Conference Speakers

 

Keynote Speakers

Cornell W. Brooks 

Cornell William Brooks is President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most widely respected grassroots-based civil rights organization. Prior to joining the NAACP, Brooks led the Newark-based New Jersey Institute for Social Justice as President and CEO, and served as Senior Counsel with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), working on legal and policy matters promoting small business and media ownership diversity. His civil rights experience also includes serving as Executive Director of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington and as trial attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. As a civil rights attorney, social justice advocate, fourth generation ordained minister and coalition- builder, Brooks’ life and experience exemplify the NAACP’s mission to secure political, educational, social, and economic equality for all citizens.

Judith S. Goldstein 

Judith S. Goldstein founded Humanity in Action in 1997 and has served as its Executive Director ever since. Under Judith’s leadership, Humanity in Action has organized educational programs on international affairs, diversity and human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, the Netherlands and the United States. She received her Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and was a Woodrow Wilson Scholar for her MA studies. Judith has written several books and articles about European and American history, art and landscape architecture. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and several boards and advisory groups. 

Karen J. Greenberg 

Karen J. Greenberg is the Director of the Center on National Security, and a noted expert on national security, terrorism, and civil liberties. She is the author most recently of Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State. She is also the author of The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days(2009), which was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by The Washington Post and Slate.com. She is co-editor with Joshua L. Dratel of The Enemy Combatant Papers: American Justice, the Courts, and the War on Terror (2008) and The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib (2005); editor of the books The Torture Debate in America (2006) and Al Qaeda Now (2005); and editor of the Terrorist Trial Report Card, 2001–2011. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, The National Interest, Mother Jones, TomDispatch.com, and on major news channels. She is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Gustavo Rivera 

Gustavo Rivera was elected to represent District 33 in the New York State Senate in November of 2010. The 33rd Senate District extends from the Northwest Bronx to areas of the East Bronx and includes the following neighborhoods: Kingsbridge Heights, East Tremont, Crotona Park, Fordham, Belmont, Van Nest, Claremont, High Bridge and Morris Park. Senator Rivera is dedicated to changing the way business is done in the legislature for the better and is committed to making sure that the families of the 33rd Senate District have a voice in Albany. Since he took office in 2011, Senator Rivera has been focused on addressing issues of health inequity, as well as promoting better nutrition and exercise habits through his initiative, Bronx CAN. In January 2013, Senator Rivera was named the ranking member of the New York Senate’s Health Committee. Senator Rivera was a fellow in Humanity in Action’s 2009 program “P!oneers.” 

 

Speakers

Isaac Bloom

Isaac Bloom is the National Organizing Director with Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, working with the with the organizing team to plan and drive campaigns around changing legislation, electoral work, and educating the public to change our culture. He comes from a background of fifteen years of organizing with state and federal level environmental and good government groups, as well as electoral and voter registration work. Originally from Cleveland, Isaac enjoys running, cooking, biking, good books, and now resides in Washington DC with his wife and very small, determined daughter.

Anthony Chase 

Anthony Chase serves as Director of Programs at Humanity in Action where he focuses on organizational strategy and program development. He and Judith Goldstein developed the Diplomacy and Diversity Fellowship from a nascent idea into a multinational educational initiative that has engaged nearly 400 emerging and established foreign policy experts in seven cities. When Anthony joined the staff in 2013 as a Program Coordinator, he produced a program in Cairo and New York on human rights and politics in Egypt since the revolution. Anthony previously worked for Libraries Without Borders in Paris and is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (France 2011). 

Ron Chernow 

A graduate of Yale and Cambridge, Ron Chernow is the author of many award-winning, best-selling biographies. He has won the two most prestigious literary prizes in the United States: the Pulitzer Prize for Biography for Washington: A Life and the National Book Award for Non-Fiction for The House of Morgan. His biographies of John D. Rockefeller and Alexander Hamilton were both finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His biography of Alexander Hamilton was adapted into the Tony award-winning musical Hamilton for which Chernow served as a historical consultant. He is a former president of PEN American Center, the main book writers organization in the U.S., a Humanity in Action Board Member and the recipient of six honorary doctorates for his work. Chernow was recently awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. 

Clara Chow

Clara Chow is the Director of Strategy at Jackson Hewitt, a leading national tax company with 25+ years of history and over 6,000 offices across all 50 states. In her role, Clara furthers Jackson Hewitt’s mission to Work Hard for the Hardest Working by designing new products and services that will build the financial health and help secure the future of 2 million low- to mid-income clients. Outside of Jackson Hewitt, Clara chairs the Board of Generation Enterprise, a venture development studio that launches and scales Social Mobility Enterprises (SMEs) in the slums of Lagos, Nigeria. These SMEs train unemployed and homeless youth, giving them a path out of poverty and into management of worker-owned community businesses. Previously, she worked at McKinsey & Company, Hearst Innovation and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. She is an alumna of Wharton and the Stanford GSB and is a Humanity in Senior Fellow (Netherlands 2007).

