2015 Speakers

Pictured: 2015 John Lewis Fellow Jamal Grant with Dr. Roslyn Pope


July 6

Judith Service Montier 

Judith Service Montier is a trusted marketing and communications executive with more than 15 years of experience in the arts and cultural and non-profit sectors. Service Montier currently serves as Vice President of Marketing for The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc., where she directed the widely-publicized launch of The Center’s grand opening on June 23, 2014. She is responsible for driving revenue through broad-based engagement, brand management, strategic communications, public relations, advertising and the organization’s digital presence. Service Montier most recently served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for United Way of Greater Atlanta. Prior to her role at United Way, Service Montier served as the director of Marketing and Corporate Sponsorship for the National Black Arts Festival, the entertainment manager of the Olympic Village for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and worked for superstar Diana Ross. Service Montier is a graduate of Dartmouth College. She serves on the board of the Atlanta Press Club, C.H.O.I.C.E.S. (Center for Helping Obesity in Children End Successfully) and the Rialto Center for the Arts. She is an alumna of Leadership Atlanta, class of 2013. Judith and her husband, Juan Montier, an interior architect and boutique caterer, have two sons. They are members of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and reside in Decatur, GA.

David Mandel  

David Mandel serves as the Director of Exhibits and Design for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. As the director, Mandel oversaw the design and content development for the new Center for Civil and Human Rights being built in downtown Atlanta. From 2004 to 2007, he was the Director of Exhibitions at New-York Historical Society. At the New-York Historical Society, he oversaw development, design, production, and installation of all exhibitions. Additionally, as the Senior Exhibition Developer and Coordinator at Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Mandel conducted research and created briefs on exhibit topics; write concept design presentation books, video film treatments, exhibit labels and captions, and develop narrative storylines.   

Michelle Issadore

Michelle Issadore, M.Ed. is an affiliated consultant with The NCHERM Group and the Executive Director of the School and College Organization for Prevention Educators (SCOPE). She works with schools, colleges and community organizations nationwide to assess and improve their strategic prevention efforts, as well as research and understand best practice initiatives. She has a B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Brandeis University and a M.Ed. in College Student Affairs from The Pennsylvania State University. Michelle spent five years as Assistant Director of the Women’s Center at Lehigh University. Michelle completed 40 hours of advocate training in Pennsylvania’s Northampton and Lehigh counties. Michelle has served as co-chair of the National Women’s Studies Association’s Women’s Centers Committee, as a member of the Clery Center for Security on Campus Advisory Board and as part of the Futures Without Violence Campus Policy Advisory Board.


July 7

Adam Chalker  

Adam Chalker serves as the Director of Customer success at PlotWatt, where he applies behavioral science to help customers use less electricity. Prior to PlotWatt, he spent 9 years as a management consultant specializing in executive coaching and leadership development. He also is a former co-owner of East Coast CrossFit. Adam holds an M.Ed in Education & Human Development, completed leadership coach training at Georgetown, served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar at l'Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Strasbourg, France, and graduated with High Honors in Political Science from Davidson College. Adam was an HIA Fellow in the Netherlands in 2002, and hosted John Lewis on behalf of HIA at Davidson College in Fall 2002 as his HIA Fellows Project.


July 8

La’Neice Marie Littleton  

La’Neice Marie Littleton is a third year doctoral student in Humanities with concentrations in African American Studies and History at Clark Atlanta University. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder where she earned a B.A. in Ethnic Studies, and Clark Atlanta University where she earned a Master’s in African American Studies. Her research interests include literacy and education on the American plantation, literacy in relation to African American leadership, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Malcolm X. Her most recent work, “High Hope and Fixed Purpose: Frederick Douglass and the Talented Tenth on the American Plantation,” was published in the Phylon: The Clark Atlanta University Review of Race and Culture. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, La’Neice Marie Littleton currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Charmayne E. Patterson, PhD  

Charmayne E. Patterson earned her doctorate in History from Georgia State University. Her dissertation examined the role of Prosperity Theology in the African American Megachurch. With research interests in twentieth century American and African American History, the contemporary Black Church, and the relationship between religion and science her current research focuses on the role of social activism in African American Megachurches. Dr. Patterson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies, Africana Women’s Studies, and History (AWH) at Clark Atlanta University.


July 9

Roslyn Pope, PhD  

Roslyn Pope, PhD In March 1960, Spelman student government president, Roslyn Pope authored “An Appeal for Human Rights” which appeared as a full-page advertisement in multiple newspapers including the Atlanta Constitution and the Nation. Her words, “We do not intend to wait placidly for those rights which are already legally and morally ours to be meted out to us one at a time,” ignited the Atlanta Student Movement in Atlanta. During the Modern Civil Rights Movement, the tenets articulated in the manifesto shaped the ideals of a generation of student activists throughout the United States. As one of the most important written documents of the 20th century, her words also expanded the definition of civil rights as a human right, meaning the recognition of the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. When asked about the “Appeal” and the words she so eloquently penned, she replied, “ Having just returned from a year of study in Paris as a Merrill Scholar, I was not in the mood to return to segregation and second class citizenship. ... I was unshackled. I was looking for a movement.” In 2012, Dr. Pope was recognized with a proclamation by the Atlanta City Council and in 2013, she received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Spelman College for her years of service as a civil rights activist, educator, and civic leader.

