2018 Speakers

Rasha Almulaiki (@dangerinc17) is a Detroit Advocate in Detroit, MI. Previously, Rasha worked as the Program Director at Global Ties Detroit, overseeing the crafting and implementation of the local State Department-sponsored exchange program, International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP). A homegrown Metro-Detroiter, Rasha is passionate about inspiring strength in her community. She is the co-founder of The Z Collective, a Southeast Michigan-based activist group of Arab and Muslim women that aims to tackle need-based humanitarian initiatives such as interpersonal partner violence in immigrant communities and work alongside other local identity groups. Rasha received a BA from Wayne State University in English Literature and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.

Alex Alsup is the Director of Housing Stability at the Quicken Loans Community Fund. He brings six years of experience building software, analyzing policy, and collecting data to bear on Detroit housing problems. Alsup was previously the Chief Product Officer of LOVELAND Technologies from 2012 - 2016, where he oversaw design and development of the enterprise Software-as-a-Service platform, Site Control, used to conduct the first citywide property survey of Detroit during the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. He is the creator of GooBing Detroit (www.GooBingDetroit.com), an often-referenced visual resource on how the ongoing tax foreclosure crisis has affected Detroit’s housing stock. Alsup holds a B.A. from Skidmore College.
Shane Bernardo (@MrShaneBernardo)  grew up working in his family's grocery store on the west side of Detroit, Michigan.  For over 13 years, Shane's family helped cultivate a nourishing environment for the South East Asian, West African and Afro-Caribbean cultures through culturally relevant foods, recipes, stories and traditions. Through these shared food staples and customs, Shane developed a heightened awareness of shared social, economic, political and historical conditions that his family had in common with others within a geographically, racially, ethnically and culturally stratified community.
Shane is also a long-life Detroit resident active within the grassroots food justice movement in Detroit.  He has been a facilitator for Uprooting Racism Planting Justice, outreach coordinator for Earthworks Urban Farm, a board member for the Michigan Farmers Market Association, and a founding member of Swimming in the Detroit River, an environmental justice storytelling collective. Shane has also been awarded fellowships with the Center for Whole Communities, Environmental Leadership Program, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, the Detroit Equity Action Lab, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Shane is an community organizer and facilitator that speaks and writes on food justice issues that lie at the intersections of food, health, healing and spirituality.
On January 1, 2014, Wayne S. Brown was named President and CEO of Michigan Opera Theatre.
Mr. Brown had been director of Music and Opera for the National Endowment for the Arts since 1997, where he managed NEA grants for music and opera projects and directed the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships, the nation’s highest honor in jazz. Prior to his affiliation with the Arts Endowment, Brown served as producer of music programs for the Cultural Olympiad in Atlanta, Georgia, where he managed music events associated with the 1996 Olympic Games.
Brown has a long history of involvement with symphony orchestras in Louisville, Kentucky; Springfield, Massachusetts; and Detroit, Michigan. He is the former executive director of the Louisville Orchestra, where he was responsible for the planning, supervision, and administration of all facets of the organization. Under his leadership, the orchestra launched and exceeded a $10 million endowment campaign, established a significant regional touring program, and produced two international music festivals.
He began his role with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as an administrative manager, and subsequently was named an assistant manager where he was in charge of sales, community outreach, and the orchestra’s first Upper Peninsula tour. In 1979, Brown was instrumental in bringing about the first Classical Roots Concert in Detroit, an initiative that is now being celebrated by several communities throughout the nation.
He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he received his bachelor of music degree with a major in voice and a minor in business.
Native Detroiter Michelle Bolofer grew up just north of Fitzgerald in the Bagley neighborhood. After earning bachelor's degrees in English and Psychology from the University of Michigan, she directed her ambitions toward education, teaching high school on the south side of Chicago and then returning to the Metro Detroit area as a learning specialist and diversity and inclusion advocate. Upon receiving a master’s degree in mathematics from Wayne State University, she shifted from education to the business world, working as a consultant for a financial and business advisory firm. After two years serving clients, she transitioned into internal services to develop curriculum for the firm and work with leadership to expand diversity and inclusion initiatives. Michelle brings a passion for social justice, equity, and diversity to her work in community advocacy and neighborhood revitalization.
Nathan Bomey (@NathanBomey) is a business reporter at USA TODAY, where he covers breaking news, the auto industry and bankruptcy. Bomey joined USA TODAY in 2015 after several years as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, where he covered General Motors and the historic Detroit bankruptcy. He also spent about eight years at other community publications in his hometown area of Ann Arbor. Bomey's first book, Detroit Resurrected: To Bankruptcy and Back (2016), tells the riveting inside story of the largest Chapter 9 bankruptcy in U.S. history. His second book, After the Fact: The Erosion of Truth and the Inevitable Rise of Donald Trump (2018), examines how society's diminishing commitment to the facts enabled Donald Trump to capture the White House. Nathan received the Michigan Notable Books Award (2017) from the Michigan Department of Education, the Outstanding Young Alumni Award (2015) from Eastern Michigan University, two Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) Awards, the Wade H. McCree Award for the Advancement of Justice, and Governing magazine’s Hovey-Harkness Award. He lives in the Washington, DC, area.
April Jones Boyle is the Founder and the Executive Director of the Build Institute. April was a founding team member of D:hive, where she was Director of Small Business Initiatives and helped launch the Build program. She is also the co-creator of a number of small-scale ventures including the award-winning family Hootenanny kids concert series and CD, the critically acclaimed Indonesian pop-up restaurant Komodo Kitchen and the all mom rock band The Mydols- featured on the Cable television series Gene Simmons Family Jewels. She sits on the board of Kiva Detroit and the advisory board for Ponyride. She is also co-owner and investor in Gold Cash Gold, building and restaurant, in Corktown. April is married to Model D Co-founder Brian Boyle and is the mother of three amazing boys – Carter, Gram Henry and Rowen.
Jeffrey Brown (@jeffreybrown438) manages projects on the future of work and artificial intelligence at the Bertelsmann Foundation in Washington. His research focuses on the implications of automation and AI on geopolitics and labor, particularly in regard to the United States and the European Union. He recently completed a future of work playbook for transatlantic policymakers with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and he has written extensively on how artificial intelligence is impacting the American office and factory. He is currently working with the National Association of Workforce Boards to develop and highlight local responses and strategies to the future of work in the United States and Europe.
Chase L. Cantrell (@bcvdetroit) is the executive director and founder of Building Community Value, a Detroit-based social impact organization dedicated to implementing and facilitating real estate development projects in underserved Detroit neighborhoods. An alumnus of the University of Michigan Law School, Chase specialized in real estate and corporate law and has facilitated corporate and real estate acquisitions, sales, and other complex transactions for clients of all sizes (from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies). Through Building Community Value, and in collaboration with academic and community partners, Chaseseeks to be a catalyst for sustainable social and economic development that engages distressed communities in creating impactful, resident-led change but, more specifically, that improves livability for all Detroiters
Anna Clark (@annaleighclark) is a journalist in Detroit. Her writing has appeared in Elle Magazine, the New York Times, Politico, the Columbia Journalism Review, Next City, and other publications. Anna edited A Detroit Anthology, a Michigan Notable Book. She has been a Fulbright fellow in Nairobi, Kenya, and a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan. She is the author of The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy.
