Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He has taught at Yale, Harvard, the University of Paris, Princeton, and, most recently, Union Theological Seminary. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his MA and PhD in philosophy at Princeton. He has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, CNN, C-Span, and on Tavis Smiley’s PBS TV Show. He is now co-hosting The Tight Rope Podcast with Tricia Rose.
First generation Dominican Latinx Studies scholar from Trenton, NJ, García-Peña studies blackness, colonialism and diaspora with a special focus on dominicanidades. Researches literary and cultural texts in conversation with historical processes and following a methodology for archiving in justice that challenges the heteronormative, Eurocentric production of knowledge that has persistently excluded and silenced the lives, histories and epistemology of black and brown people from traditional archives, libraries and books. García-Peña’s work is grounded on social justice, women of color feminism and Afro-Latinx episteme.
Marie Dutton Brown is the President of Marie Brown Associates, a literary agency in NYC. Ms. Brown is a part of the elite and small group of Black literary agents. A 40-year veteran of the book business, Brown acquired a thorough understanding of her calling working as an editorial assistant and book editor; bookseller and bookstore manager; editor-in-chief of a magazine; book marketing strategist and literary agent. Ms. Brown has been a bibliophile since her childhood years and currently lives and works in Harlem.
Samuel G. Freedman is an award-winning author, columnist, and professor. A columnist for The New York Times and a professor at Columbia University, he is the author of the seven acclaimed books, most recently Breaking The Line: The Season in Black College Football That Transformed the Game and Changed the Course of Civil Rights (2013). His previous books are Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students and Their High School (1990); Upon This Rock: The Miracles of a Black Church (1993); The Inheritance: How Three Families and America Moved from Roosevelt to Reagan and Beyond (1996); Jew vs. Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry (2000); Who She Was: My Search for My Mother’s Life (2005); and Letters To A Young Journalist (2006).
Pastor Michael McBride (known as “Pastor Mike”) is a native of San Francisco and has been active in ministry for over 20 years. Pastor McBride’s commitment to holistic ministry can be seen through his leadership roles in both the church and community organizations. A graduate of Duke University’s Divinity School, with a Master of Divinity with an emphasis in Ethics and Public Policy, Pastor McBride founded The Way Christian Center in West Berkeley, where he presently serves as the Lead Pastor.