Opening Speaker: Kimberlé Crenshaw
Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics 2016-2018, Is a leading authority in the area of Civil Rights, Black feminist legal theory, and race, racism and the law. Her articles have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, National Black Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, and Southern California Law Review. She is the founding coordinator of the Critical Race Theory Workshop, and the co-editor of the volume, Critical Race Theory: Key Documents That Shaped the Movement. Crenshaw has lectured widely on race matters, addressing audiences across the country as well as in Europe, India, Africa and South America.
Crenshaw has worked extensively on a variety of issues pertaining to gender and race in the domestic arena including violence against women, structural racial inequality, and affirmative action. A specialist on race and gender equality, she has facilitated workshops for human rights activists in Brazil and in India, and for constitutional court judges in South Africa. Her groundbreaking work on “Intersectionality” has traveled globally and was influential in the drafting of the equality clause in the South African Constitution.
In 1996, Crenshaw co-founded the African American Policy Forum, a gender and racial justice legal think tank, which houses a variety of projects designed to deliver research-based strategies to better advance social inclusion. In 2011, Crenshaw founded the Center for Intersectionality & Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School, which aims to foster critical examination of how social structures and related identity categories such as gender, race, and class interact on multiple levels, resulting in social inequality. She is a leading voice in calling for a gender-inclusive approach to racial justice interventions, having spearheaded the Why We Can’t Wait Campaign and co-authored Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected, and Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women.
Closing Speaker: Rosa Clemente
Rosa Alicia Clemente is an organizer, political commentator and independent journalist. An Afro-Puerto Rican born and raised in the Bronx, NY she has dedicated her life to organizing, scholarship and activism. She is one of the most raw, honest, political, social, and cultural voices in the country. From Harvard to prisons, Rosa has spent her life dedicated to grassroots organizing and scholar activism. Throughout her scholarly career, Rosa has been a constant on the ground presence through the many political struggles facing people of color in the 21st century. She travels nationally as a public speaker, at colleges and universities, various organizations organizing and speaking to a wide range of communities. She was the first ever Afro-Latina women to run for Vice-President of the United States in 2008 on the Green Party ticket. She and her running mate, Cynthia McKinney, were to this date the only women of color ticket in American history.
Rosa is the president and founder of Know Thy Self Productions, which has produced seven major community activism tours and consults on issues such as hip-hop feminism, media justice, voter engagement among youth of color, third party politics, United States political prisoners and the right of Puerto Rico to become an independent nation free of United States colonial domination. She is a frequent guest on television, radio and online media, as her opinions on critical current events are widely sought after.
Rosa is a leading scholar on the issues of Afro-Latinx identity. Rosa is a leading scholar on the issues of Afro-Latinx identity. Her groundbreaking article, Who is Black?, published in 2001, was the catalyst for many discussions regarding Blackness in the Latinx culture. As an activist with Black Lives Matter she has continued to address issues of Afro-Latinx Identity and anti-Blackness through her writings. As a co-founder and national coordinator of the first ever National Hip-Hop Political Convention, Rosa helped bring together more than 3000 activists to create and implement a national political agenda for the Hip-Hop generation. She also co-founded the REACH Hip-Hop Coalition, a Hip-Hop generation-based media justice organization.
Rosa’s academic work has been dedicated to researching national liberation struggles inside the United States with a specific focus on The Young Lords Party (which she wrote her master’s thesis on), The Black Panther Party, and the Black and Brown Liberation Movements of the 60s and 70s, as well as the effects of COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) on such movements. She has also written extensively on Afro-Latinx identity and politics, the intersection of race, gender and class, Hip-Hop feminisms and media justice.
Rosa is no stranger to taking on high profile celebrities. From her very first article in 2001 calling out Russell Simmons for his lack of understanding of Hip-Hop culture to her 2013 video in response to Rick Ross’ lyrics and calling upon men to put an end to rape culture. Additionally, she continually offers the public a view into her own life and experience. This is hauntingly evident in her 2013 essay Not Ready to Die but Wanting to Die: Depression, Hip-Hop and the Death of Chris Lightly. Rosa shared the story of her own depression, shining a light on the problem within the Hip-Hop community and encouraged people to break the silence and shame.
As an independent journalist she traveled to Vieques, Puerto Rico to document the US Naval withdrawal from the island after 67 years of US military control. She was in New Orleans and Mississippi, as an independent journalist, a mere ten days after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the area. Her on-the-ground reports were distributed to media outlets around the world. In September 2018 days after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico she created of PR (Puerto Rico) On the Map, an independent, unapologetic, Afro-Latinx centered media collective. She is currently completing her Ph.D. at the W.E.B. DuBois Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
On January 8th, 2018 Rosa and 6 other women of color organizers joined actresses from Hollywood as part of the Times Up initiative and the #metoo movement. Rosa was the guest of Oscar winner Susan Sarandon and stated that evening, “We are human beings who deserve the right to dignity, whether we are working on a Hollywood set, or working at Wal-Mart, whether we’re a mother in the South Bronx, or a mother in Beverly Hills. So, we are here not only to walk the red carpet we are here to work the red carpet and give voice to the many millions of women who are often marginalized.”