Alona Clifton  

Alona Clifton is from Berkeley, CA and a product of the 60’s; she’s a former elected official – Trustee for Peralta Community Colleges. She has many years of activism and engagement in political, social and economic grassroots efforts in the Berkeley/Oakland bay area. Alona has earned a measure of respect for her relentless advocacy in behalf of historically underserved communities. Alona relocated to Atlanta nine months ago and is currently the We Count! Atlanta - Outreach Coordinator, Volunteer with GeorgiaWAND (Women's Action for New Directions).

Christy Garrison-Harrison  

Christy Garrison-Harrison is a doctoral candidate in the field of History and pursuing a certificate in Women’s Studies at Georgia State University. She has taught part-time/ adjunct Instructor at Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta Metropolitan College and at Georgia State University. Mrs. Garrison-Harrison earned a Master of Arts is in African- American History, as well as her Bachelor of Arts, in American History from Clark Atlanta University.

Kenja McCray  

Kenja McCray has a bachelor’s from Spelman College and a master’s in history from Clark Atlanta University. She is currently a PhD candidate in history at Georgia State University. Her areas of interest are the 19th and 20th century United States, African Americans, Africa and the diaspora, transnational histories, women, class and social history. Kenja is also an associate professor of history at Atlanta Metropolitan State College (AMSC). She teaches U.S. and African American history. She works to help AMSC students gain a holistic college experience as an adviser of the Social Sciences Association.

Adelina Nicholls  

Adelina Nicholls was born in México City, with studies in Sociology graduated from Political and Social Sciences College at the Autonomous National University of México U.N.A.M. She has been a co-Founder and President of the Coordinating Council of Latino Community Leaders of Atlanta, where for the past five years all her efforts it has been dedicated in the defense of Immigrants civil and human rights, and at the same time she, has been a provider of workshops of Grassroots Community Organization and Leadership workshops statewide. She was a lead Organizer of the First Latino March for Dignity in Georgia, where more than 5000 people gather in demand of driver’s licenses at the occasion of the Freedom Ride arrival to Atlanta. Currently she works as the executive director of Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (former Coordinadora de Líderes Comunitarios).


July 10

Calinda Lee, PhD  

Calinda Lee, PhD Educated at Spelman College, New York University and Emory University, Calinda N. Lee is Historian for the Atlanta History Center. As a member of the center’s leadership team, she works to develop plans that inform visitor experiences in exhibitions, historic houses, historic gardens, and public programs/education. She is a scholar who conducts primary research into all aspects of local and regional history with an emphasis on topics that serve the mission of the History Center and its primary collections, and creates texts and interpretive media that support and fulfill the institution’s mission. She has held teaching and administrative positions at Emory University, Loyola University Chicago and Spelman College. A prolific practitioner, she has developed projects for institutions including the Albuquerque Museum, the City Museum of Washington, DC, the Maryland Museum for African American Life and History, the Chicago History Museum, and the National Black Arts Festival. It is her deep belief that historical scholarship must be intimately linked with community to be of greatest service: “I try to make history personal every day, to connect lessons from the past to living in the present and planning for the future.”


July 11

Nasir Muhammed  

Nasir Muhammed is the CEO and Founder of Black Mecca of the South Tours, which aims to provide an exceptional educational and tourist experience through showcasing black Atlanta’s rich history. The tour will highlight some lesser known but key historical locations and figures and include iconic historical treasures as well. The mission is thus to celebrate, share, and highlight the places, people, and events that helped define not only the rich African American legacy in Atlanta but the Gate City overall. Black Mecca of the South Tours offers educational entertainment for the whole family. Make your pilgrimage to some ATL musts and discover more black Atlanta history treasures!


July 13

Honorable John Eaves  

In 2014, Honorable John Eaves was elected to his third four-year term as Chairman of the Fulton County Commission. Since 2007, he has led the state’s most populous and dynamic county, home to nearly one million residents and 14 municipalities including Georgia’s capitol city of Atlanta. Before entering politics, John held leadership roles in nonprofit and academic arenas, both nationally and abroad. For seven years, he served as the Southeast Regional Director of the Peace Corps. He is most proud of launching Fulton County’s SMART Justice Advisory Council, a group of community and law enforcement leaders working to reduce recidivism rates, find alternative programs for first-time offenders, and help motivated inmates reclaim their lives. Chairman Eaves is a graduate of Morehouse College; he has a master’s degree in Religion from Yale University and earned his PhD in Educational Administration from the University of South Carolina. John resides in Atlanta and is the devoted father of two children; Isaac and Keturah.

