Conference Keynotes

Keynote Speakers

Banquet Keynote

Melissa Harris-Perry is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University. There she is the Faculty Director of the Pro Humanitate Institute and founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center.

 Melissa hosted the television show “Melissa Harris-Perry” from 2012-2016 on weekend mornings on MSNBC and was Editor-at-Large for Elle.com 2016-2017.  She remains a sought after public speaker, lecturing widely throughout the United States and abroad.  

She is the author of the award-winning Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought, and Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. 

Harris-Perry received her B.A. degree in English from Wake Forest University and her Ph.D. degree in political science from Duke University. She also studied theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Harris-Perry previously served on the faculty of the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and Tulane University. Professor Harris-Perry has been awarded honorary degrees from many universities including Meadville Lombard Theological School, Winston-Salem State University, Eckerd College, and New York University.  

She lives in North Carolina with her husband, James, their two fulfilling daughters, and a delightful flock of chickens and ducks. 


Brunch Keynote


Sybrina Fulton is dedicating her life to transforming family tragedy into social change. Since the death of her 17 year old son, Trayvon Martin, during the violent confrontation in 2012, Fulton has become an inspiring spokesperson for parents and concerned citizens across the country. In 2017, her book co-authored with Tracy Martin, Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, will be released, sharing the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement that awoke a nation’s conscience.

The publicity surrounding Trayvon’s death and the ensuing trial catapulted the country into national debate. Despite the intense struggle of losing a child, Fulton has become a role model to many by turning her grief into advocacy. Remaining strong throughout the trial and ensuing months, she lends her voice to speak against violence towards children and the need to build better, safer communities for all.

Her message not only appeals to people’s hearts as it relates to children, but is also one of hope and change, exemplified by her personal experiences and endeavors. As a mother, she inspires audiences to continuously educate their children about civil rights and to help them feel accepted as part of an ever changing society. An honest and relatable speaker, Fulton always looks forward sharing her powerful message with everyone from colleges and legal professionals to community and family organizations, and all other proponents of social justice.

A Miami native, Fulton graduated from Florida Memorial University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English. A proud mother, Fulton worked for the Miami-Dade County Housing Development Agency for over 25 years, and is a member of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Miami Gardens.