Our keynote speaker, Mr. Tim Wise, is among the nation’s most prominent antiracist educators. He has spent the past 20 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1,000 college and high school campuses, and at hundreds of professional and academic conferences. He has also lectured internationally, and has trained corporate, government, entertainment, media, law enforcement, military, and medical industry professionals on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions. Wise has provided anti-racism training to educators and administrators nationwide. A graduate of Tulane University, Wise also received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond in New Orleans, served as an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute in Nashville, and appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues. Wise has authored seven books, including his latest, Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America. Other books include Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority; as well as his acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son. He has contributed chapters or essays to over 25 additional books and his writings are taught in colleges and universities across the nation. His essays have appeared on Alternet, Salon, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, The Root, Black Commentator, BK Nation and Z Magazine among others.
Ms. Yewande Austin will serve as the opening plenary speaker. From M.T.V. and B.E.T. to the historic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Yewande's socially charged music has taken center stage with the likes of the Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Sean Paul and India Arie, but it is her work as an award-winning lecturer, activist and honorary U.S. Cultural Ambassador that has become perhaps her greatest achievement. This 2015 TED speaker, and 2014 and 2013 CNN Hero Award nominee has dedicated most of her life to confronting some of the world's greatest socio-economic challenges. Since 2004, her capacity building company, the Global Institute for the Diversity and Change has trained college students and academic professionals alike how to create inclusive communities that are free of conflict, fear or shame.