At The Motown Movement we are working together to upscale the fight against climate change and increasing the number of sustainable homes. We want to make techniques for making your home more sustainable available and affordable to everyone to use, especially for low-income communities. My job, being the acquisition manager is to make sure we’ve got everything we need. Whether it is money, materials or awesome chances I am kind of responsible to keep The Motown Movement moving forward. We are building an open-source pavilion on 1995 Ford street, showcasing all the sustainable techniques and we of course need to have sufficient funds to rebuild the house and Detroit altogether. It isn’t an easy job, but somebody needs to do it! At my studies in Delft, Industrial Design Engineering, I always found a lot of negativity around sustainability, as if being sustainable would hold back the design or use. Working for the Motown Movement I want to prove to the world and myself that sustainability does not have to be a luxury and can be something truly wonderful.
Maurrice Cox (@MauriceDCox) was born and educated in New York City. He received his bachelor's in architecture from the prestigious Cooper Union School of Architecture and was awarded the Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.  Early in his career, he taught for Syracuse University’s Architecture Program in Florence, Italy, while practicing architecture in Florence for ten years.  He also holds an honorary degree from the University of Detroit – Mercy.
Cox has received national acclaim as a leader in community design and is widely respected for his ability to incorporate active citizen participation into the urban design and planning process.  He has a reputation for developing bold – yet achievable – plans that become tools for civic discourse and empowerment, embraced by diverse sectors of the community. His approach led Fast Company business magazine to name him one of America’s “20 Masters of Design” for his practice of “democratic design.”
He served as the design director of the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, and in that capacity, he led the selection of NEA design grants and leadership programs such as the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, which prepares mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities.
Cox previously held the dual position of director of the Tulane City Center, a community-based design resource center for New Orleans and associate dean for Community Engagement at the Tulane University School of Architecture, where he facilitates a wide range of partnerships between Tulane University, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and the City of New Orleans.
Previously, Cox taught at the University of Virginia, where his appreciation of the civic process led to his public service as city councilmember and then mayor of the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, from 1996-2004.
During Cox’s mayoral term (2002-2004) the city was ranked as the “#1 Best Place to Live in the USA & Canada” by Frommer’s Cities Ranked and Rated. Under his leadership, Charlottesville completed several urban design initiatives, including the passage of an award-winning zoning ordinance in support of mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development; new infill residential neighborhoods and mixed-income, higher-density housing; and the design of a new, two-mile, federally funded parkway entrance into the city.
Peter D. Cummings is the founder of RAM, a leader in real estate investment, management and development, based in Palm Beach County and active throughout the Southeast. In 2015 he stepped down as chairman of RAM to create The Platform, a Detroit-based venture dedicated to helping rebuild the city through creating new housing and retail developments. Mr. Cummings has been active in real estate development and management in Florida, Michigan, Texas and North Carolina since 1975. Mr. Cummings was educated at Yale University (B.A. 1968) and the University of Toronto (Master’s in English Literature 1969). In 1988, he completed the Owner & President Management Program at the Harvard Business School. He serves on the Max M. Fisher Family Office Investment Committee, on the Board of the Norton Museum of Art, and is chairman emeritus of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where he has served as a board member for 25 years.
Devita Davison (@DevitaDavison) combines her passion for culinary arts with activism and entrepreneurship. She has spoken and facilitated workshops on food justice, entrepreneurship and the localist movement at the Kellogg Foundation Food & Community conference, Just Food Conference, Netroots Nation, Omega Institute and the BALLE conference. As Co-Director of FoodLab Detroit, a non-profit organization that represents a diverse community of food businesses and allies working to make good food a sustainable reality for all Detroiters, Devita works to provide support to over 140+ food businesses through resource connection, mentoring, high-quality workshops, field-trips and networking opportunities – all with the goal of cultivating good food businesses. A native Detroiter, Devita moved back home after running a specialty food retail shop in Brooklyn, New York and now plays a leading role in Detroit's emerging food scene.
Chastity Pratt Dawsey (@CPrattDawsey) covers urban affairs and Detroit for Bridge Magazine, a digital news publication produced by The Center for Michigan based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She joined the Bridge Magazine team from the Detroit Free Press in 2013 after more than a decade of providing authoritative coverage of Detroit Public Schools. Pratt Dawsey’s award-winning work inspired the creation of a Detroit blight-reduction program and the removal of several school officials for corruption or incompetence.
Chastity also provides political analysis and commentary for local and national media and is an occasional presenter, trainer and moderator for Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Education Writers Association and National Association of Black Journalists.
As a member of the Bridge Magazine staff, she is a co-author of two books, “Poison on Tap,” the first comprehensive book on the Flint water crisis, and “The Intersection,” a 2017 retrospective on the 1967 Detroit rebellion. Her work also has appeared in USA Today, Essence Magazine and the Investigative Reporters & Editors Journal. A native Detroiter, Chastity previously was a reporter at Newsday in Long Island, NY, The Oregonian newspaper in Portland, Ore. and started her career as an intern at The New York Times. Chastity holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications from the University of Michigan.
Since graduating from the University of Michigan College of Architecture and Urban Planning in 2010, Damon Dickerson has worked professionally as an Architectural Designer throughout Michigan. As a native of Ypsilanti, Michigan, Damon and his wife moved to Detroit with the intention to aid in its revitalization. With a belief that equitable development starts with community, he has always leveraged his passion and architectural training to seek solutions to issues stemming from built environment inequities. His travels to Africa and Europe have provided him with a unique lens through which he can better understand the complexities surrounding community activism on a global scale. As a self-proclaimed Urban Design-Adventurer, Damon believes good design should be affordable and accessible to the people who need it most. As such, he worked as a research assistant and design studio instructor with the University of Michigan’s Detroit Community Design Center from 2007 – 2014 on several projects ranging from bus stop installations to studying the feasibility of renovating vacant neighborhood schools. After recently completing the renovation of a 110-year-old duplex on Detroit’s east side, Damon is exploring the next impactful development opportunity within Detroit.
Angela D. Dillard (@adillard4) is Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA) at the University of Michigan.  In this capacity, she is especially dedicate to promoting various forms of civic engagement and “high impact” educational practices (internships, field experiences, research opportunities, study abroad, capstone courses, learning communities and others) for all of LSA’s undergrad students. Dillard is the administrative head of LSA's Division of Undergraduate Education, chairs the LSA Curriculum Committee, and works closely with College partners on issues related to teaching and learning, inclusive pedagogies and engaged learning.
Dillard is also the Earl Lewis Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and in the Residential College. Dean Dillard specializes in American and African-American intellectual history, particularly around issues of race, religion and politics — on both the Left and the Right sides of the political spectrum. 
Her first book, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Now?: Multicultural Conservatism in America (NYU Press, 2001) was among the first critical studies of conservative political thought among African Americans, Latinos, women and homosexuals. Her second book, Faith in the City: Preaching Radical Social Change in Detroit (U of Michigan Press, 2007), focuses on the interconnections of religion and political radicalism in Detroit from the 1930s to the 1960s. Both books reflect Professor Dillard’s interests in the study of political ideologies — how they emerge, how they get deployed in the context of political movements, and how they change over the course of time. She is currently at work on a book, Civil Rights Conservatism, about unexpected “alliances” and “intersections” between the post-WWII civil rights movement and the rise of a New Right.
Dr. Dillard writes and speaks frequently on issues of race, religion and politics on both the Left and the Right sides of the political spectrum. Her work has appeared in such public forums as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Dissent, and the Chronicle of Higher Education and she has been a guest commentator on a variety of television and radio programs.
Eric Dueweke is a Lecturer in the Urban and Regional Planning Program at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College. He teaches the Integrative Field Experience ("capstone") studio course to second-year Masters of Urban Planning students. Capstone course teams work on real-world projects with a non-profit or local government partner agency. Several of Dueweke's recent capstone projects address land banking and vacant property issues in Detroit or Flint. In addition to negotiating projects with capstone clients, he serves as a liaison to practicing planners, especially from the nonprofit sector, in Detroit and across Michigan.