Jacqueline A. Rouse, PhD  

Jacqueline A. Rouse, PhD received her bachelor’s from Howard University, her master’s from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) and her PhD from Emory University, specializing in African American women. Since 1991 she has been a member of the History Department and associate faculty ( and founding coordinator of) the Department of African American Studies, Georgia State University. Previous affiliations have included American University, Morehouse College, Georgia Tech and as a consultant to the African American History Program, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Dr. Rouse’s specialty is southern African American women and the modern civil rights movement. Her research and publications, including books, articles, and documentaries examining the varied lives of black women. Lugenia Burns Hope, Black Southern Reformer won the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Publication Prize 1990. Women in the Civil Rights Movement, Trailblazers and Torchbearers, 1941-1965 is recognized as a leading work on women and civil rights. Her current project, Nurturing Seeds of Discontent: Septima P. Clark and Participatory Democracy is being revised for Kentucky University Press. As a historian and public lecturer, Dr. Rouse has organized national conferences like the “Women in the Civil Rights Movement, Trailblazers and Torchbearer” at the King Center, Atlanta, Georgia, Fall 1988. She has served as president of the Southern Association of Women Historians, the Association of Black Women Historians and the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists. She has been the recipient of several national fellowships and awards. On September 29, 2012 the Association of Black Women Historians, presented Dr. Rouse with its Lorraine Williams Leadership Award in recognition of her lifetime career and her national legacy as a pioneer in the field of African American Women’s History. In March 2015, Dr. Rouse was honor as one of the founders of African American Women’s History by Michigan State University’s Cross Black Women Cross Generational Symposium.


July 14

Traci JoLeigh Drummond  

Traci JoLeigh Drummond, CA, is the archivist for the Southern Labor Archives, part of Georgia State University Library’s Special Collections and Archives. Traci works directly with unions and labor organizations providing assistance and advice regarding their records and other collection materials. She assists union members, students, faculty, and other patrons who use the Southern Labor Archives with research and study. She received her Master of Science in Information Studies from the iSchool, University of Texas at Austin, in 2003.

Dean Baker  

Dean Baker uses his background in Economic Development, Historic Preservation, City Planning, and Architectural History, to help creating inviting and engaging, pedestrian- oriented spaces that connect the story of a location to the actual physical space. This has led to the creation of City Saga, a digital tour experience for Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. Dean is also known for his historical research on the development of Peachtree Center by the original architect-developer John C. Portman Jr. These stories intersect in surprising ways to provide a glimpse into the period of great change that brought forth the modern Atlanta we know today.

John Wright  

John Wright has spent most of his career working in various special collections capacities. For the last 8 1/2 years, he has worked for the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, the last 6 in the Special Collections Department. Prior to moving to AFPLS, he worked as the manager of the US Environmental Protection Agency - Region 4 library. He has also worked as a Records Manager at USEPA Region 4 and for the Centers for Disease Control. In addition, he has experience working as an archivist at Emory University's Pitts Theology Library and in the Archives Division at the Wisconsin Historical Society.


July 15

David Levering Lewis, PhD  

David Levering Lewis's field is comparative history with special focus on 20th-century US social history, imperialism in 19th- century Africa, 20th-century France and Muslim Iberia. He holds graduate degrees in history from Columbia (MA, ‘59) and the London School of Economics and Political Science (PhD, ‘63). He has taught at the University of Notre Dame, Howard University, University of California-San Diego; Rutgers-New Brunswick; and Harvard. In 2002, Mr. Lewis relinquished the Rutgers professorship established in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. He joined New York University’s history department in 2003 as Julius Silver Professor. He became Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History in 2005. Mr. Lewis has written nine books and compiled several editions. A historian of the French Third Republic, he wrote Prisoners of Honor: The Dreyfus Affair (1974, UK, 1975) based on new material from French military archives. Prisoners of Honor had been temporarily set aside to write King: A Critical Biography (1970, rev. ed. 1978, 2013) for Allen Lane the Penguin Press, UK, the first scholarly biography of Dr. King. Lewis’s civil rights history excursion led him to write a history of the Harlem Renaissance, When Harlem Was in Vogue (1980) for Alfred Knopf. Third Republic interests, combined with a lectureship at the University of Ghana, inspired Lewis to write The Race to Fashoda: European Colonialism and African Resistance to the Scramble for Africa (1988, rev. ed. 1994). W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919 (1993) received in 1994, respectively, the Bancroft Prize in American History, the Francis Parkman Prize and the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. In 2001, W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963 (2000) received a second Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Lewis's recent book, God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570 to 1215 was published by Norton (2008) and translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Indonesian and several other languages. Mr. Lewis has received fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (twice), the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the John D. and Catharine T. MacArthur Foundation and the American Academy in Berlin. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, former trustee of the National Humanities Center, former commissioner of the National Portrait Gallery, former senator of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and former president of the Society of American Historians. He was awarded the 2010 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama at the White House. Mr. Lewis retired from New York University in August 2013 as Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus. On May 11, 2015, he received the Arthur Meier Schlesinger Distinguished Service Award from the Society of American Historians. David Levering Lewis resides on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and near Stanfordville, New York. Immediate family consists of daughter Allison and spouse Michael, granddaughters Marissa and Natalie, and sons Eric and Jason, from Mr. Lewis’s previous marriage to Sharon Siskind, and daughter Allegra by marriage to Ruth Ann Stewart, recently deceased.


