a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, and an MBA from Columbia University.

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Dr. Maurice Hobson

Professor, Historian, Author

Dr. Maurice Hobson is an Associate Professor of African American Studies and Historian at Georgia State University.

His research interests are grounded in the fields of African American history, 20th Century U.S. history, comparative labor, African American studies, oral history and ethnography, urban and rural history, political economy, and popular cultural studies.

He is the author of award-winning book titled The Legend of the Black Mecca: Politics and Class in the Making of Modern Atlanta (University of North Carolina Press).

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Veronica Hogan

Executive Director of Atlanta Contemporary

Veronica Hogan is the Executive Director of Atlanta Contemporary (AC), a non-profit contemporary art center playing a vital role in Atlanta’s cultural landscape. Atlanta Contemporary’s mission is to engage the public in the creation, presentation, and advancement of contemporary art. Hogan led the transition to free admission, every day (September 2015) and implemented an independent curatorial model (June 2019) as a way to center equity in artistic leadership. In addition to her work leading Atlanta Contemporary, she has taught at Agnes Scott College, the Savannah College of Art and Design – Atlanta and the Art Institute of Atlanta. Most recently, Hogan has been named one of Atlanta’s 500 Most Powerful People (Atlanta Magazine, 2023).

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David Hopings

Director of Storytelling and Marketing for Soccer in the Streets

David Hopings is Director of Storytelling and Marketing for Soccer in the Streets, a sports-based youth development program in low-income communities, aiming to level the playing field for all regardless on race, gender, religion, or socio-economic status. Prior to working with Soccer in the Streets, Hopings worked for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights as Manager of the Visitor Experience and Manager of Public Engagement. From 2016 to 2017 he curated a mixed media gallery in conjunction with weloveatl called “The Time is Right,” focusing on showcasing the stories of everyday people across multiple generations across Atlanta.

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Dr. Na’Taki Osborne Jelks

Assistant Professor and Scientist

Dr. Na’Taki Osborne Jelks is an environmental health scientist and Assistant Professor of Environmental and Health Sciences at Spelman College with expertise in environmental justice, community-engaged research, and urban sustainability. Jelks co-founded the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA), a community-based environmental justice organization that works to grow a cleaner, greener, healthier, more sustainable West Atlanta through authentic community engagement, organizing, education, community science, and participatory research. Since 2018, Dr. Jelks has served on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), a federal advisory committee that works to integrate environmental justice into the Environmental Protection Agency’s programs, policies and activities as well as to improve the environment or public health in communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms and risks.

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Okorie “OK Cello” Johnson

Musician

Okorie “OK Cello” Johnson is an Atlanta-based cellist-songwriter whose work centers on themes and expressions of the African diaspora, his personal truths, the love and celebration of women, and musical prayer. In 2021, Johnson was selected as one of the presenters at the Democratic Republic of Congo Biennale for his project, “Vessel of Breath,” a meditative composition comprised of harvested sound, collaborative compositions, and community interviews. Johnson won a regional Emmy for a documentary by the Atlanta Journal Constitution he scored, “Imperfect Alibi.” He was chosen by Emory University as an inaugural fellow in its Arts and Social Justice Fellowship created by the Emory Center for Ethics. 

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Chenée Joseph

President and CEO of the Historic District Development Corporation

Chenée Joseph is a driving force in the Atlanta community. As President and CEO of the Historic District Development Corporation, she is dedicated to maintaining affordable housing in the Old Fourth Ward District. With her profound expertise in housing and construction, she has been a driving force in the revitalization of the Auburn Avenue area in Atlanta. HDDC has developed over $200 million in properties since its inception 40 years ago and has operated with low operating costs, with no more than 60% of revenue going toward operating costs under her leadership. Chenée is a German Marshall Memorial Fellow and currently serves as Chair of Clean Sweep Frederiksted in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, and Treasurer of Canopy Atlanta.

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Julie F. Kay

Activist and Attorney

Julie F. Kay is a human rights attorney and the co-author of Controlling Women: What We Must Do Now to Save Women’s Reproductive Freedom. Well known as a litigator and voice for reproductive freedom, Kay was a key figure in the case ABC v. Ireland, arguing before the European Court of Human Rights, which laid the groundwork to legalize abortions in Ireland. Kay also litigates and advocates to preserve parenting rights of those who leave fundamentalist religions. Kay has specialized in reproductive health care since 1996 when she began her career at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

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Dr. Bernice King

CEO of The King Center and Global Thought Leader

Dr. Bernice A. King is a global thought leader, orator, peace advocate, and Chief Executive Officer of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), which was founded by her mother, Coretta Scott King, in 1968. As the youngest daughter of two historic icons, Dr. Bernice A. King has embraced her calling as an activist, philanthropist, preacher and global influencer. She was appointed CEO of The King Center in January 2012, by the Board of Trustees. From this position, the same one once held by her mother, this transformative leader steadfastly continues her efforts to advance her parents’ legacy of Kingian Nonviolence, which Dr. King re-branded Nonviolence365™️.

