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Calling in Community: Creating Positive Social Change with Loretta J. Ross

Loretta Ross

As we face tumultuous times in this country, we need to build a unified and strategic human rights movement that weaves together our strengths, that uses our differences as a platform for modeling a positive future built on the politics of justice and love rather than a return to the past based on the politics of fear and prejudice. To create this movement, we need to make a commitment to recognize and support each other – calling people in rather than calling them out and living into our common ground values.

Loretta Ross is a 2022 MacArthur Fellow and award-winning, nationally-recognized expert on racism and racial justice, women's rights, and human rights. Her work emphasizes the intersectionality of social justice issues and how intersectionality can fuel transformation.

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Ross is a 2022 MacArthur Fellow and associate professor at Smith College (Northampton, MA) in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender, teaching courses on white supremacy, race and culture in America, human rights, and calling in the calling out culture.

She was a co-founder and the National Coordinator, from 2005 to 2012, of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, a network of women of color and allied organizations that organize women of color in the reproductive justice movement. Loretta has also co-written three books on reproductive justice. Her current book, Calling In the Calling Out Culture, is forthcoming in 2021.

Ross appears regularly in major media outlets about the issues of our day. She was recently featured in a New York Times piece, "What if Instead of Calling People Out, We Called Them In?"

Ross is a rape survivor, was forced to raise a child born of incest, and is a survivor of sterilization abuse. She is a model of how to survive and thrive despite the traumas that disproportionately affect low-income women of color. She is a nationally-recognized trainer on using the transformative power of Reproductive Justice to build a Human Rights movement that includes everyone.

Ross serves as a consultant for Smith College, collecting oral histories of feminists of color for the Sophia Smith Collection which also contains her personal archives.

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Building Common Ground Through Uncommon Stories with Rabia Chaudry

Rabia Chaundry

This talk will focus on the power of storytelling to build bridges of respect, trust, and love between diverse communities.

Rabia Chaudry is an attorney, advocate, and author of the New York Times bestselling book “Adnan’s Story” and her critically acclaimed second book, “Fatty Fatty Boom Boom: A Memoir Of Food, Fat, And Family”. Rabia is the Executive Producer of the HBO documentary series “The Case Against Adnan Syed” and also co-producer and host of the podcasts Undisclosed, Rabia and Ellyn Solve the Case, Nighty Night, The Hidden Djinn, and The 45th.

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With over 400 million downloads, Undisclosed is the most popular and impactful wrongful conviction podcast in the world. The Undisclosed team has helped exonerate over a dozen defendants and find new evidence to get nearly all of their defendants back in court.

Rabia is a 2021 Aspen Institute/ADL Civil Society Fellow and was previously a 2016 Aspen Ideas Scholar and on the Vanguard Board at the Aspen Institute. She is a Fellow of the Truman National Security Project, a Fellow of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute, a Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute, and a former Board member of the ACLU of Connecticut and Maryland. Rabia is the recipient of the Truman National Security Project’s 2015 Harry S. Truman Award for Communications & Media Influence, is a 2015 Carnegie Corporation Great Immigrant, and is the recipient of the 2015 Healing & Hope award by the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. She is currently a founding board member of the Inter-Jewish Muslim Alliance, and the Muslim Jewish Advisory Council, both of which focus on building Muslim-Jewish coalitions around pressing policy issues, and educating across communities to break barriers.

In 2016 Rabia was named a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at U.S. Institute of Peace, where she researched the intersection of religion and violent extremism in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. During this time Rabia also worked with PYCA, Pakistan Youth Change Advocates, delivering leadership trainings in Islamabad to rising youth advocates from across Pakistan.