July 20

Vicki Crawford, PhD  

Vicki Crawford, PhD is Director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection where she is developing campus-based programming in support of the Collection and creating opportunities for teaching, research and scholarship that promote the legacy of Dr. King. She is an editor of the groundbreaking volume of essays, Women in the Civil Rights Movement: Trailblazers and Torchbearers, which address the underrepresented role of women in the Civil Rights Movement. Her scholarship also includes a number of book chapters and essays such as “African American Women in the Twenty-First Century: The Continuing Challenge,” in the American Woman 2000; several entries in Black Women in America as well as a book chapter in Sisters in the Struggle. Dr. Crawford received her PhD degree from Emory University in the field of American Studies with a concentration in twentieth century African American history. She has been on the faculties at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the State University of West Georgia and Clark Atlanta University.

Andrea R. Jackson  

Ms. Andrea R. Jackson currently serves as the Head of the Archives Research Center at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library where she is responsible for leading all department operations. One of her projects includes leading the processing of the Mayoral Records of Maynard Jackson, first African American Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, and subsequent coordination of the traveling exhibition, The People’s Mayor: Maynard Jackson and the Politics of Transformation. She is also responsible for the reference implementation of the digitized collections – the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr., Tupac Amaru Shakur, and HBCU Library Alliance historical collections. Jackson is a proud of alumna of Spelman College and New York University where she received her MA in US History and Certification in Archival Management and Historical Editing. She has also served on the planning committees for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and the Phoenix Award-winning Coalition to Commemorate the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot.

Aviva Kempner  

Aviva Kempner has a mission in life: Her films and writing, investigates non- stereotypical images of Jews in history and focuses and celebrates the untold stories of Jewish heroes. She conceived of and produced Partisans of Vilna, a documentary on Jewish resistance against the Nazis, produced and directed Peabody-winning The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, about the Jewish slugger who fought anti-Semitism in the 1930’s and 40’s, and produced and directed Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, a humorous and eye-opening story of television pioneer Gertrude Berg. And now from Aviva Kempner comes Rosenwald, a feature-length historical documentary about how businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald joined with Southern African American communities during the Jim Crow years to build over 5,400 schools during the early part of the 20th century. This historical partnership as well as the modern-day attempts to restore the schools is an inspiring story of philanthropy and local self- determination. This enlightened patron also constructed key buildings in Chicago and awarded fellowship grants to a who’s who of African American intellectuals and artists of his day so that they could pursue their scholarship and art. Because of his modesty, Rosenwald’s generosity and alliances are not well known today. Kempner lives in Washington, DC where she plays a prominent role in the artist and film community. She started the Washington Jewish Film Festival in 1990. She is also an activist for voting rights for the District of Columbia. Kempner is the child of a Holocaust survivor and US army officer and was born in Berlin after WWII.


July 21

Adriana Varela  

Adriana Varela is a Foreign Attorney in Fragomen's Atlanta office. Her practice includes working with clients to develop effective strategies for international business immigration while ensuring compliance with applicable international rules and regulations. She also advises employers with global operations on immigration requirements for employees assigned to work in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Prior to relocating to the United States, Adriana practiced law in Mexico as an associate for a renowned multi-practice firm. Subsequently, she served as in-house counsel for a Financial Group. Adriana currently serves as Board chair at New American Pathways which is the only organization in Georgia providing a full continuum of support and wrap-around services for refugees. New American Pathways provides up to 3,500 refugees per year with the necessary tools to rebuild their lives and achieve long-term success.

Warren St. John  

Warren St. John has written for the New York Observer, The New Yorker, Wired and Slate, in addition to his work as a reporter for The New York Times. His first book, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Journey into the Heart of Fan Mania (2004), was named one of Sports Illustrated’s best books of the year, and ranked number one on The Chronicle of Higher Education''s list of the best books ever written about collegiate athletics. His second book, Outcasts United: An American Town, A Refugee Team, and One Woman''s Quest to Make a Difference was published in the U.S. in April 2009, and subsequently in the U.K., The Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Japan and China. St. John was born in Birmingham, Alabama, where he attended The Altamont School. He studied English literature at Columbia College in New York City, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

Duncan de la Feld  

Duncan de la Feld has been with the IRC in Atlanta for 4 years and is currently the Volunteer & Donations Coordinator. Before joining the IRC in Atlanta, Duncan completed a B.A. in International Studies and M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at the American University (Washington, D.C.). Duncan is a returned Peace Corp Volunteer who served in Morocco in the Youth Development sector from 2008-2010. Duncan oversees the IRC’s internship and volunteer program (currently with over 380 active volunteers), manages in-kind donations, and assists with external relations for the IRC in Atlanta.