Dueweke recently completed seven years on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Association of Planning, the state APA chapter. He also serves on the boards of several community based organizations in Detroit. Prior to coming to UM in 2002, Dueweke worked for over 20 years with Detroit nonprofits in the fields of arts, special events and community development.
Charles Ezra Ferrell is Vice-President of Public Programs at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, where he served as a consultant and founder of the acclaimed Liberation Film Series (2012-15) and Director of Public Programs (2015-16).
He edited Free the Land! Reflections in Honor of the Significant Life, Contributions, Battles and Victories of Revolutionary Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, Esq.(Liberation Press, 2015) and authored: “Malcolm X’s Pre-Nation of Islam (NOI) Discourses” (Malcolm X’s Michigan Worldview, MSU Press, 2015) and “The Voice of Black Power in Detroit: General Gordon Baker, Jr.,” (Black Power Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, 2018). His drawings are published in KONCH MAGAZINE, An Ishmael Reed and Tennessee Reed Publication (July, 2018).
He serves a board member of the General Baker Institute (GBI) and a member of the General Baker Memorial Scholarship Committee at the University of Michigan - Semester in Detroit.
Rev. Faith Fowler is the Senior Pastor of Cass Community United Methodist Church and Executive Director of Cass Community Social Services (CCSS), a Detroit nonprofit agency which responds to poverty with programs for food, health care, housing and employment. She has held these roles since 1994. Beyond her work at CCSS, Rev. Fowler has served as a Board Member for the Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corporation (CCNDC), an advisory Board member of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging, as well as a Board Member and Trustee for the General Board of Church and Society. She currently Chairs the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Advisory Committee.
I am the Interim Director of the Division of Public Health and Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)-funded Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions (U54MD011227). I also serve as the MSU co-Director of the Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center. I am an epidemiologist and classically trained public health professional with expertise in drug and alcohol dependence epidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology and prevention science. I attended Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (BA Natural Sciences and Public Health, 1996) and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (PhD, 1999).
In 2005, I initiated the Drug Investigations, Violence and Environmental Studies Laboratory (The DIVE Studies Lab) at The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. In 2007, the group moved to The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In January 2016, I became one of the C.S. Mott Endowed Professors of Public Health at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine at the Flint, Michigan campus. When I came to the Division of Public Health, I immediately began working with grass-roots community partners as well as academic partners within and outside of Michigan State University.
My Flint-based work will focus on structural interventions to address behavioral health inequalities and promote policy interventions to improve public health for Flint residents. In the wake of the Flint Water Crisis, I will put my expertise in universal and targeted school-based interventions, extensive background in community-based participatory approaches to public health, action-oriented research to improve public health, and track record of policy interventions to advance the public health status of the Flint community.
The move to MSU and back to Flint has been exciting and rewarding. As a former Flint resident, I have a commitment to Flint that began early in adolescence. My work in Flint is focussed on behavioral health equity and policy-level interventions to promote health equity. My action-oriented research is rooted in the principles and practices of community-based participatory research and I conduct my research with my community and other research partners and not to them or for them. I fundamentally believe there is a seat for everyone at the table and I am honored and humbled to work such an amazing and committed group of people. A working list of core community partners can be found here (link to list http://fches.org/consortium-partners/).
I am the developer of a novel observational environmental assessment tool, the Neighborhood Inventory for Environmental Typology (NIfETy). The NIfETy is a unique systematic social observation developed to measure features of the built and social environment linked to violence, alcohol, tobacco and other drug exposure (VAOD) exposure. My NIfETy-based research has been used to promote environmental interventions to prevent and reduce VAOD exposure. This work is highly collaborative and has fueled a range of partnerships with researchers and policy makers across the country. In 2007, I received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for my early career accomplishments in substance abuse research and research using the NIfETy. I have worked with local and national policy makers to improve data driven decision-making across a broad range of behavioral health topics to include 'health equity in all policies'. As part of the work of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions we will conduct annual city-wide assessments of Flint neighborhoods using the NIfETy. We are simultaneously initiating the Flint Area Study (FASt), a longitudinal study of Flint residents to assess the multigenerational and intergenerational transition of risk and resilience. Details on NIfETy, the Flint Area Study, and other active projects that I lead can be found here (add link to projects list).
John Gallagher (@JGallagherFreep) is a veteran journalist and author whose book, Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City, was named by the Huffington Post as among the best social and political books of 2010. His most recent book is Revolution Detroit: Strategies for Urban Reinvention. John was born in New York City and joined the Detroit Free Press in 1987 to cover urban and economic redevelopment efforts in Detroit and Michigan, a post which he still holds. His other books include Great Architecture of Michigan and, as co-author, AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. John and his wife, Sheu-Jane, live along Detroit’s east riverfront.
Elisabeth R. Gerber is the Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan (UM). Dr. Gerber is also the Jack L. Walker, Jr. Collegiate Professor of Public Policy, a Professor of Public Policy, a Professor of Political Science and a Research Associate at the Center for Political Studies at UM. Dr. Gerber's current research focuses on regionalism and intergovernmental cooperation, transportation policy, state and local economic policy, land use and economic development, local fiscal capacity, and local political accountability. She is the author of The Populist Paradox: Interest Group Influence and the Promise of Direct Legislation (1999), co-author of Stealing the Initiative: How State Government Responds to Direct Democracy (2000), and co-editor of Voting at the Political Fault Line: California's Experiment with the Blanket Primary (2001) and Michigan at the Millennium (2003). Dr. Gerber currently serves as vice-chair of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan. 
Curt Guyette joined the ACLU of Michigan in the fall of 2013 as interim media liaison, and then made the transition to investigative reporter, a newly created position funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation. He now writes exclusively about issues involving emergency management and open government. 
Prior to joining the ACLU of Michigan, Curt worked as a print journalist for more than 30 years, the last 18 of which were spent at the Metro Times, an alternative newsweekly based in Detroit. While there, the topics of his stories varied widely, from exposes that pulled back the curtain on political machinations to tales of individual struggles against systemic abuse. Along with a deep-seeded irreverence toward the powerful, his work has been shaped by compassion for the underdog, and a relentless desire to see justice—be it social, economic or environmental—served. Those values eventually led him to a job with the ACLU of Michigan.
A native of Pennsylvania, Curt graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in English writing. He is the recipient of numerous local, state and national journalism awards. The State Bar of Michigan has honored him three times for his outstanding coverage of legal issues.
Martina Guzmán is an award-winning, nationally recognized journalist based in Detroit, Michigan. Her focus is telling stories of marginalized communities. In September of 2016, Martina became the first Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights Race and Justice Journalism Fellow. In 2015 She received a reporting grant through the Michigan Economic Center to report on water issues, which address race, justice, and new water technology in the 21st century. In 2011 Martina was awarded a German Marshall Fund Journalism grant to create the multi-media journalism project, The Detroit-Berlin Connection. The series was awarded best series by the Michigan Broadcasters Association and won first place for Best Investigative series from the Associated Press of Michigan. The series led transatlantic leaders to officially make Detroit and Berlin, sister cities.  
From 2008 to 2015 Martina worked at WDET, Detroit’s NPR affiliate. There, she was awarded the 2009 Best State Wide Individual Reporter by the Associated Press. While at WDET she became the correspondent for The Takeaway, a nationally syndicated show produced by Public Radio International.  Martina is also a film producer. Her first film, Milagros: Made In Mexico, examines the economic and social roles women in Mexico take on when the men of the house cross the border. The film won Best Documentary on matters relating to marginalized people at the Black International Cinema in Berlin, Germany in 2013.  