Rabia came to USIP from the New America Foundation, where she was an International Security Fellow, developing and leading a CVE (countering violent extremism) community project in partnership with Google, Facebook and Twitter. Her work New America focused on the empowerment of American Muslim communities in social media advocacy.
In 2011 Rabia founded the Safe Nation Collaborative, a CVE training firm, which worked on two fronts: providing CVE and cultural competency training to law enforcement, correctional, and homeland security officials, and providing national security and CVE training to Muslim communities and institutions. During its existence, Safe Nation worked with the US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of Justice, the National Counter Terror Center, the Maryland State Police and Correctional Officer Training Commission, and the DC Metro Police Department. As a senior CVE analyst and consultant, Rabia worked on both domestic and international CVE projects with government and nonprofit sectors.

Rabia received her Juris Doctorate from the George Mason School of Law and practiced immigration and civil rights law for over a decade before moving into the CVE policy sphere. Her practice focus was asylum and family immigration, and civil rights defense of Muslim immigrants against federal law enforcement agencies.

Rabia is a frequent public speaker and writer on criminal justice, civil rights, and media advocacy through storytelling.

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The Transformative Power of Comedy: Storytelling as Healing Praxis with D'Lo

D'Lo in front of an orange background wearing a grey and blue baseball cap that has "D'Loco Kid" embroidered on the front

Actor, writer, and comic D’Lo shares stories reflecting on his life as a queer/trans Sri Lankan American and how healing happens in community. In this keynote, he will reveal how this work can be realized transnationally through the use of comedy as a tool for both individual and collective agency and the transformations of trauma into resilience.

D’Lo has performed and lectured in the U.S., Canada, India, Sri Lanka, the UK, and Germany. His acting credits include: Looking, transparent, SENSE 8, and Mr. Robot.

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D’Lo is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American actor/writer/comic. His acting credits include: LOOKING, TRANSPARENT, SENSE 8, and MR.ROBOT, and web series EASTSIDERS, DYKE CENTRAL, including a leading role in a ColorCreative & Project Greenlight produced MINIMUM WAGE, and finally his very own web series PRIVATE DICK. He also plays the role of Gio in upcoming feature film DEATH & BOWLING and is in post-production for a buddy comedy short film he wrote featuring D’Lo and Shakina Nayfack called RO & SHIRELLE.

In 2020, D’Lo guest starred on NBC’s CONNECTING and also was an actor/writer and producer on another BTR collaboration with Pop Culture Collab on his project called NIMZO. His most recent credits include Billy Eichner’s film BROS and an upcoming episode of Quantum Leap.

His work has been awarded grants from the City of Santa Monica, Durfee Foundation, National Performance Network, Ford Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Most recently, D’Lo was awarded the Artist Disruptor Fellowship for TV Writing through the Center for Cultural Performance and 5050x2020 an initiative started by Joey Soloway; as well as the Civic Media Fellowship through USC's Annenberg Innovation Lab funded by the MacArthur Foundation; a Cultural Trailblazer Award from the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs, and a Sherwood Award Finalist through CTG.

His solo shows Ramble-Ations, D’FunQT, D’FaQTo Life and To T, or not To T  have toured theaters and festivals nationally.

His work has been published and/or written about in academic journals, literary anthologies, and print/online journalism sources, such as LA Times, The Guardian, NBC, and The Advocate. He was invited to be a commentator on CNN, has appeared in Buzzfeed and Fusion videos, and the award-winning documentary PERFORMING GIRL centers his queerstory as a trans artist.

He facilitates ‘writing for performance’ workshops, and created the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series for South Asian and/or Immigrant LGBTQ Organizations across the nation, as well as workshops on creating healing through comedy at universities/colleges nationally.

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Feminism From an Indigenous Perspective with Maimouna Youssef, AKA Mumu Fresh

Mumu Fresh with red hair posing in front of a colorful mosaic wall

Maimouna Youssef (also known as Mumu Fresh) is a GRAMMY-Nominated, Indigenous Music award-winning, Musical Ambassador for the US State Department, elected governor of The DC Chapter of The Recording Academy & an Ambassador of The Black Music Collective.

