Speakers

We are thrilled to announce our scheduled speakers for the Atlanta March for Social Justice & Women!

Full program details, including times and places, will be announced soon. 
Please note speakers subject to change in case of unforeseen events

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Congressman John Lewis-Georgia’s Fifth District

Often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America.   His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress.

He has been called “the conscience of the U.S. Congress,” and Roll Call magazine has said, “John Lewis…is a genuine American hero and moral leader who commands widespread respect in the chamber.”

He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama.  He grew up on his family’s farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama.  As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts.  In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement. Ever since then, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.

As a student at Fisk University, John Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.  In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. Lewis risked his life on those Rides many times by simply sitting in seats reserved for white patrons.  He was also beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South.

During the height of the Movement, from 1963 to 1966, Lewis was named Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which he helped form. SNCC was largely responsible for organizing student activism in the Movement, including sit-ins and other activities.

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Stacey Y. Abrams, House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative for the 89th House District

Abrams is the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and is the first African-American to lead in the House of Representatives.

One of six children, Stacey grew up in Mississippi with working-class parents who taught them the value of public service and civic engagement at a young age. After her family moved to Georgia, Stacey attended Spelman College and was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar. She received a Masters from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Stacey returned to Atlanta as a tax attorney at the Sutherland law firm and was subsequently appointed as the Deputy City Attorney for the City of Atlanta. Stacey has also founded a number of businesses, including NOW Corporation, a financial services firm that specializes in providing access to capital for small businesses.

In 2012, Stacey received the prestigious John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award. Stacey has been recognized nationally as one of the 2014 Public Officials of the Year by Governing magazine. In April 2014, Stacey received the inaugural Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award from EMILY’s List.

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Park Cannon, Georgia House of Representatives, District 58

My name is Park Cannon, and I’m proud to be the Democratic State Representative for Georgia House District 58. I’m out and proud that my family and I are long-time Old Fourth Ward residents.

I’m a Georgia girl born to my father, a Vietnam veteran who retired Master Sergeant at the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base, and my mother, a pharmaceutical rep from Camilla. I was born at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, near Albany State College, and from very early on, I studied the civil rights movement and frequented the spots visited by Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m a proud Georgia public school kid, just like my older brother. It was there I had one of my earliest political memories: watching local residents drive around with confederate flags and KKK materials.

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Stephanie Davis, former Executive Director of Georgia Women for a Change

Stephanie Davis is the former executive director of Georgia Women for a Change, a non-profit public policy institute with a gender lens that represented Georgians across a spectrum of women’s issues before the state legislature with a focus on human trafficking issues. Davis served as the first Policy Advisor on Women’s Issues to Mayor Shirley Franklin where she coordinated the “Dear John” campaign to end child prostitution in Atlanta. As the founding director of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, Davis was responsible for establishing an endowment and positioning the Foundation to be the fastest growing women’s fund in the country. She created the grantmaking process and distributed several million dollars throughout her tenure to women and girl serving agencies. She currently serves on the boards of Actor’s Express, the YWCA, and the Advisory Board of the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network. She is a graduate of Skidmore College and received one of the country’s first Masters degrees in women’s studies from Goddard College.

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Vincent Fort, Georgia State Senator District 39 

Vincent Fort has been the Georgia Senate’s leading fighter for progressive values for the past two decades. He led the fight with Governor Roy Barnes to pass the nation’s toughest law against predatory lenders, and he has worked with activists and experts to reform local law enforcement practices. Senator Fort was the first Georgia legislator to sponsor a bill to create a state hate crimes law, a fight he continues to lead to this day to enhance penalties for criminals who choose their victims based on bias based on race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

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Staci Fox, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast

Staci Fox, President & CEO: Staci Fox is President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, non-profit organization providing health care, advocacy, and education to women and families throughout Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. In addition, Staci serves as President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates a 501(c)4 organization as well as the Chair of the Vote Choice Steering Committee, a PAC focused on electing candidates who support reproductive choice. Staci has been in the family planning and reproductive health field for more than 19 years, having previously served as President/CEO for Planned Parenthood of North Florida. In 2013 she was drawn back to the southeast to join the growing efforts addressing historical health disparities. Staci is a native of Georgia and a graduate of University of Georgia. Staci was a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2015 and continues to serve as a volunteer. She is also an active member of All Saints Episcopal Church of Atlanta. Staci likes to fill her free time with sports and live music.

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Shirley Franklin, Former Mayor of Atlanta

Shirley Franklin was elected the first African American woman mayor of a major southern city in 2002 and served two-terms until 2009. The mayor is term limited in Atlanta. Upon leaving office, she was appointed to the William and Camille Cosby Endowed Chair at Spelman College and served until June 2011.  For the past three years she served as the Barbara Jordan Visiting Professor in Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin.

During her eight years, the city experienced unprecedented growth and afforded Franklin the opportunity to partner and collaborate with many local and regional leaders in addressing urban policy challenges, which included urban planning, economic development and infrastructure. She is best known for advocating for and tackling major government operations and ethics reform, launching the Atlanta Beltline, planning and executing over $5 billion in airport and water infrastructure improvement, leading the acquisition of the Morehouse College Collection of Martin Luther King Jr. Papers, launching the Regional Commission on Homelessness and developing successful business and public sector partnerships and alliances.  Aside from her role as a public official, her community service spans over 39 years in Atlanta and includes her active participation in the arts, homelessness and higher

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Dr. Francys Johnson, State President of Georgia NAACP

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Combining a passion for helping people through law, education, and faith; Francys Johnson is called to serve this present age. Johnson is the State President of the Georgia NAACP.

