RPNC | Keynote Speakers

The 2018 Race & Pedagogy National Conference has four plenary keynote sessions. We are pleased to announce the following individuals who will anchor the plenaries. To learn more about our speakers click below for a library guide with links to readings and other materials. More about the Speakers

Brian Cladoosby Brian Cladoosby

Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, was elected as the 21st president of the National Congress of American Indians in 2013, and is one of the most senior tribal political leaders in the state of Washington and the larger Pacific Northwest. Cladoosby is also the co-speaker for the Coast Salish Gathering, which comprises tribes from Western Washington and British Columbia.

Read the press release. 

Thursday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m.

Puget Sound community members: Watch Live



Jeff Chang Jeff Chang

Jeff Chang, formerly the Executive Director of The Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University (IDA), has recently been named the first vice president of narrative, arts, and culture at Race Forward. Based in New York and Oakland, Race Forward's mission is to build awareness, solutions, and leadership for racial justice by generating transformative ideas, information, and experiences.

During Chang’s tenure, IDA became nationally recognized for its innovative programming around arts, culture, and racial justice. Founded in 2001 by now Vice President for the Arts Harry J. Elam Jr., IDA is one of the nation's most recognized centers exploring equity in the arts, and is Stanford’s premier undergraduate training program for developing arts leaders of the future.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Keith Villaluz 

Read the press release.

Friday, Sept. 28, 8 a.m.

Puget Sound community members: Watch Live


Valerie B. Jarrett Valerie B. Jarrett

Valerie B. Jarrett is a senior advisor to the Obama Foundation and Attn and a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. She also serves on the boards of Ariel Investments, 2U, Lyft, and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

Jarrett was the longest serving senior advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. Jarrett worked throughout her tenure at the White House to mobilize elected officials, business and community leaders, and diverse groups of advocates. She led the Obama administration’s efforts to expand and strengthen access to the middle class and boost American businesses and economy. She championed the creation of equality and opportunity for all Americans, economically and politically empowering women in the United States and around the world. She oversaw the administration’s advocacy for workplace policies that empower working families, including equal pay, raising the minimum wage, paid leave, paid sick days, workplace flexibility, and affordable childcare, and led the campaigns to reform our criminal justice system, end sexual assault, and reduce gun violence.

Jarrett has a background in both the public and private sectors. She served as the chief executive officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, commissioner of planning and development, and deputy chief of staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. She also served as the director of numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards, including chairman of the board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, and director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Jarrett also has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including being named among TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”

Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978, and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.

Read the press release.

Friday, Sept. 28, 4:30 p.m.

Puget Sound community members: Watch Live


Alicia Garza & Patrisse Cullors 

Alicia Garza                    Patrisse Cullors

Alicia Garza

Social Activist & Co-Creator of #BlackLivesMatter 

Photo credit: Kristin Little 

Patrisse Cullors

Social Activist, Best-selling Author of When They Call You A Terrorist, & Co-Creator of the viral Twitter hashtag and movement #BlackLivesMatter

Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza is an internationally recognized organizer, writer, and public speaker. In 2018, she founded the Black Futures Lab, which invites Black people to experiment with new ways to build independent, progressive Black political power. Garza dreams of a future where all Black communities have what they need to live well.

As the strategy and partnerships director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Garza works to build a movement at the intersections of race, gender, and economic justice. With Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, Garza created #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Global Network, a global organizing project to end state violence and oppression against Black people. The Black Lives Matter Global Network now has 40 chapters in four countries.

Garza's writing has been published in TIME, Mic, Marie Claire, The Guardian, Elle.com, Essence Magazine, and The New York Times. She was awarded the 2017 Sydney Peace Prize with Black Lives Matter co-founders Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi; was named to Fortune magazine’s 2016 list of the "World’s Greatest Leaders"; and was a member of the 2016 Tribunal of the US Black Women’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, held at the United Nations. Garza is one of the "100 Women We Love" named by GO Magazine in 2018, a Fast Company 2017 "Most Creative People in Business," and appeared on The Root’s 2016 and 2015 lists of "100 African American Achievers and Influencers" and in the POLITICO 50, a guide to thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics in 2016. Garza also received the 2016 Glamour Women of the Year Award, the 2016 Marie Claire New Guard Award, and in 2016 was named a Community Change Agent at the BET Black Girls Rock Awards.

Garza has an M.A. in ethnic studies from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. in anthropology and sociology from the University of California, San Diego. She lives and works in Oakland, California.

Patrisse Cullors

Artist, organizer, educator, and popular public speaker, Patrisse Cullors is a Los Angeles native and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and founder of grassroots Los Angeles-based organization Dignity and Power Now. She is also a senior fellow at MomsRising where she is working on ending Maternal Mortality and Morbidity.

In 2013, Cullors co-founded the global movement with the viral twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, which has since grown to an international organization with dozens of chapters around the world fighting anti-Black racism. In January 2016, she published her memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. Her memoir became an instant New York Times best-seller.

Cullors has been honored with various awards, including: The Sydney Peace Prize Award (2017), Black Woman of the Year Award (2015) from The National Congress of Black Women, Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century Award (2015) from the Los Angeles Times, Community Change Agent Award (2016) from BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc., Women of the Year Award for the Justice Seekers Award (2016) from Glamour, and ESSENCE’s first-ever Woke Award.

Cullors is currently a 2019 M.F.A. candidate at the University of Southern California.

Read the press release.

Saturday, Sept. 29, 8:30 a.m.

Puget Sound community members: Watch Live

Please be sure to Register for the Conference: Registration

For readings and materials about our speakers: More about the Speakers