DR. YUSEF SALAAM
At just 15 years old, Dr. Salaam's life was upended and changed forever after being wrongfully convicted in a frenzied case that rocked New York City. Since his release, Yusef has committed himself to advocating and educating people on the issues of false confessions, police brutality and misconduct, press ethics and bias, race and law, and the disparities in America’s criminal justice system.
In 2013, documentarians Ken and Sarah Burns released the documentary “The Central Park Five,” which told of this travesty from the perspective of Yusef and his cohorts. In 2014, The Central Park Five received a multi-million dollar settlement from the city of New York for its grievous injustice against them.
Yusef was awarded an Honorary Doctorate that same year and received the President's Life Time Achievement Award in 2016 from President Barack Obama.He was appointed to the board of the Innocence Project in 2018, and released a Netflix Feature limited series called “When They See Us” based on the true story of the “Central Park Five” with Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey and Robert Dinero, in May of 2019.
Clint Smith is a writer, teacher, and doctoral candidate at Harvard University. He is a recipient of fellowships from the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and the National Science Foundation. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review and elsewhere. His first full-length collection of poetry, Counting Descent, was published in 2016. It won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.
Jamira Burley is an internationally recognized speaker, social justice advocate, and next-gen social impact consultant. She's on a mission to lead systematic and sustainable change that improves the lives of young people across the globe. Recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change and Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree, Jamira leads with expertise on youth engagement, education reform, workforce development, global citizenship and social justice and CSR to authentically reshape communities and disrupt the status quo.
Born and raised in Harlem, New York, Duanecia Evans leads as the Senior Managing Director of Black Community Alliances on Teach For America's national Public Partnerships Team. Through this work, Duanecia has ensured the recruitment and retention of Black educators, forged partnerships between Teach For America and national organizations including UNCF, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc and the National Women's Law Center. This work has afforded educators the opportunity to be trained and advocate for equitable school discipline practices and end the inequitable push out of girls of color in our nation's schools. Duanecia is a visionary leader who designs people-centered social impact strategies for national and local brands.
Brooklyn-born, Long Island-bred, Stefon Bristol is writing his own success story as a fresh face with a creative voice in the indie film world. Stefon is an award-winning filmmaker who recently released his first feature film, See You Yesterday, on Netflix in 2019. As a recent alumni of NYU's Graduate Film Program, Stefon helmed many films including the Cine Golden Eagle Award winner The Bodega. Spike Lee, a longtime mentor, awarded Stefon with the 2016 Spike Lee Production Grant for his thesis short film, See You Yesterday, which the upcoming feature film is based on. The short is currently streaming on Cinemax’s online platform, Max Go. He has also co-directed the upcoming television series Payroll with Dennis Williams and directed a proof-of-concept for Chad Sander’s The Archer Connection, the upcoming BET television series. Stefon is currently working on his second feature film.