2018 Featured Speakers
Investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones covers racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine, and has spent years chronicling the way official policy has created—and maintains—racial segregation in housing and schools. She was named a 2017 MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow for “reshaping national conversations around education reform.” But this is simply the latest honor in a growing list: she’s won a George Polk Award, a Peabody, and a National Magazine Award. She has written extensively on the history of racism and inequality, school resegregation and the disarray of hundreds of desegregation orders, and the decades-long failure of the federal government to enforce the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act. She has written one of the most widely read analyses of the racial implications of the controversial Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action Supreme Court case. She is currently writing a book on school segregation called The Problem We All Live With, to be published on the One World imprint of Penguin/Random House.
She also won the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism for her New York Times Magazine cover story “Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City.” In 2016 she was awarded a George Polk Award for radio reporting for her This American Life story “The Problem We All Live With,” and her piece “Worlds Apart” in The New York Times Magazine won the 2017 National Magazine Award for “journalism that illuminates issues of national importance.” She was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, and was also named to The Root 100. Her reporting has won Deadline Club Awards, Online Journalism Awards, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service, the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting, the Emerson College President’s Award for Civic Leadership, and was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. She influences the next generation of journalists through the founding of and ongoing work with theIda B. Wells Society.
Hannah-Jones holds a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina and earned her BA in History and African-American studies from the University of Notre Dame. For the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies, she investigated social changes under Raul Castro and the impact of universal healthcare on Cuba’s educational system. She was also selected by the University of Pennsylvania to report on the impact of the Watts Riots for a study marking the 40th anniversary of the Kerner Commission report, 2007. Along with The New York Times, her reporting has been featured in ProPublica, The Atlantic Magazine, Huffington Post, Essence Magazine, The Week Magazine, Grist, PoliticoMagazine, and on Face the Nation, This American Life, NPR, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, MSNBC, C-SPAN, Democracy Now, and radio stations across the country.
Neha Gill, Executive Director of Apna Ghar, Inc.
Neha Gill is the Executive Director of Apna Ghar, Inc. She held several key positions within the organization since starting in February, 2003 and has led consultations and trainings for local and international NGOs, journalists, government officials, and staff of UN agencies on providing services to survivors of gender based violence. She has been featured on WBEZ’s worldview show, Vocalo’s Feminist Wednesdays, public access television, and is cited in several studies and articles on gender violence in immigrant communities. She is a regular presenter and speaker at local, national and international conferences and events. In May, 2012 she delivered the keynote speech on human trafficking at the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago’s annual gala. In May 2014, she was honored as an everyday “shero” by the National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).
Neha has extensive cross cultural experience having worked on women’s rights issues in East Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Prior to joining Apna Ghar, Neha held positions in human resource management and business development for multinational consulting companies specializing in information technology. She served on the board of the Chicago chapter of the United Nations Association, a program of the United Nations Foundation, and is an advisory board member for From the Roots, an arts based nonprofit that fosters social entrepreneurship through cross cultural learning.
Rev. John E. Jackson, Sr.
A native of Chicago, Reverend Jackson received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Divinity degrees from Loyola University and McCormick Theological Seminary, respectively, in Chicago. Under the leadership of the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., Reverend Jackson served as the Associate Pastor to Men’s Ministries and the Pre-Marital Counseling Program at the dynamic Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC). In this capacity, Reverend Jackson not only provided pastoral leadership to the various Men’s ministries of Trinity UCC, but he also facilitated a weekly Men’s Bible Class and organized the quarterly Men’s Worship Service. Reverend Jackson also developed the Annual Men’s Prayer Breakfast into an Annual Men’s Conference, providing opportunities for workshops, lectures, and worship to over 500 brothers-in-Christ each year.
In 2004, Reverend John E. Jackson, Sr. was called to serve as Senior Pastor of The Trinity United Church of Christ in Gary, IN. Since its first worship service the second Sunday in October 2004, Trinity UCC-Gary has been consistently growing. In order to accommodate the ever-expanding ministries, Trinity UCC-Gary completed construction of their new sanctuary for worship, and held their first worship service in the new edifice on October 5, 2008. It is located at 1276 West 20th Avenue in the City of Gary. Trinity UCC-Gary is a congregation that believes in both arms of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Vertical arms stretch toward heaven to receive Holy Ghost power to reach out into the community through the Horizontal arms and do the work of Jesus Christ. The motto of Trinity UCC-Gary is “We are not just another church but we are a culturally conscious Christ centered church committed to the community!”.
Dan Miller, Organizing Director at Unite Here
Dan has been a member of UNITE HERE Local 1 for 17 years and currently serves as an Organizing Director. Local 1 represents almost 20,000 hospitality workers in the hotel, casino, and foodservice industries in Chicago and Northwest Indiana. In his time at Local 1 he’s been assigned to campaigns to transform working conditions in downtown Chicago, organize what became the 10 year Congress Hotel strike, organize airport workers into the union, and win and maintain healthcare in Northwest Indiana casinos. Dan feels at home on college campuses where he started in the labor movement when he was recruited as union steward for UAW Local 2322 – the union of teaching and research assistants at the University of Massachusetts.
Lorrell D. Kilpatrick, co-organizer of Black Lives Matter of Northwest Indiana
Having been involved in social justice work for most of her adult life, Lorrell D. Kilpatrick, M.S. began her activism in the environmental justice movement in her hometown of East Chicago, IN. Currently, she is a co-organizer with Black Lives Matter – Gary chapter, a disability rights advocate for Everybody Counts North in Hammond, IN, and an adjunct lecturer of sociology at Indiana University Northwest. Lorrell is the creator of a skills-action training series titled “More Than an Ally.” The training focuses on learning about the legacy of multiracial resistance, participants sharing their experiences with various movements and groups, and moving people toward resisting inequalities through base-building and organized action. She stresses that only a gender-inclusive, inter-generational, multiracial, accessible, anti-racist movement will secure a true quality of life for everyone.