July 22

Enrique Alemán, Jr., PhD  

Enrique Alemán, Jr., PhD, is the Executive Producer and Co-Writer of Stolen Education, a documentary about the forgotten history of a little-known court case from the 1950s, Hernandez et al. v. Driscoll Consolidated School District. In 1956 eight elementary students testified in a federal desegregation court case. As Mexican Americans, they were placed in three years of first grade as a way to discriminate against them by the all White school board, administration and faculty. Stolen Education documents the journey to recapture the remarkable story of the schoolchildren who changed educational history in Texas and confronts the continued inequity in public schools today. It has been screened at universities and colleges, public libraries and in public schools, and has been accepted into two film festivals – the Ruby Mountain Film Festival in Nevada and the CineSol Film Festival in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Charles Jaret  

Charles Jaret grew up on Long Island, NY, and received an undergraduate degree at Colgate University. He obtained an MA and PhD at University of Chicago and then came to Georgia State University in the mid-1970s, where he taught in the Department of Sociology for almost 40 years. His academic areas of interest and research are urban sociology, immigration, and race/ethnicity. He has published work on immigrants' mobility and naturalization, socio-economic inequality in metropolitan areas, and ethnic identity.

Honorable Tisha Tallman  

Honorable Tisha Tallman is the President & CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GHCC). The GHCC is one of the top 4 largest Hispanic chambers of commerce in the United States. In 2012, she was appointed to serve as a part-time Municipal Court Judge for the City of Decatur. Beginning in 2013, she serves as a District 4 representative on the Council of Municipal Court Judges Executive Committee. In 2012, Ms. Tallman participated in a panel with four former Latin American Presidents at the Global Peace Business Forum. Ms. Tallman was a participant in a transportation infrastructure roundtable discussion at the White House through the White House Business Council American Economic Competitiveness Series. She participated in the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) CEO Summit 2008 in Lima, Peru – a convening of Leaders of economies and senior business figures from across the Asia Pacific and the Americas. She was invited by the former President of Mexico Vicente Fox and the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce to be a member of the Commission on North American Social and Economic Prosperity. She is the former Southeast Regional Counsel of MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a national Latino non-profit organization. There she coordinated, supervised and lead the litigation, public policy advocacy and community outreach for 11 (eleven) states.


July 23

Helen Ho, Esq.  

Helen Ho, Esq. is the Founding Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta, the first nonprofit law center dedicated to promoting the civil, social and economic rights of Asian immigrants and refugees in the South. She leads Advancing Justice Atlanta’s public policy, legal education, community organizing, and leadership development work to further its goal of increasing the civic participation of Asian Americans in the South. Advancing Justice – Atlanta was formed in April 2010 after Helen successfully organized Asian immigrant and refugee-led groups to take collective action against a proposed English-only driver license bill that violated the 14th Amendment. Helen is a graduate of Rice University and a 1999 Honors graduate of Emory University School of Law. Helen is married to Rodney Ho, Entertainment Columnist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and is the mother of two adorable dogs.

Charles H. Kuck  

Charles H. (“Chuck”) Kuck Esq. is the Managing Attorney at Kuck Immigration Partners in Atlanta, Georgia. Chuck served as the National President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”) from 2008-2009. He is also a past president of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Emory Law School. He was named one of the top 5 immigration attorneys in the world by Chambers & Partners again in 2015, and was named one of the 2011 “100 Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend magazine. He has practiced immigration law for 25 years, has spoken to numerous legal and business conferences on all types of immigration related topics, has testified in Congress on various aspects of Immigration Law and Immigration Reform, is frequently quoted in the national press, and appears regularly on television and cable news outlets.


July 24

Jerry Gonzalez  

Jerry Gonzalez is the founding and current Executive Director of Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO) and the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. GALEO was founded in 2003 and is a 501 (c) (6) statewide nonprofit and non- partisan organization; its mission is to increase civic engagement and leadership development of the Latino/Hispanic community across Georgia. The GALEO Latino Community Development Fund is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization affiliated with GALEO. Gonzalez is a native of Laredo, TX and received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1995. He completed his Master of Public Administration with a Nonprofit Administration emphasis at the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University in 2005. Gonzalez was an active student at Texas A&M with diverse interests including the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES), the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band (clarinet), and the Corps of Cadets. After graduation, Gonzalez served on the MAES National Board of Directors as a Regional Vice President.

