Through her activism and scholarship over the last decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in our nation’s quest for social justice. 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, the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University. She spent the last 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 nine 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.” Davis has also conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her most recent book is Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement Davis is a founding member 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 other 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.
Dolores Huerta is a labor leader and activist who has dedicated her life to fighting discrimination and improving the social and economic conditions of farm workers, immigrants and low-income communities. She created the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA) in 1960 and co-founded what would later become the United Farm Workers (UFW) alongside Cesar Chavez. She was instrumental in organizing the national boycott of California table grapes, improving working conditions for farm workers, reducing the use of harmful pesticides and initiating unemployment and healthcare benefits. She is the founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, which brings organizing and training skills to low-income communities. Ms. Huerta continues to lecture and speak out on a variety of social issues involving immigration, income inequality and the rights of women and Latinos.
Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer. She travels in this and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice. She lives in New York City.
Harry Belafonte is a social activist, singer, songwriter and actor. Already a well-established and best-selling singer in the 1960s, he emerged as a strong voice for the civil rights movement and was by the side of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech at the 1964 March on Washington. Mr. Belafonte’s activism has extended throughout his life, including acting as goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, campaigning to end the practice of apartheid in South Africa, and speaking out against U.S. military actions in Iraq. He is the founder of The Gathering for Justice, a non-profit dedicated to ending child incarceration, and Sankofa, a nonprofit which blends arts and activism. Mr. Belafonte resides in New York with his wife, Pamela.
LaDonna Harris, an enrolled citizen of the Comanche Nation, is founder and president of Americans for Indian Opportunity (www.aio.org). As a national leader, Harris has influenced the agendas of the civil rights, feminist, environmental and world peace movements. She was a founding member of Common Cause and the National Urban Coalition and is an ardent spokesperson against poverty and for social injustice. As an advocate for women’s rights, she was an original convener of the National Women’s Political Caucus. As the 1980 Vice Presidential nominee on the Citizens Party ticket with Barry Commoner, Harris firmly added environmental issues to that and future presidential campaigns. Harris understands the importance of being a global citizen. In past years, she served as the U.S. Representative to UNESCO and the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Indigenous Institute. Currently, Harris serves on the boards of Think New Mexico, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.