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Terence Lester

Activist and Writer

Terence Lester is a Ph.D. Candidate and the founder of the non-profit organization, “Love Beyond Walls,” which strives to raise awareness and provide aid for those experiencing homelessness. With a desire to better understand the individuals his organization serves; Lester spent a month living among the homeless in Atlanta. He also had the opportunity to create the Dignity Museum, the first museum in the US dedicated to representing homelessness. In 2018, Lester humbly participated in the March Against Poverty, a 386-mile walk from Atlanta to Memphis, where he had the privilege of speaking at the Lorraine Motel for the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Terence has written six books, including “I See You,” “When We Stand,” and his forthcoming work, “All God’s Children: How Confronting Buried History Can Build Racial Solidarity,” set to release in June 2023. Lester is grateful for the opportunities to serve and raise awareness for those in need.

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Kyesha Lindberg

Chief Executive Officer of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia

Kyesha “Ky” Lindberg is the Chief Executive Office of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia, an organization dedicated to the full spectrum of health concerns in relation to maternal and child health concerns ranging from prematurity to maternal mortality. The coalition engages with legislators to advocate for better healthcare policies, provide state-wide healthcare information, and operate several helplines including Georgia Family Helpline, the Children 1st high-risk screening line, Help Me Grow Georgia, and Prevent Child Abuse Georgia Helpline. Lindberg has had a long career in healthcare and child advocacy, including positions for LENA, Language Environment Analysis, and Read to a Child Metro Detroit.

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Saba Long

Journalist and Director of Atlanta Civic Circle

Saba Long is the executive director of the Atlanta Civic Circle, a nonprofit civic journalism organization aimed at educating the local community, initially launched with the issue of housing affordability followed by regional democracy. She has provided communications expertise to numerous political campaigns and ballot initiatives, counseled tech startups, and served as a liaison for a White House advisory panel on infrastructure and cybersecurity. Saba has worked on nearly every major transit referenda in metro Atlanta since 2010, bringing transit back to Clayton County and expanding MARTA service in the city of Atlanta. Saba is a founding member of the MARTA Army, a citizen-led initiative to improve the transit ridership experience.

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Nora Nafaa

Researcher

Nora Nafaa is a current post-doctoral researcher at the University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France, whose dissertation was focused on the geographical spread of education in U.S. cities. In conjunction with the University of Perpignan in Perpignan, France, Nafaa won the first-place prize in 2022 for her thesis “Dispossessing schools to serve neoliberal city in the United States. The cases of Atlanta and Philadelphia.” At the University of Strasbourg, Nafaa is working on a project titled “Beyond “Left Behind” Places: Understanding Demographic and Soci-economic Change in Peripheral Regions in France, Germany and the UK.”

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Hannah S. Palmer

Urban Designer and Writer

Hannah Palmer is a an urban designer and writer known for her memoir Flight Path: A Search For Roots Beneath The World’s Busiest Airport, describing her personal experience as well as research into communities destroyed for the expansion of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Her work grew into an environmental campaign to restore the headwaters of Georgia’s Flint River, developing into the project “Finding the Flint.” This multi-disciplinary initiative works to mitigate the consequences of urbanization and its impact on the environment. Palmer also founded the “Atlanta Creek League,” which gamifies local stewardship of creeks of the three main Atlanta watersheds: the South River, the Flint River, and the Chattahoochee River.

©Dustin Chambers, WABE
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Marie Picard

Founder of Les Ateliers Pixelle

Marie Picard is the Founder of Les Ateliers Pixelle and the Co-Founder of Culture Pixelle alongside Dr. Emmanuel Vergès, with an expertise in consulting organizations in their efforts to become vigilant cultural entrepreneurs. At Culture Pixelle, she manages the creation and editorialization of media proposals. She has also served as Producer, Deputy Director, and then Director of Creation at Urban Prod, an audiovisual production company. Picard also led a workshop at la Friche la Belle de Mai in Marseille, France, a public space dedicated to cultural self-expression.

