Conference Speakers & Workshop Facilitators

Keynote Speakers


Reverend Dr. Al Sharpton

Rev. Al Sharpton is the founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN), a not-for-profit civil rights organization headquartered in Harlem, New York, with over sixty chapters nationwide including a Washington, DC Bureau and regional offices from coast to coast.

As one of the nation's most-renowned civil rights leaders, a March 2013 Zogby poll said one out of every four African-Americans say that Rev. Sharpton is the person that speaks most for them. Rev. Sharpton polled higher than any other civil rights or political leader in this public opinion survey.

Rev. Al Sharpton has been praised by President Barack Obama as "the voice of the voiceless and a champion for the downtrodden," and by former President George W. Bush who said that "Al cares just as much as I care about making sure every child learns to read, write, add and subtract."

Rev. Al Sharpton is currently the host of a daily television show on MSNBC that analyzes the top political and social news and features the country's leading newsmakers.  "PoliticsNation” with Rev. Al Sharpton airs at 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The show is so popular it broke MSNBC ratings history with the highest viewership of any show at 6:00 p.m. since the network’s inception.

Rev. Sharpton also hosts a nationally syndicated radio show “Keepin it Real” that is heard daily all over the country as well as two weekend radio shows that air in markets within the U.S.

Rev. Sharpton delivers live remarks at NAN's weekly Saturday Rally at NAN's Harlem headquarters the "House of Justice" that is broadcast live on NAN's each Saturday from 9-11 a.m.

Reverend Al Sharpton, is the author of The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership.  In stores on October 8, 2013, the book will be published through a joint venture partnership between Cash Money Content, the publishing arm of premier record label Cash Money Records and Massenburg Media, in partnership with Atria/Simon & Schuster. In the book, Reverend Al intimately discusses his personal evolution from street activist, pulpit provocateur and civil rights leader, to the larger-than-life man he is today, while providing a series of essential life lessons that readers can adopt to transform their own lives.

“From the Central Park Five to gay & lesbian rights to the immigration debates, I have prided myself on taking the side of the rejected people,” says Reverend Al Sharpton,“and so I decided to call this book The Rejected Stone,” from a passage of scripture which refers to a stone which was rejected by builders that, in the end, became the chief cornerstone.  “In the end, that sums up my life’s journey and so many of my people,” says Reverend Al.


Joyce Ladner


Sociologist Joyce Ladner says that she was always acutely sensitive to racial discrimination when she was growing up. She was born in Battles, Mississippi but grew up in Hattiesburg, She and her sister Dorie were expelled from Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi for participating in a civil rights protest. In high school, she also became involved in the civil rights movement. She and her sister, Dorie, transferred to Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi, where she earned her B.A. in sociology in 1964 and went on to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, to earn a Ph.D. in 1968.

Three civil rights martyrs mentored her: Vernon Dahmer, Clyde Kennard, and Medgar Evers. She became active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1961, and worked in Mississippi, Southwest Georgia, and she was SNCC's representative on the national staff of the March on Washington. She was arrested for attempting to worship at the all-white Galloway Methodist Church in Jackson.

After earning her Ph.D., Ladner went on to teach at the university level. She did a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Dar es Salaam in 1971. Ladner published her first book in 1971, Tomorrow's Tomorrow: The Black Woman, a study of poor black adolescent girls from St. Louis. That same year, Ladner began teaching at Howard University. In 1973, Ladner joined the faculty of Hunter College at the City University of New York. She and her family lived in Dakar, Senegal in 1980-81.  She has published seven books and numerous articles.

Ladner returned to teach at Howard University in 1981.  From 1990-1994 she was    vice president for academic affairs from she was interim president of Howard University from 1994 to 1995.  In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed Ladner to the District of Columbia Financial Control Board, where she had oversight of  the finances and budgetary restructuring of the public school system. She was also a senior fellow in the Governmental Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C. think tank and research organization from 1998-2003. She has authored and edited seven books. She has appeared on nationally syndicated radio and television programs as well. She is writing her memoir titled Stand Up Straight, on coming of age during the civil rights movement.






Workshop Facilitators

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