Building on the ongoing invitation and practice of centering Blackness as a path to re-imagine ourselves, remember our interconnectedness, build collective power and justice for all, YWCA Madison’s Racial Justice Summit, Sep 28 – 30, 2022, invites us all to practice Weaving Our Pasts, Present and Emergent Futures for Racial Justice and Co-Liberation.
For this 21st annual Summit, we are collaborating with local and national practitioners, educators, artists, authors, and advocates to curate a combination of virtual and in-person experiences. Our motivation is to disrupt the (mis)understanding of the different dimensions of justice as separate issues, and support an understanding of their interconnected nature.
Our hope is for the Summit to support communities in deeply understanding how racial justice, restorative justice, gender justice, immigration justice, disability justice, climate justice, and so on, are truly different transgenerational dimensions of our ongoing building of practice, community, interconnectedness and power within movements for justice and co-liberation.
Top Row Left to Right: Angela Y. Davis, Rudy Bankston, Linda Sarsour, Autumn Brown.
Bottom Row Left to Right: Fania E. Davis, Ericka Huggins, Jenifer Garcia-Mendoza, adrienne maree brown
Featured Keynote Speaker Bios
Angela Y. Davis (she, her, hers), has been deeply involved in movements for social justice through her activism and scholarship, over many decades and around the world. Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.
Professor Davis’ teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley. She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, Syracuse University the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University. Most recently she spent fifteen years at the University of California Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness – an interdisciplinary Ph.D program – and of Feminist Studies.
Angela Davis is the author of ten books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” She also has conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her books include Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete?, and two books of essays entitled The Meaning of Freedom, and Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement. Her most recent books include a re-issue of Angela Davis: An Autobiography and Abolition. Feminism. Now., with co-authors Gina Dent, Erica Meiners and Beth Richie.
Angela Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.
Like many educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.
Fania E. Davis (she, hers), is a leading international voice on the intersections of racial and restorative justice. She is a long-time social justice activist, civil rights trial attorney, author, and educator with a PhD in Indigenous Knowledge. Davis came of age in Birmingham, Alabama during the social ferment of the civil rights era. These formative years, particularlly the murder of two close childhood friends in the 1963 Sunday School bombing, crystallized within Fania an enduring commitment to social transformation. For the next decades, she was active in the Civil Rights, Black liberation, women’s, prisoners’, peace, anti-racial violence, economic justice and anti-apartheid movements.
Apprenticing with African indigenous healers catalyzed Fania’s search for a healing justice, ultimately leading her to serve as Founding Director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth and Co-Founding Board Member of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice. Her numerous honors include the Lifetime Achievement award for excellence in Restorative Justice, the Black Feminist Shapeshifters and Waymakers’ award, the Tikkun (Repair the World) award, the Ella Jo Baker Human Rights award, and the Ebony POWER 100 award.
The Los Angeles Times named her a New Civil Rights Leader of the 21st Century. She recently received the Open Society Foundations Justice Rising Award recognizing 16 Black movement leaders working towards racial justice in the United States. Among Davis’ publications is the Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Justice, and U.S. Social Transformation
Davis, who resides in Oakland, CA., writes and speaks internationally on restorative justice, racial justice, truth processes and indigeneity. She is a mother, grandmother, dancer, meditator and a yoga, qigong and African spirituality practitioner.
Ericka Huggins (she, her, hers), is an educator, facilitator, leading Black Panther Party member, former political prisoner, human rights advocate, and poet.
For 50 years, Ericka has used her life experiences in service to community. From 1973-1981, she was director of the Black Panther Party’s Oakland Community School. From 1990-2004 Ericka managed HIV/AIDS Volunteer and Education programs for adults and youth. She also supported innovative mindfulness programs for women and youth in public schools, jails and prisons.
Ericka was professor of Sociology and African American Studies from 2008 through 2015 in the Peralta Community College District. From 2003 to 2011 she was professor of Women and Gender Studies at California State Universities, East Bay and San Francisco.
Ericka is a Racial Equity Learning Lab facilitator for WORLD TRUST Educational Services. She curates conversations focused on the individual and collective work of becoming equitable in all areas of our daily lives. Additionally, she facilitates workshops on the benefit of spiritual practice in sustaining social change.
Linda Sarsour (she, her, hers), is an award-winning racial justice and civil rights activist, community organizer, author, every Islamophobe’s worst nightmare and mother of three. She is a Palestinian-Muslim-American born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is the co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change and co-founder of Until Freedom.
