Dr. Ruha Benjamin is an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Founding Director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book “Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code.”
She is an internationally recognized scholar who has been studying the relationship between innovation and inequity, health and justice, and knowledge and power for more than twenty years. Her other books include “People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier” and “Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life.”
Dr. Alisa Bierria
Dr. Alisa Bierria is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside. A Black feminist philosopher who has been active in the feminist anti-violence movement for more than 20 years, Bierria’s writing, advocacy, and collaborative projects focus on racialized gender violence and critical acts of survival.
Her forthcoming book, “Missing in Action: Agency, Race, & Invention,” highlights insights from Black women’s agentic practices in conditions of violence and proposes a pluralistic framework for agency. She is also a co-founder of Survived & Punished, a national organization that challenges the criminalization of survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and advocates for the abolition of carceral systems.
Charlene A. Carruthers, MSW
Charlene A. Carruthers is a political strategist, cultural worker and PhD student in the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University. A practitioner of telling more complete stories, her research includes Black feminist political economies, abolition of patriarchal and carceral systems, and the role of cultural work within the Black Radical Tradition.
Her work spans more than 15 years of community organizing across racial, gender and economic justice movements. She is the author of the book “Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements.”
Dr. Nick Estes
A citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Dr. Nick Estes is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico. He is a historian, journalist, and host of The Red Nation Podcast. Estes also is a founding editor of Red Media Collective, which publishes books, podcasts, and stories highlighting Indigenous intelligence in all its forms. His writing and research engage decolonization, Indigenous histories, environmental justice, and anti-capitalism and have been featured in The Baffler, The Guardian, The Nation, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Jacobin, NBC News, and The Intercept. In 2019, Estes was awarded the Lannan Literary Fellowship for Non-Fiction.
Estes is the author of the book “Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance.” He is a co-author of two books coming out in 2021 on police abolition and Indigenous environmental justice, and is currently working on a book on the history of Red Power.
Dr. Megan Ming Francis
Dr. Megan Ming Francis is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington, a Senior Democracy Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and a Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Carr Center for Human Rights.
Francis specializes in the study of American politics, with broad interests in criminal punishment, Black political activism, and racial justice philanthropy. She is the author of the award-winning book “Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State.” Francis is currently working on a second book that examines the role of the criminal punishment system in the rebuilding of southern political and economic power after the Civil War. In addition, her research and commentary have been featured in numerous academic and public outlets, including a popular TED talk.
Dr. Darrick Hamilton
Dr. Darrick Hamilton – a noted scholar, economist, and public intellectual – is the Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, a university professor, and the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Race, Stratification and Political Economy at The New School. The Institute will confront the pressing issues of our time and develop pathways and policies that break down hierarchy and promote greater equity, inclusion, and civic participation.
Hamilton has recently been profiled in The New York Times, Mother Jones, and The Wall Street Journal. He has been involved in crafting policy proposals, such as Baby Bonds and a Federal Job Guarantee, which have served as inspirations for legislative proposals at federal, state and local levels; served on the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force; was a presidential campaign surrogate for Bernie Sanders; and regularly advises many other government officials. California Representative Ro Khanna offers high praise, characterizing Hamilton as having a “profound impact on policymakers” and calling him an “intellectual giant of his time.”
Ramzi Kassem is a Professor of Law at The City University of New York. His writing, teaching, and legal practice all aim to contest the expressions and excesses of the sprawling U.S. security state, both domestically and abroad. Kassem’s work with his students has resulted in groundbreaking civil rights litigation challenging state surveillance, and it has led to the liberation of clients incarcerated, often for years, at Guantánamo Bay, other overseas facilities, and federal and immigration prisons. He works within various movements, including Communities United for Police Reform and Movement for Black Lives.
In addition to academic writing, Kassem’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Guardian and elsewhere. Since 2009, Kassem has served as the founding director of the award-winning CLEAR project at CUNY School of Law. A proud immigrant and incorrigible New Yorker, Kassem’s full profile is here.
Dr. Erica Kohl-Arenas
Dr. Erica Kohl-Arenas is an Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of California, Davis and the national director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life. She is a scholar of grassroots community development and the radical imaginations and deferred dreams of social movements that become entangled with the politics of professionalization, institutionalization and philanthropy.
Kohl-Arenas is the author of the award-winning book “The Self-Help Myth: How Philanthropy Fails to Alleviate Poverty” and is currently working on a book about intergenerational freedom fighters from the 1960s and today. She is the co-organizer of two action research projects, including one on transforming higher education to better support activist and public scholarship, and another on the reclamation of land and agriculture in building self-determined futures in rural Black Mississippi as an ally to the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production.
Dr. Barbara Ransby
Dr. Barbara Ransby is a widely acclaimed historian of the Black Freedom Movement, award-winning author, and longtime activist. She is the John D. MacArthur Chair and Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Black Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and director of the campus-wide Social Justice Initiative. She also directs the Social Justice Initiative, which promotes connections between academics and community organizers working on social justice. A founding member of Scholars for Social Justice, she works closely with activists in the Movement for Black Lives and The Rising Majority. She is an elected fellow in the Society of American Historians, as well as a recipient of the Angela Y. Davis Prize for public scholarship from the American Studies Association.
Ransby is the author of multiple books, including the award-winning “Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision,” “Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson,” and “Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the 21st Century.”
Dr. Dylan Rodríguez
Dr. Dylan Rodríguez is a Professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) and President of the American Studies Association. He was previously Chair of the UCR Academic Senate, as well as Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies.
Rodríguez’s thinking, writing, teaching, and scholarly activism confront the historical regimes of anti-Black and racial-colonial violence that are normalized in everyday state, cultural, and social formations, including policing, incarceration, and domestic war. His work raises the question of how insurgent communities of people inhabit oppressive circumstances in ways that enable the collective genius of rebellion, survival, abolition, and radical futurity. Rodríguez is a founding member of the abolitionist organization Critical Resistance and co-founder of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association. His next book, “White Reconstruction: Domestic Warfare and the Logics of Genocide,” will be published in the fall of 2020.
Dr. Ananya Roy
Dr. Ananya Roy is a Professor of Urban Planning, Social Welfare, and Geography, The Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy and inaugural Director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Roy’s work has focused on urban transformations and land grabs, as well as global capital and predatory financialization, with a focus on poor people’s movements. She is the author of multiple books, including “Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development” and most recently “Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World.” With theoretical commitments to postcolonial critique, feminist thought, and critical race studies, her research and scholarship challenge the whiteness of canons of knowledge, forging theory and pedagogy attentive to historical difference.
Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. She is a scholar of racism and inequality in U.S. housing policies. Taylor critiques public-private partnerships in public policymaking and the influence of market-based solutions in resolving trenchant social inequities. Taylor also studies radical politics and Black social movements in the 20th and 21st centuries. She is the author of three books, including the award-winning “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” and “Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership.” “Race for Profit” was a semifinalist for the National Book Award and a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in History. She is a contributing writer for The New Yorker.