Martina is a sought-after speaker and has been a guest lecturer at the American Embassy in Berlin, Germany -- Brown, Columbia and Duke University, as well as the University of Notre Dame, The University of Michigan and the University of Texas-Austin.  She is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants and a graduate of Journalism School at Columbia University in New York City.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha (@MonaHannaA) is a first-generation Iraqi American pediatrician and public health advocate. She is widely recognized as the whistle-blower who forced the state of Michigan to acknowledge toxic levels of lead in Flint’s water supply, and has been a prominent voice of the children of Flint throughout the crisis. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BBC and countless other media outlets championing the cause of public health and encouraging others to join her in providing assistance to Flint’s residents. Her new book What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City is a riveting, beautifully rendered account of a shameful disaster that became a tale of hope, the story of a city on the ropes that came together to fight for justice, self-determination, and the right to build a better world for their—and all of our—children.
Alex B. Hill (@alexbhill) is the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Manager for the Detroit Health Department. He works to address the impacts of health disparities from chronic diseases through data analysis and community engagement strategies. Alex's personal research is focused on food access, health disparities, and racial justice. Alex's projects and research focus on the need for greater community involvement at all levels and specifically highlights the intersections of power, privilege, and race. In his free time he advocates for citizen engagement in open data and regularly writes a map and geography focused blog, DETROITography.com.
Lauren Hood specializes in community engagement and authentic dialogues. She leads Live6, a nonprofit development organization whose mission is to enhance quality of life for residents living in Northwest Detroit. Prior to joining Live6, Lauren spent her career in leadership positions in economic development for the City of Highland Park, as the Director of Community Engagement at Loveland Technologies, and Principal of her racial equity consultancy, Deep Dive Detroit. She serves as a Mayoral appointee to the City of Detroit's Historic District Commission and speaks regularly on panels, conducts workshops and facilitates dialogues on community engagement and inclusive development. In addition to being a regular guest columnist in local Op-ed pages, she is active at her alma mater, University of Detroit, Mercy where she received a Master’s in Community Development and undergraduate business degree.
My name is Tirza Izelaar (phonetic: Tear-za), I am a 21-year-old Industrial Design Engineering Student from Delft, The Netherlands, who ended up here in Detroit as part of the Motown Movement. After finishing my bachelor degree, I thought it was time to put all that gained knowledge into something practical. So I took a gap year to exploit myself. First I became a teaching assistant to teach freshmen’s the basic steps of a design process and a waitress, because money. After 2 months into my gap year somebody pointed my attention into the direction of The Motown Movement. They were looking for a new board that could take over the responsibility of running the new start-up. Especially the function of Community manager caught my attention, which suited my idea of doing the gab year. In that function I would be responsible for the involvement of the neighborhood and to make sure their needs are implemented into the project. Which is the part of design that I was interested in. After the selection procedure I got in and here I am, in Detroit for already 5 months and almost leaving, starting my master in Delft in September and being a teaching assistant again.
In his capacity as Chief, Arthur Jemison leads several public-facing departments and acts as liaison to the leadership of several key City affiliate agencies.  Arthur was previously the Director of the Housing & Revitalization Department for the City of Detroit.  In that capacity, he led strategy, deployment and management of the City’s housing policy and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) entitlement funding. 
Before coming to Detroit, Jemison served as Deputy Undersecretary and Deputy Director, Department of Housing and Community Development, for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  He has held a variety of both public- and private-sector positions, many related to city planning and urban development.  This includes his role in the Office of Deputy Mayor for Planning & Development, District of Columbia.
Teri John is Director of Education Programs for Learning & Audience Engagement at the Detroit Institute of Arts. She is responsible for a team who: 
  • delivers professional development to more than 1,500 K-12 and university faculty each year
  • facilitates field trip experiences for more than 70,000 students each year
  • collaborates with teachers to design curriculum resources 
  • provides experiences for homeschool families
  • partners with community members to deliver educational programs for adults
  • trains and supports more than 200 docents who engage more than 120,000 adults and families each year both on- and off-site
  • manages the Teen Council, which designs programs for teens
  • manages the Teacher Advisory Group, which designs events and resources for teachers
  • provides gallery experiences for underserved populations and adults with medical conditions
  • provides experiences in the museum for medical school faculty and students
  • Teri spent a full career in public education, the last sixteen as an elementary principal in Southfield.  When she retired from her K-12 career, Teri was hired at the DIA to help build bridges between the museum and schools in fulfillment of the museum’s millage agreements. Teri’s vision is to have the community understand how the museum can be a resource for teaching, learning, and wellness.
Ruth Johnson is a dynamic leader and a joyful servant who helps organizations identify and manage human resources, financial resources, community resources, and governmental relationships more effectively. She has experience working with hard to reach and underserved communities including racial and ethnic minorities, language and literacy differences, and the very young and the very old. Throughout her career, Ruth has coordinated public policy advocacy activities in Mid-Michigan, West Michigan and Southeastern Michigan. Her work includes helping community groups develop policy agendas and then implement strategies to transform issues into meaningful, effective action. As part of this work, she connects these groups to partners and allies on the local, state and national levels to magnify the impact of their actions. Lastly, her work is grounded in building and nurturing relationships among youth, parents, seniors, business leaders, educators, policymakers and other key stakeholders.
Ruth operates DYNAMIS Consulting and Training to provide high quality, cost-effective services to organizations. She designs the plans and programs; develops easy-to-understand informational materials; facilitates interactive trainings; and then develop and coordinate the implementation of strategic or operational plan. 
Previously, Ruth served as the Assistant Director for Transportation Riders United. For over 7 years directed organizational activities; raised funds; led advocacy campaigns; and coordinated volunteers and interns for a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and promoting public transportation in Greater Detroit. 
Ruth draws on her experience practicing law for twelve years; serving as the executive director of a nonprofit; serving on numerous boards and commissions; volunteering in schools and in church; and operating her own business. After working for a corporate legal department, law firms and in solo practice representing individuals, business, nonprofits and public entities in state and federal court, Ruth decided to use her education and training to serve the community as her full-time vocation. Working in the nonprofit community, Ruth gained front-line experience managing programs, staff, volunteers, boards and budgets and nurturing relationships with policymakers, funders, business and religious leaders, schools, parents, youth and the media.
Debora Kang is an arts administrator who plays an important role as an educator, concert producer, and mentor.  Debora is currently Manager of Education Programs at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra where she currently manages the DSO’s Educational Concert Series (ECS), Super Saturdays, Music Education Professional Development and Community Discovery program. Debora strives to develop orchestral performances and webcasts for the youth that are dynamic, interactive, visually engaging, artistically compelling, and support the goals of the Core Music Standards/National Standards for Music Education as well as the mission of the DSO. 
Debora has worked as an administrator and educator in the arts for world renowned institutions such as é New York Philharmonic and Marilyn Horne Foundation. She received her Masters of Arts at New York University and Bachelor of Arts at Berklee College of Music and the University of Oklahoma.  
Roslyn Karamoko (@DITNB) is originally from Seattle, WA and attended Howard University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Merchandising. Upon graduation Roslyn moved to NY and started her career as an intern for Sean John. Eventually, she landed a spot in the Buyer’s Training Program at Saks Fifth Avenue, and spent much of her career working in the Buying and Planning divisions of the luxury retailer.
Roslyn’s love for people and culture took her to Singapore next, where she was an inaugural member of an international fashion e-commerce start-up. She was recruited by the conglomerate to source and introduce international brands to the Southeast Asian market. She moved to Detroit in 2013.