Devon Jerome Crawford

Devon Jerome Crawford is a 2015 Cum Laude graduate of Morehouse College. As a ministerial leader, Devon has provided public leadership in the cases of Troy Davis, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Devon has also served as president of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel Assistants Program; vice president of the Alpha Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; 2014 College Brother of the Year for the Georgia district of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Intern; and the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar. Devon is currently enrolled at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Devon was recently awarded the NAACP–Humanity in Action Fellowship.

Anna Duensing

Anna Duensing is a doctoral student in History and African American Studies at Yale University. She has also worked as an educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum since 2011. Her research lies in twentieth century cultural history, focusing on Jim Crow, the military, and the long civil rights movement, immigration and Black-Jewish relations, and comparative race and diaspora with a focus on Germany. In addition to her time with the Tenement Museum, Anna has worked at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the German-American Institute in Heidelberg, Germany. Anna is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (Poland 2012).

Kassandra Frederique 

Kassandra Frederique is New York State Director at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). In addition to working towards harm-reduction policies associated with drug use, Frederique works with communities throughout New York to address and resolve the collateral consequences of the War on Drugs – state violence. As a co-author of Blueprint for a Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy and as technical advisor to Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick’s “The Ithaca Plan,” Frederique develops municipal strategies to foster healthier and safer communities by cultivating and mobilizing powerful community coalitions. A native New Yorker, Frederique holds a M.S. in Social Work from Columbia University and earned a B.S. in Industrial Labor Relations at Cornell University.

Robert Friedman

Robert Friedman is a Senior Editor at Bloomberg News where he focuses on global financial and business news. Prior to Bloomberg, he was the International Editor of Fortune, overseeing the magazine’s Europe and Asia editions and its global business coverage. Robert was an assistant managing editor at Life; special projects editor at New York Newsday; editor of the Village Voice; a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal; and a freelance writer for Esquire, Inside Sports, Rolling Stone and other magazines. Robert serves on Humanity in Action's American Planning Board and has interviewed candidates for the Humanity in Action Fellowship for many years.

Danielle Goonan 

Danielle Goonan is a Senior Manager II on the Opportunity team at the Walmart Foundation where she is responsible for investments in retail training worldwide. Most recently, Danielle was an appointee of the Obama Administration where she led strategic partnerships for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education. In this role, she worked with stakeholders in the corporate, labor and philanthropic sectors on behalf of the US Department of Education. Previously, Danielle led the Clinton Global Initiative’s domestic education and skills development team with responsibilities that included managing the CGI U.S. Youth Employment Action Network in partnership with the Office of Secretary Clinton’s JobOne program, overseeing the strategy of CGI America’s education and skills Working Groups, and leading the growth of the workforce development portfolio of Commitments to Action. Danielle is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow and currently sits on the American Planning Board, and was a Fulbright Scholar to Italy. 

Chelsea Halstead 

Chelsea Halstead is the Deputy Director at the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, an organization working to end migrant death and related suffering on the U.S.-Mexico border. Chelsea has worked on the issue of migrant death and disappearance since 2012, first on a Department of Justice funded study and later as a founding team member of Colibrí in 2013. Her work is focused on facilitating the identification of human remains through partnerships between with families searching for missing loved ones and forensic scientists working to identify the deceased on the US Mexico border. Chelsea is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (Germany 2013)

Darrick Hamilton 

Darrick Hamilton is the director of the doctoral program in public and urban policy and associate professor of economics and urban policy at The Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy and the Department of Economics, The New School for Social Research at The New School. Professor Hamilton is a stratification economist, whose work fuses scientific methods to examine the causes, consequences and remedies of racial and ethnic inequality in economic and health outcomes, which includes an examination of the intersection of identity, racism, colorism, and socioeconomic outcomes. He is a faculty research fellow at the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School; the president of the National Economic Association (NEA); co-associate director of the Cook Center on Social Equity; and co-associate director of the Diversity Initiative for Tenure in Economics Program.

Maren E. Imhoff

Marnie Imhoff is Senior Vice President for Development at The Rockefeller University. Prior to Rockefeller, she worked at Union Theological Seminary as Associate Director of Development. Marnie received a B.A. in history from Dickinson College in 1977, and went on to study religion and philosophy at Andover Newton Theological School. She is a graduate of "Leadership New York," a civic program sponsored by the Coro Foundation and The New York City Partnership, and has served for six years on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of The New York Academy of Sciences. At present, she sits on the Board of Humanity in Action.

Phil Khan

Philip Kahn received a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Washington, and subsequently ran his family's textile business while studying renewable energy and policy on climate change. In 2013 he joined Citizens' Climate Lobby (citizensclimatelobby.org) a volunteer group dedicated to putting a national price on carbon pollution, and completed Al Gore’s Reality Project training for climate outreach. Phil serves as co-leader of the NYC chapter of CCL, where in addition to working towards CCL’s primary goal of enacting federal carbon pricing legislation, the volunteers lobby Albany legislators in the pursuit of statewide action on climate mitigation and carbon pricing.