Honorable Pedro Marin  

Pedro Marin has honorably served House District 96 in the Georgia General Assembly for the past thirteen years. He currently serves on the House Banks & Banking, Economic Development & Tourism, Industry & Labor and Science & Technology Committees. Rep. Marin has created a reputation as an elected official dedicated to being a voice for justice, opportunity, and equality for all people. He has facilitated countless intercultural relation programs to educate people about minorities, which have been critical in discrediting stereotypes and easing tensions that arise when people are adverse to change. Rep. Marin has also led numerous community organizing efforts to register voters, protect minorities from unfair treatment, and raise awareness about health & educational disparities. He was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He has been happily married to his wife, Nereida, for 33 years and has one son, Joel.

Honorable Ted Terry  

At 32 years of age, Ted Terry is the youngest Mayor in the City of Clarkston’s History and second youngest in Georgia. Ted has spent the last decade working in the public service sector, doing everything from nonprofit consulting for organizations like the Sierra Club, Human Rights Campaign and Environment Georgia, to campaign organizing and consulting for state representatives, state senators, county commissioners, school boards members, local officials and a U.S. Congressman. During his time as a fundraiser, Ted Terry personally helped raise millions of dollars for campaigns and causes, always with a focus on uniting individuals and businesses behind common goals for a better society. His vision is to build a Clarkston that is safer, greener and more prosperous, creating a community that celebrates our youth, opening doors for their futures. Personal Motto: You can't change the world, if you can't change yourself.


July 27

Dawud Anyabwile  

Emmy Award Winner, Dawud Anyabwile is the creator and illustrator of the Brotherman Comics series, which was conceptualized in 1989 and introduced at the NYC Black Expo in May 1990. He and his brothers teamed up to produce the Brotherman comics series which is recognized as the spark for the current, modern day Black Comics/Superhero movement. He has also been nominated for BEST ARTIST for the prestigious Will Eisner Award as well as received the Key to Kansas City for Outstanding Service to Children.

Ernie Suggs  

Ernie Suggs has been a reporter at the AJC since 1997, currently covering a variety of breaking news and investigative stories for page A1. He previously reported for newspapers in New York City and Durham, N.C. A veteran of more than 20 years as a newspaper reporter, Suggs has covered stories ranging from politics to civil rights to higher education. A 1990 graduate of North Carolina Central University, with a degree in English Literature, Suggs was also a Harvard University Nieman Fellow. He is currently on the Nieman Board of Trustees and the former national vice president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Mausike Scales  

Mausike Scales is the Common Ground Collective’s Musical Director and serves as keyboardist for the group. Common Ground is based in Atlanta, GA. The *Common Ground Collective is a 15 piece Afrobeat-Soul Orchestra that explores musical styles from West Africa, including Afrobeat to Funk-Jazz. From his early exposure to music, Mausiki developed an interest jazz and funk and while attending college at Tuskegee University he co-founded the R&B group Noir. Upon graduation from Tuskegee University, Mausiki traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a Master’s program in History. During this time, he fine-tuned his craft while playing with local bands. He played with bands he co-founded Fa (1992-1995), and subsequently, Afro Blue Trio (1995 – 1998). In 1998, Mausiki formed the Common Ground Collective, weaving sounds of soul, funk, jazz and African consciousness. He has recorded and performed with Julie Dexter, Jiva, Afroblue, and Venuseven as well as performed for Winnie Mandela, Dick Gregory, Ben Carson, Jesse Jackson and Bill Cosby. Mausiki has played in numerous venues at home and abroad. In addition to his work as a music artist, Mausiki has worked as a professor of history and African / African American Studies in the Atlanta University Center and Georgia State University, a group of the country's major institutions of higher learning for African Americans for over a decade. A published historian, Mausiki resides in Atlanta and is the father of two. Currently Mausiki & Common Ground completed a collaborative music project with the Legendary jazz musician Roy Ayers.

Carlton Anthony Usher II, PhD  

Carlton Anthony Usher II, PhD is an Associate Professor of Political Science in the Department of First-Year and Transition Studies. Dr. Usher has an extended teaching and learning history spanning 15 years and contributes twenty years of experience with pre-college and first-year programs. Trained as a historian and political scientist, he teaches in several departments and across several disciples. He has taught Global Studies, History, Political Science and courses on American Popular Culture. In addition, Dr. Usher has designed and led fourteen diverse First- Year Learning Communities. Dr. Usher recently completed appointments as KSU Carnegie Scholar for Civic Engagement, CETL Fellow for Diversity in the Curriculum, University System of Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellow, USG Seven Revolutions Fellow and currently serves as co- chair of the American Democracy Project, a national initiative focused on higher education’s role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens. He has a distinguished publication record that includes publication of several peer reviewed articles, book chapter, and book on student engagement, student political participation and social media. Dr. Usher’s current research focuses on student- centered research, community engagement, youth political participation and global diversity.

Mario B. Williams, Esq.  