Linda was one of the national co-chairs of the largest single day protest in US history, the Women’s March on Washington. Linda also co-chaired the March2Justice, a 250-mile journey on foot to deliver a justice package to end racial profiling, demilitarize police and demand the government invest in young people and communities.
Linda Sarsour was instrumental in the Coalition for Muslim School Holidays to push New York City to incorporate 2 Muslim high holy holidays in to the NYC Public school calendar. New York City is now the largest school system in the country to officially recognize these holidays. Linda is also a Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary along leading social justice faith leaders.
She has been named amongst 500 of the most influential Muslims in the world. She was recognized as one of Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders and featured as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Linda has been honored by entities across the world for her commitment and human rights work. She is the author of, “We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love & Resistance”. She is most recognized for her transformative intersectional organizing work and movement building.
Linda has written for and has been featured in local, national, and international media discussing impact of domestic policies that target Arab and Muslim American communities, criminal justice issues, immigration and Middle East affairs. Linda is well respected amongst diverse communities in both New York City and nationally. She is most recognized for her transformative intersectional organizing work and movement building.
Roderick “Rudy” Bankston (he, him, his), is a committed educator, entrepreneur, Restorative Justice practitioner, and author. His powerful story describes his experience as a survivor of the school-to-prison pipeline and surfaces and explores intersecting themes of identity, justice, trauma and resiliency. Wrongly convicted and sentenced to life at 19 years old, Rudy spent 20 years in prison before winning back his freedom on appeal.
After his release from prison in 2015, Rudy began working for the Madison Metropolitan School District, first serving as a Community Liaison at Memorial High School. Soon after he added a second position at Restore, the district’s expulsion abeyance program. The following school year, he transitioned into a Central Office position as a Restorative Justice Coach. Since leaving MMSD in 2019, Rudy continues his work engaging Restorative Justice as a founding member of Small Fire, LLC, and founder of i Am We Coaching & Mentoring, LLC. Most recently, Rudy founded i am We Global Village, a nonprofit organization.
Rudy’s published works include a novel, Shed So Many Tears; two collections of Haiku, Snippets of Soul in Seventeen Syllables and Snippets of Soul, Too; and a book of poetry, Buried Alive.
Jenifer Garcia-Mendoza (she, her, ella) is United We Dream’s National UndocuHealth Coordinator, she was born in Chihuahua Mexico, and migrated to Tiwa Territory; New Mexico when she was 8 years old with her family. Jenny attended the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics – and learned a variety of healing modalities, including bodywork/massage, chinese medicine, polarity, and herbal medicine. She then worked as an herbalist for Dr. Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute in Abq, NM – a holistic health clinic focused on Ayurveda, an ancient healing system that finds its roots in India. She graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BA in International Studies with a focus in Latin America.
Jenny deeply values the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of our communities, she devotes her work to making sure our immigrant siblings have access to health resources and talk therapy, while staying grounded in her beliefs that cultural and traditional practices of healing form an essential part of our healing and liberation as people of color in the U.S.
Autumn Brown (she, her), is a mother, artist, and movement facilitator. She is a worker-owner of AORTA, the Anti-Oppression Resource & Training Alliance, and co-host of How to Survive the End of the World. Autumn writes speculative fiction and creative non-fiction, and her work has been published in Parenting for Social Justice, Revolutionary Mothering, Octavia’s Brood, the Procyon Science Fiction Anthology, Lightspeed Magazine, and Pleasure Activism. Autumn lives in South Minneapolis with her three brilliant children.
adrienne maree brown (she, her, they), is the writer-in-residence at the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, and author of Grievers (the first novella in a trilogy on the Black Dawn imprint), Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation, We Will Not Cancel Us and Other Dreams of Transformative Justice, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements and How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office. She is the cohost of the How to Survive the End of the World, Octavia’s Parables and Emergent Strategy podcasts. adrienne is rooted in Detroit.
How To Survive the End of The World
Autumn Brown and adrienne maree brown are two sisters who share many identities, as writers, activists, facilitators, and inheritors of multiracial diasporic lineages, as well as a particular interest in the question of survival. Their podcast, How to Survive the End of the World, delves into the practices we need as a community, to move through endings and come out whole on the other side, whatever that might be.
All virtual keynotes will feature American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and captioning in English.