Angie Koo

Angie Koo is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College where she studied Growth and Structure of Cities and Environmental Studies, with a focus on Japan’s 2011 disaster and nuclear energy system. Since returning to New York City in 2015, Angie has been interested in how the city's policy makers react and adapt to climate change impacts. At City Atlas, she interviews local leaders and climate change activists, writes about the city's sustainability efforts, and helps produce its newsletter. She also works at the Foundation Center, assisting with data analysis and provision to advance knowledge in the philanthropy sector.

Justin Krebs

Justin Krebs is a political strategist, entrepreneur and author based in New York City. Justin is the founder and National Director of Living Liberally, the network of over 200 progressive social communities. Through its Drinking Liberally happy hours, Laughing Liberally comedy events, Screening Liberally film series and other programs, Living Liberally provides liberals around the country with political homes in big cities and small towns. Justin is also a founder of The Tank, an 11-year- old nonprofit home for performing arts and emerging artists in Manhattan. Justin is a campaign director at MoveOn.org and is a baord member of Humanity in Action. 

Rick Landman

A son of German Jewish refugees, Rick Landman began to come out in 1965 at the age of twelve. In 1970, Landman started the “Gay Liberation Front” at his college and was an organizer for the First March on Albany for Gay Rights (1971) and the First March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights (1979).  In 1990, he started the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Children of Holocaust Survivors and fought to have the NYC Holocaust Memorial Park inscribe five commemorative markers for the Other Victims of the Nazi era.  Landman is an Attorney Emeritus, having taught at both NYU and New York Law School. 

Jimmy LaSalvia

Jimmy LaSalvia is a politically independent strategist, speaker, and author of his memoir, “No Hope: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too),” published in 2015. A former Republican activist, Jimmy left the GOP in 2014. Prior to leaving the party, he was the founder and executive director of GOProud, which was a national organization for gay conservatives and their allies. Now as an independent, Jimmy focuses much of his work on opening and reforming the country’s two-party political system, so that voters have more choices. He is a native of Kentucky. 

Marlyn Martínez

Marlyn Martínez, an industrial designer from Puerto Rico, is a Design for Social Innovation MFA candidate at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Marlyn is researching sea level rise and how it affects residents of the Rockaways, a beach town in NYC that is still picking up the pieces after being hit by Hurricane Sandy. In a location affected by multiple social problems that only get exacerbated by climate change and limited governmental support, her goal is to help this community develop their own interventions and solutions for adaptation and survival. She also interns at City Atlas, where she writes and shares information about actions that will make this a more sustainable city.

Jesse Myerson 

Jesse A. Myerson is a writer and activist whose work on economic justice, land policy, and structural racism has appeared in Rolling Stone, The Nation, The Village Voice, and elsewhere. His organizing has ranged from the anti-austerity street-performance group US Uncut to Occupy Wall Street to radical policy outfit Grasping At The Root. He is the author of "Onward: An Occupier's Guide to Understanding the Current Crisis."

Michael Pellagatti

At 29 years of age, self styled as a "Rouge Scholar," Michael was among the nucleus of the original group of activists that launched Occupy Wall Street in 2011. He is a licensed New York City tour guide who has been covered by AM New York, The Daily News and The New York Times. He has conducted excursions for prestigious academic institutions such as Yale University, Columbia University and the University of London-Royal Holloway. In his spare time Michael likes to go hiking in the woods and visit Hawaii. 

Richard Reiss

Richard Reiss has had a front row seat to the discussion of climate in New York City in five years as co-founder of newyork.thecityatlas.org, a media project about the future of the city. City Atlas is based at CUNY and was launched with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Before City Atlas, Reiss co-founded artistascitizen.org, a media nonprofit that matches top creative students with projects in the public interest. The first project at Artist As Citizen, created in 2005, featured Wallace Broecker of the Earth Institute, the scientist who coined the phrase ‘global warming’. Reiss was born and raised in Greenwich Village and majored in architecture at Yale. 

Michael Schober 

Michael Schober is a Professor of Psychology and Vice Provost for Research at The New School. Michael served as the Dean of The New School for Social Research from 2006 to 2013 and has taught courses in psycholinguistics, human-computer interaction, research methods, data visualization, and the psychology of music. He was editor of the multidisiciplinary journal Discourse Processes from 2005-15 and is the recipient of the Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research. He received a doctorate in cognitive psychology from Stanford University.

Brian Stout 

Brian Stout is a strategy and policy expert, focusing on poverty reduction and economic opportunity.  He has experience in the nonprofit, public, and philanthropic sectors, including recent work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development.  His background includes stints at the United Nations, the U.S. State Department and international nonprofit Facing History and Ourselves, as well as a BA from Amherst College and a MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.  He and his wife Jennifer and daughter Viviana enjoy international travel and outdoor adventures. Brian participated in the Humanity in Action Fellowship in Copenhagen in 2004 and is a member of the Board of Directors.