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Dantes Rameau

Musician and Educator

Dantes Rameau is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Atlanta Music Project (AMP). AMP provides world-class music training and performances opportunities supporting youth growth and development. Operating in under-resourced communities, AMP’s mission statement is to empower youth to realize their possibilities through music. As CEO of AMP, Dantes leads an organization serving 500 students and offering tuition-free programming in band, orchestra, choir, and private lessons. AMP also provides college scholarships and career
counseling. A bassoonist by training, Dantes holds a Bachelor of Music from McGill University, a Master of Music from the Yale School of Music, and a Performance Certificate at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a graduate of the Sistema Fellows Program at the New England Conservatory and recently completed the DeVos Institute’s Global Arts Management Fellowship. Dantes is married to Katori Rameau, an attorney. They have two boys, Greyson and Xavier.

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Camille Russell Love

Executive Director, City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs

Since 1998, Camille Russell Love has directed the cultural programming for the City of Atlanta.

As Executive Director, she guides the cultural and artistic vision of the Chastain Arts Center and Gallery, the City’s Public Art Program, Gallery 72, Elevate, Municipal Support for the Arts, the Cultural Experience Project and the Atlanta Jazz Festival, which, year after year, continues to be one of the nation’s preeminent free jazz festivals.

She has served on the boards of the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund, APEX Museum, Piedmont Park Conservancy and the National Black Arts Festival. In addition to accolades throughout her career, in 2017 Camille received the distinction of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture and Communication, recognizing her contribution to art and culture in Atlanta and abroad.

Camille earned a B.A. in psychology from Wake Forest University and attended Duke University Law School. She is a proud mother of three and a grandmother of two.

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Anne-Gaëlle Saliot

Associate Professor and Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies

Anne-Gaëlle Saliot is Associate Professor of Romance Studies with a Secondary Appointment in Art, Art History, and Visual Studies) at Duke University. She serves as the current Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies. She is the author of a book on the famous “Inconnue de la Seine” (The Drowned Muse, Oxford University Press, 2015), and the co-editor of the Cahiers de la NRF dedicated to Philippe Forest. Her second book is Against the Grain. Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, François Truffaut, and the Nineteenth Century. Her most recent research focuses on the perception and reception of Japan in French theory, literature, cinema, and dance from 1945 to present, and on the emergence of “néo-japonismes.”

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Felwine Sarr

Professor and Writer

Felwine Sarr is the Anne-Marie Bryan Chair in French and Francophone Studies at Duke University. Sarr is also the author of Afrotopia, an essay arguing for a conceptual decolonization of knowledge. He also serves as editor of the Journal of African Transformation and co-founded Ateliers de la pensée (EN: Workshops of Thought). In 2021, Sarr was listed as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influent People for his groundbreaking research report in conjunction with French art historian Bénédicte Savoy and commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron to assess the history and present state of publicly owned French collections of African artworks originating from illicit or otherwise disputed acquisitions, as well as subsequent plans for restitution.

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Jill Savitt

President and CEO Of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Jill Savitt is the President and CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (The Center). Previously, Savitt served as Acting Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. She has curated several exhibits on human rights, including The Center’s permanent exhibit “Spark of Conviction” in 2014 and at Simon-Skjodt in 2010. An expert on genocide and atrocity prevention through international responses, Savitt has led several important human rights campaigns, including “Take Our Daughters To Work” and “Dream for Darfur.”

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Rose Scott

Journalist and Reporter

Rose Scott is a Southeast regional Emmy award winning journalist and host of the news program “Closer Look” on Atlanta’s NPR station, WABE. With over two decades of reporting experience in Atlanta, Scott leads her team in subjects centered around the topics of affordable housing, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, and immigration and criminal justice reform. Scott is the recipient of an Edward R. Murrow Award, Atlanta Association of Black Journalists award, numerous Georgia Association of Broadcaster awards, numerous Georgia Associated Press awards, and a winner of the Girls Inc. Strong, Smart & Bold Award.

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Soul Food Cypher

Non-Profit Organization

Soul Food Cypher is a non-profit organization that utilizes freestyle rap and lyricism to transform both individuals and communities. SFC showcases freestyle rap as legitimate artform and provides a positive, safe, and nurturing environment for Atlanta’s lyricists every 4th Sunday during their flagship event “One Hundred”. During the Night of Ideas, SFC will bring together Atlanta’s best Freestyle Rappers for mind-blowing lyrical demonstrations and an unforgettable evening. This performance includes WordPlay, where SFC emcees improvise based on words that flash on the screen. Also included is NiceBars, where SFC reverses the concept of a rap battle as emcees roam the crowd and give compliments to audience members to ensure everyone in the building leaves with a smile on their face.

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Maboula Soumahoro

Scholar and Professor

Maboula Soumahoro is a French scholar, Afro-feminist, and associate professor in the English department at the University of Tours in Tours, France, where she specializes in studies on the Afro-American diaspora. She has contributed to the French committee on the history of slavery and launched the French version of Black History Month in 2012. Soumahoro has published several texts, most notably a paper on Rastafarianism and “Le triangle et l’hexagone” (EN: The Triangle and the Hexagon), speaking from her personal experiences as a Black French Muslim. It was translated into English by Dr. Kaiama L. Glover as “Black Is the Journey, Africana the Name,” which was distinguished by the FetKann! Maryse Condé literary prize in 2020.