Mario B. Williams, law partner at Williams Oinonen LLC, is a civil rights attorney who has represented multiple victims in cases of police shootings. He also holds a wide berth of experience in all areas of civil litigation. Mr. Williams has spent his life devoted to human rights work. He was a fellow at the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at Emory University School of Law, in the area of human rights, served in the Peace Corps in Honduras, and worked for years in Santiago, Chile for a variety of international human rights NGO’s working together with the Chilean government to find cooperative resolutions for major issues that affected poor people. He co-authored one of the first human rights class actions presented in Chile and has submitted international human rights petitions to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on issues related to indigenous rights and affordable housing in South America. Mr. Williams is a Morehouse graduate and attended The Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark.

Joel Alvarado  

Joel Alvarado is the Director of Community Outreach and Engagement at Georgia Piedmont Technical College where he responsible for establishing and fortifying relationships with community, government, business, non-profit and academic stakeholders to advance the mission of the college. Joel previously served as Senior Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DeKalb County, Legislative Director for DeKalb County Government, Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP), Clark Atlanta University, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), as a Congressional Aide and started his own political communications company called Power of the Pen, LLC. He is co-author, along with Georgia State University Professor Dr. Charles Jaret, of a report entitled, Building Black- Brown Coalitions in the Southeast: Four African American-Latino Collaborations, a yearlong case study on Black-Brown relations in the Southeast. He is a board member of the Civic League for Regional Atlanta, Clarkston Community Center, and a member of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


July 28

Dr. C.T. Vivian  

In 1947, C.T. Vivian participated in his first non-violent action to end segregation at lunch counters in Peoria. But because of his strong religious upbringing and beliefs, he says he was called to a life in the ministry. However, he saw no separation between civil rights, faith and ministry because “racism is a moral issue.” With the help of his church, he enrolled in American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville in 1955. Also in 1955, he and other ministers founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, an affiliate of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The group organized and trained students to embark on a movement to end segregation in Nashville. The Nashville affiliate organized the city’s first sit-ins in 1960 and led the first march of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1961, he joined Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) members and other ministers to continue the Freedom Rides into Jackson, Miss. after a group from the Congress of Racial Equality disbanded. The SNCC group was arrested and Vivian was badly beaten at Parchman Prison. In 1963, Martin Luther King asked Vivian to work on the Executive Staff of the SCLC as the national director of affiliates. As an SCLC strategist, he worked to help get the Civil Rights Bill and Voting Rights Acts passed. In 1965, he famously confronted Sheriff Jim Clark on the steps of Selma’s courthouse while leading blacks to register to vote. After leaving SCLC in 1966, he moved to Chicago to direct the Urban Training Center for Christian Missions where he trained clergy, community leaders and others to organize. Later, as a coordinator for the Coalition for United Community Action, he led a direct-action campaign against racism in trade unions and helped mediate a truce among Chicago gangs. In 1972, he became the director of Seminary Without Walls at Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, N.C. Among his many leadership roles, he serves on the board of the Center for Democratic Renewal, the National Voting Rights Museum and as a founder of Capital City Bank, a black-owned bank in Atlanta. He has provided civil rights counsel to Presidents Johnson, Carter, Reagan and Clinton and continues to lecture on racial justice and democracy. In 2012, Dr. Vivian was granted the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award by President Barack Obama.


July 29

Dr. Rev. Joanna Adams  

Dr. Rev. Joanna Adams is a preacher, pastor, and teacher and is known for building bridges of understanding in both the community and in the church.A graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary, Rev. Adams holds an honorary doctorate of divinity from Davidson College, was awarded an Alumni Association Medal of Honor from Emory University and Columbia’s Distinguished Alumni/ae award.A pastor in five Presbyterian churches over the past thirty years, Joanna has also served as a trustee of the Presbyterian Church Foundation, trustee of Agnes Scott College, and chair of the Board of Trustees for Columbia Theological Seminary. In 2006, she was named Georgia Woman of the Year and has been featured in Atlanta Magazine as one of the forty-five most loved Atlantans. She has preached at the National Cathedral, the Memorial Church of Harvard University, as well as at many Presbyterian and ecumenical events. She has authored over 30 published articles, sermons, and chapters in books. Joanna and her husband, attorney Alfred B. Adams, have a daughter, a son and two grandchildren.

Rev. Billy Michael Honor  

Rev. Billy Michael Honor is an Atlanta based minister and public scholar who writes and speaks widely about issues in religion and culture. Rev. Honor also serves as the Pastor of Pulse Church, which is a newly formed progressive faith community in the city of Atlanta. He has obtained degrees from three theological institutions: a Master of Theology from Emory University, a master of divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center, and a bachelor of arts in Biblical Education from Beulah Heights University; and he is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. He also facilitates an award winning blog called the Critical Cleric and writes regularly for the Huffington post and Sojourners Magazine. In his leisure time Billy enjoys restaurant hopping, playing card games, reading, traveling and hanging out with his lovely wife, Kaldeen, who is an education and nonprofit professional.