Called “The Motor City’s Hottest Designer” by TIME Magazine, Roslyn started Détroit is the New Black in 2014. “Detroit is where you see creativity and opportunity intersect. I wanted the brand to reflect that intersection.”, says Karamoko. In July of 2016, Détroit is the New Black opened its flagship store on Woodward Ave in Downtown Detroit.
Ingrid LaFleur (@ingridlafleur) is an artist, activist, and Afrofuturist. Her mission is to ensure equal distribution of the future, exploring the frontiers of social justice through new technologies, economies and modes of government. As a recent Detroit Mayoral candidate and founder and director of AFROTOPIA, LaFleur implements Afrofuturist strategies to empower Black bodies and oppressed communities through frameworks such as blockchain, cryptocurrency, and universal basic income. Most recently she joined the EOS Detroit team as the Chief Community Officer. As a thought leader, social justice technologist, public speaker, teacher and cultural advisor she has led conversations and workshops at Centre Pompidou (Paris), TEDxBrooklyn, TEDxDetroit, Ideas City, New Museum (New York), AfroTech Conference, Harvard University and Oxford University, among others. She serves as board chair of Powerhouse Productions, a founding member of the Detroit Culture Council, board member of the Cooley Reuse Project and ONE Mile, and advisory board member of Culture Lab Detroit.  LaFleur is based in Detroit, Michigan. 
Amanda Lewan is an award winning writer and entrepreneur. She is inspired to create more empathy in the world through art and entrepreneurship. 
Amanda is Co-founder and CEO of Bamboo, a company that builds collaborative work spaces empowering people. Bamboo is home to nearly 300 diverse businesses and is a hub of technology, startup, and business resources and events in Detroit. She has nearly a decade of operations and marketing experience, helping startups all the way up to fortune 100 companies.
Amanda is also a fiction and essay writer. She writes character driven stories in a lyric style. Her storytelling and writing has been recognized and published in NPR, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Nation, Rust Belt Magazine and Belt Publishing, The Journal of Americana and has been anthologized twice. 
She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net prizes.
Earl Lewis is the Director of the Center for Social Solutions at the University of Michigan. From 2013-2018, he served as the President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Under his guidance, the Foundation reaffirmed its commitment to the humanities, the arts, and higher education by emphasizing the importance of continuity and change.
A noted social historian, Mr. Lewis has held faculty appointments at the University of California at Berkeley (1984–89), and the University of Michigan (1989–2004).  He has championed the importance of diversifying the academy, enhancing graduate education, re-visioning the liberal arts, exploring the role of digital tools for learning, and connecting universities to their communities.
Mr. Lewis also served as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of History and African American Studies at Emory University. As Provost, Lewis led academic affairs and academic priority setting for the university.
Caitlin Murphy is a Marjorie S. Fisher Fellow, Urban Land Institute Larson Leader, Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan Fellow and Humanity in Action Senior Fellow.  She holds a master’s degree in Community Development from the University of Detroit Mercy and serves as the Civic Commons Coordinator for the Live6 Alliance, a nonprofit planning and development organization in Northwest Detroit.  Reimagining the Civic Commons is a national initiative and reinvestment into public places of gathering.  Working within a national initiative, for a local organization, Caitlin is able to effectively drive coordination efforts in the Fitzgerald Neighborhood and engage a broad range of stakeholders to move community driven planning and revitalization efforts forward.  The Detroit Civic Commons project includes park creation, greenways, streetscape improvements, open space activations, commercial corridor development, engagement through arts and culture events, workforce development, creative placemaking and resident driven programming.
Marsha Music, writer and self-described Detroitist, is the daughter of a prominent pre-Motown record producer. She was born in Detroit and raised in Highland Park, a city within the city of Detroit and she has lived all of her life between them. She also grew up around her father's record shop on old Hastings Street., saw its relocation in 1960 to 12th Street due to "urban renewal," and its demise  during the '67 Rebellion.  In her younger years she was a student activist, a member of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and a former labor union president. Today she reflects on Detroit’s history and music in books, periodicals, and on her website, Marsha Music – A Grown Woman’s Tales of Detroit. Ms. Music is a 2012 Kresge Literary Arts Fellow, a 2015 Knight Arts awardee for her conversation series Salon D'etroit., a noted speaker, narrator, and storyteller featured in oral histories, podcasts, voice-overs and documentaries, including an HBO movie and, most recently the films "12th and Clairmount" and "Detroit Comeback City."  She has presented her poetry with the Detroit Symphony and her One Woman Show at the Max Fisher and other venues.   "work in progress" documentary with filmmaker Juanita Anderson - Hastings Street Blues - was shown at the 2018 Freep Film Festival, and is scheduled to debut in 2019.  Her documentary with filmmaker Juanita Anderson - Hastings Street Blues - was excerpted for the 2018 Freep Film Festival,  with a planned release of 2019. 
Mariam C. Noland became the founding president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Detroit, Michigan, in 1985.  Since its inception, the Community Foundation has distributed over $951 million through more than 62,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties.   Ms. Noland has had extensive experience leading community foundations.  She joined the staff of the Cleveland Foundation in 1975 where she served as program officer and secretary/treasurer.  In 1981, she became vice president of the Saint Paul Foundation, Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Prior to her work in the foundation field, Noland was on staff at Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina, and Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio. She currently serves on the boards of trustees of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Downtown Detroit Partnership Inc., and the Bipartisan Policy Center (in Washington DC.). She previously served as the vice chair, board of trustees, Henry Ford Health System and served on the board of trustees of Independent Sector and of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Noland also chaired the board of trustees for the Council of Michigan Foundations and served as vice chair of the board of trustees of the Council of Foundations. She was named 2015 Michiganian of the Year by The Detroit News and received the Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award. She was also honored with the 2010 Women and Leadership in the Workplace Award and the “Others” Award of the Salvation Army.
Ms. Noland obtained her Ed.M. from Harvard University and her Bachelor of Science from Case Western Reserve University.  She and her husband, James A. Kelly, live in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan.
Rebekka Parker (@rebekkaparker) is an Associate Educator at the Detroit Institute of Arts. In this role, she leads programs and partnerships for K-12, teen, and university audiences at the DIA. Ms. Parker has been a DIA staff member for nine years and her current work is focused on teen programs, curriculum resource development, and learning experience design. She is a Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) trainer and coach. Ms. Parker supports the DIA’s professional development offerings for a range of audiences in this role. She graduated with High Distinction from The University of Michigan-Dearborn and earned her dual Bachelor of Arts in Art History–Museum Studies and Anthropology. Ms. Parker earned her Master of Science in Education at the Leadership in Museum Education program at Bank Street College of Education in New York City.
Anne Parsons was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in April 2004. Under her leadership, since 2011 the DSO has achieved record ticket sales growth and has doubled its donor base. Her vision of making the organization more accessible has resulted in the launch of two innovative new products, the first of their kind among American orchestras. The Neighborhood Residency Initiative has established seven DSO residencies across metro Detroit where suburban fans of all ages enjoy chamber music, senior engagement concerts, music therapy sessions, educational in-school performances, and the initiative’s centerpiece, the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series. In 2011, she oversaw the inaugural season of “Live from Orchestra Hall,” the DSO’s series of live HD webcasts that engage audiences worldwide through an interactive online interface. The series was expanded with “Classroom Edition” in 2014, with educational concerts by the DSO reaching tens of thousands of students throughout Detroit and around the world through webcasts. In 2013, the DSO took the stage at Carnegie Hall for the first time in 17 years as part of the “Spring for Music” festival and also presented a special one-night-only performance at Lincoln Center, featuring the works of Chinese composer Ye Xiaogang. In July 2017, the DSO toured Japan and China, performing its first international concerts in 16 years. The DSO’s adoption of a new governance structure, as well as its work towards a more inclusive culture between orchestra, staff, and board members, are credited as being largely responsible for the 2014 and 2017 settlements of the musicians’ labor contract, which were both achieved eight months early. Prior to joining the DSO, Anne served in management positions for a variety of major arts organizations, including New York City Ballet, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.
