Willie Baptist

Willie Baptist is a formerly homeless father who came out of the Watts uprisings, the Black Student Movement, and working as a lead organizer with the United Steelworkers has 40 years of experience organizing amongst the poor including with the National Union of the Homeless, the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, the National Welfare Rights Union, the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, and many other networks. Willie serves as the Poverty Initiative Scholar-in-Residence and is the Coordinator of the Poverty Scholars Program.

Sumitra Rajkumar

Born in Chennai, South India, and brought up in the United Arab Emirates, Sumitra Rajkumar arrived in New York in the mid 90’s and cut her movement-building teeth in the vibrant racial justice organizing against police brutality of that era.  Sumitra has 12 years of experience as a trainer in critical thinking, popular education, political analysis, leadership development, media literacy and documentary storytelling.  She has worked with both youth and adults across the ideological, geographical, racial, class, gender and sexuality spectrums and on a broad array of social justice issues. Sumitra is a somatic coach, a trainer with Generative Somatics, and a political educator in multiple movement spaces.

Jonathan Smucker

Jonathan Smucker is the co-founder and Director of Beyond the Choir, which partners with social justice organizations to craft resonant messaging, plan strategic campaigns, and mobilize larger bases of support. A long-time participant, organizer, trainer, and theorist in grassroots movements for social, economic and ecological justice, Smucker has trained thousands of change agents in campaign strategy, framing and messaging, direct action, and other grassroots organizing skills. He is also the author of the book Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals, published by AK Press.

Raquel Lavina

Raquel Laviña has been an activist and organizer for over 25 years. She has been drawn to many social justice issues from reproductive rights to educational justice to work against the prison industry.  As an organizer, she helped to build some of the nation’s most influential youth organizations, some of which are reaching their 10 year anniversaries.  She has served as the National Program Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; the Executive Director of the Youth Empowerment Center, which housed 5 youth groups including SOUL, the School of Unity and Liberation; and as the Interim Executive Director of FIERCE!, a nationally recognized LGBT youth organization. Raquel currently serves as the Operations Director the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Raj Patel

Raj Patel is an award-winning writer, activist and academic. He is a Research Professor in the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin and a Senior Research Associate at the Unit for the Humanities at the university currently known as Rhodes University (UHURU), South Africa. He has degrees from the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Cornell University, has worked for the World Bank and WTO, and protested against them around the world. Raj is the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, and the international bestseller, The Value of Nothing.. He is currently working with director Steve James on a book and film about the global food system.

Rafael Navar

Since early 2012, Rafael Navar has served as the National Political Director for the Communication Workers of America (CWA), the largest Telecommunications union in the world. As one of only two current Latino National Political Directors within organized labor, he is committed to building one of the most progressive rank and file led political programs in the country. Rafael has built a powerful and innovatingve political education program for CWA and beyond. He is also an active member of Mijente.

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the international bestsellers, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate (2014), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and No Logo (2000). She is a columnist for The Nation magazine and the Guardian newspaper and is a contributing editor at Harper’s magazine.  She is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and is on the board of directors for 350.org, the global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. (Naomi is currently on leave)

Harmony Goldberg

Harmony Goldberg is a founder and former Co-Director of SOUL: the School Of Unity and Liberation, a social justice movement training center based in Oakland,California. After leaving SOUL, Harmony has focused on providing political education and writing support to emergent national alliances of grassroots organizations based in working class communities of color, primarily the Right to the City Alliance, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Excluded Workers Congress. She is also a founding editor of Organizing Upgrade (www.organizingupgrade.com), an online strategy journal for left organizers in the United States.

Han Shan

As a trainer, strategist, and organizer with efforts such as the Global Justice Movement and Occupy Wall Street, as well as organizations including Students for a Free Tibet, Amazon Watch, and Rainforest Action Network, Han Shan has served for 25 years on the front lines and behind the scenes of movements for social, environmental, and economic justice. In addition, Han is a producer for the award-winning independent production company Rikshaw Films and a bon vivant who enjoys convening conspiracies over cocktails. He is based in New York City.

George Lakey

George Lakey is a writer, trainer, and lifelong activist. His first arrest was in the civil rights movement, his most recent for climate justice. He’s led over 1500 workshops on five continents and was a co-founder of Movement for a New Society , Training for Change, and Earth Quaker Action Team. His recent book, Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got it Right – And How We Can Too, published by Melville House, has taken him across the country and the world.

Farhad Ebrahimi

Farhad Ebrahimi is an activist, philanthropist, musician, lover of film and literature, hipster, and bicycle snob who lives in Brooklyn. He is the founder and trustee chair of the Chorus Foundation, and a co-founder of the Solidaire Network.

Carinne Luck

Carinne Luck is an organizer and trainer from Israel, the UK and most recently New York City. Carinne has organized nationally on a range of issues, including human rights, affordable housing, Israel/Palestine, and in support of domestic worker rights. She was a co-founder of J Street, served as Grassroots Campaign Director at MoveOn.org, and had senior roles with Hand in Hand.

Brooke Lehman

Brooke Lehman is Co-Director of the Watershed Center, a social justice resource and retreat center in Millerton, NY. She is a faculty member at Institute for Social Ecology and spent many years helping to run Bluestockings Bookstore and Activist Center in NYC. Brooke was deeply involved in the Global Justice Movement and the Occupy Movement, where she focused on helping activists build healthy democratic organizational structures, connect to their own sense of purpose, and become more effective leaders. She offers workshop and retreats on meditation, yoga, leadership, facilitation, communication, democratic decision-making, and organizational development.