Dr. Gerald L. Durley  

Dr. Gerald L. Durley was born in Wichita, Kansas. He grew up in California, graduated from high school in Denver, and attended college at Tennessee State University. While earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, playing on a championship basketball team, and serving as student government president, he became very active in the civil rights movement. After graduating, Dr. Durley became one of the first Peace Corp volunteers to enter Nigeria, West Africa. From Africa he ventured to Switzerland where he enrolled in postgraduate studies at the University of Neuchantel. While there, he was invited to play for one of the Swiss National basketball teams. When he returned to the United States, Dr. Durley enrolled in Northern Illinois University where he again became intensely involved in the struggle for human dignity, and earned one of the first Masters Degrees in Community Mental Health. He earned a Doctorate Degree in Urban Education and Psychology from University of Massachusetts and a Master of Divinity Degree from Howard University. Dr. Durley currently serves as Pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church and is a highly sought speaker on civil and human rights issues. He and his wife, Muriel, have 2 children and 4 grandchildren.

Imam Plemon T. El-Amin  

Imam Plemon T. El-Amin has served for the past twenty-three years as the Resident Imam of the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam, one of the largest and most progressive Mosques in the United States. He worked closely as an aide and supporter of Imam W. Deen Mohammed and his Ministry, The Mosque Cares.

Judy Marx  

In October 2014, Judy Marx was named the first Executive Director of Interfaith Community Initiatives, a position that became full-time in March 2015. In this position, she oversees ICI’s many programs, including World Pilgrims, Atlanta Interfaith Leaders Fellowship, and Interfaith Immersions, as well as represents interfaith efforts at community events and works with faith leadership across the city. Prior to joining ICI, for three years Judy consulted with nonprofit organizations to improve their fundraising, community relations and leadership development. Judy spent 12-1⁄2 years with American Jewish Committee where she served as the Atlanta Director, and where she was the Founding Director of the award-winning Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Also, in 2011 and 2013, Judy produced ReelAbilities ATL, Atlanta’s only disabilities film festival, working under the auspices of Georgia Community Support & Solutions. In 1999, Judy was appointed by then Governor Barnes to the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. She is also a board member of Ahavath Achim Synagogue, a member of the 2001 Class of Leadership Atlanta, a 2002 American Marshall Memorial Fellow, a founding board member of Limmud Southeast, and in 2012 was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel College of Ministers and Laity at Morehouse College.


July 31

Amber Saunders  

Amber Saunders is the CEO of Native Insights, a company that provides Native American cultural presentations to schools, organizations, and groups of all ages. She is an enrolled member of the Tuscarora Nation of NC –deer clan. Amber has been active in her culture since infancy and has danced in Native American Powwows all over the United States since she was a child At a young age she begin dancing fancy shawl, as well as Iroquois smoke dance and other Iroquois social dances. She served as the Tuscarora Princess from 1995 – 1996. Amber has been presenting Native American Indian cultural presentations to the public since she was 10 years old. She is well versed in not only sharing the dances but also sharing the history and stories behind the dances. Amber and the other Native Insight dancers have won numerous dance competitions and awards throughout the country.

Ramona Moore Big Eagle, M.Ed.  

Ramona Moore Big Eagle, M.Ed. (Tuscarora/Cherokee) is President and CEO of Dare To Soar Enterprises, a company she started in 1991. The company’s purpose is to inspire and empower people of all ages in all walks of life to become more effective communicators. Ramona is an internationally renowned Speaker and Storyteller as well as an Oral Historian and Legend Keeper from the Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina. Ramona received a Master of Education Degree from East Tennessee State University in Reading and Storytelling and a B.A. Degree from Catawba College. Ramona, who has been teaching for over two decades, was honored as Teacher of the Year in Drama for 2001-2002 at Community School of the Arts and received the 2012 Faculty Leadership Award from the University of Phoenix where she has taught for over 7 years. Ramona travels throughout the United States and Canada as a Motivational Speaker, Storyteller, Cultural Educator, Consultant, and Workshop Facilitator. Her workshops and programs are in high demand for educating and empowering audiences of all ages.

DeLesslin George-Warren  

DeLesslin George-Warren grew up with one moccasin in the “city” of Rock Hill, SC and the other in the Catawba Indian Reservation. Today he continues to straddle multiple boundaries as an artist, researcher, activist, and performer. After graduating with a Bachelor of Music from Vanderbilt University in May 2014, DeLesslin was a Humanity in Action Fellow followed by a return to his reservation to conduct workshops with Catawba youth and oral history interviews with Catawba elders. Since relocating to the District of Columbia he has continued performing, creating, and lecturing throughout the east coast including Nashville, Washington, Baltimore, New York City, Ithaca, and Charleston. Current projects include a queer reimagining of canonical texts, a massively collaborative online poem, and a performance-lecture about the great history of the Catawba Indian Nation.

Deborah J. Richardson  

Deborah J. Richardson is the Interim Chief Executive Officer of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. She is recipient of Auburn seminary "Lives for Commitment Award.” She is a nationally recognized leader on social justice for women and girls and an advocate to end child sex trafficking. She is currently working on a PhD in Public Policy and Social Change from Union Institute & University.