James Pedersen is a retired International Representative of the United Autoworkers Union, UAW, now working as a Continuing Education Specialist at the Center for Labor and Community Studies University of Michigan – Dearborn. Pedersen hired into the Ford Motor Company Saline Plastics Plant in 1977, and joined UAW Local 892, where he was elected a Committeeman, Vice President and President. Pedersen was placed on the staff of the UAW at Region 1A in 1998, where he served as the Education Representative until 2006, when Director Jimmie Settles added the Community Action Program assignment. Pedersen was transferred to the International UAW CAP Department in 2008, where he was assigned compliance, outreach, lobbying, conferences and field work. While at UAW Region 1A in Taylor, Michigan, Pedersen worked with the Michigan Labor History Society Program Committee and on the Labor Legacy Project. Other work with MLHS includes reports to the annual meeting, education projects like the Detroit Labor History bus tours, and maintenance of the labor history monument, “Transcending.” Pedersen received his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan in 1992, and is currently enrolled in a Master of Arts program at Eastern Michigan University concentrating in History.
Amy Peterson (@petersoneh) is Vice President of Special Projects & General Counsel for RISE. She is based in RISE’s Midwest regional office in Detroit.
Amy, an attorney, moved to Detroit in 2007 to pursue her childhood dream of working in the sports industry. Before joining RISE in November 2017, she spent 10 years with the Detroit Tigers in various capacities and departments, including community affairs, corporate sales and, most recently, as associate counsel.
A Jamestown, New York, native, Amy earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where she served as captain of the women’s rugby team for two years. She earned her law degree from New England School of Law in Boston and her master of business administration degree from Suffolk University in Boston.
Amy is active in the community and a proud Detroiter. She is co-founder of Rebel Nell, a social enterprise in Detroit that provides employment, education and empowerment to women transitioning out of homelessness. She also serves on the board for the Greenlight Fund. Amy, her husband, Antonio, and son, Odin, love to travel and climb mountains.
Tawana "Honeycomb" Petty (@Combsthepoet)  is a mother, social justice organizer, youth advocate, poet and author. She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and is intricately involved in water rights advocacy, visionary organizing and data justice work.
Honeycomb serves as a Data Justice Coordinator and Communications Assistant for the Detroit Community Technology Project and co-leads the Our Data Bodies Project, a three-city, participatory data justice research project. She is also a member of the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition.
Honeycomb is the founder of Petty Propolis, a Sponsored Project of Allied Media Projects where she serves her community through convening various social justice initiatives, facilitating art and education workshops, and by teaching poetry as an avenue for visionary resistance. Honeycomb’s mission is to utilize her talents to re-spirit and nurture the inherent creativity in community members, artists, and visionary organizers through transformative methods of art education.
She is also the author of Introducing Honeycomb, Coming Out My Box, the Petty Propolis Reader: My Personal and Political Evolution, and Towards Humanity: Shifting the Culture of Anti-Racism Organizing. Honeycomb is also a founding member, contributing writer and editorial board member of the Riverwise Magazine Collective and a contributing blogger for Eclectablog.
Matthew Piper (@matthewsaurus) directs communications, operations, and business & community development at the Green Garage, a sustainable shared workspace in Detroit's Cass Corridor that is home to nearly 50 socially and environmentally conscious small businesses, nonprofits, and solo professionals. He is also a freelance writer and photographer focusing on art, architecture, and sustainable development, and is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Essay’d, a writing, publishing, and exhibition platform that creates an accessible critical record of Detroit’s thriving contemporary art community, one artist at a time. As both an information professional and a creative practitioner, he documents, supports, and shares stories and information about the innovative artists and entrepreneurs who are creating new conditions for community connectedness, healing, and progressive change in Detroit. He is a graduate of Wayne State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in English Honors and Film Studies and a Master’s in Library & Information Science.
Jacqueline Ramsey received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology: Concentration in Social and Criminal Justice from Central Michigan University. She is currently a senior public programs coordinator at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Jacqueline completed an internship, in the summer of 2017, with the community-based organization, Detroit Roses where she served as an Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator. This opportunity allowed Jacqueline to work hands on with Detroit residents. 
Born and raised on the Eastside of Detroit, Jacqueline was given the opportunity to learn more about her city through a structured international fellowship focused in Detroit through Humanity in Action in July 2017. During this fellowship, Jacqueline was able to widen her perspective on Detroit and this fueled her passion to give back to this wonderful city. 
Jacqueline will begin graduate school in the fall at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor to obtain her MSW focusing primarily on Social Policy & Evaluation with a practice area in Community and Social Systems. 
Osvaldo “Ozzie” Rivera was born in Puerto Rico and lived in southwest Detroit most of his life. For close to five decades, he has been active in community advocacy and human services. He served as mental health director for ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services), as the executive director of Latino Family Services and as Dean of Students at Wayne County Community College. In 1998 he started a ten year tenure as the Director of Multicultural Affairs and Assistant Professor (Social Work/Sociology) at Madonna University. In 2008 provided oversight to Children/Family Special Projects for the Wayne County division of the State of Michigan’s Dept of Human Services. From 2013-2016 he led Community Engagement efforts for Southwest Solutions. Currently he consults with a number of social service and arts organizations.
Ozzie is an amateur historian of Latin-Caribbean music, often presenting on Afro-Hispanic music, a musical style he also lectures on and performs, including as co-director of the Afro Puerto Rican drum and dance troupe, BombaRica. During his lifetime he led a number of performance troupes and bands, and currently leads the salsa/Latin Jazz band, La Inspiracion.
Lana Rodriguez is the Founder of Mama Coo’s Boutique. She was born and raised in Southwest Detroit. Upon graduation from high school Lana entered the United States Navy where she served her country for four years as an Intelligence Specialist. After her tour of duty Lana returned home and enrolled at The University of Michigan.  There she received her degree in Political Science and Art History.  Lana put her Political Science degree to work as a consultant for several Detroit based creative non-profits. It is at one of these non-profits where she conceptualized Mama Coo’s Boutique.
A former New York Times education columnist, Richard Rothstein is a distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a senior fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Rothstein has spent years documenting the evidence that government not merely ignored discriminatory practices in the residential sphere, but required them. The impact has been devastating for generations of African-Americans who were denied the right to live where they wanted to live, and raise and school their children where they thought best. He is the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. The book recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation.
Salvador Salort-Pons (@SalvadorSalort) joined the Detroit Institute of Arts’ (DIA) curatorial division in 2008 as the Elizabeth and Allan Shelden Curator of European Paintings. In 2011, he became director of the European Art Department and added the role of executive director of Collection Strategies and Information in 2013. Salort-Pons was appointed director, president and CEO in October 2015, succeeding Graham W. J. Beal, who retired as director on June 30, 2015. 
For the DIA, Salort-Pons played a key role in the museum’s current strategic planning process.  He also organized the exhibitions Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries, Five Spanish Masterpiecesand was the in-house curator for the Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus– among others. Prior to coming to Detroit, he was senior curator at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, assistant professor at the University of Madrid and exhibition curator at the Memmo Foundation/Palazzo Ruspoli in Rome. While at the Memmo Foundation, he co-curated Il trionfo del colore: Collezione Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza (Rome, 2002) as well as Velázquez (Rome, 2001), which was the first monographic exhibition on the painter ever organized in Italy. Salort-Pons has been the recipient of a Rome Prize Fellowship at the Spanish Academy of Rome and a research fellow at the Royal College of Spain in Bologna (founded in 1364), the Getty Grant Program, the Medici Archive Project in Florence and Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, among others.