 A committed servant-leader, Johnson has served in ordained ministry for eighteen years. He is the Senior Minister at the Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Pembroke, Georgia and the Magnolia Missionary Baptist Churchin Statesboro, Georgia.

 A seasoned professional, Johnson is in private practice with The Johnson Firm P.C. Attorneys and Counselors of Law in Statesboro, Georgia. He practices criminal and civil law in all State and Federal Courts in Georgia.

 A dedicated civil rights leader and administrator, Johnson is a Diamond Life Member and has worked for the NAACP in a variety of capacities including State Legal Redress Director; State Executive Director; and Southeast Regional Director. As Southeast Regional Director, Johnson was the chief manager of the NAACP’s public policy agenda and administrative activities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

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Hank Johnson, U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 4th congressional district

Now beginning his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District, Congressman Hank Johnson has distinguished himself as a substantive, effective lawmaker and a leading national progressive voice. Named one of the most effective Democrats in Congress by a University of Virginia and University of Vanderbilt study, Rep. Johnson has proven his ability to get things done.

Rep. Johnson has introduced and fought for legislation supporting equal pay for equal work, healthcare laws that prevent discrimination against women and military policies that allow for all military positions to be open to women.

In 2014, Rep. Johnson held a ‘When Women Succeed, America Succeeds’ town hall where he said: “We must unleash the power of women in the workforce through equal pay for equal work, affordable child care, paid sick leave, and access to comprehensive health care and family planning,” said Johnson. “When women get paid fair, decent wages and parents can balance work and family life, America’s economy will grow and more children will thrive. When women succeed, we all succeed.”

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Edward Ahmed Mitchell, Executive Director of the Georgia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-GA)

Edward Ahmed Mitchell is a civil rights attorney who serves as executive director of the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-GA).

As America’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, CAIR engages in interfaith dialogue, counters Islamophobia, and builds coalitions that promote justice.

Mitchell, a graduate of Morehouse College and Georgetown University Law Center, previously served as a criminal prosecutor. He is also an editor of AtlantaMuslim, a member of the Georgia Association of Muslim Lawyers, and a member of the board of trustees of the Islamic Community Center of Atlanta.

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Luma Mufleh, CEO and Coach at Fugees Family

Luma Mufleh is the inspirational coach of a soccer team called the Fugees—short for refugees. The players on this team come from 28 war-torn countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Congo, Somalia and Sudan. Most of them have endured unimaginable hardship: one young boy was forced by soldiers to shoot his own best friend, another watched his father shot to death, and all have been robbed of their childhood.

An immigrant from Jordan, Mufleh moved to Atlanta a year and a half after graduating from Smith College. While driving through the town of Clarkston, Georgia, she noticed a group of boys playing soccer in the street. They played without some of the most basic equipment—but they played for the sheer enjoyment of the game —something that reminded her of home. In the summer of 2004, she made fliers announcing tryouts for a soccer team. The flyers were in Arabic, English, French and Vietnamese and were distributed around apartment complexes where many refugees lived.

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Tiffany Roberts, Attorney and Volunteer at BlackLivesMatter Atlanta

Tiffany Roberts is a civil rights and criminal defense attorney in Atlanta.
She opened a solo law practice after over two years of practicing felony indigent defense at the Office of the Public Defender, Atlanta Judicial Circuit.   Tiffany co‐founded Lawyers United for a New Atlanta (LUNA) in 2015 in response to calls for criminal justice reforms in Atlanta and was featured as a critic’s choice for one of four Best Citizen Activists by Creative Loafing Atlanta. In 2010 she was appointed to sit on a community panel for the selection of the Atlanta’s next police chief. Her appointment was based on her leadership role in a local community safety organization focusing on police accountability, BLOCS. She presently volunteers with several organizations that promote justice, fairness and equity in the criminal justice system including Black Lives Matter Atlanta. Tiffany is also Deputy Director of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism (NIFTEP) and Adjunct Professor of Law at the Georgia State University College of Law.

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Tanya Washington, Attorney and Professor of Law

Tanya Washington, a native of the city that bears her last name, is a Professor of Law at Georgia State University College of Law.   After earning her J.D. from The University of Maryland School of Law she clerked for then Associate Judge Robert M. Bell on the Maryland Court of Appeals.  After practicing for several years as toxic tort defense litigator in the Baltimore and Washington DC offices of Piper & Marbury, she completed two fellowships and earned her LL.M. from Harvard Law School.  Professor Washington has been teaching Civil Procedure I and II, Family Law, Education Law and Race and Law at Georgia State for the past 14 years. Her research and scholarship focus on issues related to educational equity, domestic violence, racial justice, inclusion and diversity, marriage equality, and children’s constitutional rights.  Her articles and op-eds have been published in law journals and periodicals across the nation, and her co-authored amicus brief was cited by Supreme Court Justice Kennedy in his majority opinion in the landmark, marriage equality decision. Professor Washington has taught comparative law classes on race, affirmative action and domestic violence in study abroad programs in Brazil, Europe, and China, and she continues to teach in pipeline programs designed to increase the enrollment of students of color in U.S. law schools.  Her efforts to expand and deepen the pipeline of students entering law school earned her recognition in 2013 as one of 50 minority law professors under 50 making an impact in legal education. Professor Washington’s teaching and scholarly contributions were recently recognized by Georgia State University with the Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching and Scholarship, and she is the current Director of the Humanity in Action John Lewis Fellowship Program, which is funded by a grant to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights from the Mellon Foundation.

 

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