© Patricia Khan
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Dr. Brigitte Stepanov

Assistant Professor

Dr. Brigitte Stepanov writes and teaches about how categories of being, knowledge, and aesthetic forms are stretched and blurred by violence. In her current book project, Cruelty, War, Fiction: Redefining the In-Human, she dissects the very category of violence in Algeria, Rwanda, and France as defined by legal and literary frames. Trained as a mathematician, a photographer, and a scholar of French and Francophone Studies, she finds herself at the intersection of several disciplines, each lending a lens through which to view our present and its shifting paradigms. She is currently Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech.

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Dr. June Manning Thomas

Professor and Writer

Dr. June Manning Thomas is the Mary Frances Berry Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Urban Planning and the Centennial Professor Emerita of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan. She is also a renowned author of several books tackling the struggles of spirituality and planning, racial inequities in urban planning, planning history, and the civil rights movement. Notable titles include Planning Progress: Lessons from Shoghi Effendi, Urban Planning and the African American Community, Redevelopment and Race: Planning a Finer City in Postwar Detroit, The City after Abandonment, and her latest work, Struggling to Learn: An Intimate History of School Desegregation in South Carolina

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Nsé Ufot

Civic Leader and Activist

Nsé Ufot is Founder of New South Super PAC and Founding Chief Executive officer of the New Georgia Project (NGP), a nonpartisan, civic engagement nonprofit organization started by Leader Stacey Abrams in 2013. Under her leadership, NGP has helped nearly 700,000 Georgians register to vote. Each year, NGP organizers and volunteers have millions of high quality, face to face, conversations with young Georgians, Georgians of color, women, and femmes. Their organizing efforts combined with producing popular mobile video games, a bold and aggressive political research agenda, and the smart ways in which they leverage culture and cultural organizing; has led to a historic increase in voter participation and earned NGP credit for “flipping Georgia” in the 2020 Presidential elections and helping Georgians elect its first African American and first Jewish United States Senators.

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Dr. Emmanuel Vergès

Co-Director at the French Observatory of Cultural Policies

Dr. Emmanuel Vergès is the Co-Director at the French Observatory of Cultural Policies, an organization that advises local authorities on their cultural policies and hosts national and international seminars on the subject, as well as the Co-Founder of Culture Pixelle alongside Marie Picard, focalized on the research and engineering of cultural cooperation alongside global digital transformation. Vergès has also published several works, including a chapter titled ““To Beat the Countryside” Rural Digital Dynamics,” in the novel Culture and Rurality, and many articles concerning the intersection between the digital age and culture in the magazine L’Observatoire.

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Tim’m West

Arts Leader and Educator

Tim’m West is the Executive Director of the LGBTQ Institute at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. He is also an educator, multi-discipline performance artist, author, activist, and youth advocate. He co-founded a Black and queer hip-hop group called Deep Dickollective as a response to the pandemic of HIV and AIDS among queer Black men. West has worked extensively in HIV and AIDS awareness and mobilization, particularly with the National Association of People with AIDS’s “Positive Youth Institute” and is a fellow of the Black AIDS Institute’s “African-American HIV University’s Community Mobilization College.”

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Dr. Deborah Willis

Professor and Photographer

Deborah Willis, Ph.D., is University Professor and Chair of Tisch Department of Photography & Imaging at New York University. Her research examines photography’s multifaceted histories, visual culture, the photographic history of Slavery and Emancipation, contemporary women photographers, and beauty. She authored The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship, and Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, among others. Professor Willis’ recently curated exhibitions include: “Home: Reimagining Interiority ”  YoungArts, Miami, and “Free as they want to be: Artists Committed to Memory ” FotoFocus 2022. Dr. Willis was awarded the Don Tyson Prize for the Advancement of American Art, and named the Mary Lucille Dauray Artist-in-Residence by the Norton Museum of Art in 2023.

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Ashley Woods

Exhibition Curator

Ashley Woods is an internationally recognized curator, project manager and producer based between Atlanta and Paris. His projects include “Making Peace” : the largest outdoor exhibit of its kind in the world that has so far been shown in 12 major cities, and “A Right to Freedom”, a major exhibit on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, that was produced and presented at the Nobel Prize Museum, Sweden in partnership with The King Center and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. This exhibit will start touring globally from September 2023 onwards with venues in France, Italy, the United Kingdom, India, South Africa and Japan.

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