In addition to two books—Velázquez en Italia (Madrid, 2002) and Velázquez (Madrid, 2008—Salort-Pons has published a number of scientific articles in British, Spanish and Italian journals and exhibition catalogues. He holds a master’s in geography and history (University of Madrid), a master’s in business administration (Cox School of Business, SMU) and a doctorate in the history of art (University of Bologna).
Andrea Scobie is the Manager of Education and Community Programs for Michigan Opera Theatre, overseeing and implementing programming, educational materials, arts-infused education, and evaluation for the company’s touring operas, creative residencies, and community events. She graduated with a degree in Musical Theatre Performance from Oakland University, and has worked professionally as an actress, stage manager, director, and choreographer throughout Detroit. Her work has appeared onstage and off at the Gem Theatre, the Planet Ant Theatre, the Jewish Ensemble Theatre, PuppetArt Theatre, Matrix Theatre Company, the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, and at the BoxFest Detroit Theatre Festival. In her role as a manager and director of arts non-profits, Andrea has worked with the Institute for Arts Education at Marygrove College, ArtsCorps at Wayne State University, and the Institute for the Study of Children, Families, and Communities at Eastern Michigan University to create, prepare, and facilitate program evaluation. Andrea is also a nationally certified trainer for the Weikert Center Youth Program Quality Assurance protocol. Andrea has taught acting, playwriting, improvisation, stage combat, and music for arts organizations throughout metro-Detroit and has served as a youth mentor in all aspects of theatre. She has over ten years of experience in creating new works with young people in schools, after-school programs, and community organizations, and has worked with youth from Kindergarten through college to create and present over 60 original plays and performances. 
Asha Shajahan (@msashas) is a board certified family physician. She is an assistant professor in the department of family medicine and biomedical sciences at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.  She also has a master’s degree in Health Services Administration.  She is the medical director of community health for the Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe, MI. Her interest in health policy and health disparities led her to work for former United States Senator Carl Levin in Washington DC.  She was also a senior healthcare intern for the Office of the former Governor Jennifer Granholm where she worked to augment healthcare access for the uninsured in Detroit. She has volunteered at several underserved health clinics and non-profits in the Detroit-area.  She completed a fellowship at the University of California San Diego on Addressing the Needs of the Underserved.  Dr. Shajahan is dedicated to educating physicians on improving community health through understanding the social determinants and cultural dexterity. She is a 2017 Crain’s Detroit 40 under 40 winner for her work in disparities. 
She has a passion for improving health opportunities for underserved neighborhoods through multi-disciplinary partnership and an emphasis on prevention. She believes in natural therapies for wellness which includes empowering her patients to create their own tool box for health by combining art and medicine.  She is the chair of the Arts and Health Michigan Committee for the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and the founder of the DIA’s annual Arts and Health Symposium.
She also founded the group Dance Medicine, MD which serves predominantly underserved populations who can’t afford to pay for exercise, have limited access to cultural dance forms, and those striving for social connection. She aspires to create a culture of wellness in all communities regardless of socioeconomic status, zip code, race/ethnicity.  She was awarded the 2018 Diversity Champion Award for Beaumont Health.   She is also a host for Beaumont Health’s first podcast “Housecall” where she speaks on topics related to health and wellness. 
Susannah Shattuck (@shshattuck) loves technology, and she has spent her career connecting the dots between people and machines. Currently, Susannah works at IBM, where she is responsible for educating clients from every industry about Watson technology and helping them envision how artificial intelligence can transform their businesses. She is a Certified Watson Application Developer, and when she’s not working with clients, she loves playing around with Watson APIs to build her own cognitive apps. Prior to her role at IBM, Susannah worked at Prezi, a presentation software company, where she helped people reimagine visual communication. She holds a BA in History from Yale University. She is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (France 2013) and participated in the Humanity in Action Fellowship on Philanthropy and Social Enterprise in Detroit in 2015.
Mr. Kwame Simmons (@KwameSimmons1) a career educator that has dedicated nearly 20 years of his educational experience to revolutionize urban education. 
He uses research and best practice to drive his success, including the creation of the first school wide one-to-one and blended learning school for DC Public Schools that was also featured in the Washington Post. While in St. Louis, his efforts led his school to receive national recognition for several awards, including Most Improved School of the Year. 
Most recently, Mr. Simmons received the “Excellence in Education Award” from the BET HONORS and was featured on the Steve Harvey Morning Show.
Kwame Simmons received his undergraduate degree from Hampton University in History and graduate degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University in Leadership and Organizational Development and from the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University.
Mr. Simmons currently resides in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan where he serves as the Director of Education and Strategist for the Hantz Foundation. 
Michelle Smart’s roots have been planted in Detroit since she was a young girl.  Growing up in Detroit’s Northend neighborhood, she has always had a desire to give back to the community in which she lived.
Two years ago, Michelle founded Bags To Butterflies, a social enterprise that empowers formerly incarcerated women with transitional employment immediately upon their return to the community. 
The concept of empowering women returning home from prison began in 2014 when the daughter of a close friend was incarcerated. As a result, Bags To Butterflies became the impetus for offering female returning citizens resources to help them better their lives.
The organization supports its mission by manufacturing handmade handbags that are created using repurposed wood. Our hands-on approach for our handbag production is used to demonstrate how something considered as having no value can be transformed into something new and beautiful.  The ladies are shown how that same transformation can take place in their lives.
The handbag collections function as a reminder to the women to “let go” of their past, “live life” with a sense of purpose, and “fly” towards their dreams.
Michelle’s professional career spanned over 20 years in Corporate Communications in the automotive industry.
Michael Smith is the Vice President, Neighborhoods at Invest Detroit. In this role, Smith assists the President & CEO and other staff in community outreach and making the day-to-day connections and inroads into strategically targeted Detroit neighborhoods beyond the borders of the 7.2 square-mile Downtown and Midtown cores. Previously, Smith spent the last fifteen years in Major League Baseball, most recently as Director of Baseball Operations for the Detroit Tigers. He also has served as a board member of The Greening of Detroit since 2010, most recently as board secretary. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University in 1999 and a Master of Community Development from the University of Detroit Mercy in 2013. He has resided in Detroit since 2005 and now makes his home in the Hubbard Farms neighborhood with his wife Kristen.
India Solomon is native Detroiter who grew up between Detroit's West Side and the inner-ring suburb of Oak Park. She is an emerging equitable development professional passionate about building livable, sustainable, and culturally responsive communities. As the 2018 Summer Fellow at Century Forward, India will employ her skills in visual and written communication, policy analysis, neighborhood planning, and real estate development to support the Fitzgerald Neighborhood Revitalization Project. 
While completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School, India studied abroad in India and Indonesia and completed internships with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Michigan Legislature, East Michigan Environmental Action Council and Ashoka- Innovators for the Public, among others. Additionally, she spent a year working in the criminal justice system and has cultivated a strong background in social justice advocacy. 
As a second-year Master of Urban and Regional Planning Candidate at the University of Michigan, India serves as Co-President of the Urban Planning Student Association and Student Representative on the Michigan Association of Planning’s Board of Directors. She is pursuing an academic focus in physical planning and design and a Certificate in Real Estate Development. India now lives on Detroit’s East Side and is committed to strengthening the city’s neighborhoods through her work.