Mumu Fresh has toured internationally as a critically acclaimed Afro-Indigenous singer, Emcee, songwriter, activist, workshop facilitator and audio engineer who’s been called a “quadruple threat” by The Roots’ Black Thought and “groundbreaking” by Oscar-winning artist, Common.

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In 2021, Maimouna partnered with AFROPUNK x Netflix to illuminate and celebrate Black women muses and was the voice behind the ACLU Systematic Equality campaign. In 2020, she was asked to lend her soulful voice to the ESPYs tribute to Black Lives because WE Matter. Some of her other standout moments in 2020 include her contribution to Salaam Remi’s album “Black On Purpose”, along with their single “EMOGs” which surpassed 2 million streams on Spotify alone upon release in 2020. She hit the ground running in 2021 with her viral feature on Tobe Nwigwe’s song “Tundah Fiyah” from their album “Cincoriginals” which immediately surpassed one (1) million views on Instagram on release day.

Maimouna has performed to sold-out audiences, in renowned venues around the world, electrifying stages alongside countless musical giants including Common, The Roots, Sting, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Billy Ray Cyrus, MC Lyte, Brandy, Femi Kuti, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Raphael Saadiq, Nas, Burna Boy, the National Symphony Orchestra and Dave Chappelle. Her soul-stirring performances stole the show at the Black Girls Rock Awards 2019 and Black Music Honors 2019 and 2021. She’s rocked stages at acclaimed music festivals including the Essence Music Festival, Global Citizen, and SXSW

Maimouna recently landed a lead role in Black Thought’s upcoming Broadway musical “Black No More”, which will premiere in 2022. In 2019, Maimouna performed alongside thespian legends Lynn Whitfield and Joe Morton at the Apollo Theater for a dramatic reading of Ta Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me”, produced by Kamilah Forbes.  In addition to her musical appearances in the films “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party” and “Girls Trip”, her music has been featured in the TV shows Queen Sugar and Being Mary Jane. She is the voice of Ford Motor Company’s “Roll On” commercial, which celebrates women of color. She has received worldwide praise for her viral NPR Tiny Desk performance addressing gender inequities and women’s rights amongst other pertinent social issues. She has shared her story of Afro-Native artistic and philanthropic excellence appearing on MSNBC, FOX 45, NPR, CNN, Cooking with Chef JJ on Cleo TV, Sway In The Morning and Al Jazeera.

Mumu Fresh has released 2 solo LPs, 2 group LPs, 1 solo EPs, 1 Mixtape, and countless singles and features with super producers such as Dj Jazzy Jeff, Salaam Remi, DJ Dummy & 9th Wonder. While touring 6 of the 7 continents, Mumu Fresh has built a relationship with over 200K engaged fans on social media who have shared and streamed her music millions of times in at least 92 countries throughout the world.  Mumu Fresh’s music and philanthropic endeavours have been featured in publications such as Variety, Ebony, Essence, BET & more.

Maimouna has served as a mentor for several GRAMMY U affiliated young aspiring artists. In 2020, she founded her own online music education platform called “Muniversity Studies” to teach aspiring artists how to reimagine the music business and thrive independently with purpose. Mumu Fresh is quickly becoming known as an independent music mogul for her generation. Maimouna is committed to ‘Art Activism’ and has performed within the US prison system, Congressional Black Caucus, I.M.A.N. Central in Chicago, The W. K. Kellogg Foundation and more, bringing awareness to important social issues. Mumu Fresh is a global citizen, musical healer, cultural philanthropist and community pillar.

Maimouna “Mumu Fresh” Youssef has a very diverse and expansive musical background ranging from Jazz, Gospel, Spirituals, traditional African & traditional Indigenous music, to Hip Hop, Soul, rock and experimental acapella fusion.  Maimouna has a passion for activism and community service. She has donated much of her time and platform to increased awareness & education around race and gender inequity, environmental justice and independence for artists.

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