Monique Stanton (@moniquemstanton) earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication and history from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a Master of Arts in social justice from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan. Monique began her career at CARE of Southeastern Michigan in 2005 in the Family to Family program. She left CARE to assist in the opening of a family learning center in northwest Detroit. In 2008, Monique returned to CARE of Southeastern Michigan to fill the deputy director position. In 2012, she was promoted to the role of president and chief executive officer. Monique is an active member of a variety coalitions, task forces, and community groups committed to making the southeast Michigan region a better place to live, work, and recreate. She is a 2013 dBusiness Magazine 30 in Their Thirties honoree. In 2014 the Detroit Free Press and Metropolitan Affairs Coalition awarded Monique the Shining Light Dave Bing Future Leader Award, for her regional advocacy addressing substance use disorders. 
Michael Stone-Richards is Professor of Critical Theory and Visual Studies at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and recently Chair of the Committee on Critical Studies at CCS proposing a new vision of Visual + Critical Studies. His book *Logics of Separation* (with readings of Cha, Fanon, Celan and the Negro Spiritual, Ellison, C.L.R. James and DuBois) was published by Peter Lang in 2011. He is widely published in English and French on the history and theory of the avant-garde and Critical Theory. He is currently completing a book *Care of the City: Ruination, Abandonment, and Hospitality in Contemporary Practice* (from which an introduction, "Care Comes in the Wake of Retreat," was recently published in e-flux architecture) and working on a translation of André Breton’s Le Révolver à cheveux blancs. 
He also has a book of essays in progress, Children of Men: Biopolitical Essays, dealing with contemporary  black diaspora critical theory. He is most recently founding editor of the journal Detroit Research. http://michaelstonerichards.com/ 
Dr. Paul Thomas is a board-certified family medicine physician practicing in Southwest Detroit. His practice is called Plum Health DPC, a Direct Primary Care service that is the first of its kind in Detroit and Wayne County. His mission is to deliver affordable, accessible health care services in Detroit and beyond. He has been featured on WDIV-TV Channel 4, Crain's Detroit Business and CBS Radio. He has been a speaker at TEDxDetroit and is a graduate of Wayne State University School of Medicine. You can find out more at https://www.plumhealthdpc.com.
Dr. Heather Ann Thompson (@hthompsn) is a native Detroiter and historian on faculty of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in the departments of Afro-American and African Studies, History, and the Residential College.
Her recent book, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy, has been profiled on television and radio programs across the country, it just won the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy, The Ridenhour Book Prize, the J. Willard Hurst Prize, and a book prize from the New York City Bar Association. The book was also named a finalist for the National Book Award, as well as a finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize in History, a finalist for the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association (winner announced May, 2017), and it was named on 14 Best Books of 2016 lists including those compiled by The New York Times, Newsweek, Kirkus Review, the Boston Globe, Publishers Weekly, Bloomberg, the Marshall Project, the Baltimore City Paper, Book Scroll, and the Christian Science Monitor. Additionally, Blood in the Water was named on the Best Human Rights Books of 2016 list, and received starred reviews from Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly. Blood in the Water has also been optioned by TriStar Pictures and will be adapted for film by acclaimed screenwriters Anna Waterhouse and Joe Schrapnel.
Thompson has written extensively on the history of policing, mass incarceration and the current criminal justice system for The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, The Atlantic, Salon, Dissent, NBC, New Labor Forum, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post, as well as for the top publications in her field. Her award-winning scholarly articles include: “Why Mass Incarceration Matters: Rethinking Crisis, Decline and Transformation in the Postwar United States,” Journal of American History (December 2010) and “Rethinking Working Class Struggle through the Lens of the Carceral State: Toward a Labor History of Inmates and Guards.” Labor: Studies in the Working Class History of the Americas (Fall, 2011). Thompson’s piece in the Atlantic Monthly on how mass incarceration has distorted democracy in America was named a finalist for a best magazine article award in 2014.
Thompson is also the author of Whose Detroit? Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City (new edition out May, 2017), and is the editor of Speaking Out: Activism and Protest in the 1960s and 1970s.
On the policy front Thompson served on a National Academy of Sciences blue-ribbon panel that studied the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the U.S. The two-year, $1.5 million project was sponsored by the National Institute of Justice and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Thompson has served as well on the boards of several policy organizations including the Prison Policy Initiative, the Eastern State Penitentiary, a historic site, and on the advisory boards of Life of the Law.  She has also worked in an advisory capacity with the Center for Community Change, the Humanities Action Lab Global Dialogues on Incarceration, and the Open Society Foundation on issues related to work. Thompson has also spent considerable time presenting her work on prisons and justice policy to universities and policy groups nationally and internationally as well as to state legislators in various states.  She has given talks in countries such as France, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, the UK, as well as across the Unites States, including in Hawaii.
In 2016 Thompson became President-elect of the Urban History Association and, in 2012 the Organization of American Historians named her a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians and, along with Rhonda Y. Williams (Case Western Reserve), she currently edits a manuscript series for UNC Press, Justice, Power, and Politics. She is also the sole editor of the series, American Social Movements of the Twentieth Century published by Routledge. Thompson has consulted on several documentary films including Criminal Injustice at Attica and assisted with other documentary films including one on Criminalization in America by filmmakers Annie Stopford and Llewellyn Smith from BlueSpark Collaborative, another produced by Henry Louis Gates entitled, And Still I Rise: Black Power to the White House for PBS, and one soon to be done on the Bard Prison Initiative.
Susan Troia, Manager of Gallery Teaching at the Detroit Institute of Arts, oversees the training and development of DIA gallery teachers. She has been a DIA staff member for 19 years and has extensive training in Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). Ms. Troia leads teacher workshops and professional development opportunities in VTS. She has developed workshops and presentations for Eastern Michigan University, Marygrove College, Wayne State University, The College for Creative Studies and the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Early Childhood. She studied education and art history at Wayne State University.
Laura J. Trudeau is the Principal of Trudeau Consulting, LLC.  She retired in December 2016 from The Kresge Foundation as senior advisor to the president, following 10 years as managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program.  She oversaw efforts to activate the foundation’s multifaceted investment framework for Detroit to foster green, healthy, active neighborhoods and a vibrant downtown while increasing access to economic opportunity, education, transportation, and arts and cultural expression. Kresge Detroit initiatives during her tenure included the Detroit East Riverfront Revitalization, the Eastern Market investment strategy, the development of the M-1 RAIL QLine streetcar, the Woodward Corridor Investment Fund, and the “Grand Bargain”, a multisector partnership to resolve Detroit’s 2013 bankruptcy.  These efforts in Detroit have served as models for the redevelopment of older industrial cities across the nation.  
Prior to joining Kresge in 2001, Laura was vice president and head of the Midwest Region for philanthropy and community relations at Bank One, a predecessor bank of JP Morgan Chase.  A graduate of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., Laura is active in the nonprofit sector. She chairs the board of Detroit Future City and is a board member of Invest Detroit, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Community Reinvestment Fund (Minneapolis), Pewabic Pottery (Detroit), and Venture North (Traverse City).  Past board service includes the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Detroit Advisory Board, Gleaners Community Food Bank and Eastern Market Corporation. 
Malik Kenyatta Yakini is co-founder and the Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCFSN).  DBCFSN operates a seven-acre urban farm and is spearheading the opening of a co-op grocery store in Detroit’s North End.  Yakini views the “good food revolution” as part of the larger movement for freedom, justice and equality. He has an intense interest in contributing to the development of an international food sovereignty movement that embraces Blacks communities in the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa.